Monday, November 18, 2013

Lisa Lickel & Brave New Century

Meet Lisa Lickel and read more about her book, Brave New Century, comprised of novellas written by herself, Paula Mowery, Teena Stewart, and Kathleen Rouser.

Tell us a little about your book and yourself.

Greetings, and thanks for letting me visit today. I’m Lisa Lickel, Wisconsin author. I live with my husband in an old house without a straight angle in it. It’s been interesting, and got me involved in the history of this community as well. My husband likes to garden and we both like to travel. I like history, but it’s a lot of work to write it, so I haven’t done much before this book. Brave New Century is a collection of novellas with the common theme of young women learning about what it means to live in the city, to find their own way and identity when America was changing and figuring out who she was, too.

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

Brave New Century was a fun project for me. I called together some friends to write initially short stories about life and romance in the big city at the turn of the twentieth century several years ago. I was tired of the prairie romances and wanted to show that exciting things were happening in cities, too. When we finally got the project together, four authors stuck with it, so we rounded our short stories up into the novella category. I met some neat folks, Teena Stewart, who shares the same agent, Paula Mowery, who was our champion for the project and kept us going, and Kathleen Rouser, fellow historian, whom I met on a history writers blog, and who also signed with Teena’s and my agent. This is her first published work, so I’m extra excited.

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

Sometimes faith elements in stories feel unnatural or tagged on for effect. Our stories all feature if not outright tragedy, at least some strong sense of loss or identity crisis. Being people of faith, or learning through the example of others that turning to God and prayer during times of triumph as well as trouble, should be part of their quality. Breathing a prayer or going to church should be something that a character does from the onset, at times and in places that flow with the profession. A missionary is going to be different than a waitress or a shopkeeper, but they can show their personality in many areas of their lives.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

For my part, good, clean entertainment is my goal for giving you a story to read. I hope readers appreciate the research, the attempt to let you visit this era, and what it was like to live during the past. I hope you think that people aren’t that much different and maybe you learn a little something about the past.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

I’m probably a little of each of my female characters. Alice is practical about herself and her situation. She’s had to take care of herself in an era where women weren’t expected to work outside the home. Her friend Minnie is a bit impish and wants to be independent, but still holds onto her family, and is a terrible romantic. Alice’s other friend Emma is a spinster business woman, also practical and forthright, but satisfied with her lot.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

Smile. That changes on any given day. Let’s see, today it’s Philemon, who had the guts to run, but more to return and face who he was called to be.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

Favorite parts: typing away, forgetting about time and everything else, being confused there’s no snow outside when I’ve just been living and working in the blizzard in my manuscript.
Least favorite parts: begging other people to spend their hard-earned money on me.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Whew – make your own trail, too! But I would delight in walking with you on your journey. And that means that group efforts are always better than struggling on your own. Gather with other writers and readers, make friends, learn a lot of different parts of the trade and spend time on craft. Read a lot.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

My husband and I enjoy our family, we travel all over the US and Canada; we garden (he much more than I). I like movies and visiting with my friends, and reading.

Thanks so much for the visit.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Mary L. Hamilton & Hear No Evil

Hear No Evil is a middle grade Christian fiction for 8-12 year olds. Definitely a book I look forward to letting my own son and nephew read. Summer camp is no fun for Brady McCaul. The girl with the cute dimples thinks he’s immature and childish. The camp bully targets him with cruel taunts and teasing, and flips Brady’s canoe to keep him from winning the race. But worst of all, his mom won’t let him come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Brady wonders if even God cares about him. Can Brady figure out what he did to earn Mom’s rejection and change her mind by week’s end? Or will he have to live with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when Brady was seven? All seems lost until a surprising secret changes everything. Here are a couple of reviews about Hear No Evil: "Ms. Hamilton has written a contemporary teen novel about real-life issues interwoven with questions of faith. The voice of her thirteen-year-old male protagonist rings true, as does his struggle to come to grips with his difficult family issues." ~KM "I felt she did an incredible job of directing the reader as she took the main character, Brady, toward a victorious freedom from those struggles. This is definitely a must read for everyone." ~ Dr. PDK

 

Your novel, which is geared toward "tweens",--tell us a little about it.

MH~ Hear No Evil is about a young teen whose mother drops him off at summer camp and tells him he can’t come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore and sends him to live with his workaholic father. Brady tries to figure out what he did to warrant his mother’s rejection and how he can change her mind. During the week, he makes a couple of great friends who balance out his insecurities, but he also becomes a target for the camp bully. At times, Brady wonders if anyone, even God, cares about him.

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?
MH~ I lived at a camp until I left for college, so my memories of that inspired the setting. When my own children were teens, I saw so many of their friends experience doubt and rejection when their parents divorced. Very often they heard a parent say “I don’t want you” in the way they acted, if not in so many words. It broke my heart.One day, I got the idea to connect the two--write a story about kids who come to camp with all the baggage from their daily life. At camp, they gain a new perspective and learn better ways of handling the issues they face.
Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?
MH~ It was very natural for me, because I grew up with in a strong faith atmosphere. Every summer, I saw kids leave camp with a new relationship with the Lord, or a new confidence that God is who He says He is.


What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope my tween readers will understand how much God cares for them, and that He wants to be actively involved in their life on a daily basis. I also want them to know that when terrible things happen like divorce and parental rejection, it’s not their fault. When parents are overwhelmed with stress in their relationships, jobs, finances, etc., they become desperate to rid themselves of anything that adds to the burden. The stress often blinds them to the effect on their kids, who think they’ve done something wrong.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?
MH~ I probably identify with Steven the most. I have a pretty even temperament and tend to let a lot of things pass in order to keep the peace. Occasionally, I’ve been with friends or other people who took offense at something that I totally missed, did not even see it as something to get upset about.So I can be just as blind as Steven, too.

Who is your favorite character?
MH~ Brady really tugged at my heart, but I loved writing about Steven. That sounds a little narcissistic, doesn’t it? My favorite character is the one most like myself. (laughs)But when things got heavy, I could always count on Steven’s upbeat attitude and sense of humor to brighten things up.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?
MH~ My favorite part is the discovery, when I’m writing a scene and suddenly, I see how something I wrote earlier fits in perfectly, even though I had no plan for that to happen.

My least favorite part of being a writer is when I’m building the characters and the story and can’t quite get a handle on what exactly is the conflict or a character’s goal or motivation. It takes me forever to figure these things out.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
MH~ Three things. 1. Commit your work to the Lord and trust Him for everything, including the timing. We all want to rush into having a book published. But take your time, listen to those who are further along the road, and trust that God will open doors for you at the right time.

2. Understand that being a published author is a business. There’s so much more to this than just writing a book and seeing your name on the cover. Attend conferences and get to know the writing business.

3. Write because you love it. I believe Michael Jordan was once asked how he kept going early in his career when his team lost so many games. He said he loved the game more than winning. Writers need the same attitude to survive the rejection and waiting that comes with the game of publishing. If you love writing (the game)more than publishing (winning), you’ll persevere through all the discouragement and rejection.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?
MH~ I’m involved in several ministries at church—youth, mentoring moms, and a specialized adult Bible study for people working through issues in their lives. My children are grown but my husband and I love spending time with them. And I have a Golden Retriever that would love to occupy all my time if I’d let him.

Thanks so much for letting me visit with you and your readers! It’s been fun.

Read more about Mary L. Hamilton below:



Bio:
Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a camp much like the setting for her Rustic Koll Bible Camp Series. Her faith is a strong influence in her life and writing, along with her concern for young people growing up in today’s popular culture. She loves opening her home to youth Bible studies, pancake suppers and breakfast with her special recipe waffles. Mary and her husband live in Texas, within range of their three grown children.

Connect with Mary here:
Website:
www.maryhamiltonbooks.com
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks
Twitter: @mhamilton122
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mhamiltonbooks

 

Friday, November 8, 2013

D.M. Webb & 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir


When too many deaths happened one right after another, and when so many things seemed to go wrong and I was lost in the upheaval, I wondered if there were others who felt the same as I did. I could find no blog, no book, no devotional, no person to connect, no mentor to talk to. I tried reaching out, and became rejected by so many people or labeled a freak or wanton. I wanted help with dealing with issues. I wanted guidance. Eventually, I decided that some things had to be done on my own. So I studied, I read, and I wrote on my blog. I had a few relationships born out of the studying and internet surfing. The season of the friendships is over, but they were there for a purpose: to help strengthen me. I did eventually quit blogging about things I formally did, and things are still as tough as before, but not quite so daunting. 

If there is one person out there that feels the same way, then this book 30 Days is for him/her. Read more about it below:

Do you desire to no longer be alone? Do you yearn for understanding and hope? Do you wish for a closer walk with Jesus?
When a relationship ends, whether through divorce or death, it leaves us with heartache and sadness. Fear of loneliness overwhelms our soul. Anger at God consumes us. We are suddenly thrust into unknown territory, lost and bewildered.

Psalm 147:3 "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."

30 Days: A Devotional Memoir brings you deeply moving stories to strengthen your walk and bring you closer to Christ. Author D.M. Webb shares her three year spiritual journey with a collection of thirty devotions designed to reach out and uplift those who have endured the turbulent emotions that came with divorce, widowhood, and single parenting.

Reach out, place your hand in His, and begin your journey today.


Author's Note from 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir:

"The compilation of this book was not an easy thing for me. More or less three years in the making, through personal journals and a personal blog, each story revealed a little more about myself than I really wanted known. 
I never wanted to talk about my late husband, my father, the trials I endured or the thoughts of hopelessness, loneliness, failure, and doubt. Truly, I only wanted to show the happy, sparkly times in my life.
As with all good intentions, it only matters when it is God's intention being done. I sat for so many weeks, staring at my words in my latest novel, wondering why I couldn't write, why the words wouldn't come. I knew what I wanted to say, knew what I wanted to create, but nothing happened.
Instead, my journal and blog posts kept distracting me. Books were distracting me. Finally, I sat down and printed out those blogs.
I fiddled with a few of them, and then set it aside.
I tried to ignore it. Days passed and still those pages called.
More day passed.
I eventually gave up the fight. Once I sat down, I edited, rearranged, and added to the stories until my eyes blurred, and yet I still pushed forward. It had to be done. I felt it in my soul.
Self-doubt and fear of utter failure would beat at me, and still I kept writing and typing. Three days later I beheld my product: three years of a spiritual journey condensed into thirty days--thirty days of stories that bared my  heart and soul, my shortcomings and dreams.
It isn't that I wanted to reveal myself to others; but if what I spoke about could help others deal with similar issues, then I had to tell my stories. I hope it will encourage others. I hope it will help others. Most of all, I hope it brings glory to God's name."









D.M. Webb (Daphne Self) lives with her husband and two sons, along with a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. Her experiences ranging from retail clerk to firefighter/EMR and her travels around the U.S., have given her a plethora of ideas for upcoming books. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a proud supporter of American Family Association.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carole Brown & The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

Books and stories about occult and the powerful, mesmerizing allure of its leaders always find a sweet reading spot within me. The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is no exception. As I read this story, I am swallowed by its fast pace and deep storytelling; and it is my pleasure to host an interview with this talented author.

About the book:
How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews! Release date was October 21, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher. The preorder link for the book which is on SALE NOW is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938499948/

Read some of the reviews below:

"What an exciting, yet eerie ride. The characters in this book are so believable. Cara's emotional and mental scars are well-written, making her illogical choices very believable. This book takes the reader into a religious cult community."~ CH Amazon Reviewer

"A compelling story, which takes place in an abusive cult, that grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go." ~ LB Amazon Reviewer

"The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a courageous story, set in a storyworld few are brave enough to explore, the seamy world of cults. But even in this living hell, there is a light in the darkness; there is hope for the hopeless; there is a love that is stronger than hate. This is a riveting romantic suspense with underlying spiritual themes. A great debut novel by Carole Brown." ~ PK Amazon Reviewer



How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

CB~ I can thank my husband for the idea. We like to follow news items that catch our attention. Awhile back the cult news in Texas was prominent, and Dan--my husband--began a what if session with me. It seemed like a tough topic, but he was there with me throughout the whole time. Traveling, I’d read to him and he would point out faults in a scene, give me ideas on how to improve certain areas, and suggestions of how to write different things of which I had no experience. We added a twist to the old cult-thing with a spunky rebellious woman who prevailed in spite of circumstances. 

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

CB~ It was a little more strongly written in this book than some, but easy enough to include. I like showing improvement and change in my characters. Showing their realization that God is real and God loves them, which happened to Cara, was a slow process to someone who never experienced real love. Even then, her faith barely blossomed.

If there is a second book, then I hope to show her growing spiritually through the trials and problems that face her and Dayne.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

CB~ That there is hope for everyone! No matter how low a person sinks, God loves him/her and is willing to help them if they will open their hearts.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

CB~ Oh, dear. Cara is such a stinker in her plotting revenge. Yet her loving, tender heart is a lot like my own. I adore my own sons and grandsons, and have a tender heart for those hurting and needy. I cry at excellent love scenes and when our pets have to be put down. Unfortunately (?) I can usually see the other person’s viewpoint. I’ve always had a tender conscience and probably always will.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

CB~ I love so many of them, but one that always stands out is Daniel, partly because that’s my husband’s name, and mostly because he was such an upright, stalwart young man. Admirable, courageous, and determined to do what he felt was right. Traits I like to write into my own heroes.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

CB~ Favorite? All of it. Writing the story, knowing you have a good one, and typing the words, The End. Having Readers love your novel. It’s all good knowing you’re using the talent God’s given you.

Least favorite? Hmmm. Probably marketing. I’m enjoying the interaction with bloggers and other writers but shoving myself out there feels sometimes like an abrasive move. Still, it’s got to be done, so I grit my teeth, and adhere! lol

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
CB~ Never, never give up. Hold fast to your dreams.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

CB~ Family, GRANDSONS, traveling, gardening, and still some ministry.





Like to learn more about Carole Brown and how to connect with her? Read below and follow the links.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


Connect with her here:
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown


I (Carole Brown) also am part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals:  http://geezerguysandgals.blogspot.com/
Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Janet Sketchley & Heaven's Prey

Would you pray for the person who has done you wrong? Would you pray for your enemy? Would you pray for the person responsible for a loved one's death? Does pray for the enemy make a difference?

Serious questions for a Christian, but in Heaven's Prey Janet Sketchley brings these questions to light in a bold and unique book. Janet Sketchley's novel, Heaven's Prey, releases November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. Feel free to tell your friends! For more information and a free sample chapter, see the Heaven's Prey page at Choose NOW Publishing.

Your novel is Heaven's Prey--tell us a little about it.

Despite her husband's objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who'd pray for him, he proves God can't—or won't—look after His own. Can Ruth's faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

Sometimes I pray for people I see in the news, either victims or villains. One day this question hit me: it's one thing to pray for an offender locked away in jail, but what would you do if you met the person face to face?

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

The faith element is an integral part of the plot. Ruth feels pulled to pray for her niece's killer, and she thinks it's part of how God will help her grief. Then once she's been abducted, she has no one to rely on but God. The tricky part was to not make it preachy, and not use "churchy" jargon that readers might not understand.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?
 
Whatever happens, Jesus will be there. That's something I tell myself whenever fearful "what if" questions try to steal my peace. Ruth's experiences in Heaven's Prey prove to her heart what her head has already known about God: He is trustworthy and He never leaves us.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

They all have bits of me, but I share most in common with Ruth. We live in the same city, have similar tastes in music, and love tea and cheesecake. I think we'd be friends. Like her, I've prayed for race car drivers and convicted criminals (among other people). Ruth has a lot more courage than I do—and she needs it.




Who is your favorite character?

That's like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I'm very attached to them all, but I do have a special soft spot for Aaron Delaney in this story. Before Harry Silver turns to violence, he's a race car driver. Mr. Delaney is his initial sponsor and his mentor. 

What's your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

I love that moment, writing fiction, when a scene or character comes to life and I'm typing as fast as I can to keep up. It doesn't happen often. I think my least favorite part is when writers' angst flares up.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Don't wait until you have something published to call yourself a writer. Connect with other writers online or in person. Learn from their experience and their mistakes.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

Where does the time go? That's a great question, and if I knew the answer, I might catch up on housework. Then again I'd likely spend it reading, or enjoying a cup of tea with my husband.
Thanks for hosting me!





Here's more about Janet Sketchley and how to connect with her:

Janet Sketchley is a Canadian author with a passion for story. She’s also a wife, mom, daughter, and friend, balancing relationships and responsibilities while learning how faith applies to real life. Combine all that with her quirky imagination to get inspiring novels about everyday women in suspenseful situations, who discover more strength within than they could have dreamed.

Website: http://janetsketchley.ca/
Heaven's Prey page: http://janetsketchley.ca/books/heavens-prey/
Sample Chapter: http://janetsketchley.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Heavens-Prey-Chapter-1.pdf
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanetSketchley
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanetSketchley
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/janetsketchley

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mary L. Ball & Escape to Big Fork Lake

Escape to Big Fork Lake was Mary L. Ball's first book published. Read below some reviews of this romantic suspense novel:

"This is a sweet romance that sensitively addresses sexual temptation for Christians without making the reader blush."~ D. Amazon Reviewer

"This inspiration romance that is filled with mystery and suspense had me hooked till the last word was read. I truly felt this story was well thought out and had a message of Gods love for each and everyone of his children."~ T. Amazon Reviewer

"I felt that the author captured the essence of a small Southern town very well."~ AF Amazon Reviewer

Read below for more about Escape to Big Fork Lake.


My debut novel is Escape to Big Fork Lake. I was cleaning house and thinking about going to the lake. A thought about spending a few days away at a small town resort formed in my mind, the next thing I knew Samantha Blacker was born.

She is a lady much like most of us women. She appears to be vulnerable at times, but underneath her exterior is a determination to rise above the challenges.

Later in the story, she meets Noah. A down to earth county man who loves the Lord. It’s with Noah’s help, Sam learns to trust in the Lord.   
             
Of course, life isn’t always simple and neither are my characters journeys. Along the path to happiness, there are bumpy roads that Sam and Noah must travel. Below is the blurb of Escape to Big Fork Lake:

Will an inheritance bring new happiness or a trap for murder?
Bad luck seems to follow Sam Blacker. She loses her job and faces daily struggles keeping her drunken neighbor away from her. When an unexpected inheritance gives her, a chance for a new beginning, Sam, a city girl at heart, is hesitant. However, after a brutal attack she has no choice.
Making a decision that will forever change her life; she flees to the small fishing town of Big Fork Lake, Alabama and soon finds herself in the arms of Noah Frye. A tumultuous relationship with Noah sparks buried desires of the heart, even if he is a Christian, surely, she can get around that little problem.
As Sam and Noah’s passion grows, trouble lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching. Inescapable, Sam’s bad luck returns when she stumbles upon a murder and becomes the only suspect. Will she have to run again, this time to stay out of prison? Worse, will she lose the best man she’s ever found? And what about the newfound hunger in heart to know God—can she truly trust in Him?


Thank you, Mary, for the chance to feature you and your two books. I look forward to reading them both!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mary L. Ball & Stone of Destiny

Stone of Destiny is the second book written by Mary L. Ball.

Brief blurb of this book: Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete--until her grandmother asks her to oversee the renovations of the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom.
Her first contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange. Unexpected feelings surface that she doesn't understand. Thoughts that should remain unspoken are voiced.
Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself and forcing her to question everything she believes.
Is this a fairytale, or simply her soul reaching out for a different world--a life she can only find
through faith and a divine trust in God?


The blurb captivates me and urges me to try this book. Based on the reviews below, Mary L. Ball is one author that I will enjoying reading.

"Mary L. Ball writes an intriguing suspenseful story. The book is a delightful read full of suspense, romance and the destiny for those who follow God's will. Well done, Mary!" ~ VPC Amazon Reviewer

"I felt that Mary did a great job on the writing of this book! It was a light mystery and romantic story. And yes, A Christian story! I gave her five stars because of how she put it all together to make it a very,interesting story that keeps the reader wanting to keep coming back and not wanting to put it down so easily." ~ A. Amazon Reviewer

"If you like a wonderful story with lots of romance, a little bit of suspense, and a story in which faith in God plays a big part, then this is the book for you." ~ DLG Amazon Reviewer

To read more reviews, click on this link: http://www.amazon.com/Stone-Destiny.

Learn more about Mary L. Ball and her book Stone of Destiny.

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

MLB~ My Grandson has a fascination with teenage magic books. I passed by him reading the latest saga on one such novel, and the thought hit me. I needed to write about a spiritual kind of enchantment that only happens with faith and prayer.

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

MLB~ For me it is very natural. I stand on faith. Things don’t always work out the way I want, but my faith lies in the fact that God knows best and in the end, I’m the winner.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

MLB~ I want readers to see that often the road we’re taking isn’t always the one meant to walk down. Life shifts at times, for the best.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

MLB~ Well, personality wise I must say it’s Granny Kaye. She faulted in faith a bit, but it didn’t take her long to get back up (Spiritually speaking) and gather more determination.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

MLB~ David is my favorite. Even though he stood strong and trusted in God, he sinned. It’s through David’s pleas of repentance that we learn to take our faults to the Lord and seek pardon.   

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

MLB~ I love creating a fictional world with any type of possibilities that my imagination wants, but I don’t enjoy the editing process.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

MLB~ Read, write and continue to grow your writing skills. I’m still learning.
Above all, don’t give up. Send out queries until you can wallpaper you house with the rejects. If you’re persistent, a publisher will notice.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

MLB~ I wear many hats in a days’ time. I’m a caregiver for my mom and step-dad. A babysitter for my Grandkids. I try my best to support my husband’s ministry. Hubby and I sing at churches and retirement facilities. Oh yea, did I mention I like to go to the lake and fish.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Diane Dean White & On a Summer Night

A fusion of past thoughts with fragrances and salty air played in the recesses of Kate’s mind. More seagulls flew in formation against the blue sky that now showed gray clouds, with splashes of pink. She took her husband’s strong hand, full of love and warmth. Nestled, she sat next to his broad frame as he drove into the village. Memories flooded her soul. She’d  been eighteen, and with youth, wrong decisions often led to grave consequences. There was no erasing the past.
It had been years ago when she and her best friend, Vanessa, made this journey. What a special time their two-week trip after high school graduation had been. She’d never shared with her husband what had happened on that summer night. Kate wasn’t sure she should. Did it really matter? She knew the answer…they shared everything. Maybe it was time to tell him her story.
 

This is the setting for On a Summer Night, the novel written by Diane Dean White and published by Crosslink publishing. A highly regarded book and one I am sure readers would enjoy. Read below the interview with Diane Dean White and learn more about her and her novel, On a Summer Night. I mean, who can resist reading about the south and a 60's southern summer. :-)
Tell us a little about your book and yourself.
DDW~Let me first thank you, Daphne, for the opportunity to share my new book, On a Summer Night, just released, with you and your readers.
I’m a wife of forty-one years and the mother of three grown children. Two are overseas; youngest son and wife on the mission field in Russia and daughter and three grands, hubby is working in Shanghai, China. Our oldest son is in SC, but still too far away. My book came about after writing a weekly column for a Michigan based magazine (Our home state) for over four years, and I decided to write another book. I’ve written over 300 short-stories, but I wanted to write a longer piece. I’d self published two books in the early 2000’s, but this was a new direction, and was eager to share it.
How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?
DDW~This is Christian fiction, suspense and romance with everyday people, and although fiction for the most part, many have been through these trials that are a part of the plot. A lot of research was done, because the book starts in the mid 60’s and then comes to present day, although I trust my memory fairly well, I always double check. Some of it is a sensitive area and I can only say I’ve lived in the south and know it to be very true during this time, possibly more so than in other areas…. Aw, now that’s the hook~:-)
Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?
DDW~ It was easy to involve the Lord and how we seek Him, sometimes question Him, but knowing He has our best interests, and how we must trust His timing in all things. My husband is a strong man of faith and I patterned my MC husband after my own in many ways. I think as a Christian it would be difficult to exclude God from anything I write, but very real to have my characters stumble striving to serve Him.  
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
DDW~ It’s the belief that whatever our past mistake, God is always ready to forgive us. Perhaps it’s difficult for the person seeking forgiveness to forget, but God always does. Once we ask Him for forgiveness that sin is forgotten. If only we could do the same.
Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?
DDW~ I don’t think any of the female characters are like me. I know what I’m like and I try hard to create characters that are better than me. I love creativity! At least in this novel I don’t feel I’ve captured too many of my vices in my characters. Kate may have some hidden traits like me, but she would be the only one. I believe we both share the love of the same type of man in our lives. :-)
Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?
DDW~ Oh, it’s Ruth. I love her submissiveness to follow Naomi and how she helped and cared for her, despite Naomi wishing she shouldn’t follow. And how much Ruth loved and trusted her… moreover, by doing so her obedience brought about much joy, after so much hardship in their former land. Naomi in turn brought much happiness to Ruth, instructing her and wanting her life to be full with Boaz.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?
DDW~ My favorite time is early morning when I rise and allow the creative juices to flow…and since we’re empty nesters I have a lot of time during the day to proof what I write. I enjoy listening to instrumental music from the television, usually easy listening, while I’m writing. I can write to background activity, but I prefer just light music. The hard part, knowing I need to stop and rest my brain and the promotional work once the book is out. :-)
What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
DDW~ To start writing…. choose any familiar topic and enjoy creating a story. Don’t worry about sentence structure or any of the rules, just put your thoughts on paper or the computer, there’s always time to rewrite and get rid of weasel words, POV mistakes, be sure you’re not telling too much. And if you’re going to lay your work out to be critiqued you have to be willing to take constructive criticism. Stay with it, and don’t give up. If this is a dream you can make it come true.
Other than writing, what else occupies your time?
DDW~ Writing takes a lot of my time, and especially now with my book just out I’m planning promotional work and creating a video. It’s a long road but a fun one. My sequel to On a Summer Night, called This Side of Heaven, will soon be ready for a final proof. I enjoy antiques and although I used to do a lot of that, and had my own little boutique for a while, I’m fairly limited to the house now with a back injury. However, I always find time for visits when our children come, and we do fun things with them. Our daughter and grand gals, who come once a year from China, enjoy tea rooms, which I also love….so we make plans to do at least one a visit. I’ve got a fun blog site and share my photos in Favorite Things. Some tea pictures are included.

Learn more about Diane Dean White below:
Diane started her writing at an early age, but it wasn't until her husband’s work took them to a small southern town she wrote her weekly columns, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper. Perhaps not the best name to use in the early 70's. Returning to her home-state of Michigan, she did stringer work over the years, ancestral history, and donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations. Diane self-published two books in the early 2000’s, and she became a columnist for a weekly magazine, for four years. She is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her book On a Summer Night has just been released. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-one years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals. Both Michigander's, they now make their home in the sunshine state of Florida.
Visit Diane on her website at www.DianeDeanWhite.com
And friend request her on Facebook at, https://www.facebook.com/diane.d.white.75?ref=tn_tnmn
To order her book, check out:


Afterwords from Diane Dean White:
Thank you very much Daphne. I've enjoyed the time with you and getting to know
you better with your interest in my book and spiritual walk. I hope your readers
will feel free to ask questions and I'll try to answer if I can. Thank you, again.
You are most welcome. I've enjoyed reading about you and look forward to reading more On a Summer Night. ~ Daphne
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Journal by Beth Harlow

The time is June 1861. A journal is given to a young Rebel fighter and each entry over the next four years detail the lives of 8 men: Rebel and Yankee.


As the journal falls from one hand and into the next, each man will read what was written beforehand and add his own thoughts: about life, about the war, about love, and about God.

Each man is at a different stage in his life in his relationship with God. Some make the choice, a couple do not. And each finds that there are good men and bad men on both sides and each pray for the day the war will end.

The Journal chronicles these men's lives and will bring the reader even deeper into their own walk with God.

At times I found the writing to be heartbreaking and I could picture the horror of the young man trapped in the bombardment of Vicksburg and his relief that his company had surrendered. Finally food and rest, either in a prison camp or in heaven.

Through all the entries and all the worry, the ugliness of war and man's behaviour, and the desperate longing for home one theme reigns: hope. Each man had hope. Hope to see family, to see the end of war, to see his brother or child, or just to go home. And each learned that belief in Jesus Christ gave that hope.

An easy book to read in one afternoon, but a book to keep on your shelf to read time and time again. The author's research of the Civil War was complete and the description placed the reader in each scene. This is a book that will stay with you for a long, long time.

***I was given this book through BookCrash for a complete and honest review.***

Willing to Die by John Muntean/Josephine Walker

"Hope and freedom hang in the balance between the success or failure of one man’s plan. And John Muntean will succeed, or die trying." 


 The True Story of John Muntean as told to Josephine Walker

I have the blessing to know Jo Walker through online and phone calls. A truly remarkable lady with a bright love for Christ in her heart. When she told me about her opportunity to write John Muntean's story I was excited. But that excitement paled in comparison as I read a portion of the story before it was even published.

Willing to Die takes the reader into a world very few knew much about. History books made passing remarks. We could find the country of Romania on the map. We heard tales about Romanian gypsies and the Romanian circus, but other than that what did we really know about it other than it was the Breadbasket of Europe?

The horror of WWII barely touched Muntean's village.  To those who experienced the atrocities the news about the war's end brought them hope. According to Muntean, "they truly believed life would get better once the Nazis left". But the one sentence that prickled my skin and sent ghostly shivers down my neck was: They were wrong--the Russians were coming.

That one sentence set the stage for a book that is truly hard to put down. Throughout the oppression, the reader sees the hand of God at work through one man and his family. How many close calls? So many that you can see only God brought him through it or saved him from it. And God had a purpose for this man's life.

Not only to flee a country where Christians hid in fear, where those who did not conform to Communism faced imprisonment, torture, and even death. People wanted to flee. The Breadbasket of Europe became a withered loaf under the pounding of an iron fist.

As the reader becomes immersed in the true story of one man's plight and flight, you can't help be see the parallelism with today.  That was Romania in history. It is fast becoming America today. With so many truths exposed and so many warnings, I wonder who will listen to his man. He loves America and he's willing to fight for her. Through this book, we see more than just history, we see the future.

In 1981, Muntean and his family saw a wondrous sight, one that most Americans have forgotten that existed. On the plaque it reads:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The Statue of Liberty represents freedom. Freedom that Americans are signing away each day for a few morsels, a few crumbs, of bread from empty promises of a government.

Read below for more about Josephine Walker and Willing to Die:

Author bio: Josephine Walker a former stay-at-home mom, car sales associate, Realtor and CNA in a long-term care center started her writing career in 2009 after asking God “When I get old, what am I going to be doing? I must have some talent somewhere.” God planted a seed in her heart, gave her the idea for her first book, a fiction called Hope, soon to be published. Over the two years of writing Hope, she learned her craft, which prepared her for God connecting her with Mr. Muntean to author, Willing to Die.
A rough partial outline for the book was written by John Muntean, that and a total of 107 interviews brings the story and John’s warning to America to light.
Josephine Walker is the penname for Jo Walker, a member of ACFW. A mother of three grown children, grandmother of eleven, widowed in 2011.

More about John Muntean:

Born in Romania when it was still the beautiful, vibrant, productive Breadbasket of Europe, John Muntean had a taste of real freedom. Thirty-two years later, his desire to flee religious persecution and Communist control pushes him into a plan that very well could cost him his life. All he’s got to do is get past the throng of specially-trained guards keeping Romanian citizens away from the American Embassy.  If he doesn’t, his family will be living forever under one of history’s most ruthless Communist dictatorships. John’s willingness to die for his family’s freedom rocks the nation and brings hope to those trapped under the thumb of Nicolae Ceausescu. Until November 10, 1980, hope hadn’t been a word heard too often on the lips of the average Romanian citizen. Then, with one broadcast from Radio Free Europe, it explodes across the nation into the hearts and minds of all those yearning for independence.

Now, after living thirty-two years in his beloved America he sees the same things happening, and fears for his children’s and grandchildren’s religious freedoms. John has a strong warning for God’s people and every liberty loving patriot.

Excerpt from his warning to America, thirty-two years later:

"The remains of American soldiers lie in cemeteries across Europe
and other countries as monuments to America’s willingness to fight
for freedom for all.

"Thousands of our combat veterans carry emotional and physical
scars from their efforts to protect freedom—ours and other
countries’.

"Do some things need to change? Of course, they do. There
are those within and without who want to bring America to her
knees. There are those within and without who have an agenda of
destruction. Yet, American citizens are strong. Our heritage of freedom
ought not allow us to stand aside and let destruction happen.

"If we, God’s people, will fulfill our responsibility to God and
our land, God will, indeed, hear from heaven and heal our land.
Thirty-two years ago, I feared for my children’s and grandchildren’s
futures under a Communist dictatorship. I put my life on
the line to gain freedom for my wife, my children, and me. Now,
thirty-two years later, I again fear greatly for the freedom of my
children, my grandchildren, and their descendants."

Purchase a copy of Willing to Die at these links:
http://ambassador-international.com/books/willing-to-die-the-true-story-of-john-muntean
www.josephinewalker.com
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Stay in contact with Josephine Walker at the following:
https://www.facebook.com/jo.walker.9809
https://twitter.com/AuthorJosephine

Evangelism for the Rest of Us

Ever wondered what was wrong with you when you went out into the world and tried to tell others about Christ? Ever wondered what you were doing wrong, why you were failing at it when so many others were succeeding?

Join the club of introverts thrust into an extrovert world. Evangelism requires introverts to step out, and I mean way out, of their normal parameters and comfort zones. Yes, we can delve into areas that are outside our comfort boundaries, but I can't do the things that extroverts do without it sounding fake and forced.

So what can we do when we feel lead to step into the evangelizing field as Jesus commanded?

Mike Bechtle's book evangelism for the rest of us is one of the best books out there for the introvert. It shows how to share Christ within our personality style. Not within our comfort zone, but within our personality style.

I highlighted and marked many pages in this book. Sayings and advice, things that struck a resonant chord within me. Here's something I CAN do!

A few excerpts from the book:
"Most Christians have separated themselves from the world for fear of being corrupted instead of praying for protection as they live among unbelievers."

"We don't 'do' evangelism--God does."

"It's not our job to beat the fish with the bait; our job is to make sure the bait is in the water where the fish is."

"Such churches thought the form was more important that the function."

"When we do something we're not designed to do, fear tends to paralyze us and keep us from taking action."

"Jesus does not tell us where to go; he simply asks us to follow Him."

The book is chock full of inspiration and considerations for the introvert. It would also be a good read for the extrovert so that they, too, may understand not only the mind of an introvert but of the introvert unbelievers, those that are unreachable to an extrovert.

Don't know if you're an introvert or extrovert though? No problem. A short little quiz at the beginning of the book will help you figure that one out.

This book is a highly recommended read. I'm glad I asked for it through AFA and I encourage others to do so too.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Margaret Brownley's Gunpowder Tea

“Suspicion ain’t proof, unless you’re married.”
                                                                         -Gunpowder Tea
 



Gunpowder Tea, an explosive mix of murder, mayhem, humor and love.

Margaret Brownley's story brings this mix to a simmer and lets it brew as the reader takes the tumultuous journey with Miranda, a Pinkerton Agent, and Jeremy, a Wells Fargo detective. The book is wonderful and such a pleasure to read, and even re-read again...and again. The little saying at each chapter added more charm to the book: such as, "Sign outside private detective's door: In God we trust; all others will be treated as suspects" or the one that made me chuckle: "Outlaws are so prevalent in some western towns you can walk form one end to the next without leaving the scene of the crime".

But the story doesn't stop at the surface of love and justice, it goes deeper into our own hearts as we realize that we, too, can be blind about the truth before us. Readers will not be disappointed with this book.

Here's more about Margaret Brownley:


Your novel is Gunpowder Tea--tell us a little about it.

MB~ Pinkerton detective Miranda Hunt (working undercover as Annie Beckman) is determined to track down the notorious Phantom who’s been terrorizing the area for more than a year.  To that end she watches ranch hand Jeremy Taggert like a hawk.  Not only is he the handsomest man she ever laid eyes on, but she’s convinced he’s the Phantom.   Little does she know that he’s a Wells Fargo agent also working undercover and equally suspicious of her.  Needless to say, the two of them are working at cross-purposes and that’s when the fun begins.



How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

MB~ After reading about Kate Warne who worked for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency from 1856 to her death in 1868, I knew I had to write about a female detective. A master of disguise, Kate helped save president-elect Abraham Lincoln from an assassination attempt on the train to Washington by having him pose as her invalid brother.  Kate was the perfect role model for my heroine and I had a blast writing her story.

**how interesting is that! I will have to find more books or stories about Kate Warne now~DS***

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

MB~ If it doesn’t come natural I delete it because I know it’s probably preachy.  Sometimes I think we take religion too seriously. God has a great sense of humor, so why shouldn’t we?  My detective heroine has a code name for everyone including God, which causes some interesting predicaments.   Faith is more powerful when it shines through character action and change.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

MB~ I hope readers finish the book with a smile on their faces and maybe a little more hope in their hearts.

Who is your favorite character?

MB~ I love the heroine Miranda Hunt, and I particularly like the chemistry between her and Jeremy.  It is so much fun.   I also have a special feeling for Eleanor Walker, owner of the Last Chance Ranch.  We first meet her in book one (all three books in the series stand alone and don’t have to be read in any sort of order).She’s a tough old bird and it was fun peeling away her many layers.  Readers who wrote to ask about her will be happy to know she does get a happy ending.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

MB~ My favorite part is when the writing comes easy.  It doesn’t always, of course. Sometimes writing is like chiseling words out of rock, but when the words flow and the story begins to take shape, that’s heaven.  The least favorite part?  Deadlines!


What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

MB~ You really have to enjoy each step of the journey or you won’t survive the publishing business.  Surround yourself with a support group and celebrate every success.  Celebrate when you finish a chapter; enter a contest; pop a query in the mail; or sign up for a writing workshop.  This is what kept me going the five years it took me to sell my first book and it will keep you going, too.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

MB~ I chase bad guys, rob stagecoaches, hold up trains and break out of jails.  Wait!  My characters do that, not me.

I live a much boring life. I love to read and my husband and I travel in our RV.   I’m also a Boy Scout merit badge counselor and of course, our grandkiddies keep us hopping. 

***I think all us authors live our characters life...at least in our head. :-) ***

About Margaret:

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
           
Margaret wasn’t sure that was true, but she wasn’t about to take chances. She’s now a New York Times bestselling author with more than 30 novels to her credit including her current Brides of Last Chance Ranch series. Also look for her work in the following recently released or soon to be released collections A Bride for All Seasons, A Log Cabin Christmas and A Pioneer Christmas.  Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English.  Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

Thanks Margaret! And could I ever get a copy of your Grisham-style newsletter? :-)

Get connected with Margaret at:
www.margaretbrownley.com
https://www.facebook.com/MargaretBrownleyAuthor

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Amber Schamel's The Healer's Touch

Have you ever had a false label attached to you? Did anyone ever shun or cast judgement upon you for a sin or crime you never committed? Have you ever questioned God on why something happened? What did you do to deserve such punishment and turmoil?

In Amber Schamel's story, The Healer's Touch, we are brought into Aaliyah's world and how it was turned upside down within moments. The heartache of becoming an outcast because of a disease and the burden of carrying a false label of a sin you did not commit. Some things happen that we do not understand the reasoning behind, things that are out of our control. Through Aaliyah's story, the reader learns that Jesus is always in control and there's a reason for everything.

You will be touched by the heart-rending story and brought into a different world celebrating the wonderfulness of Christ.

Read more about Amber below and check out her story, The Healer's Touch, at Amazon.

Tell us a little about your book and yourself.


AS~ The Healer's Touch is the first book in the Days of Messiah Series. Aaliyah's last chance at winning her husband's love is destroyed when she is banished from her home as an 'unclean' sinner, exiled to the leper colony. When a chance at being cured comes in the form of a rumor, she must risk her life to appear in public, or die a leper.

I am a twenty-two year old gal who lives at home with her family and loves the Lord with all of her heart. I was homeschooled throughout my education and love history, travel, children, singing and piano. In between family life, work as bookkeeper and marketing director in our family businesses, and volunteering at church and camps, I write in my spare time. (Ha!)

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?


AS~ In 2007 I originally wrote The Healer's Touch as a short story and people loved it, but told me I should expand it to tell more of the story. So I did. :)
It was inspired by the accounts of healing in the New Testament and the Lord really showed me the similarities between the terrible disease of leprosy and the emotional disease of bitterness.

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

AS~ It was very natural and easy for me because my faith is a part of my every day life. It would be hard, and probably awkward to write anything else.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

AS~ My prayer is that they come to the same realization that Aaliyah does, that bitterness is a terrible disease that is far worse than leprosy. And Jesus Christ is the only one that can heal us of that disease. 
Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

AS~ Aaliyah is probably most like me. I have struggled with a lot of bitterness as she does, and her personality is a lot like mine.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

AS~ Jesus of course. ;) Because of the love He showed to all of us and the example that He set.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

AS~ My favorite part about being a writer is when you are really in the writing groove and the Lord is anointing your writing. It is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world and the story really comes alive to you. My least favorite is all the marketing and legwork that goes along with being an author.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

AS~ Be teachable, develop a tough skin and start building your platform even before you're published. I made the mistake of thinking I could work on developing my social media, blogs etc after I was published, but when I finally did get there, I realized I needed it yesterday!

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

AS~ My mother is expecting her 12th child and I still live at home with all of them, so my time is filled with family duties, bookkeeping and marketing for our many family businesses, church activities as well as volunteer work.
 
Thanks, Amber, for being a part of this blog. I pray for success in your writing and that it will continue to touch others. Readers, find Amber on Facebook and follow her and her journey.
 
 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Karen Gass & Morningshine

A little bit about Karen Gass' Morningshine: ...the story of a group of women. Some live near each other and a few others live hundreds of miles away. These are ordinary women...one day, God decides to do a work--using them in His plan. Morningshine proves the point that God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called. By being open to what God has shown them, these women make a huge difference in the lives of one of their neighbors, changing both the takers and the givers.

Join Carrie, Elanor, Connie, Lydia, Martha, Esther, and Gert in this fabulous story about their struggles and defeats, their triumphs and faith. See how God uses them as vessels to reach others around them. An intimate look at faith within different women and the effect it has on them all.

Read below for more about Karen Gass and her book, Morningshine.



Tell us a little about your book and yourself.

KG~ I've been sewing since I was 9 years old. As soon as I learned to sew, I started making my own clothes and just about everything else if I could afford the fabric. The minute I got my allowance - I hit the fabric store. That was in the old days when $5 would buy a pattern, fabric and zipper! Fast forward about 25 years and I moved from garment sewing to quilting. I made and sold quilts at craft shows, and then moved into quilt designing. I had a quilt book published, Log Cabin Quilts: A Brand New Story by Karen Murphy. It's out of print now, but it was unique because each chapter had a fictional story that continued throughout the book. I also love to knit, crochet, embroider and am currently learning about polymer clay! I love to do things with my hands. The last year or so, I spent learning about couture sewing, pattern making and learning how to fit a garment to a 'body' - usually called clients! I am recently widowed, and living with my sister. I have 3 grown children, and 13 grandchildren, with another due in November. Love my grandbabies.
So, it was only natural I'd write a book about quilting! A quilting group, actually, and how God used them in the lives of a family living on their street. I don't think you need to be a quilter in order to enjoy the book, because it's also Women's Contemporary Fiction. You'll get to know these six women intimately, see their struggles and experience their triumphs as they go through day to day living. I think there is something in every one of them we can relate to, in one way or another. As God weaves His tapestry in our lives, we very rarely get a glimpse of the finished piece. In Morningshine, we get to see how God moves and puts together unrelated incidents as a result of prayers and trusting in him. God doesn't always call the equipped, but He always equips the called!


How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

KG~ After I had some foot surgery, I was to stay flat on my back, with foot elevated for 7 days. That sounded torturous with nothing to do but watch television. Well, my mother rustled up a laptop for me, and I thought it would be a good time to start a newsletter for my quilt designing website. I thought a short story might be a cool thing to include, so I started what turned out to be a 300 page book! It simply took on a life of it's own. Each character came to life and told me about herself, and the events that followed were just as thrilling for me to read and experience as it was for some of the people who've read the book. I don't know how that happens, other than to give God the glory, but it is an incredible process. That was ten years ago. I worked on it off and on, but never could find the ending. I shared it with a group of women friends, and they loved it and truly harassed me to finish it. (in all love they harassed) I finally did, and decided to self-publish it on Amazon.

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?
KG~ I believe my book does have a strong faith element, but it doesn't preach at you on every page. It was very natural to write about about God and the way He works. My fingers simply flew over the keys of my computer, hardly keeping up with my thoughts and what I wanted to get down on paper before the thought flew away. 


What do you hope readers take away from this book?
KG~ I hope they realize we are never without hope. Even when we are at the bottom of the barrel, there is most likely someone, somewhere praying for them. It might even be a stranger. I know I've had times when I've felt the Lord move me to pray for a person I see on the street, or hear about on the news. Maybe someone I've chatted with in the store, waiting to check out. If we are open to the Lord's leading, we can hear His voice telling us 'That person needs prayer, don't worry about the why, I already know it." And so I pray for them until I no longer feel that compulsion and I know I can't be the only one!

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?
KG~ I think I put a little of myself into every character - I just couldn't help it! But, if I had to pick one that was (and I emphasize the 'was') most like me, it would be Eleanor. She was in a hopeless situation, and had no clue how to change it, or even if she should change it. So, she just kept plodding along, unhappy, but keeping a routine and doing the things that needed doing. I was in such a situation at the beginning of the book, so I know how she felt. Useless and hopeless. My situation today is completely changed, but she remains close to my heart. 


Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

KG~ It changes as life changes. But right now, my favorite person is Rahab. She was, as we know, a prostitute, but God loved her and used her in important ways. She was in the line of Jesus - how cool is that? God loves us - period. His redemption for us was and is complete. It holds no 'excepts'. Jesus died and rose again for Every Single Person on this earth, no matter what they do, or did, or thought. The grace of God is just that - complete and total Grace. He showed that particularly in the case of Rahab. For whatever reason, she was in an unseemly profession. We don't know what led her to that place where she felt that was the only recourse left to her in order to live and eat. But God had His eyes on her and had plans for her. She was brave, and let God use her to warn her family and to hide the spies. This story in the Bible tells me that God loves me. Simply me. It's not about how good I am, or how obedient I am, or the good things I may do for others. He loves me when I'm not good, when I disobey, and when I don't do the good I know I ought to do. Even if I'm disobedient to Him, He can still use me. He will still provide for me, He will still pour out His love on me. He will do what He needs to do to bring me back to obedience, but the measure of His love doesn't change. The story of Rahab is the epitome of that situation and I love that about God. I wish I was more loving towards people who 'I' think may not be doing right. Our human condition does that. One day, we won't have to deal with that anymore!

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?
KG~ My favorite part is when the words come so fast I can barely get them down on paper! When the story jumps up and waves flags and says, "Look at me over here, I have story!" and four other characters do the same thing! It's like going to the circus with things going on left and right. I love it when I can laugh or cry at my own story, that is writing itself on paper and things happen that I'd never thought of - it's exciting!
My least favorite part is when the words don't come. I think I've come upon my little theater group asleep and they are all groggy and begging me to go away and leave them alone. And of course, the end of the story is hard, because I have to leave all these people and places that I've come to love. I've poured so much of myself into them, and now I have to say good-bye. This is one of the reasons Morningshine turned into a series. I simply could not get everything into one book. And now, as I'm nearly done with the second book, I keep thinking of new things! My three book series may turn into more - who knows? 


What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
KG~ Go for it! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the story in your head, come to life on paper. Write every day, write whenever you can. And read good books. The more good books you read, the better a writer you will be. And ask God to direct you in this area, what does He want you to write? What is He putting on your heart? If you have the desire to write, and you are walking in His will, then He has probably given you that desire. Use it to glorify Him. It's a gift He has given you.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?
KG~ After almost 40 years, I am finally going to college! After I graduated from high school, I did not go on to college. I wish I had. But, as I write this, tomorrow (Sept 3) is my first day. I'll be working towards my BA in Creative Writing. I want to learn how to do what I do - better. I know it will take a while, but I am determined and very excited. That is the major thing occupying my day. Then I am also the Editor for The Quilt Pattern Magazine which is online. I also make doll clothes for a company that resells them. I have a few sewing clients I make clothes for. And then, I sew for myself or my family, I knit and crochet, and now the polymer clay is encroaching into the last available ten minutes of my day. I also spend part of every day, writing. Usually every day - some days it just doesn't happen. There is about a dozen other things I do spread out over the week - designing quilts for my sister's fabric, writing quilt patterns, editing others manuscripts and doing their layout, I think I just really like to stay busy. And God is very good to me, sending me work to take care of my expenses. They aren't many, but He is awesome in sending me what I need. My hope is that I glorify Him in all that I do. 


Thanks Karen for being a part of this blog and for your great interview. Blessings in the success of Morningshine. It will surely connect and talk to those who read it.