Friday, February 26, 2021

Foresight 2021



J. L. Canfield




One of the few things that will be agreed upon in the future is this: 2020 was a unique, strange year. For the first time, we were told to stay home, stay away from others, including family, and wear face coverings. Media, and many politicians sowed fear into most people. Churches, where we look for peace, closed their doors. Keeping up with friends, family, doctors’ appointments, and work meetings, took on a new meaning and added a new word to life vocabulary: Zoom.


While many people I know, had their lives upended, my life changed little. As a writer, I was ‘Working from Home’ before it was trendy. What changed for me was perspective.


2020 taught me to live simpler, fuller. I gained a deeper respect for St. Francis of Assisi and Sister Clare. When lockdowns happened, I found out, I didn’t have to go shopping every day for things. Instead of working out at the gym, I took advantage of warm, sunny days and walked, a lot. I wrote better, simpler, more insightful pieces.


It was easy to say I trust in God, but last year, I realized how empty those words were when they were only said, not acted upon. Like all words, they mean nothing unless they are shown. In 2017, my debut novel won an award for Best Christian Fiction. Surely, I knew show don’t tell. 2020 proved I didn’t.


The negatives of 2020 have been positives for me. The lifestyle changes improved my writings. My last completed work was picked up by a better publisher and will be released this year. My creative muscle began an intense toning regimen and I have a dystopian YA work-in-progress, two areas I’ve never written in.


2021, for me, will mean giving up the exhaustive pursuit of social media audience growing. I closed my author website at the end of last year. This year, I will focus on writing for publications on Medium, possibly starting one myself. I’ll still post on my Facebook page and occasionally tweet. But no more will I try to do all the social media platforms and chase after potential sales. Instead, I’ve decided to practice what I preached as a chaplain: Trust in God. Besides, I know my views on living a Christ centered life, along with my devout practicing of free speech, not group think, will land me in Social Media jail while I await being banished.


2020 is true hindsight. I grasped how much time I spent daily looking for work, instead of seeking him. My prayers had become ones of begging for an income with not enough time spent thanking him for his blessings. Time that was wasted on fulfilling my job income plans, was time I could have used to improve my self-editing techniques and developing my writing prowess. In 2020, I found my Faith was deep, but my Trust in God was shallow. I knew his word, intimately due to my seminary background, but I didn’t uphold it. Up until 2020, I called on God to honor his promises, reminded him of them, but didn’t trust him to deliver on them, since he wanted to do so in his time, not mine.


2021 will be foresight. Instead of seeking a full-time well-paying position, I am working at a gym for minimum wage and loving it. I’ve met gym rats who will become characters in my future works. No longer am I willing to write tripe about products, or businesses. Instead, I will be using the gift I was given for him, and thus fulfilling my purpose. By having to look at things from a different perspective, I got to see my shortcomings. I’m too old for the marketplace. Younger kids with better, more current skills, can do the work faster and cheaper. My true purpose, my real calling, is crafting stories, novels, articles that inspire and lift-up. My skills are seeing things in a unique way and then sharing that view in pieces that make readers pause and think.


2020 made me weigh out my wants versus needs, my plans, and purposes, and figure out I need to accept HIS for me.



2021 offers the chance to dive into the deep end of the trusting pool. I’ll be going in knowing my little job doesn’t cover my rent, let alone my bills, but that’s ok. God promises to provide for our needs and several times in the Bible he reminds us, not only of this, but also not to worry. My prayers this year have been for my daily manna and everyday it’s been given. Manna to me is not bread, but a nugget of wisdom that keeps me looking in the right direction.


I’m an author. Authors need to write books that publishers and readers want. Authors are told to build platforms and find markets. I think this year, I’ll trust God to give me the ideas and words, to guide me to the right publishers, and leave the audience building in his hands. After all, he knows best who needs to read my works. Why should I think I do? It didn’t work in the past, won’t work in the future. So, I’ve gotten nothing to lose by Trusting Him more, and people less. Want to dive in with me?





.L. Canfield’s debut detective mystery series won the Pencraft award for Best Christian Fiction in 2017. Hiding Behind Robes, is her second release in the series and combines mystery with Irish church history. It is set for release this year. Look for it late summer, early fall on Beacon Publishings website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. You can follow her on Medium https://medium.com/@juliecanfield_41917

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Trust Me, I AM Doing a New Thing


Kim M. Clark


I didn’t believe text. All the air had been sucked out of my body. Joy and children’s laughter abounded around me as my heart cried out in anguish.

My friend looked at me. “Are you all right?” Concern draped her eyes.

I blinked. We were at an amusement park, our children giggled as they rode the miniature rollercoaster.

I looked at her with moist eyes, “My friend, Will from Zambia, the one who wrote the foreword to my first book, died suddenly today.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Attitude Matters!

 Loretta Eidson




Throughout the 2020 pandemic and presidential election, social media became a sounding board for a multitude of complaints. Rants took over like weeds in a garden. Anger, frustrations, and disgruntled opinions sent friction throughout the airwaves.

Voicing those opinions on social media only stirred more dissatisfaction and caused heated responses. People blocked or unfriended followers who disagreed with them, calling them names, and belittling their opinions. Some went on the rampage, scrounging for more souls to jump on the tirade train.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

From This Moment

 Kim Vogel Sawyer




I predominantly write historical stories. I love slipping through a portal into the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. But every now and then, characters who belong in a contemporary setting whisper in my ear and ask to have their story told. Such was the case for From This Moment.


At least ten years ago, one of my dearest friends, Eileen Key, showed me an article in a magazine about a young Amish woman who wove items from donated clothing and sold them to raise money for missionaries. She suggested, “Wouldn’t it make a neat story if she found something unusual or valuable in the pocket of one of the pairs of donated pants?”


Every now and then after that, she’d ask, “When’re you gonna write that story about the weaver?” The weaver had already made herself known in my mind, but I’m not a mystery or suspense writer; the story would have to be more than finding the item’s owner. And suddenly Jase Edgar stepped into the picture, and right behind him came Lori Fowler.


Jase is a young man struggling with doubt. He’d committed to serving the Lord overseas as a missionary, and then tragedy struck. With the foundation of his plans shattered, he questioned whether God really cared, or if God was even there. Don’t we all have those moments of confusion and questioning when things don’t go the way we expected? His new “chapter of life” as a youth pastor feels like a farce. How can he teach kids to trust when he’s lost his trust in God? A wise minister named Merlin Kraft—inspired by my father’s boyhood mentor—will gently bring Jase back on track.


Lori and I have a lot in common. We both lost our moms—a devastating blow—and in grief and loneliness, we turned to a common comfort: food. My heart went out to Lori, who only wanted to feel as if someone was always there for her, the way her mother had been. Well, food is always there, but it isn’t as “fulfilling” as Lori wanted it to be. Lori’s journey from using food as her comfort to leaning on Jesus is a very personal one, and I pray her discovery will encourage others to let go of worldly things that can never fully satisfy and rely on the only One who is able to fill and complete us.


Then, of course, there is the weaver, Kenzie Stetler, born MacKenzie Hochstetler to an Amish family in Indiana. She always tried to follow the community’s expectations for behavior, but she never felt as if she could do enough to be right with God. Then, on her rumspringa (the running-around period young people experience before joining the church), she met a group of college students who shared Ephesians 2:8-9 with her and told her how to receive salvation, thanks to Jesus’ work and God’s grace. From the moment Kenzie accepted the gift of grace and truly believed her place in heaven was forever secure, her life changed. From then, she performed works not to earn salvation, but as a loving outflow in appreciation for what Jesus had done for her. Kenzie’s character—a woman who still believed many of the things she’d been taught as a child—was inspired in part by the magazine article referenced above and in part by a dear, former-Amish couple in Ohio who set aside works for the assurance of grace-given salvation.


I only have one regret concerning this story. My friend won’t see the book in print. She graduated to glory during the editing stage. But you know what? She’d accepted the gift of salvation offered through grace, so she is now in heaven with her Savior, seeing much greater things than a published book. And that assurance makes my heart smile.



Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer wears many hats. As a wife, mother, grandmother, song-singer, cat-petter, and active participant in her church’s music and women’s ministries, her life is happily full. But her passion lies in penning stories that share the hope we can all possess when we place our lives in God’s capable hands. She and her retired military hubby live on the beautiful plains of Kansas, the setting for many of Kim’s books. In her free time, she enjoys quilting, traveling with “The Hubs,” and spoiling her quiverful of granddarlings.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Enter 2021 and Virtual Meeting Spaces

Melissa Bourbon




For most of us, 2020 was a year filled with things we’d rather leave in the past. There weren’t many positives that came from those 365 days. If you’re like me, you were happy to say adios to 2020, and bienvenidos to 2021.


Figuring out how to stay connected with friends and loved ones was a particular challenge as we all isolated and quarantined. No longer could we go visit neighbors or family, to say nothing of town events, festivals, and conferences.

Friday, February 19, 2021

10 Ways to Identify a Writer


DiAnn Mills                    
@diannmills




We writers can be a bit eccentric, sometimes bizarre, and those who love us may wonder if we need to be on meds. The truth is we’re creative people, and we look at life a little differently. You may be wondering if you’re a writer or suspect someone close to you is a writer because you’ve seen how they string words together into memorable passages.

"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any."
– Orson Scott Card

Take a look at the following characteristics of a writer.

1. Writers explore people, places, and things. We want to see how life is impacted by every object placed on and around our planet. We are filled with curiosity and love to explore the world.

2. Some of us have a difficult time paying attention because we are always in our creative writing mode. Our minds wander, so our responses to questions are often quirky. It’s not that we don’t care what is happening. The possibilities dancing in our mind is more powerful than reality.

3. We wear our emotions like a model wears a designer outfit. Many life experiences are expressed through our tear ducts.

4. I’m an early morning riser. While the rest of the world is sleeping, I’m wired to write while the sun awaits it’s appearance on the horizon. Some writers treasure late nights. They don’t come alive until the sun goes down. Embrace when your mind can focus and work best.

5. We’d rather listen and watch what is going on instead of being the center of attention. Time speeds past us, and we are oblivious to the rest of the world. We prefer it that way.

6. We’re comfortable in our own skin. Our minds are filled with nonfiction topics or characters from our stories, and we can choose with whom we want to spend our hours.

7. It’s personal. It’s who we are. The beauty of the written word gives us purpose. Yet sometimes we are melancholy.

8. We manage life in our own time. Change is great when it’s our idea, but not when it comes from someone else.

9. We scribble outside the lines, blend colors, and allow possibilities to embrace our minds and heart. Play is vital to mental health, and truth matters instinctively.

10. We imagine ourselves in other worlds, and we fit just fine.



There you have my 10 ways to identify a writer. Or perhaps you’re creative in other areas. What is an identifier for you?




DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful.



Visit DiAnn Mills at https://diannmills.com/, https://www.facebook.com/diannmills, https://twitter.com/diannmills





Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Crazy Idea During The Pandemic

Ruth Kyser




I know I don’t have to tell you that 2020 was a difficult year for all of us. In the midst of a world-wide pandemic causing illness and death, shutting down businesses, and closing schools, it was difficult to find anything good.


I’m not sure how other authors felt during this terrible time, but I found it almost impossible to concentrate on my writing. With a great deal of difficulty, I finally finished the Christian romance I had started but took some time off during the worst of the pandemic. Writing about hopeful and optimistic things while people were struggling both physically and financially seemed almost irrelevant. And the stress and worry about what was going on in the world caused me to overthink every word I tried to write.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

How Much Violence Is Too Much for Christian Suspense!

Mary Alford 



I’m a huge fan of the Christian suspense genre and there are so many amazing authors in this genre. Besides being a reader, I am also a suspense author who loves to create tales of danger to keep readers turning the pages.

Whether it be straight suspense, romantic suspense, or even Amish, the life and death struggles facing the protagonists is part of what keeps the reader engaged. The element of faith running through the story assures us God is right there with the hero and heroine through every dangerous scenario they face, and He will carry them through to the end even when the situation seems all but impossible.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Stay the Course

Sharilynn Hunt, DMin


Twelve women sat around a large table ready to open Prevailing Prayer, a syllabus about corporate intercession. My eyes filled with tears, and smiling faces looked at me to open in prayer. My voice choked. After years of teaching other author's bible studies, this group planned to study mine. In 2008, my first publication took flight.

How did I, a former medical social worker, bible teacher, an intercessor, become an author?

In 2007, I wrote a dissertation on corporate intercession for a Doctor of Ministries degree. I wanted something innovative, instructional, and a good grade. Nine individuals from separate churches met each week while I taught the lesson before our prayer activity. Although strangers to one another, their united prayers formed an effective prayer team.

Friends asked for a copy of these teachings for their prayer groups. I revised and printed this manual in a syllabus format through a local printing company. I exclusively published it through my nonprofit prayer and teaching ministry, and it took on a life traveling to many group studies.

The following year I participated in my first writer's mini-course and met a "professional editor" who said my manual looked like a Sunday school teacher wrote it. Yes, I had taught adult Sunday school for years, led bible studies, and spoken to many groups. But did that qualify me as an author? In 20ll, we revised the manual written in an outline format and added a workbook for distribution. Job finished! But the finish line changed to a different spot where God wanted it all along.

God's divine instruction in 2018 led me to an overwhelming task. Rewrite and publish it.

What? I had moved on by publishing a devotional book and other stories for well-known anthology publications. I dragged my feet at the thought of being obedient. But how could I argue with God?

A few months later, while speaking at a prayer workshop, I noticed eager intercessors wanting to learn more about corporate intercession. Right then, God rekindled my desire to republish these teachings for His greater purpose.

Writing a new idea can be fun, but refining our first love requires super diligence, patience, and labor while pressing through the pain of demolition. I ripped the book apart, leaving the basic foundational structure as a guide. Deleting sections and adding updated material, I condensed the original manual from ten lessons to eight into a new book.

During the 2020 pandemic, three simple words became my anchor.

STAY THE COURSE. Everyday? Yes.

Could I quit? A sign in my office reads: When you feel like quitting, think about why you started. How did Noah hammer away day after day to complete the task given to him? He stayed the course.

God sent me the right people to edit, format, and design a cover for the new name, Together WE Pray—Building Effective Prayer Teams (released November 2020).

Each chapter includes scriptural teachings, personal testimonies, group tips, biblical stories, reflective questions, and a suggested activity. When we learn to move outside of our comfort zone and put actions to our prayers, we discover the joy and creativity of powerful united prayers with one another. If we magnify God, pray in one accord, and declare His promises, our corporate prayers make a difference.

What are your goals for 2021? Do they include an addition to your prayer life by forming a prayer team?

Whatever they are, we must be diligent in staying the course.

In 2001, Sharilynn (aka Shari) left her medical social work career to pursue her prayer passion and established a prayer nonprofit ministry (New Creation Realities Ministry 2004-2019). Today she speaks on various prayer and faith topics and writes inspirational stories, articles, and books as a freelance writer. Her published books are Grace Overcomes Today, a thirty-one-day devotional book, and Together WE Pray—Building Effective Prayer Teams. Other non-fiction inspiring stories are in the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, and anthology compilations published by Bethany House, and Guideposts. Visit: https://www.sharilynnhunt.com

Together WE Pray is sold in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon https://amazon.com/author/sharilynnhuntonamazon.com

Monday, February 15, 2021

Feelings After I Finished



Michael J. Farlow




When this topic was posed to me, I had mixed thoughts, given I write in both fiction and non-fiction. My first book was a non-fiction book about leadership, Leaders are Made Not Born: 40 Simple Skills to Make You the Leader You Want to Be. That book was eight years in development, mostly because too many other things in life slowed writing down. I had a forty-one-page outline and a PhD in Organizational Leadership when I finally devoted myself to finishing it. At that point, it was relatively easy to do, and when it was published, I was grateful that it was, at long last, finished. So, my feeling was relief. Then, I said to myself, what next?



By that time, I had started reading science fiction at a prodigious rate. I also had degrees in science and engineering and said, why not write one of those? So, I started writing a science fiction series. Little did I know how different and difficult that would be. My first attempt was at the 30, 000 word point when I went to my first writing workshop— sponsored by NYT Best Selling author, Bob Mayer. I learned that I didn’t know much about writing fiction. So, I went home and dumped the 30,000 words, and started over.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Black Cloud Lingers

Leslie Hachtel




A year ago, a black cloud swept across the world bringing horrible disease, divisions and so much misery. Some bowed under it, complaining that they had to give up their fun and stay at home, refusing to wear a mask and care for their neighbors, but so many more stood tall, bore the pain and survived greater. Those are the people that inspire me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Poet Sara, Searches for a New American Story



Sara Robinson




This past year was nothing short of national chaos amidst rising numbers of deaths. Somehow, we not only lost lives, but we lost souls. I saw many a moral compass spin and spiral out of control and get lost somewhere else, but not on earth. I have hung on to mine for dear life. Why should that have been hard to do? I have considered my personal core to be that of strong ethics and firm moral balance. But I do believe I was not the only one foundering around with footing trying to grasp every grain of sand. We must work to change the sand to rock. Rock solid. I want to be rock solid.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Socks, Masks and Fireflies


Becky Villareal



In early February 2020, my husband Ramon and I were on a long-awaited trip to New Orleans. We were able to visit the French Quarters, the WWII Museum, ride on the Natchez, and take tours of the Garden District as well as the cemetery where the Voodoo Princess resides. It was a magical trip which we enjoyed immensely right down to the evening parades they had every night to welcome the season of Mardi-Gras. We even visited Bourbon street and listened to the best jazz and bucket drumming I have ever heard.


Little did we know this was going to be one of the last trips we would be able to take for a very long time. As recently retired teachers, we were enjoying our freedom and the use of our savings. Within a few days of our return, we found out about that COVID 19 had reached our shores and was not limited to China. We were hearing that it would be over by April, no need to panic, don’t bother with social distancing and masks were not mandatory. At least, that’s what we were being told.


But the doctors and scientists were telling us something else. We were being told this virus was dangerous to people over sixty-five with underlying conditions like diabetes. We needed to stay inside, not leave the house for any reason, and if we left the house to wear a mask. Something that neither my husband nor I owned.


I began by trying to make us masks out of socks, t-shirts, and anything else I could find around the house. Sloppy at best, it did give us some type of relief when we had to make our weekly trips to the post office, grocery store, and pharmacy. That was in March.


I take care of my grandchildren several days out of the week and we look forward to these days spent with them. When my daughter and her husband went into lock down, I felt like a light had left my soul. That’s when I pulled out a manuscript I had never finished, gave it a spiritual spin, wrote away. As I prayed for my family and listened to hymns on Pandora, I felt like the light was returning into my life.


Now that things have loosened up a tiny bit, I am able to watch my grandchildren again. We never go to the parks or the mall like we use to. But we do play in the sprinklers in the backyard and discover fireflies that start their magical light dance around eight o’clock. My grandson is learning Spanish by playing Loteria as my granddaughter learns how to walk by playing hide and seek Meema and Popi.


As much as it seems like the outside world if falling apart, my family is safe, well, and I am thankful that the Lord has kept it so. After all He left us such the precious gift of peace when He said,


“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. “John 14:27




She was born in Dallas, Texas in 1954 to Missionary parents who traveled throughout the Southwest. For her experiences as a child, she has learned the benefit of being multicultural in a diverse society. She loves working on her family history and incorporating her experiences into her writing that has resulted in four published books:

Gianna the Great

The Broken Branches

Snake Holes

She also loves to read, color, spend time with her grandchildren.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Gifts To Be Remembered

 Valentines Day will soon be here!


It's Friday with Book Cover  and Title. But this Friday is special, we are showing Valentine Books.

 Below are a few adorable books for children. Let's remember, creating readers from the cradle up is a gift for the author as well as for the children. I remember vividly when I was a child, every holiday we received books, and it was so exciting, the colors on the books were so pretty and bright. Many hours were spent with our mother and grandparents, sitting with us and reading books to us. It was a time of closeness and we cherished every minute. When we learned to read, books were favorite gifts to receive and still are. My sister and I to this day, are avid book readers. So with Valentine coming, let's be sure and share the gift of books.




Thursday, February 4, 2021

More Insight Into Writing

Sarah Sundin’is a historically accurate World War II novelists. Like all authors, she too had to deal with the pandemic and writing during 2020 and the thrust of covid. But succeed she did. Her newest novel, when Twilight Breaks releases February 2, 2021. This electric standalone novel puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.

How have you set your goals for writing for the new year?

Setting writing goals has been part of my routine for many years. Before I was published, my writers’ group had us write our monthly goals on an index card. I liked seeing them before me and highlighting them as I completed them. Now I have a document with a table, with columns for various tasks, from novel writing to interviews to publicity, and with rows for each month. Every month I sit down with my goal chart, update it, and print off a fresh copy to hang over my desk. Every week I use the chart to draft my daily schedule, and every day I highlight completed tasks in color. It really keeps me on track. Since my goal chart runs through 2023, my writing goals for 2021 have already been set.

How has the virus affected your writing?

Because I already work from home and our children are grown up, I didn’t think my writing routines would be much affected. But I found the shift of routines, the loss of favorite activities, the social isolation, and the general uncertainty caused some upheaval in my writing life. And I don’t have young children distance learning from home—I can only imagine how disorienting it’s been for so many other families.

Do you feel the pandemic has changed your writing in some way?

In a way, the pandemic has given me some insight for the novel I’m currently writing. The book is set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941, where people lived very closed lives and didn’t know whom to trust. That sense of apprehension and distancing reminded me of today—although it came from a far different cause!

Where did you get the idea for your new book, When Twilight Breaks?

When we visited Ellis Island a while back, I entered some family names into their computer and found my grandfather’s trip from Hamburg to New York in 1936. I knew he’d studied in Germany, but it had never struck me that he’d studied in Nazi Germany. That raised a question for me—what would it have been like to have been an American student living in Nazi Germany before the war? In the novel, Peter Lang is an American graduate student studying in Munich, where he meets American foreign correspondent Evelyn Brand—and they get themselves into a bit of trouble.

What was the easiest and most difficult part of writing your new book?

The easiest part by far was the dialogue. Peter and Evelyn banter and spar and simply have fun together—especially when they’re arguing—and their dialogue flowed.

The most difficult part was the dark setting. Researching Nazi Germany is very difficult emotionally, and I read things that shook me to the core. But I needed to be shaken and shocked and appalled, so that my readers will also be shaken.


How did you become interested in the World War II era?

Family stories drew me to the World War II era. One of my grandfathers served in the US Navy during the war, and he was a born storyteller. My grandfather Ebelke used his skills in the US Army Specialized Training Program to teach American soldiers the German language. Growing up hearing these stories— plus my father’s love for WWII movies!—gave me a love for the era.


Many of your World War II novels are part of a series. Why did you decide to write a standalone novel?

These three-story ideas came to me as standalone ideas. Since a series presents a few writing and marketing challenges, I decided to keep the novels separate and not link them. I did find a minor connection between the three—I can’t help myself! —but each story is completely independent.


When Twilight Breaks touches upon ethics within a war setting. Can you expound upon this topic? 

The key word for 1938 would be “appeasement.” The world was trying to appease Hitler, not only with his demands for annexing Austria and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, but in the treatment of the Jews. At one point in the story, Evelyn asks Peter, “Where do you draw the line?” Where do we draw the line between peace and war? Between personal liberty and societal order? Between justice and mercy?

Peter and Evelyn wrestle with these topics—which are so timely. While writing this story, I was struck by the similarities between the divisive 1930s and our own time. Very sobering.


What do you hope readers can learn from your novel?

I hope readers think through the roles of freedom and order in their own lives and in society, and I hope they learn along with Peter and Evelyn how to lean on the Lord and on the people he places in our lives.


How can readers connect with you?

I love to hear from readers! Please visit my website at www.sarahsundin.com. There you can send me a message or sign up for my email newsletter. I’m also active on Facebook (SarahSundinAuthor), Twitter (@sarahsundin), Instagram (@sarahsundinauthor), and Pinterest (Sarah Sundin).

Sarah Sundin’s novels have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. The Sky Above Us received the Carol Award, her bestselling The Sea Before Us received the FHL Reader’s Choice Award, and both Through Waters Deep and When Tides Turn were named on Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” Sarah lives in Northern California. 


Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Truth into Fiction -The Moonlight School

 Suzanne Woods Fisher




I was asked how I set my goals for writing for the new year? Have you ever heard of the 20 Mile March? It came out of the 1911 exploration to the South Pole. One team, led by Englishman Robert Falcon Scott, used good weather to their advantage. Some days, they went as far as 40-60 miles. When the weather turned bad, they hunkered down and waited it out, using the pause to rest, and to repair equipment. The other team, led by Norwegian Roald Amundsen, completed a 20-mile march daily, no matter the weather. Even if all conditions were perfect, Amundsen’s team stopped after reaching their daily goal.


Let’s shift those strategies to the writing world. Many writers wait for ideal conditions—an empty calendar, a quiet house, ideas to blossom. Other writers plow forward. While there’s no right or wrong way to achieve writing goals, do consider this: Amundsen’s team made it to the South Pole and back again. Scott’s team died, only 11 miles from a cache of food.


Back to the question. I am a 20 Mile March writer. On every day but Sunday, I aim for a specific word count. It’s not always stellar writing, but this strategy moves my work-in-progress forward. And I have not missed a deadline yet.


Most of writing is fairly isolated, even with the virus, that part hasn’t changed. But the virus had had a huge impact on how I do research, on limitations of travel, on promoting a book on-line rather than in person. Alas, this is just the reality of life for now. In a curious way, I think the virus has fast-forwarded a lot of changed behavior (such as using Zoom for meetings or working remotely). I have a hunch that many pandemic-related adjustments might become permanent.


I feel a sense of urgency to share the message of hope in my writing since the pandemic. Life is so hard, with so many losses piling up. Writers with hope, to me, are like lighted candles on a dark night. Helping others find the path to a loving God.


Many people ask where I get my ideas for a new book. The Moonlight School idea is a fun story! I listen to a classical music radio station as I write. A few years ago, the announcer made a passing comment: "On this day in history, the Moonlight Schools began." I stopped writing and googled Moonlight Schools…then Cora Wilson Stewart. Then I did some more research. And then I called my editor! She was just as intrigued as I was, and a contract was soon in the works. The Moonlight School is based on a true story of an ordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life. It is a story that belongs to all of us.


To tell you what was the easiest and most difficult part of writing my new book I have to circle back to the start of the pandemic. I was working on a draft of The Moonlight School and had a trip set up to eastern Kentucky, including meetings lined up with scholars whom I’d interviewed over the phone, and I was eager to collect photographs for future book promotion. BOOM. The trip fell apart because of the country’s lockdown. Eventually, I turned in the manuscript with a confidence that I had done enough research, but I was (still am!) sorely disappointed.


And yet…all of us have faced disappointments this year. We’ll get through this, together!


Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 books, including On a Summer Tide and On a Coastal Breeze, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Live and in Color



Robin W. Pearson




A few birthdays ago, Songbird created a “Who Knows Me Best?” game. Most of us failed miserably. Who knew “punch pink” was a color, let alone her favorite? We’d witnessed her love of musicals but couldn’t distinguish Ben Platt from Ben Franklin. (Oh, that’s right—not the man wearing split bifocals holding the kite string.) After that fateful low-scoring date, we upped our game. We now can pick out who belted his way through “Dear Evan Hansen” with one ear plugged and inform you that Songbird’s go-to color has changed to fire engine red.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Living The Life You Were Meant To Live

 

Jennifer Deibel             @ThisGalsJourney




One of the themes in my book, A Dance in Donegal, is living the life you were meant to live. Throughout the story, the main character, Moira, finds herself confronted with her own limitations as well as those placed on her by the local villagers. She faces decision after decision in which she must choose if she is going to do what is right, no matter the consequences. In her darkest moments, Moira questions her choice to move to Ballymann, but through her hardships, she comes to realize that she had to endure those difficulties in order to discover a deeper, richer love and joy than she would have ever dared to imagine.


Along with the idea of doing the right thing no matter the consequences, readers will find themes of bravery, love, selflessness, and grace woven throughout the book.



It is my prayer that the picture of God’s grace and love for humanity would be apparent in a very natural and organic way so readers would view how great, wide, deep, and long is the love of Jesus in a fresh way.

I attempted to achieve a rich combination of setting, history, romance and just the right amount of mystery.


In its very early stages, the story was a sweet romance. It still is in many ways, but I knew something was missing. After conversations with a dear author friend, I realized what this story needed—mystery! Once I realized there was more awaiting Moira than even I had known, the ideas flowed and the mystery almost revealed itself to me, rather than the other way around. I never fancied myself a mystery writer, but I really love that aspect of the story, and writing it just might have been my favorite part.


What I love most about the historical romance genre is being able to explore times and places long since passed. Being able to experience what it might have been like to live in Victorian England, or settle a patch of land in pioneer days, or be an Austrian woman during World War II—it ignites my imagination and awakens my spirit.





My main research came from six years of living in Ireland. Other than that, once I started writing, I researched specific dates, places, and/or people to make sure my details were as accurate as possible. I have used several books and websites, as well as lots of questions I asked my Irish friends to ensure accuracy.


I am currently writing another historical novel set to release in Spring 2022. This one is set in Galway City in 1921 and surrounds the legend of the Claddagh ring. After two years in Donegal, my family and I lived in the Galway area for four years, so I am excited to draw on our experiences there to bring the same depth and detail to this new story as I did A Dance in Donegal.



I love connecting with readers! They can find me on Instagram (@jenniferdeibel_author), where I am most active, Facebook (Jennifer Deibel Author), and GoodReads (Jennifer Deibel). And visitors to my website (www.jenniferdeibel.com) can sign up for my monthly author newsletter. 

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and others. With
firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of
living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children.


You can find her online at www.thisgalsjourney.com.