Why I wrote Paint the Storm

Paint the Storm is now available for preordering! Check it out here.

Dawn V. Cahill - Hot Topic Christian Fiction


In case you haven’t seen my latest news, my new novel Paint the Storm will be available for pre-order on September 15. What’s so special about that? you may wonder. Well, PTS deals with a very controversial, and possibly uncomfortable, topic: same-sex marriage. In light of last year’s landmark Supreme Court case, how are we Christians to deal with this new reality? 

That is the question I attempted to answer when I wrote this story.

When I began writing Paint the Storm three years ago, same-sex marriage was not yet legal in the US. At the time, I approached the story as if it were a likely future scenario. Two years later, it was no longer a “what if.” It became reality when, in June 2015, the US Supreme Court affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Unfortunately, it’s an issue which has polarized our nation, and even our churches.


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Meet cozy mystery author Michelle Griep




High school teenager. What kind of cartoon bubble does that create in your head? Angst-filled girls shopping for prom dresses? Party-hearty boys cruising for a good time after a football game? Nerds holed up in a basement playing video games?

Those are common high school experiences—but not mine. I spent the majority of my teen years swapping chapter after chapter with a writer buddy of mine, drafting the great American teenage novel.

Don’t look too hard for it on bookshelves, though. It never got published.

That friend of mine moved on, but the writing urge never went away, and yes indeedy, I made more friends . . . one of which had the same writing itch as me.

And so was born OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, a story of two zany sisters-in-law that my new zany writing friend and I co-authored. Here’s a blurb:


Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

View More: http://bethanyaleshire.pass.us/michellekelly


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

~ Michelle Griep

THE CAPTIVE HEART…Would you marry a murderer?

BRENTWOOD’S WARD…Sherlock Holmes meets Dickens in this Regency adventure.
A HEART DECEIVED…Lies Were Born in a Garden–and Just May Be the Death of Miri      Brayden

WriterOffTheLeash…Blogging Gone Wild




Why I wrote Paint the Storm

Update: Paint the Storm is now available on Amazon. Preorder here.PainttheStorm-Final2

In case you haven’t seen my latest news, my new novel Paint the Storm will be available for pre-order on September 15. What’s so special about that? you may wonder. Well, PTS deals with a very controversial, and possibly uncomfortable, topic: same-sex marriage. In light of last year’s landmark Supreme Court case, how are we Christians to deal with this new reality? 

That is the question I attempted to answer when I wrote this story.

When I began writing Paint the Storm three years ago, same-sex marriage was not yet legal in the US. At the time, I approached the story as if it were a likely future scenario. Two years later, it was no longer a “what if.” It became reality when, in June 2015, the US Supreme Court affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Unfortunately, it’s an issue which has polarized our nation, and even our churches.

You may be wondering why I would tackle such a controversial topic. In essence, I saw an unfilled niche in the Christian market for edgier fiction that dealt with issues unique to our time, and came up with the concept of Hot Topic Fiction (HTF). My stories aren’t afraid to explore the question, how does God want us Christians to live out our faith in this not-so-brave new world? Without insulting the reader by offering pat or easy answers—because there aren’t any—my books tell of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in a world of terror and violence, of upside-down morality, of hostility to Judeo-Christian values. The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.

Yet very few Christian fiction books contain gay characters, even though fiction is a great medium for imparting life lessons. I don’t claim to have all the answers. My goal was not to push an agenda. I simply wanted to tell the story of one Christian mom, and how she chose to live out Christ’s law of love without abandoning her convictions.

I hope that more Christian authors will be courageous enough to tackle this and related issues in the future. After all, this is the world in which we live. And we Christians need to be prepared to deal with it.

same-sex coupleHere’s the blurb: 

GOLDEN STATE TRILOGY, BOOK I: Set amidst the spectacular scenery of California’s Marin Peninsula, Paint the Storm tells a timely story that resonates in today’s culture. It’s a saga of God’s power to heal relationships and answer prayers in the unlikeliest of ways. It’s a tale of loss, danger, and ultimately love.

When her daughter Linzee announces her engagement to her partner Nena, artist and single mother Meg struggles to understand how God wants her to respond. Should she follow the culture around her by embracing and celebrating Linzee’s same-sex relationship? And what does Christ think of a local church notorious for its hateful anti-gay messages? While she wrestles with these questions, she turns to a Christian support group where she learns what it means to love like Christ did. An intriguing new man makes life interesting, but while she is getting to know him, another man from her past suddenly shows up, further complicating matters.

Meanwhile, a cyber bully is targeting Linzee. His hateful messages turn threatening. Meg and Linzee rekindle their bond as together they determine to uncover the stalker’s identity. When the clues point toward Meg’s own family, she is paralyzed with fear. The violence escalates–until the day Linzee turns up missing.  In her search for Linzee, Meg joins up with the unlikeliest of allies – and begins to see God’s hand at work. It’s only when she turns to her support-group friends for comfort and prayer that she finally understands God’s faithfulness through the deepest of trials.

Join Meg on her adventure toward love, healing, and a heart-warming conclusion.

Calling all bookworms: Tomes, e-tomes, and magnificent tomes


A math professor of mine in college once held up the textbook we’d been assigned and said, “This magnificent tome…”  Technically speaking, a tome is a thick, heavy book, but I like to use the term for any old book. So here is today’s Tomes Books Machine deals. Just click on the link. (Yes, my book is there too, but today I’m sharing the love and including other great reads as well.)



Meet fictional solo mama Carla

Christian author Julie Arduini debuts her latest novel, Entangled, and is here to tell us all about it!


“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Single mom Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla – loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:

Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464881433&sr=1-1&keywords=julie+arduini

Entangled is book #2. Although it can stand alone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177?ie=UTF8&qid=&ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&sr=

Curious to learn more about Julie? Here’s her bio.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini

Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini

Snapchat: @juliearduini

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427852247&sr=8-1

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP

Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: (Book release info sent as needed) http://eepurl.com/bXAW0L



Wise as Serpents: If the Word You are Hearing Does not Set You Free, it is not the Word of God (Part 25 of Sermon Series)

A powerful read on how some church folks twist or distort Scripture to justify mistreatment.

A Cry For Justice

God’s truth brings believers into freedom.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Evil distorts, perverts, twists and morphs the Word of God into a wicked counterfeit which traumatizes people and brings them into bondage. Evil loves to quote God’s Word but always does so with the method and intent of using it to deceive and enslave.

We are surrounded by phoney religion today, just as was the case in Jesus’ day when the religious establishment in Israel was corrupt. The temple was not the Temple, but had become a den of robbers. The righteous were put out of the temple while the wicked not only remained members in good standing but were preeminent in it — exalted with trumpets. When the Lamb of God came…

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Cover reveal for new release Paint the Storm

Hey friends, it’s almost that time — August 1, release date for the long-awaited Book 1 in my new Golden State Trilogy! And to satisfy your curiosity, here’s a peek at the cover:


To see what the book is about, click here. Then leave a comment below. I’ll choose one commenter at random to receive a gift copy on August 1. And be sure to let your friends know, too.


Only Love will win in the end

“When we gloat in the low moments of others, regardless of our self-justifying reasons, we break the rule of love…”
The attached post tells a story of a photo of a Muslim woman remaining seated when everyone else around her was standing. The photo made the rounds on Facebook, and the conclusions  and comments that followed tell a sad story of human nature. The judgmental people bashing the Muslim woman probably felt a lot better about themselves after they put the whip away. See full post:

mumford & psalms

I wrote the post below a few days ago and am editing it here in light of this billboard that went up today just 10 miles from where I live.

white again

The You can listen to Rick Tyler in a new interview argue why America would be better off if we didn’t have “people of color” around.    The sentiment behind this billboard is found everywhere in America.   The picture you see below, for example, which made it’s way around social media, served to stir up even more animosity towards “non white people.”    As I try to make clear in the words that follow, if you cheer on pictures like these and get angry because she’s sitting during the National Anthem, you might be more like Rick Tyler than you’d care to admit.   The nationalistic zeal and xenophobia exhibited below is the natural breeding ground for the…

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Those without sin – Part II

After I published my blog about Brock Turner (read original post here) I was floored, not to mention completely unprepared, for the backlash. It started a heated discussion on Facebook, and you would have thought I was defending ISIS terrorists.

There were so many comments, I’m sure I missed many of them. But here are the main objections I remember:

  • I was misinterpreting/misapplying scripture. In my original post, I used the example of the Pharisee vs. the sinner praying in the temple, and the contrast in their attitudes. Jesus called the remorseful sinner justified. The second example I used was the woman caught in adultery, when Jesus told the crowd, whoever is without sin, throw the first stone, then told her to go sin no more. However, I don’t recall anyone offering a more realistic scenario of how Jesus would respond to Brock. If anyone did, I didn’t see that tree among the forest of comments. To the best of my knowledge, Jesus reprimanded only two groups of people: the Scribes & Pharisees, and the disciples when they demonstrated lack of faith. He didn’t rebuke the Brock Turners. Therefore, I stand by my original assertion.
  • Because his sentence was so light, and his dad’s attitude was so cavalier, Brock deserved his status of public whipping boy. But if people are mad at the dad and the judge, then whipping Brock is misplaced. Unless they are elevating themselves to judge, and imposing a sentence they don’t have the authority to impose. And that’s exactly what I believe was happening. When we get outraged at someone else’s bad behavior, if we’re honest, we have to admit we feel just a little smug, and a little better about ourselves. And that was the point of my first example.
  • One of the commenters asked if I’d defend Hitler, or the Orlando shooter. No, I said. Because the premeditated nature of those crimes put them on a whole ‘nother level for me. A six-month-planned shooting spree is far beyond a drunken rape. I’m betting Brock didn’t wake up that morning and think to himself, “I think I’ll rape someone tonight at that party.” However, Timothy McVeigh DID wake up that morning planning to kill and destroy. So no, I wouldn’t defend them, but neither do I have the right to judge or slander or make a public spectacle of any of those shooters.
  • I stated several times that there’s too much judgment and not enough grace in the world. Surprisingly, a few of my dissenters agreed with that statement. At the risk of sounding judgmental and self-righteous myself, I can’t help wondering if they were in fact blind to their own self-righteousness. (I’m sure that’s been true of me more than once.) The blog post was meant to address that.
  • The debate ended when one particular woman who’d been actively commenting said that Brock could have stopped his behavior any time during those 20 minutes, and the fact that he didn’t proved he had an evil heart. My reply was, Of course he has an evil heart. I’ve never denied that. My point is, we ALL have hearts full of sin that need redemption! That’s why I wrote the blog. She did agree, but reiterated that she disagreed with my Scriptural application. I could have prolonged the debate and asked her, “What do YOU think Jesus would have said to Brock?”  I know what Jesus wouldn’t have done. He wouldn’t have plastered Brock’s face all over social media so that everyone could hate on him.

I would love to get your take on my question. What do YOU think Jesus would say to Brock?





For those of you without sin

After seeing Brock Turner’s face on social media one too many times, I’ve had enough. Today, I even read that some Wiccan coven is bringing hexes and curses down on him, because, legal experts that they are, they don’t believe Brock’s sentence is harsh enough. So they, the media, and Americans as a whole have set out to crucify him. And boy, don’t they feel good about themselves. They would NEVER commit such a terrible deed.

If Brock Turner ends up committing suicide, I can already hear the cheering and the celebratory whoops.


I’m pretty sure I know why this particular rapist, among the thousands already out there, is being made an example of. And I bet I know why this particular CRIME, out of all the murders and assaults that take place daily, is being singled out. But that’s not what I want to write about. I want to explore the question, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO if he had a chance to sit down and chat with Brock Turner?

Here’s an actual example from Luke’s gospel. I’ve just changed a few words to reflect current events.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the church to pray, one an evangelical Christian and the other a rapist. The Christian stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this horrible rapist. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the rapist stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I wonder what the Wiccans would say to that.

And here’s another example that we’re all familiar with. Again, the changed words are in red.

At dawn he appeared again in the courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The media brought in a young college student caught in the act of raping an unconscious woman. They made him stand before a jury, and when the judge sentenced him to only six months,  they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this man, Brock Turner, was caught in the act of rape.  Because he victimized a woman, he deserves to be castrated. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to pick up the knife.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the man still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked him, “Young man, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” he said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”