Category Archives: Guest Authors
I’ve enjoyed getting to know my guest author today. Like me, she writes about tough, real-life subjects. Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real people facing real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.
Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, an avid hiker and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee. Her most recent interests are her two baby does Peanut & Buttercup. Like all babies, they love sitting on laps and being bottle fed.
You can connect with her at carolmcclain.com.
On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/author.Carol.McClain
On twitter and Instagram: @carol_mcclain
God Only Lends Us Those We Love for a Season
Distraught from recent tragedy, Meredith Jaynes takes pity on a young girl who steals from her. Meredith discovers “Bean” lives in a hovel mothering her two younger sisters. The three appear to have been abandoned. With no other homes available, Social Services will separate the siblings. To keep them together, Meredith agrees to foster them on a temporary basis.
Balancing life as a soap maker raising goats in rural Tennessee proved difficult enough before the siblings came into her care. Without Bean’s help, she’d never be able to nurture these children warped by drugs and neglect—let alone manage her goats that possess the talents of Houdini. Harder still is keeping her eccentric family at bay.
Social worker Parker Snow struggles to overcome the breakup with his fiancée. Burdened by his inability to find stable homes for so many children who need love, he believes placing the abandoned girls with Meredith Jaynes is the right decision. Though his world doesn’t promise tomorrow, he hopes Meredith’s does.
But she knows she’s too broken.
Genesis of Borrowed Lives
Difficult questions with impossible answers always send me to my keyboard. I think, How can a character heal from this? I then write until I have the answer. This is especially true for Borrowed Lives.
At one time, I thought I understood addiction. Then I worked with addicts. This taught me how little I understood. I’ve heard testimonies of parents teaching their children to make meth. Parents locked their children out of the home until they sold the required number of drugs. Lost jobs, car accidents, broken families, homelessness, disease—all of these are the end result of addiction.
You’d think an addict would be sick of the life. But …
Even when sober for years and with a restored family, I’ve seen devoted Christians fall back into their addiction. It boggles my mind.
For years I’ve mentored addicts and worked with organizations dedicated to helping them recover. I’ve seen failures, but I’ve seen success.
I rejoice with those who have found new life and love and children and are relishing the years the locust had devoured.
I rejoice with children who’ve found love in foster homes. We need so many more good ones.
But more than those who’ve fallen into addiction, I’ve seen cruelty in the church or from well-meaning people who ladle on guilt when things go wrong.
How does one overcome tragedy?
Borrowed Lives works through pain with love and hope. It resonates with victory over despair. You will not be able to put down Borrowed Lives until the final page.
What people are saying about Borrowed Lives:
“Borrowed Lives takes the reader on a voyage of loss, hope, love, and faith from beginning to end.”
“Love, joy, triumph, despair, and everything else that paints the tapestry of human life are here in rich detail.”
“Borrowed Lives is a down-home, true to life story you won’t want to put down.”
I was honored to be featured on “The Readers Blog” yesterday. If you’re an aspiring author but have hit a dry spell in your writing, perhaps some of these tips I offer may help.
Click here to read the article on my friend KyLee’s site.
And here’s the article in its entirety:
Hello there, I’m an indie author from the great Pacific Northwest, and I write under the pen name of Dawn V. Cahill. I began my self-publishing journey on Kindle Direct, then branched out to Smashwords. I’m here to share a little of my journey and some words to encourage you on yours!
First, let me tell you a little about my books. My “brand” is Hot Topic Fiction. As my website describes it, the characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about. “Hot Topic Fiction” isn’t afraid to explore the question, how does God want us 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–HTF tells stories of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in an upside-down world.
A few summers ago at a writers’ conference, I met an agent who showed interest in my debut novel, Sapphire Secrets, and asked me to send the entire manuscript. Excited, I did so, and concluded that, although not a guarantee that she would take me on as a client, it meant my writing was good enough to draw attention from a publishing professional. A few weeks later, I received her response. She did enjoy my story, but unfortunately the edgy factor made her decline. But by then, I’d gotten enough positive feedback, lifted enough “what-now” prayers to the Lord, that I felt it was time to go ahead and indie publish. I had heard of too many wannabe published authors who had been waiting for years for either a book deal from a trad publisher, or even an agent to pitch for them. I’m the kind of person who goes after what I want, and I didn’t want to wait untold months to get my story out there. So the DIY option turned out to be the perfect solution for someone like me.
Some new authors find that after their debut hits the market, burnout can strike. After all, writing is hard work, and takes a lot out of you. What if you become weary of it all? I would say, a mini-sabbatical might be just what you need to infuse new life into your writing. Put away your manuscript for, say, a week, along with your writing books and your writer loops, and just read some good Christian books. This will give your mind a rest from the strain of putting words on paper…er, screen. There’s nothing like a mental break that can revive a weary writer. As long as you stick with the time-frame you’ve promised yourself.
When I need inspiration, or I’m “stuck”, a hike up my favorite mountain trail almost always gets those brain juices aflowin’. I’ve had some of my best “epiphany” moments on a mountain trail. Now, not everyone has access to a mountain trail. But do you have a happy place, or a favorite outdoor spot, that calms and soothes you? A place where you feel close to the Lord? Meditate on His presence, and wait for His reviving touch!
“What about those lazy days when I’d rather do anything else but write?” you may be asking. Here’s where an accountability partner can give you that push you need. I encourage you to make some goals and share them with that person. Another place to find accountability is through ACFW’s Novel Track. When I make a monthly goal and make it known to my fellow loopers, I write a lot more than I would have without them. Accountability is key!
For you perfectionists out there… A long time ago, I resigned myself to the reality that I’ll never achieve perfection. Instead, I downgraded to “excellentist,” which is, unlike perfection, attainable. The more we keep learning, the closer we get to excellence. Fortunately, the resource reservoir for writers is full to bursting! Nearly to the point of information overload, in fact. Before I finished my first novel, I took an online fiction-writing course from a well-known Christian author. If you have the monetary resources to do so, it’s a smart move. If not, I highly recommend one or two novel-writing books which contain exercises to hone your skills. Also, join a writers group—local or national—if you haven’t already, and get plugged into a critique group. I can’t tell you how valuable other authors’ feedback is. They spot things we can’t see ourselves. For me, entering writing contests generated additional feedback. Before I published my first book, I entered about five contests for unpublished authors, and it seemed that in each one I received better scores and more favorable comments than the last one. It was encouraging to track how much I’d improved! If not for professional coaching, I doubt my debut novel, Sapphire Secrets, would have received the glowing reviews that it did!
If you want to know more about me and my books, come visit my website at www.dawnvcahill.com/mybooks. Thank you for sharing my journey today.
Guest article by Dena Johnson ~
September 1, 2017.
The day is coming quickly, the day I will stand before God and pledge my love and my life to the one God has chosen for me.
It’s also the day I turn in the title “single mom,” a title I have worn for well over eight years. I have to admit that it’s difficult to let someone else into this part of my life, to step back and let someone help me with the chauffeuring and supporting and disciplining and everything else that goes into single parenting. I’m so used to doing it all, I sometimes struggle with allowing him to help me.
As we embark on this new chapter of attempting to blend two very different families—complete with five teenagers and all kinds of hormones and chaos—I find myself reflecting on the last decade. Single parenting is hard—really hard. But I hope my kids have…
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I well remember those exhausting days! Like this author, I raised three kids virtually by myself. But seeing what fine young men my sons have turned out to be, I wouldn’t trade those nail-biting, exhausting years for anything.
If I were to describe my life, my emotional state, over the last few months, exhausted would be the most appropriate word. With three teenagers, a new position in my company, a ministry, my days and evenings are full. I collapse into bed at the end of the day, struggling to get up the next morning.
Add to that a fiancé, a wedding to plan, his two children, trying to find a place to live that will hold five teenagers, and some significant health issues in his family, and I often wonder how we are still standing.
So many days I have awakened, gone outside for a prayer walk, and all I can say to God is, “I’m so tired. Renew my strength.”
And yet I just keep going, wondering when I can take some time to step away, take a deep breath, take time to recharge.
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Hey folks, especially you historical romance lovers, there’s an author out there you are going to want to meet! She hails from the Great White North. To keep from freezing, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.
You’ll find Angela on social media and her website:
The newest release in her Hearts at War series is titled The Patriot and the Loyalist, and takes place during the American Revolutionary War. I must admit, I’ve rarely read any books from that era, so this should be a real treat.
Happy reading, friends ~
This story by fellow author Lillian Duncan tells of a good guy, a really good guy, who stood before the Lord of heaven and found out just how good he had to be in order to enter heaven.
From time to time, I write flash fiction–whenever it flashes in my mind. Here’s my latest piece.
BUT HE WAS A GOOD PERSON…
Rocko Smith III was born a fortunate man.
One could even say born with a silver spoon in his hand.
But he was a good person.
He didn’t squander or waste.
Instead he did his best posthaste.
Unlike others in his class.
He didn’t party hard and fast.
He worked hard and did good deeds.
He truly was a good person but…
One bad choice he made.
Or should I say one good choice he didn’t make.
But he was a good person…
The car circled the public square for the third time. The Christmas lights sparkled and blinked merrily but Rocko wasn’t there for the decorations. His gaze went past the bright lights and peered into the shadows.
He tapped the driver’s shoulder. “Pull over, Jives.”
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FICTION OR REAL LIFE ~ NOTHING ORDINARY HERE
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:
ABOUT THE BOOK ~ OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP
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 Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
~ Michelle Griep
THE CAPTIVE HEART…Would you marry a murderer?
WriterOffTheLeash…Blogging Gone Wild
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?
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.
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
I enjoyed Ginger’s visit so much in March, I invited her to drop by again! Just in time for her new release. But first, she has something on her heart she wants to share.
On Being Flexible
By Ginger Solomon
Has life ever thrown something at you at the last minute that you’re not sure how to deal with? Or maybe it was a lot of somethings all at once. Either way, you had to adjust your expectations to meet with your new circumstances.
You had to be flexible. Go with the flow.
I don’t know about you, but I’m bad at it. I prefer events where I know what to expect and approximately when.
When my husband and I got married over 25 years ago, my wedding was just such an event. I planned things nearly to the minute. It was scheduled for two in the afternoon. Most weddings I’ve been to start a few minutes late. Not mine. I was walking down the aisle at 2:00pm on the dot. According the video, guests walked in behind me.
I’d love to say that everything moved like clockwork during the entire ceremony, but it didn’t. My cousin, my matron of honor, dropped the wedding ring when she went to hand it to me. We were standing on a platform and that ring decided it wanted to roll all the way down the stairs. Not in my plans, but I managed to be flexible and go with the flow—really, what choice did I have? As soon as the ring was recovered, we continued on.
There have been many other such times in my life when circumstances made me step outside of my organized comfort zone and be spontaneous.
Princess Anaya, the heroine in my newest release, Second Choice, faces such a challenge. Her father gave her one year to choose a husband from five candidates, whom he thought worthy of her hand in marriage. She met with each one individually, and six months later, after much consideration and prayer, she chose one. They spent several months getting to know one another and planning their wedding.
Then he disappeared. Three weeks before the wedding.
What would she do?
Knowing her father the way she did, she knew he would insist she make a second choice so the wedding could continue forward as planned.
She had to be flexible.
And she was because we all do what we have to do to make it through any given situation. We make choices that we may later regret, but we do the best we can with the knowledge that we have at the time.
What about you? Have you been in a situation that required you to be flexible?
Now, let’s learn more about her new release, Second Choice.
Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.
Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.
But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.
Learn more here.
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.
I guested at fellow blogger Leeann Betts today. In honor of teamwork, I present you this post.
Because I am totally asea with social media, I totally missed Dawn’s great follow-up post in March. And so, humbled and groveling, I now gift you with the great interview we did about those tough questions writers hate to answer. Dawn is the author of Sapphire Secrets. She does a weekly drawing for a free e-book of new subscribers to her blog: https://dawnvcahill.com/
Dawn, thanks for being so gracious and sticking with me.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
The character Luna in both my books has a unique talent that she shares with me: the ability to write catchy limericks. I always thought it would be cool to earn money writing personalized limericks for people. In “When Lyric Met Limerick”, Luna lives out that dream when she sets up a booth at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, asks people a few questions about themselves, and…
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