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Month: April 2019

Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 4/29/19 – Autism Awareness

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today on the last Monday of Autism Awareness Month, I’m talking a little bit about autism and parenting an autistic child.


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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 4/22/19 – With What Character Do You Most Identify?

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today I’m answering the question, “Is there any character who resonates with you in your writing?”

I love questions like this! I hope you learn more about me through my response:


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Interview with Rachel J. Good and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so pleased to bring you Rachel J. Good. I LOVE reading about Rachel’s method for getting past writer’s block. I so wish I had an artisitc brain like that! Rachel is generously giving away a signed copy of her book THE AMISH WIDOW’S RESCUE. Read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve loved books since I was a child. I was always the one with a book hidden in her desk at school or reading under the covers with a flashlight at night. Of course, that meant I sought out jobs where I worked with books, so I became a teacher, a children’s librarian, and an editor. Of course, I now have my dream job of being an author. I can write the stories I always loved reading. I hope my words will give others as much pleasure as I receive when I read.

In addition to writing, I have a busy life. I enjoy spending time with my five children and three grandchildren, traveling, drawing and painting, walking in the woods, sewing, doing crafts, and connecting with readers. I have many book events planned in various states over the next few months, which are listed under events on my website.

Tell us about your current release. I have 11 books coming out this year, but the next two releases will both be out on May 28:

In THE AMISH WIDOW’S RESCUE, confirmed bachelor Elijah Beiler is convinced love leads to heartbreak, so although he offers to help his pregnant, newly widowed neighbor with her chores, he keeps his distance from her and her children. But he didn’t count on her young son idolizing him and following him everywhere. After he rescues the boy from drowning, he finds himself getting attached and wondering what it would be like to have a family.

When the bishop suggests a marriage of convenience, Elijah agrees to pray about it. Soon God sends signs to nudge Elijah in that direction, but can he overcome his fear of relationships and open his heart to love?

LOVE’S TRUEST HOPE is an anthology with Laura V. Hilton and Mary Alford. In my suspense story, “Bid for Love,” the top bidder in the Amish silent auction wins a day of yardwork from Marty and two of his friends. But why did this wealthy Englischer pay so much money for Amish volunteers when she has a professional lawn service? Marty is shocked when the bidder offers him money to turn her granddaughter, Olivia, Amish. He explains that becoming Amish isn’t about external appearances, it’s about a change of heart and a living new lifestyle, one dedicated to following God’s will. A few days later, Olivia and her grandmother both end up missing, and Marty is fingered for the crime. How can he prove his innocence when all the clues the police find point to his guilt?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Definitely. Each person, each soul is precious to God, so if my work helps or touches the one God needed it for, I feel my writing has been worth every minute I put into it.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No, in fact, I’m grateful to be with two large secular publishers, Grand Central and Kensington, that allow me to express my beliefs and add spiritual content. The only thing I do differently is to avoid using terms that those who aren’t Christians might not understand. It challenges me to describe things in ways that anyone can grasp the meaning. I hope my books can light the way for those who are unfamiliar with the Christian faith.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out, how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I don’t always manage to do it. I try to jot down the ideas as they occur, but that means I have so many story ideas stacked up in my files I can’t wait to get to. I wish I had more time to finish them all.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Art Journaling. I found this psychology technique years ago, and it’s been a lifesaver, especially when I’m under deadlines. I close my eyes, whisper a prayer for guidance, and picture what’s blocking me (most often fear), then I open my eyes and scribble my impressions of it on a blank piece of paper. Sometimes it turns into a drawing, but usually it’s really just a bunch of scribbles. I like to use oil pastels because they’re soft and leave bold marks on the paper, but crayons or markers work well too. Then without giving my logical brain any time to think, I start freewriting about the drawing. I’m almost always amazed at what I write. It’s usually a reason deep inside that’s blocking the flow. Almost always this is enough to get me unstuck.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? As I said, I always loved to read, but I didn’t start writing until I had 5 children under the age of 8, and then I wrote to keep my sanity. I started small with magazine articles and children’s stories, then I gradually built up to novels.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I first started out, I never considered self-publishing, although now that I have quite a few traditionally published books, I’ve been working on some projects to self-publish. I kind of backed into traditional publishing after I’d been writing short nonfiction articles for a publisher, and they asked me to write several books. I wrote for that market (children’s educational books) for a while before I met my agent, Mary Sue Seymour, at a writing conference. She sold my first Amish series right before she died. Now I’m represented by Nicole Resciniti, who took over the agency, and she’s done a wonderful job of submitting my books to traditional publishers. I’m grateful to have the option of both choices.

Here is where you can find Rachel online:

Newsletter sign-up:
Hitching Post (a private Facebook group for those who like to learn more about the Amish):

Rachel is giving away a signed copy of THE AMISH WIDOW’S RESCUE to a reader! See below how to enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Not Forsaken

scrollIn Christ’s time, there were no Bibles. The Word of God was on scrolls, but the scrolls were precious and rare. People received the word of God, spoken by someone reading the scrolls, and they spent their adolescence memorizing the Scriptures.

There also were not chapters and verses within the Scriptures. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, added the chapters and verses to the Bible in the early 13th century – nearly 1300 years after Christ’s death and resurrection.

If I said, “John 3:16,” most of you would know exactly to what I was referring. I wouldn’t have to say, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” I simply have to quote chapter and verse and you know it.

In Christ’s time, due to the memorization of the scriptures and the absence of numeric designation of chapter and verses, when someone was referring to a passage, they simply said the first sentence of said passage. That referred to the whole thing.

christ_on_crossWhen Christ was on the cross, he said these words, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

I don’t believe that Christ was saying that God forsook Him while He hung on that cross. I don’t believe that God turned His back on Christ at that moment. *I* believe that Jesus was referring to Psalm 22 and the prophesy made by David so many generations before. The first line of Psalm 22 is, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” And in the tradition of that time, Christ would have been directing people to that prediction found within that Psalm:

I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.

For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.

In fact, I believe that Psalm 22 specifically says that God did NOT turn his face from Christ:

…Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.

So there are many interpretations that say that God cannot look at sin; therefore, He turned away from Christ in the darkest hour of His need. However, I believe that such interpretations are eisegetical, which means “not related to the text,” or, man’s biased interpretation based on Habakkuk 1:13:

You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness.
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
A person more righteous than he?

Resurrected Jesus ChristBefore translation, that verse in the original text does not mean that God cannot look upon wickedness, it means He cannot look upon it with approval.

I believe that this is an exegetical interpretation, which is to mean derived directly from the text: All throughout Christ’s ministry, the prophecies of His life and ministries were fulfilled. From the cross, He used precious energy and breath to utter a single sentence to direct those who would hear and tell the story of the prophecy of Messiah’s death — and remind them of the triumph. He was reminding those there that He would triumph over death as He told His disciples He would when he said in Mark 9:31:

“The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”

Psalm 22 ends with God’s triumph.

Why does it matter? Because I think that it’s wrong to think that God cannot look upon sin. God is omniscient and omnipresent. He sees everything and knows everything. We might grieve Him, but His back is never turned.

He never turned His back on His Son, and He’ll never turn His back on you.

I hope you have a blessed day celebrating Christ’s resurrection from the dead.


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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 4/8/19 – Intimacy and Passion in Writing


Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today I’m answering the question, “You include a lot of passion in your books, how do you find the balance between passion, intimacy, and crossing the line in your writing?”

I love questions like this! I hope you learn more about me through my response:


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Interview with Cara Putman and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! It’s always fun to welcome a friend here. Cara Putman and I cross paths all year long at various writer events and I have enjoyed every conversation I’ve ever had with her. She is an amazing sister in Christ and I’m thrilled that she is my guest this week. She writes legal thrillers, and is giving away a copy of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win.

Cara Putman is the award-winning author of more than thirty legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at sixteen, college at twenty, completed her law degree at twenty-seven, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a busy mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

Tell us about your latest release: She had long given up the desire to be loved. Now she only needed to be heard. Jaime Nichols went to law school to find the voice she never had as a child, and her determination to protect girls and women in the path of harm drives her in ways both spoken and unspoken. As Jaime, now a criminal defense attorney, prepares to press charges against someone who wronged her long ago, she must face not only her demons but also the unimaginable forces that protect the powerful man who tore her childhood apart.
Chandler Bolton, a retired veteran, is tasked with helping a young victim who must testify in court—and along with his therapy dog, Aslan, he’s up for the task. When he first meets Jaime, all brains, beauty, and brashness, he can’t help but be intrigued. As Chandler works to break through the wall Jaime has built around herself, the two of them discover that they may have more to offer one another than they ever could have guessed—and that together, they may be able to help this endangered child.
This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I’ve learned that when I’m in the flow, I can write a chapter in an hour and a half. That helps. But it’s about knowing my characters and having an idea of where they are going. Then I sit down and write what I see on the screen of my mind. Thanks to law school, I write pretty cleanly, so that also helps with speed.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? At a certain point, I recognize that the writing is as good as I can get it. Beyond that I need help and insight from editors and first readers. Understanding those concepts helps me to release it to the world.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? The first that I truly remember is getting up EARLY to watch Princess Diana marry Prince Charles. Maybe that’s where my love of romance started. I was seven, but I remember my mom waking my sister and I up so we could watch the ceremony. Her dress was so much; it was every little girl’s Cinderella dream.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I love writing. It’s part of who I am and has been a dream and need of mine since I was thirteen. Ideas come from all over, and it keeps me fresh. One of the things I love about writing is that I can always work to become a better writer. And I can always keep my eyes open for new ideas. Now, it’s part of my DNA.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I started writing in 2005, self-publishing was still nascent other than vanity presses. I knew I wanted to pursue traditional publishing because there was so much I didn’t know about publishing, that I really wanted the partnership of working with a publisher. I’ve learned a lot from my editors at various houses. I also appreciate having marketing help. They have access to avenues I don’t, and together we can cover more ground to get the word out about my books. Now I’m what I would call hybrid. I re-release my older books on my own. In fact I’m turning many of my WWII novels into audiobooks this year. It’s exciting and daunting, because so many of the pieces my publishers cover, now I get to do: covers, editing (yes, I reedit even though these books have been thoroughly edited as well as marketing).

Here is where you can find Cara online:


Cara is giving away a copy of Delayed Justice to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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