Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

I’m so happy to welcome back to the blog, my good friend, author/editor/ministry leader, Jennifer Slattery. She has helped and encouraged me so often!  So what’s she up to these days? Her sixth novel, Healing Love

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Jennifer:  Oh, my. This could take a while. Let’s see. When  I was three … Just kidding. I live in Papillion, a fun suburb of Omaha, but I’m originally from the west coast. I miss the mountains, ocean, and evergreen trees, but I’ve fallen in love with snowy winters and all the colors that come in fall. I’ve been married for … (I always have to stop and think. Terrible, right?) 22 years??? My husband and I had a bit of a rocky beginning, but God turned everything around and has been drawing us closer to one another (and to Him!) ever since. Love my man! Love my God!

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Jennifer:  My books fall in between two genres—women’s fiction and romance. I’ve been told they’re similar to Nicholas Sparks books. I’m not sure what draws me to this genre. I just write the stories I feel God has laid on my heart. Sometimes, those are pure fun and silly, other times they go deeper. Really, I just love writing and losing myself in a world of my own creating.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Jennifer:  I feel this is changing somewhat, and I’m not sure what I’ve landed on. Originally, I just wrote and let the story take me wherever. But then I got myself into a mess. My timeline was totally off, things unfolded too quickly, and others not quickly enough. I figured I’d save a lot of headache if I started writing by outline.

I wrote six novels that way, but recently, I decided I just wanted to have fun. I didn’t want to worry so much about where my story was going; I just wanted to enjoy the process. The result—a book that was a hybrid between plotting and pantsing. 🙂 We’ll see if it ever makes it to print.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Jennifer:    Hmm … I think sometimes the pressure; I worry that I’ll let people down. This is something I have to fight, and remind myself that I write for Christ and am enough in Him, regardless of what I produce. I’m also usually convinced whatever story I’m working on stinks, so then I have to push through the desire to toss it and my computer in the trash. Haha! So I guess I would answer, how it can trigger one’s insecurities and bring them to the surface.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jennifer: I have no idea. I try not to presume on my future. So much of my life has not gone as I “planned” and in the unplanned, so much good has happened. I may shift to more nonfiction, I may write lighter, fun stories. I’m six classes away from a ministry degree, so I may seek employment in a church somewhere. Ultimately, I want to be in tune with whatever God desires and however He leads, because He knows best.

Thanks for dropping by, Jennifer!


Healing Love

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out-education-and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture.

Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.

Marriage: Make It or Break It by Andrea Merrell

Today I’d like to introduce my friend, author and editor, Andrea Merrell.  She’s an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. Her latest book is Marriage: Make It or Break It.

Hi, Andrea! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Andrea: I’m a Southern gal who considers herself a bit of a late bloomer. Even though I’ve always loved to write, I didn’t begin to pursue my passion until about twenty years ago when the speaker at a marriage retreat told me it was time to get busy. “After all,” he said as he leaned in close, “you’re not getting any younger, you know.” That little statement lit a fire in me and set me on a path of writing for God that gets better and more fulfilling as the years go by. As an editor, I also love encouraging other writers, helping them grow and polish their skills as they learn to create clean, professional manuscripts. I LOVE what I do. 😊

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Andrea:  People ask this question quite often, and sometimes they’re surprised by my answer: a little bit of everything. In the beginning of my writing journey, God gave me a series of poems. Then I moved into writing nonfiction, especially funny anecdotes about getting older. I soon found myself writing devotions and a few articles. Over the past few years, I’ve written hundreds of devotions, a few short stories, and three nonfiction books (Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It). But I’m also passionate about writing fiction and have several novels in progress at various stages that are begging to be finished. Some say you should find your niche and stay there, writing either fiction or nonfiction. But my philosophy is that I should write whatever God gives me … whatever He lays on my heart. As we write for Him, we never know how our words can touch someone else, whatever the genre. And the more transparent we are, the more impact our words can have.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Andrea:  Outlines don’t work for me. I’m a panster (seat-of-the-pants writer), not a plotter. Early in my career I sat in a class at a writers’ conference about plotting where the speaker was using charts and graphs. I was completely lost. Sometimes when I sit down to write, it’s like transcribing dictation as the words flow. For me, it’s a matter of getting my words on paper (or I guess I should say on my computer screen), then the proofing, editing, and rewriting begin.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Andrea:  For me, as an editor, the hardest thing is making time for my own writing.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Andrea:  Probably doing the same things I’m doing now: writing, editing, and teaching at writers’ conferences—unless God has other plans. Hopefully, by then I will have at least a couple of published novels.

We hope so too! Thanks for stopping in for a visit, Andrea!


Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues.

Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript and Praying for the Prodigal. Her newest book, Marriage: Make It or Break It, is now available on Amazon. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.

Amazon link for Marriage: Make It or Break Ithttp://amzn.to/2qxucJ7

Amazon link for Murder of a Manuscripthttp://amzn.to/1HlRLmy

Amazon link for Praying for the Prodigalhttp://amzn.to/1BFOhK9

www.AndreaMerrell.com

http://www.TheWriteEditing.com


Marriage: Make It or Break It

Some say marriage is a dying institution. Others say, “Stop the bus and let me get off.” But Andrea Merrell after forty-plus years of marriage believes this God-ordained institution is one of His greatest gifts to men and women. Marriage: Make It or Break It is a result of a lifetime of trial and error, keen observation, and years of studying God’s Word. With her signature dash of humor, she takes a candid look at attitudes and behavior that can make or break a relationship, the difference in how men and women think and approach life, and the importance of honest communication. You’ll find danger signs, roadblocks to bypass, and Scriptures to personalize and pray on a daily basis. 

This journey won’t be perfect, and the road is guaranteed to be full of potholes. But if you’re ready to learn a few truths that will make marriage strong and a lot of things that will destroy it, buckle your seat belt and let’s get this bus moving.

Spark:The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One by J.M. Hackman

Today I’d like to introduce author, J.M. Hackman.  In 2015, she won the Editor’s Choice Award in the Realm Makers Short Story Contest for her story, “The Escort,” published in RealmScapes: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology. Her debut novel, Spark, has released and I’ve asked her a few questions…

Hi, J.M.! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

J.M.: I grew up in the mountains of Pennsylvania. An only child, my imagination was what prevented me from being too lonely. After graduating from Penn State, I married my boyfriend of five years and settled in the same town I grew up in. My mechanical engineer husband and I have been married for twenty-two years (this June), and we have two fantastic girls (ages 11 and 17).

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

J.M.: In 1995, I began writing Christian romance, then took a break to have children. During that break, I read many of the YA series: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings. But none of them had any female protagonists. So I began writing Spark, a YA Christian fantasy with a courageous heroine. Although my stories are speculative, a strong thread of romance twines through each one. This genre is the perfect vehicle to show the fight between good and evil. Readers who would never read a Christian story might be more likely to pick up a fantasy novel. And I love YA because it’s such a fantastic age for discovering what your True North is and who you want to become.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

J.M.: I have a very rough outline (I use index cards) of where I want my story to start and end, with a few key events in between. Everything else is open. It makes things interesting. Right now, I’m fighting some of my characters because they’re not following orders. I’ll have to do some re-writing to make them fall in line!

What is the hardest thing about writing?

J.M.: Writing a synopsis. For me, trying to fit an entire narrative on a single piece of paper is a ridiculous exercise in futility.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

J.M.: Hopefully, I’ll still be writing stories! I’d like to be finishing up my series The Firebrand Chronicles and starting a fairy tale retelling that’s been simmering on the “back burner” for a while. I’d also like to have the opportunity to meet more speculative fiction authors and teach at a conference or two.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit, J.M.!


Spark:The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands. Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil. Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?

Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time? And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?


J.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds.

You can find her at www.jmhackman.com.

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In His Eyes by Stephenia H. McGee

Today, we welcome author Stephenia H. McGee. Her latest book, In His Eyes, is a Civil War romance with dynamic, realistic characters and colorful descriptions.

Hello, Stephenia! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Stephenia: I graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences, but I soon learned that my heart stirred with the power of the story. I took classes and learned the craft, and now have six books currently in print. In addition to writing and running my publishing company, I chase around two active little boys, am a wife to an amazing husband, and teach a fiction class to high school students.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Stephenia: I write Christian historical fiction. I love history, and I like the idea of experiencing a different time and place through the pages of a book. I also enjoy the research. I have found a lot of interesting things while researching for a story.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Stephenia: Both…sort of. I start with a basic outline of where my major plot needs to go, and then I plan out the first 1/3 of the book. After that, the story takes over as the characters develop and assert themselves. At that point I see where I am in relation to the major plot and I map out the next 1/3 of the book. The characters take me on a journey again and I stop with the final 1/3 to go, where I plan how to wrap everything up. I have tried doing a full outline at the beginning, but have found I end up straying too far from it. It works better for me to do it in sections.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Stephenia: Finding the time and quiet can sometimes be challenging with a busy family and all the aspects of running my company. I have to be disciplined to protect my writing time, otherwise it gets lost under all of my obligations. Since I started working in the writing industry full time about 18 months ago, I have had to make sure that I still remember that just because my office is in my house I still have to treat writing like part of my job…because it is.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Stephenia: In five years I hope to have continued to grow in the industry while writing the books that God places on my heart. I hope to grow stronger in my faith and I hope that in five years I am still writing stories. By that time, I should have 15 book published. Whew!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stephenia has graciously offered to give away an eBook copy of In His Eyes to one person who leaves a comment. It could be you!


In His Eyes: A Civil War Romance

Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.

Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.

Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.


Winner of the 2012 RONE Best Inspirational Book of the year (2012) and author of six Historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts and ball gowns, Greek revival homes and horse-drawn carriages, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes.

She currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys, (accompanied by their two spoiled dogs and mischievous cat) where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and stories steeped in the South.

Visit her website at www.StepheniaMcGee.com and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get sneak peeks, behind the scenes fun, the occasional recipe, and special offers.

FaceBook: Stephenia H. McGee, Christian Fiction Author

Twitter: @StepheniaHMcGee

Pinterest: Stephenia H. McGee


 

Secrets & Charades by Cindy Ervin Huff

Please welcome Cindy Ervin Huff, multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her debut novel Secrets and Charades.

Hi Cindy! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Cindy: I’ve been married to my soul mate, Charles, for 43 years. We have 5 children and 6 grandchildren.  I’m a pioneer homeschool mom. (By that I mean it was back in the day when people thought it was illegal.)

I grew up a military brat so I am definitely an extrovert. I learned to make friends fast because Dad was usual transferred every few years. Talking to strangers is as natural as breathing for me.

I’ve been writing since junior high off and on. Life interrupted me. Still I managed to get published in a variety of venues. Now that I am in my jubilee years, (over 50- and then some.) I write consistently.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Cindy: I write Historical Fiction. I love placing modern day emotional dilemmas in a historical setting. At the same time, my agent is promoting my Contemporary Romance. My romances are full of surprise twists.

Do you work to an outline or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?

I am a pantster who jots down ideas and directions as they come to me when I’m not at the keyboard. Lots of scrap paper to collect later. I do a sketchy outline. The characters always take me where I least expect it. And I create a character sketch to keep the basic facts straight on my main characters. My secondary characters are more fluid. They can change a few times throughout the drafting process. Their name, profession, gender aren’t set in stone. Even some scene settings can shift from rough to the final draft.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Cindy: Believing in yourself. Doubts keep a writer from consistently putting words on the page every day. It clogs up the submission process. And slows the whole timeline for becoming the writer God desires.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Cindy: I hope to see five more books published.  Lord willing I’d like to teach some classes and continue to be an encouragement for writers. And who knows maybe Hubby and I can take our bucket list trip to the UK.

Thanks for taking time to drop by, Cindy!


Secrets & Charades 

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?


Cindy Huff, a multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her first novel Secrets and Charades has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com or visit with her on social media.

Amazon Author page:https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/

Facebook Author page:   https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Twitter: twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Facebook:www.facebook.com/cindy.e.huff.