Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jody Hedlund - Christian Author Interviews

Welcome to Christian Author Interviews.
Enjoy our interview with Jody Hedlund, an award-winning historical romance novelist, in this episode. Listen in via the video or audio and share your thoughts in the comments.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below and share this interview with your friends!

Listen to the audio here:

MP3 File

About Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund AuthorJody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher's Bride and Unending Devotion. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her latest book, A Noble Groom, just released.

Follow Jody Hedlund Website | Facebook | Twitter





Books Mentioned in the Interview

The Doctor's Lady

The Preacher's Bride

Unending Devotion

Rebellious Heart

A Noble Groom

Enter to Win a Paperback Copy of A Noble Groom!

Enter below to enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Christian Author Interviews is hosted by Shelley Hitz of Crossreads and Body and Soul Publishing. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads bloggers!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pay attention to the enemy of your soul.

Three Reasons to Listen to the Enemy

By Lynn Hare


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

– James 4:7 (ESV)

Pay attention to the enemy of your soul. He’s got something you need.

Following a car accident in February, I was laid up with leg, back, neck, and facial injuries. By March, I was still in so much pain, I couldn’t even get comfortable in bed.

I told my husband, “This morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. The pain is winning.” My head dropped to my chest.

But I listened for Jesus’ voice. I heard Him whisper, “Those thoughts are not yours. The enemy is in your head.”

How do we wage war? By listening to the enemy. Here are three reasons:

1.) The enemy will show you where on the battlefield to fight.

When we hear, “I’m not making any progress,” we need to look for growth.

When I said, “I’m not getting better,” I frowned at the bald-faced lie. “Hey,” I said, “No wonder I’m under attack. I’m about to improve!” Determined, I rode my exercise bike and stretched my leg muscles. I was rewarded with a surge of energy. The next day, instead of two crutches, I was on one.

2. Like negatives from a camera, the enemy shows you the reverse of the truth.

Like photos developed in a dark room, black becomes white. Red turns green. Yellow is soon purple. When the enemy shows us an image, we need to declare its precise opposite.

I caught myself saying, “I feel lonely and isolated.” But then I glanced at the stack of get-well-soon cards and meals friends had dropped off. “NO!” I said aloud. “I have lots of friends!”

I determined to write two letters of encouragement each night.

3.) The enemy unwittingly drops hints that point to our future.

When I looked in the mirror, I thought, “Look at the swelling over my eye. What a loser!”

But instead, I looked ahead to what God was shaping me to become. I said aloud, “I’m a winner!” I doubled my words of encouragement to others. Several told me they were uplifted and strengthened.

And now the enemy was no longer in my head. I grinned, leaned forward and asked, “What else have you got?” He scowled and backed away. “Forget it.”

Lynn Hare Bio:

Author, speaker, and certified teacher Lynn Hare enthusiastically provides grace-filled messages about encouragement, prayer, and practicing the presence of the Holy Spirit. A member of Oregon Christian Writers, she lives in Portland with her husband, Tim, of thirty-two years. Her inspirational pieces appear in numerous Christian periodicals. Website: www.lynnhare.com


Friday, May 17, 2013

Barbara Derksen talks about her new FindersKeepers mystery series

Meet Barbara Derksen, Prolific writer! 

Barbara, how long did it take you to write your latest book?
            I usually finish one mystery a year but I also did a devotional and a children’s book this past winter. I write mostly in the winter because we are on the road all summer for Christian Motorcyclists Association. Shadow Stalker was started last summer but completed over this long winter we’ve had. 

Barbara, what three things do you know now about the publishing world that you wish you knew when you first started?
            My first mystery was written before I attended any writer’s conferences. I did not understand POV and that would have been very helpful. I also envisioned being discovered like other artists and now know that to be fallacy for most of the really good writers out there. I don’t know if I would have done things differently, but the knowledge would have caused me to think about my audience more. I read a book early on about marketing but I had no idea how many steps it takes to get a book seen by the buying public. Marketing is huge and that knowledge may have given me pause to reconsider writing … but maybe not. 

What have you learned about writing and yourself since you started your most current project?
            I‘ve learned to pace myself, to include in my characters’ lives what the Holy Spirit is teaching me spiritually, and how important it is to edit, edit, and edit some more.  

Tell us a little about your books, especially your latest release.
            I write devotionals with a target audience of bikers since that’s who we minister to all summer. Each one builds on the one before so all six can build spiritually into a person’s life in a major way. God is using them all across the country including men’s bible studies. Straight Pipes, Two-Up, Chrome, Chaps, Road Trip, and this year, More Than Bells, speak to anyone who wants to listen and, ‘ve been told, God meets them in the pages.
            My children’s stories have come about because I have grandchildren. Building a subtle truth from God’s Word into their lives is my motivation and I meet many grandparents at biker rallies who want to take something home to their grand-kids. The stories are about animals with kids names who teach some of their characteristics to the readers but also talk of a Creator and pray and such.
            My third genre is the mysteries. I began with a mystery but I pulled Mind Trap so I could rewrite now that I’ve learned so much about the craft. Then I wrote a four book series, Wilton/Strait Mystery Series. Vanished, Presumed Dead, Fear Not, and Silence take two people, virtual strangers who share the same church, on many adventures to solve mystery, find missing people, and point the authorities in the right direction to capture some evil people. Andrea Wilton and Brian Strait grow spiritually through the series and relationally as well.
            My latest book, Shadow Stalker, is the first in a new series, the Finders Keepers Mystery Series. Shadow Stalker begins with a five year old girl, Melissa Rompart, who watches her parents’ death by the hands of a man who stalks her through life to kill her too. As an adult, Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, has returned to her home country and city to embark on a search of her own with a sideline for tracking missing people.  She teams up with Jeremy Goodman, a strong believer who shares how God leads in his life. Christine is a skeptic.
What marketing techniques have worked the best for you?
            I’m not sure any one works better than any other. I use whatever I can to get my name out there, from interviews, live and on the internet, TV appearances, live radio, or social media. Meeting the public at book tables, signings, readings, etc. adds familiarity. Marketing takes time and work. Like a musical artist, we have to keep our name in front of people so anyway we accomplish that works.

Who in the profession would you most like to sit down with, and what would you ask?
I would like to find a publicity specialist to find out how they find the interviews, and other media events for their clients. I’d like to pick their brain about the files they’ve accumulated and what criteria they use to distinguish a good interview from a poor one. But moistly, I’d want enough money from my sales to hire one so I wouldn’t have to use valuable writing time to do the marketing.

About the book:
An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder,  alias Melissa Rompart, visits the brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream.  The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find. Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?

Shadow Stalker page on website (read excerpt and order)

 About the author:

Watching the expressions on the faces of her readers, as well as answering questions about her characters, is what drives author and speaker, Barbara Ann Derksen to write yet another book and another. Her favorite genre is murder mystery but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life.

Barbara’s devotionals are sought after each year when she publishes a new one that reflects what God has placed on her heart. From Straight Pipes, her first, to More Than Bells, Preparation for Prayer, the latest, Barbara’s devotions take people to the place where God can touch their heart and leave a lasting impression. When people stop by her table for the latest, they talk to her about using the devotions in their chapter meetings, or their personal devotions. Some men return at their pastor’s request because the books are used as launch pads for men’s bible study. Many copies have been passed on to new believers as discipling tools.

Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. There her writing surfaced as she worked under contract as a journalist for six years with over 2500 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. Meeting and interviewing people, digging for the hidden gems in their lives, made those years informative as well as instructive. She began attending Colorado Christian Writer’s Conferences and each year, under the tutelage of great Christian writer’s like James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and others, she honed her skills.

Barbara has developed a speaking platform and has spoken across the US and in Manitoba, Canada for women’s groups and in church services on topics such as The Writing Experience, working in the ministry of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Love, Parenting, Time Management, and a host of others.

With 17 books to her credit, one currently inactive and awaiting revision, each one surpasses the last, according to her readers. They look forward to discovering the new characters in a new series Finders Keepers. Book One – Shadow Stalker – is now available.

Writing, however is simply a tool to be used in the ministry she shares with her husband. With his gift of music (he sings country gospel), Barbara and her husband operate CatchFire Ministries, a ministry to bikers through Christian Motorcyclists Association. They travel for four to five months every summer in the US and the rest of the time in Canada where they seek to inspire, encourage and invite people into a deeper ministry with Jesus Christ. They also minister at Veterans Homes and churches along the way and are about to begin a ministry to Juvenile offenders incarcerated at Manitoba Youth Center. The mysteries include a gospel message that opens her readers to the possibility of reading books written from a Christian World view and supply funds for CatchFire.




Thursday, May 16, 2013

CrossReads Book Blast: Wacky Wishes by Susette Williams, Illustrated by Jack Foster - Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: Wacky Wishes By Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator

About the Book:

Tommy and Suzie find a wishing well and like children do, they begin making wishes. Imagine their surprise when their wishes start to come true! Are spacesuits the new dress code at school? What’s Tommy going to do with three heads? You’ve heard of, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” When Tommy and Suzie's wishing gets out of hand, will they be able to wish away the mess they've created before their wishes run out?

Buy on Kindle

Susette_300_dpiSusette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator Susette Williams is a Best Selling Author. She loves writing various genres, both for children and adults. She usually can't resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way. Susette and her husband have six wonderful children, all with intriguing and different personalities, like the characters she creates in her novels. Jack Foster has illustrated over 25 children's books. He is a Sunday school teacher, art teacher and the father of five terrific children and eleven wonderful grand kids. He lives just outside of Chicago with his lovely wife, dog and cat. Check out his work at www.jacksillustrations.blogspot.com Follow Susette Williams Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $25 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meet Linda Carroll-Bradd, author of The Ring That Binds

The Ring That Binds

By Linda Carroll-Bradd


Linda, what do you love about this book?

I love the small personal feel to this story that contains fewer than ten characters.

Introduce us to the story and one character—any one.

In The Ring That Binds (a western historical novella that spent 7 weeks on Kindle Top 100 western romance list), a widowed seamstress Celina strives to earn enough money to provide a happy Christmas for her 4-year old daughter, Keena. Co-owner of the general store, Mikel Toussaint has his eye on Celina and wishes for the chance to make her life a bit easier. Mikel is an emigrant from the Basque region of Spain. He and his older brother, Danel, arrived about four years earlier than the story’s 1884 setting. Mikel is effusive, generous and not shy about the fact his English is sometimes rough. He loves little Keena and slips her treats whenever he can. The gesture he makes at the conclusion of the story brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it.

What one new thing did you learn during the research of this book?

I learned that Aspen, Colorado experienced a big silver mining strike in the early 1880s that boomed when the railroad reached the town in 1887 and provided the means to transport large quantities of the ore.


What’s your best marketing tip?

Join blog hops with themes or genres that match your book. Through the association with other authors writing similar stories, you reach a wider audience of potential readers.



About the author: 
As a child, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about characters having exciting adventures in places far away. Upon reaching a landmark birthday, she decided to write one of those romances she loved so much. Easier said than done. Perseverance paid out and twelve years later, she received her first call from a publisher and a confession story was published. Now Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor, and many have a tie to her previous home of Texas.

Linda currently lives in the southern California mountains with her husband of 34 years and their two spoiled dogs, Shiba Inu Keiko and terrier mix Phoenix.
For more information, find Linda here:


Monday, May 13, 2013

May: Women’s Healthcare Month

A Stealth Attack

By Joanie Shawhan

Do you know the symptoms of one of the most insidious diseases assaulting women today? I thought I did. But despite my background in oncology nursing, I had missed a cardinal symptom of ovarian cancer—nausea. Over the course of several months, I had experienced a few episodes of queasiness, mistaking it for the flu. Fleeting thoughts of ovarian cancer even crept into my mind, but I brushed them away. This nausea is just too infrequent, I rationalized. 
During the blackness of night, a late warning sign emerged. I rolled over on a firm grapefruit-sized mass in my abdomen. When I pressed on the growth, stabbing pain clutched my abdomen and sucked my breath away. I hope this is just a uterine fibroid.  
My doctor agreed that a fibroid was the most probable diagnosis, but we needed to schedule an ultrasound. In the darkened room, the ultrasound technician shot me a glance. I knew something was wrong. After the scan, I tucked the films under my arm and strode into my doctor’s office. She examined the images, then spun around and faced me. Her verdict? Ovarian cancer—the size of a cantaloupe. While she rattled off the tests and surgery that still needed to be scheduled, I sat numb. Words spilled over her lips, but the syllables sounded foreign and distant. Is she talking to me?  
After surgery, I endured the ravages of chemotherapy: baldness, crushing chest pain, nausea and brain fog. Fatigue siphoned my strength and left me winded.  
My sister said, “We have to make this fun,” and she sent me my first installment of hats. Fun? Hats—yes. Chemotherapy—no.  
But after a while, my hair grew back with perfect summer highlights. A spring returned to my step and the fog lifted off my mind. The anxiety that gripped my chest prior to each follow-up appointment has dissolved into what I now dub “a social visit.” 
I won my race against cancer.

May is Women’s Health Care month:
Do you know the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
v  Pain or pressure in the pelvis, abdomen or lower back
v  Abdominal bloating or a sense of fullness
v  Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, gas or indigestion
v  Urinary frequency or urgency
v  Fatigue
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.
The life you save? Your own.









Joanie Shawhan Bio:

Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy and is available for speaking engagements. Publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. When not writing or attending book club, Joanie enjoys designing jewelry, knitting, and playing guitar. Website: http://joanieshawhan.com/.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Review: When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad

When Love Calls

By Lorna Seilstad
Historical romance
Revel, a division of Baker Publishing Group
May 2013
ISBN 9780800721817
Paper: 14.99

From the publisher:

Hannah Gregory is a good many things, but that list does not include following rules. So when she must apply for a job as a switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy. Hello Girls must conduct themselves according to strict and often bewildering rules, which include absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training. 

With historical details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of companionship that blossoms into sweet romance.


I enjoy Lorna’s stories. So far they’ve made the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century era come alive in America’s heartland—Iowa.

In this new book, When Love Calls, from the Gregory Sisters series, Seilstad explores the world of switchboard operators on the telephone exchange. I was especially interested since I had written about a similar character. Readers who enjoy history, particularly the plight of working women in the early twentieth century, will find much to appreciate about the depth of detail the author uses to effectively create dilemma for her wonderfully multi-layered characters.

Romances don’t leave much to the imagination, but the journey to the church aisle is often entertaining. From the moment attorney Lincoln Cole shows up at the recently orphaned Gregory girls’ farm to foreclose, the reader knows Hannah is in for a fight for her heart. Having given up law school in order to find work, independent and feisty Hannah sees an advertisement for switchboard operators, or Hello Girls, for the Iowa exchange, and applies for a highly-coveted training position. Not even the dire warning that less than half of them will graduate and only a handful will succeed on the switchboard, Hannah excels in the course, making friends and enemies along the way. Too practical to realize a farm neighbor has been harboring a secret crush, Hannah worries but ignores his warnings about the unrest caused by local union activities for laborer’s rights.

Lincoln Cole, son of a senator, is pushed toward his late father’s political aspirations. Those plans include associating with the right type of people and marriage with the right kind of society woman, not a common switchboard operator who associates with criminals. Lincoln realizes there is more to life when he meets Hannah and her younger sisters, a teenage potential hoyden, and the youngest, a dreamy schoolgirl who’s willing to help him plot Hannah’s romantic downfall.

When Love Calls hit nice highs and lows for all characters during this time of change, of unrest and uncertainty. Told from multiple viewpoints, the story shows what family devotion, faith, love, and respect should look like.

Available May 2013 at your favorite book seller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Meet Mary Ball, author of Escape to Big Fork Lake

Meet some of my new friends from the Prism Book Group, starting with Mary Ball, author of Escape to Big Fork Lake

Mary, what do you love about Escape to Big Fork Lake?

I love that Samantha Blacker got a new start in life. How many of us have often fantasized about starting fresh somewhere else 

Introduce us to the story and one character—any one:
Bad luck seems to follow Sam Blacker. She loses her job and faces daily struggles keeping her drunken neighbor away from her. When an unexpected inheritance gives her a chance for a new beginning, Sam, a city girl at heart, is hesitant. However, after a brutal attack she has no choice. Making a decision that will forever change her life she flees to the small fishing town of Big Fork Lake, Alabama and soon finds herself in the arms of Noah Frye. As Sam adjusts to small town life trouble lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching. Inescapable, Sam’s bad luck returns when she stumbles upon a murder and becomes the only suspect.
Exciting, Mary. What one new thing did you learn during the research of this book?
I discovered the beauty that lies in Alabama. (one city I haven't visited yet)

What’s your best marketing tip?

Stay away from blue eye shadow or use it sparely.
Me: Big grin! Thanks, Mary.
Will an inheritance bring new happiness or a trap for murder?

Mary L. Ball lives in the North Carolina. She writes novels and Christian articles. Her passion is weaving together Inspirational Romantic Suspense and Mysteries, which show the imperfect lives of everyday characters as they face hardships while discovering the real meaning of grace. When she’s not writing she enjoys family, the outdoors and fishing. You can visit me at http://MaryLouwrites.weebly.com Stop by and “like” her FB page.

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6-10: National Teacher Appreciation Week

May 6-10: National Teacher Appreciation Week


Just Icing on the Cake

By Hally Franz

Teachers deserve our appreciation. There are many ways my daughter’s school commemorates National Teacher Appreciation Week, held this year May 6-10. Parents serve themed, private, and, most importantly, long lunches to teachers and staff, while monitoring classrooms during these respites. Students bring in flowers to build a vibrant and bountiful spring bouquet. Kids supply treat bags with candy bars and microwave popcorn to satisfy afternoon blood sugar dips. You can brainstorm your own ways to show teachers appreciation this year.

It’s wonderful to close the school year with a celebration of teachers and their hard work, but perhaps we should view this week of pampering as icing on the cake, a final thank you that follows a year of appreciation and support for those educating our children each day. Here are some ways parents can show we value teachers throughout the school year.

Partner with Your Child’s Teacher

Fifty years ago, parents just naturally supported teachers. Children understood that parents held the same expectations for classroom behavior and academic performance as the teacher; there was solidarity between the two. When parents provide that support, it means a lot to a teacher, and it benefits kids. Not only do children clearly know what’s acceptable, they learn to respect authority figures.

Take the Initiative on Communication      

We may have unrealistic expectations regarding communications from teachers. Fortunately, technology in many school districts makes it convenient to check grades, attendance and lunch accounts as often as we like. However, it may be more difficult to get that personal conversation or note from a teacher, especially at the secondary level. With the job of teachers becoming more difficult each year due to larger class sizes and/or increased state mandates, we should take time to address concerns or check-in on things ourselves. That lets the teacher know we’re attentive and, at the same time, we recognize the demands teachers face.  

Words of Thanks Throughout the Year

When school programs or events occur during the year, teachers appreciate not only our attendance, but also our thanks for the extra time they’ve spent to spotlight our children. A bit of praise or a heartfelt compliment means a lot to these hard-working professionals.

Final Assessment

Most teachers are genuinely devoted to their students and the goal of educating. If we find that to be so, let’s give them our appreciation all year long, knowing that this special week in May will be yet another rewarding moment in a year of a job well done!

About the Author:

Hally Franz writes about her observations on family, faith, parenting and people. A former high school guidance counselor turned stay-at-home mom, Hally is a 4-H leader, and she serves as her church secretary and a Bible class teacher. She enjoys traveling with family and monthly book club meetings with pals.