New Releases

New Release — Messy Hope by Lori Wildenberg

Messy Hope Help your child overcome anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation
Messy Hope Help your child overcome anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation

Title: Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation

“I’m such a failure.” 

“No one cares about me.” 

“I don’t want to live anymore.”  

If you’ve heard your child utter these words, your fear for their well-being has skyrocketed. But what can you do to help them? Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people.

Our kids must be equipped with more than resilience and positivity. They need hope. 

Parent and family educator Lori Wildenberg encourages you to foster necessary hope growth in your children’s hearts.

More than a self-help book, this is your lifeline to help them overcome depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation to experience a hope-filled life.

Author: Lori Wildenberg

Publisher: New Hope Publishers 

Release: August 23, 2021

ISBN-13: 987-1563094781

Genre: Christian Living/ Parenting/ Mental Health

About the author: 

Helping families build connections that last a lifetime is Lori Wildenberg’s passion. Lori, licensed parent-family educator, speaker, and author of six parenting books, leads the popular MOMS Together Facebook page and group and co-hosts the MOMS Better Together Podcast. The Wildenbergs’ home resides in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

General Inspiration for Writers

On Telephones & Stethoscopes

Did you ever play telephone with the tube inside paper towel rolls? You aren’t alone. The first stethoscope was nothing but a rolled-up piece of paper. In 1816 Dr. Rene Laennec wanted to listen to the sounds of his patient’s heart. Rather than place his ear on the person’s chest, he improvised. It worked! He coined the name stethoscope and called the process auscultation. About twenty-five years later, Dr. Camman added earpieces so he could use both ears. 

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband have five grown children and reside in Atlanta. A Bible teacher and former homeschool mother, she writes a column for Leading Hearts magazine. She has written homeschool curriculum, Bible studies, and a series of historical fiction novels. Presently she serves as president of Christian Authors Guild, gives workshops on writing and parenting, and coaches writers. She is fond of history and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio and #Momlife chats to offer women the elegance of God’s wisdom.

Cynthia L Simmons

Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Rebecca Ondov

Rebecca Ondov
Rebecca Ondov

Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today we have a treat for you—an interview with multi-published author Rebecca Ondov, who tells tales of adventure and faith. Tales involving horses!

General Humor Inspiration for Writers

God’s Humor Is Pretty Fascinating

I’m always fascinated when I read the Bible and identify God’s humor. That’s what happened when I was writing God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-written with my husband, Larry). Our book examines the questions God asks in the Bible. His questions are fascinating because He asks as if He doesn’t know the answers. But of course, He does and that’s what makes it humorous. He knows everything and asks questions to make people think and examine their motives and comprehension.

The book of Job is filled with God asking questions. They are fascinating because many of them are asked with humorous tongue-in-cheek. After God allowed Job to vent his frustration, He pointed things out in His created universe that are pretty outrageous. In Job 38:4, God says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

It would be easy to picture God as a vindictive, sarcastic, and mean-spirited being because of this wording. But knowing God as a lovingly-purposed God gives us confidence He responds to us in only redemptive and loving ways—even when He’s using humorous, huge contrasts to point out His outrageous obvious deeds—and our lack of power. He’s saying, “Have you forgotten the beyond-comprehension things I’ve done and how it contrasts with you? You can trust in Me. If I can lay the foundation of the earth, I’m in charge. But let me know where you were at the time. Maybe I didn’t see you.”

Thankfully, Job responds with humility after God compares Job’s abilities to God’s incredible works. I don’t have any trouble imaging God’s huge smile as He’s asking His question. He smiles at us also when we understand how He is reaching out to us.

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books and a thousand blog posts and articles. She has spoken in 9 foreign countries and over 30 US States. Her books include women’s Bible studies, devotions, Christian living topics, and commentaries. She and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.

General In The News Marketing

Excellence in Marketing Awards Open Aug. 1st!

Excellence in Marketing logo
Excellence in Marketing Awards

The Christian Authors Network announces the Excellence in Marketing Awards opens Aug. 1, 2021!

Updated name enhances the purpose of the Excellence in Marketing Awards: To recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.

Enter Aug. 1-31, 2021 — 2 categories: fiction and nonfiction.

Open to traditional and indie.

Need not be a member of CAN.

To read the rules and prepare your entries:

We look forward to your entries! Awards Gala in November 2021, more details to come.

Book reviews

Book Review: Right On Time by Angela Breidenbach

Mail-Order Standoff

Check out a new review for a story in The Mail-Order Standoff, which includes four stories of mail-order brides in the Old West who have second thoughts and place marriage plans on hold. How will their grooms win their trust?

Right on Time, the first historical story in The Mail-Order Standoff by Angela Breidenbach, is set in 1883 Montana. Could two people be less suited than an English gentleman and a western gal who is used to giving the orders? From the wild Montana Territory to the refined Kentucky horse farms, can Timothy prove worthy of Tara’s heart?

* * *

Check out this review from a happy reader:

Review: The Mail-Order Standoff—4 Historical Stories

“I just finished your story “Right On Time”! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Very clever and very uplifting!

You are a great and fun writer!  Thanks for taking the time to write!”

God bless you….Bonnie S.—Indianapolis 

* * *

Angela Breidenbach, CAN president

Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist with specialties in England, Scotland, and Lecturing. She’s also a multiple ECPA and Amazon best-selling author. She writes Christian and family-friendly historical novels that are steeped in local flavor, lively characters, adventure, romance, and genealogy. She’s also the president of the Christian Authors Network. Angela lives in Missoula, MT with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who can shake hands, lay down and roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. Catch her new podcast, Genealogy Publishing Coach, launching in September. Memberships: CAN, CIPA, DAR
Social Media: Bookbub, Facebook, Instagram, MeWe, Twitter: @AngBreidenbach

Encouragement Humor

What’s Wrong With These Boots?

Author Yvonne Ortega blesses us with today’s Fascinating Friday post!

Ouch! What’s going on? These boots are supposed to be my comfortable ones. The rain is attacking me vertically and horizontally. I need to get the trash can to the curb for pickup. Gremlins must have put nails in my knee-high rain boots. 

They were buried in the back of the hall closet. Only gremlins could get in there. 

I looked down at those shiny black boots. My other shoes fit. My snow boots fit, and the company that made them made the rain boots in the same size. 

Forget the logic. That’s for mathematicians and scientists. I prefer languages, music, and dancing. I would do well as Mary Poppins.  

Help me, Lord. I can sing and dance in the rain but to suffer for an unknown reason seems unfair. Your servant Moses put up with those grumblers in the desert for forty years. For one act of disobedience, you didn’t let him go into the Promised Land. What did I do wrong?

I have writing deadlines to meet. Either stop the rain or the pain without taking me home early. Please find me a remedy.

Hmm. Last year, women saturated their legs in Vaseline to slide into tight jeans. This year, they wear yoga pants. I can coat my feet with Vaseline before I wear those boots again. 

Once back in the house, I removed those torture chambers.

I put my hand into the left boot. Out came a balled-up plastic bag. The same thing happened with the right boot. I remembered a trip to Canada before the pandemic. It rained. On my return, it didn’t. To prevent crushing the boots in my suitcase, I put a plastic bag in the toe of each one.

The boots look great. My feet are crushed, but I can write.

Yvonne Ortega speaks with honesty and humor as she shares her struggles to help women find freedom, joy and peace in life’s challenges. She’s multi-interviewed for her Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Book Series. Yvonne celebrates life at the beach where she walks, blows bubbles, builds sandcastles, and dances.

Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Caryl McAdoo

Caryl McAdoo
Caryl McAdoo

Greetings from Marti Pieper in summery Seneca, South Carolina. So far our summer has included lots of sunshine, the greenery of our beautiful mountains, and visits from family. Today, I have the special pleasure of visiting with a new writing friend, Caryl McAdoo. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Welcome, Caryl. Please tell us about your book, Skullduggery.

Skullduggery by Caryl McAdoo
Skullduggery by Caryl McAdoo

A brother is for adversity. Friends discover an axe embedded into a human skull in a derelict river bottoms shack. Four friends set out to discover who it belonged to and who left the ax behind, and they’re going to write a book about it—a story within a story!

So with that title and description, I’m curious: What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always thought it would be fun to write mystery but found my whole way of writing had to be adjusted slightly. My first stab at it launched last January, Duplicity at the Lowell House, the Dallas hotel built and owned by Morgan and Charity Lowell—also foretold in a dream (Book Four, Leaving Texas).

Near the end of that story, over supper, four friends—the Lowells and their guests, Henry and May Buckmeyer—hit upon a topic of conversation that sets a fire under the ever-curious Charity. Right then and there she talks her husband into not only investigating, but suggests he write a book with May, a dime novelist of some fame. That was my inspiration for writing Skullduggery in the Sulphur River Bottoms, book two in the Cross Timbers Mystery.

I might mention that Henry Buckmeyer is the patriarch from my first historical romance family saga series, Texas Romances. This thrills me to visit again with beloved characters I’d set aside after ten novels! 

I love it when, as a reader, I get to learn more about familiar characters. What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?

I live close to the Sulphur River. In the bottoms is the boundary between Red River County and Fannin and Titus Counties, so I’ve seen it flood like crazy since we moved to Clarksville, Texas. When researching for this book, I discovered there was a record flood in 1840 (the setting for my story within a story) that totally washed away the then-thriving town of Jonesborough just north of Clarksville. All that’s left is a tombstone.

I also learned that the Sulphur Basin has the largest average watershed yield of any major river basin in Texas because of the region’s high precipitation and low evaporation rates. This corner of Texas, located in the Cross Timbers with oaks and pines a-plenty, is my home—The Peaceable –on thirty-four acres, and I love it. I love using it in my stories!

That’s fascinating, Caryl. How do you share Christ in your writing?

I share Christ through my characters who love God, readers can see the fruit of the Spirit exhibited: kindness, patience, gentleness, longsuffering, faith, peace, love, goodness and joy. I think of Autumn Hope in book seven in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga. She’s loved the Lord and lived to please Him since a small girl.

As a preacher’s kid, serving came naturally. She spent the last years—her would-be courting time—caring for her dying mother, Liberty O’Neal Harrell, and missed all the young men coming ‘round. Most all of them were off fighting the War Between the States anyway.

Sometimes it’s my hero and sometimes the heroine, but at least one character in every story enjoys a strong relationship with Jesus, trusts and obeys Him, and another carries an emptiness in their hearts. They are searching, often without even knowing. Through my characters, and the way they live, I share the way, the truth, and the life.

My author’s motto is “Praying my story gives God glory!” I love it that reviewers often comment that they love the way Scriptures are seamlessly woven into my stories and never get “in your face.” My characters share truths I’ve learned in my own walk—for instance, not believing in luck.

Scripture says all good things are from above, so there is no such thing as good luck—if it’s good, it’s a blessing from God. Conversely, there’s no bad luck.

If something bad happened, it may be consequences of our bad choices, or it may just be a trial or tribulation we’re going through that God will use for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose. So one character may say, “Good luck” or “What awful luck, ” and another will respond with, “I don’t believe in luck,” using the explanation I just did.

I love it when readers say my book made them ponder truth and drew them into a closer relationship with our Father. Of course, there’s always an invitation for some character to accept Christ as their Savior. I explain “the way”—how much He loves them and what He did to be able to forgive their sin, how no sin or sinner is too bad to come to God.     

Amen! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?

Salvation, redemption, forgiveness, no fear, no worry, obedience, trust. Like the wonderful old hymn says, “There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey!” That is what I believe the gospel boils down to: trusting Him and obeying Him. This is my sixtieth book, so I’ve repeated a lot of godly themes!

What a wonderful way to honor the Lord through your work! Why do you write historical Christian romance?

When I first met Mary Sue Seymour, my New York agent (now deceased), at a small East Texas Writer’s Conference, she hugged my neck and told me, “I’ve never met a McAdoo who wasn’t family!” Yes, her maiden name was McAdoo! God was like hitting us both over the head with a velvet hammer: “Pay attention, daughters!”

So we (husband and I) volunteered to drive her the three hours back to DFW Airport and during our conversation, she said, “Write me a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s, and I’ll sell it.” We did, and she did. We wrote Vow Unbroken in nine weeks and sent it to her. She put us under contract for representation and sold it in two months to Simon & Schuster. From meeting her to signing with S&S took less than six months.

That’s an incredible story! I remember Mary Sue—she helped launch many authors (even if they didn’t share her maiden name). Now, please tell us about your funniest moment with a reader.

I was at a book event and was signing a book with the reader standing in front of me, and she kept talking to me while I was writing (there was a line, but I should’ve just stopped). So I tried to concentrate on the note I was writing, and I got to the end. She said something about Diane, and I signed her book—my name—as ”Diane”!

I must have had a funny expression on my face, and she burst out laughing and said to leave it, that it’d be a one-of-a-kind! I signed my real name under it with a little “Ooops” beside it! We both laughed and laughed! 

What talents do you have aside from storytelling?

God has certainly blessed me. I’ve always loved to sing, not that I’m terrific, but once upon a time, husband Ron gave me voice lessons as a gift, and the teacher said I had a five-octave range. I was young then. I’ve never been shy to sing in front of people and was almost always on the praise team wherever I went to church. He gives me new songs, too. I’ve recorded a few of them on YouTube, including one titled The Armour of God. Here’s the link to one, titled the Armour of God.

He also blessed me with a good art sense. I enjoy painting and have done fun murals on nursery walls for parents (got paid for it) and my own children and grandsugars—life-sized Disney characters or woodland or under the sea themes with Shamu jumping out over a window. Ron cut the under part of him with a fin out of wood to mount over the window, like a valance of whale! My daddy was a sign painter most my life, working for himself, so it’s in my genes, I guess. 

Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?

We have five outside dogs: Faith, the matriarch and leader of the pack; Honey BooBoo; Henry PupPup; Bonnie BellBell; and Elsa, plus one tiny Yorkie/Maltese mix named Sassy who lives in the house. I’ve had characters in different stories named Faith, Henry, Honey, Bonnie and Sassy! I love writing the animals into stories. My AQHA mare, Bliss, appears in Hearts Stolen, book two of my first family saga series Texas Romances.

We also have an undetermined, ever-changing number of barn cats to keep the rodent population in check, but only a few will let me touch them.

Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?

In order to be certain my writing is completed in a timely manner, I write in my calendar a self-imposed deadline several months earlier than it’s actually needed. Of course, life happens and often things pile on top of each other, and I get too far behind, and I find myself staying up late finishing something that has to be turned in tomorrow, but I do get it done! Whatever it takes—unless I’m in the hospital or some natural event keeps me from it—I’m on time! Oh yes, sometimes I plum forget!

I think we can all relate! Please tell us about your next project.

My next release, Texas Timbers, coming September 3, is a part of my fourth annual “Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection” and also my seventh title in my Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga. Here’s its back-cover copy: He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains the Lord’s favor . . . is the reverse true?

Can a romance born of prophecy thrive? Autumn Hope knows for a fact the man she’s to marry cuts timber in the Sulphur River bottoms. She’s seen him in her dreams—exactly what he looks like and where he’s working then even goes so far as to buy that block of timberland.

Of course, she convinces her father she must travel the hundred and fifty miles to meet the man of her dreams. If he isn’t to be her husband, why would she kiss him in her night vision?

The lady’s sudden appearance baffles Sean. Craziness needs a keeper, but how did she ever find him or know his crosscut saw would break? Wounded by lost love, he cannot believe the tall tale the pretty lady is spinning. It has to be a scam, right? God doesn’t work that way . . . or does He? 

Marti Pieper
Marti Pieper

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Caryl. I feel as though you and I just sat out on your back porch and had a good old-fashioned Texas chat!

To learn more about Caryl McAdoo and her books, please visit Caryl’s website.

For His glory,

Marti Pieper

Marti’s website

Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Sherry Kyle

Sherry Kyle
Sherry Kyle

Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of my closest personal friends, multi-published author Sherry Kyle. Sherry and I met many years ago at a writers’ conference, when we were both young moms with publishing dreams. Now Sherry has published women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance novellas, and children’s books—both fiction and nonfiction! Today she’s sharing about her swoony Christmas novella, which has just been released as an audiobook.

Encouragement Inspiration for Writers

Better Than Nostradamus

By Jesse Florea

Jesse Florea
Jesse Florea

Growing up, stories of Nostradamus intrigued me. I was amazed that a man who lived in the 1500s could predict events that occurred 400 years later, such as rise of Adolf Hitler or the assignation of President John F. Kennedy.

No, I wasn’t a Christian. But I was curious. 

I began investigating Nostradamus’ actual claims and discovered his puzzling poetic predictions could be interpreted numerous ways. In addition, he made more than 6,000 prophecies. With that many guesses, certainly a few would come true—especially when he used such ambiguous language.

My curious nature didn’t end when I became a Christian as a teenager. I dug into the Bible and discovered dozens of men who God gave the ability to foretell the future. These prophets didn’t use puzzling language like Nostradamus. Their predictions were purposeful and clear.

The fact that Jesus’ birth fulfills dozens of Old Testament prophecies has been chronicled by many scholars and writers. But as I put together Defend Your Faith: 100 Devotions for Kids With Questions, I discovered an amazing prophecy about the ancient city of Tyre.

God’s prophet Ezekiel predicted this city would be completely destroyed. At the time, Tyre was one of the most powerful cities in the world. Nobody would’ve thought it could be brought to ruins. But Ezekiel said its stones, timber, and soil would be thrown into the water (Ezekiel 26:12).

Soon after Ezekiel gave his prophecy, Tyre was attacked by Babylon. After thirteen years of fighting, Babylon defeated Tyre and left it in ruins. However, some of Tyre’s people escaped to an island offshore and built another strong city. Nearly 250 years later, Alexander the Great conquered that island city by building a half-mile long path through the water. History shows Alexander’s armies created the “path” by throwing all the rocks, lumber, and dirt from the original site of Tyre into the sea. 

Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled!

The accuracy with which this prophecy was fulfilled caused some people in recent history to claim the book of Ezekiel was written after Tyre was destroyed. But Ezekiel lived and prophesized nearly three hundred years before Alexander the Great attacked Tyre in 332 B.C. 

The Bible is full of prophecies like this. And it’s this kind of detail that continues to strengthen my faith. All of God’s Word is true . . . even when something seems impossible. 

Jesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for more nearly twenty-eight years as the editor of the children’s magazines—Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. He has written or edited more than forty books, including the Defend Your Faith apologetics Bible for kids and the Case for Christ Young Reader’s Edition with Lee Strobel.