Jayme H. Mansfield
Jayme H. Mansfield

Jayme H. Mansfield

Warm December greetings from Marti Pieper in Seneca, South Carolina, where our temperatures are cold enough to let us know winter is on the way but no doubt warmer than those where today’s interview subject lives in Colorado. I’m delighted to welcome author Jayme H. Mansfield to the CAN blog today. I know she has much to share with us!

Welcome, Jayme; please tell us about the book we’re featuring today.

Seasoned is more than a love story—it’s a human story. Eighty-year-olds Essie and Lou are widowed and lonely after long marriages. After online dating brings them together, each must decide if past secrets will keep them from a second chance at love. Through grace, forgiveness, and restoration, it’s never too late to start living the truth and embracing that love knows no age. Read More →

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Building Relationships in the Crazy COVID Crisis

by Susan G Mathis

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship; it will affect every aspect of your relationships. Good personal communication is the act of revealing yourself—your past experiences, present feelings, and future dreams. It’s sharing your fears, needs, and desires carefully and honestly. Communicating well is also about setting boundaries, confronting problems, admitting when you’re wrong, rejecting fearmongering and negativity, and extending grace to each other.
But in this crazy COVID season, it feels so isolating, so anti-relationship, and so self-withdrawing. In short, it’s scary. It’s confusing. It’s lonely. It makes us want to hide from others.
And it’s unhealthy.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they broke the communication they had with their Creator and caused isolation from Him. They covered up and hid. They withdrew, isolated, and lost relationship.
God never intended that. He knew that a life of withdrawing and hiding would be painful and counterproductive. That’s why God delights in His people fighting back fears of connection, overcoming negative communication patterns, and learning to communicate in healthy and loving ways. And I dare say, He still wants that for us, even during this COVID season.
Connecting, communicating, and not isolating might look a little different during this time. You may have to be proactive in connecting with others through Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, social media, or the phone. You may have to fight the isolation and the fear that comes with this COVID season. And you may have to proactively reveal yourself by communicating your fears, frustrations, concerns—and your faith.
In my latest novella, Reagan’s Reward, Reagan struggled to build healthy relationships and communicate with those different from her. She tried to isolate and fear overtook her. And she plunged into a dark place.
God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. God wants us to encourage others. God wants us to be authentic and hopeful.
This will pass, and everything does. But God’s truths never change. Communicate that, and we’ll all be encouraged. And healthier for it.

Susan G. Mathis

Susan G. Mathis

Susan G Mathis is vice president of CAN and an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

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His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

We shared a review of His Gift on October 10, 2020, and here’s another terrific review for this novel!

His Gift: This historical novel is suitable for all ages, but the main character is in her late teens. This book is written to appeal to the YA audience, the NA audience, and every adult who has ever cared to dream.

Brace yourself for a thrilling race with twists and turns as a young woman is determined to see her dream come true. On the cusp of the stock market crash of 1929, seventeen-year-old Molly has aspirations for a career in music after high school. With the passion of an athlete preparing for the Olympics, she trains relentlessly to become the best she can be.

As her world collapses in unimaginable ways, she is left to find peace and purpose in the midst of her crisis. The message of His Gift is universal to anyone who has ever dared to dream in spite of uncontrollable circumstances. With Molly, the reader will discover the hope and peace found in a life yielded to the Giver of all gifts.

 

A review from Dr. Craig von Buseck, reprinted by permission:

Why are so many people intrigued by the character of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life? He was a talented young man with great dreams who ended up living a very different life than he expected because of life’s unexpected turns. The character of Molly in Joan Benson’s book, His Gift, is in many ways a female version of George Bailey. She is a talented young female pianist who wins a student audition for the opportunity to play with the Detroit Symphony. The Great Depression dashed that dream just as it was beginning to blossom. Like George Bailey, Molly must find ways to overcome the grinding disappointment to discover her own wonderful life. Joan Benson has crafted a delightful tale based on her mother’s story that is sure to inspire you to pursue your dreams despite all odds.

~ Dr. Craig von Buseck, author of I am Cyrus, Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel, and Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story

 

* * *

Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan Benson is a freelance writer, a former (K-8) classroom teacher and reading specialist, and a wife a mother of four adult children. She enjoys traveling to spend time with her eight cherished grandchildren who live in various parts of the nation. Joan has produced devotional materials for CBN.com, written numerous magazine articles (most recently for LifeWay’s ParentLife and Regent University’s The Christian Leader). She developed children’s Sunday School curriculum for over twelve years for LifeWay. In addition, Joan continues to write for an array of educational publishers (K-12), developing both teacher and student facing materials, including fiction, nonfiction, and assessments. Joan’s debut historical novel, His Gift, was released in July 2020. Joan and her husband, Jan, live in Chesapeake, VA, with their two Bichon Frisé pets.

 

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Most writers find inspiration in things they notice or read about—I’ve certainly read a news article and thought, “Hmm, that would make a good plot for a romantic suspense book.” For two of my romantic suspense stories, the general plotline has its roots in real life.

I based Dangerous Christmas Memories on a short news item about two celebrities who tied the knot in Las Vegas but didn’t realize it was a “real” marriage until years later. In my story, the heroine literally forgot she had said “I do,” in Vegas, then disappeared while the hero spent years looking for her.

And those two celebrities? They only found out they really were married when one was preparing for his own wedding and an attorney uncovered the previous marriage license record.

Illusion of Love-coverFor Illusion of Love, the genesis was the real-life story of a friend, who had experienced a heartbreaking—and rather horrible—online relationship. When I heard her story, I knew I wanted to write about it but with my own twists and turns. In fact, anyone who knows her story wouldn’t find many similarities with mine at all. But the basic idea, the seed that grew into Illusion of Love, was based on a true story.

But what makes using “true” stories as the foundation for a fiction story so much fun is that we can write our own endings—and our own beginnings and middles too. We don’t want fiction to mirror real life too closely!

 

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child. Her romantic suspense books include Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense), Mistletoe & Murder (Seshva Press) and Illusion of Love (Seshva Press). Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, one foster child and three cats. Connect with her at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

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Linda Wood Rondeau
Linda Wood Rondeau

Linda Wood Rondeau

Welcome to the CAN blog. Davalynn Spencer here from wintry Colorado, and I’m pleased to chat with author Linda Wood Rondeau today about her featured book, Second Helpings.

Linda, can you give us a brief overview of this intriguing book?

Can this marriage be saved? Today is Jocelyn Johnson’s forty-fifth birthday. Frustrated with her passionless marriage, Jocelyn, a radio talk show host, contemplates an affair with her handsome cohost. Her hoped for tryst goes awry when family needs cause her to put the affair on a back burner.  Read More →

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