Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts
Marti Pieper

Marti Pieper

Greetings from Marti Pieper in rainy and windy South Carolina! My husband and I are still adjusting to our new life here—and right now, we’re missing the warmth of Florida. Today, I want to bring some warmth to our CAN blog by introducing you to author Donna Schlachter. She has some delightful things to share with us about her newest book and more, so let’s get started!

Welcome, Donna! We’re so glad to have you here on the CAN blog. Will you tell us about your book, please?

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts

Donna Schlachter

Becky Campbell’s father is murdered. Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, might lose his land.  Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture? Will Zeke be forced to give up his dream in order to win Becky’s heart? Read More →



No need to put away favorite holiday traditions just yet! I have more to say about the Yule Log tradition. In a previous post, “The Christmas Yule Log (part one)” I explained the origin (see December 23).

Since most homes now have central heat and gas fireplaces, the Yule log custom has been replaced by a log-shaped cake called Bûche de Noël. In my new book Sara’s Surprise, a Bûche de Noël cake was Sara’s special Yule Log wedding cake.

The name Bûche de Noël originally referred to the Yule Log itself, but was transferred to the dessert after the custom had fallen out of use during the first half of the 20th century. By 1945, Bûche de Noël referred to the cake.

A Yule Log cake (or Bûche de Noël) is a traditional dessert served at Christmas, especially in the United Kingdom, Catalonia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Lebanon, and other French colonies. It’s resembles an actual Yule Log.

The original Yule Log recipe developed during the 19th century. It is traditionally yellow sponge cake baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, iced with chocolate buttercream frosting and rolled to form a cylinder, then iced again on the outside. Often the icing is flavored with liquors or espresso.

Yule logs are often served with one end cut off and set atop the cake, or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped-off branch. Dragging a fork through the icing gives it a bark-like texture, and powdered sugar is sprinkled to resemble snow. It can be decorated with actual tree branches, berries and ivy, or these can be made from marzipan.

Consider making a Yule Log decoration a tradition.

To make a Yule Log to adorn your table, you’ll need the following (real or bought at a craft store):

  • A log about 14 – 18 inches long
  • Pine cones, dried berries, such as cranberries
  • Cuttings of mistletoe, holly, pine needles, and ivy
  • Feathers, cinnamon sticks
  • Festive ribbon (use paper or cloth ribbon, not the synthetic or wire-lined type)
  • A hot glue gun

Wrap the log loosely with the ribbon, leaving enough space that you can insert your branches, cuttings and feathers under the ribbon. You might even want to place a feather on your Yule Log to represent each member of the family. Once branches and cuttings are in place, glue the pinecones, cinnamon sticks and berries.

Use it as a centerpiece for your holiday table, surrounded by candles and holiday greenery. You may ask each family member to write down a wish for the upcoming year and insert notes into the ribbons. Then you can talk about your hopes for abundance, good health, and happiness in the next twelve months.

Susan G. Mathis is vice president of Christian Authors Network and a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, is available now, and book two, Devyn’s Dilemma, releases in April, 2020. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are available now. Visit for more. Susan is also author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale; two children’s picture books; stories in a dozen compilations; and hundreds of published articles. She lives in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her husband, Dale, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters.









Discovering Joy in Philippians

In Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience, we look at verses that show the path to true joy. Having a stable life with a sure foundation does make life more joyful. Let’s take a quick glance at Psalms 15 to see the stepping stones to stability (note the bold faced italicized words):

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain? 

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

Which one of the boldfaced stepping stones will bring more stability, thus more serenity to your life in the coming year? Reread Psalms 15 and ask, “Lord, what do I need to change so that I can dwell on Your Holy Hill and not be shaken?” 

Pam Farrel is a author of 50+ books, including the new Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authored with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher) .



Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger

Happy Friday, CAN Family!

 From the freezy flatlands of Illinois, I come bearing a fascinating tale from bestselling author, award-winning journalist, media professional, speaker and teacher Ginny McCabe. While the retired school superintendent in me bristled just a bit when I read about the award-winning journalist part—making her a natural nemesis in my past life—I’m thrilled to say she’s the real deal and the kind of writer you’d love to learn from. So put down your fears, pick up your beverage of choice, and enjoy the read!



Thank you for joining us, Ginny! Let’s start with what drives you from the inside out. What are your passions?

Award-winning Writer, Ginny McCabe

I love writing and I enjoy being able to share stories with others through writing. Writing has provided a platform for me to tell all kinds of stories. I have had the chance to meet and talk to people from all walks of life. I’ve been able to learn so much, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to write thousands and thousands of stories over the course of my career. Writing has also taken me to many places I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience if I wasn’t an author and a writer. I spend a lot of time writing, researching and interviewing. I love every aspect of writing. Encouraging and inspiring others about writing, publishing, media, and being an author is also a top priority for me through avenues like speaking and teaching. A few of my hobbies when I’m not writing include photography, live music and theater, movies and shopping.

Sounds fabulous! Where are some of the places your writing has taken you?

Based on my own experience, it’s taken years to become an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and writer. I’ve worked extremely hard and been very persistent. I continue to set goals for myself and I have always believed in my dreams. My faith has also been a tremendous, driving factor. I love reflecting back on all the different aspects of my writing life and spiritual journey. God has been at work every step of the way, through all of my experiences, and He has allowed me to use my gifts and talents for His glory. I pray that He continues to guide my steps and open doors for me. This past semester, I taught Newspaper and Introduction to Communications classes to undergraduate students at Cincinnati Christian University. I loved being able to teach young writers new skills, and it also gave me a chance to share my own experiences about writing. Other recent career highlights I’ve been excited about include being named “Freelancer of the Year” in 2018 for my work with Reuters, and I was selected as a “Kiplinger Fellow” in 2019. The Kiplinger program took me to Ohio University for a week to learn more about digital journalism. I spent time with a group of 22 elite writers from all over the globe. In 2019, I also had work published in publications such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes and Entrepreneur. When it comes to my expertise as an author, I specialize in non-fiction, and I have written or collaborated on nine books, including the bestselling Secrets Young Women Keep with Dr. Jill Hubbard from Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins and Rich Chick with Michelle Matson, which shares basic financial principles for women. As far as future book ideas, I would enjoy exploring topics related to news and culture, current events and biographies, to name a few. I also have a passion for youth culture and a number of topics that appeal to women. I have quite a diverse background as far as the writing projects that I’ve been a part of and I am thankful for every opportunity.

Now I’m intimidated…that’s quite a writing resume, Ginny! Let’s redirect and talk about what you do when you are not writing. I know you are a faithful servant and volunteer your time to serve our CAN members in your role as assistant treasurer. Where else do you volunteer your spare time—giving you a more rounded life?

I volunteer with the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). I currently serve as the president of the Cincinnati Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. I am also involved with SPJ on a national level as the membership chair of the Freelance Community and I am part of the Membership Committee. I also volunteer as a media coordinator for the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention and I serve as the assistant treasurer of CAN. I love and appreciate all of these wonderful organizations and I am honored to be involved with each one.

Whew! Now I need a nap! Thank you for sharing a bit more about you with our readers today, Ginny. Now let’s dig a little deeper into your writing life. What would you like our readers to know about you or your writing life?

I have been surrounded by family and friends that love me unconditionally. I have a handful of mentors that have poured into my life and offered solid advice. I’ve had boots on the ground and I have not been afraid to take off running. From the deadlines, expectations, and sheer volume of work, it’s been adventurous and crazy at times. It’s taught me so much through each and every experience. My passion continues to fuel the creativity and further the ways that I’m able to tell people’s stories. I also see my writing abilities as a way to give back or to tell someone else’s story that might otherwise go unheard. I think the biggest thing I’d want to share about being a writer is God knows the desires of your heart and when you seek Him first, He will give you the desires of your heart in ways you didn’t even think were possible. He takes you to places to accomplish things, so that people can see His glory shine through you. And, He often uses everyday people. This is true in many areas of our lives, including our ministry, home-life, relationships and careers. Also, I would say that everyone’s writing path may not follow the same formula with the same rules. Everyone will achieve success, or surpass the finish line in their own way, in God’s time. God’s plan is always bigger than our greatest successes or failures. One piece of advice I’d offer others is to seek God, His direction for your life, keep your pace and stay focused.

 Do you have a funny story relating to your writing or an event?

I have so many fun and neat stories. I’ve laughed and cried. I feel like I could put together a book about my experiences alone – from the people you meet to the places you go and what you get to do. Funny and unusual things happen all the time. I’ve covered some high-profile people and stories that have taken me and my writing experiences to all-new levels. There can be a lot of pressure and demands that come with that. All the experience in the world can’t prepare you for some of the things that might happen. That’s when you rely on the Lord, your intuition, and your best instincts as a writer and as a person. Sometimes, you just have to go with where a story or circumstance takes you, and do your best.

Thank you for sharing a bit more about you with our readers today, Ginny. Before we go, I’d love to hear what’s surprised you most as a writer.

The biggest thing that always surprises me and makes me happy is that people want their stories to be told and they hope their experiences will be heard. Often, being a great writer means being a good listener, an interpreter, and an amazing storyteller. If you would like to connect further, I can be reached at or online at @ginnymccabe on Twitter and at

Ginny McCabe Ohio SPJ Awards

Ginny McCabe is a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, media professional, speaker and teacher. Her work may be seen in publications like Journal-News, Reuters and O, The Oprah Magazine. Her books have been published by Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins and Standard Publishing. McCabe has spent decades covering topics like news, entertainment, real estate, business and faith-inspired themes. McCabe was named as a Kiplinger Fellow in 2019. She serves as president of the Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists, acts as the membership chair of SPJ’s Freelance Community and was named “Best Freelance Writer” in 2018. Ginny is also a member of Christian Authors Network and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Her book with Dr. Jill Hubbard, Secrets Young Women Keep, was honored as an ECPA Silver Medallion winner and has been featured on the Young Adult Bestseller Lists. Connect with Ginny at and on Twitter @ginnymccabe.


Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, dynamic author and speaker Rosalinda Rivera. You’ll love Rosalinda’s heart for Jesus and people!

Welcome, Rosalinda. Please ell us about your book, The Seductive Slayers of Success: Harness Your Strengths to Take Control of Your Destiny.

Rosalinda Rivera

Rosalinda Rivera

Using stories from her own life as well as Scripture, Rosalinda offers encouragement to help you kick the negative aspects of life to the curb and jump start your way to a brighter tomorrow. Like a close friend, she gives inspirational, down-to-earth advice with a dash of humor thrown in. Read More →