Greetings from Marti Pieper in lovely Seneca, South Carolina, where April showers came in March this year! No April Fools here today as I introduce author, editor, and friend Dr. Craig von Buseck! Craig and I first met at the Florida Christian Writers Conference a number of years ago and have renewed our acquaintance at various conferences along the way. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from him.
Welcome, Craig! Please tell us about your featured book.
In the greatest victory of his life, Ulysses S. Grant overcame financial collapse and throat cancer to write an American classic and to care for his wife after his death. Read this inspiring true story in Victor! The Final Battle of Ulysses S. Grant, from Dr. Craig von Buseck.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the honor of interviewing author, speaker, and relationship expert Deb DeArmond. Deb writes and speaks about family relationships, but her latest book . . . well, honk if you love the concept!
Welcome, Deb! Please tell us about your book Bumper Sticker Be-Attitudes.
Bumper Sticker Be-Attitudes is a humorous devotional built on the belief there are spiritual principles everywhere we look—if we open our eyes to the truth. From the bumper of the car in front of us to the fortune cookie after the Chow Mein, one-liners meant to entertain often hold a deeper meaning when seen through the eyes of Christ-followers.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California, where I’m processing the wonderful time I had at the online West Coast Christian Writers Conference last month. I had the absolute joy of serving on the conference leadership team with my good friend Jeanette Hanscome—who is our lovely guest today! A multi-published author in a variety of genres, Jeanette has some exciting news.
Welcome, Jeanette! Please tell us about your new project.
I just signed a contract to write two novels for Annie’s Fiction as part of their Rose Cottage Book Club series. It’s work-for-hire, and Annie’s created the cast of characters and the story world, but I couldn’t be more thrilled. The series takes place on Nantucket. It centers around a book club, most of the characters are knitters, crocheters, and quilters, and one of them owns a bookstore. It’s a perfect fit for me. Getting this contract felt like confirmation that fiction is the right path for me right now. In a way it also felt like God’s way of saying, “You have my permission to write something fun.”
Welcome Readers. Davalynn Spencer here, pleased to introduce today’s featured author, Linda Goldfarb and her book, LINKED® for Couples: Maximizing Heart Connections One Link at a Time, co-authored with fellow CAN member Linda Gilden.
Linda, please give us a quick overview of your book.
Hitting #1 across five separate Amazon categories upon release, LINKED® for Couples Quick Guide to Personalities is a communication shovel to help readers dig deep into their relationships, their hearts, how they think, and how they react to situations, both big and small.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing Winnie Griggs, author of 25 novels, which have won awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award! Her novels have had a Western setting, both historical and contemporary, but her latest novel branches into a new genre for her—Amish fiction.
Welcome, Winnie! Please tell us about your book, Her Amish Wedding Quilt.
Spirited Greta’s been told to change or she’ll be a spinster. When her last hope for a husband chooses another, Greta pours her efforts into her quilts.
Widower Noah needs a new wife so when Greta offers to matchmake, he accepts. But no one seems right. Have they unexpectedly grown close?
February greetings from Marti Pieper, who is grateful to have had both power and water throughout this chilly month! I’m also grateful to reintroduce a familiar face to our CAN readers today. It belongs to our multitalented president, Angela Breidenbach. I first met Angie when we were both teaching at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I then had the privilege of working closely with her on the CAN newsletter for several years. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her and her books.
Welcome, Angie! I’m so glad you’re with us today. Please tell us about your latest book.
The Mail-Order Standoff: Marriage plans put on hold in the Old West when four mail-order brides have second thoughts. How will their grooms win their trust?
This four-in-one book includes Right on Time by Angela Breidenbach. 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?
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I do, but I’m constantly working toward them. Them—because as I achieve one, I move to the next on my list. Oh yes, I have a long list. Currently I’m close to graduating with my genealogical studies degree and specialty in English records. I’d like to add more specialties (halfway to Scottish records already) and take small professional tours on genealogical research visits to Scotland, England, and other countries. I’m also working toward having my screenplays produced on TV and big screen. I dream of writing movies that touch lives and of leaving a body of work. I’d also like to have an endless lap pool someday inside a heated sunroom. Why not, right? Who wants to walk out in the snow to swim? Some very big stretch dreams.
Especially when you live in Montana, as I know you do! What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
Music. I love singing and am learning the harp. I hope to use both of those talents in church and music therapy. I also really enjoy teaching/speaking on genealogy, writing, and historical topics.
You amaze me with all you fit into a day! Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I’ve had a variety of jobs from airlines to radio to heating company co-owner (still am, but no longer in the day-to-day). Every job I’ve had informs my writing as I create characters. Once I’m finished with my last few genealogy classes, I’ll take genealogy projects for clients starting late summer/fall 2021.
Anyone who follows you on social media knows the answer to this one: Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Muse, my fe-lion executive assistant, inspires a lot of humor. I share our Muse and Writer conversations on social media and my website. He also inspired An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar. We hope to work together more this year to produce A-Muse-ing Tales series in the genre of cat comedy.
Sounds purrfect! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Themes are a little harder to define because they’re not as interesting as the story world that reveals the deeper meaning. But the themes I tend toward are unique life experiences that reveal our life purpose and overcoming. For instance, I’ve written nonfiction in story form that deal with one specific characteristic like becoming a confident woman in Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience, and I’ve taken that same thing and built it into a character’s sense of not being good enough in the historical romance Right On Time (Mail-Order Standoff).
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Writing is telling stories whether fiction, nonfiction, articles, screenwriting. The biggest thing to me is that as a writer, I don’t read one genre or write only one genre because I’m interested in so many different things. As much as the industry tries to box writers into brands, and we have to establish that for readers, but my writing interests are hugely varied.
I understand that well! What inspired you to write this book?
I love following obscure historical tidbits, then setting characters into those interesting events. This one is in 1883, the year my own grandfather was born. The time zones, as we know them today, did not exist. Train crashes killed thousands of people because clocks and watches were set to the sun at high noon at the nearest town. I was fascinated by how something so mundane and normal today changed the entire world my grandfather was born into. I wondered how something that seemed so small might actually have caused a huge shift in societal life. What would that be like? How would that affect families? Business? I was stunned how long it took for the time zones to be normalized, but how it immediately saved lives. Some of the smallest decisions have the biggest impact.
And what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Change, though scary in the expectation, becomes an amazing opportunity. Change in hindsight becomes normal, and fear disappears as that change becomes normal life. Each time we conquer the fear of change, we gain confidence.
So true. So what was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I’ve been in college for that genealogy degree. Writing while in college, while speaking at conferences, and while caring for my family was really an adventure in pushing myself and my capabilities.
And I know you did it with excellence. Please tell us about your next project.
Coming this summer, I’m excited to release my Queen of the Rockies series. It’s set in Helena, Montana, starting in 1889. Helena was a very modern and beautiful city in what was considered the wild west. I love this gorgeous series full of vivid characters and real history.
Muse and Writer will also release A-Muse-ing Tales, book 1, cat comedy for the whole family in time for Christmas.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in the Redwood State! Today I have the joy of interviewing multi-published author and professional editor Kathy Ide. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kathy at writers’ conferences, especially when she served as director of Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in the redwoods. Yes, I mentioned redwoods twice—read on to hear about Kathy’s redwood hobby—and to hear about her latest book as well!
Welcome, Kathy! Please tell us about your book, Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors.
Editing Secrets can help aspiring, beginning, or established authors polish their writing so it communicates clearly and has a powerful impact on readers. It contains a treasure trove of suggestions from best-selling authors whose books have touched the hearts and lives of readers around the world.
Davalynn Spencer here, pleased to introduce you to our regular host today, Sarah Sundin. It’s her turn for the spotlight, and what a light it is for her new book, When Twilight Breaks.
Sarah, tell us a little about this book.
Munich, 1938—Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent determined to expose the tyranny in Nazi Germany. After brutality hits close, American graduate student Peter Lang uses his connections in the Nazi Party to feed information to Evelyn, pulling them deeper into danger as the world marches toward war.
Your titles are always so intriguing, drawing us into the lives of people impacted by WW2. What inspired you to write this particular book in your collection?
When we visited Ellis Island several years ago, I fed family names into their computer. I found a record of my grandfather’s trip from Hamburg back to New York after his junior year abroad in Munich. In 1936. I knew he’d studied in Germany—he was a professor of German—but it had never occurred to me that he’d studied in Nazi Germany. My novelist brain got to spinning. What was it like for Americans living in Hitler’s Germany? And—of course—what sort of trouble could I get my characters in?
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing a former Californian, now a Michigander—Carol Grace Stratton is one of our newest CAN members and a multi-published author of fiction as well as a nonfiction book for frequent movers. And she has a fun dream career . . .
Welcome, Carol! Please tell us about your novel, Deep End of the Lake.
Ally has it all: an upcoming wedding, new writing gig, and two great kids. But when life turns upside-down with a rebellious daughter, shaky job, and shakier engagement, she leans on her newfound faith, learning if you’re in the deep end of the lake, you’d better learn how to swim.
Greetings from Marti Pieper in chilly Seneca, South Carolina. As I wait out the pandemic in my warm home, I can’t help but think about my friend Grace Fox and what her winter must be like where she lives. But I’ll let her tell you about that—as well as her new devotional book, which sounds perfect for such a time as this.
Welcome, Grace! Please tell us about your new book, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos.
This devotional contains 90 meditations and thoughtful quotes written to encourage and strengthen those whose minds are on overload. After a year like 2020, we all know people in that position.
For sure! And why did you write this book?
I’ve faced a few crises, and I understand the need for encouragement from God’s Word in those desperate times. I also understand how it’s difficult to be in that position and remember what day it is let alone focus on reading and recalling a lengthy Scripture passage. I wrote this book to provide a resource for those whose hearts are heavy and minds are on overload. My prayer is that they’ll find each day’s brief meditation doable and, as a result, discover the hope and strength needed to survive and thrive in their circumstances.
That sounds like a wonderful way to minister through your writing. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will grow in their knowledge of who God is—wise, sovereign, strong, and good. As they grow in their understanding of His character, they will learn to trust Him even though they feel like their lives have flipped upside down. Trust will help them hold onto hope, and fear won’t be able to drag them into despair.
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
I wrote this book during the pandemic and a family crisis that involved my elderly mother and her battle with a brain tumor. At the same time, I was suffering from a frozen shoulder and a broken tailbone. Studying the Word and writing these meditations kept my mind on God and His promises during those difficult days. The overall message of learning to trust His wisdom, sovereignty, strength, and goodness kept me anchored in the storm.
That’s beautiful. What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
I always return to the importance of knowing who God is. Everything about us flows from those beliefs, so we’d better ensure we’re basing our beliefs on the truth of God’s Word.
I love that. Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
One day about seven years ago, I felt very discouraged with my writing career or lack thereof. Seriously, I was ready to quit writing and turn my entire focus to working alongside my husband in our ministry. I remember praying, “God, if You want me to stop writing, then I’m ready and willing. But if You want me to persevere, then I’m ready and willing. Please show me what direction You want me to take, and do it today.”
My phone rang five hours later. A woman’s voice said, “Is this Grace Fox, the author?” I said yes. She continued, “Please don’t think I’m a whacko or a groupie. I’ve never called an author, but today I felt compelled to phone you and tell you that your book, Moving From Fear to Freedom changed my life. And for what it’s worth, I also feel compelled to say, ‘Please keep writing. We need more books that teach the truth.’”
I sat in stunned silence for a few moments, and then I started to cry. I told her what I’d prayed that morning, and then she started to cry. “I heard Him,” she said. “I heard God!” “Yes, you did,” I said. “And you did what He said even though obedience didn’t feel comfortable. Thank you for listening and obeying.” An unforgettable moment, that was.
Truly unforgettable! What ministries are you involved in, and why?
In 2007, a USA-based mission organization –“International Messengers”—contacted my husband and me and asked us to launch its Canadian office. We’d been missionaries in Nepal in the ’80s, and we’d worked at a year-round Christian camp from 1996-2007, so we were well familiar with career missions and said yes to this new opportunity.
Our interdenominational organization is a sending agency that serves 225 missionaries in 28 countries. We recruit, train, and lead volunteer teams to host evangelistic English-learning family camps in Eastern Europe every summer. As part of my role, I teach missionaries-in-training in the Middle East and have trained pastors and church leaders in Nepal. Why do I do these things? Because I felt God’s call on my life to career missions when I was in sixth grade. Believers are to be His ambassadors, and this ministry is His specific assignment for me within that capacity.
And you carry it out so well, I know. But it seems everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I list my writing deadlines on paper and keep that paper beside my computer at all times for easy reference. I gauge how much time each assignment will take and what my schedule looks like, and I do my best to stick to it. If that means spending less time on social media, so be it. If it means having to get up at 4:30 for several mornings, I do it. It helps that my husband works from home and offers to help with household tasks like laundry and meal preparation when deadlines are tight.
Great encouragement! What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
I enjoy walking, photography, beginning watercolor painting, and sailing. My husband and I live on a forty-eight-foot sailboat near Vancouver, British Columbia, and the coastal islands provide scenic, solitary space when we need to step back from ministry and rest. I also value every minute I get with my three children, their spouses, and my nine grandchildren.
I understand! Now, please tell us about your next project.
I taught two women’s Bible studies via Zoom during the latter half of 2020 and am developing them into projects that other women’s groups can easily use.
I know those will meet a need as well. Thank you, Grace, for sharing your work and your life with us today.