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 →

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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 gmwriteon@aol.com or online at @ginnymccabe on Twitter and at www.ginnymccabe.com.

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 www.ginnymccabe.com and on Twitter @ginnymccabe.

 

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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 →

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DebHaggertyphoto
Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Happy New Year from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, Deb Haggerty. I met Deb recently at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, where she was representing the publishing house she owns, Elk Lake Publishing. Since I know many of her authors—and quite a few are CAN members!—I was delighted to meet her in person. And now I’m delighted to interview her.

Welcome to CAN, Deb! Please tell us about your book, These Are the Days of My Life.

Deb Haggerty

Deb Haggerty

Days is a series of articles I wrote about various aspects of my life. I never wanted to write a book, but I enjoyed writing vignettes for other people’s books. Our CAN president, Angie Breidenbach, suggested I make my own compilation. I exclaimed to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that!” Read More →

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Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger

Happy Friday CAN Members!

Catherine Finger here with the great privilege of interviewing CAN Member Donn Taylor. Donn is a prayer warrior and serves our CAN members through his tireless prayers and encouragement. His faithful organization of the weekly online CAN prayer group blesses us all. When he’s not praying, Donn can be found inspiring others in person and via his daily Facebook posts. His wisdom, warmth and good humor is revealed in a new way today.

Thank you for joining us today, Donn! And thank you for your tireless service of prayer over the members of CAN and encouragement. We are looking forward to learning a little more about you. Let’s start with what drives you, Donn. What are your personal passions?

Donn Taylor

Donn Taylor

Donn: First is a vision of Western Civilization as one aspect of God’s calling his people out of the popular culture of their day. (That process began as far back as Abraham, but let’s begin with the early Christian church.) The world of Christ’s time was incredibly cruel, even savage. Through Christianity, the West (primarily Europe) gradually emerged from that savagery into what we now think of as civilization, though the process is far from complete. But as of today, only Christendom has that quality, while the rest of the world remains as savage and cruel as it was in the time of Christ. Only Christendom has the answer. The great exceptions within Christendom were Communism and National Socialism, both of which were specifically anti-Christian. In short, Christianity is the civilizing force that has made this progress possible.

Second is a vision that one becomes an educated person by asking three questions. The seeker’s first question is, “Who am I?” The obvious answer is that he is a member of mankind, and that leads to the psalmist’s question, “What is man?” Seeking an answer leads us to considering “the best that has been thought or said” in all ages. (Matthew Arnold’s words.) The third question is, “What kind of world do we live in?” That is where the sciences come in. Today there is an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). My point is that STEM cannot address the first two questions, and the answers to those questions define what STEM is about.

These thematic elements keep showing up one way or another in my novels and poetry.

Thanks, Donn. Talk about deep calling unto deep! You’re reminding me of C.S. Lewis, or Watchman Nee. Outside of your daily prayer and reflection, how do you spend your time? What activities do you engage in giving you a more rounded life?

At age 89 I’m not as “rounded” as I was in past years. Today I’m just doing church and what I can do electronically. I got on Facebook to sell my books, but I’ve ended up doing more counseling and praying than anything else. In past years I served as deacon in several churches, mentored students at the colleges where I taught and a few writers since then, coached a basketball team of 12-year-olds. I participated in church-league basketball and in 10K runs until at age 64 the wheels came off. I still maintain membership in the National Association of Scholars and the Military Officers’ Association of America.

Bless you for that, Brother! I appreciate your passion for prayer, coaching, and service to others. How do you use this experience in your writing?

Tennyson’s Ulysses said, “I am a part of all that I have met,” but in my case it’s more like all I have met is a part of me. And there’s no telling which part will show up at any particular time. My first career was Army, the second as professor at two liberal arts colleges, and only after those did I take up creative writing professionally. My suspense novels reflected my Army experience, my mysteries set on college campuses reflect my teaching days, and my and Mildred’s lives as Christians governed my historical novel. The two passions mentioned above keep appearing in different parts of these and in my poetry.

I’d love to hear about a time when things didn’t turn out as you’d planned. Got a story for us?

Things often don’t turn out the way I planned. I began with two dead-serious intentions:  To write suspense fiction reflecting real-world problems as I knew them and to write poetry I wouldn’t be ashamed to see in a collection of American poetry. I think I achieved a little bit of both, but the unexpected happened. Some of my better poetry is comic, and comic passages kept popping up in my serious fiction. People like to laugh, so in my recent work I’ve emphasized the comic elements while maintaining the serious subjects in the background. (My Professor Preston Barclay can’t resist making a pun or smart remark even if it costs him his job.)

I look forward to reading your work. I love a little humor thrown in at every opportunity. Speaking of humor, do you have a funny story relating to your writing or an event you’d like to share with us?

In my first year to teach poetry writing at the Blue Ridge Conference I wanted to prove that serious poetry could be successfully presented to a general audience. So I volunteered to read a poem on the faculty talent show. But the fellow before me on the program had the audience in stitches with comedy of the absurd. So how was I going to get the audience from that to a serious poem? On the spur of the moment I began telling jokes about my age. (“There is no truth to the rumor that I was a critique partner for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address . . . It was actually the Declaration of Independence.”) That let me step things down to reading a serious poem. But it also branded me, and I’ve had to keep doing it ever since.

Ha! I’d love to hear about your source materials for those must-have humorous openers someday! What’s one of your fascinating facts that cropped up while doing research for a book?

For the drug-smuggling flights in “The Lazarus File,” I needed to learn all I could about the Douglas DC-3 aircraft. (I had never flown one.) I remembered that James Stewart flew one in a movie and looked out of the pilot’s window to be sure the landing gear was down. When I located an actual DC-3 and sat in the plot’s seat, I found that the pilot could not see the landing gear. Moral: Never base your research on anything you see in a movie.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world, Donn! And thank you for your commitment to praying for and serving others.

Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterward, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include several suspense and mystery novels, one historical novel, and one book of poetry. Two of his novels have been finalists in the Selah Awards. He lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

Two of Donn’s books were finalists for the Selah Awards and you can enjoy his daily Facebook interactions here: www.facebook.com/donntaylor His marriage to Mildred lasted 61 years, seven months, and four days until the Lord promoted her. For a great holiday romance, check out their love story on line at https://tinyurl.com/te4k8kn 

 

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