Categories
Encouragement Inspiration for Writers

Why I Wrote the Book I Never Wanted to Write

Ginny Dent Brant, Author
Ginny Dent Brant

Today we welcome CAN member and author Ginny Dent Brant as she shares the story behind her inspirational book detailing her healing journey.

Hearing the words, “You have cancer,” was a shock to this health nut. When I saw my real life MRI flashed up on a screen, it looked like a tornado had invaded my body. Bewildered with disbelief, I asked to meet with a chaplain.

The first words from my mouth, “How could a health nut like me end up with an aggressive and deadly cancer like this?”

“Ginny, consider it a gift from God,” encouraged Pastor Sewell.  “Sometimes God allows things in your life for you to help others. As an author and speaker. your experience in this journey can be a guiding light to others.”

“Never.” I insisted. “I’d never write about cancer. It’s the gift I never wanted.” I was praying desperately this cancerous thorn (tornado) would be taken from me.

“Yes, I can see it now, your next book with this inscription—‘It was the book I never wanted to write.’” He chuckled. “In time you will see the hand of God. I promise.”

My diagnosis and that tornado sent me on a quest to discover what caused my cancer and what I could do to help my doctors to beat it. As I began to connect the dots between nutrition, the immune system, conventional and integrative medicine, medical research, and the Word of God, I was able to pull back the curtain on cancer for me. The more I learned, the more I felt led to share my findings with others to help them prevent and survive cancer.

Unleash Your God-Given Healing by Ginny Dent Brant
Unleash Your God-Given Healing by Ginny Dent Brant

Pastor Sewell was right. These words appear on the first page of Unleash Your God-Given Healing: “This is the book I never wanted to write.”

And that tornado that invaded my body became my book’s analogy to The Wizard of Oz.

 

Ginny Dent Brant is a counselor, educator, speaker, and wellness advocate. Her recent book, “Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer,” contains commentary from an oncologist. It won a Golden Scrolls Award and was featured on CBN News. Cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.com  https://www.facebook.com/ginny.d.brant/

 

Categories
Encouragement Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Why I Write Happily Ever After Endings

Anne Greene, Author
Anne Greene

I’ve experienced God’s happily-ever-afters in my life many times since I became a Christian at age twenty-one. I suffered a difficult childhood. When the Lord made me a new creation in Christ Jesus, He began my emotional healing that transformed me into the happy, content person I am today.

Again, when my first husband died early in our marriage leaving me with almost no money and two young children, I learned first-hand the Lord does take care of His children. When the first love of my life died, I felt physically torn in half. I often looked down at my body to see if I was bleeding. But God became my constant companion and took my torn halves and knit them back together. He gave me the verse, Deuteronomy 31:6—The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. He kept His promise. At the right time He brought a new forever love, a new husband into my life. Through that experience I know without a single doubt that I have complete freedom to trust God. He loves to make His children happy.

Now, when God takes me out of my comfort zone and walks with me through difficulties, I can look back on His faithfulness and set my trust in Him.

Knowing God is in charge and He truly cares allows me to write happy-ever-after endings to all my books.

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines.  Anne hopes her books transport the reader to awesome new worlds and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Read More about Anne at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

 

 

Categories
Devotional

Building Relationships in the Crazy COVID Crisis

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.

Categories
Inspiration for Writers

Inspiration in Everyday Things

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.

Categories
Devotional

You Never Know Who’s Listening

You Never Know Who’s Listening

by Susan G Mathis

In August, I had the blessing of being part of the book talk and signing at the Cornwall Brothers Museum in the Thousand Islands, NY. With COVID, I wasn’t sure if anyone would come, but I was shocked that fifty people filled the room and many more were turned away because of the number restrictions in place. I sold sixty books that day.

While that was great, I was surprised by grace not once but three times! Three women asked me to sign their books, and while they did, each one of them confessed that my stories brought them closer to Christ. One had been far from the Lord for decades; two others were unbelievers, but because I write about the Thousand Islands that they love, they read my novels and came to Christ!

My novels are fictional stories of broken people who found healing and hope, but they don’t overtly share the Gospel message or give an altar call. Somehow, they touched hearts and drew them to the One I write for.

Yet I guess that’s the way with many things we do. We care. We’re kind. We give. We love. We share God’s love and people are touched, changed, and sometimes redeemed by what we say or do. I imagine a little bit of heaven will include the unfolding of those moments where we have touched a life for eternity, whether it’s through a word, a deed, or through our writing. And won’t that be fun?

Reagans Reward Book Cover
Reagan’s Reward

In my sixth Gilded Age story, Reagan’s Reward, it’s 1912. Reagan Kennedy assumes the position of governess to the

Bernheim family’s twin nephews, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca

becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family when she is a Gentile and tending to eight-year-old, mischievous boys yields challenges galore.

Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. He tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, but she calls into question his own faith background and forces him to face the hurts of his past. Then there’s the jealous lady’s maid who seems intent on wedging herself between them. Can he and Reagan ever find common ground on such a small island?

Reagan’s winsome spirit and faith-filled life touches not only the Bernheims but also Daniel. Her journey reminds us that following Christ can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

Susan G. Mathis
Susan G. Mathis

Susan G Mathis is 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 LegacyChristmas 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.
Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

A Frightening Proposition

What is your greatest fear? What would it take to face that fear, and make the shift from from fear to love?

Halloween, El Dia de Los Meurtos, All Hallows Eve—these traditions offer a great opportunity to reflect on our faith walk and the extent to which we are allowing the Holy Spirit to move us away from fear into His perfect love. The journey itself could spark a great story.

Anytime I notice myself living a little smaller, a little less joyfully, a little less confidently—I know it is time for me to stop, pray, and reflect. I ask God to show me His truth and to lead me back into His light—and to allow His perfect love to cast out all fear. And then I take the time to backtrack and acknowledge the crooked thinking, or soul woundedness that made me vulnerable to breathing in fear or lies, instead of basking in His love and peace.

This process of uncovering distortions and moving away from fear toward love is embedded in the lives of the characters in the novel I’m currently working on. Asking myself how fear shows up and holds my protagonist back strengthens my writing and creates space for growth and personal renewal as a result of my characters’ struggles. Tonight, as I set up individually bagged candy offerings for my neighborhood goblins, I’ll be thinking about how the Word of God can lift off the mask of our distortions and bring us into the clarifying light of His love.

Catherine Finger
Catherine Finger www.CatherineFinger.com

And tomorrow morning, I’ll be back at my computer, weaving suspenseful tales as my characters move away from fear and back onto the path of His glorious love.

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to write books, ride horses, and serve others through her emerging coaching practice. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Humor

What’s In A Name?

I’m fascinated with names. Maybe all of us writers are.

I like creative names and creative spellings. I’m intrigued with old-fashioned names that come back in style, and I like unique names I’ve never heard of.

I’ve chuckled at names, like one of my college friends, whose first name was “Holly” and she married a gentleman with the surname “Wood.” She said she had trouble cashing checks with the signature “Holly Wood,” so she eventually stuck her maiden-name initial between the two words.

My brother had a friend named William Williams, but at least he went by the name “Bill.”

A convenience store in my hometown was owned by Billy Joe Deal who married a woman named Billie Jo.

When I became pregnant with our first child, David and I decided we liked the name “Jeremy.” I told my husband I thought it would be fun to give him a “J” name for me and a “D” name for him, so child number one became “Jeremy David.”

We stuck with the plan for child number two, and she became “Jenifer DeeAnn.” Yes, only one “n,” because my husband likes creative spellings, too.

Child number three answers to the name “Jeb Daniel.”

And then when God said there would be four, my husband and I pondered briefly abandoning our nomenclature method for fear of giggles from our new west coast friends.

Julie, we’re not in Georgia anymore,” fretted my Navy officer husband, who was serving a billet in California.

“Well, everyone out here thinks we’re tacky rednecks, so let’s do it anyway,” I joked. And our dear, California friends welcomed “Jessica Danae” to the mix, shortened to “Jessi” on occasion.

What my husband and I hadn’t thought about was that all of our kids would have the exact same initials, so their water bottles or snacks or other belongings were often labeled J1, J2, J3, and J4. We feared they’d grow up to tell a therapist: “We were just a number in my house.”

My favorite thoughts about a given name, however, come from Acts 4:12 (ESV) and says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

I am so thankful for that Name.

Lavender FieldOh, and I did forget to mention – my parents named me Julie Anita Bland when I was born. So, when I married, my name changed from Julie Bland to Julie Lavender. My husband loves it when I say, “I went from dull to colorful when I got married.”

 

365 Ways to Love

BIO: Julie’s favorite color as a child was purple, so she loved adding “Lavender” to her name when she married. Julie Lavender’s newest book, 365Ways To Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments Into Lasting Memories (Revell), releases this month. It’s on sale right now, 40% discount, at Baker Book House with no shipping cost and is also offered as a giveaway at Goodreads.com.

Categories
Humor

On Horses and Storylines

Christie & Cosmo in Vegas
Christie & Cosmo in Vegas

Miss Christie’s little black ears twitch at each note as morning birds serenade us. We start most mornings (God, weather, and coffee supply willing) in our treetop screened porch, nestled under blankets, Bible and journal nearby. Very soon, Miss Christie and I will begin our days from the pleasurable confines of Cosmo, my Class B RV.

The three of us are hitting the road on Memorial Day, heading to Oklahoma City, where we will reside in an RV lot for a ten-day horse show. The Amazing Miss Clara—my nine-year-old quarter horse mare, Jess, our trainer and several other dear friends will meet us there.  Anticipation has my arthritis flaring already and I am giddy as a schoolgirl in June.

After way too many weeks of COVID, Netflix, and Cheezits, I am beyond

Miss Clara
Miss Clara

ready for a road trip. And for the blood, sweat, tears, joy, and laughter of enjoying every second of my equine love affair. Few things make me happier than spending time with Clara. I know all of her little secrets, where she loves to be scratched, how best to brush her in all her favorite places. I know her smell, her nicker, and the feel of her body in any number of communication modes.

Just thinking about her makes me happy. As I was plotting my current novel, I wanted to throw in this kind of passionate love and demonstrate how it could morph into an addiction. For extra fun, I propelled the whole idea into the near future and asked how that addiction could be played out in VR (virtual reality). Having set the stage, I wondered what that addiction might look like at a fancy dinner party where my heroine finds herself a bit on the bored side. Cool things happen—but that’s a story for another day.

Interesting storylines come from everyday occasions. And from our best of friends—four-legged and otherwise.

Catherine Finger
Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Her newest novel, Capsized by Death, is the fourth book in her award-winning Jo Oliver thriller series. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineFingerAuthor/

 

Categories
Humor

Discovering The Rabbit in the Moon

We welcome Linda Rooks and thank her for today’s wonderful fascinating fact!

Did you know there is a rabbit in the shadows of the moon? In the United States we often talk about a man in the moon, but in other parts of the world—especially Asia—people talk about the rabbit they see in the moon. In fact, centuries ago, storytellers in the East not only observed a rabbit on the left side of the moon but made up legends about him. In countries like India, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and others, legends abound about the brave rabbit whose sacrificial courage was honored by having his image placed on the moon.

Bunny-in-moonSince the moon determines the date for Easter each year, these legends about a rabbit that was willing to give his life for another and can now be seen on the moon, kindled my imagination as a writer. The coincidences were intriguing. Could this rabbit on the moon be connected to the Easter bunny that has always seemed a misplaced icon amidst the profound message of the true Easter story? The tantalizing coincidences about this iconic rabbit resulted in my writing a children’s Easter picture book called The Bunny Side of Easter that uses an adventure about the heroism of a little bunny to point children to Jesus, the true hero of Easter.

The Bunny Side of Easter

Children delight in discovering the rabbit in the moon and love hearing stories of how he got there. In the shadows on the left side of every full moon, they might see a large bunny facing to the left with his ears back and an Easter egg at his feet. Or they might make out a bunny facing to the right with his ears flopped over and his head bowed in prayer. Or they might spot a smaller bunny at the top. He can be seen in three different ways.

It’s a fun addition to the Easter tradition, and you can see it from your own front door when the next full moon appears on April 7 to herald the advent of spring and the coming of Easter.

 

Award winning author Linda W. Rooks takes her life-long love of children’s books and uses it to tell a winsome, but exciting adventure that points children to the real meaning of Easter in her picture book, The Bunny Side of Easter. Linda is best known for her ministry to those in troubled marriages and for her books, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated and Broken Heart on Hold. Her writing has appeared in Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Home Life, and Chicken Soup. She has appeared as guest on TV and radio talk shows across the North American continent. Visit Linda at bunnysideofeaster.com.

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Categories
Humor

A Funny Thing Happened – On the Way to a Story

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts
Donna Schlachter

A book with a cowboy on the cover. Historical.

That’s what the editor wanted. Did I have such a story, she wanted to know.

No. Well, not really. But I could.

After all, I’m a writer. I could come up with an idea, couldn’t I?

Let’s see. Set it in Colorado. In the 1880s. Do some online research. What happened in Colorado in that time? A drought in the southwestern part of the state. For several years prior, in fact. Gold mining. Silver mining.

Wait a minute. Cowboys care about water. And silver mining? Who knew.

So I was off and running on these two topics. Until I ran out of information. And knew this was the story I wanted to write.

But who was my heroine? I wanted feisty. Sparks. Problems. Romantic tension. Danger.

Bring in somebody totally unsuited for either lifestyle. She couldn’t cook. Didn’t know how to ride a horse or rope a calf. Hadn’t a clue how difficult and dangerous silver mining could be.

But why was she there? And where was this idea about a mock marriage coming from? How to initiate that?

double jeopardy
Double Jeopardy

Before you knew it, I had the plot for Double Jeopardy. The tagline is: Mining, murder—and a mock marriage? I sent it to my agent who sent it to the publisher.

Who promptly sent it to another imprint under the same company because she felt it would be a better fit. And guess what? No cowboy on the cover after all!

But they captured the essence of Becky, my feisty yet spunky heroine.

Seems a fine trade-off.

 

About Donna Schlachter:

Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter