Faith – It’s EVERYWHERE, it’s EVERYWHERE!!

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These tracks go somewhere. Just because we can’t see their destination doesn’t mean they don’t have one.

Similarly, people may say they don’t believe, but often suspend rationality. This is true in the internet world. For example, I replied to a FaceBook message from a woman I’ve never personally met. Her page cited her as a writer, so I asked what she wrote.

She sent a message: Nothing. I know I ought to be writing, but something in me keeps me from taking action. I don’t know if it’s fear of failure, or what, but my so-called writing is nonexistent at this point.

My reply: I’m a born cheerleader for people who have even one iota of an inkling that they’d like to write. I mentioned that I’d put off my desire to write for many years, so could relate to her situation.

Later, she let me know that she rarely checks her FB messages, and received mine by some fluke in the system that had never occurred before. (Do you get the picture that I’m no pro at using these tools?) Anyway, I answered that I’m not so hot at FB, either, and gave her my e-mail address.

Within an hour, another message came from her, saying she’d received that message from me in a text. Go figure. I don’t even know her phone number. Maybe there’s a logical explanation, but my reply works for me:

Well, I’d say maybe we’re meant to continue our conversation, and that some other power besides Google must be in charge of the airwaves.

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The more I think about it, seems that Internet users exhibit raw faith. We trust this manmade technical tool will work. We trust these messages we send, unseen yet real, will reach their destination. And we trust that malevolent hackers won’t interfere and send our lives into a tailspin.

Our belief is a kind of “knowing,” like the assurance that leaves turn fiery orange in autumn. But there’s really more evidence for the latter–we’ve seen it happen year after year.

Faith manifests in many modern arenas, though naysayers deny the facts. But this internet one escaped my notice so far. When I complete this article, I’ll edit it a few times and eventually post it or send it to some other blogger who’s invited me to visit. Their blog—tangible in one sense, highly intangible in another.

It’s all about tuning into the right address, calling up the blog’s presence, and embracing its power to aid communication. Kind of like another unseen, but totally real presence.

Reminds me of the excitement I feel today as my debut novel wends its way from New York. I trusted that it would be published, and now, that it’s been mailed. Seeing it for real will confirm what I’ve believed, and also be pure FUN! Of course, then I need to trust that readers will come … if you write it, readers will come.

Yes, readers will come, just like winter will. And they’ll fall in love with my heroine, and …

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My Debut Women’s Fiction is Releasing Soon!

Yesterday I received the official release date from The Wild Rose Press for my debut novel, In This Together. Here’s the cover – I guess you can see I’m excited. 

Wild Rose publishes romance of every kind, so you should know right off that mine is classified SUPER SWEET … in other words, it’s a lovely midwest World War II era story that won’t even make you blush.

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Probably every author dreams of readers falling in love with their main characters, and I’m no exception. Dottie Kyle, my heroine, would be great company along life’s journey.

She’s forthright, a hard worker, and slugging her way through losing her son in WWII without self-pity. Her husband died just after the war, too, so she took a job at a boarding house in their small midwestern town. This gives her a reason to get up in the morning.

She enjoys providing nutritious meals for the male boarders, who keep to themselves. But challenges arrive with a new employee, and true-blue Dottie tolerates the situation. Eventually though, her employer’s nasty behavior tweaks Dottie’s sense of justice and she’s forced to speak up.

At the same time, widower neighbor Al, husband of the best friend Dottie lost to cancer some years back, starts paying sudden attention to Dottie. She’s surprised to find she actually enjoys his company, and shares more of her feelings with him than she’d ever imagined.

Then, Dottie’s daughter Cora in California needs her desperately during a frightening turn in her third pregnancy. Will her longing to meet the two grand- babies whose voices she hears over the crackly telephone line be enough to overcome her debilitating fear of enclosed spaces … i.e., the train trip necessary to facilitate this meeting?

Or will she accept help from someone desiring with all his heart to share life with Dottie?

So, to all those I’ve met in the  past few years–my friends at the Cedar Falls Writers Conference, author and editor colleagues far and wide, and my friends and family, thank you for your encouragement and patience. The road to publication may have been loooong, but it did take me to the desired destination.

And I hope you enjoy Dottie as much as I do. She’s quite a gal!

Oh, I seem to have forgotten one important fact: the release date is November 18, 2015. Can you see I need all the help I can get with promotion?!?!  

Richard Mabry – Round and Round/Giveaway

Please welcome Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to our blog today. He’s the award winning author of Medical Suspense With Heart, as well as the Prescription For Trouble series (Abingdon), Stress Test, Heart Failure, Critical Condition (Harper Collins), and  Fatal Trauma (Abingdon) To one fortunate commenter this week, he’ll give away a copy of Miracle Drug.

“Mabry combines his medical expertise with a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – USA Today

THE WRITING CAROUSEL

There’s a song in the musical, The Fantasticks, called “Round and Round.” In it, the couple sees only the good things that go by, even though at times the view from the carousel is of scenes that are less than pleasant. Why do I bring that up? I mention it because the view of writing from the standpoint of the pre-published writer is much different than the one seen by the author who has at least a couple of books under his/her belt.

Before I got a contract for Code Blue, my first novel, I wrote four novels over a period of four years, garnering forty rejections in the process. And that’s nowhere near a record. Although some authors (like Gayle Roper) got a contract for their first novel, others (like T Davis Bunn) collected lots more rejections than I did before a publisher liked his work. Eventually I, and lots of other authors, prevailed. However, shortly thereafter I also learned something interesting: that contract wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of lots more work.

First, I quickly discovered that, although my novel might be good enough to make an acquisition editor happy, it would go through a series of edits and rewrites before it saw print. And all those edits and rewrites involved me. Did it make the work better? Of course it did. Was it time-consuming? Yes—but I learned with each editorial letter and rewrite.

In addition, there was the process of cover design, a process I’m pleased to say I’ve been involved in for all my novels. That’s nice, but also takes a bit of time. In addition, there was the back cover copy and author information. It was necessary writing, but took some work to accomplish.

Then there’s marketing. Although the publisher works at marketing the book, there’s a good bit for the author to do as well. And I learned very fast that no one wants a book to be read by a wide audience more than the author does. Say what you will about “the good old days,” but nowadays it’s a necessity for an author to be active in social media and other aspects of keeping his/her name and work before the reading public. Don’t forget, of course, that this includes not only their own website and blog, but being available (and even making arrangements) for guest blogs and interviews on the sites of others.

Oh, and while all this is going on, the writer should be at work on their next book. After all, none of us want to be a one-trick pony. And after the first and second come…you guessed it—the third. Authors who quit after the first book aren’t unheard of, but they’re rare. It’s even been discovered that Harper Lee, who supposedly stopped after writing To Kill A Mockingbird, had another book sitting in a trunk or someplace.

Now, imagine trying to keep all those plates spinning. That’s where I’ve been for a while: arranging to get out the news about my forthcoming book, Fatal Trauma, while finishing edits for the next one, Miracle Drug (due out in September), and keeping up interest in my prior novels—the so-called “backlist.” Has it required time and effort on my part? Of course it has. Would I trade it for the status of an unpublished writer? Not a chance.

So that’s the writing carousel. If you haven’t been able to get on yet, don’t despair. Work on your craft and don’t give up. The view from here is pretty good, even as it goes round and round.

Miracle Drug

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is an active member of International Thriller Writers, a past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and a member the Romance Writers of America. His eight previously published novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. His novella, Rx Murder, released via Amazon in April, and Abingdon Press published his novel, Fatal Trauma, in May of this year. Miracle Drug is scheduled for release in September.

You can learn more about Richard on his website (http://rmabry.com) and blog (http://rmabry.blogspot.com). He can also be found via his Facebook author page (http://facebook.com/rmabrybooks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/RichardMabry).

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Renee Blare

I’m glad to have Renee Blare visiting today, and hope you enjoy reading her take on creating a novel – in my favorite line, she tells us what gave her whiplash! And if you’d like to win an e-copy of Renee’s new release, please leave a comment.

My Fledgling Leaves the Nest…Finally

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You want to write a book. In fact, you’ve started a plot line or rough draft of one already. Now what?
A book’s like a child. Different stories float around inside every author’s mind, flowing out in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. Like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn.
Take my new release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote my first book in three months. The word flowed like a river from my mind and heart. It was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way, and I knew it was meant to be.
I decided to take the next step. Publication. I asked myself the question every new writer asks…how do I get published? What a question…and an eye opener! Have you seen how many different ways someone can publish today? So, I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Instead of putting my new book on a shelf, I discovered how to truly write a novel.
You have to understand. I’d never penned one in my life. That’s not saying I hadn’t ever written anything before. I loved to write short stories, and poetry, and I’d read every type of book imaginable. But as far as writing one…no. And it showed. Abundantly.
I look back at that first rough draft now and realize why I’ve rewritten the thing four times. Ever heard of head-hopping? It was atrocious. I gave myself whiplash. It took me a couple of hard years to learn the rules of creative writing, but I removed all kinds of nasty little things woven in the manuscript. After that, I discovered the plot holes and restructured my “perfect” story at the advice of an wonderful editor.
Was this in the hope of landing a contract? No, I did it simply to make the story better. Did any of this stop or get easier after I signed on the dotted line with Prism Book Group? No, in fact, I believe I underwent tougher edits courtesy of my awesome acquisitions editor, Susan.
The sun has risen and set on To Soar many times to get it to where it is today. And no story’s ever perfect. As a writer, you will always continue the editing process if it’s left up to you. After all, it’s your baby, your child. You want it to be ready to face the world.
But eventually, the manuscript must leave the nest. That means trusting your work, editor…your publisher that all has been done to make it the best it can be. You’ve done your part. Now it’s time to have faith, trust the Lord, and let go. No matter the outcome, He’s in control.
It’s time to fly.

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Karen Milligan, June 21, 2015

 

Karen Milligan is a reader, teacher and writer. Teaching high school English, literature and a myriad of writing styles for the past 51 years has had its redundancies and periods. Grading papers = editing. (She began teaching when she was 14 years old at a rural summer school and later taught her younger brother and her son all four years of their high school.)

She’s published 30 children’s stories, a book The Great Church Mouse Caper and 5 teacher resource books on writing. Currently she tutors students in expository and creative writing, writes for a Wisconsin Genealogy newsletter and edits thesis papers. She’s also writing her childhood memoirs along with a historical genealogical family tree involving Dutch and Scottish ancestors.

She lives in Menasha, Wisconsin with her husband of 35 years, a former instrumental music teacher; they have one son and two grandchildren, 16 and 18 years old. Her hobbies include: sewing, flower gardening, long distance hiking, reading, travel, photography, bird watching, writing memoir stories, singing, and charcoal drawing. She is open to editing and proofreading and can be contacted at kmbooks50@gmail.com or befriend her at Karen Porter Milligan on facebook.

 

Credits to the Edits

Have you ever thought about how many actual words you hear in a day? The number, if you could count them, would be astonishing. The sheer number of words you read in a day could be counted, but who would take time to do that? We writers and editors, who love words, handle them every day with our eyes and our minds. As a teacher of English, expository and fiction writing, I cannot fathom the billions of words that have crossed my brainwaves.

You, as a writer, accept the fact that you must also edit. Re-reading, searching for mistakes, looking for anomalies, tweaking unclear phrases or spying flat-out typos can be tedious or joyful. This all depends on your viewpoint and time needed to seek the mistakes.

In essay papers corrected by teachers are the following real-life examples of… well, youʼll see… History of the World, a studentʼs answer: Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

Another student wrote: The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldnʼt have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns–Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in “The Iliad,” by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity,” in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

A third student opined: Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. A fourth student expressed: In mid-evil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

Now these were honest-to-goodness students’ use of the English language which is filled with funny, odd, humorous, out-of-place ideas and phrases. The rules, if you will, about editing take twists and turns. Two words that have been added to American language are: texting and impacting. The word “text” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. Mimi just texted me and I need to answer her!

The word “impact” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. But, we hear both used incorrectly almost daily. The students were impacted by the new campus ruling. One last word that has morphed since I was young is the word harassment. (And, yes, I used the word “morphed” correctly.)

Harassment used to be pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable, but is now pronounced with the accent on the first syllable. Who and where the change was sanctioned on all three words is a mystery to me. Editing will always be a mud-fuddled job. Wait! Where did that word come from? Yikes! I ended a sentence with a preposition. See what I mean?

Alright, all of you writers and editors out there, keep up the good work. (Please, edit out the use of “alright!”) I give you credits to the edits!

Karen A. Milligan Menasha, Wisconsin

WAIT FOR ME, Jo Huddleston

Our guest, Jo Huddleston, is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren. Visit Jo at www.johuddleston.com.

WAIT FOR ME finalFollowing is an Jo’s interview with a character from her novel. Wait for Me 

I’m in Coaltown, West Virginia meeting with  Claude Capshaw.

Hello. Are you the owner of Capshaw coal mine #7?

Hey, there. Yes, I’ve owned this mine for about a year.

Mr. Capshaw, do you own other coal mines as well?

Please call me Claude. And, yes,  I’ve bought coal mines in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. This mine here in Coaltown is my latest purchase.

Do you always live in the community where your coal mine is located?

That’s right. I need to be close to the miners when I buy a new coal mine. They need see me around and come to know me as the fair, honest man that I am. My wife, Lillian, doesn’t much like it when we move to a new coal community. In fact, she doesn’t like living anywhere near a coal mine and is a little standoffish, she doesn’t mix well with the miners and their families.

Claude, do you have children? How do they like living here?

We have a beautiful daughter, Julia. I think Julia likes it okay here. Her mother gives her a hard time about spending time with the miners’ kids and forbids her to socialize, especially the boys.

Why do you think that is?

Well, my wife isn’t much like my little girl and me. Julia and I can mix with the people here. But I know it’s hard on Julia when her mother wants her to stay apart from the other kids. Julia’s a normal high school senior, she wants to have friends, and she’s torn between what she wants and what her mother demands. I try to encourage Julia all I can.

How do you do that?

There’s a boy in her class she likes—Roberto. He works after school every day in my company store. He’s a good kid. I don’t criticize Julia or tell her mother when I see them talking. Like I said, Julia needs to have her friends. She’ll be leaving in September to enroll at West Virginia University. I’m in agreement with her mother about that—it’s important that Julia get a good education.

But I think my wife’s only purpose in sending her to the university is so she will be in better social circles up there. Her mother thinks Julia needs to meet more suitable and acceptable young men than those here in the mining community. I just hope her strict rules and plans for Julia don’t backfire and cause Julia to become disobedient. My little girl is a sweet child, but she has spunk. I just hope her mother doesn’t push her too hard or too far.

JO PK full  Jo is offering a free eBook for Kindle copy of her book to one commenter on this  post.

Here is the purchase link for Wait For Me: http://tiny.cc/bhigxx

 

 

 

Website www.johuddleston.com

Blog http://www.johuddleston.com

Blog http://lifelinesnow.blogspot.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joshuddleston

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1615694.Jo_Huddleston

Purchase eBook for Kindle and print copies of Wait for Me at: http://tiny.cc/xndfwx

Here’s the back cover from Wait For Me.

Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and Robby, a coal miner’s son, escape their socioeconomic backgrounds? In a  1950’s West Virginia coal mining community, can their love survive their cultural boundaries?

This is a tragically beautiful story of a simple, yet deep love between two soul mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother demand that Julie marry an ambitious young man from a prominent family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception in order to keep Robby in her life. Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept Robby?

Characterization in a Single Title/Mainstream Romance by Liz Flaherty

You’ll enjoy Liz. Sit back and relax. 

I’m afraid, now that I said I’d do this article, that I’ve agreed under false pretenses, so let me start it with a duh-generating caveat. I have completed three single title books: a historical romance, a contemporary romance, and one that’s not hardly a romance at all. As of this writing, none of them are sold. That’s the “duh” part—you know, what makes me qualified to write this?

Well, number one, I’m a warm body with a keyboard. Number two, I LOVE characterization. Number three, even though I have enough rejections and editorial maybes under my belt to re-tree a forest, no one has ever rejected or editorially maybe-ed my characters.

It’s the easiest, laziest part of writing fiction, and doing it in single title/mainstream is just exactly like doing it in short/category except it’s…uh…even easier and lazier.

If you’re like me, your characters drive your story. Plot is incidental; it’s just what happens to those people. If you take away your characters—gosh, I hate calling them that; they’re people—the story no longer exists, because it’s not going to be the same story with others as its protagonists and secondary characters.

Oh, my goodness, have I just said something important? Well, that depends. If you write character-driven, you just said “duh.” However, if you’re a plot-driven writer, you probably said, “What is she talking about?”

Have you read any of Janet Ivanovich’s Stephanie Plum mystery series, starting with One for the Money? If you have, you know Stephanie’s a smart-talking “Joizy” girl with a hilarious grandmother and a cousin for every crime. If, on the other hand, you’ve read any of Lawrence Sanders’ Archie McNally series, you know Archie’s a rich guy in his 30s who still lives at home and drives a sharp little red Mazerati.

         They’re both young, attractive, witty, and charming. They both have families whose eccentricities add humor and depth to their stories. They both solve mysteries and murders, all the while creating more mayhem for next time. Gender aside, are they interchangeable?

Nope.

And that, my friends, is single-title / mainstream characterization.

Okay, we all know that we develop our people by giving them individual traits. In a category romance, our heroine may be a little clumsy, a chocoholic, or shy. Something terrible may have even happened to her, a long time ago. Our hero might be a channel surfer, or he might drive too fast, or he may suffer flashbacks of a war fought in a Third World country a long time ago. But any failings they have will be either minor ones that don’t seriously affect the story or they will be in their distant past. This is not because the author doesn’t want to deal with them but because category romances aren’t long enough.

Single title romances are, so all your people’s character traits—or flaws—can affect the story any way you want them to. And if you want that hero to be just six hours home from that war or that heroine to be just three days past the loss of a child, that’s fine, because you have room in single title to address their pain.

And that, my friends . . . oops, repeating myself, aren’t I?

And there’s another part of characterization. If a character starts out with a slightly twitching right eye or a dimple in her left cheek, make sure she keeps it or gets it fixed within the story. If he speaks in a dialect, make sure not to insert enough of it to get annoying, but don’t forget it altogether, or your readers will “hear” your first-generation Irishman speaking with Midwestern nasality. Repeat yourself—just not a lot.

Before I end this, let me add one thought that is purely subjective, speaking from strictly one reader’s point of view, that reader being me. I hate perfect characters. Just as I’m not interested in knowing any in real life, I’m not interested in reading about them, either, because there’s nothing there to identify with.

         Happy writing.

***

Liz Flaherty admits, only semi-apologetically, that she wrote this article a long time ago. In the time since then, those manuscripts she mentioned in the first paragraph—along with numerous others—have been sold and published. (She is unbecomingly proud of this, so don’t ask her too many questions—she’ll answer them.)

You can Google her name, or you can go to all the on-line bookstores if you’d like to read one (or nine) of her books. You can also visit her at www.lizflaherty.com or at http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/ where she blogs every Monday. If you ever just feel like talking, drop an email to lizkflaherty@gmail.com.

 

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Broken Umbrellas

I’m  interviewing Wendy Chorot, the author of Broken Umbrellas, this week. She writes under the pen name of Emma Broch Stuart.

I’ve yet to meet Wendy in person, but feel I know her. She’s that kind of gal (as my heroine Dottie would say…) so I’m delighted to introduce Wendy to you.

Broken Umbrellas

What inspires you to write, Wendy?

Everything! Seriously, I am so awed at the world around me, people and seasons, humanity and compassion, love and tears. I always want to look with eyes that really see. See beyond the surface to the beauty that is often hidden. I’ve been on the battlefield and I know that is why I love and live and dream with a fierceness that carries over into my writing. Sometimes I think I could fill an entire book about how a dandelion touches me. ha, ha They are such a sight for sore eyes after a long winter, yellow dots spring up and feed the bees, and droop in chubby hands as a bouquet of flowers for mama. And oh how us mamas love them. Yes, God uses everything to inspire me.

Broken Umbrellas describes a time when you lived in Europe. I’ve experienced a little of that, and would like to hear more about your time there. 

I credit a lot of who I am today on my experiences in Europe. There’s something about getting out of your comfort zone that forces you to relate differently, engage in the world around you at a different level. And most importantly, see beyond yourself. I have dipped my toes in the Mediterranean, hiked mountains in the French Alps, drank wine with my baguette and cheese, breastfed under the Eiffel Tower, and made a complete fool of myself many times as I butchered the language. I have been misunderstood, ignored, lost in a big city, and served fish with the head still attached. But I have also been kissed by complete strangers, given free bus rides when I didn’t have exact change, served delicious cuisine, and most importantly, blessed with knowing Christ at a deeper level. My daughter was born there, my first grandchild buried there, and collected more than a decade of memories—both good and bad.

Living in a foreign country shows you just how strong you really are.

And I might add, how strong you are not! (We won’t go there now, though.D:) 

Where did you get the name Broken Umbrellas?

At my precious grandson’s funeral, I spotted a broken blue umbrella flapping in the winter wind. The woman holding it was oblivious to the fact that snow was falling on her. When she moved her broken umbrella to offer protection to the man beside her, my heart was overwhelmed with the symbolism of humanity doing the same thing—“protecting” (or loving, serving, relating) in spite of our brokenness.

Titles have overtaken my brain . . . What a great “title” story!

What writing mentors or authors inspire you?

I admire every single author at WhiteFire, they are the best group of people ever! I also admire anyone—published or not—with the courage to write and share their story. Published authors who inspire me are Beth Moore, Carolyn Custis James, and Francis Chan—to name a few.

Wendy

Thanks so much, Wendy. And thanks for offering one signed copy of Broken Umbrellas to a fortunate commenter. (I’ve read this book- definitely inspirational!

 

 

How can readers connect with you? I LOVE connecting with people! Readers can find my blog on my website: http://emmabrochstuart.com/

updates on my Facebook author page:

https://www.facebook.com/emmabrochstuart

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/EmmaBrochStuart

Or by emailing me:

emmabrochstuart@gmail.com

 

Visit with Edie Melson – April 20, 2015

My husband always says, “My wife has experienced more deployments than most people I know.” That’s because he counts his two to Iraq and our son’s, (one to Iraq, one to Afghanistan), as ALL MINE.

So I’m excited to welcome Edie Melson as she describes her devotional for military families–this would make a great gift forWMSS, final, high res them as Memorial Day approaches. 

Here is the link for preorder. The price is reduced and you receive a free ebook with an additional 15 prayers. 

www.WhileMySoldierServes.com

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

 

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, Edie Melson lived this book before she wrote it. Edie understands what it is to face adversity and come out triumphant on the other side. Her years as a wife, mother, and ministry leader have given her a unique perspective to reach out
to others facing the same struggles.
She’s the Military Family Blogger for Guideposts.org, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook.

Blooming in Adversity

I’ve come to realize that the seeds of faith begin their journey to the light, in the dark. As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, I’ve been through the painful process of blooming in adversity.

Neither I nor my husband come from a military family, so our son’s decision to enlist straight after high school caught us off guard. We weren’t ashamed or disappointed in him, although we were worried about where this decision could take him. But we could see his sincere desire to follow God’s leading and knew that wherever this road led, God would see him through.

But as he got ready to leave for his first deployment in Iraq, all those thoughts of faith and how God would take care of him fled. I found myself engulfed in a terror so deep it colored every corner of my world a murky gray.

Throughout the last couple days, I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the last time I’d share a meal with him. As he posed for a picture with his brothers, in the back of my mind was the fear that this would be the last picture I’d ever have of him. All through that time, the what-ifs continued to crowd out the faith I thought I had.

Then he was gone—half a world away—fighting an enemy whose main focus was on killing him. It was during those deployments that I learned about darkness of the heart. I wanted to protect him, I ached to shield him from what I knew he was experiencing, but I couldn’t. So I did the one thing I could do. It became my course of last resort because I was at the end of my own strength.

I prayed.

And I prayed.

And I prayed some more.

I learned to take my overwhelming fear to the only One who could protect him. And I left my son in God’s hands. The prayers weren’t pretty. Often times they weren’t even words. They truly were the groanings we read about in Romans 8:26-27.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was like a seed, planted deep in the ground, surrounded by darkness, by rough, rocky soil, pressing in on all sides crushing the life from me. But through that incredible pressure, the shell of my own strength fell away, and I slowly began to push toward the light that I knew lay just beyond the darkness.

And my last resort became my strength, the first place I turned. Instead of praying in desperation, I began to pray in confidence. When the fears threatened to overwhelm me, I learned to lean into God, instead of turning in on myself.

The final harvest of that time of darkness is coming to fruition May 12, just after Mother’s Day. It’s a book of prayers for those with loved ones in the military, While My Soldier Serves. How I longed for just such a book during that dark time. Now God has taken my time of darkness and is shining it as a light for those who are also facing the incredible stress of having a loved one at war.

I can say with confidence, never doubt that God will bring a harvest of joy, no matter how dark the days you’re facing now.

I’d love to know how you get through the dark times and find a way to bloom. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Edie promises to send a book to one fortunate commentator when they arrive, so please leave your e-mail address. Thanks for stopping by! 

Edie Melson

The Joy of the Moment

Last week, Iowa boasted Palm Sunday with a wailing wind and cold temps. My only gardening right now occurs in indoor pots, while less than two weeks ago, I enjoyed my neighbor’s incredible Forsythia bush across the street in Arizona

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I came home to one Christmas cactus bloom. Yes, one. And then, another popped open. But that was it for the entire plant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days later, my other Christmas cactus showed signs of letting loose.

 

Just goes to show, we never know what will happen any given season. Imho, that’s part of the joy of gardening.

We await something, not sure exactly what it will be, or when, but pretty certain it will be bright!

 

 

Next to the productive cactus, a kalanchloe that blooms gloriously outdoors during summer, prepares to make its springtime statement.

I need to transfer this lesson to my writing endeavors, where I’m much less given to the joy of the moment. No, I’d like a little better idea when certain manuscripts might make their debuts into this uncertain world, thank you very much.

Today, Easter Sunday 2015, I must add another picture of the second Christmas cactus, which has burst into a riot of color.

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Meanwhile, my Arizona neighbor tells me the wild irises there have gone WILD with blossoms.

 

 

 

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Gotta remember that surprises count for part of the joy!

 

Happy Easter, everyone, and may your blossoms last as long as possible.