Meet Donna Gawell

As a retired educator, Donna used the gift of time to reinvent herself as an author and genealogist. She and her husband  enjoy making memories with their family in Westerville, Ohio, and exploring the culture and history of foreign countries. She also volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse and is a Church Coordinator for International Friendships, a Christian outreach to international students at OSU.

Tell us about your newest book.

In the Shadow of Salem is a historical novel about the life of Mehitabel Braybrooke, born in 1652 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Life did not start off well for her as the illegitimate child of an indentured servant. Her father was a prosperous but married Puritan who raised her in his home. Her stepmother Joan believed Mehitabel was responsible for her inability to conceive, and their relationship was contentious. At age sixteen, Mehitabel falsely accused her cousin of attempted rape causing her to plummet into the dreadful status of a despised servant at a neighbor’s home. Foolishness and bad judgment caused her life to unravel further when she accidentally burned down her master’s house, a capital crime. After her trial, Mehitabel was “married off,” and her life began to improve until the year 1692, the year of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I love historical fiction as I am also a genealogist. Historical fiction allows the writer to bring real characters to life making history appealing. I love how authors can weave details and history in a story.

Why do you write? What drives you?

The stories of my ancestors inspire me to write as their history will be lost if not written down. I find names and dates on family trees interesting, but rather meaningless if nothing is known about them as a person. I consider these stories a gift to my entire family and future generations.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Mehitabel Braybrooke is the main character in “In the Shadow of Salem.” She is my ninth great-grandmother. I think her name is very unique!

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I write almost every day and treat it like a full-time job. Since I write historical fiction and history articles, the time spent with research far exceeds my actual writing time. I love the entire process and have to force myself to leave the computer and my books so that I don’t become a “hermit author.”

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

As an author, I am challenged with being more of left brain person. Writing historical or travel articles comes easily while fiction is a definite challenge, but I’ve discovered it can be learned to some degree. Writing historical fiction is an excellent way for me to combine both worlds. The thought of writing pure fiction is almost frightening!

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I love the entire process and the feedback from readers. It is so exciting to hear from people who share my enthusiasm on a topic, especially those who are looking forward to the release of “In the Shadow of Salem.” I also love receiving kind responses from the readers of my website.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

My daughters’ reaction to the publication of my books has been surprising. Although they had never read my writing, they didn’t seem to be terribly impressed until I received a publishing contract, and then their eyes lit up a bit. My youngest is a language arts teacher and loves sharing my progress with her students. I think sometimes our family takes us for granted.

What are you most proud of?

As an author, I’m most proud of and grateful for the army of helpful friends all over Europe, the United States, Canada, Africa, and Australia. Hundreds of people have helped me in my research. Several noted historians from New England provided me with rare documents about Mehitabel, and my current work, which takes place in Poland during the Holocaust, will have a record-setting acknowledgment chapter. A wonderful priest, who is also Niwiska’s historian, provides me with resources, such as the concentration camp testimonies of the people who are characters in my story.

What is your favorite pastime?

I still love genealogy but find so little time to research. I knew nothing about any ancestor before my grandparents, so genealogy allowed me not only to go back as far as the 1600’s but recently I also found a huge number of cousins from Sweden and Poland. I’ve been to visit all of them in three different villages, and it was the trip of a lifetime.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

After reflecting on my success uncovering the genealogy of my immigrant ancestors and then finding relatives in Europe, I decided to write a book, Travel Back to Your Roots to inspire others so that they could have the same experience I did. It teaches basic and European genealogy, how to search records in Europe, how to locate “lost’ relatives, how to contact them, and then how to arrange a family heritage trip to Europe.

I also wrote The ABC’s of Crime and Punishment in Puritan New England. It is a perfect non-fiction companion to “In the Shadow of Salem” and is filled with interesting facts and history.

What are you working on now?

I am close to finishing the first draft of a historical novel about the WWII experiences in Niwiska, a village in Poland. It tells the story of some real villagers who were Christians. Hitler built the largest SS camp outside of Germany in Niwiska and then moved his top-secret research site for the V1 and V2 missiles to the area. The Nazis evacuated the residents, and the majority became forced laborers. Many, at the risk of death, assisted the Jews who were hiding in the forests near their village and also were partisans in the Polish underground army. This story of courage, kindness, and survival has never been told before. Niwiska is my ancestral village, so the story is very dear to me.

Website: www.DonnaGawell.com

 

 

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Meet Cindi McMenamin

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning writer who helps women find strength for the soul. She has more than 30 years experience ministering to women as a pastor’s wife and Bible teacher. She has authored 16 books with Harvest House Publishers including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold) and her newest, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. She and her husband, Hugh, have been married 30 years and live in Southern California with their grown daughter.

Tell us about your newest book.

12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband is for the wife who wants to recapture her husband’s heart and experience the joy she once knew before complacency or emotional baggage set in. No matter how long you’ve been married, you can “be together, but feel miles apart.” This book helps a wife reignite the joy and passion she and her husband once shared by looking at small changes she can make to touch her husband’s heart in a big way.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I focus on women’s nonfiction because I write what I learn and help others learn along with me. I mainly focus on how a woman can improve the relationships in her life – with God, her husband, her children, and her friends.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write as a way of expressing myself and to process life. I write as a form of worship and also as a way of processing my spiritual life. Hearing about areas women struggle with motivates me to write so I can be an encouragement and an inspiration for those who need answers with whatever they struggle with.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I get up early, do a cardio or weight workout so I can have good brain function late into the day, then I spend time with God in Bible reading and prayer, and then spend time writing. (I try to take lunch breaks often at Chick-fil-A.)

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Marketing the book once it’s released. As a writer, my giftedness is in words, conveying insights from Scripture, telling stories. Yet, so much of an author’s life must be spent on marketing and promotion of her book if she wants to be in the position to write and publish another one. If I focus on numbers of copies sold, sales figures, social media stats, and everything that publishers require these days, it will overwhelm me and make me want to give up. I then have to go back to WHY I write – to encourage the heart that needs to hear what I have to say.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

I love hearing stories of how my books have impacted women’s lives from helping them find a relationship with Christ to helping some want to live again after discovering renewed hope. I also love travelling and speaking for all sorts of venues.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

I’ve flown into two tornadoes, outrun a hurricane, and just recently found that my author bio on google describes not me, but another woman named Cindi – a canine specialist, who has “devoted her life to the dog.” Oh dear. That’s definitely not me.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of having raised a beautiful young woman — my daughter, Dana – who helped me write my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, when she was 19. Dana is now living her dream by working for the Walt Disney Company in “Guest Talent” at the Disneyland Resort. She has been the inspiration behind so many stories and spiritual illustrations in my books.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love working out, visiting Disneyland (free of charge…yay!) with my family, and frequenting Chick-fil-A.

Do you have other books?

We’d love to know. I have 15 other books, all from Harvest House Publishers. My most popular titles include When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, When Women Long for Rest, When Couples Walk Together (co-authored with my husband, Hugh), When a Woman Discovers Her Dream, When God Sees Your Tears, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and Drama Free.

What are you working on now?

I am getting my certification as a writing coach and communications specialist so I can be credentialed to help others achieve their dream to write and publish books.

Website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com

Link to book: https://strengthforthesoul.com/product/12-ways-to-experience/

Social media links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindiMcMenamin

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/strengthforthesoul/

 

 

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Meet Christine Lindsay

Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Christine’s books have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award (Twice), the Readers’ Choice Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite and the Selah Award.

Tell us about your newest book.

I was so excited and yet humbled when Sofi’s Bridge won the RWA Reader’s Choice Award 2016 for short historical romance. My good friend Lena Nelson Dooley won the same year in the long historical romance, so I’m in excellent company. Sofi’s Bridge is my first book set in the US. Being an Irish immigrant, I really enjoy writing about Ireland and Irish heroes, so while Sofi’s Bridge is set in the US it does feature a dashing Irish immigrant hero, and Sofi is a second-generation American of Swedish descent. It’s a suspenseful story set in majestic Washington State mountains with a dash of murder, and touches on the subject of grief and the different ways people struggle to find their way out to a happier plain. But, like all my books there is a very happy and romantic ending.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I’ve written in a few genres, but my focus is mainly on historical fiction with a strong love story. This is slightly different from a historical romance where the romance is the main focus, like Sofi’s Bridge is. I love history, and really enjoy taking my reader to that world that no longer exists. Letting the reader almost walk around and breathe the air of yesteryear.

Why do you write? What drives you?

God gave me an artist’s soul, so I basically have to write or paint. About 18 years ago I decided to focus on writing as that allowed me to help others through the medium of story-telling. While I entertain the reader with adventure and romance I aim to give them hope for their own dark days.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Sofi is the main female character and I always liked the name Sophi or Sophia, so when I did my research on Swedish immigrants to the US, I found the Scandinavian spelling. The name is soft yet strong like my character who is gentle with her traumatized sister yet tough enough to stand up in her sister’s defense, to the point that Sofi kidnaps Trina and whisks her away to hide in a mountain cabin with only the help of Neil Macpherson, who is really Dr. Neil Galloway on the run from the British Police.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Marketing, telling prospective readers about your work. Even though I do public speaking I’m a shy person. I don’t like talking about myself or bragging on my work. I’m much happier writing the story. Although I do love getting to know readers on Facebook.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

Feeling the creative freedom that comes from God. He is the reason I write, and when I work on a story I feel His presence. I love the energy that comes from the Holy Spirit as I work. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy every day. There are many days that I feel dry and the work feels all uphill. However, even in those tough times I enjoy God’s encouragement to keep on, to never give up.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

The craziest thing is that when people find out you’re a published author they stand there in awe as if you’re something special. “Wow, you write books,” they say. While it’s very flattering it’s also embarrassing. Everyone is talented. Everyone has something special that they can do. I want to celebrate with others what they can do.

What are you most proud of?

Accomplishing a body of work that the Lord and I worked on together and that my stories bless and encourage readers.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

My multi-award-winning historical trilogy, “Twilight of the British Raj,” has three titles: Shadowed in Silk, Captured by Moonlight, and the finale Veiled at Midnight.

A short contemporary romance set in Ireland called Londonderry Dreaming. Sofi’s Bridge, and lastly my one and only non-fiction memoir that explains my journey into writing called Finding Sarah Finding Me. The is the true-life story of finding the daughter I gave up for adoption.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing Book 1 of a new trilogy set in Ireland. This book is a time-split novel between present day and the past when one of the heroines lives during the Irish Uprising. Very romantic and atmospheric set on the gorgeous Irish coast.

Website: http://christinelindsay.org/

Link to book: http://www.christinelindsay.org/p/sofis-bridge.html

Social media links: https://www.facebook.com/ChristineLindsayAuthor/

 

 

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The Miracle of Love!

About once a year I have had the privilege of being a contributing author to a book. In years past, I contributed to such books as Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of AmericaReady to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens as well as others.

 

 

 

My latest contribution is to the new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Miracle of LoveIt releases today (here’s the link), and the stories within its pages are inspiring, to say the least. The book has 101 stories about hope, soul mates, and new beginnings, stories of dating and romance, proposals and weddings, and second chances, including our second-chance love story. Each unique story touches the heart and encourages readers to revisit their own miracle of love.

Dale and I celebrate our 15thanniversary next month, so this book is a special gift I can give to my wonderful husband, Dale, for all his love and support through the years. As many of you know, our love story is a true miracle of love, one of redemption from broken marriages and a love that has brought both of us more joy than we ever could have imagined. Though we’ve struggled through more than a dozen major surgeries and cancer scares, and over a decade of battling Parkinson’s disease, our commitment and love for one another remains strong.

Committed love is so important to us that we’ve served as premarital counselors and have had two Tyndale premarital books published to help couples prepare for first marriages [Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage] and remarriages [The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness]. Couples arelooking for real answers to help them build successful marriages that last a lifetime. Knowing God’s plan for a biblical marriage is foundational to finding true fulfillment. In these books couples will learn not only about each other, but also about themselves, their relational skills, and their compatibility as a couple. Sidebars from experts discuss the spiritual, emotional, social, relational, and physical intricacies of being married and provide extensive resources for continued marital education and growth.

You can read more about them here: https://www.susangmathis.com/premarital-booksand then click on the links to purchase them for yourself or someone who is dating, engaged, or recently married. These up-to-date and easy-to-use premarital guides will help individuals, couples, pastors, counselors, small groups, or premarital classes prepare for the adventure of marriage and remarriage.

I hope you’ll consider immersing yourself in the stories within Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracle of Love stories and check out our premarital books. I’m sure you’ll be blessed.

What’s your miracle of love? I’d sure love to hear about it!

 

 

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Meet Donna Schlachter

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a critique group, and teaches writing classes. Donna ghostwrites, edits and judges writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.

Tell us about your newest book.

Mail-Order Brides contains nine historical novellas featuring nine women who chose marriage before love. In my story, A Train Ride to Heartbreak, John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I love both historical and contemporary, but historical suspense is my passion. I am intrigued with how police and detectives solved mysteries before and just as the beginning of the onset of traditional forensic techniques.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because the stories are in there, and I feel that if they don’t come out, I’ll burst. I guess that’s the impetus, but over the years, I’ve figured out that getting these stories out is also a form of discipline for me, as I listen to God’s voice and try to be faithful to transcribe what He’s saying. The more I do that, the better I get at listening to His voice in other areas of my life.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My main characters are Mary Johannson and John Stewart. For the plotline to work, I needed a common name, so Mary and John fit. Since Mary is coming from Pennsylvania, I chose a more European name, and for John—well, I liked the name Stewart.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

On any given day in my writing world, I could be plotting out a new book; writing a synopsis; preparing a proposal; writing the book; or editing the book. I might also be preparing a proposal to teach at a writer’s conference; traveling for research; reading a book or watching a movie for research; or organizing my files. When I’m ready to independently publish my books, I could be designing a cover or formatting an interior. And around the first of each month, generally I spend the better part of a day preparing my blog posts for the rest of the month.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

I think the hardest part of being an author is the rejection. By editors and publishers. By folks at the book table at a conference who choose not to buy. By readers who don’t like a book. By contest judges who don’t get the story. None of us likes rejection, but I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t me they’re rejecting, and it isn’t my characters—who I love—or my stories. It’s the message—and if I’m not effectively communicating that message—that God is about second and third and fourth chances—then I need to listen better.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I think the best part of being an author is the freedom to visit places in my stories that nobody has ever been before, to be the first person to hear and see the story God is dictating for me, because that’s what I really believe, and it’s what I pray as I sit down each day to write. God, keep my ears open, my heart humble, and my fingers nimble as I transcribe the story You’re about to dictate. And thank You for letting me be the first person to see and hear this story. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

I once had a book signing in Estes Park, and near the end, a young girl walked in, saw my books, pointed to one on writing, and said, “I’ve read that book, and it’s great.” We talked a bit, and I asked if she’d seen my posts on Facebook or Twitter about the signing, and she said, “I live in Texas, and we’re only here for today. I just stopped in because I love books.” Now, is that a God thing or what? To bring this girl from Texas to encourage me on the only day she was in town, and the only day I was going to be there.

What are you most proud of?

I’m so proud of my husband Patrick, because he believed in me before anybody else did. He supported me and the cost of going to conferences, of buying books on craft, of traveling to do research. And even now, when I say, “I’ve got a story idea”, he smiled and says, “So, when’s our next trip?” I thank God for him every day” because I know that not every female writer has such a strong support system.

What is your favorite pastime?

Watching movies. Reading. Travel. Petting my cats. And not always in that order.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I do. I have a number of books, including devotionals, books on writing, as well as my contemporary cozy mystery series under my pen name. And that’s just the published ones. I also have about a dozen novels and novellas that my agent is shopping around for me.

What are you working on now?

Right now I am editing a novella for a Barbour Books collection called MISSadventure Brides which will come out in 2019. My contribution is Detours of the Heart, and is set in Albuquerque at The Alvarado Harvey House Hotel. My characters are a tour guide and a driver for the Indian Detours, and the story includes, besides the romance, a counterfeit Indian jewelry scheme.

Website: www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Sign up for my free quarterly newsletter and receive a free ebook

Link to book: http://amzn.to/2p8rKpE

Social media links:

Blog: www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

 

 

 

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