Meet author Deb DeArmond

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. Her award-winning books focus on topics related to the family and women.

Her newest book, We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished, encourages women 50+ to make the rest of their life the best of their life. Written with 22 guest authors to challenge women to ask the question: “What’s my purpose now?” It’s never too late to start and it’s always too early to quit!

Tell us about your newest book.

It’s all about joining the ranks of the mature middle aged. The nest is empty, professional path established or concluded. It should be an exciting time. We’re free to pursue the possibilities. But it’s a little scary, too. Much of what has defined our lives for the last 30 years is no longer required. Having completed most of what was placed on our plate – raising kids, building careers, driving carpools and Little League, I firmly believe the best may still be ahead.

We May Be Done, But We’re Not Finished challenges women 50+ and older to examine how the rest of their life might be the best of their life. Many may have wondered if they’ve accomplished the purpose for their lives as God intended. Here’s a clue: if you’re still here, the answer is no. Please remember, adventure has no age limit.

What inspired you to write We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished?

It sounds ridiculous, but AARP was stalking me. I began receiving ads for their services like health care and car insurance. First, occasional mail. With each birthday, they stepped it up until I was constantly bombarded. It felt intrusive. I was close to qualifying for their “club” but all of the women in their advertising looked 20 years older than me. I was still very active in the professional world, my community. I wasn’t quite ready for the silver menu at Denny’s, thank you. My friends were experiencing the same “push” into senior society. One reported she’d had an interview for a job that matched her 25 years in the industry. The interviewer was impressed with her resume, but said, “You’re already close to 60; how much longer are you planning to work? Candidly, I could hire two kids straight out of college for what I’d have to pay for your experience. And they’d probably stay 10 years or more.” That did it for me. But many women accept the perception that adventure and growth are a thing of the past. I wrote the book for them.

What genre do you focus on?

My focus has always been Christian Living / non-fiction. Relationships are key to life. Whether in families, with friends, or in a professional environment. I was blessed to witness a strong marriage and great love between my parents. I was only 19 when I married, but we got it right. 46 years later, we are still very much in love and best friends. Not everyone got that deal.

For years people asked me, “How did you get so lucky?” I told them two things: “We live in covenant, not contract. And we work hard to walk together in Christ.”

A frequent response: “You should write a book.” So, the adventure began . . . I focused on in-law relationships and marriage in the first three books. If the enemy can divide the family, he can divide the church. We often fail to see the connection between these two. My most recent books are devotionals that touch on many of the same issues, with a bit of humor on the side in a quick-read format.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

It starts off with a great burst of single-focused energy. I might be at the computer for 8-10 hours every day the first week or two. My husband says the house could burn down around me during those sessions and I’d not notice at all.

When I realize the frenetic pace is not required, and the writing muse seems to be working along with me, I slow down. I am self-employed as a writing coach and work from home. I can set my own schedule and begin to create some healthy margin for life and family. They know the pattern and t give me grace that first few weeks. Once settled in, I probably write for 25 hours each week. The WIP, a monthly column for a Lifeway magazine, guest blogging – all included.

Why do you write?

It’s a great question. I loved books as a child and became a voracious reader. But I never considered writing until my mid-50’s. And it wasn’t my idea. Three people in my life insisted I was called to write. I thought they were crazy. I built a successful career in the field of Learning and Development, working with companies to help managers become genuine leaders. I loved the work.

But as I said in an earlier response, people encouraged me, sometimes insisting I write. The final moment came when my friend, Eve, challenged me after I’d brushed her comment off once again. “Eve! It’s not what I do.” She nodded and said, “Just because it not what you’ve done, doesn’t me it’s not what God’s asking you to do. I dare you to ask Him.”

That stopped me in my tracks. I asked Him. He responded. So, 10 years later, here we are. Some have asked, “Do you regret you didn’t start earlier?” My answer is always, “No. I had to live all of those years for God to qualify me on the topics I write.” Who wants in-law information from someone who isn’t one? Or marriage advice from one married four years?

What is the hardest part of being an author?

I can’t answer that question, because I’ve not found it hard. Enlightening, exhilarating and occasionally, exhausting. But never hard. I’m a lifelong learner; I love it all. Even the “No thank you” from editors—because my agent extracted feedback from them that helped me improve. I had 11 rejections for my first book, but still it sold within six months of the first submission. The next several were easier.

Perhaps the only item I might note is the isolation that comes with hours at the keyboard. Deadlines can dictate my days and deny me a night with my husband, family, or friends on occasion. I work hard to avoid it, but it happens.

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

This one is easy. Hearing from readers who have connected and thanked me for helping them in a difficult marriage or family relationship. Recently, I received an email entitled, “You Saved My Life.”

At first, I thought it was spam. It wasn’t. It came from a mother-in-law whose sone and daughter-in-law moved away and refused to speak with her because of the way she had treated her son’s wife. She realized after reading the book that she was actually the one to blame. She confessed it to her daughter-in-law and asked for her forgiveness. The young woman was so taken aback, that she acknowledged she too, was partly to blame. They are re-connecting and rebuilding. But it’s on track.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I grew up in a multi-cultural home. My mom, a midwestern Christ follower. My dad was Jewish, descended from Russian parents who came to America to escape the pogroms. Dad was a first generation American, and though he did was not a religious Jew, he was very proud of his Jewish heritage and culture. We celebrated Christmas and Chanukah, Easter andPassover. I thought it was a great deal as a child! We our boys with a “Christian Bar Mitzvah” and there is always a menorah displayed at the holidays.

What is your favorite pastime?

It’s simple: time with my husband, Ron. We met at 17 and I knew from the first date, he was different. He led me to Christ the night before we graduated from high school. He and I are opposites in many ways, but we joke that together we make one really outstanding person. We knew when we married at 19 that we could only be successful if we buried our life in Him. That’s how we started, and how we plan to finish strong – together. After 45 years, he’s still my favorite human.

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

I do. They include:

Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships, Kregel Publications

I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last, Abingdon Press

Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight!  Abingdon Press

Bumper Sticker Be-Attitudes, a humorous devotional, Elk Lake Publishing

We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished! Making the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, Elk Lake Publishing

Website: Deb DeArmond/Family Matters (www.debdearmond.com)

Link to book: amzn.to/GAQZy

Social media links:

Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorDebDeArmond

Pinterest: pinterest.com/deb_dearmond

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/debdearmond

 

 

 

Dark Island’s Singer Castle

Dark Island is the setting for what’s now named Singer Castle—originally called “The Towers— on one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River. Frederick Bourne affectionately dubbed it his “hunting lodge.” It’s the only fully completed and existing castles of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age era.

The castle can be toured from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and you can even spend the night there! I’ve toured the castle several times and even spent the night but still haven’t seen it all. While I’ve been all over the world, Singer Castle is still one of the most fascinating places I’ve been to.

Frederick Bourne, a New York resident, self-made millionaire, and the fifth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company (thus the name “Singer Castle”), bought the seven-acre island and contracted Ernest Flagg, a famous architect of the time, to design the magnificent castle to surprise his wife and children. Flagg chose to design it much like the English castle in Sir Walter Scott’s book, Woodstock, complete with eight fireplaces, eight bathrooms, dungeons, secret passageways, a piazza, a portrait of King Charles II that can be opened to spy on guests, and more.

Construction began in 1903, but to support such a massive stone castle, Bourne bought nearby Oak Island and a plot of land in Canada to bring tons of granite to the island over water and the winter ice to build up the island. Two years later the 28-room, four-story castle was a wonder to behold.

Three towers/turrets, secret panels and passageways, massive stone arches, and the dungeon add mystery to the place. The island also includes three boathouses (one that houses a powerhouse), and an icehouse.

The castle is completely furnished with furnishings, a library full of books, dozens of sewing machines, period dishware, and all kinds of cool stuff from that era, most of which were actually there during the Bournes’ ownership and residence. Medieval weapons and suites of armor complete the castle’s ambiance.

Want to add this to your bucket list? Check out more here: https://www.singercastle.com

 

Meet author Cindy Ervin Huff

Cindy Ervin Huff is an award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She loves infusing hope into her stories of broken people. She’s addicted to reading and chocolate. Her idea of a vacation is visiting historical sites and an ideal date with her hubby of almost fifty years would be going to the theater.

Tell us about your newest book.

As her husband’s evil deeds haunt a mail-order bride from the grave, can she learn to trust again and open her heart to true love? Jed has his own nightmares from a POW camp and understands Delilah better than she knows herself. Can two broken people form a forever bond?

What inspired you to write Rescuing Her Heart?

I watched someone close to me have her life torn apart in a terrible relationship. And her now husband helped build her trust and loved her despite her past. He is a veteran with PTSD and he too has worked to put his life back together. I took the bones of their story and set it in 1870 Kansas. My what if moment revolved around a bad mail-order bride marriage and it developed from there.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Rescuing Her Heart takes place in 1870 Kansas. Delilah made the biggest mistake of her life when she answered an ad to become a mail-order bride.

Lemont was nothing like his lovely letters. His cruel, controlling ways crushed her soul and spirit. When he died, she had no tears for him and a determination to never let a man have control over her again. Jed knows what it’s like to experience trauma. He takes it upon himself to help Delilah overcome her fears and learn to trust again. Can he keep the woman he’s falling for safe when he late-husband’s past comes calling.

What genre do you focus on and why?

Historical Romance, I also write contemporary romance. I love reading a good happily-ever-after. But I want to learn something I never knew and be inspired by the characters growth. That is what I write. Many relationships in the real world fail because baggage from the past taints the present. A novel that stays true to the theme at its center can be life changing for the reader. As a Christian I want to give readers hope in my writing. The verse that forms my themes of hope in my novels is Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He makes all things beautiful in His time…” (KJB)

Why do you write?

From childhood stories formed in my mind. It took me years to find an outlet for them. I’ve written scripts, short stories, articles and column for decades. Then when I turned fifty, God called me to write novels. It took years of learning the craft and many rejections. At sixty, my first book Secrets & Charades was published. I’ll soon be sixty-six and my ninth novel is complete. And my fifth novel releases in October. I’m in it for as long as God desires.

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

Jed Holt and Delilah James. Jed was a secondary character in my novella Healing Hearts in The Cowboys collection. His full name is Jedidiah, but he prefers Jed. Delilah’s name seemed fitting considering how much shame she carries at the beginning of the story. But Jed gives her the nickname Dee, a new name for a new life.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I get up early, sort out email, then write words until I have no more to write. I can generally write 1,000 words a day. Mornings are my most productive time, because that’s when I’m firing on all cylinders.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Marketing. I have a hard time promoting myself. But marketing is necessary to sell books so I soldier on.

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

Seeing my story in print with a wonderful cover. And people wanting to read my books. God called, and seeing readers enjoying my work reminds me why I do this.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I grew up as an Air Force brat. I was always the new kid. So, I learned to put myself out there to find friends, knowing in a few years we’d move to another place. Because of that experience I don’t know a stranger. I love meeting new people.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I am getting better at editing my own words, so what I give my critique partners now gets a deeper edit. That makes me a better writer. I’ve met some phenomenal writers who’ve inspired me not only in craft but my walk as a Christian.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading. I’m addicted. I love walking with my husband and spending time with him. And coloring relaxes me and releases tension.

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

Yes, my historical romances are Secrets & Charades, Healing Hearts, my novella in The Cowboys collection and Angelina’s Resolve will release October 15th. It is the first in my new series Village of Women. The only contemporary romance presently in print is New Duet. Type my name in the Amazon search bar and you’ll find them all. They are all available in e-book. Secrets & Charades and New Duet are available in audiobook. Rescuing Her Heart and The Cowboys are being produced as audiobooks too.

What are you working on now?

I’m editing Cherishing Her Heart the sequel to Rescuing Her Heart. I’m starting book 2 of Village of Women

Website:

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Rescuing-Heart-Healing-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B092SR6B5Y/

Social media links:

https://www.facebook.com/author.huff11

https://www.instagram.com/cindyervinhuff/

https://twitter.com/Cindyhuff11Huff

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/761142963

My website: www.cindyervinhuff.com

 

 

 

Meet author Jennifer Wright

Jennifer Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a Master’s in Journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering local news for her to realize writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. An Air Force wife, she spends most of her days corralling her two children and one grumpy old dachshund. She currently resides in New Mexico.

Tell us about your newest book:

If It Rains is a story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments―the Dust Bowl. It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband―and her new social class―expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading. Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.

What inspired you to write If It Rains?

My husband is an Air Force pilot and, back in 2014, he transferred to a base in southern New Mexico. It was a completely new experience for someone like me who was born and raised in the Midwest, especially when I witnessed my first dust storm. My background is in journalism so I am a naturally curious (or nosy, depending on who you ask!) person to begin with, and I was soon down a rabbit hole of dust storm research that eventually led to the writing of ‘If It Rains.’

What genre do you focus on and why?

I write Christian historical fiction because I love the experience of traveling through time within the pages of a book. History is so much more than facts and figures; it is real people living real lives during extraordinary times. Even fictionalized accounts of historical experiences add a level of depth and understanding to past events that would not be possible otherwise. Through my books, I hope to encourage people to discover more about the richness of history while also illustrating the timelessness of God’s grace.

Why do you write?

From the day I learned to read, I have always been a bookworm. When I became a military spouse, books were the one constant in a life of incessant change. This deep love and respect for books and their authors created a desire in me to write one of my own—so I did! It took over ten years for me to score a publishing contract and, during those years of rejection, it was the belief in my dreams that kept me going, as well as the longing to show my children what it means to pursue your goals, even when it’s hard or seems impossible.

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

If It Rains is a dual-timeline story. One of my protagonists, Kathryn, is named after my husband’s grandmother, with whom he was extremely close (and who is the middle namesake of my daughter!) The other protagonist is Melissa, which is the name of my maternal grandmother. She was a major influence in my faith journey during my childhood.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I spent many years writing during my children’s naptime, but I’ve just entered a new season in which both my children are in school full-time! Now, I drop them off at school around 8:00 and come home to write. I usually have a word count goal (anywhere from 2,000-3,000 words) for the day rather than a set amount of time. Sometimes I get it done in a few hours; other days, I’m writing right up until it’s time to go pick my kids up from school and replace my “author hat” with my “mom” one.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

I think the hardest part of being author is simply getting the word out about your book. There are so many books out there demanding readers’ attention, and it’s difficult to find ways to differentiate yours from the pile.

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

I absolutely love engaging with fellow readers and writers. I’ve been given the opportunity to chat with authors whose books have inspired and encouraged me, as well as “fan girl” with readers over novels we love. Book people are my people, and being able to connect with them has been the most rewarding part of this journey so far.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I have traveled to fifteen different countries, lived in three of them, and called four different states home. Perhaps one of these days I will find a place in which to settle for more than a few years at a time!

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

The way I draft is completely different now from how I did it when I first started. I used to try so hard to have a “perfect” manuscript on the first try, which often stifled my creative flow. I’ve learned, when writing a first draft, the goal is simply to get the story from my head onto paper; making it “good” comes later. So now, when I’m writing, I just…write.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love reading, of course, but I also enjoy hiking and camping. Put me in the mountains with our RV and a few good books, and I might never come back down.

What are you working on now?

If It Rains is my debut novel, but I am currently working on a coming-of-age story set during the Trinity Test in 1945. It is entitled Come Down Somewhere and will be released by Tyndale House sometime in 2022. More information about it will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, you can find a preview of the first chapter at the back of If It Rains. J

Website: www.jennwrightwrites.com

Link to book: https://www.tyndale.com/p/if-it-rains/9781496456847

Social media links: Follow me on Twitter: @JennWright18 or keep up with the latest news on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferWrightLit

 

 

 

The Thousand Islands Gilded Age

The American Gilded Age was a time of rapid technical advances, industrialization, and thousands of new inventions from about 1870-1910. Mark Twain coined the term in his 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today that satirizedthe era of social problems that were masked by a layer of thin, gold gilding. All of my books are based during the Thousand Islands Gilded Age, when the wealthy came and scooped up the islands and built lavish summer homes, mansions, and castles.

It was an era of economic growth. Since wages were higher than Europe, massive immigration drew about twenty million to the U.S. shores. Unions fought to stop child labor and establish an eight-hour work day. Social reforms included women’s suffrage, prohibition, and other civil changes. In the cities, labor unions became important in regulating industry, while trusts grew stronger in several industries. Education, prohibition, and racial inequalities dominated politics as did economic affairs of money supply and tariffs.

Unfortunately, it was also a time of unequal distribution of wealth where the rich got richer and the poor working class suffered. Many young women worked as servants until they married, and that’s what my stories are about—those nameless, faithful women who cooked and cleaned and served tables for the rich and famous. These “downstairs” women had fascinating stories to tell, and I plan to tell many of them.

The Gilded Age titans of industry changed our world—people like John D Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Pullman, and others who were sometimes called “robber barons.” But there were others who quietly made a difference—people like Frederick Bourne who took the Singer sewing machine around the globe as highlighted in my novel, Devyn’s Dilemma.

When city growth ballooned during this time, so did the economic problems of housing, the poor, and many social problems. Factories, railroads, finance, and mining were just a few of the growing industries during this time, while immigrants and others moved West and filled jobs in mining, farming, ranching, and building railroads. The number of public schools multiplied and so did membership in churches, especially in Catholicism due to so many Irish, Italian, and other immigrants. But the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893 depressed growth for a season and brought political and social strife.

During this era, technology and industrialization grew the economy. Mechanization created less expensive products. The steel industry exploded, and the first transcontinental railroad opened in 1869. For the first time one could travel from New York to San Francisco in just six days. By 1880, railroad mileage tripled and brought the nation closer together. Markets became national and the world smaller.

During the Gilded Age, America led the world in innovation. A half-million patents were issued for new inventions including hundreds by Thomas Edison, Westinghouse, and others. Thanks to inventions such as delivery of electric power, the world became lighter, safer, more convenient and comfortable, and all around better.

So this is why I write Thousand Islands Gilded Age stories. To share the rich heritage this era gave us and better understand what it was like. What fascinates you about this time? I’d love to know.

 

 

Meet author Candy Arrington

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, and speaker. She frequently writes on the topics of faith, health, personal growth, andmoving through, and beyond, challenging life circumstances. Candy has over twenty years of experience writing for publication. Her publishing credits include three nonfiction books and hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals in numerous print and online outlets. Read Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, on her website https://candyarrington.com/

Tell us about your newest book.

Life on Pause is one of those books you can’t successfully write until you’ve lived it. From traffic jams to extended life pauses, most of us don’t handle waiting well. We’re frustrated by having our plans and goals put on hold and chafe at delays. In learning how to approach waiting with patience and trust, we are able to view waiting as a gift rather than a burden. As a bonus, contributor stories provide insights on waiting well.

What inspired you to write Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well

My husband and I have experienced many seasons of waiting during our 40-year marriage. Some were prolonged waiting periods, others days or weeks. It was during these times that we learned to trust God, relinquish control, practice patience, and not rush ahead when God says wait. Following our most recent life pause, I wrote an article for CBN.com. Later, I used that article to pitch the book idea to a publisher.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

We live in a world of drive-thru dining, instant information, and next day delivery, so we find life pauses frustrating. Instead, perhaps we need to view waiting as preparation for the next opportunity, a time to develop patience and perspective.

Why do you write?

I write because I can’t not write. God provides ideas, outlines, words, sentences, paragraphs and I would be disobedient if I didn’t follow through with writing what he gives me.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

Mornings are my most creative and productive time, so I try to take advantage of that as much as possible. However, I’ve learned to utilize even small snippets of time instead of waiting for uninterrupted hours that sometimes don’t happen.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Discipline. Many responsibilities and activities vie for my attention. It’s often tempting to let writing slide to the bottom of the list when other endeavors seem urgent. Giving writing the necessary time requires discipline and prioritizing.

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

The best part of my writing life is having readers tell me my words helped them navigate challenging circumstances and gave them hope. When I hear from readers, it encourages me to keep writing the topics God lays on my heart even if they are difficult.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

When I was a teenager, I traveled to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Africa with my college-age cousin to visit his missionary parents and family. I was there for a month and saw amazing sites—Victoria Falls, Wankie Game Reserve (now Hwange National Park), and flew via helicopter to a mission hospital located in “the bush.” I’m so thankful I had the opportunity as a teen to visit this part of the world.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

When I first began writing, I thought I could write everything—poems, children’s books, devotionals, fiction, nonfiction. After attending several writing conferences, I learned I had a lot to learn! In the last twenty years, I have narrowed my focus to nonfiction, discovered my best topics, and found my writing voice.

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

Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group)

When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for this Season of Life (Harvest House)

What are you working on now?

Currently, my focus is on promoting Life on Pause, but I am also considering several topics for another nonfiction book.

Website: https://candyarrington.com/

Link to book: https://amzn.to/3xvcYuP

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Arrington.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CandyArrington

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