Susan G Mathis on a premarital journey

Consider the journey of the Pilgrims from England to America in the 1600s. They heard God’s call to go to a new land. They made plans. They sold most of what they had and made great sacrifices in order to live as Christian families. Then they set out on a great adventure filled with joys and dangers, successes and hardships, and in so doing, they established an incredible future for their children and for future generations.

Marriage is not unlike the Pilgrims’ journey. You meet the man or woman you want to marry. You make plans for your future together, and you research and get everything in order to begin the journey. Sometimes you even have to sacrifice things in order to make a life with your future mate. Then you set out together on a lifelong adventure that changes your lives forever.

As on any journey, there are wonderful surprises and times of love and laughter. But there are also dangers, seen and unseen—road bumps, detours, construction, hazards, and difficulties. When you’re on a journey, you’ll inevitably learn many new things, and you’ll grow along the way. You’ll enjoy new experiences, meet interesting people, and encounter challenges. And you’ll make special memories that will last a lifetime.

Dale and I enjoy biking, hiking, traveling, and experiencing new adventures. Whether climbing the Air Force Academy’s Stanley Canyon trail in Colorado Springs, literally scrambling up the famous Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica—just as a hurricane hit!—or hiking in the rainforests of Hawaii, we love to experience everything that a journey has to offer.

That goes for our marriage as well. We enjoy the good times, make lots of great memories, and capture the moments of fun and adventure. But when times get tough, when hurricanes come or roadblocks hinder our path, we realize that the road bumps and potholes are a part of what makes our adventure unique, so we work together to overcome each obstacle that threatens to impede our journey.

Sometimes your marriage will be easy, but at other times, the potholes or detours of life, the circumstances and the challenges that come your way, will test your marriage and your faith. Yet if you embrace the wisdom of God, He will lead you and guide you through the tough times.

Your marriage is so much bigger than just two people joining forces to journey through life together. If you allow it, your marriage can be a special part of God’s bigger story, for you have the privilege of showing others—family, friends, community, and your children—what God intends for marriage. As you choose daily to intentionally develop your relationship in a godly way, and as you seize the moments to love deeply, treat each other respectfully, and forgive completely, you’ll find the journey of marriage to be the most exciting adventure you could ever experience.

How has your marriage been like a pilgrim’s journey? I’d love to know!

Adapted from Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. We also have a premarital book for remarriage—The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness.Check them out under the premarital books tab: https://www.susangmathis.com/premarital-books/

 

 

 

Jocelyn Green on faith and courage

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award and the Golden Scroll Award.

Tell us about your newest book.
The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

What genre do you focus on and why?
I have written just as much nonfiction as historical fiction, but for the purpose of this interview, I’ll talk about why I write historical novels. History still matters today. We can learn so much from the people who lived before us, and how they shaped and were shaped by the events of their generations. Not only can we find inspiration from them, but also a much better perspective as we look at the world today. Unfortunately, so often, history is distilled into a list of dates and names—not interesting at all. The vehicle of historical fiction allows us to explore segments of the past through the lens of the people who lived it. We get to explore the full spectrum of the human condition through the novel. Personally, I love learning while being entertained with drama, and studies show that when we’re curious about something—such as what will happen to our heroine in the next chapter—we’re far more likely to remember surrounding details, such as the historical context. To me, that’s the icing on the cake. When readers care about characters and learn about history at the same time, I’m thrilled.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
My main character is Catherine Stands-Apart Duval. She’s half-French and half-Mohawk, so I chose Catherine for her Christian name, which was a traditional name for French-Canadian colonists in the 18th century. Her surname of Duval was also common among the French-Canadians and easy for English-speaking readers to pronounce. Stands-Apart is Catherine’s Mohawk name, given to her by her Mohawk mother to describe her personality. She was never content to go along mindlessly with a group, but wanted to do things her own way.

What does a day in your writing world look like?
The day always starts with Bible reading and prayer journaling with breakfast and tea. After that, it’s time to take care of the rest my family. Pack a lunch for my husband, get the kids up and settled into school. We homeschool, but the kids do their lessons online quite independently. I make sure they have the help they need from me in the morning, and then I will typically go to my office to work. When I’m a few months away from deadline, I try to clock six hours of writing in per workday, although sometimes I get done earlier than that. If I’m between deadlines, I spend a lot of time reading, cooking, and doing typical mom/wife type things.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?
The hardest part is time management. There is always something else I could be doing instead of writing. I have to choose to make writing a priority in my day if I’m going to have any hope of meeting my deadlines.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?
The best part is connecting with readers! They are the reason I write. Hearing that God used anything I wrote to touch them somehow is such a blessing.

What is your favorite pastime?
Reading! There’s nothing else I love more than that. But I also go in phases of enthusiasm for gardening and baking.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
Yes. Between Two Shores is my seventh full-length novel and my sixteenth book over all. You can learn more about all of my titles on my Website: https://www.jocelyngreen.com/books

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on another novel for Bethany House. This one is set in Chicago in 1871, so it covers the Great Fire. It will release in February 2020.

Website: www.jocelyngreen.com
Link to book: https://www.jocelyngreen.com/books/fiction/between-two-shores
Social media links: www.facebook.com/jocelyngreenauthor www.twitter.com/jocelyngreen77 www.pinterest.com/jocelyngreen77 www.goodreads.com/JocelynGreen

 

 

 

 

Janet Bly on Western Mysteries

Author and co-author of forty fiction and nonfiction books, Janet Bly is the widow of award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Mother of three married sons; grandmother of four; g-grandma of three. Janet and her sons finished Stephen’s last novel as a family project, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, a Selah Award Finalist.

 

Tell us about your newest book.

It’s 1991. In Beneath a Camperdown Elm, Book 3, Trails of Reba Cahill Series, cowgirl Reba finally completes her most ardent desires. Her scary stalker is locked up in a California jail. She finally found a rancher fiancé and looks forward to her country wedding. And at long last, she’s bringing her runaway mother back home to Road’s End, Idaho. But is Grandma Pearl about to ruin everything? This contemporary western mystery with more than a touch of romance traces the journeys of the heart of three generations of Cahill women.

What genre do you focus on and why?

My fiction centers on contemporary western mystery, adventure, and a touch of romance, to complement my husband’s western genre and to reach out to his base of reader fans.

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

Reba Mae Cahill is a 25-year-old cowgirl, named after the country singer and actress, Reba McEntire. My Reba also has red hair, plays guitar, and sings at her little country church.

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

Writing can be challenging, but it’s also cathartic and satisfying to create stories from imagination and experiences. I love to write. However, the marketing side of the process can be daunting, draining, and very disappointing. So many books out there. So much competition. And fewer readers than ever. But writing without marketing is like winking in the dark. I know what I’m doing, but nobody else does.

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

I’ve often heard from people in various parts of the country and all over the world that they’ve found some Bly books in out-of-the way stores and waiting rooms, home shelves and libraries, and even places like hospitals, care-homes, and prisons. In addition, what a privilege to leave such an inheritance to our future generations. All the hardship becomes worthwhile knowing we’ve invested enjoyment and inspiration for untold future readers.

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

The many times we’ve almost gotten within an inch of a movie or TV contract or been that close to collaborating with a really famous person.

What are you most proud of?

That we’ve been able to offer clean, family friendly, yet highly entertaining novels full of various different kinds of gritty or humorous adventures.

What is your favorite pastime?

Music. Singing in and directing the choir, doing solo and duet specials, and being part of worship team at small local church.

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

Other fiction novels include Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill; Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2, Trails of Reba Cahill; The Hidden West Series; The Carson City Chronicles; and The Crystal Blake Series (9-14 yrs). All available at our Bly Books.com website or Amazon.

My family and devotional books include Hope Lives Here, God Is Good All The Time, Managing Your Restless Search, and Awakening Your Sense of Wonder.

What are you working on now?

Re-releasing as many of my late husband’s out-of-print books as possible into ebooks, paperback, and audio editions.

Website:  www.BlyBooks.com

Link to book series & free sample chapters:

https://www.blybooks.com/genre/contemporary-fiction/

Social media links:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BlyBooks/
Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/janetchesterbly/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlyBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janetcbly/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/269265.Janet_Chester_Bly
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+JanetBly/posts
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janetchesterbly

 

 

 

Jan Cline on the dust bowl

Jan’s first novel was published in 2016, a product of her love for history and research. She is a former writer’s conference director and speaks at writer’s groups and conferences. Jan lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and her impertinent dog, Cooper. When she’s not writing she enjoys golf, crafting, and time with grandchildren.

Tell us about your newest book.

Heaven’s Sky is the first in a series of three books that center on the strong women who lived through our nation’s most difficult times. Heaven’s Sky’s main character, Clarissa, is struggling to stay on the farm she and her husband established on the Kansas plains during the 1930s dust bowl. A surprise visit from her estranged sister from New York only adds to the conflict and turmoil that happens while Clarissa’s husband is off looking for work. A kind drifter comes along, endearing himself to the family and encouraging them in their faith. A near tragedy brings all the characters to discover the truly important things in life.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I came from a non-fiction background, but once I started writing fiction, I was hooked. My father instilled a love for history at an early age and I naturally leaned that way when I decided to write fiction full time.

Why do you write? What drives you?

Who can explain the pull to do something you have a love/hate relationship with? Writing is not an easy pursuit, but I’m mostly driven by the desire to tell stories from the past and let our youth know where they came from and about the people who paved the way for them. It’s probably the same reason many writers are compelled to write – to tell a story that’s in you to tell.

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

Clarissa Wilding is a name I pulled out of the air, but I like it. The name describes her well – dainty and feminine, yet willing to brave the hardness of life in the dust bowl. She is vulnerable yet with inner strength she herself doesn’t realize. She is likely very similar in character to many of the women who survived those days.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Unlike many of my writer friends, I like to write at my desk at home. I usually start in the mornings when my brain cells are freshly rested, and almost always with my earphones on, listening to movie scores. I only write an hour or less at a time, unless I’m on a good roll. Taking breaks helps me focus.

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

Marketing, coming up with great new stories, marketing, finding time to write, marketing, and marketing. In that order.

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

When someone tells you that your story touched them. It’s the reason most writers keep going. We all like occasional confirmation that we are on the right path.

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

Researching for book three of this series, which is based on the true story of my mother and her first husband who are both deceased, I found and met with a long lost relative of his who had been at their wedding when she was just a baby. It took me many months to find her, but we had a nice visit. It was strange to talk to the only living person who was at my mother’s wedding.

What are you most proud of?

Finishing and published a novel. It wouldn’t matter what novel it was – just that I finished it and put forth the effort to publish it.

What is your favorite pastime?

That would be a toss-up between traveling in our RV and crafting. They are both addicting. Golf would be a third.

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

I have been published traditionally in non-fiction with devotionals with Barbour Publishing. Most of them are soon to be out of print. I Indie published a devotional and women’s self-help book, and then I published my first novel, Emancipated Heart in 2016. It’s a story about a Japanese American family living in an internment camp during WWII.

What are you working on now?

My series. Book two should be out this summer and book three out in late fall. Then it’s on to more 1930s & 40s story research. I’m also busy occasionally working on workshops for writer’s conferences.

Website: https://jancline.net

Link to book:

Social media links:

https://www.facebook.com/JanClineAuthor/

https://twitter.com/Jan_Cline

https://www.pinterest.com/JanClineAuthor/

 

 

 

 

 

J’nell Ciesielski on WWII drama

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by.

Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one very lazy beagle.

 

 

Tell us about your newest book.

The idea for Songbird came to me after watching a movie with a British soldier who posed as a Nazi to spy for the Allies. One of his rendezvous happened in this little French bar, and I though aha! Now that would be interesting. Could a woman fall in love with the enemy and what would that look like? The story would be ripe for drama!

What genre do you focus on and why?

I’ve always loved the WWII mainly for the clothes and music. The US was heavily involved in this war and its history surrounds us. I was completely drawn to the way citizens pulled together in the name patriotism to overcome horrific circumstances. WWI and Scotland are also huge interests to me.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because I have to write. It’s really that simple. Writing is how I express myself, and if I keep it all inside I’ll explode. I love telling stories and bringing to life characters in situations that I find fascinating and will continue to do just that for as long as I can.

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

Claire Baudin is my heroine. I wanted a name that was American and French sounding, plus I just think it’s pretty. My hero Michael Reiner has a more interesting tale. He’s named after Michael Fassbender who played a British solider posing as a Nazi in the movie that inspired this whole story. I felt it appropriate to honor him.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I’m a stay at home mom so most of my day revolves around keeping a little person alive. Around 1 pm she heads into her room for quiet time and that’s when my writing begins. I get about 2 ½ hours to put words on paper before she comes breezing out again. At night time I’ll try to go over the pages I wrote earlier or do some reading.

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

Time management. I’m a very organized person, but when a bunch of to-dos start piling up I get overwhelmed and then shut down. So finding time to get it all done without completely ignoring my family can be difficult.

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

Creating stories. I just love imaging new and different things, things I would never be able to do in my own life, but I get to experience via these characters and circumstances.

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

I don’t know if this is crazy, but I still find it mind blowing that people want my autograph. Autographs are supposed to be for famous people!

What are you most proud of?

Hanging in there and not giving up. There are days when I question if it’s worth it, am I good enough, but I forge ahead simply because I cannot stop writing. It’s who I am, and blessedly, I’ve found readers who want to read my stories. That’s pretty amazing.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading and eating. If together even better!

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

My debut novel Among the Poppies came out last year. It’s about a female ambulance driver who falls in love with an army captain on the frontlines of WWI.

What are you working on now?

I just wrote a novella for a collection coming out this fall. Night Fox takes readers to 1716 at the end of Jacobite rebellion where the weary hero is returning home from war only to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn’t like any others. When she set out to steal jewels to repay her family debts, never did our heroine imagine snagging the laird’s heart.

Website: http://www.jnellciesielski.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1946016799/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Social media links:

https://www.facebook.com/jnellciesielski

https://twitter.com/JnellCiesielski

https://www.pinterest.com/jnellciesielski/https://www.goodreads.com/jnellciesielski

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-nell-ciesielski