Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Author Behind the Story Blog Series - Christine Dillon

Greetings from a swamp. A hot, humid swamp. We invaded one, you know. We call it Florida. But it's really a swamp that is being transformed into overpriced housing. I don't know about your neck of the woods, but here in FLA, we are experiencing some of the largest population growth in the state's history. If you want a cheap U-Haul, drive down her and drive it back to wherever, and U-Haul will probably pay you for doing it. Houses can't be built fast enough, and they're being built in some of the strangest places. Old ones are being snapped up too. Houses that need a lot of work are selling at prices over their appraised value in two weeks or less. Some as little as three days. If you're moving here, just wait until you get here, because if you find one online, by the time you drive down to see it, it will probably already have five or more offers. Most of them cash offers. We're just waiting for FLA to break off from all the weight and become an island. That's when we sell, move, and retire. Ha!

In retirement, there's one place I'd love to visit, and that's Australia. I like it so much I made one of my main characters in my Blake Meyer thriller series hail from the "Land Downunder." And that's where our next guest calls her homeland on earth, even though she's hardly ever there.

Please welcome to the Florida Front Porch, where the ceiling fan is running on high, but the sweat still beads up anyway, Australian-born author, Christine Dillon!

Christine, glad you could stop by! We have a tradition here on ABTS. In fifty words or less, give
us a quick bio. Who is Christine Dillon?

I am an Australian raised in Asia. I had the privilege of attending schools in Malaysia and the Philippines. Most importantly, I’m a child of God and follow him. I studied physiotherapy and worked several years before attending Bible College and returning to Taiwan as a missionary.

I love the great outdoors - hiking, photography, and swimming.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life? 

I was in my thirties when I started writing non-fiction and it came out of my experience in mission. Writing fiction didn’t happen until into my forties, and it is still very much a part-time occupation. I am still telling Bible stories in Chinese (and English) to anyone who will listen and having the joy of seeing lives transformed.

Chinese, eh? I have to admit, I don't think I know anyone who speaks Chinese. Personally, anyway. 

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.


Favorite Song of All-Time: Many of the songs by Keith Getty/Stuart Townend e.g. In Christ Alone, How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (We used to sing those back in the day when we attended a Calvary Chapel.)

Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Mountain Rain, the biography of James O Fraser of Lisuland (China). A wonderful stimulus to pray for things that will last to eternity.

Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 1: 27-29  God chooses the weak … so that no one can boast before him. This verse is true of me and is a great encouragement when I feel weak (which is often).

Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings. I waited a good while to watch the movies because the books are such favourites of mine.

Favorite TV Show: Antiques Roadshow - I love the history and stories behind the items people are getting valued.

Favorite Novel (other than your own): Narnia series. I’ve read them every year since I was a teenager and still glean wisdom from them.

Favorite Sport: Too many: volleyball, cycling, swimming … I prefer participating to watching.

Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: science or social studies.

Favorite Time of the Year: Spring or summer (love the slow, hot Australian days)

Favorite Place to Vacation: UK - for hiking and the history.

Favorite Food: anything Thai.

 

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story? 

Grace in the Shadows (Book 2). The ending of this story is the one that God gave me when he suggested I write a novel during a day of prayer (an idea that horrified me, and he had to ease me into the idea over the subsequent six years). The ending (which I’m not going to tell you :) is deeply significant to me because it demonstrates much of the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

I am about to start the planning for the sixth novel in my series. I think this is the last in the ‘Grace’ series. It is a spin-off story from the main family who feature in books 1-4. One of the themes will be an issue I struggled with until I was 26 - low self-esteem and comparing myself with others.

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?

My brain works much better in the morning. I only write one novel a year (since I am a full-time missionary), and it has worked out that I write in the last third of each year. I block out Saturdays as my main writing time but during the writing months, I also aim to write 500 words a day on at least four other days of the week and then at least three thousand on the Saturday. If the words are flowing, usually the per day count increases.

Kind of a NanoWriMos...instead of NanoWriMo. See, you writers out there? You can spread November out into more than one month. You can even make your National Novel Writing Month happen in a different month. Whatever works for you. 

Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?

Being a Christian adds a completely different dimension to writing. Take the time to really pray about whether God wants you to write. The world is cluttered up with books and as a believer, I think we should only write for a bigger audience if it is an important and (in the case of non-fiction) a unique contribution.

Also, take time to consider your motivations. If you are writing for the wrong reasons you will have a tough time. Writing is difficult and involves being able to take lots of criticism both in getting a book published (editing, early readers …) and from readers who write reviews. If you’re someone who is sensitive or easily hurt, work on dealing with the underlying reasons for those things before you put yourself in the firing line.

And take your time! Rushing produces poor results and especially for a first book, it will likely take far longer than you could imagine and that is a good thing. There is a lot for most people to learn about the craft of writing. We don’t want to release a book that we’re later ashamed of.

How true. Good advice!

Has your writing crossed over into other areas? If so, how? If not, will it?

For me it was my training ministry that led to writing non-fiction (rather than vice versa). I wrote a book on 1-to-1 discipleship (Christian Focus, 2009) and also one on Bible storytelling (Telling the Gospel Through Story, IVP, 2012). I run many seminars on evangelism, storytelling, and discipleship.

The fiction was a surprise and as a result of a prayer day in which two titles/ideas for novel were placed in my mind. I didn’t think I could ever learn to write fiction but left it in God’s hands. Six years later he pushed me forward and now I have five novels released. My latest non-fiction, Sword Fighting: Applying God’s word to win the battle for our mind, was released as a companion to my fourth novel as it fleshes out ideas that are touched on in the novel but couldn’t be expanded on there.

I have also had various Chinese translations of my non-fiction, and we’re working on a German translation for the Sword Fighting book and have a Dutch translation of the first novel. Following Jesus is certainly an adventure, and I am constantly having to learn new skills like project manage translations, even in languages I don’t speak.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus, and why? 

Probably Daniel or Paul. I’d just have so many questions about their faith journey and their struggles. Also, how they lived as ‘salt and light’ in their era. I’d also ask Paul about missionary strategy because this is something that is my daily life and he could teach me so much.

Why do you live where you live?

I live wherever God has led me. For the past 22 years that has been Taiwan but now I’m returning to Australia to be a better support to my ageing parents. I trust that God knows exactly what he is doing and has plans for me here.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I read several kinds of books. Some are just for mental relaxation like thrillers/mystery/detective novels and my only requirement is that they’re well-written.

I also like historical fiction and particularly enjoy learning new things and more about history.

If I’m reading Christian fiction, I want the story to not only be well-written but to inspire me to follow Jesus ever more closely. It is much harder for a CF book to gain a 5-star review as I only give 5-stars for books that I rate as excellent and also eternity-impacting.

I do check out covers/blurbs/first page but I also take word of mouth recommendations from people whose recommendations I’ve learned to trust. In the CF world, I also look for undervalued books that may be excellent and seek to encourage those authors.

Oh, really...may I interest you in an undervalued book by an author I know very well? It's called The Letters. Full of mystery, suspense, and has a great "eternity-impacting" ending. And it must be written pretty well. It just won a Selah Award. :-)

(I should have warned everyone that a shameless - shameful? - plug was coming.)

Christine, it's been great having you on our blog. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

Following Jesus should be an adventure. If we’ve submitted our lives to him, then he will lead us in many different, and often surprising, directions. Part of my journey has been writing, but yours is likely to be completely different. The key is being ready and willing to obey. I look forward to where he leads after I finish the final novel in the Grace series and what he does with the books over the coming years. My responsibility is to keep my eyes on him. May you also be greatly used to bring God glory in whatever he puts in front of you.

Challenging and encouraging words, for sure.

Readers, if you are wanting to learn more about Christine and her ministries, you can find her here:

Author website: https://www.storytellerchristine.com/

Subscribe to Christine’s newsletter and download Christine’s first novel: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/6a009aee-fe2b-11ea-8278-0f7e76fa853d


Until next time, 


Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com 


PS - As mentioned above, Kevin's latest novel, The Letters, won the 2021 Selah Award at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in the Speculative Category!





Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Author Behind the Blog Series - Peyton H. Roberts

As the school year winds down, and the mask mandates wind down (or wind up, depending on your perspective), and as summer looms on the horizon, it is good to see 2020 farther and farther away in the rearview mirror. A relative of mine recently stated how depressing it was that we were actually living out the script to the movie Idiocracy. "I didn't realize that movie was a prophecy," he said. Ha! 

If you haven't seen that movie, IMDB describes it this way:

Private Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic, he's easily the most intelligent person alive.

You laugh, but it's unfortunately a "way-too-realistic" comedic commentary on our present situation. Evil is viewed as good. Good is evil. Right is wrong. Wrong is right. Very Old Testament, Isaiah chapter 5-ish, if you ask me.

That's why it's always a treat to invite a new author to the Author Behind the Story Blog Series and bring to the world a sense of normalcy, where we can talk about writing and life as it pertains to sane folks.

This month, we welcome a brand new author and her debut novel to the Florida front porch, where the summer heat has arrived, the love bugs are in love, and afternoon thunderstorms are in the forecast for later this week. Please welcome, Peyton H. Roberts!

Peyton, kick us off by giving us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Peyton H. Roberts? 

I believe you can learn a lot about a person based on what they love. I love my husband Nick who I met in high school. I love our two adventurous kids, Sadie (7) and Nate (4). I love sailing and going to the beach. I love keeping in touch with friends all over the world. I love writing letters and heartfelt notes, and I enjoy receiving them too.

I love planning travel and going on trips, especially to tropical places and national parks. It always feels like a getaway exploring places where you can’t see any manmade structures. We are new travel trailer owners, and that’s affording our family all kinds of new opportunities to explore this stunning country.

As for my professional life, being a military spouse has led me to change jobs frequently, which has led to all sorts of unexpected on-the-job experiences. I’ve traveled across the country for magazine stories, interviewed a Presidential Cabinet member, washed trash cans, done live TV interviews during disaster responses, led mission trips to the Philippines, flown across the ocean in an Air Force cargo plane, taught public speaking classes, and filed police reports.

Turns out, this huge variety of experiences add up to great material for storytelling. It’s as if I was preparing to write novels all along and just didn’t realize it.

That's a long 50 words. :-) Just kidding.

You've already mentioned your family. Is there anything else you want to tell our readers about them? 

I met my husband Nick at a church youth group event during high school. We started dating the week we graduated, which was almost 20 years ago to the day. The timing couldn’t have been worse. We had only five weeks together before he left town to start basic training with the Navy.

Three months later, 9/11 shook up the world and intensified his military career path. We’ve spent much of the two decades separated by long distances. In fact, 2020 was the first year we spent every single day together. It only took a global pandemic and a military travel ban to make it happen.

Our daughter Sadie is 7 and a total adventure seeker (like her dad) and a writer (like me). Our son Nate is 4. He is strong and athletic (like his dad) and has a good ear for music (like me). It’s neat to see the ways they’re wired to enjoy certain things.

We all love getting outside and exploring nature together, especially at the beach. We’re a boogie boarding, paddle boarding, body surfing kind of family.

That's awesome. And it is cool to see your kids grow up and develop such different interests when they came from the same two people.

Everybody seems to have a bucket list. Do you? If so, what’s on it? If not, why not? 

When my husband retires from the Navy in four years, we would like to "roadschool" the kids for a year and explore as many national parks as we can. To prepare for that bucket list trip, we bought a travel trailer and will camp our way across the country this summer. Crater Lake, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons, here we come! 

During our year-long hiatus, we also want to take Sadie and Nate out to Guam. Nick and I were stationed on this tropical island in the Pacific for two of the best years of our lives. We want our kids to experience snorkeling reefs, exploring caves, and hiking to waterfalls. For us, Guam is a truly magical place, and the ultimate destination to create some epic family memories.

You don't hear people mention Guam as a vacation destination that much around here. Hawaii? Yes. Fiji Islands? Yes. Caribbean? Definitely. Guam? My guess is two out of five people couldn't even find it on a map. Just sayin'... 

Besides storytelling, what talents do you have?

One thing I’m proud that I’m really good at is sewing. In middle school, I grew about six inches one year, and none of the store-bought clothes fit me anymore. Thankfully, my mom had taught me how to sew. I started making my own pajama pants, sundresses, and eventually, formal gowns.

At the time, I was motivated by saving money and having the right clothes to fit in with what all my friends were wearing. Through all that practice, I became really good at sewing. Now I can follow along most patterns, and I can design my own dresses and quilts.

The main character in Beneath the Seams, Shelby Lawrence, operates a sewing business from her house. Because of my expertise in this area, I was able to weave plenty of sewing metaphors into the narrative (see what I did there?).

I definitely see a thread...or is it a pattern? Either way, it was seamless...and no doubt will keep some of our readers in stitches. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) 

Based on the different personality profiles out there (Meyers-Briggs, etc.), what profile was the latest one you took, and what were the results? 

As far as personality types go, I’m an ENTJ, an enneagram 3 - Achiever, and my Strength Finder strengths are Strategic, Maximizer, Learner, Achiever, and Ideation.

Growing up, my mom was very interested in personality and preference tests, which is why I have no problem speaking in the language of assessments. I find them very useful tools for understanding myself better, along with how the people around me are wired.

Tying in writing, the enneagram proved to be an extremely useful tool for creating characters based on their motivations. Shelby, the main character of Beneath the Seams is an enneagram 3, Achiever (like me, but very much not me). Her husband Bryan is a 6, Loyalist. Maye, their neighbor, is an enneagram 2, Helper.

When trying to figure out what characters might do or say next, I often drew from their enneagram type. What might a Three do to cover up her faults in this situation? What might a Six be worried about in this scene? When the characters were new to me, the enneagram gave me a place to draw consistent characteristics that helped the characters come alive.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

The most dramatic event that changed me as a writer was when my husband deployed to a combat zone for several months after our second child was born. At that time, our daughter was a busy three-year-old, and our son was just 12 weeks old. My hands were full. My nights were sleepless. And even with the help of loving grandparents, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for them on my own. During that season, I completely stopped writing and set a goal to simply get through those long months, one meal, one bedtime routine at a time.

When my husband returned, I was a shell of myself. I didn’t know who I was aside from someone who kept tiny humans alive. Through prayer, meditation, and yoga, I clawed my way back to who I was. The Holy Spirit reminded me that before I was a military spouse or a mother, I was a writer. I felt the nudges to write my way out of the dark hole.

I made a commitment to myself to spend the first 20 minutes of our son’s daily naptime writing. I set a goal to write at least 500 words—any words—during that time. After nine months of keeping this promise to myself, I began craving a bigger project. The Lord led me again to the next step. I committed to writing my first full-length novel, Beneath the Seams, which I can hardly believe is out this week!

The novel is a huge accomplishment, no question. But what I celebrate today is that I honored my identity as a writer. Over the course of three years, I kept the promise to myself to write every day. Carving out a daily writing practice truly is the secret sauce of becoming an author.

Carving out time to write is so important. If you don't, it won't happen. 

And thank you for you and your husband's service, by the way!

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

A few years ago, I transcribed the love letters my grandfather wrote my grandmother aboard the USS Midway. He deployed just six weeks after their wedding in 1951 when the Korean War was underway. They were madly in love, and his letters are overflowing with affection and longing. On top of that, he was a trumpet player in the Navy Band. The letters offer insight into what the military music scene was like during that era.

The collection of love letters is called My Dearest Bea, and I hope to publish it around their anniversary next April. Together my grandparents operated a school in Pensacola, Fla., for 40 years, and I know their former students and anyone with a connection to the Navy will enjoy sitting down in a cozy chair and reading these sweet letters.

As a writer, what is “success” to you? And has that “definition” changed over time as you have traveled down the writer’s path? 

As a young writer, success sounded like seeing my name on a book cover. But after this first publishing experience, I would absolutely measure success differently.

Last week I finished reading Beneath the Seams one more time. After all the revisions, all the rounds of edits, all the tweaking details and scenes, I still teared up reading the ending. To be moved by my own words when I know story by heart feels so rewarding.

To hear from readers that the same stirring is happening in their hearts is my new definition of success.

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be and why?

I would love to spend the day with my great grandfather, who was a U.S. Vice Consulate working out of the U.S. Embassy in Czechoslovakia and Switzerland during the 1930s. He passed away in 1941, leaving behind his widow and my grandmother. For my next novel, I would like to fictionalize their mother-daughter journey to America during WWII.

In planning to write this story, I would love to know more about my great grandfather’s personality and how he swept my great grandmother off her feet and whisked her away to a new life beyond the streets of Prague. I think their story will make for an exciting and meaningful historical romance. It sure would be nice to meet him, to capture his features and personality traits just as they were.

Sounds interesting.

Why do you live where you live?  

It’s cliché, but it’s true: Home is where the Navy sends us. We are currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area while my husband finishes his graduate program at Stanford University. Our family of four are living in a tiny apartment on campus in family housing, which has been a weird and wild place to wait out a pandemic.

But as the Navy goes, we won’t be here long. This summer, we will move to Virginia Beach. That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But what it really amounts to is unscrewing everything we own from the walls, boxing it all up, shipping a car, watching our kids say goodbye to their best friends, eating last meals at favorite restaurants, waving farewell to familiar Pacific vistas, and then finally, driving away, closing out a chapter of our lives spent here.

Then we have to start writing the next chapter, finding a new address in this ridiculous housing market, enrolling the kids in new schools, helping them get plugged in to new social circles, identifying every kind of doctor’s office, dentist, after school activity. Moving is exhausting, and we’re, once again, just getting started.

We just moved after being in the same place for over 24 years, although we had moved a lot before settling into that location. However, this move was just "across town," so I identify and don't, all at the same time.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life? 

I love the collection of essays called Fearless Writing by William Kenower. It’s a lesser-known writing craft book that I stumbled upon one rainy morning browsing the library’s shelves while the kids were occupied in the children’s area. The book reads like a love letter to writing.

At the time I found the book, I was just settling into my commitment to write Beneath the Seams. In reading his words, I felt at home as writer. And the advice in the book applies as much to life as to writing. I am certain anyone can read this craft book and walk away inspired.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

It’s strange to say this the week my book releases, but I never set out to become an author. At various points in my life, I’d find myself writing a story, not knowing why I was writing it, but sensing that I was doing the right thing.

It was like watching a baby roll over or pull up to standing for the first time, and you think, how did they know to do that? Writing has always been that way for me. It’s as if I have this internal clock pushing me toward the next milestone.

And now a novel with my name on it is out in the world, which is a wild feeling. Because that means the story isn’t mine anymore. It now belongs to readers. I look forward to hearing how the story will land in their hearts and what magic might result. It’s an exciting part of the journey!

Peyton, we thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions and allow our readers to get to know you and your family.

Readers, if you wish to get to know Peyton even more, you can find her at the following locations on the web:

Beneath the Seams (Scrivenings Press) is available on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and at indie bookstores.

Visit my website // Subscribe to my emailnewsletter // Book Club Kit

Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // LinkedIn // Goodreads

BookBub


Until next time,

Kevin 

https://ckevinthompson.com/

PS - We also have a special announcement! Kevin's latest novel, The Letters, was recently announced as a finalist in the 2021 BRMCWC Selah Awards in the Speculative Fiction category! 



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Author Behind the Book Blog Series - Elaine Marie Cooper

Isn't weather weird? Some people in a nearby town had what's called a "dust devil" spin up in their back yard. It looked like the Tasmanian Devil off Looney Tunes. It roamed around their back yard and knocked over the goat pen, lodged the lid to another pen in a nearby oak tree about thirty feet high. It threw a garbage can across the yard, messed up the fencing for the little farm. Yet, despite all the trouble, not one goat, not one chicken, or any other animal, for that matter, walked off or got transplanted by the storm. As a matter of fact, they seemed unfazed by the incident by the time the reporter showed up.

It reminded me that despite life's troubles, and even when the Devil comes and tosses our backyard of life around like rag dolls, those who truly know "their owner" (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) need not be afraid when the Devil throws his tantrums or tries to invade the life of a believer.

Isn't God good?

I think that after you read our next guest's interview today, you'll find that she, too, feels that way about our Heavenly Father.

Let's welcome to the Florida Front Porch, which is still covered in pollen and is now dealing with blind mosquitos, a transplanted to Californian, Elaine Marie Cooper! 

Elaine, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Elaine Marie Cooper?

Elaine Marie Cooper is a quiet soul who occasionally breaks out into lively song. I love Celtic music, dogs and cats, reading, and playing with my grandchildren (I have five). I’m married and have two sons. I retired from being an RN when my older son and his wife had triplets. Cross-stitch is my “thing.” I’ve had eight books published, and I’m working on the ninth.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

I’ve always been in love with books since before I could read. I really never thought I’d become an author even though I liked to write. I wrote a heartfelt essay in elementary school that got a terrible grade and I felt SO bad! I tried writing for the school newspaper in high school but my work never got published.

By now I thought my word crafting skills were mediocre at best. I became a Christian at the age of 21, then met and married a local newspaper writer who had recently become a Christian. We had three children, two boys and a girl, and I was a stay-at-home mom. Having three “Littles” kept me so busy and to cope with the craziness, I wrote silly poems about motherhood.

An editor at my husband’s newspaper saw them and asked my husband if I might be willing to write feature stories. I was shocked. Someone actually liked my writing? It didn’t seem possible! Of course, I agreed and was off on my first professional writing jaunt. I loved meeting local people to interview and writing stories about them.

I did freelance writing for many years and dreamed of one day writing a novel. But by now I’d gone to school to become a nurse and was still raising my ever-growing kids. Creating a book would have to wait. But then the unthinkable happened when my daughter was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

Each day seemed like a battle to survive, knowing at some point that my daughter likely would not. Doctor appointments, MRI’s, treatments at the hospital, and the ever-present knowledge that cancer would win unless the Lord intervened with a miracle, filled my days. I continued to write freelance to help with the bills. My daughter lived a year and nine months after her diagnosis. After she died, I tried to write one story, then put my pen down. I was determined that I’d never write again.

Four years later, on the anniversary of her passing away, I hid under my bedcovers so I could hide from the world. But I couldn’t hide from God, and He “spoke” to me beneath the quilt. At first, I ignored His inaudible voice, thinking I had imagined it in my head. Until I “heard” it again. I was to write a fictional story based on my ancestors.

At that point, I threw off my bedcovers and went to find my husband. With embarrassment, I shared the directive I was given. I thought he’d laugh for certain, but he didn’t. Instead, he took me to the used book store where we could find books on the era. That led to my first novel, Road to Deer Run.

Are you married? Single? Have kids?

This month marks Steve’s and my 46th wedding anniversary. Our older son, Ben, is in the military. Our younger son, Nate, is part owner of a business in SoCal. We’re so proud of them both. It’s not easy losing a sibling and then rising above the pain to make successful choices in life but both of our sons have done so, with God’s help. I have five grands who call me GiGi: eleven-year-old triplets, a three-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy.

For all the pet lovers out there, answer this question: Do you have any?

I am SUCH a pet lover. We currently have just one little dog but in the past, we’ve had multiple pets at a time. Our current sweetie is our Chihuahua/terrier mix named Mocha. I fell in love with her on Facebook when my editor/friend, Alycia, posted photos of her litter of pups that had just been born. Mocha was born with a white heart on her back! J Although the heart merged into a multi-color coat as she grew, she still provides lots of love for us. Now four-years old, Mocha is full of energy and fun, and she frequently makes us laugh.

I can’t imagine not sharing our lives with at least one pet. After so many years together, Steve and I have memories of the many pets we’ve owned and rescued through the years. Two of our memorable rescue dogs were both black, long-haired dachshunds.

Lily was our first. I’d gone in to the shelter looking for the dachshund who’d been advertised in the newspaper but she had already been adopted. That’s when I saw Lily, running around the shelter office, rolling over to have her tummy scratched. It was love at first sight and she lived with us for over ten years. What a sweetie. We still miss her.

Tooni was our second rescue. Overweight and with a serious medical history, Tooni attracted lots of attention at the dog adoption fair, but it was mostly laughter. “That dog looks like a sausage,” said one male bystander. I wanted to give him a stern lecture. It wasn’t the dog’s fault she was fat but the previous owner had obviously fed her too much. She had a scar on her abdomen from removing bladder stones, and she had been shaved. But she had the sweetest personality that seemed to cry, “Please love me.”

Steve and I already had two dogs at home, and when I told him about Tooni, he said “We have enough dogs.”

“I know,” I answered, “but please just go look at her. She’s so sweet, and I don’t think anyone will adopt her.” 

I had to go to work but I received a call from my husband later. His demeanor and voice had totally changed. “She really is sweet …” 

I rejoiced! We adopted her the next day.                                              

Tooni was older but her age was never really known. We enjoyed her sweet spirit for at least five years, until one day, a disc problem left her paralyzed. We were heartbroken but made the difficult decision to put her to sleep. We’ll never forget those wonderful, final years of her furry life.  

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

My dream car is a new Subaru Forester, Apple Red. Safety features are top priority.

Do you have a favorite line from a movie or book? If so, what is it and explain why it is special to you?

“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs. They don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”  -- Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. 

I love this character of a loving father who takes opportunities to teach his children. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?

IF I had to choose a favorite, Scarred Vessels would be near the top of my “Favorite List.” It’s a historical romance involving a young widow during the American Revolution and the soldier who comes to break the news of her husband’s death. Besides this romance however, the story revolves around the formation of the 1st Black Regiment of soldiers in Rhode Island during the American Revolution. This idea was birthed through a suggestion from my military son. The research took me on unexpected findings of slavery in the New England colonies, a part of our nation’s history that I had previously been ignorant about.

As a writer, if you had one thing you would do over again, what would it be?

I would NOT have self-published my first book. I was too new in the writing field to understand the importance of editing.

Editing is always a thing, isn't it? Even after a book has been published, I find that I can go back over it and think, "I wish I had written that sentence differently."

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?

Since I am unable to provide enough royalty money to pay all the bills, I work part-time as a cashier. However, I love it! I work at Hobby Lobby and love interacting with the customers and praying for those who seem to need it. I write any time of day or night, depending on my deadlines. I’m better writing in the morning, however, as I tend to be a morning person.          

Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

I am currently working on Book 2 in my Dawn of America series. It is called Winter’s Ravage and is under contract with Scrivenings Press. It’s the sequel to Love’s Kindling.

Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?

The key to publishing a good book is to learn the trade of word crafting. That includes classes online or at conferences, reading basic books about writing in general and finally, hiring a good editor. You may have a great story to tell, but if the reading is not a pleasant experience, then no one will want to publish your book.

Isn't that the truth! And if the book gets self-published and isn't crafted well, then readers don't want to read it either, even if the story is amazing. Writing is definitely an art.  

When developing the story for a novel, how do you come up with the names for your characters?

Since I write historical fiction set in the American Revolution, I Google names from the era and choose from those lists.

Why do you live where you live?

My husband and I moved to Southern CA two years ago to be close to our son and his family. My husband was still recovering from a stroke and my granddaughter had cancer in her foot, requiring amputation. I was so stressed, I needed to be close to family.            

Wow, you and your family have been through a lot. But God is good, right? As you get older, glorified bodies and the promises of Revelation 21:1-4 sound better and better, don't they?

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

What could be a better answer than the Bible? The words of truth within the pages have strengthened me when I am weak, encouraged me when in despair, and cautioned me when I’m not trusting in the Lord. So many people read “how to” books or “inspiring thoughts” without ever studying the Word.

So true. 

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Proverbs 31: 8-9

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
  for the rights of all who are destitute.
 Speak up and judge fairly;
  defend the rights of the poor and needy.

This verse speaks to my heart about my responsibility to speak out against abortion. Who is the most voiceless of all victims but babies in the womb?

Interesting. my book, The Letters, deals with the subject of abortion, and I used Matthew 2:17-18 (and it’s quote of/reference to Jeremiah) along with Psalm 68:4-5. The Matthew reference was used a bit allegorically, which I will be explaining in an upcoming blog as to how I came up with the idea of The Letters (a question I get asked a lot).

The aborted do need a voice, don’t they?

Elaine, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

My first thought is a personal one. I’ve told your readers that my daughter died of a brain tumor in 2003. I’m mentioning this in hopes your readers will understand that losing a child is the worst kind of grieving. I have lost many other people in my life but nothing compares with losing a part of yourself. If you know anyone who has lost a child, whether through miscarriage, accident, illness or suicide, please understand that one never “recovers” from such a loss. Losing one’s future generation is the pain that never leaves, although it may submerge for a time in the busy-ness of life. Be patient with them. Listen to them speak of their child and their experience. Let them cry. Give them a tissue.

My second thought is that Love’s Kindling is re-releasing on April 20. My original publisher closed and the book was contracted with Scrivenings Press. It’s the first time I’ve had a book release that already received a finalist award in the Selah Awards. ;)                                               

Congratulations on being a finalist!

Readers, if you wish to know more about Elaine and her writing, you can find her at the following locations on the web:

Elaine's Website & Blog:

http://www.elainemariecooper.com

http://www.facebook.com/elainemariecooperauthor

Elaine blogs here once a month: http://www.hhhistory.com


Until next time, if the Lord tarries, 

Kevin


https://ckevinthompson.com/

PS - We also have a special announcement! Kevin's latest novel, The Letters, was recently announced as a finalist in the 2021 BRMCWC Selah Awards in the Speculative Fiction category too!




Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Author Behind the Story Blog Series - Amy Anguish

Moving is for the young, both of heart and back. When you downsize at the same time after being in the same place for twenty-five years, what was "important" and "special" is viewed in a different manner as you grow older. High school yearbooks have comments from people you haven't seen in decades, and sometimes from people you never knew very well then and definitely don't remember now. The nicky-knacky stuff accumulated through the years looks just as good in a picture than taking up space on a shelf. The possessions we treasure shift from the physical to the spiritual. The memories we cherish are now of family we have been blessed to create as well as of friends we've met long after high school ended.

Major shifts in one's life always causes reflection. It forces one to reorder life. Refocus. On the things that matter most. Then, when you add global events, like COVID, it just adds another layer of eternal introspection and inspection.

For those of us who write, becoming a "published author" is a dream all writers have. It's a process many people say they want to complete but never do. To type the words "The End" is the first major hurdle. But there is so much more to follow after that moment. Editing and re-editing. Finding and agent. Finding a publisher. Attending writing conferences. Growing in the craft to become a better writer. Marketing. Etc. Etc. So many people never get to "The End." SO, when a person does, and then he or she begins the walk toward publication and finally accomplishes that, it is a major one, to be sure. Many manuscripts, although finished, never make the cut.

That's why I like doing what I do on this blog, introducing you, the reader, to other authors you may or may not have heard of before. They've persevered. They've spent the time and resources to get to this moment in time.

Therefore, let me introduce you to one more author, fellow Scrivenings Press author, Amy Anguish! There are no regrets having her on our blog today!

Amy, let's kick this off Florida Front Porch style. Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Amy Anguish? 

Christian, wife, mommy, author, preschool teacher, preacher’s daughter, Bible class teacher, book reader, tea drinker, crafter, gardener, cat-lover, Southerner, wearer of fun socks who sometimes has pink streaks in her hair.

What makes you cringe? 

Rude drivers (think here of people who speed in a school zone or pass in a non-passing zone putting others at risk).

Also, people who use “I” instead of “me” or vice versa where it should be the other. Really, any grammatical error makes me cringe a bit, so social media isn’t always the best place for me to spend time. 😊

I should probably go back and fix the sentence that ends in a preposition, huh? Eh, we're informal here on the front porch. 

Everybody seems to have a bucket list. Do you? If so, what’s on it? If not, why not?  

I don’t know that I have an official bucket list, per se, but I do have some things I would like to do if possible. I’d love to take a cross-country train ride, do a road trip from one end of Route 66 to the other (Chicago to California, although the road doesn’t even exist all the way anymore). See all fifty states (and we’re not just talking the inside of an airport). If possible, see at least a little of Europe, although that dream is becoming less important with age. Finish the quilt I started back in high school that keeps getting set aside for other projects (for the record, I’ve made multiple quilts since I started that one).

We want to do the Route 66 trip too. I want to hit all the bar-b-que places along the way. So, if we do it, I should probably walk Route 66 instead of drive. Ha!

Besides storytelling, what talents do you have? 

I like to call myself a Jill-of-all-trades, although it’s not completely true. I am super crafty, though. My mom, aunt, and grandma made sure I had all sorts of ways to be creative. I can sew, embroider and cross stitch, crochet, quilt, paint, make jewelry, scrapbook/stamp, and have even come up with my own patterns for a few things. My poor husband has to give up half the bedroom and a big part of the garage for all my supplies. 

Based on the different personality profiles out there (Meyers-Briggs, etc.), what profile was the latest one you took, and what were the results? 

I am one of the few people who hate personality profiles. I’ve been around a lot of friends lately who are obsessed with which number personality they supposedly have, but whenever I try to take one of the tests, I second-guess myself and never trust the results. Did I make the results say I was that number by choosing what I thought was the right answer, or is that really who I am? Plus, I find my personality doesn’t fit perfectly into just one slot, but has aspects of several of the numbers. Maybe I’m a rebel. 😉

I'm with you there. I've always said my enneagram is 45 (the total of all nine). 

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story? 

I’m going to cheat and tell you about two, because each of them means a lot to me for how it worked through different struggles.

My book, Faith & Hope, was written while I was in the middle of an infertility struggle and wasn’t sure we’d ever be able to have children (we have two now). By writing my character Faith going through a similar circumstance, I was able to tie in some of my own emotions and struggles and insecurities, and not only create a moving story, but also release some of those problems into my writing.

My upcoming release, No Place Like Home, is sort of my “could have been me” story. It’s about a preacher’s daughter who left the faith when she moved away. She chose the opposite of me, but it would have been very easy for me to do the same, and it’s a way I worked through some of the remaining emotions and hurt from some things that happened with my family growing up.

Do you ever receive negative reviews from readers? If so, how do you respond when you see them? 

I haven’t had any really negative public reviews, but in the comments of one judge from a contest I entered years ago, I saw “characters go to church A LOT.” It made me blink, for sure. I mean, my characters were Christians, so I’m not sure what she was expecting. I didn’t have them attending services any more than I do myself.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

I am in the middle of multiple projects. I’m working on a proposal for a novella to be in a collection with three other authors, all in a different season. Think small-town main street festival with a Hallmark feel.

I just finished writing a book set in college where a girl has reserved the wedding chapel, but doesn’t have a groom. I’ll edit it down the road sometime.

And I’m getting ready to write another book in a few months which will be the third of a trilogy I’m calling Road Trip Romances. Hoping to hear back about my proposal for that soon.

As a writer, what is “success” to you? And has that “definition” changed over time as you have traveled down the writer’s path? 

I never knew how amazing it would be to have someone tell me I made them cry. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But the first time someone mentioned that their book made them cry, or that they stayed up until the wee small hours to finish reading it because they couldn’t put it down...my heart sang! Because it meant my story had sucked them in and entranced them as much as it did me when I was writing it. Success is being able to weave God into stories that do that, and show His love through my fiction.

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? 

Jane Austen. To be such an amazing author in a time period when it was not easy to be published as a woman. Or even as a novelist, because a lot of people considered novels to be frivolous and wasteful back then. Man. I’d love to talk to her and ask how she kept up the courage and didn’t get discouraged.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?

I lead a fairly tame life. My craziest thing to do was put hot pink streaks in my hair a few years ago. And now I try to do it again every few years, because not only do I love it, but my husband does too.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you? 

I discover a lot of authors through freebies, and I’ll be honest, the cover doesn’t always draw me in. Sometimes, the title catches my eye, but most often it’s the blurb that helps me decide if I’m going to read them or not. If I like their stories, I’ll go read more. The story has to be well-edited, and make me want to keep reading, in order for me to go looking for more of their books. Otherwise, I’ll move on to another author. I find having gone through the editing process several times now has ruined me to read without having an eye for catching mistakes. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Isn't it? Same goes for watching movies or TV shows. I don't know how any times I sit there and say, "That would never happen..."

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

I have a tendency to give my characters pieces of myself, as I’m sure most authors do. A lot of the tendencies seem to be about food—whatever that means. My first heroine in An Unexpected Legacy drank chocolate smoothies, no fruit included. I love Tex-Mex like the younger sister in Faith & Hope. I dip my fries in gravy like my characters in Saving Grace. In Writing Home, I gave her my love of Christmas lights and snow. In No Place Like Home (coming in Dec. 2021), my character loves old movies, especially Meet Me in St Louis, my favorite. 

I've not heard of that movie. I'll have to check it out. 

Amy, thank you for spending time with us today.  

Dear readers, if you wish to connect with Amy and her writing, you can learn more at the following locations:

http://abitofanguish.weebly.com

http://www.facebook.com/amyanguishauthor

https://twitter.com/amy_r_anguish

 

Learn more about her books at https://www.pinterest.com/msguish/my-books/

 

And check out the YouTube channel Amy does with two other authors, "Once Upon a Page" @  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEiu-jq-KE-VMIjbtmGLbJA


Until next time,


Kevin

https://ckevinthompson.com/



PS - We also have a special announcement! Kevin's latest novel, The Letters, was recently announced as a finalist in the 2021 BRMCWC Selah Awards in the Speculative Fiction category!




Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Author Behind the Story - Deborah Sprinkle

In the old days, wearing a mask into a bank would get you shot. Now, they require it. 

In the old days, social distancing from people and not having friends over was a sign of a troubled person who needed either psychiatric care, a padded cell, or both. Now, these people are champions and model citizens.

In the old days, doctors had to see you face-to-face in order to renew your prescriptions. There was no other way. Now, they "examine you" through a computer screen, trust you're telling them the truth, and renew those prescriptions without hesitation.

We could go on and on, but you get the point. When a person's life is on the line, whether it be a personal situation or involving employees, rules change. Those changes create circumstances we never thought would happen. Some of those changes have been an annoyance. Some have been a welcomed change, and we hope it never goes back to the way it was.

However, you need not fear here at The Author Behind the Story blog series. No changes necessary. The relentless march goes on. We're adding new authors each month (unless someone cancels at the last minute). It is becoming a database of new author information. Surely, our readers don't know each and every author featured. Therefore, there's always a new author to investigate and possibly read. You never know, he or she may become one of your favorites, which by the way, was one of the major reasons why we do what we do here. :-) So, please share this blog with friends. Tell others about it. The more the merrier. COVID has no teeth here at The Author Behind the Story blog series! Ha!

In keeping with this tradition, I would like to introduce to you our next guest at ABTS, Deborah Sprinkle!

Deborah, give our readers a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Deborah Sprinkle? 

I’m an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. Like everyone else, I’ve gone through seasons in my life. I’ve been a research chemist and a chemistry teacher. I remain a wife, mom, grandmother, Bible study leader, and author. In everything, I strive to let God take the lead.

A research chemist, eh? Good to know when I have some questions about such things as I write my stories...

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life? 

When I retired from teaching chemistry in 2004, I planned on doing three things: attend the women’s Bible study at my church, join a local book club, and write a mystery novel. You know what it says in Proverbs? “Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.” (Proverbs 16:9 TPT) At that time, I was 55 years old.

I began going to Bible study on Wednesday mornings, and when my local library started a book club, I was one of the charter members.

After two years, I was asked to be one of the Bible study leaders. In 2009, I was asked to be part of a group that attended the She Speaks Christian Writers’ Conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministry. After that, I began writing questions for studies, connecting the written word to Biblical truths. By then I was 60.

It was at the 2009 conference that I met Kendra Armstrong. And it was our friendship that led to my first book written in collaboration with Kendra, Common Sense and an Uncommon God, published in 2012 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. The second edition was later released under the title of Exploring the Faith of America’s Presidents. (It’s out of print at this time.)

In 2014, I was inspired to write my first “mystery” which turned out to be a romantic suspense! But it was five long years before I saw it published in May, 2019, at the age of 70! My second book came out in November, 2020, and my third is due out November of 2021. 

What educational background do you have?

I went to high school in a suburb of St. Louis—Florissant, Missouri. I took chemistry as a sophomore and fell in love with the subject. So when the opportunity arose as a senior to take advanced chemistry, I jumped on it, and my future was sealed. I would be a chemist.

I attended University of Missouri—St. Louis mainly because we didn’t have much money. They didn’t give scholarships like they do these days. But, it had a good reputation, and I feel I got a decent education. I received my B.A. in Chemistry in May, 1971, and was married that November.

I worked as a research chemist for a number of years both at St. Louis University Medical School and Washington University Medical School. During that time, my bosses at each institution wrote papers on our work and I was named as a co-author. So I suppose those were my first publications even though I didn’t write a word of them!

After our son was in school, I went back for my certification to teach. By then we had moved from St. Louis. I got that in 1994 and taught at a Catholic school in Memphis, for ten years. It’s an independent Catholic school and very progressive—which was a good thing since I’m Presbyterian and the art teacher at the time was Jewish! 

What makes you cringe? 

The sound of two things colliding or something falling and breaking. Let me give you some examples.

You hear the screech of tires and boom! That unmistakable sound of two cars ramming into each other. Your shoulders go up around your ears and your face squeezes shut.

Or you see the waitress with a tray full of glasses trip on her way to a table.

Or just about any of the clips on America's Funniest Home Videos!

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

I began writing my first book, Deadly Guardian, in summer of 2014. At that time, my mother had been bedridden in a nursing home in St. Louis for almost two years. My dad would spend his days at her bedside, and I was the only one he trusted enough to leave and take a break. We lived in Memphis, and I would go visit at least once a month to see Mom and help Dad out.

On December 26th, 2014, my sweet mother passed away.

In January, 2015, my brother and only sibling, was diagnosed with colon cancer—which had metastasized to his liver, lungs, and brain. He began radiation and then chemo. Again, I made monthly trips to St. Louis to see him and my dad. My amazing sister-in-law, nephews, and niece who took care of him at home through it all.

In October, 2016, we lost my sweet mother-in-law, and in February, 2017, God took my brother home after two years of suffering.

In May, 2018, my dad got sick. He was 92 years old and still living at home! In fact, he’d driven down to Memphis the Christmas before! But this time, he couldn’t bounce back. I spent from May through September in St. Louis taking care of him until he passed.

Somehow I finished Deadly Guardian, found an agent, and even started another book. It was while my dad was in hospice that I got the call from my agent that a publisher wanted my book. I remember looking at the ceiling and saying, “Now God? We’re going to do this now?”

So what did I learn? That if God calls you to write, He will give you the strength and the words no matter the circumstances. And His timing is always perfect.

Do you have a crazy, interesting, behind-the-scenes story about the publishing world you’d like to tell your readers without boring them to death with industry gobbledygook? 

It was four o’clock in the morning of Halloween Day, 2018, and we were fast asleep in our beds. When all of a sudden there came a terrible racket at our front door. “Help me. I been shot. Oooh.” Pounding on the door. “I’m dying. I been shot.”

Les sprang from our bed to see what was the matter—grabbing his gun just in case. He cracked the door and found a man with his shirt off rolling around on our porch. He was holding his arm and moaning, “I’m dying. I’m dying.”

So Les did the logical thing. He shut the door and told me to call the police. Which I tried to do. But our phone was dead. So I grabbed my cellphone. The call wouldn’t go through. Strange. And my panic button was about to be pushed—when we saw a police car cruising up our street with a spotlight. Les yelled out the door, and I flipped the porchlight on and off. They turned in our driveway. Phew…

And that’s how I met Detective "X" of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. After giving our statement, I heard my voice saying, “I write romantic suspense books. Would you consider being one of my consultants? I could use your expertise.”

He said he’d love to, and now we talk on a semiregular basis.

We assume the guy who had been shot was running from the deputies? Did he shoot the sheriff? But not the deputies? Inquiring minds and Eric Clapton fans want to know! Ha!

Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

Currently, I’m working on the third book in my series, Trouble in Pleasant Valley. It seems each book becomes easier to write in some ways, but more difficult in others. By now, I’ve finally understood some principles of writing a book that’s easy to read—like making sure there’s just the right balance of dialogue and narrative and thinking about white space on the page. But, in this third book, I’ve brought characters back from the first book and added new ones. So keeping everything cohesive and easy to follow is far more difficult. The basic story revolves around an ex-Army intelligence man who’s now driving a cab and gives an assassin a ride from the airport to his hotel. He realizes something is wrong about the guy and a piece of evidence is left in his cab. So when the assassination takes place, he’s sure he knows who did it. But for reasons I won’t reveal, he can’t go to the police. What should he do?

Silence Can Be Deadly comes out in November of this year with Scrivenings Press.

Pleasant Valley doesn't sound very pleasant, by the way. Just sayin'...lots of death and deadly stuff happening in that town. :-)

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

I like to start my day with a devotional, reading the Bible, and in prayer. The last few years, I’ve been using Sarah Young’s Jesus Always as my daily devotional. It’s amazing to me how often the daily meditation speaks directly to what I’m feeling or going through at that time. My faith and understanding have grown through this little book.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why? 

It’s so hard to choose only one! So I’ve narrowed it to two. My life verse is Psalm 28:7: “The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him” (NASB).

I know that I can’t accomplish anything in my own strength, or get through trouble either. And I need Him to guard me against the attacks of the enemy—which most often come from myself! My feelings of inadequacy or failure. My frustrations when I mess up. I need God to shield me and help me see things from His perspective.

The other verse that I hold dear is Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (NASB 1995).

This one has been a key verse for me this past year. With everything that’s happened, this verse keeps me constantly reminded that God is in control! And always will be.

Deborah, it's been a pleasure having you on ABTS! I'm sure you have encouraged some people who thought it was too late in life to switch gears and try something new.

One last question. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

I have an idea for a new series of books based on a short story I wrote in 2016. The main characters are two young women who run their own private investigation firm in a small town in Missouri. I’ve started the first novel and hope to have it out in 2022. So stayed tuned.

Dear readers, if you wish to learn more about Deborah and her writing, you can find her at the following locations on the web!

https://authordeborahsprinkle.com/

https://www.facebook.com/deborah.sprinkle.5/

https://twitter.com/debbiejsprinkle

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860378.Deborah_Sprinkle

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/deborah-sprinkle

https://www.pinterest.com/deborahs4509/_saved/

Me with my wonderful wife
at BRMCWC in 2014

Until next time,


Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com 


PS - And readers, if you're looking for an award-winning Christmas read that deals with the issue of abortion, but not in the way you may think it does (i.e., not heavy handed), may I interest you in my latest novel, The Letters? As one reviewer put it: 

“THE LETTERS IS AN INSPIRING STORY OF HOPE AND FORGIVENESS. FILLED WITH MYSTERY AND MESSY RELATIONSHIPS, THIS STORY WILL KEEP YOU TURNING THE PAGES UNTIL YOU REACH THE SURPRISE ENDING."

~ Kimberly Rose Johnson, award winning and multi-published author of the Librarian Sleuth series.


You can check out The Letters here: 

The Letters by C. Kevin Thompson