Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Kathy Rouser


As I scroll through Facebook and see friends building a snowman on vacation up north, we sit here in Florida sweltering in ninety degree heat with a heat index of one hundred...in OCTOBER! (Remind me why I live in Florida again?) So, as we skip fall and plow ahead with an extension of summer, I want to welcome my next guest to the Florida front porch, author Kathy Rouser!

Kathy, pull up a chair, grab some iced tea, and give us a quick bio of who Kathy Rouser is?

I’m Kathleen Rouser, writer of inspirational historical romance. Most importantly, I’m in the grip of Jesus’ life changing grace and mercy. I’m grateful to be a wife to Jack and mother to Matthew, Leslie, and Jesse. I’m also a fan of the three Cs–cats, coffee, and chocolate. 

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?

Before I wanted to be a writer I was sitting next to my mom while she read to me, taking naps, and sucking my thumb. Seriously! I wanted to be a writer from the time I was about four-years-old and before I could read. My friend, Laurie, and I would make up adventures to play together and I loved hearing the stories my mother read aloud. I was enchanted by picture books. I memorized a book called My Own Little House and would “read” it to anyone who would listen. I couldn’t wait until I learned to read and write. I wanted to write and illustrate my own books when I grew up.

Of course, dreams wax and wane as you grow and change. For quite a few years my passion was art. When I was in high school I focused on drawing and painting. But then I was on the school newspaper and bit by the writing bug again. I had my first magazine article published when I was 20. A friend of mine’s mom owned a travel magazine and was looking for an article on travel in space in the future. She liked what I wrote and published it.

When I was 21, I had my oldest son and focused mainly on raising the kids and homeschooling for the next 15 years as my husband was often gone on business. There were little writing projects here and there, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that I decided to seriously pursue fiction writing.

"Dreams wax and wane." You said it. So, what educational background do you have?

I went to a small parochial high school in the Detroit area. It was called Shrine High School and affiliated with Shrine of the Little Flower (St. Therese) Roman Catholic church, which is now a national shrine.

For my first two years of college I attended Michigan State University which had one of the highest-rated communications programs in the country. I thought it gave me lots of options to use my writing skills and I toyed with going into a public relations career. Then along came unexpected love, marriage, and children.

It wasn’t until my children were grown that I decided to go back to school for health care—twice. The first time I earned a liberal arts degree at Oakland Community College, along with a small amount of training in ophthalmic assisting—too little it turned out to land a job. Soon I was back in school. I earned an associate of applied science in dental assisting at Washtenaw Community College, the best accredited dental assistant program in Michigan. I earned two certifications. I worked in a contract job for a year and then did some temp work, but it became clear to me that wasn’t where the Lord wanted me to stay. Plus, the long hours were hard on me physically. I’m happily home much of the time and able to spend more time on writing now.

Small world. My wife is from Michigan. Lived in the Detroit/Pontiac/Auburn Hills area growing up. She wanted to move back to Michigan and be a dentist when we first met. And I think her mother attended Oakland CC. You've already stated you are married and have children. Anything you wish to tell us about your family? 

I’ve been married to my wonderfully supportive husband, Jack, for 36 years this December. We have three grown children scattered around the country.

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 Food: Mint-chocolate chip ice cream—the marriage of creamy mint ice cream and dark chocolate. Need I say more?
Favorite Drink: A mocha latte. I love coffee. Add chocolate and it’s even better.
Favorite Song: Contemporary Christian: “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”—Both beautiful worship songs that speak to my heart.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): At the moment, Finding God’s Blessings in Brokenness, by Charles F. Stanley. Reading this was the beginning of healing for me this past year as I waded through a grieving process.
Favorite Bible Verse: Lamentations 3:22-23 - It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Favorite Movie: While You Were Sleeping – It’s the quintessential romance and I love the humor
Favorite Actor or Actress: I don’t really have one. There are so many good ones out there.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Pride and Prejudice. Not very original of me, I know, but I appreciate Jane Austen’s wit and it was one of the original romance novels.
Favorite Novelist (other than you): It’s a toss-up between Jane Austen and Jan Karon. They’ve both inspired me in different ways and I just like to read their books more than once!
Favorite Sport: Maybe ice skating because of the gracefulness of it, but I’m really not a sports person at all.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Goes with the last question—not a sports person. Although I’ll root for the MSU Spartans over the U-M Wolverines.  (This past weekend must have been wonderful.)
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Probably English/Language Arts. I loved reading stories and understanding how the parts of grammar work and learning new words. Definitely weird, I know!
Favorite Subject Now: As in school subject? Or topic of conversation? (Good question.)
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Williams, my third-grade teacher. I wish I could find her and tell her what a encouragement she was to me. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and she was always kind to me.
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn. I love that it’s not as hot anymore (usually, this year being an exception) and not too cold. Plus, the fall colors are beautiful. I also loved starting a new school year full of possibilities, whether as a student or a homeschooling mom.
Favorite Place to Vacation: I love northern Michigan, but I must say the nicest place I ever vacationed is Hawaii. Northern Michigan is a lot more doable though. It’s only a few hours away and has some of the best scenery ever with its lakes and trees.


           
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? 

There are plenty of people that would be a lot of fun to meet. Growing up, I always admired Louisa May Alcott as Little Women was a favorite book of mine. I’d like to talk to her about what it was like to be a woman writer in 19th century America and more about her stories behind her stories, which I love.

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?

First I was going to say Daniel, because of how steadfast he was in his faith, to ask him how he trusted God the way he did, but then I was thinking how wonderful it would be to talk to Mary,
the mother of Jesus. It would be so interesting to hear more about Jesus’ life on earth, what it was like growing up in His earthly family, some of the mundane everyday things, and just to get her perspective on how things happened. I’m wondering if it would make me feel even closer to Jesus, or to feel like I know Him even better.

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

My experience of feeling as though I’d been going through a spiritual wilderness this last year really sharpened my focus. I’d been going through (and continue to) a grief of sorts over lost relationships that made me feel far away from the Lord. I kept waiting, listening, and grabbing any crumb of hope He gave me until I saw Jesus in a new light and my faith was renewed. During that whole period I was working on rewrites for Secrets and Wishes. As I pushed my way through, begging God for strength and energy I learned that even when the way isn’t easy, if He’s given you a job to do, He’ll make a way for you to do it. So even when writing feels overwhelming or impossible it’s important to keep putting one foot in front of the other, metaphorically speaking, and take the next step in obedience. It’s not time to give up. I felt empty, but He made a way. And He’s been with me through it all.

Why do you live where you live?  

My husband and I grew up in the Detroit area. We’re lifelong Michiganders. When his office moved farther away from the city and the drive got to be a bit much, we decided to move to a small town in a semi-rural area, though it’s gotten more built up over the last few years. The drive has been better for Jack and we enjoy the beautiful scenery, the winding roads, and lakes. It’s seems more peaceful and we have a little more room out here. We love it!


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? 

Probably Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. A dear friend of mine wanted to use this book as a Bible study we would do together last winter/spring. I wasn’t so sure I was feeling very thankful for anything at the time of being in the wilderness, but the Lord eventually softened my heart. Going through this book and learning to make thankfulness a regular practice instead of finding the negative in everything definitely helped me change my perspective. I did the journaling activities along with reading the book and it had a profound effect on my heart attitude. I should probably go through it every year!

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

I was listening to John MacArthur on the radio one day talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection around Easter time many years ago. As he taught that Jesus had died once and for all for all of our sins and rose again, he also quoted John 10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. He talked about how salvation was all Jesus’ work and not by our good works. Even though I had thought I committed my life to Christ I was sure that since I wasn’t living for Him the way I should I was no longer worthy of being saved. Hearing John 10:28 lifted a burden from me! From that day forward my whole life changed, knowing He keeps me in the palm of His hand.


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

I enjoy making jewelry and knitting, basically creating new things with my hands I guess. I’m thankful to have the privilege of teaching children at our local Community Bible Study.
And I wouldn’t mind trying writing in another genre such as YA speculative someday. For now I’m pleased to be able to share my stories about the fictional characters of Stone Creek, Michigan at the turn of the last century and grateful to work with LPC Books.


Kathy, it's been a pleasure having you stop by and share some interesting and personal thoughts with our readers. 

Readers, if you wish to connect with Kathy, here are some ways:



Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you all bless God!

Kevin


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Book 2
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Friday, September 22, 2017

When Hurricanes Blow Away Your Writing Schedule (A Seriously Write)



There is little out there more trying on the patience of a person than preparing for a hurricane. In the week to ten days prior to the event, you are watching forecasts, being told how big the storm is, how destructive it is. There’s the dizzying array of “spaghetti models” showing the storm going one way, then another, and another.

At first, Hurricane Irma was going to hit New York. Be another Sandy. Then, it shifted. The people of the Carolinas took notice. Yet again, it shifted. East coast of Florida. West coast of Florida. Then, right up the middle of the state.


Want to read the rest? Click HERE! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Author Behind the Series - Dawn Kinzer

Greetings from Hurricane Irma-torn Florida! As I write this, Irma is bearing down on our state with winds of 130 mph. As the eye wall goes directly over Key West (there won't be much left when it's over), the outer bands are already striking central Florida. Other storms, influenced by Irma, are covering the rest of the peninsula, stirring up tornadic activity. I can only imagine what things will look like on Wednesday when this post actually goes live. It's been a chaotic week with gasoline shortages, food shortages, roads clogged due to five million people evacuating north.

Well, enough of the doom and gloom. We'll survive. We'll rebuild. We'll move on. Such is life in FLA. Like I always say, "What did you think you were going to get by invading a swamp and building house after house?" :-) 

I'm excited, though, to have as my guest one of my writing friends and fellow authors, Dawn Kinzer. We have never met face-to-face, but because of the wonderful world of the internet, we have gotten to know each other as I write blog posts for a serious writing blog called Seriously Write. Dawn is one of the five people who started it and have watched it grow over the years. Please welcome, Dawn!

Dawn, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Dawn Kinzer?

I’m a freelance editor and author who believes the written word can change lives, and I’m doing everything in my power to prove it. I’m also a wife, mother, and grandmother. Favorite things include dark chocolate, cinnamon, popcorn, strong coffee, good wine, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.
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?

Prior to focusing on writing, I raised two girls and worked at a variety of jobs. Four years were spent with the sexual assault services in my county (advocate, support counselor, support group leader, community ed speaker, and assistant to the director). Following several years as a church secretary, I worked in administration for a large car dealership.
I didn’t get serious about writing until I was forty-seven (I’m now sixty) because I didn’t believe enough in myself. I later figured out that talent is part of being a successful writer, but most achievements in publishing come from having tenacity and the willingness to work hard.
For years, I’d sought God on what he wanted me to do with my life. I had a hunger to make a difference, and although various ministries and charities offered opportunities, I just couldn’t find the “thing” that felt right long-term.
But while co-directing a teen drama group at my church, I was challenged to write an original play with a friend. We ended up writing three full-length plays, and I knew then that writing fulfilled a creative need that nothing else matched.
A very varied life you have had. And with some similarities to mine (starting writing late in life, for example). Makes you wonder what would have happened if we started writing sooner, huh? What educational background do you have? 

I grew up in a small, farming town in Wisconsin called Prairie Farm. It was established in 1848, and the population has never gone over five hundred. The high school is the center of much of the town’s activities. My elementary school days were spent in the same building where my parents attended high school. Their high school band director was my high school English teacher—and she was amazing!
I graduated with a BS from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. I majored in biology and minored in chemistry. I loved science and thought I’d go into some field of medicine or research, but that never happened—long story.
Well, then, may I interest you in a book that could be right up your alley of biology? It's called The Serpent's Grasp, and it has received awards and many great reviews, and it has a bibliography! (Sorry for the shameless plug.) Okay, enough with the commercial, back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

You already mentioned you are married, have children, and have grandchildren (aren't they wonderful?). Do you mind sharing a little about this?

I experienced divorce after many years of marriage. But God carried me through that season, and I’ve been married to a wonderful man for fifteen years. I have two grown daughters and one grown stepdaughter. My oldest daughter has a little girl (18 months). My youngest daughter has a boy (3 ½) and a little girl (8 months). I LOVE being a nana, and I spend a lot of time with the two grandchildren who live in our area. My other granddaughter lives out-of-state, and time away from her is difficult. I’m so grateful for Facebook and Facetime because I receive photos and videos throughout the week.
I know you mentioned a few favorites already, but I’m going to give you a shotgun list of several favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Popcorn – I could eat it every day. I never get tired of it.

Favorite Drink: Don’t judge me – red wine. I like the taste—seriously. (I always say, if it was good enough for Jesus at the Wedding in Cana, why not for us? My wife would agree, too. Moderation, moderation, moderation...)

Favorite Song: Currently it’s “Do It Again” by Elevation Worship because I know so many people who feel like they’re trying to move mountains in their lives.

Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman because it helped me better understand my husband and children.

Favorite Bible Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). This has become my life verse because I have clung to it many times during difficult seasons of my life.

Favorite Movie: It changes all the time because I watch a lot of movies, but one of my recent favorites is Hacksaw Ridge because it’s a powerful and inspiring story of one man’s faith and determination to help others while standing on his principles.

Favorite Actor or Actress: Sandra Bullock takes on both serious and comedic roles, and I’ve never been disappointed in her movies.

Favorite Novel (other than your own): Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers changed my life. It made me realize that Christian fiction could be rich without being sweet and sappy.

Favorite Novelist (other than you): Really? You’re making me answer this? LOL! It’s like picking a number one best friend out of a group of best friends. Okay, because of my previous answer, I’ll say Francine Rivers.

Favorite Sport: Martial arts. Years ago, I trained in Tae Kwon Do and got my red belt (the one below black belt).

Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Hey, I live in the Seattle area, so of course my favorite team is the Seahawks! (What about the Ducks? Is it hard to root for Oregon coming from the Badger state? Oregon is a fun team to watch.)

Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: My favorite subject was English because I was an avid reader and enjoyed discussing literature.

Favorite Subject Now: Creative writing is my favorite subject because it’s a part of my daily life, and it’s still important to learn and grow in my craft.

Favorite Teacher in School: My English teacher, Mrs. Peters, challenged me and opened my world to the some of the classics I wouldn’t have read without her requiring it.

Favorite Time of the Year: Fall is the best time of year! I enjoy cooler weather (that we can still enjoy while spending time outside), the changing color of leaves, and having a fire roaring in the fireplace. (Amen.)

Favorite Place to Vacation: Even though I live in Washington State, I still like to vacation here. We have it all—the ocean, the mountains, and the desert.

  
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?

I would choose Mother Teresa so I could learn more about having a true servant’s heart.

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? 

I would spend time with Mary, mother of Jesus. Years ago, I read the book Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes. It helped me see and understand that Mary was very human—just like me. I think it’s easy for us to forget what a difficult position she was put in when she became pregnant. As a mother, I’d love to know what she felt and experienced as she brought Jesus into the world, helped him grow, and then had to watch him hang on the cross. I’d want to hear how her faith carried her through all those years.

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

After my first novel released, I was contacted by a woman who wanted to read it and write a review. It’s something she does on a regular basis for authors. But when I responded to her message, I didn’t hear from her. After a week had gone by, I tried to reach her again. She apologized for her lack of communication. She’d been going through a rough time, still grieving over the death of a young grandchild she was close to.

That unexpected admission opened the door to us having more conversation, and it gave me the opportunity to offer empathy, genuine care, and encouragement. The original connection was about a book review, but it turned into a greater purpose.


Connecting with readers isn’t just about books—it’s about building relationships with people themselves. Books can serve as a bridge to help make that happen. Unplanned opportunities to minister to people’s needs may come along, and I want to be open to them.

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?

To be honest, I read very little nonfiction that isn’t related to writing or publishing. But one book that has impacted my life is If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. The book challenged me to face my fears, step out in faith, and face challenges, but to also accept that failure isn’t necessarily the end—it can be an opportunity to grow.

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

I read a variety of genres, so I don’t zero in on a specific one. But, I’m a visual person, so covers are extremely important to me. If I don’t like the cover, I usually won’t look further unless I see a large number of positive reviews listed or someone I know has recommended the book. Then if the back cover copy piques my interest, I’ll read some of the reviews before purchasing.

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

The Bible verse is the same one that I listed as my favorite: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

This verse helped me keep going when I didn’t know what the future would hold.

Like many people, I’ve experienced some pretty rough seasons in life. I went through a divorce after twenty years of marriage. Because of it, I lost some friends, and some relatives were so angry with my decision (because they couldn’t understand at the time) that they didn’t speak to me for over a year. Friendships and family relationships were later healed, but it was very painful at the time. I was also trying to take care of two daughters who were hurting.

Several years later, I married my now husband who also had two daughters about the same age. We thought life was going to be good. But two months later, we lost his nineteen-year-old daughter in a freak car accident.

Eight months later, he was laid off from work for two years, along with thousands of other Boeing employees. He couldn’t get a job flipping burgers.

After he was called back to work, I thought all would be well, but three months later, he checked into a thirty-day rehab facility, and my world turned upside down again. He’s been sober for twelve years.

The first three years of marriage were difficult, and we’re very open about those experiences, but the following years have been filled with many blessings.

Other people have gone through far worse than what I have, but I know what is feels like to cling to hope.

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

I write fiction because I truly believe in the power of story to comfort, challenge, and inspire. And because I’ve seen so many people struggle with finding purpose in different seasons of their lives—or have been afraid to pursue their dreams—those themes find their way into my writing. I understand, because I’ve struggled with them too, and I want to offer encouragement and hope through entertainment.

Dawn, I want to thank you for spending some time with us. And to all my readers, thank you for stopping by. If you'd like to get to know Dawn more, you can find her at these locations:

Dawn's Blog, The Garden of Dreams

Until next time, May God bless you, and may you Bless God!

Kevin
You can find Kevin @ www.ckevinthompson.com.




Friday, August 25, 2017

If the Bible was Submitted for Publication… (1 Samuel 31) - A Seriously Write blog



I attended a Christian writers conference a few years ago. It was the first one for me. They had a contest wherein writers who wished to do so could submit the first three chapters of a manuscript prior to the conference. The submissions were subsequently handed off to faculty members when they arrived. The manuscripts samples were read, scored, and were given back to the attendees when they registered. The winners in each category were honored on the last evening of the conference.

I thought to myself, “My writing is pretty tight. I have a good chance.” So, I paid my contest fee, sent in my first three chapters, and waited. 


Want to read the rest? Click HERE!





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series -

Well, school's about the start down here in the south. From August 10th on, you will hear collective cheers as parents drop off their children and head for the closest Starbucks. It's amazing how school has become a surrogate babysitter, helping the sanity of many a parent stay intact.

"You're Welcome."

So, for you southern parents, I've got something you may want to read while you're sipping on your caramel macchiato with no whip. (For you northern parents, you have about a month left. So, go lock yourself in the bathroom with your iPad, and you too can read this.)

Everyone, please welcome to my Florida front porch, author Darlene Franklin!

Hi, Darlene! Can you give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Darlene Franklin?

My bio proudly brags that I write full-time from a nursing home! I have found my situation to be the best catalyst for growth that I’ve experienced for a long time. I’m also a reader, a mother and grandmother, a church musician, who loves to color pictures and do word search puzzles. I guess that’s more than 50 words.

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?

Do you mean before I included “writer” as a potential occupation when I was only 10 years old? That doesn’t quite count, because I sincerely believed I would be a missionary to Mexico as an adult.

I began writing daily when I was in my thirties, in the wake of a nasty divorce.

What educational background do you have?

I graduated from Cony High School in Augusta, Maine. After that I went to Northeastern Bible College and Southwestern Baptist Seminary.  I had been told that the most important qualification for a missionary was to know God’s Word. I had a double major in college—Bible/theology and music. I loved both subjects, but it left my other coursework very limited. At seminary I started out in music and switched to religious education.

The training definitely prepared for the ministries God has called me to. (I have been involved with missions to a limited extent, just not the way I hoped or envisioned.)  Nor have I been a preschool teacher or a Minister to Children. But I have always been involved with church music (became church pianist when I was twelve.) I started teaching children’s Sunday school when I was only fifteen.

So when I began writing, I wrote curriculum for children’s church and Sunday school. I’ve also written more than three hundred devotionals. Bible study is one of my passions!


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 Food: rare steaks and hot caramel sundaes—but not together. Probably because I can’t get them by myself in a nursing home!
Favorite Drink: Most often drink: diet coke. Favorite drink: apple cider. I have rarely had good cider since Maine after high school.
Favorite Song: Any number of hymns! Of contemporary praise songs, songs like Blessed Be the Name and He Reins. I studied church music in college and played piano in church since I was twelve.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Almost anything by Philip Yancey. I really relate to his approach.
Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:37-39 hands down. God loves me. Period. No matter what.
Favorite Movie: Beyond Lord of the Rings? Different movies for different times. Top favs: Fiddler on the Roof, Field of Dreams, Princess Bride, Casablanca.
Favorite Actor or Actress: I have never disappointed by Leonardo DiCaprio or Meryl Streep. About the time I watched (???), I realized DiCaprio kept surprising me.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Whip Hand by Dick Francis. The most suspense-
filled novel (without being horror) and character driven story I have ever read
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Dick Francis, Charles Dickens. I waited with baited breath for Francis’s annual books. Unfortunately, they’re both dead.
Favorite Sport: baseball. I fell in love with baseball during the Colorado Rockies first season.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Denver Broncos and the OKC Thunder. Regional affiliations—and the satisfaction of finally winning the Super Bowl!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Music, Spanish, English. I did well in everything, but science and math was head learning and not heart learning.
Favorite Subject Now: Bible study and history. The passions drive my writing, not the other way around.
Favorite Teacher in School: Perhaps my Spanish teacher, who wanted me to become a translator. I grew up in Maine, where Spanish isn’t the second language. (French is.)
Favorite Time of the Year: Spring. New beginnings and the end of winter before summer’s heat
Favorite Place to Vacation:  The mountains. Oh, my beloved Colorado!


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?

Maybe Mother Theresa—who was she before she became “Mother Theresa,” world-renowned spiritual leader? What led her to India? How did she keep going during the early years, when it must have so difficult?

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?

I might say Deborah—her take on the role of women in the history of faith! Or Abraham and Sarah, for the belief-defying faith. But actually I’d like to chat with Leah. She astounds  me. Jacob didn’t care about her at all, but she gave her sons names that resonate with hope. By the time it came to boy # four, she called him Judah, or praise. “This time I will praise God.” Unspoken: Even if Jacob still doesn’t love me. How did she do it?

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

My daughter’s suicide in 2008 was the first in a series of collapses that radically changed the direction of my career. I lost my daughter, my beloved Colorado, a job I loved, my mother, my health—my independence. I ended up in a nursing home.

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the publisher I had written for stopped publishing. I wondered if God intended for me to stop writing. He didn’t. Instead, my career has exploded beyond anything I could have imagined!

I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. But God is good, and He always proves faithful, doesn't He? What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
       
One of my craziest things was traveling by bus from Mexico City, where I had been a summer missionary, to my parent’s home in Maine by bus. I traveled everywhere by bus in those days.

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?

This is and isn’t my work. I was hired to write prayers to accompany the text to the upcoming 12 Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women. The texts, by prayer giants such as Andrew Murray and EM Bounds, challenged me and taught me so much. As I studied, I found my prayer life profoundly changed.

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

Romans 8:37-39.  God loves me. Period. I am free to live and not be afraid of my failures.


Darlene, it's been a pleasure to have you on Florida front porch! Where can folks find you out there in cyberland?

Here's my Website and blogHere's my Facebook page as well as my Amazon author page
Also, my Twitter handle is @darlenefranklin.

Again, thanks so much for allowing our readers a chance to get to know you better.

Reader, Until next month, May God Bless You, and may you Bless God!

Kevin








 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Author Interview with Jodie Wolfe




I was the featured author Jodie's blog. Come check it out!




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Sins of Tolerance - A Biblical Worldview (An MTL Magazine Column)



This article appeared in the More to Life Magazine's World Column for August 2017:



"One job. That’s all we’ve ever had.

One rule. How simple is that? Imagine how life would be today if we had just one law to follow…
“Don’t touch that tree,” God said. “That’s it. You can eat anything else from this garden. Just stay away from that tree” (Gen. 2:16-17).
Then, the serpent showed up. He questioned the rule. He challenged the interpretation of the one law. He even painted God as an individual trying to withhold information, even deceive, if that were possible. “He’s trying to keep you from reaching your full potential,” the serpent said. “He knows that if you eat of that tree, you’ll be just like him, and he doesn’t want any competition. Trust me on that one” (Gen. 3:1-5).
And ever since, the pockmark of human existence has stemmed from that one decision man made in the Garden: to disobey the one, simple rule.
In the parlance of Scripture, it’s called sin. More definitively: disobedience. Out of this fountainhead found in Genesis 3 comes multiple tributaries of sinful behavior throughout the Old and New Testaments. Each act questioning God’s real intent. Each deed determining an alternative outcome contrary to God’s Word. “You will not surely die…”

Come check it the remainder of the article!




Friday, July 28, 2017

By-Laws, In-Laws, and Out-Laws (Exodus 18) - A Seriously Write Blog



Sometimes you should listen to your in-laws.

I know. It sounds like crazy talk from a madman, but it’s true. Once in a blue moon, they may come up with some good advice. Like in the case with Moses and his father-in-law Jethro, for example.

Jethro came to visit and deliver to Moses his wife and children who had been living in Midian during the period of time Moses spent being God’s mouthpiece in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Upon his arrival, he became enthralled at how God was using his son-in-law. So, he decided to stay a while and enjoy “God’s presence and bounty.”

You know how relatives are.


Want to read the rest? Click HERE!





Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Author Interview with Robin Mason




Come check out the interview done on July 20, 2017.


Read on...





Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Susan G. Mathis

Greetings from the surface of the sun! Well, actually, we're a little north of there, but close. "What's he talking about?" Jim Gaffigan, famous comedian, has a three-minute stand up routine on Disney wherein he likens standing in line at the theme park in Orlando in July to standing in line at the DMV on the surface of the sun. How true it is. Not just the Disney analogy, but the sun one. This summer has been brutal. I'll bet Colorado is cooler. And that's where our next guest in The Author Behind the Story series lives.

Please welcome to the sweltering, humid, "Why do I still live here?" (Oh, yeah...the ocean) Florida front porch, author Susan G. Mathis!



Susan, pretend you just met us in the Barnes & Noble checkout line. We are holding one of your books. We see you, and say, "Hey, aren't you her?" as we point to the back cover. Who is Susan G. Mathis?

I’m a versatile writer and author of five books including a novel, two non-fiction books, and two picture books. Crazy, I know. I love doing life with my husband, Dale, traveling, water aerobics, serving others, and enjoying time on Skype and in person with my four adorable granddaughters who live in South Africa.

So, you have already told us you're married and that you have children. Can you tell us a little about them?

I’m happily married to the man of my dreams, my co-author for my first two premarital books, my travel partner, and my best friend. He’s God’s beautiful gift to me.

I have two wonderful adult children, a son who lives in Sayulitas, Mexico, and a daughter (with four daughters) who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. How I ended up with two international kids boggles my mind!

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?

My mother quips that I started my writing career when I signed my crayon drawings—on the foyer wall—with a great big “S”! Though I’m not sure that was the start I wanted, I can’t remember not writing.

My journey has been multi-faceted. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path. As the Former Editorial Director at Focus on the Family of 12 unique publications and Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine, I’ve done a lot of writing and editing. Then, in 2008, Tyndale published the first of my two premarital books—Countdown for Couples, and then The ReMarriage Adventure. Last year my two children’s picture books were released—Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. And now I’m a debut novelist with The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. It’s been a really fun journey!

I think you are the second former Language Arts teacher I've had on as a guest. Being one myself, I'm thinking the odds are high that many novelists had a previous life as an ELA teacher. But you had the added bonus of working in the newspaper industry as well as for Focus on the Family! Or as one of our daughters used to call it, Poke Us in the Family.

What educational background do you have?

I grew up in Watertown, NY, got my first degree in NY and my second degree here in Colorado. I’ve taught school, been a staff writer, been an editor, and now write from home. Yippee!

Watertown, isn't that where they get all the snow off the great lakes? We lived in western NY for almost eight years. We've seen out share of blizzards.

Where and why do you live where you do now?

I live on 5 acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak. With such a beautiful view, writing is inspirational. The only thing missing is the ocean.

We've always wanted to vacation out there. Never been west of I-35, though. Why do you live where you live?

I live on 5 acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak. With such a beautiful view, writing is inspirational. The only thing missing is the ocean.

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

I love our current home, but since my husband has Parkinsons' disease, one day we’ll have to transition to a one-level place. Must haves would be a view, room for our kids to visit, and near our loved ones.

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

Hah! I just texted our salesman about this. We’re looking for a Nissan Rogue or Murano.

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


When I was writing my first two premarital books for Tyndale, I was working full-time as an editorial director at Focus on the Family, managing five magazines and four parenting newsletters. I worked about 60 hours a week and wrote at night and on weekends. The “unusual event” is that somehow, God multiplied my time and energy, and I don’t remember that time as at all stressful or hard. I still look back on it with amazement.

The Fabric of Hope
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category, and if you can, tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Decadent Lobster
Favorite Drink: Tea (in a lovely china teacup)
Favorite Song: At the moment it’s “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own; besides the Bible): Depends on the season of life. I’m always trying to grow and learn. Right now, I’m reading writing craft books.
Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm youplans to give you hope and a future.” In fact, my novel is about this concept.
Favorite Movie: Anne of Green Gables
Favorite Actor or Actress:  Tom Hanks
Favorite Novel (other than your own): There are simply too many to list!
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Ditto!
Favorite Sport: I hated football until a friend patiently explained it to me. Now I love it.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Go Broncos!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English and History
Favorite Subject Now: English and History
Favorite Teacher in School: John Cecil, a Christian geology professor who was instrumental in leading me to Christ
Favorite Time of the Year: Christmas, of course.
Favorite Place to Vacation: Beach/Ocean, anywhere, anytime!


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?

My daddy, who died three months before I was born.

I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure (isn't the Christian life wonderful this way?...we CAN know, be sure...) you will get all eternity to sit down and chat!

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?

Queen Esther. What a strong woman!

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?        

In 2000 I went on a missions trip to China. The day after we got there, the team leader asked to me to take a team of five teenagers into Inner Mongolia for five days. I was the only adult besides the Chinese interpreter. We took a train for 15 hours, sleeping with goats and chickens nearby, to a Mongolian city that had never had an American there. We had a wonderful time, which was broadcast on Mongolian TV, and because I was the only adult American, they called me President Susan! Crazy times sharing God’s love with thousands.

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?

Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your work and In Your Life by Spencer Johnson really helped me transition from working in the marketplace to working from home.

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

I check out the reviews first. I love historical and historical romance, especially mid-to-late 1800s. It can’t have a poorly designed cover, or I pass it by.

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

My life verse is Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I live by it!

Susan, it's been a pleasure! That's for taking the time to stop by and give our readers a glimpse into your life.

Readers, if you wish to get to know Susan even more, here are several ways you can do so:


Thanks, everybody, for stopping by. I'm going inside now where the A/C is cold, the lemonade is colder, and taunt the mosquitoes as they try to get inside through the window.

Oh, and one more thing. Feel free to follow my blog!

Until next month,

Kevin
Kevin's
soon-to-be-rereleased
2013 BRMCWC Selah
Award-winning
Debut Novel





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