Monday, November 30, 2015

An Interview with Bestselling Romance Author Amanda Cabot

I am extremely happy to introduce you to fellow writer, friend, mentor, and coordinator for the Front Range Christian Fiction Writers, Amanda Cabot. Amanda is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.  

Interview Questions
Today, Amanda talks about her newly release Christmas Romance Novella, The Christmas Star Bride.

1. What inspired you to write “The Christmas Star Bride?" Are there sequels planned?
When my agent sent me a call-out for Barbour’s 12 Brides of Christmas, I knew I wanted to be part of this collection.  The reason?  Christmas novellas are fun to write.  But, as much as I wanted to be part of the collection, I also wanted my story to be different from the other proposals the editor was likely to receive.  Most romance heroines, particularly in historical novellas like these, are fairly young.  I wanted to show that love is not limited to the very young, so I created a story with an older hero and heroine, both of whom have been wounded (in Jeremy’s case, literally) in the past.
As for sequels, not only is one planned, it’s already available.  The 12 Brides of Christmas was such a success that Barbour asked for The 12 Brides of Summer.  My story, “The Fourth of July Bride,” was released in e-book format this July.  Like the Christmas stories, these novellas are digital-first releases with the full collection appearing in print a year later.

2. Did you have to do much research on the background of your story?
Oh, yes.  I spent months and months researching Cheyenne in the mid-1880s.  The good news is that I’d already done the work when I wrote Waiting for Spring and With Autumn’s Return, so I could reuse the research for both this story and the summer bride one.  

3. Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?
I once worked as an editor for a technical publication.  It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

4. What made you want to be a writer in the first place?
Books – in particular, fiction – have always been a very important part of my life, transporting me to different times and places.  And so the next logical step – at least in my seven-year-old mind – was to become a writer.  I won’t tell you it’s always been easy, but I will say that it’s always been rewarding.

5. What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
The single most important piece of advice I have for aspiring writers is to never give up. Rejection is a fact of life, but you can’t let it defeat you.

The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection
Christmas is the time for love -- and weddings -- and twelve women are on their way to the altar, whether they know it or not. In nineteenth-century settings across the heartland of America, readers will experience heartfelt gifts, old-fashioned Christmas traditions, sweet romance, and inspiring faith from twelve acclaimed Christian authors. 
My story, “The Christmas Star Bride”

Because love isn’t limited to the very young. 

Esther Hathaway lost her one true love at Gettysburg twenty years ago, but that doesn’t stop her from celebrating her niece’s wedding by commissioning Jeremy Snyder to paint her portrait. Will Esther's prayers for God to ease her loneliness be answered by a wounded vet?

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Interview with Contemporary Inspirational Romance Writer Candee Fick

Today's spotlight is on my friend and writing colleague Candee Fick. Candee is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be forund cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Interview Questions

    1. What is the genre of Catch of a Lifetime? Why did you       choose this genre?
Catch of a Lifetime is a contemporary inspirational romance. I choose to write romance, because it's what I love to read, and it's a reflection of God's relentless pursuit of a relationship with mankind. That's also why I write for the inspirational or Christian market, because my faith is such an integral part of my life that I can't imagine trying to write a story without that worldview. And I admit that I write about contemporary settings and interactions to avoid the extra research involved to get the historical time period details correct.

2. How is your protagonist the same/different from you?
I grew up playing football at recess with the boys, married a coach, and our oldest son plays receiver and linebacker for his high school's team. And that's very different from Cassie, who hates football, especially football players! Howver, a part of me always wanted to be a flexible, tumbling gymnast (especially when watchin gthe Olympics), so I was able to put that desired skill into Cassie's background. On the other hand, Cassie and I are both smart enought with a love of biology and science to be tutors. In fact, I used to teach high school chemistry before I got married and started a family. 

3. What secret about the book will enhance our knowledge about you or the book?
Fun fact: During the editing process, my editor asked me to actually name two background characters instead of just referring to them in general terms. Their names would never show up again in the story, but I saw her point about making the current scene clear. On a whim, I pulled a first name and a last name from two of my son’s teammates to create one character. The other character—Luke Daniels—is a variation on my son’s first and middle name. As I’ve been watching my senior son play his final season of football, it’s been sweet to know that his football identity will live on in fiction even as he puts away the cleats and moves on to basketball.

      4. What made you want to be a writer in the first place?
I love stories and haven’t been far from a book since age four when my mother taught me to read. The best books were the ones that lingered in my imagination to the point where I invented new scenes and adventures for the characters, just because I couldn’t bear to say goodbye yet. However, the more I read, the more I came across books that didn’t quite satisfy or seemed flat or dry or (gasp) boring. Whenever I read a book like that, my imagination would kick in to try to fix the story with a better ending or something. Then came the day when I woke up, having dreamed a scene so real I didn’t want it to end. I scribbled down everything I could remember and decided that I would someday write books of my own. My hope is that readers want to linger with my characters.

5. What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
Read a lot. You absorb what works or doesn’t work in stories by seeing how other writers have built story worlds. Write a lot. Just like other muscles, it gets easier the more you exercise it.  Keep learning. Focus on one skill, dig deep until you understand it, apply it to your own writing, and then find something else to work on. Mostly, be patient. It takes time to develop a strong foundation of skill, professionalism, thick skin, stack of possible manuscripts, network of friends, and social media platform. Then, when the door of opportunity opens, you’ll be ready to walk through it.


He breathes football. She shudders at the very mention of the sport. After a tragedy involving a football player destroyed her family, athletic trainer and graduate student Cassie moves across the country looking for a fresh start, but a change in financial aid lands her in the middle of her worst nightmare. Meanwhile, rookie coach Reed worries his dream career will slip away as injuries plague his players and his star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility. As the two work together to salvage the season, sparks fly, and Reed must eventually choose between the game he cherishes and the woman he loves.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

An Interview with mystery writer Marilyn Leach

As part of my author spotlight, today, it's my pleasure to introduce you to my friend and fellow writer, Marilyn Leach. At the age of nine, Marilyn wrote her first play with a childhood neighbor--a mystery called The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet. Since that time, she has been writing in various formats for various audiences, as a hobby and as a livelihood. In addition to teaching art, she’s had the opportunity to co-author several plays that have been performed on both church and secular stages, as well as two screenplays. Marilyn has had the good fortune of “discovering her roots” while visiting England where she developed lasting relationships with wonderful people.  It has greatly impacted her writing. A fervent fan of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and David Cook’s Hetty Wainthropp series, Marilyn was inspired to write her Berdie Elliott Mystery series. The series takes place in a small English village where the vicar’s wife, Berdie Elliott, is the divine sleuth. Marilyn lives lakeside in a cottage on the outskirts of Denver near the foothills.

Interview Questions:
What is the genre of Into the Clouds? Why did you choose this genre? 
Into the Clouds is an English cozy mystery.  When I was nine years old, my neighbor and I wrote a play, The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet.  It was a neighborhood hit when we presented it amid blankets pegged on wash lines to create a stage.  Trixie Belden mysteries were my favorite read as a child, and I never out grew the “guess who did it” instinct.  My mystery series is a good brain tickle with inspiration and high energy humor to move it along.

What inspired you to write Into the Clouds? Are there sequels planned?
I love reading and watching Agatha Christie’s Miss Marpel series, a fun model to write from.  Actually, Into the Clouds is the third mystery in the Berdie Elliott mysteries.  Because my sleuth is a vicar’s wife, the mysteries are tied to liturgical holidays.  Candle for a Corpse is an Advent mystery.  Up from the Grave is a Lenten mystery.  Into the Clouds is an Ascension mystery.  And my fourth book in the series, Enigma of Fire: A Pentecost Mystery is due out in 2016.

How is your protagonist the same/different from you?
Berdie Elliott is a hoot to write.  I love her optimism, practical thinking, and ability to puzzle out the truth amidst the rubble of lies.  She’s very high energy, I’m relaxed.  She speaks her mind, I’m often a bit more timid.  She’s fearless, I’m cautious.  But we both have personal faith at the core of our world view.

What/who inspires you when you feel writer’s block coming on?
I pour a cup of tea and pop a British mystery DVD into the player, then watch with a “how can I learn from this?” mentality.  It often does the trick.

What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
Learn your craft.  So many people have fantastic ideas buzzing around in their heads.  But until you learn how to present them in a dynamic way, really study the masters, read “how to” books, and review your old high school English grammar book, it is not likely to reach readers in an effective way.  Give your story wings by grounding it in excellent practices.  And go for it!

Blurb: Into the Clouds

When the small English village of Aidan Kirkwood              
gathers for the great Ascension Sunday fete, it’s found that one hundred released balloons are not the only thing vanishing into thin air. A well-to-do widow has gone missing.  Enlisted by the family to  find the woman, Berdie Elliott, the local vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire, flies into action. Adventure rises when zealous cat fanciers, a  clandestine informant, Portuguese intimations, and the home with an odd tree all lead Berdie to grasp the truth. Youwon’t want to let this whodunit out of your sight.

Enigma of Fire a Pentecost Mystery, Berdie Mystery #4  will release in 2016
Into the Clouds an Ascension Mystery, now available at
Candle for a Corpse an Advent Mystery  
Up From the Grave A Lenten Mystery 
Threads of Love: a romance

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Discover the Adventure--An Interview with Cowboy Romance Writer, Jill Haymaker

As mentioned in a previous blog post, it's my pleasure to occasionally spotlight people who are making an impact on the world of contemporary fiction. Today I have the extreme pleasure of introducing you to Jill Haymaker, a friend and fellow member of Front Range Christian Fiction Writers. She will be talking about the second book in her Peakview Series, Breakfast for Two in the five interview questions below. 

Jill Haymaker was born and raised in Indiana and Ohio. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado in 1975. She has made her home in Fort Collins since, except for three years in the 1990’s when she attended law school at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has practiced family law in Fort Collins for the past 20 years. She has three grown children, a son and two daughters. She also has three granddaughters.
   Jill has always had a passion for writing. Colorado Sunset was her first full length romance novel—the first in a series of novels centered in the small town of Peakview, Colorado. Her second in the series, Breakfast for Two, was released on September 15, 2015. She is working on the third, a Cabin in the Pines, to be released in early 2016. She also has had several short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her latest story is a book entitled Thanks to My Mom. 
   When not practicing law or writing, Jill enjoys gardening, long walks with her Shetland Sheepdog, Laddie, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoys their numerous sporting events. She is also an avid football fan and can be found on autumn weekends cheering on the Broncos, the CSU Rams, and the Huskers. She has a passion for working with high school youth- she is a youth group leader at her church, coaches the Fort Collins High School Mock Trial team and is a volunteer for the Fort Collins High School Cross Country and Track teams.

Interview Questions:

Jill, what is the genre of Breakfast for Two? Why did you choose this genre?
Breakfast for Two is a western contemporary romance.  I chose this genre because it’s the genre I most like to read, and I really enjoy writing it. I just love cowboys (not that I know any personally), but I have always found them to be unique, interesting, and extremely masculine and attractive.  I love writing about the beautiful mountains here in our home state of Colorado.  Colorado is my favorite place in the world, and I want to share that with my readers.

What inspired you to write Breakfast for Two?
As a reader I have been discouraged by the lack of good romance novels about people older than 20 or 30. I wanted to show that even people on their 60’s can be romantic and have a great love story to tell.  This book is the second in my Peakview series. The first Colorado Sunset, was released last March.  The third  book,  A Cabin in the Pines, is being written and hopefully will be available in early 2016. I have outlines for two additional books in the series right now. After that, we will see.

What/who inspires you when you feel writer’s block coming on?
As in all areas of my life, I am constantly inspired by my children and grandchildren. The fact that they believe I can do anything, pushes me forward and  prevents me from giving up. They all love give me ideas and read my books.

What made you want to be a writer in the first place?
I think maybe I have always wanted to write, although I have only been writing fiction for about three years.  In school I enjoyed writing, but more when I got to write what I wanted as opposed to following an assignment.  I have toyed with the ides of writing for many years. For a long time I thought I would write non-fiction.  The idea of writing a novel just fell into place when a very dear friend of mine started writing fiction, and I saw how much fun she was having with it. My law practice was slow at the time, so more for something to fill my time than anything else, I started writing my first book. I fell in love with the process from day one, it was so different from writing legal documents. I love writing, and I love my characters.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just do it! It’s really that simple. Sit down and start writing and if you love it, keep doing it.  Write what you want to write and what you have a passion for, not what others tell you is selling, or hot right now. Trends change. You will get discouraged if you write something that you don’t believe in.  Be yourself and you will shine through in everything you write.

Breakfast for Two: Book II of the Peakview Series
The tiny, mountain town of Peakview, Colorado, wouldn’t be the same without Violet’s CafĂ©, and its owner, Violet Woods. Widowed in her fifties, she leads a solitary life with only her cat Lucky to keep her warm at night. All thoughts of romance died with Stan. They had a wonderful, long happy marriage, and she’s content to live out the rest of her life with her memories.

Howard Crandall, Peakview’s only mechanic, is a confirmed bachelor and something of a hermit. When Stan died, he took it upon himself to look out for Violet. Over the years, they have become friends, but it isn’t until the past he has hid from for thirty year past suddenly catches up with him, that he opens up to the idea of finding love

Is there a second chance for these two lonely souls?

Contact info:
Twitter: @jillLHaymaker
Instagram: Jill Haymaker
Facebook: Jill Haymaker, Author
Goodreads: Jill Haymaker, Author

Breakfast for Two 
Link to Trailer:

Jill's first book in the Peakview Series, Colorado Sunset, will be free on Amazon from October 1 – 5, 2015. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Historical Research: Fact or Fiction?

Regardless of the genre, most writers I know do some amount of research to maintain integrity and authenticity in their material. It just comes with the territory. Even when the story is mostly a fictional tale, there is usually something that requires a Google search or query of an expert.

While the genre I write is primarily contemporary suspense, I find joy in the stories that arise out of a historical context. So historical research has been a huge part of what goes into what I write. It’s fascinating to come across fun details that evolve into the “What if?” questions. That’s how  my current Waldensian series ( came to be.

I believe, however, with historical “what ifs” also comes a responsibility to keep the integrity of historical events. Yet sometimes understanding the facts or how events unfolded with certainty can be difficult. The best resources are those written by people and their contemporaries of the time period in question. Going back to the original sources has a much better chance of representing the true course of events. When there is agreement among several sources from that time period (and especially if they happen to have been on opposing sides), I can conclude that there is reasonable certainty.

I also try to keep in mind who wrote a history and attempt to discern what motivated them to write an account of times and events. Words and phrases they use give clue to their mindset and goals. Understanding if they were among the victors or the oppressed may help me understand their biases about how they saw events unfold. This only adds to the richness of historical context, and I can use that to give my characters greater emotional depth.

Another question I ask is whether the contemporary historian is giving me an account of revised history to satisfy their particular political or cultural worldview. Again, the words and the phrases and overall tone of the writing clue me into their agenda. Knowing where they were educated and what associations they belong to helps me know what political and cultural positions they hold. Then I ask the following questions: Does what they write match earlier accounts? Does it contradict original sources? Have they found authenticated original source material to back up this new understanding of history? What have they left out that would give me a more complete picture of the story?

But what if there are conflicting accounts by the original sources, and what if contemporary historians don’t have agreement? How do I decide which account is most accurate and gives me the truest picture of events? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to discern the truth. I have to keep digging until I come up with the best and truest picture possible, and then at times I’m still left with drawing my own conclusions based on the evidence before me. But again, this should expand the dimensions of characters I’ve developed in my story.

Do my own political, cultural and religious biases show in my conclusions?  I would be lying if I tried to deny it. Whether they admit it or not, I believe all authors’ material reflects their personal subjective worldviews. That’s why I believe it’s important for readers to get to know the authors they read.

Should readers view every fiction novel they read with a certain amount of skepticism? I hope so, even when the story is a wonderfully woven tale deserving a distinguished award. Perhaps I should say especially when the tale is that well written. Fact and fiction have a way of blurring together when the writing is that well accomplished.

Still, I believe it’s the author’s responsibility to maintain the integrity of their work by making the apparent distinctions between fact, fiction, half-truths, and opinion. We should maintain the integrity of the historical record where we can and inform our readers in a “Notes” section when we’ve embellished the facts or took fictional license for dramatic effect. It seems the morally right thing to do, and it seems the transparent thing to do.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Writer’s Journey, A Search for Friendship

In many ways, a writer’s journey becomes the reader’s journey. Writing is more than just putting words on a page. It’s an opportunity to find the story within a story, digging to find the nugget that makes the story come alive for the reader. If done well, it creates a connection between the author and the reader—that “Aha!” moment where there is a magical unity of the human spirit.

Some writers are drawn more to the art of writing, and many of those become authors of literary fiction. They love words juxtaposed on the page, the poetry of the sounds read aloud, the evocative images, appearing like a Monet painting, swirling in the air and provoking conversation around the meaning of things. Many of us enjoy reading literary fiction for how it stimulates the intellect and challenges us to think about ideas from a different perspective. Every now and then we hit on the place where the author intended for us to land, and it’s another one of those moments in which we find ourselves a little changed from where we began when we opened the first page. And we hear ourselves sigh, “Ah, me too!”

Other writers seem to have a multitude of stories in genre fiction that continually bubble to the surface and must be written down to make room for more. They’ve homed their craft and write wonderfully well at a prolific pace. They seem to have a certain mental acuity for getting the word down on the page. We admire them for their quick wit and keen mental capacity to create story. And then we see it! It may be just one word or one phrase—the insight, the take away—and a secretive smile lights our faces.

I cannot speak for all authors, but I know many authors aspire on some level to connect with their readers—at least to know that you have taken something away from the story.  If you are an avid reader, and even if you’re not, I encourage you to let your favorite authors know—whoever they are—what grabbed your attention or made you smile.

I love to hear from my readers—to know what, if anything, inspired you or made you stop to ponder something one of the characters did. Perhaps you were uneasy about some aspect of the way the story unfolded or how a character responded to a particular situation. Maybe you enjoyed the historical suspense or the way the setting triggered your imagination. Maybe some phrase humorously hit you just right and you repeated it on Facebook (To my absolute delight, one good friend did exactly that!).  Perhaps you have a question or some point of clarification. I’d love to hear from you.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.’  —C. S. Lewis

For more information about Donna Wichelman and her suspense novel Light Out of Darkness, you can find her at Books available at

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Meet Best-Selling Romantic Suspense Author Leslie Ann Sartor

Welcome to the inaugural Author Edition of Discover the Adventure. As promised, twice monthly, I will have the pleasure of spotlighting various authors who have carved out a place for themselves in their various genres in a question answer format. 

Today I have the extreme pleasure of introducing you to Leslie Ann Sartor, a fellow member of a writers' group that we both attend. 

Leslie Ann Sartor (aka L.A. Sartor) began telling stories about age four when her mother, at Leslie’s insistence, wrote them down and Leslie illustrated them. As an adult, she writes suspense and action adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays screenplays—one that had a contracted adaptation. She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date. Leslie loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey. She has a blog and a mailing list.

1. L.A., you recently made #1 on Amazon's best-seller's list for two of your novels, Be Mine This Christmas Night and Forever Yours This New Year's Night.  Last November, Be Mine was also given the International Diagital Award for Contemporary Short Noel. How did these two honors make you feel, and how has it changed your life?

Thank you, Donna, for having me as your inaugural guest. What an honor!

Making bestseller on Amazon, truly being #1 the first time with Be Mine This Christmas Night, stunned me. I couldn’t believe this was truly my book that had reached this pinnacle. I didn’t realize it until Audra Harders, a wonderful Inspy writer, texted me early in the morning to tell me. Naturally I got onto the site to check it out for myself.

Then when I published Forever Yours This New Year’s Night, I had hopes, but I didn’t want to vocalize them.  You know, jinx them. I watched the sales on Amazon creep up slowly and figured it wouldn’t happen. Then, in an explosion, they topped 10,000 and then more.  Again, #1, but it was the sales numbers that really blew me away.

Frankly it’s a humbling experience. Giddy, but humbling. I don’t expect this for every book, it’s a gift when it happens.

As was the International Digital Award for Be Mine This Christmas Night. Incredible!  And the cool thing is that these milestones are ones I get to keep forever. If anything about this has changed my life, it’s that no-one can take these honors away. I earned them. Wow. Maybe I really can write.

Hopefully there will be more, but with each one, I feel profoundly lucky and grateful. 

2. In the USA Today digital newspaper for July 2, 2015 (which is today), an excerpt of your latest book Viking Gold appears in the Thursday column of Happily Ever After. Tell us about that.  

I’m so excited about this. Who knows where that massive exposure will take me. Maybe nowhere, but I’m hoping upward.  Wouldn’t it be cool to be a USA Today Bestselling Author? Let me answer that…YES!

As you mentioned, it’s an excerpt, the lead-in to the scene and a blurb.  Do you have any idea how much I angsted over which excerpt to post? Then I had to create a hopefully compelling lead-in and blurb.  I lost sleep and really made myself ill over this. 

I hope your readers will go visit the link, which I’ll post in the comments. Viking Gold is a fast-paced book.  Some people think of my Carswell Adventure Series, of which this is book #2, as the best of Romancing the Stone and Indiana Jones. Stone of Heaven is book #1. 

3. If you were to give a New Year's Eve Party this next December, is there one character in Forever Your's This New Year's Night that you would not invite and why?

Well I like my characters, and in this book there really isn't a villain, though Todd might be a bit awkward at a party. But since you asked me to choose, I'd really rather not invite the jeweler Dom Pauly. He thinks he’s funny and has a big mouth. Not mean, just not socially adept.  And he is one of those people who thinks he knows it all. If you read Forever Yours This New Year’s Night, let me know what you think of my choice in the comments.

4. Tell us something about yourself we might not expect. 

Hmmmm, well most people think I’m pretty self confident and fit easily in social situations. But really, I’m terribly shy about meeting people for the first time or walking into a room filled with people I don’t know. I just suck it up and start talking, but I do get queasy just before I open the door and enter.

5. What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Yes, it’s trite but true. And if you indie publish, don’t despair if sales are slow, just keep writing and get your next book out there. Each book should be its best at that point in your career. And the next one better! If they are, sales will pick up.

Learn which promotions feel good to you. Try them all, Twitter, FB, Pinterest, etc., and then find those which are the most comfortable to you.  I recommend a website. A blog takes a lot of dedication.  I have one and there are days when I get to the point where I want to throw up my hands. But I don’t. It’s working, bringing me a greater audience.

Viking Gold: Book Two of the Carswell Adventure Series

Norway is the land of Vikings and myths, and deep in a fjord, a sunken Nazi plane is filled with gold--which is exactly the kind of adventure Abby Carswell and Hermann Weiss relish. Enough so to make them push aside their misgivings over their enigmatic new business partner.

Abby, an adrenaline junkie, barely avoids death’s scythe on every quest she undertakes. Hermann knows he can’t continue to watch the woman he loves put herself deliberately in harm’s way. He wants her to choose the power of their love over her need to beat the odds.
But first they have to survive this hunt for Viking gold, which has  turned deadly after they discover the treasure has mythic qualities and is coveted for its power. Their quest becomes a battle against an evil whose tentacles may run deeper than this single expedition. 

Other Titles Published:
Dare to Believe (2012)
Stone of Heaven (May 2013) Carswell Adventure Series Book One
Be Mine This Christmas Night (Holiday 2013) Star light -Star Bright Series Book One
Forever Yours This New Year's Night (Holiday 2014) Star light - Star Bright Series Book Two
Viking Gold 

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Social Links: 
Website | Facebook  | Facebook Author Page | Twitter  | Goodreads | Pinterest

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ten Principles to Overcome Envy and Jealousy

Have you ever wanted to be like someone else? Have you ever wanted to be like that person so badly that you found yourself salivating at the thought of having their skill or popularity? Maybe you’ve said something like, “If I could just sing like her … .” or  “If I could only kick the ball like him … .”

Maybe the person was a good friend at school or college, and she got all the good acting parts while you were put in charge of props. Maybe he’s currently a professional colleague who seems to get all the recognition for a job well done, but you’re the one who’s put in all the hours.

Or perhaps it’s the person at church who has become everyone’s spiritual darling, and it’s ripping you apart, because she’s your best friend. Envy, jealousy, hurt and anger have set in, and you’re becoming more and more agitated and less and less content with the state of your own life. It’s a downward spiral, killing your friendships, your fellowship, and your peace of mind.

It’s easy to get caught in the current. I know. I’ve been there.

As an author, I watched colleagues and friends find publishing houses and receive contracts long before I published my book. I was always truly happy for them on the outside. But on the inside that contract offer to them was a flaming poisonous arrow of envy and jealousy that hit dead center of my heart.

In my suspense novel, Light Out of Darkness, one artist’s envy of another artist’s talent resulted in an impulsive action that led to regret and changed the course of the rest of his life and others. In the end, he lost his faith and eventually lost his mind.

How do we prevent the downward spiral of envy, jealousy and covetousness before it destroys our lives?  I would like to suggest ten principles that can help us gain perspective when we feel tempted to succumb to these destructive emotions.  


1)     You Were Created with a Unique Purpose.

Psalm 139:13 – 18 confirms God’s creative purposes for us. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works … And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me (vs. 14 and 16).

2)    You Were Created with Unique Talents and Abilities

1 Corinthians 4:7 exhorts us to have a proper perspective of our unique gifts. What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? The Message version puts it this way: Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. 

3)    God Gave You Responsibility for Your Own Work.

Galatians 6:4 – 5 implores each person to take responsibility for his own work and not worry about someone else’s. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boating in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one shall bear his own load.

4)    Your Worth is Not Dependent on Your Performance.

Romans 5:6 – 8 establishes God’s love for us, poured out through Jesus, His Son, who chose to become sin for us to save us from sin and death. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (vs. 8).

5)    Relationship is More Important than Celebrity.

Philippians 2:1 – 4 encourages us to rejoice with our friends when good comes their way. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another more important than yourselves … (vs.3).  

6)    Your Work is About Pleasing God and Not Man.

Colossians 1:10 – 12 confers on us to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord—working to please Him rather than to please man. Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work … (vs. 10).

7)    Your Choices have Consequences for Good or Bad

1 Samuel 16: 13 – 14 warns us to guard our hearts against jealousy and envy that lead to death. Then Samuel … anointed him [David] … and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David … Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul …

8)    A Moldable Heart will Reap Eternal Blessings in the Hands of a Sovereign God.

Jeremiah 18:1 – 8 reminds us to stay soft in the hands of God to continually fashion us into a vessel for His good purposes. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make (vs. 4).

9)    You can Trust the Lord for Your Future.

Proverbs 3:5 – 6 promises that if we trust God in all things, He will establish our way. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understand. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.

10)  The Lord Always has Your Back.

Psalms 27:1, 3 assures us that we can trust God for his sovereign care. We need not fear what lies ahead or the enemy that might be around the corner. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? … Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war rise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.

Note: All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Version. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Real-Life Story of Faith and Valor

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs dedicates less than a page to the Waldensians of the Cottian Alps west of Turin, Italy. Yet, their real-life story of valor and enduring faith in the midst of persecution in Europe throughout the second millennium AD touched and encouraged my heart so much that I wanted to bring their story to life in a contemporary suspense novel that would give wings to courage and enduring faith in our time.

Theological historians dispute the exact date and origins of the Waldensians. Some have suggested that they hail from the first century church fathers and settled in the Italian Alps during a time of great persecution in the second century. Whether this is so, certainly by 1170 A.D. these men and women of faith banded together with Peter Waldo, a rich merchant of Lyon, France who had converted to Christianity and took a vow of poverty.

The Waldensians, also called the Poor Men of Lyon under Waldo, never wanted to secede from the Church of Rome. Rather, they hoped to peacefully sway the papacy to cease practices they deemed contrary to true biblical principles and return to what they believed were the pure teachings of Christ. Thus the Waldensians appealed to Rome for a Bible in the vernacular and asked the Church to forego indulgences for the forgiveness of sins. They also sought various reforms, such as allowing clergy to marry.

Unfortunately, the Roman Church of the Middle Ages saw the Waldensians as a threat to their power and wealth and called them heretics. Thus began centuries of persecution and martyrdom that helped set the stage for the Reformation in the sixteenth century and continued to hound the Waldensian faithful until their civil freedoms were granted on February 17, 1848.

Today Waldensian assemblies worldwide have aligned with Methodist and Presbyterian synods. Yet most local assemblies across the world and Italy still light bonfires in celebration of their civil freedoms on the night of February 16th each year. The largest group of Waldensians outside Italy resides in Valdese, North Carolina, USA. and conducts a festival of their heritage every summer.

The Waldensian story lives on today in local assemblies worldwide, a testimony of a people whose valor and enduring faith withstood the test of time. This ought to encourage and strengthen Christians everywhere as we hear and read stories about those who are persecuted and martyred around the world in this century. 

More About the History of the Waldensians:
  • The History of the Waldenses by J.A Wylie
  • You are My Witnesses: The Waldensians Across 800 Years by Giogio Tourn
  • The Glorious Recovery by The Vaudois of their Valleys by Henri Arnaud
  • Waldensian Cultural Centre, Torre Pellice, Italy

More About Donna Wichelman and her novel Light Out of Darkness: