Story Spark: Intertwined

Guest Post by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Intertwined_N154121I’ve never been a single mother. I’ve never gone through divorce, and I’ve certainly never been betrayed by my husband. So why in the world would a woman who’s been married for twenty years write about two divorced characters, one of whom had been betrayed, in the worst possible way, by her spouse?

I’m not sure, except maybe God nudged me. And maybe because I saw a need. Serving in various churches, I’ve encountered numerous women who’ve said they don’t quite fit in, and, in many instances, that they feel judged. The working moms say they feel judged by those who stay home, and those who stay home say they feel as if they’re viewed as “less-than” by those who work.

And then there’s the single moms, many of whom are lonely, overworked, and overtired.

Placed in a body of believers, smack-dab in a church family, surrounded by their support system… except that support system might not have been mobilized yet.

The need for deep and authentic community was one issue I wanted to reveal and address in Intertwined. Deep community doesn’t happen naturally and requires reaching out, taking risks, and, most importantly, being honest about our needs. It requires looking for and assuming the best in others and seeing things through their perspective, not just our own.

Because everyone’s hurting. Everyone needs something, as Tammy finds out. The very woman she believes is judging her, the very woman Tammy spends a great deal of time trying to avoid, needs Tammy more than she could possibly imagine. Unfortunately, it takes a while for Tammy to realize this. It takes Tammy looking past the surface and catching a glimpse of this other woman’s heart.

But isn’t that how it is for all of us? In our daily communications and interactions, there’s so much miscommunication between the lines, miscommunication, false assumptions, and emotional baggage that drives a wedge between God’s children. Between us and those God has placed before us. It takes a great deal of grace and perseverance to knock those wedges down.

In Intertwined, this is something Tammy must learn, and the results, in my opinion, are beautiful. But this is also something I must learn, and maybe that’s why God had me write about this theme, so He could teach me through my characters.

God has a funny way of doing that, doesn’t He?

What about you? Has God ever used a book or character to teach you something? What was that? Share your examples with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another.

Intertwined

Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator, often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?

Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace. Readers will fall in love with the realistic characters and enjoy the combination of depth, heart-felt emotion and humor that makes Jennifer’s novels so appealing. Readers will be inspired to find God in every moment and encounter in their own lives!

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Meet Jennifer

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook.

 

Writers Chat: Novelists Talk About Writing on Blab

With Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Pam Hillman, Bethany Jett, and Me!

Tyndale authors Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Pam Hillman, and I joined Bethany Jett on the first Writers Chat Blab yesterday.

We talked about finding the inspiration for our stories, our favorite writing tips, handling writers block and so much more.

Here’s the replay. (If the link isn’t available–sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t–please hop on over to Pam Hillman’s blog and get the replay there.)

Diana writes both nonfiction and fiction and is the author of Mind of Her Own.

Pam is a CBA bestselling novelist and the author of Stealing Jake.

Bethany is a nonfiction author and the founder of the Serious Writer Community.

These ebooks are on sale for $2.99 or less through Saturday, September 26th so this is the perfect time to get your copies!

Stealing Jake book cover Mind-of-Her-Own-200x300 where-treasure-hides-682x1024-new-cover

Stealing Jake may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other online retailers.

Mind of Her Own may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other online retailers.

Where Treasure Hides may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other online retailers.

Story Spark: Trust Me

Guest Post by Jo Huddleston (and a Giveaway)

Trust MeTrust Me is book 2 in the West Virginia Mountains Series. Readers may be familiar with the Story Spark for this series of sweet Southern historical romance novels: while in college I went home with a girlfriend from West Virginia for the weekend. She lived in a coal mining community, where her daddy owned the coal mine.

On that visit, I learned about a coal mining tipple. Fascinated with the tipple and its surroundings, I wanted to write a story about the people of that coal mining camp.

In this series, I did that in book 1, Wait for Me, the story of the love between two soulmates, Julie and Robby. When they enrolled at West Virginia University in the northern part of the state, an unexpected character walked into the story: the Dean of Women at the university. Dean Fletcher.

In book 1, I gave Dean Fletcher sophistication I’d learned about from my seventh grade home room teacher. Dean Fletcher was reserved and a bit stand-offish, traits of my favorite female actor on a TV one hour drama. Dean Fletcher was a good person, always helpful to Julie with any request she had.

But why was Dean Fletcher not married? Why did she never date anyone? Why was she reticent to reveal her emotions or feelings, always and only the professional? She was restrained in words and actions. Why? Her role in Wait for Me was a minor one, with not much opportunity to dig for the answers to my questions.

These questions motivated me to give Dean Fletcher a larger character part in book 2, Trust Me. So, in Trust Me you’ll learn much about this elegant woman. You’ll learn why Dean Fletcher is reserved, reticent, a bit stand-offish, not married, restrained, and sophisticated.

And a surprise to me, Dean Fletcher volunteered all this information about herself without anyone having to ask. Yes, our characters do live, breathe, and speak to their authors. They share their secrets, doubts, and insecurities. Dean Fletcher did so, and I wrote it all down in Trust Me.

Trust Me 

West Virginia, 1960

A mine owner. An elegant lady.

Seductive voices that scoff at trust.

Loreen Fletcher has suffered heartbreak. She resolves never to trust a man again. She has earned a respected position with no help from anyone, especially not from a man. At thirty-six, Loreen knows loving brings inevitable misery, and she won’t pick at that scab again.

Claude Capshaw’s life has taken another detour. Things that drove him no longer motivate him. Nothing fulfills him anymore—except that elegant lady at West Virginia University. Why won’t she trust him when he tells her he’ll never betray her?

JO PK full 02Meet Jo

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds an M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren.

Connect with Jo

Website & Blog           Lifelines Now Blog          Goodreads 
Facebook           Facebook Author Page          Amazon Author Page

Book Giveaway

To enter the drawing for an ebook copy of Jo’s book, please leave a comment before Sunday, September 27th, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. (Central time). After a random drawing, the winner’s name will be announced on Monday, September 28th.

Thank you for reading the Story Spark behind Jo’s novel and participating in the giveaway.

Story Spark: Midnight on the Mississippi

Guest Post by Mary Ellis (and a Giveaway)

Midnight on the MississippiWhile my mother-in-law was living on the Panhandle of Florida, my husband and I would visit her for several weeks each year. During one of those trips we ventured west to New Orleans for a long weekend. We both fell in love with the three-hundred-year-old city and returned many times for short getaways or an extra week’s vacation. We visited the area about six times before Hurricane Katrina hit and about another half dozen times afterwards. That horrendous storm ten years ago changed the landscape and the residents’ lives forever. But the incredible restoration that has taken place since reminds me of how resilient and generous the human spirit can be.

outside our room at ProvincialAs a reader, I’ve always loved mysteries in which the setting becomes one of the characters. The French Quarter, along with the swamps and bayous of Lafayette and Terrebonne Parishes, became the perfect location for my romantic suspense, Midnight on the Mississippi.

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This ancient portion of New Orleans along the Mississippi River is rich in history, architecture, culture, and tradition. The walled courtyards, wrought-iron balconies, and narrow gas-lit streets practically drip with atmosphere and intrigue. This old city resonates for me on a level I can’t explain. Even though I’ve never lived there, each time I visit it feels like coming home.

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Midnight on the Mississippi: When a new PI teams up with a New Orleans stockbroker accused of murder, blackmail, death threats, and danger swirl around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou.

Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War.

Mary Ellis low res fullMidnight on the Mississippi is first of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Book two, What Happened on Beale Street, will release in February.

Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Book Giveaway

To enter the drawing for a copy of Mary’s book, please leave a comment before Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. (Central time). After a random drawing, the winner’s name will be announced on Monday, September 21st.

Thank you for reading the Story Spark behind Mary’s novel and participating in the giveaway.

Story Spark: The Bishop’s Son

Guest Post by Kelly Irvin

BishopsSonCoverThe Bishop’s Son was conceived from a discussion that occurred several years ago when I told my writers’ group I planned to switch from writing romantic suspense to Amish romances. My friends, who admitted to not knowing a great deal about how the Amish practice their Christian faith, did know that most Amish do not evangelize. As evangelical Christians, my friends pointed out that Scripture very specifically calls us to win the lost and make disciples.

That question percolated in my brain for quite some time. I try not to judge how my Christian brethren across denominations choose to practice their faith. (Don’t judge, least you be judged and found wanting!) The Amish believe in keeping themselves apart from the world so as not to be sucked into the ways of the world. They live their faith by example, but mostly they would rather we not pay attention to them at all. Every denomination has its rituals and rules, but we all have one thing in common: We believe Jesus Christ is our one true savior. I don’t want to be like the Pharisees and the Sadducees who made the way faith was practiced and following the rules more important than following God. Still, I had to ask the question, what happens when a young Amish man feels the calling to become a minister. He wants to devote his life to bringing people to Christ. In most Amish districts, ministers are chosen by lot. No man would be so arrogant as to suggest that God has chosen him to be the leader. In order to follow his calling, Jesse Glick will have to give up his family and friends and the woman with whom he has fallen in love. My hope is that readers will put themselves in Jesse’s shoes and ask the hard question: Would they be willing to do the same? I certainly asked myself that question as I wrote the book. Self-examination can be a scary proposition and we might not always like the answers.

Those questions are at the heart of The Bishop’s Son. Before we judge, we might want to examine our own hearts.

The Bishop’s Son

Leila Lantz is in danger of losing her heart to a Plain man until she discovers he’s not so Plain after all.

Leila has been drawn to Jesse Glick, the bishop’s son, since the first day she met him at his father’s store, and she knows he feels the same way about her. But she can’t understand why he seems to make overtures one day, then withdraw the next.

Jesse has a secret. He has been attending an Englisch church youth group, and he’s starting to believe he’s being called to be a minister, something Amish men cannot be unless they draw the lot. He’s considering leaving his Amish community to follow his calling. The only reason he has stayed is Leila. Will, Jesse’s cousin, has his own feelings for Leila, but he has stood back in deference to his cousin for many months. Until he can’t stand the thought of Leila being hurt.

Leila can choose Will and know that she will never have to leave her home or family. Or she can choose Jesse and the love her heart desires, knowing she’ll have to say goodbye to her entire community. The day comes when Jesse, Will, and Leila all have to make their choices, choices that will deeply affect their small, close-knit community of Plain families.

Meet Kelly

KellyNewHeadShotKelly Irvin is the author of The Bishop’s Son, the second novel in the Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. It follows The Beekeeper’s Son, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it “a delicately woven masterpiece.” She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty-one years. Kelly is married to photographer Tim Irvin. They have two young adult children, two grandchildren, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.