Category Archives: Interviews

“Interviews with authors who have a heart for writers ”

Interview & Book Give-Away with Marie Senter and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Marie Senter headshotToday is the 2nd Tuesday, and I’m looking forward to talking with author Marie Senter and celebrating your successes!


Interview with Marie Senter

Marie and I first met at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference where I was her writing coach as part of the Get Published Now seminar. She brought a rough copy of the true story of the time she, as an industrial nurse, saved the life of a severely injured worker. She worked hard on the piece and turned it into a print-worthy article.

Be sure to leave a comment for Marie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Marie! I’ll never forget how thrilled I was to meet another RN who’s also a writer.

Thank you for having me. As a nurse, I’m still asking myself Cec Murphey’s question: Am I a nurse who writes, or am I a writer who nurses? My answer is, “YES!” I love nursing, and it gives me the economic base to support my writing. Both are God-given passions.

I know what those passions feel like and agree that they’re both God-given! So how long have you been writing?

Mom and Dad would read to us six kids and encouraged us to write our own plays. I believe reading is essential to writing. The combination of memory, wild imagination and the ability to correlate the unrelated defines my style. For instance, one of my high school English assignments turned into a story read over the local 50,000 watt radio station every Christmas Eve for many years.

A high school writing assignment at Christmas time?

Yes, I used a well-known story about a baby born in a stable and placed in a manger. The difference is that my story is told by the straw in the manger with appropriate hay-seed phrases. It has been printed in two different church advent booklets. I’m told it is still part of many Christmas Eve family gatherings.

The Christmas story told by the straw? Now that’s a unique POV! Is your writing confined to short stories?TRESTLE Book One Classroom Edition

The 3-by-5 spiral notebook with my first childhood adaptations still exists. The poems I’ve written have rhyme, rhythm, and a storyline, such as “Suicide” (a college friend), and “A Woman Is…” (ideals plus reality). Twice, newspapers printed my reviews of locally produced musicals, and twice, obituaries: My first husband, diagnosed with leukemia, went heavenward 22 months after our marriage. Our story of life and his death is the lead story in I Believe in Heaven, the recent Cec Murphey/Twila Belk book. Five years later, I wrote a second obituary when a blood clot broke loose, and I became a widow again. Chicken Soup for the Soul printed the story I adapted when my sister encountered breast cancer.

What writing projects have you written and what are you working on now?

Following the example of a petite, gifted author from South Carolina who mentored me at my first big writers’ conference, and with encouragement to “write what you know,” I am polishing Book Three of a mystery trilogy for kids. My mentor wrote of a girl from a loving family who managed to get into and out of situations that skirted disaster. My adaptation is the Trestle over No Name Creek series set in any small town, l960. Junior high kids form a gang and survive “normal for l960” society, culture, and grown-up attitudes. Once chapter one is absorbed, the next chapters build until the very last pages answer the mystery: In Book One, was old man Frank’s death an accident, or was their dark-skinned old friend’s death a murder?  Book Two combines a reclusive old man and a l960’s delinquent with the Meanderthallers in the middle. Book Three―read it and “go figure.” Written for school kids of all ages, the series has no test questions. Instead, the back of each book has an insert with chapter-by-chapter Research Projects. Example: “What’s a trestle?”

This sounds like an interesting series for kids. You must have had a wise mentor! (Hahahaha!) I’m thrilled to see Trestle Over No Name Creek: Book Two has just been released in Kindle version. Congrats!

And our last question: Would you tell us the quick version of your road to publication of your novels?

three books illusAll the writers’ conferences I attended, the publishers, agents, and interviews resulted in zero interest. So once again, d.D.i.–direct Divine intervention–stepped in. It came in the form of a local man who had survived a heart attack, had his books rejected, who then studied Publishing101, and formed his own publishing house. He walked up to me at a local writers’ group and said he wanted to publish my book. After prayer and research, I accepted. My editor is a lifetime Bible teacher friend who has “caught my voice” and shares her gifts of placing punctuation where I do dot-dot-dot.

Yes, I’m very familiar with your dot-dot-dot form of punctuation. :-) We writers are thankful for our editors, aren’t we? Thank you again for being with us today, Marie. Blessings as you continue Book Three of your series!

And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Marie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book, but don’t forget to check back next week to see if you win!

Bio: Writing since grade school, Marie has produced stories, poems, books, and has been published in school and local newspapers. In college, five of her class writing assignments ended up in print. As a professional nurse, she has written, done art work, and designed curriculum for health topics, aiding fellow nurses and other staff, prn. In addition, she has taught child development seminars for child care workers’ accreditation. Adding medical worker in clinics and hospice to speaker, artist, and teacher, Marie continues to serve with God-given abilities.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/


Our Kudos are Short and Sweet This Month, but It’s a BIG One!

Edie Melson has just signed a contract with Worthy Publishing for her newest book for military families: While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With a Loved One in the Military. The publication launch date is July 4, 2015.

Congratulations to my long-time writing buddy, Edie!


Who Qualified for a November Entry in the 2014 MoGo7000 Challenge?

Congrats to these four hard-writing writers who wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in the mogo7000 logomonth of November:

#23: Tim Suddeth – 8,483 words
#24: Glenda Mills – 7,200 words
#25: Susan Baganz – 64,746 words
#26: Joan Hall – 20,000 words

Would you believe these four writers wrote 100,429 words in one month! Congratulations, writers!

And readers, if you want to learn how to enter the challenge, simply check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page. You have 1 more opportunity to reach a monthly goal and win an entry before the $100 drawing in January!


Well, that does it for another December Tuesday. I hope today’s post encouraged you to do what it takes to reach your goals in 2015.

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver!


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Laury Davis

Laury Davis headshotWelcome to the Christian Writer’s Den! Today I’m thrilled to introduce author Laury Davis to you as she shares her writing journey and her Bible study, In Pursuit of Happiness.

Be sure to leave a comment for Laury and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to come back next week to see if you’re the winner.

Okay, let’s get started. Welcome, Laury. I can’t wait to share your story with my friends. First of all, I’d love to know if you always want to be a writer.

No. It never occurred to me until I was about thirty. I was working as a substitute teacher in a local public high school. Most often a teacher would leave an assignment, and I just needed to monitor the class. My goal was to stay alert and look busy, so I began to jot down short stories. I love mysteries, so mostly I was aiming to write something of a cross between Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe.

Writing publishable mysteries was my original writing goal as well! But obviously we both moved beyond being Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe wannabes. Most of your published writing is nonfiction, right? How did you make that transition?’

I had a friend who was going through a hard time. I decided to put some short stories together for her with a theme. She was moving, so I rushed and gave her a very rough draft on the day she moved. After that I put it away for years. Eventually, I moved to Tennessee and joined a writer’s group at my church. Most of the ladies were writing Christian material, so I decided to give it a try. I got out my stories, polished them up and put a Bible study with it. This particular book I just gave away to friends.

After that I began to have some magazine articles published, so I stuck with what paid. Someday, Lord enabling, I’m going back to fiction though.

That’s interesting–magazine articles were a huge part of my initial writing success as well. And the good news was, it paid real money! So, how did the Bible study In Pursuit of Happiness come about?Laury Davis book cover

I had been on a mission trip, and when I returned I realized how much we take for granted in our culture. Just the freedom to choose how to live our lives is a luxury many around the world and through the ages have never known. I wrote In Pursuit of Happiness as a challenge to Christian women to evaluate their pursuits in light of God’s purposes.

What type of vehicle did you use to deliver the truths of this study?

I wanted to study people in the Bible who chose to thrive in tough situations. Not a hero’s story, like when the big miracle happens, but a background story of perseverance in difficult, unchanging circumstances. I chose three familiar characters, but I hope they are covered in a fresh, de-romanticized light. My book focuses on Abigail after she married David, the servant girl before Naaman had leprosy, and Onesimus as a slave instead of a redeemed brother. These were people with few choices in life, but what they did choose was to be faithful and brave.  I think their stories are noteworthy and inspiring.

And just because I enjoy it, I threw in several short stories that I hope convey relevance and context.

Wow–I love that thought process! What a unique way to present these characters and learn from their experience. What’s your next writing project?

I always have a lot of projects in progress–a novel, a church drama, a teen Bible study–these are all things I’m working on right now. I would like to focus more on writing fiction because I think it’s fun, but I will probably always be writing something  nonfiction because I think it’s useful for ministry.

And for our last question, what advice or encouragement would you give to another writer?

I’d tell them to find a local writer’s group. A group can hold you accountable, give you ideas, and keep you motivated. I’d also suggest you do one thing every day to advance your writing. It could be as small as sending a query e-mail, researching a publisher, or editing a poem. Just something to keep you moving forward.

Great suggestions, Laury. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your book with us today. And readers, I know you’re going to want your own copy of Laury’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to In Pursuit of Happiness.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Laury and then return next week to see if you’re the winner of Laury’s book!

Bio: Laury Davis grew up by the shores of Lake Erie in Madison, Ohio. She graduated with honors from Cedarville University in southern Ohio with degrees in Business/Marketing and Bible. She has served in church as a Sunday school teacher, women’s Bible study leader, choir member, event coordinator, and drama director. Laury is married and busily rearing three teenagers. Her family currently lives in the Memphis, Tennessee area.

Laury has been published in Focus on the Family’s “Thriving Family,” Standard Publishing’s “The Lookout,” “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” thebrinkonline,,, and various ministry oriented publications. She also has two books translated and distributed to Christian women in other countries.

Her Bible study entitled In Pursuit of Happiness: Stewarding Freedom as a Modern Christian Woman, was recently released with a small, indie publisher. To learn more about Laury and her writing, you can check out

Blessings, my friends…


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Interview and Book Give-Away with Cheryl Ricker & Who Earned Another MoGo7000 Entry?

Cheryl Ricker in white

(I hope y’all don’t mind, but since there was a problem with the server and several wrote to tell me that they couldn’t see the great interview with Cheryl Ricker, I’m reposting it again. I don’t want you to miss this powerful post about an amazing miracle! I hope you understand.)

It’s the 2nd Tuesday, time to learn about another book from author Cheryl Ricker, have a chance to win a free book, and celebrate our Christian Writer’s Den family success!


First of all, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Cheryl Ricker and share her incredibly amazing book, Rush of Heaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus, co-written with Ema McKinley, and published by Zondervan. If you’ve ever doubted, this interview and book will assure you that God is still in the miracle business!

Don’t miss Cheryl’s bio below, but I’ll just say here that Cheryl and I met years ago, I believe it was at an Advanced Writers and Speakers Association conference in Denver, CO. She is a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and I’m blessed to call her my friend!

Let’s get started, but don’t forget to leave a comment for Cheryl and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Welcome, Cheryl. Thanks for joining us today. First of all, would you tell us about what it’s like to be a collaborator?

I’d be happy to. First of, it was a huge answer to prayer that God even chose me. I asked him to put it on Ema’s heart and that’s exactly what he did. He spoke to Ema in the middle of the night and told her, “Pick Cheryl Ricker to write your book.” And I’ll never stop thanking him for that.Cheryl Ricker cover Rush of Heaven

A collaborator is a lot like being an actor, screenwriter, director, and producer all rolled up into one. As the producer, you need to pull together all your resources, your research, and all the different people you need to interview. As the director, you need to figure out all the people you’d like to have in the story. Then you need to plan how you’d like to include them. As a screenwriter, you need to map out the all the scenes, conversations, and dialogue. And finally, as the actor, you need to become your main character. You need to need to think like her, feel like her, and act like her—so you can pull it off to write like her.

Great analogy. Speaking of scenes, can you tell me your favorite scene in Rush of Heaven?

I love all the scenes, I really do. But I think my favorite scene, besides the big miracle scene itself, is when Ema surprises her sons and grandsons after her miracle healing on Christmas Eve. For some reason, that one makes my husband cry a little more than the other scenes, and I love making my husband cry—about good things.

Cheryl and Ema with their book, Rush of Heaven

Cheryl and Ema with their book, Rush of Heaven

But think of it: You have this crooked woman who has been confined to a wheelchair for more than sixteen years. She has never been able to really give her grandchildren a decent hug. All of sudden, she’s standing in front of them with her arms wide open. Okay, go grab me some more tissues.

Me, too, Cheryl! I’m curious, are you anything like Ema McKinley? And was it difficult to get inside her head and write her story?

We have our similarities, but when it comes right down to it, Ema and I are quite different in the way we think, act, and speak.

Because of this, I just needed to “learn” how to get into her mind. And that came from listening to her voice in my ears umpteen hours a day. As I listened to the MP3s of my interviews, it didn’t take long before I found myself catching her phrases in everyday speech. I said “oh my goodness” more, and “absolutely.”  And “I just thank my Jesus.”

I became a little Ema impersonator.

By the time I finished writing Rush of Heaven, Ema told me, “It’s like we’re one voice.” And I couldn’t agree with her more.

What do you want your readers to take away from this book?

I want readers to know that our loving Creator is right there, smack in the middle of their ashes, ready to piece them back together and give them a smokin’ wild story for his glory.

And I want people to know that you can’t put God in a box.  If he truly never changes, he can truly heal people today.

Amen, Cheryl, amen! Friends, here’s Ema McKinley’s interview with A great way to end this interview. You won’t believe what you see!

YouTube Preview Image


Thank you for joining us here today, Cheryl. And readers, if you’d like to win a copy of Rush of Cheryl Ricker in whiteHeaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus, simply leave a comment for Cheryl or Ema, and you’ll be in the drawing. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

You can get your own copy of Rush of Heaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus here!

Bio: Cheryl Ricker has an honors degree in creative writing from York University in Toronto, Ontario. She studied theology at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where she participated in drama outreach, street evangelism, and prison ministry. She is the author of three books, including Rush of Heaven, A Friend in the Storm, and Kernels of Hope. She’s also published news stories, poetry, articles, and devotionals, and speaks to audiences of all ages on trusting God’s love, expecting the impossible, and growing in intimacy with Jesus. To learn more about Cheryl, feel free to sign up for her Fresh Air Blog at


mogo7000 logoSusan Baganz has another new MoGo7000 entry!

That’s right–Susan has earned another entry for the $100 in cold, hard cash! (Well, it’ll actually be a check, but hey, she can take it to the bank and have it turn into cold, hard cash, right?)

So, #22 is Susan Baganz with 15,719 words

Friends, don’t forget–NaNoWriMo totals also work for MoGo7000 totals, so you could have a double blessing just by working on your book this month!

Don’t know what we’re talking about? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page and you could be in the drawing for November and December…and maybe you’ll be $100 richer in January!


Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headline Tuesday. Be sure to return next week to see who won Cheryl’s book and to see a new list of writing opportunities compiled just for you!

Happy writing!


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Emily Chase

Copy of ChaseFamily-207Welcome to another Author Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. I’m thrilled to share another talented writer with you! Today’s guest is Emily Parke Chase, archaeologist, speaker and author of seven books. Emily and I met in 2012 when she attended the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.

She’s an amazing speaker, counselor to women in crisis pregnancies, and an author who hits the hard subjects for young people. The titles alone will make you want to get her books for the teens and young adults you know. Be sure to check out her books by clicking on the book covers. I know you’re gonna love her as much as I do!

Welcome, Emily. Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first begin writing?

When I was in first grade, I wrote a story called “The Lucky Lady.” In the story, an older woman lived by herself, and a robber broke into her home, beat her and tied her up. The end. When I showed the story to my aunt, she was a bit confused. “Why was she the Lucky Lady?” she asked. With all the confidence of a 7 year old, I replied, “He didn’t kill her.” I like to think my writing skills have improved a degree since then!Dating

I love it! And I agree, that did make her lucky! So when did writing become a serious pursuit?

After my oldest son finished homeschooling and went to college, I asked the Lord for direction as where to invest my time. During that period of prayer, a dear friend named Joy Jacobs, author of They Were Women Too, stopped by and asked if I would consider co-authoring a book with her. My heart leaped at the idea. As it turned out, Joy and I never did end up co-authoring together but God used her to reveal a long dormant passion I had for writing. That event was almost 20 years ago and the passion is still there.

Friend Who's GayWow. Don’t you love how God orchestrates the details of our lives to bring about His perfect will? And now you now have seven books in print, all from standard publishers. Did you ever consider self-publishing?

No, when I first began looking at publishers, I wanted to go with a standard publisher for several reasons. First, I was not confident of my abilities as a writer and so I wanted the affirmation of an editor who thought my writing was strong enough to invest his company’s dollars in my project. Second, at that time I still considered writing to be my private hobby and I didn’t want to tie up my husband’s income by investing in a book that might not sell. Third, because marketing is my weakest area, I needed the expertise of a standard publisher to get the word out about my books.Help

There seems to be an assumption that all writers wake up at 4AM to work, drink pots of coffee, and rarely eat. What does a typical day look like for you?

You can’t see my face turning red. I am not as disciplined as some writers who put in a specific number of hours each day or set a goal of writing 1500 words a day. My schedule is all over the place as I do speaking engagements. Sometimes I go for days without writing. Then I’ll have a week off and produce three chapters of a novel and several more short articles. I work best with large chunks of time where I can sit for hours and get into the world of my characters. Still, there are times when I find myself sitting in an airport for an hour and I will jot a rough draft of a short article.

Do you ever experience the infamous “writers block”?

Say NoNot really. One thing that helps me to avoid this problem is to have a variety of styles of writing.  In addition to my non-fiction books and the novels I’m working on, I also write devotionals – check out my website at to see samples there – and I prepare technical abstracts for a theological journal. I also write for Chicken Soup for the Soul. If I can’t get motivated to work on my novel, I usually turn to another genre and work on a different project. If that doesn’t work? Mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies is a good cure!

Hey, I like that idea! So, do you have any advice for new writers?

Don’t limit yourself to a single genre. And carry your skills from one area into the other areas. For example, I found that, in writing non-fiction, I need to use my story-telling skills just as much as when I am writing fiction. True life stories need dialogue, setting, and character development just as Spanish Say Nomuch as any novel. Draw your readers in and make them care about your subject material.

If people have further questions, feel free to have them contact me at  I have a passion for writing, but I also have a passion for helping new writers!

I know you do, Emily! Thank you for being with us today and sharing your journey.

And readers, I’ve made it easy for you to read about Emily’s books on Amazon. Just click on the picture for a direct link.

StandingDon’t forget to leave a comment for Emily and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Be sure to come back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Trained originally as an archaeologist, Emily Chase moved from the jungles of Laos and Mexico back to the USA to establish a pro-life counseling ministry. Instead of repairing old pottery shards, she now glues lives of her clients back together. A popular speaker at conferences and retreats, Emily is the author of seven books, including Help! My Family’s Messed Up! (Kregel) and Standing Tall After Falling Short (Moody). Learn more about Emily at

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sharyn Kopf, Call-Outs for Kudos & MoGo7000, and Who Won Sarah Meece’s Book?

Sharyn Kopf Headshot 4.1.14Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den! We have a lot to cover today, but let’s start with an encouraging interview with author Sharyn Kopf!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I know I say this every time I post an author interview, but it’s true—I’m thrilled to introduce our guest today, my friend, Sharyn Kopf! Sharyn and I met several years ago when I was teaching at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I was privileged to read a draft of one of her manuscripts. I was highly impressed with her writing and voice! And now I’m happy to see that after her disappointing contract experience, she decided to self-publish her book Spinstered.

I know you’re going to love the opportunity to get to know Sharyn and her book! Don’t forget to leave a comment for Sharyn and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy. Just remember to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Now, let’s start at the beginning—how long have you wanted to be a writer and what did you envision for your writing life?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I wrote my first poem at the age of 5. And, for the longest time, that dream meant being a romance novelist. In my 20s, I saw myself becoming the clean, Christian version of Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone—enjoying a life of adventure and romance and lots of bestsellers.

So, what happened?Sharyn Kopf Spinstered BOOTS Cover

Well, things didn’t turn out the way I imagined. (Do they ever?) Next week I turn 51 and, though I suppose I’ve had a few mild adventures, I’m still dreaming of true love and being such a popular novelist that even people in the jungles of Columbia have heard of me.

But in my 40s, I realized I needed to write about my single heart and broken dreams. When I started writing Spinstered, it was a nonfiction book about grieving singleness. I took the seven stages of grief—denial, disbelief, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and hope—and applied them to what I was dealing with as a 40-something single woman.

A few years later, while at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (which is where I met Vonda!), a friend encouraged me to focus on my fiction writing. As a result, Spinstered the Novel was born.

I’ve always been impressed with your writing, but what would you say are some of your strengths as a writer?

Years ago, I had the privilege to work for the in-house radio marketing department at Focus on the Family. I learned I not only love writing scripts and dialog but I’m pretty good at it. I even won a few awards while I was there. I’m also passionately committed to making my manuscript as good as I can. Though that can also be a detriment because I’m a bit OCD about it, which means I have a hard time letting something I wrote go until it’s perfect. And it’s never perfect.

Sharyn Kopf Labor Day Singles 025

Sharyn with first purchaser of Spinstered, at Labor Day Singles Retreat

And to follow up: What are some of your weaknesses?

Well, to be honest, I don’t write as much as I should. I think it’s a mixture of fear and laziness. Fear that what I write won’t be any good. And the laziness that comes from letting other things distract me from what I know needs to be done. Like spending too much time on Facebook.

Why did you decide to self-publish Spinstered?

That’s a long, sad story but suffice it to say I went through a disappointing contract experience that did not end with a published book. In the meantime, numerous interactions with singles fed the urgency I felt to get this book to the audience I know is out there.

My choice was to start over with submitting to agents or editors—a process that can take years—or self-publish. Since the novel had already gone through several rounds of edits, I knew I could have it ready within a week or two. In fact, I was able to make my goal of taking copies to the Labor Day Singles Retreat at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. I sold several copies there and made some great connections. It also led to my first 5-star review!

What’s next for you and your writing?

Sharyn with a family gift after she finished Spinstered

Sharyn with a family gift after she finished Spinstered

First, I hope to finish and self-publish the nonfiction version—Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40—in the next month or two. In addition, I wrote an unrelated novella titled Cold Read that I’d love to have available by the end of October. Finally, I have two sequels to Spinstered the Novel in the works. Book two will be titled Inconceived and I’ll probably name book 3 Altared. Of course, all of that could change. I’m open to whatever God wants to do!

Sharyn, I LOVE those titles, but my goodness, you have quite a To-Do list ahead! I’ll look forward to reading all of them. Thanks for joining us today at the Christian Writer’s Den.

And readers, don’t forget to leave your comment so you can be in the drawing for a copy of Sharyn’s book!

Bio: Spinstered is Sharyn Kopf’s first novel. Over the years, her work has included co-authoring a book about traumatic brain injury, penning scripts for stage, and writing for newspaper as well as Focus on the Family radio.

Every Friday, Sharyn ponders the over-40 single life at, the blog she shares with two other authors. For her day job(s), she works as a literary publicist for Route 1 Manuscripts and teaches high school English at a small Christian school.

She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world—her family. You can connect with Sharyn through her blog or on Facebook.


newspapersNow it’s time to hear about your Kudos and MoGo7000 Totals!

Okay, friends, now it’s time to hear from you! We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in September?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in September, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2014 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your September results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in September. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2014 challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 3 months and you’ll have 3 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

Sarah Meece A Dose of Hope book cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, who won Sarah Meece’s book, A Dose of Hope?

And has selected Cathy Baker! Congratulations! Just contact me with your mailing address and Sarah will get the book right out to you!

Readers, here’s a direct Amazon link to A Dose of Hope. I know you’ll enjoy it!


Well, that does it for another first Tuesday edition of The Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you enjoyed it! I look forward to seeing you on Friday when we open God’s Word and see what He has for us.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,



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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sarah Meece and Who Won the Free Writing Workshop?

Sarah Meece headshotI’m excited to introduce my friend, Sarah Meece, to all my Christian Writer’s Den friends! I met Sarah several years ago at a writers conference and was amazed at her story. But when Sarah attended the Christian Communicators Conference, I was privileged to see what an incredible and talented lady she is. Then, when I read her manuscript for A Dose of Hope, I knew I wanted to bring her to you!

Readers, be sure to leave a comment for Sarah and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to come back next week and see if you’re the winner!

Welcome, Sarah. I’m so glad you’re here! Let’s start with an easy question. Was being an author a life-long dream?  

Absolutely not! For 29 years, I had been an educator at the secondary level. I loved high school students, and I was one of those teachers who was the first to pull in the parking lot each morning and the last to leave. I know according to The New York Times, 80% of the population has a desire to write a book, but honestly, I was too busy with school. I laughed and told a reporter once, “I didn’t have time to write the first paragraph much less a whole book!”

So what changed your heart and mind?

Having gone through several devastating events in my life, I felt a strong calling to speak to women. With my hectic teacher schedule, I would speak periodically, but I simply did not have time to speak on a Sarah Meece A Dose of Hope book coverregular basis. However, in 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After several weeks of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy, my life changed. For the first time, I slowed down long enough to devote some valuable time to Bible study and prayer. It was during this period that I realized my life could be short, and I needed to be obedient to God. At the end of that school year, I retired from education and created Sarah Meece Inspiresa ministry encouraging others to deepen their relationship with God.

I think I know the answer to this question, but which came first—speaking or writing?

Speaking definitely was the catalyst which led to writing. As I began booking speaking engagements, I would often get the question, “Do you have a book?” I quickly realized that in order to be perceived as a credible speaker, I needed the word author after my name. Having always enjoyed devotional books, I decided to write, A Dose of Hope, a devotional book containing real-life, everyday situations which people could easily relate.

Since writing was not a long-life goal, was it difficult for you?

I have to tell you, God was so gracious to me during the writing process. Almost every morning when I opened my eyes, God had planted a topic in my heart. I would run to the office, type as fast as I could to capture the message which He was encouraging me to share. Of course, my first draft definitely needed Sarah Meece headshot 2work, so I spent hours and hours on the final document. Plus, I was extremely blessed with a wonderful team of people who served as my editor and proofreaders. Interestingly enough, the members on my team were all retired educators (even from different states). By the way, those former English and business teachers can be hard core! (*wink) I am forever grateful to this awesome team!

Tell us about your publishing process.

My goal wasn’t necessarily to be included on the best seller list; therefore, I decided to self publish through CreateSpace. I wanted to create a document to help people build a deeper relationship with God. When I speak, I always have the book available on my product table. In addition, A Dose of Hope is available on Thus far, I have been extremely pleased with the success of the book.

I know you had a great book launch for A Dose of Hope. Please tell us how you did that.

The book launch was fabulous! And I truly believe the secret to a great book launch is forming a book launch committee. I asked six friends—all from different walks of life and from different social circles—to assist with the book launch. We meet once a week for about six weeks prior to the launch where we decided everything from decorations and food to publicity and giveaways. Committee members Sarah Meece Book Launch--Celebration Teamdistributed invitations via social media, and the invitation was included in the local newspaper. The launch was held on December 3rd, at a local country club, and approximately 300 people attended the launch.  [Note to self:  Next time, sign some books in advance!] I simply cannot say enough; it was the perfect evening! Early December ended up being a great time for a book launch because many people purchased multiple copies of A Dose of Hope to give as Christmas presents to friends and family.

Do you have any new adventures in the near future?

Yes, I have all kinds of new and exciting things happening in the ministry! On the speaking front, I am joining two other speakers and forming The Hope Tour. We just did our soft launch this past weekend in Middletown, Ohio. Our mission is to spread hope to women across the country. Plus, I already have several events scheduled for 2015, including speaking at two major breast cancer events. And, on the writing front, I am in the process of writing my second book, A Dose of Peace.  I would sincerely appreciate your prayers in all of these endeavors.

Sarah, thank you for being with us and sharing your heart today. I hope readers will learn more about you and your powerful, amazing story! Readers, I know you’re going to want to have a copy of Sarah’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to the Kindle version of A Dose of Hope and the paperback version of A Dose of Hope.

Sarah Meece headshot 3Bio: Sarah Meece is not only a former educator and successful business woman, she is also a motivator, a leader, and most importantly, a survivor with an incredible story. For over 30 years, she has been reaching out to both students and adults as a strong witness and Christian role model. Traveling extensively, she has addressed a variety of audiences with her inspirational messages.

During her career in education, she received numerous awards including being named the recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Teacher of the Year Award, Outstanding Young Women in America Award, and the Ashland Oil Golden Apple Achievement Award. Since retiring from secondary education, her heart for God has led her to devote her time and energy to speaking about persevering through life’s most difficult storms.

Today, her main love and focus is on her family — her wonderful husband, Curry, their four children, and two grandchildren. You can visit Sarah and find out more about her speaking and writing ministry at her website:


vonda teaching

And Who Won a Free Writing Workshop from My Store?

The winner is Jeanne Doyon! Congratulations, Jeanne! Please go to my online store, click on Downloadable Writer’s Workshops, and decide which one you want. Then contact me with your choice and I’ll send it right out to you. Hope you enjoy it!


Thank you for joining me again today. I hope you’ll be back on Friday as we look at His Word!



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Interview with Author and Speaker Brenda Nixon & a Chance to Win a Free Writing Workshop!

Brenda Nixon head shotHello friends! I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend, author and speaker, Brenda Nixon. Brenda and I have been friends for many years through Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and occasionally we’re on faculty together at writing conferences. Brenda has a varied background, including her roles as a parenting expert (Parenting Expert Brenda Nixon) and now as a writer/educator of real Amish life (Beyond Buggies & Bonnets).

Brenda has a heart for writers, parents, and the Amish, and I’m honored to welcome her and her wisdom to the Christian Writer’s Den today!

Welcome, Brenda. Let’s start with an easy question. How long have you been a writer?

Well, my first accidental writing experience was a letter to the editor. As a young mom, I’d replied to a magazine article. The editor phoned me to say he’d edited my letter and would publish it as an article – with pay. I was naive about writing – didn’t know I could get paid for my written thoughts. That was 30 years ago. Then 20 years ago, I wrote a passion project. I’d written a book on parenting to accompany my busy speaking schedule. That book was my springboard into professional writing – magazine articles, contributing to compilations like Chicken Soup for the Soul, co-authoring, selling reprints, and teaching at writers conferences.

It looks like we started seriously writing about the same time. So how many magazine articles have you written?

More than 400. For me, writing for publications gave me experience and confidence to write books. I wrote out of my heart – my passion to empower parents. Once in a while I’d receive an editor’s invite to write on assignment about a topic unfamiliar to me. Then I’d put on my research hat and go work.

So if people want to write books, are you suggesting they first write for publications?

I do. Think about it, you get a byline – name recognition – and experience while receiving income. Plus, if you don’t sell all rights, you can resell that same article. Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.

What about your books? How many have you written now?Brenda Nixon Buggy Ride

I’m working on my 35th book. Combining the books I’ve solo authored, co-authored, and contributed a chapter or story to, the count is 34.

Brenda, what tips do you have for aspiring or new authors?

Join a critique group, attend writers conferences, and network with other authors. Don’t be a lone ranger in this industry. I know of one author who is trying to isolate herself in this industry isolated – she’s discouraged, competitive, and judgmental of other authors. Dah. Critique groups are how I improve my wordsmith skills, writers conferences are how I connect with others who “get it” about writing and the writer’s life, and networking is how I help others and make friends.

Amen to all your suggestions! A little birdie told me that you’ve recently won another award. Would you tell us about that?
My blog, Beyond Buggies & Bonnets: True Amish Stories won BLOG OF THE MONTH at Book Fun Magazine (with a 400K readership)! See page 193 of this quality magazine for an interview of me Brenda Nixon familyaccompanied by lots of fantastic photos. I’m grateful Beyond Buggies & Bonnets was reader-nominated, receiving 45.1% of the votes!

Now my blog will automatically be entered in BLOG OF THE YEAR voting this December. If you check out my blog and find reality and respect, learn a fact or two, or get a laugh, I hope you’ll go to Book Fun Magazine in December and vote for Beyond Buggies & Bonnets blog – because for many of my former-Amish friends and family I’m their “voice” to the world.

Congratulations, Brenda! Wow, that is quite an honor! Thank you for taking the time to share your writing words of wisdom with us today. I hope everybody will take your instruction seriously, because it’s all good stuff!Brenda Nixon's birth to five book

And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Brenda and you’ll be in the drawing for a free writing workshop from my Store! (Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.)

Brenda’s Bio: Got questions? Amish Sex Ed? Shunning? Rumpsringa? Ordnung? Gma? Lifestyle? Ex-Amish?

I got answers. And experiences. And they’re NOT what you see on TV or read in fiction books. Cultural Literacy is what you get when I bring my suitcase of Swartzentruber Amish clothing to speak, or post in my blog, answer media questions or serve as a resource on the Amish. Helping former Amish assimilate to the English world is teaching me volumes about their struggles and the life they left.

My son-in-law lived and left the Swartzentruber Order, I’m blessed to have two “sons” from the Swartzentruber Amish – Mosie and Monroe – and at the holidays our home welcomes ex-Amish who need family. Worldwide, more than 200K readers come to get real stories at my Beyond Buggies & Bonnets blog. I hope you’ll visit, too!

My contributions to the literary world include my award-winning: The Birth to Five Book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, and 32 other titles I’ve contributed to including Miracles & Moments of Grace and six Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Author or contributor, 34 books. Writing a reality (but respectful) book about Amish, and Beyond Buggies & Bonnets blog

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Ane Mulligan and Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals

Ane Mulligan headshotWe have a full, fun day ahead! First, I can’t wait to tell you about Ane Mulligan’s new book, just released yesterday, Chapel Springs Revival

What a joy to introduce my sweet friend, Ane Mulligan! While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Be sure to leave a comment for Ane and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Just check back next week to see if you’re the winner. 

So let’s get started, Ane. Did you always know you would be a writer?

No way did I ever think the stories I told as a kid (back then they called it lying) and played out for weeks with my dolls, would someday become books.

As Creative Arts director for my church, I wrote my first script in 1996, and after we performed it, I sent it to a publisher. They bought that one and everything I sent them afterwards.

How did you start writing novels?Ane Mulligan play

The hubs said I spent a lot on books, I ought to write one. I realized that was God’s call, because as soon as Hubs said those words, an idea dropped into my otherwise empty mind.

But as a playwright myself, I know that plays are a far cry from novels. How did you go from play-writing to novel-writing?

First, I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. What an understatement.

POV? Never heard the term.

Omniscient? That’s what God was.

Show don’t tell? How do I tell a story without telling?

Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought every writing craft book they recommended, read them, and absorbed more.

Ane Mulligan crit groupI would never have made it without my original critique partners, either! Who are your critique partners?

In 2005, four other writers and I formed a critique group, and being serious about publishing, we were tough on one another. So tough, we all earned nicknames: Attila the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen, and Ane of Mean Gables.

Hahahahaha! I love that! Okay, so with your awesome critique group, it must have been easy to get published, right?

Not even. One editor took my manuscript to committee. While I waited for the answer, I got an agent. However … sigh …the editorial committee said no. Then, God called my agent into ministry.

A few months later, I signed with my second agent. Soon, she called, saying my manuscript had passed editorial committee and was going to pub board! This was it! Whoopee! Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor was going to hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired before the next quarter, and her computer hard drive was wiped clean.

I was lost in cyber oblivion. Then my agent retired. Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a maze. Once again, I whined, “Lord, what is going on?”

And He said, “Wait. Trust me.” He didn’t offer me another choice, so I chose to trust. Ane Mulligan signing contract

I’m glad I did. In 2012, I signed with Sandra Bishop, and ten years after I began this journey, she called me to tell me we had an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

And my heart quickened. All right, God! This was it. This time, He said, “Yes.”

I believe people let down their guard when they think they’re being entertained. Through fiction, I can entertain readers. Through fiction, I can present seeds of God’s truth. Then when they least expect it, the story can reach out, touch their hearts, and change them. And isn’t that why we write?

Ane Mulligan book coverOkay, friends, here’s the scoop on Ane’s new book, Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages as much in need of restoration as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

Ane, thank you for joining us today and sharing your delightful journey. Friends, I know you’re gonna want to be in the drawing for a free copy of Ane’s book, so be sure to leave a comment for her. Then check back next week to see if you’re the winner! And if you’re ready to go ahead and grab your own copy, here’s a direct Amazon link to Chapel Springs Revival.


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Now, whose successes can we celebrate this month? Oh, and see if you notice a pattern this month. :-)

1.  Edie Melson (SC): I’m excited to share that I’m one of 12 winners in the Guideposts TELL US YOUR STORY contest. Here’s the link to the contest page:

2.  Beth Fortune (SC): Beth has two great things to share: 1)Another article was published in the wonderful publication “Reach Out Columbia” – September Edition. 2) My posts are beginning to show up on In Touch Ministries website in their new daily blog section.

3.  Andrea Merrell (SC): My new short story, The Gift, will be the first installment in the Christmases Past Series by HHP. The release date is September 25th, and the Kindle version The Gift is now available on Amazon for pre-order for $.99.

So, did you see the thread throughout this month’s kudos? All three successes are from South Carolina writers! Way to go, sweet friends!

Didn’t see your name on the list? Be sure to return next week when I’ll post my monthly list of writing opportunities!


mogo7000 logoWho received entries into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cold, hard cash?

These CWD writers have earned an August entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cash!

#18: Tim Suddeth – 15,805 words
#19: Susan Banganz – 41,671 words

Woo-hoo! Congrats, Tim and Susan! Keep up the good work and you’ll earn even more entries into the drawing.

Writers, want to know how you can qualify for the $100 challenge? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here. It’s free and open to everyone all year long!

Okay, that does it for a fun-filled day at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me. I look forward to seeing you Friday as we open to His Word to hear His voice.

Happy writing!


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Verna Bowman

Verna Bowman headshotReaders, I’m excited to introduce my friend, author, speaker, and Christian Communicators grad, Verna Bowman, to you. Be sure to read her bio below, but for now, let me just say that Verna and I met at CCC in 2011 and it didn’t take me long to realize what powerful stories she had to tell!

As I told Verna, when I started reading her book, I had planned to read one story per night before I went to sleep–but I couldn’t do it! Instead, it was “Just one more, just one more.” I couldn’t stop! You’re gonna love her interview and her book!

And don’t forget to leave a comment for Verna and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

So, let’s get started! Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Verna. Even though I know much of your story, I don’t know how your writing began. When did you begin to write?

About forty-five journals ago! I love to record life in remembrance of what God has done. Scripture tells us to write it down on stones of remembrance so those that follow will know the goodness of God. My first intention was to compile the stories for my children and grandchildren as a legacy of faith because I feel it’s important to hand down to the next generation the reason we believe, to encourage them in their own journey.

However, for the past twenty-six years (really!) I’ve been attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. The director, Marlene Bagnull has been instrumental in developing and encouraging my writing. I’ve written for many publications and devotionals throughout the years, but finally came to the realization that I needed to write it in a book, not a journal.

I love Marlene Bagnull! As the first person to help me see that writing was my calling from God, she has been a powerful influence in my writing life as well. So what finally inspired you to write Crumbs Along the Broken Path?

Many years in Women’s Ministry brought me close to the heart of a number of wounded women experiencing some of the things I had. I wanted to encourage those who needed hope in seemingly hopeless situations. I created a blog, Encouraging Women One Story at a Time and the book came about soon after.

The book traces a personal path of rebellion, repentance, and restoration. In the middle of the road somewhere I began to take inventory of my life and saw that the good and especially the not-so-good were the very things God used to bring me to a deeper place with Him. I wanted to share it with others.

God’s most powerful blessing can be the brokenness we experience because of where it leads – to wholeness. It reminds us that we’re not the main character of our story.

“We’re not the main character of our story.” So true! What can you tell us about the book – what are some of the stories about?

This is a collection of short stories that tells of a faith struggle in the midst of a life interrupted by countless crises. It’s the difficult and the dark things that touch all of our lives in some way, although not usually condensed into one lifetime, as it has been for me. I once had someone tell me my life sounded like fiction. The stories are as real as God’s intervention in each one.

A few stories are special to me. . . . certainly the one about our youngest son’s unending journey with Crumbs Along Broken Path Verna Coverkidney failure, Journey of a Lifetime.

Also, If I Should Wake Before I Die, the story of when my husband suffered multiple strokes and cardiac arrest developing into a coma. He was pronounced brain dead and we were asked to remove the life support. After much prayer that helped me in a difficult decision, I told them I knew what God could do in seven days, and I would wait. The seventh morning he woke up! This also has seemed like an unending journey, but today he is a master woodcarver to fill in his forced-to-retire hours!

Another story has to do with our Bible study that helped us build another home similar to the near-by Amish barn raising, when we lost ours due to extreme medical bills. You won’t believe who God supplied in that labor crew!

What do you hope the reader will take away after reading your book?

Hope. Deep hope. We all face challenges but the hard things that touch our lives that seem unending, don’t have to last forever. We can see beyond the circumstances that shout in our faces when we learn to listen for the merciful whisper of a sovereign Father.

My book is simply journaled pieces of life. I end each one with a question in the hope the reader will discover a piece of his or her own story, because . . .

Everybody has a story!

You’re absolutely right, Verna! And it’s often through our stories that we’re able to connect with those who need to connect with Jesus. Thank you for your willingness to share the good and the bad with us, and pointing to the Savior who can heal it all.

BIO: Verna has over twenty-five years in ministry leadership inspiring women to a deeper relationship with God. Her passion is encouraging women through writing and speaking messages of hope. Her experience in leading Bible studies, teaching, mentoring, and coordinating retreats have provided opportunities to share God’s Word with women of all ages. Verna’s book, Crumbs Along the Broken Path, walks readers through her rebellion, redemption, and restoration by following scattered crumbs on her path that led to a deep relationship with the Lord.  Her stories can bring each one of us to a deeper understanding of how God uses tragic circumstances in our lives. Verna is a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference and a long time participant of the Greater Philadelphia and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences. She posts a weekly blog on her website Encouraging Women One Story at a Time. Her articles and personal experience stories have been featured in various periodicals and devotionals. She and her husband Jeff have four adult children and five grandchildren – all wonderful. In her free time she works as a medical secretary. Be sure to visit her website at

So that’s it for today, friends. Be sure to leave a comment for Verna and you could win a free book! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner. :-)

I pray God’s blessings on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Barbara Hattemer and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Barbara Hattemer headshotFirst of all, get ready to be impressed by Barbara Hattemer…and possibly win a free book, too!

I’m thrilled to introduce a long-time acquaintance (and now friend) Barbara Hattemer today! Barbara and I met at a conference years ago, then I had the joy of reconnecting with her at the Florida Christian Writers Conference this past March. What fun it was to catch up and see all the amazing things she’s been up to! My goodness, she’s living proof that we never have to outgrow the joy of learning, growing, and producing! Believe me, you don’t want to miss her story.

Friends, I love that you’re such an encouraging group for fellow writers, so I can’t wait to see your comments after this interview. Barbara has an amazing story! And don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Barbara. First of all, what inspired you to write novels?
I was born shy and expressed myself better in writing than speaking. I started my first novel about Deer Isle, the island in Maine where we summer, when I was 9 years old. I never finished it, but I have wanted to write a book about it all my life.

Instead I wrote poetry to friends on special occasions, articles for a variety of magazines and chapters for other people’s books.

For 15 years, I fought the spread of pornography at the local, state and national levels and wrote my first book on the research proving harm from pornography consumption. While doing hundreds of radio interviews, I kept thinking that many more people would read a work of fiction than a research book on the subject.9781602903746-Perfect.indd

I often prayed about this and felt the Lord telling me that one day we would write together. I began attending Christian Writer’s Conferences to learn the craft of writing fiction and combined my love of the Maine coast and my deep concern about the collapse of morality in our country in a novel entitled An Island Just for Us. Often I walked around an island and prayed for direction. Sometimes God gave me a whole scene and I couldn’t wait to get home to write it down.

When I finished it in the late 90’s, I learned that Christian publishers were not ready for this subject. Four publishers liked my setting and my characters but asked me to take out every word about pornography before they would look at it. I set it aside but I still had the desire to write novels about difficult subjects and make them fun to read.

So how did you choose another subject?
There was another experience I wanted to share. Having three known generations of Alzheimer’s disease in my family, I was diagnosed in 1980 as soon to be acutely senile. The story is the history of my family and what happened to me after the diagnosis. I wrote Field of Daisies to give comfort and hope to families with Alzheimer’s who feared they would be next.

Field of Daisies cover Barbara HattemerI set that story on the farm in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania where my grandfather and grandmother were caretakers. Since my parents traveled for business for six months at a time, my grandparents were very special to me. I loved their custom of eating a piece of home-made pie every evening and sharing their day. It was their marriage that I wanted to emulate and I dedicated the book to them. I was thrilled to introduce my children both to the farm and to my grandparents. The romance was total fiction but the farm and the romance made the book fun to read and many people have been encouraged by it. They have also benefitted from my blog, “Live Every Day of Your Life,” which discusses the new epigenetic science about how the life we live can change the way our genes are activated.

How did you get An Island Just for Us published?
The day after my publisher Ramona Tucker of OakTara handed me the first hot-off-the-press copy of Daisies, she said to me, “I like your writing so much, could you have another novel ready for me in three months? I sent Island to her and she wrote back, “I’m hooked. I want to publish that book.”

What thrilling news! It seems to be a subject whose time has come. When I took it last year to CBA, retailers were delighted that there was a Christian book on this subject. Morality in Media, which heads the Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, is selling the book at their conferences because it is a good introduction to pornography’s harms and a way to encourage women to begin to talk about it.

Barbara with major leaders of the anti-pornography movement: Bob Peters, Past President of Morality in Media, Bruce Taylor. Justice Department Prosecutor of Pornography Cases

Barbara with major leaders of the anti-pornography movement: Bob Peters, Past President of Morality (MIM) in Media; Bruce Taylor, Justice Department Prosecutor of Pornography Cases; Pat Trueman, President of MIM.

Strong on family and the delights of Maine’s beautiful and challenging coastal islands, it contains an intriguing romance, an approaching hurricane and two days lost on the bay in a penetrating fog. It is both fun and exciting to read. Readers have requested a sequel which I am writing now.

And do you mind sharing how old you were when you had your first novel published?
I received the first copy on my 80th birthday. It has been fun to have younger women tell me they thought they were too old to start writing. I tell them it is never too late for you to share what God has given you that will bless others.

Barbara receiving 1st copies of her 1st book from editor Ramona Tucker at a writers conference

Barbara receiving 1st copies of her 1st book from editor Ramona Tucker at a writers conference on her 80th birthday!


Oh, Barbara, what great advice for all of us! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I sure am glad you didn’t give up! I can’t wait to read the coming comments!

Bio: Barbara has been published in a wide variety of magazines. After 15 years fighting for high community and media standards throughout the country, she wrote her first book, Don’t Touch That Dial: The Impact of the Media on Children and the Family, a layman’s version of social science research on the harms of sexually explicit and violent media. She gave hundreds of radio and television interviews on the book and her work was featured in Christian Herald Magazine, Focus on the Family’s Citizen and on a full-length video by Dr. D. James Kennedy.

She now writes novels for OakTara Publishers about difficult subjects in the genre of Women’s Fiction. She concentrates on making them fun to read. Field of Daisies offers hope and comfort to families who have a history of Alzheimer’s disease in successive generations. An Island Just for Us highlights exciting adventures on Maine’s beautiful coastal islands, a tender romance, strong family relationships, and the determination to fight the effects of our increasingly sexual culture on our youth.


Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Now it’s time to celebrate YOU!

Congratulations to these writers who are doing the hard work of being a writer…and finding success. We have a lot to cheer about!

1.  Cheryl Barker (KS): My “For My Amazing Mom” piece is being featured in the 2015 Blue
Mountain Arts calendar, “Thank You, Mom, for a Lifetime of Love“. They’ve used it previously on cards and calendars so it’s a real blessing to see it used again!

2.  Ellen Andersen (SC): I had my first article published this month! It was in The Simpsonville Sentinel, a local paper in Simpsonville, SC. They liked it so much it was put in word for word!

3.  Dawn Mooring (GA): I am going to be a co-host for a new TV show called “The Christian View.” We air on Sept. 2nd on Chanel 57 in the Atlanta area or can be streamed via the website I’m so excited to represent the Lord and spread the word through modern day topics.

4.  Verna Bowman (PA): My first book, Crumbs Along the Broken Path was released by Ampelos Press in the beginning of May. It’s been an amazing opportunity to share God’s story that He has allowed me to be part of through the collection of personal stories, interviews, and speaking engagements. I invite you to visit my blog at and check out the Book page!

Congratulations, writers! And friends, if you don’t see your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where we’ll have a new list of writing opportunities just for you!


mogoAnd Who Earned a July Entry for the 2014 MoGo7000 Drawing for $100?

These CWD writers have earned a July entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cash!

#14: Joan – 20,452 words
#15: Susan Baganz - 32,677 words

#16: Jeanne Doyon – 7,675 words
#17: Linda Greer – 10,743 words

Woo-hoo! Congrats, friends! Keep up the good work and you’ll earn even more entries into the drawing.

Writers, want to know how you can qualify for the $100 challenge? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here. It’s free and open to everyone all year long!

Okay, that does it for a fun-filled day at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me. I look forward to seeing you Friday as we open to His Word to hear His voice.

Happy writing!


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