Tag Archives: Vonda Skelton

Interview and Book Give-Away with Author Cheryl Barker

Cheryl Barker headshotWhat a delightful friend and her book to share with you today! Cheryl and I first met online and then finally met in person when I was teaching at the North Texas Christian Writers Conference many years ago, where I heard about this idea for a book! She has to be one of Blue Mountain Arts‘ favorite writers with publications in their greeting cards, gift books, and calendar lines and has also contributed to compilations and had many magazine articles published. But her most exciting publication is her new book, Mother of the Bride–Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride, a book I certainly could have used when my own daughters were getting married many years ago.

If you’d like the opportunity to win a copy of Cheryl’s book, simply leave a comment for Cheryl and your name will be in the drawing. Be sure to return next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner. Now let’s get started!

Welcome, Cheryl! First of all, would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My husband and I have lived in Kansas our entire lives. We have two beautiful daughters who gave us two terrific sons-in-law. Last year our older daughter and her husband became parents, making us grandparents for the first time—to twins! But it gets even better. Our other daughter is having twins this year! We feel so incredibly blessed because both sets of babies are miracle stories. I will definitely need my vitamins while trying to market my first book and help with all these grandbabies!

Two sets of twin grandbabies? Wow, you’ll certainly have lots to write about! I know you’ve been writing for many years, but have you always been a writer? 

No, but in school I seemed to have a natural aptitude for writing and ended up becoming an English teacher for a short time before starting our family. After that, my writing consisted of an annual poem in our Christmas cards, but about twenty years ago I decided to pursue writing for publication and have been writing ever since on a part-time basis.

Why did you write Mother of the Bride—Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride?

After being a mother of the bride myself, I realized how much mothers of the bride need refreshment and help and that they could benefit from a nurturing voice in their lives. Not only did I want to encourage and help other women taking on this role, but I knew the approach I had in mind would fit in perfectly with my Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls brand.

I’m hoping and praying this book will make its way into the hands of mothers of the bride for years to come. And hopefully as people discover my book, they’ll make it their go-to gift for MOBs they know!

How will mothers of the bride benefit from your book?

They’ll be refreshed and nurtured as they take time for themselves—time to be encouraged, to gain helpful insight and practical tips, and to enjoy the feminine beauty of a book designed just for them. In the book I share relevant quotes and Scriptures, personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, simple suggestions for personal pampering, journaling opportunities, communication aids, and also practical tips for wedding planning.

What have you learned on a spiritual level through your book publication journey?Cheryl Barker book cover

I’ve learned to trust that God’s plan for me and my writing is best. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap and wish that I’d started writing sooner or worked at everything faster. Instead, I have to trust that I’m exactly where God wants me to be right now and that my earlier years unfolded according to his plan, too.

My trust-in-God muscles got a major workout when my first contract for this book fell through a couple of years ago. The publisher had to withdraw their new contract offers because of a financial crisis, and mine was among them. You can imagine how disappointed I was. I really had to put feet to my faith and continue trusting God. Of course, He proved totally trustworthy. The publisher God eventually provided—BroadStreet Publishing—has been able to fulfill the vision for my book in ways that the other publisher could not. Yes, God’s plan and timing are always best.

If you could start your writing career over, what’s one thing you’d do differently?

I’d connect with other writers much sooner. Since there isn’t a serious writers group in my small town, I was a lone ranger writer for over ten years. When I realized how important writers groups could be, I started traveling seventy-five miles one-way to attend the monthly Fellowship of Christian Writers meetings in Tulsa, OK. The instruction, inspiration, and camaraderie I’ve found there have been invaluable. I’d also start attending writers conferences sooner.

What could you say to encourage other writers hoping for book publication?

Go after the dream God has given you, regardless of your age or personal situation. But remember, seeking book publication is not for the faint of heart. My advice is to put on your work boots and just keep taking one step after another. With unwavering perseverance and God’s help, it can happen!

Thank you for being with us today, Cheryl. I know our friends are going to be encouraged by your words! And friends, be sure to leave a comment for Cheryl and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Bio: Cheryl Barker is the author of Mother of the Bride—Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride. She’s also written for compilation books, magazines, other publications, and for Blue Mountain Arts greeting cards, gift books, and calendars. Her heart’s desire is to refresh spirits and nourish souls. Cheryl loves to spend time with her family, enjoy friends, take photos, and indulge in daily doses of chocolate.

Here’s where you can connect with Cheryl:

Cheryl’s website – cherylbarker.net
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CherylBarkerWriter/
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/cherylkbarker/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/cherylkbarker/
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylbarker/

Read entire post »

 

Parting Words From The WORD . . . Do We Have Instructed Tongues?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Since you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you feel called by God to be a writer or speaker. So when I found this powerful verse in Isaiah, I knew I had to share it with you!

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4

At first glance, this looked like a great verse for us to claim as speakers and writers. But after doing some research, I found that Isaiah 50:4-9 (some commentators say 50:4-11), is the third of four Servant Songs, foreshadowing our Savior, Jesus Christ. And it fits Him so perfectly!

But I must admit I was disappointed that it looked like we couldn’t claim the verse for ourselves.

In the verses prior to verse 4, God is chastising Israel for not recognizing His omnipotence, His power, and His love for Israel. He reminds them that He was not too weak to protect them from their enemies, but that they were the ones who turned away from Him. After generations of rebellion and defiance, God had had enough and had allowed them to suffer the consequences of their choices.

But He also provided the answer to those choices—Jesus, the One who knows the word that sustains the weary. Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name!

And the good news is, as followers of Christ and students of His Word, we are directed to be like Him, which means to shine His light, and to share His saving grace with this lost and dying world. In other words, as we study, as we pray and seek His face, as we confess our sin and meditate on His promises, several things happen:

  • We DO receive an instructed tongue
  • We DO know the Word that sustains the weary
  • We ARE challenged to listen to and follow His words
  • We ARE taught by His Holy Spirit

Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name! So follow, study, shine, pray, confess, and meditate. Then go, write, speak . . . and share the Word that sustains the weary.

It is a verse for us today.

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences

newspapersToday’s the 3rd Tuesday, so it’s a day of opportunities collected just for you! Let’s start with writing opportunities and contests…

1.  Coast & Kayak Magazine submission guidelines hereThey want to hear from people involved in paddlesports, including the kayak industry.

2.  Library Journal Indie eBook Awards contest. You must hurry–deadline is July 31st!

3.  Smoky Mountain Living submission guidelines. Celebrates southern Appalachians and brings the area to life.

4.  Gather Magazine guidelines here. Readership is primarily Lutheran women, but also offered to other evangelical churches.

5.  History Magazine is accepting queries. Looking for interesting and thought-provoking (not academic) pieces on major historic events.

6.  Parent.co is a digital magazine for parents who are committed to raising great kids.

7.  Good Housekeeping writing guidelines here.

8.  Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine guidelines here.

9.  WOW: Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. Cash awards! Deadline August 31, 2016.

10. Country Woman contributor guidelines.

11. Educational Markets for Children’s Writers: LOTS of markets listed here for children’s writers!

12. Christian Devotions is always looking for new devotions writers. And they love working with new, teachable writers.

Well, that should keep you busy for a while. Be sure to let us know if you get a publication from our Writing Opportunities. We want to celebrate with you! workshop sign Pixabay

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, let’s take a look at upcoming writing conferences…

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably have gotten the message that I believe writing conferences are the best way to publication!

1.  Word Weavers Christian Writers Summer Seminar: July 23, 2016, Lexington, SC

2.  Greater Philly Christian Writer’s Conference: August 3-6, 2016, Langhorne, PA

3.  Taylor University’s Professional Writing Conference: August 5-6, 2016, Upland, IN (This is a brand new conference!)

4.  Atlanta Christian Writers Conference: August 18-20, 2016, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall5.  Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (We’re full, but the waiting list is now open. Details for waiting list here: Conference & Registration Details. Waiting list is free.)

6.  American Christian Fiction Writers: August 25-28, 2016, Nashville, TN

7.  Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 7-8, 2016, Grand Rapids, MI

8.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist RetreatOctober 16-20, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC

9.  Classeminars Writers Contreat: November 10-12, 2016, Albuquerque, NM

10. Asheville Christian Writers Conference (AKA Writers Advance Boot Camp): February 17-19, 2017, The Cove, Asheville, NC (I’ll see you there!)

11. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 9-10, 2017, Spartanburg, SC (Watch for the website update soon!)

12. Blue Lake Christian Writers Conference: March 22-25, 2017, Andalusia, AL

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sharing is sweet! Please share these opportunities with other writers…

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences #amwriting @vondaskelton (Click to Tweet)

These opportunities, contests, and conferences are your tickets to publication. That doesn’t mean it’ll happen overnight, but if you keep working, I know it’ll happen.

Happy writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Parting Words From The WORD . . . What I’ll Say To My Children If I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

(Friends, I’m honored to have permission to share this poignant, beautiful post from Cheryl Morgan, a pastor’s wife, mother of six, grandmother of one, and–for eight years–a caregiver for her sweet mama. As a caregiver for several loved ones with Alzheimer’s through the years, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I read her precious writings. Like Cheryl, I’m concerned for my own brain and memory quite often. She wrote this piece for her children and I’m sharing it with mine . . . and with you, sweet friends. Thank you, Cheryl.)

What I’ll Say To My Children If I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

By Cheryl Morgan

I was skimming somCheryl Morgan and her mome other dementia blogs lately and a reader had written in saying, that though she felt guilty about it, she wished her mother would die in her sleep and not have to continue living through the pain and indignity of dementia. I’ve heard others say things like, “I’ve told my kids if I ever get Alzheimer’s just shoot me.”

I understand where these comments are coming from, but they make my heart heavy. I feel like these attitudes devalue my Mom’s life right now. Even though they are not specifically referencing her, they are in effect saying that people like her are better off dead. It is hard to see Mom changing and confused and upset. But she still has sweet times of love and joy, too. And God still has a purpose for her life.

He is growing our patience as we care for her. He is developing our tenderness and mercy. God is giving us opportunities to show love to a dear mom who loved us all so well when she was able and strong. He’s sending us smiles and laughter with Mom’s quirky ways and funny words. He’s challenging us to love faithfully when she is angry and difficult.

People with dementia are still people. And God still has a plan for their lives. Even when they are bedridden and can do nothing at all, maybe their very life keeps us clinging to God more. Maybe their very existence draws us closer to God as we seek Him and cry out to Him.

I fear having AD someday myself. (My mind already concerns me too often.) But if that day comes I’m not going to tell my kids, even jokingly, to just shoot me.

What I would say to them is this . . .

Pray and trust God to guide you. Get as much help as you can. I don’t want you to sacrifice your life plans or family for my sake, but I want to always be part of your life.

If you need to find a nursing home for me, I understand. Pray about it and seek wisely. And then visit me often. Even if I don’t seem to know you, believe in your heart that part of me does. Hold my hand and talk to me. Tell me all about your life. Sing to me and read the Bible to me, please. Brush my hair and tell me memories of your childhood.

If I’m still able to chew be sure to bring chocolate. (You know your mom.) And hopefully I’ll have some adorable grandchildren to marvel at.

And don’t forget to take some time to just sit quietly next to me. Hold my wrinkled hand and let God whisper to your soul. I’m so sorry you have to go through this painful journey with me, but God will give you strength and grow you through it all. Hold fast unto Him. Sink deep into His love.

Everything will be better in heaven. Meanwhile, when I can’t talk anymore; just know that I love you forever and that being a mom to you was an honor and the delight of my life.

That’s what I’d say to my children. Oh, and I might throw in a “Be nice to your brother” for old-time’s sake.

Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3:21 NIV

Cheryl Morgan headshot

Cheryl Morgan is a Jesus follower, pastor’s wife, mother of six, and a new grandma! She’s also a caregiver to her mom, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for eight years. She writes about this journey at God’s Grace and Mom’s Alzheimer’s because she feels compelled to, and is blessed when she hears from readers that it ministers to them.

Read entire post »

 

8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis: Short & Sweet and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Writer morguefileToday I’ll start by sharing 8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis – Short and Sweet

You’ve just completed the Great American Novel. You’ve done everything you’ve been told to do. You’ve created compelling characters and plopped them right smack in the middle of emotional/physical conflict. You’ve engaged the reader with your perfectly executed plot and subplots. You’ve edited and proofed and allowed your baby to be critiqued by your writer’s group.

Now it’s time to share the pictures and see if anyone wants to hold her. So you register for another writers conference where editors, agents, critiquers, and contest judges may ask for a synopsis.

A what?

Although you’ll find varying guidelines depending on the organization, here are 8 tips to creating a great synopsis:

1.    The synopsis is a summary of the plot of your book that gives the reader a chance to see if it warrants a closer look.

2.    It’s often limited to 1-3 pages, but in a few cases, the page limit is much higher. Be sure to follow the guidelines of the organization you’re submitting to.

3.    It’s usually single-spaced with an extra space between paragraphs and 1-inch margins on all sides.

4.    Print it in black ink, on white paper, using a standard font (Times New Roman is most often used).

5.    It is written in present tense, third person.

6.    The synopsis must tell the ending of the story, even if the book is a mystery, thriller, or suspense novel. This is not the time to leave the editor/agent/judge/critiquer hanging and hope he or she will beg you to tell the ending. I’ve actually read a synopsis where the writer said something like, “I can’t give away the ending because it’s so unusual, but believe me, it’s a real twist!” Hmmm. Not a good idea.

7.    You can’t cover all the points of the book, but you’ll want to include the major plots points that move the story along to a satisfactory ending.

8.    Give enough detail that the reader is engaged, but–with a limit of 2-3 pages–you’ll have to carefully decide what earns a place in the synopsis.

So, there you have it–8 tips to writing a synopsis. Remember, it’s the short and the sweet of your story!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And kudos to these talented Christian Writer’s Den friends!

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere www.FreeDigitalPhotos.com

These CWD writers are doing the work, and finding success. Let’s celebrate with them!

1.  Cheryl Barker (KS): My book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride was officially released by BroadStreet Publishing on July 1st.

2.  Sandy Quandt (TX): Sandy has THREE things to share this month! 1)1st place award in the unpublished Children’s Lit at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference; 2)Contracted to write 20 devotions for Worthy Inspire’s Seeing God in Nature devotional; and 3)Article on “How to Write a Devotion” published on WOW! Women on Writing.

Books and articles and awards, oh my! Congrats, Cheryl and Sandy. We’re proud of you!

And friends, if you didn’t find your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where I’ll have a collection of opportunities just for you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

mogoNext up…Who earned another entry into the MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

#15: Susan Baganz – 11,114 words
#16: Amanda Everett – 7,019 words

Congratulations, Susan and Amanda! And friends, if you’d like an opportunity to win $100, just check out the MoGo700 Challenge guidelines here. It’s all free!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, that’s does it for today. I hope you’ve learned something and been inspired to keep writing. After all, writing isn’t a race to the finish line. The finish line is whenever we pass into glory. And the only way to lose at writing is to quit.

Keep writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Parting Words From The WORD . . . Handling The WORD

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

As writers and speakers, it is our responsibility to learn, to prepare, and to be the best we can at whatever God has called us to be. At a time when good words are often twisted by wolves, we need to be sure that what we say is what He means.

Do we use verses out of context in order to prove a point?

Do we use good truths to rationalize poor choices?

This week’s verse is a good reminder that as we’re studying how to handle the writing of words, it is even more imperative that we learn how to correctly handle The WORD.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Season of Refreshment Giveaway with Lucinda Secrest McDowell! Giveaway Ends Today!

What a joy to share Lucinda McDowell’s book and contest with you–But today’s the last day to enter!

Drown out the busyness and noise of everyday life and find a deeper faith with something as simple as a single word in Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s new book, Dwelling Places. Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word—such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace—to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

Join Lucinda in celebrating the release of Dwelling Places by entering to win her Season of Refreshment giveaway.

dwelling places - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
  • A kit full of goodies you’ll need to make refreshing lemonade this summer

One second place winner will receive:

  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
dwelling places - collage

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 5th. The winner will be announced July 6th on Lucinda’s blog.

dwelling places - enter banner

 

And here’s my review for “Dwelling Places.” Please note that I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

“Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is my kind of devotional. By focusing on one word through scripture, story, and application, McDowell provides the perfect environment for meditation and listening for the Father’s voice. In this day of constant noise and interruption, it’s a perfect prescription for one-on-one conversation with the God of the universe. The devotions are divided into four categories or seasons of the year, but rather than reading it through for each season, I appreciate that I can search for a word that fits where I am and what I need for that day or that time in my life. This isn’t a devotional that I read quickly and rush away to work on the myriad other things that have to be done that day. Instead, the word comes back into my heart and mind throughout the day, reminding me of His love and provision for me, regardless of what I’m going through.

Friends, I hope you’ll consider Dwelling Places for your next devotional. You won’t be disappointed!

Blessings,

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Belated 4th of July Greetings, Call-Outs, & Who Won Felicia Bridges’ Free Book?

American flags

Hello CWD friends! Can you believe it’s already another 1st Tuesday? Let’s start with an oldie but goodie 4th of July tribute to America and offer thanks to our Father for the privilege of living here.

 

Here is a live official Opry version of Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA” at the Grand Ol’ Opry. It still gives me cold chills, even after all these years! Please join me in asking God to continue to bless the USA, but more importantly, that America will turn back to the Father Who has blessed her all these years.

YouTube Preview Image

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. 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)mogo

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who MoGo’d in June?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in June, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

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

The year is now half over for this money-winning writing challenge, but don’t worry, the 2016 challenge still has SIX monthly opportunities left for you to enter. 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.

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CzechMate Cover Felicia BridgesAnd who won a free copy of Felicia Bridges book, CzechMate?

Random.org selected as the winner…

Judy C. Taylor!

Congrats, Judy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and preferred email address and the Felicia will get your book right out to you!

And for those friends who didn’t win, I know you’ll want your own copy! Here are the direct Amazon paperback and Kindle links to CzechMate!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, that does it for the July installment of 1st Tuesday and Happy Birthday to our beloved America. Please join me in praying that our country would turn back to God so we can continued to be blessed. Thanks for joining me today!

Happy writing, my friends…

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Parting Words From The WORD . . . Freedom Isn’t Free

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

As we consider the celebrations of this week, let’s not forget two important things:

1) No man can truly free us.

and

2) Freedom isn’t free.

Let’s look at #1. Meditating on the concept of freedom, I’m reminded of the words of Jesus, penned by John:

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NIV)

No army or weapon or a leader can free us. The only way to true freedom…from slavery, strongholds, and eternal death…is what? The truth. Yes, only the truth can set us free.

But in this day of situational ethics and questionable evidence, what is truth…really?

The answer is found again in John:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus tells us He’s the Truth that can set us free and take us to the Father. Yes, He is the only One who can free us.

And point #2: Freedom isn’t free. These verses make it clear:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

Freedom isn’t free because Jesus had to pay. Yes, our freedom cost Jesus His life. He knew what it would take, knew what He would endure, and yet He went to the cross for us.

True freedom only comes through Jesus. And He paid the price.

Oh, what a Savior!

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Interview & Book Give-Away with Felicia Bridges

Felicia Bridges headshotHello, CWD friends, I’m thrilled to have my long-time friend, author Felicia Bridges, with us today. As I tried to remember how we first met, I decided it was at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference years ago. We met and instantly connected as friends. And then, when I had the privilege of reading an early draft of this book, I knew I would one day ask her to be on my blog. And here we are!

Felicia has graciously offered to give away a free copy of her new book, CzechMate. Leave a comment for Felicia and you’ll be in the drawing. Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Felicia! Let’s start with an easy question that readers are often interested in. When did you first fall in love with writing?

I started writing as an angsty pre-teen half a world away from my friends in a culture that I didn’t understand. My dad was stationed in Taegu, South Korea and I was midway through sixth grade when we moved overseas. Having moved about every 18 months to two years, it took me about six months to settle into a new place, find some friends I could relate to and feel like I wasn’t an alien newly relocated from Mars. Writing became a way of escaping the loneliness of those long months and coping with the new culture and even learning about it.

Wow, it’s hard to move and change schools frequently when it’s simply across town. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be when you’re moving around the world! What made you decide to turn your talent back over to God?

For most of my adult years, writing was something I did for myself. It was a way of processing life, journaling about my life including following God, raising my kids, working through the challenges of married life. But after my oldest daughter and I returned from our first foreign mission trip, she wanted to learn about what it was like for kids her age (12) who live abroad. We searched the Christian bookstores and even the secular stores but there were simply no young adult stories about kids living on the mission field.

About the same time, the Young Indiana Jones series had come out on television and I thought, “What could make a greater adventure series than the stories of young people living all over the world, sharing their faith, facing danger and persecution, and witnessing God work in miraculous ways?” So I started writing my first novel, CzechMate, set in Prague where we had just been on a mission trip. We had learned so much about the culture and I wanted to incorporate history and culture, landmarks and politics – I wanted the story to be a virtual field trip to this country, but one that was wrapped up in an adventure that would make readers want to finish reading it! I worked on the book for years, writing little scenes and then setting it aside for months at a time. It took even more years to work up the courage to follow through on requests I’d received at writers’ conferences and actually send my “baby” out into the world to face the rejections I knew had to come as part of the process. But God, who had planted the idea so many years before, had gone before me. All those years of writing and re-writing, editing and scrapping whole plotlines to make the story as tight as possible, served as watering and tending, and God brought the increase in his time by allowing the first publisher to see the full proposal to offer a contract on it.

The first publisher bought it? What a blessing that you didn’t have to go through a bunch of rejections! But, as you pointed out, during those years, you were writing, editing, rewriting and editing, and going to conferences. You were doing the work of a writer! Now that your book is out, what do you hope readers will gain from it?

My vision for this series is to inspire future missionaries. That is a God-sized task, but if God is able to give voice to a donkey, as He did in Numbers 22, I believe He can provide the words for me, too. In order to capture the imagination of my readers, I hope the International Mission Force series is both entertaining and educational. I find learning about a new culture fascinating. The stories that are part of their heritage almost always include a touchpoint to God, whether it is a story that reveals mankind’s desperate need for a savior or our attempts to reach God on our own. These common threads of our humanity not only demonstrate God’s revelation of Himself to all people, but illustrate how we have much more in common than that which is different.

What plans do you have for this series in the future?

CzechMate is only the first in a series that I hope will one day include stories from every place that missionaries serve. I was thrilled that Vinspire Publishing offered a contract on the second novel in the series as well. BoliviaKnight’s protagonist is 17-year-old Peter Parkinson. Peter’s been a missionary in Bolivia since he was born, but when he uncovers a smuggling ring, will his secondhand faith be enough to defeat a cartel and free the girl who has hijacked his heart? The greatest enemy we face lurks in our own heart. BoliviaKnight is scheduled for release December 2016. I’m currently working on the third book in the series, which will be set in Kenya.CzechMate Cover Felicia Bridges

What an exciting and educational mystery/adventure series! I’m looking forward to reading the other books, too! Thanks for being my guest today and sharing your International Mission Force series with us, Felicia. I hope you’ll join us again!

And friends, if you’d like a chance to win a free book, simply leave a comment for Felicia and you’ll automatically be entered into the drawing. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Felicia Bridges began writing as an Army BRAT learning to enjoy life overseas. Her nomadic childhood created a passion for missions and travel that permeates her writing. She is a contributing author for Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance and God’s Provision in Tough Times, a finalist for the 2014 Selah Awards. Serving in ministry for over twenty years alongside her husband and the mother of four children, Felicia’s vision is to inspire the next generation to carry the gospel to all nations. Her young adult series, International Mission Force, debuts in May 2016 with Book 1: CzechMate. Book 2: BoliviaKnight is expected later this year. Her blog, www.AdventuresThatInspireAction.wordpress.com, focuses on living on mission wherever life’s adventure leads.

Felicia graduated with highest honors from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Psychology and a concentration in Human Resources Development. Her ten years’ experience as an HR Manager sharpened her understanding of people, while providing some very interesting stories. Having studied public speaking in college and as a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course, she is equally comfortable speaking to the stranger in the checkout line or an auditorium full of people.

Catch up with Felicia’s adventures at:

www.AdventuresThatInspireAction.Wordpress.com
Facebook: Felicia Bowen Bridges – Writer
Twitter: @fbridges272
Pinterest: Felicia Bridges
Instagram: fbridges2
Email: feliciabowenbridges@gmail.com

 

Read entire post »