Penelope Marzec #2–Author Interview

penny-m

Dear Friends, I’m honored to have Penelope Marzec on my blog today! Penelope is one of the most talented people that I know. She writes, paints, sings, and takes beautiful photographs! Not only is she talented, she’s also incredibly kind. I consider her a wonderful prayer partner and a lovely friend! Penelope is a beautiful person, and I’m so glad that I know her! And guess what??? I have exciting news! Penelope’s latest book, Hoping for Joy, was just published a few days ago!

Danele: Penelope, I’m delighted to have you with us today!

Penelope: Thanks so much for the warm welcome. I’m very happy to be here. Your blog is always interesting, insightful, and a joy to read.

Danele: Thank you! That’s so nice of you to say! I appreciate all of the support you have given me, and I can’t wait to learn more about you. Can you tell us where you feel the presence of God the most?

Penelope: I feel the overwhelming presence of God most in nature. I enjoy walking along trails in the woods in the silence of my own thoughts, but most of all I enjoy walking by the ocean. I was fortunate to grow up along the shore and though I live further inland now, the ocean is not far away. Huge, powerful, and mysterious, the ocean is truly awe-inspiring. Just to sit on a rock and stare out at sea gives me a deep sense of peace. The waves rush in and out with a thunderous rumble. There’s a timelessness to it, helping me to understand the concept of how God is, always was, and always will be. I pray everywhere, but when I’m beside the ocean, I am transfixed by the majesty of it and I don’t have to say anything. I am consoled, calmed, and healed.

Danele: That’s so beautiful! Your words have just painted a lovely picture for me! Thank you for sharing your heart! Now, Penelope, here’s another question for you–has God ever revealed Himself to you in a humorous way?

Penelope: I know God watches over us, but I also am very much aware that He has a sense of humor and sometimes His angels in disguise are quite different from what anyone would suspect. I know this because many years ago, when my daughters were young, I was a Brownie Scout leader. One fine afternoon, I drove to the scout headquarters to pick up pins and badges for the girls in my troop. It was quite a distance from home and way out in farm country. I had my three daughters in the car with me. The car was aging, but it hadn’t given me any trouble–until the engine simply stopped dead on the return leg of the journey.

Danele: Oh, no! That’s awful! What happened next?

Penelope: We were in the middle of nowhere, with a wheat field on our side of the road. However, there was a small bar and package goods store not far away on the other side of the road and the car had enough momentum to coast into the parking lot. Fortunately, the bar had a telephone. (This happened long before cellphones and long before we signed up for Triple A.) I called my husband who promised to rescue us, although he had to leave work.

Danele: I’m glad you were able to get a hold of him!

Penelope: Me too. As we waited outside the bar, men came out and laughed at me. “Hey, lady, what did you do, forget to put gas in the car?” Not one of them offered to help in any way. I was fuming!

Danele: I can understand why! That’s awful!

Penelope: My husband finally appeared, but he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the car. Then a battered car pulled up beside mine. A very short, older woman got out. Her gray hair was straight and covered by a beret, her only nod to fashion. The rest of her outfit was frumpy. She asked about the car, opened the hood, put her hand over the intake of the carburetor, and told me to start the car. After a few sputters, the engine caught.

Danele: That’s marvelous!

Penelope: Maybe she wasn’t an angel, but I sure thought she could qualify as one. All of us have hands to do God’s work but not everyone takes on that responsibility. While all the men didn’t or couldn’t help with the car, that one older woman knew the trick and solved the problem. God sent someone to help, but while she appeared to be an unlikely candidate for the job she was more than capable. God must have had a good laugh. As for me, I was extremely grateful.

Danele: I would’ve been grateful too! I’m so glad that she helped you out! What a fun story! Now, before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you have written?

Penelope: Of course! Daddy Wanted, Patriot’s Heart, Patriot’s Pride, The Cowboy’s Miracle, and Hoping for Joy. Hoping for Joy was released on December 16, 2016.

Danele: Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! There’s nothing quite as exciting as having a book released! Can you share a little bit about Hoping for Joy with us? And can you also give us a purchasing link?

Penelope: Sure! Hoping for Joy is part of Prism Book Group’s “Love Is” series, based on 1 Corinthians 13. My book is drawn from the part of Scripture that reads, “love always hopes.” The story is set in a small seaside town with an amusement park. The heroine, Hannah, stares at the diamond ring on her finger and believes her hopes for a wedding are gone as her fiancé, Logan, puts off the date.  She wonders if he loves her anymore. She considers handing him the ring and moving on. He has no faith in the Lord. Should she stop praying for a fiancé with no faith?

But Logan is troubled. He hopes to save his sister from her addiction while helping his father raise his young niece. With his life in turmoil, his dreams have vanished. One night, his sister holds a knife to Hannah’s throat and robs her. Will Hannah forgive him? What will he do with Joy, his sister’s child? Where can he turn for help?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2U0XE6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481907783&sr=8-1&keywords=hoping+for+joy

Danele: I wish you all the best with your new release, Penelope! Thank you so much for being here! I’ve had a great time talking with you!

Penelope: It was my pleasure. I truly appreciate being invited. It’s an honor!

 

Friends, Penelope is such a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about her, or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/penelopemarzec

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/penelopemarzec

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/marzecpenelope

Website: http://penelopemarzec.weebly.com

Blog: http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com

 

Lisa Lickel #3–Author Interview

Lisa Lickel A

Dear Friends, it’s my ABSOLUTE pleasure to welcome Lisa Lickel back to my blog. Lisa has supported me in so many ways! Not only is she a terrific author, she’s also a BLESSING!

Danele: Hello, Lisa! My readers and I are glad that you’re able to be with us today!

Lisa: Hi, everyone! I’m so pleased to return to dragonflydanele. Danele, your support and encouragement mean so much to keep me going in my career.

Danele: Your encouragement means a lot to me as well! I was just telling my readers how much you’ve helped me! I’ll never forget some of the excellent writing tips you’ve given me! They’re precious gems! I can’t wait to learn more about you! Where is your favorite place to pray?

Lisa: Everywhere, anytime! Prayer is an ongoing conversation, listening and talking, giving and accepting. Prayer is worship; prayer is an act of love and devotion. It’s an active, living devotion, and should be part of everything I am.

Danele: That’s so true! Prayer is awesome! I love the fact that the Creator of the Universe wants to spend time with us! Now, here’s a different question for you–how has being a Christian influenced your writing?

Lisa: When I first began to learn to write professionally, I didn’t even know there was a difference between faith-based and mainstream markets. I was a Christian who happened to write…little did I know! I’m glad there’s a market for Christian fiction, and I’m glad there are certain rules and obligations and boundaries about how to write faith-based material. When I see more and more writers getting not just close to the boundaries but crossing the line of using vulgarity or suggestive imagery, I am glad for those rules. Sure, and yes, I have gotten very close to those lines and my readers let me know it. In UnderStory, I walk along the cliff in a way, too, to suggest and show some depravity in order to contrast the light–the fight against too-common contemporary problems. Conflict is what drives every story, and if there is no struggle to overcome, to be better, there is no story. The challenge and the joy is in using grace to creatively share the problem without lowering the situation to the level of depravity or allowing the “bad stuff” to leave a bad taste.

Danele: That’s a wonderful way to put it, Lisa. Life is full of challenges, and some of those challenges belong in our stories. They make our books pertinent to our readers. But I agree that we need to keep the standard high. Like you, I want my books to always honor Christ. I want my stories to point people to God. Now, here’s another question for you, why do you think it’s important to go to church?

Lisa: Worshiping in communion with others is important. Where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there, and I firmly believe that sharing the experience, the joy of worship, is what we are called to do. We don’t have to do every part of worship the same way, but certain communal acts like Holy Communion unite us in our faith. Sharing and reciting similar creeds shouldn’t be a rote repetition, but a unifying declarative experience. Singing the same hymns or worship songs brings us together as we practice a faith in one Lord, universal and catholic. We can’t get that from worshiping on our “own.”

Danele: That’s so true! Thank you for sharing your heart! Before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you’ve written?

Lisa: Sure! First Children of Farmington (Early Reader historical series), Buried Treasure Mystery SeriesMeander Scar, A Summer in Oakville, Healing Grace, Brave New Century (Anthology), The Last Detail, Everything About You (Novella), Innocents Pray, and UnderStory. 

Danele: I know that your newest book is UnderStory. Can you please tell us more about it?

Lisa: My book UnderStory is about perception and prejudice, how we look at the world based on our perceptions of self through our upbringing. We are all biased in some way and it colors our world. Our bias show how willing we are to see what we want to see, whether it’s another person’s outward appearance, or whether we want to believe in the purity of another’s actions when they seem to help yet we feel something is wrong. The underlying theme of UnderStory is prejudice—how we look and perceive others and judge them and ourselves by the way they look, whether we can see the physical or emotional scars. Lily Masters is born with a genetic condition, Poland’s syndrome, which colors her world, makes her feel unloved and unwanted, and although she’s learned to hide her condition and feelings, get a good job and function in public, she can never again connect with someone who would learn about her physical problem and reject her. When Lily is rescued by a biracial Literature professor, Cam Taylor, who is dealing with prejudice on so many levels, and they are stranded together, she begins to learn not to judge people and situations by what others say or even by her own standards. Lily and Cam’s journeys are about learning that shame is a reaction they choose based on others’ perceptions and standards, not something they have to accept. Learning to free herself from the bonds of self-loathing, Lily realizes how to be strong and fight for her family and how to accept love as well as give it. Cam comes to a peaceful place as he learns to see the world through what is, not through what he anticipates.

Danele: I know that UnderStory has received an endorsement from Lorilyn Roberts, an award-winning author and the founder of the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Can you please share what she said?

Lisa: Of course! “Lisa Lickel weaves together a masterful tale of intrigue and romance, and the multilayers of complexity will leave the reader turning the pages. The characters are well-developed, and overarching themes involving racism and prejudice will resonate with the reader. The story takes place in the Midwest—in a small town that harbors a big secret—perhaps more common than anyone dares to imagine. UnderStory is one of those rare books that’s not only a great read but makes a statement about what’s most important—in the midst of depravity, unfairness, and greed.” —Lorilyn Roberts

Danele: That’s fantastic, Lisa! Can you share a purchasing link with us?

Lisa: https://www.amazon.com/Understory-Lisa-J-Lickel-ebook/dp/B01N3JMMXQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479507598&sr=8-1&keywords=understory

Danele: Thank you so much for talking with us, Lisa! I’ve had such a great time chatting with you!

Lisa: I am grateful for the opportunity to share my work with your readers, Danele. Thank you.

 

Friends, Lisa is such a kindhearted person! If you would like to learn more about her, or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lisalickel

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lisajlickel

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-J.-Lickel/e/B002D66ECC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1479505339&sr=8-1

 

Jan Elder #3–Author Interview

janice-elder-with-pink-flowers

Dear Friends, I’m delighted to have another opportunity to talk with Jan Elder! Jan is a wonderful author, and she’s also a kindhearted person. Our conversations always leave me feeling understood and valued. I really appreciate her!

Danele: Hello, Jan! I’m so glad that you’re able to talk with us today!

Jan: Danele, thank you for having me on your inspirational blog.  I am so happy to be here!

Danele: I’m happy you’re here as well! I can’t wait to learn more about you! Can you tell us where you feel the presence of God the most?

Jan: It may sound funny, but it seems like I feel the closest to God when I’m alone in my car. I listen to music (mostly Christian although anything with great chords and harmonies makes me happy) or I might be enjoying one of my favorite stations, or perhaps a CD of one of my beloved teaching ministers. But I find that when I am inspired, THE MOMENT I’m touched by His presence, turning off that sound system and talking to God as if He were right there in the seat next to me (and He is) helps me to feel wrapped in love. He listens. He hears me. And He understands like no one else. Now I think up reasons to go somewhere!

Danele: That’s wonderful! Time spent in the Lord’s presence is so precious! Now, Jan, what’s your favorite Bible story?

Jan: It seems like I’ve been hearing the story of Joseph everywhere I go these days and the importance of waiting on God’s timing. Knowing that when I want to “hurry up” God, remembering that He’s the one in control and that He sees the big picture helps me to stay in faith. Learning to trust that He’s got it all in His hands helps to settle me down. And also remembering that when Joseph was in prison—probably the time of his greatest despair—he still ministered to others. What a stellar example for when I feel down. What’s that old saying? It’s hard to feel down when you’re giving someone else a hand up.

Danele: That’s beautiful, Jan! Thanks for sharing your heart. I know that your family went through a difficult time lately. Would you like to talk about it?

Jan: A little over a year ago, my Aunt Jean died. She was 91, a fine Christian woman, and she was still mentally alert and in very little pain at the end. Not a bad way to go, but what moved me, though, was not just that I would miss her, but that she was my mother’s twin sister, and the last one of Mom’s siblings to pass away. As you might imagine, my mother took it hard. Now, not only was she an orphan with no living parents, but she was also the sole survivor in her family. The grief and sense of aloneness made mom’s health take a nosedive and she landed in the hospital. For the first time, this vibrant, “fully alive,” “fully engaged” woman began to draw in upon herself and voice that she was now ready to leave this world behind. She sounded on the brink of despair.

Danele: That’s awful, Jan! I’m so sorry!

Jan: I tell you, it scared me a little. Oh yes, my mother was ready to go to heaven—she had given her life to the Lord when she was ten—but never before had she talked about giving up and possessing the desire to go home to Jesus. When she made it out of the hospital, she was in rehab for another three weeks before she returned to her own independent apartment. I was able to visit her most days (she lives about an hour away from me) and gradually, her will to live returned as her health improved. We talked about what was behind this sense of despondency, discussed her purpose in life, and she began to see that she still had a lot of living to do.

Mom lives in a terrific retirement community along with 1,500 other senior citizens. Many of those people are, as of yet, unsaved. In fact, for most, where they are living now is their “last stop.” Mom had held many Bible studies since she moved there in 2003, she had led some of her friends to make that all-important decision to live a life in Christ, and she was still in reasonably good health and able to continue that work. She realized that her reason for living was to continue to show others that they were beloved children of God.

Today, at not quite 93, Mom is writing her sixth book, a collection of stories about dear friends she has known throughout her life. Yes, I am proud to say she knows how to use a computer, she emails, and she’s even on Facebook! I’m sure I will be helping her some with this new venture, but the ideas are all hers.

And what did I learn from all of this? Not only will I cherish every moment I still have with her here on earth, but it’s never too late for anyone to make a difference right where God has placed them. I only hope that when I’m a nonagenarian (and I very well might be because mom had several relatives live well into their hundreds) I can live out my life with such a magnificent purpose in mind.

Danele: Wow! That’s marvelous, Jan! Your mother sounds like a very special person! Now, here’s another question for you—what do you think heaven is going to be like?

Jan: I have heard that we all get jobs in heaven. Not jobs that are “work” but jobs that are FUN! So when I’m not singing and praising God (and the music is going to be GLORIOUS!!!), I’m going to be petting cats, playing fetch with the dogs, and galloping horses like the wind! After that, I’ll be walking with Jesus on a warm, sandy beach, surf lapping at our toes. And hey, everyone is invited, so let me know if you want to come along!

Danele: Oh, Jan! You just made me smile! Now, before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you have written?

Jan: Sure! Manila Marriage App, A Semi-Precious Christmas, Love, Lies, and Fireflies, Frosting and Flurries (Boxed set of Christmas novellas with four other authors), and Moostletoe.

Danele: The holidays are approaching, and I know that Moostletoe is a Christmas story. Can you please share its back cover blurb?

Jan: Fresh out of divinity school, Rev. Samantha Evans is ready to conquer the world for Christ. She lands in Moose Creek, Maine, a tiny backwater town with more moose per square mile than men. Even worse, one of her new parishioners chews up new ministers for breakfast, and he’s determined to send her packing.

Forest ranger Eric Palmer is done with women. Determined to live simply with no encumbrances, he’s moved to Northern Maine to study the moose population. With Christmas right around the corner, he runs into his buddy, Sammie, the girl who’d been his best friend when they were teenagers. Unlike most of the women in his life, he trusts her implicitly. But could she ever be more than a friend?

When Samantha’s career is on the line, Eric must save her job and rescue his own shattered heart in the process. But how does Matilda the town moose factor in?

Danele: That sounds like fun! I know that Moostletoe can be purchased as part of Frostings and Flurries, a boxed set of Christmas novellas. Can you give us the purchasing link for the set?

Jan: https://www.amazon.com/Frosting-Flurries-Delicious-Christmas-Romances-ebook/dp/B01M7XCTP4/ref=la_B00VXW5F2C_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479501937&sr=1-1

Danele: Moostletoe has also become available for purchase as an individual story outside of the box set. Can you give a link for purchasing the book individually?

Jan: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAEM0YM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1480864890&sr=8-2&keywords=moostletoe

Danele: And finally, Jan, can you give us a link where we can keep updated on Moostletoe and your other books?

Jan: Of course! https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Elder/e/B00VXW5F2C

Danele: Jan, thank you so much for being with us today! I really enjoyed talking with you!

Jan: Danele, it’s been a privilege to be invited to appear on your blog today. Thank you for your ministry.

 

Friends, Jan Elder is a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about her, or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

http://janelderauthor.com

https://www.facebook.com/janice.elder.author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13261561.Jan_Elder

 

Deborah M. Piccurelli #2–Author Interview

Deborah

Dear Friends, I’m so excited to have Deborah M. Piccurelli on my blog today! Deborah is a fantastic person! I count her as a real friend. Several times, I have asked her to pray for me, and I know her prayers have made a difference. She is not only a lovely person, she is also a prayer warrior, and I appreciate her so much!

Danele: Deborah, I’m so glad to have you with us today!

Deborah: Thank you, Danele! It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here.

Danele: The pleasure is all mine! I have really been looking forward to this interview, and I can’t wait to learn more about you! Can you describe a time when you’ve dramatically felt the presence of God?

Deborah: When I was dealing with a bizarre physical condition, I went to numerous doctors of every kind, who could never give the condition a name. They tried treating it with medicines that never helped. Sometimes, I would watch the 700 Club broadcasts, because I liked the uplifting stories they featured. Often, there would be a segment where two hosts would pray for their audience regarding healing. A few times it would sound like they were talking about my own problem, but as I listened further, it would turn out not to be. So, I said to the Father, “If you’re going to do this for me, I need to know specifics so I know that it’s me.” A few days later, I was cleaning my house when all of a sudden, a white haze came over the room, and I felt strongly compelled to turn on the TV to the 700 Club. It was just around the time they were praying for people. Soon, I heard one of them say that my condition was about to be healed. Then she mentioned something specific to my situation and said, “You’ll know this is you, because it’s heredity.” Through this woman, God repeated my own words to me! But dramatically feeling the presence of God is the point. I later realized that the haze that fell over the room was the Holy Spirit. And He MADE me turn that TV on. I had never experienced anything like that before. It put me in mind of how God led the Israelites out of Egypt with a cloud by day.

Danele: Wow! That’s so amazing! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful testimony! Now, here’s another question for you. Why do you think it’s important to sing praises to God?

Deborah: I believe that praising God serves more than one purpose. Certainly we praise Him to express our love and gratitude, but He has given us the act of praise as a weapon against the devil when he attacks, too. Praise also lifts us up and boosts our faith. No doubt about it, praise is good for all of us.

Danele: That’s so true! What a lovely answer! Deborah, where do you feel the presence of God the most?

Deborah: I don’t know why it happens this way, but I feel God’s presence the most during my morning prayer time. I’m up a 5:00 a.m. because it’s the best time to get alone with Him with no interruptions. It’s my favorite time, because He speaks to me so much more at that time than any other. The revelation knowledge He imparts to me is awe-inspiring.

Danele: I love early-morning prayer times too! Now, Deborah, why do you think it is important to read your Bible?

Deborah: Wow, there are so many reasons it’s important to read the Bible! It’s the major way God reveals Himself to us. It’s His will for us, His promises to us, His law, His power, a way He extends His love to us. It’s how we get His wisdom and the mind of Christ. It’s a weapon (sword of the spirit) against the devil. There’s more, but I think you get the idea.

Danele: I do indeed! Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Deborah. Now, before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you have written?

Deborah: Of course! Hush, Little Baby (Sword of the Spirit Publishing), Love Comes Calling (Prism Book Group), and In the Midst of Deceit (Jireh Publishing – it’s out of print, but there are still some left on Amazon).

Danele: Besides writing books, I know that you also publish articles. Many of my readers have expressed interest in writing for magazines. Can you please explain the process to us?

Deborah: I never planned on writing short fiction for magazines, but this is how it happened for me: I write mostly books, and I have been working on TV and movie scripts, lately. But as a Christian fiction book author, I joined an organization called The Book Club Network that I heard of through American Christian Fiction Writers’ e-mail loop. They help connect authors with book clubs and other readers, and offer authors paid promotional packages to help with their marketing. I joined at the time of their inception some years back. Over a year ago, I called them with a question about one of their contests. One thing led to another, and the president, Fred, offered me some opportunities to promote my books, one of which would be to write three articles/stories in their monthly online magazine, Book Fun Magazine, to help get my name and work out there. After submitting the first story, I was contacted by the Sr. VP, asking if I would be interested in having my own monthly column of similarly themed stories. What a gift! The column is called Kingdom Conversations, because they focus on a believer’s conversations with the Lord.

As for the inner workings, for this particular magazine, they consider all of us on the team a family, so writing regularly for them begins with a relationship. Beyond that, I just follow guidelines they provide as far as word count, font, due date each month, etc. They want you to make sure the article or story is mistake free and just the way the writer would like it to be in print. Soon after, the original issue becomes live on Amazon. I imagine all magazines have their own way of doing things, though.

Danele: Wow! That’s so exciting! What a wonderful opportunity! Thank you so much for describing the process for us. I really appreciate it, and I know my readers do too! Can you please tell us how to find your articles?

Deborah: Recently, I asked if I could cut down on my frequency of writing the column, so they agreed to allow me to do so every other month. There will be one in the December issue, and semi-monthly going forward. But, if you go to www.bookfun.org, the magazine is always available through the website. You can access it for free the first five days after it becomes live. You don’t have to be a member of The Book Club Network, but If you join, the difference is, they will automatically send you a notice when it becomes available and provide the Amazon link to download it. If you are not a member, you can visit the website, but there is no guarantee it will be within the first five days. You can also search Amazon for Book Fun Magazine, where you can find the current issue, and also be able to purchase many of the back issues readers find so valuable. Also, any writer who is a member of ACFW will receive notice of its availability through the email loop. BUT, I invite all of your readers, Danele, to click on that link I’ve provided above, and join The Book Club Network. It’s free and has many benefits for both readers and writers alike. If you are an author, you might be especially interested to know that they already have a readership of approximately half a million!

Danele: That’s fantastic! Thank you so much for talking with us today, Deborah! I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve had such a great time!

Deborah: And thank you, Danele, for inviting me back! I am always honored to be here.

 

Friends, Deborah M. Piccurelli is such a marvelous person! If you would like to learn more about her, or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Website: www.deborahmpiccurelli.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/deborah.piccurelli

Twitter: @DebPiccurelli

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/DebPiccurelli

Amazon– Hush, Little Baby: http://tinyurl.com/qhgxd8h

Amazon– Love Comes Calling: http://tinyurl.com/pXyyym4

 

Sharon McGregor #2–Author Interview

Sharon McGregor

Dear friends, I’m so delighted to have Sharon McGregor with us today! Sharon is a terrific author and a wonderful person. She is extremely kind and thoughtful, and she has an outstanding sense of humor that always makes me smile. Having her on my blog makes me feel very honored!

Danele: Sharon, I’m so glad that you’re able to be here! I’ve been really looking forward to talking with you!

Sharon: Thanks, Danele. I’m so glad you invited me today. I enjoy reading your blog posts and love your time travel series.

Danele: That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you! I love writing my books, and knowing that other people are enjoying them makes me so happy! Sharon, you’ve been such a voice of encouragement during my writing journey! I can’t wait to learn more about you! I know that God plays a central part in your life. Can you tell us why you think it’s important to attend church?

Sharon: When I was a child, church played a great role in our everyday life. I grew up on a small farm on the prairies. Our fellow worshipers were our next-door neighbors—the men who helped thresh our grain, the women who rushed to help when someone was in trouble, and the children we attended school with. Our society has changed so much over the past few decades. While we are in constant contact with each other through all forms of social media, the contact through cyberspace remains an arms-length one. We have developed the ability to discuss extremely private details in an impersonal medium. I think we need the intimacy of church, not only for our spiritual health, but also for our social and mental well-being. When we worship together in church, we are connecting our souls on that personal level that cannot be reached anywhere else.

Danele: That makes so much sense! I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Thank you! Now, here’s another question for you—if you could be a Bible character, which one would you choose to be?

Sharon: I would choose Mary Magdalene. We first hear of her bending to wash Jesus’ feet and drying them with her hair. His followers are astounded at this as she is considered a woman with loose morals, and “possessed by seven devils”. Jesus said to her “Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.” From that time on, Mary Magdalene became one of a group of women apostles, who followed with Him and ministered. Mary Magdalene was present at all of the steps on the way to redemption. She was at the cross when He was crucified, offering comfort and suffering along with His Mother Mary and His aunt Elizabeth. She was at His tomb when she discovered the stone was rolled away and she ran to call the disciples. It was to Mary Magdalene that Jesus said His first words after resurrection. She was a chief apostle in the early days of the Church. I think Mary Magdalene touches a chord in us because we see that no matter what we have done in the past, we are redeemable. She epitomizes the importance of women in the Church and the role they can take.

Danele: That’s lovely, Sharon! What a beautiful answer! Now, let’s approach things in a different way. If you could be a Bible character, which one would you NOT choose to be?

Sharon: I think that would be Noah’s wife. I sympathize with her for those forty days and forty nights at sea with all those creatures to care for. Now, I know it was Noah that build the ark to God’s specifications. It was Noah that organized the animals and ticked them off, two by two, as they entered the ark. But, I’m sure as can be that, once they were ready to sail and the rains began, Noah retreated to the deck with his pipe and busied himself with sailing the ship and charting a course. I’m sure he turned and said to his wife, “The rest is up to you. You’re in charge of below deck.” Now, anyone who has traveled across country on a rainy journey with a carload of offspring, listening to a chorus of “Are we there yet?” will surely sympathize with Noah’s wife. Not only did she have to look after sleeping arrangements and ration food, she also had to organize the removal of—well, whatever required removing with all those animals on board. She had to make sure the mice didn’t frighten the elephants, act as marriage counselor to those argumentative jackals, comfort the moaning lion who insisted that Noah chose his least favorite wife to accompany him, and deal with a seasick giraffe. I’m sure she also had to act as midwife to those small creatures whose gestation period is less than forty days. I’m certain that in some cases more than two of each animal debarked. In addition, she had three daughters-in-law. Imagine trying to sort out all those petty jealousies over forty days! But, I think the biggest problem of all came when she realized that, no matter how much she wanted to, when one of those pesky mosquitoes landed on her arm, she had to refrain from smacking the little blighter. Oh, I wish Noah’s wife had been less resolute in carrying out her duties.

Danele: Oh, Sharon! You just made me laugh! I really love your sense of humor! You are such a delight! Now, before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you have written?

Sharon: Of course! Autumn Dreams, Acres of Dreams, Fiona’s Knight of Dreams, Northern Lights, and All’s Fair In Love and Arson.

Danele: Your book, Fiona’s Knight of Dreams, is one of my favorites! Another one I really enjoyed is your Christmas book, All’s Fair In Love and Arson. Since it’s getting close to the holiday season, can you please tell my readers more about it?

Sharon: Sure! All’s Fair In Love and Arson came out in time for Christmas last year with Prism Book Group. It’s a seasonal love story with a dash of mystery and suspense and a dollop of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story with its small town setting and the interaction between mother and daughter. Along the way, Bella falls in love, regains a closeness to her mother Izzie, and learns what Christmas really means.

Danele: Can you share its back cover blurb and some purchasing links?

Sharon: Bella is back at her childhood home. When her mother took a fall in the Nuisance Grounds (garbage dump) and broke her leg, Bella came back to help her and run her shop, Izzie’s. Soon Bella discovers she’s also been handed Izzie’s role in the town’s Christmas theater production, a musical version of a well-known mystery that threatens to become more bizarre each day. A serial arsonist is frightening the townspeople, a family feud threatens young romance, and intrigue and rumors are the order of the day. On top of everything, Bella’s high school sweetheart Jake, who dumped her for a cheerleader, is now Chief of Police. Poor Bella! Christmas in St. Christopher’s is not what it used to be.

My book may be purchased through Amazon: https://goo.gl/y0Tr3N. It may also be purchased through Barnes and Noble: https://goo.gl/Za9W63.

Danele: Sharon, it has been so much fun talking with you! I really enjoyed it!

Sharon: Thanks for inviting me, Danele. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you.

 

Friends, Sharon McGregor is a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about her, or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Amazon.com Author page: https://goo.gl/vtWft4

Twitter: @sharonmcgr

LinkedIn: https://goo.gl/RDivMC

Webpage and blog: www.sharonmcgregor.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/SharonMcGregorauthor/

 

Jan Elder #2-Author Interview

janice-elder-with-pink-flowers

Dear Friends, it’s my delight to introduce you to Jan Elder. Jan is a Christian author, and she’s also a very kind person. Her love for the Lord shines through everything she says and does. I feel honored to have her on my blog!

Danele: Jan, I’m so glad that you’re able to talk with us today!

Jan: Danele, I am so happy to be here. Your blog is one of my favorites.

Danele: That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you! Jan, I know my readers are eager to learn more about you. You’ve told me that you’ve been through a difficult time recently. Would you like to talk about it?

Jan: This year has been rough. I lost a job I’ve had for fourteen years and there were some moments when the pain nearly overwhelmed me. Almost a sensation of grief, if that can be said about a job. I think the most difficult aspects of the situation, though, had nothing to do with the actual work I was doing, but rather I missed the friends I interacted with on a daily basis.

I’m the type of person who loves to “connect” and those people meant a lot to me and still do. But over the last few months, I’ve been learning that Jesus is truly my friend. I would have said that before, but our relationship has become a great deal deeper as I’ve taken the time to “check in” with Him many times a day. The Lord and I talk over all sorts of things, especially those little things I might have discussed with a human before.

I’ve been a born-again Christian since the tender age of five and you’d have thought I would have had this part down by now, but I tend to try to reason it all out by myself or with those good friends and “save” calling on the Lord for the tough stuff. Leaving the job turned out to be a true blessing in disguise. Of course, God knew all the time what was best for me. I still like to talk to people, but I’m come to understand the wisdom and necessity of running to Him first.

Danele: I’m so sorry that you went through such a difficult time, but I’m glad that God was with you in such a special way. Do you have a praise report to share?

Jan: How much space have you got? When I lost my job, after a week of wallowing, I figured out that I had been given a gift—a time to reinvent my life. Since I’m a writer, hey, now I had the time to write. I’d been wanting to do a series about a woman minister in Maine, and I invented a little town called Moose Creek. My sister was a pastor in Maine many years ago and so I had plenty of material. And my grandparents were “Maniacs” (um, I mean Mainers) and I’ve been able to visit the state many times, so there are lots of connections. Hey, and who doesn’t like moose?

While I was busy doing this fun undertaking, my dream job landed in my lap, completely out of the blue (meaning, of course, that it was entirely God’s idea.) I’m now training to be a life coach and besides writing, I realize it’s my life’s passion. Now I get to help people discover the person God meant them to be. I get to talk about gifts, and blessings, and help each dear person move forward toward God’s best for their lives. Have you ever heard the truism that “good” can be the enemy of “great?” So often we “settle” for less than the best and our God is a God of abundance. I’ve discovered that when I’m done talking with someone, I’m the one who is truly blessed! Between writing and coaching, I am a happy, happy girl and I am so very grateful!

Danele: I’m so happy for you! Speaking of joyful things, is there a specific praise song that seems to usher you into the presence of the Lord?

Jan: There is a song that has been on Christian radio for a while that means a great deal to me. The day I found out I had lost my job, one of my best friends sent me the link to the Casting Crowns song “Just Be Held.”

In the chorus, the words state, “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.” Those words changed the way I was thinking about my situation and I clung to them with all my might. After the tears stopped flowing, hope returned.

For anyone out there reading this, please know there is hope in whatever difficult situation you are in. Give it to God, let it go, allow Him hold you, and remember, you are LOVED!

Here’s the link with the lyrics if you want to listen to this inspirational piece. Believe me, it’s worth your time. Hear and believe! One of my most favorite songs—EVER!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

Danele: That’s a really beautiful song! Thank you for sharing it! Now, here’s a fun question for you. Has God ever revealed Himself to you in a humorous way?

Jan: My cat, Shu-Shu loves to get my attention however she can. She seems to be particularly enamored with my computer keyboard and enjoys walking on the keyboard. The other day, she traipsed across the keys and those furry little toes typed “ggggggggggoooooooooooop838p47ooooodddddddddddd.”  Okay, there were a few extra characters in there, but she was clearly letting me know that God was in the room. I couldn’t help but giggle.

Danele: Jan, that’s so funny! Now, before I let you go, can you tell us about your latest book release?

Jan: Sure! We’ve been talking about the untenable situations life sometimes throws at us. In Love, Lies, and Fireflies, at one point in the story, my hero, Jake, is really hurting. He talks to his pastor, Todd, about his pain. I’d like to share that passage here to be an encouragement to your readers:

“Is God really asking us to surrender all, as in everything? Somehow that doesn’t seem quite fair.” Jake leaned in closer.

“You’re familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac?… My talk is titled ‘Are You in a Desperate Situation?’ It sounds like you’re right there with Abraham. I would guess that desperate is exactly how the man felt when God asked him to sacrifice his own son—the son who had been a long-awaited gift from God. His circumstances would have seemed hopeless…Imagine Abraham’s angst. On the darkest day of his life, he and Isaac trudged up the side of the mountain. Despite his sorrow, Abraham put one foot in front of the other, his dread increasing with every step. Isaac’s death seemed certain.” Todd pursed his lips. “It doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? But, understanding this part helps. Abraham trusted God with his whole heart. Even if he had to surrender everything….” Todd glanced over at Jake and caught his eye. “No matter what, he was going to listen and obey when it seemed crazy. Now, here’s the cool part. At the same time that Abraham and Isaac were walking up the mountain, a sacrificial ram was climbing up the other side. For every step Abraham took toward the summit, the ram also took a step. God placed that ram at the top at the mountain at precisely the right moment.”

Jake took a deep breath. “So, what you’re saying is God put His plan in place before Abraham was aware of it?”

“Yes, that’s it. All Abraham saw was his pain, but God was already prepared to save Isaac. God had to make sure Abraham really meant it when he said he trusted Him. God was testing him.” Folding his hands in his lap, Todd sat back. “To answer your question, does God want us to surrender all? Maybe in some cases, He does. But I’m thinking that most of the time, He just wants to know if we’re willing to sacrifice.” He looked Jake in the eye. “Why don’t you think on that and listen to what God is saying to you?”

Danele: What a lovely passage! Can you give us the back cover blurb for Love, Lies, and Fireflies and a purchasing link?

Jan: Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind… Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction. Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?  https://www.amazon.com/Love-Lies-Fireflies-Jan-Elder/dp/1537410849

Danele: Before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you’ve written?

Jan: Sure! Manila Marriage App, A Semi-Precious Christmas, Love, Lies, and Fireflies, and Moostletoe (coming October 2016).

Danele: Jan, it’s been so nice talking with you! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!

Jan: Danele, you are a special lady, and I am privileged to know you.

 

Friends, Jan really is a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about Jan or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

http://janelderauthor.com

https://www.facebook.com/janice.elder.author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13261561.Jan_Elder

 

Susan M. Baganz #2–Author Interview

Susan Baganz

Dear Friends,

I’m excited to have Susan M. Baganz back on my blog! Susan is a Christian author and an editor for Prism Book Group. She’s also the wonderful woman who “discovered” me and brought my books to Prism’s attention. She has been a tremendous blessing in my life!

Danele: Susan, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to speak with you!

Susan: Thank you for inviting me.

Danele: It’s my pleasure! Let’s get things started. Has God ever taught you an eye-opening lesson?

Susan: Yes. In the early ‘90’s I was on staff at a church, and I started to have problems with the drama director. We tried to hash it out with the pastor, but it just went round and round and I couldn’t figure out just what the issue really was. I began to see a therapist because of depression and stress. I stepped down from my position into a different one. I could hardly pray or read Scripture. I came across A.W. Tozer’s book The Attributes of God and I started going through Psalms trying to focus on who God was. I was on staff, so I couldn’t share the details of what was happening with anyone. It was an extremely lonely time. I even tried quit to my job. I handed in my resignation but my pastor wouldn’t take it. I went away to seek God, pray, read, and worship. God made it very clear I needed to stay engaged through the painful process. I obeyed.

My therapist encouraged me to pray God’s best for this other woman. I didn’t want God’s best for her! God started to help me let go of the anger, bitterness, and hurt and see this other woman as broken as well in need of God’s healing in her own life. Months later, I met with our elders. I did everything the elders asked of me but reconciliation was not possible between me and the other woman. She left the church and we lost an amazingly gifted person.

Leadership is messy and hard. People are messy. Even in the church. Years later, I still see the fruit of all I went through when things get challenging relationally in ministry. I serve more behind-the-scenes now but am very protective of church leadership because of what I went through.

Danele: I’m so sorry you went through that, Susan! You mentioned that during your difficult time, you studied the Psalms. Do you have a favorite Psalm?

Susan: Yes, Psalm 19. It starts out in verse 1 with how the world around us shows forth God’s glory. It proclaims that our God is the creator and sustainer of all we see: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.” (Ps 19:1 HCSB). It always makes me think of the sunrise! It goes on to describe the wonders of God’s word as perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, more desirable than gold, and sweeter than honey. The best prayer, though, is at the end. Kind of makes sense in light of my previous story. “Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me. Then I will be innocent and cleansed from blatant rebellion. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14 HCSB). I’m grateful God loves me just as I am and has given me so much in the world and in His Word to remind me of that. This Psalm is filled with God’s attributes. He is constant, sustains life, renews us, provides wisdom, makes my heart glad, is eternal, righteous, precious, protecting, forgiving, and redeeming. Who wouldn’t want to love, serve, and obey a God like that?

Danele: That’s so true, Susan! And speaking of serving God, why do you think it’s important to go to church?

Susan: Given how brutal serving in church ministry has been in the past, you might suspect I’d be more ambivalent about the church. In fact, I’m more passionate than ever for the bride of Christ. The church is a family of believers, and together we can encourage, pray, support, challenge, celebrate, teach, and reach the world around us. Most of the prayers in Scripture are corporate as well. We are not meant to do our spiritual walk solo. The church is filled with broken people saved by a holy, loving God and we grow up together in Him. The church is God’s gift to us, and it is a way for us to bless others. Spiritual gifts are given by God to benefit and bless the church. The church has been the vehicle God has used to make the most profound life-changes in me and I’m grateful for it—warts and all.

Danele: I know that the church plays a part in much of your writing. Can you explain why?

Susan: I’ve set my contemporary romances against the backdrop of a church because I wanted to illustrate the value and importance of community, faith, and accountability that we lose when we think we can do it on our own. Christ loved the church and so should we. My latest contemporary romance, Feta & Freeways, will be released in September 2016. It’s about a romance between Christian singer, Nikolos Acton, and his manager, Tia.

Danele: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Feta & Freeways! You’ve had another book published recently, haven’t you?

Susan: Yes, Baron’s Blunder–a Historical Regency Romance novella. Baron’s Blunder is part of Prism Book Group’s Love Is series. The Love Is series is based on 1 Corinthians 13.

Danele: Can you share the back cover blurb of Baron’s Blunder and a purchasing link with us?

Susan: Sure! Fighting evil has been a hobby, but fending off marriage-minded women—a chore. Lord Charles Percy fends off a highwayman attempting to rob a carriage in broad daylight. Noting he’s rescued a young debutante he lies about his title, claiming to be a mere mister. It’s a decision he soon comes to regret as the young woman’s banter intrigues him. The Honorable Henrietta Allendale isn’t convinced he is who he claims to be in spite of his act of heroism on her behalf. She has no intentions of ever marrying but this aristocrat piques her interest as no other man has. Meeting again in London, Lord Percy has a harder time keeping his true identity a secret from the confident woman as she engages in the season. When her life becomes endangered he’s forced to come clean in an attempt to protect her from the elusive Black Diamond. Can Charles convince Henrietta that his love is real and save her life in the process?

https://www.amazon.com/Barons-Blunder-Love-Book-10-ebook/dp/B01IIKYDOW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471870696&sr=8-1&keywords=the+barons+blunder#nav-subnav

Danele: Thank you for sharing, Susan! Before I let you go, can you give us a list of the other books you have written?

Susan: My Orchard Hill contemporary romance series includes Pesto & Potholes, Salsa & Speed Bumps, and Feta & Freeways. I’ve written a historical Christmas novella called Fragile Blessings that’s featured in the book Love’s Christmas Past. I’ve also written Little Bits ‘O Love which is a collection of short stories/flash fiction.

Danele: Thank you so much for being here, Susan! I’ve really enjoyed talking with you!

Susan: Thanks for inviting me! It’s always a delight to connect with you. You’ve been such a blessing to me and to so many others.

 

Friends, Susan really is a wonderful person! I will never forget her kindness to me! If you would like to learn more about Susan or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Blog:  http://susanbaganz.com/

Twitter @susanbaganz

Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMBaganz/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/silygoos/