Friday, December 30, 2016


"Therefore, if anyone
is in Christ, the new
creation has come.

The old has gone, the
new is here!"
(2 Corinthians 5:17)


Well, you've weathered the busyness of the holidays. Now it's time for New Year'sresolutions. I'm not talking about the losing weight, more exercise sort. I'm referring to renewing your heart. What can you do this year to become more Christ-like? Who can you bless?

Consider for a moment your weak spots. Come, now. We all have them. One of mine, for instance, is patience...or lack of, I should say. I find I lose patience when things don't happen on my time schedule, or the way I hope. Often I grow frustrated and tire of waiting.

Writing requires huge chunks of time--time I often don't have. Life just seems to get in the way. It's then I have to remind myself the Lord is in control. It's His time schedule I need to be concerned with. He wants the best for us. We can trust Him to work things for our good.

This year it is my prayer that, instead of growing impatience when obstacles come, I'll take my frustrations to the Lord and allow Him to show me how to spend my time His way. It's all His time anyway, isn't it? It's all in our perspective.

When our plans get interrupted, we need to see it as an opportunity. How can I use this interruption as an opportunity to serve the Lord? Instead of fuming over interruptions to your plans, look for ways to make a difference in someone's life.

~Pray for those who cross your path.

~Consider your time God's time.

~Be committed to making each day count for matter what He sends your way.

Blessings to you in the New Year!

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Saturday, December 24, 2016



"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

(Luke 2:10-12)




Thursday, December 8, 2016


On this 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, I had the privilege of interviewing Inspirational WWII author Gail Kittleson this week. I hope you are blessed by her writing journey.

It's great to have you, Gail. How long have you been writing? 

I’ve been writing since adolescence, when poetry was my favorite genre.

What/who inspired you to write?

I’d have to say my middle school and high school teachers. Mrs. Morford, a dyed-in-the-wool grammarian, even inspired me to love diagramming sentences. Goes to show how much influence one instructor can wield. I even used this teacher in my novel.

How neat! You write Historical Christian fiction set during World War II. What interests you about this particular time period? 

Everything about World War II interests me, even the atrocities that can really depress a person. Just last night, I was re-reading about Operation Jedburgh, which sent Americans trained by the OSS into France before D-Day. Some of them suffered terribly in the effort to aid the Resistance.

But their accomplishments changed the course of the war. They blew railroads, blocked roads, destroyed Nazi truck tires, and performed myriad other acts of sabotage to hinder the movement of the Waffen SS and Das Reich (Hitler’s ferocious tank battalions) from their winter refitting in the south to Normandy.

It’s no fun pondering the agony of having one’s eyes gouged out by the Gestapo, but the German atrocities only highlight the bravery of those who willingly took the risk.

Can you give us an overview of your new release, In Times Like These?

This story, starring a young Iowa farm wife, Addie Bledsoe, came out in April. Addie faces her own battles with her volatile husband Harold, who longs to join the Army, but cannot due to his father’s stroke. As the Pearl harbor attack ignites war sentiment across the nation, Harold takes out his fury on Addie. Oh, he's too tuned in to others' opinions to hit her physically, but sends emotional and mental blows from every direction.

Who is your favorite character? Why?

 Aside from Addie, whose make-do attitude and irrepressible positivity win my respect, I think Jane, Addie’s down-the-road neighbor, is my favorite. Her brand of practical philosophy, honed through a lifetime of hard knocks, rings true to Addie far more deeply than any platitudes or pat answers others might pose. And her flower garden sends a message to everyone who passes her simple farmstead--in fact, that's what attracts Addie to stop by for their first conversation.

Jane is as tried and true as George, the rural mailman who displays loyalty in the midst of dire times. Perhaps surviving World War I has something to do with Jane and George’s indefatigable resilience and humor. Can you imagine enduring not just one, but two World Wars?

No I can't. What is the main message/theme you hope to relay to readers?

Sometimes finding one’s voice takes time. Childhood trauma, broken promises, and false teachings about faith can sidetrack a person in this vital pursuit. Often, we may not even realize we haven’t found our voice—perhaps we’ve allowed others’ voices to fill that void.

But slow as it may seem, this path to discovery is worth all the effort required. When the truth begins to dawn on us, we hear the first faint sounds of our voice rising from the depths of our soul. We face a frightening choice, then. Will we allow our voices to be heard, no matter how what we have to say might upset the status quo?  

Throughout this process, our faith grows, for our voice is a part of being made in our Creator’s image. The many ups and downs of Addie’s story and the encouragement she receives from her best friend in London, Jane, George, and even her mother-in-law have encouraged my readers. One of them has earmarked the novel, and says it’s helping her through a thorny relationship.  

 That's wonderful! Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring authors?

Pay attention to the voice within you. Many times we seek guidance from outside, but I’ve learned that often, our true polar star has been with us all along, and awaits discovery.

Thanks, Gail! It's been great.

Thanks so much, Cynthia, for having me visit. 

Friday, December 2, 2016


"For to you is born
this day
in the city of David
a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord."
(Luke 2:11)

One of the best parts of Christmas is the spirit of hope and expectancy it holds. Children eagerly await the gifts and filled stockings of Christmas morn. Excitement fills their bright-eyed faces as they rise early to see if the coveted gifts they've hoped for are there beneath the tree.

But for those of us who are Christians, the true hope of Christmas came in the form of a tiny baby born in a stable. Jesus' humble birth changed everything. His coming gave us the hope of Heaven, a priceless gift that only He had the power to give.

This Christmas, I pray you'll join me in celebrating not only Christ's birth, but in giving thanks to God for His perfect plan of redemption and grace. Without Jesus, there can be no Christmas. Without His sacrifice for our sins, there can be no hope of Heaven.

Now, we wait in hope of Christ's second coming which will usher us home. Like children at Christmastime, may we live each day in expectancy, watching for His appearance, with hearts that are ready to meet the Savior.

May you have joy and hope this Christmas season as you celebrate with family and friends.
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Friday, November 25, 2016


"I will praise God’s
name in song and glorify him
with thanksgiving."

(Psalm 69:30)

Each Thanksgiving my family has the tradition of sharing thoughts on what we're thankful for. Yet I have to wonder, are there more practical/beneficial ways to express our gratitude to God?

Matthew 25:40 says, "
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

So then, when we bless others, we bless God.

I started brainstorming ideas of how we can
show God our gratitude instead of just telling Him. {Show verses tell. Sounds like something a good writer is trained to do.}  =)

Soon I'd compiled a list of ways we can express our gratitude to God by touching the lives of others. Here's my top 20 picks!

 1) Spend some quality one-on-one time with your spouse.
 2) Hug your children.
 3) Send a Thinking of You card to someone on your heart.
 4) Share a meal with someone who can't or isn't able to return the favor.
 5) Pray with someone who's hurting.
 6) Offer to take a shut-in on an outing.
 7) Give to a worthy charity.
 8) Be someone's hands or feet.
 9) Send a care package to a missionary or military person.
10) Invite someone who has no place to go to your Thanksgiving gathering.
11) Volunteer.
12) Smile at a stranger.
13) Lend a helping hand to someone who's struggling.
14) Visit someone in a nursing home or assisted living.
15) Be a listening ear to someone.
16) Reach out to someone who's lost a loved one.
17) Share the gift of laughter.
18) Help someone in need.
19) Show forgiveness toward someone who has hurt you.
20) Tell someone thank you!

Do you have an idea to add to my list? I'd love to hear it!

Read more of Cynthia’s writing at:

Friday, November 18, 2016


"That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses,

in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak,
then I am strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:10)

My least favorite part of this time of year isn't the holiday bustle, the cold chill in the air, or the threat of slick roads. Instead, it's the myriad of germs that seem to find their way into my system repeatedly over the span of fall and winter months.

My work as a school library aide lends to numerous opportunities to pick up nasty illnesses that continually ripple through classrooms and students...and onto their books! Sickness is not only inconvenient and disruptive to our routines, but also weakens our bodies and sets us on edge.

Yet there's an up-side, even to illness. When we're sick, our bodies crave rest. We're forced to slow our pace, allowing more time to dwell on our spiritual health...if we choose to do so. Often our schedules are so crammed and hurried, it takes something such as an illness or accident to still our minds and humble our hearts.

2 Corinthians tells us that it's when we are weak, that we are strong. When we're well, and things are running smoothly, we often lose sight of God's interaction in our lives. But when we're weakened by sickness or injury, we rely more heavily on the Lord's strength to carry us through. 

John 15:5 reminds us that "without Christ we can do nothing" least nothing of any eternal value. It's in our weakened state that we realize our dependence on the Father. Next time you're bitten by a bug or find yourself holed up due to a health issue or injury, why not put that time to good use by spending a little more one-on-One time with the Lord, and allow Him to heal you both body and soul?

When has God spoken deeply into your heart? I'd love to have you share your experience.

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Friday, November 11, 2016


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you
and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope
and a future."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

Does God only answer select prayers? Or does He answer all of our prayers?

Last year, my family diligently prayed for my cousin's 17 year-old son, who was fighting brain cancer, and a 59 year-old man in our church struggling with liver cancer. Both put up gallant fights, and there were moments of encouragement along the way. Yet both recently lost their battles, to the bereavement of many. Despite all our prayers, and the multitude of prayers of others, God chose to take them home to be with Him. Why? We may never know.

Yet our church also prayed for a five-year-old boy with brain cancer and for a man deathly sick with meningitis, and both were amazingly healed. Again, we may wonder, how does God determine who lives and who dies?

It's then we must recognize God's sovereignty. It isn't for us to understand His ways. We have only this promise to cling to: "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Does the Lord answer all of our prayers? Yes. I believe He does. But not always with a Yes. At times, He asks us to WAIT on His timing. Perhaps you're a writer like me, who has yet to be published and growing discouraged. Or maybe you're facing a difficult decision in your life and in need of guidance. Yet God remains silent. Don't lose heart. The Lord hasn't forgotten you. He's simply teaching you to trust.

Other times, God may answer No. None of us likes to be deprived of our hopes and dreams for ourselves or our loved ones. Some grow bitter and blame God for their hardships, wondering why, if He loves them, He would allow tragedy or pain. As humans, that's often our mistake. We blame God for the evils of an imperfect universe. When sin entered the world, our relationship with God was severed, allowing death, disease, tragedy, and hardships to forever be a part of our world.

God has a master plan for our lives, yet one we often can't decipher. We may never know the reason why He answers our prayers as He does. But we have the assurance that He loved us enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die for us. Our job is to trust Him and continually seek His will for our lives.

Has God answered your prayers in a surprising way? I'd love to hear your story.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016


Today Jan Cline shares insights from her writing journey. I hope you are as blessed.
Like many writers, I struggle to find my place in this crazy writing and publishing world. Starting out, I had no idea how big a world it was, or that I had jumped into a vast sea of aspiring writers just like me.
Then I caught sight of the big fish – the multi-published, best-selling, popular published authors. I even got to know many of them when I founded and directed a writer’s conference for several years - some of the most talented, enjoyable people I’ve ever met. I found myself on the edge of their circle and thought I was where I belonged. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I could really be a part of that identity as a traditionally published author.
Didn’t happen.
My heart’s desire is to be a novelist. I started late in life, so I worked hard, studied the craft, networked, did social media, and attended conferences. I did everything I knew to do, everything I was advised to do.
But I lost my writing identity. I lost touch with most of the inner circle I hoped to join. So I decided to self-publish. It was a long difficult process and did not produce the Indie-published author identity I thought it might.
I was back to square one. Where is my writing identity?
Ted Dekker in his book The Forgotten Way explains that we will never find our true peace and happiness until we know who we are and who our Father is. When we know all of that with our whole heart and mind, we will be secure in an identity that no one can take away, not even our self.
I must write in the light of my true identity, not for any other reason but to please the One who placed in me the desire to write. He has already decided if I will ever be traditionally published, or who my friends in the business will be or not be. I just need to do what is before me by His design, leaving the rest to Him. I have to align myself with His agenda.
Have you forgotten your writing identity? Your true identity? What has been the one thing that you strive to accomplish in your self-made identity?
May you find the forgotten way.
Blessings, Jan

Jan Cline is an author and speaker from the Pacific Northwest. She also teaches at writers groups and conferences. She is the mother of 3 and the grandmother of 7. Her debut historical novel released in March 2016, Emancipated Heart.

Friday, October 28, 2016


"There are different kinds of working,
but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work."

(I Corinthians 12:6)

What makes a hero and heroine compelling to readers? Often it's the fire and ice relationships that make for an interesting read. In the world of fiction, as well as real life, opposites seem to attract. When creating lead characters, writers often choose unlikely combinations. A backwoodsman and a city girl. A rich heiress and a jewel thief. Why is that? What makes unusual relationships more appealing to readers? I can think of 4 compelling reasons.

It's Unexpected - Fairytales are full of princes and princesses who fall in love and live happily ever after. But today's readers like a challenge. They would much rather read about an international spy who falls for the woman he's sent to investigate. Unexpected relationships tend to...

Pique Interest - Readers seem to enjoy the back and forth dance unusual love relationships inspire. They keep turning pages, wondering how the author will draw these two unique love interests together. To succeed in this, writers must...

Create tension - A story wields a lot more power and intrigue when the leads have to battle insurmountable odds to find true love. In Romeo and Juliet, true love is hindered by family conflict. In The Westside Story, it's opposing gangs that bar the starry-eyed youths from happiness. Differences spark conflict and fuel...

Intriguing Plots - The greater the challenge presented in drawing lead characters together, the more intriguing the plot. Compelling characters demand creativity on the part of writers. But in the end, it's still the happily-ever-after that gives readers the greatest sense of satisfaction.

As a reader, what do you find compelling in the lead characters? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Friday, October 21, 2016


Today I'm thrilled to welcome inspirational, historical romance author, Misty M. Beller to share about her writing journey.

How long have you been writing, Misty?

All my life, I've been a true book lover. Give me a good novel, and you probably won't see me again until it's finished. I've also always enjoyed writing, and tend to express myself best through my written correspondence. In high school, I had a poem published in a commercial poetry compilation book. But I never seriously thought about writing a novel, until about four years ago.

What/who inspired you to write?

I was putting together my bucket list, and realized that I really did want to write a novel. So, "Write a novel that's published" made it near the top! I decided, it's now or never, and made the commitment to do it. So, I had a general idea that I wanted it to be a Christian western romance. But where to start? I finally decided I needed to find a good book to help me plan. I stumbled upon (a.k.a. God led me to) the best possible book to help me get started with a great plan: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. For all you writers out there, I can't recommend it highly enough!

From there, I've soaked in every bit of writing instruction I can from some amazing groups and individuals. And I've spent countless hours sitting with my laptop pouring out words onto the screen. The Lady and the Mountain Man is my first release, but the second novel I wrote. My first novel is under contract with Prism Book Group to release in 2015. Writing is in my blood. It's my passion. A true gift from my Heavenly Father, and I pray daily that he uses the words for His purpose.
You write Historical Romance.

What is your favorite time period to write about? What interests you about this time period?

I tend to be a bit of a sentimentalist, so Historical Romance is perfect for me! My favorite period is between 1860 - 1880, when the cowboy days were really ramping up. I love the simpler life, where there's no rat race. Just hard work, plenty of alone time (can you tell I'm an introvert?), and a strong family unit. My stories usually center around horses and ranching, which comes from my love for the animals. I was completely horse crazy growing up, and actually trained and showed horses professionally for a couple years after high school.

Your debut novel, The Lady and the Mountain Man came out in September, 2014. How’s that going? Can you share with us your experience thus far? Who is your favorite character? Why?

It's been such a blessing to see how God is using The Lady and the Mountain Man. Every book is a journey, and God used a series of closed doors to make it clear which publishing direction he wanted me to go with this book. I'm so thankful for the way he's blessing it!

I have to say my favorite character is Gideon, the handsome, quiet cowboy hero. He reminds me so much of my older brother, David! My brother was my best friend through my growing up years. When I started brainstorming Gideon's character, I kept coming back to David's personality. Maybe because I know him so well, I felt like I understood what made him tick. So, David, this one's for you…

You have a book coming out in December. Can you tell us a little about what we have to look forward to?

My next release, A Pony Express Romance, releases December 27th. Here's the blurb:

After growing up as an orphan, Josiah English wants nothing more than to have his own ranch and raise Arabian horses. Riding for the Pony Express seems like the ticket to his dream. And when he meets the stationmaster’s beautiful sister, it seems he may be within reach of the happy life he craves.
Mara Reid is thrilled to finally meet the man of her dreams, and the fact that they both want to raise horses in the Sweetwater River valley seems like confirmation straight from God. But when the Express shuts down and Mara's family home is in peril, the danger looming over Mara's life may not be half as destructive as that threatening her heart.

That sounds great. We'll definitely look forward to it! Thanks for joining us, Misty!

Connect with Misty at: or on Facebook & Twitter.

Friday, October 14, 2016


"If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God,
who gives generously to all
without finding fault,
and it will be given to you."
(James 1:5)

So you've written a novel. You've polished it until it shines, and are ready to submit to an agent or editor--at least you think you are. Then you take another glance and find you've overused a word or your sentence structure is too similar in places. No matter how many times you read over your work, there always seems room for improvement.

Sound familiar? Maybe, like me, you're wondering, will I ever "arrive" as a writer? Will I ever have my novel so fine-tuned no one will find anything to correct?

Editing is a necessary, often grueling task that requires time and skill. Yet, is there such a thing as over-editing? How do you know when enough is enough? There seems to be no end to it. Following are five suggestions to make edits a little less taxing as you ready your manuscript for submission.

Read - One of the best ways to stay abreast with today's fiction is to become an avid reader. Choose not only popular books, but ones in your genre that capture your interest. There's nothing like ingesting a well-written book to help refine your skills.

Have a Teachable Spirit - Always be learning. Read books that skillfully teach the craft of writing. Attend writers' conferences as able. The more knowledge you gain about writing, the easier it will be to put that wisdom into practice.

Get Connected - Get plugged into a writer's group or with critique partners. The ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) offers a vast variety of ways to hone writing skills and meet like-minded people. Seek out knowledgeable, skilled authors and form relationships. Most are more than willing to share their insights and experiences.

Seek Quality Not Perfection - When it comes to edits, it's important to remember no manuscript will ever reach perfection. You could approach dozens of noteworthy writers/editors and each would tell you something different. There comes a time when you just have to take that step forward and trust God to get you where you need to be.

Pray for Wisdom - Most importantly, pray for God's guidance as you write and as you make decisions in your writing journey. If He has placed it on your heart to write, He'll be faithful to take you down the path He wishes you to go. It's our job to be obedient to His calling.

What helps you improve your writing skills? I'd love to here your suggestions. May the Lord bless your journey!

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