Monday, December 12, 2016

Standing Against Satan

During my Bible study this morning, I came across something that I felt called to share. It spoke to me personally, and I hope that it speaks to you as well. So here goes...

I just read a devotional about Satan and his schemes against believers. It may not be a popular subject (and is often laughed at), but Satan IS indeed real, as are demons. The Bible speaks of them often. And yes, the Devil really does interfere in our lives in tangible ways. It can be minor or major, but it happens.

For the past week or so, Satan has been working his magic in my own life. Causing me to doubt myself, snap (okay, let's be real...yell) at my kids, lose motivation, become extremely discouraged with my career, and on and on. I've been a mess.

I'd forgotten how much I have to be thankful for. I was becoming bitter...and for no good reason.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying, "The Devil made me do it." That's no excuse for my behavior or attitude. We're all responsible for our own actions. God has given us free will, but the Devil can certainly make it difficult to remember God's promises and commands.

So as you go about your day, I'd just like to offer a bit of encouragement. Arm yourself with God's power against the Devil. He's already won the fight; all you have to do is give Him your battles. How? Spend time in His written Word and in prayer every day. When you start to get downcast or stressed out, take a step back and breathe. Find a quiet spot (or as quiet as possible if you have little ones) and pray. It doesn't have to be eloquent. God knows your pain. 

And keep this scripture in mind:

"10. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15. and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:10-18.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Interview with DiAne Gates, Author of "Roped"

A true lady of faith, author DiAne Gates writes Young Adult Fiction and a thought-provoking, inspirational blog. Her words are wise, and her spirit is gentle. And I'm so grateful to have her visiting my blog! 

*** DiAne is giving away an e-copy of Roped and a trio of beautiful matted photos (pictured on the right) to one
lucky winner! To enter, simply comment under the interview with your answer to this question: "What's one word that comes to mind when you think of a rodeo?" *** 

Thanks for joining me today, DiAne. Your debut novel, Roped, was released in August 2015. Can you tell us about it? Maybe give away a little teaser?

Emily, let me thank you for having me. Yes, promotions for Roped are keeping me busy, and I believe I can speak for all authors saying the writing of a book is a cake-walk compared to the promoting…especially for me.

“Like finger-prints at a crime scene, evidence of my bad temper coated everything I touched.” And with that short sentence, thirteen-year-old Crissy Crosby admits her one gigantic character flaw. Her temper. She knows what’s right, but practicing right, when someone bumps-your-basket, causes Crissy’s temper to slosh out on the bumpor. Roped takes us through a difficult time in the Crosbys' life journey. A time that threatens to destroy Crissy. Will she learn from her mistakes? Will she achieve her dreams? You’ll have to read Roped. :) These lips aren’t telling.

That sounds like a great story! Did I read correctly on your website that in addition to writing, you paint, garden, cook, and coach aspiring writers? That’s incredible! How do you fit it all in?

ADD helps! But it drives my husband crazy. God gifted me with an abundance of energy, a love of life, and people, and painting, and—

My husband tells me he can feel me wake up in the darkness of the early morning hours. Yep, before my eyelids open, my brain is racing through the events of the day. He, on the other hand, is laid back and wonderful. Good thing—two of us like me would generate banishment from our neighborhood.

Fifteen years ago, our then twenty-eight-year-old-daughter, Michelle, went home suddenly to be with the Lord. She left behind a five-year-old daughter, a seven-month-old-son, and a grieving husband and family. For the better part of a year, I became instant mommy…again. But in the process, I learned life is a gift not to be wasted. My life verse is Hebrews 12:1-4, where the writer talks about running the race set before us…that’s all I’m doing…running the race. Running to hear my Lord say, “Well done.”

Notice I didn’t include housework and cleaning ovens and ironing on the list. Those things aren’t fun. But what could be more fun and more rewarding than teaching teens to write? And the PageMasters are award winning writers!

It sounds like you stay busy! When you begin to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, what’s your solution? Do you have a certain ritual or activity that helps you refocus and re-energize?

Thirteen years ago, I began facilitating GriefShare, a thirteen week series of Christ-centered support for those who’ve lost loved ones. And yes, I am often overwhelmed, even discouraged, when people choose to remain stuck. Stuck in grief. Stuck in defeat. Stuck in whatever place that prevents them from seeing the gift of life and love Christ died to give us.

When I come to those incapacitating times, I stop, lay face down on the floor, and cry out to God. Casting all my cares upon Him, because He cares for me. And He has never failed to lift my burdened heart and give me His strength, His wisdom, His…whatever I need at the moment. Because He is faithful.

Absolutely! What inspiring words. Speaking of inspiring words, you dedicate your blog to discussing issues facing America today. And with the coming elections, that's a hot topic. What do you think can be done to turn our country back to God?

My blog is written mainly to the Church, because I believe the Church is the problem and is the greatest mission field in the world. If you took a poll of members leaving the sanctuary on any given Sunday, I wonder what you’d find about their knowledge and understanding of the Bible? God has written and preserved His inerrant Word for us in order for us to have a relationship with Him. And we haven’t taught His words to these younger generations, because you can’t teach what you don’t know—what you don’t practice—and what you don’t truly believe and live by.

The fiction I write is reserved for Roped, and soon-to-be Twisted. My blog, Moving the Ancient Boundaries, uncomfortable as it may be, invites the reader to consider how far we’ve removed ourselves, our families, and our nation from the holy boundaries God set to protect not inhibit us. We’ve catapulted over those boundaries, and unless we, the Church - you and me - repent and return to the absolute truth of the Word of God and live by His Truth…there is no hope for America. Because Jesus is our only hope. He is the only Way, only truth, and only Light to salvation.

God is Truth, and as history proves, Truth must judge nations who rebel and turn their backs on The Lord God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Difficult subjects to broach, no doubt. Some may argue that if God existed, He would turn America around right now. That if He had the power to do something, He'd do it. That said, do you ever find yourself wondering why God lets certain things happen? How do you keep your faith when people around you seem to be losing theirs?

Michelle’s death was the pivotal point of testing my faith. She and her husband had just witnessed God do a miracle healing in the womb of their then seven-month-old, happy, healthy boy.

Oh my, I asked all the “why” questions. I prayed for her healing and thought the heavens were brass until one morning, about a year after her death, I sat in a heap on my back patio and cried out, “God, if you’re here I really need to feel your presence.” A gentle breeze wrapped me like those warm micro-waved blankets in the emergency room, and I heard God say as clear as if He physically stood next to me, “DiAne, I did heal Michelle. But I chose to take her home to heal her.”

Even writing this recount, tears fill my eyes and my heart is washed with a fresh coat of grief. Yes, after all these years, grief never goes away. Grief is the price you pay for loving someone. Do I miss her? Oh yes! Would I want her back? Oh no! She’s with her Lord. 

But Deuteronomy 29:29 has been an anchor for me. I’m not going to repeat it here. I’d like you to pick up your Bible and read what God said and allow the Spirit of God to penetrate your heart with His truth, like He did mine that morning.
God’s in control. I’m not. And that’s the greatest promise and the most blessed relief I can think of. My instructions are to “run the race that is set before me…considering Christ…” I can run unhindered because He goes before and behind me and He “makes my feet like his feet.”

Your faith is truly an encouragement and a blessing. Thank you so much for visiting today, DiAne, and for the insight! Where can readers learn more about you and purchase your books?

My blog is not for the fainthearted, but I’d love to have you join the discussion at And feel free to email me at or visit DiAne Gates, Author Page, on Facebook. You can purchase Roped at either (eBook or print) or I’d love to hear from you.

Readers, don't forget to comment below with your one "rodeo word" to be entered to win a FREE digital copy of Roped and three of DiAne's gorgeous photos! 

As always, happy reading!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Magnolia Lake Release Day and Giveaway!

It's Magnolia Lake release day! 

I am beyond excited and couldn't wait to share it with all of you! In honor of this special day, I'm giving away one FREE paperback copy of Magnolia Lake to someone who comments on this post. 

Here's the blurb to give you an idea of what the books' about.

Popular and beautiful, Cora Stephens has it all - including the perfect football-star boyfriend - until one fateful afternoon. Facing heartache and betrayal, Cora turns to long-time friend, Landon, for comfort. While his love for her grows, she does everything in her power to avoid getting hurt again - including flinging herself into the arms of another boy.
 Then, just as Cora’s shattered world starts putting itself back together, life throws something her way that’s more horrific than she ever could have imagined. Through the emotional and physical pain, she begins to lose hope and abandon her faith. Will this once light-hearted, happy prom queen find her way back home? 

In case that peaked your interest (and because I love and appreciate all of you reading this blog), here's a little sneak peak! 

I changed clothes and made it just in time to plop down on the hard floor and get into a stretching position before the coach noticed. 

Valerie must have seen something in my expression. “Looks like somebody’s been up to no good.” She winked as we stretched.

My eyes were wide with innocence as I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on, Cor! Your face is all flushed,” she whispered, “and you were the last one dressed. I may not have a boyfriend right now, but that doesn’t mean I forgot how to read the signs. You managed to fit in a quick make-out session and still get here with one minute to spare!"

Although her accusations made me blush, the corners of my mouth turned up into a mischievous grin. There was no use trying to lie to her. She had a strange sixth sense about these things. “Well, maybe a quick one,” I answered. “But, in my defense, there are only so many unsupervised hours in a day. Jeff and I don’t get much alone time.”

Lacy overheard us and chimed in. “Oh, you are so lucky! To have such a hot, manly guy. Mike won’t even kiss me on the cheek at school. He’s so worried about what his friends will think. It drives me crazy! I need a little action, ya know. A little adventure.”

Coach Rivers shot us a stern glance. Not wanting to be on the wrong side of one of Coach’s endless tirades, I focused on the hardwood floor, spread my legs, and continued stretching.

After two hours of running, dancing, and stunting, my friends and I walked lethargically to our cars. When we reached Lacy’s car, she hurriedly jumped in with only a quick, “See ya later,” before speeding off.

I looked at Valerie, who gave a quick shrug of her shoulders before asking, “So, Cor, wanna ride together tomorrow and go to the mall after practice?” 

“Yeah, sounds good. I need new jeans. We can look at prom dresses too! Just for fun,” I answered with excitement. “I’ll call Kayla and Lacy tonight. Maybe they’ll wanna meet us.” 

We stood in the parking lot, talking about our shopping trip and which stores we wanted to visit. When we finally finished our conversation fifteen minutes later, I decided to put up the top on my car since the sky promised a downpour.

I was proven right just as I exited the student parking lot and the bottom suddenly fell out of the sky, producing sheets of rain that caused me to immediately let my foot off the gas and turn my windshield wipers up as high as possible. It had been perfectly clear for most of the day. Where’d the sun go in such a short amount of time?

As I came to one of the streets I would normally take home, I noticed it was closed due to a wreck. Detour signs were set up a few feet before the crash site, so I turned down an unfamiliar dirt road. 

That’s when I noticed Jeff’s truck parked on the grass to the right of the gravel. My heart started to pound. I knew it was his by the University of Georgia sticker on the back glass. There was no sign of him, but no sign he’d been involved in a crash, either—no other cars, no tree limbs sticking out, nothing. But also no Jeff.

With my stomach in knots, I jerked the steering wheel and rolled to a stop behind the truck. My imagination ran wild as I pictured Jeff being robbed at gunpoint or something else horrific. I just knew he was in a ditch somewhere, left for dead. I practically flew out of my car and around the front of his truck. There was mumbling and gasping coming from the woods several feet away. 

I started to panic, my mind racing. A million thoughts ran through my head. Was he hurt? Who was that talking? What happened? Had someone dragged him from the car? 

I didn’t even notice the wet grass sloshing under my feet and spraying my ankles and calves with mud. It was a good thing I hadn’t changed back into my school clothes. I was still wearing shorts and tennis shoes, much better to run in than the high heels I’d sported earlier.

The mumbling noises were getting closer. I saw a path I hadn’t noticed before. A car was parked at the end of that path in the woods. I walked closer to the car and peered inside. Through the fog of the windows, there was Jeff. And there was Lacy pressed against him.

I hope you enjoyed that excerpt! Links to purchase Magnolia Lake are below. Don't forget to leave me a comment for the chance to win a FREE paperback copy! 

And remember, reviews are the lifeline of a book. If you read Magnolia Lake, please leave an honest review on Amazon. It's much appreciated! 

Happy reading!




Thursday, March 10, 2016

Why God Calls Us to Dream Big

I’m a dreamer - always have been. I’m a head-in-the-clouds kind of girl. When I was a kid, my dream was to be a country music star. I even started my college career off as a music major. But when I realized all I could do with that degree was teach, my plans changed.

A few semesters later, I switched my concentration to Public Relations...again, dreaming big. I pictured myself doing PR for some major fashion brand, planning runway shows and after-parties - being thrust into a world of glamour and sparkle. Unfortunately, I was one of the not-so-lucky college grads who went into the workforce right as the economy was crashing. And I learned pretty quickly that jobs in PR were few and far between. The glamorous positions I had dreamed of weren’t open to entry level candidates, and most other businesses were cutting back on (or completely eliminating) their PR departments.

But all wasn’t lost. I was fortunate enough to move within the same company I’d been working for as an office assistant to a different position as the PR/Marketing Manager. Basically, it was a small company that created a position for me. I was more than grateful and things went well for a while, but eventually I began to feel burnt out. Some things happened and I needed a change. So, I turned to Mary Kay - another big dream.

When I met my Mary Kay director, I knew it was something I had to try. Now, I’d never been a salesperson before and the thought of selling made me cringe, but Mary Kay seemed like the best opportunity to control my own future. I was excited about the possibilities presented to me.

But yet again, my dreams turned sour. I didn’t have the confidence or the motivation necessary to make something like that work. As much as I loved the product and what the company stood for, I simply couldn’t get my consulting business off the ground running. Maybe I gave up too soon. Or maybe I didn’t have enough passion to drive me to success because it simply wasn’t my calling. 

Naturally, I began looking for my next career move. And what I found was far beyond anything I could have imagined. Because by this point, I’d given up on my “dreams,” with only the need to help my new husband pay the bills moving me forward. Then I stumbled across a small business with big dreams of its own. I stumbled across people who really cared about their employees. I stumbled across a place to call home for the next four years.

I’ll never forget my time there or the people who so impacted my life. But still...something inside me was screaming, gasping for air. No matter how happy I was at my job or how much I loved being a part of something so amazing, I felt that I wasn’t fulfilling my life’s potential. Deep down, I knew God had something else planned for me.

Intensifying that nagging feeling was the desire to be home with my children. Our daughter was three at the time, and I had just found out I was expecting again. And no job - no matter how perfect - could stifle my yearning to be there for my kids.   

So I began to let myself dream again. I dreamed about what it would be like to work from home. I dreamed about spending my days drawing pictures with words.

See, sometime during the last few years, I had started writing a novel. It was just something I worked on when I had a bit of free time. I eventually self-published it - with very little success. I’d always dreamed (there’s that word again) of being a writer, but that seemed to be the one idea I silenced the most. I pushed it to the back of my mind because I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know if it could even be done.

But here I am, on the cusp of that same novel’s official release day. Tomorrow, my dream finally becomes reality. Finally. And it’s surreal.

Looking back on all my failed efforts, I can’t help but smile. It turns out, the one thing I’d avoided - the thing I’d been the most afraid of - was the one thing I was meant to do.

Why? Why did I go through so many trial-and-error dreams before finding my truth? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I don’t regret dreaming big. I’ll never regret it, not even a little bit. Not even those dreams that weren’t meant to be. Because I’ve realized something. God wants us to dream big.

I’ve read the statistics about authors - how much money they make (or don’t make, I should say), how unlikely it is to succeed in this industry. But I still dream. I still cling to the conviction that started all of this in the first place. Have I failed miserably in the past? More times than I can count. And I continue to fail at something - whether it’s motherhood, marriage, or career - every single day. But God doesn’t give up on me.

When I’m falling flat on my face, He’s there. When I’m struggling to remember the why behind all the mess I may be going through, He reminds me. I look into the sweet faces of my children or I see a story about the evil in this world, and I remember my purpose. I remember that if even one person gets inspired to make a change, turn to God, or encourage someone else, I’ve done my job. And it’s all worth it.

Still...why does God continue to let me fail while simultaneously encouraging me to dream? If my dreams might never see the light of day, why does He give them to me? It’s simple: for faith.

How can we possibly know the majesty and unbelievable power of God if we never experience a dream coming true? How can we feel His grace, love, and unfaltering patience if we never fail? How will we know what it means to really depend on God if He doesn’t let us try to first do things on our own?  

I believe with all my heart that God wants us to dream big - as big as we possibly can. Because He has the power to exceed even our greatest imaginings. He can do things that would blow your mind. Things we don’t dare dream about. But He can only do those things if we’re following His path for us.

There’s a Bible verse that a lot of Christians (myself formerly included) misinterpret. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I used to think that meant God would give me anything I wanted if I just believed in Him. Wrong.

What I’ve learned the verse actually means is this. If we delight in the Lord, really delight in Him - spend time in prayer and Bible study daily, soaking up His wisdom and peace - He’ll show us what He wants to do with our lives. And then He’ll place desires in our hearts. Those things, His plans, will become what we ourselves desire.

This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn. I used to believe if I wanted something that seemed noble or right, then it was part of God's plan. But that’s simply not true. While I do believe He gives each person unique talents and dreams, I don’t think you can consider anything you do ordained by God unless you’re close with Him. Even then, it takes a lot of time in prayer and a lot of being open to opportunities (and failures) to determine your God-given purpose.

Here’s a personal example from my own life. There have been many freelance writing opportunities presented to me lately, but not a single one has worked out. Each time I think something seems “perfect” and would provide more financial stability to my life, it gets snatched away as quickly as it was found. And each time, I get on my knees and plead with God to send me another opportunity. And He does. And then He takes it away. Why? Why, God?

I’m finally starting to see. Through a lot of frustration and even more prayer, the reason is becoming clear. That’s the only way God can get through to me. It’s the only way He can tell me to stop trying to make other things happen and to instead spend that time writing and promoting my fiction. Sometimes God speaks through our struggles. We just need to listen.

This is hard, to say the least. My doubts tell me I’ll never reach the level of success I need. They tell me I’m wasting time on things that aren’t paying me right now, things that might never pay me. But God tells me to have faith. He tells me to stop worrying, because He has always - and I mean always - taken care of my family and me.

And most of all, He tells me to keep on dreaming big.        

Friday, February 26, 2016

Interview with Linda Shew Wolf, Author of "A Firefly Life"

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing fellow Prism Book Group author, Linda Shew Wolf. Linda is a novelist, teaching consultant, musician, and all-around friendly, caring person. It's my honor to give you a glimpse into the workings of her mind. 

Thank you so much for joining me on Books and Babies today, Linda! Let’s jump right in and get to the good stuff.
For my readers who may not know, you write Young Adult fiction. What inspired you to focus on that genre, specifically?
I find that age group especially fascinating, and I’ve always appreciated YA fiction, even as an adult. I’m not surprised that this genre is gaining such popularity these days with adult readers. Young adults are at a critical crossroads in their lives—trading the innocence and directness of youth for the complicated perspectives of adult life. Caught between two worlds, they are exceptionally well equipped to see things with fresh, honest eyes. It’s a delight to connect with them.
I’ve never outgrown my love for YA fiction, either. In fact, I probably appreciate it even more as an adult than I did as a teen. That said, is it difficult for you to write from the perspective of a young teenager? How do you get into the zone?
I am consistently awed by people who can churn out 1,000 words or more a day. I’ve spent my working life as a professional editor, so it’s difficult for me to “just write” from the right brain and be in the flow of that. When it does happen, it’s a wonderful feeling. More often than not, I begin a writing session by rereading my last writing and fine-tuning it a bit in preparation for the next installment. When I revisit my work first (and I know most writers advise against this), I find I can pick up the thread and immerse myself in the world of the story more fully.
Is it difficult to write from the perspective of a young teenager? Not if you’re an overgrown child at heart! I often ask much younger writers to be careful to keep things PG13 when they read their work aloud to me because there’s a child in the room. I think many of us, especially those in the arts, are very good friends with our young teen wiring and mindset. 
I believe there’s a magic we retain from our childhood that hits a kind of critical mass when we start to grow up. During that chaotic period in our teens, all the sparks start flying and we make critical decisions in our souls about what we will keep and what we will give up.
Wow! I, too, have always felt a connection with my inner teen, but I’ve never been able to adequately put that connection into words. You’ve described it beautifully!
I noticed that, in addition to being a writer, you’re a musician. I think there’s something about music and fiction writing that go hand-in-hand; both evoke the dreamers in us all. Would you agree, and does music ever play a role in your writing?
It definitely does, and I love this question! In this novel, the music of the 60s is frequently quoted and almost functions as another minor character. I agree with you that there is a shared creative process between music and fiction writing. 
Even the most realistic fiction has a transcendent quality that lifts us out of the confines of our working heads, just as music does. I’m always amazed that when I’m playing music (especially when performing), time loses its grip and I find myself in a completely different zone, like a dream state as you pointed out. This can happen during writing and reading fiction as well—such a lovely and important release.
Agreed! So, you also work as a curriculum consultant. Does this profession give insight into the innermost thoughts and feelings of young adults?
Yes, and my respect for these young people has deepened by watching what they respond to, how they gravitate to stories and music. One of my favorite things to do with young adults is introduce them to music they may not hear often (jazz, Balkan folk tunes, Beethoven, African songs, bluegrass) and ask them to write a story or poem based on the feelings created by the music. 
Teens are pretty cagey about expressing deep emotions in a school setting, but some surprisingly powerful writing has come from some of those sessions. I think we would do well to pay more attention to the insights of our young people.
It’s so important to invest in the lives of our youth - you seem to do a great job of that! To close things out, can you give our audience a peek into your recent book, A Firefly Life?
It’s 1968 in upstate NY. Melanie is a 13-year-old who is not developing physically as quickly as the other girls in her class but who has the romantic heart of an older girl. A gorgeous guy, Jonathan, moves to her small town and takes her completely off guard. It’s love at first sight, and to her, it’s the real deal. Unfortunately, most of the other girls at her school feel the same way about him, so she has to get creative to get his attention. Through some unexpected events, she becomes his little sister’s babysitter, and works her way into his inner circle.
The problem is, the boy has plans for his escape from the confines of the town, and most of those plans involve secrecy and lying. Melanie has to figure out where she stands with that, especially when it affects her relationship with her family and her best friend.
I grew very attached to Melanie’s best friend, Jo, and her family, especially since a white girl with a black girl for a best friend was unusual back in the 60s. I also enjoyed developing a subplot about the strong bond that grows between Melanie and Jonathan’s autistic little sister. These subplots afforded more opportunities for Melanie to explore her own inner feelings about right and wrong, loyalty, honesty, faith, and love.
The story sounds amazing! Thanks for taking time to chat with me! Where can readers find your book?
And there you have it, folks. I hope you've enjoyed this interview as much as I have! To learn more about Linda, check out her blog
Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Interview with Danele Rotharmel, Author of Time Tsunami

One of the things I love best about the publishing process with Prism Book Group is the sense of community between the authors. Each and every one has been extremely supportive of me, always willing to answer questions or offer encouragement. 

But Danele J. Rotharmel...well, she takes the cake. She’s one of the most thoughtful, selfless, and inspiring people I’ve ever met. It’s an honor to have her on my blog today.

Thanks so much for joining me, Danele! 

Thank you, Emily! I really enjoyed being here today! You are an incredible person, and I feel very blessed to know you!

Your debut novel, Time Tsunami, was just released on Friday and has already received tons of positive feedback. As a new author, I’m curious to know how the experience has been for you, and some of your writing secrets. What motivates you to write?

My motives have changed down through the years. When I was in school, I wrote because it was a BLAST! Writing stories was so much fun! And when I became ill, I wrote as a way to distract myself from extreme pain. Now, I want to write as a way to glorify God.

When I first became ill, I was so angry at God. I didn’t understand why I had to suffer. I yelled at God, I ignored Him, I even tried to deny His existence. But even though I was acting like a spoiled child, God continued to love me. He helped me. He gave me peace and restored my joy. I want to spend the rest of my life serving Him.   

What an amazing testimony and great use of your God-given talents! Some people would say there’s a wide gap between serving God and writing science fiction. I think some readers assume that Christian-themed books are “boring” by nature. (We, of course, know that’s not true!) So take us through your process a bit. Why did you choose to write about time travel?

Time Tsunami started out as a short story for a college creative writing class. I was a cadet teacher at the time, and I was wishing for a way to warn my students about pitfalls they might encounter. I have a quirky brain; so naturally, my wild imagination ran right to time travel.

Later, when I became ill, I had a box full of old stories that I could revamp into novels, but I chose Time Tsunami because of the time travel aspect. You see, I desperately wished that I could travel back through time and prevent myself from being poisoned by that faulty furnace. A simple $35 carbon monoxide detector would have saved me from years of suffering and pain. I used to fantasize about going back through time and placing a detector in my house.

It’s amazing how the human brain works, taking a difficult situation and turning it into a best-selling novel. As an avid reader myself, I always love to learn how authors come up with their stories. I’m also curious how other writers create their characters. What’s your strategy?

I like to think that my characters create themselves. I don’t want to just record what my characters did; I want to understand why they did it. As my imagination roams, I begin to know my characters inside and out. They become very real to me. One of the hardest parts about writing has been keeping some of my characters’ backstories to myself—I want to share every detail. But that would make my books WAY too long!

With such detailed backstories for your characters, it seems as if you’d never experience writer’s block. But being an author myself, I know better. ;) How do you handle it when it happens to you?

Writer’s block isn’t fun, and I think the best way to tackle it is by analyzing where it’s coming from. I tend to split the condition into three categories: mental, environmental, and tactical.

Mental writer’s block needs to be attacked head on. I usually get it when I doubt my abilities or when I’m not sure how to proceed with a scene. When this happens, I force myself to write even though I’m worried I’ll be cranking out junk. Some of my best passages have come from “tough-love” sessions.

Environmental writer’s block happens when I have cabin fever. In these cases, the best thing I can do is get outside and take a brisk walk. Looking at the blue sky will usually brush the cobwebs from my mind.

Tactical writer’s block comes when I’m forcing myself to concentrate on only one area of my book. I avoid this by making sure my stories revolve around several sets of characters—that way if I’m stuck in one area, the other areas are usually still flowing.

I like that - determine where the issue’s coming from so that you can address it directly. I might just have to try that myself! So, one last question for my readers who may not be familiar with everything that goes into getting a book published. What has been the most difficult part of the publishing process for you?

For me it’s been waiting. When I was in high school, I was voted the most optimistic in my class, but I was also voted the biggest procrastinator. I thought the “procrastination” title was extremely funny until I got to college and realized I needed to reform. When I do something, I tend to do it thoroughly.

When I decided to change, I reformed to the extent that I now tackle problems head on—no waiting—no dillydallying. I want to plow thorough every task and put it behind me. But you can’t do that when it comes to the publishing process. You have to work around other people’s busy schedules. Impatience is a killer. It’s much better to trust God with your life’s timetable.  

I completely understand the struggle to have patience. I think that’s the most difficult part of many Christians’ lives: learning to wait for God’s perfect timing. We want everything to happen when it’s convenient for us, even though we know God’s timing is flawless. Thanks again for joining my blog today, Danele, and for all the insight. I wish you continued success with your release! 

Thank you, Emily! I really enjoyed being here today! You are an incredible person, and I feel very blessed to know you!

For my readers, here’s a brief synopsis to whet your palette. Below the synopsis you’ll find links to buy the book and connect with Danele. Happy reading!

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…

Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother. If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.

William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path?

Will she return from the deadly mission?

Buy the book:                                                                                
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

An Open Letter to My Father-in-Law in Heaven

Dear Jim,

Christmas is next week, and I can't help but remember the year you bought that little yellow Corvette for our precious girl. She really loves that car, you know. And she loves you. So much.

As I sit here and think of you, I wish I could tell you how very much we miss you. How Cora will talk about you at the most random times, how she'll get really quiet and say "I just miss Poppee" when we ask her what's wrong. How your son wishes more than anything to see you on Christmas, and how he remembers - with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes - all the things you did for him growing up. All the sacrifices you made so that he could have an amazing childhood.

I wish I could tell you in person how overwhelmingly thankful I am to you for loving me the way you did. You always made me feel welcome - like part of the family. You treated me with kindness. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

I wish I could thank you for loving my children with all your heart, for always bringing crackers and treats for them, making them feel special - even if it meant spending your last dime. I will always remember the way their faces lit up every time you visited.

And finally, I wish I could tell you how happy your son makes me, and what an amazing husband and father he is. I know you were proud of him while you were here on Earth and that you're proud of him even now, looking down on us from Heaven. But I worry that I didn't show you often enough how proud I am of him, too - so I want you to know that I am. And I owe you so much for teaching him what it means to be a hardworking, supportive man.

All these things I wish I could say to you will forever be held captive in my heart. I can only hope that, somehow, you know.

We never imagined that we wouldn't have you with us this year for Christmas. I know God needed you and that it was time for you to leave your imperfect earthly body. But that knowledge only slightly diminishes the pain. My heart aches for your sons, your mother, your grandchildren, and, yes, your daughters-in-law. All of our souls will forever have a Poppee-sized hole in them.

So today, I will hold your son and grandchildren a little more tightly. I will love more fully. And I will laugh more often, remembering that these days on Earth are numbered.


We love you and miss you.
Merry Christmas in Heaven, Poppee.