Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Author Spotlight: Brenda S. Anderson

I recently came across this author through a writing organization I am a part of. Her books sound like my kind of books, so I wanted share with you and spotlight her newest release. Enjoy!
~ ~ ~
About the Book

After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger …

A hungry, homeless teen.
The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled.

The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts.
And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home.

Pre-Order Hungry for Home for Kindle  

Check out the entire Coming Home Series: 
Pieces of Granite (Prequel)
Chain of Mercy (book one)
Memory Box Secrets (book two)
Hungry for Home (book three)
~ ~ ~
Meet the Author

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 28 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Connect with Brenda

Brenda's Interview:

What does your family think of your writing? I’m very blessed to have 100% support from my family. My husband is my loudest cheerleader, and my dad is close behind.

What book are you currently reading? I just finished The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz. I’m not typically a historical fiction reader, but Laura is such an amazing wordsmith and storyteller, I eagerly anticipate reading her books every year.

When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing? I love music, baseball, roller coasters, spending time with family, movies. My family all enjoys the Marvel superhero movies. You could say we’re Marvel geeks. J

Where do you get constructive critiques and feedback? From a few different areas. I have a couple first readers who get to read my stories in their earliest forms. Their opinions help me shape the book for my next readers who are my critique partners. And I’m blessed to have The Best critique partners. They’ve helped me grow so much as a writer and their hands-on help has been far more valuable than conferences or writing books. 

What advice, if any, do you have for others aspiring to publish a book of their own/follow their dream? Write your passion, and it will come through in your stories. If God has called you to be a writer, then be obedient. He’ll open the doors He needs to be opened, but keep in mind, His definition of success likely won’t match the world’s definition.

What is your book about? Hungry for Home is about a woman who his mugged by a homeless teen. Instead of pressing charges, she and her husband take the teen into their home.  A couple of themes are prevalent in this story: defining what “home” really is (Proverbs 24:3-4) and showing Jesus to the hungry, thirsty, and homeless around us (Matthew 25:35).

What motivated you to write on this topic? Why do you feel you had to tell this story? About four years ago, news reports focused on the huge number of homeless teens in our county. As a writer, my first thought was, “How did they become homeless?” and then, “How can we help them?” Hungry for Home is just one teen’s fictional story out of thousands. My hope is to raise awareness for this crisis which unfortunately continues on today.

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story? Are there other books in the works? Hungry for Home is the fourth book in my Coming Home series. The hero, Richard Brooks, is in all four books, three of which he is the lead. The first book is a prequel which follows Richard’s sister.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Called by Name

A couple weeks ago at Bible study, my name tag kept coming off! I would pick it up and press it onto my shirt, then not 5 minutes later, find it on the floor or on the table. After several attempts, I finally gave up making it stick. The fabric of my shirt just wasn’t stickable!

Belonging to Christ is kind of like wearing a fabric that isn’t stickable. Before, we wore names like abandoned, defeated, pressed down, sinner, liar, and loser. Sometimes, we pick up those names and try to stick them back on, but Christ died so we don’t have to!

He has a quite a few names He gives us: beloved, forgiven, overcomer, victor, blessed, chosen, His own…

Is there a name you are trying to stick back onto your life?
Take a moment and turn it over to God.
Recommit to only wearing Christ’s names for you.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Spotlight: Jennifer Slattery Author of Intertwined

Jennifer Slattery and her husband Steve
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction that will impact your life. The words may be fiction, but weaved into the fabric of her stories is truth. The truth about need in our world and how one person can make a difference. And by the end of her books, you're wondering how you can be that one person! While writing her most recent book, Intertwined, her husband, Steve, decided to be that one! Read an interview with him below the book information. 

Connect with Jennifer
~ ~ ~
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace. Readers will fall in love with the realistic characters and enjoy the combination of depth, heart-felt emotion and humor that makes Jennifer’s novels so appealing. Readers will be inspired to find God in every moment and encounter in their own lives!

Get your copy: Amazon   CBD  Barnes & Noble
~ ~ ~
An Interview with a Living Donor: Steve

What’s it like being married to a writer? Uh… A writer that has OCD? (That’s a question.) I like hearing Jen’s stories and thoughts. I like reading her work. I’m very proud of her.

What might surprise people about Jennifer? *Extended silence.* That she has a college aged daughter and looks so young.  (And his wife swoons!)

Tell us about Intertwined. This story impacted you, didn’t it? The process in the story impacted me. Just listening to Jen work on the story and talk about it with Ami Koelliker, her friend who worked in the organ donation industry, got me thinking about people needing organs and the people donating organs.

Did anything surprise you while you were listening? I was surprised this was someone’s full time job, to work on getting these organs to people in need. I wasn’t aware of that whole situation. I thought it was something the hospital did. I didn’t realize there was a whole organ donation network.

Sam, shortly after surgery.
You donated a kidney to, basically, a stranger, correct? Tell us about what happened leading you to donate. In October, I had heard Jen talking about a young man named Sam’s need for a kidney. We were praying for him, and one night she prayed specifically at dinner. And God was working on me, and made me think, “Why couldn’t it be?”

So, I went and talked to a friend from work who had just given a kidney to one of his cousins just maybe four or five months earlier, so I asked him about it. I felt this was God working on me again. Here my wife was just working on a story about donation, and my coworker had recently donated a kidney. When Sam’s need came up, I felt the need to do it.

You said you felt a need to do it. Explain. Sam was in dire need of a kidney, and, based on Jen’s prayers for him and his mom, I got the impression he wasn’t having much luck. I felt there was a good chance he might die, if somebody didn’t step up. I couldn’t let that happen. So then I went to Nebraska Medical Enter and went through the process of getting qualified. That was a four or five month ordeal that involved sever exams, numerous blood draws, and toting around my urine (for testing purposes) for two days.

During the urine toting days, you did something with your teenaged daughter. Can you tell us about that? She wanted to go shopping, and I told her I didn’t have a problem going, but I’d have to bring my jug of urine with me. Every time I went to the bathroom, I had to urinate in a jug that I kept refrigerated or iced. When I left the house, I had to take the jug with me in a cooler full of ice. So I took the cooler with me and dragged it behind me in the mall.

What were her thoughts about that. She wasn’t pleased that dad was taking his urine with him. *chuckles.* She couldn’t  understand why I couldn’t leave it in the car, but if I had to go the bathroom I didn’t want to have to run out and get it.

Did you second guess your decision? I never really second guessed it, but I did get very nervous the day before. I was nervous about it—not about the decision but about the procedure. I feared the unexpected. I wanted everything to turn out ok for Sam and me. I wanted it as much for him as much as for me, because it wasn’t a straight donation. It was a three-way donation. One of my fears was that I would donate and the guy on the other end wouldn’t and Sam would be left hanging.

Did you feel God guide you through this? Definitely. I felt it was Him leading me to donate, and then before the surgery, the night before, I went to play softball. I left about two hours early because I was so nervous. I was sitting in the parking lot of the softball field, on the back of the car, drinking water. This guy shows up out of nowhere, and he drove up, came to me, and said, “I felt the need to come and pray.” I said, “That’s funny because I do need prayers. Tomorrow, I’m going to donate a kidney.”

He said a prayer for me, and I felt total relief, everything was taken off of me. And then he got in his car and left. I felt like God had sent an angel to me to help ease my anxiety, and after that, I knew everything was going to be ok.

So how are you doing today? 100% healthy.

Would you do it again? Definitely.  I can see the results. I can see Sam healthy, and that’s a good feeling, knowing I did that.
Sam, the summer after, healthy and strong.
 Your wife calls you her warrior. How does that feel? It feels pretty awesome to know your wife thinks of you as her warrior. It gives me an incredibly strong feeling, empowering. 

Meet the Author

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Connect with Jennifer

Do you have a question for Jennifer?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How to Train Your Kids in Godliness (when you struggle with it yourself)

Lindsey Bell writes weekly on her blog about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given. I invited her over today to share some parenting encouragement with us. I hope, as you read through her post you will find that even if you don't have children living at home, these tips are great for any phase of life. 
~ ~ ~
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash
Last night, I put my kids to bed at 7 PM.

It was either that or lose my temper with them yet again that evening. I chose an early bedtime.

Have you been there?

I adore my children (as I’m sure you do too), but there are some days when they push me so much that I turn into this person I don’t even recognize…impatient, unkind, and irritable.

My goal as a Christian mom is to teach my kids by my example what it means to follow Jesus. I want to be for them a living, breathing picture of the Father.

When they look at me, I want them to see Jesus.

Unfortunately, that’s not what they often see.

Instead of love, they see frustration. Instead of kindness, they see irritation. Instead of Jesus, they see a whole lot of Lindsey.

So what’s a mom to do when she wants to teach her kids about godliness but struggles with it herself?

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Cut yourself some slack.

The truth is, you’re never going to be godly on your own. It’s not possible. The only person who never made a mistake was Jesus.

You’re going to fail at godliness. We all do.

But the cool thing about godliness is that it’s really not about us. Godliness is all about Jesus. It’s about putting on HIS godliness like a cloak and allowing HIS godliness to cover your life…which brings me to my next point.

2. Connect with the Father.

Because godliness is all about Jesus, the only way to grow in godliness is to grow in your relationship with Jesus.

Spend time each day connecting with Him and asking Him to fill your life. Pray for His spirit to fill your life so much that when you spill over, it’s Him that seeps out instead of yourself.

3. When you fail, make it right. Then do better next time.

When the inevitable happens and you fail, make amends. If you lose your temper with your kids, apologize and seek forgiveness.

Allow your children to see your humility. Allow them to see your attempts.

Because the truth is, they’ll see your progress (probably long before you do). They’ll see how much you’re trying to be like Jesus. 

4. Watch what goes into their minds.

What goes in will come out.

That goes for us, but it also goes for our children. Pay special attention to the things they watch or read.

5. Grow in godliness yourself.

Ask God to grow godliness in your life. Fill your life with things that are good and pleasing to Him. Seek accountability for areas in which you struggle.

Be more like Jesus.

Because when you do, your kids will follow in your footsteps.

What else would you add to this list?

~ ~ ~

Lindsey Bell is the author of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity, and of the upcoming Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two silly boys, a minister’s wife, an avid reader, and a lover of all things chocolate. Lindsey writes weekly on her blog, Embrace the Momentsabout faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given. 

Connect with Lindsey

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest    
Sign up for Lindsey's newsletter HERE

Searching for Sanity  
Have you ever looked at your beloved children and wondered, what in the world am I doing? Why did God trust me—of all people—to raise them? Motherhood is the most difficult job many of us will ever take. Searching for Sanity offers moms an opportunity to take a breath, dig into the Word, and learn from parents of the past. In short devotions designed for busy moms, this book uses the parents of the Bible—both the good and the bad—to inspire today’s mothers. 
You can pick up a copy today at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Coming in 2016

Unbeaten:How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain will encourage those who have been hurt to dig into the Scriptures and discover what the Bible has to say about their problems. It will look at biblical heroes who went through painful circumstances and answer the question, what does this story have to do with me and how can I (like these people) rise above this trial? Discover Unbeaten on Lindsey's website.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Increasing Your Joy

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. Psalms 27:5-7 (NIV)

When our life feels heavy, we often have to choose to shout with joy. Despite feelings. Despite circumstances. It can be a sacrifice to do this when all we want to do is hide and weep. When we are weary and afraid.

Sometimes God sends things our way that give us a smile and a moment of uplift to look beyond our circumstance and dares us to hope. An extra beautiful sunrise. A friend’s hug. A need met.

It can also be helpful to create a few of these moments. Like sprinkling joy into our day. Blowing bubbles with our kids. Having a tickle fight. Singing in the shower.

The funny thing is, when we CHOOSE joy, hope starts to take root! And we all need hope.

To encourage you, each month in my newsletter, I am including a page of ideas to sprinkle joy into your day. With a few spaces for you to add your own ideas. Hang it on your fridge, tuck it into your calendar or tack it to your wall. And before life can put a lid on your light, choose to sprinkle some joy into your day!

Sign up HERE to receive your own joy sprinkles each month!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

True Inspiration: Final Grace for Reverend G by RJ Thesman

Its time for the final chapter on one of my favorite fictional characters. So much truth and inspiration within these pages. From feisty reverend to floundering Alzheimer’s patient, Reverend G is a true hero of the faith as she clings to God no matter what. I hope you take time to read the whole Reverend G series! You will be blessed.
~ ~ ~

She has reached the final stages of Alzheimer’s still, Reverend G finds ways to bring encouragement and humor to the residents of Cove Creek. The cast of characters at the assisted living facility widens around her, even as her world begins to shrink. She becomes a grandmother and her relationship with Chris deepens through need and grace. Meanwhile, the disease is always there, robbing her of memories and now, even her words. But even as Reverend G struggles to communicate with her friends and family, she remains steadfastly honest in prayer. Once worried about forgetting God, the brave little minister discovers that He will never forget her.   

Get your own copy at CrossRiver Media  

~ ~ ~

From the heart of RJ Thesman: 
At some point, every novelist must say goodbye.

The writer spends months thinking about a character and conversing in the make believe world of words – fleshing out the character, checking the nuance of her speech, falling in love with her thoughts and cherishing her family members.

But eventually, the writing is complete, the book is published and that character’s story reclines on a library shelf waiting for readers to pull it off and escape into its chapters.

Since 2010, I have lived with Reverend G, this gutsy petite minister from the heartland who devotes her life to serving God, then receives the death sentence of dementia with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Reverend G has wakened me in the early hours to remind me how her mind struggles with the ravages of the disease even as her heart hopes to continue serving God.

She is as real to me as my reflection in the mirror, and I have felt her despair even as I fashioned it on my computer screen. As the creative juices merged into sentences and paragraphs, Reverend G became my psychiatrist’s couch.

Somehow, I found solace in telling the truth of this horrid disease that my mother is currently living with. It was almost as if Mom shadowed Reverend G and embodied her spirit so that all three of us could simultaneously cry, “Oh, God – I can’t stand it.”

Many of the scenes in the Reverend G series were synonymous with my journal entries every time I visited Mom. No paragraphs are exactly the same, because this series is after all, fiction.

But while Mom forgot names and lost her hearing aid – again! – Reverend G forgot the Lord’s Prayer and lost her Chunky Monkey ice cream. While Mom frustrated me in her last shopping trip because she couldn’t decide on a purse, Reverend G frustrated Jessie while shopping for a cream-colored blouse.

Fiction does mimic reality and novels show the truth, even while wrapped in pretend worlds. And the Reverend G books allowed me to insert humor and the companionship of Reverend G’s boyfriend and cat because I could find no laughter in Mom’s situation. Her companion of a lifetime died in 2004.

To say goodbye to this courageous little minister is to realize my mother’s story will also end and with it – a piece of my history. I am so grateful God planted this story in my head, then dared me to consider writing fiction after decades of published nonfiction.

While I have grieved the end of this series, I am grateful for the journey and for the readers who shared it with me. I hope you will purchase “Final Grace for Reverend G” and find closure when you read its last pages. May you also recognize the hope printed within dialogue that points to the divine Word who communicates his love to us all.     
~ ~ ~

RJ Thesman has been a writer since she flipped open her Red Chief tablet and scribbled her first story. Thesman is a Certified Life Coach, a Biblical Counselor and a Stephen Minister. She has worked as a communications professional in a variety of nonprofits and has served as campus minister to international students at the University of Kansas. Currently, she is Program Director and Life Coach at GateWay of Hope.

As the author of “The Life at Cove Creek Series,” Thesman has completed the trilogy about the gutsy little minister, Reverend G, who struggles through Alzheimer’s but keeps her faith. Thesman has over 600 publishing credits in various magazines and her work is included in 13 compilations, including 5 Chicken Soup books. 

Thesman enjoys teaching writing workshops and as a writing coach, she helps writers move past obstacles and birth their words.

She is the mother of an adult son and enjoys reading, gardening and cooking – especially anything with blueberries. Thesman lives in the heartland of Kansas with her son and an elderly cat.
~ ~ ~

Connect with RJ Thesman

Sign up for her newsletter!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Spotlight and Review: Justified by Varina Denman

Justified by Varina Denman
Reviewed by Angela D. Meyer
Radiant Lit Blog Tours
Genre : Contemporary Fiction           
Publisher: David C. Cook      
Release Date: June 1, 2015

In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.

My review:

Justified definitely makes the list of books I think you will enjoy and be encouraged by. 

I enjoyed reading Justified. I like the way Varina writes. From the beginning, it was easy to get into. It kept me up when I should have been in bed!

Justified is a gently told story about some gritty situations. You get to see not only the damaging effects of wrong choices, but also the redeeming effects of forgiveness and grace extended after those choices.

If you are looking for a fiction book that could minister to someone who has experienced rejection due to bad choices, this is one I would recommend. It might also challenge you to extend love and acceptance to someone who might not look like they deserve it!

The Author:
Varina Denman is a native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town. Now she lives near Fort Worth with her husband and her five mostly-grown children.

Justified is available for purchase here from

Note: I received this book as part of the Justified  blog tour from Radiant Lit.  I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Review copy provided by the publisher for Radiant Lit Blog Tours.