Saturday, December 26, 2015

Everyone's Story is Moving!

Heartfelt thanks for all of your support, cheer, and especially your continual viewing of this blog since it's beginning on April 19th, 2011. While Blogger has been a wonderful venue, I'm launching a website that continues my theme of story: every person, every town, every family home has a story unique to the setting. I hope you will visit with me there as well:

As 2015 comes to an end and the new year is about to begin I have a lot to be thankful for and to celebrate. I praise God--one year ago I'd wondered if this moment of expanding into the next chapter of my life of becoming a published novelist would occur.

He is gracious. He is good, indeed.

I'm offering a special contest to help celebrate you, my new cyber home, and the about-to-be release of my debut novel, Always With You.

Check it out on my first blog post on the new site:


Everyone’s Story has moved:  (Tweet This)

Visit for #BookGiveaway of Always With You plus more (Tweet This)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sharon K. Connell: Sharing Special Stories

Everyone's Story welcomes author Sharon K. Connell. Sharon is an author's friend indeed, reaching out to us writers on Facebook with her encouraging and often funny tidbits, let alone giving new writers an opportunity to introduce themselves and their writing. And these are the same reasons why she's a perfect author for readers, gripping one's heart! Please join us on this countdown to Christmas day as Sharon shares with us some special stories that made her see how God fits into her life on a daily basis and do also check out her book trailer. Both Sharon and I look forward to hearing from you!



A Few Stories by Sharon K. Connell

Author, artist, gardener, bird-watcher, moon-gazer, castle-lover, reader of period historical romance and fantasy, grateful servant of God.

That’s me in a nutshell.

I write Christian/Romance/Drama with a strong emphasis on how God works in our lives. Through my own trials and tribulations, I have learned that God is always there. He never leaves His child alone; He encourages us, if we will only look to Him.

In my stories, I try to bring out that truth. My wish is to be an encouragement to my readers through the enjoyment of a well-told story.

A note of encouragement to all of you who would love to write: Just do it! Get the story on paper and then worry about the details later. I’ve heard this advice over and over. It works!

Also, to those of you who are going through trials and tribulations of your own, trust in a God who wants to help you.

Let me tell you about a day when I was feeling very down, I’d even say depressed, more so than I had ever felt before. I had prayed; I had pleaded. I had done everything I knew to do and still I felt horrible. I thought God had turned His back on me.

After dropping my daughter off at school, I headed for work. As I drove, I came to a stoplight. It was a long one. I looked over to the grassy area between where I sat in my car and the expressway. Suddenly the sun came out from the clouds and shown on the wet grass.

In that instant I saw a drop of dew on the tip of each blade, rainbow colors, looking like a field of diamonds stretched out before me. It made me smile, and then I laughed. The diamonds sparkled until the light turned green and I had to drive away.

When I arrived at work, I thought about those “diamonds,” and how my depression had been lifted in that moment. I know that God was telling me, “I love you and you are not alone. I have so much more to give you.” The diamonds were a gift, especially for me, from my Lord.

Now I can’t even remember what my depression was all about that day, I only remember how very down I felt and how uplifted I was after seeing my field of diamonds, as I call it.

A few years later, moving to Pensacola, Florida from Des Plaines, Illinois, I experienced another moment when I realized God was watching over me. All my worldly possessions were packed in two vehicles and a moving trailer, pulled behind my son, Ron’s car. All through our journey in the rolling hills of the Smokey Mountains at night, we had been playing leapfrog with a horse trailer. He’d pull ahead of us, and later we’d pull ahead of him.

Just as my son had pulled in front of me and was behind the horse trailer, climbing one of the hills, my car started to slow down. My son did not see that I was falling behind. He also did not hear my horn. Eventually I pulled onto the shoulder of the interstate and the car died. I thought my ten-year-old daughter and I had been left behind, alone on the road, in the dark. I feared we would be sitting there for a long time before Ron could find us. There were no other cars on the road in either direction. After a few minutes, I saw the taillights of my son’s car as he drove backward along the shoulder.

Ron got in my car and it started. We switched cars and continued driving. After a while, he pulled in front of me and drove off onto an exit. When we stopped at the end of the ramp, he told me that the car seemed fine now. He had no idea what had caused it to stop.

We got back onto the Interstate and a little ways down the road we caught up to the horse trailer. It had been hauling cows and was tipped over onto the median strip. Another car, obviously one that had entered the road after we pulled off the interstate, had cut him off.

Upon arrival in Pensacola, I realized that God had taken us off the road so that we would not be involved in the accident. Praise God for His loving kindness.

Sharon's Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Meet author @SharonKConnell, a true author’s friend! (Tweet This)

@SharonKConnell shares stories on how God surprised her a couple of times. (Tweet This)

@SharonKConnell: This Christmas week, what can you conclude about how God has moved in your life? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Sharon K. Connell, by birth a Wisconsin “Cheesehead,” grew up and went to school through college in Illinois. At one point in her life, she felt that God called her to be a missionary and moved to Pensacola, Florida, where she graduated from the Pensacola Bible Institute.

In 2005 Sharon caught the writing bug and never stopped en route to Houston, Texas. She continues to write stories about people who discover that God will only allow those things into one’s life that will help grow and or increase one’s faith. Sharon’s prayer is that God will use her writing to bring honor and glory to Him, to reach others with the Gospel, and to encourage others regardless of what they might be going through.

Places to connect with Sharon:

Please note:

--Just putting the finishing touches on my new website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rosanna Huffman: When We Get to Trade for a Normal Life

Everyone's Story gives a warm welcome to author Rosanna Huffman. Not only do we share the phenomenal agent Linda S. Glaz, but Rosanna has an excellent middle name, Elaine (wink wink)! And, being candid and transparent, Rosanna and I also have shared several life circumstances and that's one of the reasons why I'm thrilled that Rosanna is my guest this week. After reading her thoughts, I hope you too are blessed and encouraged. Also, check out her lovely BookGiveaway of her novel, Hand Me Down Husband (don't you love that title?!), as well as the novel excerpt. Both Rosanna and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rosanna is offering 1 copy of her novel, HAND ME DOWN HUSBAND, to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, December 18th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment (you may choose to use the Contact Me form to privately send me your email address--the form is in the right-hand sidebar on the blog's main page, toward the bottom).

Excerpt from Hand Me Down Husband:

Hand Me Down Husband by Rosanna Huffman

Mitchell crossed the classroom. In one hand he carried a McDonald’s bag and in the other a drink carrier with two large cups.

“Good afternoon, Miss Bloomer. I hope this is a good time for me to come. Gerald said after school, but I should have checked with you to find out what would be most convenient for you.” He waved the bag toward Suzanne and her stomach growled. “I didn’t get around to eating lunch, so I hit the drive-thru on the way over. Okay to set it here?” He nodded at the conference table.

She shrugged. “Sure.”

Lovely. She’d smell hot food while she trained the new principal. However, if he was eating, surely she could too. “I’ll be right back.” She sped to the kitchen to retrieve her leftover lunch and fill her water bottle.

She returned to find two meals set out on her table. Who else was coming? She looked away and tried not to smell the fries.

Mitchell was across the room studying a bulletin board. He turned around as Suzanne reached her desk. “Uh, Miss Bloomer, I hope you like Big Macs. That’s what I got and I brought one for you too. Didn’t want to eat here if you didn’t have something too.”

“I don’t have to eat your food. I have some here.”

He laughed. “I hope it’s something that’ll keep. I won’t eat two burgers and two large fries.” He stopped and frowned. “I’m sorry, you don’t like them, do you? I wondered if I should get chicken. I should have called and asked you.”

“Oh. Well . . . thank you.” One part of her brain wanted to split her face with a smile and gush shamelessly. Who didn’t like Big Macs? The other part of her brain—the dominant one—demanded caution. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. She shook her head and formed a lips-only smile. “No, a burger’s fine, but you didn’t have to do that.”

Trading for Normal by Rosanna Huffman

How old were you when you realized you were not “normal”? That, for whatever reason, you didn’t quite measure up to typical personhood?  For me it was probably around 6.8 years old, soon after I started first grade. That’s when I realized how much smaller I was than other kids in my grade. How frizzy my hair was compared to other white girls. How weird my clothes. How skinny and bony and hairy my arms.

As a tween my non-normalcy increased as I changed schools and was now rubbing bony elbows with only church kids—no, neither Amish nor Mennonite, but German Baptist Brethren. I seemed to fit into their homogenized group as well as a green bean in a milkshake. My female classmates wore skirts and blouses bought off a rack. I wore homemade dresses because “girl, you don’t have enough hips to keep up a skirt.” They wore white ankle socks. I wore dark, thick knee socks and hopefully both the same color. They had styled hair. I had frizzy hair that refused to look combed and had certainly never been styled.

Of course it improved in our teen years. Not. They sometimes went to movies. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing such a “worldly” thing, much less have been allowed. They were asked out on dates. I wasn’t—not often anyway, and never by the right guy.

They entered their 20s and 30s and 40s. In a rare trend toward normalcy, I did too. But they fell in love, got married, had babies. I bought shower gifts and wedding gifts and made excuses not to babysit. I went to college. I traveled twice to Israel. They had more babies and stayed home and kept house and washed clothes. And forgot the 12s multiplication facts and the Pythagorean theory and how to diagram a sentence and 28 of the U.S. capitals. I taught high school. I moved into an apartment in my parents’ barn and crocheted afghans for my 33 nieces and nephews. Their children grew to school age and they began homeschooling and calling me for free advice. I quit teaching and began writing school curriculum for Christian Light Publications.

Rosanna with one of her nieces
They watched their children grow into adults and date and marry. I began traveling around the country to attend writers conferences. I wrote a novel. I watched movies. They celebrated Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Sweetest Day, and anniversaries. I won the grand prize in a national afghan design contest. Their husbands built/bought them nice homes, and they started cuddling grandbabies. I signed contracts with a literary agent and a publisher for my novel and two years later held my firstborn word-baby, Hand Me Down Husband, in my far-from-normal hands.

Do I miss the normal life? Can a person miss something she never had? Yes, and definitely yes. I miss the love and companionship of a good marriage. Occasionally I let myself stop and think about all the “normal” things I have missed out on, children and husband being the bulk of that list, and I admit—the disappointment is heavy. Would I trade all the awesome non-normal experiences I’ve had for a husband and family of my own? Absolutely—in a heartbeat.

But God is good and He is faithful. And we don’t get to make those trades in this life. We do get to be thankful for the blessings in the good times and in the hard times. Furthermore, someday all of us blood-bought believers in Jesus Christ do get to trade. We get to trade all the sorrows and disappointments and pains of this earthly existence for eternity with Him where all normal will be wiped away. Until then I take great comfort in the fact that Jesus lived as a non-normal on this earth and that He knows and cares for us all, whether we are normal or not.

Rosanna's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Everyone’s Story: Meet author @RosannaEHuffman, #ChristianFiction & the single woman. 3BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author @RosannaEHuffman: Trading for a normal life? #BookGiveaway  (Tweet This)

Thinking you’re not “normal” & wondering how to fit in? See what @RosannaEHuffman shares. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
As an author, Rosanna’s goal is to write stories with single women protagonists who do not marry in the story. From experience she knows those characters can live happy, fulfilled lives although one of their greatest dreams—marriage—remains unfulfilled. Rosanna was as surprised as anyone that her debut novel turned into a romance, although she did retain strains of the single life in the story.

Places to connect with Rosanna:

Please note:

--Just putting the finishing touches on my new website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sandra Barnes: The Best Way to Enjoy the Holidays

Everyone's Story gives a big welcome to fellow Elk Lake Publishing and YA author Sandra Barnes. I have so much respect for authors who reach out to teens and young adults who are in need of encouragement. In this fast-paced-world that glorifies change by the second, and often brushing aside faith and morals, Sandra Barnes is a strong voice to be read today. Please take the time to read her blurb, her words on the holidays, and reflect on what they all mean for you. Both Sandra and I look forward to hearing from you.


How can you win the race if you’re speeding down the wrong track?

CYNDRAY JOHNSON, a wild and unruly teenager, longs to become a track star but instead races against self-destruction. Falsely accused of a bomb threat traced to her cell phone, she’s expelled from St. Pious Christian Academy, ruining her chances of obtaining the one thing that really matters to her—winning a gold medal in the State Championship.

There’s a Life-Line for the Busy Holiday Season by Sandra Barnes
It’s going to be a great holiday season!
This week, as I perused articles, advertisements, and even social media, the one consistent theme seemed to be how to resist the urge of doing too much of one thing and not doing enough of something else. Lots of advice was dished out on how to not over eat, over spend, over commit, or plain ole over indulge-in-anything-whatsoever. Period.
The tips for the holidays didn’t end there. An even greater charge was inflicted upon those whose pendulum tends to swing to the other end of the spectrum during this season. The advice was for the individuals who just can’t seem to get into gear to do anything. The people like me, I suppose. The ones who get snatched into the ferocious whirlwind of feeling the need to do so much that they end of practically doing absolutely nothing. Just exhausted from the to-do list!

I really don’t like being in that awful place of having so much stuff that’s due that I don’t have enough days to deliver any of it anyway. Truth be told, even the most organized, diligent, well put-together person has been there. Like shopping for people we know and love (and some of them we just know … and like … a little bit) like the co-worker’s name pulled during the secret Santa gift exchange that you had to participate in to be considered a team player; making crafty gifts because it seemed more thoughtful at the time, but the directions outright lied when it said it would be inexpensive and you didn’t have to be crafty; yet you realize that you could’ve potentially saved 50 bucks and 50 hours of labor if you’d just gone to Walmart instead of giving a homemade gift where the recipient had to ask, “what is this?”; and what about scheduling Christmas photos, arriving on time and having to wait hours because the photographer has somehow gotten behind? When it’s finally your family’s turn, you pose with a perfect smile for each shot but have to retake every picture because somebody squinted, wasn’t ready, or was acting goofy, and when the family votes for the picture they want to purchase, you’re outnumbered because everybody (except you, of course) simply adores the photo where your smile happens to be too tight as you were warning them—between clenched teeth—that they had better behave this time.
Yes, the list is endless. And the flood waters can rise so high between decorating, hosting/attending parties, and gift wrapping that one could possibly drown before baking, visiting relatives and friends, writing letters, and sending cards. But wait! There is a life-line.
The advent season has always been one of preparation. For me, this time of year just naturally feels like I’m getting ready for something! When I was younger, the season seemed to be wrapped with hope and joy, excitement and anticipation. Seems those magical feelings that came so easily when I was a child have to be intentionally mustered these days. And quite honestly, I’m okay with that.
It’s a pleasure to put everything on pause in order to reflect upon how spiritually meaningful this season really is. I don’t mind stepping away from life’s hurriedness to honor the birth of Jesus. There’s no guilt or shame or disappointment or regret when overindulging in His presence. See, the joy of Christmas lies in knowing that He came, that He is coming again. Yes, it’s going to be a great holiday season!
Sandra's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Like #Christian #YA? Meet Sandra Barnes @sandra_author on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)
Sandra Barnes @sandra_author: How to overindulge during the Christmas season without guilt. (Tweet This)
Sandra Barnes @sandra_author offers a life-line for the holidays—does it match yours? (Tweet This)
Author's Bio: 
Sandra Barnes has traveled around the world, collecting stories. She loves multiculturalism, and she honors differences in her writing to illustrate the sometimes not-so-obvious similarities of all people. Sandra lives in Southern Maryland with her husband and two teenagers. When she is not writing or traveling with family, she spends considerable time counseling teens and advocating for social justice in mental health.

Places to connect with Sandra:

Please note:

--I will soon launch a specially designed website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!

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