Friday, November 25, 2011

Author Elizabeth Ludwig--A Funny Woman and Gifted Author Who Knows How To Spread God's Love

Okay, I admit it. I was one of "those" some years ago who doubted I'd prefer e-mailing to hand-writing letters (never think about the latter now) or even as of last year wondering why I should ever get involved hosting a blog. Blogging has truly changed my life for the better. It's been a blessing connecting with people from all over the world, as well as helping others promote themselves and/or a great cause. And that's why I'm honored to have as this weeks's guest on Everyone's Story Elizabeth Ludwig. She has made me feel like a treasured guest on her own blog, The Borrowed Book, and has helped me navigate through a few blog black-holes.

Since this is a holiday weekend here in the US, Elizabeth has chosen to help lighten the mood by interviewing a character from her novel DIED IN THE WOOL (co-written with Janelle Mowery), a very fun, excellent read. She's also offering a giveaway of one copy of this novel to a randomly chosen commenter . . . so please do leave a comment. If you have any trouble, please email me directly (email address is in the right-hand corner of the blog page).

But first, please enjoy this hilarious You-Tube video that Elizabeth has made:

Character Interview of Mike Brockman--by Elizabeth Ludwig

Meet Died in the Wool’s leading man, Detective Mike Brockman…

Brief physical description

Life as a cop isn’t always easy, even in a town as small as Pine Mills. In two short years, Det. Mike Brockman has seen more murder and intrigue than he ever did in Boston. But while working the beat may have chiseled the softness from his body, it hasn’t affected his tender heart. Every now and then, he lets his guard down and allows others to glimpse the gentle man behind the brooding eyes and wavy brown hair.

Strengths and weaknesses

Mike’s strength lies in his ability to love deeply and laugh abundantly. While there may not be much to joke about on the job, he finds plenty to enjoy outside of the station…including his new girlfriend, Monah.

Quirks (if any) 

Mike’s a man’s man, thank-you. He doesn’t believe in being quirky, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love every one of Monah’s wacky character traits. In fact, he rather enjoys picking on her!

Background to the story

A woman with a secret. . .

Monah Trenary takes great pride in how she runs the public library, touting it as a quiet place of learning and discovery. But that peace is shattered when she discovers a body in the ladies restroom and the people of Pine Mills Massachusetts learn they once again harbor a murderer.

Will Monah uncover the truth in time to save her own life, or will the trail to the real killer also lead to secrets she would rather keep hidden? As the mystery unravels, Monah discovers there’s only one person she’s desperate to prove her innocence to, Detective Mike Brockman—the man who could send her to prison. 

The man she loves. 

And now, an interview with Detective Mike Brockman:
Hi, Det. Brockman! Thanks for visiting with us today.
Please, call me Mike. And thanks for having me!

Tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be a detective?
I always wanted to be cop, but it wasn’t until I worked my first homicide that I really started thinking about becoming a detective. Something inside me responded to the victim’s family and their need for answers. I realized it was important to me to provide those answers…maybe add a little bit of closure in the process. 

This last case really took some twists and turns. Were you surprised by the outcome?
Well, without giving too much away, yeah, I was surprised. Just when I start to think I’ve honed my investigative skills, someone throws in a monkey wrench. Tell you what, though, I NEVER thought I’d be forced to investigate Monah. That was a real gut-wrencher, all the way around.

And speaking of Monah, tell us a little about her. How long have the two of you known each other?
I’ve known Monah for a while now, and I’ll tell you what, I have never met a more beautiful, interesting person, inside and out. She has this amazing faith—I mean, she challenges me to live better, walk closer to God. She’s funny, smart…I don’t think she has any idea how attractive she is, which in a way, is pretty lucky for me. 

Monah could have any guy. I mean that. Absolutely any guy would be lucky to even have her look his way. But she chose me. That still blows me away.

Sounds like you might be in love! Any plans for the future?

(Clears throat) Uh…well…let’s just say I’ve got lots of plans. I just hope she shares some of those. LOL!

LOL! Okay, I won’t press about your relationship with Monah anymore. Let’s talk about Pine Mills. Including the mystery that Monah and her best friend, Casey Alexander, managed to solve last year, this makes two murders in as many years. Are you spotting a trend?
I sure hope not! Honestly, I think it’s more that God is just forcing a lot of things to light that have been covered for too long. Pine Mills is no different than any other place—it just happens to be experiencing a spiritual battle right now.

Spiritual battle? Can you explain that a little bit?
What I mean by that is, any time people start looking to God, warfare is gonna happen. God wants people to depend on Him, and if exposing sin is what it takes to make that happen, then that’s what He’s going to do—what He did do when Casey uncovered the truth behind her aunt’s disappearance.

Oh, you’re talking about your first case in Where the Truth Lies.
Yes, that’s right.

Do you have any other cases you’re working on?
Actually, yes, but I gotta admit, this one has me stumped. The answers are eluding me, but I feel like the clues are all there—in plain sight, ya know?

Indeed, I do, Mike. I look forward to reading all about your latest case—Inn Plain Sight, which just released as an e-book this month. Best of luck, and thanks for stopping by! 

Thanks again for having me!

Please visit with Elizabeth and leave a comment. Perhaps ask Detective Mike a question--he's really a good sport-- or just say a hello to Elizabeth. And please consider becoming a Follower to Everyone's Story--thanks ♡ ♡ ♡

Author's Bio:
Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing. 

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight, respectively, are slated for release in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first year, with more than 14,000 visitors in 2010. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more about her work, visit her at

Friday, November 18, 2011

Author Kathi Macias--Helping To Deliver God's Cry Against Evil

Have you a passion--a cause--that burns within you so furiously that it shows in your work, whether it is writing, what you volunteer at...what you speak up for or against? Remember the 60s and 70s, with media blitzes of civil rights for all, such as the Billy Jack movies or Hair or what about John Lennon singing Give Peace A Chance? Whether this shaped me as a child or I picked it up elsewhere, the fight against prejudice has shaped my writing, my life. This week's guest on Everyone's Story, Kathi Macias, a multi-award winning author of more than 30 books, rallies as many people as possible to fight against human trafficking, a horrific infliction that has been around since mankind and sadly continues in today's times. Please join Kathi as she explains about this cause.
♡♡Kathi is also offering a book giveaway of her novel DELIVER ME FROM EVIL to one randomly chosen commenter. Please leave your email within the comment for contact purposes only. As always, I'd appreciate any new Followers to this blog.♡♡

Deliver Me From Evil
Deliver Me from Evil introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old, Bible-college-bound Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue. 
Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego.

 “Let My People Go!” by Kathi Macias
The term “human trafficking” or “trafficking in persons” (TIP) often draws raised eyebrows and skeptical expressions—until statistics are laid out to show that approximately 27 million people are enslaved today, whether for the purposes of slave labor, prostitution, or involuntary organ “donations.” 

The Salvation Army has made the rescue of those enslaved around the world their number-one goal at this time, holding seminars and conferences to educate people and to garner support from various individuals and organizations.

The United Nations describes TIP in this way:
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

In a nutshell, human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It is currently tied with the illegal arms industry for the second largest criminal industry in existence, with the drug industry being the only one to edge it out.

Oh, I know. Most people naively believe that human trafficking happens only in faraway countries—Thailand or Cambodia, perhaps. True, it does occur there at a tragic rate. But it also takes place right here in the United States daily, to such an extent that some states are instituting task forces to try and stop it. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot promises that their new task force “will take an aggressive stand against human traffickers, who have turned Texas into a hub for international and domestic forced labor and prostitution rings.” (, “News and Updates,” April 5, 2010)

Another myth about human trafficking is that it only involves adults. Millions of children around the world are crying out in pain and terror over the heartbreaking error of that statement. According to Wikepedia, trafficking in children may come about as an “exploitation of the parents’ extreme poverty. Parents may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income, or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. They may sell their children for labor, sex trafficking, or illegal adoptions.”

Can there be anything that grieves the Father’s heart more than the forced enslaving of people made in His own image—by others bearing that same divine imprint? I believe each time anyone becomes aware of such evil and cries out against it, that cry is spurred by the Father’s own pain. If ever the Church needed to be involved in helping to right a human wrong, it’s now. Human trafficking must stop! And each of us who names the Name of Christ must ask the Father what He wants us to do to help make that happen.

In my case, that includes writing about it—every chance I get, including blogs, letters, articles, and a new three book fiction-based-on-real-life series that has just begun releasing with book one, Deliver Me From Evil. Will you pray with me that these books will reach many with the message of the reality of human trafficking and the challenge to get involved to stop it? Please pray too that God will show you what you can do to answer His heart cry of “Let My people go.” Millions of enslaved human beings around the world, including children, are depending on you to respond.

Kathi looks forward to hearing from visitors who'd like to share their thoughts on human trafficking, other causes dear to their hearts, or even a warm hello. And since this is the week before Thanksgiving and this is such a poignant subject, please pass the word around on this special blog segment. ~*~Thank you~*~
Courtesy Google Images

Author Bio:
Kathi Macias ( is a multi award-winning author of more than thirty books, as well as a popular speaker. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al, where she is affectionately known as “Easy Writer.”
Twitter: @alandkathi

Friday, November 11, 2011

Author Tessa Afshar--Knocking Down Mighty Walls To Tell A Great Story

Everyone's Story's new guest is Tessa Afshar whose debut novel centers around Rahab, a woman of the Bible. Although Rahab was frowned upon by many, her faith demonstrates the powerful potential we all have. Like myself, Tessa also became a Christian in her twenties. Since then she has reached out to many women urging them to hold onto their faith. This week she's also reaching out to writers and readers of historical fiction.

And a bonus:

Tessa is offering a giveaways of her novel PEARL IN THE SAND to not one but two randomly chosen commenters. Please leave a comment or even just a hello, as well as your email address.
♡♡And I'd appreciate any new Followers to this blog♡♡

First, three questions for Tessa:
You've lived in Iran for the first 14 years of your life. Any fond memories you'd like to share of your birth nation? 

Hospitality is a great part of life in the Middle East. When I was a kid, we would get together with extended family about once a week. There would be table-tops filled with mouth-watering foods, fun games, and time just to relax and talk. In the summers my family spent one or two months by the shores of the Caspian Sea. Often family and friends would come for a short stay. I loved those days so much that I named one of the characters in my upcoming book, A Harvest of Rubies, after the Caspian Sea. 

Your novel, PEARL IN THE SAND, tells the untold story of Rahab and the "walls" that surround her, both the physical and emotional walls. I love the visual that you give by using the wall analogy. As the director of your church's women's and prayer ministries, do you see a sharp contrast between the walls that surrounded women in Rehab's times and the ones that enclose modern day women?

Thanks Elaine. I love the wall analogy too, which is why I continue to use it in various way in my next two books. I wanted to write a sort of wall trilogy. 

I think that human nature hasn’t really changed over time. Culture evolves, beliefs change, our measures for right and wrong shift, but the human condition is essentially the same. Who doesn’t know what rejection feels like?

And what about your own walls? How do you break them down? Do you prefer the Hey-God-let's-chat method or do you tend to hide the superglue so walls don't get built in the first place? 

That’s a cool question. I’m not sure that I have one specific mode of dealing with harmful defense mechanisms. I do know that my first step toward freedom was acknowledging that I had them! I had to name them: fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Being achievement oriented. Then I had to ask Jesus to exchange them for His healthy defense mechanisms: the knowledge that I am a delight to God not because of anything I can achieve, but simply because I am. The knowledge that God chose me and caused me to belong to Him. The reality that I am now a daughter of the most high God.

Of course I have to remember and choose to live out of the truths I have already learned. Some days I do better than others. 

Tessa's Favorite Tips On How To Write Historical Fiction

Tip One: Don’t Misplace Your Sense of Humor

Henry Tilney, the hero of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, has a cynical attitude toward women. For example, he says, “no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much, that they never find it necessary to use more than half.” Austen wrote those words over two hundred years ago, and they’re still rich with a biting wit. Dante, Bronte, and Dickens frequently make you laugh. The Bible is also rich with humor. So don’t misplace yours, just because you are writing about people who lived a long time ago.

Tip Two: Love the Period You Are Writing About

When you write a historical novel, you will spend endless hours researching your period. If you like that time in history, the research will be a pleasant pastime as opposed to an onerous chore. More importantly, your love will spill out on the page; it will show through your writing. The reader can feel it in your words. And it will influence the way she or he responds to your story. 
Rahab's House and scarlet cord (Courtesy Google Images)
Tip Three: Know the Period You Are Writing About

Some years ago, I was reading a good novel based on the life of Esther. Suddenly, I came upon the phrase, “Arabian night” and the magic was gone. I was no longer in another world. The reason? The phrase should have read, “Persian night”. Although Arab tribes existed at that time, they lived leagues away. Persians are not Arabs, and therefore, their nights aren’t Arabian. Even small anomalies can snap the reader out of the world you are trying to create, so research, research, research.

Tip Four: Watch for Anachronisms
Anachronisms have a nasty way of creeping into historical novels. For example, one of my editors found the word “raccoon” in the manuscript of the novel I am currently working on, A Harvest of Rubies, which is set in ancient Persia. It turns out raccoons are a North American animal and would not have existed in ancient Persia during the time of Nehemiah. That small detail would have ruined the moment for a zoologically savvy reader. 

Tip Five: History Is Exciting

Of Gods and Men is a French movie about eight monks living in North Africa. While this is an amazingly well made film, what makes it utterly spell-binding is the fact that the movie is based on a true story. The truth has a way of grabbing your attention. To take advantage of this reality, try to insert historical events into your storyline without sounding like a history book. The events of history are often stranger and more exciting than anything the human imagination can manufacture. Inserting true events—or scenes that are inspired by a true event—into your story will lend your novel an air of believability that will increase your reader’s involvement. The best historical novelists such as Alexander Dumas and Robert Louis Stevenson knew this trick. It’s part of what makes their novels a charming read in spite of the passage of time.
Courtesy Google Images
Tip Six: Exercise Grace Frequently

Have grace both for yourself and for other novelists! You will probably make mistakes; most of us do no matter how careful we try to be with our research and editing. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Author Bio:

TESSA AFSHAR was born in a nominally Muslim family in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She survived English boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her mid-twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDIV from Yale University where she served as co-Chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School.

Tessa was the 2011 winner of New Author of the Year Readers Choice Awards, sponsored by the prestigious Family Fiction Magazine. Her debut novel, Pearl in the Sand, based on the biblical story of Rahab, made the top ten list in the Novel of the Year category of Readers Choice Awards.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Julie Webb Kelley --Painter of Words, Nurse, Breast Cancer Conqueror

Everyone's Story warmly welcomes Julie Webb Kelley. When I first stumbled across her writing on her blog, Anti-Writing, Words to Satisfy the Uncommon Soul, my mouth literally fell open and a soft "ooooh" whispered out. Julie is a true artist with her words, painting an awesome landscape to ponder and entertain. Each word is a powerhouse selection that grips and lures the reader into the story. I'm honored Julie is sharing with us a story making its debut appearance entitled COME ON. After reading this inspirational tale, please take a moment and share your thoughts with Julie. She'd love to hear from you.

♡♡And I'd appreciate any new Followers to this blog♡♡

COME ON by Julie Webb Kelley
“Come on,” he says.
 I fall behind his vast strides. We’re getting close. I stop.
God takes my hand. “Come on.” A gentle tug moves me back in step.
Within moments we’re facing the swollen mound of flesh blocking the pathway of my life. 
Seeing the colossal heap up close overwhelms me. I let my hand fall from his; my legs feel like a bolt of lightning hit them – they buckle and tremble all at once. “It’s hopeless.”
“There’s nothing here that can’t be fixed.” He says.
“A heart should be pink, not grey. It should be pumping, not just sitting there oozing blood and pus . . . and the lid, I can’t get the lid off. It’s stuck.”
“It is worn, but once we unpack it and get the pressure off, it’ll pink up and find its rhythm again.” He is circling the structure, studying the wreckage, witnessing the rusted craters and inflamed holes. 
Then, as if distance had never existed, he kneels beside the lifeless receptacle.
I watch as his grand form dwarfs the crusty container and am startled as the God of the universe moves with gentleness and precision upon the surface of my heart. As he stretches his fingers across the lid and drives his nails beneath the lip, I realize that nothing important yet everything that matters most is inside that thing.
“Stop!” I feel separated inside, like his mission isn’t really as pure as he’s letting on, like I want desperately to trust him, but can’t find a way.
He moves closer. “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I am your God . . . I will make you strong and help you.”
The infusion of his Word forces certainty through my veins. I nod.

Again, he works the lid – pulling, lifting, never yanking –until finally with one complete screech it is up and off. A putrid odor assaults us. I cover my nose while he waves me toward the opening, acting like he can’t smell a thing. 
“It’s awful.” I say.
“It’ll get better as we clean it out,” he promises.
I reach into the muddled tissue. The slime of anguish is smeared on everything making it difficult to know what’s what. I lift out a rectangular, metal pot. God grabs the other handle, sharing the weight.
I look inside the pot – confusion, distrust, fear, anger, loneliness, betrayal, yearning, emptiness – the stench of my accumulated sorrows forces a million tears to fight for first place behind my eyes. 
“I don’t know why I’ve kept this.” I say, releasing it into his hands. 
In that moment, the mortal coil within me begins to loosen and I am sure I hear a cry of relief break from his lips. But when I look at him, I see only the mingling of relief and care at the edges of his smile.
Reaching in again, I pull up a gray and crumbling brick. “Take this.”
He wipes the drippy, ooze from the brick, exposing the inscription, reading, “If only.”
I pull out another brick, and, another, and another, and another, handing them all to him. When the last one is in his hands, he asks if I’m sure.
“I’m tired of this wall of regrets, tired of bumping into it at night.”
I reach again -- the malignant smell fighting me. Digging under a damp wad of misery, the thing I’m after is sticky, wedged between tones of sepia tinted disappointment. I yank it free and something inside my chest twists sending distress up my neck and down both arms. The tiny black box is slimy. Its glass surfaces cracked; it emits a flash of light.
“It’s the only one left. I’ve thrown the others away . . . they were shattered, dead . . .” I hold it out.
He takes the square, turning it over in his hands. “I’m glad you kept this one.”
“I didn’t want you to see it. My faith in you is weak and splintered. It’s dying the same way all the other faith died. My faith in myself, it melted away. And my faith in others . . . smashed, like a bulldozer went over it. But that one,” I point at my faith in God, “the light still works once in a while . . . look! There’s another flash.”
“All faith can be renewed.” He says.
I turn toward the echo of the empty structure before us and notice a black crust coating the inside. I pick at it.
“What is this?” I ask. 
As God scratches his nails through the sooty, baked-on glaze, I recognize the pressure of his presence within my defective heart scrapping away the worthlessness I’ve worn like a protective varnish. 
When he finishes, the still, cold chunk swells with the tension of luster and life. For the first time, I see a pure reflection of myself and I recognize the magnificence of what he has created. This truth snaps my eyelids shut. I stoop to my knees, covering my face, wishing God would go away. 
“The absence of my worthlessness leaves nothing but unworthiness pressing at me.” I cry from behind my hands.
I feel him near and am scared to open my eyes. Then it comes to me -- he will never be content to let me be until he has loved me into worth and worthiness.  I open my eyes into the face of God; the air around me thins, he’s too close, he’s knows too much. I want to scoot away but I can’t move. His countenance holds me steady as the mystery of grace pours from the radiance of my Father.
As he takes me hand, his delight in me whispers to my heart, “Come on.”
Author Bio:
Julie Webb Kelley is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. In the last 25 years she has written for newspapers, non-profits, and websites in which she has had numerous articles and short stories published. As a breast cancer conqueror, one of Julie's passions remains writing about issues of women's health and wellness and alternative approaches to medicine.

In 2010, Julie’s novel, Darkness Trembles, was awarded and recognized at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. In 2011, she won awards for her poetry and article writing at the Blue Ridge conference. 
Julie worked as an RN and Communication Coordinator in the PICU at The Children's Hospital of IL for 13 years before leaving to join her husband in running their business, Kelley Construction Contractors, Inc. while doing freelance medical writing.
In 2005 Julie was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in Business as part of the annual Women's Recognition Awards sponsored by the YWCA, Pekin, IL. She was recognized for the outstanding marketing and public relations skills she demonstrated while working at The Children’s Hospital of IL and for Kelley Construction Contractors, Inc.
Julie and Michael have been married for 25 years. They have two daughters: Lauren, 23 and Megan, 13. She resides and writes among the endless cornfields of Central IL.
Julie hosts the blog Anti-Writing, Words to Satisfy the Uncommon Soul and has been heading up and blogging for the Pekin Writers Group since 2009. You can also check out more of her writing at the Kelley Costruction nBlog. Follow her on Twitter @juliewebbkelley. 

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