Friday, May 30, 2014

Elaine W. Miller: Offering Hope In The Happily Ever After

Everyone's Story welcomes another Elaine, author and speaker Elaine W. Miller. Elaine first caught my attention with the title of her non-fiction book WE ALL MARRIED IDIOTS. My own husband and I have been married a long, long, very long time and having been through valleys and peaks and then some, I thought the subject of making a marriage work would be an uplifting read, especially tossed in with a hefty dose of faith and humor. Check out Elaine's book trailer, her special Giveaway offer, and see if you agree with what she has to share. Both of us Elaines are looking forward to hearing from you.

Book Giveaway:
Elaine is offering to one randomly chosen commenter her or his choice of one copy of WE ALL MARRIED IDIOTS or SPLASHES OF SERENITY: BATHTIME REFLECTIONS FOR DRAINED MOMS or SPLASHES OF SERENITY: BATHTIME REFLECTIONS FOR DRAINED WIVES. The winner will be announced here on Friday, June 6th, between 5-6 PM EST. To be eligible, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Elaine's book trailer for WE ALL MARRIED IDIOTS:

Our Words Can Impact the World by Elaine W. Miller

From one Elaine to another, thank you, Elaine Stock, for encouraging writers through "Everyone's Story."

My writing story began in a file cabinet. There I stored personal journals about life and faith. With no plans to be an author, my only hope was that after I died, my family will discover the journals and my grandchildren will learn a little bit about grandma and God.

One Sunday I went to church. Well, I actually go to church every Sunday. My husband is a Pastor. That life-changing Sunday Dan preached on the Parable of the Talents. In that parable God becomes angry with the lazy servant who buries his talent. I listened to my husband and my heart heard God ask, What good are those journals buried in your file cabinet if no one reads them? I knew I was to write a book.

Having no idea how to write a book, I attended Montrose Christian Writer's Conference. At my first writing class I learned "Write what you are passionate about." A little embarrassed, I confess I'm passionate about my bath. Well, God and my family are right up there with baths on my passion-o-meter. So, I wrote about baths, God, and my family.

My first book, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms, published several years later after attending more conferences, being rejected, getting published in magazines, joining a critique group, writing and rewriting and all the work a published writer must do. A sequel, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives, released a year later.

I remember writing Drained Wives with my eyes shut, praying no one would read it. This book divulges marriage troubles few knew (including my mother-in-law and the elders of our church). Effective writers must be honest and transparent, or who will find us credible?  

After reading Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives my mother-in-law still loved me, and the elders kept Dan as their Pastor. Phew!

My readers, though, asked for more.

A friend wrote: "You have a great marriage story. Write a deeper book. Tell us what God says about marriage."

You see, I packed my husband's bags three times our first year of marriage. Now married 43 years, I shudder thinking of life without my wonderful man. We were almost a marriage casualty, but God restored love in our hearts that remains today.

God can take a dead marriage and make it alive again. I know. He did it to mine.

We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can digs deep into our lives and God's plan for marriage.

Why that title? With the high divorce rate, I know there are a lot of people thinking they married idiots. Dan and I had an argument many years ago when I thought (but did not say), I must have been an idiot to marry that idiot. Laughing at my own idiocy, I realized that makes me an idiot too. Later I learned the word idiot is derived from the Greek word common man. We are all common man and common woman. There is only one uncommon man — Jesus Christ. When we look to our spouses to fulfill needs that only Jesus can fulfill, then we have marriage problems.

High divorce rates are universal. Last February I spoke in Russia (the country with the highest divorce rate) and Bosnia. What a thrill to realize We All Married Idiots being translated into Russian, Bosnian, and Spanish. Certainly, I never dreamed God would use the journals in my corner office file cabinet to reach the world for Christ.

My life writing verse is Psalm 102:18 "Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise the Lord.”  

Elaine's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Have we really all married idiots? Author Elaine W. Miller on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Author/speaker @ElaineWMiller: How God used her private journals to reach the world. (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of WE ALL MARRIED IDIOTS—a Christian perspective! (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Elaine W. Miller is a popular international author and speaker known for sharing biblical insights with warmth, enthusiasm, and humor. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she has been encouraging audiences for over 25 years. Elaine and her husband, an ordained minister, have been married 43 years. Together they have led many marriage retreats and counseled numerous hurting couples. Residing in upstate New York, Elaine and Dan enjoy a beautiful and sometimes idiotic life together. Three married children and 10 grandchildren complete their joy.

Places to connect with Elaine:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sandra Orchard: A Master At Intrigue

Everyone's Story welcomes back with much fondness author Sandra Orchard. I've been watching Sandra grow from debut author to now a multi-award winning author and if it's been fun for me can you imagine what it's like for Sandra? This week Sandra answers a few questions and shares a blurb on her new release BLIND TRUST--which is also her Giveaway Novel. Drop Sandra a comment--she's looking forward to hearing from you. 

Book Giveaway:
Sandra is offering one copy of her newest romantic suspense novel BLIND TRUST, Book 2 of the Port Aster Secrets Series, as a Giveaway Book to one  randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 30th, between 5-6 PM EST. To be eligible, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Blurb for BLIND TRUST:
Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can’t believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker’s investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor’s innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation–and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world–and her budding romance with Tom–begin to crumble. To Kate, it’s clear that she won’t be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster’s secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom?

Questions for Sandra Orchard:

I’ve roomed with you when you were a debut author and have hosted you twice prior to this present guest appearance. While others have watched you grow as an author, what changes have you noticed in yourself as your writing career has flourished?

Thinner hair! I’m told stress will do that to you. And um, ten pounds heavier, which I’m sure has more to do with sitting at a computer for eight hours a day then the chocolate stash I keep on hand for those moments when my characters make me want to pull out my hair. J

And honestly, I’m probably more insecure about my writing than ever. Not sure why that is, but at least it keeps me on my knees. And I always feel totally blessed when the story finally comes together, and all the more when I hear from readers who’ve enjoyed it.

When did the passion for writing plant itself in your heart? Was any one person or event a trigger?

Yes, seeing two of my stories typed up in the school yearbook when I was in grade one planted the desire in my heart. Having my husband comment on the piles of books in our bedroom thirty years later, and saying I should write my own, triggered the adventure of fiction writing. Little did he know how many more books I’d accumulate as a result!

Tell us some about how you write: Do you work in faith elements around the suspense plot or the suspense around the faith core?

 With the exception of Critical Condition, all my books began with the suspense plot. I then created characters that would grow in some connected way to it. In my medical suspense, Critical Condition, I wanted to explore the question: how do you believe in God when he doesn’t seem to be answering your prayers? My hero had lost his wife to cancer and she’d made him promise to not blame God. My heroine had been abandoned by her husband soon after their first child was born, and as a nurse, often saw people’s heartfelt prayers seemingly go unanswered. The backstories gave rise to interesting conversations within the book, ones that were being mirrored in my own life at the time, as I lost a dear writing friend to cancer while writing it.

Please share with us about your June release, BLIND TRUST. Where is it set? Any intriguing suspense points? What kind of research did you do?

Blind Trust is the second book in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series set in a small fictional town in Niagara. The heroine is an herbal researcher caught up in a counterfeiting mystery and the deepening mystery surrounding her father’s death that appears to be connected to the big bad pharmaceutical company that wishes to partner with the research facility where she works. So…I had to do a wide variety of research, including how bills are counterfeited, which isn’t easy with Canadian bills. Sadly my editor recommended keeping those details to a minimum since they’d be foreign to American readers. But…if you’re interested, I blogged about it on ICFW this past Tuesday.

I also delved into herbal remedies and unusual poisons and a myriad of unethical and sometimes illegal things pharmaceutical companies tend to be accused of doing. All were great fodder for the series.

As a reader, what frustrates you as you turn pages in a novel?

I wouldn’t say things frustrate me so much as make me skim. The first is repetitiveness. I usually read a book in two to three days, so I don’t need to be reminded repeatedly about a character’s romantic conflict or issues.

The second is too much static description. I don’t care what characters are wearing (and too be honest, when I don’t know what an item is, it bugs me; I’ve probably googled more clothes, shoes and purse names than anything else while reading a book). And if that embroidered pillow from Aunt Martha, sitting on the sofa, is going to score any page time, I’m expecting it to be used to smother someone later on in the book. Hopefully, the woman who spends far too much on shoes. J

What’s it like to have your youngest daughter striving to become a novelist?

Tons of fun! I love having someone in the house I can talk shop with. We write totally different genres so we’re not much help to each other in brainstorming, but we understand each other’s trials and tribulations and joys. She’ll commiserate when I have uncooperative characters, and whereas the rest of my family were happy for me when I got my first book contract, Jen alone jumped and squealed and hugged me with pure abandon.

If you had oodles of spare time, hitched with no worries, what 3 novels would you re-read, and why?

Hmm, considering I have a bookshelf full of books I have yet to get to, not to mention, an overflowing Ereader, I’d probably devour many of those that I’m itching to read.  But if I could only choose from the shelf in front of me, I’d say one of Karen Witemeyer’s historicals, one of Susan May Warren’s Team Hope or Noble Legacy romantic suspense, and Lisa Wingate’s contemporary romance Word Gets Around, because I loved those books and these talented authors have inspired me time and again.

You can also check out Sandra's August '11 visit on Everyone's Story and her September '13 visit.

Sandra's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Enjoy romantic suspense fiction? Meet award-winning author Sandra Orchard. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Behind a great author is a heavy-duty reader. See what author Sandra Orchard shares about reading. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Sandra Orchard’s #ChristianSuspense novel BLIND TRUST. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning Canadian author of inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries with Love Inspired Suspense and Revell. An active member in American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, and Romance Writers of America, she enjoys helping writers hone their skills. Learn more about Sandra’s books and check out the special bonus features, such as deleted scenes and location pics, at

Places to connect with Sandra:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Candace Calvert: Life Lessons From Hummmberto

Everyone's Story welcomes back the lovely and phenomenal Candace Calvert. I've had the pleasure of meeting Candace in the very beginning of my journey of writing Christian fiction and I will never forget her warm smile, reflective of her warm heart. This week Candace shares with us what an amazing, tiny bird had taught her this past winter. Can you relate? Check out her wonderful Book Giveaway offer, a bonus to please any book lover! Both Candace and I are looking forward to hearing from you!

Book Giveaway:
Candace wants to make 5 readers very happy! She is generously offering one autographed copy of her newest release, LIFE SUPPORT, to 5 randomly chosen commenters. The winners will be announced here on Friday, May 23, between 5-6 PM EST. To be eligible, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

                                 For a little extra delight:


My Friend, Hummmberto by Candace Calvert

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Romans 8:25 (NIV)

I’ve always had an issue with patience. Not in a way that makes me a grumpy curmudgeon in a DMV line, or road-rage scary on the freeway; no worries there, friends. My impatience is more like an over-eager, can’t wait to get started, little kid thing. You know, that whole backseat, road-trip, “Are we there yet?” syndrome. On steroids.

I will admit, right here and now, that I have dug up garden seeds just to see if they were beginning to sprout. Yes. Planted them, dug them back up.  Because waiting patiently for the first green leaf to emerge was way too hard. I needed to be assured it would happen. Can anyone relate? Am I alone here?

Unfortunately, a huge part of our lives is spent waiting—two to three YEARS in total, according to some sources. Writers know that frustration first hand:
·      Waiting for the “day job” to end (our baby to nap!) to grab some precious writing time
·      Waiting to hear back from a critique partner on our latest chapter
·      Waiting to hear if we are a finalist in a writing contest
·      Waiting (endlessly) for responses to agent queries
·      Waiting to hear from our new agent about a manuscript submitted to an editor
·      Waiting for news after the editor takes it to her publishing board
·      Waiting for that dreamed-for contract to arrive
·      Waiting (pacing, nearly popping) to announce a book sale on Facebook!
·      Waiting . . . months and months for that book’s release (while checking on Amazon several times a day, like we’re digging for sprouted seeds).

Waiting for Hummmberto
Patience. That thorn in my side. And exactly the lesson God has been trying to teach me. I’ve suspected it for a long time. And this past winter, He chose a very unique way of working on it. A way that wrapped me in a daily ritual—and strange attire: scarlet ski jacket over my PJ’s, red boa scarf around my neck—even a flashy crimson manicure. My “Hummingbird Outfit.”  I pulled it on just before dawn, leaving my cozy, warm bed (and incredulous husband), to stumble out into the backyard, yawning, in temperatures as low as 29 degrees (that is c-c-old for Californians). All because . . .

An Anna's Hummingbird
I’m a bird lover, an admitted bird nerd. And a single male hummingbird—a beautiful Anna’s—decided not to migrate this year, and stayed at my feeder. Hungry. Amazingly, he wasn’t shy when I first filled the feeder. It surprised and intrigued me. So I Googled a plan to encourage him to come close enough to feed from my hands. Slowly . . . slowly we worked at it.

 Hummingbird Boa
 (gift from a reade
Some mornings—many mornings—I had to wait a long time for Hummmberto (his name, emphasis on the Hummm) to come from wherever it was that he slept. My hands would shake with cold, cramp, as I held the feeder. Sometimes he would perch on a branch and watch, talking and singing in hummer language. Other times he’d skim the top of my hair, stare into my face . . . before finally lighting on the feeder. Eventually hovered near enough to my fingers that I felt the breeze from his tiny wings. He perched, glanced up at me, and sipped. His beauty, his trust—our bond—  brought tears to my eyes. And a strong realization:

Waiting there each morning—shivering, and so tempted to give up—was God’s plan to teach me patience. His reward: a tiny and amazing miracle only He could create. 

Such a blessing!

Hummingbird nail polish
Hummmberto is still out there, though with the multitude of spring blossoms (and his adoring girlfriends) he finds the feeder—and the lady in the boa—far less attractive. But each time I see him, I think of those lessons. And I find more peace in waiting now; I’m no longer tempted to dig up the garden and check for sprouts. I look for more opportunities to hope for what I don’t yet have . . . and wait for it with patience.

How about you? Is patience hard? Are you ever tempted to “dig up the seeds?”

Check out Candace's previous visit on Everyone's Story

Candace's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Combine amazing author @CandaceCalvert & a hummingbird for fun & insight. (Tweet This)

Like #MedicalFiction? Visit with author Candace Calvert on Everyone’s Story. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

How did author Candace Calvert learn patience? (Tweet This)

Candace Calvert offers dynamic #BookGiveaway to 5 lucky winners. Will you be one? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.

Places to connect with Candace:

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