Friday, December 8, 2017

When Reads the Heart with Carole Towriss


When I released my first indie book, I sent my street team a necklace along with the advance reader copy. The pendant, a gift from the hero to the heroine, figured prominently in the book. She had never had a home or family of her own, and desperately wanted one. The pendant symbolized love, family, belonging—and home. 

One of my team members lost almost everything they owned a couple weeks after the book released in a massive fire that completely destroyed their barn and house. Thankfully, their entire family of eight, and all their animals, managed to escape. A week later she sent me this email:

Hi Carole,
I wanted to write and let you know what a blessing your book has been to me through this week.  When we left for church Sunday morning I decided to take my necklace off that I wear every day and replace it with your carnelian one.  While I'm sad to lose the other one (it was a mother's necklace with all my children's names on it - that did need to be replaced anyway to add our two newest daughters), the carnelian has been such a wonderful reminder to me of God's presence in our lives.  Like the quote I posted earlier in the week from your book, the fact that God is our dwelling place - not our home on this earth that I loved! - has been so comforting!  I'm sure you had no idea how God would use your book, but I wanted you to know I believe he had you write it at least in part for me!!  

Then she asked me for another signed copy, which of course I was delighted to send her!

I always pray for the readers God has in mind as I write my books. Most of them I will never know. I will never meet them, never know their stories. This time, I was privileged to hear how God used the verses he gave to me as the theme to minister to another’s heart:

Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. ~Psalm 90.1

An unapologetic Californian, Carole Towriss now lives just north of Washington, DC. She loves her husband, her four children, the beach, and tacos, though not always in that order. In addition to writing, she binge-watches British crime dramas and does the dishes for the fourth time in one day.
Find Carole at the following links:
on Twitter: @CaroleTowriss

Friday, December 1, 2017

When Reads the Heart with Amanda Cabot



Today I am honored to welcome Amanda Cabot to our When Reads the Heart series as she shares a heartwarming letter from one of her readers. 
 
What made me I think I should write this story?  What made me think I could write it?  Those questions bounced through my head countless times as I was working on Scattered Petals, the second of my Texas Dreams trilogy.  Yes, it’s true that I write stories of healing.  Yes, it’s true that I begin each day by praying that my words will touch readers’ hearts and deepen their faith, but why did I feel compelled to create a heroine who’s raped on her way to a wedding? 
The research was painful.  So, too, was the actual writing.  I wept as I wrote the scene where Priscilla’s parents are murdered and she’s attacked.  I wept as I wrote the scenes where she tries to deal with the trauma.  And all the while, I kept asking why?  Why was I writing this story?
The answers began to come soon after the book was published in early 2010, and they still continue in the form of letters from readers. 
Scattered Petals was very special to me,” wrote one woman.  “You see, I have a horrendous past which I have not been able to get over.  So I can very much relate to both Priscilla and Zach.  And I especially needed to read again and again that God has plans for each of us and see the possibilities for my life by seeing what He did to make good out of the bad in the lives of those two.  Even more than that, as I read all the things Zach did and said to love and help Priscilla, I thought about the many things God has done to help me get over my past and to show how much He loves me.  What makes your book special is that you’ve touched my heart so deeply that these thoughts are finally becoming real in my heart.  I’m finally beginning to really believe God loves me.


“And so, when I finished the book, I had a new experience.  My focus was not on my lack of a mature, wonderful Christian husband.  It was on the realization that I already have the most wonderful husband in the world, God. 

“Thank you for working in partnership with God to touch and change me as never before!”
My questions were answered, and so were my prayers.  Why did I write Scattered Petals?  Because it was the story God intended me to tell.

*****
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroads trilogy, Christmas Roses, and A Stolen Heart, the first of the Cimarron Creek trilogy. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

When Reads the Heart with Gail Kittleson


Today I am excited to welcome author Gail Kittleson to the blog. Today she'll be sharing her experience and what Christian Fiction meant to one of her readers.



On this day after Thanksgiving, I’m so grateful to be able to use my gifts—so many people never find that niche where they feel useful and satisfied. This didn’t occur easily for me, or quickly. Nope, it took decades to develop the confidence to believe I had something to offer and fully enter into my vocation.
Writing to readers’ hearts means delving into the doubts and hurts and foibles that beset us all. I used to lament having wasted so much time commencing my writing, but having lived through some of those experiences might just be the best qualification for writing women’s fiction.
Literature that reaches the heart avoids pat answers and easy fixes. One of my readers pointed that out to me. At the outset, when we met at an event geared toward artsy folks, she looked at my books but said, “You know, I normally shy away from Christian fiction.” 


We talked longer, and she eventually did purchase the first book in my Women of the Heartland series...note the word heart in there! After she’d finished the novel, she contacted me with words to warm any author’s heart.
“I loved this story. Thank you for not giving Addie any easy ways out of her situation. She had to struggle like everybody else does in real life.”
Yes. I much prefer promoting my work under the label Women’s Historical Fiction, because that’s what it is—written for female readers living in the real word. True to the historical record, as best I can write it. And this series, about the contributions of regular everyday women to the World War II effort, contains some pretty daunting situations.
On the Midwestern home front, a heroine fights her own battles against a verbally abusive husband who takes out his rage on her. In London, where the Luftwaffe continually makes life miserable, and in Southern France, aiding the Resistance as Waffen S.S. tanks sweep north toward Normandy to fight the Allies.
Danger, intrigue, bold and necessary deception, along with a multitude of ponderings and doubts—where is the Almighty in all of this? Yet each character finds solace and hope...and even gratitude.
Hopefully readers, too, discover new possibilities in the fearsome personal pitfalls of this life. Hopefully, hearts are touched and encouraged by my very real-to-life characters. 

*****
When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim. Favorites: walking, reading, meeting new people, hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

Her newest book, A Purpose True releases December 7th.


Friday, November 10, 2017

When Reads the Heart with Linda Wood Rondeau


Hello Friends!
I am very excited to be introducing a new blog series I'm calling, When Reads the Heart. This series will feature uplifting stories of books and stories that have changed and touched lives. My very first guest for When Reads the Heart is award winning author Linda Wood Rondeau.

*****




HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT BEING RELIGIOUS by Fritz Rednoir

Just 188 pages. Back in 1971, a quick read. Yet, the book changed my life. The powerful message of what makes Christianity different from any other religion, ended my search for religious practice and helped me learn to walk with God through faith alone.

Though I did not grow up in a traditionally Christian home, my parents believed in God and taught me the importance of nightly prayers. My grandparents came to Christianity in midlife through the influence of my father’s brother, then age seventeen, who became saved at a Billy Graham Crusade and joined the choir.

We only attended church when my grandparents visited. However, at age seven, I attended a camp meeting with my grandmother. I felt the pull to give my heart to Jesus, though I had little understanding of what was involved. I only knew that I loved God and that I wanted to be his servant.

A few years later, my grandparents introduced us to a local church congregation that would soon be our church home. My parents became saved and became regular attendees. Though salvation by faith was taught, my spiritual experience was overshadowed by legalism. If I didn’t do this, and I did that, then I could be considered a good Christian. Sounded simple enough, yet my contrary spirit often rebelled. With a sense of constant spiritual failure, I went to the altar every time an invitation was given.

Perhaps the ultimate sense of spiritual failure resulted from my divorce. I came to the mistaken belief that I could never “do” Christian. I walked away from every tenet I’d been taught. What was the use? I tried to pray, but my prayers went no further than the ceiling. A single mom with three children, my life became anything but a model of how a Christian should live.

Then I read How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious, a commentary on Romans. Finally, something clicked. I was in my mid-twenties, and this book was written for young people, yet, these were the words I needed to hear. Other religions are characterized by man’s attempt to reach God. Christianity is God’s reach to humankind. I began to understand why I couldn’t “do” Christian. God had no intention for us to work our way to him. He was already near, reaching out, showing his love toward me.



The journey back took several more years to fully understand the difference between “doing” and “being” a Christian. I owe the starting point to a simple book. Though I write primarily fiction, I am a writer now because a book changed my life. My prayer is that the words God gives me will help others in kind.

*****

About the author: 



Award winning author, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. A veteran social worker, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, Maryland. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.