Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Cody Musket saga continues! Author interview with James Miller



I have an exciting update for you, about the Cody Musket series! You may remember the prediction I made when I first featured him here.
Click here
to see Part 1 on Amazon
"I fully expect this author to have the 
"best-selling" prefix added to his name shortly 
with the release of his book! 
I read it, loved it, and think you will too! " Lisa Smith


This is where I get to say "I told you so!" My prediction was correct! 

This award-winning, #1 Amazon best-selling author has written a new chapter for us, Knoxi's World. In this part of the saga, Knoxi has practically grown-up, and is still involved in the same page-turning adventures you have come to expect from this heroic family. 

Click here
to see Part 2 on Amazon
James Miller's debut series No Pit So Deep - The Cody Musket Story, was written as fiction, but based on real heart-stopping events that he masterfully wove around a strong but vulnerable couple, and one smart and savvy young girl, with God at the helm of their epic adventures. 

Part 2 took us even deeper into their relationship with each other and their dependence on God, while Knoxi showed her great faith and courage in the most dire of circumstances. 

Now, in part 3, Knoxi is once again in the middle of a life and death situation. She is smart and courageous, but will that be enough to get her through this?





Excerpts from Part 3, Knoxi's World

Click to see Knoxi's World on Amazon
The coach addressed the crowd. “Eight days ago, I received a text from Knoxi Musket which simply said, “I’m all in!”

A deafening applause erupted as the coach now confirmed the rumor that had been circulating all week — Knoxi Musket would soon play basketball for the Lady Longhorns. Texas University T-shirts with Knoxi’s facial image imprinted had already appeared around campus.
_______
Knoxi’s head was exploding with each heartbeat. The cold gun barrel against her right temple and the huge left hand choking her windpipe darkened her vision. She could hear the triggerman’s teeth grinding. Was he as nervous as she?
_______

Knoxi folded her hands. “So, you’re the mouthpiece for the corporate elite? You help them stay above the law? How does a brilliant man like you consider himself free?”

“Look, the corporate elites pay me big because they need a mouthpiece to tell their side. They call me their wiseguy. Like I said, Knoxi, don’t be a fool. Just walk away.” He leaned back, stuck the cigar between his teeth again, and crossed his arms. “So, aren’t you gonna quote the Bible verse that says, ‘What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?’”
“No, Rolfe. You already know that verse.” She headed for the door, stopped, and looked back. “Frankly, I would rather be a fool for Jesus than a wiseguy for somebody else.”
__________

The reservoir was nowhere in sight, her altimeter showed less than 300 feet. They were going to crash. As the reality took her, she heard familiar words in her mind: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
“Oh, God. This is not a good night to die. For the children, for the little one on board, for the sake of —”
Suddenly, a deep male voice interrupted her thoughts. “A little crowded in this cockpit, isn’t it?”
She startled and swiveled her head right and left but saw nothing. Where had the voice come from? I imagined it, right?
________


Click to see Knoxi's World on Amazon




About the Author

JAMES N. MILLER 

In the 70s and 80s after college, I wrote and performed contemporary Christian music as Jimmy Miller. (Several songs made the charts.) As a pilot, I logged in 8,000 hours in the air, and owned several aircraft businesses which have been involved in ministry support throughout the world. It was a complete surprise to me that I would become an author!


The summer of 2017 the Cody Musket novel series was dead in the water. It had made a nice run, but after one year, sales had finally flattened. Had it simply run its course?  My series stood at only two books, and I decided against writing a third. The motivation wasn’t there. My prayer was, “God, if You still have a use for this series, I’m waiting on You to move. I can do nothing else.”
Suddenly, in late summer, things began to happen. Book one was awarded a bronze medal in the 2017 Readers Favorite International Book Awards! Amazon pronounced it a #1 Best-seller in three categories, and reviews began to roll in from several continents. 
With this answer to prayer, I was motivated to write a third book, Knoxi's World. This installment begins where the second ended, but this third book has an added intrigue.  Knoxi, who was less than two years old in Book 1, has now come of age, and the story focuses around her as she carries the Cody Musket legacy into the next generation.
Knoxi’s World, blends Biblical Christianity with next-level technology and depicts how Kingdom-minded believers who are bold, adventurous and committed can impact the world even in a futuristic culture.


Find his books on the Amazon links below.


 
Click to see
Part 1 on Amazon
Click to see 
Part 2 on Amazon
Click to see
Part 3 on Amazon















All three on Kindle here




 


Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Sugar Cookie Saga

The Sugar Cookie Saga
Broken Cookies Are Useful and Wonderful!
 I had a wonderful plan! It was only a small part of my Christmas goodies plan, but I fully expected it to be a spectacular part of the table. I imagined the little pies stacked neatly on a lovely tiered stand, filled with chocolatey goodness. It would be wonderful, just like I planned. (Recognize those famous last words?)

I started my plan from the ground up, or crust up as the case may be. I divided up the sugar cookie dough into small pecan-size balls, coated them with sugar and pressed them into the tiny muffin tins. They looked just perfect. 

Sugar cookie stubbornness.
The trouble started in the oven. They mushroomed out far beyond the limits I had discussed with them, but finally settled into a reasonable compromise. I am a seasoned baker, so I knew they would need to cool slightly so they wouldn't fall apart coming out of the tins. 

After a few minutes, they were cool enough to touch, so I began the careful surgical extraction of my little sugar cookie pie crusts. The first one put up a fight, but these things happen even to the most seasoned bakers, so I persevered on to number two. This little guy fell apart too. So did numbers three, four and on and on. Apparently in the oven, they cooked up a conspiracy.
No pie crust here.

Rather than give up entirely (after all I had a Christmas goodie table to prepare and I am a seasoned baker) I implemented plan B. I took the little conspirators and pressed them into a glass pie dish to form a single pie crust. They weren't having any of it. With that many holes in any "crust" I could read the "this is going to be a mess" writing on the wall. Time for this seasoned baker to find a plan C.

Sometimes rather than force my plan to work when it obviously isn't, I have the wisdom (sometimes) to go with what is working (sometimes.) I have sixty years under my belt and wisdom does pop up sometimes. This time I sought it out, and found it waiting right under my nose, well, on my kitchen counter.

They are sugar cookies, an unruly lot, but sugar cookies nonetheless. The chocolate mousse, and whipped cream awaited their company. So, I layered the crumbs, mousse, and whipped cream into a clear glass bowl and topped it with some more crumbs and chocolate hazelnut star cookies. It was lovely and delicious.

~ What God taught me in this process ~

Be Patient
When explaining the gospel, or encouraging someone in the faith, I must be patient. 
They have a place in the kingdom, and I can't push them into my preconceived notion of where that might be, or bully them into submission. 
We are all a little broken.

Persevere. 
Don't give up when it seems your plan might be futile. 
Even if they resist, try again. 
Even the most seasoned have to learn new ways of completing the task, 
especially when dealing with brokenness.

Pray
Even though I may be seasoned in teaching and encouraging others in the faith, 
God may have a plan that I might not have considered. 
He gives wisdom to those who ask. 

Point to Him. 
The project did not have to be my vision of tiny bite-size pies to be successful. 
It was completely successful as one big bowl of chocolatey goodness 
with sugar cookie crumbles and whipped cream deliciousness. 
He uses my brokenness, and yours too, to make us beautiful and fruitful, 
even before we see the outcome.

Dear Father,
Thank You for your patience with me as I try to do things my way so often. Thank You for loving me enough to place adversity in my path, so I will learn to persevere and look to You even more. That will always be my ultimate goal ~ to draw nearer to You.

I ask that You give an extra dose of patience and perseverance to me and the one reading this right now, that we will remember to both call upon You and point others to You even in the midst of our struggle.

I pray in Jesus' name,
Amen.

What is your struggle today? Can you (will you) apply this to your circumstance? Have you found this to be true in your walk? Please leave your comment below. It might be the encouragement someone needs today! 


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If you have a chance, please check out these books with more faith-filled stories. I pray they will be an encouragement to you in your walk.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Butterfly Prayer

Pause, open your arms to soak in strength from God before you face the day.
In late October it is chilly here in my part of the world. So chilly that the hummingbirds have headed to warmer parts of the world and the rest of us are pulling out long sleeves and sweaters to ward off the chillbumps. The maple trees have already dropped almost half their leaves to blanket their roots for the coming winter.

Meanwhile, this little guy finds himself a sunny spot and silently opens his wings. I thought at first he was posing for a picture, but I realized he purposely landed in a sunbeam and was simply soaking in the warmth. Isn't that a beautiful picture? Not of the butterfly, but of how we can live. Life all around us may be cold and harsh, but we can always come to Him and find comfort and strength.

I watched him for a few minutes as he gathered his strength for his mission and then fluttered to the pickerel reed and the Mexican petunias and some wildflowers (I refuse to call them "weeds') that are still bravely blooming. He was created for a mission, and he was brilliant enough to pause to soak in what he needed before he faced the day.

I am guilty of rushing into the day headlong sometimes, and I can tell you it leads to a frustrating tizzy (Southern for "discombobulated") kind of a day, maybe you are too. What if we dollowed the example of this butterfly? What if you and I opened our arms up to the One who created us, and paused to soak in His Word to strengthen and encourage us for the path God has set before us today?

Come'on! Let's do!

Father,
I look to You today first and foremost. I do not know what the day ahead holds for me, so I pause and remember that rather than looking at the problems down here I need to "Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the [fn]strength of His power, Not one of them is missing...Yet those who [fn]wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:26,31

Thank You for strengthening me. Help me to focus on You and be obedient to You. I trust You and love You, and pray these things in Jesus' name,
Amen.


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Click to find about Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird on Amazon

Click here to find see The Wisdom Tree on Amazon



Friday, October 6, 2017

The Wisdom Tree

The Wisdom Tree  Click to see on Amazon.com
He wasn't always known as the Wisdom Tree. 
Like my life, and maybe yours too, 
his life began in a most ordinary way. 
This parable reveals how his choices, and 
the faithfulness of his worm friend, 
were all woven together 
by the loving hands of the Master of the Garden 
into something completely extraordinary.

Even today, just outside Jerusalem, 
there is a garden of olives known as Gethsemane. 
If you go there, listen closely
you might just hear a descendant of the Wisdom Tree whisper 
"Trust, 
believe, and 
look up."
~


Sometimes compared to the writing style of Max Lucado, this story magnifies the sovereignty of God in the smallest of creatures. 

A special little seed, and a wise old worm experience the trials of life alongside the Master of the Garden, Who never leaves or forsakes them.

Half parable, and half Bible study (with biblical answers to the most basic and some difficult questions in Christianity), this is a great book for 
  • Bible study groups, 
  • book clubs, 
  • homeschool, and 
  • personal growth toward a deeper understanding of how the hand of God continually works in our lives. 

Recommended for middle readers and up and new Christians. (Although mature Christians who are familiar with the New Testament love hearing the familiar story from a fresh perspective!)



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Amazon link




Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Cuckoo Conversation

Unhappy Cuckoo
I never had been formally introduced to a cuckoo (bird, that is) before today. This meeting was not one of niceties, but of necessity.  


This one made a bad decision; a really bad decision. He flew into a garage. Mind you, that in itself isn’t such a bad thing – unless you don’t know the way out. He didn’t.

After a long while of avoiding his rescuer and trying to fly out of the ceiling and knocking down the garage door rails, he tired enough for my husband (you will remember Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome) to nab him.

Mr. TD&H presented his catch to me wrapped in a chamois, from said garage.  Mr. Cuckoo was a mess. His bloodied little head told me he butted against walls with all his little bird strength to find his way out. A closer inspection (much to his disliking) revealed that his little head feathers were broken off at the nub. Just a guess but, he might have a stubborn streak.

Once a rehabber, always a rehabber (you may remember my adventure with Oscar the extraordinary hummingbird, baby blue birds…) I gathered supplies. Rubber gloves, paper towels, water, aloe were my initial tools for this job.

We found a spot in the shade and started to work. From the look in his eyes he didn’t appreciate it one little bit, but he needed attention so, I took the end of a paper towel and wet it to clean his bloody head. His protests quieted so the cool water must have been some comfort. After a few dabs I found no lacerations, so I finished cleaning and applied a little aloe for healing.

With him safely wrapped like a chamois cuckoo burrito, and turned him over. There were no other obvious wounds. His screams of protest began again when he was upright. I can’t give you an exact translation because I am not fluent in Cuckoo. I can tell you if Mommy Cuckoo was listening, he may be in for a “washing of the beak!” The video only includes his "nice words."

We found him well enough to try for a release. With his patience with me drawing to an end, I took a picture. Notice his "sweet smile?" Stubborn and unhappy. 

We no more than unwrapped his burrito than off he flew. No thank you. No tender good-byes. Off to the nearest tree and life as before. He may have some explaining to do about his head injury but, should be fine.

If the little guy had used a helmet – he could have avoided his injury. I am sorry he had such a rough day. Because he didn’t listen when Mr. TD&H tried to explain the way out for him, he probably wouldn’t have listened to me either. We did what we could in light of his situation. It is up to him whether or not he learned any lessons.

The same is true for us. The helmet of salvation protects us from injury to our heads. Indeed our enemy wants to get in there and bloody us up with false teachings. He is the father of lies and will do his best to fill our heads with them – unless we have our helmet.

Things I learned
  • Without God, we are likely to go places and be found in situations that cause us harm and from which we can’t find our way out.
  • When (Christian) help comes, it would be beneficial to listen.
  • When offering help (Truth) to one in distress, you may encounter screams of protest. Be willing to wait and offer Truth anyway. Earnestly contend for the faith.
  • When offering Truth you must be prepared for both reception and rejection. Offer Truth anyway.
  • When you give life-saving Truth to one and they reject it today, it may open a door to another day. Don’t be discouraged – one plants, another waters – God gives the increase.
  • If you reject the Truth, you can expect to make harmful decisions over and over again.

If you see a little guy who looks like this,
 tell him I said "hi!" and he is
welcome to come back and visit,
and finish our conversation.

Cuckoos are considered “brood parasites.” They often lay their eggs in another’s nest. If you find a cuckoo in your nest,
  • Take care of them as if they are your own.
  • Teach them the Truth.
  • Give them access to a helmet.
  • Realize – the decision is theirs.








“Stand firm therefore,
HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH,
and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION
OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith
with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God. “
Ephesians 6:14-17
  
Dear Father in heaven,
I confess that I was just like this little bird, lost without a clue how to get out of my sin. Thank You for Your patience and love toward me while I was still flying on my own.

Father, it was Your love that provided my escape from sin. Your love paid a price above comprehension to rescue me from the eternity that I deserved. Thank You for your provision for eternity and Your provision for today. I especially thank You for Your Word that lights the path for my feet, that I will not stumble or stray.

I pray for all those reading this right now, that they will know You and know of Your love for them. Make Yourself known to them in a real and personal way today. Help them to see the need for You and help me find ways to minister to those who need to hear.

I am so thankful that You have provided all I need for the battle while I am here on earth. I trust You with my today and my eternity.

I pray in the precious name of Jesus, my Rescuer and Redeemer, 
amen.


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For more faith-filled stories, including a hummingbird I named Oscar read the first chapter of our story here.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Droughts and deep roots

Droughts and deep roots

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.”
Psalm 1:1-6

After many days of heat, and several weeks without any rain, we are in a drought. The earth is baked and cracked, the local ponds are about a foot lower than usual, the grass is as brown as if it were winter, and the leaves on many plants and trees are withering and dropping.

Today, as I inspected the garden, I saw these two plants. I planted both of them, the maple in the sun and the hydrangea in the shade. The maple is mature and deeply-rooted and is withstanding the searing drought very well. The hydrangea is a shallow-rooted plant that is visibly suffering, even in the shade. Without intervention, it will give up and drop its leaves.

What a picture of the contrast between those who have spent time in the Word of God and with Him, and those who have not. Those nourished by the Word have deep roots and do not wither but, produce fruit. Others do not rely on the Word of God, but on counsel of the wicked. They will be blown away like chaff and will perish.

Another picture of the power of the Word from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.  You will remember that seed was sown with differing results. Some fell among rocks, some were eaten by birds, some fell among thorns and others rooted and yielded a good crop. Those sown by the rocks did not take root “when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”  Jesus explained the parable;  “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”

How is the Word in your life? 
Is It a constant source of nourishment that establishes your roots in Him or, is It something you turn to now and then as the need arises? What does that tell you about your roots? What can you expect when the difficulties come? What is the solution? The only solution is being firmly planted by the Word in order to be nourished and thrive. Merely dipping your toes in It now and then will not be the same as being firmly planted, and depending on It for constant nourishment, and building strong and healthy roots that will hold you when the hard times come.

Dear Father in heaven,
How thankful I am for Your Word. It has been such a source of strength for me and for so many others. I pray today for those who are drawn to You and Your Word. I pray You will give them renewed strength and they will realize their need to remain by You. I trust You to give them just what they need to flourish and produce fruit today.

I pray for those who have only dipped their toes into Your Word and are withering. Give them strength and encouragement to come back for more.

I pray for those around whom the birds are circling, ready to snatch them away. I pray You will make Yourself known to them today in a real and fresh way that they too will look to You.

Your Word is indeed a blessing, and I delight in It! Thank You for providing such a stream of living water in this dark and dry land!

I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus, my Savior.
Amen.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Introducing Paulette Stamper, author of Sand Surfers


Sand Surfers author, Paulette Stamper
I am so happy to introduce you to Paulette Stamper, author of Sand Surfers - Encountering God and Discovering Divine Purpose in the Desert, a 9-week bible study based on the Israelites journey out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. She wrote the study  "because I was blown away in my own personal study of how Jesus showed up in the desert! Everything the Israelites went through in the desert pointed to the person of Jesus. There is so much hope for us in their story of redemption."

 
Do you have a favorite scene or story?
Absolutely. Hands down my favorite story in all of Scripture is Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush in Exodus 3. This is where God revealed everything about His character that we need to know – that He is the God who SEES, HEARS, KNOWS and RESCUES. These truths never get old!


What do you want your readers to take away from it?
I believe that through the study of the Israelites in the desert, readers will find new hope and encouragement that Jesus is speaking to them, leading them, and revealing Himself to them even in the midst of their life deserts.





Author, Paulette Stamper
~~~~~About Paulette~~~~~

I actually don’t have a background in writing. I never dreamed in a million years that I would end up writing and teaching bible studies!

A lot of people are surprised to find out that I’m a girl with simple tastes. One of my favorite restaurants is Waffle House! I love a good commentary, I love horses and the smell of a barn. But my favorite thing ever is diving deep in the Word of God.
  
Follow Paulette






Find Sand Surfers on Amazon 



~~~~~

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meet Carol B. Round

Meet author and columnist, Carol B. Round

Join me in welcoming christian author, Carol Beck Round! She has "always loved to write. As a child, I wrote poetry. My college major was journalism/English. I taught those subjects in high school for 17 years before becoming the high school library media specialist for the final 13 years of my teaching career." 

Carol has written several books , including a book on prayer journaling and a companion workbook in addition to her latest series of chilren's books. "My other three books are collections of my weekly Christian column which I’ve been writing for almost 11 years. My column now reaches readers all over the world."

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is a series of children’s books to teach youngsters about the importance of giving, saving and spending money. The series title is “Nana’s 3 Jars.” Each book has a subtitle. The first is Giving Generously. The second is Saving Pennies while the subtitle of the third in this series is Spending Wisely.

My main characters are siblings, Charlie and Emma. Charlie is in elementary school but Emma is still too young to go. Most children can relate, I believe, to being excited about going to their grandparent’s house for a visit. For Charlie and Emma, it’s fun to visit their Nana because she lives in the country and has animals and a garden. They get to do things they might not otherwise get to do at home and, at the same time, they learn valuable lessons from their grandmother.

I have three grandchildren and I thought this series would not only help them to learn about money and the wise uses of it, but would help others as well.

Do you have a favorite?
I think the first of the series is my favorite. In this book, the siblings make chocolate chip cookies and share them with the residents of a veteran’s center.

What do you want your readers to take away from it?
That money and how we use it is important. Each book is also interactive so children get to complete an activity at the end of each book to reinforce the lesson learned in each.




~~~~


Excerpt from Nana's 3 Jars



Sitting at Nana’s kitchen table, Charlie and Emma dipped their cookies into the milk. As they enjoyed their treat, Charlie noticed three jars on Nana’s kitchen counter. They weren’t empty. Each was filled with coins. Each jar had a label on the outside.
Curious, Charlie asked, “Nana, why do you have coins in those three jars?”
Nana picked up the first jar. Charlie read the label. “Saving,” he pronounced.
“What does that mean, Nana?” Emma asked.
Nana explained the money in the “Saving” jar was for emergencies, like car repairs or a broken washing machine.
Picking up the second jar labeled “Spending,” Charlie asked, “What do you do with the coins in this jar, Nana?”
“The money in this one is for buying things I need, like groceries,” Nana said.
Emma picked up the third jar. She couldn’t read yet.
“Then what’s this jar for, Nana?”
Charlie read the label for Emma. “Giving,” he said.
“What does that mean, Nana?” Emma asked.
“Well,” said Nana, “all of the coins I put in this jar will be used to help others.”
“Help others? How?” asked Charlie.
“How?” chimed in Emma.
“In the past, I’ve used money from this jar to buy the ingredients to bake a pie to welcome a new neighbor,” said Nana. “I’ve also used my giving money to buy canned goods for the church food pantry or socks to donate to the homeless shelter in town.”
“Why?” asked Emma.


~~~~









Find her books on Amazon here.













Carol Beck Round
I also have a Christian speaking ministry but readers might be interested to know that the only “C” I made in college was in speech. I was so terrified of speaking in front of my peers that I gripped the podium tightly—so tightly that sweat poured off my palms and dripped onto the floor. However, I no longer fear public speaking. 

My hobbies include photography, volunteering, spending time with my grandchildren and reading.


Keep in touch with Carol at



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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Meet C. L. Wells, author of Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God


I am happy to introduce you to author, C. L. Wells!  She describes her writing background as "my love for stories." At the time of this interview her debut novel, Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God, was listed as #2 on Amazon in its category! Published in June 2015, Memoirs is inspirational fiction, but the main character is a real girl and much of her true story is woven into the fabric of the plot. While is is listed in the young adult reader category "I’ve found that readers of all ages have enjoyed the story immensely." 

Author C. L. Wells
"I’ve always wanted to write a book but hem and hawed for years telling myself I couldn’t do it, wasn’t qualified, etc. When ‘Krystal’ talked to me about her experiences with self-harm, it sparked something in me. It was meant. Never waste time on self-doubt. We can do so much more than what we realize."

"Krystal is a teenager who is struggling with her parent’s separation. She is like so many other teenagers out there. She is smart, talented, and her own person. She begins cutting as a way to cope with her emotions and becomes addicted. Nearly half of all teens have engaged in self-harm in some form at one time or another. We all know someone who is or has self-harmed. We may not know who it is, but we all know at least one person, likely more."

What do you want your readers to take away from it?
Many things, but I want them to take away whatever was meant for them to receive based on who you are and what experiences you’ve had. However, there’s an overall message that says, Hey! Life can be hard and unfair but in the midst of it all, you have a purpose. There’s work to be done and fun to be had, so chop chop, there’s no time to lose!”

 ~~~~~

Excerpt from 
Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God  
Em and Krystal ladled soup into cups behind all the action. Krystal had chicken and noodle. Em had chili. While the tight quarters were challenging, they found their rhythm and stayed a cup ahead of Mike and Sharon. It wasn’t a difficult task with both of them serving, but oh, the heat! Between the stoves, warmers, and bodies, the heat was downright stifling.
Em glanced up at Krystal and started laughing.
“What?” Krystal asked.
“Before we leave, I’m taking a picture of us with our hairnets on,” she answered.
 “Okay!”
“You should take your hoodie off,” Em said, looking over at her. “You’ve got to be sweating to death with that on in here.”
“It’s all good,” Krystal said. She wasn’t going to admit that her pits were thoroughly soaked.
Em shifted her weight and began using her bossy mom voice.
 “At least roll your sleeves up. You’re going to get soup on them.”
 “No! I said I’m good.” Inwardly flinching, she knew she’d overreacted. Frustrated, she would love nothing more than to strip off her hoodie, which was now at least four times its weight because of the sweat. But that didn’t have anything to do with Em. “I’m fine,” she said more softly, wishing she could take back her harsh tone.
Em eyed her from under her bangs as she poured another cup of soup. Krystal turned around to see how many people were in line, and noticed the room was entirely full. 
She watched the little old man at a back table against the wall tear off a piece of bread and offer it to his dog, which it took gently from his hand. Glancing around, she still didn’t see anyone else with a pet.
It saddened her to see the old man. She was happy he had a companion, but hated that he had to find food in this place. He should be in a cozy home, sitting in a recliner with his dog curled up next to him.  Maybe she’d paint him that way.
She turned back to the soup station, lifted the ladle, and filled another cup. More than ready to go, she looked at the line of people again, hoping it would be shorter than it was ten seconds ago.
No such luck. Worse yet, Em was still acting wounded and made it a point to not look at Krystal at all.
Suddenly, she sucked in her breath and held it when through a gap in the line, she saw a boy from her school sitting at a nearby table. Brandon, she thought, his name is Brandon, and he’s in my French class. She didn’t know much about him other than he was a sophomore.
What was he doing here? She wondered frantically. It was clear he was eating, but how could that be? She couldn’t stop staring.
He sat hunched over, with his head slightly turned the opposite direction. Had he spotted her first, hoping to not be seen? Sitting with his left cheek propped on his fist, elbow resting on the table, he kept his eyes down as he ate. As she was about to turn away, she saw him peek over his hand in her direction and their eyes met.
Krystal’s face went hot. A tingle shot up her spine and danced on her scalp.
Frozen, she gazed into her soup. Why did she stare so long? What the heck is wrong with her?
“Krystal?” Mike said.
“Sorry.” She scooped a cup of soup and handed it to him.

 

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 What's next? Memoirs is written as a standalone but I’m currently writing the unintended sequel.

My latest is a short story titled, ‘That’s How She Rolls.’ Currently, it’s included in an anthology with five other authors and their short stories. The anthology is titled ‘Where the Light May Lead.’ Later this year, I’ll put ‘That’s How She Rolls’ out on her own. *smile* 

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