Guest Author Sharyn Kopf – Are You Ready to Share Your Story

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m welcoming author, editor, and ghost writer Sharyn Kopf as my guest author. Sharyn didn’t discover her voice until she found a way to turn grief into hope. For her, that meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find hope in God.

It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes of being an older single woman. She published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 in 2015. Book two, Inconceived, was finished in 2016, and she plans to release the final novel in the trilogy, Altared, over Labor Day weekend. Her work has also appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Splickety Love magazine.

Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is an editor and marketing professional. She loves to connect with readers and singles on Facebook or email and has plans to start a monthly newsletter soon. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.

Are You Ready to Share Your Story?

by Sharyn Kopf

They say—and, to be honest, I’m not sure who “they” are, but I still quote them on occasion—that everyone has a story. And, really, it’s true. I have a story. You have one. We all do. But then what? Should you do something with it?

Let’s start with five questions you need to answer in deciding if you should turn your tale into a book:

  1. Why do I want to tell my story?
  2. Who is my audience?
  3. What do I want to say … and what do I need to say?
  4. Is this a story that can be told in a new way? Or is it something we’ve read before?
  5. Am I the one to write it?

Each question is important, but regardless of your answers to the first four, if you respond to the fifth with a no, that’s where I come in. I help people take their story from idea to manuscript.

My name is Sharyn Kopf, and I’m a writer/journalist and editor with over thirty years of experience. Besides writing for newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, I co-authored and edited an autobiography a few years ago, have edited numerous published manuscripts, and, so far, have written, edited and published four books of my own.

Whether it’s starting from scratch or using your notes, diaries and/or interviews, I would work with you until we have a completed manuscript. Here’s the basic process:

We’d begin with a phone call. At that time, we’d discuss your budget, come up with a plan, and determine your answers to those first four questions. This lets me know what kind of book you want to end up with.

Next, you would need to send me any materials you already have. Once I go through that, I’ll contact you about additional interviews, whether with you or with others connected to your story. Of course, if you don’t have anything, our next step would be setting up interviews.

Once the research is done and the information has been collected, I’d start writing. Throughout the process, I’d keep in contact, whether it’s sending you chapters, asking questions to fill in the blanks or keeping you updated on my progress. Your level of involvement, of course, would be up to you.

Once the manuscript is written, I would do one final round of edits. After that, I recommend you find another editor for another run-through. The more eyes you have on it, the better it will be!

Though my rates are reasonable, they do reflect the level of time and expertise that would go into the work. However, we can complete the project at whatever speed best fits your budget.

If you’re interested in contacting me about your story, please email Sharyn Kopf at sharynkopf@gmail.com.

Inconceived

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means and how to handle it is another. And it would seem Jolene, Uli and Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is trying to show them, not only in their desire to marry but in their longing to have children of their own.

As one relationship ends and another begins, Jolene Woods realizes she needs to finally deal with the guilt and regret of her past if she’s ever going to move on. So she embarks on a journey she hopes will bring forgiveness but may, in fact, only lead to more regret. Did the sins of her youth forever destroy her chance to be a mother?

Uli Odell has her own journey, though it’s more of an escape from the pain and embarrassment of a broken engagement. She ends up at her mother’s home in Iowa, separated from her friends and desperate for money. But there are some problems she just can’t run away from.

Though Catie’s heart is in a stronger place since she met God on a mountain three months ago, she still doesn’t have answers to many of her questions. Then the possibility of an unhealthy relationship and the reality of a life-altering medical diagnosis makes her wonder if she’s figured out anything at all.

As their lives head off in different directions, each of these friends will need God—and each other—to find their way to healing.

You find it at this link.

Review of No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m reviewing a Christian romantic suspense novel by Lynette Eason. Here’s a blurb about the novel.

No One to Trust

Book #1 Hidden Identity Series

by Lynette Eason

Summer Abernathy must run for her life when she wakes up to find her husband Kyle missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she’s been living based on a lie.

 

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Wow! From the first word of this suspense filled novel, I was hooked. It’s fast paced roller-coaster ride of a husband and wife running from mobsters never stopped. Interwoven in the story was a story of betrayal and redemption. Summer’s husband has been lying to her about who he is through their entire marriage. She finds out the truth as they’re running for their lives, but she can’t leave him if she wants to live. I loved how this novel kept me guessing with twists and turns along the way. I highly recommend this novel and can’t wait to read more by Eason.

How Camp Meetings Ushered in the Second Great Awakening

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The year was 1800. Within the last 30 years, the United States had become a nation, adopted a Constitution.  Within the last year, it had elected its second president, John Adams. An unusual church service in Red River, Kentucky near the border of Tennessee ushered in a move of God called the Second Great Awakening that would sweep the nation for years to come.

A series of meetings was organized in June by Presbyterian minister James
McGready, and many Presbyterian and Methodists ministers took part. Because
many other congregations located along Muddy River and Gasper River planned to
attend, it was decided the meeting would be held outside near the Red River
Meeting House. This was the first “camp meeting” reportedly held in the United
States.

The services were well attending and were like many revival meetings of the time. On the last day of services, as William Hodge was preaching, a woman stood and started shouting praises to God. Soon others joined her. The service ended, but nobody was willing to leave. Mr. Hodge, according to an account by Methodist minister, John McGee, “felt such a power come on him that he quit his seat and sat down in the floor of the pulpit.” At that point McGee began to tremble, and the congregation started weeping. Revival broke out as people started shouting, and the floor was covered with those who had been slain in the Spirit (an occurrence where people are overwhelmed by God and can no longer stand).

A letter from McGready described the service.

“In June, the sacrament was administered at Red River. This was the greatest time we had ever seen before. On Monday multitudes were struck down under awful conviction; the cries of the distressed filled the whole house. There you might see profane swearers, and sabbath breakers pricked to the heart, and crying out, ‘what shall we do to be saved?’ There frolicers, and dancers crying for mercy. There you might see little children of ten, eleven and twelve years of age, praying and crying for redemption, in the blood of Jesus, in agonies of distress. During this sacrament, and until the Tuesday following, ten persons we believe, were savingly brought home to Christ.”

After the Red River Camp Meeting, other meetings were held where people would travel long distances and camp at the site. Camp Meetings spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Southern Ohio in what became known as the Revival of 1800. McGready travelled well into October where even bad weather didn’t keep people away.

Rankin House

John Rankin also started camp meetings into Tennessee and North Carolina with many of the same results. Later he settled in Ripley, Ohio where he conducted an underground railroad station from his house. He claimed over 1,000 escaped slaves that made their way to freedom went through his home.

In 1801, Methodist preacher Barton Stone attended one of the camp meetings near Red River. He decided to organize his own camp meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801. 20,000 people attended, and again, revival broke out. Over the next year, more than 10,000 people visited Cane Ridge services where unusual moves of God were reported.

One feature of these camp meeting revivals was the presence and conversion of blacks, many of whom were slaves. Women, children, and blacks were also allowed to participate as exhorters, lay people who preached impromptu sermons encouraging others.

Life is Like a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

by Carole Brownpb n jelly sand free

One of my favorite memories is the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I devoured and that were a part of our growing-up dietary food.

Today, I don’t devour them as much, but truly they are a healthy combination, especially for active children and grownups. Even though the jelly has sugar, they are still nutritious. Here’s a hint of their benefits:

  • the combination of peanut butter and bread provides protein,
  • B vitamins,
  • iron and
  • zinc.
  • Peanut butter is also a good choice for healthy unsaturated fats.

Nice, huh?

They are:

  • a simple food to prepare
  • delicious
  • healthy

Just like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I contend that simple pleasures in life are still the best.

  • As a child, I climbed the trees, stared into their lofty branches and wondered at the world. Today, I refrain from climbing the trees, but still stroll beneath them and enjoy staring into the tree tops.
  • As a child, I flung myself full bodied into a pile of fallen Autumn leaves. Today, I kick at them and crunch them beneath my feet, enjoying the sights and sounds of October.forest moose fog free
  • Then and now, I allow my imagination full rein as I gave at the fields and valleys soaked with mist and rays of early morning sunshine, and wonder what is and what can be.
  • Then I wondered what was ahead, but mostly enjoyed life as it came. Today, I marvel at what all life holds, the privileges I have, the pleasures that come my way, and the blessing of another day.

With simple pleasures, you don’t have to strain or put forth extraordinary power or strength or ability to create them. They are there for your enjoyment. God created most of them for humans in our world, and to take advantage of them both shows our appreciation of life and earth and all that God has given us and also gives us a few moments of rest, relaxation and peace of mind.

Today, I’m sitting on one of my porches, rocking, enjoying the cool air and reading a devotion. How will you remember this day?

What is the most enjoyable and/or memorable simple pleasure you can remember?

  • Time alone at a secluded cabin?
  • a special vacation with a friend or family?
  • A dinner out that was the highlight of your life?
  • A walk in the woods?

watch- free

 

Today, while there is still time, take a few minutes and enjoy one–or two–simple pleasures in your life.

Introducing…Jerry & Josephine Patterson

by Carole Brown

willow2 free

Coming soon will be the cover reveal of “A Flute in the Willows” the second book in the WWII Spies series. I’ll share a few pictures in this post, too, that remind me of things found in the  book.

I’m really excited over this book, as this series holds a special place in my heart.

Through my years at home I learned so much about the WWII era from my mother: the jobs she held, the clothes worn, the hardships, and much more. It piqued an interest in me that’s still intense and strong.

 

flute dark free

 

Two words in the title give you a hint of what will be mentioned or used as part of the story:

  • * Flute
  • * Willows (trees)

 

How do you think they will play a part in the story?

Here’s the blurb for the story:

Serving as a spy in the middle of Germany, Jerry’s prepared for the risks involved until the sister of a high ranking official falls in love with him. That would be fine except he has a lovely young wife back home that he adores. Besides all he really wants is to find the list of names he came for and if using Vanda to get it is what’s required then he’s willing to pay the price.

Back at home, seeing his wife’s desire to succeed as the world’s greatest female ice skater, Jerry shoves away Josie’s concern and love determined to give her a chance to leave him, a damaged husband. But when her life is threatened by who’s determined to make him pay for his spying activities in Germany, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Once again, Jerry has to risk all—only this time it’s for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

Josie Rayner Patterson has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Was he tortured? Has she lost his love? She knows he was injured—the crippled leg proves it, but he refuses to sleep with her, to talk with her, to share with her. He’s a stranger in their home.

Only her skating helps her keep her sanity even though she has her own demons to fight. Always rebellious at the restricted life she’d grown up in, she develops a greater taste for the liquor that dulls her troubled soul and climbs higher and higher to the peak of success she craves–until the night she makes a fatal mistake. Josie is wild with grief and angry at life itself. How could the God her family serves do this to her? She’s lost her two loves and has nothing left to live for.

When she joins her husband in finding and bringing down the person trying to wreck what little they have of life, she’s determined to do all she can. 

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness. 

A Flute in the Willows is scheduled for release this fall! 

WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

 

 

No buying link YET for this one, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the first book: With Music in Their Heart:   https://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1492661357&sr=1-1

Guest Author Jennifer Slattery – Staying Strong for Whatever Comes

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My guest author today is Jennifer Slattery. Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com

Staying Strong for Whatever Comes

by Jennifer Slattery

They didn’t know it, but a small group of ordinary men—most of them fishermen—in ancient Palestine were about to experience the greatest challenge to their faith imaginable. This incomprehensible tragedy was so unexpected, they never thought to prepare. How does one prepare for an unforeseen, faith-rocking encounter, anyway?

Grit their teeth and determine to stand firm?

No, that would only work against them, for we are at our weakest point possible whenever we take on the position of self-reliance.

It was the night Jesus was about to be executed, and His Spirit was filled with deep anguish, not only for Himself, but for the twelve who’d given up everything to follow Him, the Man whom they believed would soon change the world and set all the wrong things right. Not only would their hearts be broken; their very faith would take a devastating hit. And they had absolutely no idea the incredible trial that lay ahead.

They couldn’t have imagined such anguish, such fear and confusion, had they tried. But Jesus knew, and, visualizing the depth of their struggle, He gave them an action plan, one that would provide more strength and peace than any other act they could dream up—they were to pray.

But first, a warning:

“When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me’” (Matthew 26:20-21 NLT).

Then, perhaps knowing this revelation didn’t sink in, He repeats this warning on the way to the Mount of Olives, where He would show them, through His heart-felt actions, just how serious their impeding threat was:

“Tonight all of you will desert Me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Matthew 26:31 NLT).

But they weren’t listening, maybe because, as Jesus talked of challenges, all they could think of were their victories: the time when they cast out demons and healed the sick, or perhaps when they watched their Master multiply a small basket of fish and loaves which He used to feed a crowd. Or perhaps Peter remembered when, upon Jesus’ beckoning, he walked on water. True, he sank a moment later, but the next time he’d do better. He’d remain focused, strong, confident. He’d keep his eyes on Jesus and could overcome anything that came his way.

For truly, what could be more challenging than a ruthless storm or men and women oppressed by demons?

No, they had this, and this, whatever this was.

And it was precisely that type of thinking that led to their failure.

If only they’d listened to Jesus instructions spoken on that dark, quiet night:

“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41)

Did they listen? Or were they still too confused, too unsuspecting, too focused on their strength and ability to “stand strong?”

Whatever lies ahead, I want to heed Jesus’ words. I want to regularly pray for the strength to stand strong when temptations and difficulties come. Because a trial is coming, and I’ve—we’ve—been given everything we need in Christ to stand and stay strong. May we take the time, regularly, to tap into that power source.

Healing Love

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

You can buy Healing Love at this link or on Goodreads.

Review of Amber Alert by Linda K. Rodante

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m reviewing a Christian romantic suspense novel, Amber Alert, by Linda K. Rodante. Here’s a little about the book.

Amber Alert

Dangerous Series Book #1

by Linda K. Rodante

Sharee Jones just wants a partner with whom she can serve the Lord. She didn’t plan on getting involved with a man who resents God, didn’t plan on the mutilated dolls or the threatening notes interfering with her Christmas program—and with the child who’s to play baby Jesus. She thought God’s hand was in this, but how can it be, when everything she hoped and prayed for is crashing down like the Gulf waves after a storm?

John Jergenson hoped taking the maintenance job at his cousin’s church meant he could leave his guilt-ridden past behind. But he hadn’t counted on Sharee and her program. He hadn’t counted on her laugh or the warmth in her hazel eyes. And he certainly hadn’t counted on her wanting to know the truth about his life. He wants to leave, but Sharee might be in danger, and if he runs again will he ever forgive himself?

My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Amber Alert deals with a difficult topic, child abduction, in a way that drew me into the story. This novel has it all. The budding romance Sheree and John is challenging, believable and not predictable. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. The topic of child abduction was covered in a way that didn’t give me nightmares. Overall, this was a  very enjoyable read and I recommend it.