Friday, February 12, 2016

“Bearing the Right Kind of Fruit” by Chad Young

By Chad Young

Kelli, a close friend of my wife’s, moved with her family from Atlanta to Tampa last summer, much to our family’s chagrin. Our daughter Evelyn and Kelli’s daughter Georgia were best friends, and we’ve missed them terribly ever since.

A new Floridian, Kelli found the tropical plants with their lush green foliage growing year round to be pretty exciting.   When one of the trees in her yard started growing limes, Kelli couldn’t wait to pick the fruit and try out new recipes.  She tasted the lime and thought, “Wow, that is sour!  I guess that’s what Florida limes are like.”

During the next several weeks, Kelli’s tree continued to produce limes, too many for her family to eat. She gave many of them away to her new neighbors, who looked a little puzzled but thanked her for the gift.  “There’s such an abundance of limes here.  These people probably think I’m crazy for giving them to neighbors,” Kelli thought to herself.

When one of the green limes began to turn yellow, Kelli quickly picked most of the rest of the green limes before they, too, began to turn bad like the yellow one.  They all tasted extremely sour like the ones she had picked earlier, but she used them in cooking just the same.

A few days later, Kelli’s daughter Georgia looked out the window and exclaimed, “Look, Mommy! It’s an orange!” Kelli then looked, and sure enough, there was one nice, big orange hanging by itself from a branch of her “lime” tree. Kelli picked the orange and tried it, realizing it was one of the tastiest, juiciest oranges she’d had in a while.  No wonder the neighbors had given puzzled looks to this Florida newbie.  She was sad to think she had picked so many of the “oranges” that she just had this one to enjoy.

When my wife told me this true story from our hilarious friend, it reminded me how sometimes we miss out on the best things in life when we’re impatient or fail to wait for God’s timing. Obviously, Kelli would have had patience if she had known the juicy orange fruit would come, but she didn’t know what was ahead.  For some of us, in friendships, dating relationships, and in our careers, it is easy to make quick decisions without really praying and seeking what God wants for us. 

Years ago, I memorized a verse that still to this day I pray aloud to God as I’m surrendering control of my day to him: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).

Are you bearing good fruit? Are you waiting on the Lord to bear the right kind of fruit through you? Be patient, and wait on the Lord in your decision-making because only he knows what path he has in mind for you.


To read more of Chad’s adventures, see his new book, Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators. He’s a 14-year Cru staff member residing in Atlanta, Ga., with his wife Elizabeth and their children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. He’s also the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World.

Cru is largest campus ministry in the world.

Here are the purchase links:

Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators Paperback:
Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators Kindle:


Here are the purchase links:

Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators Paperback:
Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators Kindle:

“Chad, jump on the gator’s back!”

In a split second, a decision had to be made. Did Chad love his future brother-in-law Frank enough to help him control a powerful seven and a half foot alligator? Ultimately there was a subconscious devotion toward Frank that affected his decision on what to do in that moment. We all face decisions every day in our lives. Some of them are small decisions, but others are potentially life altering. What we decide to do in those split seconds comes down to this, which is true for all of us: We all have beliefs about life and love, about what is most important, and we all act on those beliefs.

In this book, Wrestling with Faith, Love, and Gators: Overcoming Barriers to Fully Loving God, Chad Young addresses what many Christians are missing: being in love with God. The lack of genuine faith and love in the church as well as the seemingly fewer and fewer Christians who are “all in” are the main reasons why 59% of college students who grew up with a Christian background are leaving the Christian faith. You hear people say we should love God with all our heart, soul and mind, but what does that really look like? Chad uses his own faith journey and humorous stories to call readers to a deeper, legitimate love for God.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dawn V. Cahill, Author HOT TOPIC FICTION; Dawn interviews her characters

By Dawn V.  Cahill

Two amazing young women are visiting us today.  Please help me welcome identical twins Livy and DeeDee McCreary, singers and dancers extraordinaire, who star in my new novel, Sapphire Secrets.

Dawn V. Cahill: Livy, since this is your story, why don’t we start with you? Tell us why you want to share your story with the world.

Livy: Picture this--a spooky graveyard at midnight. Howling wind. And a strange old man who tells me to seek the truth about my mother’s death. Wouldn’t you be curious, too?

DVC: Indeed I would.

Livy: Sapphire Secrets is basically my testimony. And what an incredible journey. Not only did I find out the truth about my mother’s death, I also found God. Now, I just want the world to know that God loves them. So many people have never experienced His love. They don’t know what it’s like when God grabs ahold of you and pulls you into His arms - so unlike anything you’ll ever experience.

DVC: But you weren’t raised to believe in God. What made you change your mind?

Livy: I met someone who wasn’t afraid to share Christ with me. At first, I was resistant. Our parents and grandma raised us to be suspicious of organized religion. But then, one day everything changed. I had an accident and…

DVC: Spoiler alert!

Livy: Whoops. Anyway, as a result, I might never dance again. But without the accident, I might not have found God.

DVC: DeeDee, what do you think about Livy’s conversion?

DeeDee:She’s always spouting religious mumbo-jumbo. Not my thing. But ask me anything about dance. I can get into that.

DVC: Okay, dance it is. One of my readers wants to know, were all those dance lessons growing up a pleasure, or a chore?

DeeDee: I won’t lie and say they were a piece of cake. Dance lessons are grueling. If I hadn’t had Livy to learn and practice with, I’m sure I would have given up a long time ago. But now, I marvel at what my body can do. I’m pumped that we get to pay it forward by teaching other little girls the beauty of dance.

Livy: Our mom’s passion for dance rubbed off on us. I couldn’t have quit if you paid me. For me, the downside of dance was the memorization. Not only the choreography, but all the French terminology. Like pas de bourres and ronde jambes

DeeDee: The intense competitions…

Livy: Outgrowing our favorite leotards…

DeeDee: Hardly ever any boys in class to tease or flirt with.

DVC: How times change! A couple of single fathers brought their daughters into your studio for lessons.

Livy [giggling]: Don’t forget to mention how cute they were.

DVC: And now you’re dating one of them, aren’t you?

Livy: Spoiler alert!

DVC: My lips are sealed. Let’s let the readers find out for themselves, shall we?

DeeDee: Don’t forget to tell them about your prequel, When Lyric Met Limerick, a short story about a fateful meeting…the day our amazing and talented parents met.

DVC: Readers, just click on my Amazon author page to find both books:
Check my webpage,, for future giveaways and updates on Livy and DeeDee’s continuing saga. And thank you, ladies, for letting my readers get to know you  today.
Livy and DeeDee [in unison]: So long, lovely readers.

DeeDee: Peeps, you have to come back for Book 2, because this crazy author is going to put me through an even worse ordeal than Livy’s. I have no clue how I’m going to get out of this mess…

Sapphire Secrets blurb:

Filled with mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Sapphire Secrets is the story of a Seattle woman’s relentless pursuit of truth and God’s power to heal and transform broken lives. 
Twins Livy and DeeDee McCreary open a dance studio in honor of their late mother, whom they lost when they were six. Problem is, Livy remembers nothing of the day her mother died. The more she questions her family about that awful day, the more she suspects she’s been lied to all her life. While she’s seeking answers to what really happened, she keeps crossing paths with handsome engineer Scott Lorenzo, who compels her to question the New Age philosophy she was raised on. What if there is a personal God out there who cares about her? 
Before Livy can discover answers, a brutal accident interrupts her search. Her life flips upside down as she faces a future she is not prepared for. Yet the unanswered questions continue to haunt her. Can she find the strength to keep on with her quest, even if it means losing the two people most dear to her—her twin, and the man she loves? 
2015 Finalist, ACFW First Impressions Contest 

Dawn V. Cahill’s bio:
Author Dawn V. Cahill pens "Stories of Victorious Faith for the 21st Century," nearly always with a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or dark chocolate nearby. "The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that's the world I write about."
Seeing an unfilled niche in the Christian market for edgier fiction, Ms Cahill birthed Hot Topic Fiction (HTF) at an intensive four-day writers conference. HTF isn't afraid to explore the question, how does God want us Christians to live out our faith in this not-so-brave new world? Without insulting the reader by offering pat or easy answers--because there aren't any--HTF tells stories of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in a world of terror and violence, of upside-down morality, of hostility to Judeo-Christian values.
HTF's first book is due for launch in June 2016.

Monday, February 1, 2016


By Ada Brownell

      Christians are concerned. Nearly every family has a child or grandchild who isn’t serving God despite being raised in a Christian home and the church.
      When I worked as a newspaper reporter, I asked the late general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Thomas F. Zimmerman, whether he believed if Jesus doesn’t return in this generation the church will survive.
      “It will survive,” he said, “but the next generation won’t do church like we do.”
      The music changed, churches developed satellite congregations, we have podcasts, and numerous advances from modern technology. Thank God all my children and grandchildren are involved, and despite changes, God is still working.
      But still, statistics show a large percentage of youth leave the church before, during or after college.
      What can we do?
       I worked with youth the majority of my life, and despite being a senior citizen now, I am concerned. Ultimately it is each young person’s decision, but the church is supposed to be salt and light which causes people to seek the Lord. Jesus still stands at the door and knocks—but he’s not going to crash through and enter without being invited.
So, with that in mind, we can:
How we’re supposed to live was summarized for us by Jesus: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself " (Luke 10:26-28).
 If we do this, we model our faith. It’s not easy.
The first four of the Ten Commandments have to do with serving and respecting God. The last six have to do with how we treat our neighbor.
I can’t forget, however it is, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:4-6)
Nevertheless, if I love God as Jesus told me to, I’ll talk to Him, read His words, be in His presence, obey Him, and work in His kingdom.
Much hinges on the fruit we produce and walking in the Spirit.
 The Apostle Paul told the Galatians, “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”[i]
Why are you a Christian?
Your children and grandchildren should hear your testimony. Did God change your life? Give you something to live for? Fill the emptiness inside you? Given you joy unspeakable and full of glory? Has he healed you or given miracles for your family?
God reminded sometimes reminded people to be sure to tell their children about God’s miraculous works.
      Read about it in Joshua 4, which tells how God parted the Jordan River similar to how he parted the Red Sea and Israel crossed. The Lord told them to gather stones and build a memorial about the miracle.
“This may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’  Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
 “What do these stones mean?” I’m fortunate because I’m a writer and I’ve been sharing my testimony since my youth. My children have read some of it, and today if I write something in which they could be interested, I send it to them. Often they comment that they enjoy it. You might be surprised at your family’s reaction.
3. BELIEVE THE WORD We have specific promises for our children.
 “Raise up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6NASB).
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55: 9-11). (If you’ve taken your kids to church, or had devotions at home, this promise is for you.)
A prophecy by Peter on the day of Pentecost: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-40).
4. TAKE YOUR FAMILY TO CHURCH  “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
            If you make the Lord and meeting in His presence most important your lives, it makes a difference in families. Children learn the Word, doctrine, to obey their parents, and they make best friends who also want to follow the Lord. The church usually provides good clean fun, too. This gives children the opportunity to accept Jesus as Savior, discover that God loves them no matter what and has a plan for their lives. Children faithful in God’s house usually also choose Christian mates.
5.  PRAY AND BELIEVE The Bible is filled with promises and testimonies that state God answers prayer. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told the jailer who wanted to become a Christian, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16).
            ©Ada Brownell June 2013

[i] See Galatians 5:16:23

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



 “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”—Robert Frost
Writers sometimes feel down and out, but encouragement can still find us in those times. For me, this essence slips into my day in small ways.

Maybe I notice something in nature—like this incredible Mountain bluebird my husband snapped in Arizona last month. Or even more earthy, the shape and form in this woodpile.

Often others’ empathy reflects in small gestures, too. Perhaps we receive a card or letter reminding us someone’s thinking of us, or on an unplanned meeting in the supermarket aisle, garner an unexpected hug from an old acquaintance.

Another unique blessing is reading a familiar passage in a different version: this often occurs for me with The Message. For example,
All this wood together would make good starter for a fire. But alone they can't do much. people who work together can accomplish amazing things, too.

“... God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 2: 2-4

A new way of wording an old concept—seemingly insignificant, but this different perspective provides comfort and encouragement.

Our task? To keep our eyes open for these “God winks that can easily pass us by if we’re not looking, not noticing. And our fiction characters can sometimes use a perk, too—it’s good to recognize how even our low times provide novel fodder.

What seemingly random encouragement has crossed your path lately?

Contact Links:

Bio: Gail taught college expository writing and now facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona mountains in winter.

WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology

A World War II series is on the way!

Please feel free to contact Gail—meeting new reading friends is the meringue on her pie, as Dottie would say. Now get a peek at Gail's book.

In This Together blurb:

After losing her only son to World War II and her husband soon after, Dottie Kyle takes a job at a local small-town Iowa boarding house. Her daughter Cora moved to California straight out of high school to work for the war effort, married a sailor and settled down in the Golden State—another loss.
       Dottie cooks and cleans, volunteers at her church, and tends her garden. But she hungers to meet her two precious grandbabies on the coast. When troubles arise in Cora’s third pregnancy, Dottie longs to help, but old fears prohibit that arduous, cross-country train journey.
            At the boarding house, complications arise that force Dottie to speak up for what’s right, and as her confidence grows, so does the unexpected interest of the widower next door. Dottie has no idea second chances wait right around the corner.

Purchase links:

Shortened Links if these work for you:





Wednesday, January 20, 2016

More Love and Laughter From Margaret Brownley


Leave a comment and enter to win a copy of Petticoat Detective or Undercover Bride. (Winner's choice; U.S. only).

Did you grow up in the west around horses?
I guess you could say that.  I spent my early years watching old westerns on TV every Saturday morning.  I was hooked and words such as “howdy” and “reckon” crept into my speech.

How many westerns did you read before you wrote one?
Let’s see, how many westerns did Louis L’Amour write?   I think I read just about every western out there before writing one.  I really liked Maggie Osborne and LaVyrle Spencer’s books because they combined western themes with strong women.  Strong women were the one thing I found lacking in L’Amour’s books.

What is your favorite western written by another author?
That’s a tough one. There’re so many of them.  I think my favorite book is Lonesome Dove.  It’s all about relationships past and present. My favorite western movie is still The Searchers.  As for TV shows I like Longmire, which is now available only on Netflix.  But it’s a great soulful contemporary western.

Anything in your background or among your ancestors to give you ideas for conflict, settings, etc.?
I don’t have to look that far back to find ideas for conflict or settings. I can see the Santa Susanna mountains from my office where many of those early cowboy movies I watched as a kid were filmed.  As for conflicts, I think our ancestors struggled with many of the same issues we have today.  One of the reasons I place my stories in the 1880-1890s is that in many ways it mirrors current times. Technology in the way of trains, telephones and electricity changed the way people lived in the 19th century, just as it has today.  The Victorians even had their own Internet.  It was called the telegraph.  Banks failed, the job market collapsed, and congress was just as inept back then as it is today.  Reading about how people in the past survived and, yes, even prospered in tough times inspires me.  I hope it inspires my readers.

Tell us about the idea that birthed your latest book.
Calico Spy is book three of my Undercover Ladies series (though each back stands alone).   The series idea came after reading about Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective.  Allan Pinkerton hired her in 1856 and she turned out to be one of his most trusted detectives.  I was fascinated by the idea of women working as detectives some fifty years before the first policewoman was hired.   He actually had a whole department of female detectives.  Unfortunately, the files were lost during the great Chicago fire so there’s no information on them.  I can’t help but wonder what would motivate a woman back then into becoming a detective?

Do you sometimes need to write violent scenes? Is it difficult to describe a fight?
I don’t write violent scenes.  I just got through writing a saloon brawl, but it was more fun than violent. People do get shot in my stories but never in a gruesome way.  When describing a fight, I have to act it out before I can write it. Sometimes I get the grandkiddies to help and they love that.

Have you ever put a character into a situation you thought you couldn’t get him out of? How did you do it?
Oh, yes, lots of times. I once had a character tied to a chair with a mad killer in the house.  Another time I had a heroine atop a runaway stage.  I also had a hero being lynched by a mob.  If I told you how I got them out of these situations I would spoil my plots. But I don’t mind telling you, I’ve lost a lot of sleep through the years in an effort to get characters out of difficult situations.  It’s never easy.

Who is your favorite character among those you created?
Boy, that’s a hard question to answer. It’s like picking out your favorite child. I guess I have to say I always favor the character I’m currently working on.  Though I have to admit that the outlaw Sarah in A Lady Like Sarah still resonates with me.

How does humor rise from the characters and the situations you create? Give us an example of a short funny scene.
Yes, you’re so right; humor has to come from the characters.  You won’t find much humor in any of my first drafts.  That’s because it takes me awhile to know my characters enough for the humor to flow.  There’s a scene in Calico Spy where my heroine, working undercover as a Pinkerton detective, mistakes a bank robber for another detective.  He in turn mistakes her for another bank robber. This is all done in dialogue and it’s pretty funny, but I couldn’t have written it without first knowing the characters and what made them tick.

Was a career in writing expected, or was it a surprise?
I always wanted to be a writer and wrote my first “book” in fifth grade.  What continues to surprise me is that someone is actually willing to pay me to do it.

How many books have you written and what is the one you want to write above all else?
I’ve written more than forty novels and novellas.  The book I most want to write is the one I’m working on so that I can make my February deadline.    

Anything you’d like to add?
I just want to thank you for letting me visit.

About Margaret
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty novels and novellas. Her books have won numerous awards, including Readers' Choice and Award of Excellence. She's a former Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap.  She is currently working on a new series.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth grade English.  Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

Calico Spy blurb

He never met a Pinkerton detective he liked; she never met a man so stubborn…

Pinkerton Detective Katie Madison Makes a Lousy Harvey House Waitress. But it’s the only way she can get close enough to the scene of the murders of two of the restaurant’s servers to solve the mystery. Between having impeccable posture, a perfect Harvey Girl smile, and memorizing menu specials of the day, not to mention dealing with the temperamental French chef, her mind might be too full to make any headway in the biggest case of her career.
               Sheriff Branch Whitman knows there’s something fishy about the pretty new Harvey girl with the flaming red hair, but he never would’ve guessed her to be a Pinkerton! And he’s never met a Pink he liked—but there is something intriguing about her.
               Soon a tornado hits town, and a shadow from the past puts Branch’s eight-year-old son in danger. Now the sheriff has no choice but to work with Katie—or chance losing everything he holds dear. Tracking a murderer is dangerous even for a man, and he fears for Katie’s safety. But as they get closer to the killer one thing becomes abundantly clear. Protecting Katie is one thing; protecting his heart something else.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Miracles Even A Child Could Understand

By Ada Brownell

Age 7, I stared in horror. Mama sat in the middle of the linoleum floor surrounded by a pool of blood with clots floating around in it.
By listening to my brothers and sisters, I learned Mama fell off a ladder. She punctured one of her internal organs on a sharp stick when she landed.
The phone call already had been made, and the black ambulance pulled up in front of the house.
“That’s the hearse,” someone said. “They also use it for an ambulance.
I was shooed into the kitchen while the medics loaded Mama on a board, carried her out and whisked her away.

Since I was so young when the accident occurred, I have no idea how the hospital treated Mother to save her life or if they gave her a blood transfusion. Whatever they did, her recovery was a miracle from God. The accident probably occurred in 1944. The Red Cross began its first nationwide blood program for civilians in 1948, opening its first collection center in Rochester, N. Y.  We lived in Colorado.

As an adult, I know without a doubt after losing that much blood, it was divine work of our Heavenly Father that Mama lived, especially in that era. But our large family (I was the youngest of eight children) knew how to pray, although my siblings and daddy were relatively new converts. Mama had a background in the Methodist Church. But beyond that we had a bunch of church folks in our small town that prayed for us even before we arrived in Fruita from the previous family home in Penokee, Kan..

“A big family is moving here, and we need to pray for them,” the pastor announced. W hen the crisis came with Mama’s fall, I’m sure the same prayer warriors stormed heaven in Mama’s behalf.
I don’t know how long she was in the hospital, which also had a floor dedicated to a tuberculosis sanitarium. After she was released, I remember sitting beside her in church, leaning on her, tears dripping off my cheeks, thankful she lived.
But fear still gripped my heart. To pay off the hospital bill, Mama washed dishes for the hospital—and the sanitarium. I overheard enough conversations to know TB is contagious, and sometimes kills.
When I voiced my fears to Mama she said, “We use lots of bleach and that kills the germs.”
The miracle I saw as a child taught me God answers prayer. When any problem surfaced, our family prayed, and I was right in the middle of it.
 I was only told of the miracles I experienced as an infant.  Mama probably was in the garden trying to make sure the family had enough food to eat and the older children watched me. One day my two-year-old brother emptied a salt shaker in my eyes. Our mighty God protected me from eye damage, and I’ve never had vision problems.
Then another time a sister gave me a bath in a dishpan on top of the wood cook stove. The stove hadn’t had a fire in it during the hot weather, but that day it did. She sat me down on the stove top and deep burns resulted.
Yet, I don’t even remember it. I don’t think I was taken to a doctor.  Our family was desperately poor. As far as I know, I never went to the doctor until I got married, except the physician came to the house when I was born and once when I had croup. God provided for our needs, including miracles.
We are so blessed our Heavenly Father loves us and cares so much He answers prayer. He’s still doing miracles and answering our petitions.


Monday, January 11, 2016


By Ada Brownell

How old are you when you’re “washed up” as a writer—meaning you’re not producing anything better than smelly seaweed?
When I retired as a daily newspaper reporter, I was excited to get back into free lance writing full time. But big problems set me out in deep water. All the Christian editors I knew retired or moved on. Then I’d had hand surgery and using a computer was difficult.
I began thinking I was too old to “walk on water” with Jesus and spread the Good News of the Gospel anymore. I ventured out of the boat a few times and couldn’t seem to get my head above the waves. Why didn’t I know how to swim anymore among publications that needed good inspiring copy? I’d been writing for these publications since age 15.
I spent a year or more trying to produce curriculum. I’d written a little curriculum in the past by assignment, but stupidly tried to market “special projects” curriculum, disregarding Christian publishers’ practice of planning curriculum two or more years ahead with set themes.
I nearly retired my computer after I worked so diligently on the curriculum project and had to give up. It was disappointing because I enlisted my talented daughter-in-law, Michelle, to design a scrapbook project as part of the curriculum to inspire teens to keep a spiritual diary of their “Dynamite Decisions” – the curriculum theme.
Then I started writing Christian news on assignment, but soon knew that didn’t satisfy my calling to spread the gospel. Yet, I had wet my toes in the publishing waters again without going under.
The breakthrough came when I began praying the Prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJ. I memorized the scripture: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand will be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
 I discovered creating a blog is no big deal, so created one—my own little publication. Soon I had guest writers.
Then more assignments came from Christian editors and I had articles published. Opportunities for personal ministry also popped up around me.
I had a book for which I once had a publisher and his publishing company went bankrupt. After years of giving up on it, I marketed the book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, to traditional publishers and discovered I needed to be a pastor or a doctor with a huge following for this type of book. My qualifications as a Christian writer and teacher who spent a number of years as a medical writer for a newspaper didn’t carry much weight.
But after praying for my territory to be enlarged, I believed in the book once again and discovered Indie publishing. I knew about vanity publishing and thought it an embarrassing exercise in futility, but in this day of e-publishing, many well-known authors are going to Indie publishing because of the benefits.
So Swallowed by Life saw the light of day and my territory enlarged. It hit Amazon best seller status once.  Next, I took my out-of –print book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, published by the Assemblies of God and made it available for Kindle. Then my first novel, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult was completed; a little later, Imagine the Future You, a Bible study that included much of my curriculum, and Facts, Faith and Propaganda, which draws heavily on my experiences as a news reporter and Bible teacher.
 A new small publisher, Elk Lake, which is part of Book Fun Magazine, published my historical romance The Lady Fugitive, and wonderful readers of that book have created 48 reviews, most five stars, and wait expectantly for the sequel I’m working on, The Peach Blossom Rancher.
I’ve continued to sell to Christian publications and then the door opened to write op-ed newspaper articles.
 I’ve had birthdays, added numerous wrinkles, had cataract surgery, knee replacements, but kept exercising spiritually, physically and emotionally. I’ve done blog and speaking tours.
Perhaps “washed up” means “refreshed and polished.” After all, sometimes good things come in with the tide—like the time when we were nearly broke, enjoying a vacation in the ocean because it was free and a $20 bill floated almost into my hand.
Even adults search for sea shells and beautiful things that wash up on the beach. When I was on the coast a few days ago a couple was out with a metal detector.
I’m glad I didn’t “give up” on my calling.
©Ada Brownell

By Ada Brownell

Have a new Kindle or want to fill one up with squeaky clean Christian fiction? Get this historical romance you’ll read again and again because of the #suspense, interesting likeable characters, #humor, and #history.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
The most common remarks among readers of The Lady Fugitive “I couldn’t put it down;” “I love the characters;” “Sorry when it was over.” “I was hooked from the opening page.”
Available in paper and for Kindle.
The Lady Fugitive 2015 Laurel Award runner-up.

See all Ada Brownell's books on her Amazon page