Posted in Growing in the Lord, the importance series

the importance of recognizing your influence

While foreign missions are an exciting and valuable way to fulfill The Great Commission, we don’t have to go far to make an impact. All that most of us have to do to be in the mission field is to step outside our front door.

We as Believers are all missionaries when we spread the Gospel, whether by actions, words, deeds, or a combination of all three. It has been said that we could be the only Jesus that some people see.

Thought-provoking. Humbling. And something that should spur us on with a vigor to share the Good News about our Savior.

So how are we using our influence?

And yes, we all have influence.

If you are a parent, grandparent, employer, employee, pastor, author, speaker, grocery shopper, neighbor, singer, actor, business owner, medical professional, patient, teacher, student, blogger, or a social media user, you have a platform and a sphere of influence.

Everyone can make a difference for the Lord. We just have to be mindful of our actions, words, and deeds. Here are a few examples:

The parent. Raising children is one of the most important responsibilities we parents will be entrusted with. And the most important thing about raising them? Teaching them about the Lord and praying that they will surrender their lives to Christ. Each day, we set examples for them. Do they see us reading the Bible? Making church a priority? Praying often?  Helping those in need? Do we read the Bible to them on a regular basis, or if they are older, spend time reading and studying the Bible with them?

The grandparent. Grandparents, you truly have no idea the impact you make on your grandchildren. Even if they don’t live nearby, you can still exhibit a heart for God. Sharing your testimony, reminding them of His love for them, texting Bible verses, and being there to talk through the tough times are just a few ways to encourage your grandchild in the Lord.

The employer. As an employer, you can show the love of Christ by being an honorable boss who makes your employees a priority.

The employee. Bosses know when they have an employee who stands out from the rest. Being reliable, punctual, dependable, loyal, and with a good work ethic can go a long way. Yes, a nonbeliever can have those traits as well, but as Christians, we should exemplify them. Do you stand out from the other employees? Are you the one who doesn’t resort to swear words or hateful rhetoric? Who takes pride in your duties, no matter what they are?

The pastor. Pastors, a majority of the people in your congregation on Sunday only hear about Jesus on that day during your sermon. Are you using that time wisely, to carefully explore the Bible in a way that pleases God? Or are you using those few precious moments for other less important matters or to further your own agenda?

The author/writer. Authors and writers, you have an invaluable platform. The written word reaches hearts and minds in a way that the spoken word can’t often do. You don’t only have to write Christian novels to have an effect on your readers. Your bio and the things that matter to you are also impactful.

The medical professional. Healthcare professionals who are Christians approach things from a different perspective. You have the awesome opportunity to pray for (and with if they are agreeable) your patients, to offer reassurance, and your calming presence can do wonders for someone undergoing a medical procedure or one who is scared about a painful diagnosis.

The patient. On the flipside of the medical professional is the patient. My mom has multiple health issues and is confined to a wheelchair. The chronic pain she experiences on a constant basis is often unmanageable. Yet, I have never seen anyone so strong in her faith, and that faith doesn’t stop when she visits the doctor. She has offered to pray for medical professionals (not one has turned her down), has asked them to join her in prayer when she’s about to undergo an excruciating procedure, and has praised the Lord for His goodness in their presence. Will my mom ever be able to do the things she once was able to do before an accident changed her life forever? No. But God is using her to make a mighty difference.

The blogger/social media user. Bloggers and social media users, we have a huge platform for the Lord! Where else can we share the love of Christ to people in multiple nations around the world? While not every post or update needs to be a Bible verse, (I blog on many other items including writing, homeschooling, humor, and movie reviews) our words can encourage someone having a difficult day or shine Christ’s light.

Realize your influence. Whether by visiting with the grocery store clerk and inviting her to church or as an employer treating your employees differently than the worldly employer, you can be the Jesus people see.

No, we won’t do this perfectly. Of this I can personally assure you. But with the Lord’s help, we can seek to share the love of Jesus and the life-giving Gospel no matter what our occupation or role in life.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of Christmas

The importance of respectful disagreement

Book News & Giveaways

Kids write the funniest things!

For such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

28 verses for uncertain times

how to survive in an out-of-control world

How to Start a Sisters in Christ Group

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord

11 ways we become our culture

I recently had a conversation with a young relative who works in an office where profanity, nasty jokes, and bizarre religions abound. Every day as she sits behind her desk and diligently does her work, she struggles with the atmosphere. While she enjoys her job and her boss is easy to work for, the days can wear on her. This young person asked for prayer that she would not become like her culture as it can be tempting at times to just give in and adhere to it. She also asked for prayer that she would be a “light” in an increasingly dark world where she is the only Believer in her office.

My relative’s dilemma is not unique. Most of us work in an atmosphere that is contrary, or even hostile at times, to our Christian faith. It’s not a stretch to one day wake up and realize we’ve become just like the ones we spend most of our time with.

We become like our culture when:

There is no difference between us and the world. It’s unfortunately becoming more difficult to differentiate between Christians and those who are not Christians. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

We “sell out” for the things that matter to the world, but not to God. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Matthew 16:26

We focus on the temporary rather than the eternal. It can be easy to center our attention on things that matter in the “here and now”. It can be tempting to idolize people, fancy cars, money, and things, rather than the One deserving of our worship.

We don’t guard our eyes and hearts against things that could damage our testimony. Social media and the internet, while amazing in so many ways, have opened up a new door to temptation. We must be diligent in praying God would help us to guard our eyes and hearts.

We are afraid to share the Truth of salvation and that it can only be found in Jesus.

We aren’t discerning about who we align ourselves with and/or who we are influenced by. Yes, in order to reach a dying world, we must interact with, be kind to, and befriend those outside of our Christian faith. We are not to live in a bubble. However, when we are closest to those whose behavior is in direct opposition to the Word of God, we may soon find it is their behavior that impacts us, rather than the other way around (1 Corinthians 15:33). In addition, when we don’t practice discernment in the pastors, podcasts, music we listen to, movies we watch, and books we read, we can find ourselves influenced by false theology.

We aren’t mindful of what we share on social media. Does it glorify God? Will what we share cause someone to stumble?

We see the Bible as some in the world see it: an antiquated old book with vintage ideas rather than the Holy Word of God.

We don’t use our sphere of influence for Him. Are we using every opportunity available to us?

When we focus on hopelessness rather than the hope that is found in Him. As Believers, no matter how bad things get in the world around us (and there are some horrific and awful things taking place in our world right now) we have the hope of eternal life. We know it ends well. As such, we can’t live like someone with no hope.

We allow bad habits to manifest into permanency rather than pray for God’s assistance in overcoming them. Bad habits are a challenge and without the Lord’s help and the guidance of fellow Believers, they can be difficult, if not impossible to overcome.

In general, we become our culture when we conform to that culture.

How do we combat becoming like our culture?

Stay steadfast in prayer.

Surround ourselves with Bible-based Believers.

Pray continually for God’s protection (Ephesians 6:10-18) and pray for the protection of fellow Believers.

Keep our focus on Jesus.

Spend time in His Word each day.

Be in this world, but not of it. We reside here, but we needn’t subscribe to the culture’s morals and concepts.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

seeing the potential

the power of prayer: surviving Papa’s driving

what to do when it’s difficult to love others

is Forgotten Memories the book for you?

conquering the joy zappers of life

how to start a sisters in Christ group

subscribe to my newsletter

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, the importance series

the importance of new beginnings

new beginnings

At the beginning of every New Year, many make resolutions that they aim to keep throughout the year. Decisions to make them healthier, fitter, more organized, etc.

In the classic 80s song New Attitude, Patti LaBelle sings of starting a new beginning with a new attitude “from [her] head to [her] shoes.” Every time I hear that song, it brings to mind a crabby lady in need of a personality overhaul.

But what about a new beginning in Christ?

At any time of the year?

Paul in the Bible received a new beginning – a “start over”, if you will. A harsh man who made it his life’s goal to persecute Christians, Paul was the furthest thing from one who could be used effectively by God. Wasn’t he?

On the contrary. God used Paul in a mighty way. After Paul’s conversion, he was one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He endured beatings and spent much time in prison for the sake of the Gospel.

Could you be used for God’s Kingdom?

Probably not if you have a “checkered” past, right? If you’ve done things you’re not proud of, sinned in ways you don’t care to admit, you certainly can’t be used. And definitely, God isn’t going to forgive you for all of those things you did. After all, we’re not talking “minor” sins here.

Again, on the contrary.

God can and will use you, no matter what you have done or who you have been.

We serve a  God who is One of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Jesus took all of our sins, past and present, upon Himself when He went to the Cross. Your new beginning means your dry erase board is wiped clean from all of the junk that once cluttered it.

Ezekiel 36 26 a.png

So how can you have a new beginning?

Commit your life to Him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, that is the first step.

After you have made a decision for Christ, you are forgiven. You have a new beginning. You also have eternal life and will spend eternity with Him. Nothing can ever take you from His hand (John 10:28). But it doesn’t stop there. Find a Bible-based church where the pastor digs into the Word and preaches it each week. Find a mature Christian to mentor you in your walk.

Spend time in the Bible. The Old Testament is wonderful, and I would highly recommend reading it, but as a new believer, the best place to start is in the New Testament in the Book of John.

Turn your eyes toward Him. Listen and watch things that aren’t contrary to your new faith.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

This year, spend time in prayer to dedicate your life to a new beginning for Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “the old is gone, the new is here.” And that is definitely something to celebrate!

2 Corinthians 5 17 real


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of gratitude

book news and giveaways

the importance of influence

the importance of avoiding the gossip trap

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

Posted in about my books, about the books, miscellaneous, Other authors' books, Penny's Book News

Love Christian Romance? 52 Books for Free One Day Only!

I rarely post two blog posts two days in a row, but this was just too exciting not to share! An event with 52 Christian romance novels (some pictured below) up for grabs for free doesn’t come around very often.

For you avid readers, there are freebies galore to be loaded onto your Kindle on one day only—today, January 12. You can find all the details here, so be sure to snag some copies of some of the most awesome books by your favorite Christian authors in both historical and contemporary genres!

Check out Faithbooks website for monthly book recommendations.

Posted in about my books, about the books, book giveaways, Book News, Penny's Book News

Dreams of the Heart Cover Reveal and a Chance to Win!

I am super excited to announce the cover reveal for Dreams of the Heart! Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? Mountain Peak Edits & Design is responsible for this beautiful cover and I can’t wait to share John Mark and Hannah’s story in this second book in the Wyoming Sunrise Series set for release on March 7, 2023.

Read on for the blurb and for a chance to win!

Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart.

Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known?

For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows.

Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart?

In the sequel to Forgotten Memories, author Penny Zeller weaves a tender tale of faith, romance, and humor in a memorable story that reminds us God hears every prayer and has a plan for every life.

Wyoming Sunrise Series
Prequel: Love’s New Beginnings (Lydie and Solomon’s story)
Book One: Forgotten Memories
Book Two: Dreams of the Heart
Book Three: When Love Comes (Late 2023)


The Kindle version of Dreams of the Heart is available for preorder for 99 cents for a limited time.

I’m also giving away a Kindle ebook copy on the day it releases to one lucky winner! Entering is super duper quadruple easy and requires only a few easy steps. Open to U.S. residents only.

Thank you for celebrating with me!

Join me next week for my regularly-scheduled encouraging blog posts.

Posted in book giveaways, Growing in the Lord, importance series, making a difference, miscellaneous, the scripture series, top 10

The top 10 blog posts of 2022

I’m always excited to look back at the prior year and see which blog posts were most popular. For the past several years, the post how to train a deer was in the top ten. This post, written in 2013, was actually a devotional based on a humorous discussion I had with my daughters about deer. I have a hunch the reason for its popularity was because readers were truly interested in learning if—or how—they could train a deer.

This year, how to train a deer fell to the number eleven spot, just out of reach of the top ten, although it continues to garner impressive attention.

Below are the top ten most popular posts in 2022. Click on the “read more” button to read the entire post.

  1. 11 Verses About God’s Unfailing Love

We’ve all been hurt by someone we care about, whether that be a friend, relative, or fellow believer. The sting of betrayal is painful and not something that is easily overcome.

But there is One who will never betray us. He will never walk away from us when times get tough. He will never betray our confidence, share our most precious secrets, give up on us, spread gossip about us, or leave us for someone “better”.

2. Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

I’m always on the lookout for family friendly movies. If they have a great message, all the better. Such is the case with the movie Fearless Faith.

Fearless Faith gives an inside look at what our men and women in blue (and those who love them) face each day. Shep (Ben Davies) and Colton (Jason Burkey) are deputies whose daily agenda often includes drug users, domestic violence calls, hostage situations, and even murders.

3. 21 Awesome Family Movies You May Never Have Heard of

This was originally posted in 2015 and continues to maintain a top spot year after year.

Our family is always on the lookout for wholesome family films for our weekly Family Night. Some of the best movies we’ve ever seen have been undiscovered gems we’ve stumbled across by accident.

The 21 undiscovered treasures below are in no particular order. Some are newer and some have been out for awhile, but they all are must-see movies for your next Family Night!

4. In memory of Stacy Simmons

I just found out that a dear sister in Christ and fellow author, Stacy T. Simmons, died after complications from a surgery she had last week. This was so unexpected. Stacy was a sweet, sweet godly woman, an amazing writer, and so genuine.

5. The Importance of Aligning our Actions with our Words

Have you ever met someone and were astounded to discover that they were a Believer? Perhaps they live a life contrary to that of a Christian. Or perhaps they act flippant about Christianity in the presence of unbelievers

6. Leaving a Godly Legacy

According to Webster’s Concise Dictionary, the word “legacy” means anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor.

Several summers ago at my grandpa, Papa’s, funeral, I was asked to write a lifesketch and speech in memory of him. As I began to work on the speech, I was convicted once again of the importance of the legacy we, as parents, leave behind for our children.

7. 10 ways to Encourage Others

In a world of struggles and disappointments, pain and setbacks, one of the most important things we can do for others is encourage them. Below are 10 ways to do just that.

8. 13 Verses to Comfort the Fearful Heart

There is a lot to fear these days. At every turn, there is something to cause our hearts to panic, our thoughts to veer toward despondency, and our minds to wrestle with the “what-ifs”. At any given moment, trepidation hunkers down for a permanent residency deep within our spirits.

9. 14 Things for Girls to Consider Before Dating

As a mom of daughters, we’ve had many great discussions about things to consider before they choose to date someone.

Everyone will have their own personal likes/dislikes. For example, my girls have mentioned they would never date someone who has a man bun, wears skinny jeans, or has body piercings.

While hair, clothing styles, and body piercings are all a matter of preference, some things are non-negotiable, and while we need to remember no one is perfect, being aware of the following attributes (or lack thereof) will help you make a more informed choice before you choose to date someone.

Below are 14 things to consider before dating that cute guy.

10. 5 Ways to be Your “Sweet Self”

From as far back as I can remember, my mom has always used the saying, “just be your sweet self.”

Whether in day-to-day life or dealing with a difficult situation, my mom reminded my siblings and me that being our sweet selves was, in essence, treating others as we would like to be treated and loving our neighbor. Even when someone was unkind, our response was not to be one of retaliation or revenge, but of kindness.

The five top pages in 2022 in order of popularity were as follows:

  1. Subscribe to my newsletter
  2. Book News and Giveaways
  3. About Me
  4. Mom-Approved Movies
  5. How to start a Sisters in Christ Group

Thank you for joining me for this special “Top 10” list. I’d love to hear which post was your favorite. Happy 2023!

Posted in holidays, miscellaneous

Happy New Year!

As we venture into 2023, May we continue to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2).

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support in 2022. From my family to yours, have a happy and safe New Year and a blessed 2023.

Posted in Growing in the Lord, health and fitness, miscellaneous how-to

tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions

It doesn’t seem possible that we’re already ushering in the New Year. Most of us can agree that 2022 flew by faster than ever. May, June, July…they all seem like distant memories.

Each year, New Year’s resolutions are made, and each year, New Year’s resolutions are broken, some within a month or two of making them. Below are some suggestions for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.


Resolution: Exercise more.

How to fail: “I’m going to exercise every day for two hours without fail.” or “I’m going to run twenty miles a day.”

Tips to succeed: Beginning an exercise program doesn’t have to be daunting. Make it a goal to join one class at the gym and stick to it. Choose a class that is not too intense and is within your abilities. You can always move on to the next level at a later time. If you aren’t a gym member, plan to start a workout program (check with your doctor first) tailored to something you enjoy for up to 30 minutes a day, a couple of times a week to start. Some suggestions include a workout video (either the old-fashioned DVD way or through streaming); jumproping to several of your favorite songs; going for a walk each day through the neighborhood or in a nearby park; investing in a mini-trampoline; taking a swim at a nearby indoor pool; turning on the tunes and dancing; or purchasing some inexpensive dumbbells (or water bottles) and do a weight training routine. Whichever exercise you choose, be sure to warm-up first and start slow. It’s far easier to start slow and work your way up than to start with zest and burn out.


Resolution: Eat healthier.

How to fail: “I’m going to only eat healthy foods without fail.”

Tips to succeed: Start small. Choose one unhealthy food to eliminate from your diet or decide to add one healthy food to add to your diet. This past month, I added pumpkin to my list of healthy foods to eat on a regular basis. A few months ago, I added a “green drink” that consists of kale, spinach, and broccoli. Plan to give up an unhealthy food choice each month until it becomes a habit. If you “accidentally” consume the unhealthy food, no worries. Try again the following week. No pressure.


Resolution: Get organized/declutter

How to fail: “I will organize and declutter my house all in one day and will never, ever again succumb to the temptation of purchasing useless items again.”

Tips to succeed: Begin with manageable portions of organization. Tackle one room or space at a time. To do otherwise will be overwhelming. My plan for getting organized and decluttered consists of starting in my home office (where I spend a lot of time) beginning with my bookshelves, then my desk, then my exercise equipment. After my home office is completed (and giving myself ample time to finish it), I will move on to the kitchen, starting with countertops, then cupboards, and so on.


Resolution: Making your relationship with God a priority.

How to fail: “I will read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation fourteen times in two months”.

Tips to succeed: Make growing your relationship with the Lord less a list of “to-do’s” and more of a sincere time to grow closer to Jesus. Spend time with Him first thing in the morning in prayer and in His Word. Pray throughout the day and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and keep a prayer journal. Choose a book of the Bible to read and study each month and read a chapter each day for a month. I read a chapter each day, and when I run out of chapters, I start over again in the same book until the next month. For instance, in December, my book of choice is Romans. It has 16 chapters, so I will read each chapter almost twice in one month. My goal? To become a more knowledgeable student of His Word by really allowing the chapters to “sink in”, which will take me more than just one time reading them. I am working my way through the entire Bible this way, slowly and at a manageable pace, not because I have to, but because I want to know the Lord more fully.


Resolution: Save money/spend less/get out of debt.

How to fail: “I will never, ever buy anything, except the absolute necessaries and, if I do buy something extra, I’ll return it right away.”

Tips to succeed: For saving money, skim an amount off the top of your paycheck each month (or start with most months and work your way up). This can be a manageable amount to be increased in reasonable increments. To spend less, make a handwritten budget (handwritten is more intentional), make a grocery list with most important and necessary items at the top and lesser important (but not frivolous) items at the bottom for if your budget allows. To get out of debt, add an additional amount to pay on a debt each month. For example, pay extra toward your credit card, medical debt, or mortgage each month. Even if the additional amount seems minute, it adds up fast.


Resolution: Spend less time on social media/the computer/my phone or device (for things other than actual work projects).

How to fail: “I will give up all social media and only use my phone to call people”.

Tips to succeed: The all-or-nothing approach sets us up for failure. Instead, choose one or two social media platforms to spend your time on and step away from the rest. You can change those one or two at any time. Set the timer and allow yourself that amount of time to catch up on posts, “likes”, “retweets”, etc. Do the same for returning emails.


Setting unmanageable goals for ourselves is never the key to success. Rather, set an attainable goal and allow yourself grace if you fail. You can always start again.

Happy New Year’s!


Before you go, check out these other posts:

9 ways to jumpstart your homeschool year

tools to help your child succeed in life

13 verses to comfort the fearful heart

what to stock up on this winter

resting in the arms of an unchanging God

10 Bible verses to start off your day

Posted in Christmas, devotionals, the importance series

the importance of Christmas

The importance of Christmas

One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is This is Christmas by the Christian band, Kutless.  The words in the chorus are thought-provoking and profound:

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger
What is Christmas without Christ?

Indeed. What if a Baby, who would grow to be the Savior of mankind, was never born?

nativity scene 2.jpg

For one, we would definitely not have the Christmas holiday. There would be nothing to celebrate.

I love the whole idea of Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, my husband gets a calorie-burning workout hauling the numerous bins of decorations from our Christmas closet up the stairs. He then heads outside to set up “Wally and Eva,” our two laser light devices that shine brightly all over the front of our house and garage.

There is joy in shopping for presents for my family and mailing packages to my extended family in several different states. The delight my daughters and I find in baking delicious goodies for our neighbors and close friends and delivering them a few weeks in advance is an event we look forward to each year.

Christmas chex 2 (2).png

And don’t even get me started on Christmas music. Let’s just say my Christmas playlist somehow mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) found its way into playing more than a few days before Thanksgiving. Nope, I just couldn’t wait. And I seemed to run even farther and faster on the treadmill while listening to that Christmas playlist.

All of those things in and of themselves are fine. It’s when we replace the real meaning of Christmas with temporary things—and put our focus solely on those things—that we find ourselves in error.

Anything can become an idol—anything that we make more important than God. Can Christmas presents, decorations, food, tinsel, and laser lights become idols?

Absolutely.

Especially presents.

Or add in the busyness of this time of year. The pressure to live up to expectations to create the holiday a certain way for others, as well as ourselves, can become a stress-fest.

Or the debt that we manage to accumulate while finding all those perfect presents for everyone on our gift list.

Do we even remember—and take time to realize—that the perfect present is right before us? The gift of eternal life for those of us who have placed our faith in Christ. Something that will far outlast anything in our temporary world.

So I’m reminding myself this year that it is all about the Savior who was born in the manger. It is all about that Baby who was born on earth and grew to be a man and would give His life for all mankind. A brutal death with the sins of the world on His back, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For me.

For you.

For us all.

Isaiah 9 6

This holiday season, let’s make Christ the ultimate reason we celebrate.  Let’s place Him in His rightful place of importance. Ahead of the trees, the food, the presents, the Christmas music, and the laser lights.

And let’s do more than celebrate Him. Let’s show our gratitude for what He has done for us. Not just on December 25, but on every day of the year.


From our family to yours…Merry Christmas!

Other blog posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

5 things a man should never buy his wife for Christmas

Thankful for the small things…

All things Christmas: favorite songs of the season

14 things for girls to consider before dating

15 verses for strength in challenging times

Posted in author interviews, Other authors' books, Saturday Spotlight

New Book Release Alert and Author Interview

Usually I do author spotlights for my reader friends on Saturday, but I had a tight deadline and wasn’t quite able to pull it all together in time, so I’m featuring author Madisyn Carlin on a Wednesday!

And, actually, this works well because today is the release day for Madisyn’s latest book Shattered Reflection. Her books have been compared to Morgan Busse, Jaye L. Knight, and Melanie Dickerson, and I would venture to say we are going to see a lot of Madisyn in the coming months and years. An up-and-coming author, she has a heart for the Lord and for placing excellent reading material into the hands of her Christian fantasy fans. She offers a God-glorifying alternative to some of the creepy secular speculative fiction we see so often.

If you haven’t yet read her books, I would highly recommend them. She gears her writing toward the New Adult market, but anyone over 16+ would enjoy them. An extra plug here…the ebook download is temporarily on sale for 99 cents (will be $3.99), and the paperback for $11.99 (will be $16.99)

And now, without further ado, here’s Madisyn Carlin!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Editorial, graphic design, cover design, and website design services offered at Mountain Peak Edits & Design.

Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin

ABOUT THE BOOK

Genre: Christian Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be the heartless queen she is being forced to become?

War shattered not only Breac Finson’s heart, but his faith as well. Tired of fighting, Breac only wants to be left alone, but his efforts are for naught when a friend calls in a favor. He soon finds himself in an unexpected alliance with Layree Alocer, a woman determined to find her wrongfully-kidnapped brother at all costs. Can a broken soldier help right a wrong—and find his faith again in the process?

Sides must be chosen and loyalties will be tested as a new war approaches. Can broken lives be mended in time to help save the Snowlands, or is evil already too deeply embedded?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Thank you for joining me today, Madisyn. How did you get your start in writing?

Thank you for having me!

I got my start in writing through my mom. In homeschool, a lot of focus was put on literature and writing, and she challenged me to write a novel in a year for one of my classes. I got to it and ended up creating a trilogy of sorts with books wwaaayyyy over 100,000 words long. They’re in dire need of rewrites and won’t see the light of day until I possess the fortitude to tackle such a colossal undertaking.

Why fantasy? What are you hoping to accomplish with this genre?

I don’t know why I selected fantasy. It just happened. Literally. I sat down to begin my novel in a year with only a character name in mind. The rest just came, and with it, the love of writing Christian fantasy was cultivated. Fantasy wasn’t even the genre I read most of as a child or teen—that belongs to historical romance and adventure.

There weren’t a lot of Christian fiction books to read when I was growing up. While my books are New Adult (although they can be read by YA), I want to offer readers more alternatives to the secular books filling the bookcases of most libraries and bookstores. I want to give readers clean, Christian fantasy they can read without worrying about profanity, indecent romance, or other scenes Christians shouldn’t read. The eyes are the windows to the soul, and we need to be careful what we view—and that includes reading.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I select names using one of three methods: 1) the name just comes to me (and I have to ensure I don’t have another character with the same name); 2) I know what the character looks like, but I have to search for a name that fits them; and 3) the name requires a specific meaning, so I must narrow my search to find the name that works. Sometimes it feels like it takes me longer to name a character than it does to write a full-length novel.

If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?

To ignore the what-ifs and the urge to compare my writing/plot/style with others. Those can be detrimental to the desire to write, especially if we think our work is lacking in comparison. You have your own writing voice, your own ideas, and your own ways of incorporating those. It will take you time to hone that style, but it will happen. Have patience, keep writing, and refuse to compare your work to others’.

How did you come to be a writer? Was this something that you always knew you were destined to be or did you arrive at this point via another path?

I officially became a writer after finishing the novel in a year and deciding I couldn’t stop there and I had to write more. This was not something I always aspired to do; in fact, I fought it for the longest time. Apparently, though, my much-younger self wanted to some day write, because I found a little illustrated story about ducks going to school.

I couldn’t read the penmanship (or lack thereof), but I was entertained by the ducks in shirts with feet facing the wrong way and wings (with feathery-type fingers) usually in the air in consternation.

What’s next?

I am currently working on two series: The Shattered Lands and The Redwyn Chronicles. Book Two in TSL is about 6,000 words in and Book 1.5 in TRC is about 30,000 in and is looking like it’s going to require another major rewrite.

Thank you for joining me, Madisyn!