Meet Steve Biddison

I’m please to welcome Steve Biddison to the spotlight today.  Steve is a great guy with a big heart.  Welcome, Steve….

We’d love to know a little about who you are when you’re not writing.

Although writing has been my dream since middle school, my career has mostly been defined as a basketball coach.  I loved working with high school kids and helping mold a group of individuals into a team set on reaching goals.  I guess you could say that coaching and writing, though seemingly two distinct entities, are both in my blood.

In addition to teaching and coaching, I did spend 4 years as a youth pastor.  Those were perhaps the four most rewarding years of my life.

So I guess Christian writer isn’t that much of a stretch. How did you come to be a Christian writer?

I didn’t set out to be a Christian writer.  I was a writer who was a Christian.  In fact my first book was a book about coaching basketball.  It has gone in and out of the top 10 kindle books for coaching basketball.   It was after I wrote that book and realized I was now pursuing the dream God had put into my heart when I was a teenager that I published a short sermon series called Pursuing Your God-Given Dreams. 

While I was a youth pastor, I wrote daily devotions each month for the students in my ministry.  Years later, I revisited all those writings and put together an updated devotional book spanning the life and teaching of Christ.

The funny thing is when I set out to write my first novel several months ago, I did not intend it to be a Christian novel.  It was going to be a YA fantasy novel that takes place in other worlds.  But the more the story developed, the more I began to see the parallel’s in this story to the fall of Lucifer and the redemption offered by Christ.  So it kind of morphed into a Christian Young Adult fantasy novel.

It’s amazing to me how if you look hard enough, everything goes back to that spiritual war and spiritual truths.  So if you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

I would probably be coaching basketball.

Who are your greatest influences either writing or personal?

I would have to say that in a lot of ways my father has been one of the biggest influences on my life.  He is a pastor and in some ways a mentor.

Very important to have parents you can look up to.  If you could give one piece of advice (not writing related), what would it be and why?

I believe that inside every Christian, God has placed dreams He wants us to pursue.  Often times we put those dreams aside because of circumstances in life.  Or maybe, we are afraid to fail.  My advice is to forget  the past fears and failures, focus on the future that God wants, prepare in the present for what God is doing, and then pursue it with a passion.

What has been your greatest challenge in life so far?  How did you handle it?

I have had times of uncertainty where I have lost a job and had no idea what would happen.  But just like God always does, He showed Himself to be faithful and provided a job at just the perfect time.

What do you like to read?  What are some of your favorites that you have read?

I enjoy a wide variety of books.  Depending on where I am in life makes a difference as to what read.  Before every basketball season, I read books on coaching and leadership.  More recently, I have been reading books on marketing, especially in the area of ebooks.

Do you have a quote or saying that you live by?

My favorite quote is actually from the Bible.  I guess you could say Philippians 3:12-14 is the motto I have adopted since I began my writing career.

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.  

 Philippians 3:12-14 NLT

This passage is not only my motto for writing, it is also the subject of one of my first books, Pursuing Your God-given Dreams. 

What are you working on right now writing-wise?

Right now I am in the early stages of writing the sequel to my YA Christian fantasy novel, The Center Circle.  I so much enjoyed writing Book 1 that I can’t wait to dive headlong into book 2.  However, the market is also demanding that I put out a few more coaching books before next fall.  And I am currently in the middle of writing a Bible study based from the book of Nehemiah about how we can be used of God right now in our lives.  So I am busy writing.

Very cool! Tell us about what you have out for us to enjoy.

I would like everyone to give The Center Circle a chance.  Yes, it is YA, but it is not limited to teenagers only.  I think you will not only find the action moving quickly in this age old battle of good vs. evil.  But by getting in on the beginnings of this trilogy, you will see the infancy of a brewing a romance that will climax in a way that saves not only our world, but many worlds.

I also want to invite each of you to follow my blog.  I write at least once a week usually on pertinent issues of that week.  For instance, my post following the death of Whitney Houston was one that many people read.  I also include devotionals aimed at practical Christian living in my blog.  And of course, you will find updates about all my writing on that website as well.  You can find my blog at

11)  Where can readers find you on the ‘net?

I would very much love to get to know each of you.  I will answer any comment or message you send to me.  Readers are the heart of what I do and as I get deeper into my writing career, I want to involve the readers in certain decisions as much as possible.  For instance, the cover of my latest release, The Center Circle, was voted on by those on my facebook book page.

You can find me on my blog and website at   Please sign up to follow the blog and we will be able to stay in contact that way.

My facebook book page is Steve Biddison Books

Finally, all my books can be found on my author page at the Amazon Kindle store.

Thanks so much for visiting with us, Steve!  Good luck and God bless you as you pursue YOUR God-given dreams!

Praise God in Advance!

by: Joana Melisia James

 Our praise is one of the most powerful weapons that we as Christians have. There are many things that we can accomplish through our praise that we could never accomplish one our own. But what is praise really? Praise is the act of expressing approval or admiration. It is also the offering of grateful homage in words or songs as an act of worship. When we praise God we are telling him that we admire Him, we admire his intervention in our lives and we admire his creations.When we praise, we confuse the enemy

In 2 Chronicles 20 we see that the Israelites were being threatened by the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites. All these armies came together to fight against them. They formed a very large army and Jehoshaphat did not think that he would be able to beat them. Before he did anything, Jehoshaphat inquired of God what his next move should be. In verse 15-17 God sent his word to Jehoshaphat comforting him. The Lord said to Him “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

When I read that verse, I was comforted in my Spirit. The Lord was saying to Jehoshaphat that he need not fight, the battle was not his, but God’s.

Jehoshaphat heeded the word of the Lord and assembled his people, but he did something very pivotal, he placed the singers in front first. Not the warriors, but the singers, the praisers, those who would usher in the presence of God. Jehoshaphat knew that God resides in the praises of his people so he set up a praise. By the time they neared the enemy, their camp was in disarray. The allied army began to fight among themselves. God used the praises of his people to confuse the enemy and they were defeated without even having to fight.

Praise also moves the hand of God

In Joshua 6 we see how the Israelites marched around Jericho for seven days upon the counsel of the Lord. On day seven, when they shouted, the wall of the city came tumbling down. Now, it is not the shout of the people that brought down the wall, but, upon hearing the praise, God moved on their behalf.

Praise God in Advance

Sometimes it is necessary to praise God in advance. We may see a problem that seems insurmountable and nothing that we could ever do would get us out, but praise unto God in spite of our circumstances lets him know that we trust him and we trust his judgment. It says “God, I know that you have my best interest at heart and that you will move on my behalf.” It also says “God, even if you don’t do what I want you do for me, I will still praise you.”

Praise solidifies our relationship with God and shows him that we appreciate his goodness. I encourage you to praise God in advance of your victory and watch the hang of God move on your behalf. Watch him confuse your enemies and watch your situation turn around!


Joana James is a young Christian author from the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. She is an I.T. professional by day but in her free time she escapes from the logical world of technology into the artistic world. She is an avid reader and her kindle is her favourite piece of technology.  Music is her best friend and that manifests itself through her love for dance and singing.

Joana writes stories that portray the reality of her world. Her first book, a two-part short story series called Rise from the Ashes featured the lives of two young girls struggling in dire circumstances.

Her latest book, Nightmare at Emerald High, brings to the fore a world that everybody knows exists but no one talks about.

See more here!

Review of Karen Baney’s Nickels

Nickels by Karen Baney

c. 2011

Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 9780983548669


Review by:  Lisa Lickel

For a girl who powers heedlessly through life, striving after things of this world, blaming God for bad things that happened, scarred by parental bitterness and determined not to date or have a relationship like her parents’, Nicole Turner has more than a chip on her shoulder. It takes the love of Christ and a former nemesis secretly attracted to her since high school to help her understand there is more than frantic busy-ness to life.

Orphaned “Niki” Turner goes to live with her older brother Jack on an Air Force base in Germany where she develops a close friendship with Marcy Jacobs, who unfortunately has an older brother who makes life incredibly miserable for Niki during high school. Niki and Marcy attend college together back in the states and become housemates afterward. After Jack’s battlefront death, Niki turns inward and throws everything she is into her computer programming career and refuses to have anything to do with church or dating, despite Marcy’s best attempts.

The story switches to Kyle Jacobs, Marcy’s brother, now home and discharged after a terrible helicopter accident in which he, the pilot, was the only survivor. He’s recovering not only from the physical wounds, but spiritual and emotional pain, as well as the very real consequences of a former wild lifestyle.

Marcy invites her church guy pals over, along with Kyle. As the group becomes better acquainted, Niki begins to have questions about their life of faith and inner peace. Kyle and Niki meet when Niki lands her dream job. As Niki’s pride wears away, she realizes the great hole in her heart can only be healed by faith in the only One who will never desert her or let her down. But Kyle’s secret nearly destroys Niki’s newfound joy.

Baney’s beautifully fluid story and characterization have stayed with me long after I finished the story, which I read nearly nonstop. The incredible details of the programmer life, Niki’s very real pain, determination to stand up for herself, and tender psyche touched my heart. Kyle was a little too good until we understand where he came from, and then I rejoiced in his determination to keep the faith, do the right thing and stand like a man. Readers who appreciate highs and lows and all the twists and turns of contemporary full-length romance will find much to enjoy about this great-paced, well-written love story.

See more about Nickels here

See more about reviewer Lisa Lickel here

Welcome… Precarious Yates!

We welcome to Grace & Faith a young woman with a big heart… Precarious Yates!

Hi there.  First off, we’d love to hear some about who you are when you aren’t writing.

First thing you should know is this: I am absolutely wild about the fact that Jesus loves me. My greatest passion is to pursue the One who pursues me. When I learned that He wanted to partner with li’l old me to bring His kingdom to this earth, I became ecstatic, fanatic and determined to love with His love no matter what I’m doing.

Right now, I spend any time I’m not writing running around after my daughter. We garden, play on jungle gyms, have tea parties in the afternoon and run around with our dog. This is written during the pause of a very serious game of tag. Four year olds are filled with such vibrancy and life! I also love gathering with other believers in prayer and worship, seeking  the Lord to see His glory and on behalf of others.

I’m the wife of an incredible man who is the IT director for Streams Ministries.  Before he landed the job at Streams, we were planting a church on the south coast of Ireland. We lived in that magnificent country for four years.

Speaking out against human trafficking and inspiring others to become abolitionists are two things that are very important to me. See my website (listed below) for links to organizations that I support as often as I can.

Wow! Awesome! How did you come to be a Christian writer?

I began to write stories and novels at a young age. As a teen, I was angry, which was reflected in everything I wrote: poetry, plays, novels, even homework assignments. When I encountered the Lord at the age of 20 and gave my life to Him, I let Him invade every aspect of my being. I discarded my angst ridden writing and began to write for Him. Since then, I’ve written 6 ½ novels, one five-act play and heaps of poetry and songs.

God can sure turn a life around, can’t He? What do you like to read?  What are some of your favorites that you have read?

I LOVE reading YA, which is why I write it. I love the subgenres of sci-fi and fantasy, espionage novels  and stories of kids who have been through dark times like I had been and came through the other side to see the Light of Christ. I’m mildly obsessed with classics, particularly Russian classics. The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky are still among my favorites.

No light reading for you, huh? I’m curious, what is a quote or saying you live by?  Where did it come from?  Why does it speak to you so deeply?

The quote I live by is from Song of Solomon 8:5b –

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her Lover?”

When I lean my whole being into the Lord and rely on Him for all my strength, I find I’m where I want to be. Better yet, that’s where He wants me to be.

There are many times when life on this earth is like a wilderness.  It’s dry, barren and my poverty is evident. I realized, the many times I’ve walked through the barren wilderness, that my life needed to be marked by leaning on Him. At the end of the day, what other legacy would I want? I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. (I like the Song of Songs. A lot.)

Great insight!  So, what are you working on right now?

I’m writing book 2 of Revelation Special Ops. I’m about half way finished!

I’m also writing a contemporary fiction book—a coming-of-age book about a hyper-intellectual girl and her unique life.  Also, I hope to re-issue a fantasy novel I published while overseas, but it must undergo tons of edits first.

What about your current writing endeavors that are already out?

Hadassah can maneuver her way through the African jungle to rescue abducted children, and through freezing air ducts in NYC trying to bust open a human trafficking ring, but can she navigate her heart when the whole world around her descends to chaos? The Elite of the Weak, set in the near future, is the first of the Revelation Special Ops series. When the world is falling apart and there is every reason to mourn, will Hadassah still think of others before herself?

Thanks so much for visiting, Precarious.  Where can our readers find you on the ‘net?

Twitter: @precariousyates


The Elite of the Weak on Amazon:



Sony E-reader:

Paperback version on CreateSpace:

Praise is the Devil’s Death-Knell

by: Lynn Mosher

Today, I share with you a portion of something the Lord spoke to me some years ago. As always, His words changed me. From His heart to yours…

“Every time you have an intense trial or you wonder where I am, you must learn to quickly realize that the devil knows that something good is about to happen – that I am about to bring about some great thing into your life and he is going all-out to thwart My every plan and purpose.

This intense time must be spent repeating My words and praising Me. This is your only way out. This is a break-through time and it must be spent concentrating on Me. The devil will do anything to bring you down and he especially preys on these intense times because he knows that, if he can get you to stop praising, then your focus is shifted away from Me and onto your problem.

Learn to quickly see his hand at work and to even more quickly begin to praise Me more. Praise is the devil’s death-knell (At which point, He told me to look up the meaning of knell, which means to ring in a slow, solemn way, to sound ominously or mournfully, toll, warning sound, extinction or failure of something, any sound announcing the death of a person or the end, or the sound of a bell rung slowly as at a funeral. Then, He continued.)

Now you understand how important it is to praise Me. Praising Me brings the devil to his knees and is excruciating to his ears. When you praise Me, you bring glory to Me and he cannot stand in My glory. He intends to bring you down but I intend to bring you up – up with Me. The more intense the pain and suffering, the more intense should be your praising.”

Praise gets the attention of both God and the enemy! It becomes a two-edged sword.

After the Lord rescued David from Saul and his other enemies, David wrote, “I will call on Jehovah, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. 18:3 Masoretic Text)

If we express that verse according to its definitions, it might say, “When I summon Jehovah by Name, Who is worthy of being celebrated in praise, I shall be safe, preserved, rescued from and have victory over my enemies!” How great is that? All because God’s glory in praise prevails over darkness!

The Lord told Moses, “When you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then blow an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.” (Num. 10:9 Amp) Our praise is that trumpet of alarm preparing the path for God to deliver us from our enemy.

David knew his praises of God would bring down his enemies and said to Him, “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Ps. 8:2 NIV)

The worst sound in the ears of the enemy is praise from the lips of one of God’s children. The enemy hates it.

I have learned to praise God no matter what. When my day is darkened with a multitude of problems that need to “take a ticket, take a seat,” and the songs of my heart begin to stick in my throat, do I still sing to Him anyway? You bet!

When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, do I still look to Him and praise Him? Absolutely!

When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB) Amen!

How about you? Do you still praise the Lord no matter what the circumstances?

May the Lord’s intimate words seep deep within your being and rise up as the oil of praise and be poured out upon His head.

Picture from:


Through many hardships, trials, and health issues, I have learned to depend entirely on the Lord for everything. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2000, the Lord whispered to my heart to write for Him. So, now, out of a great passion to reach others, I obey His call.
Visit Lynn’s wonderful blog, Heading Home, Click HERE!

A Review of “Goodbye Noel”

GOODBYE NOEL by Nike Chillemi

Reviewed by Lillian Duncan

Before you read what I have to say about GOODBYE NOEL, you should know that historical fiction is not my favorite genre and World War II and the post war era are among my least favorite.

Sorry, Nike. The truth is the truth.

Having said that, GOODBYE NOEL by Nike Chillemi is an exception to the rule. Reading GOODBYE NOEL was an unexpected treat. Her rich vibrant writing, interesting characters, and a suspenseful plot work together to make an entertaining story.

A definite must read for book lovers who enjoy romance, suspense, or historical fiction.

Here’s what the back cover blurb says:

Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer, who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life, and her heart, as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he’s drawn to. Is there’s something he’s overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?


Buy “Goodbye Noel”… Click here!

Interview with Cathy West

Today I’m pleased to welcome Cathy West!

Welcome, Cathy…

  Tell us a bit about yourself beyond who you are as a writer.

I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Bermuda, where I still live. Being a small island, it tends to get a little too small after a while, so I do love to travel. I’m a wife, married 25 years to my pediatrician hubby, and I’m Mom to two wonderful children who are sadly away at college, so I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like. I’m a dog lover and own a three year-old border collie named Noah, who really keeps me busy! I love gardening and hanging out with friends and family.

How did you come to be a Christian writer?

I started out writing for the secular market. I didn’t really even know that Christian fiction existed. I think the first Christian book I ever read was Deb Raney’s A Vow To Cherish, and it was shortly after that when I re-dedicated my life and knew that I wanted to devote my talents to Him, so it was pretty much a no-brainer. It hasn’t been an easy road but I’m learning (slowly), that it was the right decision for me, and writing for the CBA is where I am meant to be.

 What has been your greatest challenge in life so far?  How did you handle it?

Hmm. Aside from my mom dying, which was incredibly difficult, but expected and a blessing in many ways, as she was quite ill, I think my greatest challenge was deciding to search for my birth family. I really didn’t know what I was getting into, so of course I proceeded with much prayer and went forward with the support of my family. It was a very difficult time in my life and I went through enormous emotional upheaval, but God was faithful and He brought me through it all. I learned to rely fully on God and ‘lean not on my own understanding.’ I believe my faith is much stronger because of this experience. He also performed a couple of miracles along the way and gave me a sister whom I am blessed to have a wonderful relationship with, so it all worked out well in the end!

That’s awesome!  So what do you like to read?  What are some of your favorites that you have read?

I love to read! I read mostly romance and women’s fiction, CBA and ABA, and lately I’ve read a fair bit of historical fiction, which I’m enjoying. I recently finished The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which was really good. And Heiress, by Susan May Warren, LOVED that book and can’t wait for the next in the series! All time favorites would have to be Gone With The Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, all the Barbara Taylor Bradford books, The Forgotten Garden, and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (love her), and anything by Jane Austen.

Do you have a quote or saying that’s extra-special to you?

‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13.

This is a scripture my mother used to say over and over as I was growing up and it kind of stuck. I was shy and insecure as a child, and had pretty low self-esteem, so she was always trying to boost me and get me to believe in myself. As I matured and grew in my faith and really laid claim to this, I realized how true it was. I can certainly try it on my own, but I always fail. 🙂 Knowing who I am in Christ gives me a whole new perspective. I think she’d be proud of the things I’ve accomplished – unfortunately she passed away before I was published, but I know she’s looking down with big smiles.  🙂

What projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on putting together a plot for a new story. This is always the hardest part of writing for me. Once I get something cohesive written down, it seems to come together. I’m also doing some revisions on a manuscript that my agent will be shopping in the near future, called Reprisal.

Cool.  So what other projects do you have already out?

My debut novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in March 2011, through OakTara. I have a second novel, Hidden in the Heart, which will release this year, also through OakTara. I recently began a new blog venture called This Is A Blog About Books, where the focus is on…what else…books! It’s a place where I hope readers, writers and reviewers can gather and learn and share with one another. I hope  you’ll check it out!

Also check out the trailer for Yesterday’s Tomorrow:

Where can readers find you on the ‘net?



Twitter: @cathwest



Book Review of Yesterday’s Tomorrow, by Michelle Sutton –

This review is going to be difficult for me to condense into a few paragraphs. There were so many things I loved about this book. I was talking to my aunt about how I was alive during the Vietnam War, but it wasn’t talked about much when I was growing up. It was like people wanted to forget it ever happened. I’ve met a number of Vietnam Vets and none of them wanted to talk about their experiences either. So while I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book or not because of the subject matter, I decided to try it anyway because it was a debut novel. Well, I am so glad I did because it far exceeded my expectations.

I’ve read a few other books set during the Vietnam war era, but none of them were as detailed and compelling as this story. I felt like I WAS Kristin and that I was in Vietnam with her. I rarely have an experience that is so enthralling that I forget I’m reading and my mind goes to the place where I’m reading about. I felt that connection with this story. I read a lot of books so I know exceptional writing when I read it. Why was this story so amazing? I’ll tell you…

When I read a book I want to get lost in the story. This book did that for me. When I read a book I want to care about the characters. This book did that for me, too. I loved the people and the relationships between them. I loved the emotion and the fact that the author wasn’t afraid to let her characters deal with some difficult challenges. I got tearful a number of times and had to refrain from crying in the airport (I didn’t want people to wonder why I had tears rolling down my cheeks.) All I wanted to do was read the book until I finished it, but I had to go out of town, so when I got a chance to finish the story I picked it up again and stayed up until I read THE END.

Did I mention that I loved this book? My emotions soared. I felt like I understood the characters when they had PTSD symptoms. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but toward the end I was practically biting my nails wondering what would happen to them. This novel satisfied me in every way. I never thought a love story set in Vietnam would have such a powerful impact on me that I would keep thinking about the story even after I finished it. There were so many good nuggets of truth in the story. The faith message was believable, and the love story was incredible!

I am definitely going to read another book by this author. Not only is her prose beautiful, but her pacing is perfect and her romantic tension is written exactly the way I like it. A very satisfying read, and just edgy enough to be compelling without being overly done. In fact, though I really hate to part with this book, I told my aunt she MUST read it because I can guarantee she will not only love it, but will spread the word about the story, too. This book is worthy of that kind of buzz.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow was published by OakTara and released in March 2011.


Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in March 2011 through

OakTara Publishers. Catherine’s next novel, Hidden in the Heart, will be available in the near future, also through OakTara.



OakTara Website:



Ever Faithful

by: Staci Stallings

For many years of my life, I wanted to be successful.  I put a lot of effort into that endeavor.  I worked and worked and worked.  If I joined an organization, I had to be president because I wanted the organization to be successful and I wanted to be seen as a success in the organization.  Success was my goal.

After I started writing, I turned my success-orientation toward God. I wanted to be a success for Him.  Somehow I thought that would prove to Him I was worthy of His love and thus gain me a place in His kingdom.  I wanted Him to love me, and I thought the only way He would love me was if I was a success. Sad how some of us get so mixed up like that.

It took seven years of writing, three years of publishing, and a gentle re-direct from God for me to see how wrong I had been the whole time.  As always, I had been working and working and working, trying to get the publishing and marketing to work out.  I put an enormous amount of time and effort into that endeavor. Still, things were not pointing toward me being a success.  Even when I had successes, they were too small for me to acknowledge, and so I called them failures and resolved to do better.

When I finally woke up to see that what I was doing was not what God required of me—that He didn’t require me to be a success for Him to love me—that was truly a revelation.  In a very real way He saved me from me!

Since then, lesson-by-lesson, I have learned to let go of doing it myself and to let Him take over the controls of my life.  Not always easy for a control-freak, but by far the easier way to live once you get the hang of it.

The other night in a sermon, God spoke to me in a way that made me smile.  The pastor said, “God doesn’t require you to be a success. He only requires that you be faithful.” Well, that’s about as direct a message as you could get.

However, would I have heard those words ten years ago? Probably not, but they sure resonated with me the other night.

The amazing thing is that a friend of mine and I have been talking about this very thing—being faithful.  She said, “What I am learning is that God doesn’t even require us to be faithful because our faithfulness is imperfect. God simply wants to show us His faithfulness.”

Wow!  Not only do I not have to be a success to gain God’s approval, I don’t even have to be perfectly faithful to gain God’s approval!  The more I thought about this, the clearer it became.  Over and over and over again, God has shown me, “Staci, even when you fall, even when you’re discouraged, even when you feel like a failure, even when you’re scared, I am here—loving you, cheering you on, and giving you Me.”

With that understanding, how then, I ask you, could I ever feel like a failure? How could I ever think I was anything less than a success?  And it has nothing at all to do with me. It has nothing to do with my performance, my plans, my control, my abilities, my knowledge, my understanding.  It’s all about Him.

His performance, His plans, His control, His abilities. His knowledge, His understanding, His wisdom, His love, His mercy. His faithfulness.

In a very real way, all He asks of me is that I take a step back from me, look to Him, and marvel at His faithfulness.  To accept the mind-blowing concept that He is ever faithful to me. Not sometimes faithful. Not faithful when it’s easy or convenient. He is EVER faithful!

Just as He is ever loving toward me.  Not just when I’ve been “good enough” or done enough or accomplished something. He is ever-loving all the time.   And if I let my worth be based not on me but on Him, then I’m already a success.

Isn’t He the coolest?

The feature picture can be found at:


Coming Undone

by: Staci Stallings

“If you’ve ever searched for love, been afraid to love, or lost someone you love, you will love Coming Undone.”

The story of two people trying to live life by the world’s rules who find that loving someone only happens when you learn to love without asking what you’re going to get in return. Available as a free download from Amazon today and tomorrow only!


(Don’t have a Kindle?  Download the App so you can read it on your computer.  Click here!)

Arson. A Review by R.M. Strong

Arson by Estevan Vega (published May, 2011, by StoneGate Ink) is the story of Arson Gable, the typical, normal teenage boy with a few notable exceptions: he can control fire with his mind and he has been told all of his life that he killed his own mother. Arson is “cared for” by a senile grandmother, who never misses an opportunity to cut him down, verbally and sometimes physically. Arson’s only escape is the lake near his house, the cool water the only thing that seems to cool his fire-creating rage.

The story begins to take off when new neighbors–with problems of their own–move in to the house next door. The 17-year-old daughter, Emery, continually wears a blank mask to hide a hideously-scarred face, the result of a childhood accident. When Emery, trying to get away from bickering parents, walks to the lake only to see Arson lying face-down in the water in an attempt to escape his own demons, she jumps in in an effort to save his life. A fast friendship blossoms between the two self-proclaimed “freaks.”

Despite Arson’s numerous and vehement assertions to the contrary, Vega does an excellent job of painting our protagonist as the typical teenager struggling with normal teenage issues: the lack of love from a parental-figure, lust, physical desire, and the overwhelming desire to be normal. He struggles over loving someone who does not love–someone who may, in fact, hate–him back, and the deaths of those close to him.

Emery struggles with another aspect of teen life–parents who have emotionally abandoned, but remain physically present. Her father, before the book’s beginning, had, because of his alcoholism, lost his pastorate. Emery’s mother, bitter over the alcoholism and the loss of “their” church finds solace in work. Both claim to be concerned about Emery and her emotional well being, both her mother and father desperately hate the mask she chooses to wear, but both also have a habit of abandoning Emery to her own devices while they fight themselves and each other. Vega does an excellent job of capturing the darker side of being a pastor’s kid (or a pastor’s wife)–the crushing, rarely-expressed, feeling that everyone and everything in the pastor’s life is more important than his or her family.

Arson is a well-written, engaging story. The characters are extremely believable, and I even found myself wanting to encourage Arson to do the right (or noble or selfless) thing. It is a quick-enough read, and even without the cliff hanger-type ending leaves you wanting for a sequel. (The sequel, Ashes, was released in September, 2011.) Vega spins a good yarn and does it well. I highly recommend the book and cannot wait to read more from this engaging, youthful new author.

You can buy Arson at Amazon in paperback:


RM Strong’s own book “Karis” is now available on Kindle, Nook, iPad, and more!
Only $2.99!
Barnes & Noble

Interview with Penny Zeller

Today I’m pleased to welcome my friend, Penny Zeller.  What a beautiful heart this lady has!
Welcome, Penny!
First, tell us a bit about yourself beyond who you are as a writer. 
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guest! I am honored to be here today. I am a Christ follower, wife, mom, author, and blogger. I work from home and am also involved in a variety of volunteer activities. I also lead a Christian writers group/Bible study. In my free time, I love spending time with my family and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading,gardening, and playing volleyball.
My favorite Bible verses are Psalm 91, Jeremiah 29:11, and Psalm 19:14. My favorite food is pizza, and I would love to someday travel to Prince Edward Island, Hilton Head Island, and Alaska. This year, my husband and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary (we married really young!) I met my husband through a prank phone call when we were teenagers. 🙂
Through a prank call?  Okay.  There’s a romance story just begging to be told!  How did you become a Christian writer?
I was bitten by the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words. In fourth grade, I started to write fictional stories and “publish” them in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books. Throughout high school, I wrote stories with my friends as the main characters. 🙂
Years later, I decided to work from home so I could stay home with my infant daughter. I dedicated my writing to the Lord and began my career by writing articles for national and regional publications. A few years later, I began writing books.
I love the idea of writing Bible stories in your own words.  How creative!  So if you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
While I have worked in a variety of professions in the past (a caseworker in the social services field, a retail clerk, legal assistant,  bookkeeper, aerobics instructor, etc.) writing has always been my passion, so I can’t imagine myself doing anything else (besides, of course, being a wife and mom – my absolute favorite profession!) However, if I wasn’t a writer, I would like to be a television talk show host for a Christian TV show. I think that would be a lot of fun! 🙂
Most writers also like to read.  What are some of your favorites?
Historical romance is my favorite genre to read. I do also enjoy reading other genres, such as nonfiction and contemporary Christian romance. I have read some awesome books lately, including My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Grow Old With Me by Melinda Evaul, and Cowboy by Staci Stallings. An excellent nonfiction book I am currently reading is the touching My Emily by Matt Patterson. I also am working on an excellent Bible study titled Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most by Stephanie Shott.
See. I just knew you would be a reader!  Do you have a quote or saying that yo live by?
A quote I live by that I have written on the first page of my Bible is one I heard from author and speaker Beth Moore during one of the many times I have led women’s Bible studies. It states, “No amount of ministry will make up for failure at home.” It speaks to me deeply because, after my relationship with the Lord, I diligently strive to make my family my top priority.
Awesome advice.  What are you working on now?
I am working on a historical romance series that takes place in the post Civil War era and am excited to see where God leads me with that project.
Fabulous!  Tell us about your works out right now.
I am super excited that all three books in my Montana Skies Historical Romance series – McKenzie, Kaydie, and Hailee are all now available in Kindle format. I am also thrilled about the book trailers for Kaydie at and Hailee at
On the blogging front, I have developed a routine on my blog, “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, & Author” to include movie reviews from a Christian worldview on Mondays, funny life happenings on Tuesdays, and author interviews/giveaways/guest posts with some of my favorite author friends on Thursdays. I also, on occasion, squeeze in my own family-related posts and devotionals.
Where can readers find you on the net?
I love to connect with readers on –
Twitter: @pennyzeller
Thanks so much for stopping by, Penny!  Now go write that story of how you met your husband!  😉
  Click on a cover to see more!

Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles. She is also the author of the blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” where she also provides weekly doses of humor, along with movie reviews from a Christian worldview, and interviews with some of her favorite author friends.

Penny is an active volunteer in her community, devoting her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. Her passion is to use the gift of the written word that God has given her to glorify Him and to benefit His kingdom.

Among other books, Penny is the author of McKenzie, Kaydie, and Hailee in her Montana Skies Historical Romance Series and 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference: Ideas and Activities for Serving Others.

When she’s not writing, Penny enjoys spending time with her family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball.

Penny loves to hear from her readers at her website, and on Facebook at

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