Monday, June 22, 2020

God’s Mysterious Ways: The Colleen L. Reece Story

Colleen L. Reece: Author of 160+ published books, 6 million copies sold.
 Kindle Giveaway June 23 - July 4: Make a comment and you may be a winner for one of her three E-books below!

Cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation in 2013 at age 77 drastically changed my 40+ year writing career. God brought me through and I became the “miracle patient.” Yet the long road back left me unable to write new books or teach. To help replace income, God led me to a publisher who reprinted many of my out-of-print books. I began scanning books no longer in my computer for a Cherished Romances Historical series (Winged Publications).

Computer Problems lead to surprises
Scanning in order to edit was slow but better than retyping, until my OCR (Optimum Character Recognition) stopped working. Romans 8:28 promises that all things work together for those who love God, but how could stopping Christian books in progress be good? I couldn’t fix the problem; grounded by COV-19, I didn’t dare bring in a repair person.
Discouraged, I dug in my dormant file and struck gold. My co-author niece Julie Reece-DeMarco and I had earlier drafted an inspirational, nonfiction title. Now our Winged editor wanted short, encouraging books about over-comers. She quickly approved Doorways and Windowsills: Finding Sunlight After Storms, which advises, don’t stare at closed doors. Search for open windows.
 My OCR still didn’t work. Then my across-the-street neighbor opened a window by commenting, “Your best book is that one.” He pointed to my front yard. Walking with the Master, stories of God’s miraculous working in my life, included his putting out a 4th of July fireworks blaze, and my discovering his name was Marc Angel! I had made a collection for family and friends at the local print shop and giving them out at Christmas.
Aha! “Lord, if he likes it that much, why haven’t I offered it to my editor?” I did. It is now blessing many.
God still wasn’t through sending “interim” projects.
Guardian Angel Press, who had done many children’s books for me, fell victim to COV-19 after fifteen successful years. Books 6 and 7 of Colleen Reece Chapbooks would not be published. I grieved, then looked for a window. Laura Ingalls Wilder, beloved author of the Little House books, said, “If I had a remembrance book, I'd write about . . . Pa and Mr. Hanson and how they walked and looked and talked and how we wondered what they said.”
What if I combined Book 6 and its sequel into a two-story book? A quick go-ahead from my Winged editor and The Remembrance Book became reality.

an invitation
Join Carol (Colleen) and her family on a 3500- mile Vagabond Summer driving trip. Encounter car trouble, a bear, two parades, a prairie dog town, lions roaring in the night, and much more.
See how Wishbooks and Promises brighten the family’s lives, along with their wonderful lamp, a mysterious friend for Carol, an uncle’s desperate prayer, and Carol’s daring plan to get a bicycle when her parents cannot afford to buy her one.
These chapters show God’s loving care and can be used for bed-time reading or as part of family devotions.

Sequel to the story
1. If the OCR had not stopped working, these books would not have been written, at least not now, when readers are desperately looking for hope.
2. The day after I finished the three nonfiction titles, I fiddled with the OCR for the gazillionth time. It worked.

What’s next? More scanning? Not yet. After seven years of being unable to write new Christian fiction, He has restored my strength! I am working on a long-delayed, much-requested series finale. I thank, praise, and give Him the glory.

JULI SCOTT, SUPER SLEUTH, IS BACK WITH A BRAND-NEW MYSTERY! Bellingham, Washington's answer to Nancy Drew, and her mystery-solving friends from the Mysterious Monday through Saturday Scare series, return to confront Sunday Suspicion, their most baffling case. Available late July-early August.

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Lovely Christian Romance by Julie Spencer

Book Giveaway: June 1 – 13. Make a comment about this Guest Post and you get a free complimentary digital copy of The Farmer’s Daughter. You might get a free paperback if you figure out the secret in her book.

About the Author: Julie L. Spencer writes gritty clean fiction with snarky, flawed characters, and romantic twists and turns. She has over 30 publications, and the books just keep writing themselves. A scientist by day and moonlighting as an author, Julie is an indoor girl with very little desire to step away from her computer and loves her characters almost as much as she loves her kitten.

When I read Julie’s Guest Post, my heart was so touched with what she said. Thank you, Julie, for sharing a very special experience with us. Read her Guest Post and make a comment for a free E-book.

* * *
I’m not a farmer’s daughter. My husband calls me an indoor girl and he’s not wrong. So why did I write The Farmer’s Daughter? And why did it take me so long to publish this special story? For that you need to know the story behind the story: The Farmer’s Daughter was the 2nd novel I ever finished (approximately nine years ago). I wrote this immediately after writing my first published novel, The Cove and they are very similar. I have since written and published over thirty books, audiobooks, and science journals, along with newsletters, blog posts, newspaper articles, and one very technical 405-page watershed management plan. (Oh, and years ago I wrote Master’s Thesis, but I digress)

So, why didn’t I publish The Farmer’s Daughter? Partly because I hadn’t finished the sequel, partly because I got my dream job shortly after finishing the first draft (I’m the Gratiot County Conservation District Administrator), and partially because I haven’t felt compelled to publish the book prior to now. I put a lot of stock in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Throughout my adult life, I have found good things happen when I listen for and follow promptings from the Spirit. Up until January of this year I have felt prompted not to publish this book. I’m not sure why.

In January I had the distinct impression that it was time to publish The Farmer's Daughter in May of 2020. So here it is! Now for a more difficult conversation...

The first person to read The Farmer’s Daughter was my dearest friend, Jennifer Holiday. She was such a special person in my life that she was honestly second only to my husband as a best friend. We spent every birthday, New Years, even sometimes Thanksgiving, together with our husbands and children and often extended family. In 2017 Jennifer died, right after our sons (best friends) graduated high school. I’m getting emotional just writing this. I miss her every day. Sometimes I see people in the grocery store and do a double take because they look like Jenny. She was a schoolteacher, a mother, an honored friend in our community. Jennifer died from complications of prescription drug overdose. She is the reason I’m such an advocate about avoiding prescription narcotics for pain relief. She had shoulder surgery, started taking Vicodin, and was never able to recover.

She was the first person to take a printed manuscript of The Cove and mark it up with a red pen. She was the first person to take a printed manuscript of The Farmer’s Daughter and mark it up with a red pen. By the time I wrote Buxton Peak... she was too far gone to finish reading the draft. She never lived to see me as a published author. I’m sure she’s smiling down from heaven watching my every success and feeling proud that she had taken part in that.

Now something funny. Jennifer was offended by a part of The Farmer’s Daughter and wanted me to remove that part. I didn't. It’s still there. If you are successfully able to guess what part offended her, I’ll send you a signed copy of the paperback! If you comment on this blog post, I’ll send you a complimentary digital copy of The Farmer’s Daughter.

Now, a little bit about the book: Sometimes our dreams are right before our eyes. Ashley’s been taught all her life to find a nice Mormon boy and get married in a temple. That’s easier said than done living in rural Michigan, where members of her church are few and far between. 

Ashley drives each morning to the University of Michigan to study pre-med, while her non-member boyfriend Paul, the boy next door, heads the other direction to attend Michigan State University. Each evening they see each other in the barn to feed the animals and talk of the future. But when Ashley meets Caleb, a nice, med-school student who served as a missionary and is ready to settle down, what starts as casual flirting quickly turns to something more and Ashley fights the undeniable attraction they have. Because she’s still in love with Paul.

As she tries to convince herself she’s not ready to get serious with either man, Caleb becomes more involved in the farm life she loves, Paul becomes interested in the gospel she can’t live without, and Ashley realizes she’s going to have a tough choice to make.

If you’ve read this far in my little monologue, thank you. Please hug your family members. If you have someone in your life who is struggling with a substance abuse, please take the time to learn all you can about how to help them. God bless you, my friends. I pray you’re safe and healthy. Love, Julie

P.S. I hope you love The Farmer’s Daughter.

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