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Shining Light Players

Working backstage theater is one of the most rewarding aspects in the creative world. You get to see a lot of things happen, take shape, and touch a lot of lives. Plus, you’ve never seen so much coffee consumed or donuts eaten in your life until you’ve been backstage!

During the time I worked backstage primarily in the costume department but covering many other areas, I met a lot of wonderful people, including Stephen Burke and family who have a beautiful outreach with the Shining Light Players.

Since 2013, Stephen and his family has written and produced several plays  featuring the lives of missionaries and scenes from classic literature. At an event several years ago, I watched Stephen and his wife, Alisha, perform the story of Jim and Elisabeth Eliot. Such a powerful story with a heartwarming message of hope and inspiration about the dedication of this great missionary and his wife Elisabeth.

The Shining Light Players travel all over the US and perform in local theaters, universities, and churches. In 2019 alone, they have been in sixteen churches from Atlanta, Raleigh, NC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Some highlight performances include The Hiding Place: Life of Corrie ten Boom, The Day of the East Wind (Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth), and A Little Women Christmas.

Information about Shining Light Players.

Upcoming Performances

The Hiding Place: Life of Corrie ten Boom

The Bill Rice Ranch, Murfreesboro, TN, October 11, 2019.
Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola, FL, February 8, 2020.

A Little Women Christmas
A delightful new Christmas play adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel.

December 13, 2019, 7 pm
December 14, 2019, 3 pm

The Rex Theatre, Pensacola, FL

Follow Shining Light Players.


Who Is behind Shining Light Players?

Stephen Joseph Burke, Artistic Director.

At age twelve, Stephen and his two sisters established their own theatre company, producing a Christian musical every year for the next five years. And since then, he’s been involved in performance and dramatics, using his gifts and talents however God leads. While earning a bachelors and masters in performance and dramatics, he was blessed with the opportunities to further develop his skills as the Staff Production Director and Playwright. He enjoyed writing numerous plays and directing twenty plays and musicals until 2013 when the Lord led him and his wife to step out on faith and work full time with the Shining Light Players.

Alisha Burke, Assistant Director.

Alisha’s mother, Brenda Wood Coggins, was a gospel singer and pianist who always encouraged Alisha to use her talent for the Lord. She coached Alisha to sing her first church solo at age four. She grew up singing in church and attended Pensacola Christian College where she received bachelors and masters degrees in music and speech performance. She went on to teach music and speech classes at Pensacola Christian for thirteen years, and then studied for four years under acclaimed Metropolitan Opera Tenor, Ray Gibbs. Alisha has been a featured soloist on numerous recordings and television broadcasts with Rejoice Music and has acted in over twenty plays and productions including “I Am The Way” with Jerome Hines.  

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Interview with Cynthia Roemer and Under Moonlit Skies Characters


I’m thrilled to have back to the blog my dear friend, Cynthia Roemer, author of historical prairie romances. Cynthia’s third book in the Prairie Skies series is coming out soon! And she’d love to share her book hero and heroine with you . . . interview style.

Here’s the blurb to get you started:

UNDER MOONLIT SKIES (Prairie Sky Series ~ Book 3)

Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in ~

Illinois prairie ~ 1859

After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.

Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.

I love that! I know you did some fun research for this book. What’s your favorite historical place you’ve researched, and why?

I truly enjoyed my trip to the First National Road Museum in Vandalia, IL.  I live only an hour and a half away from it and never knew it existed until I started researching. My heroine in Under Moonlit Skies lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I needed a route from there to Illinois that existed when the novel is set in 1859. The First National Road, also known as the Cumberland Road, made the perfect route for my characters to travel.

What is the heroine’s greatest asset, and why?

Esther Stanton’s greatest asset would likely be her kind heart. She is caring and nurturing in nature, so unlike her older sister, Charlotte, who readers met in the first two books in the series. Unfortunately, Esther’s thoughtfulness toward others is also her biggest impairment as readers of Under Moonlit Skies will soon discover.

That’s an interesting twist! Looking forward to reading about Esther. What is her greatest fear, and why?

Esther’s greatest fear is missing out on the happy life she hoped to have marrying for love and living on the prairie. As the “obedient” daughter, she feels duty-bound to look after her overbearing mother, sacrificing her wants to please her mother.

How do both Esther’s asset and greatest fear tie into what you hope the reader comes away with?

Well, without giving away any spoilers, Esther eventually does find her voice and embraces what the Lord has in store for her future and her happiness. Through Esther, I want readers to see how the Lord longs to shower us with blessings, if we will only entrust our lives to Him.

What is the hero’s greatest quality, and why?

Stewart Brant is such a good-natured, easy-going guy. As Esther put it, “He’s the type of guy who would give the shirt off his back to help someone.” The name Stewart (Stew) is derived from one of my favorite actors Jimmy Stewart. Stew is also tall and lanky and has much of the same laidback personality as Jimmy. I just love them both! LOL!

Great actor-character inspiration! Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorite actors too. What is the hero’s greatest weakness, and why?

Due to past hurts, lack of funds and schooling, Stew feels inferior, like he’ll never measure up or be good enough. He struggles with comparing himself to others and always finds himself on the short end of the stick.

I can understand Stew’s feelings. I’m looking forward to seeing how Esther brings out the best in him! How do both Stew’s quality and weakness tie into what you hope the reader comes away with?

In the end, Stew discovers his true worth comes not from outward appearances or abilities, but from having a heart for the Lord. Through Stew, I want readers to experience how God views us—as His beloved children made in His image.

Thanks for telling us about your hero and heroine, Cynthia! And it’s been a pleasure having you on the blog today.

The Book Info — aren’t these covers stunning??


Under Moonlit Skies is the third book in the Prairie Skies series. Preorders going on now…

You can click on any of the pre-order link below to find out more information about Under Moonlit Skies or any of the other links to check out previous books, if Cynthia is a new-to-you author!

About Cynthia Roemer

Newspaper photo Book 2 - Copy (2)Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, due to release September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons. Visit Cynthia online at:

Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:

Author Newsletter Sign-up:

Cynthia’s Books on Amazon:

Under Moonlit Skies, click here.

Under This Same Sky, click here.

Under Prairie Skies, click here.

Answer the question in the comments:

Who is your favorite actor?

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Author Interview: David Rawlings, The Baggage Handler


I am very excited to introduce my friend David to you. When I first met David Rawlings, we were at our first ACFW conference. (For my non-writer readers, that’s American Christian Fiction Writers conference held each year – a huge to-do and so fun!)

Well, it was at the end of the day, and a small group of us had gathered for a late-night brainstorming session. The funny part about writers and brainstorming…

No one talked. N-o-t-h-i-n-g.

We just sat around, staring at each other, nervously smiling, perhaps expecting the other person to jump into the fray. So I did. After I shared my conundrum with my fiction series, David pipes in with stellar suggestions, with me scribbling like there was no tomorrow.

So. Yep. That’s how we met. But here’s what’s really cool about it. We didn’t bump into each other again until after the post-conference session, and David’s friendliness and encouragement was a boost — writers sharpening writers. But honestly, I think that’s just the person David is. 

And I can tell you that The Baggage Handler is going to be on your wish list or purchase cart by the end of this interview. At least, that’s what David and I hope will happen. Without further ado, here’s The Baggage Handler with David Rawlings. 

What image was an inspiration for you when writing The Baggage Handler?

The crowds of people that surround baggage carousels in an airport. Each with their own baggage. Literally.

I’ve seen some pretty interesting people in my airline travels, as I’m sure you have. I love that you chose three characters, all from various places in life where most readers can relate. Describe David, Gillian, and Michael each in one word or brief sentence.

Good, so do I. David is a hothead who’d rather be right than happy (and no, he’s not named after me). Gillian lives in the shadow of her sister – that’s why her self-esteem is stunted. Michael is being made to pay for his father’s lack of achievement by being forced to live his father’s dream.

What is your best (or worst) airport experience? Have you every grabbed the wrong suitcase?

Worst experience: I went to Manila in the Philippines and my suitcase didn’t appear on the carousel after my 12-hour flight. I filled in all this paperwork (written in really broken English) then went with our Conference group to the hotel without a change of clothes. My suitcase was delivered to the hotel hours later. It had been opened, everything was soaking wet and there was also an envelope full of US dollars from “the airline” in apology. I still cringe when I wonder what went on with that suitcase.
Best experience: on the way home from Nashville to South Australia in 2016, my Nashville to LA flight was cancelled. Without that flight, I don’t make the flight to Sydney, and I don’t make the flight to Adelaide. God looked after me – I was re-routed through Atlanta and made my connecting flights by 13 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes respectively. It was my best flight because I figured God was handling it, so I’d enjoy it. And when I arrived at Adelaide Airport, we were even five minutes early.

Hey, that’s after we met – but, wow, what a wild flight ride! Have you ever had the chance to speak with a baggage handler to get his perspective of his job? 

No. Although my daughter’s friend at school has a baggage handler father. Nice guy.

Now that would be fun! I bet he had some stories to tell… What do you hope readers will come away with from reading The Baggage Handler?

Thoughts about their own life. We all carry baggage – especially those who deny they’ve got any – and I’d like the story to start a reflection on what that might be. For them to perhaps consider that carrying their baggage may not be what’s best for them.

And I really like that because I get the sense of hope and freedom. For fun, and because your bio just screams it, who is your favorite sports team and why?

You’ve asked the right guy. I’m a sports nut, so here goes:

Australian rules football = The Adelaide Crows
Australian rugby league = Cronulla Sharks
NFL = Kansas City Chiefs
Major League Baseball = San Francisco Giants
NHL = Nashville Predators
NBA = Boston Celtics
English soccer = Blackburn Rovers
I could go on, but I think you’ve got the point by now. I’ll follow anything.

Haha, I’m sure! Thanks so much for stopping by today, David, and for sharing your debut novel and a bit of your life with us. I’m getting my copy of The Baggage Handler in the mail very soon, and I cannot, cannot, can not wait to read it!

The Baggage Handler

When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever. A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job. A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding. And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive. When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcases from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave. In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.

Rawlings Low Res Colour-2 for InstaAbout David

David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father-of-three who loves humor and a clever turn-of-phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

Get in Touch with David

Don’t miss another book update! (David’s got another book launching soon!!)

Where To Find The Baggage Handler

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Interview: Rachel Dodge + Giveaway


For many of us, we love Jane Austen, her books, and the world of Jane’s precious Victorian England. But what do we know of her prayer life? My friend Rachel Dodge has published a debut devotional of Jane Austen’s prayers. Please welcome her to the blog today. (There’s also a giveaway, so read through to the end!)

Outside of being an avid Jane Austen reader, what inspired you to write about Jane’s spiritual life? How has that shaped your own spiritual journey?

I’ve always been fascinated by Jane Austen’s personal life. I love reading her letters, her prayers, and the family memoirs written about her. She grew up in a devout Anglican family and was a strong Christian. I wanted to write a book that would highlight Austen’s prayers and the way her faith influenced her life and writing. I wrote Praying with Jane as a devotional book because I wanted to give readers the chance to slow down and savor Austen’s prayers. Each day’s entry includes a portion of her prayers, key Scripture verses, anecdotes from her life and novels, thoughts for personal application, and an invitation to pray. It’s my hope that readers will draw closer to God in prayer as a result of their time spent “praying with Jane.”

nicola-nuttall-730567-unsplashMy own spiritual journey has been shaped by my deeper understanding of Jane’s prayers and by the process I’ve gone through to research and write this book. I’ve never been one to write out my prayers consistently, but since I started writing this book, I now write out my own prayers almost daily. I didn’t plan that; it just happened. My prayers aren’t as elaborate as Jane’s, but I love “talking to God” on paper. It helps me articulate my prayers, stay focused, and keep track of the wonderful and mysterious ways God answers me. There was also a full week last summer when the Lord told me to stop all work on the project and devote myself to prayer. I’m still seeing fruit from that week of prayer (in both my writing and my personal life).

I’ve often written down my prayers too and have discovered that it’s a special conversation with God. What is your favorite Jane Austen prayer from your book?

I love that each of Jane Austen’s three prayers includes a time of thanksgiving, confession, petition, and intercession (praying for others). Her language is beautiful and fervent. Trying to choose just one line to share is difficult! Here are a few of my favorite lines (written as they appear in the original manuscripts):

“Thou art every where present, from Thee no secret can be hid; May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our Thoughts on Thee, with Reverence & Devotion that we pray not in vain.” (Prayer One)

“Thou knowest the infirmity of our Nature, & the temptations which surround us. Be thou merciful, Oh Heavenly Father! to Creatures so formed & situated.” (Prayer Two)

“Father of Heaven! whose goodness has brought us in safety to the close of this day, dispose our Hearts in fervent prayer.” (Prayer Three)

Those are beautiful prayers. She inserted a lot into such a few lines. Who is your favorite Austen character or favorite book?

I side with Jane Austen herself here. In a letter to her sister, Cassandra, Austen wrote this about Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice: “I must confess that I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.” I admire Elizabeth’s loyalty, wit, and spirit. She knows her own mind, but she’s also quick to admit when she is wrong. She’s someone I’d like to know.

Thanks for sharing your time with us, Rachel! And readers, don’t forget to read about Rachel, her book, and enter the giveaway below!

About Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge Headshot


Rachel Dodge teaches college English and Jane Austen classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and Jane Austen groups, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen’s World blog. She is passionate about prayer and the study of God’s Word. A true “Janeite” at heart, Rachel enjoys books, bonnets, and ball gowns. She makes her home in California with her husband and their two young children.


About Praying with Jane

Praying-with-Jane-rachel-dodge-tisha-martin-historical-fiction-jane-austenFor more than two hundred years, Jane Austen and her novels have charmed readers from around the world. While much has been written about her fascinating life, less is known about Jane’s spiritual side. In this beautiful 31-day devotional, Austen’s faith comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, and illuminating scenes from her novels. Each reading also includes a thematically appropriate Scripture and a prayer inspired by Jane’s petitions.

Where Can Readers Find You?


Facebook: @racheldodgebooks

Instagram: @kindredspiritbooks

Twitter: @RachelDodgeBks

The book is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, and other retailers. My web site has links set up.


Click the link here to enter the Giveaway! Rafflecopter Giveaway


Which is your favorite Jane Austen book or character?

Rachel and I would love to know in the comments!

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Interview: Hidden History


Happy autumn! I love this time of year when the weather cools enough to break out the boots and to gather around bonfires with friends. This weekend, I’m thrilled to introduce you to a wonderful resource of enjoyment, if you are a reader  . . .  and perhaps some intriguing bits of research, if you are a writer.

Samuel Johnson said, “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” ― Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. Vol 2

Well, you may not have to turn over half the library quite as much. Hidden History, a free information service, is right at your fingertips!

Hidden History
Founder: Josh
Writers: Ryan and Micaiah

What is Hidden History and what does it offer readers?

Hidden History offers its readers a unique experience with history. Many history sites will simply provide you with stories based on what that site believes you should read. However, Hidden History seeks to gain insight from our readers by asking for post topics and suggestions. We reach roughly 450,000 people a month with our articles, videos, and informational blurbs and try to cater to everyone we reach. Hidden History’s aim is to inform readers on topics about which they desire. We take well-known topics and offer aspects or facts on the person, place, or event that most people never knew.

How can Hidden History be a resource for writers?

Hidden History can be broken down into three different divisions: Education, Video, and Research. Our Education Division comprises most of our work as it provides articles and blurbs on events, places, or people. It provides additional information on a topic that a writer, researcher, or historian could use in whatever they are doing.

Our Video Division aims to accomplish the same as our Education Division but through videos. While writers may not use these videos, educators may use them in classes or in presentations. Our newer videos are up on our YouTube channel and more will be added as they are completed!  

Hidden History’s Research Division is a paid option available to all with rates based on the research needed. We will provide a well-researched and cited report for writers that might need a paper fact-checked or a report done on a topic. If we cannot find what you are looking for, then our time researching is FREE to you!

The best part of our page is that we work for you as the reader, so we will post an article/video and do research based on what you are looking for when you need it.

What is the history behind Hidden History?

I started Hidden History for multiple reasons. I have always loved history, and I enjoy researching and learning about it. I also tired of certain history channels that stopped showing history series and started doing series on pawnshops or aliens.

At Hidden History we share knowledge on unknown historical facts and events with others who might not have otherwise known.

When I started Hidden History, I planned on it being a small, local page that I ran with only a few hundred followers. However, I changed how I was doing things on the page, added a new writer, and we quickly started to grow.

Today we have three writers, three divisions within Hidden History, and are currently the largest actual history Hidden History page on Facebook. We have partnered with several major Facebook history pages and we also have several politicians, writers, historians, and educators of all levels that follow and use our page.

We have grown fast and reach so many people every day. We have expanded to Instagram and YouTube and are working on our very own Hidden History website, which we hope will be up and running within the year! We are also currently working on saving a historical monument in Pensacola (Florida) and if it is successful, we hope to expand to a fourth division and help save monuments and historical sites with other preservation groups!  

Where can readers and writers find Hidden History?




Website: Under construction

Writers, I hope this is a helpful resource for you in providing just that bit of intriguing information for your next book!

Readers, I hope this is an enjoyable, relaxing avenue for you to continue to glean tidbits about unknown history facts—you never know when sharing an unknown fact will open up an amazing door of great conversation with someone!

Happy Reading and Researching!

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How to Have the Right Perspective

This blog post first appeared September, 2017.

Since I enjoy researching and writing about the WWII American home front and polio, I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, Starr. I met Starr through a Post Polio group and I was so inspired by her love for life and her beautiful heart. As I got to know her, it became apparent that a beautiful heart is all about having the right perspective. Starr, thanks for letting me interview you and for sharing your life with us.

1940s wheelchair
1940s wheelchair

My character, Laurie, contracts polio in 1943, a time when America was engulfed in the throes of a world war, but also, fighting a home front war, the war against this crippling disease. What is your polio story?

Starr — Where should I begin. I have thought about it for a long time. I became sick at age 6 months old. I was born to teenage parents, Mom was 16 and Dad 15. They did what all parents do and I was vaccinated on schedule. It was my third dose, which was the live virus which I contracted polio. I have had good times, bad times, sad and happy. But looking back I would not change a thing. It is what made the person I am. It got me to where I am today. I love my life and I feel very blessed.

I know hospitals are not fun, but you’ve talked about some fascinating stories between you and a boy you met while in the hospital. What is your favorite memory?

Starr — This is an easy memory for me. Christmas Eve, the hospital was empty just a few of us there. They would take us to the auditorium and show Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers. We had popcorn and laughed a lot. My husband and I were friends back then. We both were in and out of the hospital and it seemed it was always at the same time.

I’m sure being in and out of the hospital was a love-hate relationship, especially because your best friend became your husband. 🙂

How did you spend your summers after polio?

The Eye of the Mustang
Sister, the Paint Mustang

Starr — Well, I discovered early on that I was different. I didn’t go outside that often, most were spent indoors either at home or the hospital. But I found ways to enjoy the change of seasons. I watched the colors change, and saw life from a window. In my teens, my parents bought a horse, they thought it would be good therapy. And it was, because the horse became my legs. I was able to go where ever I wanted. I know this sounds strange but I would go to a grave yard with a pad of paper and draw nature. And talk to the graves as if they were old friends.

My character has a horse, too, and has to learn how to ride again. Riding is wonderful therapy for anyone.

How did you meet your husband?

Starr — We met when we were six. Both in the hospital for two different reasons. We were on mats in physical therapy waiting our turn. He and another boy were behind me laughing. They took turns pulling on my pig tails. I cried and they [nurses] had to take me back to my room. Yes, and I married him. But there were many stories between then and our marriage.

That’s funny and cute. I’m sure he’s glad you decided to marry him too.

What is your hobby?

Starr — I have many. I paint, draw, write poems, write short stories, crochet, cook, compose music and play many instruments. I sang and gardened prior to PPS.

Just so our readers understand what PPS is, PPS is called Post-Polio Syndrome.

I enjoy poetry and the hope it gives. You wrote a poem called “Whispers of Heaven.” I think our readers will love this section you wrote:

A life unvarnished, rattled with pain

And back to this life I did reclaim.

The time has since has passed seeming far away

But still I am here and will remain,

thinking of time and that I must stay

For all we are now, and all we’re to be

We must follow the path that leads to thee

I know not where nor do I the time

What life I now have alone it is mine

But knowing what waits beyond is not pretend

For each of us holds to love when it’s our life’s end.

From my research, I’ve learned that Post Polio is a syndrome where the challenges of polio come back after a 20-40 year span. What is your approach to PPS?

Starr — I deal with it day by day. I try to enjoy every day, and am very thankful that I am here. Because I know life can be gone in an instant.

Through your life experience, how have you become a better person?

Starr — I am more sensitive to other people’s feelings and am very patient.

Being patient truly is a gift. What are some things that make you happy?

Starr — Well right now it is being a grandmother. I have wanted to be one for such a long time.

Who was instrumental in shaping you into the wonderful person you are today?

1940s ApronStarr — I would have to say my Mom, because she pushed me. She was hard on me, but did it to make me stronger. And also all the staff at the children’s hospital I spent most of my life in.

What is your encouraging advice to others, and something that writers can infuse into their own characters’ lives?

Starr — Never be defeated, defeat the circumstance. Let go of pain, both emotional and physical. And the last is to forgive all those who have hurt you, and forgive yourself. It will lift such a weight off you. I have found that if you allow the sorrow to fill you with hate, you will never have the love you seek.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Starr! Your story is beautiful, inspiring, and a great reminder that we can have confidence no matter what we go through. We all have challenges in life, and I’m encouraged by your outlook on life.


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Author Interview: Grace Hitchcock + giveaway

Happy Friday, everyone! Cannot believe this is the last day of August … kind of makes me sad. But! I’m so glad to be able to introduce this month’s author interview and book giveaway! My good friend Grace Hitchcock (along with other wonderful author friends) have recently launched a new Southern Belle Brides collection from Barbour!! Grace is also gracious and giving away a signed copy of her latest story!

~ The Southern Belle Brides Collection ~

Miss Beaumont’s Companion by Grace Hitchcock
Baton Rouge, Louisiana—1892
When lady’s companion Aria St. Angelo is coerced into posing as her political employer’s absent daughter for the evening at the Louisiana Governor’s masquerade ball, she wasn’t planning on falling for Byron Roderick, the most eligible bachelor in the capitol.

~ Blurb ~

In the Old South, hospitality is king—and charm is queen! Using grace and gumption, seven determined women face chaotic life challenges on the way to personal peace and lasting love—from the 1850s marriage market to the 1918 flu epidemic. Will each bride eventually discover a safe place to call her own—and a husband to love?

~ Without further ado, the author interview ~

I love the mentions of all the books in your novel. Out of all of them, which one is your favorite and why?

Hi, Tisha, thank you for having me here! It’s so hard to pick, but as a young child, I would watch the BBC’s productions on practically all of the Charles Dickens works and Little Dorrit was one of my favorites. While I’ve never sat down and read that exact work of his, I felt that since I’ve read Dickens and watched Little Dorrit so many times, it would be fun to add it into a story that my heroine liked that book too!

So fun to see your characters enjoying coffee at a local coffee house. I know you prefer tea, so how easy was it to write about your characters enjoying coffee instead of tea? Did it make you cringe?

While I love a good cup (or three) of tea, I have to start my morning off with a steaming cup of café au lait, especially with having a baby. When I wrote those scenes, I usually had my morning cup in hand, but tea is my favorite go to hot beverage for the rest of my writing sessions and reading.

Mister Rodrick wears spectacles and Mildred shows her disdain. Was there a particular view against men wearing spectacles during this time and why would the ladies find this distasteful?

Mildred’s distaste stems more for her love for another man rather than a view point. In my research for the novella, I didn’t find a specific view on spectacles, but I’ve read in quite a few novels where glasses acted as a deterrent for the heroines, so I wanted to write a story where the glasses actually attracted the heroine, Aria, to the hero, Byron.

Why is Byron interested in law work? What drove him to decide that as his career?

Byron’s compassion for people drove him to excel in his law practice to help others and his father thought that it would be an easy transition for his son into the political realm. Byron’s vocation was inspired by my older brother, who is a lawyer and worked a lot of cases in the capitol of Baton Rouge. I had fun calling my brother up several times in the writing of the story to ensure that all of my law scenes/phrases were accurate.

Where did you get your inspiration for Aria marrying above her social class? Dickens or Jane Austen?

Jane Austen! Even though Aria is poor, she hails from a distant noble heritage, similar to Sense and Sensibility’s heroines. I love all of Jane Austen’s works and enjoy reading Austen influenced books. The heroine in my debut novel that releases in March, The White City, will be strongly influenced by Austen’s Northanger Abbey’s heroine.

Thank you so much, Grace, for sharing the day with us! Reading your story from The Southern Belle Brides was an adorable, compelling read. Can’t wait to read the other stories as well!

~ About Grace and How to Keep in Touch ~

Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. Grace holds a Masters in Creative Writing and lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son.

Instagram: @GraceHitchcockBooks
Twitter: @grace_hitchcock
Facebook Page: GraceHitchcockBooks

~ The Giveaway and How to Enter ~

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Enjoy your day!

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Author Interview: Jessica Ronne + Sunlight Burning at Midnight Giveaway

Jess and I have discussed that she sleeps more than I do—and she has eight kids! How could I sleep when I was reading her memoir (about the birth of her son Lucas, who had a serious heart condition, and the passing of her late husband, Jason) Sunlight Burning at Midnight?? I’m excited to introduce to you my friend Jessica Ronne, fondly known for her simply lifestyle at Jess Plus the Mess, founder of the Lucas Project, and lives the mantra #justkeeplivin.

Thanks, Jess, for sharing a bit of your life with us today. And, readers, there’s a #giveaway at the end, so just keep reading!

What was your go-to Bible passage or quote during your pregnancy with Caleb, and how did that transform your thinking?

Psalm 91. The imagery of the Father, covering me with his mighty wings, shielding and protecting me and my family from harm was an image I often returned to.

Who was your earthly rock during the events surrounding your Jason’s illness, and how did they give you hope?

I’m not sure I allowed anyone to be my earthly rock. I’m too stubborn to let people into my pain and so Jason and I relied heavily on each other’s strength during those tumultuous years. He retained his mental and physical strength almost to the very end and was my rock. I leaned on him until I absolutely had to let go.

How did you think your kids would react to meeting new husband Ryan and the Ronne kiddos? And what surprised you?

They were so excited. Only weeks after Jason’s death Caleb asked when he was going to get a new dad. There was such a void there that he wanted filled. He loved the idea of a father because his experience with Jason had been so positive. It surprised me how well they all clicked from the very first day. They laughed and played and even fought like they had always been siblings!

What has been the best memory so far with your family?

Hmmm. There are so many joy filled days. I don’t know if I have one. One moment that may seem insignificant to many but holds meaning occurred after we followed our hearts and moved to rural Tennessee to pursue a simple life. We purchased a big old deserted house and the water pipes broke and so we didn’t have water. The kids needed a shower, and it began to rain. I told them to grab a bottle of shampoo, put on their bathing suits, and head outside to shower. They danced all over the patio, lathering each other up as bubbles flowed down their bodies and into the overgrown grass. There was such joy and determination and this idea of – as long as were together and we’re a family we can get through anything and find joy in the mundane, and we have.

Jessica, thank you so much—your story is truly an inspiration to us all.

jessica-ronne-headshot-tisha-martin-author-editor-sunlight-burning-at-midnightAbout Jessica Ronne

Jessica Ronne is a wife, mother, author, and teacher. She lives in the hills of Tennessee with her husband Ryan and eight children where they cultivate the simple life, which they’ve discovered isn’t really all that simple. She is the author of Sunlight Burning at Midnight, her memoir of beauty from ashes. She can be found at, blogging about faith, grief, food, simplicity, special needs children, blended families, and everything else in between. You can find her also on Facebook: jessplusthemess and on Instagram: jessplusthemess.

Reader, your turn! What’s been a hard or challenging experience for you, and how have you seen God help you through it? In short, what’s been your sunlight burning at midnight?

Now … for the giveaway details:

  • no purchase necessary to enter or win
  • open to participants under the age of 18 and in the lower U.S. 48 states
  • your name/email will not be sold to any third party vendor or used in any way other than to contact you if you are selected a winner
  • giveaway runs until Friday, May 25, 2018, through Rafflecopter
  • All the best to you!

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Author Interview: Cynthia Roemer + Under Prairie Skies Giveaway



I’m excited to welcome award-winning author Cynthia Roemer back to the blog and to introduce to you her second novel, Under Prairie Skies! If you loved Under This Same Sky, you’ll love this second novel! It’s a tugging story of love and humor that will have you turning pages.

(Don’t forget to leave a comment and enter the giveaway! But read the interview first!)

Thanks for joining us, Cynthia! What’s Under Prairie Skies about?

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~ 1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

I love that your hero and heroine are so opposite, and that Charlotte’s ruthless and Chad’s kindhearted! Looking forward to this story!

What is Chad most afraid of?

Chad’s biggest fear is failure. Hurts from his past have left him unable to move forward and allow himself to love again.

I’m sure many of us can relate to Chad’s fear. Why does Charlotte dislike Chad?

Well, without giving up a spoiler, let’s just say they started out on the wrong foot. Wrong assumptions on Charlotte’s part left her vulnerable. She isn’t accustomed to someone standing up to her or exposing her flaws the way Chad does.

Ooh, so much conflict! I love it! One word that describes Chad? Why?

Determined. Chad is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his dream and what’s right and fair.

I can relate to that too! One word that describes Charlotte? Why?

Strong-willed. Charlotte has a will of iron that sometimes gets her into trouble. Not until Chad enters the picture does she learn how to use her strength of will for the good of others.

A perfect match, perhaps? Can’t wait to find out! What is the significance of the cows in this story?

The cattle represent Chad’s dream, one he shared with his wife. In a sense, they are his way of holding onto what he’s lost.

Oh, I feel so bad for him already. What do you expect readers to look forward to when reading this story?

The key verse is Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” It’s my prayer that in reading Under Prairie Skies, readers will get a sense of how the Lord uses people to spur each other on and encourage each other to become more like Christ.

Thanks for sharing your characters with us, Cynthia! Looking forward to this book! Where can readers purchase Under Prairie Skies?

Under Prairie Skies is available on


About Cynthia Roemer

bio1Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under Prairie Skies is Book Two in her Prairie Sky Series.

Contact Info:

Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:





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Author Interview: Rick Barry + Giveaway

I’m pleased to welcome Rick Barry to this month’s author interview and book giveaway. Rick recently attended the Awards ceremony for MovieGuide’s 12th Annual Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays. Rick was in the Top 10 for the Kairos Prize by Beginning Screenwriters. What an honor, Rick! Let’s take a look at the book that made the Top 10! Presenting … The Methuselah Project.

Book Giveaway and Blurb

The Methuselah Project, genuine paperback copy

In WWII, Nazi scientists began many experiments. One never ended. 

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed–until the day he’s shot down and captured.

When Allied bombs destroy both his secret prison and the eccentric genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success–but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn’t aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. A Bible becomes the only reliable anchor for Roger’s sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes the underground organization holding him in our time, the world has become an unrecognizable place. Will anyone believe his crazy story before the organization’s assassin can snuff out his long life once and for all?

Wow, what an action-packed plot!


You have three published novels and could have used any one of them to turn into a script. Why The Methuselah Project?

First, an author improves with experience. Because it’s my third book, I believe The Methuselah Project is my best so far. It’s also my favorite to date. I poured quite a bit of myself into it. Even as I wrote it, I pictured the scenes as a film playing before me. Also, many reviewers have declared, “This should be a movie!” So, it was my logical choice.

After such a plot as The Methuselah Project, I can see why a screenplay would be in order!

How did you get involved with the opportunity to enter the Kairos Prize?

A few years back, it was my privilege to drive Movieguide’s Dr. Ted Baehr from the Indianapolis Airport to the downtown hotel where American Christian Fiction Writers were holding their annual writers conference. During that ride, we talked about stories, and Dr. Baehr encouraged me to visit California to take his screenplay-writing class “How to Succeed in Hollywood without Losing Your Soul.” That was a terrific introduction to writing scripts for movies. (But of course, I still needed to study professional scripts and to practice writing my own.) For the past three years, I’ve entered Movieguide’s worldwide Kairos Prize competition, which exists to encourage Christian writers to develop wholesome scripts that point viewers to God. On my first two tries, I was a rank amateur and got nowhere. But, praise the Lord, my third script was my best yet, and it made the list of 10 Finalists.

Wow, what an awesome opportunity! Who influenced you for this project and why? 

Among individuals, that would be Dr. Ted Baehr, mentioned above. But in a general sense, I’ve also been encouraged to see others, such as David A.R. White and the Kendrick brothers, creating wholesome films that boldly present a God-centered worldview.

That must have been a great conversation on the way to ACFW conference that year. How has writing a script changed you as a writer? Developed you as an editor?

Novels are stories, and movie scripts are stories, but they are totally different kinds of documents. For film, each page of a script equals about 1 minute of movie time. So there’s no way to include everything in a novel in a 90-minute movie. I had to eliminate my own scenes, reduce the number of characters, and emphasize the main thrust of the story (the “through line”) with lean writing and no wasted words. In that regard, I’d say script writing has taught me–as both writer and self-editor–to focus strictly on the key elements. Never again will I watch a movie based on a novel and complain, “Hey, they left out some things that were in the book!” It’s simply a necessity of that medium.

Goodness gracious, you put a lot of time into script writing and studying a different art form. What is one lesson you learned from turning a novel into a screenplay?

It’s work. Tedious work, and not for the faint-hearted if you’re adapting your own novel, because you WILL have to axe people, lines, scenes that you love. Script writing is not for the mildly curious. You must really love your story and possess a drive to make it available for an audience. Otherwise, the work becomes drudgery, and you’ll be tempted to quit. I was tempted, too. But God has gifted me with some sense of perseverance–or stubbornness!

And that is where passion is the greatest asset in this industry. What is your desire for the screenplay? 

First, it has already accomplished what I personally needed most. By becoming one of 10 Finalists out of hundreds of submissions from 20+ countries, this script has provided some affirmation that, yes, I am succeeding in learning the ins and outs of writing screenplays. (In fact, in this journey, my script actually got further than scripts of more experienced colleague friends who have been writing them for longer than I have. That is exciting for me, but can also be a wee bit awkward.) Past the affirmation, it would be exciting if a producer decided to option it for possible production. It could still happen. We’ll see what the Lord has in store.

Thank you so much, Rick, for sharing your celebration with us! As I understand, there is a filmmaking seminar coming up! For anyone interested in the movie business, hop on over to

About Rick Barry 

A longtime WWII buff, Rick Barry has a B.S. in Foreign Language Education. He speaks Russian and has visited Eastern Europe over 50 times for Christian ministry. Rick’s short fiction and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. The Methuselah Project is his third novel. In February 2018, Rick’s screenplay on the novel was one of 10 Finalists for Movieguide’s Kairos Prize.

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Purchase The Meluselah Project

Now what you’ve been waiting for: the giveaway!


Open to participants over 18.
Giveaway will run March 9 to March 16.
No purchase necessary to enter.
Winners will be contacted via email and announced Friday, March 16.

Click the link below to enter the giveaway: