Follow the John 3:16 Network Author Page on Pinterest

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jerry B. Jenkins Announces Innovative Publishing Firm



Contact: Karen Granger

561-445-2596 EST




January 29, 2013



Jerry B. Jenkins Announces Innovative Publishing Firm


Colorado Springs, CO—When Jerry B. Jenkins wrote his first book, the publisher accepted it, even though Jenkins wasn’t well known. Now 180 books later, the bestselling author has seen radical changes in traditional publishing.


“In my day, publishers took chances on beginners,” he says. “Nowadays, many reject good writers without platforms.”


Writer of the mega-bestselling “Left Behind” series (Tyndale) and owner of the Christian Writers Guild, Jenkins is on record against self-publishing; however, he’s recently had a change of heart.


To help aspiring writers achieve their publishing dreams, Jenkins is launching Christian Writers Guild Publishing (CWGP) [].  He says it will be different from other custom publishing houses in that it features Published, a six-month course mentored by an experienced author. When students with works-in-progress complete the course, CWGP will publish their books—providing a copy editor, proofreader, cover and type designer, eBook formatter, printer, and a free package of promotion, marketing, and social media materials, everything the writer needs for a successful book launch.



“This is different from self-publishing,” Jenkins says. “It’s mentored, coached, and educated publishing. We come alongside through this course and surround them with seasoned industry professionals.”


“I’ve criticized self-publishing because so many end up with schlocky covers, typos, and poor production quality. CWGP is committed to providing writers with a valuable education and a great publishing experience.”




For more information about CWG Publishing,  see


For press inquiries and interview opportunities, contact Karen Granger at


About Christian Writers Guild

For more than 40 years, the Christian Writers Guild has helped aspiring writers develop their craft by offering writing courses, each student personally mentored by a published author.


About Jerry B. Jenkins

Former editor of Moody Magazine, vice president for publishing, and now chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Jerry is the 20-time New York Times bestselling author of more than 180 books, including the 63 million-selling “Left Behind” series.



Friday, January 25, 2013

Fearless Friday - Meet Sharon Lavy!

Meet Sharon A. Lavy


Sharon A Lavy lives with her husband in SW Ohio.

When not reading, writing, or sewing for her family, she enjoys traveling with her husband in the small plane they call Charley.
She is best known in the novel writing community, as that German Baptist lady.
In the Old German Baptist community she's a dressmaker, a pattern maker, and the sister who writes books set in NW Ohio—a place called the Ohio Valley.
But in her own mind she's a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, but above all a child of God. ~~ Her greatest desire is to be a woman after God's own heart~~ Sharon has a heart for hurting women, and writes women's fiction. Because when~~it's all said and done~~It's all about relationships.
WordServe client since 2012 Represented by Sarah Joy Freese
Her debut book Dreaming of a Father’s Love was released December 26, 2012.


About the Book:

Sara Brubaker was two years old when a German Baptist couple adopted her. She has become a beautiful woman, and works as a secretary for Alexander's. Now she's torn between wanting to live in the normal world of fun and fashion, or joining the Dunkards to truly belong with her adoptive family.

Birdie Alexander thinks if she works at the family business hard enough and long enough she will gain her father's love. Can she learn a thing or two from the German Baptist secretary?

Irene West is Birdie's lifelong Sunday school friend. Irene misses having a father figure around, and is very boy crazy, which causes Birdie to struggle with the friendship and Irene to struggle with life.
Will Birdie overcome her self-righteous nature before it's too late—for Irene?

Available through
Paperback: 442 pages
Publisher: Story and Logic Media Group
·         ISBN-10: 0615724361
·         ISBN-13: 978-0615724362

Your unique talent:

I can roll my tongue. I thought everyone could. But lately I have learned that is not true. So I am looking for ways to use this talent. Any suggestions?

Are you a “pet person” or prefer no pets?
I don’t care for strange dogs to sniff at me. I rather like cats, but husband is a strictly no pet person.


Would you rather travel or stay at home?

Like many writers, I am a deep introvert. So if the choice is social or stay at home I may choose stay at home. But husband has a small plane and we  do love to travel.


Do you read more or write more?

I write more. Or at least I sit in my chair and stare at the blank screen. I understand reading is the writer’s homework so my goal in 2013 is to read more.


Prefer cake or pie?
Ouch. Unfair question. I am now reacting to wheat and sugar with blood sugar crashes. So all real deserts are off limits to me. But I love both. Cookies too.


Would, or do, you ride a motorcycle or prefer to ride/drive a car?

In my youth, I have ridden on the back of a motorcycle. In my mature years I limit my daring activities to riding in a two passenger plane cross country with my awesome husband.pilot


Bus or taxi or walk? (In your case, I forgot to ask, fly?)

I prefer to ride. But we have done a fair bit of walking on our travels.

Are you part of a big church congregation or a small church?

I am part of a small denomination of roughly 2,000 members nationwide. Our local congregation has less than 90 members. So we are cozy.


Do you like to telephone people or prefer to use e-mail?

Hands down I choose email. I consider texting a bit of a pain too with the small keyboard. But I did finally consent to learn how to text.


Are you happy or joyful?

Giggle. You caught me in the middle of a good year, today.


Do you eat at home or eat out?

Yes. (that means both.) Husband likes to eat out because he likes to make eating an event.


Listen to music or prefer quiet?

I do enjoy music sometimes, but I really crave quiet time.


Prefer sunrises or sunsets?

I love both, but I am more apt to be awake for a sunrise than for a sunset.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Author Trish Jenkins: Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to Go...

Author Trish Jenkins: Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to Go...: "Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God's Will" by Pamela Carmichael is filled with good, sound, biblical financial principl...

Taste and See - Sixty Free Chapters and Much More - Enjoy this Interview with Lorilyn Roberts about 2013 Projects

Interview with John 3:16 Marketing Network Founder Lorilyn Roberts
New Book
Taste and See

QUESTION: Why did you decide to publish Taste and See?

LORILYN: The idea for Taste and See, a Sampling of First Chapters, came after reading Nathan Bransford's blog on September 29, 2011. He asked the following question:

“There is so much talk about self-published books in the writing-o-sphere. But have you actually read one?"  69% said yes and 30% said no out of 1,772 votes.

That made me think, one out of three readers has never read a book that is self-published, and if you include print-on-demand books, the percentage is probably higher. I thought, why not give those readers an opportunity to enjoy a sampling of first chapters by authors they have never heard about who are published in a variety of ways?

The John 3:16 Marketing Network doesn’t make a distinction and I have always maintained that readers don’t care how books are published. If someone finds a book he likes, he will buy it. From that thought came the idea, why not give authors an opportunity to share a first chapter of their book in a “First Chapters Sampling”?

We have all enjoyed chocolate samplings, coffee samplings, tea samplings, and other such assortments, and it’s fun to “experiment” and try something new. Sometimes we find something we really like and then we head to the store or web and buy the product, whatever that might be. It’s long been known as a proven marketing strategy to give people samples of free products to try, so we are just “piggybacking” on an old idea with a new twist.  I sent out an email to our members to see how many would be interested and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

A very small portion of the publishers were reluctant to let their author contribute a first chapter, so we offered the option to contribute something else; hence, the miscellany section. We wanted to include everybody who wanted to participate.

QUESTION: What are your long-term goals for Taste and See?

LORILYN: My long-term goal is to expose readers to new authors in the John 3:16 Marketing Network.  I hope to eventually offer free e-books, more sample chapters, and other book opportunities. Perhaps we will have a book club where books can be purchased at a discounted price.

The greatest obstacle to successful sales is exposure. I hope readers will take advantage of this FREE opportunity to sample first chapters and other offerings by close to sixty authors. It's a win-win for everyone. Readers discover new authors, and authors get exposure to readers who may want to buy their books.

QUESTION: How were the books chosen for Taste and See?

LORILYN: The chapters in Taste and See were chosen by the authors themselves. The opportunity was weighted toward those who had contributed the most to the John 3:16 Marketing Network; i.e., featuring authors in the network on their blogs, posting Facebook and Twitter announcements for book launches, offering free e-gifts for book launches, participating on the forum, and other social networking activities.

QUESTION: How does Taste and See expand upon the John 3:16 Marketing Network’s ability to help authors market their books?

LORILYN: Because this is an innovative idea, I am not sure how successful it will be to promote authors’ books, but my feeling is we focus on process and God controls the outcome. My overall goal is to promote books with a Christian worldview, and in so doing, we are making an impact on the world. If we make a difference for one reader or one author, that is a profound accomplishment. Every great book ever discovered began with one person.

QUESTION: What other plans do you have for the John 3:16 Marketing Network in the future?

We have two big projects for 2013. The first is our involvement with 150 orphans in Christian homes in Nepal. We are helping a church in Kathmandu to establish the first Christian library in the country. Our authors will be donating books for the kids and the library. The University of Kathmandu is nearby and I hope the library will enrich Christian students. Imagine being a young Christian and not having Christian books to read! 

Some John 3:16 Authors will also be contributing to a book for novice writers, How to Write a Book That Sells, that I will be publishing. All the proceeds and profits from the book will go toward this project.

Our second project is setting up a permanent landing page for John 3:16 Authors with book launches. We have hired a tech guy that will also allow John 3:16 Authors to upload  book covers and other information for free book promotions.

As it is said in Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (King James Bible, Cambridge Ed.)  It is then I remind myself that the John 3:16 Marketing Network is bigger than my vision and that God has a purpose and a plan. When I give my dreams to the Creator, He does far more than I could ever have hoped for or imagined.

My biggest “reward” from the John 3:16 Marketing Network has been the relationships I have formed with members. We pray for each other, encourage each other, share knowledge, post links to articles, announce upcoming opportunities, provide answers to questions, write book reviews, and offer encouragement when needed. We even share heartaches and disappointments, for there is a genuine humility among members. There is nothing else like it on the web.

Sample Chapters from Taste and See


Reprinted from Mission Possible, a nonfiction resource for women by Deborah McCarragher. Copyright 2009 by Alabaster Box Publishing Inc. Used by permission of author.
You’ve Embraced Christ – Now What?
My remarriage in 1982 was closure to a lonely period of singleness after being divorced for five years. My new husband was intelligent, caring and romantic, good looking, had a good long-term career, and kept a clean, well organized apartment. That was enough for me!
In the spring of 1989 my neighbor had repeatedly asked me to church and I had repeatedly refused. I didn’t need church thank you very much, and I politely made numerous excuses. She, however, didn’t give up. I eventually gave in and said, “yes”, “only for my son’s sake,” I reminded her. Well, GOD had other plans!
I was radically saved that first Sunday morning. I had asked many questions in my Sunday school class, and during the invitation, I walked the aisle with my bible study teacher. I remember feeling emotionally worn out that afternoon. I took my son to the park as my husband was working that weekend, and I reflected on all that had transpired. Little did I know God would begin a work in me that would take me on a spiritual journey I didn’t expect.
Day after day, week after week, month after month I grew closer to God, hungered for God and began serving Him from my heart. I took my 21/2 year old son every time I attended church. My husband would nod his head in approval and wave as we left each week for church.
The spiritual skirmish had begun. Don’t underestimate the enemy. I did not fully understand spiritual warfare and would learn about that as time progressed. I began to grow in my understanding of God’s Word and how Satan opposes a couple’s holy union. I would learn about “putting on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-19). I would learn that “standing firm” was mandatory – not an option. My spiritual clothing was necessary for survival as “half of a saved couple.” God desires for you to become “one flesh” – at the altar and in the spirit realm. Satan can’t bear the thought of it. This is where your perseverance plays a huge part.
The enemy will mercilessly bombard you with thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical disdain for your mate. You must take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and stop looking at your mate as the enemy. Don’t let his actions and words provoke you into disobedience.
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for building up, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Matthew 18:9 states, “and if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” So it goes with your tongue.
Stop committing spiritual murder against your mate! Bite it off and cast it away! Don’t sin by grieving God as you curse the very person God wills to join you to, as ONE!
ANTICIPATION is our greatest asset in the fulfillment of your spouse’s conversion!
Remember that “the battle is the Lord’s” (I Samuel 17:47) and earnestly give the salvation of your mate to God in prayer. Early on in your conversion it seems easier to be hopeful concerning your husband’s salvation. You will need an added measure of faith as the years go by.
In Romans 4:18 Paul refers to Abraham by saying, “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed.” This is the type of faith you will need for your husband’s salvation.
God is your spiritual husband while your mate is not yet the priest of your home. Your obedience and submission to Him are essential as God knows our shortcomings and weaknesses; yet He uses them to perfect us in waiting. Perseverance is one thing you will need with a “holy dig in your heels” attitude and a “stubbornness in the Lord” towards the salvation of your mate. Salvation is a personal thing. I had responded to The Lord’s call, and my husband had his own choice to make.
Seek and Find
Ephesians 6:10 speaks of being “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” How does Paul’s exhortation compare with what God spoke to Joshua in Joshua 1:9?
Ephesians 6:11-12 says to “...put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” What does verse 12 say about our enemy? Where does the enemy reside? What does Paul say in 2 Timothy 2:26 about our state of mind and our venerability?
In I Samuel 17:37-39 David was blessed and released by King Saul to go fight the giant Goliath. David clothed himself with Saul’s armor, helmet, and coat of mail. What happens when we try to go out “to battle” with natural armor as opposed to our God-given armor? What made the difference in David’s approach to his battle with Goliath (vs. 45-47)? What does Paul say about our armor in 2 Corinthians 6:7?
A good soldier keeps his armor in top condition and checks his weapons frequently for flaws, weaknesses and defects. Ephesians 6:13 says to “take up the whole armor of God...” Read Ephesians 6:14-17 and name each piece of armor and identify its function. Which pieces are defensive in nature, and which ones are offensive? Can we be fully protected if we’re missing one piece? Why or why not? According to Hebrews 4:12, what does Paul say about our most important weapon?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 teaches that our warfare is spiritual in nature. Natural (or worldly) methods and weapons are not effective. How does this correlate to what Paul addresses in Ephesians 6:12? Remember, your mate is not the enemy. How is your obedience to Christ as your “spiritual Commander” effective against the devil’s tactics? What is the outcome when we follow God’s ways?
What is “faith in action”? In James 2:14, James makes the point that we can say we have faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. How does Hebrews 11:1 compare with Romans 8:24-25? What is James’ main point in James 2:17-24? Do you think our part is to help God, or let Him use us to bring Him glory?
TO READ MORE, you can purchase Mission Possible by Deborah McCarragher at: (epub, mobi, PDF and paperback)


Reprinted from Meander Scar, a novel by Lisa J Lickel. Copyright 2010 by BlackLyon Publishing. Used by permission of BlackLyon.
Meander Scar is healed earth alongside a waterway that skewed from the boundaries of its naturally straight course. Whether rushing or dribbling, waterways want to flow straight. When a river runs into a barrier, such as a large rock, its course begins to bend. The river circles until it meets up with its original boundary. The reunited waters abandon the circular path to run true again. The abandoned meander is first a small lake, then a swamp, then a scar.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its ardor unyielding at the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned” Song of Songs 8:6-7.
* * *
Ann Ballard jerked awake, shaken by a rumble she felt clear to her bones. A dazzling flash of light burned her retinas when she glanced through the living room window. She jumped and felt her heart stutter at the resulting roll of thunder that rattled the panes of glass.
At least she’d been saved from sinking into the nightmare again. Three times in a row, whenever she had closed her eyes, she dreamed of being trapped in a swampy pool on the banks of the winding Black Earth Creek, helplessly watching her son Ritchie and Trey struggle against a current. The fact that the creek was not that big in real life didn’t seem to matter in her dream.
Ann tossed aside the afghan that had been covering her feet and stood. Only little old ladies took naps in the afternoon. What was the matter with her? The magazine she’d been reading slipped to the floor, sending the photograph she used as a bookmark spilling out. She snatched up the picture before it bent. She knew what sleeping during the day would lead to: wandering her big empty house at night, wide awake and scaring herself silly at every creak. Probably another headache, too. One that would take two days of head-banging and nausea to get over.
Another crack of lightning sent her scurrying to the kitchen. Dinner. Make dinner. Anything to distract herself from the storm.
Speaking of which...Ann stopped in front of the cupboard and rubbed her arms. Where had she stored the battery-operated lantern? Were the power cells charged and ready? She had not swept the basement all summer and hoped she would not have to wade through curtains of cobwebs if the severe weather forced her to take shelter down there.
Long ago, her first thoughts in inclement weather went to protecting her family. Since she had been alone, wondering who would come to her rescue if she became trapped like those Chinese earthquake victims was turning into a sour hobby—especially on weekends when her niece Maeve was gone. One thing she knew for sure: Her mother-in-law wouldn’t be the first in line to save her. Maybe Ritchie would care. After a few days, anyway, when she was due for supper at his and Colleen’s house in Portage and did not show up with the casserole.
The doorbell rang. Ann walked down the hall, grinning at the thought of Donna, her mother-in-law who hadn’t liked being a grandmother, becoming a great-grandmother. She fingered the colored square of paper in her hand while she pushed aside the filmy panel covering the sidelights to check out her visitor.
Bonus. A beautiful, dark-haired man stood on her step. Almost any company would be a welcome interruption. Ann opened the door to a gust of chilled wet breeze. Goose bumps rose at the sudden drop of temperature the coming storm brought. A scurrying rustle of dried leaves swirled on the unswept deck of her pillared front porch. Rain slashed at his little car on the brick drive.
Did she recognize him? Something about the nose, the photograph! Ann resisted the urge to compare her picture with her guest.
The man’s lips tilted into a practiced smile as he held out a hand. “Mrs. Ballard…Ann? Do you remember me? Mark? I’m Mark Roth. Trey’s brother? We lived next door.”
Yes, yes. That was it. He squatted at the edge of the frame in her photograph of Ritchie and Trey in fifth grade with a catch of bluegills. How could she have forgotten Mark’s eyes? Even when he had been a high-schooler, those eyes had been the talk of the neighborhood ladies. Arresting blue, the iridescent color of bluebird feathers, Patricia from across the way used to say. Patricia always had been a bit of a nature freak.
Ann put a hand to her mouth and held up the picture with the other. “Well, this is amazing. I was just cleaning Ritchie’s closet and thinking about the boys and their fishing and found this photograph.” What on earth made her say such a ridiculous thing? “Oh, you don’t care about that. Please, come in.”
Ann pulled the door wide and gestured. He had filled out from the wiry athlete who took the basketball team to a regional championship. How many years had passed since she last saw him? Ritchie’s high school graduation. Mark had gone east to college and stayed except for an occasional visit. After Trey’s accident a few years later, the Roths moved away from Wisconsin.
When Mark’s broad back was turned, Ann smoothed her hair and tugged her blouse straight, took a deep breath and prayed her deodorant was still working.
Mark preceded her into the living room and, with sweet attentiveness in enchanting smile and raised brows, waited until she had taken her own seat before he settled into a place of his own. Wow—no one had manners like that anymore. She perched on the edge of one of the oxblood club chairs on either side of the formal brocade sofa. “Well, how are you? It’s been a long time. Are you visiting friends?”
“I’m fine, thank you. I’ve moved back to town. Just a week ago, as a matter of fact.”
“You moved from Virginia? So, you quit your job? I’m afraid your parents and I haven’t kept up much, just a note once in a while, since their…retirement.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Ann saw the rumpled stack of newspapers she had left on the end table and a cobweb hanging from the lampshade. Unexpected company rarely happened. Shame! How could have let the place go? She looked back at her guest before he answered. “I’ve accepted a position with Jung and Royce.”
A tingle of surprise made her raise her eyebrows at the name of the well-known private law firm here in Clayton. Unfortunately, she and Gene had required their services more than once to yank Ritchie out of some scrape. That, besides their general legal business. “Todd Royce was a golfing partner of my husband Gene’s. I hope it works out for you. They must think highly of your abilities.”
Mark turned his head toward the cold gas fireplace. He shrugged and faced her again. “I’ve had a few successes. I hoped to catch up on news from the old neighborhood. I heard Ritchie and Colleen are expecting a baby. And I wondered how you were doing.”
Ann nodded and smiled. “I’m well. It’s nice of you ask. And excited for Ritchie, even though that will make me a grandmother.” Ann jumped back to her feet like some excitable rabbit. “Forgive me. Why don’t I find us a something to snack on?” She started down the hall only to hear him follow her.
Her kitchen, with its seldom used gleaming copper-bottomed pots and dark flecked granite countertops, felt small and cold. She flipped a switch to light the sink area and the swag over the breakfast table set in front of the patio doors. She and Gene used to do a lot of entertaining. In fact, Ann used to do a lot of things, but it seemed that no one wanted half a couple in the spotlight. Maybe they thought her circumstances were contagious.
Snacks. Right. Ann checked the chrome refrigerator, although she knew exactly what she had in there: a quart of skim milk three days past the due date, some yogurt, old tortillas, and leftovers from the church guild lunch meeting a week ago. Drat. The refrigerator fairy had not visited. Cooking for one didn’t call for a stockpile of food. Maeve, her niece, always ate on campus. Ann closed the door with a grimace. Stalling for time she asked, “How do you like being a lawyer?”
Mark settled back against the counter and folded his arms.
Ann let her eyelids half close as she studied him. She tried to keep her breathing even, to direct her heartbeats to remain steady. Mark was definitely no longer the sweet polite young man from next door, but an adult in his…let’s see…thirties? He was nine years older than Ritchie and Trey; which made him nearly thirty-five. Eleven years younger than she. And he did not resemble any of the staid lawyers she did business with at Ballard, Gorman and Wicht, Gene’s company, where she worked as a CPA two days a week.
Eleven years…not so many. Men married much younger women all the time. In fact, just last year…stop it. Where did that come from? Ann watched Mark’s lips move, answering her question, while she stood there like a smitten idiot. Thinking ridiculous dreamy scenarios. Watching him like a lusty lonely widow—which she was not. A widow, anyway.
But he was pleasant to look at. His smooth face showed more character lines than her son’s. His deep chest and flat stomach under the soft gray dress shirt and dark pleated slacks hinted at regular workouts, something the swimmer in her appreciated. She tuned back in to his words.
“I love helping people solve their problems, especially the folks who’ve been victimized. You know, the easy targets. I worked for a grass-roots group last year who represented landowners over an Abandoned Mine Land property dispute with a reclamation company.”
Ann tore her gaze away and hunted for clean glasses in the cupboard to his right. “So, you sound like you’re settling in.” He wasn’t likely to find too many victims to help at Todd Jung’s prestigious firm, but she kept her mouth shut. “Is it hard to change firms? Or does everyone do business pretty much the same way?”
Mark took the two tumblers she grabbed and turned on the tap. “The work I do, estate planning and business law, has to work across multiple states, but every firm has its own way of handling clients.”
Ann looked for ice cubes, hoping they had not evaporated since the Fourth of July, the last time she knew she had any. They took their glasses to the kitchen table. Lightning crackled outside her patio. She gasped at the immediate report of thunder.
Mark pulled her chair out for her. “Close one.”
Ann focused on his calm expression then relaxed. “Seems like this has been going on for long enough already.”
“I listened to the radio on the way over here. Sounds like a quick-moving storm. Should be out of here soon.”
They watched the play of cloud-to-cloud lightning for a few minutes. Like Mark said, the clouds scudded along. He told her about some of the spectacular storms he had witnessed in the hills around Lynchburg. Ann circled the rim of her glass with her finger, trying to think of something witty and mature to say. It had been years since she’d had a personal conversation with a man to whom she was not related. “You must have liked it there in Virginia to have stayed so long.”
“I always planned to return to Wisconsin. I consider it home.”
“And now you’re moving up the ladder.”
“Mr. Jung knows I want to spend a certain amount of my time doing pro bono work. He thinks it will be good for the firm’s image. Plenty of folks need help around the Madison area.”
Ann read the tautness of her guest’s expression. Touchy. Okay, time to change the subject. “So, you’re back in Clayton. It’s really good to see you. I’m sure Ritchie and Colleen will be happy to know you’re nearby. And, um, your other friends. I thought you were engaged?” Ann looked for a wedding ring. Nope. Well, not all men wore one. “Did you get married? Is she with you?” Ann tried to recall the name Tiffany Roth linked him with in one of her cards of Christmas past.
“We’ll have time to catch up. I hoped you were available to celebrate my new job with me. You were one of few people from my past who always believed in me, supported me.”
Ann’s back went straight with surprise. “Me?” She shook her head, brow furrowed. “I didn’t do anything special.”
Mark smiled. “More than you know. How about we talk over dinner? I’m hungry.”
One of the few people from his past…in her opinion, Mark’s father and stepmother had shamefully neglected both Trey and Mark while they spent all their time on their Internet business. All Ann had done was attend a few of Mark’s games and make sure he had been welcome in her home.
This grown man was different from the boy next door. Ann knew Mark Roth, and yet she didn’t. Exciting? What was the matter with her? This nice young man simply wanted to be polite and touch bases with people he used to know. And maybe he was lonely if his wife had stayed in Virginia to wrap things up. The least she could do was eat a meal with him, for old times’ sake. She knew better than anyone that eating alone was not much fun. And he was obviously proud of his new job. “Of course I’ll celebrate with you. There’s a new buffet place we could try.”
Ann did not protest when Mark ushered her to his newer model metallic blue Mazda. Not that she embarrassed easily, but the little Ford she had traded for her Beemer showed its age.
She knew she had chosen wrong when they entered the crowded lobby of the restaurant. The place was a madhouse decorated in fake Wild West. Had the storm made everyone crazy to get out? Mark smiled grimly as he folded his wallet back in his pocket after paying the cashier. He picked up a cafeteria tray with their soft drinks in chipped plastic cups and flatware wrapped in a paper napkin.
Mark led the way into the main dining room and indicated a far corner with his elbow. “I think I see a free table.” They seated themselves. Ann wished the place would wash away and take her along. At least she wasn’t trying to make some kind of impression on him, as if he were a prospective client. Or a candidate for a romance. She looked at him, hoping he could see how sorry she was for choosing such a raunchy restaurant. Mark mouthed something she could not quite hear.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
A young waitress with a nose ring arrived, setting a basket of greasy-looking rolls on the table. She lingered, eyeing Mark as she might the dessert table while reminding them to take a clean plate whenever they visited the buffet. Ann wondered how Mark’s wife would have treated the girl and sat up straight, squinting with what she hoped was a disapproving frown. Now she felt more like a mother protecting her na├»ve son. She lost the frown when he spoke.
“You must enjoy the food here,” Mark said after the young woman left.
“I’ve never been here. Ritchie and Colleen said they liked it.” Ann took a deep breath and risked a sip of the cloudy iced tea she had ordered. She couldn’t see Mark bringing his wife here. What kind of person was he married to, anyway? “So, um, Allison,” That was her name! “Isn’t she here with you? Did you leave her to settle things in Virginia before she comes?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.”
Ann was pretty sure he had heard, but no way was she going to ask again. She already sounded like a busybody grandma. “Do you…do you—”
Mark cut in. “Let’s see what they have to eat.”
Ann scavenged without much success through the commingled aromas of steaming platters and bins of canned and diced and fried-looking bits. Mark did not appear to have fared much better, she noted, when they returned to their table. Mark looked around, as if waiting for something.
Ann turned her head, too, but did not see anyone she knew. When she faced him again, his eyes were closed. Ah. Praying. That church youth group he had attended in high school must have left a lasting impression. She briefly copied him. When he looked up at her again with a peaceful expression, she picked up her fork. Dare she ask about Allison again? Ann decided on a safer topic. “How are your parents?”
“Parents?” He cocked an ear toward her. “Dad and Tiffany are well as ever, if that’s what you asked. Golfing every day.”
They gave up conversation after that. She could not think of anything to say to him on the way home. Since her ears were still ringing with the noisy chatter and clank of dishes, she appreciated the quiet. Within an hour after they left Ann’s, Mark drove back into her driveway. He stopped the car and went around to open the passenger door for her. Another of his quaint mannerisms few practiced anymore.
Ann hesitated after he closed the car door. “Thank you. I…I can’t recall the last time…well, anyway, I apologize for tonight. You must let me make amends.”
Mark accompanied her across the driveway to the dark front door. “Yes, I’d like that. Soon.” They arrived on her front step. “But I think I’ll choose the place.”
“Would you like to come in?”
What made her ask that? She stopped mid-reach with her key. “I’m sorry, never mind me. You’re trying to make connections with people you knew before. Not that I remember everyone, but maybe I can help if you’re trying to track down someone in particular.” She felt his long stare. Maybe he was just as embarrassed as she was, caught at trying to flirt. Flirt? Oh, goodness. A little old married lady chatting up a nice married young man. If there can’t be a flood to swallow her, how about an earthquake? Can things get any worse?
“Thank you, that’s kind of you,” Mark said. “I’m slowly finding my way again. But I’d like to have some coffee, if the invitation’s still open. We didn’t get much of a chance to talk back there.”
Ann clutched the key so hard she knew she’d bear the impression of it for hours. It squealed, metal on metal, as she tried to insert it into the lock with nerveless fingers. She opened the front door and turned on a light with a shaky, yet defiant, flip. She could have a harmless little talk with her former neighbor’s son. Do something more exciting than her usual trip to the Y, the monthly guild meetings, and working at Ballard, Gorman and Wicht, reminding Gene’s partners, Howie and Tim, that Gene could walk in the door any day now. As if he could. “Coffee?”
“Yes. Can I help?”
She led the way to the kitchen, and let him fill the carafe at the tap while she ground beans.
Mark flashed a smirk. “You like fresh ground, too?”
“Ah, don’t tell me you’re one of those coffee snobs,” Ann teased back as she started to measure the grounds and promptly lost count. How many scoops was that?
“I have been contemplating how an espresso machine would fit in my apartment. That was four, by the way.”
The heat of embarrassment crawled up the back of her neck. How had he known? She looked at him out of the corner of her eye.
He leaned against the countertop, arms folded the same as he had earlier. “Ann.”
Other than when she had answered her door to him earlier, she had never heard him call her anything but “Mrs. Ballard.” Did that make him a contemporary? Or her less formal? She looked up at him after ensuring a steady trickle of dark liquid entered the glass pot. “Yes?”
“There’s never been any word, no new reports or information about him? About your…about Mr. Ballard?”
Ann blinked heavily and shook her head. “No. There’s never been any more than false leads. Nothing at all now, for…”
Seven years. Sunday would mark the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of her husband.
TO READ MORE, you can purchase Meander Scar by Lisa J. Lickel at:

To get your free copy of Taste and See from Amazon go to:

Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Get Started Writing Fiction

by Lorilyn Roberts
2012 Writing Boot Camp with Jerry Jenkins, James Scott Bell, Dennis E. Hensley, DiAnn Mills, and many more, including me (Lorilyn Roberts) 

How many people have a book in them they want to write? How many procrastinators will actually sit down and write that book? I recently did a phrase look-up on AdWords and discovered that in “Global Monthly Searches,” the term “writing a book” was searched 2,240,000 times, “How to write a book” was searched 550,000 times.

I had promised a friend a couple of months ago I would write an article to help her learn how to write fiction. She is a best-selling author of nonfiction but felt like God was calling her to write fiction.

Because I had just finished my Masters in Creative Writing, several books swirled through my head I thought would be helpful. With this many searches being done online for those wanting to write a book, perhaps these suggestions will help those hoping to write fiction.

One thing I want to stress is writing fiction takes time to learn—unless you are one of those gifted writers who knows without being taught. If you are a prodigy, you don’t need to read this blog. If you aren’t, I have several books I would recommend to help you get started. These are books I read as part of my Masters in Creative Writing. I will hyperlink the books to Amazon so you can read more or buy them.

1.      Scene& Structure, by Jack M. Bickham (only in print copy)
2.      Plot& Structure, by James Scott Bell (both print and Kindle editions)
Check out this video by James Scott Bell:
3.      How to Write Killer Fiction, by Carolyn Wheat (both print and Kindle editions)
4.      Creating Unforgettable Characters, by Linda Seger

I would also recommend if you are serious about writing, that you find a local writer’s critique group. The process of writing a book is daunting, and other writers will encourage and help you along the way. One good organization of which I am a part is Word Weavers International. You can check out their website at There are many chapters all over the country. If there isn’t one in your area, start one by contacting Eva Marie Everson at

Other resources to develop skills as a writer is from Jerry B. Jenkins. Check out this video by Jerry Jenkins:

I would also encourage you to read a lot. Read books you wouldn’t normally read to stretch your mind and open the window to more creativity. Reading and writing fiction will take you to places you’ve never been and cause you to think about old ideas in new ways. By feeding your mind with new plots and storylines outside your bailiwick now, you will create building blocks to invent future stories.

The best thing I did was give myself permission to read fiction. I became as a little child once again, remembering how much I loved stories bigger than life—heroes from the past in books I once read and put away, believing I was too old to read fiction and too busy to indulge myself in the luxury of enjoying them.

Discovering who we are through writing is a journey worth taking. Penning fiction will open the door to your heart and reveal things in a way nonfiction can’t. I only listed four books above so as not to overwhelm the beginner. After reading these books, you will find more that will interest you. The key is to get started and keep dreaming. Believe you can write fiction, learn a little each day, and then just do it.

Writing a Book - Part Two will feature writing nonfiction.

To learn more about Lorilyn Roberts, visit her website at

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fearless Friday - meet our Fearless Leader, Lorilyn Roberts!

Lorilyn Roberts, author, mother, broadcast captioner, follower of Jesus Christ – in very random order

What makes me content?  A Starbuck’s Vanilla Latte, Grande, extra-hot, half-caf, just two teaspoons of vanilla, not four, with my Kindle, under an umbrella, lying on a beach.

Sixteen very random facts about me that most people do not know:

1.      I was almost kidnapped when I was six. A man tried to coax me into his car with candy.

2.      When I was four, on the way to see the lighting of the tree in downtown New York, we got stuck inside a burning car when it became engulfed in flames.

3.      I drank poison when I was two. The only reason I lived is because I ate ice cream for lunch and it coated my stomach (it must have been vanilla).

4.      I know what it’s like to throw up forty feet under water. 

5.      When I took a genetics course in high school, I was the last person standing – I had more recessive traits than anyone else in the class – blonde hair, green eyes, can’t roll my tongue, can’t make a hitchhiker’s thumb, am left-handed, don’t have a widow’s peak, and something about an ear lobe – forgot what that one was. Now, how many of you reading this have just tried to roll your tongue?

6.      Had a positive pregnancy test twice on the way to surgery – really, I did question for one second if I was the second immaculate conception – and was terrified! (The machine was broken.)

7.      I was accused by a teacher in fifth grade of plagiarizing a report (I wonder today if that was prophetic).

8.      My first awareness of the existence of God came when I was four.

9.      My first awareness of God’s love came through a stray dog.

10.  My desire for God’s presence in my life came through Jewish classmates.

11.  My salvation came through reading the Gospel of Matthew.

12.  Charles Dickens and I had the same beginnings – we both started out as court reporters.

13.  I am a descendant of Anne Bradstreet (1600s), the first poet and first female writer in the British North American colonies to be published.

14.  Can write over 300 words per minute (on my stenograph machine).

15.  I am an introvert, love chocolate, and would rather read a good book than watch TV or a movie.

16.  Studied classical guitar as a teenager and performed at many events.

                                  Lorilyn with her daughters in Colorado Springs, August 2012.

Check out her latest book, Seventh Dimension - The Door at Amazon:   Print version Kindle version

Leave a comment and follow our blog if you aren’t already. One person will be selected for a free PRINT copy of the newly updated How to Launch a Best-Selling Christian Book.