NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Have a Seat, Mike Lynch!

Mike Lynch's first book, Dublin, came out in 2007, followed by When the Sky Fell, American Midnight, The Crystal Portal, After the Cross, and Love’s Second Chance. His next novel, After the Sky Fell, is scheduled to be released in 2014. He has also published numerous short stories, novellas and writing articles in various magazines. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I believe writers are born writers, not made. I know that's true in my case since I had little interest in books or reading growing up. My interest was more in the area of movies and television. Since I'm a visual learner that makes sense. As someone who enjoys stories, I found myself writing short stories growing up for my own enjoyment. I never had any intention of getting them published, but I believe we are all born with God-given gifts, given to us to honor Him and for the benefit of others. Shortly after high school, I suddenly had the idea I could write a novel. That was truly a surprise for me, given my background, but thought I would give it a shot. It was a science fiction story based upon the premise 1000 alien ships were presently headed toward Earth for the sole purpose of destroying it, and we had little chance of stopping them. With that simple idea, I spent the next several months fleshing it out. As you can imagine, it was pretty bad, and worked on it off and on for the next 28 years, honing down the story until it was in publishable shape. My perseverance paid off, and I eventually found a publisher for When the Sky Fell in 2009.

Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy?” Why?

That would be easy. It is my novel, After the Cross. There are two reasons for this. First, I believe I have written a good story that will hold a person's interest from start to finish. I have a passion for history, and I took actual history about the cross of Jesus, and wrote a story around it I feel is not only believable, but it is also filled with intriguing characters the reader cares about as they are taken on an exciting adventure 2,000 years in the making.

The second reason After the Cross is my favorite story is because the reader walks away with a better understanding of what purpose the cross of Jesus served, and how it plays such an integral part of the story.  Different people have different perceptions of the cross, from that of a fairy tale, to the Son of God dying for the sins of humanity.  The story conveys to the reader that the physical cross of Jesus, though an object of tremendous historical value, was not the mechanism of salvation as described in the gospels.  As the New Testament attests, Jesus was the son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born as a baby, lived a sinless life, sacrificed Himself on the cross so that man's sins were forgiven, and that gift of sacrifice must be personally received for the forgiveness of their sins, which will be ultimately realized after death when every believer will live in heaven with Him for all eternity.  The main characters in the story all see the cross in very different ways--one as a threat to their plans and must be destroyed, another a magical talisman that can heal, another as a means of wealth and fame, and finally the one who sees it correctly as a symbol of what Christianity is actually about. Not many writers have the opportunity to share what they truly believe about God and salvation, and get to do it in way that respects the reader.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

I like to go over the previous chapter before I write. It enables me to fix any problems I come across, and it helps me get back into the story. I find it a far easier way to start the next chapter rather than jumping into it cold.
If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

     Unexpected Journey

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Rod Serling. He was a great writer who touched on a lot of different genres.

We all have family, work and other obligations...
How do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

It's just a matter of setting priorities. When it's time to write, that's what I do. But I am also a father and husband, and my family needs me to be there for them as well. It's a matter of turning off the computer and spending that needed time with them. If it takes longer for me to finish my writing project as a result, then so be it.
What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

Never settle for mediocre writing. Do you best, and then do even better. That is how you show your respect for the reader.
Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

The best place to see my stories and the links where they can all be purchased is on my website:

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis....

My latest novel, After the Sky Fell, is coming out sometime this year. It is a sequel to my first novel, When the Sky Fell.  The story picks up 30 years after the first one ends, in which Commander Frank Yamane’s grave warnings of the Deravan's imminent return from an unexplored part of the galaxy have gone unheeded. Once hailed as a hero who saved Earth from certain destruction, he is now seen as a relic from a past most people would soon forget.
     Mired in petty squabbles and clashes over limited resources, the solar governments that still exist are consumed by their own self-interests, while millions of survivors cling to a tenuous existence. Yamane fears an increase in hostilities will break out into open war, and is sent as an ambassador to broker a peace agreement against Earth’s most fearsome rival, the Jovian Alliance.
     What he doesn’t realize is that the Deravans are behind it all, and it is their intent to eliminate humanity in one fell swoop, and claim what they have craved since the dawn of time—unquestioned dominion over the galaxy. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Does anybody out there have a problem with self-confidence?  Go ahead, raise your hand, I won't tell!  Well, I'll raise mine....

I love writing ... and have been doing it for over 50 years (yikes, that sounds awful!), but never pursued getting published until last year. Writing for myself is one thing but submitting a book for publication was terrifying. I told myself I didn't care if it got picked up (Do you know what denial means?  Don't Even Notice I Am Lying). Surprisingly enough, Helping Hands Press picked it up. I was off to the races.  With a smile on my face, laptop attached to my hip and the Holy Spirit at the keyboard, I wrote one devotional after another...loving every minute of it.

Then came the request from my publisher (Wow, I really have a publisher!!!) to broaden my horizons ... Try a light romance (The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series). Ms."You Can't Do That" whispered in my ear and the terror returned but through prayer and encouragement, I tried it anyway.  I loved it!!!  My little world of writing was expanding and I was having fun.

On the roller coaster ride of writing this old coot learned something ...  Martina Navratolova said it all.  Another thing I learned was (here it comes, Patti's words of wisdom):  If I succumb to fear I lose the joy in what I'm doing and lose an opportunity to grow. But most importantly, I will be telling God I question his judgement in blessing me with the gift of words.


P.S.  I grew a little more ... I just submitted Volume I of a suspense/thriller series. 
Not only did I have fun...I scared myself!
Keep checking in for a release date!     

Synopsis:  He noticed a strong odor as he moved the curtains to look inside. A vile liquid surged up his throat and spilled out on the grass. He grabbed his cell phone and called 911. Thus begins the case that unnerves the most seasoned veterans on the force. A witness interview leads Detective Dallas Keegan and her partner to evidence that puts the investigation into overdrive. HE IS NOT DONE. Her personal life unravels as she hunts down this demon while fighting her own.  (Bwahaha!)

Friday, April 25, 2014


Sometimes (believe it or not), I take a break from a current writing project and reflect.  Not on the project or the next one floating around in my brain....but on life in general.

Easter weekend brought such a break.  I realized that for the past few months I have been reaching out to God for comfort, healing and help in dealing with a variety of challenges... 

What's the problem, you say?  

I'd been focusing on needs and forgetting about blessings - which inspired this prayer. 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Have a Seat ... Susan J. Reinhardt!

Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy, The Scent of Fear, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. A widow, daughter, step-mom and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening and finding small treasures in antique shops.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I can't pinpoint a specific moment. Over the years, I've written everything from short Christmas pieces to Bible studies, but never thought of myself as a writer with a capital "W." My late husband encouraged me to attend my first writer's conference in 2004 where an editor asked me to write a devotional for her publication. I guess you could say that I grew into my writer dress.

Which of your books do you consider your "pride and joy?" Why?

Without a doubt, "The Moses Conspiracy" holds that distinction. It was and is the story of my heart and took 8 years to write, edit, and get published. I cut my writing teeth on this book.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

Uh, turn on the computer? Don't laugh - some days that's a big deal.

If you had come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

The Perils of Pauline. Oops, that's been taken, but you get the idea. It's not been an easy road. Just when my writing dreams were moving forward, my beloved husband was diagnosed with leukemia and died 14 months later. I'm so grateful to the Lord that He's sustained me through difficult periods of my life.

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author, who would it be?

Ooo, tough question! There are so many authors I respect. If I have to choose one, it would be Francine Rivers. Her book Redeeming Love has it all - amazing writing and a strong Biblical message wrapped in a great story.  

We all have family, work and other obligations...How do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

A pastor once told me that when he went on the mission field, the order of the day was:  a flashlight, flipflops and flexibility.  No matter what we do we'll face challenges setting priorities.  The key for me is putting the Lord first in my life. When I'm flexible and yield to His leading, everything else seems to fall into place.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

Agent Rachelle Gardner wrote a blog post and advised aspiring authors to write more than one book. Agents and editors like to see you can produce multiple titles. They're looking for authors with a future, not one-book wonders.

Where can we purchase your books, and how can we keep up with you?

The Moses Conspiracy - AMAZON LINK 
The Scent of Fear - AMAZON LINK
The Christmas Wish -AMAZON LINK
Twitter: @susanjreinhardt
I'm also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Last, but not least...What and when is your next release?

I'm currently working on the third book of The Moses Conspiracy trilogy. I'm close to half way through the first draft, so I don't know when it will be released. The working title is, "Out of the Mist." Since I'm a Seat-of-the-Pants writer, I don't have a synopsis written yet. My characters still have surprises up their sleeves. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014


After Easter Vigil last evening I was trying to figure out how to put music to pictures, etc., and after a great deal of trial and error I succeeded....I hope you enjoy my creations....



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stations of the Cross

Before the Good Friday liturgy, there will be a special program with music and Stations of the Cross. Walking and praying the stations is a beautiful, contemplative spiritual journey.  For me, the stations not only remind me of the great suffering Christ endured for our salvation, but a call to pick up our crosses and follow in His footsteps ...spreading the word of God's love and mercy.  

Precious Jesus, carrying my cross and following You 
is not a burden but a joy - 
because regardless how heavy my cross becomes, 
I know You are there, carrying it with me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Renewal of Sorts

When I was much younger (okay, LOTS younger) my mom and dad bought a piano.  I didn't take lessons at first because I was able to play by ear.  Granted, my repertoire was not extensive, but my parents (of course) loved hearing me tickle those ivories.  I tried taking lessons later on but struggled because I felt inhibited following sheet music (ever the rebel). Eventually, I lost interest in playing.  In the early 70's, mom and dad bought a music store, selling Baldwin pianos and organs.  They traded in our piano for an organ and I was off and running once more. I loved all the bells and whistles and developed a much better repertoire than I had with the piano.  

My folks belonged to a dance group, "The Over The Hill Gang", with music provided by Mr. Casey, an extremely talented, play-by-ear organist.  His Baldwin had even more bells and whistles than ours, and sounded like a full dance band.  Mom and Dad invited me to those dances a couple of times and even though I begrudgingly went (come on, I was 19 or so and had better things to do), I actually had a good time. In fact, a few times when Mr. Casey took a break, I was asked to fill in. I was mortified at first, then totally surprised when I wasn't booed and people actually got up and danced to my Yellow Bird, Lady of Spain, Please Release Me, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, etc.  

To make a long story longer ... years passed, I moved away and my playing stopped.  I purchased a small keyboard a few years ago to tinker with, but it wasn't the same so I sold it.  When my folks moved in with me two years ago they brought their organ.  Even when it arrived I didn't play, I just stared at it wondering if the brain cells that held the songs were still alive or long gone.  It wasn't until recently I garnered up the courage to hit the "on" button and set up the sound effects.  I started slow...Please Release Me...then, praise God, most of them came back (with a few missed notes here and there).  Not only did I enjoy gliding my fingers across those keys, it brought back some very special memories, especially of my mom....she played too.  

I decided I'm going to take breaks during the time set aside for writing (middle of the night) --- exchanging one keyboard for another. Who knows what inspiration awaits, right?  And not to worry, I won't disturb anyone....the organ has earphones!  Life is Good, God is Good!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Have a Seat ... Marcia Laycock!

Marcia Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she lives with her pastor/husband and two incorrigible golden retrievers. She has lived in Canada’s Arctic, (Dawson City Yukon), and two degrees off the equator, (Papua New Guinea), which has given her much fodder for her writing and speaking ministry. Her work has won several awards, been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway, Mark Buchanan and Sigmund Brouwer, and has been broadcast on national radio. Visit Marcia’s website at

What inspired you to become a writer?
My mother used to say I was born with a pencil in my hand. I began very young, writing short stories and poems for my dolls. They didn’t complain so I kept it up. :) Then my aunt gave me a copy of Emily of New Moon for my eleventh birthday. That’s when I discovered you could call yourself a writer and determined that someday that’s what I’d be. It took many years but I published my first short story in 1990 and began writing articles and a faith column for a local newspaper about that same time.
    Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”? Why?
That’s a tough question but I think I would say it’s a toss up between the fantasy series that’s about to be published, because I’ve had so much fun writing it, and my first published novel, One Smooth Stone, because God did so much in my own life as I wrote it.
    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?
Not really, but I do need a quiet place. I’m not one of those people who can write at Starbucks. My husband and I share an office – we are literally back to back at our desks – so it’s sometimes a challenge.
    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?
Journey to A Strong Tower. That’s actually the title for my new release, a YA fantasy that will be out this summer. But it summarizes my life well. I came to Christ late in life – just after I was married and at the time of the birth of my first child. It was a long and winding road, to use a cliché, but eventually I came to believe that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.”

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Oh boy, that’s a hard one. I can think of a few – Dale Cramer, Stephen Lawhead, Athol Diskson, Gina Holmes, Lisa Samson. Any of the above. Ted Decker might be fun too. :)

We all have family, work and other do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

I’m blessed to be in a position where I don’t work out of my home anymore, though as a pastor’s wife life can be busy. I try to keep to a regular schedule of writing and guard that time but sometimes “life” happens and you just have to go with the flow. I try to keep the perspective that my work and my life belongs to God so if he wants me to write he’ll give me the time to do it.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

When I first began writing seriously and wanting to publish, I took a short course with Sigmund Brouwer. He taught me a lot but I think the most important skill was the difference between showing and telling. I also remember him saying that everyone needs an editor and that it’s important to have your work edited, even when you’ve published a lot.

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

My books are all available from my website or on Amazon, both as hard copies and ebooks –
Two novels - One Smooth Stone, A Tumbled Stone
A Christmas Novella, An Unexpected Glory
Two devotional books – Spur of the Moment, Abundant Rain (an ebook devotional for writers)
And I have a few things on Smashwords as well.
You can keep up with me on my website – and on these other sites:
Blogs –
Facebook -
Twitter - @MarciaLaycock - profile -
Google + -
Pinterest -
Amazon author page -
Goodreads -
You can also subscribe to my devotional column The Spur.

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?

As I mentioned, I have a fantasy series – The Ambassadors Trilogy - that will release this summer as ebooks. Helping Hands Press will release the first book, Journey to a Strong Tower, in volumes (5, I think) sometime in late May or June. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Prayer for Holy Week

This is an opening prayer I wrote a few weeks ago for Helping Hands Press - Thirsty Thursday Facebook gathering.

  I must have had Holy Week on my mind.....

Saturday, April 12, 2014


My son, God Bless him, has a habit of reminding me from time to time how I was before I got sober. Thankfully, most of the stories he brings up are humorous ... like the time my ex-husband convinced me of the existence of "dry-land tuna"...  fish that lived in the hills of Malibu sans water (I'm turning red already).  My beer brain grabbed on to that little piece of Animal Kingdom trivia and my motor mouth shared it with family and friends. It was only after I revealed my stupidity and gullibility to the masses that my ex told me the truth...while he, my son and step-sons laughed hysterically. I was mortified at first but very quickly became infuriated and humiliated and yes...felt betrayed ....and totally justified in downing a beer or twelve and lashing out in retribution.

I learned early on in rehab that one of my biggest problems was I took myself too seriously.  I wanted to be in control every minute and heaven help those who stood in my way.  In time, I was able to give myself a break.  I found that laughing at myself actually brought me a sense of joy ... and peace.  God wants me to be happy and I know when I laugh at myself, He's laughing right along with me.

By the way....did you know there's a man in Wyoming that sells jackalopes?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why I Love Holy Week

Palm Sunday is approaching - the beginning of Holy Week. Being in the parish choir, the schedule looks like this:  Final rehearsal on Wednesday, the full choir sings on Holy Thursday, our Taize group on Good Friday, followed by the full choir on Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. 

Busy? You bet!  But what better way to spend Holy Week than sharing through song Jesus' journey from His arrival in Jerusalem to His resurrection ... it's a wonderful and joyful way to praise God for what He so freely gave to us.  His Love, His Mercy, His Son.  
On a more personal note:

All the songs we sing throughout the week are beautiful, (in fact some will be recorded for future posts for your listening enjoyment), but if I had to pick one that touches my heart the most, it would be the Litany of the Saints.  Listen Here,  It never fails to bring tears to my eyes because it reminds me of Easter Vigil, 2006 - my baptism and confirmation.

April 15, 2006


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Have a Seat ... Travis Perry!

Travis Perry was born in Montana in 1968 and raised in that state. The Crystal Portal, published in 2011, is his first novel, coauthored with Mike Lynch. He also contributed to the short story collections Stories From a Soldiers Heart, Aquasynthesis, Aquasynthesis Again, and Avenir Eclectia Volume 1, is publishing a series of short stories linked to his blog, and has contributed to the story series No Revolution is Too Big and Colony Zero. An Army Reserve officer who deployed for the Gulf War and later to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa, his writing reflects his lifelong interest in science fiction and fantasy, his strong Christian beliefs, and his knowledge of modern warfare.


What inspired you to become a writer?

I always made up stories in my head. As a kid I hated writing (and still don't really love it) but I found out I have the skill to write when in college writing history papers. Eventually I realized the stories I love to create can benefit other people if I put them in writing (I was in my late 30s when I realized this).

Which of of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”?  Why?

Avenir Eclectia is probably my favorite book. It's a collection of short stories that I edited and in which I wrote the plurality of the stories. I arranged separate stories in a world created by Grace Bridges into a single narrative. The original idea of doing that was mine and I felt it turned out very well. My most positive experience both as an editor and a writer.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

Not really. I pray a bit before I do, usually.

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

Lone Survivor--oh wait, that's title's already been used... how about My Struggle? (oh, that's been used too, in German no Er...I dunno...

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Living? Stephen King. Living or dead? C. S. Lewis...well, maybe Lewis. There are so many dead authors I like--maybe I'd prefer Victor Hugo...

We all have family, work and other do you maintain balance 
while in the middle of a writing project?

Balance? What is this thing you describe, balance? ;)

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

Make sure your audience can understand what you mean.

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis....

Probably the next thing I will release is a novella I will publish myself called, "Medieval Mars." Imagine a terraformed Mars in the future that has a technological fall into an age of knights and armor. Imagine a battle across Olympus Mons, the highest and largest known mountain in the entire universe, which is over 15 miles tall, with a surface area as large as France.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Anniversary

My husband and I got married on May 28, 2000 in Las Vegas but tomorrow (April 8th) we will celebrate our fourteen years of wedded bliss. Confused?  Let me explain.

At the end of my first year of sobriety I separated from a husband that continued the alcoholic downhill slide as I knew if I stayed with him I would most likely give in at some point and reenter the dungeon.  It was during that time I met Michael at an AA meeting.  We both started joining fellow attendees for coffee after the meeting at the local IHOP.  To make a long story short, a friendship grew into love. 

Although we both believed in a higher power, neither of us attended church.  I had never been baptized and he was a non-practicing Catholic so when we decided to marry, we headed to Las Vegas where my parents lived and tied the knot at the Chapel of the Bells on May 28th, 2000.

In 2005 we were invited by Michael's brother and sister-in-law to Mass at St. Timothy's.  Michael felt like he was home again and in the weeks following, I fell head over heels in love with a God I had ignored for the majority of my adult life.  I entered RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), my first step into the wonderful world of Catholicism.  In order to be baptized I needed to be in a  Catholic marriage so we set a date before Easter Vigil (when I was scheduled to be baptized) to have our marriage blessed. For some reason we felt compelled to make this a "real" wedding; invitations, reception, etc.  The date:  April 8, 2006.

From the date we originally married we enjoyed a joyful and loving life, but after April 8th, it miraculously blossomed into a union beyond description ... and we knew why. Christ was not only wholeheartedly welcomed to the ceremony, He was welcomed into our marriage. 

We are truly blessed!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Veil

One of the many things I love about Mass is walking in and seeing the beautiful crucifix at the altar; however, it is currently veiled until Good Friday.  

Covering the crucifix has profound impact on the faithful by creating a strong yearning to once again see the beautiful face of our Savior.  It leads us to focus more on His great sacrifice for our salvation, and the importance of cleansing our souls through reconciliation and penance.

For me, it's a visual reminder of how much I need Christ in my life and how empty it was when I rejected Him...I was adrift in a world void of purpose and filled with hopelessness.  It was through His love and mercy I was able to finally find my way home.  Praise God!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.   (John 3:16-17)

...for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.  For the scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame."  (Romans 10: 9-11).




Friday, April 4, 2014

A Terrific Line-Up!

I am so excited about my new blog feature......In the Author's Chair!  

Amber Schamel was the inaugural interview (thanks Amber!) and there are more talented and inspirational authors to come:

 Anne Baxter Campbell
B.J. Robinson
Mark Venturini
Brenda K. Hendricks
Clara Freeman
I.O. Kirkwood
Janice Dick
Kathleen Kline
Marcia Laycock
Marsha Hubler
Mike Lynch
Ruth Snyder
Sharon Clark Chang
Sheila Lagrand
Grace Yee

Want to join them?  Just send me an e-mail -  

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moving Forward

I'm not the most patient person in the world, and it's becoming more obvious. I'm speaking of the grief process I'm smack dab in the middle of. It's been almost two months since my mom passed and the past few weeks I felt I was finally past the tears. Yep, I was done....I had reached acceptance in record time. Then....

Friday, my step-daughter got married. During the reception, I grabbed my cell phone to call mom to check in and let her know how everything was going. Reality hit, tears pooled and I headed out to the car to get myself together before I completely broke down. Then tonight at choir rehearsal we sang “The Old Rugged Cross” … one of my mom's favorites. I looked over at my dad (they both enjoyed going to rehearsal) and for a split second, expected to see my mom sitting there next to him, with that beautiful smile...but dad was alone.

I know in my mind she's in a better place, and I should be rejoicing in her freedom from suffering and pain...but my heart just won't cooperate...yet. I'll just continue to move forward and when the tears come I'll let them flow and allow God to wipe them away.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)