Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Wendy L. Macdonald

Good morning, dearest reader. I’m glad you’ve stopped by for a visit. Today, I am excited to welcome Wendy L. Macdonald to Women of Faith and Fiction. Wendy is a writer, aspiring novelist, and radio host. She is also an amazing photographer. The pictures in the post are her very own. Let’s get started, shall we?

IMG_5787Good morning, Wendy! Thank you for taking the time to visit with us. I’m sure our readers are anxious to hear more about you. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi everyone, you may have noticed I included my middle initial; it’s so my name will stand out better. It’s tempting to switch back to my maiden name, but it’s too tricky to spell or pronounce (Later, I’ll share what it is—don’t you love a good hook?).

By the way, dear Gail, thank you for inviting me here.

I happen to enjoy blogging, and I’m a contributor to several blogs besides my own. Last year, I also began producing an inspirational podcast called “Walking with Hope” for HopeStreamRadio.com: https://hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope/. It’s been an incredible opportunity to practice meeting my writing deadlines, polishing my public speaking skills, and learning to depend on God for strength and ideas to write about. I’ve confessed to my listeners that my many flops and fumbles in life keep me well-stocked with writing prompts. Isn’t God’s grace great?Wendy's daffodil

My nature photography, poetry, and prose are featured on all of my social media sites. Years of homeschooling my three—now-grown—children gave me a deeper appreciation for creation as we studied the earth together on our former acreage in the woods.

Deadlines do keep us busy! And your photos are inspiring. Wendy, this month’s theme is Joy. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Wendy's EagleJoy is one of my favorite words because I’ve learned through experience it’s possible to feast on it in the midst of a plateful of sorrows. God uses our sadness to draw us to Himself, so our soul finds spiritual nourishment in the God of more-than-enough.

Happiness is a fleeting feeling that’s dependent on good circumstances. Joy transcends our sorrows and lifts our spirits to find satisfaction in the One who can create goodness in the midst of badness.

Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have joy? How did you overcome?

The first season that comes to mind is the winter of 1998 when my dad, W.C. Yarmoshuk, died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was only 62 years-old. Sadly, I allowed grief to isolate me from fellowship. God used a video series, based on the book of Matthew, to draw me back into the Word and back to church. Since then, I’ve become faithful again in spending time in Scripture each morning. This spiritual discipline has produced the fruit of genuine joy in the midst of trials I’ve walked through during the last two decades.Wendy's Bee

In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I’m aspiring to be published in inspirational-mystery-romance and/or memoir. I’ve completed several manuscripts and am revising and editing them with the help of amazing critique partners. Writing fiction first has helped me write my recovery memoir with a novel-like structure too. I highly recommend that order.

I’m excited to have a short memoir and fiction article of mine published later this year in a Canadian anthology of Christmas stories. Some of my nature photography has recently been published in a Canadian nonfiction anthology about grief. Good Grief People is available on Amazon or through Angel Hope Publishing:  http://www.glynisbelec.com/BOOKSTORE.html .

Wendy's Swan 2I’ve enjoying reading the book because I have some ongoing family issues that require me to get a grip on good grieving. Grief doesn’t have shortcuts; it’s best to give it time and attention, or it will flip the floorboards of our peace out from under us.

Faith not only influences my writing, but it also infuses it. I remember thinking I wanted to write for the general market. Soon after beginning my first manuscript, I changed my mind about my target audience. God’s love and grace color every line I write. He is my Hope, my Help, and my Hero. I was rescued from the deep of eating disorders and depression when I came to fully trust the Lord in 1983. My writing revolves around recovery in Christ. He longs for us to be close to Him; when we’re not, we’re closed off from joy.

My goal in each manuscript is to allow the Holy Spirit to woo each reader to Himself through the words I’ve written. Writing this way pulls me tighter into His arms too.Wendy's Flowers

Thank you again, Gail, for having me as a guest. I en”Joy”ed the interview.

Did you notice I slipped my maiden name into one of the sentences?

I did notice, Wendy! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, today.

You can connect with Wendy here:

Website: http://www.wendylmacdonald.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greenlightlady

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendylmacdonald

 

Refining Fire ~ Tracie Peterson

Book Blurb

Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage. What respectable man would have her? But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own.

Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?

 

My Review

This book reads like a mini-series. The second in the series, Refining Fire, is Militine Scott’s story or so you think when reading the first chapter. However, Abrianna Cunningham is the engine that moves the story along. Nothing wrong with that, if you are aware of it at the beginning of the series. Personally, I like the fact there are multiple POVs. I enjoyed learning about everyone at once. And the conversations? Wow. True to the character and filled with scripture. Often, I laughed out loud as I envisioned the actions of the character.

The heart of Refining Fire is the residents of the Madison Bridal School in Seattle Washington during the late 1800s. The owners, Miss Selma, Miss Miriam, and Miss Poisie instruct young ladies in the art of homemaking. Unfortunately, Militine Scott has no desire to become a wife. A runaway, Militine is hiding from an abusive father. She doesn’t trust anyone, including God. Then, Thane Patton asks to court her. A flame of hope kindles and Militine must choose between her past and Thane. Can she find the courage to trust God with her future?

Militine’s friend, Abrianna Cunningham has no time for romance either. Her days are spent taking care of the homeless. If she had a mantra it would be, faith without works is dead. The problem? Her idea of “works” usually gets everyone in trouble!

As Militine, Thane, Abrianna, and Wade go about their daily lives helping others, we watch relationships change as they discover their love for each other.

Ms. Peterson packs her story with historical facts of the Seattle fire. She addresses the subjects of feeding the hungry, women in leadership, human trafficking, abusive authority within the church, forgiveness, healing from past wounds, and finding the will of God for one’s life.

Although I would have liked a little more from Thane and Militine, I loved this book.

If you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables, Cranford, or Lark Rise to Candleford, you will enjoy reading this series.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Mist Of Midnight ~Sandra Byrd

I am pleased to have my friend and mentor, the lovely Sandra Byrd with me today. Her book, Mist of Midnight, is on sale for $1.99 for your Kindle and Nook. If you haven’t read it, I assure you it will make the perfect summer read. One of the things I love about Sandra’s writing is what she doesn’t say. Woven within the text is a treasure trove of wisdom if you only look for it. While reading Mist of Midnight, I thought of all the ministers and the sacrifices they’ve willingly made for the gospel. Now, let’s chat with Sandra.

 

Tell us about Mist of Midnight

 In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

 Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her…and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

 That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

 A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

 

How did Mist of Midnight get started?

My interest in this particular story ignited when I read a biography of the first wife of the man often considered the Father of Missions, William Carey. Dorothy Carey was an unwilling missionary. She did not want to leave England, but her husband persisted and planned to take their oldest son with him, perhaps forever, leaving her home with the younger children. Dorothy was finally convinced to, perhaps bullied into, accompany her husband. Suffering first from what we could would call depression, she was an unhappy woman who was locked inside, crying, while her husband baptized their son and his first Indian convert. Her illness progressed and she ended her days in paranoia, psychosis, and misery after the death of their son Peter from dysentery, which she herself suffered from throughout her life. Carey, who seemed to have been both driven and a man seeking relief for as well as confinement for his wife, went on to marry another woman after Dorothy’s death, a woman suited to missions work. They lived and worked together happily.

This interest next led me to the Mault family. Among the earliest missionaries from England to India, sent from the London Missionary Society, both Charles and Margaret Mault were admirably, happily, suited to missionary work. They joined Margaret’s brother, Charles Mead, and his wife in South India. Mrs. Mead and Mrs. Mault worked together to open schools which taught both academic and practical subjects to girls in a state where girls never went to school. Mrs. Mault, an accomplished lace maker from Honiton, shared her skill. Lace-making offered Indian girls financial freedom, dignity, and the ability to climb the social, if not the caste, ladder. Their lace was proudly displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and sold throughout the world.

 

Tell us about your research process.

I begin by reading, mainly nonfiction material that covers the era I’m writing in. I immerse myself in the language of the era, its customs and mannerisms. How did women dress, and what were their hopes and expectations, their limitations, which are often different from our own? I visit as many sites, personally, as I can, so I spent some time in Hampshire, England. I visited the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where the London Missionary Society archives are held, and read the actual letters written to and from the missionaries to India. Finally, I engage a historical research assistant who lives in the area in which I write and is an historical expert, to ensure my English people sound English and my facts and customs are all straight.

 

What impact did your research have on you personally?

It was powerful to read the words of those missionary women in their own hands. The letters were written on the thinnest parchment possible, and then the papers were turned sideways and written across again, angularly, to make the most of the paper space. They worked very hard, they suffered and gave their all in service to Christ. Most of them did not realize the extent of their impact in their lifetimes, but we can see it now. It was an effective and encouraging lesson in planting, hoeing, and watering knowing that God will reap, though we may not see it right away.

 

How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?

I think all of us, as believers, wonder why bad things happen to good people, and why it seems as though the Lord has abandoned us at a moment when we most need Him. To live through, and then show on the page, the truth that He is always with us even if we don’t sense his presence and attention was restorative to me, and I hope it will be to readers, too.

 

Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

Absolutely. This is a complete story, including a little epilogue. The book launches a series of three books in the same genre (Gothic romance) set in the same era and area (Victorian England) but each book has its own set of characters and story arc.

 

Where can readers find you online?

Please visit me at www.sandrabyrd.com, or to connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’ve love to visit your book club via Skype.

PR-Photo Sandra Byrd pic

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, including a best-selling devotional.

Mist of midnight

Buy Links:

Mist of Midnight @ CBD

Mist of Midnight @ Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

 

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