Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Vikki Kestell

Good morning, friends! Glad you’ve joined us for another edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This morning we welcome Vikki Kestell.

Vikki’s latest series is a sci-fi/fantasy thriller! So without further ado, please give her a warm welcome.

Thank you for joining us here at CHW, Vikki!  Please tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you for having me today! Well, I wrote my first book in 1988 during a very difficult period in my life. Nothing came of that book, but I have a stack of lovely rejection letters in my files. Then, in 1991, I left my husband of twenty years and moved from Montana to New Mexico to be close to family.

I had to figure out how to support my three children, so I went to work, but I also went back to school. Over the next twelve years, I worked and earned a B.A. in English, professional writing, an M.A. in communication, then a Ph.D. In 2012, almost 25 years later, I published that first book, “A Rose Blooms Twice,” on Kindle. Since then, I’ve added seven books to the series and have written two other series. Isn’t God’s timing amazing? After all that education, I’m now back to doing what I started in 1988: writing full time.

I agree, Vikki. God’s timing is amazing! This month’s theme is Kindness. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Hmm. I’ve come to think that kindness is more an approach to life than merely an attribute. How we make decisions on a daily (even momentary basis) can include or exclude the needs and feelings of others. Kindness is an ongoing awareness of others and their needs. Kindness is related to humility: I am not better (or less) than anyone else, and my needs are not more important than the needs of others. Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is essential to living a kind life.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all followed that line of thought? Now, Vikki, life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have kindness toward another? How did you overcome?

Since I am naturally more task-oriented than people-oriented, I can tell you that kindness is hard for me. Being aware of and sensitive to the feelings of others is a battle I’ve fought for decades. But God is good! Spending more time with Jesus—finding and abiding in his heart and his word—is what has changed me.

My life verse is found in 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” It has taught me that humility is the hallmark of a follower of Jesus, that only when my desires are submitted to him will I be lifted up.

For the record, I think you’re a nice person! 🙂 In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I love a good story, regardless of genre. In the same way that I’m not a one-genre reader, I’m not a one-genre writer. In fact, you could say I’m all over the map!

I have an eight-book historical series (A Prairie Heritage), a follow-on historical series (Girls from the Mountain), a three-book sci-fi/fantasy thriller (Nanostealth), a short story called “The Christian and the Vampire,” and six Bible studies on Christian maturity. See? LOL. I told you I was all over the map!

What will you find in my series, A Prairie Heritage? You will find dauntless, faith-filled immigrants forging new lives on America’s unforgiving plains—and their children challenging the savagery of human trafficking in Denver, circa 1910. Once you arrive at Joy on This Mountain, Book 3 in the series, I promise you will be hooked. I seek to write good, meaty, reads of about 110k words or more. For your readers who are interested in exploring this series, Book 1, A Rose Blooms Twice is free on four major eBook retailers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

My publishing house is “Faith-Filled Fiction.” What all my novels have in common is that they are redemptive in nature—not merely “clean” fiction or “romance” with a little church or Jesus thrown in. My books focus on the realities of life and how Jesus comes into those realities and transforms my characters. Everything about Jesus brings the dead to life—and that’s what I seek to portray in my writing.

“Everything about Jesus brings the dead to life.” I like that statement! Vikki, thank you for sharing your heart and your writing with us.

Click to Tweet: “Everything about Jesus brings the dead to life.” ~ Vikki Kestell

Want to know more about Vikki? Visit:

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Messina: Book 1, The Casa Bella Chronicles ~ Liz Galvano

 

Messina, Sicily December 28th, 1908.

 

Seventy thousand people never woke up. Of the first sixty days after the catastrophe, it rained forty-five, making rescue extremely hazardous for the doctors, nurses and rescue crews. When all was said and done, the death toll estimate stood at two-hundred thousand people. Some details in regard to the earthquake have been changed to help the flow of this story. The overall account of this tragedy, however, remains intact. This is a fictional tale based on historical events, yet by no means represents all that happened in Messina.

This book is dedicated to the men and women who sacrificed themselves willingly to help during this great tragedy, and to those who were lost that fateful night.

My Thoughts

Encouraged to follow her heart, Lucy James studied hard and became a doctor—a surgeon, in fact—only to be looked upon as inferior in 1908 society. But being ostracized didn’t bother Lucy. She never desired to be a member of the boy’s club. All she ever wanted was to heal the sick and hurting.

When Messina is devastated by an earthquake, Lucy quickly volunteers to help in the makeshift hospital. A fact that raises Dr. Giovanni Castello’s blood pressure. Will he permit her to stay long enough to prove her medical expertise?

Giovanni lives in Messina and chooses to stay and help the people. Working in the horrific conditions, he and the new lady doctor does whatever they can to aid the injured, hungry, and homeless. Giovanni questions Lucy’s presence and safety in Messina’s current condition. He needs men capable of taking care of themselves in a world thrown into chaos, not this woman.

Heart-breaking? Gruesome? Riveting? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Thankfully, Galvano doesn’t leave her characters amid the horrors of devastation but sweeps them to the family home of Giovanni’s ancestors where he and Lucy become better acquainted and find hope for the future. But when they think they’ve found happiness, tragedy strikes again.

Galvano has done an excellent job describing the devastation during this historical event. Her characters are well-rounded and likable. I enjoyed the way she allowed their friendship to evolve through the day-to-day triumphs and heartaches.

I confess, Messina was a pleasant surprise. It’s not your ordinary book. So if your reading time has stalled and you’re looking for an out-of-the-box experience, I recommend Messina.

I was given a copy of this book by the author but not required to write a review.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Liz Galvano AuthorLiz Galvano has been writing since she was a little girl. Her stories combine old style adventure and romance with a dash of humor. She loves family, food, animals, and all things Italian. Liz lives with her husband Jeff, two rambunctious dogs, two entitled cats, and a horse who thinks she’s a princess.

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Women of Faith and Fiction – Lynnette Bonner

Good morning, dearest reader! I’m excited to start a new series I’ve titled Women of Faith and Fiction.

I don’t know about you, but I love to know the story behind the story or song. If I know the heart of the writer, I’m more likely to read or sing their story. I hope you will join me on the third Tuesday of each month to find out more about the authors who weave truth in the parables they write.

Let’s get started, shall we?

This morning I have the privilege to welcome author and cover designer, Lynnette Bonner. Lynnette has written a slew of books you can find here: Amazon Author Page

Thank you for joining us this morning, Lynnette! Tell us a little about yourself.

Lynnette BonnerI am the daughter of missionaries to Africa, so I was born and raised in the small country of Malawi, without electricity or TV. I was a reader from my very early years. I loved to immerse myself in the story and sometimes wouldn’t reemerge for hours. Eventually, my love of story turned the bend to me beginning to pen my own stories. I would read a book and think “it could have been so much better if they’d done it this way.” I started several books but never finished one until I was doing some research about the town I lived in at the time and found some fascinating facts from history that I knew had to be told. That research turned into my first published novel, Rocky Mountain Oasis. Find out more here

Wow! Malawi. Sounds like you had an exciting childhood! This month’s theme is hope. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Hope is the heart of the good news Jesus came to earth to share with us. We are hopeless without Him. But with Him, there is nothing we can’t overcome. We can even rejoice when we are suffering because we know that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Yes! Loved that. Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to hope?

Oh, for sure. As a Christian mom, I’ve always told my kids, I don’t care what they “become” (as in do for a job/living), I just want them to serve the Lord, because I know that’s the only way they will ever find true happiness. I have one son in particular who challenged that hope of mine for several years. It was very hard to see the end of that tunnel. My heart hurt day after day after day. I fasted one day a week for him and cried out to God daily for his soul. One day as I was praying the Lord impressed on me this question, “Even if he never repents and serves me what will YOU do?” My knees nearly buckled. I knew my answer. “I will always serve you, Lord, even if those closest to me never decide the journey is worth it.” A great burden was lifted from me that day. God was reminding me that my hope was in Him, not in anything I could do to convince my son that faith was the best way to walk. I was able to release a little of my worry and anxiety, and trust that God loved that boy even more than I ever could. (And I’m happy to say all these years later that my son made it out the other side of that dark path, and is now starting on his own faith journey.)

Thank you for sharing that testimony with us. I’m sure it touched hearts, today. Now, tell us in what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

All of my writing is in the Christian Fiction genre, except for one devotional that my husband and I wrote together. Faith, for me, is actually a very big part of why I write. Jesus used stories to make points to those listening to him. I hope to bring His light into the world with each story I write. Each of my stories has a spiritual message in it, that I hope encourages the readers on their own faith journeys.

Your faith shines through in every story, Lynnette. I love the way you incorporate scriptures throughout your books. Not in a preachy way, but through the lives of your characters as they face the everyday struggles of life.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Lynnette’s latest book, Not A Sparrow Falls!!

Or click on the book to purchase the Kindle edition.

Click here to purchase paperback.

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