Surely Goodness and Mercy

Psalm 23 flock

This past year has been a time of remembrance of God’s goodness and mercy as I wrote my soon-to-be-released memoir. The other side of this valley is nothing short of God’s goodness and mercy.

We serve an awesome God!

True, there are things we can accomplish on our own. But only God can turn an impossible this to a that, an improbable here to a there, and an inconceivable do to a have done. All we must do is move from where we are, trust Him, and rest assured His goodness and mercy follow close behind.

So if you are in a hard place, don’t give up. God wastes nothing. He will bring a good from every situation.

Reflection: How do you see God’s goodness and mercy when looking back through your life?

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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Sutter’s Landing (Kinsman Redeemer Series, Book 2) ~ Betty Thomason Owens

The year is 1955, and although they don’t have a comfortable life, Connie and Annabelle are happy to be home in Trenton, Tennessee.  But as Connie’s marriage draws closer, Annabelle worries about being alone. Something she doesn’t look forward to after losing her husband and sons. But, when an old friend shows up on her doorstep with a plan, Annabelle must make a decision to hold to her beliefs or live out her days alone.

Owens gently weaves a picture of the South with all its charm and bigotry. Through Connie’s eyes, we feel the pain when asked to leave a store because of color. We understand her remorse when friends are not treated like other folks. And we empathize with her when she and Alton are kept apart by family members.

One of my favorite scenes is the accidental meeting with a famous singer. I found the song mentioned on Youtube. I loved the fact that Owens included that particular part of history in her book because it made the story pop.

I have another favorite scene where one character is praying. I can’t share all the details without revealing too much. But I wanted to explain why this story will stay with me for a long time. During this particular scene, I suddenly had an epiphany of how the Lord continually watches over us, loving us, even though we may not return His love. And yet, He is still part of our lives whether we want Him or not.

How sad it must be to love and watch over and not have that love returned!

Although the author didn’t bring out my spiritual thoughts, the scene was the springboard that catapulted me into a wonderous moment. And that, my friend, is why I give Sutter’s Landing 5 hearts.

The second installment in the Kinsman Redeemer series is a crawl-into-your-favorite-chair-and-sit-awhile kinda book. Anyone who enjoys family, history, and the South, will enjoy Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens.

I received an advance reader’s copy from the author. All views expressed are my own.

#BOOKGIVEAWAY: Today on Writing Prompts Thoughts and Ideas, Betty is offering to giveaway either a print copy or Kindle to one commenter. So click the link and comment for your chance to win!

img_9428 copyBetty Thomason Owens is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of their Louisville Area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Along with the upcoming Sutter’s Landing, Book 2, Kinsman Redeemer series (June 2017), her writing credits include a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy (2014), Carlotta’s Legacy (2016) Books 1 & 2, Legacy Series, and the Grace-Award-winning Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer Series (2015) (Write Integrity Press). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

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