Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Betty Thomason Owens

Goodmorning! Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Betty Thomason Owens. I met Betty when I became a crew member for Writing Prompts Thoughts and Ideas Oh My! She’s a wife, mother, and a grandmother. She’s the author of Annabelle’s Ruth (The Kinsman Redeemer Series, Book 1).

Her second book, Sutter’s Landing (The Kinsman Redeemer Series, Book 2) comes out today! Yay! So let’s show her some love by sharing and commenting.

Welcome, Betty. Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up the daughter of a nomad. Travel was in Dad’s

blood. He couldn’t be still. I learned resilience. I learned how to adapt to circumstances, good or bad. I learned that a better world existed just around the bend. That last one is not necessarily a good thing. You might call me a dreamer. That sounds better, doesn’t it? It was during those long trips back and forth from one part of the country to another, that I began to create stories in my head. I noticed the scenery—the badlands and desert out West—and fantasized about the people that may have lived there. I still dream and create stories, but now, I write them down.

I’m a dreamer, too. There are usually hidden circumstances with dreamers. Thank goodness for stories. Betty, this month’s theme is patience. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Quiet, steady perseverance—I love this definition of patience. It is often defined by using words like difficulty; hardship; trouble. There’s a reason for that. In my mind, patience is quiet and steady strength. Some of us have it, some don’t. And many of those who seem to have it, well—don’t look too deeply into their lives. Sometimes, it only lives on the surface. I may appear patient, but inside—turmoil and rebellion dwell. The trick is to keep those more subtle feelings at bay. Those are the things best handled by prayer. Let patience win—it goes hand-in-hand with love. Love is patient…love is kind…

I agree with you. Prayer is definitely a key to patience. Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have patience? How did you overcome?

Oh, my goodness. Yes. Right now is a good example—this past year is a good example. It’s been a real stretching time for me, when I thought maybe it was time to rest and relax a little. But it’s not time for the rocking chair yet, so I’ve had to go back to work on a part-time basis. This requires a complete overhaul of my schedule. I’m normally very laid-back and on the surface, very patient. Underneath, where only God and I can see, I’m not patient at all—especially with me. The only way to overcome this is to face it head-on. I carry it to God in prayer and ask for His help and leading. Like many, my personal expectations can be outrageous. Of course, I can’t do all that! And God knows and understands this. I just need to trust Him.

I hear ya! I believe everyone could use a big dose of patience with themselves—along with a splash of grace. We certainly can’t do it all. Now, in what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I started out writing historical, swerved into fantasy, then back to historical. But even my fantasy writing was historical! I love reading and writing about the past. I’m inspired by stories of faith and family.

I hope my faith shines through my writing. I’m not usually preachy, but I write about people whose faith is at the center—the heart—of their existence. Sometimes they lose their way, but there’s always someone in the background, praying for them and believing they’re going to make it. That’s where I often stand. Praying. Believing.

Praying and believing is a wonderful place to stand. I’m so glad you agreed to come and talk with us. Thank you, Betty, for a lovely interview. If you would like to know more about Sutter’s Landing, scroll down and read my review.

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.

Amazon Author Page

http://bettythomasonowens.com

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https://pinterest.com/btowens

https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Sonja Anderson

Good morning, dear reader! This month we have a fifth Tuesday. Woohoo! To celebrate, I want to introduce you to Sonja Anderson.

Sonja, welcome to Women of Faith and Fiction. Please, tell us about yourself.

Sonja Anderson Profile PicI grew up in a small town in northeast Ohio, with a twin sister and two younger siblings, in a Christian home. I loved to read more than anything, and characters in novels were like beloved friends and companions. I actually felt pained when a book ended and I had to separate myself from them. As a result, I re-read my favorite books many times!

College and graduate school took me to exciting cities like Chicago and Boston, and then my first teaching job was at an international school in Tokyo! I’ve been happily settled in Seattle, Washington, for over 25 years now.

Wow! Tokyo. I can only imagine your excitement. I know what you mean about the characters and beloved friends. I have favorites also. When I’m not sure what I want to read, I pick up a favorite. Sonja, this month’s theme is Peace. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Sophie Topfeather’s search for peace is a major theme in Sophie’s Quest, so I’m delighted that this is your theme for the month! Isn’t God amazing the way he puts things together like that? When I think of peace, I think of John 16:33, where Jesus prepares the disciples by saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I also remember the song that compares peace to a river, and it reminds me that when I have Christ’s presence in me, I don’t need to react to the world’s commotion with anxious ups and downs. Christ steadies me and carries me, no matter what else is happening.

I am continually amazed how God directs our paths! Now, life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have peace? How did you overcome?

The two times in my life when I seriously questioned Christ’s presence in my life are, of course, as I look back, the two times when I found it the most difficult to have peace! The first time was when I lived in Japan and knew many lovely Buddhists. How could they all “be wrong”? I dove into a Bible study with friends and took God at His Word in a way I had never done before. When I read a promise, I held Him to it. By the time I returned to the United States, I was stronger in my faith than ever before and wanted to share Jesus with everyone in sight.

I thought nothing could shake my sense of peace again until I began to write Sophie’s Quest. I worried—could I discuss different religions in a way that respected the people God created and show Jesus to be uniquely Immanuel, God with us? I began to seriously wonder if a book like this should be written, despite the fact that I had felt clearly called to write it. My peace was shattered. One night, I was washing dishes and distinctly heard a voice behind me asking, “Are you sure Jesus is the only way?” I nearly panicked and prayed earnestly that God would clearly answer that question. The very next Sunday, I was visiting a church in Oregon, and the minister preached on this very question! Now, I work in a public elementary school in a very diverse community, and Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus check out my book every day. What a privilege and a blessing!

 Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Sonja. I know others who’ve dealt with similar situations. It’s good to know we’re not alone. True, God’s always with us. But it’s comforting to have a kindred spirit on our journey. 😉

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

My published novels are children’s fiction for ages 8-12, my favorite genre to read, too! I’ve also written several picture book stories that also point children toward God, but I’m still waiting for God to point me toward the right publisher!

My faith has everything to do with my writing. It is my dearest hope and prayer that kids will find their way to Jesus through these novels. In fact, I almost stopped writing completely when someone once challenged me to “leave Jesus out of the novel” so it could get published more easily!

I also try to point kids to the idea that reading the Bible is an amazing adventure. One of my happiest moments since the books were released was a day in my public school library when two girls (who had just finished reading Sophie’s Quest) began crying over who would get to check out the only real Bible we had at the time. To me, that meant “Mission accomplished!”

I would have to agree with you, Sonja! Thank you for sharing your heart with us today.

To learn more about Sonja and her fantastic book visit:

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Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Angela Arndt

Good morning! Today, we have another exceptional woman of faith and fiction visiting with us. Although Angie and I have never met face to face, I feel as if I know her. She is a wonderful friend, a beautiful soul, and a terrific writer.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter has won recognition in the following:

  •  2016 Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence (Georgia RWA) in the Inspirational Romance category, 3rd place
  •  2016 Orange County Chapter Romance Writers of America’s Orange Rose Contest, Inspirational Romance category, 3rd place
  •  2016 Beacon Contest finalist, First Coast Romance Writers (Jacksonville, FL), Inspirational Romance category, 2nd place
  • 2017 Fab Five Finalist, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Inspirational Category, Finalist.

And now, please welcome writer, Angela Arndt. Angie, please tell us a little about yourself.

Framed-Headshot-101416 Angela ArndtI’m married, with two step-children and five grandchildren. Hubby is a beekeeper and we love living back in the woods with our three dogs. I have a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and a Master’s in Education. Before leaving the corporate world, I was a trainer and curriculum writer.

When I retired because of my health problems, God placed the desire to write in my heart and now that is my job. I love it!

Sounds like a beautiful and blessed life! This month’s theme is Peace. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Oh, wow. Peace is such a nebulous thing unless you’re squared away with God. The only way to have true peace is to be in the center of His wheel (to borrow your phrase). It’s true: if you’re not doing His will – what He created you to do – you’ll never be happy and at peace. It always amazes me how God gives us that “peace that passes all understanding” even when we should be wringing our hands in sorrow or worry. If we give all our worries to Him, even if it means do it over-and-over again on a minute-by-minute basis, He will keep our hearts at peace.

I agree, my friend. Now, life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have peace? If so, how did you overcome?

Oh yes. Without going into a lot of detail, I’m estranged from a member of my family that I love very much. After it happened, I literally cried for two weeks. (Now I know what “being a basket case means.”) While going through all the stages of grief (denial, anger, etc.), I prayed for God to “fix it,” but He didn’t.

Fiction writers thrive on “what if,” but in this case it was getting me into trouble. I kept second-guessing the situation, asking what if I’d done things differently, who else was involved, should I do this or that. I finally realized the best scenario was to put the situation out of my hands and into God’s.

That’s where it is now. I still love her, but nothing’s changed. I have to believe that someday she’ll know the truth. While I don’t have peace about the situation, I do have total peace that God is in control.

Thank you for sharing that, Angie. I’m sure there is someone who needed to hear your testimony today. For my next question, please tell us in what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

In Christian fiction, we call it women’s fiction, but I really write Southern literary fiction. That genre explores the depths of complex, sometimes eccentric, characters set in the heat, humidity, and paradise that I call home.

The crux of literary fiction is showing how a character changes when placed in heart-rending situations. And I believe that in order for someone to change – a real heart-change –God has to do that work.

When I was an art major, I designed and cast a silver ring in jewelry-making class. First I designed it on paper, then make a mold from wax. Next was the casting process where I melted the silver down on an asbestos pad. It was beautiful and actually glowed! But all the impurities floated to the top, so I had to pull a graphite rod through its heart to gather up all those faults. Finally, I poured the liquid metal into a centrifuge with the mold and spun it so that the hot metal melted through the old wax, replacing it with a purified, gleaming silver ring.

That’s the work God does in our lives. He purifies our hearts, but in order to do it, He turns up the heat and uses the rod on us!

And that’s what I do to my characters, too. 🙂

Angie, thank you so much for visiting and sharing your heart with us!

To connect with Angie visit:

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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