Ps 91 (NKJV)

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Deanna K. Klingel

Late again. The stomach bug hit me hard Monday and Tuesday. Today I am better, so here we are. Good thing it can't be transmitted cyberly. :)

Today A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included welcomes Deanna K. Klingel.

Deanna finds inspiration in a lot of places, but much of the inspiration comes from looking out her studio window into the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and her golden retriever, Buddy. They enjoy visiting around the southeast where their seven children live with their families. Deanna travels with her books while Dave and Buddy enjoy the dog park which Deanna operates in her community.

Writing Heroes
by Dianna K. Klingel

I’ll soon be starting my third nonfiction “hero” story for young readers. I’ll be interviewing a woman who worked with the French underground resistance as a teenager. My first hero story, Bread Upon the Water was about a Vietnamese boy who escaped as a boat person in order to follow his calling to the priesthood.  Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story, released in March. This is a true story of a boy and girl growing up in free and prosperous Lithuania in 1930s. When Russia invaded their beloved homeland both families began their arduous journeys across Eastern Europe as displaced persons. Life would never be the same.

I enjoy writing hero stories. These aren’t heroes with capes and magical powers; these aren’t the faces on the covers of People Magazine. These are real people, ordinary people who do extraordinary things in difficult situations. Putting  one foot in front of the other, day after day, they do the best they can with what they have. Often their only tools are their faith and courage. These are very personal stories that involve more hours interviewing than actually writing. It’s intense. Sometimes it conjures up bad memories. All my subjects had bad dreams following some of their reliving of the memories. I don’t write these to exploit anyone, bring up bad memories or put anyone in an uncomfortable spotlight. Heroes are always private unassuming people who don’t enjoy the limelight. True heroes never seek fame. They have a true humility. My books honor their stories.

When these people agree to share their stories they give all of us and our grandchildren a wonderful gift of history that only they can give. It is my privilege as well as my pleasure to give their stories life, to share culture and important world history with our children and grandchildren.  The publisher of Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story, calls it an important book, one she says she’s honored to publish. It’s important because it’s not just a personal story, it’s world history, in small bites. It’s one of many stories that need to be told, written, heard, and read. Those who can tell these stories have been named by Tom Brokaw “The Greatest Generation.” Time is running out to get their stories told.

Great spokesmen and spokeswomen have warned us for centuries if we don’t remember our history we are doomed to repeat it. If we don’t know our past, we can’t make a future.  Sadly, the very week Rock and a Hard Place released, I could have retitled it: "Rock and a Hard Place, A Ukrainian Horror Story." Ladies and gentlemen, our grandchildren must learn their world history. I have learned so much from the wonderful heroes whose stories I’ve written. They all share many of the same qualities: faith, courage, patience, endurance and a selflessness.


Historical events become personal when told by those who were part of the events. This true story, walking a narrow balance between history and romance, is the story of a boy, a girl, and the country they loved. What does the Russian invasion mean for Roman Catholic  children? What does it mean for Lithuania? Follow their heroic travels as displaced persons into war torn Germany where their lives intersect in divine and mysterious ways.

Her books at Amazon:
Bread Upon the Water
Rock and a Hard Place

Deanna can be found at her, or Facebook-Books By Deanna and Deanna K. Klingel

Thanks for joining us today, Deanna.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Writer Wednesday with James Callan

James R. Callan is my guest today. Please help me welcome him to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published four non-fiction books.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mysteries, with his sixth book releasing in Spring, 2014.

You can find James on the web:
Amazon Author page:
Twitter: @jamesrcallan

The Story Behind A Ton of Gold
By James Callan

For several years, I had wanted to write a book where the protagonist was a researcher in computer science, particularly information retrieval.  I had done some research in this area when working on a Ph.D. in mathematics many, many years ago.  Also, I had a son who was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Melon University.  A couple of ideas had formed, but none jumped up and said, “Write me.”

One night, a couple of years ago, I wanted something short and light to read before turning out the light and going to sleep. I grabbed a collection of old Texas folk tales, flipped through and selected one at random. Of course, it was interesting. Folk tales usually are. It told of a wagon load of precious metal being pushed into a lake to hide it from the pursuing Mexican Army. There was no mention of it ever being recovered.

This one played around in my mind and even as I went to sleep, it stayed with me.  In the morning, I thought about it and dismissed it for what it was: a folk tale.

Over the next month, it kept coming back to me. And each time, I would remind myself it was a 178 year-old story and had no relevance today. But all parts of the mind do not always agree.  And one part of my brain started asking the question: how could such an old story affect the lives of people today? 

The two ideas of information retrieval and the old folk tale kept popping up in my mind and slowly began to weave around one another. Before long, the skeleton of a plot took shape, and I was ready to begin.  

As I wrote, interesting characters presented themselves and demanded to be included in the story. Of course, I said yes, come right in and add your own flavor to this book. And in developing the back story for the protagonist, a very interesting subplot arose.

The end result was the 94,000 word mystery/suspense novel A Ton of Gold.  The protagonist, Crystal Moore, is a researcher in information retrieval. The old folk tale comes to the attention of some greedy and not too bright thugs.  This eventually leads to murder, arson and kidnapping.  And in the midst of this, the man who almost destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back.  This time, he can ruin her career.

Crystal will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise friend, and Crystal’s feisty, seventy-five year-old grandmother.

Set between Dallas and the piney woods of east Texas, A Ton of Gold answers the question can old folk tales affecting people today. And the answer is a resounding YES.  They certainly can.  Just ask Crystal Moore.

More about A Ton of Gold (a contemporary suspense novel):

Can long forgotten, old folk tales affect the lives of people today? In A Ton of Gold, one certainly affected young, brilliant Crystal Moore.  Two people are killed, others threatened, a house burned and an office fire-bombed – all because of an old folk tale, greed and ignorance. 

On top of that, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back.  This time he can put an end to her career.  She’ll need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, her streetwise housemate and her feisty 76 year-old grandmother.

A Ton of Gold is available in paper and digital editions at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   
Amazon, paperback
Amazon, Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook

Another of James' books, Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel, can be found here:

Thanks for joining us today, James, and telling us about why you wrote A Ton of Gold.

I'm not a prolific folk-tale reader, so tell me, my wonderful readers, what other folk-tales do you know that spark the imagination?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Mary Ellis

Running a little late this morning. I'm not sure why I forgot to get this done yesterday. I guess my mind is in too many places.

Today, please help me welcome Mary Ellis.

Mary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her last series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. She is currently working on a three-book series of historical romances set during the Civil War for Harvest House Publishers. The Quaker and the Rebel released in January. Her current release is A Plain Man. She can be found on the web at:  (Where you can also sign up for her newsletter.)!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

What I Learned About Newsletters 
by Mary Ellis

Every author wants to know the best way to reach potential readers. After a dozen years in the business I have come to the conclusion, there isn’t one correct way. Each author must try a variety of ideas, and then return to those which have the best results. Many industry professionals feel newsletters are an effective way to reach your audience. This month my publisher, Harvest House, released my twelfth Amish romance, A Plain Man. Soon I will send out my spring newsletter to help spread the word. Recently I organized what I’ve learned about newsletters into one concise list from a variety of sources. Keep in mind some of these “rules” I personally abide by, some of which I sometimes follow, and some of which I flagrantly ignore. Decide for yourself what works for you and good luck.
~ Newsletters should come out every two months
~ The best day to send: first day of the month
~80% should be content to benefit your audience, only 20% should be news about you (I don’t follow that exactly)
Each newsletter should contain:
1)    a feature article 500 words or less which should help, inspire, or entertain
2)    an extra “value” section, such as frequently asked questions or recipes
3)    A brief bio with your value statement (what your books intend to accomplish other than entertain)
4)    An endorsement from a name that your targeted readers would recognize (I’ve never done this)
5)    A calendar of your upcoming speaking or book signing events (usually I just insert a link to the calendar page in my blog)
6)    Your current featured release (now you get to talk about current book with blurb, cover, trailer, and if it’s on sale yet somewhere)
7)    Contact info: your email, website, blog, Facebook, and other media links (but don’t go overboard with this)
8)    Should have a professional layout  such as a banner across the top
9)    Give them something for free (like an article you’ve written or chapter one of your book. (These would be links readers can click on)
10) Mention your upcoming contest. (Twice a year I give away 10 signed copies of my current release to newsletter subscribers.
Thanks it! Now you know everyone I know about newsletters. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

More about A Plain Man:

Though Caleb Beachy tried the Englisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. But when he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting
with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up his Levis.

Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future and reminds him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. But will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance before it really has a chance to begin?

Delight in the story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.

I have this novel sitting in my to-be-read pile. Arrgghh, now I want to read it all the more.

Time where art thou?  LOL

A Plain Man is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


PS. Mary has graciously agreed to give away one copy of A Plain Man to one person who comments below. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

How long is forever?

Do you know how long forever is? says, "without ever ending." That's forever. 

Kari Jobe has a new album out called "Majestic." On this album is a song entitled, "Forever." Our choir (The Rock FWC, Madison Campus) will be singing it for our Easter services (Friday @ 7pm, Saturday @ 4 and 6pm, and Sunday @ 9, 10:45, and 12:30). 

I like Kari Jobe. I think she's an awesome singer, but even better she's a great worshiper. This song has touched me a great deal as we've practiced it. 

It seemed appropriate to post this during this week leading up to Easter. I pray you will read these lyrics and think about the true nature of our God, about how much Jesus gave up to save us, and how much He loves us all, no matter our sin, no matter our past, no matter how we feel about ourselves. 

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse was broken
One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken
The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated
Forever, He is glorified
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive
He is alive
© 2013 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP) / Worship Together Music (BMI) (Admin. at

Here is the video. It's long, but well-worth the 13 minutes of your day. Don't turn it off when the man gets up to speak. His words are powerful. He may not be singing, but his worship is just as poignant.

May God bless you today as you obey him, worship him, and give him the glory.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Alexis A. Goring

Join me in welcoming Alexis Goring to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

The Waiting and God’s Perfect Timing
Written by Alexis A. Goring, author

They say good things come to those who wait.

But what if you’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for a dream of your heart to come true?

Such is the case with Chandra McIntire, one of my main characters in the story Love Unexpected (story #1 in my novella Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories). Chandra is waiting on Mr. Right.

They also say you find love when you least expect it. And that is exactly what happened to Chandra when celebrity fitness trainer Sebastian Carter runs into her—literally—on the freeway. Granted, Sebastian and Chandra do not immediately fall in love—due to way they met, Chandra isn’t exactly seeing Sebastian as boyfriend material much less Mr. Right. But people around Chandra and Sebastian see the potential for a true love story.

Now a few things about Chandra and Sebastian—prior to meeting each other, they are not looking for love, in fact even after meeting each other they have their reservations. Chandra is focused on her career and Sebastian is focused on well, himself. But just like in real life, God works in mysterious ways. Despite Chandra’s strong, “Independent Woman” front and Sebastian’s fun-loving bachelor-for-life mindset, the two characters realize that they need each other. Sebastian needs someone to be honest with him and challenge him to think of someone other than himself, and Chandra needs someone to fulfill the hope in her heart which is to be loved and pursued by a man who she is not only attracted to but who respects her and adores her completely.

Several things I’ve learned from my fictional characters Sebastian and Chandra:

1)    True love can enter your life when you least expect.
2)    Sometimes God speaks through people who can see what you cannot see, so take note.
3)    God has your best interest at heart.
4)    God knows what and who is best for you in this life, so trust Him.
5)    God is the best matchmaker!

My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11. God is speaking in these words, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I’d like to say that Sebastian and Chandra’s love story is a perfect example of how God has good plans for His children, always! It serves as a reminder that good things come to those who wait on the Lord.

So what do you do while you’re “in the waiting”? Live in obedience to God’s will and trust that God is with you, working out His Master Plan. Ultimately, you learn to let God lead and rely on His perfect timing not just for discovering your true love but for everything! 

More about Hope in My Heart:

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.
In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.
Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.
In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

You can find out more about Alexis here:
Twitter, @pennedbyalex

And more about Hope in My Heart here:


Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring has sprung...I think

Spring in north Alabama is a funny thing. It really can't make up it's mind. Tuesday and Wednesday the highs were in the upper 70s and low 80s. This coming weekend we'll be back in the 60s.

I'm ready to ditch the cold weather, but I don't really look forward to the heat of summer. A few sure signs of warmer weather are the flowers blooming, the clover growing, and my dog gets skinnier.

 The Before picture.

The After picture (shaved and bathed).

See all the fur behind him, piled up next to the grass. It used to be on him. Isn't he such a cutie? He's about six years old now, even though he still looks like a puppy. He looks happier with all that fur off, don't you think? LOL

What signifies spring has sprung at your house?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Susan J. Reinhardt

Susan J. Reinhardt's journey to publication began as a non-fiction writer. She's been published in The RevWriter Resource, Devotions Magazine, A Secret Place, Vista, Live, and numerous other compilations and periodicals. Her appreciation for using fiction techniques inspired her to use fiction as a vehicle for truth. Her novel, "The Moses Conspiracy," is tentatively scheduled for release in late February/early March.

A widow, stepmom, and active church member, Susan enjoys reading, couponing, gardening, and searching for small treasures in antique shops.

Susan is represented by Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary Agency.

When Seat-of-the-Pants Writing Stands Up and Shouts
by Susan J. Reinhardt

"This story is about me."

I'd originally thought the couple from The Moses Conspiracy, Ellie and John Zimmerman, would once again take center stage in my second book. A reader commented on one of the social media sites that she liked Jim Kenneman, the Director of National Security, a lot. Her remark stuck in my head, but sometimes I'm a little dense.

I remember a time when I was out of work and kept saying, "I should get two part-time jobs and make one full-time job." After saying that as a joke umpteen times, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, God was trying to tell me something. One of those part-time positions became an excellent full-time job a year later.

Thinking outside the box has never been my strong point. During one of my writing sessions, I kept focusing on the Zimmerman family and coming up dry. Thoughts and scenes involving Jim Kenneman teased my brain. Since subtle hints weren't cutting it, he finally tapped me on the shoulder and said, "This story is about me."

Talk about a "Duh" moment.

Being a Seat-of-the-Pants writer has advantages and disadvantages. Writing a book is like a great adventure where I never know what's around the corner. Unfortunately, I can also end up going down rabbit trails that come to a dead end.

It takes prayer and a quiet heart to pick up on the cues the Lord gives me regarding each book. At times, there's a sure knowledge I'm headed in the right direction. The Scent of Fear was an exercise in trusting God and listening for those random thoughts on what to write next.

When something keeps popping up and waving its hands at me, I've learned to take note and further explore where it will lead. Someday, thinking outside the box will become as normal as breathing.

Writers:  What kind of detours have you encountered when writing a novel?

Readers:  What suggestions have you made to authors concerning their books?

More about A Scent of Fear:
The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.
Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills?
Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life. 
Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?
Where to find Susan's books:
The Scent of Fear

And to connect with Susan:
Twitter:  @susanjreinhardt
She's also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I also have "duh" moments. With the manuscript that I'm working on now (editing to send to an agent), at the very end it took a twist that I didn't expect at all. I thought two brothers were fighting over the same woman, but it turns out one of them was only pretending so the other one would marry again after a disastrous first marriage. 

How about you? What is your answer to Susan's questions? If you've never made a suggestion, tell me what suggestion you would like to make (though you may never do so).