Author Stephanie A. Daniels

Good morning! Please give a warm welcome to author Stephanie A. Daniels.

Thank you for joining me, Stephanie. Tell us about yourself.

Who Am I

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Gail. Your posts have been a real blessing to me.

I am a Christian, a wife to a former Chicago police officer, and homeschool mom to three almost grown boys. We make our home in Southwest Missouri now, but my husband is a native Chicagoan and all three of my sons were born there. I write Christian historical fiction (usually with romance) for young adults and the young at heart.

I love The Uncertainty of Fire. Where did you get the idea?  

What’s My Story?

I’m so happy that you are enjoying this story.

The idea for The Uncertainty of Fire started over ten years ago. I used to be a counselor in our church youth group, and I was often surprised by how often Christian young ladies made life choices that contradicted the Bible. But when I reflect upon my own teen years, I realize I didn’t always make the best choices either. They weren’t always evil or sinful. But they weren’t Scripture or Spirit-led. They weren’t decisions I’d prayed about. God used those ponderings to create a main character who loves Him but doesn’t always trust Him as she should. She often makes decisions independent of His Word. And aren’t we all guilty of that from time to time?

What problems did you run into with the research?

Oh, research! It’s never-ending really, and I’m still finding out new things. One of the challenges of historical fiction is that you can’t hurry up a real event. You must work within those time constraints. When I first started this story so long ago, I’d read a lot about the Great Conflagration. But somewhere over time, I’d managed to muddle some of the timeline. That became a problem as I unraveled some plot points. Lots of things have had to change. I also had an interesting contradiction in my research concerning the Palmer House Hotel. But that might be a little lengthy to go into here. I do summarize my findings in the Author’s Note at the end of Episode 1.

Why did you become an indie author? Why Vella instead of a traditional paperback or e-book?

Becoming an indie author came as a complete surprise. It was never the path I saw for myself.  I’d submitted this book for a publisher last year, received excellent feedback and was even invited to resubmit it after so many months. But critique from different circles became difficult to filter through. I was soon overwhelmed by how to get it ready to resubmit. Life became a bit of a spinning hamster wheel as I attempted to balance getting this story where it needed to be, with all my other responsibilities. It was exhausting. A few other details persuaded me that the traditional publishing path was no longer for me. At first, I’d argued with God about the traditional publishing door still being open, but God nudged me away and when I surrendered to go indie, I was (and still am) completely at peace. God allowed me to befriend many independent publishing friends over the past few years. I believe it’s what God had wanted for me all along, but He was preparing the working relationships I would need to be successful. And setting up the platform that would allow me to publish for the first time.

Which is what leads to why I chose (or why I felt led) to Kindle Vella. The length of this story made it a good candidate for episodic storytelling. Young people are more apt to read on their phones or in a browser and I think more people will be reading like this in the future. Also, Vella gives me the option of leaving the story on the site and publishing it as an e-book and paperback in the future. So, while I work on the next steps, I’m gaining visibility and maybe even reaching a wider audience.

Where to Find My Story

I’m hearing a lot about the new Kindle Vella Library. It’s a great way to meet new authors and read serialized stories. Tell us what you’ve learned about Vella, and how we can read your story?

I have really enjoyed meeting other authors who’ve published there, and I’m excited to see that there are at least 80 Christian stories already posted. Not everyone is interested in reading in piecemeal or waiting for the next episode to release (there are already completed stories available too). But it’s a great option for reluctant readers, or avid reading high schoolers, (and adults) who are involved in many different activities but don’t have time to read a whole book. We always have our phones with us now and since every story on Vella lets you read the first three episodes for free, it might be just enough time to sample a story and decide if it’s one you want to follow and read more of.

If so, in your browser go to Readers can search for The Uncertainty of Fire while there, but the search feature lately has been undependable. Amazon is still working out some of the bugs for this new platform. The direct link to my story is

Thanks again for sharing your story, Stephanie. Readers, join us next week when Stephanie will share more about Vella.

Learn more

Stephanie Daniels is a Christian homeschool mom and author who writes faith-filled historical fiction for young adults and the young at heart. She lives in southwest Missouri with her husband and three sons. Her first published work, The Uncertainty of Fire, is available exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle Vella. 

Connect with Stephanie here:

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Facebook Author Page



Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Anne Clare

Good morning. Welcome to another edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This morning, the lovely Anne Clare is joining us. Please give her a warm welcome and show your love by joining the conversation and sharing. Let’s get started.


Good morning, Anne! Tell us about Anne Clare.

Hi Gail—thanks so much for inviting me over today!

I’m a native of Minnesota’s cornfields and dairy country. I graduated with a BS in Education in 2005 and set out to teach in the gorgeous green Pacific Northwest, where my husband and I still live. I also serve as a church musician, singing in and occasionally directing choirs, playing piano, organ, and coronet (the last only occasionally, when I forget how bad I am at it.)

After the birth of my second child, I became a stay-at-home mom, and after the birth of the third I became reconciled to the fact that my house would never be clean again, which allowed me to find time to pursue my passion for history and writing while the little people napped. Although I’m back to teaching part-time at my church’s school, I continue to write historical fiction and to blog about WWII history, writing, and other odds and ends at


Thank you for allowing us to know you better. What is your latest book about and where did you get inspiration for writing it?

Since I write fiction set during WWII, I draw much of my inspiration from the real events of that era. While I read history, I can’t help thinking, “But what if THIS happened?!”

As to my upcoming book…well, first, here’s a little background. At the end of January, 1944, the Allied advance up Italy had stalled. Since breaking through the German lines wasn’t happening, Allied leaders decided to try going around. On January 22nd, about 40,000 Allied troops landed near the resort town of Anzio.

Shermans disembarking from LST at Anzio

The landings went great, but German reinforcements moved in so quickly that in less than a week the Allies on Anzio—soldiers, support staff, and hospital staff including women of the American Nurse Corps—were surrounded and stuck, holding the low ground while German guns fired down on them from the hills. They wouldn’t break off of the beach head until the end of May.

German prisoners at Anzio, Italy

One of the first-hand accounts of Anzio I was reading through mentioned that, due to the close proximity of Allies and German forces, lots of soldiers were taken as P.O.W.s on both sides. He also mentioned that, as everything was so close, many American troops were able to escape and make it back to their own lines. On reading that, the “What ifs?” started. Hmmm, what if my group of G.I.’s—and maybe one of the Army nurses, in the wrong place at the wrong time—wound up behind enemy lines?

A Lieutenant in Nazi paratrooper forces steps out to pose. 

I’m working hard on answering that “What if,” and I’m hoping to publish Where Shall I Flee? sometime next year!

And that is one of the reasons I love visiting Anne’s blog, dear reader. Okay, moving on. What is your writing process?

Before writing, I have to have a strong idea of where the story will start and where it will end. I usually have an idea of the middle, but it might change. Then, I write! I try to pound out a first draft without getting stalled on technicalities. As I write, I make notes of questions I have/things I’ll need to look up later.

I also read history books and first-hand accounts of the period and place I’m writing about to help get the “flavor” of the story right—slang, terminology, all of that.

Once there’s a first draft, the editing begins! Currently, I’m a couple of drafts in, and I’m working my way through the 75 questions I found that need to be answered…for my first 6 chapters. Uf.

(Uf is a shorter version of “ufda” which is a VERY Minnesotan way of expressing that there just was or soon will be a lot of exertion of some kind needed. 🙂 )

After I’ve sorted out the research and polished enough that I can’t see what else needs to be done, I send my work on to fresh eyes. I have some fantastic beta readers who are a tremendous help. Once I get their input, it’s back to editing, until it’s ready to go to an editor!

Thank you for sharing that with us. Now, who is your all-time favorite fictional character?

Oh Gail, that’s a hard question! I’ve loved books since before I could read them myself, and the characters in my favorites are more like old friends than anything—I’d hate to leave any out!

Still, I suppose, if I had to pick just one person, I’d say Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. She’s poor, unattractive, and badly treated by most of the people in her young life. In spite of it all, she has a strong will that grows and matures as she does until, when she’s faced with the choice of getting the life she wants at the cost of her self-respect or walking away from it all, she walks. I appreciate characters like hers, who grow through the struggles they face.

Anne, I’m thrilled you chose Jane Eyre. Jane is my daughter’s favorite. Do you have a marketing tip for us?

Take time to get to know your genre and other authors in it. Networking and building relationships are both great ways to find places to get the word out about your writing—plus you get the benefit of support and friendship from people with similar interests. 

Please share your advice with our aspiring writers.

It’s important to take time to learn the craft of writing and the ins and outs of the publishing industry, whether you plan to go traditional or indie. However, take writing advice with a grain of salt. Many people try to prescribe “right” schedules, routines, or writing styles for success—some will work for you, some won’t. Work hard but be kind to yourself and remember that no one else is walking the same path God has put before you.


Great advice, Anne. Last question. Do you have Scripture in mind when you begin a story?

I have had a Scriptural theme in the back of my mind as I’ve written both of my books. In the first one— Whom Shall I Fear?—the characters were waiting to see what God’s plan was for them. How could all of the suffering and struggles they were enduring turn out for good? (Sounds applicable today, doesn’t it?) The Scriptural theme I chose for the book was Psalm 27. The entire text is wonderful, but I focused particularly on verses 13 and 14:

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)

For the second book, I’ve been keeping Psalm 139 in mind as I remember how God is always present, wherever I go, and whatever my situation. In particular, I’ve focused on verses 7-12:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (NIV)

My encouragement for all of us is to remember that, whatever your personal journey right now, you’re not walking alone!

I also read history books and first-hand accounts of the period and place I’m #writing about to help get the “flavor” of the story right—slang, terminology, all of that. ~ Anne Clare via @GailJohnson87

Anne, thank you so much for joining us today!


Purchase Link


All that Sergeant James Milburn wants is to heal. Sent to finish his convalescence in a lonely village in the north of England, the friends he’s lost haunt his dreams. If he can only be declared fit for active service again, perhaps he can rejoin his surviving mates in the fight across Sicily and either protect them or die alongside them.

All that Evie Worther wants is purpose. War has reduced her family to an elderly matriarch and Charles, her controlling cousin, both determined to keep her safely tucked away in their family home. If she can somehow balance her sense of obligation to family with her desperate need to be of use, perhaps she can discover how she fits into her tumultuous world.

All that Charles Heatherington wants is his due. Since his brother’s death, he is positioned to be the family’s heir with only one step left to make his future secure. If only he can keep the family matriarch happy, he can finally start living the easy life he is certain he deserves.

However, when James’s, Evie’s and Charles’s paths collide, a dark secret of the past is forced into the light, and everything that they have hoped and striven for is thrown into doubt. Weaving in historical detail from World War II in Britain, Italy and Egypt, WHOM SHALL I FEAR? follows their individual struggles with guilt and faith, love and family, and forces them to ask if the greatest threat they face is really from the enemy abroad.

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About the Author

Anne Clare is a native of Minnesota’s cornfields and dairy country. She graduated with a BS in Education in 2005 and set out to teach in the gorgeous green Pacific Northwest, where she and her husband along with their children still live.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Candace West

Welcome to a new edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. Thank you for joining me. I’m so glad you’re here! Today’s guest is Candace West.

Good morning, Candace. Tell us about yourself.


I’m a preacher’s daughter, a wife, a homeschooling mama, and a friend. I tend to be shy in large groups of people. A little bit of an introvert. Chocolate is my go-to dessert! I love animals, particularly cats. Family means everything to me. I’m always ready to go antique shopping or browse for books. Exploring or touring old houses is one of my passions. I’ll sit all day long and listen to someone telling a story about the old days. Bluegrass, Big Band, and classical music flow through my veins. I hoard old photographs, especially family ones. The Ozarks are my favorite place in the world other than home. I’m an avid reader. And I love to write stories.

I’m with you on the antique shopping and book browsing. Please, tell us about your writing.


When I get a story idea, I’m usually doing something else besides writing. I might be cooking, cleaning, or driving. A character pops into my imagination, and a story blooms. I’ll jot notes on whatever is handy. Whoever said paper towels were only for cleaning up messes? Later, I’ll type a rough outline. When I start writing, I let the characters take me to the place and action. I guess I’m a mix between a pantser and plotter.

I guess we’re both plantsers. LOL. Now, what is your latest book about?

I’m excited and a bit nervous about my new writing venture. I have two books scheduled for next year. One will be the third book in the Valley Creek Redemption series. The other is a historical for The Mosaic Collection. Prayers appreciated!

Congratulations on the new adventure! From where does your inspiration come?

Many places. I’ve been blessed to have men and women of God in my family who have overcome trials and obstacles. My mom, my grandmothers, and my aunt have shown me their bravery, their steadfastness, and their love. Special friends have weathered storms along the way. Most of all, my faith inspires me because “with God, all things are possible.” Hope and redemption are things I love to write about because they’re real and lasting. Available to anyone. Eternal.

It is truly a blessing to have others encouraging us along our way. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?


I would love to! In my launch team, I recently shared a thought with the ladies (they are amazing) that I hope encourages someone here. You know, we’re moms, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, granddaughters, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, nieces, and friends.

We’re ladies and we’re doers. We’re caretakers. We’re the shoulder that someone needs to cry on. We’re helpers. We desire to minister to the needs of others. And we should.

“We’re ladies and we’re doers. We’re caretakers. We’re the shoulder that someone needs to cry on. We’re helpers. We desire to minister to the needs of others. And we should.” ~ @candacewest111 via @GailJohnson87 #WFF #interview

Sometimes the load gets tough. In the busyness of life, we sometimes forget there is One who has shouldered the burdens before we did. We get so accustomed to carrying the load that we forget to ask for help.

Breathe, ladies of God. Take a little time to rest in Him. No matter what you’re facing, remember that it’s OKAY to lay your burdens on the Lord. You don’t have to shoulder it alone.

Thank God we don’t have to possess all the answers. We can cast all our cares on the One Who does. He will see us through.

Candace, thank you so much for joining us and for that word of encouragement. Readers, you can connect with Candace here:


Facebook Author Page



Amazon Author Page

Book Blurb

A shattered heart.
A wounded spirit.
A community in crisis.

Lorena Steen gave up on love years ago. She forgave her long-time estranged husband, but when circumstances bring her to the Ozark town of Valley Creek, she discovers forgiving is far from forgetting.

Haunted by his past acts of betrayal, Earl Steen struggles to grow his reclaimed faith and reinstate himself as an upstanding member of Valley Creek. He soon learns that while God’s grace is amazing, that of the small-town gossips is not.

When disaster strikes, the only logical solution is for Earl and Lorena to combine their musical talents in an effort to save the community. But even if they’re willing to work together, are they able to? Or will the shadows that descend upon Valley Creek reduce it to a ghost town?