Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Nike Chillemi

Good morning, readers! Hope your week has been great so far.

In this episode, Nike Chillemi is our woman of faith and fiction. I met Nike online when she visited this blog. We are now in the same ACFW crit group! I always enjoy talking with Nike because she has a great sense of humor.

Readers, you’ll notice the format is a little different this morning. I’m not losing my mind. Nike asked permission to change things up a bit to share more than a few words on each question. So, let’s get started!

Personal

Good morning, Nike. Thank you for joining me! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been reading classic mystery novels, detective stories, and espionage/national security thrillers for a long time. I find them to be fascinating. I enjoy seeing the inner workings of the minds of the brave men and women characters who fight against terrorists and evil doers…and who push back that evil, so it doesn’t harm America. It thrills me reading a novel where I hold my breath as the heroine/hero pulls the fat out of the fire one more time.

For decades, I read Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Vince Flynn, Stuart Woods, Harlan Coben, Tom Clancy, and others. Yes, they’re all general market and their all guys, and their books are indeed realistically violent. Men like things that go boom, and they like to shoot it up. I found that it was the general market women thriller writers who began putting in the graphic sex scenes. Now, many of the men are doing that too which disappoints me, and I eliminate them from my TBR list.

I came to know Jesus as my Savior twenty years ago. So, I spent most of my life totally unaware of the need for a personal savior. However, in these types of novels, I did see the intense war between good and evil. I didn’t know anything about a personal God who cares for me. But it wasn’t hard for me to believe there was a devil when someone presented that to me. And, if there indeed was a devil roaming the earth seeing who he could destroy…then it wasn’t that hard to believe there was the opposite, a God who cares.

Along with this realization, I came to read Christian mystery and thriller writers such as Luana Ehrlich, Nancy Mehl, Robbin Carol, Mark Young, Donn Taylor, H. L. Wegley, Robert Liparulo, and others. I feel called to write Christian themed novels in this genre, and hopefully, my books will be fun entertainment for those who enjoy this type of novel. At the end of the day, perhaps my stories will help some to see that there is a God and that God does personally love them.

Nike, I love the way you began piecing the puzzle together by reading general fiction and Christian fiction. ❤ I enjoyed that testimony. Next question… Tea or coffee?

Tea or coffee? Both. I usually start my day with two large mugs of coffee. But later in the day, it will be hot black tea. Lipton, if I have a choice. Organic Lipton if Walmart hasn’t sold out of it. Don’t give me the fancy stuff. Perhaps that’s because Lipton was on the shelves of my mom’s cupboards. I find things in my life run into each other.

Share a favorite thing to do when not writing.

My favorite thing to do when I’m not writing or working is going out to eat with my local group of Christian writers. Four of us (Lynn, Lou Ann, Tracy, and myself) go out almost every Friday. As the weather in northeastern coastal Florida gets intensely hot and humid, I find myself asking the waitress for unsweetened iced tea with a wedge of lemon. We love all the local family oriented places that feature southern cooking including crab and shrimp boils, barbeque, and Caribbean cuisine. And we also try Thai, Indian, Japanese steak house fare, and other more exotic cuisines. I also love to cook and am trying to convert traditional American cuisine into lower fat and sugar versions, hopefully, that taste good. I use myself as the taste tester.

So, just as things maneuver themselves from my work life into my non-work life, they also move into my writing. Food, organic food, cooking and cooking healthy show up in my detective novels in one scenario or another. In my latest release, COURTING DANGER, secondary character Nicholas (Nick) Anastos is the head chef in a chop house owned by the heroine’s family. And this man can cook. Readers have told me when they’re in the middle of a Nick Anastos scene, their mouth starts watering, and they want to get something good to eat.

LOL. Sounds like fun! 🙂

Professional

For your first draft, do you use a pencil or keyboard? Do you plot or fly by the seat of your pants? Do you have a to-do list or do you work from a spur of the moment idea?

I use a keyboard for the first draft of my work-in-progress (WIP) I’m slaving over. For those who do not write, this is the novel I’m next gong to publish, ACTS OF MALICE. However, in general, for novels I have lined up for the series I’m working on, or ones I’m thinking of for a future series, I could do either. And for future novels, I’m a combination plotter/panster. I’m not a true plotter, as I don’t make a highly detailed outline. I could create files in Word where I’ll make notes in different colored fonts, or I’ll highlight things I want to point out to myself. If I choose to use a spiral notebook, I find I rip out pages I don’t care for which is gratifying. Both have their positives and negatives.

I never thought about ripping sheets from a notebook as gratifying. Maybe that’s why I use a spiral notebook. (Laughing.) Nike, thank you for sharing your thoughts with our guests today.

ClicktoTweet: “My favorite thing to do when I’m not writing or working is going out to eat with my local group of Christian writers.” ~ Nike Chillemi Women of Faith and Fiction @NikeNChillemi @GailJohnson87

Book Blurb

Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department’s forensics psychologist, a man she’s just started to trust.

This case has national security implications that give former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a opportunity to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He’s unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.

Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he’s growing to love?

Purchase Link for Courting Danger

Bio:

Nike N. Chillemi writes contemporary detective novels, It’s been said she writes literature that reads like pulp fiction. Plenty of action, a dash of grit, wry humor as well as an uplifting message. There’s often a national security/public safety twist to them. She likes her bad guys really bad, her good guys smarter and better. Her newest endeavor is COURTING DANGER.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight (formerly the Grace Awards) and its Chair, a platform to promote excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; the Genesis Awards in 2019; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMFUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network. https://nikechillemi.com/

Author Blog: https://nikechillemi.com/

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Karen Friday

Good morning, dear friends. Welcome to another edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This week, I have with me speaker and writer Karen Friday. Karen loves spreading hope to everyone who reads her blog and follows on social media. If this is your first time meeting her, you can connect with her via the links below. Let’s get started.

Good morning, Karen. I am thrilled to have you as my guest this morning. Thank you for being with us. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Personal

I accepted Christ at sweet sixteen, then felt called to ministry in college where I met my husband. We served in church youth ministry for twenty years, and currently serve as lead pastor and pastor’s wife, and me in women’s ministry. Our family consists of a grown son, married daughter, and two grandchildren. Oh, and our two beloved dogs. Not only do I consider the Lord’s work a worthy calling, but I also regard my roles as pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother (Mimi), sacred callings. It’s great to have such a fun last name. Our entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” But we owe Monday an apology.

While I have several half brothers, I share something interesting with my twin sister and younger sister. Like me, they are both pastor’s wives. I like to say we are a triple threat to the kingdom of darkness.

The adoration of words, both spoken and written, stirred within my soul for most of my life. A love to move an audience to laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection, birthed in the fourth grade when I endered my first oratorial contest. This continued throughout my school days and culminated in college where I studied Leadership Communications.

In 2014, I became a speaker who writes. I attended my first conference for writers, found a mentor, and established my blog: Hope is Among Us. I’m a contributor for several national websites. My published writings include devotions and articles (both print and online), several anthologies, and a contributor for a book releasing May 1, Dear Wife:10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband.

I’m working on what I pray is my first non-fiction book in the Christian living genre. Blythe Daniel, of the Blythe Daniel Agency, represents my work.

Your blog is a wonderful place to visit, Karen. Congratulations on the book.

Professional

Please share why you chose to write in your particular genre?

A less than desirable childhood caused me to ask two major questions in life: Am I lovable? Is there a God? You see, my dad abandoned me and my twin sister for a few years, then reappeared as an atheist. So as a Christian woman, I knew my mission was to know Jesus more and make Him known. This mission statement led me to speaking and writing and blogging about my faith.

It always amazes me how the Lord takes something bad and turns it around for something good. Share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

I’m just an average girl with an above average God. I lay all my hopes, dreams, and aspirations in the Lord’s able hands. But there’s power in story. My hope is that through sharing my story, readers gain practical and spiritual application to life’s ups and downs, and gain the courage to share their stories.

I agree. Story is powerful. Now, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?

For me, the most difficult part is what others call, “bleeding on the page.” Sometimes it’s hard to write in an authentic and vulnerable voice while keeping truth and the takeaway married to each other.

Our vulnerability is the heart of our stories while Christ is the subject. Here are several fun questions. First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Keyboard

Plotter or pantser?

I’m a pantser. Yet, currently working on my first non-fiction book project, it has been important for me to create a simple outline for most of my chapters. It helps not to repeat the same points in multiple chapters. Still, the initial draft is always getting it down and not looking at the outline.

Tea or coffee?

Chai tea latte. I’m not a coffee girl.

Favorite thing to do when not working?

Spending time with my family, reading, and camping with my husband.

Your social media posts testifies of your familial love. 🙂

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

Hope is the theme of my blog and ministry. So, here’s something I wrote about hope.

There’s something I want you to know. You are never far from hope. In tragedy, it is there. During dark moments, it covers with light. It soars above despair. Life brings hurt, heartache, and disappointment. Hard places can dissolve every ounce of faith. But in an uncertain world, there is an undeniable hope, an unshakable anchor for your soul. As a pastor’s wife, I have helped others find hope. It birthed from answering the tough questions: Where is God? Did we pray enough? Does God know? Does He see?

As the unexplainable happens in life, there is a promise that brings hope near. It’s only found in One. Jesus Christ. Hope rose from the dead when Jesus Christ conquered the grave.

My story is full of hope. Remember how I followed Christ at sixteen-years-old? The night I accepted Christ at a church revival, I began to pray for my atheist dad to believe in God and accept Jesus as Lord. I prayed every day and when my faith waned, I inserted his name in Scripture about salvation and prayed it out loud. Sixteen years later, when I was thirty-two, my dad became a believer. Never lose sight of faith or hope.

Beautiful testimony of hope, Karen. Thank you for joining us. It has been a pleasure!

ClicktoTweet: As the unexplainable happens in life, there is a promise that brings hope near.

About the Book

Do you wish you had more alone time with your husband? Do you find yourself going through the day-to-day busy routine of life while your marriage is on cruise control, without intentional time together spent connecting? Do you desire deeper intimacy and love with your husband?

Being married is great, but being married and feeling intimately connected is what every wife desires. Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart-changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop deeper connection with your husband.

In this book, you will:

  • Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love
  • Swap ongoing complacency with intentional connection
  • Spend guided alone time with your husband and God
  • Experience more depth in your marriage relationship
  • Restore and build connection with God and with your husband

Social Media

Website/Blog

Twitter

Facebook Writer’s Page

Instagram

Linked-In

Pinterest

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Patricia Durgin

Good morning! I am over-the-top excited to introduce you to my guest this morning. Patricia is a delightful person with a servant’s heart—and she’s a Georgia girl. I like that. I also like the fact that she works hard every day to bring writers and speakers the needed information to write, edit, publish, and market their books.

I recently attended a summit on her Facebook page. And I can tell you I was blown away with the information I found there. This morning, I want to share how you can have it too. (The live FB interviews are free! Yes, free!) If you know anyone looking for this type of information, please share the interview and check out the links below. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Now, let’s show some love to my friend, Patricia Durgin!

Personal

Good morning, Patricia. Please tells us about yourself.

Born in Massachusetts to Southern parents, I grew up in the Southeast. I met Christ and a young man named David in my 16th summer. While Christ pursued me, I pursued David, announcing to his parents—who had never met me—that I would soon marry their son. How they must have prayed when I left their home!

Two years later, in 1975, I gave my heart to Jesus. A few months more, and David proposed. My relationship with both has always been intertwined. I like that!

Our two daughters are children’s pastors and our two sons-in-law are pastors. They’ve gifted us with three grandchildren, all of whom are adorable.  

Professional

Why did you choose your particular field?

For 30+ years I had an unofficial ministry to victims of family or marital abuse. I didn’t hang out a shingle. Christ just kept sending women from that environment into every arena of my life.

I taught them what He had taught me—not only how to survive abuse—but how to build and maintain healthy, long lasting relationships. Then one day, He said it was time to close that ministry, giving me 18 months to grieve the loss of “my people.”

Returning to work more than a year later, I took stock of the business and ministry assets left to me:  listening, researching, teaching, and writing. All the elements of a Christian communicator. And the topic He chose for me? Online marketing. It was the only door He’d left unlocked.

By then, I’d been studying online marketing for years. It still fascinates me.

In early 2018, He invited me to share my marketing knowledge—and to invite other Christian writers and speakers to do the same—via a Facebook live program called Marketers On A Mission, which is also the name of my website.

Each program is a 60-minute tutorial or interview by and for Christian writers and speakers. My guest and I discuss their latest project or upcoming event and during the last 10ish minutes, they share what I call a marketing element…teaching my audience their step-by-step process for some aspect of their online marketing. (I help them choose the topic, based upon my audience’s needs.)

We celebrated our first anniversary March 19th, 2019.

In January, 2019, I hosted The Write Start Online Summit: 20 professional writers, speakers, and editors shared 20 secrets in 20 days. It was such a success that we added four bonus trainings.

You can have full, FREE ACCESS to those workshops until December 31st, 2019.

Here’s that link: https://marketersonamission.com/wss-members/

Eventually I created an online course, ReThink Your Mission. It helps Christian writers and speakers who don’t fit in the proverbial box discover the 4 parts of their Great Commission: their Core Market, Mission, Promise, and Product. They’re delighted to learn they don’t have to check their Christianity at the door when they don their professional hat. 

It will open again this spring.

I want to say thank you for all you do, Patricia. I know what it takes “behind the scenes” of a professional life. I love your Facebook live program. I like the fact if I can’t attend the live interview at 3 p.m., I can always catch the video later. Now, please share something you wish the reader knew about your profession.

I love what I do! It’s a full-time responsibility with many behind-the-scenes duties, but I know I’m doing exactly what Christ gifted me to do. How cool is that?

Plus, I get to read new, interesting books every week, as each guest is encouraged to send me a hard copy of their latest release. I read every one. That’s part of my preparation for our interview. I also research each guest thoroughly, because I don’t do “canned” interviews.

So, no list of questions is sent beforehand. When we go live, we have a natural conversation, much like we would over coffee or tea at a neighborhood café. Our audience is a vital part of each program, participating as much or little as they wish. It’s fun!

It is fun! Moving on . . . In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the job?

The never-ending minutiae. Like you, I’m a one-woman show, and there are lots of balls to keep up in the air. You know what I mean. 🙂

But Christ helps me create templates and systems as needed. That doesn’t mean I get to skip steps; it means I don’t have to start every task from scratch.

Girl, I do know what you mean. Let’s change gears. Here are some fun questions. First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Pencil to get it out of my head. There’s great satisfaction in seeing ideas on the written page, isn’t there? Then it goes to the computer for refinement and structure.

Plotter or pantser?

I live by To-Do-Lists! One personal; one professional. I still miss items here and there, but when I do, it’s not too hard to take a moment, get it done, and then get back on track.

And like a lot of creatives, my internal clock is…askew. It’s normal for me to lose track of time when focused on a project. Last year, I coordinated my cell phone’s timer with tasks I need to do every weekday. When it buzzes, I force myself to break away from my project and complete that single, simple task. This allows me to do everything on my routine list, item by item throughout the day, rather than facing a long list to complete at the end of the day.

Ooh. That is a great idea. I may have to try it. 🙂  Tea or coffee?

Definitely Southern sweet tea (is there any other kind?).

Nope. But, I would add lemon. 🙂 Favorite thing to do when not working.

We live in a community with a large lake only a ½ mile away. It’s serene. My husband David and I like to walk alongside it. Or, if our two pups are with us, we power-walk. 🙂

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

Christ has gifted me with a life I never dreamed could be mine. A loving family, healthy relationships, and a ministry that’s fulfilling. The icing on the cake? Helping other Christian writers and speakers shape, deliver, and market His message in them, so that lives are changed, and, in some cases, eternities are changed. What could be better?

Nothing could be better than that. Patricia, thank you for sharing your heart with my readers. I hope everyone will check out your links and find the needed answers for their questions.

ClicktoTweet: Women of Faith and Fiction with @PatriciaDurgin “And the topic He chose for me? Online marketing. It was the only door He’d left unlocked.” #WomenofFaithandFiction #marketing @GailJohnson87

You can connect with Patricia here: Facebook Twitter Website