Shirley Crowder ~ Women of Faith and Fiction

Shirley Crowder won First Place in the Newspaper Article category in the 2019 Southern Christian Writer’s Conference Writing Competition. She serves as editor for and contributor to TheAddictionConnection.org blog as well as the InspiredPrompt.com blog.

She has spiritual children and grandchildren serving the Lord in various ways throughout the world. And I’m so glad she is with me this morning!

Personal

Good morning, Shirley. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born under a mango tree. Okay, I was actually born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where my parents served as missionaries. I am passionate about disciple-making, which is conducted in and through myriad ministry opportunities., including writing, biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies and Sunday School.

I am commissioned by and serve on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection, a ministry whose vision is Connecting the Hope of the Gospel with the Heart of Addiction.

I co-authored the chapter, “Paul and Women in Ministry” in the book Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-Making Modeled by the Apostle, published by Focus Publishing.; and has several articles which have appeared in The Gadsden Times’ Faith section’s Paper Pulpit.

My life-long missionary-kid friend, Harriet E. Michael and I have collaborated on several books published by Pix ‘N Pens Publishing: Glimpses of the Savior: 50 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year  and “The Prayer Collection” consisting of the anchor book, Prayer: It’s Not About You by Harriet, Study Guide on Prayer—A Companion to Prayer: It’s Not About You by me, Glimpses of Prayer we co-wrote, and Prayer Warrior Confessions we compiled true stories of prayer by several friends and wrote some. Harriet and I have a new devotional series coming out soon. The first of the 4-book series is scheduled for release in late 2019.

My mentor, Dr. Howard A. Eyrich, and I co-wrote a Hope for New Beginnings: 31 Devotions for the Adventure, published by Growth Advantage Communication.

My articles have appeared in The Gadsden Times’ Faith section’s Paper Pulpit, Seek magazine, as well as publications for Student Life and Woman’s Missionary Union.

Shirley, you are one busy lady! So, why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

Professional

Since making disciple-makers is my passion, writing devotionals is a good fit. In a sense, devotionals chose me.

I enjoy your devotions. Share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

Many people with whom I speak think that it’s easy to sit down and write a devotional—and sometimes it is! You see something that you connect with a biblical truth and write. That does not occur within a vacuum or just in my mind. Years of listening to the Word of God preached and taught, personal Bible study, and grappling with the truths of the Word are the foundation upon which I build. Part of the process of writing devotions is a fresh study of the passages I quote or refer to in the devotion.

I agree. In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?

Culling down the things I want to include in the devotion so that people aren’t overwhelmed with all the details and are able to absorb, understand, and apply the biblical truths through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Editing is always hard. 🙂 Here are some fun questions. First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Keyboard—I often can’t even read my own handwriting!

LOL! I thought I was the only one who had trouble with that. Plotter or pantser?

Mostly pantser. But when writing a devotional book it is important to be a Plotter at least in terms of overall topics. Sometimes those topics remind me of something I have already written, or notes/bullet points I have jotted somewhere. Then I do a biblical study on the topic and that’s where hopefully, the Holy Spirit-directed/led, pantser part comes into play.

Tea or coffee?

In the mornings, after a good meal, with most desserts (crème brulee, coconut cake, pound cake, chocolate anything sweet)—coffee. Hot tea, with honey, no lemon is my comfort drink and what I drink when I’m studying to write and writing.

Favorite thing to do when not working?

Play the piano and study theology.

Inspirational

Good answers! 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?

The first three verses of today’s passage lay out what we were before we came to saving faith in Christ. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, disobedient children following the desires of our heart, and deserving of God’s wrath. Basically, we were lost without any hope!

We often assess a situation to be dire or hopeless. For example, sometimes we wrongly convince ourselves that we are so sinful that God could not possibly save us. Then, we read one of many glorious phrases in Scripture—But God—and the whole picture changes!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV).

Ephesians 2:4-7 reminds us that God is rich in mercy—we don’t get what we deserve. Eternal death is what we deserve because of our sin against holy God. We are also reminded not only that God is love, but that He directs His great love toward us. And we are reminded of God’s work of kindness: But although we deserve punishment and eternal death, God … made us alive together with Christ as He redeemed us and made us His children.

When teaching this passage, my friend Earle Carpenter asks, “Are you wearing your grave clothes? Or are you wearing your grace clothes?” He was asking: “Are you living as if you are still dead in your trespasses and sins, or are you living as a new creation in Christ Jesus?”

Regardless of what we are before coming to Christ, He is willing and able to save us from our hopelessness and deadness, to make us alive in Him by His marvelous work of grace. He makes us a new creation ready to serve Him! And that, my friend, is a new beginning indeed!

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing that! Shirley, thank you for being with us this morning and sharing your faith and writing.

Readers, to buy Shirley’s book, click the purchase link below the picture. You can also find out more about Shirley on her Amazon page. The link is below.

Book Blurb

Stepping into any new beginning not knowing what is ahead, is exciting and unsettling at the same time. Our Hope, as Christ-followers, rests in knowing that we do not move forward in our own strength, but in the strength of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

We pray devotions will guide your thoughts toward the biblical truths presented in the background and focal Scripture passages and will help prepare your heart to learn from the Lord as He affirms His steadfast love that gives the strength and hope needed to walk boldly into whatever new beginning the Lord has in store for you.

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Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Linda Brooks Davis

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to share author Linda B. Davis in this Women of Faith and Fiction episode. Believe me when I say, you’ll want to stay until the very end.

If this is your first time meeting Linda, check out her blog. I enjoy reading about her family history and book recommendations. Let’s get started, or as Linda would say, “Let’s chat!”

Personal

Good morning, Linda. Thank you for joining us for a “gab session”. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and reared on a farm in the southernmost tip of Texas–the Rio Grande Valley. I attended Christian colleges and worked 40 years in special education. I have two grown children–a son and a daughter–who are both veterinarians practicing together in San Antonio. We live minutes from one another, and I love it. My husband Al is my hero. He and I worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio.

Professional

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

When my first grandchild arrived in triplicate form in 2005, and they were fighting for their lives in the NiCU, I vowed to the Lord that I would devote the rest of my life to them and leave them a legacy of faith in writing. Because family history interests me–and I find preserving and passing it on to be important–the choice of historical Christian was an easy one. When my daughter named my one granddaughter Ella after my grandmother Ella, I knew the heroine of my first novel had to be an Ella. Hence, The Calling of Ella McFarland.

What a beautiful idea, Linda. Please share something you wish the reader knew about the books.

The Calling of Ella McFarland was born from my brainstorming about how to present my family’s history as fiction. I asked myself “What if?” questions: What if my grandmother Mama had gone to school beyond 3rd grade? What if she had gotten a college education . . . What might her life have looked like?

And the story of Ella McFarland was born.

The second novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, follows a victimized young girl from Ella’s story into adulthood and along the path of healing from childhood abuse.

The third novel, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, follows Ella’s and Lily’s friend as she pursues her dream of the opera in Italy, only to be embroiled in the Great War and the Great Influenza. All three women discover the importance of the vote for women. Their stories highlight some key rights denied them as a result of being denied the vote.

Wow! What an amazing series. Love the covers.

Reader,The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book 1 of the Women of Rock Creek series won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award under the title Greater Still. It debuted on December 1, 2015 and won the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award in the Debut Category.”

Linda, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing/working process?

For me, the hardest part of the writing is keeping the world at bay while I write. Demands live around every corner. So I’ve learned I must set aside writing time that’s beyond the reach of everyone except my husband.

I think all writers can relate to time issues. 🙂 Let’s have some fun. When writing your first draft, do you use pencil or keyboard?

I absolutely use a keyboard. Aside from arthritic hands, the keyboard action seems to stir the creative juices for me. So much do I depend on the feel and sound of key clickity-clacking that I find myself unable to think well with my fingers off the keys. Is that crazy or what?

Not crazy at all. I can’t seem to get words on paper unless I use pen and paper for the first draft. Plotter or pantser?

I thought I was a plotter for years, but I’ve discovered how freeing flying by the seat of my pants is, so I’ve learned to incorporate the two in a process. My current process involves planning the key points along the story, character, romantic, and spiritual arcs before I begin and then writing pantster-ish from each of those points to the next. I find myself most creative within this framework.

Tea or coffee?

Both! Coffee with plenty of caffeine in the morning and herbal tea in the afternoon.

Favorite thing to do when not working?

Family, Netflix, and reading!

Love doing all three!

Inspirational

Thank you for helping us to know you better! Moving on . . . . 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?

Life is composed of seasons far beyond those we find evidence of on trees and in the air four times per year. These special seasons represent periods of change usually preceded by shocking loss or unexpected gain or alterations of our personal landscape that require us to grow in ways we never imagined. Sometimes such seasons knock the props from us. At times like that I’m especially grateful for the hope found in Christ’s presence, his footprints alongside mine or alone because He’s carrying me. His immovable love for me allows me to rant and rave, accuse and question, and discover He never lets go.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.” Romans 15:13 AMP

That is one of my favorite scriptures. What a beautiful testimony. Thank you for joining me, Linda.

Book: The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, Book 3 The Women of Rock Creek series

Giveaway

Linda is giving away the Women of Rock Creek series (two novels and a novella collection) in digital format, plus the 3rd novel in the series–The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, when it releases on July 9.

We can all agree this is a generous giveaway! With that said, I’m asking the winner to please post reviews for the books to show her gratitude. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you? Thank you.

Be sure to leave a comment to have your name added in the drawing!

Author Links

Linda loves meeting new readers and interacting with them through her website email: linda@lindabrooksdavis.com.

Click to Tweet: Life is composed of seasons far beyond those we find evidence of on trees and in the air four times per year. #Interview with @LBrooksDavis via @GailJohnson87 #giveaway

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. The winner of Linda’s Rock Creek Series is Dorothy (dotluvs2write). Thank you for participating Dot. Congratulations!

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

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