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/

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!