Sunday, June 9, 2024

HopeFULL: Your 30-Day Devotional to Discover Biblical Hope by Marta E Greenman and Maureen H Maldonado



About the Book

Book: HopeFULL: Your 30-Day Devotional to Discover Biblical Hope

Authors: Marta E Greenman and Maureen H Maldonado

Genre: Devotional

Release date: November 27, 2023

God can turn despair into hope even in a world that seems to be falling apart. He instilled hope in David, Esther, the Children of Israel, Paul, and the twelve apostles, and He can instill hope inside you. God is the giver of hope; we just need to find His prescription for hope in His Word. This 30-Day Devotional gives an in-depth look at Scripture and Biblical Hope. Join us today. 


• From various Biblical figures, how hope can be found in a turbulent world.

• The different Hebrew and Greek meanings of hope in Scripture.

• How to apply God’s strategies for living a HopeFULL life.

Read Old Testament and New Testament accounts of Biblical hope along with personal stories of how God has worked in the lives of His children around the world. Thoughtful reflection question provides a jumping off point for personal or group study.


Click here to get your copy!


I received a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions given are my own and not an endorsement of all authors opinions. 

Authors’ Interview

1. Why did you want to become an author? 

Maureen – Because Marta made me. J

Marta – Because God told me too. J I wanted to write for a long time but never felt the timing was right but when I felt God was calling me to write Biblical material, I felt very unworthy, and it came down to obedience. (This is my seventh book)


2. What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you and why? 

Maureen – to make myself sit down, block out the world, study and just do it. 

Marta – Time. As a leader of a ministry and co-host of a radio show, time is always a challenge. 


3. What did your research process look like for this book? 

We begin by research all the words for hope (we do this for all the devotionals such as fear, and love, and prayer etc.). Then we begin to choose the Scriptures we believe we will want to write about. This would be fifteen a piece, but we usually choose up to eighteen each, just in case we need to switch. Then we begin to look up the Hebrew or Greek words and put the book into proper sequence. We start to talk about our stories that go with the topic at hand. Then we begin to write. This process takes sometimes a couple of weeks before we ever start writing. 


4. What was something new you learned while writing this book? 

The Bible is full of stories of hope as well as modern-day hopeful true-life stories. 


5. What audience did you have in mind when writing this book? 

While we know the majority of our audience is Christian women over thirty-five, we don’t limit our writing. For instance, we have a large male audience for the devotional FearLESS and some of our reviews on Amazon include atheist, who have given us very favorable reviews. 


6. How did you balance keeping your book informative yet engaging as a non-fiction? 

It’s God’s Word, but with that said our layout of combining color, pictures and stories help to engage our audience and make it more personal. 


7. Did you have to step out of your comfort zone to write this book? If so, how? 

Maureen – No and yes. This is our third devotional we have written together but our first one FearLESS was a challenge. I never thought of writing a book until Marta approached me. My first answer was no and no thank you, but she asked me to pray about and God said Yes. Therefore, I had to trust that HE would give me the tools to accomplish the task. 

Marta – This is the seventh book I have written so I do feel very comfortable in the writing arena, but just like Maureen when God called me to begin writing, I really struggled, and God had to work on me for at least six months before I finally said yes. It came down to obedience and trusting God. 

8. How did you celebrate when you completed your book? 

Good question. We really haven’t but this is a good reminder to celebrate every completed devotional. 

9. Do you have a favorite drink or snack for when you’re writing? 

Maureen – snack: depends on the day anything from trail mix to cheezits, drink: - water or ice tea, music:

Marta – snack: from trail mix to blueberry goat cheese, drink: I’m a water gal, music: is loud Christian music on


10. What message do you hope readers take away from your book? 

God is a God of Hope, never give up hope and God’s Word has the answer to all your questions. 


About the Authors

Marta E Greenman – Marta left corporate America in 1998 to become a staff missionary with a church planting organization known today as e3Partners where she led American churches in planting new ones with international church partners. During this period, Marta spent much of her time in the field on evangelism and discipleship traveling to Columbia, Mexico, Moldova, Peru, Romania, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. She also had the privilege of leading women’s conferences in biblical training.

Marta began teaching Inductive Bible Study at her home church in 1997 where she taught faithfully for fifteen years. Debbie Stuart, a Women’s Ministry Director, said, “Marta Greenman is a master teacher weaving biblical principles, personal stories and clear application with every lesson. She walks in Truth and loves the Word and has dedicated her life to teaching that Truth to women.”

After seven years on the mission field in Romania, Marta began to write Bible study curriculum. Her first study, Bound To Be Free, was published in 2011. May 2011, Marta founded Words of Grace & Truth, a ministry devoted to teaching God’s Word to the nations and teaching others to do the same, through the curriculum God birthed through her teaching ministry. Since then, Leaders, Nations and God and ACTs420NOW have been published. Today she continues to write a series of twelve 30-day devotionals with co-author Maureen H. Maldonado. Their first is entitled FearLESS: God is calling you to be fearless and to FearLESS, second LoveMORE: Your 30-Day Devotional to learn to love like Jesus, third is HopeFULL: Your 30-Day Devotional to Discover Biblical Hope.

Marta’s added GraceAndTruthRadio.World (GTRW), a global radio outreach to the world with God’s message of grace and truth. You can hear her show, Under God with co-host Maureen Maldonado, on GTRW, Monday’s at 3:00pm CST. The passion of her ministry, regardless of the nation she may be in, is teaching God’s Word and equipping others to teach. She is a gifted teacher, speaker and expositor of God’s Word.

Maureen H. Maldonado – Maureen is the second of seven children. Growing up in a home where worldly wealth was a foreign concept, she always felt treasured by her parents and knew she was rich in love. Maureen married young and raised two amazing daughters. Her grandchildren are a blessing beyond anything she could imagine. Recently, she was able to add two granddaughters-in-love who add joy to the mix; and the best yet, God has blessed her with a great-granddaughter!

Maureen has a master’s degree in education from California State University and spent her career as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal in elementary education. Maureen never planned to leave California or the education system, but God had other plans.

After Maureen’s husband was transferred to Arizona in 2006, then to Texas in 2011, she spent several years teaching ‘Just Moved,’ a Christian-based ministry program developed by Susan Miller for women moving homes because of life changes ( God used her teaching education and experience as a training ground to begin preparing for Him.

Involved in Bible studies in California, Arizona, and Texas, Maureen grew exponentially in her faith and love of God and His Word. The culmination of these experiences led her to co-host the radio program ‘Under God’ on GraceAndTruthRadio.World, where God’s Word is taught to the nations.

Today, Maureen is using her new-to-her method of studying the Bible and her long-applied teaching methods to teach the next generation of believers. Her prayer is for others to gain as much insight into God’s transformational Word as she has received. She describes it as “opening the shades and letting in all the sunlight on a gloomy day.” Maureen feels honored and humbled to be a part of Words of Grace & Truth and asks others to join in prayer for this needed ministry, the church, our country, and our world. LoveMORE is the second devotional Maureen has co-authored with Marta. Their first devotional was FearLESS: God is calling you to be fearless and to fear less.

Maureen and her husband, Raymond, reside in Texas, where they have transplanted almost their entire family from California.

More from Marta and Maureen

HopeFULL is the third in a series of twelve 30-Day devotionals covering various topics. With titles like FearLESS, LoveMORE and HopeFULL you will discover what God’s Word has to say on each topic. Each book has 4 components, First, 30 Devotionals on the chosen subject. Second, Reflection questions. Third, each book delves into the original language of Hebrew and Greek to help discover what God is trying to communicate to us. Finally, each book has stories, to help illustrate how God still works today.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 31

Inspired by Fiction, June 1

Artistic Nobody, June 2 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 4 (Author Interview)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 5

Its Mama Safe, June 6

Guild Master, June 7 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 8

Cover Lover Book Review, June 9

A Reader’s Brain, June 10 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 12

Blossoms and Blessings, June 13 (Author Interview)


To celebrate their tour, Marta and Maureen are giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Crooked Daughter by DM Griffin


About the Book


Book: The Crooked Daughter

Author: D.M. Griffin

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release date: March 28, 2024

Choices her father made before she was even born reached a bony finger into her life, clouding her future with hopelessness. Her father’s cold heart had no room for her. He easily cast her aside when the Law permitted it. Defined as an outcast because of a physical infirmity, Priscilla was told death was her destiny. Despite the limited perspective brought about by years of adversity, Priscilla fought to keep hope alive and wait for the Lord’s timing.

Aquila lost his father at the most critical time in his life. Battling against grief and bitterness, Aquila uncovers a secret about his father’s death that undermines his faith in a religious system that once defined him. Driven from his homeland, Aquila becomes someone he no longer recognizes.

Two people whose perspectives are skewed by adversity become divinely intertwined in mysterious ways. As they wait upon the Lord for His timing, would Priscilla and Aquila ever find the truth that would lift their eyes to the hills so they could see the purpose of life, not only between a man and a woman but between God and His creation? A poignant story about how God uses adversity for good in the lives of those who truly love and trust Him.


Click here to get your copy!

I received a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions given are my own and not an endorsement of all author’s opinions. 

Author Interview

1. If you could meet your characters in real life, what would you talk about? 

It is rare for Scripture to mention a husband and wife ministry team. So I have always admired Priscilla and Aquila. If I could meet the characters in real life, I would like to talk to them about their faith, what it was like to live in the times they lived in, and what they thought their legacy was. I hinted at that a bit in the epilogue of The Crooked Daughter. Combining Priscilla with the crooked woman mentioned in the gospels into one characterwas a fictional leap I was willing to take for the sake of bringing out the thematic element of receiving healing before acknowledging the Healer. (A theme inspired by my life experience) If I had a chance to meet the real Priscilla, I would like to know what kind of things she might have suffered in her life. Persecution was definitely one of them. 

2. What/Who inspired you to write in the main themes of this book?  

 The main themes in this book revolve around healing and acknowledging the Healer. I have had my own personal health struggles in life, so I related to Priscilla in the story. I would have to say that personal experience was a huge inspiration. While I wasn’t bent over for eighteen years, I have suffered from chronic back pain. I was bent for three months a few years ago and that was excruciating. I had to go to physical therapy for a year but at least I found relief. I used a lot of the struggles, both mental and physical, as inspiration for The Crooked Daughter. God didn’t waste anything in my experience, minor as it was. 


3. What made you choose the setting/time period? 

I chose the setting/ time period for The Crooked Daughter based on Scripture. I have always been intrigued by nameless characters in the Bible. When selectinthe four unnamed women foThe Encounter Series, I chose two known by theirafflictions and twby their circumstances. The woman with a demon-possessed daughter, the widow from Nain, the crooked woman, and the woman with the issue of blood.


4. What message do you hope readers take away? 

What I want reader to take away is the beautiful truth that God works all things together for good for those who believe. My intention in this imaginary adaption of the unnamed woman who suffered for eighteen years by being in a bent-over posture was to show how God uses all things, even adversity, for His good. Though Aquila’s adversity was not physical, his perspective had been limited by grief. Whether we suffer physically or spiritually, God invites us to trust in His timing and proves that He will make all things right. Even when it appears that the villains win, Christ will have the final say on their fate. No person or couple is beyond purpose. It took the Priscilla and Aquila characters in this story years to come to an understanding of who Jesus really was. Sometimes when we are desperate for something, we focus more on the blessing and forget about the One who gave it to us. I wove this narrative into a thematic fabric using a fictional thread that combined Priscilla, mentioned in Acts, with the crooked woman mentioned in the gospels.  


5. What is your favorite snack/drink while writing? 

I hate to admit it, but when I am writing, I like to eat chocolate. My favorite are See’s Scotchmallows. Usually, I am too busy typing so that keeps me from getting carried away. I also drink tea or water. I have to force myself to get up and take a walk because I can get so engrossed in the story that the entire day goes by and I find I spent eight hours writing when there was so much else to do.

About the Author

D.M. Griffin is the author of several Biblical Fiction novels as well as devotionals, prayer journals, and Bible studies. She will be releasing a Christian Fantasy series in 2025. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband. They met in middle school a few days after she was transplanted to the West Coast at the tender age of twelve. She has three adult children who have been an endless source of delight and inspiration. She also has a precious new grandchild who brings her joy.

As a native New England girl, she fondly remembers spending her summers there as a child. Thick accents, small towns, and fascinating weather stirred the imagination of a young heart. She has always had a fondness for stories thanks to her imaginative mother who would make up wild, adventurous tales to tell when tucking her into bed as a child.

She truly believes that a book that sits on a shelf unread is like a planted seed that never blossoms. Nothing delights her more than sharing a story.

More from D.M.

My inspiration for writing The Crooked Daughter is multi-faceted. First of all, I was intrigued by the unnamed characters in the Bible who had a single extraordinary encounter with Jesus. The woman who was bent over for eighteen years was one of the four that I selected for The Encounter Series.

Though there were few verses dedicated to this woman, I felt the deeper pull of a story tucked inside the folds of those verses describing Jesus healing her on the Sabbath. I wondered what her story was. What led her there that day? Did she go searching for Him or did Jesus pick her out of the crowd?

Reading that the woman was in that condition for eighteen years is worthy of pondering. I think a lot of times when we read Scripture, we miss the impact of time’s passage. As someone who has suffered from back pain for many years, I could relate to the crooked woman’s story. Eighteen years is a long time to be bent over. The longest I had to remain in a bent position was three weeks. It is extremely difficult to move through the world when the only thing you can see is the ground. Pain is bad enough to endure. Pain for eighteen years must have been excruciating. I know when I am in pain my mood and attitude definitely need adjustment. I would have been a monster after eighteen years!

Developing Priscilla’s character challenged me as a writer. As someone who suffered an early rejection in life only to endure physical infirmity on her own, I didn’t want her to become embittered the way most would after enduring such a trial. There was a delicate balance between lamenting her fate and holding onto hope as it slipped away. Therefore, I introduced the playful, furry character – a dog named Patch.

Aquila’s character was complex and layered. While he was physically able-bodied, his heart was agonizing with grief, responsibility, and disillusioned faith. He was a man who could stand straight even while his soul was bent over.

I have always been intrigued by Aquila and Priscilla in the Bible. As an inspirational couple who served the Lord together, I enjoyed weaving the threads of their story into the fictional account about the crooked woman. I believe that love soothes the wounds of suffering. Falling in love straightens the crooked perspectives of circumstances. Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story that culminates in a strong, enviable marriage?

In The Crooked Daughter, the main character’s condition is symbolic of the political climate of those days. The religious leaders were the ones who were bent over, their perspective about God’s acceptance of people horribly skewed under the heaviness of pride. They could not lift their eyes to the heavens to recognize the Messiah in their midst. Their hearts were hunched under the weight of selfish ambition and prejudicial attitudes. Condemnation was the chain that kept them bound, unable to see the horizon of eternity.

Physical infirmities are horrible to endure. Even worse are the infirmities of the soul. So many things can truly bend us away from God – rejection, selfishness, anger, grief, regret. Thankfully, Jesus is more than a healer. He is our Savior. I truly enjoyed exploring these themes throughout The Crooked Daughter. I hope that readers come away from the story with hope as an anchor for hard times. God truly uses all things for good when we trust in His plan.

Blog Stops

Fiction Book Lover, May 13 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 14

Simple Harvest Reads, May 15 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, May 16 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, May 16

Splashes of Joy, May 17 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, May 18

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, May 19 (Author Interview)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 20

Guild Master, May 21 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 22

A Reader’s Brain, May 23 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 24

Stories By Gina, May 25 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 26


To celebrate her tour, D.M. Griffin is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & copy of book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Raising kids to Follow Christ by Lee Ann Mancini



About the Book


Book: Raising Kids to Follow Christ: Instilling a Lifelong Trust in God

Author: Lee Ann Mancini

Genre: Nonfiction, Family and Relationships, Parenting

Release Date: February 20, 2024

Raising Kids to Follow Christ: Instilling a Lifelong Trust in God endeavors to remedy the statistically high rate at which children turn away from Christianity. Raising Kids to Follow Christ (February 2024 from Whitaker House) offers today’s families the resources they need to nurture children in faith. This expert guide offers developmentally appropriate and scripturally centered methods based upon top research and expert insights from the brightest minds in childhood spiritual development. Author and Raising Christian Kids CEO Lee Ann Mancini
emphasizes truth wrapped in love and joy in a parenting approach designed to prevent children from abandoning their faith.

Raising Kids to Follow Christ releases in February 2024 from Whitaker House.

George Barna, Raising Spiritual Champions, Nurturing Your Child’s Heart, Mind and Soul, (Arizona Christian University Press 2023), 27-28, 39, 41, 118, 184.

Raising Kids to Follow Christ (releasing February, 2024 from Whitaker House) serves as a rich parenting resource focused on the salvation of our children and the preservation of Christianity.

  • Comprehensive, biblically-based, parenting guide
  • Sourced from today’s brightest Christian minds in children’s spirituality
  • Filled with strategies & techniques found throughout God’s word
  • Steeped in biblical directives, including Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and more
  • Explained through the lens of parenthood
  • 13 chapters equipping parents & caregivers with tools to raise the next generation of faith-filled leaders
  • Personal stories embedded with parenting principles and Scripture references
  • Shared real-life examples of parenting “dos” and “don’ts”
  • How to practice what you preach – modeling biblical truth
  • Steps to upgrade from discipline to discipleship
  • Easy-to-understand apologetics for children & adults
  • Fun ways to connect your child’s heart to Christ


Click here to get your copy!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions given 
Are my own and not an endorsement of all author’s opinions.


Author Interview 

1.What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you and why? I had so much information, so organizing it in a logical flow was harder than I imagined. Also, I’m a teacher and not a storyteller, so I needed to learn not to write to didactic.  


2. What did your research process look like for this book? I am old-schooled, so I printed a ton of information (my notes, my research), and I had files for each topic of discussion. I wrote and rewrote the manuscript until I felt the Lord giving me peace. 


3. What was something new you learned while writing this book? God’s word gives us many directives on raising our children, and Proverb 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go is not a promise.” And it’s never too early to teach solid biblical wisdom to children. 


4.What audience did you have in mind when writing this book? Anyone raising the next generation.


5.What message do you hope readers take away from your book? Don’t be distracted or freighted by the world; keep focused on the word of God, live out his principles, and organically, day by day, help connect your child’s heart and mind to Jesus. It’s not overwhelming; raising children to follow Christ is done in love, consistently living the Word, and understanding it’s never too early and never too late! 


About the Author

Author Lee Ann Mancini is the award-winning author and executive producer of the Sea Kids series, which can be viewed on Answers.TV, Pure Flix, Right Now Media, and SeaKidsTV.  Lee Ann earned a master’s degree in theological studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Trinity International University), as well as two master’s degrees — one in Christian and Classic Studies and one in Biblical and Theological Studies — from Knox Theological Seminary. She serves as an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary and hosts the award-winning podcast, Raising Christian Kids.



More from Lee Ann

Recent statistics show our youth abandoning faith at an alarming rate. 90% of 13–14-year-olds believe there is no absolute moral truth, and 75% of parents agree.[1]  In the cultural war against Christ-centered values, vulnerable young souls are our greatest casualties. It’s time to raise up a faith-armored generation and equip them to change the world. With the right resources, we can equip our kids with enduring faith.

Raising Kids to Follow Christ: Instilling a Lifelong Trust in God endeavors to remedy the statistically high rate at which children turn away from Christianity. Raising Kids to Follow Christ (February 2024 from Whitaker House) offers today’s families the resources they need to nurture children in faith. This expert guide offers developmentally appropriate and scripturally centered methods based upon top research and expert insights from the brightest minds in childhood spiritual development. Author and Raising Christian Kids CEO Lee Ann Mancini emphasizes truth wrapped in love and joy in a parenting approach designed to prevent children from abandoning their faith. Her reason for writing this book is to help readers eagerly search the Bible, looking for fresh truth they can find in each word of scripture — “for the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12, niv) — to build a strong foundation of Christ in their children that will last a lifetime.

Valentine’s Day Bible craft for your family:

Memory Verse: John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (ESV).


  • Markers/pens
  • Scissors
  • Sheets of paper (1-2 per person)
  • Small jars/clear containers (1 per person)


  • Gather items and have them ready to use.
  • An adult can draw seven hearts on each sheet of paper. Make one sheet per person.
  • Optional: If children are older, allow them to draw hearts on their sheets of paper.


  • Our memory verse, John 13:34-35, tells us that God wants us to love others in the same way He loves us. That’s how other people will know that we are His disciples.
  • God wants us to love everyone. A great way to start practicing loving others is to love the people you are closest to first.
  • I want you to think of seven people who you spend the most time with. We are going to start practicing showing God’s love to them this week.
  • Each of us will fill up a jar/container with hearts with those seven people’s names written on each heart.
  • We will pull out one heart each day this week and come up with ways to show that person God’s love all day.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 9

She Lives to Read, May 10

Artistic Nobody, May 11 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Guild Master, May 13 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, May 13 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 14 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, May 15

Inspired by fiction, May 16

Blossoms and Blessings, May 17 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 18

A Reader’s Brain , May 19 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20

Beauty in the Binding, May 21 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 22


To celebrate her tour, Lee Ann is giving away the grand prize package of a Scripture Bear, all seven Sea Kids Picture Books, and all the DVDs with the corresponding curriculum!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

A Storm of Doubts by JPC Allen



About the Book


Book: A Storm of Doubts

Author: JPC Allen

Genre: YA cozy mystery

Release date: March 1, 2024

Her dad said nothing could hurt their relationship. But what if he isn’t her dad?

Summer gets off to a rocky start for twenty-year-old Rae Riley when the ex-wife of family friend Jason Carlisle claims their youngest child isn’t his and Rae’s con man uncle Troy returns to Marlin County, Ohio. Rae is already at odds with her father, Sheriff Walter “Mal” Malinowski, over her desire to help people in trouble. When she extends that help to Troy and Jason’s ex-wife, Ashley, she and Mal clash even more.

Then Ashley disappears, and Jason and his brother Rick are the main suspects. As Rae and her aunt Carrie, a private investigator hired to protect Jason’s kids, work to discover what really happened to Ashley, Rae wrestles with Troy’s insinuations that she may be calling the wrong Malinowski “Dad.”


Click here to get your copy!

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all
Opinions given are my own and not an endorsement 
Of all author’s opinions. 


About the Author

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. Her Christmas mystery “A Rose from the Ashes” was the first Rae Riley mystery and a Selah-finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2020. Her first Rae Riley novel, A Shadow on the Snow, released in 2021. Online, she offer tips and prompts to ignite the creative spark in every kind of writer. She also leads workshops for tweens, teens and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. Coming from a long line of Mountaineers, she’s a life-long Buckeye.


Author Interview

1. What/Who inspired you to write on the main themes found in the book?


Although I'll have a theme in mind when I start a story, I don't weld myself to it. The longer I write, the more I realize, I have to let the theme rise from the story as I put words on paper. In this novel, the theme of trust seemed to occur again and again. Can Rae trust her newly found dad? What will happen to a toddler if her father discovers proof that she's the daughter of his ex-wife and another man? Can Rae trust what God says about Himself? I pray about the theme and examine it to see if it is firmly rooted in God's word. Then I start shaping it.


2. Which character in your book do you relate to the most?


Rae. She has a lot of my characteristics--artistic, shy, wanting to get along with people. But I put a bit of myself in most of my characters--Rae's aunt and oldest brother are writers, her dad's a worrier, her grandmother loves to bake. I even put myself in the villains' shoes, imaging that if I was presented with the same circumstances as the bad guy, and decided to act selfishly, what would be the most believable way to act? 


3. If you could meet your characters in real life, what would you talk about? 


That would be so awesome! I think we would swap family stories. Although the characters would probably freak out that this stranger knew so much about their personal lives.


4. What did your research process look like for this book? 


I had to understand divorce law in Ohio. So I sent questions specific to my plot to a retired judge, who specialized in divorces. I also had some questions about identifying bodies and police procedure. Because I'd taken a free course at my local sheriff's department, their PR person recommended people I could contact. So I sent questions to a lieutenant in the department and an official in the coroner's office. All three men were so helpful in answering my questions.


5. What made you choose the setting/time period for this book? 


I've lived my whole life in Ohio, first growing up in a small town and now living out in the country. I know rural life and wanted to set mysteries in that familiar territory. So I created my own county in Ohio. The advantage of a mystery set in a rural location is there are still part of the country where phones won't work or won't their wits. I can realistically knock out communications, forcing my heroes to survive by wits.

More form JPC

Readers Deserve a Reward

I may be unusual, or just plain weird, but thinking of my ending first is the common way I approach a new story. It seems to help me to know my destination before I set out on the adventure of writing a story. I can take any number of routes to reach my destination and wandering around and exploring detours is a lot of the fun of writing. But by keeping my destination in mind, I don’t get lost. Or at least, not easily.

The other thing I keep in mind about my ending is that it’s a reward for the reader. I’m relatively new to publishing and not well known. So when readers take a chance on one of my stories, I believe it’s my job to reward their risk with an atypical, satisfying ending. Now I do work hard to make the whole story satisfying with things like an attention-grabbing opening and tension-building scenes. But endings, I think, are special to readers. This is the part that lingers in their minds when they close the book–whether it’s a sense of satisfaction, like the pleased feeling you have after a delicious meal, or anger or exasperation because the ending let them down.

I work to make all parts of the ending satisfying–the climax, denouement or wrap-up, and the last lines. For the climax, readers of my mysteries deserve more thant just the good guys solving the puzzle and catching the bad guy. I plan an action-packed, suspenseful climax that has readers living the final confrontation with the main character and it resolves itself in a way that, I hope, surprises readers.

Denouements are so critical to mysteries, when the detective explains how he solved the case. But they can also be deadly dull because the explanation needs to be thorough to meet the expectations of mystery fans. So in A Storm of Doubts, I split up the explanation–a lot of it is revealed during the climax, so I don’t bore readers by piling up a discussion of the solution in one chapter.

The final scene and last lines are areas I spend a good deal of thought on. Even if this scene was my inspiration for the entire story, how it plays in my head and how it plays on the page are two very different things. I also think the last scene and lines have a certain rhythm to them, like the final bars of a song. My job is make the scene round off the story without staying too long in it.

So when you read A Storm of Doubts, I’d love to know what you think of the ending. Because you do deserve a reward.

Blog Stops

Stories By Gina, May 4 (Author Interview)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 5

Artistic Nobody, May 6 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 7

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, May 8 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, May 8

Beauty in the Binding, May 9 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 10

Guild Master, May 11 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 12

A Reader’s Brain , May 13 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

For the Love of Literature, May 15 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 16

Vicky Sluiter, May 17 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, JPC is giving away the grand prize package of all four books in the Rae Riley mystery series, a $25 Amazon gift card, and an Ohio tumbler with lid filled with buckeye candies!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.