CrossReads Short Takes: Scott and Jo vs. The Pirates! & The Bride Wore Coveralls 4/10/2024

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CrossReads Short Takes

Scott and Jo vs. The Pirates!

(My Cousin the Atheist Book 1)

by Jeri Massi

Scott and Jo vs. The Pirates!

Jo Nicholas is ready for a great summer: new baby sister, new bicycle, and new adventures now that she is in junior high school. And then her cousin Scott arrives. He loves electronics, math, and science. Jo suspects that he just might be a robot. But when he announces that he is atheist, he gets everybody’s attention!

Meanwhile, information from her father’s research company is disappearing. Scott launches his own investigation, and Jo comes right behind him. The two of them form an explosive team as they confront an international team of tech pirates!

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The Bride Wore Coveralls

(Racing Book 1)

by Debra Ullrick

The Bride Wore Coveralls

A Clean Contemporary Christian Romance
Can bitter rivals come to love each other? Fighting deep prejudice against her femininity, her choice of vehicle, and even her heritage, Camara Cole is determined to win the mud-bog racing championship this year. Her biggest competition seems also to be her worst enemy. Chase Lamar has been racing mud-boggers as long as Camara, and he grudgingly admits she’s the best driver-mechanic he knows. Their rivalry has been long and bitter. But Chase is a new Christian. As he begins to change, he finds his relationship with Camara changing, too. When Camara’s vehicle is sabatoged, she naturally blames Chase, despite a growing attraction. Chase must prove his innocence, but evidence points his way. When the smoke clears and the truth is known, will each be able to extend forgiveness, maybe even love?

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How Important is it to Follow God’s Instructions 4/9/2024

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by Robin McKinley

Narrated by Artificial Intellingience – Andrew

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How important is it to follow God’s instructions? Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, contains 176 verses. The first 80 verses contain at least 45 references to God’s decrees, commandments, and instructions.

You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Psalms 119:4-5

Think about that. The Psalmist averaged more than one reference to obeying God every two verses. I believe he thought taking the “charge” very seriously was important.

I dont know about you, but I enjoy being joyful! The first three verses tell us that we can not only have a joyful life, but it also tells us how to maintain that joy.

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. Psalm 119:1-3

What does being a person of integrity mean? It’s when you do what God has instructed you to do, even when no one else but He can see you.

The second way those verses say you can maintain a joyful life comes when you obey Gods laws without any compromise.

You initiate compromise when you make statements like, “What I did wasn’t that bad. Or you say something like, “I know what the Bible says, but God understands.

If you are anything like the Psalmist, you will want your life to align with Gods commands. He wrote about what he wanted his actions to reflect in the next couple of verses.

Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. Psalm 119:5-6

Reasons why the Psalmist saw the importance of God’s instructions.

Through those instructions, the Lord expands our understanding.

They help us establish our priorities.

His instructions help us not to be swayed by political correctness.

We also have freedom when we devote ourselves to his commandments.

As we skip to verse 72, he tells us how much of a priority rejoicing in Gods ways should be because His instructions are priceless.

Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver. Psalm 119:72

The writer laid out his uncompromising loyalty to the Lord. I hope that you also are living a life entirely devoted to God.

Even at that, all of us, even the writer of this Psalm have had those weak moments. During those times, however, we would never admit that our relationship with Him might be waning.

At the same time, our actions tell a different story. Then, when we realize what we’ve said or done, we want to disappear or find a place to hide from God. Thank the Lord for verse 73

You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Psalm 119:73,76

What a sensible prayer! I dont know about you, but I like having joy, living with integrity, and avoiding compromising with evil.

This is where the rubber meets the road. It simply comes down to living the way God wants you to live.

Lord, we do have those times when we falter. Please forgive us for those moments. And Lord, give us the sense to continually follow your commands.

About the Author: 

Pastor RobinRobin, with his wife Cindy, became children’s evangelists early in their ministry. They ministered to children full time for 8 years. During that time they developed several children’s stories which were told with visuals and puppets.

Robin recently turned two of those stories into children’s books. One is called “The Contest,” a book about the Fruit of the Spirit, and the other is called “Twas the Night of Christmas”.  He has also authored 5 volumes of devotional books called, 3 Minutes Alone with God. Each entry is a product of his personal biblical Journaling.

These and his other writings are available on his website called Christian Perspectives at www.ramckinley.com. When you visit this site, you can sign-up for newly written devotions as they come out which will be emailed to you.

Presently Robin is the pastor of Calvary Christian Center in Pottstown, PA. He is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He and his wife make their home in Birdsboro, Pa. He also serves as the president of the local ministerium. He and Cindy have two married sons and four grandchildren.

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Thoughts about the Eclipse 4/8/2024

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by Rebekah Beene

Narrated by Artificial Intelligence – Kayla

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Often a word will just jump out at me. And on Saturday the word eclipse did just that.  And I knew God wanted to talk.

The last eclipse I remember was in the 80s. it was strange to see the sky that day. I can’t even explain how it felt. It was light and yet dark.

Oh beloved, how many times in your life have you felt the same way?  Everything is so dark yet there was light. That’s the light of the Lord. I’ve had those times in my life that I felt such utter darkness. I felt so hopeless. But there was God there was Jesus and there was Holy Spirit. The light of the world.  One thing we can be sure, regardless what happens at this eclipse at this time – God and His glory will never be eclipsed. Even those are who trying to put His light out and take Jesus out of the world completely are going to be confounded because they will meet with the Light and they will know.

God wants to remind you and Me that we have the light within us and because of Jesus if we are truly born again and we live for Him, we have the light within us and we are the light of the world as well . Remember to step into something dark that you’d rather not deal with- you get to be the light into that area. Everything is temporary, except for God, who is eternal. And because of Him you as well are eternal.

God loves you and he is for you . Make sure today that you have the right light so that nothing will be eclipsed when you meet with darkness. Don’t ever forget God will carry you and his plans will prevail!

Psalm 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands!

James 1:17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

About the Author:

Rebekah Beene

 

In a Christian Women’s meeting in 1983, Rebekah was given a prophetic message that she would write books. Several years ago she began writing stories about special holiday memories and travels, sharing God’s love and care through each story. God has gifted Rebekah with the ability to look at the natural and see the supernatural. Both Rebekah and her husband Danny have a heart to share the Gospel and the riches of life in Christ to everyone they meet. They have served in the local church and in ministry to motorcyclists. Danny is an ordained minister and they both have been Bible study teachers for many years. Rebekah also speaks at women’s retreats and conferences. Her tag line says it all “God loves you and He’s for you”.

My website is http://rebekahbeene.wordpress.com

My first book in print is Oh Beloved! Live in the Light of His Word.
Link to buying the book via paypal is on the website.
As well a link to purchasing the ebook on Amazon is there too.
I’m also on twitter @rebekahbeene, tumblr http://rebekah-beene.tumblr.com/
and of course facebook as Rebekah Beene (Warren) I included my maiden name for old friends.
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Nobody Warned Me 4/5/2024

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by Staci Stallings

Narrated by Artificial Intellegence – Kayla

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When I first started writing Contemporary Christian Romance in 1996, nobody told me what a crazy, twisting road this journey would turn out to be.  First of all, back then there was no such thing as Contemporary Christian Romance.  It literally did not exist as a genre.

I had been told to go and get books in the genre you want to write and read them. So I tried, only to be told, “Oh, you mean historical, right?”  When I insisted on contemporary, they laughed at me.

It took five years for contemporary Christian Romance to even become a thing. By then there were lines for it and a band of authors who got together to form the American Christian Romance Writers Association (now the ACFW, when Romance morphed into “fiction”).  I was member #75 of that fledgling group, and while both the genre and the visibility of Contemporary Christian Romance had risen, the lid on what you could write had clamped down firmly upon the genre.

It was in this environment that my first book, “The Long Way Home” was published. I went with a POD publisher because the lines had strict guidelines and my books just didn’t fit into them.  So this romance about a son sent against his will to a little town in Kansas was molded by this company trying to become one of the big boys, and unbeknownst to me “formula” was their goal all the way.  My editor and I worked and honed and fixed, and finally, I thought it was ready.

Then he emailed me one day and said, “We’re just over 89,000 words, and they want it more like 84,000, so I’m just going to go through and hone it to that word count.”  Now, in my defense, I was a new author who was way big into people pleasing and I wanted my book published.  So I said, “Okay.”

Well, you would be surprised how much difference 5,000 words makes to a book.  “The Long Way Home” was the sixth book I had written, and I had many readers at that time who had read my other books.  When “The Long Way Home” came out, they all eagerly got a copy.  But as I started reading, I realized in those 5,000 words, he had completely stripped my voice right out of the book!

I started getting feedback, and everyone said the same thing, “It’s a good book, but it doesn’t sound anything like you.”  But what was I to do?

That was in 2001, and by 2002, I had three other books out (now self-published so no editor could take my voice out), and I set the boxes of copies I had of “The Long Way Home” into the corner and left them there.  I didn’t want anyone to read it and think that was how I write.

In answer to your question, yes, over the last couple of years I had thought about rewriting it and putting it out on ebook.  The problem was I was working with 2001 technology. Remember 3.5 floppy discs?  That’s what I had the book stored on, and that, to me, seemed an insurmountable obstacle until a friend of mine mentioned she had an external drive that would read those.

Best $35 I ever spent!

So at the beginning of October, with my real-life commitments behind me, I pulled up my copy of “The Long Way Home,” and lo and behold, it was the one still written in my voice!  I went through it twice to fix and reshape a few things, and now… here I am… 13 years later seeing “The Long Way Home” listed on Amazon with the rest of my books—right where it always should have been.

And I’m already getting feedback about how romantic it is and how many tears people have shed over it. “One of your best yet” a friend said the other day.  I’ve never lost my love for this story, and I’m so glad God didn’t give up on it.

Interestingly, the technology in the story will make you laugh, and on that point, it almost becomes a “light history” story because as you read, you will remember what it was like as the technology revolution got going.  How laptops were new but not connected to the thing we now know as the Internet.  Cell phones weren’t smart, and faxes were cool.  Makes me smile just thinking about it.

I guess all that’s to say, nobody warned me how long the journey with this one book would be, but I am thankful for every step, including this final one of putting it out there and letting others enjoy the story as it was always meant to be.  God works miracles.  I’m so honored to get to share this is one of mine with all of you!

When I first started writing Contemporary Christian Romance in 1996, nobody told me what a crazy, twisting road this journey would turn out to be. First of all, back then there was no such thing as Contemporary Christian Romance. It literally did not exist as a genre. I had been told to go and get books in the genre you want to write and read them. So I tried, only to be told, “Oh, you mean historical, right?” When I insisted on contemporary, they laughed at me. It took five years for contemporary Christian Romance to even become a thing. By then there were lines for it and a band of authors who got together to form the American Christian Romance Writers Association (now the ACFW, when Romance morphed into “fiction”). I was member #75 of that fledgling group, and while both the genre and the visibility of Contemporary Christian Romance had risen, the lid on what you could write had clamped down firmly upon the genre. It was in this environment that my first book, “The Long Way Home” was published. I went with a POD publisher because the lines had strict guidelines and my books just didn’t fit into them. So this romance about a son sent against his will to a little town in Kansas was molded by this company trying to become one of the big boys, and unbeknownst to me “formula” was their goal all the way. My editor and I worked and honed and fixed, and finally, I thought it was ready. Then he emailed me one day and said, “We’re just over 89,000 words, and they want it more like 84,000, so I’m just going to go through and hone it to that word count.” Now, in my defense, I was a new author who was way big into people pleasing and I wanted my book published. So I said, “Okay.” Well, you would be surprised how much difference 5,000 words makes to a book. “The Long Way Home” was the sixth book I had written, and I had many readers at that time who had read my other books. When “The Long Way Home” came out, they all eagerly got a copy. But as I started reading, I realized in those 5,000 words, he had completely stripped my voice right out of the book! I started getting feedback, and everyone said the same thing, “It’s a good book, but it doesn’t sound anything like you.” But what was I to do? That was in 2001, and by 2002, I had three other books out (now self-published so no editor could take my voice out), and I set the boxes of copies I had of “The Long Way Home” into the corner and left them there. I didn’t want anyone to read it and think that was how I write. In answer to your question, yes, over the last couple of years I had thought about rewriting it and putting it out on ebook. The problem was I was working with 2001 technology. Remember 3.5 floppy discs? That’s what I had the book stored on, and that, to me, seemed an insurmountable obstacle until a friend of mine mentioned she had an external drive that would read those. Best $35 I ever spent! So at the beginning of October, with my real-life commitments behind me, I pulled up my copy of “The Long Way Home,” and lo and behold, it was the one still written in my voice! I went through it twice to fix and reshape a few things, and now… here I am… 13 years later seeing “The Long Way Home” listed on Amazon with the rest of my books—right where it always should have been. And I’m already getting feedback about how romantic it is and how many tears people have shed over it. “One of your best yet” a friend said the other day. I’ve never lost my love for this story, and I’m so glad God didn’t give up on it. Interestingly, the technology in the story will make you laugh, and on that point, it almost becomes a “light history” story because as you read, you will remember what it was like as the technology revolution got going. How laptops were new but not connected to the thing we now know as the Internet. Cell phones weren’t smart, and faxes were cool. Makes me smile just thinking about it. I guess all that’s to say, nobody warned me how long the journey with this one book would be, but I am thankful for every step, including this final one of putting it out there and letting others enjoy the story as it was always meant to be. God works miracles. I’m so honored to get to share this is one of mine with all of you!

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: The Elite of the Weak 4/4/2024

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

The Elite of the Weak

Book 1 of Revelation Special Ops

How far will teen spy Hadassah Michelman go to free kids from modern slavery? Will she stake out all night in a West African Jungle?

Swim through a polluted river in The Philippines?

Climb through abandoned sewers in Rome?

At least the organization she wants to work for, RSO, supplies handy espionage gadgets. She hopes they’re enough to get her out of a thousand impossible situations.

She never imagined anyone from her team would encounter dinosaurs. Terrorists with biochemical weapons. Earthquakes in every corner of the globe.

Will she still rescue kids from traffickers when disasters surround?

Will she have strength enough to be the elite of the weak?

And if not, where will she find it?

                                                                                     https://a.co/d/aFhEuuH

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CrossReads Short Takes: Crown and Jewel & As Long As You Both Shall Live 4/3/2024

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CrossReadsShortTakes
CrossReads Short Takes
Crown and Jewel
(The Bracken Series Book 2)
by Jeri Massi
Crown and Jewel
In this second fanciful novel which follows The Bridge, Jeri Massi continues the history of the tiny island country of Bracken. Rosewyn is the young princess, daughter of Rosalynn and Herron. Unlike her quiet and gentle mother, Rosewyn is forever climbing trees and drainspouts, knocking down boys who bully her, and getting into trouble. Ready for adventure of any kind, she stumbles into a secret plot against her father’s crown. With help from her beautiful, powerful grandmother, she escapes from the castle and begins her adventures in exile. After she and her grandmother are chased by their enemy, the young princess finds refuge in a village of miners. While among these new friends, she seeks to join her grandmother in a last attempt to save the real King and Queen. But a new threat from assassins forces the princess to flee again. All of her courage is put to the test as she fights to save her family and her kingdom.
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As Long As You Both Shall Live
A Christian Contemporary Romance with Suspense
(Dangerous Series Book 2)
by Linda K. Rodante
As Long As You Both Shall Live
Social worker Sharee Jones has enough to think about–anonymous phone calls, an attack on her life, and uneasiness about her relationship with missionary pilot John Jergenson. The last thing she wants is a marriage proposal.

Commitment to God was easy in the jungles of Indonesia, but when John Jergenson returns home, Sharee refuses his marriage proposal, someone tries to kill them, and a personal tragedy hits. As Easter approaches, will love prevail and his faith survive?

Reviewer Dana McCall Michael says, “I loved the relationship between Sharee and John…The mystery (kept me) on the edge of my seat and had me until the end. I also love the fact that (the story) deals with a spiritual message.”

Another reviewer: Suspense is right! Ms. Rodante keeps you guessing till the spine tingling climax. She also fearlessly addresses deep spiritual truths. An amazingly good read.

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Gems From Pastor Jim 4/2/2024

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by Jim Hughes

Narrated by Artificial Intellegence – Andrew

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CrossPs. 107:8-9 Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. For he satisfies the thirst and fills the hungry with good things.

Praise the Lord for His great love. He is love. There is enough love in the heart of God to love everyone who has ever lived or shall yet live on earth. There is no depleting God’s love. God loves the lovely and unlovely. There is no bias in His love. There is nothing anyone can do to not be loved by God. Everything God does is blanketed by His love.

Praise the Lord for his wonderful deeds. God’s love is balanced by His holiness and goodness. It is a wondrous thing to observe what God does amongst men. We don’t always understand His workings at the time, but when we see what God does from the perspective of time, we stand in amazement at the goodness of God in all He does. God works amongst men for their good and for His glory. God knows what we need to have and experience in life in order for our hearts to be holy before Him. He knows how to treat us well.

Praise the Lord for He satisfies our thirst and fills our hunger with good things. The Lord is our provider. He takes care of all that we need. What we need more than anything else in life is pure hearts. We may want more, but we don’t need it. The Lord purifies those who hunger and thirst for Him. Those who desire to be made right before God will be given all that is needed to be holy.

Praise the Lord for He is love. Praise Him for His wonderful deeds. Praise Him for He satisfies all the longings of our souls when we seek Him.

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: When a Day Is Like a Thousand Years 4/1/2024

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by Precarious Yates

Narrated by Artificial Intellegence – Kayla

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2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

You have probably heard people say a million times: “Life is short.” You may have said it yourself. I know I have. But there are times in the midst of grief and heartache that life feels incredibly long. There may be times that you think, “How can I even make it through the day—it feels like each day is a thousand years!”

The verse from 2 Peter is a quote from Psalm 90:4, but not an exact quote. 

A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (

In addition to mentioning that a thousand years is like a day, 2 Peter also talks about how a day is like a thousand years. 

Have you ever had a day that feels like a thousand years?

I hope you haven’t, but if you have, you are not alone. God has also had a day that feels like a thousand years. A day where the pain of separation makes each moment feel like it’s never going to end.

We often talk about the way Jesus must have felt on the cross, both physically and emotionally. That is something very important to remember and meditate on. But for a moment, we will turn our attention to the Father. How deeply the Father loves! How immeasurable His tender mercies toward us! He gave His only Son so that we could be with Him. When the Father gave His Son, when Jesus suffered death and was buried, each day must have felt like a thousand years.

And there were three days.

When we are in the midst of grief, and each day seems like a thousand years, know that God has been there too. He understands, and He will comfort you with His love. He will help you get through this day. And the next. His love for us is wider and deeper and stronger than we can ever imagine. Because of the cross, He is with us always. I pray that you have a sense of His presence today, and a new revelation of all that He’s done for you and will continue to do for all eternity.

Happy Easter and blessings to you as you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Links:

Facebook Amazon Author Page

 

The Captives

The captives will only be free when Shunda loses his fears about who he is. Yet what Shunda fears more than anything is loneliness.

Qoshonni figures she has become too violent and will never come back from the brink that the MerKing has pushed her to.

Mookori knows his father loves him best, but this has no consolation as war invades the shores of his father’s kingdom.

The Heart of the Caveat Whale is an epic trilogy that takes place both under water and on land. Book 1, The Captives, in the beginning of a journey into joy and terror. Sea monsters abound, as does the valor of both simple folk and nobles alike.

https://a.co/d/2CkDP7N

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Finally Being Able To Be The Real Me 3/29/2024

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by Staci Stallings

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For many, many, many years I tried to be someone else.  It wasn’t a specific someone else.  I simply had the impression that something was wrong with me, so being someone else made more sense.  The weird thing was, I was desperately trying to be successful and get the approval of others while simultaneously hiding the parts of me I thought they wouldn’t approve of.

It was as if I was saying, “I want you to love me, but I’m not going to let you know who the real me is.” So I lived my life in fear that someone who loved me would figure out that wasn’t really who I was and they would decide not to love me anymore.  Which of course is ridiculous because they weren’t loving the real me in the first place, they were loving the made-up me, which wasn’t me at all. What a mess, right?

Well, this year as we go into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, the thing I am most grateful for is that God finally broke me out of that miserable, rotten prison I was holding myself captive in.  Little-by-little through life and writing, I have learned that being me is really okay, that using my gifts and letting others see them is all right as well.

In fact, it’s better than all right… it’s amazing!

You see, when I was trying to hide, I spent all my time radaring everyone else to see who they wanted me to be.  I scanned my family and my friends.  I scanned others in writing groups and you, my readers. I scanned everybody.  And I spent so much time scanning trying to figure out who everyone else wanted me to be, I forgot to live!

When God finally convinced me (and it really did take some convincing) that He loved me just as I am and that He knew all about my weaknesses and all about those things I didn’t want to admit to anyone, and that He loved me anyway… It blew me away!  I realized that all that hiding wasn’t doing anyone any good.  God wanted me to come out of my little cave, bravely if possible or using His bravery if mine was shaky, and live.

Amazingly, upon finally accepting that, life has opened up to possibilities and opportunities I never would have even tried when I was wallowing in my self-cave of doubt and fear.  This year I stepped out on God’s bravery when He asked me to put my books on Kindle and then on Nook.  It took more of His bravery to get on Facebook and Twitter. And it took everything He could give me to start a new author connection group.

Best of all, I didn’t panic and run when things got tough. Instead, I stood on God’s promise that HE could do it even if I couldn’t.  And miracles started happening.

So now when I look back on this year, I will be very thankful that finally, finally I listened to what God’s been trying to tell me all these years in a thousand ways:  “I love you. It’s about Me being faithful to show you how awesome I am not about anything you can do.  I want to help you all the time, in every situation, especially when you don’t think you can do it.  I want to be Your partner and Your best friend in everything.  All you have to do is accept what I’m holding out to you.”

Understanding, believing, and accepting that has literally changed my life.  So this year, I am thankful that God didn’t give up on this headstrong, confused, but good-intentioned girl.  He is my Hero!

When I first started writing Contemporary Christian Romance in 1996, nobody told me what a crazy, twisting road this journey would turn out to be. First of all, back then there was no such thing as Contemporary Christian Romance. It literally did not exist as a genre. I had been told to go and get books in the genre you want to write and read them. So I tried, only to be told, “Oh, you mean historical, right?” When I insisted on contemporary, they laughed at me. It took five years for contemporary Christian Romance to even become a thing. By then there were lines for it and a band of authors who got together to form the American Christian Romance Writers Association (now the ACFW, when Romance morphed into “fiction”). I was member #75 of that fledgling group, and while both the genre and the visibility of Contemporary Christian Romance had risen, the lid on what you could write had clamped down firmly upon the genre. It was in this environment that my first book, “The Long Way Home” was published. I went with a POD publisher because the lines had strict guidelines and my books just didn’t fit into them. So this romance about a son sent against his will to a little town in Kansas was molded by this company trying to become one of the big boys, and unbeknownst to me “formula” was their goal all the way. My editor and I worked and honed and fixed, and finally, I thought it was ready. Then he emailed me one day and said, “We’re just over 89,000 words, and they want it more like 84,000, so I’m just going to go through and hone it to that word count.” Now, in my defense, I was a new author who was way big into people pleasing and I wanted my book published. So I said, “Okay.” Well, you would be surprised how much difference 5,000 words makes to a book. “The Long Way Home” was the sixth book I had written, and I had many readers at that time who had read my other books. When “The Long Way Home” came out, they all eagerly got a copy. But as I started reading, I realized in those 5,000 words, he had completely stripped my voice right out of the book! I started getting feedback, and everyone said the same thing, “It’s a good book, but it doesn’t sound anything like you.” But what was I to do? That was in 2001, and by 2002, I had three other books out (now self-published so no editor could take my voice out), and I set the boxes of copies I had of “The Long Way Home” into the corner and left them there. I didn’t want anyone to read it and think that was how I write. In answer to your question, yes, over the last couple of years I had thought about rewriting it and putting it out on ebook. The problem was I was working with 2001 technology. Remember 3.5 floppy discs? That’s what I had the book stored on, and that, to me, seemed an insurmountable obstacle until a friend of mine mentioned she had an external drive that would read those. Best $35 I ever spent! So at the beginning of October, with my real-life commitments behind me, I pulled up my copy of “The Long Way Home,” and lo and behold, it was the one still written in my voice! I went through it twice to fix and reshape a few things, and now… here I am… 13 years later seeing “The Long Way Home” listed on Amazon with the rest of my books—right where it always should have been. And I’m already getting feedback about how romantic it is and how many tears people have shed over it. “One of your best yet” a friend said the other day. I’ve never lost my love for this story, and I’m so glad God didn’t give up on it. Interestingly, the technology in the story will make you laugh, and on that point, it almost becomes a “light history” story because as you read, you will remember what it was like as the technology revolution got going. How laptops were new but not connected to the thing we now know as the Internet. Cell phones weren’t smart, and faxes were cool. Makes me smile just thinking about it. I guess all that’s to say, nobody warned me how long the journey with this one book would be, but I am thankful for every step, including this final one of putting it out there and letting others enjoy the story as it was always meant to be. God works miracles. I’m so honored to get to share this is one of mine with all of you!

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Overcoming Fear 3/28/2024

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Overcoming Fear

Simple Yet Effective Tips to Becoming A Great and Fierce Fiction Writer

by Anastasia Simonds

Overcoming Fear

This book was designed and conceptualized to give the soon to be author, budding author, and even current author insightful tips on how to overcome the fear and intimidation that comes from writing. Without courage, awareness, and concept, we cannot achieve our goal of becoming fierce and great writers! Enclosed are some awesome tips regarding: *Unleashing creativity and imagination. *How to achieve an emotional connection with your reading audience. *Tips on how to make your characters more realistic. *The elements of writing and character definition. *Enhancing your descriptive skills. *How to heighten your imagination as well as some of my secrets as an author. You will also get some important life tips and writing practice exercises that will help prepare you for your writing, assisting you in achieving what most beginners lack-motivation, coherency, and creativity. This is an excellent starter book for the hesitant person who desires to write but lacks the confidence to begin their writing journey and a must-read for those who need the motivation to become a great and fierce writer!

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