Chain of Mercy … Six Months Later

Chain of MercyIt’s hard to believe that yesterday was Chain of Mercy‘s six-month birthday. In a way it seems as if it just released yesterday, but then it feels like it’s been out for forever.

For the most part, it’s been a good six months. I’ve received tremendous encouragement from readers and writers alike. I’ve heard from people who’ve experienced similar situations to my characters, and not only said I got it right, but that my characters’ journeys helped them in their faith walk. That’s what this is all about, right?

Chain of Mercy - back coverOne of the biggest compliments I received came after my book launch in May. This reader asked if I’d been to the pier I describe in the third scene. I told him “no”, that I used Google Earth and other web searches to get the feel for the place. This reader was surprised as he grew up by that pier and said I described the area perfectly. How cool is that?!

And, of course, there’s been the down sides. Marketing–never fun for us introverted types. Sales have been very bland, probably due in part to that marketing problem. ;-)

And then, there’s the issue with my struggling publisher.

The important thing to remember through all of this is that God is in Control. Whatever successes I may have, be they worldly or God-defined successes, to God be the glory. And even in failures, God will be glorified.

I’m grateful to you, my readers and friends, who have prayed, encouraged, and supported me on this journey. I am immensely blessed!


How you can help …

Purchase Chain of Mercy: Amazon | B&N | BAM | iTunes
Review Chain of Mercy: Amazon | Goodreads
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Getting to Know Author Mari Keisling

Mari Keisling*** Book Giveaway ***
See contest rules below

~*~*~

One of the great joys of being a writer is the doors it opens to meeting and encouraging other authors. I’ve known Mari Keisling several years through our church, Northgate Church in Ramsey, MN, but it’s our shared writing interests that helped get beyond the “I know who she is” to “I know her” stage.

Mari is a gifted author of devotions and Bible studies who always compels me to think deeper about my faith. Right now, I’m beginning every morning with her Bible study and debut release LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF GOD’S LOVE: WALK THIS WAY, so I’m very excited to welcome Mari today

Hello, Mari. Thanks for joining me on my blog today! Could you tell my readers a little about yourself?

I’ve been married to my husband Craig for 23 years. We have two daughters, Sarah and Melissa, who are both in college. I work for my church, Northgate in Ramsey, MN, as a database administrator. I am also a seamstress although I’m not “working” right now. I blog as time allows and post on Facebook. I’m also doing some freelance writing for a new devotional app called myDevo.

Living in the Light of God's Love: Walk This WayCongratulations on your debut release! How exciting! Can you tell us about Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way? What inspired this book?

Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way is a study on the book of 1 John. It’s about abiding in Christ while we walk out our faith in all areas of our lives. The study goes through the disciplines of fellowship, obedience, humility, meditation, and prayer and why they are each essential in our ability to remain grounded in Christ in all we do. And when we do live our faith fully in the light of God’s love in all areas of our lives, our lives are truly an act of worship to our Lord. Too many of us want to separate Jesus and our “church” life from the rest of our life or we don’t know how to bring them together, but because He lives in us, He goes with us whether we understand it or not. Our relationship with Him is of first importance so the best thing we can do is give Him glory and honor everywhere we go.

I truly hope that everyone who goes through this study will feel more prepared, more equipped and more comfortable living out their faith in their everyday life.

Living in the Light was truly a labor of love. I knew in the summer of 2011 that this study would be written, but I had no idea what it would actually be about. I was having a hard time getting my mind around the fullness of God’s love and I thought there was no way I could possibly write a study on the “book of love” as it’s known. But after I had finished a few other projects, I truly felt the need to be obedient no matter how ill-equipped I felt. So I dug into God’s Word and Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way was the outcome.

Don’t you love how He equips us when we’re obedient to His call?! Could you tell us more about this call, your journey to publication?

Honestly, the publishing world is a step out of my comfort zone. I never dreamed of being a writer and still have a difficult time believing I’m a published author. Because I simply felt writing this study and making it available was my purpose, I chose to self-publish. Literally, I was on a website and a link for WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan, came up asking if I was interested in publishing a book. I had never heard of them, but could tell it was a Christian publisher so I clicked the link and the rest is history. I wouldn’t recommend choosing a publisher that way, but for me, I just needed to take the step. The people at WestBow have been great to work with and very patient with me through the process. The hardest part for me was being exposed and vulnerable and, to some degree, giving up control of my work. I understand this is just part of the learning curve and do feel better equipped for the next project.

As an author, I completely understand about feeling exposed and giving up control of your work. It’s not easy, but it certainly makes us better!

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently creating a short Bible study for an event and writing for the devotional app, but also think there will be another full study coming. I wrote a very basic study on Proverbs 31 in 2011. It was my first project, and I do believe I need to expand it one day. 1 Peter has also been on my heart. It’s another project that I’m not sure where it will go, but I know if God wants me to write it, He’ll show me the way and give me the words.

Which authors do you enjoy reading? Have any influenced your writing?

I’ve been told I write like Henry Blackaby although I’ve never read any of his books so I’m hoping that’s a good thing. I’ve enjoyed studies by Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Stormie Omartian. I would say that I’ve been influenced by each of them and their love of the Scripture. They each have their own style and emphasis in the purpose of their writing. I definitely try to maintain my style and not let myself drift toward how someone else writes. There are times when I can’t even listen to someone else give a talk because I start to pick up on what they are saying.

That seems to be a common author problem. :) Yet, it’s so important to be true to your own voice, the voice God gave you.

What’s on your reading list right now?

Chain of Mercy is on the list, but I’ve loaned it out to my daughter while I work on my projects. I’ve recently finished Letters from a Skeptic (Dr. Gregory A. Boyd) and I’m currently reading Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I’ve been wanting to read this for a number of years now so I grab a few minutes whenever I can. It’s helping me to stay focused in the moment with my currently crazy schedule.

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy yard work and gardening, scrapbooking, playing board games and puzzles. I love deep conversations with good friends and my husband and I enjoy cooking and eating out. I’m not sure why food has always been something we’ve enjoyed but it seems to give us dedicated time to talk. We are less distracted in the kitchen or a restaurant for some reason.

And the most important question: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or no chocolate?

Milk chocolate for sure! Call me old-fashion, but I love the simplicity of it.

Thanks again, Mari for taking time for the interview!

About Mari~

Mari Keisling, author and speaker, is on staff at Northgate Church. She ministers to women regarding topics such as purpose, relationships and discipleship through her various studies and devotional style blog, LYF Moments. Mari and Craig have been married since 1991 and have two daughters. They currently live in Minnesota.

Where to reach Mari~

Where to purchase LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF GOD’S LOVE: WALK THIS WAY~

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Parable | WestBow

Living in the Light of God's Love: Walk This Way>>>Book Giveaway<<<

Mari has graciously offered to give away on e-book copy of Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way! To enter, in the comments below, please tell us which of Mari’s latest posts on her LYF Moments blog offers you the most encouragement. (You’ll find her recent posts in the right sidebar on her LYF Moments blog.)

This contest ends Sunday, October 26, 201 at 11:59 pm CST. I will post the winner on Monday, October 27, 2014. Winner will be chosen via Random.org.

Traveling the Blogosphere

TravelI’ve been traveling around the blogosphere a bit this week, and I’d love to have you come visit.

For the month of October, author Heidi McCahan has been spotlighting one debut author per day, and on the 14th, I was her guest. I’m also offering a giveaway: one free e-book of Chain of Mercy to one lucky commenter. So, stop by her blog to find out how to enter.

http://heidimccahan.com/2014/10/14/31-days-of-debut-authors-brenda-andersons-coming-home-series-a-giveaway/

On October 15, I wrote a guest post for the ACFW blog: To Fight or Be Still. Sometimes we’re called to pick up our sword and fight the battle right along with God, yet other times, we’re to fight on our knees.

http://www.acfw.com/blog/to-fight-or-be-still/

Have a blessed weekend!

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

DS Awareness MonthOctober is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a month-long campaign to make people aware of the accomplishments and abilities (not disabilities) of those with Down syndrome.

My next release, PIECES OF GRANITE, is about a couple who learns that the child they’re expecting has Down syndrome. It’s not an easy diagnosis to accept, and the parents are given options. Not all are palatable.

It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted (see ABC News article, Down Syndrome Births are Down in the US). A chilling statistic. The article states that many of the parents base their decisions on myth rather than fact.

The video below puts reality back into the decision as it demonstrates the beauty and normalcy of parenting a child with DS.

When Publishing Takes Plot Twists

Plot TwistIf you follow my site closely, you might know that today is the day Pieces of Granite (Coming Home series prequel) was supposed to release. As you can tell, that hasn’t happened. You see, within this past month, my publishing journey has been affected by a slight plot twist.

Without boring you with a long story, I’m announcing that I’m going indie with my own press, Vivant Press. This is not something I’d ever planned on, yet circumstances dictate that it’s the best way to go at this time in my career. I won’t be going it alone, though, as I’ll still be partnering with my gracious publisher for the final three books–they’re doing the cover and interior design, for which I am very grateful. Soon I hope to reveal that cover which I know will be beautiful.

So, for those of you who’ve asked about Pieces of Granite, you’ll have to wait another month with my launch date set for Tuesday, November 18. Thank you for your patience!

Interesting Indies

Inkspirational MessagesI admit, I don’t typically read indie-published books. Like many readers, I’ve been wary of the quality. But with the sameness of books published traditionally, I’m willing to venture out and try some indies. From what I hear, the quality has greatly improved .

Today I’m over at Inkspirational Messages talking about a couple of indie-published books I’m looking forward to trying.

http://inkspirationalmessages.com/indie-excellence/

Have you read any indie books? Are there any you recommend?

Pages of Hope Ministry

Pages of HopeAs a book lover, I’m always thrilled when I discover an organization whose goal is to serve the community via the written word. Such organizations are rare, so when I discovered one practically in my own back yard, I got a little giddy.

Naturally, I contacted them and then had the pleasure of meeting with Glenda (works with Pages of Hope) who told me more about their ministry.

Pages of Hope Bookstore is one of the many ministries in the Anoka Community Mission (there’s even a ministry that collects LEGOs–The Brick Depot. LOVE that!). Pages of Hope collects classic children’s books and used Christian books and resells them to help support the Anoka Community Mission. Another goal of this ministry is to get out in the community and area schools, helping generate the love of reading.

Right now, book sales occur once per month, the next being October 18 (10 – 4), in the Old Post Office building in Anoka. I plan on being there.

So if you have classic children’s books or Christian books laying around–if you’re a reader and/or writer, I know you do!–then here’s the perfect place to donate them. What a great way to encourage reading AND help our the community!

 

Novel Anticipation, October 2014

Novel Anticipation

There are several new releases for the month of October, but just a couple pique my interest.

John Otte’s latest addition to his Failstate series is a must read–I just hope I get to it before one of my kids or my husband. We tend to fight over John’s books. ;-)

And I really enjoyed Patricia Bradley’s debut novel, Shadows of the Past (book #1 in her Logan Point series). I’m picky about what romantic suspense I read–don’t care for too much mushiness. Patricia’s first book seemed to have the perfect blend of romance with story and suspense, and I’m optimistic that book #2 will be the same.

Failstate NemesisFAILSTATE: NEMESIS
(Failstate series)
by John W. Otte
Enclave Publishing

Abaddon will destroy you all!

Robin Laughlin (a.k.a. the superhero Failstate) has finally achieved his dream. Not only is he a licensed vigilante, but he’s respected by his fellow heroes, feared by criminals, and he’s finally achieved peace in his family, especially with his brother, Ben (a.k.a. the superhero Gauntlet). That, plus the love of his girlfriend, Charlene, has made life good.

But then Failstate learns a secret about his father. Rather than the loving family man he remembers, Failstate’s father was a criminal who got himself killed when he crossed the wrong people. Before he can process this new information, he receives a warning that a villain named Abaddon is coming to New Chayton. The message is all the more disturbing since it’s delivered by Lux. She died in Failstate’s arms a year earlier. How can she possibly be alive?

Those mysteries will have to wait, though, as Abaddon storms New Chayton, strewing death and destruction in his wake. But he’s not the only newcomer. Unusual heroes are appearing throughout the city.

Can Failstate get to the bottom of the reappearance of Lux, the influx of new heroes, and the truth behind his father’s past–all while keeping Abaddon at bay? Abaddon may prove to be Failstate’s greatest nemesis. But what will Failstate have to sacrifice along the way?

A Promise to ProtectA PROMISE TO PROTECT
(Logan Point #2)
by Patricia Bradley
Revell

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her–or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago–out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. When Tony dies just days later, Ben is charged with a different task–protecting Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, from the killers. But how can Ben keep an eye on Leigh if she’s doing everything in her power to avoid him? And could the secret that Leigh is keeping change Ben’s life forever?

Gone With the Wind on the Big Screen!

IMovie Theatert’s no secret that I love seeing movies on the big screen. I love the atmosphere, the surround sound, the comfort. Plus, watching a movie uninterrupted by the phone or family members is always a luxury. (Oh, and I enjoy movie theater popcorn too, btw.)

So, when I learned that Gone With the Wind was celebrating its 75th Anniversary by showing at several screens around the US, I immediately purchased tickets for me and my daughter.

Gone With the WindAs expected, it was an amazing experience. Viewing this classic with its rich settings and costumes and larger-than-life characters was a dream come true. Seriously. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening.

Now, I wonder when The Wizard of Oz will come to the movie theater again …

Is there a movie you’d love to see return to the big screen?