Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dying to Live...

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).

With the recent release of the first two books in my new Extreme Devotion fiction series, plus working on three other novels with similar themes, I can’t help but be focused on the message of losing one’s life for Christ’s sake. In addition to the four-book series based on true-life accounts of modern-day martyrs of the faith, I have written a stand-alone third-century historical novel with Susan Wales, based on true events and titled Valeria’s Cross. However, the original title was First Allegiance, which so aptly summarizes the heart of all these books. It should also summarize the heart of all believers. But does it?
The above passage of scripture from Matthew has always been a hard one for me, particularly the part that has to do with family. The concept of laying down my own life for the sake of the gospel isn’t all that difficult to grasp; it goes with giving my life to Christ. Because I know that I no longer live once I’m His, but rather He lives in me, makes the commitment to self-sacrifice a given. But my family? A bit tougher, don’t you think?
Yet Christians around the world face not only personal persecution but persecution of loved ones as well. Can you imagine being a parent faced with the choice of denying Christ or condemning your child to prison or torture—or even death? Admittedly that’s far beyond our personal ability to comprehend, let alone yield to in our own strength. But the Scriptures promise that through Christ we can do all things—even the unthinkable.
I pray we are never faced with such a choice, but I also pray that today, right now, in whatever situation or circumstance we find ourselves, we will make a commitment to hold fast to our “first allegiance,” regardless of the price to do so—and to trust God for the strength to do it. “Well done, good and faithful servant” will surely be our reward.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For all you creative cooks out there...!

Okay, I'll admit it--when it comes to complicated cooking, I DON'T! I enjoy making tasty meals for my family, but I don't enjoy spending all day doing it. And if it takes more than two bowls and/or pans, forget it! As a result I seldom buy or use cookbooks. I've learned over the years what works and what everyone likes, and that's what I fix. Period.

Then along comes author Angela Breidenbach and challenges my entire theory! I mean, seriously, a book titled Creative Cooking for Colitis? Seriously??? I don't have colitis (thank You, Lord!) nor does anyone in my family. So what am I doing reading/reviewing this book and even experimenting with its recipes?

It's the cover's fault--honest! I mean, does that look delicious or what? I saw it and thought, Okay, I'll just take a peek at some of these recipes and see if any of them look appetizing or doable. And you know what? I was hooked! Not only do they look delicious, but I realized I can fix them without first redecorating my entire kitchen and rearranging my life! So what if we don't need these special dishes for a health condition; they certainly can't hurt, right?

So whether or not you or anyone in your family has colitis, trust me when I say you just might find some of the recipes in this excellent book to your liking. Give it a try--and let me know which ones are your favorites! You can find out more about Angela and this excellent cookbook at or

Update on Amazon Blitz

Thank you all so much for your support yesterday as we blitzed Amazon with orders for No Greater Love. We peaked at 3600 in the overall ratings, which out of several million is tremendous, and we hit #1 in Central/South African literature several times. The postings on Facebook also landed me some great openings for future publicity and marketing, so there are long-term effects as well. I so appreciate all of you who helped make this possible. May your day be extremely blessed!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amazon Blitz Today!

Don't forget that today is Amazon Blitz day for No Greater Love! If at all possible, please order a copy today. If you do and then email me at to let me know, I'll personally send you a free copy of book two in the series, More than Conquerors. If you can't buy a copy, please encourage others to do so via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thank you all so much!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare

Author Linda S. Clare has published her first novel--and it's a doozy! One of the best debut novels I've ever read, The Fence My Father Built captured my heart on page one and refused to let go. Clare's writing style is warm and witty and real, and the story is both quirky and poignant. And oh, the memories and feelings it dredges up along the way! This is a book you don't want to miss. I, for one, intend to watch for more from this talented author.

Amazon blitz for NO GREATER LOVE tomorrow!

Please remember that tomorrow is "blitz Amazon day" for No Greater Love. If you possibly can, please order a copy there tomorrow, either for yourself or someone else. If you do and let me know via email (, I'll send you a copy of book two of the series, More than Conquerors, for free. If you can't buy a copy tomorrow, please consider doing so soon and/or passing the request along to others via blogs, social networks, etc. Thank you all so much!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Interview with Author/Writing Instructor Janice Hanna Thompson

Janice, could you tell us a little about your new venture?
Of course! Thanks for asking. On April 20th, 2010, I debuted my new writing course “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” at The sole purpose of this venture is to teach struggling freelance writers how to earn money with their writing. Here’s how it will work: students can purchase one lesson (for $24.95) or all ten (for $199). They don’t have to feel compelled to buy the whole package, though they will get a package price, if they do. Each lesson will include an audio file and a video power point presentation of me teaching the lesson (available with just a click of the mouse), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where I will meet with authors for some group mentoring (at designated times). Right now there are ten lessons, but eventually those ten lessons will become ten separate categories with multiple lessons in each. For example, the current lesson on magazine article writing will eventually have multiple other lessons underneath it—all meant to teach writers how to make money writing articles. People who take these courses will have the benefit of meeting other freelancers in the forum and can also chat with me about their projects. Best of all, the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be available. (I’ll be recording new lessons routinely.) I’m so excited, because I know that struggling freelancers can and will learn how to make money with their writing.

What prompted you to set off on this new adventure?For years I’ve been writing novels and non-fiction books. I’ve been so blessed to have over fifty books published, as well as dozens of magazine articles and even a movie script. It’s been quite a ride. . .and it’s not ending anytime soon! I’m currently contracted through 2011. The longer I’m in this business, however, the more I’m aware of the basic need of the average freelance author to make “better” money. Sure, many of them eventually sell books. They get advances and royalties, (though, not often in the range they had hoped). As a full-time freelancer, I’ve faced this myself. Several years ago, I found myself hollering, “Where’s the money?” I made up my mind to find as many creative ways as I could to bring in money as a freelancer. I’ve learned so much since then, and want to share what I’ve learned with others, so that they can benefit, too.

Why are you so passionate about teaching others how to make money with their writing?

I meet so many struggling writers. So many are just hoping and praying to sell a book. They pour all of their energies into that venture. Most don’t realize that they could be making money much sooner if they would explore other avenues (besides just books). The possibilities are endless. If I can share what I’ve learned about the money-making aspects of writing, then I’ve helped another struggling writer on his or her journey.

Tell us a little about your own writing.
As I mentioned above, I’ve written just about everything! Most of my writing is for the Christian market, so my stories have a clear faith element. Lately I’ve been writing romantic comedies, (most recently the “Weddings by Bella” series), but I also enjoy writing mysteries, kid’s stories, historicals and more. I continue to write magazine articles, because they provide a great financial supplement. I’m also very excited about my many write-for-hire projects, because a huge chunk of my income comes from those. To learn more about my books visit my author site at Books can be ordered directly from the site.

What has it been like, supporting yourself full-time as a freelancer? Is there really money to be made?
As I mentioned, there was a time (back in 2007) when I wasn’t sure I could do it. At that time, I hadn’t set any real goals for myself. That all changed in the fall of 2007 when I began to strategize about the future of my writing. Instead of worrying about the challenges I faced, I got busy and put together a plan. I began to look for non-traditional ways to earn money with my writing. . .and it worked! That’s not to say I’ve “arrived,” but I have managed to support myself full-time from that point till now.

I would think that the writing industry would be very competitive. Why do you want to see others succeed? Aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot when you hand off potential freelance jobs to other authors?
The writing industry is competitive, but that doesn’t mean I am! Sure, I want to make a name for myself, (most writers do), but I’m equally as interested in training up other writers to be the best they can be. Why? I believe that Christian writers have been called by the Lord to spread His love through their writing. How will they get the word out if someone doesn’t show them the ropes? I love to see others succeed because we’re all one big happy family and we care about each other.

I know that you worked for several years as a writing teacher at a school of the arts. Could you share a little more about that?
From 1996 – 2001 I taught creative writing at a Houston area school of the arts that catered primarily to home-school students. What a blast I had! (Truly, these were some of the best years of my life.) Several of my students traveled with me to national writing conferences (like Mount Hermon and ACFW), and a few went on to be published in various genres. My students will tell you that I was the most creative teacher on the block. I was always looking for a new, fresh way to teach the writing craft. My writing lessons have been compiled into a text, which I titled, “Creative Writing for the Christian Student.” It is available to freelance writing course participants. I love stirring up the creative gifts in my students! I hope that shows in these lessons!

If you could list one of the biggest frustrations that freelance writers face, what would that be?
The biggest frustration of all is this: Some markets don’t want to pay. This is especially true when it comes to the Internet. It’s so challenging to make a living when you can’t figure out who pays and who doesn’t! But that’s why I created this course! There are so many markets that do pay, and many of them are relatively untapped. Freelancers can earn money. . .they just have to discover where the money is! (And I plan to help them in that journey!)

You’ve said there’s money to be made. . .but where? What avenues are available to freelancers?

At, students will explore multiple areas where they can earn money with their writing. Lessons include:
• Setting Career Goals
• Magazine Article Writing
• Write for Hire Work
• Marketing and Public Relations
• Becoming a Public Speaker
• Becoming a Creative Writing Teacher
• Making Money as an Editor
• Writing and Selling the Non-Fiction Book
• Writing and Selling the Novel
• Secrets From the World of the Pros
Each lesson will cover a host of possibilities and will give real, practical suggestions.

You’ve mentioned other lessons that aren’t yet available. Could you share a few here?
Sure! Each of the ten topics listed above will eventually become its own course (with multiple lessons in each). I’ll be heading back into the recording studio soon to cover the topic of magazine articles more thoroughly. I’ll also record lessons covering all aspects of fiction writing. We’ll talk about passive vs. active writing, plotting, characterization, and much more. I’ve also got a host of lessons coming up related to non-fiction books. We’ll delve into specific topics related to write-for-hire work (my favorite!) and will share a host of lessons on marketing and PR. Hang on for the ride! Participants in these various courses will get the tools they need to work as a pro in the industry.

How, exactly, will these courses work?
When participants sign up and pay, they will be granted access to the “inner sanctum” of the site, where they can view the various components of the lessons, (the audio file, audio script, worksheet, power point and forum). I would suggest folks start with the first lesson (Setting Goals) and go from there. They can print up a copy of the worksheet and follow along with the audio and power point presentation. Then, at a designated time, participants can meet with me in the forum to discuss the topic at hand. I love the fact that this is all so user-friendly and participants can work at their own pace.

If you could tell beginning freelancers one thing, what would it be?
Don’t give up. Keep going and keep looking for creative ways to make money. Examine new markets. Learn all you can about the industry. Become friends with editors. The potential for money-making is there, but much of it is relational.

Why do you feel so strongly about stirring up the gifts?
There’s a scripture I love where the apostle Paul speaks to his young protégé, Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (II Timothy 1:6 NIV) The King James version uses the words “stir up the gift” instead of “fan into flame the gift.” The idea is the same. Gifts need stirring and fanning. As a published author, I make it my goal to “stir the gifts” of those hoping to be published (or hoping to be published in more markets). I know that these lessons will stir people up. I could sense it as I recorded them. Changing lives. . .and encouraging writers. . .what could be better?

I understand you won the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers “Mentor of the Year” award. Could you tell us more about that? What role does mentoring play in your life and how will you incorporate mentoring into your online writing courses?
I have a theory about mentoring. I believe that everyone should have someone they’re mentoring and someone they’re being mentored by. If we ever think we’re too “big” to be mentored, we’re in trouble! And it’s imperative that we pour into the lives of those who are learning the writing craft, especially if we’re published and/or doing well in the industry. I’m tickled that I received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. I can think of nothing better to be remembered for than mentoring others, to be quite honest. Writing books is great, sure. And getting my name out there is fun, too. But if I don’t mentor. . .if I don’t pass along what I’ve learned, then my writing is nothing but selfish pleasure. I don’t ever want to be known as a selfish author. I want to be known as a giver and an encourager. My prayer is that people who take this course will see my heart for all writers to succeed and earn money doing what they love!

Janice, where else can people find you on the web?
My freelance writing courses site:
My book-related website: www.janiceathompson
My blog:
My facebook page:
My facebook reader’s page:
Explanation of the Course on YouTube site:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Are You a New Creation?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I had the joy and privilege of speaking to a Celebrate Recovery group last night and, as always, came away blessed. What a group of Jesus-lovers! I believe one of the main reasons for that is that they live out the truth of Jesus’ words about those who have been forgiven much also loving much.
These people know about the power of walking in newness of life. We talk about that a lot in the church, but do we really understand or practice it? When I first became a Christian, I was so full of joy—and it showed! No one accused me of having been baptized in vinegar, I guarantee you! But as time went on, I found myself getting caught up in an ever growing to-do list. You know the drill: memorize more scripture verses; attend more Sunday school classes and Bible studies; volunteer for more ministries; above all, learn and utilize the language of “Christianeze” (i.e., “anointing,” “unction,” “rapture,” etc.)
Nothing wrong with any of these things, of course; in fact, I highly recommend them (though I’d go easy on the Christianeze if I were you!). The problem is that I began to substitute the true newness of life that had initially given me so much joy with activities that sapped that joy and damaged my testimony. Can anyone relate?
When God says that we’re “new creations,” He means it. We don’t have to find ways to “act” new; we simply have to “be” who God has already declared us to be. And that, of course, only happens in His presence because as new creations we are now living His eternal life, not our own temporal ones. We now choose to walk as He walked, which included lots of time spent with the Father.
Do you want to be assured that your joy will remain full to overflowing? Do you want to exhibit that new life that God has already given you? Spend time with the Father. Cultivate your love relationship with Him. That’s the only real “activity” that is required of us as new creations. And remember, when God says that “old things” have passed away and “all things’ have become new, He means it. We don’t have to work or strive to earn newness of life—we received it when we received Jesus as Savior. And that’s a truth that enables us to rest and rejoice, no matter what trials or circumstances come our way.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Praying Pals and My "Adopted" Daughters, Stacie and Carrie


In the United States, Wisconsin U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb recently ruled the National Day of Prayer as "unconstitutional." But the United States' Christians and the United Kingdom's Christians share a shocking, disconcerting commonality: increasingly climactic persecution. In Europe, the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, alerted Christians worldwide with a shocking warning:

"In recent years, there has been a wave of relentless and shameless attempts to hollow out our nation's deep-seated roots in the Christian faith...This week, a nurse in Devon is courageously taking her NHS Trust to an employment tribunal after being told she cannot wear a cross she has had since her confirmation 38 years ago...We see many other situations, including the banning of school nativity plays, the inability of Christian charities to gain public funding and noise abatement orders on Sunday worshippers...The Church is facing an increasingly secular outlook which sees no place for religious believers in public life. Yet a faith which does not influence a believer's whole life is not a faith at all, merely a hobby or a preference."

In such a time as this, Stacie Ruth Stoelting founded Praying Pals, an outreach of Bright Light Suddenly, Praying Pals expanded exponentially with Christians joining worldwide to pray together each week. Praying Pals has grown exponentially with over +1100 prayer warriors worldwide who pray together each Friday. Praying Pals deliciously satisfies the craving of people's hearts: to interact with their Maker.

Stacie Ruth shares hope thru word and song "to spread the word about the Word": She's an author, speaker, and recording artist who has sung for the 43rd President of the United States, Sarah Palin, etc. Yes, she's recently recorded with Grammy and Dove winners but she's much more interested in being a soul winner. (With Jesus, anyone can win!) A feature writer/columnist, she's prayed with the feeble and the famous (i.e. Sarah Palin, Ann Graham Lotz). Stacie Ruth knows well the astounding fact: the Almighty Creator listens to our hearts and loves us deeply regardless of backgrounds.

Stacie Ruth says, “[With Praying Pals], we use the Internet to pray and love Jesus instead of letting the Internet to prey on and use us.” God works mightily and receives all glory. The Lord is working through Praying Pals and it is steadily growing every day. Unbound by geographic and denominational boundaries, the Christian prayer group prays each week without hesitation.

Starting soon, Praying Pals will have its own program on a new radio network. With "live" prayer worldwide each Friday at 3:00P.M. CDT, the Praying Pals Program will allow Christians worldwide to unite and pray. It will also include answered prayer stories, guests, worship, and applicable, Biblical tips on prayer. With passion, she offers tips on how to make prayer as easy breathing, how to make prayer a part of daily life, how to use prayer as a way to share Jesus' love with hurting friends/co-workers/family members, and other excellent insights each week.

Here's one of her top tips: "Would you like God to use you today? Well, offer to pray with someone. Send an e-mail to your pastor and tell him you're praying. Call a relative. Text your friend a quick prayer."

Let's unite and pray together while there's still time. Discover why prayer is powerful and necessary in our walk with God. Join Praying Pals today on Facebook or at

Call (712) 225-2161 to schedule an interview with Stacie Ruth or e-mail

Bright Light Ministry
John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

A Practical Help for Those with Aging Parents

As the mother of grown sons who on occasion gave me a challenge or two in their growing-up years (HA!), I was greatly blessed and encouraged by Allison Bottke's Setting Boundaries for Your Adult Children. Now I am equally blessed and excited about her new book, Setting Boundaries with Your Aging Parents. If you or anyone you know is in a similar situation, please take a moment to check out this excellent resource, which is available in most stores and online venues. Blessings!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Letter from My Publisher--will you help?

Good afternoon,

In an effort to launch our new fiction category at New Hope, we are initiating an Amazon blast on April 27, 2010 (next Tuesday). Our goal is to raise awareness of New Hope Publishers and our authors in a way that enhances visibility and sales for all of our books and our authors. Like every new title we release, we want to make an impact on both the market place and readers’ lives. Please help us make this campaign successful by joining us in this effort! While we will not be doing this for every book, we do want to try this with our first fiction titles. Your investment is also an investment in ongoing sales of all New Hope titles.

Ways you can be involved:

Purchase No Greater Love at Amazon
Tweet this – “New – Fiction with a Mission – get it today at Amazon -”
Facebook this – “New – Fiction with a Mission – get it today at Amazon -”
Newsletter – Send a special blast to your newsletter subscribers promoting this new fiction series from New Hope. If you need any content, please let us know.
Blog about it

About the book:

Forbidden romance, an unlikely martyr and an even more unlikely hero. Orphaned four years earlier when their parents, active in the African National Congress (ANC) movement against apartheid, were murdered—16-year-old Chioma and her 15-year-old brother Masozi now live and work on an Afrikaner family’s farm.
When Chioma and Andrew, the farm owner’s son, find themselves attracted to one another, tragedy revisits their lives. Chioma escapes to join an ANC rebel band in her effort to survive and gain revenge for her family and culture. When cultures clash in life-or-death struggles, Chioma must choose between violence and revenge—or forgiveness and selfless love.
Loosely based on historical events and set near Pretoria, South Africa, in the violent upheaval prior to ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and his ascendance to the presidency of South Africa, this story of forbidden romance produces an unlikely martyr who is replaced by one even more unlikely.

Be watching for an upcoming email about our new Author Marketing Program!

Ashley Stephens


New Hope Publishers


Friday, April 16, 2010

Live interview tomorrow!

If possible I would love to have you join our live interview on “A Book and a Chat/Across the Pond” on blogtalkradio tomorrow at 11 a.m. Pacific. Here’s the link:

Because it’s live you’ll be able to call in, which would be great!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Do you have Extreme Devotion?

He who has the Son has life;
he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:12).

I’ve been asked a lot of questions lately about how/why I came up with a new fiction genre that my publisher (New Hope) calls “fiction with a mission.” Let me answer that by telling you the name of the series: “Extreme Devotion.” This particular series has to do with Christians in other countries who often pay a great price for their faith, but the term “extreme devotion” applies to anyone, anywhere, who is so in love with Jesus that all else pales by comparison.
Now if we claim to have that level of love for Christ, that should mean that we are ready at a moment’s notice to lay down anything or everything to follow Him. Anything? Everything? Really? Words may come easy, but actions are a bit tougher, particularly when those actions include following a Savior who had little or no earthly possessions, always put the needs of others ahead of His own, and then willingly died an excruciating death to purchase freedom for those who hated Him.
Hmm. Sort of stops us in our tracks and makes us think a bit, doesn’t it? And yet we know that the very same Jesus who lived and died so selflessly then rose from the grave and ascended into heaven to rejoin His beloved Father for all eternity. If we are committed to following after Jesus in life and death, then we can be assured that we will follow Him right into eternity with the Father.
What on earth could possibly compare to that? What temporal gain is worth trading for that eternal promise? If the Son of God is truly our Savior, then we already have eternal life; if we reject Him, we are dead even before we breathe our last.
It’s all about extreme devotion, living each day with the reminder that He is all and everything, and we need nothing else. What freedom and joy that knowledge brings! May you increase in extreme devotion to Him today, dear friends.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Perfect Mother's Day gift--in English or Spanish!

Isn't this exciting? The Spanish edition of Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers Today is releasing just in time for Mother's Day! You can order it (or the English version, of course), directly from my website ( If any of you speak Spanish, I'd love to have you post reviews on Amazon, CBD, etc. If you'll do that (buy one copy and post reviews), I'll send you another copy free. What do you think, dear friends?

Interview posted on Kay Marshall Strom's blog

Please stop by Kay Marshall Strom's syndicated blog to read her interview with yours truly and to leave a comment. I would so appreciate it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”
And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19:30).

Jesus spoke many powerful words while He walked this earth, but none more meaningful than His last three: “It is finished.” If we Christians truly understood the power and meaning behind these words, how much more would we love and serve the living God—and impact the dying world?
When Jesus spoke those words as He hung on the Cross, He was referring to a lot more than simply the end of His earthly life or even the cruel and hideous death that evil’s ignorance and God’s righteousness had imposed upon Him. The original meaning of the statement included a “paid in full” stamp for the sins of anyone willing to repent and receive God’s forgiveness.
One of my all-time favorite Christmas cards shows a lamb standing in a field, looking up at a star shining in the heavens. Underneath it says, “He came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.” What an appropriate visual for our celebration of Easter! He came at Christmas…to pay at Easter. And if He hadn’t? Then there would be no hope for any of us, for there was a debt on each of our accounts that was beyond our paying if we lived to be a thousand. There are not enough “good works” for us to perform to earn our way back into God’s presence, so Jesus came and paid the price for us. And when He uttered those final words—“It is finished”—He stamped our account in His blood: “Paid in full.”
It is a gift we can never repay, but one that we must never stop appreciating. At the center of who we are and everything we say and do must be the joyous and grateful remembrance that “it is finished”—our debt is paid and we can once again come into God’s presence.
An empty tomb is our guarantee.