Friday, February 28, 2014

Barbara Waite: Using One's Past to Enrich The Present

Everyone's Story is blessed to introduce author and missionary Barbara Waite. I love meeting people who glow with enthusiasm and warmth and that's exactly what Barbara does, especially when sharing her love of family. Barbara is fortunate to know about a very special family member: her grandmother, Elsie. She shares with us this week about Elsie's spunk back in early 20th century Arizona, as well as how she latched onto her grandmother's story and penned it into a fascinating book for all to read and glimpse a lifestyle that is part of American history. Barbara is also offering her book, VERY LOVINGLY YOURS, ELSIE in a Giveaway. She's looking forward to hearing from you!

Book Giveaway:
Barbara is offering one copy of her book VERY LOVINGLY YOURS, ELSIE to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, March 7th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

The Gift My Grandmother Gave Me by Barbara Waite

I first picked up Elsie’s well-worn black leather diary in 1987, not realizing it would reveal a young Elsie that I had never imagined. The diary told of her first love, of heartache and sorrow, and of fascinating adventure from 1913-1916. Never had I pictured my grandmother as being freehearted, young and in love. Among her many published short stories and articles I also discovered an unfinished, handwritten manuscript that did not appear to be the work of someone who was almost 97 years old. It was author and educator Elsie Reed Hayes Roberts’ final project, unfortunately never completed. Never before had she written anything that stirred me like this unfinished story of love and adventure in the early state of Arizona. Obviously, these three years in her early twenties had been an unforgettable time for her. 
Her diary could not give me all the answers to the questions it created, but hidden in library archives were surprising discoveries. Piece by piece, through letters, newspaper articles, and her diary, her story deepened. Elsie frequently described her Arizona years as “glorious.” 
She was college educated and loved literature and culture. In Arizona she taught barefoot, burro-riding children, and she referred to some of them as being “common and needing baths.” As she learned to love this wild countryside and the children, her attitude changed dramatically. She discovered an admiration for the character of these back-woods farmers, ranchers and their children. Elsie fell in love with Arizona. And a couple of young men fell in love with Elsie. My research uncovered a tender, yet tragic, love story. In 1988 I located and interviewed 8 of her former students that were then elderly treasures. Elsie had taught them for 9 months in a one-room school in Arizona 75 years before. Yet they had vivid memories that were a match to the ones Elsie had written about in her letters and diary.
My biggest surprise was when I approached a National Monument bookstore in Arizona about selling Elsie. The gentleman questioned if the book was fiction. I answered that it was taken directly from her letters and diary and that I had added historical information and explanations. His response was, “Your book is interpretive History!” Taken by surprise I said, “Yes, it is.” Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments have sold over 500 copies. I never dreamed “Interpretive History” had so much potential. What an adventure writing this book has been. My favorite of the 265 Amazon reviews came from a woman of 103 that read Elsie on a Kindle and “Skyped” her review!

I chose to independently publish the book. I hesitate to use the term “self-publish” since I hired editors, designers, and proofreaders. I wanted to have the publication coincide with Arizona’s Centennial for February, 2012. It came out on Amazon in November of 2011. I was nervous that I might not recover the $3,000.00 investment we had made in the creation of the book. I was thrilled that was recovered in less than a year. I have been able to place the book in 24 retail outlets in Arizona. I have even had the opportunity to do a book signing at a Costco in Arizona. Print sales are now over 2,000 and E-book sales over 5,000. I think one of the advantages to independently publishing is the freedom to take advantage of using free Kindle days on Amazon. I actually used free days 8 times. Amazon’s KDP program was also a good return financially for me.

I would not have been able to write “Elsie” without the letters she had saved. Her letters from her mother were a connection that I treasure. I never knew my great-grandmother, May Carrie Hayes. Through her letters I have had a glimpse into her relationship with Elsie and a picture of her character.

Bible study to multi-cultural group of ladies in
Antigua, West Indies. Barbara is third from
Elsie’s letters were her only way to communicate with her family in California. I can imagine the anticipation for her family as they waited for those precious letters from their daughter in a new state that was still thought of as the “Wild West.” I wonder what we will leave behind as a record of the significant events of our lives. I encourage friends to leave behind a permanent record of what their lives were like for their grandchildren to someday treasure. Thanks Elsie and May Carrie Hayes for saving those letters from 100 years ago. They are a priceless inheritance. I am blessed.
Elsie’s Mountain Years - Coming Soon
I have had numerous requests for a sequel that would tell of Elsie’s years after she married.  I am working on that project. For years Elsie lived on a mountain and she and her husband operated an apple ranch and opened a rustic resort there.  I find it interesting how self-sufficient they were. They lived off the land for the most part. Elsie had a recipe for squirrel and quail pie that I find humorous; her note at the bottom reminds “be sure the squirrel is not too old.” My mother spent the first 5 years of her life living on the apple ranch. I have vintage photos of my mom riding in an apple crate cart.  The words on the side of the crate say, “Keep in a cool dry place.” That would be a difficult task to accomplish with a baby. The old, gnarled apple trees that Elsie’s father planted in 1904 still produce fabulous apples. There is something rewarding in writing about things that have not changed and revealing those that have changed entirely. History, when viewed through the eyes of someone who lived it, can be rich and enlightening.
Barbara's Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author Barbara Waite shares how she made her family history come to literary life on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Everyone has a story: Barbara Waite, author & missionary, encourages sharing family history. (Tweet This)

Like combo of history & family? Barbara Waite shares memoir. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
Author's Bio:
Barbara Anne Waite is a California gal that moved to the small Caribbean island of Antigua 40 years ago where she and her husband served as missionaries for 38 years. In 1967 Barbara graduated from nursing school, married Curt and the adventures began. Always an avid reader Barbara has published her first book and is working on her second. She home schooled all 4 children and is thrilled that two have been involved in international education. Her oldest son has a doctorate in education and her daughter teaches in Malaysia. Barbara & Curt are blessed with 5 grandchildren. Barbara inherited  Elsie’s love of story telling and her favorite thing to do is teach ladies truths from God’s word.  The Waites recently retired in California. She enjoys speaking at book clubs, community groups and bookstores. On GoodReads – Listopia “Elsie- Arizona Teacher 1913-1916” is #1 in The Old West In First Person and is #3 in the The American Frontier list.
Places to connect with Barbara:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jim Denney: Replacing Fear With Courage In Writing

Everyone's Story welcome author Jim Denney. What grabs my attention and heart about Jim is his enthusiasm for helping other writers, coupled with  the power and glory there is in allowing God to bless our writing: for Jim, there seems to be no separation. Read Jim's message for inspiration on writing and living, fearlessly. Jim also has written two writing how-to books that he is generously offering as Giveaways to two viewers who leave comments. Jim is looking forward to hearing from you!

Book Giveaway:
Jim is offering a great opportunity for two lucky winners. Each randomly chosen winner will have a choice of either WRITE FEARLESSLY or WRITING IN OVERDRIVE. The winners also have their choice between paperback or e-version. Great deal! The winners will be announced here on Friday, February 28th, between 5-6 PM EST. Please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Live Fearlessly! by Jim Denney

In 1982, a man contacted me and said, "Jim, you do magazine writing. How would you like to write a book? I'll give you my notes and we'll split the publisher's advance."

"I've never written a book before," I said. "I don't know if I can."

"You won't know until you try. Seems to me that writing a ten-chapter book is no harder than writing ten magazine articles, right?"

When he put it that way, I had to give it a try. By the time I turned in the completed manuscript, my confidence as a writer had increased a thousand percent.

I've written more than a hundred books since then. To be successful, we must accept new challenges—even if we doubt ourselves. That’s how we build our confidence.

Many writers have told me they struggle with fear and insecurity. "I'm afraid I don't have the talent to be a writer," they tell me. Or, "I'm afraid of starting." Or, "I'm afraid I can't finish." Or, "I'm afraid of rejection."

We experience fear in many forms, and most of our fears are baseless. Many are self-inflicted. Unresolved guilt can make us fearful of punishment. Physical exhaustion and stress can heighten our fears. Sometimes we frighten ourselves by watching scary movies or too much TV news.

But we don't have to be paralyzed by fear. We can train ourselves to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate fear. We can learn to respond to risk with confidence and optimism. Here are some ways to replace fear with courage:

1. Trade fearful messages for confident messages. As Robert Kiyosaki has said, "It’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power."
Many athletes, before a performance, are afraid of failure. Negative messages like "What if I get hurt?" can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Successful athletes block fear by telling themselves, "I can do this!" Through confident messages, the athlete commands his body to perform.
Novelist John Steinbeck once wrote in his journal, "I’m not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself." Then he added, "I’ll try to go on with work now. Just a stint every day does it." He recorded his self-doubts—then told himself, in effect, "If I just keep working, I'll succeed in spite of my doubts." The book he was writing was The Grapes of Wrath—the novel that earned him a Pulitzer. Replace fear with confident messages, and there's no limit to how far you can go.
2. Act courageously in spite of your fear. "Do the thing you fear," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "and the death of fear is certain." Feelings follow actions. Act bravely, and you soon feel brave. As Piglet once told Winnie-the-Pooh, "I didn't mean to be brave—it just happened when I panicked!"

3. Read courageous books, including fiction. Heroic stories about characters that overcome fear actually inspire us with courage. We identify with our heroes and internalize the lessons in their stories. If your children struggle with fears, real or imagined, great children's literature can strengthen their courage.
I wrote my Timebenders series (beginning with Battle Before Time) immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks. Though the books aren't about 9/11, I wrote them to help young readers imaginatively experience what it feels like to demonstrate courage in perilous times. When a hero conquers fear, the reader shares the victory.

4. Focus on faith and Scripture. Be emboldened by the 23rd Psalm: "I will fear no evil; for You are with me." Remember God's command to Joshua: "Be strong and courageous . . . for the Lord your God will be with you" (Joshua 1:9).
Remember Paul's advice: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). And: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Meditate in Scripture, pray for courage, then keep moving forward in faith and obedience. Fear no evil, for God is with you.

Jim's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Jim Denney on Everyone’s Story: To be successful, we must accept new challenges. (Tweet This)

Author Jim Denney shares ways to replace fear with courage in writing. (Tweet This)

Win Jim Denney’s WRITING IN OVERDRIVE or WRITE FEARLESSLY on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Jim Denney has more than 100 published books to his credit, including the Timebenders series. He has just released two inspiring ebooks for writers, Writing in Overdrive and Write Fearlessly. He has written books with supermodel Kim Alexis, Super bowl champion Reggie White, and Orlando Magic founder Pat Williams.

Places to connect with Jim:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tanya Eavenson: Why She's Handing Her Future To God

Everyone's Story welcomes the lovely Tanya Eavenson. As a blogger who hosts weekly guests from all over the world I've been blessed to share exciting news, have offered shoulders to lean on, helped to lift others in spirit, have been taught many unexpected life lessons, and in the case of Tanya's special week here, offer a bittersweet sampling of the contrasts in life and why we all need to reach out to the only One who is strong enough to get us through our days. Please congratulate Tanya as she celebrates her one-year anniversary of her release of her debut novel UNCONDITIONAL. Check out her novel excerpt and special Giveaway offer! And see what news Tanya wants to share with you and why she does. Please consider adding Tanya into your prayers. Heartfelt thanks.

Book Giveaway:
Tanya is offering one e-version of her novel UNCONDITIONAL to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, February 21st, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Here's a peek inside from Tanya's novel:

UNCONDITIONAL by Tanya Eavenson

Chapter One

Elizabeth pushed herself up from the bed. Her gaze swept the dark room and fixed on the hall nightlight. Her hand grazed over her husband’s shoulder when a thought gripped her. Katherine. The baby monitor stood silent. Darkness shrouded the red and green lights that indicated movement.
Her chest tightened. She hurled the covers away and leapt to the floor. Panic made her clumsy as she rushed to her daughter’s room. She lunged over the crib. No sound. No movement. Not even a stirring of air from her tiny nostrils.
“Katherine!” Elizabeth snatched her daughter from the mattress. The infant drew a heavy breath as her eyes flung wide open.
Lord, what’s happening?
Elizabeth’s bare feet pounded the cold tile as she ran back to her husband. “Chris, wake up! Katherine quit breathing again!”
Chris rubbed his eyes and scowled. “What is it?”
“We need to take Katherine to the hospital. She stopped breathing.”
He studied their child. “She seems to be breathing now. Are you sure?”
“Of course, I’m sure.”
“She’s fine.” Chris fell back against the pillow.
“We don’t have the money to take her to the hospital when there’s nothing wrong with her.”
“But there is. She stopped breathing.”
He sat back up. “You’ve been worried about her since before she was born. You’re all worked up because she hasn’t rolled over yet. The doctor said that’s normal for being early.”
She’s called a preemie. She glared into his eyes. “If you were home more often you’d know she’s not fine.”
“I’m home, Elizabeth, and she’s fine.”
Heat flushed her cheeks as tears filled her eyes. “I’m scared. Can’t you see that? I need you to pray for our daughter. I need you to hold me and tell me everything will be all right.”
“Look, she’s sleeping.” His voice softened as his hand ran down her thigh. “Come to bed.”
“How can you care so little? I’m worried about our baby.”
Chris’s hand dropped to the sheets. “Shut the door when you leave.” He turned away from her.
Elizabeth stood for a moment unable to speak. With their baby in her arms, she slowly closed the door behind her and sank her teeth into her lip to keep from crying. If tears came, it would be for her daughter, not for the stranger in her bed.

From Fiction to Reality By Tanya Eavenson

Ever had those moments when you read a novel and it’s as if the author wrote the story line, the characters, or included a verse just for you?

At the beginning of December, I took a novel from my bookshelf, snuggled on the couch with a blanket, and began to read. The title of the novel is called The Rancher’s Reunion by Tina Radcliffe. The hero in the story is Will, and he has a hereditary disease that caused him to fear, not only his future, but in trusting God. And that’s when God used this story to speak to me, when my world turned from fiction to reality by a flip of the page.

“I’m scared, Annie.”
“I know, Will. I know.” She blinked back the moisture pricking her eyes.
“No, Annie. I don’t think you do. I’m not just scared. I’m terrified.”

And I understood Will’s fear. Weeks prior to reading this novel, my doctor told me I had cancer. It’s a single word that can change the course of your life, emotionally, physically, but not only yours, others around you. And though I knew God’s presence would be with me no matter what the future held, my desire to write or edit anything had vanished. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to write anymore with my future so uncertain. I wasn’t just scared, but terrified my time with my family would be shortened.

But as I continued to read Will’s story, God’s whispered words, Do not be afraid of things you cannot control, pray, and continue your call to write, took hold and draped around my heart.

I knew at that moment this book was meant to be read at this appointed time. That God was leading me to give Him every single fear, open my laptop, and begin to write again.

It’s been three weeks since I’ve been back to writing and editing. It’s slow going, but I’ve given my fears to God the only way I can, like Will, doing it God’s way. Day by day. Moment by moment. For the rest of my life.

If you’ve ever been like me and allowed fear to control your future, 1 Samuel 12:24 is a wonderful reminder. Don’t fear the future or things you cannot control, but live a life God has called you. So have you ever had times in your life where fiction turned to reality? If so, I’d love to hear your story. 

For anyone who doesn't win Tanya's novel in the Giveaway, UNCONDITIONAL is on sell for $.99 on Amazon this week. Check it out here and take advantage of this great read during Tanya's one-year anniversary of her debut novel.

Tanya's Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone has a story: Author Tanya Eavenson’s travels from fiction to reality. (Tweet This)

Fear the future? Check out author Tanya Eavenson’s remedy. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Plain afraid? Tanya Eavenson has a suggestion. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Tanya Eavenson’s novel UNCONDTIONAL. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Tanya Eavenson enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries.

Places to connect with Tanya:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rhonda and Kaley Faith Rhea: Why Changes In Life Are Possible

Everyone's Story warmly welcomes the mother and daughter duo Rhonda and Kaley Faith Rhea. I love watching how God graces people and in return how these recipients take His gifts and turn them around to shower His beauty on others. When I first became acquainted with Rhonda I thought she had so much going for her, marveling how she helps others to smile while bringing them closer to God. Now I'm pleased to see God expanding her reach as Mom Rhonda shares her joy of God with both her daughters in a TV program and co-authoring with daughter Kaley. It's my pleasure to host Rhonda and Kaley Faith this week. Please check out their interview, Rhonda's awesome and uplifting YouTube video, and of yeah, their generous BookGiveaway! We're all looking forward to hearing from you.

Book Giveaway:
Rhonda is offering a great opportunity for two lucky winners. One randomly chosen winner will win ESPRESSO YOUR FAITH and a second randomly chosen winner will win HOW MANY LIGHTBULBS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A PERSON. The winners will be announced here on Friday, February 14th, between 5-6 PM EST. Please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

This is Part 1 of 4 part series on How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take To Change A Person that Rhonda has shared on YouTube. It's full of warmth and smiles. Check it out!

Questions for Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea

Rhonda, if you were to describe yourself to a stranger curious about your writing and speaking, what would you say?

I would probably say that this kind of insanity is not contagious so DON’T BE AFRAID. Sometimes a bit of crazy is a good way to open the door to chat about topics that really count.

Rhonda, how did you venture into your career as a beloved writer, radio personality, and now TV star?

Beloved? Star? I love the way you ask questions. Thanks for that. I actually started writing articles, then humor columns (and I still enjoy doing both of those), then books. I’m so excited about my 10th nonfiction book, just releasing now. It’s a book for pastors’ wives titled, Join the Insanity—Crazy-Fun Life in the Pastors’ Wives Club. I happen to be a pastor’s wife and this book is a heart-to-heart to refresh and encourage fellow ministers’ wives. I’m also so very excited about the first two fiction works co-authored with Kaley. The first is releasing this year. We’ve had a blast working on them. Anyway, after the first few books, more radio and TV doors began to open. It’s great to have so many different ways to connect with people on topics I’m passionate about.

Kaley, you’ve co-authored two novels with your mom and both you and your sister, Allie, work with your mom hosting a TV show, “That’s My Mom.” How did this family partnership come about? You make it look easy, but is such collaboration easy?

We make it look easy, huh? Nice. It’s probably because the three of us are all consummate professionals. … Oh, wow. Go easy on the disbelieving stares. Okay, so we’re rarely professional, but that’s probably a pretty huge part of why we work well together. We’ve had a couple decades to get to know one another—our strengths and weaknesses; so I think that kind of frees us up creatively. For the most part, each of us gets to work on portions of whatever our current project is for which we are best suited. Also, I think that—especially with the TV show—the whole opportunity was one we couldn’t have orchestrated if we’d tried. So totally a God thing. It makes it a little harder to have a bad attitude or an ego trip when the very thing you’re working on is a glaring reminder itself that, Hey. It’s not about you. Silly goose. Also it helps that we like each other and if we weren’t doing this, we’d still be hanging out. Probably God realized He’d better give us something productive to do because we clearly should not be left to our own devices.

Kaley, tell us about GET A GRIP and CLING TO REALITY, your soon-to-be released novels.

Stoked! Do people still say stoked? Yeah, I’m gonna go with that. I am so stoked about these two books. They’re in a series tentatively titled Invisible Hands. It follows brothers Micah and Sammy (aged seventeen and thirteen respectively) who lost their parents ten years before the story begins. When a startling and potentially dangerous ability begins to present itself in Sam, the boys are thrust from their already unstable lives into a world of chaos. There’s peril and stuff. Mortal danger, etc. But it’s mostly about these characters—about people and family and trust and whether or not God is even really there much less someone to be counted on. It’s been a blast writing these guys. The target audience is probably young adults, but really, this series is for anyone who’s into fiction.

Rhonda, why “hilarity and hope in Christ”?

The hilarity is a direct result of the aforementioned crazy. That part is actually a tool that helps us get to the heart message, that heart message being the genuine hope found only in Christ. Hope in Christ makes all the difference in life. It’s the difference between living in joy or defeat, bearing fruit in life or never accomplishing anything of eternal value, understanding what life is about or missing it altogether. Jesus IS that heart message.

Kaley, your mom’s forte is humor. What about you and your sister? Do you counterbalance or add to the humor and what do you all offer readers and viewers?

Well, we think we’re hilarious. Ha, I’ve gotta say, Allie cracks me up on a daily basis, and she is so crazy creative. If you get a chance to watch That’s My Mom, should you find yourself laughing audibly, I would lay odds that it was either something she said or some segment that she came up with. All in all, I think we all play off each other pretty well. As far as what Allie and I offer to readers and viewers, I think it’s cool that we’re all at different stages of life. Like my mom, obviously is…hm. As a writer, I should probably be able to come up with a better term than older, but… More mature? Um…ripened? That’s terrible. She’s been a Christian the longest out of the three of us. That’s all I’m saying. And she’s got all this godly wisdom, and she’s an excellent example of a wife and a mom. There’s just a ton there, and I love it. Then there’s Allie who has a giant heart for missions, been all over the world, and is a newlywed. And then there’s me, living the single life. All of us face and have faced different challenges, and I think that’s equal parts fun and valuable. I can hardly be in the same room as these two without learning something.

So, Rhonda, how many lightbulbs does it take to change a person and what does one do—short of dashing off to Wal-Mart to buy more—if they run out of the power to change a bulb?

If I were a good marketer I’d tell you that to find the answer to that question, you have to read the book. But since marketing is not always my best thing, I’ll just tell you. It requires zero lightbulbs. But it does require full surrender to THE Light. And as we surrender to Jesus, the Light of the world, any—absolutely any—change is possible.

If you would like to revisit with Rhonda on her first guest appearance on Everyone's Story, visit here.

Rhonda and Kaley's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Mother & daughter writing duo, Rhonda & Kaley Faith Rhea, shares how to collaborate with family members. (Tweet This)

Rhonda & Kaley Faith Rhea: adding “hilarity and hope in Christ” (Tweet This)

Rhonda Rhea & Kaley Faith Rhea offer a 2 #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Everyone has a story: meet Rhonda & Kaley Faith Rhea. What’s the firm ground they stand on? (Tweet This)

Authors's Bio:
Get a Grip and Cling to Reality are the first two novels co-authored by mother/daughter writing team, Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Faith Rhea. Along with fellow-family-member, Allie Rhea McMullin, they co-host a weekly TV show for Christian Television Network called, “That’s My Mom.” Rhonda Rhea is also a nationally-known speaker, a humor columnist and the author of 10 nonfiction books, including Join the Insanity and Espresso Your Faith. Rhonda is a pastor’s wife and mother of five grown children. She and Kaley both live in the St. Louis area.

Places to connect with Rhonda and Kaley:
Website for Rhonda
Website for Kaley
Rhonda's Twitter
Kaley's Twitter

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