Feature Frasier Judge: Lisa Jordan

This year’s Frasier Contest has just opened! Today, we’re celebrating one of the authors who makes the contest possible. Lisa Jordan is one of our Frasier Judges, and Lakeside Redemption, her fourth novel, released this month.

Lisa, can you tell us a little bit about your new book?

Zoe James is starting over. She’s worked hard to get past the foolish mistakes that landed her in trouble four years ago. Now the young mom is back in Shelby Lake and ready to reconnect with her son. When she bumps into old friend Caleb Sullivan and his two adorable girls, she sees the possibility of a happy future. Caleb has always secretly loved Zoe, but her turbulent past brings up tough memories of his own. As they spend time together training his girls’ new puppy, Zoe and Caleb will learn that if they can forgive themselves, they might have a chance at a new life—and new love—together.

How did God change you through the course of writing your novel?

There’s a scene toward the end of Lakeside Redemption where Caleb asks Zoe, “Where’s your faith? Where’s your fight?”

I wrote this book during the hardest time of my life. In addition to already mourning the loss of my dad and my father-in-law’s battle with cancer, our youngest son became critically ill the same week my manuscript was due. I sat next to my son’s bed at a university hospital three hours from our house and listened to the hissing of his oxygen meter while I tried to connect words together to form sentences that would make a smidgen of sense. My prayers became a chant of “Please heal him, Lord. Please don’t take my baby (who was 20 years old at that time).” I’ve never been more scared than during that week wondering if he was going to live. I posted desperate pleas for prayer on Facebook.

One night, while trying to sleep in a recliner next to his bed, I felt such an incredible peace. It was as if God was standing beside me with his hand on my shoulder, reminding me to stay faithful because He was going to fight on my son’s behalf. Two days later, the doctors came in and said, “Your son is getting better, but we don’t know why. It’s not because of anything we’re targeting.”

I knew. I knew why he was getting better. The amazing, incredible, mindblowing power of prayer. And God’s presence in that room as He watched one of his children fighting a nasty virus. The events leading up the writing and revising of this novel reminded me once again we serve a God who loves us unconditionally. He longs to have us lean into Him as we keep our faith…and our fight.

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unnamed (1)Lisa Jordan has been married to her real-life hero for the past 25 years. She and her husband have two sons. By day, Lisa is an early childhood educator, and by night, she is an award-winning author for Love Inspired. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, won the 2012 Carol Award for short contemporary romance. Her second novel, Lakeside Family, took second place in the 2013 IRCA. Lakeside Redemption, her fourth novel, released this month. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such. She also serves as the My Book Therapy Voices Community Hostess. In her free time, Lisa enjoys papercrafting, Netflix binging, and snuggling with her dog Penny. Visit her at www.lisajordanbooks.com.

 

 

Richard Mabry

Today, we’re celebrating one of the authors who helped us make the Frasier Contest possible! Richard Mabry’s recent book, Fatal Trauma, will be released by Abingdon Press this coming spring

Q: Richard, can you tell us a little bit about your next book?

It began with Dr. Mark Baker facing a gunman who had nothing to lose. It could end with him behind bars.

In the Emergency Room, Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Kelly Atkinson stand at the mercy of a gunman who declares, “If he dies, everyone here dies.” At the end of the evening three men lie dead. One of them is a police officer Mark and a surgeon, Dr. Anna King, couldn’t save. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel, and their threat of revenge puts the lives of Mark, Kelly, and others at risk.

It isn’t long before the shootings begin, and Mark finds himself under suspicion as a killer, yet still a potential victim. Because of Kelly’s growing love for Mark, she is hurt when he turns to his high school sweetheart, now an attorney, for help.

Who is the shooter? And can Mark find out before he becomes the next victim?

Q: What is one piece of writing advice you’d give the MyBookTherapy community?

I heard it almost from the time I started writing: keep your bottom in the chair, apply your fingers to the keyboard, and your persistence will get you published. And after six years as a published author, my assessment of that advice can be summarized in one word: hogwash! Yes, we should write, and write, and write some more. But don’t just write. Get someone knowledgeable—not your aunt or your wife or a friend—but someone who knows writing to critique your work. After you get over your pique that someone would dare criticize your efforts, go back and revise the work. Let it cool, read it again, and you’ll be surprised at the improvement. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to edit your own work. Is that it? No. Writers should also read. Read good novels so you’ll have a feel for what resonates with your reader. Read bad writing so you’ll know what to avoid. Never stop learning the craft. Never think you’ve arrived and know it all. That’s what I’ve learned about writing. It helped me. I hope it helps you, as well.

RLM headshot 2Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award. His latest, Critical Condition, is his seventh published novel, and will be followed this coming spring by Fatal Trauma. You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter, and his Facebook fan page.

 

 

Featured Fiction presents: Ann Tatlock

In a few months we’ll be gearing up for next year’s Frasier Contest. In the meantime, we’d like to celebrate some of the authors that help make it happen. Every Frasier Judge gives several hours of his or her time to give our contestants the best feedback possible. Ann Tatlock is a novelist and children’s book author. Her next book is “Once Beyond a Time”, and it comes out the 8th of December.

Ann, can you give us a little blurb about your book?

After settling into an old house nearly hidden on the side of a mountain, a broken family discovers that their new home is no ordinary place. Can all of time be happening at once? The family can see and speak with people who have lived there in the past, and with those who will live there in the future. They come and go. Are those people from beyond the present time apparitions or real?

It’s 1968, and Sheldon and Meg Crane have just moved their family from suburban Philadelphia to the town of Black Mountain, NC. Sheldon, the father, has resigned in disgrace from the ministry after an affair. He will now sell used cars for his brother-in-law’s auto dealership. Sheldon is burdened by his wife’s unwillingness to forgive and his daughter’s anger over his moving the family to a small town, far from her friends. The oldest son is in Vietnam. The only happy member of the family is his eight-year-old son, Digger. But then, Digger suddenly disappears. Has he been kidnapped, or has he wandered off into the dark forest? How does the “house beyond time” provide the answers, the healing power of forgiveness, and show the loving sovereignty of God?

How did God change you through the course of writing your novel?

Writing this book about time has been a lesson in God’s timelessness and in God’s timing. I began writing this novel 10 years ago, but I wasn’t very far into it when my publisher rejected it as “too paranormal.” I tried to explain that there’s nothing paranormal about the story, but they would have none of it. As far as they were concerned, people were talking to dead people and that meant it dealt with the occult.

First of all, I’m strongly opposed to anything linked to the occult and would never choose to write about it. Second, no character in my story is dead. Each one is very much alive. On top of that, I don’t even believe in ghosts; that is, I don’t believe disembodied souls wander the earth haunting people and places. Nor do I believe that the souls of believers are dead at any rate; rather, they are alive, truly alive in God’s presence. And yes, I also believe in hell, as unpopular as that idea is today. So, in my estimation, the souls of those who have died are in one place or the other, and that place is not here on earth.

As I wrote this book, what I was thinking of and wondering about wasn’t ghosts and haunted houses but rather God’s timelessness. As Revelation 1:8 tells us, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (KJV). Unlike humans who occupy a single point in time, God stretches from start to finish, he is and was and is to come, and therefore he is the Eternal Now. He created time for our use, but he remains outside of it and is unhindered by it. So, I wondered, what if one was able to “fall out of time” and experience what God experiences? That is the premise of my story.

After my original publisher rejected it, I peddled the book everywhere. I took it to ICRS and handed it to editors. I heard nothing in response. Years passed. I went on to write five other books. I got a new agent who said a publisher wanted to know if I had anything as yet unpublished that they might consider. Yes, unpublished and unfinished. I dug out what I had of Once Beyond A Time and sent it to my agent who sent it to the publisher. They said if I finished it, they would take it. I finished it but the acquisitions editor left and the book was dropped.

I thought this book would never be published. But that’s where God’s timing comes in. Eddie Jones started a publishing house and, after reprinting my out-of-print books with good results, asked me if he could publish an original. I once again pulled out Once Beyond A Time and the rest is history. Or not really history so much as yet-to-be-seen. This is God’s time for this book and I have no idea why but I know that God knows why. Because he is already in the future as sure as he was in the past all those years ago when I started writing this story. He has a purpose for everything and, because of his timelessness, I can trust his timing.

So at long last, here it is. Have a good time, and God bless!

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Ann Tatlock 1 color (1)Ann Tatlock is a novelist and children’s book author. Her books have received numerous awards, including the Christy Award, the Midwest Book Award and the Silver Angel Award for Excellence in Media. She also serves as managing editor of Heritage Beacon, the historical fiction imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She lives with her family in Western North Carolina. Please visit her website at www.anntatlock.com.

Featured Fiction: Anne Mateer

Today, we’re celebrating one of the authors who helped us make the Frasier Contest possible! Anne Mateer’s recent book, Rancher Under Fire, is a contemporary suspense.

Q: Anne, can you tell us a little bit about your next book?

Playing by Heart released in September. It is a historical novel (more of a true romance than my previous three books) set on the home front during World War I.
Lula Bowman has a plan for her life. That plan includes a post-graduate degree in mathematics. But when tragedy strikes her sister’s family, Lula finds herself thrust out of academia and into the role of music teacher and girls basket ball coach—two pursuits she considers frivolous. Determined to do her best, get her sister back on her feet, and return to her plans, Lula doesn’t count on the giving her heart to a man who understands her in ways she never dreamed possible.

Q: How did God change you through the course of writing your novel?

All four of my novels have explored in different ways the general theme of Proverbs 16:9: The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his path. Through the writing of Playing by Heart the Lord reminded me yet again that when there seems to be a huge wrench thrown into my plans my life is never out of His control. It might not be the situation I hoped for or dreamed of, but I’m coming to the place where I can trust God to change my expectations. We tend to hold our expectations tightly, feeling their fulfillment is owed to us in some way, and yet Jesus asks us to give everything to Him, even our most dearly loved aspirations. Lula and Chet reminded me that the Lord is faithful to see me through whatever unexpected change occurs in my life, and that He can also bring unexpected blessing in the course of those changes. I love when writing a book renews and bolsters my own faith in the Lord, for then I have hopes that it might do the same for a reader. .

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unnamedAnne Mateer has a passion for bringing history to life through fiction. She is the author of four historical novels, including At Every Turn,a 2013 Carol Award finalist. Anne will also have a contemporary short story included in 2014’s A Cup of Christmas Cheer II. Prior to publication, Anne reached the Genesis contest finals three times in three different categories! Anne and her husband, Jeff, live in Texas. They are the parents of three young adults. Find out more about Anne at www.annemateer.com.