Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interview with Ann Miller - Part Two

Welcome back Ann. 

If you missed part one of Ann's interview just scroll down the page and you'll find it. Today Ann talks about her writing and how faith plays such an important role in her ministry. See if you see any similarities between Ann's story and your own...

As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?

I always say I became a writer the year I discovered Sister Sheila had hair. I was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Thanks to Sister’s encouragement, I went on to earn a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University. And living on a sailboat, an aquaculture for mold and dysfunction, shoved me—in lieu of therapy—into writing.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

I have a prayer team of eighty people, who for reasons known only to them, said yes when I asked them to pray for my writing. I was inspired to do this by author Robin Lee Hatcher who saw no reason to wait until publishing to recruit prayer support.
Also, I pray through every aspect of my books. Often, my prayer for the manuscript file is half the size of the book. This makes me feel like I’m working on a team with God. I pray first thing in the morning about the work ahead and go back to pray through any sticky situations I encounter. I think God delights to answer my writing-related prayers. He seems to wait for me to ask. I see miracles everyday.

What is your number one spiritual gift?

I’m an encourager.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

Sometimes the ideas come out the things I am praying for on a long-term basis. These deep hurts in my friends’ lives worm their way into my heart. Or it’s my own pain. Other times some small detail of life sticks in my brain.

One day I was driving and listening to Misty Edwards worship music and thought how deeply her voice ministered to me. This led to a character who fell in love with a girl’s voice before he ever met her.

Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?

Writers are vultures. We scavenge from our own lives and those around us.

Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?

Not a scene, but I transplanted Our Lady Of The Hills Camp which I attended growing up from Hendersonville, North Carolina, to New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

What is your favorite genre to read now?

Romance and coming of age, which is also what I write.

What is your Writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired?

Since I started my writing career in my forties, I feel fairly obsessed to accomplish what God created me to do. Think about how the hero in Sweet Home Alabama jammed lightning rods into the sand to make his beautiful glass. He did his work before the lightning struck. I jam a lot of words onto the page before lightning strikes and makes it beautiful.

Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?

I love Psalm 91. It’s all about living under God’s shelter and safety. It’s kind of goofy, but when I read Psalm 91, I picture myself in a little shack on top of a really tall Dr. Seuss hill—safe in God’s shadow.

I love that word picture Ann. We all need a safe place from the world at times. Thank you so much for being with us this week. We wish you all the best with KICKING ETERNITY and for all those books yet to be written. 

Don't forget while you're here... Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) will receive a FREE e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. Those who don’t want to leave an e-mail may contact Ann for their free book at Ann Lee Miller.

Ann can also be found:

Twitter:  @AnnLeeMiller
On Facebook: Ann Miller
Barnes and Noble:  Kicking Eternity

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview with Ann Miller Author of KICKING ETERNITY

If you've been looking for some new fiction that tells a contemporary story with an eternal message you can stop looking and start reading

Ann will be visiting with us today and Thursday, talking about her writing, her faith and her latest book. Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a conversation with Ann - then go out and grab her book. 

Thanks, Ann for your time today. We're looking forward to learning more about you, so with that in mind, here are some questions for you...

What inspired you to write this particular book?

My daughter has had a passion to become a foreign missionary since she was in first grade. She just completed her junior year of college and is still headed for missions, probably to an orphanage in Peru. Also a close family friend fell in love with a young man and felt strongly that God told her to marry him. When the guy broke off the engagement, she was devastated on multiple levels. In Kicking Eternity the hero has to come to terms with the same dilemma.

Tell us a little about yourself. (Where you grew up, how many siblings you have, when you came to know the Lord, a little about your life now, etc.)

My younger brother and I grew up in Miami, Stuart, and New Smyrna Beach, Florida. My parents’ marriage melted down throughout my childhood, culminating in their divorce when I was thirteen. All the angst in my childhood made me hungry for God. I searched for Him from age sixteen to eighteen at mass, repeating memorized prayers, writing letters to Him, teaching catechism class. My RA in college had a deep friendship with Jesus that I instinctively recognized as authentic. It was through her influence and encouragement I stepped into a life-long relationship with God.

I married a pastor and raised three sons and Her Royal Highness, 28, 25, 23, 21. We’ve lived in Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona. Two-thirds of our congregation is made up of teens and young adults, so it’s not surprising I write for I write for young women aged 15 to 30. I especially want to reach those  with unhappy, dysfunctional families like the family I grew up in. I want to give them hope that God will provide love and healing for them.

Tell us about the journey to getting published.

I wrote my first novel fifteen years ago and have been writing full-time for ten years while trying to break in to traditional publishing. Last summer my agent let all her unpublished authors, including me, go. In the midst of my despair, God nudged me to indie e-publish. So, I swallowed a hairball of pride and walked down the self-publishing road. I feel a surge of joy and gratitude that my books are finally being read. The part of me that clamors for validation still hopes for a traditional publishing contract. But how can I go wrong obeying God? 

How many books do you have published?

In addition to Kicking Eternity, The Art of My Life debuts in September, Avra’s God in December, and Tattered Innocence next March.

Tell us about your latest book.

Kicking Eternity is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both.

Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.

The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Favorite themes?

Forgiveness, measuring up, redemption.

What is your Writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired?

Since I started my writing career in my forties, I feel fairly obsessed to accomplish what God created me to do. Think about how the hero in Sweet Home Alabama jammed lightning rods into the sand to make his beautiful glass. He did his work before the lightning struck. I jam a lot of words onto the page before lightning strikes and makes it beautiful.

Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

Wedged in between my writing I manage to hike in the mountains with my husband, do Zumba, and go garage saling every Saturday morning with a friend. This year I mentored three teens from my youth group. I’ve guest lectured on plotting in Phoenix colleges for the past few years. Every summer you’ll find me at teen church camp—one more reason for setting Kicking Eternity at a church camp.

Thanks Ann for giving us a glimpse of your writing experience. We're looking forward to more on Thursday. 

Here's an opportunity for you to get a FREE e-copy of Ann's book, KICKING ETERNITY: Leave a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) to receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. Those who don’t want to leave an e-mail may contact Ann for their free book at 

If you've enjoyed this peek into Ann's writing life, be sure to come back Thursday when Ann tells us how faith plays a role in her writing. You won't want to miss it. 

Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.

Here's how to find her:
Twitter:  @AnnLeeMiller
Facebook Author Page: Ann on Facebook
Barnes and Noble: Kicking Eternity

Monday, June 18, 2012

The plank in my own eye

Too quick to throw stones?

We all know the story of the woman caught in adultery and Jesus' response. If you're like me, you are quick to condemn the men involved in that fiasco but a little slower to recognize that mindset in yourself. Does that sound like you? It sure sounds like me. 

In trying to live a Christian life we all have different convictions regarding the appropriateness of one activity or another. For example, some of us are raised to believe that Christians don't drink - ever. For others it is not a problem. Some are convicted about "R" rated movies while others attend frequently. 

Unfortunately we all get caught up in what we believe is right and look down on those who have a different opinion. This works both ways. One group sees a more liberal person as reckless and sinful, while they themselves are viewed as prudish and out of touch with reality. 

This is not the freedom Christ came to bring us. His first law is this: love God with everything in you. The second one is still a love command: love others as you love yourself. 

What is not there? Judging - condemnation - elitism.

It is not our place to judge but to love. How can anyone believe that God loves them if we can't. Here's another thought: it's wrong to love someone with the idea of changing them to make them more like our idea of a Christian. That's loving with strings attached and that is not God's way. 

What person do you find difficult to love? 
  • the party girl who gets drunk every weekend?
  • the guy who hits on every woman in site and sleeps around?
  • the rich kid who has everything he/she wants?
  • the gay man who works in the cubicle next to you?

What is your bias? Are you ready to give it Jesus for him to refine?

Remember, we don't love people so we can change them. We love them for the same reason that God loves us:

we desperately need it.

Loving someone does not mean condoning everything they do. God certainly does not do that with us, does he? It means that we look for things to love about them, and recognize that they, like we, are made in the image of God. 

We can't condemn others without condemning ourselves. Have you ever been judged for something you never gave a second thought to? How did it feel? 

Society points enough fingers. Let's be sure that when people talk about Christians the worst they can say is look how they love!

Love someone well today - in Jesus' name.

praying for you...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

All Kinds of Fathers...

TO ALL THE FATHERS who serve their country...your honor and courage are a lasting legacy for all our children. Your sacrifice ensures their future.

TO ALL THE FATHERS of children in are the earthly example of God's unconditional love. In whatever way is safe and appropriate, never let them forget that you love them. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who are in prison...your life can serve as a warning to your children AND an example of God's grace and forgiveness. You choose. You will always be the father. What would you have your children learn from you?

TO ALL THE FATHERS whose children have will always be their father. The pain you endure as you grieve their loss honors them. You are a  living memorial to their memory, never letting others forget. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who have been bad fathers by the world's standards and God's...there is forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation in Christ. Don't wait. Now is the time. Today is the day.

TO ALL THE FATHERS who parent alone...your courage is inspiring. You keep going even when you are scared and clueless because your children need you. They will never forget.

TO ALL THE FATHERS who now see the wisdom of your own fathers...give thanks for them and ask for God to bless them. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who are not perfect...teach your children what it means to be humble. Let them learn how to say they're sorry by watching you. Let them learn to forgive others because they have learned to forgive you. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who are alone on Father's Day and are still the father, even when you are away from your children. Pray for them. God is the Master of relationships. He will show you how and make a way. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who hit their knees daily in prayer for their children...thank you for standing in the gap for them. You understand.

TO ALL THE FATHERS who teach their sons to be godly bless not only your own child, but the next generation as well.

TO ALL THE FATHERS who love their daughters and show them their protect them and make them strong. Thank you. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who love their children's mother give them an example of God's love for His children, instill in them security and peace, and set an example for future generations. 

TO ALL THE FATHERS who love God first and get in right. Thank you.

Thank you...we love you ~

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where do ideas come from?

Get your pen and

notebook ready...

ideas are everywhere! 

  • people watching
  • newspaper stories
  • magazine reports
  • your imagination
  • a road sign
  • a snippet of conversation
  • a photograph
  • personal experiences
  • a dream
  • something you see while driving
  • documentaries
  • a visit to a museum  
  • thinking about "what if..."
  • the back of a cereal box
  • a text
  • the check out line at the grocery store
  • work
  • the doctor's office
  • the gas station
  • Wal-Mart
  • your favorite restaurant
  • a vacation
  • anywhere, anytime...
Get it?

Be ready. When an idea hits - even a little piece of one - write it down. There's time to flesh it out later, but you never want to miss that little moment of inspiration.

So, where is your notebook and pen? 

...praying for you


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Being Teachable

Part of writing for publication - a huge part - is critiquing and editing and rewriting. That means you take your baby, the one you've worked on for weeks, months, maybe years, and you hand it to someone whose job it is to take it apart little by little. 

The purpose of that, of course, is to create a refined, highly polished product ready for the public. Something that you can be proud of, and that will speak to those who read it. 

It all sounds very professional and appropriate.

It just doesn't feel that way. It feels very personal, and it's so easy to get defensive. That's human and understandable. That response, though, can get in the way of achieving your goal, and by extension your dream and God's plan.

Remember that God allows us dreams for his purpose. He is always teaching us, molding and refining us. The editing and critiquing process is not only to refine our work, it is to refine us as well. 

So how do we approach this? Here are a few suggestions:

  • pray for God's vision
  • submit yourself and your work to God - every time you sit down to write
  • pray that you will remember your ultimate goal - honoring God
  • remember that the way you respond to critiques and criticism is in itself a testimony - it can be positive or negative
  • embrace the learning and growing that are a part of this process - you are better for it
  • be willing to share with others what you have learned. Part of the experience is that there will always be people more skillful and knowledgeable than you are AND there will always be those just starting out. Be eager to bless others as you are blessed and helped. Pass it on. 
  • keep it in perspective - it's one part of the experience
  • be thankful - never forget, every day, to thank God for opening this door for you. Thank him for every part of it, and for what he will do with it and you. 
Learning and growing is a lifelong profession no matter what your field. Just like our Christian walk, the journey of our dream is a day by day experience with adventures, dangers, victories and fun. 

Where are you on your journey right now? What is God teaching you?

...praying for you


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finding Peace In An Unpeaceful World

Please enjoy this guest post by Lillian Duncan. More about her at the end of the post...

Philippians 4:6-7
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.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Bad things happen to good people. People we love get sick, suffer, and die. We get sick, suffer, and die. Or maybe we don’t die, but instead suffer from chronic pain. Day in and day out the pain never goes away.
Sometimes, we can pray, believe, stay in faith, work, and try our hardest and things still won’t work out the way we want. So, you ask–where’s the peace? Jesus promises us peace, but he doesn’t promise a life without problems.
John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.

Talk about stress. Since the beginning of the year my husband had a triple by-pass, then I developed Bell’s Palsy, and then they found bilateral brain tumors. Oh yeah, almost forgot I don’t actually have a job for next school year either.
But most days I’m smiling as best I can considering the Bell’s Palsy. Someone asked me how I do it and here’s what’s helped me.
Trust in God’s sovereignty.
God is the ruler of the universe.  He is our king.  He can and will do things that we won’t like or understand.  His ways are not our ways but His ways are right and holy.  We will never experience God’s peace until we submit to His sovereignty.
Trust in God’s love.
Once we accept that God is in control, then it’s time to trust in God’s love. If we know without a doubt that God loves us, then we should be able to have peace in the bad times because we know that God is in control and that He loves us. He promises that all things will work out for the good of those who love him.

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Choose peace.
The peace of God is one of His greatest and most loving gifts that He gives us and yet so many choose not to accept that gift.. We reject peace by choosing to complain, to worry, to be anxious and fret.  We reject peace by focusing on the negative.  We reject peace by gossiping and hurting others. The list can go on and on but the important thing to understand is that our actions contribute directly to how much peace we have.

God has a different viewpoint than we do. He sees and knows things that we don’t. It’s like being a window washer. A window washer on a skyscraper can see much more than those of us at ground level. The window washer can see why the ambulance just sped around you because of the accident down several blocks that you can’t see.
God is the ultimate window washer. He knows the past, the present and the future. He has a different vantage point than we do and he knows that we must experience certain things to grow and mature and that’s never easy.
I remember when my sister was twelve or thirteen and her legs would ache so badly that she would cry while my mother massaged them. It wasn’t easy for her but she grew a few more inches. She had to experience that pain to get the extra growth. 
Believe me when I say that I would gladly have experienced that pain so that I could grow a few more inches.  It’s not easy being 4’8” in a world of tall people. I didn’t have the growing pains but I didn’t have the growth spurt either. 
Life is like that. We can’t grow spiritually without the growing pains.
So whatever you’re going through right now, know that God loves you.

Lillian Duncan   
Stories of faith mingled with....murder & mayhem

Check out this link Lillian's books to see what she's written. 

Check out Lillian's website and blog. You can sign up for her regular devotional posts. Thank you, Lillian for sharing your heart with us today. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where Your Treasure Is...

Look for your


"Thou shalt have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself
an idol...for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God."
Exodus 20:3-4

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for 
yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do
not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where 
your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

If you are pursuing a dream, something you feel God has placed in your heart you must remember:
  • the author of your dream
  • His purpose in allowing you to pursue your dream
  • it is unlikely that achieving that dream will honor Him if your life now does not
  • there is no faster way for your dream to turn into a nightmare than for you to take over and direct it yourself
  • God never allows us to achieve a dream for the sole purpose of making us successful in our own eyes
  • even God's plan for us (Jer 29:11) cannot come before our relationship with Him
God's plan, fulfilled in the dreams he's given you, is a beautiful thing. The fulfillment of the plan is for His glory - nothing less. 

Be sure to keep God in the center of you dreams as you pursue them - and after you achieve them. Anything less makes you the center of your dream which turns that dream into an idol.

Always love God first and most.

I'm praying for you. 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Feeling especially thankful today for 
God's grace and love. 

The truth of His love will set you free. 
Remember today that it's not about me or you...
Thank God!

It's always about His perfect love, which covers 
the multitude of our sins. 

We are forgiven and deeply loved. 
Let's all live like it today. 

I have prayed for you today. 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 I'm taking the challenge!

Can I learn 15 things in 15 days?

Isn't it great that God puts people in out paths that can help us grow and move closer to realizing a dream?

Monday, June 4, 2012

When God Says You're Debt is Paid...

The proof is right there in His hands.

"When you were dead in your sins & in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations , that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."
Colossians 2: 13-14

Are you living as someone who is spiritually debt free?

Friday, June 1, 2012

When God Says You're Beautiful...

It's because He sees the finished product!

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new
creation; the old has gone, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17

He does good work!