Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. To celebrate, I am giving away a free short story! Visit one of my social media sites on Feb 14th to get the link.
You can find me and the clickable story link on Facebook and twitter Feb 14th
Happy book birthday Fatal Homecoming!
I am excited that Jessie and Rick’s story is finally available for you to read. Feb 5th only, the e-book is .99 cents (Amazon.com). If you send proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org on Feb 5th, my publisher will send you a FREE bonus short story. Paperback copies are also available.
Joshua 4 describes the pile of stones the Israelites built as a memorial to God. Those stones were evidence of the Lord’s provision for them. The memorial was a reminder to future generations that God had delivered his people.
In Fatal Homecoming, Jessie needed to remember God’s provision. As I wrote her story, I made my own pile of stones. They gave words to my faith and helped me remember that God is a God of action.
I set a goal to gather ‘one stone’ each day for one year. One acknowledgment of God’s goodness, His mercy, and His unchanging dependability affirmed that God hears and answers prayer.
I placed a jar on my kitchen windowsill to hold these reminders. They were a collection of answered prayers ready to remind the future generation that my God is good. These were proof of God’s action, even if His answer to my request was no. They were more than words on paper, and they were more than a pile of rocks by a river. They were a reference point. They mark where God met me and gave me a story to share so that others may also know and believe.
My goal in writing is to glorify God. It is my prayer that Fatal Homecoming not only entertains you but also stirs you to draw closer to the Father and trust His will for your life. I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to gather your own pile of stones and remember to believe that your God is good. Always.
Reviews Bless Authors
Travel writer, Jessie Berns, returns to her hometown to find answers about her brother’s suspicious death. With the help of an old friend, Detective Rick Chandler, they pursue a truth that someone is willing to do anything to keep hidden—even kill again. They uncover decades-old secrets that expose hidden sins and threaten the lifestyles of high-powered people in their small community. As they close in on the devious mastermind manipulating the town, it becomes frighteningly clear to Rick that Jessie is not the one calling the shots in her private investigation. She is the killer’s new target.
To celebrate the upcoming release of Fatal Homecoming, I’ve invited author Lisa R Mayer to share her thoughts about the novel’s themes. Lisa’s debut novel, The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer, releases March 19, 2019, through Write Integrity Press. Welcome, Lisa!
Fatal Homecoming by Stacey Weeks is a fast-paced mystery thriller packed with intrigue, danger, romance, and, yes, even some life lessons. It’s a much-needed reminder that no matter how tough life gets, our God is tougher.
Jessie Berns and Rick Chandler are good people who experience bad things. And before the end of Fatal Homecoming, they will experience many more difficulties. The thing about Jessie and Rick, though, is that they never lose sight of God. They never stop trusting Him or loving Him, and that’s an inspiration for all of us.
Bad things happen to good people, but that doesn’t mean our God isn’t good, or that He doesn’t care. It’s an easy thing to say, but it’s a hard concept to grasp until it happens to us. When we are forced to face hardships, we ask: Does God care? If He does, why didn’t He stop it? Where is God when bad things happen?
God has been by our side the entire time.
We hold on to the truth that God never leaves us, even when it’s a hard truth to hold. No matter what happened, Jessie and Rick persevered; they kept fighting, and they kept hoping and waiting on God. They didn’t give up. They believed that things could be better. They believed that God was going to get them through it.
We all need to hear that truth. God will get us through. We may not understand how He’ll do it, or why He does it a certain way, but He always, always, always provides perfectly for His children.
We are Overcomers
Jessie and Rick eventually overcome their battles. How about you? Are trails testing your faith? What have you overcome? Addiction? Grief? Mental health issues? Do you feel unloved? Are you fighting personal demons? Just like Jessie and Rick, you are stronger and more capable than you realize if you have God because His strength is perfect. No matter what, no matter how you suffer, I promise that God loves you fiercely.
Jessie and Rick experienced danger and mystery in Fatal Homecoming, but it is their pasts, their hardships, their human failings, and everything that makes them who they are that resonates with us. They show us that life is about growing closer to God, even when it’s hard, even when we lose faith, even when we think that He doesn’t care.
It’s about turning to God and knowing that nobody has ever cared more.
Fatal Homecoming releases on Feb 5th and those who purchase ON THE RELEASE DATE can receive a free short story, The Girl He Never Knew. Email proof of purchase to email@example.com and the publisher will send you the short story on the next business day.
Subscribers to Stacey Weeks’ newsletter and followers of this blog will receive a reminder email.
Lisa R Mayer is excited to be part of the Write Integrity Press family. She is beyond thrilled for her first book, The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer, to be released on March 19, 2019. She has anxiety and OCD and is a proud mental health warrior. In her free time, Lisa enjoys hanging out with her husband, Rich, and her fur-baby, Scooby, catching up on her reading list, watching her favorite shows and movies, bike-riding, traveling, and going on adventures. Stay up to date with Lisa and her publishing news at the links below.
Facebook: Author-Lisa R Mayer.
What does success in 2019 look like for you? I’ve been thinking about the word, and how I wouldn’t define it as an author.
Before I wrestled with this word, I would have defaulted to defining it in those measurable ways. But success as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ has to be more than popularity and numbers.
The better question to ask is how does God define success?
Pastor Crawford Loritts referenced this verse in a conference session I was privileged to attend. He broke it into three applicable parts, which I have applied to my career to create a New Year’s Resolution of sorts.
If I do these things, I am – by God’s definition – successful. The freeing reality of this definition is that my success does not hinge on an Amazon rank, bestseller list, or social media followers. I am to represent God and His Word accurately and let the sales fall where they may. I will seek the Lord and leave the path of my career to Him.
What does success look like for you in 2019?
To prepare for and celebrate the release of Mistletoe Melody, I have invited several authors to speak on the themes of the novel. Today, I have the privilege to introduce you to author, Jerusha Agen. Welcome, Jerusha.
Christmastime is here. It’s the season of joy, love, hope, and peace. Yet, the tough things in life don’t always seem to get the holiday memo.
Trials and suffering don’t often take Christmas vacation. And neither does the fear of such hardships. We see them on the horizon, or we fear our already ongoing trouble getting worse.
Something about the holidays makes such situations seem even harder, more tragic and painful to endure during a time when we should just get to be happy and enjoy life.
So our difficulties and the fears that go along with them rob us of the joy we would otherwise experience during the Christmas season. If we have trials during the holidays, it seems unfair that we can’t get to savor this most special time of year like others can.
Or if we see a difficult circumstance coming at us, we worry it will strike during Christmas and be all the harder to take because of the timing.
Yet, we know Who is in charge of the timing of things. We know the One Who gives and takes away the trials we face. But how could God allow problems to come our way at the worst possible time? Why would He do that? After all, the Christmas season is all about Him—the celebration of His birth and salvation for the world. Shouldn’t we be able to celebrate that without simultaneously dealing with fear and trouble?
Those are good questions, and I found a great answer to them in Stacey Weeks’ Christmas novella, Mistletoe Melody. Just like in real life, the characters in this story don’t get a vacation from their problems during the holidays.
The heroine, Melody, still has to deal with her recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, even with Christmas only days away. Quentin, the hero, still has to navigate how to protect his preteen daughter, Janie, who has physical challenges thanks to her stroke at a young age.
Melody, Quentin, and Janie each have an additional problem beyond the obvious ones. They’re plagued by fear.
Melody has perhaps the most severe and understandable fears. Only in her twenties, she’s received the dreaded M.S. diagnosis. Her life will be changed in difficult and even catastrophic ways by this disease, and the number of her years—as miserable physically as they may become—will likely be reduced. Already, she experiences flare-ups that cause tremendous pain and may leave her with more limited mobility and worse symptoms.
She lives in fear of these flare-ups and when they come, she waits with trepidation to see what the result will be when they fade.
But even worse than her health concerns is a fear that’s more surprising. It reveals itself in her great effort to hide the truth of her health condition from Quentin. Her family respects her wishes and no one tells Quentin the reason for her family’s peculiar behavior around her and the mild physical symptoms she can’t completely hide.
When Quentin comes up with his own, negative explanation for these curiosities, she still delays telling him the truth as long as she can. The reason? She’s afraid of his reaction. She doesn’t want him to pity her in the way she feels everyone does once they learn of her M.S.
Quentin is no more fearless than Melody. He lives in the clutch of anxiety surrounding his role as the widowed single parent to Janie. Fears for Janie’s physical and emotional health plague him, driving him to assume the worst about others in his zeal to protect his daughter.
Though she is a bright spot of cheer throughout much of the story, Janie also suffers from fear that keeps her from performing musically and enjoying the sharing of her gifts as she once did.
Do you see yourself in any of those characters and their fears? I fall prey to the same people-pleasing fears, which hide pride at their root. I don’t want the pity or negative opinion of others either.
Like Quentin, most of us have loved ones we care about so much that the idea of them getting hurt in any way sparks fear in our hearts. And the thought that we could lose them to death spawns abject terror.
Fears of not performing well, of letting others down, of not living up to our own expectations—all these are common anxieties that plague many of us.
So when Melody comes to a stunning, vital realization toward the end of the novella, I was waiting with her to hear the answer to her fears. I hoped it might be an answer to, and a victory over, my own.
But even here, God, you’re leading me. Even here, your hand guides me. You’ve said, “Here I am,” and I can no longer resist Your presence.
When I read these thoughts from Melody, which she has while lying on her bed in great pain, I knew I was reading her answer and mine.
Even here, in the midst of our pain, God is here.
That’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:23
Jesus came to Earth as a baby to be among us, His chosen people. He came to Earth, lived the perfect life none of us could, and paid the penalty for our sins in His death on the cross. Then He rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven.
He did all of this so that those of us who love and adore Him could be with Him, and He with us, now and for all eternity to come.
And that truth is the answer to our questions, the balm for our pain, the joy in our Christmas, no matter how awful our circumstances are.
Because God is with us, we don’t face any of our trials alone. As Melody realizes, we have God leading us and guiding us. We have His love and mercy surrounding us and cradling us. We have His strength sustaining us. We have His peace available to us.
This is how we can have joy this Christmas and every day of the year, no matter how dark our circumstances. Because our Savior Who loves us more than we can imagine, Who still lives and conquered death, is with us through His Holy Spirit, right now, even here.
And as Stacey Weeks says it so beautifully through Melody’s thoughts in Mistletoe Melody, we have an additional stunning promise to cling to. She says of God, You allow hardship and tears – but you don’t waste a single drop on the ground.
He will use our pain, our trials for our good and His glory. We have a God Who promises us that all things will be used for good and Who promises to never leave us.
May our response to this amazing news be that of Melody: I choose praise.
Let’s choose praise and joy this Christmas, no matter what, because we’re in the presence of our God.
Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes romantic suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is the author of the Fear Warrior Blog, where she writes about fighting against fear in our everyday lives.
You’ll often find Jerusha sharing irresistibly adorable photos of her Furry Fear Warriors (three big dogs and two little cats) on social media.
Get a free e-copy of The Protector, a romantic suspense novella, when you sign up for Jerusha’s newsletter! Subscribe here, and you’ll receive the free novella as a thank you, access to exclusive giveaways, Jerusha’s news, and more!
When trafficking survivor Tamara agrees to share her story at an awareness event, she doesn’t realize that decision might cost her life.
As an unknown killer tries to silence her, a handsome stranger shows up, determined to save her from harm…But who will protect Tamara’s heart?
Mistletoe Melody can be found at:
To prepare for and celebrate the release of Mistletoe Melody, I have invited several authors to speak on the themes of the novel. Today, I have the privilege to introduce you to a wonderful bible study author, Andrea Thom. Welcome, Andrea.
Pain. It’s the inevitable part of every human storyline that is never scripted into our plans yet always arrives on the stage of our lives anyway. At some point we’ll all taste it – at some point we’ll all attempt to escape it. Pain can startle us out of joy and stifle our perspective. If left unchecked, Christian encouragements can feel like cold platitudes and feelings of overwhelm may trump sound theology.
In Mistletoe Melody, Melody Staff wrestles with the growing chasm between her faith and her feelings. Emotional havoc spins her well-planned life and once-strong faith into confusion, and her family’s well-intentioned support falls short of moving her forward. Melody began to lose – her voice, her ambition, her faith. Yet despite the compounding losses, God was sovereignly orchestrating hidden purposes that lay beyond seen circumstances to unseen glory. Melody’s perspective begins to shift – her hope moves from a drug trial to the Lord, and from requiring fairness to requiring the God who would lead her through it. When her perspective shifts, her behavior quickly follows. Hidden fears turn into public courage, grieving silence turns into hope-filled singing, and cold solitude turns into vulnerable expressions of heartfelt community.
For you and I, how can we shift our perspective from faithlessness to faithfulness when circumstances bite down hard and permanent? When we remove our gaze from ourselves and cast it beyond our feelings and onto Jesus in prayer.
In John 17 we catch a holy glimpse of Jesus praying to His Father before the ultimate brutal climax of His life unfolds.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (John 17:1-5)
Christ’s agonizing hour had come and He lifts His eyes to pray with heavenly focus – the glory of Himself and the good of His people. In the shadow of the cross, Jesus prayerfully set His heart beyond worldly preference to godly obedience, beyond humiliation to reconciliation, beyond certain death to ultimate victory. When our prayers centre on God’s glory in each ‘hour’ that comes to us, we will be empowered to endure all circumstances because our gaze has been cast beyond earthly things and onto what is glorious. We are not left to human ability to endure. Since Christ modelled a life of continual communion with God, even leading up to His darkest hour, what great hope we have to connect with the same presence and power of God in prayer today!
Lord, cast our hearts beyond what’s temporal to what’s eternal, beyond the rescuing to the Rescuer, and beyond our circumstances to display the radiance of Your glorious character.
Andrea is a regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio and Christian writing publications including The Gospel Coalition Canada.
Information on the first two books of her brand new Bible Study series, Ruth-Redeeming The Darkness and Amos-Come Awake!, can be found here.
Photo credit, Jason Blackey, Unsplash.
Mistletoe Melody can be found at:
To prepare for and celebrate the release of Mistletoe Melody, I have invited several authors to speak on the themes of the novel. Today, I have the privilege to introduce you to Emily Conrad.
Emily lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence her debut novel is set mostly in a coffee shop!)
Thanks for joining me today, Emily!
This question stepped to the forefront as I read Stacey Weeks’ Mistletoe Melody, where amidst sweet family moments and Christmas traditions, characters deal with truly difficult circumstances.
As I read and thought about the impact of such life-changing events as the characters face, I wondered how I would feel in their situations. I didn’t have to think very long before I knew; I’d feel cheated.
But these circumstances aren’t only the stuff of fiction. So many people don’t have to wonder how they would feel in that trial because it’s already their reality, a reality they live instead of the life they dreamed of.
How is that fair?
Thankfully, the story also pointed me back to the answer—an answer I knew, but one we can never be pointed to too often: Jesus.
As a character says in the story, “Jesus came to me. Not to make my life perfect, but to walk with me through the pain.”
There’s such truth there.
Jesus Himself came to earth to suffer on the cross. If He willingly suffered such a torturous death, who am I to complain about whatever circumstances I’m assigned?
Philippians 2:8 tells us Jesus humbled himself by being obedient to the death, even when that death was by crucifixion.
Considering that, I realized my aversion to pain, this assumption that it would be unfair to suffer, is pride. I’ve got it all backward. Being healthy is a privilege, not a right. And suffering, whether from a disease or other circumstances, is a guarantee.
Yet, come what may, Jesus doesn’t leave me to suffer alone. (John 16:33) He promises He’ll never leave me. (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20)
On the cross, Jesus asked His Father why He’d forsaken Him. (Matthew 27:46)
Because of Jesus’s sacrifice, that’s a question that… well, I’ll be honest. In the throes of discouragement someday, I may ask it as did David in Psalm 22. But if and when I do, God’s answer will be that He hasn’t forsaken me. Because His Son paid for my sin and I put my faith in Him, I’m His now. He’ll never leave me.
In Him, we have the promise of an eternity that will make the trials we experience here seem momentary and light. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
In this world, we will have trouble, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.
You can pre-order your copy of Mistletoe Melody on Amazon! Those who pre-order receive an exclusive pre-order bonus! You are able to watch a video telling the backstory of the character Janie, as lived by the character’s inspiration – Kyra. You get to download a FREE Christmas planner just in time for the holidays, some coloring sheets, AND you get to read the first chapter FREE. Email proof of purchase to writerSWeeks@gmail.com
Emily offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.www.emilyconradauthor.com
Photo credit, Greyson Joralem, Unsplash.
Today, I have a fun surprise I’d like to share with you.
I’ve teamed up with 40+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Inspirational Holiday Romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!
Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE reads just for entering? 😁
You can win my novel Mistletoe Melody, plus books from authors like Susan May Warren and Karen Witemeyer.
Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉http://bit.ly/holidayinspyrom-nov18
Good luck and enjoy!
I am, by trade, a storyteller. I am a novelist, and I LOVE to tell stories. Some of them might make you laugh, some of them might make you cry, and all of them (I hope) entertain you.
You might not know this, but part of my job as a novelist is to manipulate you. I am supposed to massage your emotions into loving my characters and settings so much that you laugh with them, cry with them, and buy book two or book three and become a lifelong fan of them.
As an author, I am often invited to speak at events. Usually, people want to hear my story. They want to hear about the writing life, the process of writing novels, and how I create characters. They want a glimpse into the life of a novelist, curious to see if it is as glamorous as the movies indicate.
Spoiler: it’s not. Not unless getting up hours before my kids just to squeeze in some quiet writing time is glamorous.
As a writer and a speaker, I have to continually remind myself that the story entrusted to me, the story that I have been called to steward well, is not the story you find within the pages of one of my books. It’s not my personal story about my life as a writer. As a believer, I am to use my talents to tell God’s story.
My words are not powerful enough to change your life. My words might amuse you. They might inform you on some topic of interest or even enlighten you to consider a new idea, but only the Word of God has the power to transform you. I’m just the storyteller called by God to steward the greatest story ever written—His.
That means that even as a novelist who spends the majority of my time creating fictional worlds and characters, I must be a serious student of God’s Word. I must train myself to handle, interrupt, and teach—yes, teach—the Word of God responsibly. I will be accountable to the Lord for the way I have represented Him in my books and for the way I have portrayed Him during a presentation. That is a weighty and sobering truth.
The most important message I can communicate as a speaker or as a writer is that there is Someone much greater than me desirous of your attention. This Someone wrote an entire book to communicate His great love for his people and the lengths to which He will go to redeem them. This Someone is holy enough to demand all who enter his presence be holy, and then He makes it possible for sinners like you and me to put on the holiness of Christ by faith. This is the story that can change your life for all eternity. The words penned by His Spirit are the ones powerful enough to transform a heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
I am just the storyteller, a novelist with a greater message. I am a student of the Word of God, and I take the responsibility of representing God accurately seriously.
*image by Ben White. Used with permission. Unsplash.com
The world tells me that I am entitled to my emotions and how they play out as long as I don’t hurt anyone else.
I sat in my room. Anger and frustration piled high behind an avalanche of unkind thoughts. Even in this heated moment, The Lord revealed the lie feeding my emotions. God does not invite me to linger in sinful self-pity.
My focus must be on honoring the Lord in difficult moments rather than indulging in an emotional release. But how? How do I move from frustrated and angry toward worshipful thanksgiving and praise? How do I move from dutiful obedience to heart-driven joyful action?
I pulled out my journal and started writing.
Why God? Why is it so hard? Why is it so difficult to parent? To teach? To reach? I’m trying, but I just keep hitting this same wall. I can’t seem to break through this barrier.
As I wrote out my thoughts, my heart started to soften. I remembered the day we adopted each one of our children. I remembered the day we realized how God had crafted each one individually and that each one would face their own specific challenges in working out their faith and growing up. I thanked God.
Thank you, Lord, for trusting my children to me. You could have given them to any family in this entire world, and you chose us. Why? I know I am weak. I am easily frustrated. Yet, you chose me. Maybe because you knew the very thing that might drive some others into resentment and tempt them to lash out would drop me to my knees. Maybe because you knew these kids needed these kinds of prayers. Maybe, because out of all the people in the entire world, you knew I needed them to sand off my rough edges and putting us together would sanctify us and stir us to pursue more of You.
I need them, they need me, and we need Jesus.
Just like that, the anger was gone. The avalanche of unkindness had melted into a river of love. It is impossible to stay angry with the person for whom you are praying.
Pray. Pray hard. Pray long. Pray faithfully until God changes YOUR heart. He will as He aligns it with His.
*Image by Ian Schneider. Used with permission. Unsplash.com