Category Archives: Christian fiction

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

It was a cold night in the Texas Panhandle, and I was a little girl going to the rodeo with my family. This was not a slicked up rodeo but a nitty-gritty rodeo out in the country with real cowboys, some of which were my older cousins. I remember sitting on one of my cousins’ laps. She already had children of her own but she helped warm me up on that chilly night as we watched the cowboys rope steers and ride bulls.

strongsilentcowboyMaybe that’s where my love of cowboys began. Because most of my cousins were many years older than me, I didn’t know them well and simply watched and admired them. My dad also raised me on John Wayne movies. My favorite movie growing up was True Grit. Just the opening song could get my blood pulsing.

As I grew up, I fell in love with country music. One day, I was driving around Dallas, to and from work, listening to Rodeo by Garth Brooks when a character came to me. He was wearing chaps and boots and he had a slight stutter. I immediately fell in love with Kirk and had to write his story, Strong, Silent Cowboy, which became my very first published book.

So began my writing career, which started with writing about cowboys. I love cowboys’ strength, ingenuity, traditions, and love for nature. I love that they are real men, with a bit of swagger, but also a touch of humility. They know God created the land and bow their heads to pray. I’m proud that I know real cowboys, and I’m blessed to have been able to write about them.

christmasinjulyChristmas in July was my second published book and a sequel to my first. This book features not only a cowboy but also a cowgirl–a barrel racer. These girls have courage and big hearts. Geena, a young widow, has more than her share but she also has a wall around her heart that the right cowboy is going to have to jump.

fortheloveofcody

Finally, my latest release, For the Love of Cody, is actually a re-release of my 5th book. It garnered the National Readers’ Choice Award when it was published. Since then, it went out of print but I gained the rights back to it and recently brought it out as a Kindle ebook. But now, it’s also available in paperback! You can click on the titles of my books to find out more about them.

So for a long while, my heroes have always been cowboys. Next year, I’m publishing a brand new cowboy story! Hope you’ll hang around until it’s ready.

So what about you? Do you love cowboys? Country music? Western movies?

Contest: For a copy of the paperback For the Love of Cody. At the end of this week, I’ll draw a name from those who leave a comment below for a winner.



Welcome, Julie Carobini! She’s here to talk about her latest book, FADE TO BLUE! That is a gorgeous cover!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Sure! I write seaside stories filled with faith, flip flops, and waves of grace. My family and I make our home on California’s central coast, and I’ve written five novels plus hundreds of published articles on everything from parenting, to team building in the workplace, to Christian surf dudes on a mission.

2. How did you become interested in writing?

My father wrote magazine articles on the side, including interviews with entertainers such as Fred Astaire and Fred MacMurray. Always loved that! I too became an article writer almost twenty years ago, but I always yearned to create fiction. I wrote two novels that did not sell, but as they say, third time’s a charm, and my debut novel, Chocolate Beach, released in 2007 (re-released with recipes in 2011 as an eBook). By that time, I had a renewed faith in God as well as a redefined focus on the kinds of stories he was leading me to write.

3. What compelled you to write a book on this subject?

Ever since the inception of the Otter Bay Novels with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about that real castle on the hill and its eccentric, yet astute owner. Of course, novels are more than their location. So after writing the 2nd of these stand-alone novels, A Shore Thing, even I longed to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that story. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity … :)

4.What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?

Writing this story was much like holding a seashell, constantly turning it over in my hand. Though they’re often tossed into the sea with nary a glance, seashells are intricately beautiful—even when broken. The more I examined the shattered life of Suz—the heroine of Fade to Blue—the more beauty I found. Only the One who restores our souls can make that happen.

5. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?

I hope readers get lost in the story and the beautiful setting, that they revel in God’s creation as much as I did while writing it. I also hope they experience the Good Shepherd’s gentle leading (Psalm 23), and fall in the love with the concepts of forgiveness, sacrifice, and grace—as much as they do the breathtaking locale.

6. What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?

Although I’ve been compared to some amazing writers—something that humbles me—I also know that God made each one of us uniquely. I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5. One unique aspect of my books is the focus on God’s creation of the sea and everything in it. My characters have loved dolphins, sea lions, otters—even giant, glowing sea anemones. But they take that admiration a step further by drawing closer to the God who made such beauty.

7. How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?

This story reminds me not to dwell on the past, but to prayerfully, joyfully–and “hope”fully–move forward. Such lessons there! Suz Mitchell made mistakes in her past—so have I—yet healing brokenness and restoring souls is God’s business. Praise him for that!

8. Do you have a favorite Scripture verse?

I have more than one favorite, but this one’s been spinning in my mind again lately: Psalm 19:14 NIV, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

9. When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?

I love to comb the beach, to jog the sand with Charlie the Dog, and take coffee
breaks with my husband — so adore that man!

10. As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that I hope people reading this are encouraged to follow their heart’s desires with the Good Shepherd as their guide. God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Although I’d always wanted to write, I had no inkling that I’d be writing beach-themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my head. I followed that idea, and now find myself talking about my fifth novel filled with “waves of grace.” Be encouraged!

Website: www.juliecarobini.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fade-Blue-Otter-Bay-Novel/dp/0805448748/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_5

Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Fade-to-Blue/Julie-Carobini/e/9780805448740/?itm=2

CBD.com: http://www.christianbook.com/fade-to-blue-otter-bay/julie-carobini/9780805448740/pd/448743?item_code=WW&netp_id=864211&event=EBRN&view=details

The Story Jar


In time for Mother’s Day giving…

THE STORY JAR
by Robin Lee Hatcher and Deborah Bedford

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A lovely novel of three women, their stories threaded together through the concept of

The Story Jar…

The jar itself is most unusual —not utilized in the ordinary way for canning or storing food, but as a collection point for memories. Some mementos in the jar: —hair ribbons, a ring, a medallion–are sorrowful, others tender, some bittersweet. But all those memories eventually bring their owners to a place of hope and redemption in spite of circumstances that seemingly have no solution.

Fresh, insightful, yet courageous in the face of difficult life issues, this collaboration by two talented writers first profiles a pastor’s wife with two young daughters who faces cancer just as her own mother did before her; and then a remarried mother working through a difficult relationship with a rebellious runaway daughter. The third woman, alone with two teenaged boys who no longer pay much attention to her and seem headed for trouble, discovers the long-lost “story jar” and its significance. She comes to realize she can bring her own sorrows and frustrations to the feet of the Good Shepherd, the Great Physician, the Healer of the brokenhearted. She too will have memories for her own story jar.

“…It captures with surprising sensitivity …communion with God, and some excruciatingly exquisite moments of parental love.…” Publishers Weekly

Included in the book are heart-warming tributes on motherhood from novelists such as Jerry Jenkins, Francine Rivers, Karen Ball, and Debbie Macomber.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She makes her home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the kitten who currently terrorizes the household.

When Deborah Bedford isn’t writing, she spends her time fly-fishing, cheering at American Legion baseball games, shopping with her daughter, singing praise songs while she walks along the banks of Flat Creek, and taking her dachshund Annie for hikes in the Tetons where they live.

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THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY JAR
by Robin Lee Hatcher

In September 1998, I received a story jar as a thank you gift after speaking at a writers’ conference in Nebraska. The small mason jar, the lid covered with a pretty handkerchief, was filled with many odds and ends – a Gerber baby spoon, an empty thread spindle, a colorful pen, several buttons, a tiny American flag, an earring, and more.

The idea behind this gift was a simple one. When a writer can’t think of anything to write, she stares at one of the objects in the jar and lets her imagination play. Who did that belong to? How hold was he? What sort of person was he? What does the object represent in his life?

Writers love to play the “what if” game. It’s how most stories come into being. Something piques their interest, they start asking questions, and a book is born.

A week after receiving my story jar, I attended a retreat with several writer friends of mine, Deborah Bedford included. On the flight home, I told Deborah about the jar. The next thing you know (after all, what better thing is there for writers to do on a plane than play “what if”?), we began brainstorming what would ultimately become The Story Jar. We decided very quickly that we wanted this to be a book that celebrates motherhood, that encourages mothers, that recognizes how much they should be loved and honored.

The Story Jar was first published by Multnomah in 2000, but eventually went out of print. Thus Deborah and I are delighted that Hendrickson wanted to bring it out in a new, revised version because we believe these stories can inspire others, just as it did this reader back in 2001:

“I am an avid book reader and have read thousands of books ––maybe more–– since the age of 5. I can honestly say that [The Story Jar] has touched me more than any other I have read. I cried, I laughed, and I relearned things that I had forgotten long ago as well as realizing things I never knew. Thank you for sharing your stories with your readers. They are truly inspiring. I plan on giving it to all the ‘mothers’ in my life for Mother’s Day.”

You don’t have to be a writer to want a story jar. It can be a family’s way of preserving memories. Consider having a family get-together where everybody brings an item to go into the jar, and as it drops in, they tell what it means to them, what it symbolizes. We can learn something new about our loved ones when we hear their memories in their own words. Or do what my church did a number of years ago to create a memory for a retiring pastor. Inspired by The Story Jar, members of the congregation brought items to the retirement dinner to put into a story jar or they simply wrote their memories on a piece of paper to go into the jar. It was our way of saying thanks to a man and wife for all of the years they’d given in God’s service.

A story jar can be a tool for remembering all the wonderful things God has done in our own lives. As Mrs. Halley said, not all of God’s miracles are in the Bible. He is still performing them today in countless ways, changing lives, healing hearts.

In the grip of His grace,
Robin Lee Hatcher

The Story Jar on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1598566652/novelistrobinlee

The Story Jar on ChristianBook:
http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?event=AFF&p=1138486&item_no=566659

Robin Lee Hatcher
http://www.robinleehatcher.com

Deborah Bedford
http://www.deborahbedfordbooks.com/