My job as foreman for one of my uncle’s ranches provided a secure future, good pay, and we enjoyed country living. Also, I wanted to guard and protect our growing family, which now consisted of my wife, Janet, and two sons, Russell and Michael. But I was restless. Janet and I often had these conversations: “Should I go back to college? You know how I love politics. Should I train for a possible change in careers? The years seemed to loom ahead, boring and predictable. Did I dare chance a break from our cozy mold?
Then Janet’s thoughts turned to God. She longed to know if he existed. If he did, could he help her with the challenges of being a parent and wife. One day I found her at home reading a Bible. Somehow it clicked. Maybe some helps and direction could be found there. I suggested we read it together. We began at the preface to the King James red letter edition. After we dug into the Old Testament, I was amazed. Here was a record of people who walked with God, talked with God, knew him as a friend. Sometimes they obeyed him. Other times not. But he was real in their lives.
Soon after, we attended a nearby church and got involved with a small home Bible study. One evening the group’s leader asked each of us, “Do you know for a fact that you have eternal life? Who do you say that Jesus is?”
The time for intellectual contemplation was over for me. Out on my cotton picking machine several weeks later I gave my life to Christ and all that would mean. Janet did the same. After we read more in the New Testament, I found my life verse: “Seek ye first the
and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Writing has become part of the ‘added things.’ kingdom of God
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Only four? Well, let’s start with Randy Alcorn, James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, Terri Blackstock, Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, Robin Lee Hatcher, Jerry B. Jenkins, Jane Kirkpatrick, Nancy Moser, Bill Myers, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Lauraine Snelling . . . whoops, that’s way more than four. Better stop. Maybe some of them can’t come. It’s like over-booking airplane seats.
Why? Because they’re all friends we haven’t seen in a while. We’d talk shop and catch up on what’s going on in our lives…and pray for our needs. I admire their books, enjoy their company.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I have spoken at churches, family conferences and writers’ retreats all over the
United States and parts of , since the 1980s. It has been another of the ‘added things’ in ministry outreach. Last summer I spoke at a Maranatha Conference in Canada . I suspected that might be my final travel and speak time. Since then, I’ve had to turn down a number of requests as my health has declined to the point that I’m confined mostly to my home. Rather than bemoan this condition, I’m grateful for all the opportunities the Lord gave me over the years to meet so many of his faithful people, to see what God’s doing through them, and partner with him in their spiritual growth. Michigan
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Writing wise…I was contracted to produce a novel for a well-known country singing duo. Lots of work and re-writes. A lot of hoopla and announcements were made. Then, just days before the huge release, with all the publicity in place, the singers backed out of the deal. This caused major consternation and complications for everyone along the line…agent, publisher, publicist, editor, me. A big disappointment for my family, friends, and fans too. How I handled it? Acceptance of what I could not change. In time, the novel (with another re-write) got published under my name alone, with a different title. It’s helped to remember that any deals go under the “if the Lord wills” or “success is never certain, but failure is never final” categories.
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
Anybody can write a book. A writer writes. Simple as that. All he or she has to do is commit to drafting a page or two every day or at least once a week. Sooner a later you’ll reach that goal. Now, getting it published, that’s a whole different run around the corral. First step: go to a writer’s conference. That’s absolutely necessary to get guidance for your next step.
Throw The Devil Off The Train is a western romance, released in hardback.
Book blurb: It’s 1880. Catherine Draper has got to escape from
…and she’s desperate that no one knows her real last name. She’s on her way to Paradise Springs to join her fiancé Philip for a fresh start. She’ll do almost anything to find the means to get there. Virginia
Race Hillyard’s bent on revenge for his brother’s death…and seeks rest and sleep for his exhaustion. He collides with Catherine at the train station while she’s in a compromising situation. They despise each other on sight. But it’s a long, cramped, chaotic ride from
Omaha to . . .and something evil’s on board. Will they make a truce long enough to throw the devil off the train? Sacramento
Sounds interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.
CHAPTER ONEFirst Page
Throw The Devil Off The TrainCopyright©2011
“Is he dead?” The high-pitched voice whined.
“If he isn’t,” came a low rumble, “I could fix that.”
“I ain’t killin’ no man over a saddle.”
“And a gun. He’s got one of them new Colt revolvers.”
“I still ain’t killing no man over a saddle and a gun.”
“I bet he has a bag of gold on him.” The lower voice had the power of a salesman on a slow day. “He’s as dirty as a prospector.”
“He ain’t as dirty as us.”
“Suppose he does have gold. Would it be alright to kill him then?”
The high-pitched bleat continued. “How much gold you reckon he has?”
“At least a couple twenty-dollar gold coins.”
“Maybe you’re right. For forty dollars, why cain’t I just hit him over the head with this fence post?”
“If you don’t knock him clean out, I’ll have to shoot him.”
“You got a gun?”
“I’ll use his.”
“Okay, but you do the shootin’. I ain’t shot nobody since the war.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Through your favorite online bookstore, including http://Amazon.com and at our website http://BlyBooks.com and blog http://BlyBooks.blogspot.com
Thank you, Stephen, for dropping by today.
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