Thursday, December 13, 2012

UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS HERO - Kathi Macias - One Free Book

Welcome, Kathi. I've looked forward to featuring this book after I got the first peek months ago at the possible cover. I even voted for this very one. Since you’re being published regularly, what new avenues will your future books take?        
I don’t see myself deviating much from issues-related fiction, though I may write a few less intense ones now and then. I also have a couple of nonfiction book stirring around inside me that I’d like to let out, but we’ll see what time allows. The biggest change I see in my career is that I’m doing a lot more speaking these days, much of which has opened up as a result of writing about such issues as the Persecuted Church, human trafficking, etc.

What conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them?      
The only conference I consider attending where I’m NOT speaking is ACFW, and that depends on what other engagements/deadlines I have at the time. I have a couple of writers’ conferences scheduled where I’ll be speaking, but primarily I’m speaking at women’s conferences now, which I absolutely love. I’m so grateful to God for combining my two great passions—writing and women’s ministry—in a way that I can continue in both venues.

If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why?      
Much would depend on the makeup of the attendees—beginning, intermediate, or seasoned writers; fiction or nonfiction writers; men, women, or both; older, middle-aged, or young writers who might be more interested in fantasy and/or film/screen writing. The answer to these questions would determine the topic focus and who I would invite to be part of the panel. Panel members (and faculty in general) need to already be accomplished in the area(s) of writing aspired to by attendees.

How important is it to you to be active in writing organizations?
Hugely important! When I first considered trying to write professionally I joined a group called Pen Women. It is the oldest writers’ organization in the country and was founded by Longfellow’s niece because women weren’t allowed into most professional writing associations. That group is not only national but has local branches where members gather monthly to hear speakers from all areas of professional writing. The more accomplished members encouraged the rest of us to press ahead and to continue to polish our craft. Their help was invaluable to me. Even now, as a seasoned writer with 40 published books to my name, I belong to such professional writing/speaking groups as Advanced Writers/Speakers Association (AWSA), Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and others. Networking is the key, and we to be connected with others who share our passion.

Where in the community or your church do you volunteer?       
Because I’m on the road speaking so much I’ve had to back off of regular ministry involvement on a local level, though I still consult regularly with aspiring writers in our community (and even online). When possible I volunteer my time to lead the women’s retreat at our church, and I often donate my time to speak at local events. When my travel schedule isn’t so demanding, I enjoy being involved in jail/prison ministry, homeless ministry, and always in women’s ministry at any level.

James and I have been involved for over a decade in homeless ministry, but now that involvement has changed to different ways to minister to them. Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how?
Wow, that’s a tough question! Let me give it a try:
*My mom, who was a prayer warrior and a worshipper; I learned from her the importance of quality time with the Lord

*My dad, who wasn’t a Christian until the last days of his 88 years on earth, taught me the importance of hard work and of doing my best at whatever task came my way daily

*Margaret Brownley, whom I met during my early days at Pen Women; her clear, concise advice on fiction writing taught me more than any class I could ever have taken

*Rosey Grier, with whom I was privileged to work on several projects and whose advice to “speak from your heart” was a huge help in getting me over the hurdle of “I don’t do public speaking”

*My husband, Al, who has known me since we were six years old and who always reminds me of the day when we were teenagers and I told him I was going to be a writer someday—he especially brings that to my attention when I start grumbling about being too busy, and the reminder helps me refocus on the blessing of being able to live out the dream God birthed in me as a child

If you could write the inscription on your tombstone, what would it be?
She loved God and left nothing undone that He called her to do.

Tell us about the featured book.     
Unexpected Christmas Hero is a fictional story about a young family (mother and two small children) who become homeless when the husband/father dies and they are suddenly thrust into economic disaster. A homeless Vietnam vet takes them under his wing and, through a selfless act, gifts them with a true Christmas miracle.

In addition, let me tell you about the “story behind the story.” The man on the cover, Willard Parker, truly is homeless and hadn’t seen his family in years when New Hope Publishers asked him to pose for the picture. When he told us his story, we set about trying to reunite him with his family, using social media to spread the word. It worked. We are now in the final stages of raising funds to cover the cost of their reunion. Isn’t God amazing? He knew this would happen all along, but I’ve been blessed and surprised at every turn.

Yes, I’ve been so excited watching this unfold and praying for it. Please share the first page with us.
      The late November sunshine was thin and tepid, but a welcome interruption to the gray skies and constant drizzle that usually hung over the small Washington town of Riverview for the better part of eight or nine months each year. Josie Meyers shivered as she stood in line behind her two children, waiting their turn for a free Thanksgiving meal.

            Tears bit her eyes at the memory of past Thanksgiving celebrations, particularly the most recent one the previous year. Though they had all been grieving the passing of Josie’s mother, they still managed to turn the day into a festive occasion, as the four of them gathered around the table to give thanks for the spread that awaited them.

            Sam, she thought. You stood there that day, offering a brief prayer of thanksgiving to a God I’m not sure you even believed in, and never let on for a moment that you hadn’t a clue where our next meal would come from or how we’d make the mortgage payment that month. How in the world were you able to carry it off for so long? If you hadn’t gotten sick, would you finally have found a way out of the mess we were in—or would you be standing here with the three of us now, begging for a hot meal and wondering where we’d sleep tonight?

Jacob and Susanna shuffled forward a couple of steps, each clutching a plastic tray in their bare hands. Josie had agreed to let them remove their mittens since the day was slightly warmer than normal and it would simplify the eating process, but she’d cautioned them to tuck the hand coverings securely in their jacket pockets as they would need them again by evening.

            Josie could smell the food now, and her mouth watered despite the sadness that clutched her insides and regularly threatened to emotionally disembowel her. They’d lost it all. Everything! First her mother, then her husband…and finally their home. Not to mention our dignity, she thought, refusing to let the tears flow from her eyes onto her cheeks. Will there ever be an end to this?

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Kathi. I can't wait for my copy of this book to come. It will move to the top of my reading pile.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Unexpected Christmas Hero - paperback
Unexpected Christmas Hero - Kindle (only $.99 today)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to read this book.

Lyndie Blevins
Duncanville, Tx

Kathi Macias said...

Lena, thanks so much for graciously hosting me on your blog. May you and your readers/followers be especially blessed this Christmas season!

Debby Mayne said...

I love the richness of Kathi's writing in this book! She really digs deep and grabs the emotions of readers very early in the story. Perfect read for this time of year!

Janice said...

This was such a good interview. I am thankful I was able to take the time to read it.

Thank you, also, for the opportunity to win your book. I donate books to a prison ministry and if I should win then this would make a second copy for me and I would love to send it to Christian Library International.

Decatur, GA

Jean Ann Williams said...

Keep at it, Kathi, in your sometimes too busy of a life! You know God will give you a time of rest. :))

Jean Ann Williams,

Davalyn Spencer said...

What a great interview with a wonderful writer and friend. Let me add my appreciation of this book, Unexpected Christmas hero. I'd love to see it as a Hallmark movie someday. Blessings to you both.

Sparks of Ember said...

What an amazing story behind the cover! God truly is amazing!

From the Black Hills of SD!

mongupp said...

i love the true story behind the cover!

monica, ontario

Anonymous said...

i would love to win.angel in ky

Kathi Macias said...

It is so encouraging to stop by and read your comments. Thank you all so much!

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like a good Christmas story.

Wendy from FL


Jo said...

This was such a wonderful interview and a truly amazing story. I had never really dealt with the homeless until this week when our life group brought clothes, blankets, jackets, water, soda, etc to the homeless at one of the parks in the area and had such a eye opening experience. It really touched my heart!


Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

sharon m said...

How I love reading Christmas books. Good interview also.
sharon, san diego

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Jan Cline said...

I am so glad for the encouragement about joining writing groups/organizations. I made it one of my goals for 2012 and have really enjoyed the benefits of networking with other writers and learning the business. There are so many writers out there yet to meet!

Mary Preston said...

UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS HERO looks like such a wonderful story.

Mary P


Kathy Collard Miller said...

I love love love Kathi's heart for God and ministering to others. I just wish I could duplicate her writing brain into mine!!!!! Sure hope I win this book!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview. Really liked the part about who the 5 people were that influenced her the most. Blessings, Susan Fryman New Mexico

Patsy said...

Would love to read this book.

from South MS


pol said...

Merry Christmas, thanks for introducing us to Kathi Macias and this book for Christmas. I would like to read as I enjoy this kind of story. thanks for sharing.

Paula O(
a Ga reader

Rhonda's Doings said...

I have heard wonderful things about this book of Kathi's. I would be delighted to win a copy.

Kathi Macias said...

It is always such a joy to be featured on your blog, Lena. Thank you for giving me the chance to connect with your readers/followers. May the blessings of God overtake each one of you at every turn!

Vonda Skelton said...

I love this story of the homeless man and his family. Thank you for following through, Kathi. Many would have enjoyed the "coincidence" and moved on, but you're seeing it to completion. Thank you for your example!

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this christmas story

kmkuka at yahoo dot com
from PA

Pamela J said...

This book looks like it is a real tear jerker AND thought provoking as to what people who have no home goes through.
I live in southern Colorado. The picture on the cover, all the snow coming down, looks like it could be taken outside my house today.
purensimplenatural at gmail dot com

Hannah said...

I love Kathi's writing! I would love to win :)
Hannah P

Nancee said...

I've been following the details surrounding "Unexpected Christmas Hero" since the book first released, and have been in touch with Kathi regarding the details of the homeless man pictured on the cover of her book. Offering a gift of money toward bringing his family back together for Christmas was a must for me. God has blessed me and so many other people through Kathi's writing, her assistance in finding Mr. Parker's family, and in exploring the world of homelessness. I admire Kathi so much for being involved in bringing exposure to various social injustices. She's a very special lady!
Nancee in Michigan

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a very interesting book.
I am also a Vietnam Vet. with a large
family. I would love an opportunity to win a copy of your book.
God Bless You!
Dennie Richmond
Blanch, NC

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Martha W. Rogers said...

I absolutely loved this book. I kept thinking ahead to what might happen and found myself laughing and crying. Kathi, you do know how to touch our hearts and bring out our emotions. Thank you for a beautiful Christmas story made even more special by the real story going on behind the scenes with your cover guy. Fantastic. Great interview, Lena, with a great lady.

Jean said...

I always look forward to reading a new (to me) author.

Thank you.

West Palm Beach, FL

Norma S said...

Hi Kathi and Lena,
Thank you for the chance to win " Unexpected Christmas Hero ". Lena and you had a great interview. It is hard to believe that a mother and her two children became homeless after their dad past away.Can't wait to read it. Hope you have a Merry Christmas. God bless you both.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

rubynreba said...

My husband is a Vietnam Vet and the story behind the cover is very touching. Love to read this book!
Beth from IA