Interview with Ann Harrison-Barnes

Ann Harrison-Barnes is the author of four books: Stories Outside the Box, A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery, Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure, and Inner Vision. She has also been published in several anthologies. Aside from her work as a Christian fiction author, Ann is a professional freelance writer. She also hosts the Inspirational Journeys Podcast, where she gives authors, creative artists, and entrepreneurs a platform to share their work. When she’s not interviewing special guests, she hosts solo episodes providing book reviews, reading selected poems, and sharing tips and encouragement for aspiring authors…

Welcome, Ann. Can you start us off by telling us about yourself and your background?

My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes. I am totally blind, with the exception of light perception in my left eye. I’m a single mom of a ten-year-old daughter. She and I were both miracles. I didn’t know that I was pregnant until the night before she was delivered via cesarean section. We both had a very slim chance of survival. If it weren’t for the grace of God, we wouldn’t be here today. Other than that, I am a published author, a professional writer, and I run a podcast called Inspirational Journeys, which I started almost four months ago.

What is your faith background?

I was saved when I was about ten or so, and after some trials in my life, I rededicated my life back to Christ in my early 30’s. Since then, no matter what trials I face, I have to allow God to lead me down the path He chose for me as a writer and as a podcaster.

What ministries have you been involved with over the years?

I haven’t necessarily been involved in ministry, other than singing in my church choir.

How did you get involved with that ministry?

I simply asked if I could join the choir. However, once I got divorced from my emotionally abusive first husband, I went to sing in the choir at the church I attend now with my mother. I still sing in the choir and perform occasional solos.

What is your life’s mission, and how do you intend to accomplish it?

My purpose in life is to win souls for Christ and to share the message of His divine love through my writing, blogging, podcast, and in any other way that God leads.

 

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What creative tools do you have to accomplish your mission?

For my writing, I use a PC with a screen reader called JAWS, which stands for Job Access with Speech. I also use Microsoft Word for my writing. When I am on the go or away from my computer, I use the Notes app on my iPhone. I use the built-in VoiceOver screen reader that Apple provides on all their devices and computers.

For the podcast, I use the Anchor platform, because hosting with them is free and ridiculously easy to use. I either record my episodes on my computer using Google Chrome, which makes the creation tools more accessible to me. When I’m podcasting away from my computer, I use the Anchor App for my iPhone, which has come a long way in accessibility for VoiceOver users. When I conduct interviews, I use the Zoom software. When the recorded file is converted to audio, I upload it to Anchor along with any other segments I need to add. When I do interviews in both video and audio, I also upload the MP4 files to my YouTube channel. This helps me share my guest’s inspirational story to a wider audience.

What obstacles have you encountered so far? How did you deal with them?

One of the obstacles I’ve faced is getting my books formatted for self-publication. I have learned that you don’t pay a publisher to publish your book for you. When I published a second edition of A Journey of Faith, I had the assistance of an employment specialist I was working with at the time to reformat my book so I could publish it through KDP and Smashwords, and I paid another lady I knew to publish it on Lulu for me. My other books were originally licensed under the Electric Eclectic Books brand. I had help formatting those and I turned those into eBooks. Now, I am working with a publisher to produce them in print and audio under my own brand.

 

A Journey of Faith ebook

 

As for my podcast, the biggest obstacle I have run up against was accessibility, as is the case with a lot of things I want to do. If they didn’t work, I either left them alone or I contacted the company, which was what I did with Anchor.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourself and serving God with your abilities?

I have learned several things about my ability to serve God through my writing and my podcast. First of all, to write a Christ-centered story, poem or novel, I have to listen to what the Holy Spirit tells me, no matter whether I glean my inspiration from the Bible, from music, or from the natural music of the wind chimes on my front porch. Sometimes He gives me scenes of a story or information about His plan for my life in dreams. Another lesson I learned is not to pay a publisher to publish my work. I started revising one of my books last night. I found some glaring mistakes, one of which was the misspelling of a character’s name. 

When I want to reach out to people for podcast interviews or don’t know what to talk about in solo episodes, I let the Holy Spirit lead me in the direction He wants me to take the podcast. This is the reason I sent out an invitation to the Christian Writers Support Group.

Who/what are your biggest influences?

The Holy Spirit is my greatest influence, but as for others, I would say that music is the second biggest source of inspiration, healing and comfort, because God has given this precious gift and has called those artists and composers to provide it for us. An artist that touched my life on a deep level was the late great Dan Seals, who was part of the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley in the seventies, but who became a country artist in the eighties. I am also inspired by a variety of books I have read over the years by authors like Janette Oke, Karen Kingsbury and Robin Lee Hatcher, to name a few.

Who or what is your support system?

Although my family supports me in my endeavors, I have a circle of writer friends. This network is constantly growing by the week, sometimes even by the day, on social media, my website, and the podcast.

Do you also have a job or are you in ministry full-time?

My only job is that of author, professional writer and podcaster. The author life is my full-time job because I am in the process of turning it into a creative business.

Other hobbies or interests? 

I love to read, listen to podcasts, which is where I did the research before building my own, crocheting, as well as spending precious time with my family.

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives seeking to serve the Lord with their gifts? 

Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do what the Lord has called you to do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re called to write, run a podcast, draw, sing praises to the Lord, or to use whatever gifts you’ve been given. If the gift is truly from God, He will provide the way for you to use it.

Can you tell us about your future goals?

I am planning to edit my first novel and publish a new book this year. I have a few more novels in the series I’m working on and I have other unfinished or first draft manuscripts that I want to get published, Lord willing.

Reader, I hope you have enjoyed meeting our guest. Please read on to learn how you can support her and her work for the Kingdom of God.

Blessings!

my profile

How to Connect with Ann Harrisson-Barnes:

Visit my website at: https://annwritesinspiration.com

Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annwritesinspiration

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/annwrites75

Subscribe to my podcast on your favorite platform: https://anchor.fm/inspirational-journeys

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/annsmusic1

 

Come As You Are

Come as You Are

By Grant P. Ferguson

 

Imagine a vaccine that will protect you from anything that might disrupt your creative flow—the injection will strengthen every fiber of your creative being.

If this vaccine existed, one that would cure self-doubt while eliminating the fear of failure, would you line up for the shot?

Good news: the cure is available!

I invite you to come as you are. Discover how your God-given creativity can make a difference.

 

Creating Early in Life

I can still see and feel the moment.

I’m only six years old and built like a fireplug. The teacher invited me up on stage to tell a story. My classmates encouraged me, so I told an imaginative yarn. After the applause died down (likely an embellished part of my memory), the teacher asked me to share another story the next day. I was marked as a storyteller.

That first-grade debut was my initial foray into public speaking. I loved every minute without any fear of failure or paralysis of self-doubt.

 

Falling Prey to Life’s Cautions

Roll forward fifteen years.

I’m in my twenties and about to receive recognition for suggesting a process improvement at work. The manager asked each employee to give a short presentation. When it came time for me to talk before the group, I froze. Trembling with fear, I mumbled a few words and sat down.

Now, with 20/20 hindsight, I can see how my life had changed since that first-grade experience. No longer a carefree kid, I had responsibilities—a wife, child, and mortgage. Life had pounced on me, infecting my brain with an assortment of worries—life’s cautions that impacted my thoughts, speech, and actions.

Today, that moment of embarrassment seems like a small speed bump on the road of life. But at the time, it was a significant emotional event.

Fortunately, the source of creativity did not come from my employer or even me.

 

Equipping Us to Create

God creates, it’s His nature, as emphasized in the first verse of Genesis:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Then, in verse 1:27:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

It’s abundantly clear: not only is God the Creator, but He also made us in His image. The Lord’s creativity is woven into our being.

My choices can inhibit creativity; however, such decisions cannot remove the creativity that God placed within me.

Looking back, I can see how this God-given creativity along with my love of reading empowered me to solve problems. The urge to create coupled with the ability to read had given me what I now call my unfair competitive advantage.

And that’s why instilling a love of reading in young people is so important.

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Changing Lives One Book at a Time

You might wonder:

What was the catalyst for developing an unfair competitive advantage?

I still remember pulling that slim green book from the top shelf, and for an under tall sixth grader, that was no small feat.

Within the pages of that little book, I explored a collection of short science fiction adventures. Each story took me to a different time and place. I met strange creatures; imagined and explored new worlds.

Because of that one book, I was hooked on reading. My reading habit propelled a long career, inspiring me to do more in life than I had asked for or even imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

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Encouraging Middle Schoolers to Read

Writers can help young people gain access to this unfair competitive advantage.

That’s why I write fun books that encourage middle schoolers to read. I believe that if young people learn to enjoy reading, they’ll experience more opportunities to solve life’s challenges.

But writing stories for ages 8 to 12 requires much more than just imagination. Middle schoolers are intelligent and want, no, demand stories that rival the quality of those written for adults. Further, stories created for the middle grades must be fleshed out in believable ways and not come off as preaching.

I urge you to read the middle-grade book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. You’ll find many smart and articulate comments by young people. Also, you will find the opinions of their parents, making clear the need for more Christian writers willing to produce quality books.

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Encouraging Writers to Write

Inspirational writers like C. S. Lewis and his friend, J. R. R. Tolkien, used their writing skills to influence children and adults with ageless Christian ideas. I certainly don’t pretend that I can write like Lewis or Tolkien, but I do acknowledge how much their efforts and lives have influenced my work, which helped me set quality benchmarks.

I study and try to apply kid-friendly techniques employed by engaging mystery authors, such as Raymond Chandler and Erle Stanley Gardner. And while I may have a long way to go before approaching anything near the desired results, I believe over time my efforts will engage youthful readers and help them learn how they can become problem solvers.

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Accepting the Call

Reading is a skill that helps solve problems. That all-important-life skill enables readers to explore God’s Word.

As many have discovered through reading, the Lord’s generosity doesn’t stop with His gifts of grace, forgiveness, and salvation. Continued reading highlights and amplifies the certainty of restoration through Christ and an eternity with our Creator.

Accepting the call to write is not be easy. So, join with me in believing more can be accomplished through our lives than we’ve ever asked or even imagined.

Come as you are:

Write!

 

About Grant P. Ferguson

GPF-HdShot-01-Clr-Bkgd-web​G​rant ​is a former executive who now writes ​books ​that blend humor and mystery​, ​creating ​fast-paced stories that include young heroes thrust into dangerous adventures with friends, robots, monsters, trolls, and even zombies. His characters show how people can still live out their full potential despite flaws and setbacks.

Grant and wife Dana, enjoy living in their restored 1906 building on the Main Street of Clifton, Texas. When he’s not walking his dog Rango or writing another action adventure, you might find Grant playing a hammered dulcimer or watching an old science fiction movie.

Click here to learn more about Grant and his books.

 

Book Feature: Mountains Where You Can Ride Horses

Today’s book feature, Mountains Where You Can Ride Horses, is by author Patricia Dimsdale. Here is what she says about her book: 

“The last book finished was Mountains Where You Can Ride Horses. The lady (Tesha Echolt), who is an accountant, has avoided her ex for six years, but now he has located her and continues to threaten to kill her. (From my own experience.) She enrolls in carpentry in another location because she wants to build her own cabin in a remote place in the wilderness and escape the threats. 

While at college, the heroine learns more about herself, and makes choices which are not what she originally planned.” 

 

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Dimsdale is also an artist, and she has included these fine drawings for this post:

 

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Tesha by the river

 

More from Dimsdale about why she wrote this difficult book:

“When women are threatened by an ex, as I was, the first reaction is to run far away and try to hide somewhere, which is a reasonable choice.

In my book, Mountains Where You Can Ride Horses, the lady seeks the serenity of mountains to find peace. What God has in mind for her is something else. God provides people who come into her life who help her. When a woman has a caring community around her, she can find protection and comfort. The Creator does not want us to live in isolation. He designed us to want to be connected to others. 

Throughout the book, I show how kind people are a blessing to the woman. I also show the difference between how a humble man supports a woman, and an abusive man demeans a woman.” 

 

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About Patricia Dimsdale:

Patricia Dimsdale is a non-denominational Christian who accepts all Christians as part of God’s family. Each of her books contain people from different churches. Dimsdale appreciates the serenity of nature and God’s presence in it so much that she likes to include them in her books. You can find her other book, Fissure in the Rock: An Illustrated Novella, on Amazon here.

Behind-the-scenes of “Love is Patient” and Book Giveaway, by Lila Diller

Behind-the-scenes of Love is Patient

by Lila Diller

What Do You Do When You Lose All Your Work?

What did I do when I lost almost everything? I did it all over again. And then I found it was so much easier the second time.

While working on my third novel, #3 in the “Love is…” series, I saved and saved and saved my file. Then I lost it.

Drafting

I had crafted my first rough draft in Scrivener using the free trial. But I was having trouble seeing how all the parts combined together, so I copied everything into a new Word document. Then I went back for my first revision and added several scenes and many transitions. At the end of every day, I made sure to save my edits.

Revising

I used to love revising, but for some reason, I really hated it this time. Do you like writing first drafts or revising better?

After about three months of dragging my feet, I finally realized that my deadline was looming. So I picked up the pace. Or I would have, if I had been able to access my novel.

Losing

What I didn’t plan on was that one file getting corrupted. Somehow that file’s information was transformed into pages of #######. That’s all I could get out of it. 😦 (The only explanation I can of is that the cord to my external hard drive must have come loose when saving that last time.)

I realized then that I had only been saving edits in the same file. I had never hit “Save As” to create a new file with the new edits. So when I lost that file, I had to start all over again from the very first, roughest of rough drafts. I was devastated.

Complaining

I cried to all my author friends and felt a little better that they sympathized so much with me. Then I had to take a deep breath and get back to work. Now I had three times more work to do in two months than I had expected. I didn’t have time to drag my feet this time.

Repeating

I didn’t know how I was going to remember everything I had revised before. And I didn’t. But it was easier this time. Knowing better where I wanted the story to end up, knowing now that I had already tied this scene to that scene, confidence helped me do it again quicker.

There was one scene I had agonized over, and when I lost it, I despaired that it would never be that good ever again. It probably isn’t. 😉 But I think the Lord used it to give me peace as to the final product. The first time, I kept going back and forth, trying to decide how detailed to get. The second time, I had already made that decision (after more prayer), and I felt confident that the Holy Spirit led me to the correct decision.

Redeeming

Have you ever been in a situation that seemed terrible at the time but looking back, you now see some good that has come from it? This is an example of a small thing that Jesus redeemed. Do you have a big thing?

Loving

The Lord gave me the idea for the “Love is…” series, a contemporary Christian Romance based on the Bible’s descriptions of agape love in 1 Corinthians 13. It follows the heroine Morgan through her love life and on into her marriage, focusing mostly on romantic relationships, but also incorporating real-life circumstances to show Christ-like, agape love in different relationships, whether family, friends, or enemies.

Love is Not Arrogant or Rude is the first installment of Lila Diller’s “Love is…” Series, based on the Bible’s definition of true agape love in 1 Corinthians 13, a contemporary Christian Romance introducing Morgan’s saga from her first-person point of view, and set in a fictional, college town in North Carolina. Morgan must choose between two men, her current boss or a former flame. Who will show her true love?a

1 Love is Not Arrogant or Rude

Love Does Not Envy or Boast is the second in the series. I won’t spoil it for you, but it follows Morgan dating experience with the man of her choice from #1. Will suspicions and jealousy tear them apart? Will their budding love take root? Or will it wither?

Love is Patient is the third in the series, and it shows the stress of planning a wedding and of waiting for sex until marriage. Will there be a wedding after all? Will they learn to wait on the Lord? Or will they rush into an impure relationship and sully their love with guilt?

Love is Patient

Giving

Until August 1, I’m giving away a copy of #1, Love is Not Arrogant or Rude! The winner can choose either paperback or e-book (paperback is only for US residents, sorry). 

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below answering one or both of these questions and contact me at dillerdesigns@gmail.com to request your free book: 1) Do you like writing first drafts or revising better? Or 2) Have you ever been in a situation that seemed terrible at the time but looking back, you now see some good that has come from it?

 

About Lila Diller

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Lila is outnumbered by a houseful of males: wife to husband of 16 years, homeschooling mom to two energetic boys, and caretaker of a hyper half-Collie, half-mutt, Copper. She loves purple, sushi, dark chocolate, and reading. As the author of the “Love is…” series and a blogger at Creating Romance, she loves to help readers create romance in their marriages and draw closer to Jesus. You can find her at liladiller.com.

Interview with Mystery Writer Davyd Gosselin

Today we welcome mystery writer, Davyd Gosselin to the Christian Creative Nexus.

 

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Davyd Gosselin, author

 

Hi, Davyd. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec to an English mother and French-Canadian father. I grew up in the country which has always been a source of inspiration in my writing. I moved to Montreal in 1985 to attend Concordia University. I spent 25 years in the city (minus one year in Vancouver), latterly living on the Plateau where I began writing, The Boathouse Murders.

How did you get into writing? Why are you drawn to it?

I began writing because of Mrs. Maloney. She visited our house regularly and carried a cane which she seldom used. My mother told me she was a writer. I decided I wanted to be a writer too. I loved books and words. I was twelve.

Why did you choose your genre?

I had read all the Hardy Boys books three times over by the time I was ten. At twelve, I was reading Arthur Conan Doyle and Ellery Queen. I loved British detective fiction. Still do.

How did you learn/perfect your craft?

I took Creative Writing at CEGEP and obtained a B.A. in Creative Writing at Concordia University. I also learned a great deal about writing through books such as Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourself or the writing business since you decided to walk this path?

I don’t like the business end of writing that much! I prefer to just create worlds and characters people fall in love with. However, I have learned to share my love of writing and reading with potential readers.

Do you have another job or do you write full-time?

I teach English Second Language and translate French to English.

What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

The reality that no one really cares whether I write or not. I cope with the reality by reminding myself two things: A. Analytics don’t validate my voice. B. The reward of writing is the writing itself (Sherwood Anderson).

Who are your favourite writers and why?

I have too many to count! I think the most impactful writers are the poets, Kalil Gibran and Wordsworth. I will always adore Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

What advice would you give to writers, especially those looking to break into your genre?

There is no magic recipe, but there are a few essentials, one of which is grit and the second is hustle. Reading the masters of the craft (detective fiction) like Agatha Christie and P.D. James is always a good plan. Have a Plan B and never underestimate the power of a regular job. It’s a good place to make contacts and stay involved in life whilst churning out mountains of purple prose!

How can readers get into contact with you?

Check out my blog, Honey Blue Tea or visit me on Amazon’s Author Central. I am constructing a web site soon.

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?

I am finishing up the second volume in the Bevyn Jones detective series: Murder at Matins. I have also published (Amazon) two chapbooks, one of short stories (Little Red Dress and Short Shorts) and another of poetry.

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Can you share something interesting about yourself and unrelated to writing?

I really love dogs and horses. If I could, I’d have a ranch with Border Collies, lots of sheep and a couple of horses. I also enjoy cars, especially antique ones. I plan to buy a 1961 Ford Sunliner convertible. I tried to restore one when I was 18, but had to surrender it to the scrapyard due to a lack of funds.

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Little Red Dress, by Davyd Gosselin

How to Connect with Davyd:

Honey Blue Tea blog       

Biography and bibliography – Author Central Amazon

Biography and bibliography – Smashwords

Bibliography

The Boathouse Murders paperback – Amazon

The Boathouse Murders Kindle – Amazon

The Boathouse Murders eBook – Indigo

The Boathouse Murders eBook – Google

The Little Red Dress and Short Shorts chapbook – Amazon

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the interview and will look Davyd up on his various sites!

-Delia

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