Tonight on the Write Stuff–Hannah’s Civil Pirate with Joanna Emerson

51-PJ7+phSL (1)Hannah Jones knows little more than the evils of slavery. She yearns for freedom for herself and her children. But in Charleston, SC, in the 1850s, freedom is impossible for a black woman.

Then she meets Robert Smalls, who doesn’t think like anyone else she ever met before. And he may be daring and gallant enough to attempt the impossible – escape.

If they succeed, they will win freedom for their family and friends. If they fail, the Confederate army would hang Robert as a pirate, and would kill his whole family. Or worse, send them back to slavery.

Join in as I chat with Joanna Emerson and her book, Hannah’s Civil Pirate. You can call in at 646-668-8485 and press 1 to be live on air. Or, download Stitcher on your mobile device. Follow us on iTunes. Or, click on the link here:


GUEST STORY SHARE — Bridger: A Dystopian Serial — Episode 2

Bridger is a dystopian serial story about Charlane, a disgraced career soldier leading a security team at a remote research facility. When Char encounters a humanoid creature who claims to come from another world, she sees a chance to save her career—and the dying earth.

Char, a strong, career-driven woman, is fighting to overcome crippling self-doubt after she lost everything in a military scandal. She’d given so much to that career, including her marriage. Now she is starting over. Char doesn’t know that her value as a person doesn’t change based on what she accomplishes. Can she accept the unconditional love of those who care for her?

Our social media and celebrity culture has placed enormous value on beauty, fitness, and lifestyle. Our work culture pressures women to continually rise up the ranks and press for better jobs. All of these are worthwhile things, but they are not markers of personal value. A person is valuable because of who they are, not what they produce.


Episode 2: A Blast of Guilt



episode 2picChar stood in the center of her room for a whole minute, staring at the blood smeared down her front, willing herself to move.

Panic was rising up inside her like a fast-incoming tide. Vague visions of a ditch, soldiers dead around her.

She stood there staring at her trembling hands.

“Get it the hell together,” she muttered finally. “It’s just blood.”

She unclenched her hands and pulled her sweater over her head. She dropped it in the corner and sat down on the bed and took deep breaths until the anxiety passed.

They’d worked well together, she and Seth. Who’da thunk it?

She was surprised he hadn’t said anything about it, but then she’d been at Fort Situk for a week and the ice remained unbroken.

She shut her eyes and recalled the moment she saw him.

“The infirmary wing is on the other side of the command module.” Site director Greta Erwell didn’t point or wait, she just kept walking.

Leander rolled her eyes in Char’s direction. Char smirked.

Their footsteps echoed down the curving, concrete hallway as they followed the silver-haired director. They came to the juncture where the module joined with the central hall of the living quarters, and Erwell swung open a door labeled “infirmary.”

“It’s a four-bed facility,” Erwell said as the door closed behind them, leaving them in a square room lit with bright white LEDs. A few chairs were clustered in one corner. Four beds stood empty and waiting, ready to be partitioned off with curtains.

“There’s an exam room through here,” Erwell continued as she led them forward, “and then there’s actually a small greenhouse that the doctor uses to grow medicinal herbs.”

“Oh!” Leander smirked. “That kind of doctor?”

Erwell smiled tightly. “Mostly for his own interest, as I understand. He’s very capable, I assure you.”

She led them down a short passage, which opened up into a tiny greenhouse made of thick plexiglass. The wan Alaskan sun shone down on rows of plants. A man stood at the back, stooped over a bench of what looked like grass. A dark braid hung between his shoulders.

“Doctor?” Erwell said.

He lifted his head, and his smile faltered.

Char felt as if someone had dumped icy water over her head. Her pulse spiked.

Seth Thompson.

How had she gone through the whole contracting process of bringing her security force to Fort Situk without coming across the name of her ex-husband on a roster somewhere?

Click here to continue the episode.

I’ve Got to Write — The Parker J Cole Show

writebookI’ve Got To Write! It’s Like Fire Shut Up In My Bones! Personal Growth Study and Journal

Several scriptures implore you as a Christian writer to share the Word of God while on earth.

1. You’ve got to write because you are called to write. According to Jeremiah 1:5, God called you from the beginning of time. He knew you would be a writer when you were in your mother’s womb. God created you to be a writer. Your goal is to distribute His words in foreign lands or scatter abroad.

2. You’ve got to write because it is your spiritual gift. God has given every Christian has a gift. As a Christian writer, your purpose is to write. As God’s ambassador here on earth, you are to use your gift to help in Kingdom building and to bless others.

3. You’ve Got to write to bring God Glory. You are the spokesperson in this dark and depraved world. Your written words have power. Therefore, you must spread His word to those who are so desperately waiting.

I’ve Got To Write! It’s Like Fire Shut Up In My Bones! Spiritual Growth Journal is a study designed with you, the writer, in mind. It invites you on a prayerful journey through the beautiful and transforming word of the Bible while encouraging you to write. Each verse for reflection comes with a writing prompt. While on this writing journey you will spend time in God’s presence. He will reveal amazing treasures to you in His Word – and He will change your heart as a writer.

For the New Year, lets listen as I chat with author, speaker, consultant, pastor, and publisher Dr. Norma McLauchlin. You can call in at 929-477-1965 and press 1 to be live on air. Or, click on the link here:

GUEST POST: Speculative Faith: Bird Box: Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid by Mark Carver

Watching Bird Box is an experience. It was after I finished that I thought, “What in the world did I just watch? I just wasted ninety minutes of my life and I can’t get it back! Ah!”

So I was pleased when I saw this article by my good friend Mark Carver, expressing my sentiments exactly.


Like most people with a Netflix account, I have seen The Bird Box starring Sandra Bullock. And like many people who watched it, I was underwhelmed. I haven’t read the book so I can’t compare the two versions, but let me say that I have a high threshold for suspension of disbelief (my public professions of love for Michael Bay movies should be sufficient evidence) but even I found the central concept of The Bird Box hard to swallow. Invisible ghosts/spirits/aliens/demons/somethings that make you kill yourself only if you look at them? At least the main idea of The Happening with Mark Wahlberg made sense (humans are a disease and the Earth dispatches antibodies to kill off the infection). The Bird Box seems to be the result of a common problem in the literary brain: I have this cool idea; now how to make it into a story?Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

A very clever marketing manager somewhere came up with the idea of the “Bird Box Challenge” on social media and made it look like it just spontaneously showed up on the interwebs. This dull and predictable challenge has helped propel the film’s popularity and has spawned a number of memes which are sure to remain popular for a month or two. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate the movie. It was decently well-done and there were a few crazy moments, but when you step back and look at the whole picture, it’s hard to keep a straight face. I just wish Mark Wahlberg would have shown up with his trademark look of confusion and blurted, “It’s Happening…again!”

Bird Box

Image copyright Netflix

In the movie, if someones sees whatever those “things” are, they are driven to suicide. Yet some people, the mentally ill and psychotic, are compelled not to kill themselves, but to force others to look and die. And the entities are also sensed by animals (a good means of protection is keeping a bird in a box, sort of like a caged canary in a coal mine). When the bird gets agitated, it means one of the invisible monsters is around.

Applications for the film’s symbolism are abundant. Is the only way to survive life’s brutal realities to willfully blind oneself to the truth? Are dangerous principles only harmful if we give them any attention? Is it safer in the dark than in the light? Let’s take a closer look through the lens of Scripture and the Christian walk.

What could the suicide-inducing monsters symbolize, if we were to ascribe meaning to them that transcends the screen? They could be regrets or traumatic memories. In any instance, it is not healthy to focus on such things, especially as Christians. Psalms 103:12 tells us that God has removed our transgressions from us as far as the East is from the West. It doesn’t mean that past sins didn’t happen, but God remembers them no more (Is. 43:25) and neither should we (Phi. 3:13). Dwelling on our sinful past hurts our faith, or can turn us toward bitterness and malice, wanting to inflict that hurt on others as well, especially if we think they deserve it.

Image copyright Netflix

Suppose the invisible monsters symbolize sin. Is being blind to sin a good thing? Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 14:20 to be like innocent babies when it comes to evil, but like mature adults in our thinking. We should not know the ins and outs of sin or be proud of our detailed knowledge if we lived in sin in the past. It should not be viewed as shameful for a Christian to have no experience with particular sins. On the other hand, we should not deceive ourselves in thinking this or that sin doesn’t exist or isn’t all that bad. This is where thinking as adults comes in. Like the world in The Bird Box where the air is swarming with these malevolent creatures, sin and demonic powers are everywhere and it is only God’s grace and angelic protection that lets us make it through each day alive. We should be keenly aware of the horrors of sin around us, especially in the lives of those close to us. Yet we don’t have to get our hands dirty to minister to them. We don’t have to “look” in order to help them see Christ. Many people believe that you need to get down in the gutter to reach people that low. Perhaps for a short time, but you don’t have to act like them, talk like them, and live like them to somehow win them over for Christ. He doesn’t need our help to save anyone’s souls. Living lives innocent of sin has a stronger witness than any “marketing plan” we could come up with.

If you still want to see The Bird Box, go right ahead. For me personally, though, some things are better left unseen.

Write Stuff Author Spotlight — I’ve Got to Write by Norma McLauchlin


Hello! This is one of my tour stops during my two week book tour for I’ve Got To Write by Norma McLauchin. This virtual book tour is organized by Write Now Literary Book Tours. This tour runs Jan 2-15, 2019.  Book your own tour here WNL.
ISBN-13: 978-1732236646
Book Title: I’ve Got To Write! It’s Like Fire Shut Up In My Bones!
Genre: Inspirational
                     Meet NormaNorma McLauchlin is your Spiritual Growth & Journaling Coach, Founder of New Life Ministries, Lady LifersTM Women’s Conferences, Chosen Pen Publishing, the Free to ChooseTM book series, co-pastor of New Life Bible Church and New Life Christian Academy. Norma McLauchlin, fondly known as “First Lady” in and around her community, inspires women to embrace spiritual change and live more fulfilling lives. Speaking from the heart of her own experiences as a wife, mother, co-pastor, and administrator.  First Lady has the unique ability to connect with women from all walks of life.It’s Like Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a compilation of smoldering, heartfelt stories of love, compassion, forgiveness, and amazement inspired and told by members of the Chosen Pen Writers Group. For many of our authors, this is their first published work. Yet, the passion and resolve in bringing to light a story that was burning on their hearts can be found on the printed pages inside.First Lady has accepted the call to help women develop their self-esteem and self-worth. Chosen Pen Publishing and Free to Choose books are just two of the vehicles she uses to encourage women to access the tools necessary to bring about the transformation that will help them realize their potential.

About The Book
Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV) But if I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire shut up in my bones.
It’s Like Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a compilation of smoldering, heartfelt stories of love, compassion, forgiveness, and amazement inspired and told by members of the Chosen Pen Writers Group. For many of our authors, this is their first published work. Yet, the passion and resolve in bringing to light a story that was burning on their hearts can be found on the printed pages inside.
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Tour hosted by Write Now Literary

Tonight on the Write Stuff — Identity Revealed with J. M. Butler

What if you prepared for the wrong destiny?

Cursed by her devious mother, Amelia, a young mindreader is driven by a deadly destiny. Only she can defeat Naatos, the shapeshifting warlord, in his march of terror across the thirty-six worlds. But Naatos conquers her home in a murderous midnight ambush before she has even learned how to throw a knife. She flees to Earth where she dedicates her life to training, fearing the curse will make her a monster if she does not succeed in defeating Naatos.

Naatos understands that with choice comes tragedy. He seeks to gather the worlds beneath his rule, righting the errors of previous monarchs and eliminating the complications of ignorant inhabitants. His only weakness is a young mindreader, the last living Neyeb. She doesn’t know who she really is, let alone what she will become, allowing him to twist both her destiny and curse to his advantage.

When Amelia finally returns to her home, the land of the bruin riders, she discovers her family captured, the royal court slaughtered, and her people imprisoned. She launches a rescue only to discover Naatos’s savagery and abilities exceed all reports. Even worse, the truth behind the curse and her identity eviscerates her resolve, forcing her to question everything from her beliefs to her priorities to her character. Outmatched and outflanked, Amelia must defend her nation and take control of her true destiny or condemn the worlds to Naatos’s rule and millions to death.

Join me as I begin the New Year with author J. M. Butler as we discuss book one of her new series, the Tue Rah Chronicles. You can call in at 646-668-8485 and press 1 to be live on air. Or, download Stitcher on your mobile device. Follow us on iTunes. Or, click on the link here:

I’m Jessica B. Fry though for my writing I use the name J.M. Butler. It’s a tribute to my grandfather, Jim Butler, a wonderful man who was one of the first people to believe I would be an author.

I write speculative fiction with a particular focus on multicultural fantasy and supsenseful adventures. Some good old fashioned romance as well. For my day job, I serve as an attorney and run a small law firm with my husband, James Fry, in rural Indiana.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy working with the youth at my church, hosting fun fandom themed parties (Doctor Who, Marvel, Star Wars, DC, Star Trek, OUAT, & more), reading all the books I can get my hands on, and uncovering new hobbies. Some of my favorites are studying mythology, cosplaying on occasion, practicing knife throwing (you’re fine if you stay by the target), and looking for adventures. I know. I have to look for my own adventures as Gandalf hasn’t shown up to take me on one yet.

I also love spending time with my wonderful husband, and he regularly indulges me in story talk. While we don’t have children, we do have four wonderful cats. The names go in themes. We’ve been in a Norse theme for awhile, so it’s Maelona, Sophie, Thor, and Loki. (There’s a good reason why two of those names aren’t Norse. It might have something to do with Jr. High me using a Norse/Celtic namebook and not distinguishing.)

You can find out more about me and my writing at You can also connect with me at




I can’t wait to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts or even just say hello. I’d love to hear from you. Have a wonderful day!

NEW RELEASE! An Agent for Arielle by Parker J. Cole

The Pinkerton Matchmaker series gives ‘being married to your work’ a whole new meaning.

Archibald Gordon, head of the Denver, Colorado office of the Pinkerton Agency has received news — hire female agents.  He advertises the position and applicants from all over the country start to pour in.

There’s just one problem; each female recruit will be trained by an existing agent. How do you protect her honor and reputation while still working the case? The answer seems simple. Marry your trainer for the duration of the case.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Pinkerton Matchmaker series, although fictional, is based on the real Pinkerton Agency. Allan Pinkerton, the founder, was a progressive of his time. He was the first to hire women and blacks.  He saw slavery as the curse of this great nation. Some of his closest friends were of African American descent and he and his wife also helped blacks on the road to freedom.

It’s this rich historical background that my book, An Agent for Arielle, takes place.


A mulatto heiress, a former slave, and the case that tests their resolve…

Mulatto heiress Arielle Bradford refuses to marry the politician her father has chosen for her. When she sees an advertisement that the Pinkerton agency in Denver, Colorado is looking for female recruits, it seems like the perfect escape plan. And then she discovers she has to marry her training agent.

Former slave and Union spy Caleb Smith is leery of his beautiful but fiery partner’s ability to be a good agent, but when a prominent Negro politician receives a threat on his life, it’s up to both of them to find the would-be killer.

Can a woman who has never known shackles of slavery and a man who has never taken his freedom lightly not only work together, but maybe even find love?