Tag Archives: Author Visit

A Glance Back at 2017 and a Peek Forward to 2018

Here’s a little trip down memory lane, with my top author highlights from 2017, plus a teeny hint at what’s coming for 2018…

APRIL 2017:

Girls’ Love Letters from God, the fourth book in the popular Love Letters from God series hits the shelves. and it’s even read by mermaids!

Continue reading

A Lovely Surprise in the Mail, and A Brand New Giveaway of ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas

A lovely surprise was lying in wait for me the other day.

I opened the mailbox to find a little brown envelope full of letters from a first grade class at Byron Center Christian School. They were among the 350 students who listened so carefully as I read ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas and Snuggle Time Christmas Stories  to them.

But they weren’t just good listeners. They were excellent observers too, as can be seen by this wonderfully accurate depiction of me, by Natalie.

Don’t you just love my red lipstick? And look at my necklace, my blonde hair, my lovely boots, the way I’m holding the book, and how all the children are listening so intently: the boys on the left, and the girls on the right?

Here’s another lovely picture of me, drawn by Mya, who I assume is the very good listener, sitting cross-legged at my side… Continue reading

The Beauty of a British Accent. (And ‘Twas Giveaway Number Four)

Everyone who lives in England knows that there are two major accents: one is highly desirable. It’s somehow synonymous with wealth and intelligence. The other is highly undesirable. It’s sadly synonymous with poverty and lack of education.

Unfortunately, my accent belongs in the latter category, while Queen Elizabeth’s belongs in the former.

I grew up in Wigan (John Wesley called it Wicked Wigan) a town in the industrial north, home of coal mines and cotton mills. Whenever we went on holiday to the south and I opened my mouth to talk, I was always uncomfortably aware that I was a northener. 

Imagine my surprise, then, when I moved to the United States and people loved the way I spoke. I could hardly believe it! Michigan has to be the only place in the world where it’s cool to have a Wigan accent.  Continue reading

Blog Stop #2!

How exciting for me to participate in a tour for the release of Little Love Letters from God from the comfort of my own home!

Little Love Letters Cover

This week’s stop in the virtual world is with Jenn, a homeschooling mom of eight! (Did you know that I’m one of eight too?)

Jenn blogs at Treasuring Life’s Blessingswhere she agreed to post a review of the book. Be sure to stop by to read the wonderful review and enter the book giveaway too!

Jenn started writing during one of the darkest times of her life, when she found out that her baby son was going to die. Jenn and her family held little Noah for just nine precious hours. So it’s really not surprising that her favorite story in the book would be this one…..

Inside Noah's Ark

I know that Jenn has already claimed the wonderful words contained in God’s love letter for that story, which say:

Just like I carried Noah, I will carry YOU too.   With All My Love, God.

No matter how long or short our days, God carries each one of us, in those big strong arms that hold us tight, even when we don’t know it.

I’m Going on Tour!

To celebrate the release of Little Love Letters from God, I get to go on tour…without ever leaving my home!

Little Love Letters Cover

For the next six weeks, I’ll be making stops at eight different websites…visiting with authors and pastors, home-schooling moms and children’s ministers…. wonderful colleagues who will help to launch my newest title, from now until February 15th.

We’ll explore ways of using love letters in children’s ministry; there’ll be author interviews, book reviews; new ideas for family Valentine’s Day traditions and crafts, and best of all, a Little Love Letters from God giveaway at every stop.

I hope you’ll come on tour with me! It starts today, with Vanessa Myers, where I’ll be sharing Five Ways to Use Love Letters in Children’s Ministry.

Here’s the schedule for the next six weeks…..join us, and win yourself a copy of Little Love Letters from God… just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Jan 4:    Vanessa Myers: Five Ways to Use Love Letters in Children’s Ministry

Jan 11:  Jenn: Treasuring Life’s Blessings: Book Review

Jan 18:  Children’s Book Author, Diane Stortz: Author Interview & Book Review

Jan 21:  Pastor Traci Smith:  A New Family Tradition for Valentine’s Day

Jan 25:  Noelle Kirchner, The Ministering MomFive Ways to Bless Your Family With Love Letters Beyond Valentine’s Day

Feb 1:   Kelly: Our Everyday HarvestBook Review

Feb 8:   Laura Sassi, Children’s Book AuthorAuthor Interview & Valentine Craft

Feb 15: Christina Embree, Refocus Ministry: Book Review

What Happened in a Little British Primary School on my First Author Visit..

I look out over a sea of red. More than three hundred young voices are raised in exuberant song. Boys and girls are swaying and smiling. One of them glances my way to wave shyly at ‘the famous author.’

It is my first visit to a British Primary school. I’m here because my sweet nephew, Jake, carried his copy of Love Letters from God to school one day and showed it to his teacher. 

I’m here to sign the copies that were bought for each classroom and to read the children’s favorite stories to them.






IMG_3035I’m here to inspire these young children; to encourage them to be the best they can be; to remind them that dreams do come true.

Because fifty years ago, I was one of them, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the assembly hall in my red British uniform, in a school not too far from theirs. I never would have imagined that one day I would be living in the United States, or have the enormous privilege of being an author. And so I’m here to inspire these young minds, and to help them dream of what might lie beyond the horizon.

I don’t really know what to expect on this sunny British morning – but I’m definitely not expecting this. ..

A welcome enthused with so much warmth that it makes me feel like JK Rowling;





a prayer written especially for me;


prayer for me

a trio of smiling girls who lead worship during assembly and then use their free time to patrol the school in order to check that everything is being done in a Christian manner. They form part of a wider group of children, known throughout the school as ‘ The Ethos Warriors.’


I don’t expect to see halls and classrooms so boldly and brightly decorated with stories and scenes from the book;

cropped goliath

noah cropped



wall of letters



or wonderful children’s letters to God displayed on every wall.


And I am moved by what those letters say, and how their contents reveal their need for God.

bully letter

I’m honored by the huge bouquet of flowers waiting to greet me on the ‘top table’ at lunch time, along with eight smiling pupils who have earned a place there.





And most of all, I am truly amazed and humbled as I witness the school’s ‘show case’ at the end of the day, where each class shares a presentation of work based on the book.


The youngest children wear the colorful animal masks they made and parade in two by two.

The oldest show videos they created based on the story of The Lions who Lost Their Lunch.

And in between, classes sing songs and perform raps; they read out their letters to God and proudly show their paintings inspired by the story of the Wind and Waves.


 None of this wonderful work was I expecting.

I’m sitting on the plane now, flying high over the Atlantic Ocean, homeward bound to the USA. In my suitcase I carry a book, made by the children of Sutton Oak Primary School in St Helens, England. It is decorated painstakingly and beautifully with little colorful stamps, just like the ones my illustrator created for the book.

Book from school

And in my heart I carry memories of wonderful, committed teachers;





IMG_3149IMG_3145of children being nurtured in a Christian atmosphere; of little ones learning every day about the One who made them.


And I know that God is wonderfully at work in the world, through words that I was somehow privileged to author.

letter extract