Monday, September 14, 2020

Interview with Jeanette Levellie and Beth Gormong


Meet Jeanette Levellie and Beth Gormong, co-authors of Yes, You Can! Overcome Crises with God's Help, hot off the press this month from Elk Lake Publishing

As you might guess from her red hair, adjectives like spunky and lively tend to pop up in descriptions of Jeanette. She's a pastor's wife, a prolific writer, and a popular speaker. This is her sixth published book. She's also a writer for Guideposts publications and has authored hundreds of stories, articles, greeting card verses, and calendar poems. Her hobbies include gardening, cats, and eating out. You can find her Splashes of Hope and Humor at

Beth Gormong is a writer, blogger, ad fiber artist. When she's not writing, knitting a sock, or planning in her Bullet Journal, you can find her in the garden or training her beagle puppy, Max. She lives in a one-hundred-year old farmhouse in the country with her husband, Jeff, and two spoiled cats. Her three grown daughters all inherited Beth's creative spirit. She recently became a writer for Guideposts too! Find her at or

Susan: Hi, Jen & Beth. To start off with, tell us why, in general, you write the thins you write?

Jen:   Hi, Susan! Thanks for having us today. The goals of our writing are to offer hope for broken souls and to encourage women. I also like to toss in some humor in all my writings.

Beth:  Yes, thanks for having us, Susan. In addition to what Jen said, I want to help women of all ages develop a more intimate relationship with God.

Susan: Jen, you certainly did all those things with your previous inspirational books:

Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top

The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul

Touchable God: Finding the Lord’s Friendship Through Prayer

Hello, Beautiful! Finally Love Yourself Just as You Are (Jen and Beth’s first collaboration)

Susan: Why did you decide to write Yes, You Can?

Beth: We saw that women, even Christian women, struggled with impossible situations that appeared hopeless. We wanted to offer them an encouraging resource to help them realize that God will see them through even the hardest trials.

Susan: How did you accomplish that?

Jen: By writing a 40-day interactive devotional. Yes, You Can! includes Bible verses to help you feel confident, along with true accounts of modern and Biblical women who overcame impossible circumstances through God's power and love. At the end of each chapter is either a journaling prompt or a coloring page.

Susan: So the reader applies the ideas to her own life by participating in an activity. A lot more powerful than passively reading a sermonette!

Beth: That’s the idea. The more our senses are involved with what we read, the more likely we are to retain it. This leads to positive changes in our lives—something we all need.

Susan: Readers, please jump in with questions or comments for Jen and Beth, in the reply box.

God bless! Susan

Find Jeanette Levellie at

Find Beth Gormong at

Here is a link to buy the book on Amazon:

Friday, September 11, 2020

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

The year 2020 made this a rather tongue-in-cheek statement. Yet, even with the bizarre situation going on with COVID-19, it's been a great summer for me and Sweetie Mom.

My job (not first responder) was considered essential, so I worked through the lockdown months. We all breathed a sigh of relief as restrictions lightened. Surprise, surprise, on June 30, I was informed my position was eliminated.

Talk about bad timing. Here I was in the midst of purchasing a home where both Sweetie Mom and I could live (no stairs!), and my job went, "Poof!" A trip to see my pastor's wife/realtor immediately after the job loss proved a wise decision. Bottom line, I was still able to proceed with the purchase. God took everything the enemy of our souls meant for evil and turned it around for my good.

Rather than write a small book, here are some of the highlights:

1. My old house sold in one week!

2. Friends rallied around me, helping with the packing and the big move. All my boxes were unpacked in record time.

3. My furniture fit in the new house even though I downsized.

4. Two settlements in one day challenged all involved, but everything worked out.

5. We're now preparing to move Sweetie Mom into the new house. Again, the Lord has provided the help and grace we've needed to go forward.

To God by the glory! Great things He has done.

In the joy of the Lord,



Friday, June 12, 2020

Blog Break

Hi Everyone -

This girl needs a blog break. Life has thrown some curves at me the past few months (nothing bad - just crazy), and some downtime is in order.

Have an amazing summer, and I'll be back in September. I appreciate how all of you have faithfully read the blog and your comments.

In the joy of the Lord,

Friday, May 29, 2020

20 Tips/Editors/Ditch Restrictions/Encouragement/Bad Houseplant


1. For those of you who write non-fiction, Julie Lavender posts at The Write Conversation about 20 Newspaper Writing Tips for 2020.

2.  Jane Friedman gives a comprehensive guide to finding and working with an editor. I hired after checking her out as best I could. We agreed to do a test run to see if we were a good match. I'm happy to say her help was invaluable. While the book has not yet been placed with a publisher, I'm confident that it's in great shape. (In case you're wondering who I hired - Deirdre Lockhart, of Brilliant Cut Editing.)

3.  WND reports on an important lesson learned during this pandemic. It's time to ditch restrictions on health care providers. I never knew about this problem until recently. It's quite an eye-opener.

4.  Nikki Koziarz posts at Encouragement for Today about fighting fear. Considering the prevalence of this in recent months, it's a timely subject.

5.  Over the years, I've grown a variety of houseplants. One of them was the Majesty Palm. It's stunning foliage attracted my attention, but I had no idea how finicky it was about light, temperature and watering requirements. Plant Care Today talks about this palm and gives tips on care. They warn anyone buying one that they're in for a challenge.

Writers:  Do you write non-fiction or fiction? What kind of craft articles would you like to see on here?

Readers:  Which articles I link to are your favorites? Current events, encouragment/devotional or fun stuff?

Photo Credit: Kay Pat

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pattern Recognition/Deep POV/California Pastors/Encouragement/Crocheting

Puzzles 2

1.  Has your novel been rejected multiple times? Writer Unboxed shares the secret to more efficient revision: pattern recognition. This is an excellent article for both the newbie and more experienced writer.

2.  Lisa Hall-Wilson talks about how to fix the problem when distance creeps into deep POV. In case you don't know what deep POV is, she also starts off with an excellent definition.

3. Faithwire reports on California pastors determined to open their doors on May 31st. They are not asking for permission.

4.  Alicia Bruxvoort posts at Encouragement for Today: "I Love the Way You're Loving Me!"

5.  Many folks have picked up new hobbies during the lockdown. Crocheting is a fun and rewarding activity. I discovered this board of Pinterest with lots of free and easy patterns.

Writers:  Do you actively study the writing craft? What kind of activities do you engage in to improve your writing?

Readers:  Have you picked up any new hobbies over the past month or two? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Bartek Ambrozek

Friday, May 15, 2020

Synopsis/Defense Mechanisms/Liberties/Encouragement/Succulents


1.  Jane Friedman posts on "How to Write a Novel Synopsis." Writing a novel is hard work, but condensing it into a synopsis...not for the faint of heart.

2.  Wow! Lisa Hall-Wilson writes, "Using Defense Mechanisms To Create Emotional Depth In Fiction." Good stuff, people.

3.  WND reports on Kansas City, Missouri's mayor demanding churches provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone showing up for worship services. Many would have us believe that it's okay to trample on Constitutional rights if politicians deem something is an emergency. They have gone too far as many incidents show. I don't  know about you but I haven't drunk the Koolaid.

4.  Encouraging news - Faithwire reports that 21.5% of non-Christians say Coronvirus Pandemic has led them to read the Bible.

5.  Spring is when succulents wake up from their winter sleep and have a growth spurt. Unfortunately, if they haven't been getting enough light, they may be getting tall and stretched out. Check out this post by The Succulent Eclectic on how to remedy this situation and save your plant.

Writers:  What is the hardest writing task for you?

Readers:  Which link attracted your attention? Why?

Photo Credit:  M B

Friday, May 8, 2020

Newbies/Emotional Context/COVID-19/Devo/Recipe


1.  OK, newbies, here are six things not to do when you're starting your book (or blog). Check out Cathy Fyock's article on The Write Conversation.

2.  Lisa Hall-Wilson asks, "What Is Emotional Context And Why Does Your Story Need it?

3.  Faithwire reports on Homeland Security's comments that summer heat and sun may kill COVID-19.

4.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about, "Walking Through The Storms of Life."

5.  With warm weather on the horizon, Averie Cooks gives us a no-bake recipe for chocolate peanut butter fudge bars. Just the name has my mouth watering!

Writers:  What are some of the things you learned NOT to do as a writer?

Readers:  We're going through some trying times with COVID-19. How are you handling the stress?

Photo Credit:  the_franz

Friday, May 1, 2020

Spark/Fixing It/Virus-Tracking/Joy/Recipe


1.  Barbara Linn Probst posts at Writer Unboxed about The Spark of a Novel. My own spark for The Moses Conspiracy occurred when my late husband and I visited Gettysburg in 2004. I knew the moment was significant, but the spark didn't turn into a flame until August of 2005. Good article.

2.  Grammar problems can trip up a reader and pull them out of the story. Mathina Calliope posts at Jane Friedman's blog on an easy fix a tense problem.

3. Virus-tracking technology is putting privacy at risk. Check out this article at WND.

4.  Edie Melson posts at The Write Conversation about Tapping Into the Power of Creative Joy. I'm reminded of the scripture that tells us the joy of the Lord is our strength.

5.  I've used my Crockpot Express Multi-Cooker (similar to the Instapot) quite a bit. Pot roast comes out yummy and super tender in it. I just found a blog with recipes for the Instapot and Crockpot Express. Justine, at, has a recipe for egg bites that I want to try. I thought I'd share it with you. :)

Writers:  What sparks your creativity either as a novelist or non-fiction writer?

Readers:  Journaling was an important part of maintaining stability during several crises in my life. What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever journaled about something you're going through while giving thanks for daily blessings?

Photo Credit:  Penny Mathews

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stay at Home/Debut Author/Re-opening the Economy/Devo/Masks

Housing 1

1.  How are you coping with the "Stay at Home" order? Tammy Karasek posts at The Write Conversation about how to make the most of the time.

2. Barbara Linn Probst posts at Writers in the Storm. She asks the questions, "What makes someone give a debut author a chance?"

3.  I thought it was important for everyone to be aware of the plan to re-open our economy. Breaking Christian News gives a detailed summary of the President's speech.

4.  Martin Wiles posts at The Write Conversation about , "No Body."

5.  I subscribe to the blog, Amish America. They had an interesting story about both Amish and English people producing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I think you'll enjoy this article.

Question for Authors/Writers:  Were you surprised by what makes someone pick up and buy a debut author's book? Please share your thoughts.

Question for Readers:  What influences you to pick up a debut author's book?

Photo Credit:  Jamie Brelsford

Friday, April 17, 2020

White Space/One Book/Statistics/Devo/Choir


1.  As writers, we think in terms of words. However, did you ever think about white space? This is the canvas upon which your words sit. White space gives readers an opportunity to catch their breath and to focus on the story. Ellen Buikema posts at Writers in the Storm and gives tips on how to keep your readers from experiencing sensory overload.

2.  Writers, are you frustrated because the book of your heart has been rejected a gazillion times? Shannon Taylor Vannatter, at Seriously Write, shares a story about how to move forward.

3.  While the media would have us believe that we're just keeping out innocent women and children, the truth is many dangerous criminals are trying or have succeeded in entering our borders. WND reports on the statistics of those arrested by ICE.

4.  Edie Melson, from The Write Conversation, posts on "Let Go of the Steering Wheel." Having made several drastic moves at the Lord's leading, this resonated with me.

5.  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings, "What a Beautiful Name."

Writers:  How many books have you written? If you're published, how many did you write prior to being published? Please share your experience.

Readers:  Edie Melson's devotional hit home for me. Have you ever experienced following the Lord's leading into the great unknown? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Jenny Rollo

Friday, April 10, 2020

Crazy Life?/Storytelling/Corona Survivors/Devo/Colorful Succulents

Laptop user 2

1.  Beth K. Vogt posts at The Write Conversation. I don't know about you, but life's been crazy for years. Are we going to let it stop us from writing?

2.  Yvonne Ortega posts at The Write Conversation about Storytelling for Authors, Part I. She's a successful speaker and shares the things that will take you from dull and boring to having the audience on the edge of their seats.

3.  The Corona Virus has been big news for quite awhile now. Faithwire shares the experiences of several people who were diagnosed with it and recovered. Check it out and be encouraged.

4. Jennie Allen posts at Faith Gateway on the subject, "Are you under attack - God is with you." Don't miss this excellent blog.

5.  Have you seen colorful succulents? They're stunning, but how do you achieve those dreamy hues? Kat, at The Succulent Eclectic, gives us tips on how to make it happen.

Writers:  How do you push past the craziness of life and keep writing?

Readers:  Which link did you find most valuable/encouraging? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Channah

Friday, April 3, 2020

Quirky/Too Old?/Abortion Funding/Risks/Breakfast Recipe

Old couple

1.  Jodie Wolfe writes about creating quirky characters at the Seriously Write blog. I can relate since one of my characters in The Moses Conspiracy had an interesting physical trait - his ears would turn red when he was angry.

2.  Do you think you're too old to write? Jean Fischer shares her thoughts on the subject at her blog, "Something to Write Home About."

3. With so much bad news in the media, the fact that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld President Trump's Title X rule change encouraged me. Under this ruling, abortion providers must separate their family planning/birth control services from their abortion services. Check out this article at Breaking Christian News.

4. Bonnie Leon talks about, "Taking Risks." Check out her blog here.

5.  Are you tired of being stuck at home because of the Corona Virus? Here's a yummy breakfast recipe from Averie Cooks to brighten your morning.

Writers:  How has the Corona Virus pandemic affected your writing?

Readers:  Since so many activities have been restricted, are you reading more books? How many?

Photo Credit:  Pierre Amerlynck

Friday, March 27, 2020

Protecting Accounts/Writing Tips/Prophecy Fulfilled/Body of Christ/Recipe

Dead Sea

1.  Barbara Latta posts at The Write Conversation about protecting digital accounts after death. Hackers have become savvy at cloning accounts and obtaining sensitive information. This is a must read for anyone on social media and/or online shopping/banking.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy gives 39 Writing Tips to take seriously.

3.  WND reports on an explosion of flora near the Dead Sea as a fulfillment of prophecy.

4.  One of my FB friends linked to this article on Church is not about an organization. It's about the Body of Christ, worshipping together, learning God's Word, and preparing to minister to those who don't know Jesus.

5.  Erin, at Meaningful Eats, posted a recipe for a Vegetable Fittata that sounds amazing. It's both gluten and nut free.

Writers:  Which of the writing tips resonated with you?

Readers:  Which of these links helped you in some way?

Photo Credit:  Phunphotos

Friday, March 20, 2020

Making the Leap/Revisions/China/Devo/Succulents

Skyhawk 2

1.  John Peregine posts at the Writers in The Storm blog about the leap from non-fiction to fiction. Having made that particular jump myself 15 years ago, I was interested to see what he had to say. While my reasons for the switch were different, his journey resonated with me.

2.  Kris Spisak posts at Jane Friedman's blog on looking for problem areas when revising your novel. One tantalizing tidbit: Don't let your characters only react to what's happening to them, but let them be actively engaged by making their own choices (my words).

3.  While it deals with the coronovirus epidemic, China's government is cracking down on poems Christians write to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Read about it here.

4.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about learning to thrive in the midst of chaos. Right now, that's a prime lesson for me.

5.  I'm fairly new to planting/tending succulents, but I'm loving it. With spring here, my craving to dig in the dirt is growing by the minute. This year, I want to try planting some outdoors, as well as indoors. Propagating plants is also attractive and saves money.

Kat, at The Succulent Eclectic, shares her favorite succulent tools. Since most of my gardening implements are the larger variety, I'm going to get these mini versions. Can't wait!

Writers:  Non-fiction writers have you ever considered writing a novel? Please share.

Readers:  What is your reading preference: fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Photo Credit: Jeff Hallam

Friday, March 13, 2020

Expressing Grief/2 Mistakes/Cash/Devo/Spring Garden Tips


1.  There are times when we experience great loss. The need to express ourselves in written form can become a torrent of words. Audrey Frank, at The Write Conversation, shares her experience with writing from this hard place. She has some good insights on how to make sure those words are helpful and not harsh.

2.  We haven't had many links recently on marketing. I found this article by Jane Friedman, at Publisher's Weekly. on two mistakes to avoid if you want support for your book.

3.  WND reports on a woman's cash being confiscated for no reason. There was no crime, no allegations, nothing. However, they deemed the fact she was traveling with a large amount of money "suspicious." The family is suing for the return of the money. There have been other instances of the TSA and DEA confiscating innocent people's money.

4.  Rhonda Rhea posts a devotional at The Write Conversation entitled, "Now That's Alarming." I enjoy her humorous take on things and how she leads into a more serious truth.

5.  Spring and visions of flowers dance toward our doorstep. I can see them approaching in the distance.  Here are 10 spring garden tips to prepare for those stunning blooms.

Writers:  Have you used writing to express your grief? What form did it take? Please share.

Readers:  What prompts you to help an author?

Photo Credit: Anders Engelbel

Friday, March 6, 2020

Early Attempts/Characters/Abortion/Devo/Instapot

keep it clean

1. Have you ever looked at earlier attempts at writing and decided to throw them in the trash or use them to start a cozy fire? Peggy Sue Wells posts at The Write Conversation and urges us to never throw away our writing.

2.  Lori Hatcher posts at The Write Conversation about, "Five Characters You Don't Want in Your Story."

3.  WND reports on the link between abortion and Satanism.  

4.  Lynn J. Simpson shares her thoughts on making God your all in all.

5.  Did you get an Instapot or other pressure cooker for Christmas? (I know that was a few months ago, but I think this post will help you. Mine sat in the box for months because I was intimidated.) One Good Thing By Jillee gives instructions complete with pictures.

Writers:  Have you kept your early writing attempts? Please share your thoughts.

Readers:  The writing links are not only for writers, but also for readers. What kind of tidbits have you picked up that you found interesting?

Photo Credit:  sanja gjenero

Friday, February 28, 2020

Book Blurbs/Do You Have What It Takes/Jesus Film/Testimony/Sleep Better

Red Book

1. Although short, book cover blurbs are often more difficult to write than the manuscript. How do you condense a whole story into a few lines? Zoe M. McCarthy shares what she considers an easy way to write a book blurb.

2.  Susan DeFreitas posts at Jane Friedman's blog on, "How to Tell If You Have What It Takes to be a Writer."

3. Breaking Christian News reports on the Jesus film being translated into Sign Language. This will enable 70 million people to be reached with the Gospel.

4.  Pastor Tony Evans shares the glimpses his wife, Lois, had of heaven just before she passed away from cancer. I thought you might like this testimony. (Note: Tony and Lois are the parents of actress, Patricia Shirer. She starred in The War Room.)

5.  Plants make me smile. Here are some that actually help you sleep better. Check out this post at DIY For Daily.

Writers:  What writer tasks do you find most daunting and why?

Readers:  What general interest/reader topics would you like to see covered here?

Photo Credit:  Sergio Ianni

Friday, February 21, 2020

Too Old?/Power of Story/China/Devo/Slow Cooker


1. Think you're too old to write? Think again. Jessica Ferguson shares her journey as a septugenarian, at Patti Shene's blog.

2.  Tim Suddeth posts at The Write Conversation about, "The Power of Story to Bridge Divisions." In this age of FB, Twitter, etc., it's become harder and harder to truly connect with people. I think you'll enjoy this post.

3. Christian Headlines reports on China's renewed persecution of Christians and the shutting down of churches.

4.  Julie Lavender posts at The Write Conversation on Vision For Writing in the New Year. While we're in the second month of 2020, I thought you'd enjoy her approach.

5. One cooking tool that's been around a long time is the slow cooker. Yummly answers questions about this appliance. Although simple to use, there are some things you shouldn't cook in it.

Writers:  Which writing link spoke to you? Please share your thoughts.

Readers: What's your favorite cooking tool? Why?

Photo Credit: Sam LeVan

Friday, February 14, 2020

Story Openings/Age/Oregon's Bias/Devo/Valentine Recipe

heart cookies 1

1. Jane Friedman gives advice on 5 Common Story Openings to Avoid. Knowing what not to do can save you a ton of editing/re-writing.

2.  Literary Agent, Rachelle Gardner posts on, "Does Age Matter For Writers?" Both young writers and older writers have asked this question. Her answer made a lot of sense and provided encouragement.

3.  WND reports on judges reviewing evidence of Oregon's bias toward Christian bakers.

4.  Kim DeHoog, at posts a devotional called, "Love Is A Verb."

5.  HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Here are some cute Lollipop Cookie Valentines, from Allrecipes, to make for that special someone (spouse/kids/grandkids) in your life.

Writers:  What is the hardest part of writing that all-important first page?

Readers:  What makes you give up on a book? When does it happen - first page, first chapter, etc.?

Photo Credit:  nas kamu

Friday, February 7, 2020

Journey/Story Time/Israeli Intel/Devo/Minestrone Soup


1.   We all need encouragement at times. Lori Hatcher compares the writer's journey to her walking regimen. Check it out at The Write Conversation.

2.   Kathryn Craft, at Writer Unboxed, shows how to manipulate story time for maximal effect. Since I write suspense, I found this article fascinating and insightful.

3.  I reserve this space for news items and current events that might interest my readers. I came across this WND article about how Israel's intelligence agency is helping foil terrorists worldwide. They've certainly had plenty of experience.

4.  Rhonda Rhea, at The Write Conversation, talks about unselfish love.

5.  Brr! There's nothing like soup for a cold winter day. I discovered this Instant Pot Minestrone soup at Together As a Family.

Writers and Readers:  What are your favorite features on the Friday posts? Please feel free to suggest other topics.

Photo Credit:  Carlos Paes

Monday, January 6, 2020

New Year Break

Hi, Friends,

Usually I take a blog break in December, but kept full steam ahead in 2019. Alas, I've run out of steam and need to get some other things done.

Christian Writer/Reader Connection will be on blog break until Monday, February 3, 2020. Have a great January!

Happy New Year,
Susan J. Reinhardt
Member ACFW
Represented by Joyce Hart, Hartline Literary Agency
Author of The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, The Scent of Fear, and
 Out of The Mist

Friday, January 3, 2020

Theme/One Word/Land Grab/Breathe/January Gardening


1.  Erika Liodice, at Writer Unboxed, decided to try something different than the tired New Year Resolution route. She enlisted the help of fellow writers to come up with a plan of action. Her approach makes sense and doesn't put undue stress on an already burdensome to-do list.

2.  Tammy Karasek, at The Write Conversation, talks about her one word for the New Year. One word can focus your efforts.

3.  WND reports that the State of Indiana grabbed land owned by the Pavlock family for many years and did so without compensation. They are fighting this situation now in the courts.

4.  The word "breathe" seems to be popping up as I write today's post. Michael K.  Reynolds wrote a post with that word. Do you take time to "breathe?"

5.  The winter months are often a frustrating time for avid gardeners. Our Stoney Acres posts about the seedlings you can start in January.

Writers:  Do you ask the Lord or choose a word for each New Year?  Please share.

Readers:  What did you think of the Writer Unboxed article? Do you think this is something useful in your own life?

Photo Credit:  Jesper Noher