Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Why Your Pastor Left, New Release by Christopher D. Schmitz

Nine of ten ministers know three or more peers who've been forced out of pastoral positions; a third of all pastors serve congregations who either fired the previous minister or actively forced their resignation; and at any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. 

American church decline has reached epidemic proportions and in the last century, church influence has waned nearly 60%. Pastoral attrition is either an indicator of that problem or a central part of it. Why Your Pastor Left presents detailed statistics and identifies the top ten “Ministry Killers” that cause pastoral stress and eventual “burnout.” *** Moments after our pastor exited the building that afternoon in 2008, most of the congregation sat in shock. A tiny—but powerful minority wore victorious smiles, at the ministers ousting. 

The lady to my left wept. Her pleading question kept me awake all night. “Why did our pastor have to leave?” I also wanted answers, and began to research the problems ministers face; this book is filled with those discoveries.

Amazon ReviewData, research, and stories about American pastoral decline. Nine of ten ministers know three or more peers who've been forced out of pastoral positions; a third of all pastors serve congregations who either fired the previous minister or actively forced their resignation; and at any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. American church decline has reached epidemic proportions and in the last century, church influence has waned nearly 60%. Pastoral attrition is either an indicator of that problem or a central part of it. Why Your Pastor Left presents detailed statistics and identifies the top ten “Ministry Killers” that cause pastoral stress and eventual “burnout.” *** Moments after our pastor exited the building that afternoon in 2008, most of the congregation sat in shock. A tiny—but powerful minority wore victorious smiles, at the ministers ousting. The lady to my left wept. Her pleading question kept me awake all night. “Why did our pastor have to leave?” I also wanted answers, and began to research the problems ministers face; this book is filled with those discoveries.

OR purchases made directly through author's Createspace estore listings give a bigger cut of sales back to the writer:

Christopher D Schmitz is an author of fiction and nonfiction as well as a regular blogger. As a veteran youth worker who works with "at risk teens," he has been with Youth For Christ since 2012.

Follow Christopher:  
Education: Schmitz attained a Biblical Studies degree and a Youth Ministry minor from Trinity Bible College in 2003 and went on to gain a Masters of Arts in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in 2014. 
Other: he is generally known as a decent guitarist and played/sang in a rock band for several years. Schmitz is also a bagpipe player and has been known to pop up in random places and play them.
Currently Working On:
John in the John (a daily devo--first in a series--meant to be left in the bathroom) 
Fear in a Land Without Shadows (a Christian horror/apocalyptic sci-fi), an untitled nonfiction book about Christian responsibility vs stumbling blocks 
Editing a re-release of my Christian fantasy book series (The Kakos Realm) which is very much a Game of Thrones meets evangelical Christianity

List of Current Books Published:
Why Your Pastor Left
Dekker's Dozen: The Last Watchmen
The Kakos Realm: Grinden Proselyte (out of print)
Dekker's Dozen: A Waxing Arbolean Moon
Burning the God of Thunder
Shadows of a Superhero
The Last Black Eye of Antigo Vale
The TGSPGoSSP 2-Part Trilogy
Piano of the Damned

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Book Review by Carol A. Brown of Seventh Dimension - The Prescience, Hang on for the Read

I have read and enjoyed each book in this series as they have been released and I have to say that this one is the best of the series! Roberts has hit her stride as an author. Each story builds on the one before. Although each can be read as a stand-alone, the reader could experience some confusion due to not having details from preceding stories. In this story, we get to know Daniel, who has played more of a supporting role in other books. It takes us ever closer to the end of time. It is clearly a Christian take on how history will end.

Daniel and Shale are in Jerusalem in their quest to find Daniel’s father who is somehow connected with the "portals" that make time travel possible. Bombs falling everywhere. They become guardians of an orphan girl. Daniel’s mother dies. While betrothed, Shale longs to be married but events keep happening that prevent even the planning of a wedding. Daniel comes to understand his calling—one of 144,000 witnesses who will die by martyrdom! Perhaps we will find in the next in the series how that works out for Shale? Fast-paced action—a 21st-century man chariot racing?—keeps the reader engaged from the first page.

Writing craft—Author, Roberts, has done her homework.

• The information of the culture (social and religious) at the time of Christ is very well researched, very thorough.
• Well edited. The reader is not distracted by technical errors.
• Excellent and intricate plotting. I can only imagine what the author’s office looked like during this process! No “slow” places in the story.
• Excellent weaving of multiple genres.
• Characters have grown and matured as individuals. Excellent development of the series.

I appreciated how Roberts has been able to extract a storyline from the plethora of details in the body of work on eschatology. The sheer volume overwhelms me.

Highly recommend this book. Although written for the YA audience, anyone who enjoys a fast-paced story with a bent for the supernatural, and just the right amount of romance, would enjoy this story regardless of age.

To purchase or learn more, visit

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Book Release and Review of Healer by Susan Miura

Healer by Susan Miura
Young Adult Christian paranormal
Releasing January 31, 2018
330 pp
Print $16.99
Ebook $2.99

Buy on Amazon US

Read Lisa's review after this interview with our new John 316 Marketing Network friend.

Welcome to John 316 marketing network. Tell us about yourself Susan.
I’m cursed or blessed with wanderlust – not sure which, but I always long to be anywhere but here. Beaches, mountains, deserts, caves, and canyons…I love them all! When wandering isn’t an option, I work at the Schaumburg Library (public relations) and have a side business giving presentations on travel, writing, and human trafficking. Born in Chicago, I grew up in Berwyn, Illinois and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in journalism and a determination to become a reporter. From a newsroom in Berwyn to a television station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, my dream became a reality. Eventually, I found my way back home and ended up in Schaumburg, IL. I’m a member of Willow Creek Community Church, vice president of the ACFW’s Chicago Chapter, and a new member of SCBWI. On the homefront, I’m happily married to a police sergeant and the proud mom of a daughter, son, stepdaughter, and one incredibly adorable Cleo cat.

How long have you been writing and what’s your biggest reward?
I won the Arbor Day poetry contest at school in fourth grade, so I guess I’ve been writing awhile. I loved being a reporter for my high school and college newspapers, and was so excited to see my first byline after getting hired by my hometown newspaper. From there I went into television, then public relations, but always had a longing to write fiction. Healer was my first attempt. It began as an opening scene, which was based on a childhood memory of seeing a dog get hit by a car. I couldn’t help that dog, but the dog in my book has a much better ending to his story. Biggest reward? Getting my first book published (Show Me a Sign) and having a high school teacher tell me she had some reluctant readers who loved it and hoped I’d write more books.

What kind of material do you write?
My published works include two young adult novels, Healer and Show Me a Sign, and three short stories in anthologies (two nonfiction, one fiction). Last spring, I indie-published a children’s animal poetry book which I co-wrote with my sister, Patt Nicholls. It includes full page wildlife photos that were taken by me and nature photographer Robert Kramer.

I see that you work in a library. How does that come alongside your journey as an author?
It’s been a great asset. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many authors who visited the library, which has facilitated some good connections. Two of the guys I work with are great with technology, so one helps with my website, and the other with book trailers. My office-mate is the library’s graphic designer and has provided great assistance with posters, flyers, bookmarks, etc. My librarian co-workers have helped with all kinds of things, from research to social media to helping me understand what teens want in a book. And they’ve been wonderfully supportive. Additionally, I work in public relations, which means I have many local media contacts. That comes in handy when it’s time to market a book. The library job has been a blessing, no doubt about it.

Tell us about Healer.
   Hovering just below the surface of Shilo Giannelli’s average existence lays an amazing spiritual power. Late one night, her world erupts with the revelation that, like her great-grandmother, she has The Gift. But the power to heal isn’t something she can share with the soccer team, her genius little sister, or her boyfriend, Kenji. Definitely not Kenji.
   Deep beneath Misty Morning’s tough façade is a lifetime of abandonment, foster homes and broken dreams. When her two-year-old son is abused by her boyfriend, her fragile world shatters…until Shilo prays for Tyler, and he is healed, leaving Misty grateful but incredibly curious.
Shilo can’t give Misty the answers she needs; she only knows she has a God-given destiny, and despite facing strained relationships, impossible decisions, and the threat of being hounded day and night for her abilities, she will fulfill it.
   The journey Misty and Shilo take together unites them as friends but invites danger into their lives. And it will take a miracle for these unlikely friends to elude a gang bent on revenge, keep The Gift a secret, trust God in extraordinary circumstances, and hold on to the people they love.

What would you like readers to tell others when they’ve finished reading?
Well I’d love for them to say “Read this amazing book and write a review,” but I’m pretty sure every author wants that. In truth, I hope readers will say they were drawn to the characters, gripped by the plot, and touched by the messages of faith, forgiveness, and using whatever God gives you to make a difference in this world.

Who’s been your biggest influence on your writing?
Some awesome dead people: John Steinbeck, Michael Crichton and Marguerite Henry (my favorite childhood author), to name a few. And some who are still alive and well: Lisa Samson and Patti Lacy, both of whom helped enormously when Healer was in its infancy – not only with excellent critiques, but also by example. You learn a lot by reading great writing. Since I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, I have to include Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling, who provided good examples of how to keep teens captivated and wanting more.

What are you reading now?
This Invitational Life, by Steve Carter, and whatever The Book Report sends me to review. (I’ve been a reviewer for them for about eight years or so.) The last one was Debbie Macomber’s Merry and Bright.

What’s coming up for you?
Healer, Book 2…I hope! But I’m also writing my first young adult sci/fi and I have a women’s fiction manuscript that is near and dear to my heart. It’s about a woman who accidentally kills her best friend’s five-year-old daughter, so it starts out with a pretty hard tug on the reader’s heart.

Can you share your favorite marketing tool?
Twitter. A few years ago, I would never have believed I’d say that, but I’ve really gotten into it for marketing and sharing nature and wildlife photos. 

Thanks for sharing, Susan. 


Lisa's Review of Healer, by Susan Miura
A young lady on the verge of adulthood is thrust into a lifestyle of secrets at a vulnerable time. Just when she can see an inviting future filled with college, music, faith, and especially a wonderful, almost too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, Kenji, Shilo learns of a fearsome and awe-inspiring family secret that’s been passed down through the generations. Under dire warning from her mother, Shilo must never, ever tell anyone. But it’s a secret Shilo can’t hide.

Sixteen, ready for the best summer of her life, Shilo experiences her second use of a God-given Gift when she accidentally heals a child. She learns early on, though, that the Gift cannot be taken lightly or for granted. Despite her mother’s warnings of becoming a media frenzy or even delusional with power, Shilo is put in an uncompromising position when her boyfriend’s life is at stake. Under the influence of enormous family stress, Shilo has pushed Kenji away, something that’s tearing her apart. Their reunion and subsequent revelations may not result in all that she or her family wish, but the words and actions cannot be undone.

Miura’s story is a nicely shaped and paced young adult story that’s well defined. The real angst of teenagers and tweens is lovingly created with a cast of characters that will leave a mark on the reader. Told through multiple first-person viewpoints, Shilo’s appeal as a young lady in love, mature, yet vulnerable, is a great story to share with young people. This is a lengthy book for young adult, so although I recommend for seventh grade and up, younger readers should be good readers. Younger readers should have parental supervision regarding some mature situations (teenage pregnancy, abuse, drug running, some violence, and serious injury).

The theme of obedience running through the story, speaking to trust, conscience, responsibility, obedience to authority figures such as teachers and pastor, parents, and especially to faith in God and acting on that faith, is wonderfully illustrated.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

New Book Release - Friendly Persuasion, by Jo Huddleston

JUST RELEASED! Friendly Persuasion

A romance novella set in the 1950s in Tennessee and Miami is out in eBook and paperback and available at or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited at  

Enjoy This Short Excerpt

Six weeks later, on a day after her flight schedule had returned her to Miami, she stood in the kitchen and sorted through her collected mail. She had a letter from Wayne and put it aside while she went through the remainder of the envelopes. Finally, she opened the most important mail first—Wayne’s letter.

He wrote about more trivia than usual, seemingly to fill the page: his work kept him busy, the usual hot weather for the end of July, he’d taken his car in for servicing. Then on the second page, Joyce read the heart of his letter: I’ve met someone.

Those three words hit her like a physical blow to her midsection. The letter slipped from her hands onto the floor. She instinctively hugged herself and bent over at the waist. Rushing to the bathroom, she sank onto the cold tile floor on her knees and heaved into the toilet. Afterward, she rolled off a handful of tissue to wipe her mouth and then stood at the sink. She splashed cold water on her face and then cupped a handful into her mouth to rinse it out. Absently, she reached for a towel to dry her face.

Then bracing both hands on the sink, she stared into the mirror. The image there mocked her. You told him he’d probably be married and have kids when the next reunion rolled around. Remember? He’s just followed your advice, Miss Smarty Pants. He offered his heart to you on a silver platter, and you didn’t reach for it. Like it or not, you’ve created a situation you’ll have to learn to live with if you want to keep Wayne’s friendship.

Tears ran down her cheeks and dripped into the sink. She didn’t try to stop them. Throughout the years, their friendship had never caused her to cry. Until the reunion and now after reading his letter. Until she’d admitted to herself she loved Wayne. Why did loving someone have to hurt so much? Oh, she’d been so wrong about everything. She should have resisted the fear his kiss had brought about and kissed him back. Giving into her fright and refusing his love had been her biggest mistake.

To learn more about Jo Huddleston, visit her website at

What Readers Are Saying

January 9, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Book Release - Your Goal Setting Guide to a More Successful Life

Now is the perfect time to pick up this planner from Amazon from award-winning author Pamela Carmichael.

Reflection Questions to Prepare for your New Living Success Year!
This is a very exciting time of the year for me! I love this time of celebration but also see it as a time for reflection, thanksgiving, and planning. During the year-end season and even before, I take time to look ahead to the New Year. I start this process by spending a few minutes reviewing the past months.
In my Make Your Year a Living Success Goals Workbook I have a section called, “What Made the Year Great (Or Not So Great)?” I use these questions as a time to celebrate the past, give thanks to God, say goodbye to the ugliness of the past and pave the way for a good future. The intention of this exercise is not the dwell on failures or shoulda coulda's but learn from the past and do things differently going forward.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you review the previous year:
1.      What am I most happy about in the past year?
2.      What kind of sweet surprises did I experience?
3.      Three things that I am most grateful to God for doing in my life.
4.      What new dream or goal did I achieve?
5.      Looking back, what would I have done differently?
6.      Where did I let fear hold me back from accomplishing a goal I had?
7.      Are there any regrets or disappointments that I keep rehashing and need to let go of?
8.      Is there any unfinished business that I need to resolve? When will I do it? (E.g.    relationship resolution or forgiveness, apologies, goals not yet achieve,           decluttering, financial reviews, etc.)
9.     What new and inspiring people did I meet?
10.   Who would I like to get closer to in the coming year? (Remember, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely!)
Apart from answering myself these question, I write a letter to the Lord. Every December 31 morning (or a few days before the year-end), I would rise up earlier to spend time with the Lord and to do write this letter. Usually, I would focus on what I am thankful for. But often I would recall some of the events of the year and write how I saw the Lord working in these times for my benefit. Through this writing, there would be pauses to verbally express thanks, to wipe the tears from my eyes and to just bask in the presence of God.
Apart from the questions above, consider taking some time out to write a love letter to God to honour Him for all He is done in your life in the previous year. Through this, you will see how much you have grown over the past months and be motivated to keep moving forward towards your upcoming life plans.
As you write the answers to these questions and/or write a love letter to God, you’ll experience joy and gratitude even at the small stuff.

When you’re done, leave a comment below and share a little of what you’d love to accomplish in the New Year.


I have been looking for a workbook like this since I saw the Dragontree Journal on Facebook. But as a Christian, the Dragontree Journal is too New Age-y for me. When Pam Carmichael asked me to review her workbook, I jumped at the chance to compare it to another new Christian journal I had just purchased.

The reflections are very personal and Christ-oriented, which is what I was looking for. It also has organizers, metacognitive visualizers to think, brainstorm, and be productive. I love that Carmichael reminds the user to leave room for God to intervene in your plans with his plan. Perfect!  She also has Goal sheets that she reminds the 
I'm very thrilled with this product, better than the one I had purchased.
~Diane E. Tatum, Amazon Reviewer


PAMELA CARMICHAEL is a financial services professional with over 18 years experience. In her Christian walk, the burning question to God has always been: Why do Christians struggle with finances? With a desire to see Christians grow in the area of personal financial management, she wrote "Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God's Will". She hopes that you will grow and become financially empowered as you apply God's principles to your personal financial management strategies. You can visit her website at