Hello there, I’m Pastor George McVey or as I’m sure you’ve seen Sophie say PG to her and my other friends. I noticed that she recently blogged about our upcoming project Redeeming Cottonwood(at least that’s what were calling it while writing it) and we thought you might find it fun to hear my take on how this came about.
As Sophie said, we met online at a Christian Writers Forum where both of us were asking for beta reads on the book projects we were working on. Hers was what became Healing Love. I’m not sure Sophie really liked me at first because she posted a section to be reviewed and my response was, “That’s Stupid, no real pastor would respond that way.” That’s right for those of you that have read Healing Love I’m the guy who told her that. Made it into her acknowledgements for it to. :) But she realized this crazy West Virginian Pastor wasn’t gonna soft soap her and we ended up hitting it off. I am one of her biggest fans.
Even with that rocky start, (and if she had been able to chuck rocks over the internet I’m sure she would have.) we became fast friends. We challenged each other to write better and faster. She’s faster than me but don’t tell her I said so. Then one day while discussing our characters we realized that her Aggie Cutler and my Nugget Nate both came from Kentucky as we talked it became apparent they were kin. Much to both our surprises they turned out to be brother and sister. And so the idea for a side plot for Giving Love was born. As we worked together on that little plot we realized there was much potential here for a collaboration and the rough idea for Redeeming Cottonwood was born.
Sophie has already told you a bit about the tale but let me just say that Nathan’s Nemesis arrives in Cottonwood before him setting the scene for a few gunfights something Cottonwood hasn’t seen until now. As Sophie has told you, this is Nell’s tale on her side and an interesting side note this will be book four in both of our series. As was hinted, Nathan and Grace aren’t alone when they come and the young feller that comes with them is interested in Nell, but well, they go together like gasoline and fire. As Aggie would say, “They’ll figger out they got feelin’s fer each other iffen they don’t kill each other first.”
All told I’m looking forward to working with Sophie and bringing “The Preacher” and his wife back to Cottonwood. Oh, and if yer lookin for a real western read before Redeeming Cottonwood is out try Redeeming Reputation and the soon to be released Redeeming Trail. That will introduce y’all to Nathan and Grace. You can find them on my amazon authors page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007E39QUG. Until June when Redeeming Cottonwood is released Keep your sixgun loose and your cartridge belt full.
Come April a new Cottonwood series book will be started. This is a new venture since I will be co-writing it with George McVey. If you've read Giving Love you will find his characters Nugget Nate Ryder, his wife Penny and grandson Nathan featured. Nugget Nate is Aggie Cuttler's older brother. In Redeeming Cottonwood Nathan and his wife Grace will come to Cottonwood. Nathan is dealing with personal issues and he remembered the good counsel he got from Pastor Peter Lendrey so he decided to seek him out again.
Redeeming Cottonwood will be a combination of George McVey's characters and the people of Cottonwood. It will be Nell's story.
Pastor George McVey and I met online and have become fast friends. PG as we call him lives in West Virginia so we meet in chat rooms for Christian Authors and Facebook. His wife Sheri does some editing for me. Our writing styles seem to mesh well and we throw ideas and critiques back and forth.
April will be Camp Nano. It's similar to Nanowrimo which occurs in November each year. The goal is to start a novel on the first day of the month and get 50,000 words done by the end of the month. PG and I will be writing Redeeming Cottonwood in April and hope to have it out early summer. I'll keep you posted on the progress.
PG has a series which has started with Redeeming Reputation in which Preacher Nathan Ryder meets Grace, becomes the temporary sheriff in Franklin, MO, fights the bad guys, brings several to salvation, marries Grace and begins leading a wagon train to New Mexico. It's an action packed western and a fun read. Redeeming Trail will be out shortly and will continue Nathan's story with the journey to Redemption, NM. Several more Redemption books are planned carrying Nathan in his grandfather's footprints following where God calls him to go. Along the way body counts rise (you know guys, they gotta have fights) yet God's purpose and hand shine through.
I hope you give Redeeming Reputation a try. I'll leave you to guess who comes along with Nathan and Grace to give Nell a run for her money.
The boys didn’t intend for it to happen. They just wanted to joy ride for a while. After all, their dad hadn’t forbidden them to take the car out. No matter that they were underage and didn’t have driver’s licenses. Thirty, 40, 50 mph. They chose back roads. Not much traffic. Less chance for getting caught. Fifty-five, 65, 75 mph.
The couple and their 11 year old son headed to celebrate the results of the test. After chemotherapy and radiation, the breast cancer was in remission. A pleasant dinner out was in store. Eighty, 85, 90 mph.
The boys laughing at their speed missed the stop sign. Their dad’s car had airbags which enabled them to walk away unharmed when they crashed into the side of the family’s car. The mother was killed instantly. The son was is intensive care for days and the hospital for weeks.
A sad story? Of course. Unfortunately, a true one that happened to a woman I knew. The boys’ choice to sin rippled in the effect it had on others. Just like the ripples caused when a stone in throne into the water sin has consequences that spread out to impact others in unforeseen ways. Maybe a better analogy is that sin is like an earthquake that occurs under the ocean causing a tsunami which surges out in all directions impacting land and lives miles away.
All choices have consequences which ripple through the lives of those we touch on to touch those whom we do not know. The ripples can be devastating, or they can be profoundly profitable.
The woman was a fervent believer in Christ. She raised her children in the Lord, teaching them His Word. One of her daughters had a son whom she also raised in the Lord. A sickly child who grew to be a sickly adult. He became a pastor. Although his church has no longer exists the ripples of his, his grandmother’s and his mother’s faith are still evident on the pond of human experience. Do you remember Lois, Eunice and Timothy?
The ripple effect. We may not commit sins that take life or cause great bodily injury. We may not work for the Lord as pastors or in any way that the world, or even other Christians, see as great or effective. Each choice we make, whether in word or deed, ripples through the lives of others. We may never see or know whether our ripples gently rock another toward Christ or savagely crash their life away from Christ, but we do have the choice of remembering we cause the ripples or tsunamis that travel out away from us in all directions.
I am cast upon a horrible desolate island void of all hope of recovery.
But I am alive, and not drowned, as all my ship’s company was.
I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the world to be miserable.
But I am singled out, too, from all the ship’s crew to be spared from death;
I am divided from mankind, a solitaire, one banished from human society.
But I am not starved and perishing on a barren place affording no sustenance.
I have not clothes to cover me.
But I am in a hot climate, where if I had clothes I could hardly wear them.
I am without any defense or means to resist any violence of man or beast.
But I am cast on an island where I see no wild beasts to hurt me, as I saw on the coast of Africa; what if I had been shipwrecked there?
I have no soul to speak to or relieve me.
But God so wonderfully sent the ship in near enough to the shore, that I have gotten out so many necessary things [to] supply my wants.
So were the musings of Robinson Crusoe in the novel by Daniel Dafoe. If you aren’t familiar with the story Crusoe was shipwrecked on an island alone for most of the 27 years he lived there. If someone had reason to be discouraged and complain about his situation Crusoe certainly did. The above is one of the entries in his journal. Notice the contrast between the first sentence in each pair of sentences. The first is a very valid complaint about his circumstances. The second it a very valid statement of gratitude concerning the same.
Crusoe demonstrates how we, as believers in God’s sovereignty and grace, should view each aspect of our lives. No one promised that we would have an easy pain free life. The direct opposite is true. Jesus told use we would have troubles. Some have more pain and hardship than others but the response should always be to acknowledge the situation, then praise and thank God for his provision for us.
We can, and often do, focus only on the first ignoring the second. Why do we do that? God is always with us. He has allowed the challenge to happen for His reason. Often it’s so we can improve our character to be more like Christ’s. That alone is worth thanking Him.
Thanking God in all circumstances shows a spiritual maturity both Paul and James spoke about.
Phil. 4:11-12 for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.a In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.
James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
How we look at our life’s challenges determines our attitude. Crusoe chose to acknowledge his troubles but then focused on the blessings God had given him within them. Let us emulate him.
Sign up for Sophie's Newsletter. You'll get Keith's Coming, a Love's Infestation short story for free.
Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.
Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie is branching out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.
Sophie lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.