Attack Right Back!

My sister-in-law, Mary Hilger is someone I consider a spiritual mentor. She has the most beautiful Christian heart - and I admire her inexhaustible enthusiasm and commitment to God. Her faith walk has progressed in amazing ways over the past decade. She's been on pilgrimages to Yugoslavia, India, Italy, Nigeria and she's travelled all across the Continental US promoting her ministry: Spiritual Hands ( )

A retreat I attended with her and my other beloved sister-in-law, Kathy, almost fifteen years ago was a turning point in my life. It opened my eyes and heart to the abundant grace, love and mercy of God. This is a truth I can never again take lightly. It changed my life in so many wonderful ways.

But Mary has a saying she related to me once that always stuck - especially when I feel like my life, and the lives of those I love, are in tribulation. Her saying is this: Satan is powerful, too, and he's never, ever happy watching people do God's work.

Boy, is she right. Once he gets wind of Christians on the march, what does he love to do? He loves to go on the attack. My heart overflows as prayer requests pour in lately: professional distress and doubt, getting slapped down when you're doing your best to honor God and His pathway, health issues, family issues in trials both economic and emotional in nature.

My editor and I spoke recently about the fact that we've both taken a good long look at things lately and have simply had to say: "Satan, GET OUTTA HERE!" and our conversation gave me the idea for this post - as did conversations both public and private on a couple of the social loops to which I belong where person after beloved person is facing all kinds of trouble.

I'm learning that it's not easy playing on God's mission field, relating his glory and truth and love. I lose confidence very easily. I watch others progress with seeming ease and grace in their writing ministry and I get down on myself, not feeling quite 'up to snuff.' Know what that is? It's satan, robbing me of the joy I find with each story I write, each move forward I've made to share my stories with others. He does that via a most potent vehicle in his arsenal: The emotion of self-doubt, and it's poisonous.

I fear for the happiness of those I love. I see particular people in my life trying so hard to do what's right and pave their way in this world with righteousness and a good heart. Then, despite efforts full of valor, they get slapped down. Know what that is? It's satan, planting fear in their hearts...and mine.

I hear about health issues being faced so bravely by those I care for, and I deal with a few of my own and I get so frustrated. Know what that is? It's satan, planting fear and anxiety in our minds, which can only hinder the body and its natural healing processes (the mind is a powerful healing mechanism!)

So, time and time again I have to remember to go back to God's word, and keep on trusting in His goodness and the beauty of His plan - for ALL of us. I then rest peacefully in the fact that no matter what, satan is NOT going to win. Oh, he'll probably take a round or two as I struggle with my imperfect humanity, but he won't win the war. No way. God's already seen to that through the love and sacrifice of His Son.

Game. Over.

What's on your heart as the seasons of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year arrive? Whatever they are, please know I pray for you to rest in the palm of God's hand and live in his peace - knowing you are precious, and His will for your life is nothing but what is good. When you feel under attack by Satan, remember three important words: ATTACK RIGHT BACK!

Until next time, God bless ~ and keep fighting the good fight!


A Guest Blogger...A Penchant for Pendulums

Hello, my husband, Glenn Carter, wrote something that I enjoyed and wanted to share with you all.This is what he said,

"Do you like to watch pendulums? They can be fun to watch and rather mesmerizing. Yet I must admit that sometimes after watching one for a while I just want to grab it and make it stay “in the middle”.

I was reminded last week about pendulums in our local department store. In recent times as you enter stores at this time of the year you are greeted with a very bland, generic, “Happy Holidays”. But last week as I walked through the front entrance, there in front of me was a great big colorful sign with the words “Merry Christmas” emblazoned across it. Good for them I thought. As I made my way through the store more and more signs came to my attention which had the words “Merry Christmas”. In one section there were signs about every three feet with the words, you guessed it, “Merry Christmas”. Wow, the pendulum has swung the other way, I thought. It was then that it occurred to me that these signs are not about Christmas at all. They are a marketing technique. If it is in vogue to say “Happy Holidays” great! If “Merry Christmas” fits the bill this year, wonderful! The only problem is that with all of these pendulum swings the middle gets left out.

“What is the middle?” you ask. The middle is what Christmas is really all about. It is not about marketing or shopping. It isn’t even really about home and family or exchanging gifts with one another, though these have come to be an integral part of the celebration. The middle is Jesus Christ becoming human flesh and making His dwelling among us. It is about His love for us that is so great that He was willing to endure the cruelties of this world so that we could enjoy the perfection of heaven.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe we should wish people a “Merry Christmas” with a smile. However, I also believe that we who know and love Jesus are responsible to speak up as to why Christmas is “merry” regardless of the economy or our own personal circumstances. The One who came to destroy Darkness has broken it in our hearts!"

Something to think about, huh? In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving, White Rose readers!


I know this is a publishing blog, but sometimes I feel the need to veer away from a "writing" message. Last night as I was praying I came to this Scripture that I want to share. Colossians 1:9-13

...we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son...

People all over the world suffer daily, but right now, so many with whom I personally interact are having to persevere through family crises, health issues, financial woes. It is so difficult to understand the reasons God allows hardship, illness, suffering--mental and spiritual anguish. So difficult to remember that He allows all this for a reason. But in the midst of trial, remember Colossions; remember He "has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light." Part of that inheritance includes pain and suffering--one look at the crucifixion conveys that. Try to remember, He allows this so that you may acquire "knowledge of his will through spiritual understanding"--because when the physical becomes too much to bear, we see the spiritual more clearly if we lean on Him. He allows this so that through "all endurance and patience, with giving joy to the Father" you might come to be "fully pleasing in every good work bearing fruit."

So, bear good fruit--share your suffering with others. You never know who might be strengthened--even saved--by that bond of commonality.

So, bear good fruit--share your suffering with others. Allow someone the grace and opportunity to pray for you, and thereby to obtain a greater union with God for themselves.

So, bear good fruit--share your suffering with others so that you don't have to bear the burden alone. Allow someone the opportunity to practice the virtue of charity.

And with joy, give "thanks to the Father" After all, "He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son". With a little--OK, sometimes, a lot of--perseverance, He will see you through your trials.

To those of you who have asked for and need prayer, I'm praying for you. If you read this post and need prayer yourself, leave a comment, and I'll be sure to pray for you, too.

Self-publishing pitfalls

Today I want to talk a little bit about self-publishing. Unlike some, I think self-publishing is a viable option for certain authors, for certain manuscripts. However, I do think self-publishing fiction is most risky. Non-fiction topics generally fit into a niche that self-published authors can utilize to find "stranger" readers. (Stranger readers being the general public--not the author's friends/relatives/co-workers). Fiction doesn't work in that same way, and so finding stranger readers for a self-published novel is infinitely harder. (Not impossible, as we have seen such phenoms as The Shack, but still harder). Invariably what happens is, the author garners a small readership--mostly family and friends with a few stranger readers sprinkled into the mix. Some time later, the author realizes what a huge and lonely--often unprofitable--venture this has become.

Since self-publishing means the author is on his own, if he doesn't have the marketing knowledge, skill, or opportunity, sales quickly falter and fall to nothing. Because of this, and for several reasons, publishing with an established publisher is almost always better (even if it's with a small press that may not have the marketing budget of a large publisher). Let's look at some of the reasons why.
  1. The author has no up-front costs, no publishing costs, no marketing costs, no design costs. 
  2. The book is edited by a non-related, objective party. Let's face it, critique partners are excellent, but they are your friends, and at times, even CPs can be lenient in their appraisal. 
  3. Even if the author goes with a small press that puts NO money into marketing, that publisher has several titles available, which adds up to quantitative marketing and cross-selling exposure. Perhaps a reader isn't looking for XYZ novel by LMNOP author, but when searching for ABC novel by DEFGH author, said reader finds both books--and both authors benefit. 
  4. A self-published book out there trying to find an audience in the vast sea of available novels usually doesn't have the SEO boost generated by link volume and name saturation that a publisher has.

Are there advantages to self-publishing a novel--especially in this technological age where popping a book onto the Kindle or publishing through LuLu or CreateSpace, etc., is so easy? You bet. The author has total control over her manuscript, over the cover, over distribution, and gets to keep a greater percentage of the profits. . .if there are any profits after laying out the expenses.

But, there are also many pitfalls and the one I want to shed some light on today is the pitfall of sealing that particular manuscript's fate--probably for life.

Periodically we get submissions from authors who want us to consider a manuscript that he/she has self-published, and I always feel bad as I'm sending the email that informs him/her we are not interested. Don't get me wrong; I love technology! The amazing things that can be done, created, manipulated with computers and electrical circuits fascinates me, but I fear the ease with which authors can self-publish these days sometimes put their writing careers at a disadvantage. Authors can easily jump to self-publishing without having to invest the several thousand dollars that option took just short years ago, and so the patience authors of a decade ago had to cultivate in order to hone their craft, gets thrown out the window. In the process, a budding career may be squelched.

Let me illustrate it like this: When an author comes to a publisher with a currently self-publsihed project, what he/she is basically saying is, "I've already branded this book (with a published title, cover, etc.); I've told as many people as I could about it, and I've sold as many copies as I could. Now I'm coming to you because I've realized I can't make money on this project on my own. I can't generate interest in this"--(because if she could, she wouldn't be seeking an alternative to the self-publishing she's already done)--"so, would you please spend your money? Please spend time and money editing the manuscript, spend time and money developing a marketable cover. Spend time and money on a marketing plan, on distribution fees and file conversions."

As a publisher, my silent question is: "Why should I?" If I were actually to ask the author that question, I've no doubt the most common response would be, "Because I know this project will sell well and touch people's lives." Ah, but if that's the case, why didn't it sell as a self-pubbed book? If the audience is there, if the demand is present, why did it not already perform well? And, the author's response would most likely be something to the effect of, "Because I didn't know how to market it. I didn't know how to find readers." (Which may be a valid and true point, but since publishers want authors to be actively involved in marketing, it's not a very compelling argument in making the publisher want to take on the project.)

Even with these points notwithstanding, let's take a look at the publisher's perspective a little further. Perhaps this novel is the next previously self-published NY Times bestseller (it has been known to happen on occasion). But, more often, it's a novel that has already sold copies to family, friends and co-workers; because it's been on the Internet for weeks, months or years, it's also found any inadvertent stranger readers it's going to find; the title, concept, and cover art are already stale and the life of the title has run it's course; thus, the odds of a publisher recouping even production costs, let alone marketing dollars, is too slim to take a chance--especially on an unproven, virtually unknown author. (Now, if Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Barbara Michaels or Stephen King wants re-market and re-publish their previously-published, out-of-print titles, that a publisher might consider.)

In trying to come up with ways to make this already-published novel saleable, one may think that changing the title is a possibility, but what happens when a reader who purchased the self-pubbed version also purchases a publisher-published version of the same book? Angering readers is not the goal of any publisher. So, title-changing isn't really a viable screen for reissuing a story that is previously/presently self-published.

All that said, I don't want to complete discourage authors from self-publishing. As I started this post, for some, it is a viable option. What I do want to do is urge authors who are considering self-publishing, to truly ponder the pitfalls. If you know you have a ready audience and can recoup any investment you make, then maybe you should go for it, but if you have any doubts about that at all, reconsider. If you believe the possibility exists that you will want to submit that manuscript to a publisher one day, I advise you not to self-publish. Be patient. Try to discover why you're stacking up rejections on this manuscript, and hone your craft. There is no rush. Remember, self-publishing is always out there. The opportunity for that isn't going to disappear if you don't do it right this minute--but the possibility of that manuscript being picked up by a publisher if you do self-publish it right this minute, probably will disappear.

What is Hope?

Yesterday, I spotted a yellow daisy, a perfect bloom among a bush of dying flowers. With the early frosts, our flower beds are full of brown and wilted blooms. This one tiny daisy defied the elements and smiled at me.

To me this is what hope is all about. These are trying times for many throughout the world. The media plays upon these events through television, newspapers, magazines, and radio. Experiencing second hand tragedies through the media can be very depressing. So, how do we keep hope? And what is hope?

There is a wonderful passage in the Bible which truly speaks to my heart about hope.
Romans 8:22-25 "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."
Hope is the faith within our hearts and souls, the belief in Christ Jesus that God is with us and will provide. God's word through Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, tells us that in order to have hope, we must learn to be patient. We must be still, have faith, and wait without grumbling to keep hope alive.

Hope is one tiny yellow daisy amid bushes of dying blooms. Hope is always looking forward to a brighter tomorrow, a dream within reach, with an attitude of humbleness, and never, ever giving up.

In my novel, Joshua's Hope, the heroine, Hope, learns what her name stands for when she finally lets go and lets God take control.

Like the withered daisies in my flower bed, Hope's soul withers when her life hits bottom, but when she opens her heart to God's healing love, her spirit rises and shines like the beautiful single yellow daisy.

Joshua's Hope purchase link

Smiles and Blessings,
Carol Ann Erhardt

Just in time for Christmas shopping...

75 Christian Authors * One Amazing Online Event
The Christian Review of Books in conjunction with CrossPurposes Bookstore
is excited to announce the first annual Christmas Book Signing Bash.

Beginning on the day after Thanksgiving and lasting ten days (26 November
- 7 December), this book signing will be an unprecedented online event. 75
of today’s favorite Christian Authors have come together to answer
questions, chat with their readers, and offer signed copies of their
books—all without leaving the comforts of home and hearth!

Readers can search by author, title, or genre at the Christian Review of
Books ( and then follow the purchase links
to CrossPurposes Bookstore ( and buy autographed
copies of each book featured. The authors will sign the books and ship them
to the customers.

For a full list of participating authors, visit the CRoB.

A New Story is Available Today!

A Killer lurks in Headley Cross…

…And Holly Carmichael is the only woman to survive his attack. Now she lives in fear, searching for normalcy and trying to put her life back together. When she meets Kyle Stevens, he turns her world upside-down. He’s as exasperating as he is appealing. How can Holly make sense of her awakening feelings when she’s so unsure of Kyle? His voice is familiar, he’s left-handed, and he wears the serial killer’s cologne. Who is he…really? As Holly struggles to restore her damaged faith, she must find the strength to trust once again—in Kyle and in God.

Kyle Stevens isn’t ready to live again. Racked by guilt, he’s afraid to feel. His sole focus is finding the Headley Cross serial killer—his girlfriend's murderer. That is, until he meets Holly Carmichael. He’s drawn to Holly, vows to protect her where he failed to protect his former love. But Holly makes him feel again, emotions quickly morphing into something much more dangerous to his hardened heart.

When the serial killer returns to finish what he started, only a miracle can save them…but then, it's the Season for Miracles.


Kyle’s voice came from a long way off, and Holly had to concentrate to hear it. “I’m sorry, Holly. He’s normally pretty well behaved, but he’s never seen snow before and is a little over-excited. Plus he was on his own all day yesterday. Are you all right?”
Holly nodded. The headache upped a notch. That was a stupid thing to do.
“Can you stand?”
She moved her head a little as Kyle helped her to her feet. She brushed the snow from her coat and tried to focus on the man. His hat, pulled down over his ears, hid his hair. Her head pounded, stars danced in front of her eyes, and it was all she could do to stand upright.
I want to sit down. Please, let me sit down. The words echoed in her mind, but she wasn’t sure she’d said them aloud. He didn’t respond.
His deep voice reverberated as he pulled off his glove. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
Holly nodded for a third time. She had a huge lump in her throat and she struggled to breathe. Her legs didn’t want to hold up, but she didn’t want a fuss. Fingers tingled inside her glove where he held her hand. His grip kept her upright.
Kyle’s other hand cradled the back of her head. Holly winced as he found and examined the lump. His touch increased the pain by a magnitude of five. Kyle checked his fingers and relief crossed his face at the lack of blood. “Holly? Please, say something. Otherwise I’ll have to assume Orion ate your tongue.”


I live in a small town in England with my husband of 18 years and my three children, all of which are now in secondary school and taller than me. I'm not sure which is scarier, but it does make trying to ground them interesting. I've been writing from early childhood and encouraged by my teachers, I graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction - which is still out on the net in various places under my pen name Tels - to using my own original characters writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories.

I read a lot, but at least I don't hide under the covers with a torch anymore. As well as writing, reading, I used to do a lot of cross stitching. Sadly now my eyesight is too poor to see to do it. I also try to keep up with the many piles of laundry my children manage to create. I also work part time in the breakfast club at one of the local schools. Although this means leaving the house at 7am and starting at 7.15am... I'm home by 930am and have 6 hours before the kids come in from school.

I have been a Christian for more than half my life. I go to Carey Baptist where I am one of three registrars. So far I have overseen two weddings. On neither occasion did the bride wear white. (Hopefully the next time she will.)

Buy link -
My Thoughts: This was a fun story. I loved the English setting, listening to Holly and Kyle's unique voice and intriguing English accent. I found the plot suspenseful with a beautiful Cinderella ending. The "take home" value of this story is excellent. It reminded me—no matter what we have been through, or are currently going though, God is present. Regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in now, this one fact remains...He couldn't love us more. If you're looking for a sweet romance, with true to life struggles, mixed with a gentle faith, you won't want to miss Ms. Revell's book, SEASON FOR MIRACLES...