Jenny Knipfer Author

Jenny shares her books, inspiration, and thoughts on life and writing.

This picture hangs on the wall near my comfy blue chair, in which I do most of my writing. Underneath the framed art I have a small end table with an electric tea kettle, a selection of boxed teas in a basket, a small container of honey, a couple of silver spoons, and a favored teacup decorated with a ring pansies. 

This corner of my bedroom comforts and inspires me. I feel safe there. Free. Creative. Me. The scripture verse on the picture reminds me every day that I walk in light because of the Light in my life. “I am the Light of the World, whoever follows me will never never walk in darkness but have the Light of Life.” John 3:12. Light is one of substitutable words that can be on the other side of the word “is” when it comes to describing God. God is light. It’s like saying He equals light. Another verse in the Gospel of John says that in Him there is no darkness. That’s such an assuring, comforting truth. 

A time existed in my life when the darkness of depression hung over me. There were a few days I remember when I was at my lowest that I didn’t know how I would go on. Thank God that He provided a way for me to realize that a cloud had only been blocking the sun in my spirit. His light was shining on me the whole time. But the cloud had its purposes. I learned so much under that cloud. I learned that: God will never leave or forsake me; when I’m at my weakest, He is at His strongest in me; gems grow in the darkness under great pressure. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you the treasures of the darkness and hidden riches of secret places.” This quote begins my first book, Ruby Moon. My character, Jenay harbors a dark guilt; her struggle is not unlike mine was, as I battled through depression. I wrote her particular darkness with understanding. 

The other thing that resonated with me about this picture is the scene. I’ve always loved Lake Michigan and Superior. This shoreline scene with a lighthouse reminds me of favored locations by those Great Lakes. It also reminds me of my mom. 

Mom told me once that she had an imaginary place she would go with the Lord to pray and just feel his presence. It was a home by the shore near a lighthouse with a yard of rambling roses and flowers. In the house she imagined a room with large windows looking out over the water with two wingback chairs posited side by side in front of a fireplace. A baby grand piano sat open and ready to be played. She told me she often imagined herself in this place with her Savior and friend. 

Some months after she died in January of 2000, I thought of that imagined place of hers. One day I found this print at a store, and I couldn’t believe how much it fit the description of the house she described to me. I bought the framed print and hung it in a spot that I could see everyday. On the days when I missed her the most, I would imagine that we were there together in that house by the lake. I imaged three chairs, one for me, Mom, and Jesus. I would tell my Mom and the Lord my cares, and I could pretty much guess what they might say. Sometimes we just sat in silence while a fire flickered in the fireplace. Sometimes I played song after song on the piano for them. 

I haven’t been to that imagined house in a while. Mom will be gone twenty years on the 20th of this month. I think it might be time for a visit with her by the shore in the house where no darkness dwells. 

I thank God for a holy imagination. He wants us to use what he’s given us, not for fear, but to help the truths of scripture come to life. I love that Jesus taught in stories. When we hear a story or read it, we use our imaginations to visualize it in our mind’s eye. In this way the story become almost real to us. 

In a world where we can use our imaginations for so many things and in so many ways, let’s choose to use it to help create a better world. That’s why I write. Yes, the stories are in me and then must come out, but I write what I hope are stories with a deeper meaning. Imagination leads to realization. First we must wonder what something is like to understand that we need it. 

Use your imagination today in a way that brings you comfort and closeness to the One who holds the Light of life. I’m curious … If you imagined a house in which to sit with God, what would it look like?

For those of you who don’t know me well, I thought I would introduce myself and tell you a bit about my life. I apologize for the picture. I can never seem to take a competent selfie shot. I have the look of a deer in the headlights here, but I guess that’s real life. So I didn’t use my professionally taken bio photo. 

I’m a wife of 27 years and also a mom, and grandma. My sons are in their twenties, and my grandson will turn two this year in June. As a follower of Jesus, my faith journey has taken many twists and turns over the years. Currently I’m in a quiet place where I’m pouring out the things I’ve learned on the page. These insights shape my characters’ thoughts and thus my stories. Stories are important. The influences in my life have come through the people in my life but also through the stories that I’ve read. Truth is often more palatable and relatable in a tale. I think that’s one of the reasons Jesus taught in parables. 

In the past I worked as a children’s librarian and a floral designer. I loved both jobs, which fed my creative side and my love for books. I’ve enjoyed many creative pursuits over the years but find writing the most fulfilling. Now I am disabled and unemployed but still able to write, although a bit unconventionally.

Undertaking this journey as an indie author scared me, but I forged ahead anyway. A friend sent me a quote last week by Dr. Susan David that spoke to me—“Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking.” This inspires me to keep figuratively walking forward with life despite the unknown factor of my health. This author journey has also been more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’ve had lots of encouragement along the way from friends and family and also new friends and followers, who I’ve met on social media. 

Why I write: the words are in me. I’ve written since I was a child and kept journals for years, but it wasn’t until some hard patches in life hit that I found how necessary and healing writing was. When at my worst physically and I could not hold a pen due to my MS or work on a computer or tablet because of headaches, my heart nearly broke. I felt like I was going to explode if I couldn’t get my thoughts out via some avenue. Thankfully, my health improved enough that I could keep a diary on my iPad. I remember wondering if I would ever be able to write again. You can see why I think my accomplishment of writing novels is rather miraculous. Being able to write helps me manage the emotional process of living with multiple sclerosis and also allows me the freedom to create stories. I’ve written five novels so far, two of which are published. Two more are on the docket for this year and God willing, two more for next year. 

What I do when I’m not writing: read, quilt, color, make jewelry, or take care of my many green and blooming houseplants and miniature gardens. 

Favorite color: Green—all shades, red is my second favorite. 

Favorite book: Jane Eyre – What can I say? It has it all. 

Favorite food: soup – I love to make and eat soup, especially a favorite family recipe for Belgian chicken stew that my mom called chicken bouja. 

Favorite drink: Tea!! My day is not complete without several cups of tea. Technically, most of which are herbal infusions. I’ve started blending my own teas too from ingredients that I’ve grown. Sometimes I drink decaf black or green tea. 

Favorite movie: It’s a Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart is my favorite old-school actor. I think I’ve seen every movie he was in. I cry every time Harry says, “To my big brother, George, the richest man in town.” If you don’t know, George (played by Jimmy) contemplates suicide because of a dept. An angel is sent to help set him back on the right track. Harry calls George rich because of the many friends and family who care about him and help bail him out of his terrible circumstances. 

Thanks for reading and getting to know me better. Please share something about you. 😊

The bright colors of this quilt I finished this week puts me in mind to look at the new year with a bright hope. The new year brings new things: seasons, experiences, opportunities, goals, etc… With the turning of the calendar, I think of New Year’s resolutions, which are mostly a concerted effort to improve my life or others. I plan out personal goals and writing/publishing goals, but also something bothers me. When I think of the new year right around the corner, I am excited and hopeful for what lies ahead but also fearful; I’m being honest. 

These last few months I’ve seen a dive in my physical strength. I have to do every activity—which requires standing—in increments of about ten minutes. That’s how long I can be upright without feeling like I’m going to collapse, and by that time the muscles in my middle are basically spasming, adding to my weakness. It’s discouraging, and I wonder how long it will be before I have to leave my home, which is multi-level and not conducive to using a wheelchair. 

My biggest fears in life basically boil down to my health and its steady decline. Not long ago, I read a book by a doctor with MS. He said that even cancer patients are given the hope of remission and recovery. No such hope is extended to people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. An eventual slide into the abyss of immobility, weakness, and numbness will take over. How long that declining journey takes is individual. It paints a humbling picture of needing help with managing the very basic functions of life. As it is, my husband now cuts my meat and carries my dinner plate and does a 100 other things for me, like I’m a child. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative for his assistance.

Why am I talking about this? I guess to say: something new can be scary. My mind battles with setting aside my fear to embrace the hope of newness, like spring rain and sunshine causing the trees to bud and the flowers to bloom. It strikes me: new life takes both the sun and the rain—brightness and shadow. This visual image reminds that what we deem as darkness and fear can have a purpose in our lives. It has the potential to drown us with paralyzing worries or to help us grow, grooving out a deep character, which comes from trials. 

My fear diminishes when I can equate something good coming out of something painful or unpleasant. This verse from James 1:4,5 came to mind— “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” This trial of ill health and fear can produce something good in me, if I let it. It can produce patience, which I’ve always had in short supply. I see patience working in my life like a potter’s hands forming a clay pot. The ridges and rings of life smooth out under the touch of patience as the wheel turns, eventually ending up with a whole, completed vessel–me.

So I put on my Pollyanna attitude (I watched that movie a couple of days ago) and gladly look forward to this new year. It’s an opportunity to love, learn, and grow and to let patience have her perfect work in me. 

Blessing on your New Year! J

I wrote this short story many years ago. It follows an old-school, omniscient storytelling point of view and portrays an allegory of the real Gift of Christmas. Like a physical present, which cannot fully be known or experienced without unwrapping it, Jesus and the gift of life He offers cannot be experienced unless it’s unwrapped and stepped into.

Once upon a time John purchased a gift for his son, Michael. 

“This is exactly what Michael needs,” John said, as he lovingly placed the gift in a box and wrapped it in gold paper. He set the present on a chest of drawers in Michael’s room. John could hardly wait for his son to discover the gift, but day after day went by without Michael mentioning his gift. John waited patiently. He knew that at the right time, Micheal would see it.

Finally, one day Michael stayed home sick from school and had nothing better to do but lie on his bed and and think. He spotted the gift right where his father had left it.

“I wonder what this is?” Michael said to himself. “Funny I never saw this here before.” He walked over to the chest and picked up the gift. He turned it over and around, studying it from all sides. He could not decide whether he should open it or not, so he waited.

When John came home from work that night, there was Michael with the package in his arms, shaking it, examining the paper and bow, and turning it over and over. With excitement John asked him, “Why don’t you open it, son?”

“Is it for me?” Michael asked, his brows puzzled together. “It doesn’t have a name tag on it.”

“Yes. Who else would it be for?” John shuffled his hand over Michael’s hair. It had been only him and Michael since they had lost Madeline, his wife and Michael’s mother, to cancer three years prior.

“Oh. Well, I wanted to look at it for a while.” Michael turned the box around. It glimmered under his touch like a living thing and both fascinated and awed him.

“I see. I’m glad you’ve discovered the gift, but I’ve been waiting a long time for you to see what’s inside. The gift really isn’t yours unless you unwrap it.” John pointed out, eager for his son to experience what he had purchased for him.

 Michael looked at his father and sighed, clearly unsure about pulling the wrapping apart. Slowly but steadily he peeled back the paper a little at a time. Finally he pulled it clear off with a loud rip. Michael held the box in his lap. It glowed in all the colors of the rainbow and seemed to shine a different color in whatever way he turned the box, almost like a prism. “It’s so cool!” Michael’s face lit up, reflecting the light of the box.

“You know,” John gently said. “There is more to the present if you open the box. You’ll find out what is really inside.”

“I guess, Dad, but this box so awesome.” Michael put the box back on the dresser in his room and admired it often. The days passed and Michael became well again. Life returned to normal. Every once in a while, John would remind Michael, “There’s still something in the box yet.”

“What more could there be?” Michael would ask.

One day Michael realized that he had grown tired of just looking at the box in passing. He intently wondered what was inside. He walked over to his dresser and opened the lid. Instantly, a bright, white light flooded his room. He had to squint to see. With his hand Michael searched around inside the box, but he felt nothing. His fingers met only light. He continued to search, and Michael soon discovered that there were no sides and no bottom. Now there was not even a lid, for it had melted away into the light. 

The light gave him joy, and he rejoiced at having such a marvelous present. Michael looked at his gift of light everyday, shining like a beacon from his dresser. He would put his finger in and feel for a bottom that was not there. 

One day he decided to try sticking his whole arm in, right up to this armpit.  His arm went in with no problem.  The next day he decided to squeeze his head in. Suddenly, he could see all around inside. The bright light shimmered like raining glitter.

“Wow!” exclaimed Michael. “I can’t believe I only wanted to look at the outside!”

The next day he simply jumped into the light, and it surrounded him.  When Michael stepped out he glowed. The gift of light clung to him, and wherever he went, he took a bit of the light with him. One day he felt really sad that his friends didn’t have a light like his.

“Dad,” said Michael. “Do you have any more gifts like you gave me? My friends need this light too?” Michael turned up his face with expectation. He realized that his father had always given him the good things that he needed, and Michael had needed the light. He didn’t know how he had lived without it.

“Son, they already have their gifts, they just don’t know it,” John told Michael. “It’s too dark for them to see the gift, waiting right in front of them. Maybe your light can help.”

So Michael patiently shined the gift of love and light on his friends, and after a time they could see their gifts too.


I hope you enjoyed this simple Christmas story. This Christmas I hope you have or will open up the Gift of Light which came down from the Father of Lights many years ago.

Christmas Blessings, J

A prayer of preparation

The song, Joy to the World, one of my favorite Christmas hymns, commands that “every heart prepare Him room.” This hymn talks about singing with joy, experiencing joy, and making room in our hearts for the One who will give us true joy. The simple notion that we must prepare a place made me think and ask: “How do I prepare Him room?”

What does it mean to prepare for something or someone? I think of what life events take the most preparation. Planning to get married or planning for the birth of a child have to be at or toward the top of the list for most people. Both events take preparation. There are necessities to purchase or buy, invitations or announcements to send out, and venues and the aid of professional services to secure. 

How does this correlate to preparing room in our hearts for the King of Kings?

When we prepare for something, we consciously think about it, lay out a plan, and make room in our lives for this something. When we prepare for the person of Christ, in a way we do the same thing. We think about who he is and why he came. We lay out the nativity and the story of Jesus, examining it from the manger to the cross. We consider what His actions, sacrifice, and love mean to our lives. And in the end we know why we rejoice: He has come to redeem mankind from the wages of sin—death and restore our relationship to the Father. Without this joy of salvation, hopelessness threatens to cling to our days like Scrooge’s portent phantom of his future demise. (I read A Christmas Carol last night. It seemed an apt metaphor.) 

But instead we can rejoice, as the angels commanded the shepherds to do thousands of years ago. “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:10-13 NKJV

My prayer of preparing room: I wrote this last night while in my bedroom, sitting in my cozy blue chair in the corner, where I do my best thinking and writing. I went with what I could see to give me inspiration for this prayer.

Dear Lord, 

This Christmas help me to make room for You in my life every day. I often think of my heart as a home, and its workings, rooms. I see myself rearranging the furniture in the rooms of my heart to prepare a place for You, for Your joy to be my joy. 

If my heart were a figurative bedroom, I would shift over my vanity where I apply layers of paltry surface coverings to try to hide my flaws and faults. I hope I reflect more of You and less of me in the mirror that I hold to my face. Thank You that Your love covers a multitude of sins. 

I will tidy up the floor of my bedroom-heart and hang up my emotions, which fall like soiled clothing in littered piles, needing to be laundered. Thank You that the gifts of Your spirit which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, can be mine if I choose them to be. 

Give me courage and faith to keep getting out of bed, smoothing the bedclothes as I do, to look forward to the gift of each day despite its challenges. Whether it be sunny or dreary, stormy, or calm, I will look to You to help me navigate the days to come. 

Amen

Dear reader, may you take time this Christmas season to prepare room in your hearts for the Joy Incarnate and pray your own prayer of preparation. 

Blessings, J

On the wall above my bed, the vinyl words, “Faith, Hope, and Love” rest. I look at the phrase multiple times a day. The words remind me of what is important. In chapter thirteen of 1 Corinthians, these three foundations are listed as being the things which remain, like the bones of a structure—our lives. 

I see hope—sandwiched in the middle of faith and love—like an elusive mist there one moment and gone the next. You can’t see it, but you sense it, like the evidence of the wind on the waves. As Hebrew 11:1 says, “Faith is the evidence of things hoped for . . .”

In my life I perceive a visual image of faith as a large body of water—always there and too big to dry up. Faith has come in waves over the years, starting small but ever increasing. Some seasons play out stormy, while others roll along steady and sure. 

Love, the greatest of these three, challenges me constantly. At the heart, Love is a choice, not a feeling, emotion, or infatuation. Choosing to love will always better your life and others, but it means sacrifice. And sacrifice demands a lot. 

Hope. Without it we are doomed, dwelling in the badlands of destruction of one kind or another. Without hope there is nothing to live for. I know because I have been to such a hopeless place. 

One of my favorite words pertaining to the Christmas season is hope. Emmanuel came embodied in hope. I think of Mary, trusting God and putting hope in a small, helpless baby. She hoped in the words of the angel when he told her she would bring forth the savior of the world. When she looked at her infant, I believe she saw the promise: the one who would make a way to restore mankind’s relationship to God the Father. 

Even secular, cheesy Christmas-themed movies get it right with the element of restoration and reconciliation, which is often portrayed. Everyone wants to be home and reunited with loved ones at Christmas. We hope for love, joy, and peace. 

I see Christ as the literal evidence of things hoped for. 

If you’re a believer, light a candle of hope today, remembering why he came.

Blessings, J

Today I give you a glimpse into my personal and professional journey with gaining patience. 

Personal

Patience is a virtue, slippery though it may be. Just when I think I’ve gained some patience, I find I’m left lacking. Sigh… I think gaining patience will be a perpetual life lesson for me. It has been a “two steps forward, one step back” scenario since I can remember. Oh, I’m better than I used to be. My lack of patience with myself, my children, and others sometimes hit a point when frustration took over and my impatience manifested into an unpleasant behavior. Over the years I have learned to manage and be more patient with others. I’ve found impatience often sparks frustration within me when I lack control of a situation, object, or myself. Learning to let go of that control has been a hard but freeing process. 

Having multiple sclerosis has given me ample opportunity to have patience with myself. When I first started to lose normal muscle function, I often got frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to manage a basic task like buttering my toast. Little by little I have come to terms with how to allow myself grace for what I can no longer do or do well. On a rare occasion, however, a fuse blows, (yes, I remember the days when you had to replace blown electrical fuses in the house) and I lose control. Patience goes out the window. I cry, rant, and throw a couple of things for good measure, and then I’m done. Moving on, I try not to beat myself up too much for giving into the resulting frustration of impatience. Patience has not completed her perfect work in me yet; I am a work in progress. 

Professional 

I became an author this year, and in this independent authoring profession, I have learned some valuable lessons pertaining to patience. Here are my top three:

Number One

I should have had more patience with the process and not tried to rush things. I wish I had worked harder to get all the kinks out of my manuscript and contracted with a professional editor before I queried to agents. Next year, I plan to try the process again—querying to engage the service of an agent with my new series. 

Number Two

Once I have an idea I usually run with it. I guess you could call me prone to impulse. I regret not putting more thought into a publishing/marketing plan before I self-published my first book this last April. I had no platform in place from which to talk about my books. After I published, I spent months getting a social media following and setting up my website. I should have had those avenues in place before I released my book, but I didn’t know. I learned as I went. Being an indie author has followed a hard learning-curve. 

Number Three

I can’t do everything myself. I am a total DIYer, so paying someone to do a task–in which I have some skill–rankles me. I designed my original covers, but they printed out too faded and dark. I tried a second set, which are attractive, but still not on the same level as what the big name publishers are putting out in the historical fiction genre. Finally, I came to the realization that I needed a professional. New covers should be completed in a few weeks. 

I will have different cover images floating around out there and the work of redoing all my promo materials/graphics on the web and for print and uploading my cover files to the three different publishers I have. If I had been patient and did some research, I might have realized that to compete with other books like mine in the market—I need a stunning cover. 

Take a lesson from me—Patience is always worth it and will save you in the long run. 

Blessings, J

The sunrise on Saturday November, 23rd

In my effort to post about what I am thankful for each day this month, I continue the journey on my blog today. It has been rewarding, eye-opening, and a blessing to focus every morning on giving thanks. In my imagination, I feel as if I am building a thankful shelter where I can run to when a rough day comes. I can remind myself, “See what you have to be thankful for” when I am tempted to complain.

My Thankful Post This Morning on Instagram

My husband took this photo while deer hunting on Saturday. I don’t often get to see a sunrise, as I am usually a late riser. I have my best writing time from 9-11:00pm. The sun came up in a blaze of glory Saturday and lit the sky with its cheer the rest of the day.


I am so grateful for the sunny days. The sun effects my mood and energy. When the sun shines, I feel much more motivated to get something done, whatever that may be. On cloudy days, I’d rather sit and read or watch a movie.


Today does not looks as bright. After I blog and do some writerly business, I may watch a movie with Ruby 🐶. Blessings on your day, whether it’s sunny or not.

I look back on the last twenty-two days and find a deep place of gratitude building in my heart, which I have not felt in this yearly season before. If you have never written down each day what you are thankful for, I challenge you to, at least for one month. You will be surprised and blessed, I guarantee.

To read all of my thankful posts so far visit my Facebook page or Instagram account.

A Canadian sunset with a peony blossom layered over the top

While most writers I know are writing furiously for National November Writing Month, I am taking a break—a thankful break. After writing five novels in less than a year and a half, I think I might be due for one. I published two of the five manuscripts—Ruby Moon and Blue Moon. The other three await exposure to an editor’s eyes and the publishing process. 

When I delved into this journey of self-publishing, I knew it would be a lot of work, but I had no clue how exhausting some portions of the job could be. Marketing has put a good-sized dent in my rear end. I don’t have a publisher to help get my books into bookstores and libraries or into the hands of readers. I am the only lonely with the responsibility of pedaling my work. Since I’m buried in pages of books in my genre online, getting sales on Amazon requires advertising, which I am still trying to figure out. 

The bottom line is: I’m tired. I dislike selling anything. When I thought about being an author, I didn’t fully factor in the aspect of selling my work. It tastes bitter to me, like I’m selling myself, and in a way I suppose I am. My words are printed on the pages. Well, needless to say, weeks ago the frustrations were building up. I needed to redirect my mind and energy before I fizzled out like a spent firecracker. 

This season of thanksgiving helped me do that. This month I wanted to focus on being thankful instead of grumbling and complaining about my uphill author battles, so I challenged myself to post about something I’m grateful for on Facebook and Instagram each day. I wake up eager each morning to share my thankful posts. Counting your blessings really does change your attitude. 

Today is day fifteen, and today I am thankful for you: dear reader, follower, or friend. Thank you for following my journey, for encouraging and inspiring me, and most of all—thank you for reading. I hope you will always find my posts and stories up-lifting. I’ve accomplished my goal if I’ve left your life a little lighter, brighter, or clearer after reading my words. 

Blessings, J

To see my posts and follow the rest of my thankful journey, find me on Facebook or Instagram.

I recently read Christian Fiction Off the Beaten Path, and I follow JPC Allen–one of the authors featured in this anthology–on Facebook and Instagram. I enjoyed her story and asked her to do a guest blog for me, my first so far. Thank you, JPC, for being my first guest blogger! The following is her post about the story behind A Rose From the Ashes . . .

I couldn’t have heard that right.

Last December I was talking to author and editor Michelle L. Levigne at the Faith and Fellowship Book Festival in Etna, Ohio. Michelle is also the co-founder of Mt. Zion Ridge Press. That afternoon, she said the deadline for submitting short stories for the press’s Christmas anthology was December 15. I’d had a short story accepted for another anthology from Mt. Zion Ridge and assumed the deadline would be in January.

It was December 1. I had less than two weeks to come up with a 5,000-word short story that actually made sense while getting ready for Christmas, teaching Sunday school, and preparing for a visit from my in-laws. And I don’t handle stress well. Or in some cases, at all.

I’d heard about the anthology about a week before and had an idea simmering, but I hadn’t put a single word on paper. Despite the odds stacked against me, I told my husband I wanted to go for it. As much as I hated the stress, the challenge of the assignment stirred my determination.

So on Monday morning, after running my kids to school, I sat down and wrote fourteen completely worthless pages. Something wasn’t working. I was playing it safe. I had the wrong main character, and I was shying away from big emotions.

Because my short story involves a twenty-year-old cold case, I wrote out that part of the story like a book report to see if the mystery held together. Then I told my husband that whole story to see if he thought it held together. By the way, every writer should have an engineer to bounce ideas off of. If you can’t marry one, like I did, try to acquire one as a friend. My husband applies a logic to my plots that is refreshing and invaluable. When he told me the story made sense, my confidence got a terrific boost.

On Tuesday morning, I started over. Over the next eleven days, I wrote like I never had before. I couldn’t wait to get at it every morning. I couldn’t sleep well. The alarm would go off for my husband to go to work, and I couldn’t fall back asleep for an extra hour because the story was running through my head. After suffering from insomnia for years, this inability to catch another hour of sleep would have worried me. But I didn’t care because I was so caught up in my story.

The energy I had to write spilled over into the rest of my life. I got the house cleaned for my in-laws, prepared my Sunday school lessons, and decorated and planned Christmas activities with my kids and still felt like I could work in a marathon if I had to.

That’s when it hit me that all this energy and creativity was coming from the Holy Spirit. I’d been writing for years and had never experienced anything like this.

I wrote 10,000-word YA Christmas mystery “A Rose from the Ashes”, which was accepted and published in October in Christmas fiction off the beaten path. But the publication pales in comparison to what I learned about God during those two weeks.

He loves being creative. It is a joy to Him. And He loves being generous with His creativity. This mystery was His. For some reason, He wanted to filter it through me. I felt a wonderful responsibility to write it the way He wanted it. I’d come up with cute expressions or catchy dialogue, but if it didn’t serve the story, I cut it out. The story was finely balanced, and I didn’t want to wreck it. I was thrilled to be the junior partner in the process.

Eventually the feelings faded, but not the memories of the most joyful writing experience and Christmas I’ve ever had. In those two weeks, I learned so much about God. To know my Heavenly Father better was worth any stress, any work, any sleeplessness, anything. I can’t wait to see what project He has in mind next.

I’m holding a book giveaway on my site! Click here for details.

Christmas fiction off the beaten path

Not your Granny’s Christmas stories …

Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.

Inspired by the song, “Mary Did You Know?” – a mother’s memories of events leading up to and following that one holy night. MARY DID YOU KNOW? By Patricia Meredith

A young woman seeking her own identity searches for the man who tried to kill her and her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before. A ROSE FROM THE ASHES. By JPC Allen

Princess, tower, sorceress, dragon, brave knight, clever peasant – combine these ingredients into a Christmas-time story that isn’t quite what you’d expect. RETURN TO CALLIDORA. By Laurie Lucking

Anticipating tough financial times, the decision not to buy or exchanged presents leads to some painful and surprising revelations for a hardworking man and his family. NOT THIS YEAR. By Sandra Merville Hart

Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life – and the echoes from that day continued to the present. THOSE WHO STAYED. By Ronnell Kay Gibson

A community of refugees, a brutal winter, a doorway to another world – a touch of magic creating holiday joy for others leads to a Christmas wish fulfilled. CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS. By Michelle L. Levigne

BUY LINKS

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, 24Symbols, Kobo

BIO

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. She has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Online, she offers writing tips and prompts to beginning writers. She also leads writing workshops, encouraging tweens, teens, and adults to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State. Join the adventure on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

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