Look no further than your backyard for additions to your fall reading list. These ladies are your neighbors and published authors.
Comfort for Busy Moms
For mommy blogger Stacey Thacker, it all started with a post titled “Steve Jobs, Me and Being Fresh Out of Amazing.” It was August 2011 and Jobs had just left Apple, stating in his resignation letter that he could no longer meet expectations of him as CEO.
Thacker could relate. As a wife and mother of four daughters, she felt tapped out – like she was falling short of expectations. She wondered if other moms ever felt the same way. After the post went live, affirmations from women around the country flooded in.
In early 2012, Thacker and fellow blogger Brooke McGlothlin penned an e-book they titled “Hope for the Weary Mom.” The authors took turns writing chapters, Scripture-based advice for meeting God in the messy parts of motherhood.
The mini book was well received, but readers wanted more. So Stacey and Brooke added four new chapters and decided to give it away on Amazon Giveaway. The book racked up 28,000 downloads in just two days.
In January 2015 the book was picked up by Harvest House Publishers and was released in paperback. Thacker and McGlothlin immediately began working on unique content for a 40-day devotional companion book. “Hope for the Weary Mom Devotional” was published in February of this year. Both books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites and in Christian bookstores.
Thacker will release her first solo project this month. It is appropriately titled “Fresh Out of Amazing.” The new book allowed Thacker to continue doing two of the things she enjoys most: writing and ministering to women.
“I love the idea that you can impact the world while in your pajamas drinking coffee, which is typically when I write,” she says.
A Learning Tool for the Little Ones
Melissa Paredes grew up a missionary kid. She loved writing, but when it came time to choose a college major she settled on early childhood studies. After graduation, she landed a job writing for Wycliffe Bible Translators, an organization translates the Bible into minority languages.
It was there that she had the opportunity to merge her background in missions with her training in education by writing a children’s book called “Around the World with Kate & Mack.” Readers join Kate and her macaw friend Mack as they meet kids from 26 different languages.
“The underlying theme is how much God loves kids from every language and culture,” Paredes says. “Each chapter gives readers the chance to learn more about a people group and pray for them to have a translated Bible in their language if they don’t already.”
Having lived in the Philippines from sixth to 12th grade, Paredes used her own experiences as inspiration for Kate’s character.
“Living overseas was foundational to who I am today,” she says. “Seeing a different side of the world gave me a bigger perspective. I’m hoping that Kate and Mack will allow people to get a glimpse of the world from their own home.”
Paredes writes bi-monthly “Keeping up with Kate” emails for readers who want to continue their global adventures. The book and bonus content, including the email sign up, downloadable activities and recipes, are available on the Wycliffe website.
Since the book’s release in October 2014, Paredes has become a mom, so the feedback she receives from parents has been even more meaningful.
“Now I better understand what parents want to teach their kids,” she says. “My desire to teach my son about the importance of God’s love for people will influence everything I create for Kate and Mack in the future.”
The Healing Process
Most people are overwhelmed at the thought of writing a novel, but Mariah Haman’s goal was to do it in just 30 days. As a part of NaNo WriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) she set out to write 60,000 words during the month of November 2011. While she ended the challenge a few words short, she credits the exercise with helping refine her writing process.
“NaNo helped me get the words out,” Haman says. “It forced me to figure out the overall structure of my story. Then I had the skeleton I needed to then go back and flesh out the parts that were missing.”
The book, which she titled “The Broken Places,” was inspired by her experience of losing a friend in 2008. “It’s about what you go through when you lose someone you’re close with, the battle between letting go and moving on.”
Finishing the book, which she wrote under her maiden name Mariah K. Williams, took another two years. Haman admits there were times along the way that she wanted to give up.
“My friends pushed me forward, encouraged me to finish the novel,” she says. “Sometimes they believed in me more than I believed in myself.”
The result was a 189-page manuscript that she had poured more than 400 hours into. In 2013, she published a digital edition of the novel and released the self-published paperback in early 2014. It is now available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Mariah encourages those thinking about writing a book to give it a try.
“Writing was always something that I wanted to do,” she says. “I’ve found that if you have the passion, you’re capable. Half the battle is just making the time to write.”