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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Broken Shells

Sometimes life stinks. seashell

This may sound jaded and some may feel it’s a completely wrong attitude for a Christian, but it’s the truth. Yes, despite our circumstances, we should keep our eyes on Jesus and rejoice in the fact He paid the price for our sins, but circumstances can still burden us down. Sometimes they’re brought on by disobedience, sometimes it’s caused from someone else’s mistakes, and sometimes it just happens.

We’re human. We break easily.

I came across this quote the other day in a journal I found on my bookshelf. “I stop and pick up a broken scallop shell and realize this shell is me when my heart is broken. When I am hurting. It is people who have lost loved ones…people who are frightened…people with unfulfilled dreams.”—author unknown.

You see, a shell is a very strong creation. Even when it is broken it still continues to exist.

One of my favorite places to go is the beach, and my favorite activity to do there is to collect shells. Some of the most beautiful ones I find are broken in some way, but despite the flaw, they’re a still a treasure.

We all get broken along the way, when the tide of life changes. Some days it’s all we can do to stay on the shore. But don’t lose hope. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” –Psalm 34:18 KJV

~Candice Sue Patterson

 

*Image courtesty of usamedeniz/freedigitalphotos.net

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Candice Sue Patterson, devotion

 

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Learning to Glean

Are you unable to attend the ACFW Conference this year?file000899618064

Instead of lamenting, let’s glean what we can!

Enjoy conference posts. Conference attendees post thrilling status updates.
Search Twitter. #acfw2014 shares conference tweets from authors and agents.
Get motivated. Use this time to write a new chapter or edit an old one.
Plan ahead. Make a conference list. When you can go, you’ll know what to pack.
Ask others what they enjoy most about conference. I did! Here were the replies:

“The keynote speaker usually says something I need to hear.”
“I enjoy meeting other authors, because we all feel kinship with each other.”
“My favorite thing is the workshops. Everyone seems to be so positive and encouraging.”
“Learning that one thing I really needed to take away. God somehow puts me in the right place at the right time.”
“I’m reminded how much I enjoy the whole process of writing (fiction). It’s that wonderful land of pretend that we love to visit.”
“I love meeting my favorite authors in person! I must admit, at times I get a little star-struck.”

I look forward to the day I’ll attend a conference. Until then, I’ll keep writing, learning, and preparing.

What will you glean from the experience?

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Jericha Kingston

 

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Ane Mulligan on Chapel Springs Revival

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two very large dogs.
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Years ago, I heard a young woman complaining about her husband. Let’s face it; we all joke about men coming from Mars and women from Venus, but that’s not what she was doing. She was stirring the water in a bitter well.
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Another time in church, I overheard another conversation (yes, I’m a writer and I tend to eavesdrop). It went something like this:
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“I just learned that God has the perfect mate all picked out for each of us, and we’re supposed to pray to find that person.”
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“Yeah, so?”
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“I didn’t do that! I didn’t know. So, that must mean George* isn’t the one God wants me married to.”
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Uh-oh. The conversation went on to include all the things her husband did wrong and the word “divorce.” I later pulled her aside for a “Titus 2:4” moment.
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Men, being from Mars, have a difficult time expressing emotions. With women, those emotions need discussion. They need dissecting. Husbands, while wonderful, necessary creatures, can’t help in the biology of emotion.
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I now had a seed of an idea. I brainstormed with a friend about a woman who, when she became a Christian, thought life and her marriage would be included in the new creation part. But her thighs are just as big, her husband as ornery as ever, and he still won’t go to church with her. Toss in a BFF whose husband had grown non-communicative and is never home, and I had the foundation for a story.
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From that first “what-if,” Claire Bennett, Patsy Kowalski, and the small village of Chapel Springs were born.
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Claire is tired of being nothing more than a sheet-changer, a towel-folder, a pancake-flipper. She resolves to emulate her Great Aunt Lola, who refused to be slighted by any man. Why, the first morning Aunt Lola’s husband forgot to kiss her goodbye, she packed her bags, went off to Hollywood, and became a big star in silent films.
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I had to find out if Claire would really do what Great Aunt Lola did. As I worked on the plotting and backstory for Claire and Patsy, I saw the same things I’d heard the young women say at church: Patsy focusing on what her husband did wrong, and Claire trying to find Mr. God-Ordained-Right.
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I had so much fun writing this book, especially scenes filled with miscommunication. My favorite is when the gals catch Patsy’s husband in what they think is an incriminating situation. The dialogue is laced with double entendre, or in other words miscommunication. I hope my readers laugh as hard as I did writing it.
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I have to tell you I wrote myself into a corner at one point. I was about 56,000 words in when I screeched to a halt. I had to do some fast research, involving Linda Kozar’s Geo-geek husband to geologically extract me from the hole I’d dug myself into. Thank you Mike Kozar! Whew.
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It’s my hope that through humor, readers will see God’s hand in their choice of a husband. God is a faithful keeper of little girls’ dreams for a knight in shining armor.
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*Name changed to protect an innocent man.
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Chapel Springs Revival

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With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
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Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.
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With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.
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Buy Chapel Springs Revival on:
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For more information about Ane Mulligan, visit her website at Southern Fried Fiction
 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Author Chat

 

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From Nature’s Bounty

wild apples 9-6-14I’m blessed to live in an area where we can still gather edibles for our table from nature’s bounty. Every season brings something, from the first morel mushrooms and tender asparagus stalks of spring, to the tangy apples and crisp nuts of fall. From the time I was a small child, I’ve helped gather what nature provides to feed the family. I have fond memories of scouring ditches for asparagus, woodlots for mushrooms, and fence rows for hickory nuts.

Today Murphy and I hiked a half mile to an apple tree we’ve had our eye on for weeks. Plump and striped fruits hung like clusters of giant grapes. I plucked one and sank my teeth in. The apple cracked with that unmistakable sound that only a truly fresh apple can make. The sweet juice and pungent smell confirmed my suspicions. . .the apples were ready. I filled a bag with the red and green fruits and started home.

pies in the oven 9-6-14Nothing goes to waste here. As I processed the apples, the cores and peelings were saved to feed the chickens and pigs. A few apples that appeared wormy I cut into quarters for the horses. All the best parts I stirred together with sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cloves. Safely cocooned between a couple pairs of crusts and nestled into the oven, the aromas of fall soon filled the house.

There isn’t much on earth that makes my husband happier than a fresh apple pie. And there aren’t any apples pies fresher than these.

God has blessed us to live in an area where we can enjoy His gifts on our table. He didn’t plant the wild apple trees in our back yard, but that mile long hike to collect them from where they grow? Worth every step. . .and then some. How far are you willing to walk to partake of His blessings?

pies cooling on the table 9-6-14

~ Pegg Thomas

Photos used with full permission of the hubby – who shares photos more willingly than pies!

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Pegg Thomas

 

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Upcoming Writers Contests for Fall 2014!

Old Typewriter

2014 HARLEQUIN SYTYCW (SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE) Writing Contest

You could win the Ultimate Author’s Publishing Prize!

We’re looking for the Next Big Thing in Romance. Enter the Harlequin/Mills & Boon SYTYCW writing contest. First Prize? A publishing contract!

So You Think You Can Write! Harlequin, the world’s leader in romance fiction, is searching globally to find new authors for all our category series. Always wanted to write a romance novel? Be sure to enter our 2014 SYTYCW Writing Contest.

New for 2014! One lucky writer will win the Ultimate Author’s Publishing Prize from Harlequin. The grand prize winner will be offered a two-book series contract with the first book to be published digitally on or around Valentine’s Day 2015—print edition to follow. The winner will also celebrate success in style with a complimentary champagne dinner for two ($150 USD value).

Beginning September 22 at 10am EST you can submit the First Chapter (5000 words max) of your romance story plus a 100-Word Pitch to the series you have targeted. The pitch should outline the concept, plot, characters, conflict and setting. You must target one of our 18 eligible series.

All First Chapter submissions will be posted for everyone to read and add comments in the space provided. Last day for submissions is October 1. Don’t delay…submit your chapter right away so more people—including the editors–will see it! ”

Public Voting: November 3 – 10

Yes, that’s you! Read all 10 complete manuscripts on the site, post comments and vote for your favorite story. During this time visit with our talented Author & Editor Mentors who have teamed up with each of the finalists to post their thoughts and generate excitement.

Grand Prize Winner Date: November 13

We’ll announce the name of the winner of the Ultimate Author’s Publishing Prize—and lucky recipient of a publishing contract with Harlequin!  Enter now!

 

2014 FOUR SEASONS ROMANCE WRITER CONTEST

Calling All Romance Writers! Ride The Wind To Romance And The Four Seasons Contest!

The Four Seasons Contest is open to unpublished writers and to any author who has not been contracted or published in the past five years in any novel-length work of fiction (40,000 + words) in any format (e-book, mass market, etc) to include self-published works.

Entries must be the first 25 pages of your manuscript in RTF (rich text format). Standard industry formatting rules apply: one inch margins, Times New Roman 12 or 14 or Courier 12. Author’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Please do NOT include a synopsis. Entries in all categories must be Romantic Fiction. Short stories, nonfiction, and fiction in genres other than romance will not be accepted.

Categories:

  • Historical Romance
  • Single Title Contemporary Romance
  • Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal Romance
  • Young Adult Romance
  • Inspirational Romance
  • Romantic Suspense

2014 Final Judges:

Historical
Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, Grand Central Publishing
Agent:
Jita Fumich, Folio Literary Agency

Single Title Contemporary
Editor: Michelle Meade, MIRA
Agent:
Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency

Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal
Editor: Kristine Swartz, Berkley Publishing
Agent: 
Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency

Young Adult
Editor: Aubrey Poole, Sourcebooks
Agent:
Sarah Negovetich, Corvisiero Agency

Inspirational
Editor: Elizabeth Mazer, Harlequin Love Inspired
Agent: Amanda Luedeke, MacGregor Literary

Romantic Suspense
Editor: Dana Hamilton, Harlequin Intrigue
Agent:
Victoria Lowes, The Bent Agency

Fee:

$25.00

Contest Deadline:

ENTRIES MUST BE received by midnight September 30, 2014. Enter now!

 

WRITER’S DIGEST SHORT SHORT STORY COMPETITION

We’re looking for short stories! Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? Enter the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

Wondering what’s in it for you?

  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference

Early-Bird Entry Deadline: November 17, 2014

Entry Deadline: December 15, 2014

One First Place Winner will receive:

  • $3,000 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

The Second Place Winner will receive:

  • $1,500 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

The Third Place Winner will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

Fourth through Tenth Place Winners will receive:

  • $100 in cash
  • Their short story titles published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015Guide to Literary Agents

Eleventh through Twenty-Fifth Place Winners will receive:

  • A $50 gift certificate for writersdigestshop.com
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection

Early-Bird Entry Deadline: November 17, 2014

Entry Deadline: December 15, 2014

For more information on how to enter the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition click here.

 

Ruminate Magazine’s William Van Dyke Short Story Prize

We invite you to enter the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize. We will announce the final judge in the coming weeks.

As with all our submissions, we highly recommend reading a copy of the magazine to better understand what we are looking for. The 2014 winning story “Legacy” by Lori Vos appears in Issue 31: Always we begin again. The 2013 Short Story Prize winning story “Saturdays He Drove the Ford Pickup” by David Brendan Hopes appears in Issue 27: Glimpses. The 2012 Short Story Prize winning story “Stories My Mother Told Me” by Nahal Suzanne Jamir appears in Ruminate’s Issue 23: The Stories We Tell.

Guidelines:

  • The submission deadline for the short story contest  is October 15th, 2014.
  • The entry fee is $20 (includes a free copy of the Spring 2013 Issue).
  • You may submit one story per contest entry fee and it must be 5500 words or less. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.
  • $1500 will be awarded to the winner and publication in the Spring 2013 Issue. $200 will be awarded to the runner-up story and publication in the Spring 2013 Issue.
  • A blind reading of all entries will be conducted by a panel of RUMINATE readers, who will select 10 short stories as finalists.
  • Close friends and students (current & former) of the finalist judge are not eligible to compete. Nor are close friends or family of the Ruminate staff.
  • Winners will be announced in the Spring Issue, March 2015.
  • We will be notifying all entrants of submission status in mid-January, 2015.
  • Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit.
  • We are sometimes asked if Ruminate is seeking or only accepts “Christian” or “spiritual” stories. The answer to that question is no. We are simply looking for good stories, and there are no restrictions on the subject matter or content for submissions. The best way to understand the work we publish is to read a past issue.

 

~ Kara Hunt

PHOTO CREDIT – stock.xchng

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Kara Hunt, Writing Contests

 

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Young Reader Favorite Books

file0001160118336I loved being read to as a child – I think we all did – but being able to pick up a book and read it on my own? That was magical. I spent a large part of my childhood with my nose in a book. Within those pages, I had more adventures than I could count. I read the same stories over and over again, never tiring of my favorites.

What books captivated you as a young reader?

I’ll go first and once again I give the credit to my Grandma Lewis. She had kept an old ratty paperback that had belonged to my dad when he was in school, Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard. Both my brother and I loved that book. And today, more tattered than ever, it rests in a place of honor on my bookshelf.

Now it’s your turn. What was your favorite book once you learned to read?

~ Pegg Thomas

image by morguefile.com

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Pegg Thomas

 

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Understanding PTSD

Have you ever wondered how to help suffering individuals? Today, we discuss Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and discover how to support survivors of traumatic events.

downloadI’m honored to welcome author Welby O’Brien to the Quid Pro Quills. Welby is crazy about her veteran husband, who battles PTSD. She founded the spouse/family support network Love Our Vets PTSD Family Support, LLC, and wrote the book LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD. Although she has a Master’s Degree in counseling, most of what she shares comes from daily life.

QPQ: Thank you so much for joining us, Welby.
WO: It’s a blessing to help people know about PTSD and share that there is hope.

QPQ:  What is PTSD and what causes it?
WO:  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder results from exposure to an experience that is horrific or life-threatening. The whole person gets locked into emergency mode (fight, flight or freeze survival!), and stays locked in that emergency mode at some level for the rest of their lives. 24/7 they live as if the trauma or an impending crisis could reoccur at any moment. It totally overwhelms their ability to cope, so when something triggers them back into survival mode, they have no reserve with which to handle it.

It is not a chosen situation, an illness, or a temporary condition. People who struggle with PTSD are not crazy, weak, failures, bad people, nor are they without help and hope. The good news is that they can learn to thrive again!

QPQ: How would someone know if they or their loved one has PTSD?
WO: Some typical symptoms may include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts of the trauma, avoidance, numbing, putting up walls, withdrawing, hyper-vigilance, irritability, easily startled, memory blocks, sudden bursts of anger or other emotions, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, fear, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other addictive behaviors, difficulty holding a job, relationship problems, and unfortunately, sometimes even suicide. They are people who are reacting normally to an abnormal experience. Thankfully, not everyone has all of these symptoms.

QPQ:  Because PTSD is an invisible wound, people may not realize just how many are affected. Is PTSD limited to combat veterans, or can it affect anyone?
WO: PTSD is not limited to veterans. ANYONE who has survived a traumatic event may find themselves struggling with PTSD. It actually affects millions in the U.S. alone, along with all those who love them and live with them.

QPQ: That’s an incredible number. Is there a cure?
WO: And the numbers are skyrocketing! Unfortunately, there is no total cure, mainly because the trauma cannot be erased. However, there are many helpful resources, support groups and effective therapies available. I can personally say without a doubt, it IS possible for PTSD survivors to thrive, and to have loving, fulfilling relationships in spite of the PTSD.

QPQ: For veterans with PTSD, is there anything we should be especially mindful of when observing patriotic holidays like 9-11 (Patriot Day), July 4th (Independence Day), or Veteran’s Day (November 11th)?
WO: These holidays can be very stressful to veterans and their loved ones, along with other anniversaries that can catapult them right back into the battlefield. Bottom line: Express gratitude for their service and sacrifices, and show respect, kindness, encouragement and support…all year round.

QPQ: How can we support individuals, veterans, and families dealing with PTSD?
WO:

Be willing to reach out even if it feels awkward. Remember, God only uses imperfect people.
Volunteer at a local Vet Center or charitable organization for veterans.
Learn all you can about PTSD and how it affects everyone in the family.
Combine compassion with knowledge. Open your heart wide to those who are struggling.
Show appreciation and respect to all veterans and service members.
Pray for them.
Have a list of resources and contacts for referrals (see loveourvets.org for ideas).
Encourage them and the whole family to get help if they are not already.
Remember them during patriotic holidays.
Share the Veteran’s Luck video on You Tube with them. It includes a short gospel message from an anonymous veteran that reaches deep into the hearts of the veterans and loved ones.
Contribute if possible to the non-profits that minister to them.
Share a copy of Love Our Vets with your pastoral staff, doctors, counselors, and with the loved ones of the veteran’s family.
Help other people become more aware of PTSD. You can request free copies of PTSD Basics cards to share with others.

QPQ: Thank you for these wonderful suggestions. One final question: Why do you fervently publicize PTSD?
WO: There is way too much stigma and negativity surrounding this issue, and I want to shout out a message of hope! Life will never be perfect for any of us, but it can be good. I thank God every day for the privilege of loving my warrior and being loved by him, and I want others to experience what we have.

QPQ: Thank you, Welby, for informing us how we may help individuals affected by PTSD.
WO: Thank you, Jericha. I hope people will reach out to those who struggle, and to their loved ones who stand by them.

download (1)Welby O’Brien and her veteran husband find fulfillment as they face the daily challenges of PTSD. She has a Master’s degree in counseling from Portland State University, and a teaching degree from Biola University. Welby has authored the books Formerly A Wife (divorce support) and Good–bye for Now (grief support)(WingSpread/Moody Press), as well as contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul (Divorce and Recovery), and Shepherding Women in Pain (Moody Press). And most recently LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD (Deep River Books).

Welby has been welcomed as a guest speaker across the country, and on radio and television. Welby initiated and continues to facilitate the spouse and family support network known as Love Our Vets – PTSD Family Support, LLC. She lives what she writes.

Contact information:
www.LoveOurVets.org

Facebook:
Join Welby and thousands of others on Facebook: Love Our Vets – PTSD Family Support, LLC.

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Interview, Jericha Kingston

 

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