Featured Author

Elma Schemenauer

Photo credit: Robert S. Schemenauer

Elma (Martens) Schemenauer is a first-generation daughter of Russian Mennonite immigrants. She spent her early years in a farming community between Elbow and Davidson, Saskatchewan. This community and her Mennonite relatives’ stories later inspired her 1940s novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS, published in October 2014 by Borealis Press of Ottawa.

After high school in Elbow, Elma attended Briercrest Bible Institute (now College) at Caronport, Saskatchewan. She graduated with a diploma in Christian education. Later she attended the Universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto, earning a BA in English and psychology, and qualifying as a teacher.

Elma started her teaching career in Saskatchewan. Then she taught English in Nova Scotia under the auspices of the Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions and Services. From teaching she moved into a publishing career in Toronto, where she enjoyed years of writing and editing.

The many books Elma has written include:
-YESTERCANADA: HISTORICAL TALES OF MYSTERY AND ADVENTURE, factual book published by Borealis Press of Ottawa
-UGANDA, factual book published by The Child’s World of Chanhassen, Minnesota
-WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A FRIEND, values storybook published by Grolier

Elma enjoys speaking about history, writing, and other topics.

Elma and her husband, Robert, live in Kamloops, British Columbia. There she writes, edits, and walks on mountainsides dotted with sagebrush and ponderosa pine. She thanks God for His many blessings and trusts Him for the future, whatever it may bring.

For more information, please see Elma’s website, http://elmams.wixsite.com/elma .


Heidi McLaughlin

Heidi McLaughlin is an international speaker and author of three books, RESTLESS FOR MORE, SAND TO PEARLS and BEAUTY UNLEASHED. She is also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and the Canadian Hot Apple Cider series. Heidi has written hundreds of articles and also blogs about issues women face in this complicated and fast paced generation.

Heidi lives in the beautiful vineyard in West Kelowna and is a mother and step-mother of five children and twelve grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she’s golfing, reading or having a cuppa tea with her family or friends.
Heidi McLaughlin is an international speaker and author of three books, RESTLESS FOR MORE, SAND TO PEARLS and BEAUTY UNLEASHED. She is also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and the Canadian Hot Apple Cider series. Heidi has written hundreds of articles and also blogs about issues women face in this complicated and fast paced generation.

Heidi lives in the beautiful vineyard in West Kelowna and is a mother and step-mother of five children and twelve grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she’s golfing, reading or having a cuppa tea with her family or friends.

Heidi McLaughlin believes that there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who knows she is loved. Heidi’s passion is contagious as she inspires her audiences to grasp their magnificence and step up to the plate to embrace their full potential in Christ. She will make you laugh, and she may make you cry, but you will know you have lovingly been challenged to your highest calling.

Heidi speaks all over North America and overseas. She has been teaching, speaking, writing and mentoring women for over two decades. She is an award-winning author, and has written several books and Study Guides. Heidi is also part of a ministry team called RADIANT. This three person team including Grace Fox and Juno Award winning musician Kelita Haverland, conduct day conferences across Canada.

Heidi lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. Heidi has been widowed twice and is the mom and step-mom of a blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book; or golf and laugh with her family and special friends.


Shirley Unrau

Shirley Unrau was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She is a graduate of Briercrest Bible College.

Shirley and Pete, her husband of 60 years, have four children, ten grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren.

As well as being a gifted speaker, Shirley has also been a team teacher, and with her husband, Pete, founded Oasis Retreats, for wounded/weary pastors and missionaries.

Her book, No Pretending – The Honest Journey of a Pastor’s Wife was decades in the making. In Shirley’s words, the reason for writing this book is, “Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Someone who will just listen and hear our heart and let us know we are not alone.”  She has written No Pretending to come alongside pastor’s wives and others, to let them know they are not alone.

I am not a pastor’s wife or missionary but found great value in her story. Shirley’s raw vulnerability and complete trust in God through all circumstances are both inspiring and faith building. This book will take you from the valleys to the mountaintops and show you how to keep your eyes on the One who leads the way.

Shirley is a lover of people and the joy of hospitality has been a big part of her life.

She says life has been a full, wild and wonderful ride.

Shirley’s book is available through Amazon

For a signed copy, contact Shirley directly.

Sally Meadows

Sally Meadows, M.Sc. B.Ed., is an award-winning author, singer/songwriter, and speaker from Saskatchewan, Canada. Sally writes in a number of genres, from children’s books to magazine articles to fictional and non-fiction short stories to inspirational songs. Sally is an active member of the Executive of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, and as Press Coordinator, she was the project manager/managing editor for their 2017 anthology Christmas: Stories & More.

Sally’s career path has been as diverse as her writing interests. After graduating with a Master’s in Geology, Sally worked as a scientific editor for about five years. When her husband secured new work in Saskatoon, her little family of four pulled up stakes for a new adventure.

Moving to Saskatoon changed her family’s life and especially, their spiritual lives. After taking a year off and yet another stint as an editor, Sally started a home business so she could be with her kids and pursue a vibrant church life, including music ministry and kids ministry. Through her science education business, Nuts About Science! Sally stirred the imagination of thousands of Saskatchewan and Alberta students with her innovative science shows and workshops. In 2004 she graduated with an Education degree, worked as a teacher and outreach educator, and took on an administrative role at an engineering firm.

In 2013, a health issue prompted her to re-evaluate her career path. She quit her job to work full time as a freelance writer, speaker, and musician. Besides contributing to bestselling anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul and Hot Apple Cider, Sally has authored three children’s books including The Two Trees (2015; Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing), Beneath That Star (2015; Word Alive Press), and When Sleeping Birds Fly: 365 Amazing Facts About The Animal Kingdom (releasing July 2018; Siretona Creative; can be pre-ordered at https://sallymeadows.com/store). Her fourth children’s book, The Underdog Duckling (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing), releases September 2018.

Sally has been shortlisted five times for Canada’s national “The Word Awards”, three times for her songs (2013, 2014, 2017), once for The Two Trees (2016), and once for a short fictional story for adults (2018; in Christmas with Hot Apple Cider). She has also been a finalist for two international awards and has won several writing competitions.

Although she has a science background, Sally has always had a creative side. Besides writing prose and writing and performing music—her most recent single “Holy Spirit” (2016) was played on Christian radio around the world—she is passionate about photography and paper crafting.

Sally would love you to join her mailing list at https://sallymeadows.com/sign-up for a FREE gift. You can connect with Sally on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SallyMeadowsMusic and https://www.facebook.com/SallyMeadowsKidsBooks. Her Twitter handle is @SallyMeadows and her email is sally@sallymeadows.com.

Tracy Krauss

authorTracy Krauss is an award winning author, artist, playwright, speaker, teacher, mother, grandmother, and pastor’s wife – not necessarily in that order! She writes contemporary Christian romance with a twist of suspense and a touch of humor. Her books strike a chord with those looking for a hard hitting yet thought provoking read – no sugar added. Her work has won multiple awards and has been on Amazon’s bestsellers’ lists.  She also writes stage plays tailored to a high school audience, and has contributed to several anthologies, devotional books, and one illustrated children’s book.

She is on the executive of ICWF (Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship), a Canada wide organization for writers of Christian faith. She is also an active member of The Word Guild, The Playwrights Guild, and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). An avid reader, Tracy reviews books and posts most of these online at amazon, goodreads, and on her blog. She is also a regular contributor to several other blogs.

Originally from Mossbank, Saskatchewan, a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and teaches Secondary School English, Drama and Art – all things she is passionate about. She has been involved in local theatre as a director, playwright and actress for more than thirty years and has written and directed dozens of stage plays, several of which have found homes with well known US play publishing houses.

Apart from her many personal creative pursuits, she leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister with the PAOC, have lived in five provinces and territories including many remote and unique places in Canada’s far north such as Churchill, Manitoba – polar bear capital of the world; the Yukon – home of the Klondike Gold Rush; and the North West Territories. They have four grown children and now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, waterfall capital of British Columbia, where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests.

When I asked Tracy to tell us a couple of little known facts about herself, she said she has moved more than 30 times. Even more interesting, she was once stampeded by a heard of wild buffalo! Now that’s a story I’d like to learn more about.

For more information visit her website http://www.tracykrauss.com“Fiction on the edge – without crossing the line”

Lynn J Simpson

Lynn J Simpson understands the need for creating spaces and tools for rest, renewal, and transformation. She writes stories to inspire hope, and rarely is without camera in hand to capture breathing spaces to share.
Her first publication, 30 Day Journal of Thankfulness, Successes, and Joy has been used by individuals, groups, and ministries to help develop new mindsets.
Her latest journal, Breathing Spaces, a 21 Day Journal of Rest, Reflection, and Renewal, features her photography from the Canadian Rockies to the deep south of Savannah, Georgia. Lynn resides in Sherwood Park, Alberta. However, you’ll often find her on the road discovering new scenic places God has created.
Lynn is a Certified Professional Life Coach and the caring she brings to this role shines through in her writing. You will be refreshed and refocused after reading her blog at lynnjsimpson.com 
Lynn was part of the ensemble of actors of the first production of the Christmas Carol in 2000, at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. To act in a professional play was a bucket list item now checked!
Next bucket list item is to play a guitar tune on stage. She says she has a long way to go on that one! I want an invitation to that performance.

Serenity McLean

imagination, inspirational fiction

Serenity grew up on 28 acres in the low rolling hills of southern Ontario.  She and her black lab companion would hide among the trees, forge the river, and creep up the hills, all to play out stories arising from her active imagination. They acted out spy adventures, rescues from behind enemy lines, even tales of survival in a futuristic dystopic society.

It is this imagination and desire for storytelling that inspires Serenity to chronicle the adventures of medical doctor developing her faith in a series of books dealing with global biological disasters, as well as writing heartwarming Christian novels in a growing collection. Her second novel was awarded finalist with a national writers organization, which spurs her on to new tales of intrigue.

When asked about her approach to writing she says, “I think because I am a storyteller more than an author, my approach may be a little different. The story is like a movie in my head. I sit down to write and hit the play button and just write what I see happening on the mental movie. If I don’t like something I rewind and play it again.”

Serenity’s most recent book is a departure from the fiction she’s become known for. In her genuine, straight from the heart style she has written Honest Grief, a not-so-ordinary guidebook to surviving the abyss. After a series of life-altering loses, she wrote this book to support others in their own unique journey through this dark valley.

Serenity still has a dog, a golden retriever, she still loves to roam the hills, and says, “Any day involving sun and surf is a good day.” She stays busy helping authors build their websites, making video trailers, painting and sketching, and jewellery and perfume making.

Make sure you have time set aside when you start reading one of Serenity’s books. If you’re anything like me you’ll find her books difficult to put down. I keep thinking, maybe one more chapter! She is quickly becoming one of my favourites.



Marcia Lee Laycock

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from Central Alberta, where she lives with her pastor/husband and two golden retrievers. She is a columnist with novelrocket.com and her devotionals are widely distributed. She also has five published novels and several ebooks are available from Amazon and Smashwords.

Marcia’s first novel, One Smooth Stone was the winner of Best New Canadian Christian Author Award.

When asked how her writing journey began, Marcia answered, “The writing began in the attic of my parent’s house where I wrote stories for my dolls. None of them complained, so I kept it up.”  As one who has had the pleasure of reading two of her novels as well as several devotionals, I am glad her dolls didn’t complain!

Marcia is the only person I know (other than her husband) who has lived a few miles south of the Arctic Circle (Dawson City Yukon) and a couple of degrees south of the equator (Papua New Guinea).  Elements of those experiences find their way into her writing. She has interesting stories to tell both in person and in her books. Find out for yourself by checking out her website.



Jack Popjes

Canadian Author

Born in Holland, Jack immigrated with his family to Canada in 1950. He attended Berean Bible College in Calgary. Jack and Jo were married in 1962 and pastored a Baptist church in Innisfail, Alberta, for three years before joining Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1965. They left for Brazil in 1966 with three preschool daughters and began service among the Canela people in 1968.

When Jack and Jo began their linguistic and Bible translation work, the Canela people were illiterate and there were no Christian believers. They earned the right to live in the village by meeting the medical and dental needs of the villagers. Later they were appreciated as literacy teachers, and teacher trainers, helping Canela authors produce their own literature in book form.

By the time the Scriptures in the Canela language were dedicated in 1990, there were many Canela believers, all able to read the Bible and teach others to read and obey the Word.

After the Popjes family left Brazil in 1990, they served as a recruiters and fundraisers with Wycliffe Canada and spoke at many conferences and banquets.

Jack served as President of Wycliffe Canada for six years, beginning in 1994. He led the organization through many changes in preparation for service in the new millennium. Jack was then appointed CEO of Wycliffe Caribbean with a mandate to restructure the organization, and find and train a successor. He completed this task in May 2004.

Currently Jack serves as the Wycliffe Canada Engagement Team Speaker and is writing his autobiography.

Jack’s latest book A Poke in the Ribs is a collection of fifty-two story based articles. The short easy to read pieces are ture stories, most of which happened to the author.

Jack’s trademark humour shines through, making this book a most enjoyable read. A Poke in the Ribs follows in the tradition of Jack’s other books A Kick in the Pants, A Bonk on the Head, and A Tickle in the Funny Bone.

Be warned, the books are habit forming and you will want each of them!

All of the books and more information on this engaging writer and speaker can be found on Jack’s website.

Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison, AuthorCarol Harrison lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.

Carol has her B.Ed from the University of Saskatchewan but spent very little time teaching in a classroom. She teaches communication workshops, speaks at ladies events and retreats and in the summer hangs out at various Bible camps as the chapel speaker.

Carol is published author with one book, Amee’s Story as well as stories in eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books and four other anthologies. She loves telling stories and is in the process of writing many of the family stories. She uses a storytelling style and loves to encourage others by sharing from her heart.

Like everyone else Carol has faced many challenges in life and knows, from experience, that some can be more difficult than others. Yet through all the ups and downs, the twists and turns of life, she has learned that God’s amazing grace is always sufficient.

Carol tells me she believes chocolate should be a food group. I am in complete agreement!

Her favourtite form of exercise is water walking.  We may need to ask her more about that one.

She says she has always told her grandchildren they will never get too big or old to hug their grandmother – so far even the teens still listen to that piece of advice.

Carol’s book is available through her website or as an ebook on Kobo.  You can also reach her by emailing carol@carolscorner.ca

Christie Thomas

Christie ThomasChristie and her husband are in the thick of parenting three boys. She also works as the Director of Children’s Ministries at her home church in central Alberta, and has been there since 2006. She says she’s not sure why people tell her she must be busy!

In 2012 Christie began work on her first book (not knowing it was a book), as she wrote weekly Bible-based devotions for the families in my church. In 2015 the devotions were released as “Wise for Salvation: Meaningful Devotions for Families with Little Ones“. It is her great joy that this devotional has brought hundreds of families and children closer to God. As families follow each week’s series of devotions, children will act, dance, draw, imagine, memorize, and sing their way to a better relationship with God and a knowledge of His Word. Wise for Salvation contains five interactive devotions per week, with each week focusing on a single story. Covering 87 of the major Bible stories and lessons, Wise for Salvation can be a family’s go-to devotional for years!

Christie is currently under contract for a series of children’s books about her little owl family, and is also working on a middle grade fantasy novel.

I asked Christie for some fun facts I could share with you. She tells me that although her friends describe her as kind, thoughtful and warm; her coworkers have alternately called her style fierce, warrior-like, and “shoot from the hip.”  That’s quite a contrast.

Christie is very enterprising.  A few years back she turned her tiny suburban front yard into a food-producing perennial garden. Since then they have grown apricots, strawberries, haskaps, apples, and cherries all in that tiny space!

If you and Christie spent the day together, and she got to pick your schedule, here’s what you would do:
1) Go shopping at Value Village.
2) Go to a Zumba class at the gym.
3) Eat East Indian food or monstrous burgers piled with mushrooms.

As you can tell, Christie is full of energy and fun.  Find out more on her website http://www.christiethomaswriter.com/about/


Cindy Palin

Cindy Palin and her husband, Lloyd Palin, reside in Olds, Alberta, Canada. Cindy is currently working on her Bachelor of Christian Studies at Briercrest College and Seminary. She is a member of the Word Guild (www.thewordguild.com) and the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

Cindy is a classically trained vocalist and contemporary faith composer/recording artist. Lyrics of many of her songs are featured and explored in her book The Faith Keeper.

She qualified as a finalist in the “song lyric” category for two consecutive years (2012-2013) with the Word Guild. “My Heart’s Lament” is Cindy’s recent recording project, Produced by Mark Troyer.

In the fall of 2015 Cindy submitted “The Dance of Life” and her song was selected to be part of the sound track in the recently released (spring of 2016) independent film “Providence” www.providencemovie.com

Most of Cindy’s recordings are available on iTunes.

I asked Cindy when she started writing music and she began at the age of twelve! As she became more serious about her music and wanted to take song writing classes, Cindy worked as a housekeeper for a singer in Nashville. She had a dream and found a way to make it happen.

Cindy spends most of her time writing music, working with families in her community, and leading worship.

She can be contacted through her website: www.newcindypalin.com.

Kimberley Payne

Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author and writer on spiritual & physical fitness topics. Her devotional writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live healthier lives that glorify God.

Kimberley writes nonfiction in the health & fitness field. She believes that prayer and Bible study are to the spirit what exercise and healthy eating are to the body.

I asked Kimberley how she got started writing and what inspires her. She said, “I’ve always been a thinker and writing helps me to organize my thoughts. I can easily stumble over my words and not say what I truly mean, however, with writing I can play with what I want to say until it reflects exactly what I mean. I’m inspired by sharing with others what I learn. I like to take complicated or confusing topics and break them down to make them understandable.” This is something she does very well.

When asked to share a few fun facts, Kimberley said she doesn’t mind the smell of skunk!  I’ve never heard anyone say that before. She also has visited family in the Netherland five times.

Visit Kimberley on her website www.kimberleypayne.com

To receive a free ebook of Kimberley’s book JumpStart go to https://www.amazon.ca/JumpStart-Catalyst-Spiritual-Physical-Routine-ebook/dp/B012EORK7K



Lisa Flickinger

Lisa Flickinger, author of historical novels Fool’s Notion, Ella and All That Glitters, lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops to add to her collection of old ladders, brooms, linens … or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her visit www.lisajflickinger.com.

I asked Lisa to tell me a little about her writing journey. She said, “I’ve been writing off and on my whole life but more seriously the last eight years. I was published for the first time in 2016. My inspiration comes from all kinds of places, sometimes it’s an overheard conversation or an interesting character I see on main street other times a complete plot line will be downloaded in my head from … outer space … the Lord … I don’t know. The inspiration for my next novel, to be released in September, came from the box of borax in my laundry room. It’s about a young woman who takes a team of mules across the US on the Oregon trail after use of the trail has diminished.

Ella is the title of Lisa’s newly released book.  Here’s a little information about the story.

Ella Goodwin, abandoned by her father and abused by her stepsister, seeks to make sense of her new life as a prisoner in her own home. Squirreled away in the attic, she lets her imagination soar by designing and sewing a magnificent gown. However, all hopes of attending the masked ball are dashed when she’s discovered and her gown is stolen.

It sounds intriguing. I thoroughly enjoyed All That Glitters and am looking forward to reading this historical novella retelling the story of Cinderella in Washington 1870.

Lisa tells us she used to fashion books out of cardboard and mac tac as a young girl and dream of being an author someday.  Looks like her dreams are coming true.

Janice Richardson

Janice RichardsonJanice Richardson writes Christian articles and stories focusing on how God impacts people’s lives. She resides in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and one of three sons. Janice loves reading, writing, and being in nature whether it is hiking, skiing, walking, or cycling. She also has a bit of competitive side and loves watching football, her son playing soccer, and playing Word with Friends on her phone or tablet!

I wondered how Janice came to have a story included in the anthology Gifts from Heaven. She explained; “Several years ago, I took an on-line Christian writing course through the organization Christian Writer’s Guild. I was assigned a mentor who reviewed my lessons and gave me feedback. After I completed the course, she started sending me emails inviting me to submit stories for books that James Stewart Bell was compiling and publishing. I never felt like I had a story that fit the guidelines so never submitted anything. For the past year, I have been interviewing people and writing their God story for CSC News in Calgary. At the time I was writing on one of the people they had “matched” me with, I received an email from my former mentor asking for submissions for another book. Ray’s story fit perfectly with the guidelines for this book! God’s perfect timing and matchmaking. I submitted a revised version of his story and was very happy when I learned that it had been accepted!”

And that’s how it’s done, folks.  Of course, Janice’s talent for writing had a lot to do with her being published!

In addition to writing, Janice works for a non-profit organization primarily doing administrative and financial work. Although she has a passion for writing people’s true stories of how God has impacted their life, she would also like to write a novel and plans to pursue that in the future.
We will be watching for that, Janice!
For information about the book Gifts from Heaven, ordering a copy, or any other questions or comments, please email me at Janice_r@shaw.ca .