Getting to know . . . Magdalena Schultz.

HRMS front coverMagdalena Schultz, contributing author to He Restores My Soul, has a softness of demeanor that swaddles a tenacious, motherly instinct.

Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Schultz:

“Normal” is just a setting on your dishwasher. Nothing about my current days is normal. What they are, though, is filled with lots of coffee, very little sleep, countless hours of sitting, patience, and prayer. 

What three words best describe your personality?

I think “poor, miserable sinner” sums me up quite neatly. However, loyal, observant, and practical might be a bit more descriptive. 

Who do you go to for advice?

Depends on the matter … husband, Mama, and often the best friend. 

What do you like to read?

Children’s literature and historical fiction 

Beverage of choice?

Coffee, always.

Mac or PC?

Mac… I still remember that very first Mac my papa brought home! That dial-up tone and green text were just the beginning of our family commitment to everything Apple. 

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking?

Breakfast! Farm fresh eggs, bacon, hearty bread, brie, fruit, and a bottomless cuppa coffee in her bright sunshiny-yellow dining room.

Confirmation verse?

John 3:16

Which song do you hum the most?

Whichever song I last heard … always amusingly random. Yesterday, I couldn’t get “The Crawdad Song” out of my head.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:


How do you use hymns in your daily life?

Lullabies and prayers, or history projects! Have you ever heard of Catherine Winkworth? She translated some of the best! Plus, she was instructed by the husband of one of my favorite novelists. You never know what you’ll discover in the footnotes! 

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

A quiet sandy beach on Lake Superior on a still morning … where the water is still, and the sun is evaporating the last of the early morning fog. This Yooper longs for her homeland. 

Shoe of choice?

Birkenstocks, always. My feet have permanent stripes. 

Favorite movie villain?

Hades from Disney’s Hercules… “Name’s Hades, Lord of the dead. Hi, how ya doin’?”

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

147. It was displayed on a digital sign in front of a church on our drive home from the diagnostic exam which informed us of our biggest adventure yet. Since then, I have found myself returning to those words more than any others. 

What is your chapter about?

Practicing faith daily, no matter the circumstances and fears. 

To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit

Getting to know . . . Heather Smith.

HRMS front coverMay I introduce you to respected logophile, Heather Smith? She is one of twelve authors featured in the upcoming release, He Restores My Soul, and I asked her a few pertinent questions to get to know her better.

If you like Anne Shirley and theoretical physics, keep reading.

Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Smith:

I am richly blessed in my new(ish) life as a pastor’s wife. Generally, every day includes meals with my husband, exercising on the elliptical machine, the various tasks of housework (making things in the kitchen is my absolute favorite!), and devotions after dinner. Some days’ accomplishments are more along the lines of doing laundry and vacuuming, other days I carve out time for writing or research projects or other creative endeavors. Church activities fit into the week, including Bible study on Wednesday nights and the ladies’ quilting group on Thursdays. However, there are also days when the more normal routine is pushed aside in lieu of substitute teaching or trips to the “big city” for various purposes.

What three words best describe your personality?

introspective, perspicacious, logophilic

Who do you go to for advice?

Too often just the inside of my own head; I’m an avid over-analyzer. However, when I am being smarter — i.e. humbler — I consult my husband (who is also my pastor) or a couple very dear friends.

What do you like to read?

So many things! Fiction could be anything from fantasy to historical fiction to epic poetry. Non-fiction interests include history, education, grammar and language, philosophy, theology, and the odd smattering of theoretical physics.

Beverage of choice?

I usually start the day with a cup of Irish breakfast tea — just cream, no sugar, please.

Mac or PC?

PC. But my husband is a Mac lover. Perhaps one day when finances and tolerance level for frustration permit, I’ll go through the pain of converting.

Confirmation verse?

Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Which song do you hum the most?

Hymns of all sorts seep out of my mind’s storehouse and onto my lips, but if one comes unbidden more often than others, it might be the beautifully rich “If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee.” No surprise that it figures prominently in my chapter.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

That would depend a great deal on the book itself! I am afraid I lack the Anne Shirley quality of dreaming up perfect names for literary heroines before their stories are written. Perhaps the closest thing I can admit to is my clever teenage idea for the character of an Irish botanist named Phil O’Dendron.

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

A hymn stanza of the week is always the close of nightly devotions, with the goal of memorizing hymns this way. I also find myself singing snatches of hymns as I wash dishes or iron clothing. However, the thing I love most about hymns is how phrases come to mind in times of sorrow or joy that perfectly give voice to my feelings, thus uniting my mind, heart, and soul.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

I love the mountains, but I’m also pretty happy with the shade trees on the lawn and rolling cornfields on the horizon right outside my southern Illinois parsonage.

Shoe of choice?

Practical but pretty sandals in the summer; comfy flats or wedges in cooler weather.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Different seasons of life make me turn to different psalms, but a perennial favorite for me is Psalm 103.

What is your chapter about?

My chapter is about learning to bear, patiently and humbly, the cross of undesired singleness.

To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit

He Restores My Soul

Dearly beloved readers,

Emmanuel Press and I have been working hard on a little project the last few months. It brings me great pleasure to share with you — Finally! — that we are collaborating with a host of experienced female writers to bring you a new book, He Restores My Soul, set to release in October of 2018.

He Restores My Soul is primarily a book of empathy and encouragement for the cross-bearing Christian woman. Utilizing the timeless, rich comfort permeating Psalm 23, each chapter applies the theology of the cross to a particular kind of suffering, pointing the reader to a firm faith in God’s promises and a resounding joy in His mysterious work of conforming us “to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).

Various topics addressed within the pages of He Restores My Soul include living the Christian faith in the public arena, carrying a child in the womb who is not expected to live, mothering while working, regretting an abortion, struggling against same-sex attraction, caring for aging parents, children leaving the faith, living with mental illness, suffering from depression and chronic diseases, and raising children apart from one’s own upbringing.

Who are the other writers, you ask? Follow Emmanuel Press and me on Facebook in the months ahead to learn more.

About Emmanuel Press

Established by Rev. Michael and Janet Frese in 2004, Emmanuel Press is a publishing house dedicated to producing works essential to confessional Lutheran theology, including theological books, liturgical and catechetical resources, and ecclesiastical greeting cards. Emmanuel Press brings together treasures of Christian literature, exceptional artwork, and a clear confession of faith. Learn more at or contact directly at

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Dear Cookie


Dear Katie,

I just finished reading your 3 wonderful books. They are very hard to put down. I’m hoping you will take Emily to her baby’s birth. She was due in February, so I thought the book would tell the exact date. Are you planning on writing more about Pastor Fletcher and his flock? I just wondered where you came up with the names of your characters.

A sister in Christ,


Dear Cookie,

Cynthia Irene was born on February 18, 2017. She is a delight to her parents, though her sister Becky is still deciding whether or not to keep her. Regardless of affection, the entire family calls her “Thia.”

Some of my character names come from my imagination, some come from country graveyard tombstones, and some come from my heart. If you happen to recognize a surname in Bradbury, it is my attempt to pay homage to a family name that I hold dear. For example, the “Compton” in Mrs. Arlene Margaret Compton Scheinberg is my own personal stamp on my favorite character (Compton is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name), and “Alwardt” is a surname from my hometown that I happen to like very much. “Ebner,” however, I chose simply because of its meaning — “judge, arbiter” — and it helped me remember Evan’s personality and function in the story every time I wrote it.

Whatever the reason I chose a particular surname, I tried to keep the balance of etymology exact to that of a small Methodist town in south-central Illinois that inherited a bunch of German Lutherans toward the end of the nineteenth century.

At this point in time, I have no plans to write more books in the Anthems of Zion series. The residents of Bradbury showed me such generous hospitality over the last eight years, and I hate to overstay my welcome. I do hope to write more fiction books down the road, but that road most likely will not lead me to south-central Illinois. But wherever the road does lead, I sure hope to meet you on it.

Gratefully yours in Christ,



A helium balloon

There is a mild panic that grips the waking moments of an author in between writing books. I suspect it has something to do with living outside of a long-fought-for habit. Writing is largely a self-driven occupation, and an author spends months writing day after day to train the subconscious to perform. It feels wasteful suddenly not to be writing a book, as if the subconscious is a helium balloon held precariously between forefinger and thumb. It constantly pulls at the fingers, trying to evade any grip and catch a ride on the wind, never to be grasped again.

But five books deep into the matter, I know that this feeling is just a feeling. Writing another book is simply a matter of work — of stacking word upon word, hour upon hour, day upon day — until an entirely new balloon is inflated.

#WearTheRooster Bulletin Bloopers Contest Winners

All good things must come to an end.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the various #WearTheRooster contests over the past few months. I had such a good time listening to your songs, admiring your pies, reading your poems, studying your colored Cogburns, perusing your book reviews, and, especially, laughing at your bulletin bloopers. Thank you, also, to Concordia Publishing House for underwriting these contests with their awesome T-shirts.

While I am sad to see these contests come to an end, I am thankful that the reason for their conclusion is that the The Harvest Raise is ready to come out.

So without further adieu, allow me to congratulate the winners of our bulletin bloopers contest:

Best Body Part Blooper – Heidi Wightman

Best Tasting Blooper – Elizabeth Moline

BEST ALL-CAPS BLOOPER – Christine Mueller

Best Hymnal Blooper – Megan Davis

Best Parenting Blooper – Becky Amen

Best Dressed Blooper – Rachel Boothby

Best Blooper Compilation – Justin Williamson

Best Geraldine Turner Tribute – Michelle Hennig (and Elizabeth)

Winners, would you please send me your T-shirt size and mailing address via the contact page of this website?

And to everyone who participated in the #WearTheRooster contests, thank you for playing along. I can’t wait to meet up with you again in the pages of The Harvest Raise. See you on June 13th!


#WearTheRooster Contest, Round Six

This is the final round, yolks. I mean, folks.

I have so enjoyed our #WearTheRooster contests, but all food things must come to an bend. At least, these contests mist come to an end so that The Harvest Raise can be released on June 13, 2012. That’s not so bad, it is?

Our final contest is being helled in honor of the esteemed Mrs. Arlene Margaret Compton Scheinberg and her rad red pen. If you want to #TearTheWooster, you are going to have to post your favorite bulletin blooper on the interwebnets.

Here’s how:

(Zion Lutheran Church would like you to know that, for the sake of clarity, the following instructions have been edited by Miss Geraldine Turner.)

  • take a picture of a funny blooper you find in a church bulletin or simply write/create one of your own,
  • post your bulletin blooper on Facebook*, Twitter, and/or Instagram by Friday, June 2nd,
  • provide the following link in your post:,
  • and use the following hashtags when posting: #WearTheRooster, #BulletinBloopers, #TeamArlene, and #TheHarvestRaise.

(Thank you, Miss Turner, for your faithful service.)

The winning bleepers will be chosen for their originality, hilarity, and harm. No, charm.

I wish you man blessings in this contest!

* If you have a private Facebook account, you will need to make sure the settings on your post are public for me to be able to see it.


#WearTheRooster Review Contest Winners


Bob and Cindy have chosen.

The winners of the #WearTheRooster review contest are…

Cindy’s Choice:

Bob’s Choice:

Congratulations to our winners! Would you please email me your T-shirt size and mailing address via the contact page of my website?

Also, thank you to everyone who has written reviews of my books over the past several years. That is one of the most helpful things a reader can do for an author, and I am greatly grateful.

We are nearing the June 13th release date of The Harvest Raise. Only one #WearTheRooster contest remains. Stay toned. I mean, tuned.

#WearTheRooster, Round Five

review |rəˈvyo͞o| verb [with object]

1 examine or assess (something) formally 

write a critical appraisal of (a book, play, movie, etc.) for publication in a newspaper or magazine 

survey or evaluate (a subject or past events)


If you want to be the next one to #WearTheRooster, you will need to write and publish a review of House of Living Stones and/or The Choir Immortal on one or more of the following platforms:

Concordia Publishing House’s website:



If you have already written and published a review on one of these sites, never fear. Your already-published reviews still count as submissions. However, if you want to up your chances of winning, write a completely new review and publish it on a different site. Multiple entries (of different material) will be considered, as well.

What’s the criteria for winning? Simply, please the author’s parents. That’s right, Bob and Cindy Roley will be choosing their favorite reviews–one for each book–on behalf of their daughter. I happen to know that one of them is highly influenced by humor, the other by sincerity.

Happy reviewing, and be sure to post your “critical appraisals” by Friday, May 19th!



#WearTheRooster Coloring Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who took the time to #ColorCogburn! I’ve never seen so many vibrant, varicolored cock-a-doodlers. I would like to wallpaper my kitchen with them.

Honestly, every rooster was so distinct in character and style that I had trouble choosing favorites out of the feathery flock, but in my humble (and subjective) opinion, these are the standouts:

Best Feet – Lucia Daenzer

Best Tail – Amanda Korthase

Best Middle School Rooster – Jack Brown

Best Teenage Rooster – Joanna Leckband

Best Series of Roosters – Charlotte Poyer

Best Russian Folk Art – Leah Koch

Best in Show – Christa Grabske

Congratulations, winners! Will you please send me your (adult) T-shirt size and mailing address through the contact page of my website?

If you want to #WearTheRooster, never fear. We still have two more contests to go before The Harvest Raise releases on June 13th. Look for an announcement soon regarding the next contest, and prime your typing chops.


I mean, c’mon. Look at Christa’s shading.