Friday, October 22, 2010

Meet Kimberly Russell

Born and raised in Michigan, Kim's never strayed far from home.

She still lives in the same area and owns a tiny gal's house with a couple of cats that allow her to be their roommate.


Married twice (didn’t work out so well) she is contentedly single and blessed to be Nana to eight grandkiddies.

Kim's day job is that of an executive secretary to the Warden of a 1500 bed men's prison. She's been a civil servant for twenty-seven years and looking forward to retirement in three years and a half (but who's counting?)

Future dreams include somewhere warm, golf, hanging out on a beach, and writing. She's open to the possibility of split residency between Michigan and a toasty destination with no snow and ice. Wherever it may be, a hut, Wi-Fi, and nine holes are mandatory.

She also likes to read (of course!) spend time with family, and is a total “techno geek”. Not really into girly-girl stuff like shopping, Kim would much rather sit under a tree with her besties: Laptop, iPhone, and Kindle Fire.

Kim's current work in progress, a novel called Photo Finish, is in the editing phase. She also blogs at Roar of a Lioness.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Michelle Strombeck bio

I have always lived in the Midwest, but recently moved from Chicago to Minnesota. The best part about living in Minnesota is going to the State Fair every summer, and being close to my family and 10 nieces and nephews! As for the's an excuse to buy some cute hats and scarfs!

There are 3 things I'm fairly passionate about...

1. I love talking about Birth Order. My favorite author, Dr. Kevin Leman, wrote a best-selling book called, The Birth Order, and after hearing him speak on it, and reading about it, I was hooked! It's a fascinating study of where you fall in the family line up, and how that influences your personality and behavior. For better or for worse, I'm a first-born. :)

2. Travel is my middle name! When I was about 13, my Dad told me that I could go anywhere I wanted as long as I had the money. Well, that was music to my ears, and I'm sure the impetus for my first job. I've had the privilege of traveling all over the world, but still have many places to dream is to go to Spain, hopefully one day soon!

3. Minnesota Honey Crisp Apples -Yes, my friends say I'm a bit of an apple fanatic.I like to joke and say that "God didn't create these apples...University of Minnesota scientists did!" In case you didn't know, these delicious apples were part of an "apple breeding" program at the University, where they crossed Macoun and Honey Gold apples, and as a result of their brilliance, we can all enjoy these yummy creations!


When not writing for, Michelle is a freelance reporter and radio fundraiser, hosting on-air pledge drives and tele-a-thons around the country for non-profit media groups and radio stations. She can also be heard weekly on Life FM in Ireland, reporting on Political News, as well as leading National and Entertainment Stories.

Prior to moving to Minnesota, Michelle was a Producer & Reporter for WMBI in Chicago. Her weekly interviews on issues affecting women & singles were heard around the nation. Michelle has traveled the country covering faith-based stories and national media events. She's reported on the work of relief organizations in the slums of Guatemala, and spent 10 days in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, reporting on the relief efforts after the tsunami.

She also makes frequent appearances as the keynote speaker, and emcee of concerts, conferences, and charity events.

You can also find Michelle on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The Barn Door will be opening 
Monday, November 8th! 
See ya soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meet Lisa Lickel

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin born and bred author who lives with her husband in a 160-year-old Great Lakes ship captain's house not far from Lake Michigan. She has been writing professionally since 2004, and before that was a food service worker, school secretary and aide, used car driver, house and church cleaner, nanny, temp worker, church secretary, human resources aide, and a multitude of all things to do with raising a family. After taking the Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writing Guild course, she embarked upon a new career as a features writer with her local newspapers, wrote magazie articles and graduated to novels. She is now a multi-published novelist, and also writes short stories, devotionals, and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin magazine for Wisconsin Writers Association. You can read some of her work and find out more at Find her also on Facebook, Shoutlife, Goodreads, Amazon and a few other places floating around the cyberworld. She also blogs at, Putting on the New, and WisconsinAuthorReview.

"What if" stories with a twist of Grace


Sunday, October 17, 2010

meet Patty Wysong

Patty Wysong is a midwestern transplant. Her childhood years were spent on the coast of Maine, and as a teen she lived in the heart of the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, South America. Since her highschool graduation, Patty has lived in Illinois, first in Chicago while attending Moody Bible Institute, where she met her husband, Jim, and now deep in Southern Illinois where they're raising their five children. Although she still loves the ocean and the mountains, a great love for the wide open sky and growing fields has captured her heart.

Far greater than her love for the sky and the fields around her, though, is her love for her family and for God. God has been the constant in her life—a rock for her through the storms that sweep across the landscape of her life.

In addition to homeschooling her younger children, Patty does blog design, teaches basic blogging classes, formats self-published books, co-owns a Christian marriage site, and writes fiction and devotionals about Finding the extraordinary God in our ordinary lives. All this keeps Patty securely in the Funny Farm but it's God's Grace keeps her (mostly) sane and (usually) calm in her ordinary life.

When Patty isn't busy in the house, or when she needs some quiet, you'll find her spending time with Gracie, the dog she thought she'd never have that God sent as a visible reminder of His grace in her life. Gracie is a peaceful oasis in Patty's hectic life.

She will be posting on the first and third Monday of the month and will give you glimpses into life in the cornfields of Illinois where the only thing that grows faster than her kids is the corn around her house.

Patty readily admits to being a blogging junkie, but she rationalizes it as using a gift God has given her for His purposes. Helping Christian writers get their message out in an appealing format that draws readers in is something she is passionate about. Patty exercises her gifts by managing several group blogs and doing blog layout and design work. Contact her for more information.

She'd love for you to stop by and share a cup of kool-aid with her.

You can also find Patty on Facebook, at her blog Ordinary Lives  
and these sites:

Adding Zest to your NestAt the Well Blog ButtonClearing the Blog Fog

The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.The Barn Door

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Meet Crystal Laine Miller

Always ready for an adventure (and glad alligators don't live in the Mississinewa River)

Crystal Laine Miller is no stranger to physical fitness angst or big shadows in small towns. Married 31 years to an ER physician and mother to four sons, Miller lives where “Cool Was Born,” hometown to James Dean and Jim Davis (creator of “Garfield,”) outside the little Quaker village of Fairmount, Indiana on the Mississinewa River near the Cumberland Covered Bridge. 
Cumberland Covered Bridge at Matthews, Indiana, near Crystal's current home

Crystal's 4 boys when they were small--yes, it sometimes "blizzards" in Indiana! They're not so small now, but snow is sometimes still piled high

Ten years as an elementary teacher, P.E. teacher and coach, she understands small town Hoosier life and relationships. A book reviewer who has amassed over 900 published reviews in magazines and ezines, written articles and columns on books and parenting, and has been a paid manuscript reader/critique/freelance editor/acquisitions editor for authors, editors/publishing companies and agents, ACFW Book of the Year judge and ACFW unpublished Genesis writing contest judge. She now is coordinator for the ACFW Bookclub. Miller has read much of the Christian books coming out into the market, all thanks to writing courses with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley in Taylor University's professional writing program. She considers "Doc" Hensley as her first writing mentor.

Nominated four years in a row for ACFW’s Mentor of the Year, she has helped many to be published or improve their writing. She has been a Christian school board executive, Christian elementary curriculum chairman, teacher-hiring chairman, children’s department director at church, VBS leader, and a Bible Study Fellowship leader, as well as a leader for various civic and auxiliary organizations and fundraisers. 

Over the years she has been editor for newsletters of nonprofit organizations, been Indiana ACFW Chapter president, taught Sunday school, led worship, played in bands, written letters for Angel Tree, served on juries, and headed up school parenting organizations and school events. Her hobbies include competitive trapshooting, golf, motorcycle riding, playing music, reading,  visiting historic sites and trying new restaurants with her husband and friends.

Crystal, growing up at her beloved Hoosier home

But the most important thing in her life is her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom she embraced in faith as a child.

You can find her writing at blogs:
When I Was Just a Kid: Miller's interviews with Christian authors and writers, looking back to their days of being a kid.
The Barn Door: 2nd Saturday of the month

Hoosier Ink: Members of Indiana ACFW :  2nd Wednesday of the month

Christian Book Scout:  Searching for Christian books and writing in the known universe along with a few down-to-earth topics, too. 

Crystal: When I Was Just a Kid in Noblesville, Indiana

Join her on:

Be her reading friend on

And come visit her blog:

Meet Anna K. Jeffrey (aka Karlene)

Anna K. Jeffrey (aka Karlene) has spent years dreaming of a fictional world, and thinking the people in her head somehow indicated of a neural malfunction. One day she heard that was a natural phenomenon among creative writers. Relieved, she gave herself to the creation of people and places and helping them find the love of Christ through her prose realizing this is her ministry ordained by God. Since then, her husband and four children have been on a journey into the lives of many who invisibly traipse through Anna’s mind. They have become her greatest cheering section.

When not entrenched in fixing the world of some fictional character, Anna studies English and Psychology at Grand Canyon University (distance/online), assists in a kindergarten classroom (Montessori), volunteers at church, and reviews books for fun. Whenever she can, she loves to explore God's creation with her sleeping bag and tent, camping with family.

meet Joanne Sher

Joanne Sher believes she is a small-town girl who, for whatever reason, was born in the big city. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she moved to Michigan in her 20's, right after she married her Michigander husband, Marc. But she has no desire to move back. She jumped in her first pile of leaves at the young, young age of 30, and shoveled her first driveway on the first day of spring the year before.

Both she and Marc were raised in the Jewish faith, and came to Christ in their early 30's. They have two kids: Andrew is in fourth grade and Annika in first.

Joanne has always loved writing, and feels that God has gifted her to reach others with the written word. She enjoys writing everything from blog posts (here, at her own blog, as well as a monthly post at the Internet Cafe) to flash fiction to fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. She's also been published in a handful of magazines and Sunday School papers.

Her "almost-ready-for-prime-time" book is Ailing Body, Nourished Soul, a book about God's workings in her and her family's life during her husband's serious health issues. Her work in progress is a Biblical fiction tentatively titled Handmaiden to a Princess, set during the the time of King Saul.

Would love to hear from/connect with you!
Joanne's Blog
Joanne on Twitter
Joanne on Facebook
Email Joanne

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet Karin Beery

That was me five years ago. That hairy ape-like creature clinging to me? He's my husband, Matt. I can't imagine life without him (and there are days, trust me, when I really wish that I could). In this society where people get married for better or worse, then bail out during the "worse" part, Matt and I committed. We've already been through some of the worst (his battle with cancer, a manual labor job working 70 hours/week), but we're still here. It's hard for me to write anything without my hubby's influence shining through, so I thought you should meet him.

It's also hard to write without seeing the small town in me. I live in the Village of Elk Rapids. That's right - it's a village. I grew up in a town of 1,200 people, went to a college with 1,400 students, then moved around for a few years before settling in Elk Rapids, home of 1,700. Between college and here I've lived in towns as small as 950 and no larger than 1,900. It's all about small for me, and I love it.

Not only do I stay small, but I stay in Michigan. From the west shore of central Michigan, to the southern border, to northern Michigan, I've been exploring the lower peninsula. I always get snow, flowers, humidity, and fall colors. I like it that way.

I've been writing for over two years and am a regular contributor to some local newspapers (weekly papers - this is rural, remember?). My dream is to write novels, but it's slow going. I've discovered that I really enjoy writing feature stories though, so I don't mind taking my time. I'm very much enjoying this journey.

I'm glad you're here, and I hope you'll enjoy a peek into life in the midwest. I think it's pretty dandy, and I think you will, too. Please stop by frequently, leave lots of comments and questions, and don't be afraid to send chocolate (it encourages us all to keep writing!).

If you're interested in learning a bit more about me (and who isn't?), I'm pretty easy to find online: Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Website.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet Diane Reed Loew

Diane Reed Loew is a Michigander through and through. She was raised in the city on the east side of the state then moved to the west side when she married. Diane graduated in June, turned 18 in July and two months later walked down the aisle and onto the farm with her Farmer. And they are still traveling after 39 years together.

Her life is filled with 4 Sons, 3 Daughters-in-law, 7 Wigglies (grandchildren), 1500+ BEBs (Brown Eyed Bossies), dogs, cats, and various critters.

While being mom was one her best and most favorite “occupations” she has had many adventures along the way. She’s worked at a local bank, as church administrator, owned a cookie shop for a few years and trades her hours for products at the book store where she now works. All along the way she has taken care of the book work for her dairy farm and until a year ago did all the outside, landscaping and flower tending on her dairy farm. Over the past thirty nine years she has driven tractors, milked cows, delivered calves and balanced checkbooks. She raked hay, disked fields, and sat in cow poop while holding sheets inside a cow keeping the cow from bleeding out after a difficult delivery. Diane has carried pails of milk in 90 degree weather while the sweat ran down her back and have had her pants frozen stiff from spilled milk in the winter time. She has fed new born claves, cleaned out stalls, assisted in surgeries, medical treatments and breeding. Dust, dirt and grime has been packed into her eyes and smeared on her face. She’s spit out bugs, coughed up shavings dust and run from bees, but she wouldn’t trade a day for anything.

There is no other place she’d rather be than right here where God plopped her. Diane feels so blessed to tend his land and take care of his creation and considers it an honor to live this life. Here is where her God wants her to be and she couldn’t be happier. To know that her family is contributing to feeding and clothing the world is rewarding.

Her new book “Celebrating the Ordinary” will soon be available at  You can purchase her book now at or on her blog at you can read her ramblings of randomness.  Her blog is carried on and is a recommended blog on You can join her on facebook as well.

Her contributions to The Barn Door will be farm, family and fun related. You can read her post every first and third Saturdays of the month. She would be utterly happy to receive your comments concerning her posts and wishes all her readers a "Dairy Delicious Day".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meet Naomi Dawn Musch

Naomi Musch thinks of life as living out a role in God's epic adventure, and would never in a million years have imagined some of the exploits He would write into her story.

Born and raised in central Wisconsin, she wasted no time in migrating north to the Big Woods the morning after graduating high school. Promptly thereafter, she married her Jeff, her high school sweetheart, and they've been romancing now for 30 years. Together on their 150 acre ramshackle farm, they've raised and homeschooled five outstanding young adults, a menagerie of animals, and some general chaos.

Naomi loves stories rich in American history, but she enjoys writing in several other genres as well. Settings along her life's journey are an important part of the imagery in her stories, as is the case of the log cabin on the pristine stream in Heart Not Taken her new contemporary novella from Black Lyon Publishing.

Empire in Pine, her historical romance series coming soon from Desert Breeze Publishing, is set in various locations throughout 1800s Wisconsin. Book one, The Green Veil, releases in January 2011. The Red Fury and The Black Rose will follow to complete the series.

Naomi published her first novel, The Casket Girl, a romance of the French and Indian War, in 2006.

Besides her fiction writing, Naomi is an editor for Port Yonder Press, staff writer for the monthly Christian newspaper Living Stones News, and a feature contributor to Home School Enrichment magazine.

She mentors young writers through tutorials at A Novel Writing Site, and has been publishing the online newsletter Apples of Gold News for home educators for sixteen years.

She'll be posting here at The Barn Door on the second Sunday each month. You can also catch up with her at her home site

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Meet Liz Tolsma

Hi! I'm so excited to be here. I love living in the Midwest and sharing with others what life is like in our part of the world.

I moved to Wisconsin a few weeks before my 9th birthday and only left to go to college. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Thirteen years ago, we built a house next to a farm field. Suburbs are not for me anymore.

I've been writing since about 2002, but didn't break into publication until 2009, when two of my short stories were featured in Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families. Now, I have a novella in the collection A Log Cabin Christmas. I'm very humbled to be included with authors such as Wanda Brunstetter and Kelly Eileen Hake. It's a wonderful group of stories that will warm your heart for the holidays.

When I'm not busy as my computer writing, I love gardening, reading, walking, kayaking, camping and swimming. The Lord blessed me with a terrific husband and three beautiful children, all adopted internationally. Our youngest has significant special needs.

I look forward to getting to know all of you better!

Meet Mary Allen

Mary Allen is a life-long Hoosier. Except for being born in Brazil, she's never lived more than twelve miles from where she was raised. Content to enjoy close family relationships and the beauty of the area, she is happy to share these joys with others who take pleasure in the Midwest.

Mary and her husband live with a wonderful, only slightly spoiled, GSP named Miles, who is known for his bird-dogging prowess. Their two adult children and three grandchildren live within bicycling range, if you consider twelve miles a nice jaunt. With a view of a lake, she writes mostly women's fiction, and is seeking publication.

Previously she's been a feature writer for La Porte Herald Argus, created and maintained monthly newsletters for two organizations. A contributor to Constant Content, she can also be found on Mary was a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category of Genesis in 2009 and was named La Porte County Poet Laureate in 2010.

Her non-writing career has included construction business owner, Senior Pastoral Administrative Assistant, office manager for an otolaryngologist and reconstructive plastic surgeon, Tupperware sale representative, Assistant Bookkeeper for Production Credit, and depending on how far back you want to go, soda jerk.

Meet Ron Estrada

Ron Estrada is a writer of mystery and suspense. He lives in Oxford, Michigan with his wife, Kelly, and two children, Sydney and Andrew. You can see what he’s up to at

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Barn Door Recipes 2011

To download the recipes, click the fourth button--the cloud with downward arrow.

Meet the Prude

The Prude is a Midwestern wife and mother of three boys.
She personifies and cherishes all Midwestern characteristics that relate to modesty,
exemplary manners, and cautionary tales.

She loves her family and wishes someone had told her that the umbilical cord is never really cut, but stretches across time and space. She home schooled her sons through high school and notes with gratification that none have become vagrants, gadabouts or wastrels. Her oldest two boys are married to women of whom their mother-in-law wholeheartedly approves. Her youngest is on the lookout for a girl who meets his several dozen absolute standards of perfection. Her husband has his own construction company for which the Prude has a job loosely called ‘keeping the books’.

The Prude has few discernible skills.  She does display a voracious appetite for reading, Cary Grant, chocolate and coffee. She also can quote dialogue from the old ‘Thin Man’ movies.

She hopes one day to master all the things she let slip or was too lazy to tackle in her younger years:
typing without peeking
downhill skiing without falling
whistling with 2 fingers

She thoroughly enjoys blogging, online Scrabble, writing skits, and gardening between mosquito infestations. She loves being part of a book discussion group and working on her first novel with help from her writing group.
She is grateful for her loving Christian parents, now in heaven, a husband and sons who love the Lord,  a wonderful church family and incredible friends.

She is one blessed Prude.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bio for Mary Allen

Mary Allen is a life-long Hoosier. Except for being born in Brazil, she's never lived more than twelve miles from where she was raised. Content to enjoy close family relationships and the beauty of the area, she is happy to share these joys with other who take pleasure in the Midwest.

Mary and her husband, John, live with a wonderful, only slightly spoiled, GSP named Miles, who is known for his bird-dogging prowess. Their two adult children and three grandchildren live within bicycling range, if you consider twelve miles a nice jaunt.

With a view of a lake to inspire her, she writes mostly women's fiction, and is seeking publication. Previously she's been a feature writer for La Porte Herald Argus, created and maintained monthly newsletters for two organizations. A contributor to Constant Content, she can also be found on Facebook and http://hoosierink.blogspot. Mary was a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category of Genesis in 2009 and was named La Porte County Poet Laureate in 2010.

Her non-writing career has included residential construction business owner, Senior Pastor Administrative Assistant, office manager for an otolaryngologist and reconstructive plastic surgeon, Tupperware sale representative, Assistant Bookkeeper for Production Credit, and depending on how far back you want to go, soda jerk.

Little known fact: When reading a newspaper, Mary starts with the comics.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009 Design expanded and personalized by 2011.

Back to TOP