Author: Catherine Lawton

Credibility, Context, Trust

 
Before choosing to buy or read a book, don’t you check to see who has endorsed it, what reviewers are saying, which of your friends recommend it? When we tell you that a well-known, trusted leader or author has endorsed a book, we’re not just “name dropping.”

We appreciate every single person, famous or not, who posts a review of one of our titles, shares an update from one of our authors, and recommends a Cladach book to their friends and followers. Word of mouth is the most effective way of “getting the buzz going.” And buzz gets people’s attention.

And these hope-filled books are worth their attention.

Endorsements also add context to a lesser-known author and their books.

These people, whose names are recognizable to a large number of Christian readers, have lent their support by endorsing or reviewing our authors’ titles:

Kay Arthur (Precept Ministries International) endorsed Judy Pex’s WALK THE LAND:

You’ll be enriched spiritually through Judy’s story of the insights given her by her God on this journey of a lifetime.”

Jill Briscoe (author) endorsed Judy Pex’s WALK THE LAND:

“A delightful and exciting story, unusually spiritually penetrating.”

Eric Wilson (New York Times bestselling author of Fireproof, October Baby, and Field of Blood) endorsed Judy Pex’s COME • STAY CELEBRATE!:

“A breath of fresh air in a world full of strife… A fast-paced read full of humor, insight, and emotion.”

Thomas Jay Oord (theologian and author of The Uncontrolling Love of God) endorsed Janyne McConnaughey’s BRAVE:

“Janyne McConnaughey is vulnerable in the kind of way that changes the world!”

William Prince (General Superintendent Emeritus, Church of the Nazarene) reviewed Physa Chanmany’s NO MORE FEAR:

“A good story of a man who found God and is preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Jan Johnson (author of Growing Compassionate Kids and When the Soul Listens) endorsed Alice Scott-Ferguson’s MOTHERS CAN’T BE EVERYWHERE:

“Thank you, Alice, for helping us trust God and let our parenting be about our children instead of being about us.”

Ken Canfield (founder, National Center for Fathering; president, National Association for Grandparenting) endorsed Nancy Swihart’s ON KITTEN CREEK:

“A fresh reminder that we are each living an adventure.”

Eva Marie Everson, well-known Christian author and novelist recommended Catherine Lawton’s FACE TO FACE: A NOVEL:

“I was fascinated.”

Eric Wilson (New York Times bestselling author) endorsed J. Michael Dew’s GADLY PLAIN:

“A small literary miracle … full of hope.”

Marilyn Musgrave (then U.S. Congresswoman from Colorado) recommended Donna Westover’s WHITE AS SNOW:

“A wonderful book. I couldn’t put it down.”

and many others. To all, we say “Thank you.”

 

When the Stars Sing

Still fresh in my mind and heart, this experience happened over a year ago. Looking at the night sky brings it back to me. Hearing music like I heard this week does, too: a glorious bell choir playing “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Or a symphony … and the Nativity story, with bright stars and angels appearing, giving glory to God.

Here’s what happened. In early October, Larry and I went camping in the Rockies. I wanted to see the stars. But so many campfires and lanterns and flashlights obscured the view. Then in the night, when I had to get up and hike to a campground restroom, all was quiet, all human activity was still, all was dark … except for the sky blazing with stars. And that’s when this mystical moment came: I “heard” the stars sing! Here’s the poem I wrote about this experience:

•  • •  • •  • •  • •  • 

I HEAR THE STARS SING

Sleeping in a tent, we must take a walk
to the ‘comfort station’ sometime in the night.
At 1:30 a.m. we pull out of sleeping bags,
put on our shoes, snap the dog’s leash tight.

Campfires and lanterns now out, we need
no flashlight to see in the ethereal glow
bathing path, tents, trailers and trees,
boulders, peaks, and meadows below.

Fear of bears is forgotten as, looking up,
I acquiesce to the serendipitous sight—
stars sprinkling the sky, a sparkling array
only dreamed of on lit suburban nights.

Like music engraved across the sky,
notes—not in even scores or measures,
but in splashes of compositions our eyes
and ears aren’t attuned to hear or decipher.

Not with physical ears do I hear music
of stars singing out from the night pavilion,
graced by the moon, answered by bugling elk,
crooning owls and sibilant whispering wind.

Celestial strains fill my soul with consolation,
comfort, and swells of settled certainty
one would expect of constellations shining
in place since God sang the Heavens into being.

Surely nature sings back to God day and night,
I think, as we settle back in our places—
born under stars, resting under starlight
and listening still to star-song cadences.

–Catherine Lawton, ©2019 (excerpted from the forthcoming GLIMPSING GLORY)

 

 

 

 

Praise the Lord from the Heavens

praise him in the heights!

Praise him, all his angels…

Praise him, all you shining stars!

Praise him, you highest heavens…

from Psalm 148:1-4, NRSV

 


Photo of stars taken in Colorado mountains: by Lionello (Unsplash)

This post updated since first published in 2018.

The Courage of Authenticity

It takes courage to be an author, to declare and publish to a busy, perhaps skeptical world what you have experienced privately … to tell in “bright lights” what you have seen and learned in dark places.

Long ago in Bethlehem, shepherds waiting and watching on a dark hillside experienced a wondrous awakening and illumination. Then, even as they stood there in awe of the heavenly hosts, the shepherds must have needed courage and bravery to leave their flocks in the care of their guard dogs and run into the dark, crowded city of Bethlehem to look for a newborn baby “in a manger” and then worship him as the promised king. Surely there were more qualified and famous individuals to use as messengers.

I think the needed courage gripped the shepherds because the authenticity of their experience and their certainty of it overcame their trepidation. They obeyed, they went, they told. And their story was full of immediacy and hope.

Sometimes we authors feel that way.

Though angels didn’t exactly appear to us in the night sky and declare wonderful tidings of great joy for us to write,  Christian writers do sense a call from God and we experience wonder and the help of God (and perhaps even of angels) as we write. We certainly have good tidings to share.

Janyne McConnaughey is an example of one writer who has a life-changing story of hope and is compelled to write and tell her story to encourage others. I don’t know whether she has been “touched by an angel” but I know she has been touched by God with the courage to share her story. The title of her first book, BRAVE, tells that. And these comments from readers and reviewers on Amazon.com tell us of the authenticity and immediacy and hope in her story.

  • “There is hope!”
  • “A compelling journey”
  • “A very important book”
  • “A road less traveled … a path to healing”
  • “Kept me on the edge of my seat”
  • “Powerful story”
  • “Healing from complex trauma”
  • “A roadmap to freedom”
  • Brave is a fitting title for this true story.”
  • “A beautiful soul shows us the way to hope and healing.”
  • “A book every person who has struggled with trauma should read.”
  • “This book can be your path to healing from childhood trauma.”

Whatever your place of waiting ‘in the night’—or journey in the dark— be encouraged. A savior is born and he brings good news to the oppressed, including those suffering from complex trauma.

~Catherine Lawton


Photo: Hubble Space Telescope

Preparing Hearts and Minds during Advent

During Advent Season we prepare because “Something is coming.” Decorations, food, presents, music, and many festivities are prepared and planned.

As Christians we prepare our inner lives also, for Christ to be born anew in our hearts.

Inspirational stories, devotional writings, and poetry help us quiet our spirits during hectic days of outward preparations and open our minds and hearts to deeply receive the beauty and wonder of “what is coming.”

White As Snow : A Christmas Story by Donna Westover Gallup

Buy from Amazon or Buy from a Local Store

Something Is Coming to Our World by Catherine Lawton

Buy from Amazon or Buy from a Local Store

That Was the Best Christmas! by A.R. Cecil

Buy from Amazon or Buy from a Local Store

Adore, Adore our Coming Lord—

The greatness

of Almighty God

arriving

in a newborn Child—

a baby boy

named Jesus,

who cries for us

to hold him close

then cradles us—

the infants.

~Mary Harwell Sayler

excerpted from PRAISE! POEMS

Photo at top of page: by John Watkin

How One Author Keeps Selling Books and Meeting Readers

 

Dennis Ellingson (back, center) leading a group of women from a local church in Arizona, on a “plants of the Bible” walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Dennis (back, center) leading an herb foraging walk in Oregon to teach from and market his books, God’s Healing Herbs and God’s Wild Herbs.

(Photos by Kit Ellingson)

Guest Post by Dennis Ellingson:

Event after event after event . . . Blessed and busy. I have been published now for eighteen years. But the last few years have been busier than ever. Many factors contribute to all this author activity. I’m now long established and known locally and through social media. I have nine books in current publication, that present interesting subject matter, and that touch readers. And certainly the great Hand of the Lord gives us the desires of our hearts.

For a long time now I have believed these two things:

  1. If you write something that matters and is helpful, God will use it.
  2. You are your own best salesman.

And you better be, otherwise you may have closets full of unopened cases of your books! The reality is this: I may need to spend more time selling than writing. But if I believe what I wrote will help people, then that’s a great motivation.

Because of the subject matter of most of my books, events can be built around them such as lectures and workshops. The plant-centered books lead to walk-and-talk outings and tables and booths at community festivals. These events help sell books, I meet interesting people, and my author life expands beyond anything I realized or anticipated.

A local history book I wrote expanded my knowledge of an area we live in. But more than that, it put me in touch with wonderful people I may not have met otherwise. Some of these people who helped in my research are now best friends to my wife and me. One such regular phone conversation with ninety-year-old Selda always ends like this for Kit and myself; Selda always says, “Love ya, honey.” It means the world to us!

I have been doing plant walks at the internationally famous Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona. I get to do “The Plants of the Bible Walk”. Can you think of any more fitting thing for an herbalist and retired pastor to get to do?

Opportunity may come knocking. But prayer for direction, the willingness to get out there, to knock on doors, and even to suffer a little failure now and then—sure pays off.


Dennis Ellingson is the author of numerous books, three of which are published by Cladach: God’s Healing Herbs, God’s Wild Herbs, and The Godly Grandparent. Dennis and his wife, Kit, divide their time between southern Oregon and Arizona. Dennis is known as The Herb Guy, where he can be found on Facebook.

Proud of our Award-Winning Books and Authors

Contests can be somewhat fickle and subjective, as well as very competitive. To be the winner of a book award, however, definitely means that the book / author / editorial team stands out in the crowded field of publishing!

Occasionally we enter an award contest (for a book that we believe has wide appeal and is particularly well-written and well-packaged).

And sometimes our authors enter writing contests themselves.

Here are a few winners through the years, of which we think we are justly proud:

1. Katy’s Choice: A Novel

When we founded Cladach Publishing, and in our first few years of book publishing, we were located in Northern California. At that time, we were members of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. The first novel we published, and still one of the best stories we ever published, was Katie’s Choice by Tracey Langford. We were thrilled, as a very young, new publisher to win BAIPA’s “Best Inspirational Novel” award for 2004.

2. Faithful Friends: 

By the time we published this book, Cladach had re-located to Colorado. This unique little book was a good choice to publish. It continues to have worldwide appeal and has won multiple awards. The author, Susan Bulanda, a member of the Cat Writers’ Association, Inc. and the Dog Writers Association of America, won these 2012 awards for Faithful Friends:

3. That Day By the Creek: A Novel about the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864

The Foreword Indies Award sponsored by Foreword Magazine is a quite competitive and respected award, and we were pleased when That Day by the Creek  by John Buzzard was selected as a 2016 INDIES Finalist in the Historical (Adult Fiction) Category.

4. Alice Scott-Ferguson, poet:

Alice entered two of her poems in the WrEN Award for Poetry which is sponsored by the Writers and Editors Network. Alice’s poetry was awarded Honorable Mention in Free Verse, and the judges commented: “This poet obviously enjoys playing with words and bringing fresh light to subjects that interest most readers.” We agree!

 

On Veteran’s Day – Honoring Our Authors Who Have Served

Today we acknowledge and thank these Cladach Authors who have served in the Armed Forces of their Country:

1. James Troy Turner

Served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Some of Turner’s Poems allude to that experience and its aftermath.


2. John Buzzard

Served in the U.S. Navy during Operation Desert Storm. Buzzard tells a lot of his Navy experience in his memoir Storm Tossed (under the pseudonym Jake Porter)


3. Dennis Ellingson

Served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. At the time Ellingson didn’t know he’d become an author of many books, including God’s Healing Herbs and The Godly Grandparent.


4. George Herbert Cummings

Served in the U.S. Army during World War II and with the occupation forces in Korea, as a Chaplain’s Assistant. Many years later, Rev. Dr. Cummings authored Making It In Marriage.


5. McGill Alexander

A highly decorated Paratrooper in the South African Army, he retired as a Brigadier General. More of General Alexander’s thrilling story is told in his book, Hostage In Taipei.


Thank you, gentlemen, for your service.


Cladach Authors in their Communities

We love to see our authors out participating in their communities, sharing their expertise and their books, and meeting readers. These events happen around the country and sometimes around the world. We love to receive reports and photos of local author activities, such as the following:

John Buzzard

On Saturday November 2, John Buzzard, author of the Cladach historical novel THAT DAY BY THE CREEK, sold and signed copies of his books at the Empire Ranch Cowboy Festival in Sonoita, Arizona, along with other members of the Western Writers of America. Looks like a great time, John! And I like the cowboy hat.

Marilyn Bay

Last month, Marilyn Bay signed copies of her Cladach novel, PRAIRIE TRUTH, at Coffeehouse Ten24 in Eaton, Colorado. Marilyn says she enjoyed visiting with people “about books, writing and the rest of life.” Marilyn’s roots go deep in Northern Colorado farming soil, and all her books, including ALL WE LIKE SHEEP: LESSONS FROM THE SHEEP FARM, find eager readers near and far

James Troy Turner

James Troy Turner sold and signed copies of poetry books, POEMS and MORE POEMS during the downtown festivities for Sugar Beet Days in Sterling, Colorado. Troy enjoyed signing his books, showing off his dog, PJ, and visiting with both new and old friends and customers, some of whom remembered him from his farm-equipment mechanic days.

Dennis and Kit Ellingson

Dennis Ellingson, “The Herb Guy,” and Kit Ellingson, authors of three Cladach titles, set up their booth for the Master Gardener’s Fair in Central Point, Oregon. We’d love to have been there along with others of the public who stopped by to check out Dennis’s books and plants and Kit’s photography. Dennis and Kit are joint authors of THE GODLY GRANDPARENT and Dennis’s books include the popular Cladach titles, GOD’S HEALING HERBS and GOD’S WILD HERBS.

Don’t we have resourceful, ingenious, creative, and engaging authors!

Everything I Need to Know About Publishing I Learned from my Preacher Father

My father, G.H. Cummings, preaching on the radio as a young man

Practically being raised on a church pew helped set me on a literary path. We sang with gusto the gospel song, “Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace; tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.” During my growing-up years as my father’s daughter, watching him and my mother minister in many churches, I learned:

The potency and potential of words in a book.

In those days in church we were people of two books: the Bible and the hymnal. Every church service began and ended with opening that wondrous, heavy book, often holding it so the person next to you could share it. The hymnal united us as we joined our voices in lilting melodies and straightforward harmonies accompanied by my mother’s lively piano playing, often eliciting “amens” of blessing. All the symbols to help us make music together resided on the pages of that book, all the words to elicit such response, blended in heart-stirring, mind-engaging, and soul-satisfying rhythm, sense and rhyme.

In every meeting the Bible was also opened—and revered. The congregation stood for “the reading of the Word.” With a reverent, sonorous, unctuous voice, the preacher read a passage from the Bible, then exhorted from its inexhaustible storehouse of truth, wisdom, and life application. I saw evangelists hold their big, black, leather Bibles aloft in one large hand while exclaiming something like, “The Word of God is alive! It is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing enough to reveal your sin.” And I quaked. But I also learned, quite young, that real comfort could be experienced from those pages. No mere words on paper. But alive! Jumping off the page and into the mind and heart of the reader or the listener. Quickening!

The preacher and his family. I’m the older sister there.

The joy of writing, printing, and disseminating words on paper.

I watched my preacher father as he typed the church bulletin—and perhaps a newsletter—during the week on his old black typewriter (I loved the clicking of the keys and how the little hammers hit the paper, resulting in words appearing and forming themselves into sentences that said something and that people would read and use to plan their week). On Saturday Daddy would crank out maybe two-hundred copies with his mimeograph machine. I can still smell the ink and hear the sheets of paper swoosh round the rollers and shoot out onto the pile of materials ready to be folded and stacked, then handed out and read—to inform and influence—to be published!

The importance of getting the word out.

Twice a year our churches held extended revival services with an itinerant evangelist, and, in preparation, Daddy would mimeograph a flyer about the upcoming week of meetings. I remember a few times when he paid my sister and me 5¢ each per city block to take the flyers door-to-door and invite people to the services (though “city block” doesn’t quite describe neighborhoods in these rural towns surrounded by farms). My sister and I learned the importance of overcoming our trepidation, knocking on doors, and getting out the word (much like the publicity side of book publishing).

The value of reading and sharing books.

We had few toys and TV (which we got when I was about 11) was our only “tech” entertainment. But always there were books. Books lined the shelves in my father’s study. He took my sister and me to the public library regularly, encouraging us to browse and check out books that interested us. My sister read every horse book she could find, especially those by Walter Farley. I read all the Louisa May Alcott books. And when we brought books home from school or library, our mother often read them, too, and we all enjoyed discussing together the stories. In fact, my sister and I always told each other the stories we read. As a result, I felt I’d read the Black Stallion books even though I never did. And she knew the characters and plots in Little Women and Under the Lilacs even though she didn’t read them. She didn’t have to. That ability to vicariously experience the stories really helped, because there were so many more books to discover! (A side note: When I was a girl I’d hear people argue their point in conversation by saying, “I know it’s true. I read it in a book!” Whether people were readers or not, I observed that most had a sort of reverential awe of books.)

G.H. Cummings in 2009

The importance of knowing your readers, your audience, your market.

My father made it a practice to call on his flock in their homes regularly and also to be there whenever trouble hit a family. He would stop by their businesses, farms, and work places for a friendly chat. When he stood in the pulpit to preach on Sunday, he knew those people. He knew their families, their joys and sorrows, the challenges they faced. He also knew their interests, their hobbies, what made them laugh or cry.

How to recruit, train, and encourage workers.

The work and mission of the church needed people of all abilities and ages (and still does). I saw discernment in operation, encouragement expressed, and responsibilities entrusted. Organizing, scheduling, holding meetings were necessary. But loving God and loving people mattered most. Whether or not I heard that expressed in so many words, I definitely “caught” the mindset. As a publisher I want to see sales and increase distribution. I want well-edited and designed books, I want engaged authors, reliable print providers, and enthusiastic book reviewers. I want customers to buy our books. But most of all I want to experience God’s presence in all we do. I want to always remember that, as a Christian publisher, what we publish truly is “glad tidings.”

My dad and me in a recent “selfie” shortly before his passing.

~Catherine Lawton

(This post was first published in 2013. I revised/edited it slightly and added more photos this time.)

Celebrating Twenty Years!

Here at Cladach Publishing, we’re celebrating twenty years of publishing inspirational books. During the next few months we will reminisce, share bonus content with our readers and followers, let you peek behind the scenes at Cladach (past and future), and offer one-time-only specials.

So much to celebrate!

Looking back, we’re amazed at what God has done—in, through, and with us, our authors, and our books—as we have sought to share stories and other writings that show God at work in our world. We believe now more than ever that God is present and working for good everywhere, all the time, now and forever!

Yes, pain, suffering, and confusion abound. But God’s light shines in the darkness and hope keeps us looking upward and moving forward with expectation.


“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” ~Ps. 33:22
“Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness.” ~2 Cor. 3:12

 

 

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