Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Travis W. Inman grew up in the ranch country of West Texas and worked as a cowboy for his first 20 years.  Travis graduated from seminary in Dallas, Texas, and later served a year in the mission field in Mexico and South America.  He returned home and married Sarah, his wife and sweetheart of more than 20 years.  They have two teenagers whom they home school.
Over the years, Travis has applied his skills to a variety of fields, ranging from marketing and real estate to criminal justice and law enforcement.  Travis served in the United States Army where he overcame a devastating injury and was able to walk again despite the odds.
Writing is a life-long passion for Travis.  His short stories and poems have been selected for publication in a variety of newspapers and on Internet sites.  Travis’ writing includes children’s literature, action adventure, short stories, one act plays, love stories, westerns, sci-fi, thrillers, and drama.
Travis and Sarah Inman currently reside in Idaho.
And now, without further ado, here's Travis!

ü  How old were you when you learned to read?

o    First grade…so that would be about 6? I was as ordinary as ordinary could be. I learned how to birth calves before I learned how to read! One of those is a skill set that will help you get a paying job. One of them isn’t.  

ü  Since then, how many books would you guess you’ve read…and which one stands out from all others?

o    Hundreds. I honestly have no better guess. And my absolute favorite was Chippy Chipmunk’s Vacation by Adda Mai Sharp. This is the first real book I read in the first grade, and it started my journey. Your first love is always a fond memory, or so they say. 

ü  What’s your favorite form of entertainment? (Sorry, writing doesn’t count.)

o    Well, cage fighting, of course. But, since they don’t let Nicholas come out to play anymore, I’m going with working in the yard, planting, landscaping, etc… I absolutely love planting trees. And with all the deer in my yard, I get to plant them over again every year. 

ü  What do you like best about the place you call home (city, state, house)?

o    I grew up on the Wildhorse Ranch near Colorado City, Texas. Our nearest neighbor was several miles away, and the ranch extended as far as your eyes could see. I enjoy isolation and we had enough isolation to fill a dump truck (if that’s possible). We could see the stars at night, and we would sit and stare into the heavens as often as the weather permitted. And that’s how we came to see our first UFO! But, I’m off topic. Anyway, that ranch house was home. It was where we were comfortable and felt at peace, and it was a magnificent place to grow up. Years later when my folks moved to town, I mourned the loss of that house as if a dear friend died. Gee, ain’t I fun to chat with? 

ü  If you don’t write full time, how much does your job/career impact your writing? (If you do write full time, which past job/career had the biggest influence on your work?)

o    Well, I have a broad range of experience when it comes to the many ways I brought home the bacon. The first real “paying” job was collecting shopping carts in a grocery store. I have also been a taco maker, a hammer swinger, a ditch digger, a real estate salesman, a marketing rep for my very own firm, and the list goes on. But, the jobs I’ve held that provided the most depth to my experience where my cowboying days, the time in the Army and the infantry, and the time I spent on the Southern border as a Border Patrol Agent. Those three jobs granted me a glimpse at how the world works, and how it should work, and how it doesn’t work. The last job I’ll note is being a police chaplain, which is something I still do to this day. 

ü  Typically, interviewers often ask, “If you could have dinner with any person from history, who would it be, and why?” But I’ve never been ‘typical,’ so let’s change that up a little: If you could take me on a tour of your favorite place, where would we go and what would we do?

o    I’m not sure there are any roads that would get us there, so we’d probably have to saddle up and ride to a rock that stands out in the middle of nowhere in West Texas. It doesn’t have a name, but it does have a history. Early pioneers, cowboys, and soldiers carved their names on that rock which is near a watering hole. I found that rock while exploring, and I’m not sure that more than a dozen or so people know of its existence. What would we do? We would go out there with a hammer and chisel, and scrape my name off of the rock. I deeply regret scratching my name on the rock, knowing that I probably ruined its historical value. But, man, I love that place and I can only imagine what events happened at that rock throughout history.  

ü  What do you like best/least about the Facebook group, Loree Lough and Friends: A Nice Place to Hide?

o    Well, the members. Those are some of the most incredible people in all of social media, and they are all collected into one location. And I can’t offer complaints about it. 

ü  If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be, and why?

o    I would significantly improve my health. I have a substantial heart issue that has changed the course of my life in many ways. If I could live a life without blood thinners, I would explore more, and do more adventuring. Perhaps knowing my limitations has kept me alive? Perhaps. I used to be quite the risk taker…and I have many stories that prove my willingness to throw caution to the wind. But, I do miss that, and I long for those days of adventuring. 

ü  What, in your opinion, is the scariest animal in the animal kingdom, and why?

o    Spiders. I hate spiders. I have one approach to them. BLOW TORCH! When I was a kid, I was crawling around under the house and got bit by spiders, and huge blisters formed on my skin, which had to be lanced and drained. Frequently. Very bad memories of spiders.  

ü  If you have a go-to Bible verse, which is it, and why?

o    “He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.” Col 1:17 I love knowing that God has it all under control, and is holding it all together. 

ü  Tell us how—and why!—you became an author.

o    Like so many others, if I didn’t, I think I would have died. All those stories and ideas were building up inside of me, and I had to release them into the wild. So, it all began in junior high English.  Our teacher gave us a writing assignment to write anything we wanted. I wrote a fictional story of a soldier on Hill 503 in Korea. My teacher wrote, “Good job! Great imagination!” on my paper—and the bug bit me. It started with short stories. I LOVE short stories. I even won a few writing contests back in the 80s with a few of them. But, my career began when I had heart surgery back in 2006. I was sitting at home and had nothing to do because there was nothing I could do. So, I sat down and started typing out a story line that was gnawing at me. 45 days later, When Love Called (Book One of the Glenfield Series) emerged. So, in a way, I became an author because of my strongest weakness.  

ü  What is your newest release?

o    Shadows, which is a book published by Fred St Laurent and Elk Lake Publishing. Shadows is Christian speculative fiction, and it examines one man, Justin “Flip” Grey, who has to make a decision if he will accept or reject the advances of a tempting and mysterious woman he meets while on a business trip. Through the miracle of writing, I allow him to make both decisions, and create a split-screen type of story where I project the probable outcome of his decisions. In one reality he stays true to his wife, and I examine how God blesses his life. In the other reality, the one where he sinfully pursues the tempting woman, I analyze how his betrayal cascades down to his wife and kids, and alters the course of their lives. The story is edgy and gripping, and both inspiring and terrifying. All at the same time!


ü  Can you share a little about your WIP (work in progress)?

o    I’m currently mapping out a young adult science fiction series that involves time travel, alternate realities, civil war, adventures in an abandoned mine, secrets behind the theme park on the moon, treasure hunts in the past, and good old fashioned youthful fun. I pitched the idea to my publishers, and they gave me the nod. I’m hip-deep in researching things such as mining the moon, near space travel, string theory, and a place called Skin Walker Canyon. My kids are very involved with this project. Caitie, my only teen daughter, is focused on designing uniforms and fashion for a world that doesn’t yet exist. Seth, my only teen son, is busy building and mapping out the theme park on the moon. It’s been a blast so far! And a new horizon for me, so to speak.

o    Having said all of that, I will probably release the second book of the Glenfield Series, which is already written, just delayed due to some technical difficulties. 

ü  When people ask if you’ll ever retire from writing, what’s your standard response?

o    To not be driven mad by getting words on paper? Bring it on! I’m lazy enough not to work if I don’t have to! But, that within itself will cause a build up of words, which have to be released into the wild, which will cause madness if they aren’t written. I’m not sure it’s possible. 

ü  What can readers expect next in the Travis W. Inman lineup?

o    I have a few one-act plays that are scheduled to be in production in Spring 2016, under the skillful direction of Jesus Quintero and the American Laboratory Theater. This is a fun project for me. I love writing for theater. It’s almost easier than writing books. Almost. But, I’m excited to see my plays actually brought to life with real actors on a real stage. 

ü  Tell us a little about the family you grew up with.

o    I am a fourth generation Texan, who grew up in a traditional ranch setting. My extended family homesteaded a huge ranch in Scurry County, which is in West Texas.  I grew up the middle child of three, under parents who were kind, caring, God fearing, Jesus loving, strong, and determined. My father is the kind of man who would bring home an orphaned calf for us to bottle-feed, but would single handedly face down poachers or rustlers. My mother is a fantastic cook, who knew how to feed the cowboys with brisket, beans, sour dough rolls, and blackberry cobbler. She is also a registered nurse. My older sister was a hardheaded teen. We used to sit around the record player in her room and listen to music. My younger brother was and is a hard worker who knew the value of an honest day’s work. He and I spent many hours sword fighting in the back yard and down along the creek, where we would spend even more time fighting Indians and Yankees, and sweeping in the very last minute to help Davy Crockett defend the Alamo. I had a GREAT childhood!  

ü  How did your background form the ‘character’ you are today?

o    I learned the value of life and the value of struggling at an early age. Getting up on a snowy night to help my dad pull a calf was a common thing. You learn to respect life, doing things like that. I learned the value of strength and valor while serving in the Army and the Border Patrol. Some things are worth dying for, and America is one of them. But, I’m probably not actually answering your question. I see that character is in quotes. I learned how to adventure because Louis Lamour and Zane Grey inspired me. I would saddle up on a Saturday morning and strike out across the pastures looking for anything that might pop up. I loved weathering storms. I loved hunting for arrowheads. I loved camping under the stars. I’m the “character“ I am today because I learned to adventure at a very young age. And mischievously, at that!  

ü  Share a little about your wife and kids…

o    My wife, Sarah, is the love of my life. She is an RN who gave up her career to become a stay at home mother and homeschooler. She is my best friend, and I’m so thankful she didn’t jettison me when she had the chance. Caitlin is our only daughter, who is now 17. She was born 12 weeks premature, and learned how to struggle for life at a tender age. We are lucky she is still with us! Seth is our 13 year old, and he is our brainiac. He knows how to write computer code, and is a graphic designer, and is active with his YouTube channel posting video games he designs.   

ü  Define ‘fatherhood.’

o    I’m always hesitant to offer advice for something I’ve not yet fully proven, but if I could sum up my approach to being a father, I’d say this: “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion, while relationship without rules leads to disaster.” The hardest aspect of being a father for me is allowing my children to fail. I’m a fixer. And watching them fail is very painful to me. And they have to do so before they can learn success. But, I’m always there with them, cheering them on, and pointing the way. They may not know it, but I’m always watching them from a distance, waiting and watching, just in case!  

ü  Define ‘husband.’

o    I’ve been married for almost 23 years. I first married my sweetheart, and then my enemy, and finally, after many years of power struggles, my best friend. Realization came to me and I accepted that the vast majority of our troubles are because I failed to be the leader and the lover, and I selfishly expected her to be those things for me. Once I learned who I really was, and how that was affecting my wife, I made a significant course adjustment and learned how to lead and love sacrificially, and my best friend emerged! Fancy that! So, I would say this, “It’s not about who is right. It’s about what is right. And when you decide that together, there is harmony.” 

ü  Do those definitions ‘slant’ what you write, and they way you write it?

o    I write from my worldview and my own experience. I’ve tried not writing what I know, and it doesn’t work very well for me. My characters will always reflect my journey. The dark characters will also reflect me in some way. My positive characters reflect who God has made me to be. 

ü  Which of your fictional characters is most like you?

o    All of them reflect me. My friends often compare me to Caton Harvey from the Glenfield Series, saying that his sense of humor and approach to life are very similar to me. I would say that I most closely identify with Justin “Flip” Grey, who is both the hero and the goat in my newest release, Shadows. His story could be mine in that we struggle with the same issues. 

ü  Please share a favorite photo of yourself…
ü  Please share the cover of your favorite Travis W. Inman novel…and tell us why it’s your favorite.

o    I love the cover for When Love Called because the depth of the character gazing into the distance speaks so strongly of longing and desire, and perfectly encapsulates the character, Lily.

ü  25.) How can readers get in touch with you? (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)

o    My personal Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/travis.w.inman

o    My author Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/BlunderingDiscoverer?ref=hl

o    My twitter account is: @traviswinman

o    My website is: www.traviswinman.com

o    My blog is: www.traviswinman.blogspot.com

o    Gee, that ought to be enough, eh?  

Thanks, Travis, for spending a portion of your day with us. It’s been a pleasure, getting to know you better!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Meet Robert Crutchfield (who plays himself as the new pastor in GUARDIANS OF THE HEART)!

I've had the pleasure of knowing Robert for several years now. We met when I was researching material for my "First Responders" series (Abingdon Press) and found The First Responders Prayer, written by the right reverend Robert Crutchfield. I wrote to ask his permission to use the prayer in book #1, From Ashes to Honor; not only did he graciously say yes, but allowed me to use the prayer again in Honor Redeemed and A Man of Honor, too.

Father in Heaven,

Please make me strong when others are weak,

brave when others are afraid,
and vigilant when others are distracted by the chaos.

Provide comfort and companionship to my family
when I must be away.
Serve beside me and protect me
as I seek to protect others.

And that isn't all! Robert also allowed me to put him into each story. So when Pastor Wilson, leader of the Denver church attended by Currency of the Heart (book #1, "Secrets on Sterling Street" historical series, Whitaker House) left town for a family emergency, I asked Robert if he minded taking the good reverend's place. Yet again, he said yes. Robert remains at the pulpit in Guardians of the Heart and he'll lead parishioners in Healing of the Heart, too.

It's my honor and privilege to introduce you to my fun, funny, and faith-filled friend, Robert Crutchfield:

Q: So Robert, how long have you lived in Katy, TX?

I have been in Katy a little over 12 years now. I spent my first 41 years in a blue collar suburb near the Houston Ship Channel. I served on the recreation board there, and as precinct chairman and senate district chairman for the local Republican Party. I was quite a big fish in my little pond.

Q: When—and why—did you decide to become a pastor? 

I first felt the call to ministry around 1998. Wrote some, served as chaplain to a couple of groups. I didn't feel called to the pastorate until about 5 years ago. Katy is very fast-growing. It needed, and still needs more churches. God really put a burden on my heart to help fill this need. I started preaching out of a nursing home just under three years ago, and we are still there. 

Q: Everyone who reads the “First Responders” series comments on the beautiful prayer (above) that you so generously shared for each story. Tell us about your affiliation with first responders and what inspired you to write that prayer.

I have always had a love for our military and first responders...even when I was little. I served as a disaster team member with the Red Cross, then I was a military policeman while in the Texas State Guard. Following that, I spent five years in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is technically non-military but gave me an opportunity to work with the fine members of our smallest military branch. Later, I spent about three and a half years as chaplain to the Fire and EMS Department here in Katy.  So the short answer is, I'm drawn to first responders because in many ways I am one of them, they are my people. 

Q: If you have any awards or certificates, list them here and tell us a little about them…

I have more certificates than wall space! I'll share a few favorites with you. One is my commission as an Admiral in the Texas Navy which was given to me by the Governor of the state of Texas in 1986 when I was 23 years old!  It's an interesting document in itself, because it bears the actual embossed seal of the state of Texas, which you don't see "in the wild" very often. I guess then-Governor White saw great things in me back then.

I also have the One Hundred Fathoms Group Award. It's given to the auxiliary members within the district who make the greatest contribution during the course of a year. It comes with its own pennant. When I was in, the personal pennant of a 100 Fathoms Group member was the only civilian flag or pennant that was authorized to fly from an operational vessel of the Eighth Coast Guard District. Another is the Texas Twister Award which was given to me by the American Red Cross for my participation in my first large disaster recovery operation back in May 1983. Back to the U.S.C.G. Auxiliary...I have my Chart Updating Program Honor Roll certificate.This is a national award given to several people each year. It recognizes those who made the greatest contributions to the aid to navigation/chart update program that year. They listed my name in the auxiliary's national magazine and everything, so that was kinda cool! The last one I think you'll really like: It's my certificate from John Hopkins University for completing their online course in Disaster Mental Health Intervention. It's definitely cool, having any piece of paper with my name on it from a school as prestigious as Johns Hopkins, but I'm proud of this certificate because it represents additional preparation that helps me help others who really need it.

Q: Regarding the Compassion Church... what is your personal hope for every parishioner?

That's easy! To help them use their God given gifts to develop an active personal ministry of their own

Q: Do you have a go-to Bible verse? What makes that one special to you?

Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." It's special to me for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it's the motto of the Order of St. Isidore of Seville, a group I have twice served as Chaplain-General twice, and once as Governor-General. It also reminds me that as Christians, we are called to make a positive impact on the world around us, while resisting the negative impact the world can have on us. God gave man dominion over the world, not the other way around!

Q: What’s the biggest misconception people have about ‘men of the cloth’?

That we think we're perfect. Most of the time we are running around hoping we don't mess up too badly! That's why we pray and study so hard!

Q: I know you, too, are a writer. Can you tell us a little something about what you’re working on?

My blog, FaithInspires.Org, mostly. My bi-vocational minister's schedule, which includes a full time job outside my ministry, doesn't allow me to do as much original content as I would like. I've long had a dream of writing a book, and God willing, that dream will come true when He sees fit...and when I have the resources to ensure I'll do a first class job.

Q: How long have you been married?

When I met my "Karebear," she was a single mother working at the newspaper here in Katy. She had zero intention of remarrying. We dated, and almost immediately, something snapped inside both of us...and we've been married almost 11 years now. My favorite thing about her is her sacrificial generosity. She would literally take food out of her own mouth so that others could eat. I also like that she is a strong independent woman, but still has the ability to turn to me and say, "Whatever you say, Honey; you're the man of the house."

Q: Do you have kids and grandkids? What’s your favorite thing about being a dad/grandfather?

The hero worship! All my grandkids worship the ground I walk on. It's hard to describe in some ways. There's a special satisfaction in being able to mold a whole new person over time. As a grandparent I am close enough, often enough, to have a profound impact on their development. Still since I do not have the day to day responsibility for the nuts and bolts of their lives, I have a certain distance that can be helpful. The nicest thing my wife ever said about me was when she told our oldest grandson that "Papa loves everybody." 

Q: How can people reach you?

The easiest way to reach me or Compassion Church of Katy is to email me at ra_crutchfield@yahoo.com. My blog is at www.faithinspires.org. I am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/revcrutchfield, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/revcrutchfield. In addition Faith That Inspires Action (my blog) and Compassion Church of Katy have their own pages on Facebook.

Thanks, Robert! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you a little better, and I'm tickled pink that others now have a chance to get to know you, too. I'm sure everyone reading this appreciates that you took time from your busy schedule to share a little of yourself with us!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Meet Janet Marie Dowell!

Allow me to introduce you to Janet Dowell, my dear friend and the founder of Loree Lough & Friends: A Nice Place to Hide! I had the pleasure of meeting Janet in person a year or so ago, when she arranged a book signing for me in her home town. Those of you who already know her agree, I'm sure, that she's one of the sweetest and most thoughtful people in your world.

Janet appears as the town librarian in my latest release, Guardians of the Heart. When the story opens, she's a young widow, but... Well, you'll just have to read the book to find out how things turn out for Janet! And now, without further ado, he-e-e-ere's Janet!

First of all, thanks so much, Janet, for agreeing to this interview! So...how old were you when you discovered a love for reading?

I was around 10 years old when I fell in love with books.

What was the first book you remember reading? 

My first chapter book was one in the Boxcar Children series. I was drawn into these books partly because they were about children and because the characters were lively and sometime mischievous; they also dealt with some real and serious issues. This series is a classic now! Many children today do not know the joy of reading classics like The Boxcar Children, To Kill A Mockingbird, Great Expectations and Across Five Aprils! I believe these classics are a very important part of childhood. Books are a way of escape and also a very inexpensive way to travel. You can go anywhere in a book....You can go out west one day and to the desert the next day. You can even go to the moon without leaving your house! I learned this early and that is why I enjoy reading so much.

Think of the last movie you saw that was based on a novel you read. Do you think the filmmakers did a decent job of telling the story, or are things left out—or put in—that diminished your enjoyment of the story? 

The last movie I watched that was based on book was pretty much on target with the storyline of the book, with a few changes here and there! I enjoyed the movie but of course the book was better! The story was about the adoption of a little boy. His biological dad was in prison and when he got out, he and his wife fought the adoptive parents for custody. His real dad was still bad news, but his adoptive parents were good people. It's a real tear jerker. Sometimes when you watch a movie based on a book and the movie is off-base with the storyline, it takes away from the book -- or at least it does for me!

Do you have a favorite genre (romance, historical, contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure, thriller)? 

My favorite genres is Contemporary and Historical Romance, especially stories about cute cowboys. I recently read my first fantasy book and I really enjoyed it. I always thought fantasy books as weird, but, to my surprise, I found a new category of books that I really like! I also enjoy reading autobiographies so I can get to know my favorite authors, singers, actors, etc. better.

How do you make time to read, with so many other demands on your time?

I hear people say "I don't have time" all the time. God gives us all the same amount of time. What counts is HOW we spend our time. Reading passes a lot of time for me so I try to use it wisely.

Do you have a 'Favorites’ shelf? How many shelves are filled with books? 

I have two rooms full of books, and I'm adding more books all the time!

How do you choose a book: Cover? Title? Author’s name?
I choose books partly by the cover. I know they say "Don't judge a book by its cover," but you can tell a lot about a book by the way the cover looks. 

Do you read the back jacket of a book before buying it?

I always read the back jacket of a book before I buy any book.

Do you prefer print books to e-books? Why? 

I prefer print books because I love to hold a real book in my hand. E-readers are more convenient because you have all your books in one place, but they are heavy and you have to deal with glare on the screen.

Do you enjoy interacting with your favorite authors online? Which social networking site is your favorite (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Other)?

I love to interact with authors online. I also love how most of them consider their fans...friends. When you read a friend's book, it means so much more to you. My favorite sites are Facebook & Instagram. I have an account on Twitter and Pinterest but I am not big fans of those sites.

How many book signings have you attended? 

I have attended two book signings. Both signings allowed me to meet some very special people. The second book signing was for Loree Lough! She and her husband Larry came to my hometown and did a book signing for some of my friends. We had an awesome time! 
Do you eat and/or drink while you read? If so, what’s your go-to snack?

I usually have a glass of iced tea beside me when I read.

Speaking of eating...do you have a favorite recipe you're willing to share with us? Is it an old family recipe? One you ‘invented’? Something your loved ones ask you to prepare often?

This is a family recipe that my mom cooks often, and I love it because the cookies are delicious!

Linda's Chocolate Chip Cookies


2/3 C. Shortening
3/4 C. Regular Sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 C. Chopped Nuts (Pecans)
2/3 C. butter (Softened)2 Eggs
3 and 1/2 C. Sifted Self-rising flour (Sift Twice-- Makes a softer cookie)
1 pkg 12oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Wash your hands and mix all ingredients together with your hands. Place on ungreased cookie sheet with a teaspoon and cook at 330 degrees (You may have to adjust the temperature because all stoves are different) for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Just so you know, readers, I had the pleasure of tasting these cookies while I was visiting Janet, and she's right: They're delicious! So Janet, when you're not reading, do you have a favorite hobby?
I love to do bead work, reverse glass painting, and fuzz art projects.
Tell us a little something about where you live, your work and family. 

I live in a very small town in Georgia where everybody knows everybody! Most of the time it is a good thing. I love small town life. It's very relaxed, cozy, & laid back.

Thanks so much for participating, Janet! You’re the best!