The Monster under the Bed: Irrational Fears


By Jennifer Hallmark

You’re lying in bed, late at night. Tap. Tap. Tap. The sound emanates from somewhere outside. The doors are locked, deadbolts in place. Still you can’t sleep as you wonder…

Irrational fear. Most of us have dealt with some form of unfounded fear in our lives. As I began my research, I looked up the definition of irrational in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Not endowed with reason or understanding; lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence; not governed by or according to reason.

This definition makes sense. So much of the fear I’ve dealt with in my life has no reason behind it. I remember as a child being afraid to put my feet on the floor at night. Why? The monster under the bed.IMG_20150421_070947019

And being afraid to turn my back to an open doorway while I slept? Again, the monster under the bed.

By the time I’d reached adulthood, the monster had grown. My fears had spread to crossing bridges, driving at night, and staying by myself at night. When my husband began working the night shift, fear would attack me so bad sometimes I would turn on all the lights and read my Bible out loud until I fell asleep.

Do you know what the funny thing about it all was? No one knew. Outwardly, people perceived me as shy and quiet. They didn’t realize a lot of the time, I was terrified.

Of everything.

When I reached my thirties, I started a new church and found a genre of books new to me. Christian non-fiction. There were books out there on fear. I wasn’t alone. I discovered fears that are hidden, ones in the darkness, aren’t easily resolved. As I started confiding in trusted friends what I was dealing with, bringing the fear to light, my life began to turn around. Then I read a small booklet by Joyce Meyer called “Do it Afraid.” The premise was that we all deal with fears, but with the help of God, we can step out and do it afraid. It didn’t matter if I was shaking, trembling, or ready to run. The fears in my mind were irrational.
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3 Questions Wednesday with Anne Garboczi Evans

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Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, author and Crew member, Anne Garboczi Evans.

Hello, Anne! Always fun to interview one of the Crew. We all love to read. Tell us…

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Anne: I don’t really have a favorite author. But my favorite genre is historical fiction. I love stories set in Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece. And historical fiction set in Ancient Britain is a close favorite. I can also get into a good western. I particularly like stories with a strong heroine and a little bit of falling in love.

Yes, romance and a brave lady make great reading. A great villain often completes the picture.

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Anne: I normally dislike villains, as the author intends I’m sure. My favorite type of villain is the villain that starts out as the antagonist, but then ends up becoming the protagonist. Like how Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables is Anne’s worst foe until suddenly they became best friends.

Anne of Green Gables. A timeless classic I love. Now let’s talk about you.

What project are you currently working on?

Anne:  I’m currently working on several projects, some of which are on the back burner right now because of the demands of becoming a foster parent. But I’m particularly excited about an experiential apologetic book about world religions that I’m working on, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, & the Cross. For the book I’m visiting places like mosques, Hindu temples, etc. Here’s an article I wrote about one of my experiences.

Sounds like an interesting read, for sure. Thanks for dropping by, Anne. If you’d like to win 1 of 5 e-books What’s a Foster Family? that Anne is giving away, please leave a comment.

What’s a Foster Family?BookCoverImage

Alex’s an only child who’s used to having Mommy and Daddy all to himself. So when his parents start doing foster care and little Malik joins their home, Alex’s not so sure he’s happy about sharing.

Anne Garboczi Evans holds a Master’s in Counseling and Bachelor’s in Classical Liberal Arts. She has had a passion for writing historical fiction ever since reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels as a preteen. She wrote her first full length novel at fifteen. She is a military spouse and mother to a little boy, “Joe-Joe.”

Her inspiration for Scorched Earth came from moving to the Colorado Rockies. She loves reading Christian fiction and wanted to weave a lighthearted tale about love, rivalry, and the taming of the west.

When not writing, you can find Anne at the “big stairs” (Joe-Joe’s word for playground), substitute teaching, or working on her fixer-upper house with her husband.

Who’s Snoopy Dancing Now?

snoopy dance

Our latest winner, that’s who. The winner of Amy C. Blake‘s novel, Whitewashed, is…


Sparks of Ember!


Congratulations! You still have time to win your copy of Edie Melson’s latest book entitled While My Soldier Serves.


WMSS, final, high res

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

Comment here for your chance to win!


Join us tomorrow as we interview one of our own Crew members, Anne Garboczi Evans…

Hiding Under the Bed

Marji Laine

By Marji Laine

I have a confession to make. I used to hide under the bed whenever a plane flew over my house—which was a lot since we lived on the approach for Dallas Love Field as I grew up. See, I’d had a dream about the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. She hung on a rope that dangled from a plane and peeked in windows as she past. If I was alone, and she saw me, she’d turn me to stone.

My dreams have always been pretty vivid! For at least a solid year (maybe 2nd grade?), I ducked, hid, or ran to grab the legs of my mom. I don’t think she ever knew why.

With an imagination like mine, I didn’t need much impetus to start down the scary trail. My dad sat me and my brother in front of an old movie called The Blob. Mid-plot, the alien squeezed through the vent slats at a theater. There was a vent that looked just like the one in the movie right over the toilet in my bathroom. Never got in a habit of dawdling there, I guarantee!

I know, they’re ridiculous, but even now at my *mm-hmm* years of age, when the night becomes wee hours, and the house sleeps. When the earth holds its breath, and I alone am awake to hear the silence. Those are the times when my fears revisit. They tingle up my neckline and make me dash out of the light so I can’t be seen through a window. Or they make me shut the door too quickly to make sure whatever is out there, stays out there.

Let me guess: I’m not the only one around who still gets the heebi-jeebies?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

spooky moonSee, my fear is silly, visiting when my mind tires and my defenses lower. But fear comes in many other disguises:

  • Worry: This type of fear is a real issue, spurred on by imagination attempting to plan for and control the possible future.
  • Anxiety: Different from worry in that this constant tension doesn’t hinge on an event or circumstance. It is the doubt that anything good will happen.
  • Foreboding: Intensified anxiety, this threatens faith. In fact, this feels like the anti-faith. Instead of confidence of things hoped for, it’s more the conviction of failure.
  • Panic: These three lead to the paralysis that comes with letting fear win. This assumes the worst when someone doesn’t answer her phone or takes too long to get home. It feeds on the other three, waiting for the most devastating time to erupt.

But faith is the assurance of things hoped for,

the evidence of things not seen. (Gleaned from Hebrews 11:1)

The words used in the verse, depending on the version, include assurance, evidence, conviction, confidence, and expectation. All of these stem from our brains.

Paul implies the need to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV. When I find my mind drifting to the negative what ifs (as opposed to the positive ones that stir up my writer’s creativity) my job is to force my thoughts to go elsewhere, like to the words that define faith. To not allow the wandering of my mind into a zone where I’m going to be hurt—and fear does hurt!

Worry can build dark fantasies that lead to irrational reactions. Anxiety causes physical problems like high blood pressure and digestive issues. Foreboding covers a personality like dark clouds thicken over a blue sky. Who wants to go around with their head hanging down like Eyore all the time? And panic interrupts everything. Overwhelmed with fear, a person acts without logic or even control.

But “Perfect love casts out fear.” 1John 4:18 ESV When we’re abiding close to the Lord, His perfect love won’t let fear take any ground.

While this song was great when my kids were little, there’s a deeper message to it when applying grown up fears. God’s still bigger. He’s still watching out for us. His work may not look like we expect it to, but we can be sure that His plan moves forward and our ultimate success is already guaranteed by His Son’s blood on the cross.

Marji Laine is a homeschooling mom with teenage twins left in the nest. Having just released her debut novella Grime Beat, she spends her non-writing transporting to and from volleyball, teaching writing classes at a local coop, and directing the children’s music program at her church. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

Here’s more about Grime Beat:

From the back cover:

Great dialogue and characters leap off every page in this fast-paced story-line.

—Elizabeth Goddard, author of Buried, Untraceable and Backfire 

Grime Beat3dbook

Her best friend missing, every cell in Dani Foster’s body screams something is wrong.

Crime scene cleaning is the perfect job for neat-nick Dani Foster. But her orders to maintain a low profile and stay out of trouble mean little when her friend goes missing. Suspicions point to the handsome crime scene specialist, Jay Hunter, but he’s also the only person willing to help Dani. Dare she trust him even when lies seem to surround him?

Dani amuses Jay. Her penchant for speaking and acting without regard to the consequences land her in the funniest situations. But her latest moves have thrust her into serious danger. As he learns more about her circumstances, her risk rises until her very life is on the line. He has no time or inclination for romance, but this girl needs him and she seems to have no one else. How can he turn his back?

This is the first episode of the Grime Fighters series set in Dallas, Texas. Dani’s trouble and Jay’s attraction are only just beginning!


Dani couldn’t go home, now. She’d never sleep with her friend maybe hurt or sick. She walled against worse scenarios. Something had happened. That much was clear.

A little dog from the apartment under Tasha’s started yapping. Sounded like a terrier. A sliding patio door opened, and Dani froze. The barking volume increased, and the door slid into place with a click, leaving the dog scratching at the high patio fence.

She backed away, eyeing the enclosure. That really was a high wooden fence. Looked sturdy. She glanced to the top floor. The upper level held more of a balcony with a waist-high rail and pickets. And she could reach the bottom of them from the top of the lower porch.

This was worth a try.

Backing up several feet, she took a running jump to the top edge of the wooden fence.

Persephone’s Fugitive by Dianna T. Benson

Dianna T. Benson_b&w-webToday, we welcome Dianna T. Benson on our blog to showcase her latest release, Persephone’s Fugitive.

Hi Dianna! So glad you could join us. First question:

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Dianna: I was in fifth grade the day President Reagan was shot. From that real event that day, I developed all sorts of fictional scenes and dialogue, something I did on a continual basis daily. When I asked friends and teachers what scenes and stories they created because of the attempted assassination, none of them had a clue what I was talking about. At that moment, I realized I was the only person I knew who did this sort of thing every day.

As time passed I recognized my zeal to write suspense novels, and like my respiratory system inhales and exhales, each day throughout the day my mind instinctively creates scenes and dialogue, always suspenseful in nature. Being an EMT, being a mom, and being blessed with this writer brain, the stories never stop flowing. Developing a good story, however, is where the real writing occurs. Fortunately, I love the arduous revision process, as it is where I take my shell of a story and make it worth reading (hopefully).

We writers are a different sort of person. :) But writing takes time and you sound like you have a full plate. Tell me,

Do you write every day? What does your typical writing day look like?

Dianna: Every writer is different and needs to find their way—what works for one writer, won’t work for another. For me, one of the biggest challenges as an author is bouncing back and forth from the business side of writing to actually writing my fiction. So I’ve learned never to write on the days I have a radio/TV interview, a book signing event, a speaking engagement, or any other type of marketing task—I bunch those together in the same day(s) and week(s) and take that time off writing. When I’m not releasing a new book, thus buried in marketing, then I dig in and focus on writing. On my writing days, I typically write all day, every day Monday-Friday. When I’m writing my first draft, I write on paper with a pencil, either lying down on my office couch or at the beach, lake, in the mountains, or another nature-setting. When I’m fleshing out my first draft, I work on revisions in my office inside our house with two different computer screens as well as the printed out first draft.

Nice. You have a good system worked out. Since you mentioned marketing,

What’s your favorite marketing strategy?

Dianna: I love book trailers. My publisher did an excellent job on all three of mine, and I especially like the one for my newest release, Persephone’s Fugitive. Since books are not visual stories, it’s awesome to bring fictional written stories to life with a visual via a book trailer, and since YouTube is so popular, I think it’s the most effective and efficient tool to display book trailers. Like movie trailers, book trailers sell the book.

Your book trailer really draws a person into the story. 

What project are you currently working on?

Dianna: Illusion of Safety, Book One in the MCI Trilogy (Mass Casualty Incidents)

FBI Agent Jenna Nichols is onboard a flight for a Canadian vacation when she spots three American terrorists. Despite her efforts to diffuse the imminent danger, the airplane crashes in the stormy mountains of West Virginia. Along with Jenna, military-paramedic Aiden Shaw is among the survivors. As they work together to help injured passengers, they discover one of the three terrorists survived the impact.

Sounds like another thrilling ride. Last question:

Have you ever had a unique experience connected with being an author?

Dianna: Several months after my first book released (The Hidden Son, 2013) I called a travel company to book my family’s vacation. After I gave my name for the booking and the state I live in (North Carolina), there was a long silence. I thought the line disconnected so:

“Are you still there?” I said.

“Yes, yes. I’m sorry. I must ask you, are you the author of The Hidden Son?”

At first I thought the woman was referring to some other book, not the book I wrote. Before I had the chance to reply…

“You’re Dianna T. Benson the novelist, aren’t you?” she asked, sounding excited.

“Yes.” The word escaped my mouth as my mind continued to process.

“Oh my goodness, it’s you. I’m really talking to you. I loved The Hidden Son. I can’t wait to read all your books.”

“That’s so kind of you.” I finally found something intelligent to say. “Thank you.”

Thanks so much, Dianna, for dropping by!

 Persephone’s FugitivePersephone's Fugitive 3D Cover (1)

*** SPOILER ALERT *** Reading Persephone’s Fugitive (including the book blurb) before The Hidden Son (Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy) will ruin the ending of The Hidden Son. However, both books are standalones. 

When a routine 911 call turns deadly, Paramedic Sara Dyer finds herself held at gunpoint by Jason Keegan, an injured psych-ward patient charged with murder. The situation spirals out of Sara’s control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

As Keegan’s hostage, Sara fights to save them both before he blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is – provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith.


Barnes and Noble


Dianna T. Benson is the award-winning and international bestselling author of The Hidden Son and Final Trimester. Persephone’s Fugitive is her third release. An EMT and a HazMat and FEMA Operative since 2005, Dianna authentically implements her medical and rescue experience and knowledge into all her suspense novels. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children.



3 Questions Wednesday with Edie Melson

Edie MelsonToday we welcome author, editor, and blogger, Edie Melson, to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Hello Edie! Glad you dropped by for a visit. Let me start out by saying I love your blog and never miss a post. :) First question:

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Edie: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I love the way he approaches the human condition and explores it through a variety of settings and characters. He makes me think outside the box and approach situations from different directions.

I’m such a big Sherlock Holmes fan myself. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote such great villains in his stories.

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Edie: Hands down it’s Professor Moriarty. He’s a perfect foil for Sherlock Holmes. He’s smart, he’s believable, and he has motivation for the way he is.

Especially in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve noticed you are involved in a lot of writing-related activites from blogs to conferences. 

What project are you currently working on?

Edie: My newest book for military families, While My Soldier Serves released yesterday so I’m focused on promotion, interviews and sharing about it’s release.

I know this new release will be very encouraging for anyone connected with the military. Thanks so much for being our guest today, Edie! Please leave a comment for a chance to win “While My Soldier Serves.”

While My Soldier ServesWMSS, final, high res

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

Edie Melson—author, editor, and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular inspirational speaker and mentor. She’s the author of While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military (Worthy Inspired). She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts at While They Serve. In addition, as a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. Connect with her on her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, which reaches thousands each month, and through Twitter and Facebook.

3 Questions Wednesday with Leon Shure

leon shureToday we welcome mystery writer Leon Shure to 3 Questions Wednesday. So glad you could drop by, Leon! First question: Which author would you never tire of and why?

Leon: If I had to narrow my favorite authors to one, I’d choose, Arthur Conan Doyle. His wonderful character, Sherlock Holmes, resonates with each new generation. The other obvious choice is Agatha Christie, because of her insight into people. I don’t write historical fiction, but I try to make my mysteries character driven: The characters, strong and intensely human men and women, solve the crime through the force of their personalities.

I’ve read everything by both those authors, so I understand about their strong characters. You also need an intense villain. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Leon: I’m sure I’m picking the last villain anyone would expect, but my favorite is the shark from Jaws. Villains are a problem for modern writers. Most of the harm in the world stems initially from indifference. The villains in my books don’t care about the consequences of their actions. Jaws is only following his inborn nature, without any self-insight. With stubborn effort, compassion and humor, my detectives try, in some small way, to rebalance the world.

Jaws is my husband’s favorite movie. How about you?  What project are you currently working on?

Leon: Since I’m presently writing five different mystery series about Chicago’s North Shore, I tend to write the next sequel according to which hero or heroine I most miss the most. At present, I’m writing a sequel to the Vanek series. Vanek, a Chicago police detective, is constantly distracted by his family members and frustrated in his desire to understand women and the world. He likes to work in secret, and he tries to put everything into a Chicago kind of perspective. He has a host of friends who help him in his investigations.  He has a strong sense of responsibility and sees the irony of his actions.

Five series! Wow. You stay busy. Thanks so much for your visit!  Leon has made one of his books free this week on most of the ebook sites.  For instance, on Barnes and Nobel for the Nook at , on iBooks for the iPad and iPhone at and on Smashwords for all ebook readers at . Leon’s books are also available on Amazon for the Kindle at , where several books are each 99 cents.

For an exerpt:

For an interview:

Littlemayor: A City of Brunswik Mystery

Tiny but feisty Mayor Maggie Wellington finds her life and political career threatened when a developer of a shopping mall goes missing and an alderman dies in an arson.

Leon Shure is currently writing five mystery series: (1) the Tommy Spevak and Kate Wehring mysteries, about an impaired veteran and an investigative reporter; (2), the Vanek mysteries, about a crusty and devious Chicago Police Detective; (3) the Dr. Adam Karl mysteries, about a medical doctor fighting against his fate; (4) the Cal Hodges mysteries, about a law firm investigator who is haunted by his past, and (5) the City of Brunswik mysteries, which are tales of political skullduggery.

Leon is a life-long resident of the Chicago area, and has lived both in the city and in the North and Northwest suburbs. A bachelors and masters graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he worked for the Lerner Newspapers (a chain of weeklies in the city); the Day Newspapers, a suburban daily newspaper chain owned by Field Enterprises, now the Chicago Sun-Times;, and Paddock Publications, a chain of daily newspapers in the Northwest suburbs. He received the Jacob Sher Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting.

Leon also served as an attorney for a Federal Agency and has held elective office in local governments.  He is married and has two children.