OWL Author Laura Aranda Awarded $20K Investment

OWL Author Laura Aranda Awarded $20K Investment

We are excited to announce Laura Aranda, author of Pushing Back the Darkness, placed 3rd at Impact Junkie’s The Great Pitch in Indianapolis, Indiana! The audience selected her to receive $20K in investments toward creating a human trafficking awareness and survivor program.

Laura presented her plan to create a Christian-based awareness and recovery program to end human trafficking. Her plan includes community and school education and awareness, training for support group leaders, and on-going survivor recovery groups and safe houses. If you are interested in being a part of the team in some capacity, please contact Laura at LauraAranda@OWLofHope.com with your interest, availability, background, and credentials.

Please pray for Laura as she spreads the message of hope for families and victims of human trafficking. Laura is available to speak at any venue across the nation and the world. Below are the current training options available now:


1. What is human trafficking? Defining who they are and what they look for. Statistics available. 2. Internet safety. How to remain safe and keep your children safe online as well. 3. Pornography and Sex Trafficking. Why these two go hand in hand in destroying America. 4. Laws, government and ways to get involved in being a voice for tougher laws against criminals caught. 5. Self-defense. Guidelines on being in public and staying aware of your surroundings. 6. Emotional healing and restoration to Christ through the hands of your church family. How to help those who come in needing a church family.

We truly believe Laura’s award was God-directed. It is an astounding happening that is out of the ordinary and very exciting! Our Written Lives (OWL) of Hope, LLC did not have a part in creating this opportunity. We fully support Laura and her endeavors just as we support all OWL Authors, with book publishing services and prayer.

Life Legacy Books – What will you leave?

Sharing your life with someone else is the greatest value of writing a book. If you want to leave a legacy, consider writing a book that will stay around long after you’re gone. Life Legacy Books can share family history, teach moral values, or spread an idea to influence a generation. It can communicate your heart, and share the essence of who you are.

Life Legacy Books

Where do I start?

First of all, define your vision. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Is the legacy you want to leave spiritual, emotional, or financial?

Secondly, identify your audience. Will you write primarily for your family, your community, or a particular group of people?

The third step is to make a list or an outline of the topics you want to address. Do you have special stories from your life you want to share, particular beliefs to emphasize, or a desire to create a product that is sellable on a large-scale?

The next step is to set a goal. When do you want to start writing? When do you want to finish writing? How much will you write per week? Where will you write?

How do I move forward?

Many people have a vision for their book and can answer all of the questions I’ve asked above, but they just don’t know how to move forward to make it happen. There are many things you can do to motivate yourself to follow through and put in the hard work it takes to write a manuscript. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Read! Read the kind of books you want to write. Find inspiration. Feed your mind.
  • Join a writing group, or take a writing class. Taking a class is of particular importance if you lack grammar and creative writing skills. Participating in a writing group is essential to produce accountability and motivation. It is much easier to stay committed to the long haul when you are a part of a community of creative people.

Where do I find help to make my book sellable?

  • If you lack confidence in writing your manuscript, or maybe you’re too busy, or can’t stay focused, consider hiring a ghostwriter. Many authors hire a writer to assist them. Taking this route, you would: provide the information, work in close collaboration with the writer, have the final say, make any changes you want, own the copyright, and have your name on the cover of the book. Think about it like building a house. If you’re building a house, you may hire a contractor to do the actual work. It’s your plan, your vision, your product, but the builder brings expertise and artistry.
  • Find an author coach or editor. Working with an author coach or editor is less expensive than hiring a ghostwriter. An author coach or editor can provide accountability, deadlines and professional feedback. As a result, they assist you in producing sellable products and life legacy books.

For more on this idea of books as a legacy, read Brian Feinblum’s post on BookMarketingBuzzBlog.

Life Legacy Books

Hello 2017! You’re starting off great!

When it comes to blogging and newsletters, 2016 was a terrible year. When it comes to everything else, it was really quite remarkable. Our Written Lives published 11 new books in 2016, and White Hart Publications published 1 new book.

Facing Myself by Rachael Kathleen HartmanStealth Journey by Naomi HavensLife is Busy!

In 2016, I finished writing and publishing my third book, my personal story, Facing Myself: An Introspective Look at Cosmetic Surgery. I taught 4 “Writing and Publishing Your First Book” classes in three different states, and attended the Christian Product Expo in Nashville as an author to promote two of my books.

In September, I accepted a job offer and moved to San Antonio, Texas. In addition to running Our Written Lives, I am now working full-time in the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. Life is busy, but it’s not too busy to keep me from what I love doing the most: helping people share their stories.

But Not Too Busy for New Books!

2017 is starting off with a kick with the newest OWL book, Stealth Journey: An Uncommon Fight Against Cancer, Fear, Tradition, and Pharmaceuticals, by Naomi Havens. Naomi shares her real-life journey of surviving cancer by pursuing the uncommon natural path, and saying no to chemotherapy and radiation. Learn more at www.victoryhaven.org.

In April, Laura Aranda’s novel, Pushing Back the Darkness, will captivate readers as Claire and her boyfriend Cole begin a thrilling quest to stop human trafficking and save Morgan Ann, a foster child kidnapped by foreigners.

Emra Smith, author of Your Story Matters, will be releasing her second book in 2017. She has been trailblazing the country, spreading the Hope of Christ through her Hope Walk and Hope Dolls, as well as empowering women to share their stories. Her new book will feature short stories of women who have survived various life circumstances and moved forward in victory. Learn more at www.emrasmith.com.

How can I help you write and publish your first book in 2017?

And don’t forget all of the great books from 2016! Check out these recently released OWL titles from authors all over the country! And the White Hart Publications educational book, Hamas Jihad, by Yisrael Ne’eman (learn more at www.hamasjihad.com.)

My Encounters with God II by Dick Jones When the Snow Comes Cuando Llega La Nieve by Marlene Castaneda Un-Mastering the Art of Losing by Ashtin T. Kennedy Livin in the Mortuary by D.C. Chatman Preachers Churches Saints and More J.M. Jordan You Can Say That Again by J.M. Jordan Why You Were Not Baptized in Jesus Name by Jim PickeringHamas Jihad by Yisrael Ne'eman

Rachael Hartman Interviewed on Blog Talk Radio Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT)

Blog Talk Radio Christian Authors on Tour

I was honored to be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio today with Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT). I spoke about my upcoming book Plastic Reality, my first book, Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, the beginnings of Our Written Lives and the authors I’m working with. You can listen to the interview, which was recorded live, via the link below.

Blog Talk Radio Christian Authors on Tour Interviewed with Rachael Hartman

NEW BOOK: Healing Letters: A 140-Day Journey of Healthy Living

Healing Letters

A 140 Day Journey of Healthy Living. Each day provides an inspirational quote, scripture and a short prayer “letter” to God. Written specifically for people with an on-going illness or health concern. Provides some educational information and tips for healthy living.

After sharing her personal testimony in her first book, Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, Angelena Cortello wrote Healing Letters to encourage other people living with a chronic illness. Read Day 1’s Letter . . .


Today I can and will begin again. It is high time to recommit some areas of my life to You and to the purpose You have called me to fulfill. You are the beginning. I want to begin again. Sometimes taking that first unknown step is the hardest leap of faith, but I have to start somewhere. Why not now? Why not with You? I refuse to allow myself to stick with what is unhealthy for me and familiar to me, out of fear of facing something new because it is uncomfortable or out of my comfort zone. When I face my fears, it builds my self-esteem. I can do anything with You in my life. I choose to make the first step with motivation and determination. The first step to changing for the better has to include You. Love, Your Child

Healing Letters, Day 1
Day 1 Healing Letters

About Angelena Cortello

Angelena Cortello is passionate about inspiring others to turn to God and a community of supportive people for help and deliverance from addiction and destructive life choices. Angel is the author of two books, Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance and Healing Letters: A 140 Day Journey of Healthy Living.

She is a dynamic presenter and is available to speak at conferences, meetings, small groups, and other events in both secular recovering groups and Christian church services and events. She speaks on the following topics: her personal testimony, addiction recovery, spirituality, HIV and toxic relationships. For information and scheduling, contact her directly at angelcortello.com or via email at  angelenacortello@bellsouth.net.

NEW BOOK: Same Dress, Different Day

One Woman’s Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow of Addiction

Same Dress, Different DayPeople affected by a loved one’s addiction suffer silently in church pews. I was one of them. I’m Juliet. Sometimes I wish I could be someone else, with another name altogether, someone whose life is more comedy than tragedy.

During the twelve years I was married to a cocaine-addicted Christian, I was overwhelmed with isolation and shame as I sat next to my ex-husband in church week after week. No one fathomed our family skeletons. How could I tell anyone? God stirred my spirit to seek personal healing and give voice to my reality. Through Him, I found freedom from silence and redemption for the life dreams I thought were forever lost.

Same Dress, Different Day: A Spiritual Memoir of Addiction and Redemption chronicles my journey from victim to victor as I struggled to break free from codependency’s suffocating cycle. I learned to see my Savior as the soul mate and provider my chemically dependent spouse could never be. God’s healing grace is not only for the addicted, but also for the broken ones who love them. CLICK to read the first chapter!

About the Author of Same Dress, Different Day

God Redeems the Dreams We Thought Were Lost

unnamedJuliet Van Heerden is an educator, speaker, and writer. She holds a Master of Science in Literacy Education. Passionate about sharing hope with hearts wounded by addiction, Juliet initiated a 12 Step class at her church and encourages others to do the same. As an itinerant speaker for women, recovery groups and congregations, she joyfully shares her inspirational journey. In her downtime, Juliet relishes healthy cooking, reading, foreign travel, photography and birding. Her favorite time of day is quiet early morning meditation, where she listens for God’s voice. Juliet and her husband, André enjoy ministering together. They believe in God’s power to restore broken people and are committed to sharing that message of hope with families and individuals wherever they are invited. Visit julietvanheerden.com

All Same Dress Different Day book sales go to support Relevant Life Solutions, a nonprofit ministry for families affected by addiction.

NEW BOOK: A Shameless Revival, by Andy Smith



Scripture is littered with names and faces who were marginalized by society. Touched by shame, each partnered with a lie, led along by a cloud of resentment. Not much has changed.

We don’t have to live like this.
Jesus proved it with actions far louder than words.

Follow me on a journey of investigation and introspection as we take a look at these throwaways and celebrate how their worth was validated on the spot.

His love will give you the courage to be honest. His love will give you the courage to be transparent. His love will give you the courage to love yourself. That’s when the change happens.

When we let Him see us, then we will see them. Except they won’t be them anymore. They’ll be us. Revived. Shamelessly.


CLICK to read Chapter One!


About Andy Smith

AndyandMelinda2014Andy Smith holds a master’s degree in Family Science from the University of Maryland College Park with a bachelor’s degree from the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Andy and Melinda have pastored across the Eastern United States for over twenty years. Helping individuals and families achieve relational health and holistic wellness–spirit, soul, and body–is their passion. They love hiking and pizza night with their two other passions EG and JO.

Andy and Melinda Smith offer seminars, coaching, mentoring, and on-site training for personal and relational wellness. www.thelifesmith.com


Other Books by Andy Smith

The Eleventh Commandment
Freedom through forgiveness.

The Scent of Anointing: Equipping Men for Exceptional Living
Join with great men of the ages and make the journey. Let the Great Apothecary add to your oil, fully equip you for holy service, and complete your anointing.

Contentment—You have what it takes!

Contentment—You have what it takes! In Christ, you are Enough, and you have enough strength to accomplish God’s will.

There are many situations in each of our lives that have unanswered WHY questions. We all face really tough, really real, difficult, and life-crushing circumstances. How is it possible to be content in these situations? No one in their right mind would expect us to be content with these circumstances! How can we be? Our lives are being crushed and the pressure is so strong. How can I be content?

If you are experiencing discontent, I want to say I understand. It’s okay. All we can do is be where we are at, and trust in God.

Psalms 23 has brought comfort to discontented hearts over thousands of years. I’m going to add in my own interpretation after each verse.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. [I want right now, but I SHALL not in the future.]

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. [He MAKES me. I don’t want to wait in the quiet, but that’s where He’s got me.]

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. [I want to fix my soul right now. I want peace and calm and joy . . . But I can’t restore myself.]

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. [YES, I’m in a dark place. It’s not looking good. I’m afraid, but I WILL fear no evil, in the future, because right now, God’s with me and comforting me in the darkness.]

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. I shall be content.

There are two scriptures on contentment many of us are familiar with:

  1. 1 Timothy 6:6 & 8 (KJV), “. . . Godliness with contentment is great gain. . . And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
  2. Hebrews 13:5 (KJV), “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

The Greek word translated into the English word “contentment” is Arkeo. The original definition is very close to ours, but it also takes the meaning of the word to a new depth. Arkeo is defined as “to be satisfied or contented with, to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing…”

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .

Discontentment can be summed up with one word—a sin that is so easy for our human nature to fall into, that God issued the 10th Commandment against it: Coveting (lust).

It’s the itching feeling you have—that anxiety, lust, desire for different circumstances, better times, even a desire for the past or the future . . . It’s discontentment. In my discontent, I began complaining, comparing, creating contention, and falling into complacency. I’ve lived in the rushed, frantic, state of being that says, “I have to work more, do more, be more, fix this, save the day.”

In Ruth 1:20, Naomi said: “Don’t call me Naomi. Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.” It’s God’s fault. He did this to me. Naomi means, “Pleasant.” “Mara” means “bitter, angry, discontent.”

In my discontent, I would cry, alone, and no one was there to comfort me. I felt like God didn’t love me either. If He loved me, why would life be so hard? I came to the place where my dreams died, and I just didn’t have any more desire. No dreams to reach for. Life’s disappointments hurt me so much. I WAS BITTERLY DISCONTENT.

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

In the middle of many things I am upset and discontent about, God was preparing a table for me in the presence of my enemies. I may not have had actual people who were my enemies, but I had situations, emotions, and the enemy of my soul—all out to destroy me. BUT GOD WAS WITH ME.

In the middle of all that happened, God kept putting something else in front of me to do. Something for His kingdom. He gave me school to focus on, knowledge, experience and training. He gave me His love in the middle of my loneliness. He gave me His Word when everything else failed me. He gave me opportunity to use the skills and talents He had developed in me in the dark times.

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I remember a word God gave me when I was living alone in Texas. My dog Danny had Parvo and was at the vet’s office. It was Sunday and I couldn’t visit him. I was on my way to church. But I was so worried about my dog. He had his shots, but the shots didn’t work . . . The vet gave him a less than 30% chance of living. I was crying on my way to church. I was in the middle of a layoff. How would I have the money to pay for the vet bill? How would I be okay emotionally if he died?

I was playing the piano in the service that day. As I drove to church, Lord spoke to me and said, “I’ve put the piano in your hands, now you put Danny in My Hands. . .”

Contentment. Arkeo: “to be satisfied or contented with, to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing . . . ”

2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I had a revelation—my life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to find contentment! That was a very new idea for me. I learned how to take all of that negative energy from the discontent, all of the pain, all of the disappointment, all of the heartbreak, all of the trouble . . . And I gave it to God.God’s strength was made perfect in my weakness. Through God’s grace and power, I turned my discontent into creative energy, and I worked for the Lord with it.

Whatever situation you find yourself in right now, whatever difficult circumstance, disillusionment and broken dream, whatever it is you don’t like about your life and circumstance, and however justified you are in your anger and discontent . . . YOU ARE ENOUGH.

In the middle of your angry, bitterness, YOU ARE ENOUGH. God loves you in your brokenness and imperfection. God loves You and His strength is here for you. With Jesus, You have enough, you are enough, and you possess sufficient strength for all of these things.

Whatever He has put in your hands to do right now, do it. You are enough; you have enough grace to accomplish God’s will. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.


Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman, Publisher at Our Written Lives. Lover of Jesus. Helper of writers. Sharing inspiration and publishing for the Kingdom of God.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” ~Isaiah 52:7 KJV


Contentment You are Enough