Skip to main content

Guest blogger Allison Bottke

Captain’s Log, Stardate 06.08.2006

Many of you know Allison Bottke from her GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS books, but Allison just released her debut novel from Bethany House, A STITCH IN TIME!

Debut novelist Allison Bottke introduces Dee Decker, a successful fundraising executive in Southern California, who is out to prove that a middle-aged Christian woman can be faithful, fashionable, and fabulous! Dee works in a world populated by highly competitive, impossibly thin, perfectly coiffed, and designer outfitted women. Dee has never felt like she fits in, but nonetheless enjoys a well-earned reputation as being cool, calm, collected, and in control. When she discovers that her husband is having an affair, Dee embarks on a journey of self-discovery (and plastic surgery) that will transform her inside and out. But it is Dee’s spiritual transformation that will bring real change to her life and the lives of her family.

In the course of one year Dee Decker . . .

. . . has gastric bypass surgery and loses 150 pound
s
. . . has plastic surgery
. . . separates from her husband
. . . buys a whole new wardrobe
. . . flourishes in her glamorous fundraiser job
. . . and becomes a Christian.

She's a new person inside and out, and the future looks bright. But then a job offer sends her life in a direction she hadn't expected. Her past and present are about to collide in a major way. Will Dee discover how to balance the fast-paced Southern California lifestyle with her new values?


And now, here’s Allison!

After twenty non-fiction books published under the God Allows U-Turns umbrella brand, my dream to write and publish fiction has finally come true. It really is like “birthing a baby,” and if I wouldn’t look like a total ditzoid, I’d wear my book on a chain around my neck like a necklace, thereby keeping it close to my heart. Okay, maybe I’m not THAT weird, but close…

I love to read all genres of fiction, particularly contemporary women’s fiction. After I had lost 120 pounds from having gastric bypass weight loss surgery (WLS), I had the idea that it might be rather unique to write a novel with a character that also had WLS. Plus, all the writers’ conferences I ever attended stressed that we should “write what we know.” I know a lot about fundraising and fashion and special events, so I figured I’d incorporate that into the book as well. I developed a chapter outline and wrote a few chapters and took an intensive fiction writing workshop at a writer’s conference. One thing led to another and A STITCH IN TIME released this month (June 2006.)

I learned to write fiction by reading it and by reading about how to write it. I am basically self-taught. I also attended writers conferences and listened to “How To” tapes and CD’s. I had no idea about all of the various POV’s (point of view) so I read a book on point of view and decided to use First Person for A STITCH IN TIME. There are several amazing authors who are also gifted teachers when it comes to generously sharing their knowledge about writing in the CBA market. I’ve learned valuable tools for fiction writing from: James Scott Bell, Brandilyn Collins, Angela Hunt, Randy Ingermanson, Tracie Peterson, and Gayle Roper.

For your readers who don’t know me or the God Allows U-Turns anthology of true short stories, you asked me to share how I came up with the God Allows U-Turns series and how it turned into the ministry it is today. I came to know the Lord at the age of 35 after living a spiritually empty life. The first 35-years of my life were filled with extreme trials and tribulation. My background includes early childhood molestation, extreme domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, abortion, divorce, and more ups and down than humanly imaginable.

Because I have always been a writer, as I walked more closely with Jesus, I found myself pouring out my life story in an epic memoir that never did get published, I mean really, who would want to read it?  But one day I was inspired to make my testimony part of a larger group of testimonies that shared how new life could be lived as a Christian … how God allowed us to turn around no matter how many mistakes we made, or how lost we were! “God Allows U-Turns” had been the name of my memoir, and I retained it as the name of my book series. I wrote a book proposal (using online resources for How to Write a Book Proposal) and sent it to a list of agents. Within one month it was picked up by one of the most respected Christian literary agencies in the country – and the rest is history.

I used to find it difficult to share personal details about my life, but not any more. At first, many years ago, it was painful to discuss being molested as a child, and then years later sharing the extreme abuse I endured at the hands of a violent husband. Sharing that you are a survivor of childhood abuse and domestic violence is never easy, but the more I talked to others about it, the less painful it became. Plus, and this is the big thing, I began to see how God used my transparency to help others through the same issues.

When I had gastric bypass surgery in October of 2000, I went from 280 pounds to 160 pounds in one year. This was life transforming in so many ways that when I began to think about writing my first novel, I wondered what it would be like to write about a career woman who also has weight loss surgery. As well known as this operation has become, many folks have no idea what goes on for many of us during that first year after surgery. Readers are telling me they are fascinated with this aspect of A STITCH IN TIME. I pray the bits of fact that are woven throughout the novel will help to paint a rich picture of Dee’s life as she transforms inside and outside.

My longtime goal has always been to write for the Big Screen. I long to write screenplays. I grew up at the Saturday afternoon matinees in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. I watched old RKO films on the TV every chance I could get growing up. Romantic comedy is my favorite genre, and I would love to see my debut novel, as well as my second novel, translated into films. In fact, my second novel, the one I’m working on now, started its life as a screenplay. I had an actress in mind and wrote the outline for the movie and began dialogue on this project many, many years ago. Now, I’ve picked it up, dusted it off, and I’m writing it first as a novel.

As for advice for aspiring novelists? I know it sounds so easy to say, “Never give up,” and yet that is first and foremost the advice I give. I’m fifty years old! I’ve wanted to write fiction since I was a kid. The second bit of advice I share is to never judge yourself by what others have done or are doing. We set ourselves up for failure when we do this. There’s always going to be someone better, someone different, someone yada-yada-yada … we must look at our individual talents as gifts from God and forge ahead! The third and final bit of advice I will give is to never stop learning. My bookshelves are filled with “How To” books and tapes, and CD’s, and DVD’s. I subscribe to writer magazines, attend writing workshops, and strive to stay on top of the fresh resources available to help fine tune my craft as a writer.

And last but not least … PRAY! Not as a last resort, but as the first line of defense against anything that might happen in daily life! Prayer changes things, no doubt about it!

God’s Peace!
Allison Gappa Bottke, Author of A Stitch in Time, Bethany House Publishers
www.godallowsuturns.com

Camy here: Thanks, Allison!

Popular Posts

Merry Christmas! Enjoy The Spinster's Christmas

As a Merry Christmas gift to all my blog readers, I’m going to be posting my Christian Regency romantic suspense, The Spinster’s Christmas , for free on my blog! I’ll be posting the book in 1000-1500 word segments every Tuesday and Friday. (When I do the calculations, it’ll finish around the end of May.) Why am I posting a Christmas story when it won’t be Christmas in a week? Because I can! :) The Spinster’s Christmas is the prequel volume to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series . Right now I’m editing volume 1 of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, and it’s on track to release in 2020. (If you’re on my Camille Elliot newsletter , you’ll be sure to hear when it’s available for preorder.) I anticipate that the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series to be about ten volumes. I think the series story will be a lot of fun to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing up a storm! Below, I’ll be listing the links to the parts of The Spinster’s Christmas as I post them. (I created the html links by hand so please l

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

How can I pray for you?

Photo credit: lalalime.blogspot.com 日本語訳は下をご覧ください。 I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, taking time to be still and remember God’s grace. My IBS has gotten a little better, but I’m still not entirely in control of my symptoms. There are simply too many things I don’t know if I can eat or not, and when I try things, if they affect my IBS, then I’m out for about a week at a time. My writing has slowed down more than I’d like. Please pray for God to heal my IBS, and for me to learn what God wants me to learn by allowing these struggles. Just as I’m struggling, if you are too, remember that God is with us and has a reason for everything that happens to us. Lord, thank You that You are always with us and have control over everything that happens to us. Help us to surrender to You and do Your will, no matter what is going on in our lives. Amen How can I pray for you today? Please leave me your prayer requests! Prayer requests can sometimes be private things, so to keep your

ひとり寿司第25章パート3

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** ********** 「エイデンに電話するわ」ビーナスはアパートに入り、食料品が入ったバッグを床に投げた。 レックスは、ビーナスのコスモポリタン誌から目を上げた。「どうして?」 「ベンが外でコソコソしてるのを見たの。エイデンがあなたのボーイフレンドだ、ってことをまだ疑ってるんだと思う」 「うわー、何でかな。実際、彼氏じゃないしね」 「だけど、近づかないでもらいたいんだったら、ベンを納得させないとダメよ」 「ドアベルに出なきゃいいじゃない」 「私、男の気持ちを読むのは得

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by Feminitz.com . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the s

ひとり寿司第25章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** ビーナスはベンの視界をさえぎった。「ここは大丈夫だから、もう帰っていいわよ」 「でも——」 ビーナスは、また彼の目の前でドアを閉めた。 「何——」 ビーナスはレックスの言葉をさえぎり、ドアの隣の窓から外をのぞいた。「よかったわ、レックス、エイデンが来てくれて。あなたの巻き爪を全部切ってくれるわよ」ビーナスの声が小さい部屋に響き渡った。 どうやって礼儀正しく答えようかと決めかねているように、エイデンの表情は少し硬くなった。多分、(そうなの?)とか(それはおもしろいね)とでも言う

One-Skein Pyrenees Scarf knitting pattern

I got into using antique patterns when I was making the scarf my hero wears in my Regency romance, The Spinster’s Christmas . I wanted to do another pattern which I think was in use in the Regency period, the Pyrenees Knit Scarf on pages 36-38 of The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, volume 1, by Jane Gaugain, published in 1840. She is thought to be the first person to use knitting abbreviations, at least in a published book, although they are not the same abbreviations used today (our modern abbreviations were standardized by Weldon’s Practical Needlework in 1906). Since the book is out of copyright, you can download a free PDF copy of the book at Archive.org. I found this to be a fascinating look at knitting around the time of Jane Austen’s later years. Although the book was published in 1840, many of the patterns were in use and passed down by word of mouth many years before that, so it’s possible these are p

Join Camy's Patreon!

At the moment, I’m releasing all my books in Kindle Unlimited, which requires my books to be exclusive to Amazon. However, I wanted to accommodate readers who prefer other ebook distributors and also reward my fans who might like my books a little ahead of schedule. ​So I started a Patreon where patrons will get BookFunnel links to download my latest ebooks about 2-3 weeks ahead of the release date. The ebook files are DRM-free and BookFunnel is great about helping you to load it onto your ebook reader or phone/tablet or computer. My Patreon is “per creation,” which means you won’t be charged every month. You will only be charged when I’ve posted a new book. For example, if I post a book on April 15th, you’ll be charged on May 1st. But if I don’t post a book in May, you won’t be charged on June 1st at all. This is because with my health problems, and since some of my books are over 100,000 words each, I’m not able to write a book a month, and I certainly don’t want to charge my