Freeing Ellie by Joan Deneve

View More:
Author, Joan Deneve

Welcome to my blog, fellow Write Integrity Press author, Joan Deneve. I’m excited about Joan’s new release, Freeing Ellie, the second book in The Redeemed Side of Broken Series. I so enjoyed her first book, award-winning Saving Eric.

Betty: Joan, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Joan: It was crazy! Writing came to me, I didn’t go seeking it. Over twenty years ago, I had an idea for a story, but I never ever planned to write it.

Then, four years ago, during my summer break from teaching, I was sitting on my back porch reading a really good book. When I finished it, I read on the back cover that it was the author’s debut novel.

Just for fun, I decided to grab a composition notebook and a pen and play around with that story idea.  From then on, it took on a life of its own.  I wrote like a possessed woman, barely stopping to eat or sleep. My poor husband indulged my obsession, and even massaged my hand when it throbbed and cramped. Six weeks later my debut novel, Saving Eric, was born.

Betty: Wonderful story! What is the most surprising thing you learned while writing one of your books?

Joan: This is going to sound crazy, but I learned that the characters will actually talk to me and kind of tell me which way the plot should go. I’m a pantster, which means I don’t plot out the entire novel before I start writing.

In my first novel, something happened to the main character that I really didn’t want to happen, but the character seemed to be telling me he had to go through it. Weird, huh?

And I’m ashamed to admit this one, but one big surprise was how much I had to learn about the craft of writing. As a novice writer, I wrote the entire book without knowing much about the craft. I knew nothing about deep point of view or the importance of “showing versus telling.” I’m very thankful for the writer friends who took me under their wings to teach me those concepts. The first draft looks nothing like the published novel.

Betty: Most authors will get that, Joan. I, too am very grateful to the many who helped me learn the craft–in process! So, where do you write best?

Joan: Believe it or not, I still write out the entire novel on paper and then type it. I still write best on my back porch where it is quiet and peaceful and the only interruptions are birds and butterflies and buzzing bees.

Betty: Sounds wonderful to me. Tell us about your latest release.

Joan: I’m happy to announce Freeing Ellie was published in May of this year and is available on

Back cover blurb:

Freeing Ellie FRONT COVERLife couldn’t be better or sweeter for Eric and Ellie Templeton as they begin their life together as new Christians and a newly married couple. But Ellie enters her marriage with some baggage of her own. What if Eric goes back on another mission? What if she loses this man who has become her life? Even worse, what if God never lets them have a child of their own?

God has some spiritual surgery to perform on Ellie to free her from the deep-seated feelings of guilt and doubt that have bound her soul for years.

God painstakingly and lovingly creates the perfect storm of events designed specifically to bring Ellie to the place where she can “let go” and fully trust God. No. Matter. What.

Betty: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about the book?

Joan: In Saving Eric, the first book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series, we meet Eric and Ellie, two thirty-something strangers who have some brokenness. couple-915984_1920God brings them both to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and radically changes their lives. They fall in love and marry… happily ever after, Right? Well, almost.

As the back cover of Freeing Ellie suggests, Ellie struggles with many fears and anxieties. I wanted to show a character that loves God with all her heart but still finds it hard to trust God, especially when something hard comes into her life.

Ellie struggles with self-doubt, guilt from past sins, and most of all, clinical depression that rears its ugly head during times of crisis.

But the book has light moments, too. As newlyweds, Eric and Ellie have some fun banter and some tender moments. They are both learning how to adapt to married life and also to their newfound faith.

It’s my hope that the reader’s faith will be strengthened to trust God with the outcome: No. Matter. What.

Betty: Beautiful. Any fun discoveries while writing these books?

The students in my junior high and senior high English classes are some of my biggest fans. I love chatting over plot ideas with the students, and I’ve gotten some really good tips from them. Nobody knows how to keep it real like a teenager!

person-1281536_1280One very special student asked if she could please read the manuscript of Freeing Ellie because she didn’t want to wait until it was published. I caved and let her. She even did an oral book report on the book without giving away the ending. In the conclusion of her report she added, “I loved the characters and consider Ellie to be one of my best friends.” Needless to say, that student received an A+. 🙂

Another gratifying moment was discovering that my best friend in Texas named her new puppy Eric T. after my character, and my daughter named her new puppy Ellie.

But probably my best discovery was this whole world that opened up when I became a serious writer. I go to conferences and meet people just like me, who spend a lot of time thinking, and planning, and talking to imaginary characters. I’ve made new life-long friends who are really cool people whom I never knew existed. What fun!

Betty: Yes, writers are wonderful and fun. I’ve made so many friends since beginning this journey–including you. 🙂 So, Joan, what’s next for you?

Joan: This summer I will be writing the third and final book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. Loving Brock will take place on the mission hospital compound where Brock Whitfield, Ellie’s father and spiritual mentor, faces a personal crisis of his own. This book will address what many Christians experience: How to obey God when He asks us to do something we really don’t want to do.

Betty: Oh, boy, I’m facing that right now. I look forward to reading the next book. God bless your writing journey.

More about Joan Deneve:

Joan Deneve grew up in a small town in Alabama where she and her husband of forty-two years now reside. They have two happily married children and seven phenomenal grandchildren.

Joan teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and find His purpose for their lives.

Betty: How can readers connect with you?

Joan: I love to hear from readers! You can email me at or look me up on Facebook under Joannie Deneve.  I also have an author site:

Joan would like to give away an autographed set of her books: Saving Eric and Freeing Ellie (because it would be better to read Saving Eric first). By the way, Saving Eric is a 2015 Grace Award winner!

Betty: If you’d like to receive these two books, leave Joan a comment below. If you have any problems commenting here, use the Contact Me tab to send me an email. In the message, write “Joan Deneve’s giveaway.”

Saving Eric front coverFreeing Ellie FRONT COVER


Leave a Legacy of Love

What is the greatest legacy you can leave to your children? In my opinion, it’s love. I grew up knowing my mom and dad loved me. Though she grew up in the lap of luxury, Rebecca Lewis, the main character in my latest release, didn’t always know her parents cared for her.

The story opens in the days following the stock market crash of 1929. Once again, Rebecca will need to adjust her expectations. Her life has been on hold so long, she’s weary of the fight. And that Italian count she’s had an on-and-off engagement with? Probably off again.

And then her father dies.

So what now?

Carlottas Legacy Front CoverHer life is in a downhill plunge.
Will marrying an Italian count bring
Rebecca the love she’s dreamed of?

Rebecca Lewis is a reluctant bride-to-be. Marrying Riccardo Alverá, a young Italian count, may seem like a dream come true—an instant answer to her family’s dire straits. But it also means she must leave American soil, possibly forever.

Riccardo is relentless in his pursuit of Rebecca. After her father’s death, she and her mother set sail for Italy. Though Rebecca is still plagued by doubt, Riccardo’s warmth and humor soon melt the icy frost encasing her heart. But as Rebecca settles into his Italian villa, her questions and fears return.

His mother, Carlotta Alverá, is dedicated to strict Roman Catholic beliefs. Will she ever accept Rebecca, who has no real faith? After Rebecca’s mother decides to pursue life on her own terms, peace comes to the villa. But not for long.

Trouble finds Rebecca, even in the tranquil heart of Italy. As political unrest shakes the core of Italian society, a dark shadow falls over Riccardo’s beautiful estate. In her deepest despair, Rebecca confronts her past, finds forgiveness, and finally … the love and acceptance she’s always longed for.

Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2, Legacy Series, 2016

Available from

Beyond Ourselves

lonely-273629_1280If you live your life for yourself alone, never reaching out to others, it is as though you sleep. It’s a great waste of a life.

Opportunities arise, just to be ignored because you just want to be left alone, to live your life and be comfortable.

I want that, too, but I can never be comfortable with that itch irritating me.

The itch to do something real.

To reach out to others and help them past a difficult time.

NewbornPhilMothers know how it is. Once that tiny creature is in your care, you know you’re locked in for a certain number of years and maybe, forever. All your life, you will be Mother. Whether it’s the middle of the night, or halfway through your workday, when they call, you have to answer. You have to go and see to their needs.

I made it past some obstacles in life. I made it through because of God’s grace. First, there was grace, then there was faith. And I overcame through that faith because I found the strength to move beyond my past. I, who am forgiven, found strength to forgive others, and to forgive myself.

And now I have the opportunity to help others do the same. It was like being awakened in the dead of night by a child’s cry. My mother’s heart said yes.

alpaca-984891_1280In less than eight weeks, I’ll step onto a jet that will set me down in Ecuador–into the direct path of God’s call. Not that I am anything. He could speak through a donkey, or an alpaca, for that matter.

The opportunity came, and I will go.

My life will change and  probably never really be the same afterwards. That could be a good thing. When you get too lazy, you end up wasting your life. Yes, I’m writing words on paper and cluttering your screen with ‘isms, but my life is a blank sheet. I’m hoping to end up with a page filled with life-giving words. A story well told. A life well lived.

note-pad-1215425_1280I would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks, as I prepare my heart, mind, and spirit for the task God has placed upon me. I want to carry the good news of His forgiveness and grace to those whose hearts are in deepest need. And I want to be a vessel He can use. Just an ordinary vessel, prepared and ready.

There, when needed.

To encourage those who need strength to believe in themselves, that they can accomplish what may seem to be impossible. A dream? Perhaps, but we must dream in order to achieve. I dare to dream and even if my dreams never come true (to the extent I dream them) I want to be able to say I ventured.

Nothing ventured. . . nothing gained.

I am especially grateful to all of those who have sent funds to help us on our way. You’ve pledged your thoughts and prayers and the wish to be a part of the call. I can’t really put into words how grateful I am for your faith in us and in the God who called us. I pray God’s blessing over your life.

Below these photos, you’ll find links to several places you can go to help. Some of these are long-term missions–in it for the long haul. They need strong shoulders to help them bear up under pressure. Even if you can’t help them financially, maybe you can commit to pray, or just help them by publicizing their presence and what they do.

Our team...
Our team

Owens to Ecuador Facebook Page

YouCaring for Contributions – Owens to Ecuador

If you’d like to help with the Spanish version of Annabelle’s Ruth, you can click the link below to make your contribution (and please type “Annabelle’s Ruth” in the comment box):

Unsion Foundation, a Christian World-View television network is actively “Engaging the culture with the gospel.”
Facebook page:

Ecuador Hope House

Joil & Leah Marbut, Jungle Missionary

For more information about Cuenca, Ecuador:

Brer Rabbit’s Return

20150615_072319El Conejo has returned! AKA Brer Rabbit or maybe it’s Sis Rabbit. Whatever, this hare is a grownup. Big and hungry.

I’ve already started the battle in my flowerbed. I’ve sprinkled “stinky stuff” around my lily.

My neighbor has a whole flowerbed filled with lilies and this critter never touches them. I have ONE itty-bitty lily and that rotund Leporidae (scientific name for Bugs Bunny) eats it to the ground! I call that prejudice, my friend.

When it’s not noshing on my flowers, the thing is sunbathing. Preening it’s paws and spindly ears and looking oh-so-cute (according to my wildlife-loving neighbor). With two barking dogs and a chain-link fence, she isn’t concerned about her zinnias and marigolds.

Ever heard a rabbit laugh? I’m certain I have. The thing actually chuckles at my elaborate attempts to deter its overactive appetite. Once again, I’ll be finding plants rabbits don’t like. The good news is, many of the plants I bought last year came back on their own. The dusty miller looks great. The purple stuff is up and spreading. It’s some kind of cane, but I’ve forgotten what it’s called. 🙂

What I did last year. Rabbit didn’t like these.

I’ve got St. John’s Wort and Coral Bells. Last year, brilliant coleus replaced blooms. I really didn’t miss the zinnias and the marigolds. So look out, Bugs, you’re gonna have to find a new breakfast cafe!

Have you had to deal with pets in your garden? What’s your answer? I’d love to hear from you!

Rabbit-2016 Meme

Springtime and Ordinary Days

It’s raining as I write this, washing away the green dust that coats every outdoor surface. I call it “oak dust.” It makes me sneeze. Makes my eyes water.

0417121830I’m happy for the rain. My flower garden was a bit too dry, and I’ve a bumper crop of iris blooms. Gerbera daisies, red geraniums, roses, and sage are open for business. I love this time of year.

This is Derby week where I live. Many of my friends already bought their hats. I don’t go to the Derby–I watch  it on television. I love to see the horses run, and oh, those hats! If you’re anywhere near Louisville, Kentucky on Derby Day, you’re bound to see women decked out in colorful hats, on their way to Churchill Downs.

For my husband, Derby Day means golf. For me it means I can plant annuals without fear of frost killing them. Both of us have our priorities well in place.

TakeoffAs the excitement of spring fades into ordinary days, I turn my attention to summer. Instead of our usual vacation this year, we’ve opted to spend our time serving others on a mission trip. I’m writing this post just a few days after the devastating quake that hit the coastal region of Ecuador. We may see some of the damage as we leave Guayaquil, but our travel plans will send us into the Andes mountains, to Cuenca, Ecuador.

For a writer, every new scene in life is an opportunity to tell a story. I assure you, my eyes will be wide open, and my imagination will be well engaged. I hope the beautiful sights and sounds of Ecuador will inspire a story or two. The long journey may provide plenty of time for contemplation. If I’m awake. In which case, my eyes will not be wide open.

hiking-1220297_1280I have several friends who are full-time in the mission work of Ecuador. Some of them trek into the Amazon region, carrying gifts from the outside world, along with the message of the gospel. Yes, this is the region where several missionaries were killed in the last century.

One thing these men and women share is a call. They’ve turned their backs on the world and its desires to fulfill the call on their heart. A purpose they believe is God-given.

There’s nothing ordinary about that.

Have you ever experienced what you believe is a call from God to leave your home and family and go to another place? If so, did you heed the call?

Whether or not you accepted that call, I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page. If you’d like to help with the mission efforts in the Amazon region, check out the links below.

10425158_10205772526809279_9049688175581175135_nUnsion Foundation, a Christian World-View television network is actively “Engaging the culture with the gospel.”
Facebook page:
Ecuador Hope House
Joil & Leah Marbut, Jungle Missionary

Sobre Cuenca (about Cuenca):

Owens to Ecuador Facebook Page