Writer Wednesday: Meet Dana K Ray!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! Yes, I said Wednesday, even though it’s Thursday.

Sadly, someone attacked my website and it went down in flames yesterday. But thanks to my computer science professor husband, it’s back up and running, and so I can finally bring you author Dana K. Ray. Just a day late.

My apologies to Dana and to all of you!

But now I invite you to sit back, relax, and get to know Dana and her gutsy, true to life Christian stories!

What was the inspiration for your latest book?

When I wrote A Second Chance it was a form of therapy. It’s a story about forgiving others, forgiving yourself and giving another chance to those who may not deserve it.

Real life is messy. People hurt you and you hurt people. There’s no way around it. Many times we have to offer forgiveness, not for the other person, but for yourself. It’s freeing to forgive. I wanted to show others it can be done.

Name two things people don’t know about me.

Always. I felt odd because I always had movies playing in my head. I was so concerned with it that in college I wrote a paper on “fantasy thoughts” because I wasn’t sure if it was normal. I was a stay-at-home mom which gave me the chance to write my books down. The images are very vivid. I see the characters 3-D and in color but the fun of it, is I can change things. I can watch a scene and if I don’t like it, I mix it up. I do this until I love the scene then I go write it down.

I am an AVID football fan!! I mean I do nothing on the weekends but watch or go to games during the season. I love college and pro, but college a little bit better! I will take any free tickets. Email me at danakray@yahoo.com if you have some freebies I could have! Ha ha.

How much of yourself is reflected in this book (for example, professional expertise, personality, or other), and how?

In A Second Chance are some lessons I’ve personally lived and learned, yet it’s purely fiction. I can honestly say that there is a piece of me in every character in the book. I’ve been Raven; done so many bad things that I felt like God and people around me would never forgive me. I’ve been Matthew; way too judgmental towards others to the point people couldn’t stand to be around me and choosing to go down a road that God didn’t want me on.

I’ve been touched by one friend and two family members that have fought Leukemia. I’ve experienced the effects of suicide four times in my life, from a close friend’s attempt to two friends and one relative following through with it. Suicide is never the answer and I’d plead with anyone thinking about it to please, please, please reach out for help. Your life is SO important and you are loved more than you can even imagine, even if you don’t feel like it.

Why should we read this book and what sets you apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?

A Second Chance is a gutsy, real to life story. It’s a fun and fast (as in you can’t put it down) read. It touches on real to life experiences with drugs, alcohol, suicide, death and cancer. Things that so many of us go through or have gone through. In A Second Chance, there are valuable lessons of how the characters overcome the darkness in their worlds.

Can you tell us something quirky about this book, its story and characters? 

I’m from Iowa and grew up in Des Moines but we had a farm outside of town. I moved to Missouri when I was seventeen to go to college, but Iowa holds a special place in my heart.

Like Raven, I’ve walked through tall fields of corn and weeds. I’ve seen the beauty of the state. It was my inspiration for the setting of A Second Chance.

What is your writing process?

I usually turn on some loud music, grab a Diet Coke or a Mocha and start writing. No process at all. I just write and see where the characters end up. Then there is a lot of editing, editing and more editing. I send chapters to my three critique partners, who then edit some more. After a lot of rewriting and editing, you get a book and if you’re truly lucky and blessed, a publishing contract.

A Bit About A Second Chance:

 A past she can’t forget…

Raven will do just about anything to forget a horrific event from the past that still haunts her. Forced to attend church because of a promise she made at a party, she is immediately attracted to the young, handsome preacher but is unconvinced of his promises of a better life.

 A future he refuses to accept…

Matthew has everything planned out until Raven walks into his church and turns his life upside down. Repulsed by her lifestyle, yet fascinated by her beauty and charm, he finds himself drawn to her by a force he can’t explain.

Raven and Mathew’s unlikely friendship leads them through escalating troubled waters that threaten to doom their growing relationship. Will they survive to learn valuable lessons of grace, forgiveness and love?

A Bit About Dana:

Dana K. Ray has been writing gutsy, true to life Christian stories since she became a teenager. An avid Mizzou Tiger fan and a full-time children’s minister in her church, she and her husband reside in the Midwest with their four children and four dogs.

Look for Dana’s second book, Absolution, to be published by eLectio Publishing in July 2017!

Want to connect further with Dana? Find her here:

Website | Facebook | Email | Amazon

Thanks for being with me, Dana (and for your patience!). It was a pleasure hosting you!

Flash Friday Fiction: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Construction of the Statue of Liberty’s Pedestal. CC2.0 photo by National Parks Service, Statue of Liberty ca 1875.
Construction of the Statue of Liberty’s Pedestal. CC2.0 photo by National Parks Service, Statue of Liberty ca 1875.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -205 words

Nobody notices me. Nobody marks my presence. My absence.

They never have. Never will. I like it that way, or so I tell myself.

Invisibility served me well as a child, when my older brother, Jimmy, took papa’s guff, crying out as I hid in the corner. Unscathed.

Invisibility served me well as a young man, when they needed recruits for the War. Called up every man between fourteen and eighty, they did. But not me. Nope, not Tommy Tuckerson.

I didn’t count. I never have. Never will.

Look at them, standing there, top hats on their heads, acting as if they were somebody. Building the American Dream, they say.

Been working here months, and not one of them knows my name. Not one called me down to be in the photo-graph.

I’ll show them.

A lifetime of invisibility is enough. I surrender. I give my life over in defeat. I accept my nothingness, a lack that has always been, a lack that will always be.

Will they notice, I wonder, when my body hits the ground? Will they stop their labors, their self-congratulations?

Or will my blood be one last testament to a life wasted, one quickly washed away?

This is no dream, boys.

I’m thinking next week I need to go back to humor. My last few stories have dragged me down, man. Then again, when given the theme of “defeat,” a happy tale hardly sprang to mind (which tells me I need to work harder at thinking outside of the box). Still, this is my 200 (+/-10) word effort to encapsulate the theme and the photo prompt into one cohesive, short (very short) story. What do you think?

Visit Flash Friday Fiction for other authors’ tales and much more! (The Dragon Emporium is now open; go check it out!)