Denise spoke to our group Monday July 26th. It was a really stormy night. I was hoping the ladies would still come out to listen to Denise speak This is Denise’s second time to speak to the Finding Hope Book Club. Last time we discussed her book Will of Wisteria, everyone loved the story.

This month we read Hurricanes in Paradise. Everyone thought this was Denise’s best book so far. In talking to the group she mentioned that if she could re-title the book it would be Paradise in Hurricanes. Because hurricanes will come our way in life but we don’t have to have them throw us around. The Paradise inside of us is stronger than any hurricane trying to make a direct hit.

Finding Hope’s book club meeting usually starts at 7p.m and ends at 9p.m. because that’s when the book store closes. We discuss that month’s book club selection from 7-7:30pm. And then if we have an author speaking to us live we have them speak to the group at 7:30p.m.

Denise surprised us all and came early. She asked if it was alright to sit down amongst us and listen to us talk about the book. Ok, this about undid me. I was used to talking about the book with my gals but with the author listening? But Denise sat there with big eyes taking it all in. My gals didn’t even skip a beat. I had a hard time breathing while my ladies kept right on pointing out passages in the book that spoke to their hearts, discussing what characters they enjoyed best and what parts were hilarious. After about 25 minutes or so, I asked Denise if she could speak to us about Hurricanes in Paradise..

Denise sat down on a stool in front of everyone and began to thank us for the opportunity to listen to us talk about her book. It was humbling she said and stopped talking. Tears filled her eyes as she tried to gain composure to continue her expression of gratitude. She then managed to say “It’s amazing to hear how this book and its characters touched your lives. I’m humbled at the fact that the Lord allowed me to write the words that both pierced and comforted your hearts.”

Several ladies heard Denise speak before but for many this was the first time meeting this author. She shared her journey to publication. It’s not something she signed up for. I’ve discovered that authors have such different tales to tell. Denise started out in Nashville wanting to be a singer. That career went nowhere, so her day job was working was working in the advertising department of a heating and air-conditioning company. While there she was asked to write an article for a church magazine for the church she attended. The article was about a place called Mercy Ministries of America. The Founder of Mercy read the article and was in the middle of writing the autobiography of the ministry. A ghost-writer had already been hired, but when Nancy Alcorn read Denise's article she knew this was how she wanted her book to read and hired Denise to finish her book. That began ten years of Denise writing for other people.

During those years Denise began to teach as well. Her speaking opportunities grew and had her speaking at Women's Conferences, as well as The Billy Graham School of Evangelism. And her desire to write Christian Living books was consuming. She began to try to pitch a non-fiction book called "The Passage", but fourteen rejection letters she asked her agent not to send her anymore.

Having never written fiction a day before in her life, Denise sat down on her back porch and thought, "Wonder if I can write fiction? Then the story for Savannah from Savannah was birth. Denise then read the first page from Savannah from Savannah to us. She has the best southern accent and captures Savannah’s character, attitude and charm in her reading. She made us laugh and we saw how Denise was transformed into Savannah. We all agreed if they make this book into an audio book she’s the one to read it. Denise also mentioned that out of all the characters she’s written about Savannah from Savannah is the most like her!

Denise shared some of her spiritual journey in the last three years. Last time she spoke to our group her 13 year marriage ended and she was walking out a new season in her life of singleness. This was a season she calls "flying solo." Where to go from here? This is not how she thought her life was going to turn out. She ran to her heavenly daddy. This season hurts. But she turned it into an opportunity by beginning a blog for singles called "Flying Solo". She was going to embrace being single and all that the Lord had for her. She said, “I’m yours Lord do with me what you will. I’ll follow you even if I never re-marry.”

The Lord started a mighty work and she began to heal and embrace this new life. A friend of hers was on a mission to find her a husband. But she had told the Lord if he had someone for her she only wanted one. And she had not had one date in two years. But she did finally agree to go to a dinner "as friends" because this man had 5 children.

Through this healing process another friend asked her “Hey, Denise do you want a free trip to Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas? I need someone to chaperone Miss Tennessee USA for me?.” Denise jumped at the opportunity. Wouldn’t’ you?

Denise said to her friend, "Wait, a weekend getaway and I don’t have to pay for it? I’m there." Little did Denise know this would be the experience that would birth her book Hurricanes in Paradise. She met some pretty remarkable woman all in different seasons of their life and all of them were single for one reason or another. Denise began to take notes of the people she met, the sights she saw, the smells she smelled and of course the food she ate.

My ladies agreed one of there favorite scenes in the book was when the author character in the story invites a beauty pageant winner, a widow, and the hotel Guest Relations director to dine with her because she hates to eat alone. Then she orders every item on the menu. Fun things happen. These women would have never talked to each other if they weren’t in this hotel together getting ready for the hurricane to hit.

Then Denise told us that earlier this year, she wed the man who had five children. It’s not something she ever thought was possible. God moves in mysterious ways. She had always wanted children and didn’t realize the Lord would give her so many precious gifts all at once. Her home is overflowing with many blessings, laughter and a few teenage girls.

While walking out this season of healing and re-marriage the Lord has helped her birth Hurricanes in Paradise. It’s a fun but powerful, moving book you’ll definitely want to read. You’ll laugh out loud and be pierced in your heart about the truths that you can identify with. Because Denise has walked out a healing time in her life and faced many fears with the Lord holding her, revealing truths and giving her His vision of the world there is a depth and a richness we haven’t’ seen in Denise’s writing before. This story’s a keeper and Denise is a treasure. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to hear the heart of this author and learn about what God has done with her heart, mind, and spirit in the middle of her storm.

Denise has her first non-fiction book being released at the end of the year. A dream she has always had. Never in her wildest imaginations did she think the non-fiction book to be published would be the journals from her divorce, a story she would have never wanted written. "Flying Solo:A Journey of Divorce, Healing and a Very Present God" coming out December 2010. God moves in mysterious ways.

Here is the group shot with Finding Hope Book Club. Next is Gail and Denise. THANKS to Gail Mundy for taking all thhe great pictures. Thanks Denise for sharing your heart and your book Hurricanes in Paradise with us. Below is an interview where Denise shares pretty much how Hurricanes in Paradise came about and a sneak peek into the new fiction book to be released in the fall of 2011.




  1. This was such an awesome book! The journey of spiritual and mental healing was an inspiration that everyone should experience. The characters are so believable, you will find yourself laughing out loud at times and at other times, you will find tears in your eyes.

    Denise, you are a strong and beautiful woman who has an enormous heart for Christ. Keep up with the awesome books!

    Chris Gant (comment posted at The Book Club Network

  2. She was a wonderful guest. She added alot of color and laughter to a really great book. I loved how she twisted actual events into a story.