Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thankful Author 2017- Frances Hoelsema

I’m Thankful for What?

When I signed up for #ThankfulAuthor, the gears in my mind started turning, trying to figure out what I’d want to say. There are simply too many things to be thankful for! To narrow it down to just one was hard. And I didn’t really want to say the same thing that everyone else does. Often you hear people quickly throw out there that they’re thankful for God, their faith, or perhaps their family and friends, or you might even hear one or two say they’re thankful for their jobs. Those aren’t bad things to be thankful for, and I’m beyond thankful for those very things myself. But I wanted to share something less common.

One thought that hit me was that I could share that I’m thankful for where I live. I’m a resident of the great state of Michigan! What’s unique about my exact location is that unemployment is low, the community is pretty safe, and the weather is outstanding. I mean, we rarely see tornadoes, feel only slight tremors from earthquakes, if even that, and wild fires and hurricanes are not something we even have to worry about. The beauty of spring, summer, fall, and winter are fully experienced, making me scratch my head as to why anyone would ever want to leave!

But as grateful as I am for my home here in Michigan, there is something else that I’m thankful for that deserves to be shared with you all. It might leave a lot of you puzzled, but try to bear with me here. What I’m thankful for is my…suffering. The word suffering here could also be replaced with hardships or struggles, if you want. Now why on earth would anyone be thankful for that? Let me explain.

Perhaps the best example is when I went through infertility. My husband and I had to suffer with this disease for almost four years. We’ve even had to go through the experience of losing our first baby via miscarriage. It’s not fun, and I wouldn’t wish any of this on my worst enemy. Now that we’ve emerged through this dark and lonely tunnel and are now on the other side of things, I see what all of that suffering brought me. I’m more patient. I realize there are things I just can’t control. I don’t take things for granted the way I used to. My faith is much stronger than it’s ever been. And I love my two precious boys better than I ever could have if I had not gone through infertility and infant loss.

Now I’m not implying that you have to go through infertility/infant loss to love your kids the best, or that I love my kids more than you love your kids because I went through this and you didn’t. I’m simply stating that for me, before infertility, I didn’t quite grasp just what a gift and miracle a child was. I figured everything came easy and should happen on my time table, making me a very ungrateful, impatient person. Looking back, I can just see that the way I handle, treat, or value my children today would have been much different had they not been hard to come by.

One last good thing that came from my experience is that I was able to support other women going through the same thing, not only through a local support group at my church, but also through a book I wrote, titled “What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting: Navigating Infertility”. Now women around the world can have the information and inspiration I wish I had as they journey their way through infertility.

Another example, and the most recent, is in my writing. I love my stories. I get so excited when a new idea, or enhanced one, pops up in my brain. I also love the fact that I can be an indie author, making my own rules, setting my own prices, and basically doing what I want. But that all comes at a price. As great as that all is, I struggle with getting myself out there. I have to figure out marketing on my own, where and how to publish each story on my own, and what prices and genres to use all on my own. All of this in a sea of countless other authors doing the same, makes it very hard to stand out and get anywhere.

But it’s taught me something! It’s taught me to work harder than I ever have. It’s taught me to never give up. It’s also taught me to learn to rely on others for advice and to use their advice. Basically, to be less prideful. I’ve also been able to get to know many wonderful authors who have a lot of wisdom to share. They also are extremely supportive. Their example sets the bar high, and I tend to reach (and maybe surpass) it!

I’m sorry for this rather lengthy post, but this is what was on my heart to share. Yes, I’m thankful for many things, as we all are. But beyond all that, I found reasons to be thankful for the not-so-mundane things; the things that are far from happy and fun and good. Because it was in those nasty things that I became a better me. May you find a better you as you look for the light (and even dare to be thankful) in your dark tunnels.

Neighbors Series

Growing Up Neighbors (Book One)

Little Deborah Harrington stared across the street the day the Michaels family moved in. Who was this family? Would she even like them? 

Nicholas Michaels hated the fact he had to move away from everything and everyone in his life, but his feelings change when he meets the Harringtons. Deborah and Nicholas become the best of friends, and as the children grow up, their friendship deepens.

But when tragedy strikes, will this cause them to part ways? Or will it perhaps make them realize they may have stronger feelings for one another before it's too late?

Next Door Neighbors (Book Two)

Elena Montgomery, an elderly victim of fibromyalgia, has two main loves in her life: Brian, her attractive and hard-working son; and Jill Stevens, her caring friend and next door neighbor. When Brian and Jill meet for the first time, they have a chemistry that no one can deny.

Although Jill finds herself wanting to get closer to Brian, she believes she can’t. Being hurt in the past, she vows to remain single the rest of her life, thinking it’s better not to love than to love and get burned. Brian, on the other hand, wants to get to the bottom of her fears and show her that not all men are the same. He is determined to win her trust, her heart and her hand in marriage.

Through pain, passion and pursuit, will Brian be able to prove to Jill what true love is all about?

Long Lost Neighbors (Book Three) 

Gregory Bronson learns he’ll soon be moving away from his neighbor and best friend, Alison Levin. When he tells her the shocking news, she feels her world is being turned upside down. What would she do without Greg? What would Greg do without her?

Fast forward fifteen years. Ali is engaged to Sean Whitman who can provide her with anything she could ever want. While vacationing, however, she runs into Greg. Suddenly she’s not so sure Sean is the one.

Greg finds himself just getting out of a bad relationship when he and Ali reunite. He can’t help but be attracted to her and wonder if the two of them could ever stand a chance.

As the two of them rebuild their friendship, the foundation for something more is set until one day they finally give in to their desires. But after they are interrupted with an emergency, Ali realizes she must make a choice. Will she choose her fiancé, Sean, and go through with a wedding that is already planned and paid for? Or will she give it all up for her friend, Greg, who could give her the one thing Sean doesn’t: all of himself?

Get the complete set for one low price! Buy Link:

What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting: 
Navigating Infertility

Have you been actively trying to conceive for the past 12 months or more to no avail? If you answered yes, then welcome to infertility. It's a journey like no other. It's one you never wanted to embark on, and it's definitely one you don't want to stay on for very long. But since you're here, let this book be your traveling companion!

In What to Expect When You're NOT Expecting: Navigating Infertility, Frances Hoelsema uses her own personal experiences, as well as those of many other women, to guide and inspire you on this ultra-frustrating, highly-emotional, and what feels like an extremely-lonely journey. 

If you've got questions...there are answers!
If you need tips...plenty are provided!
If you need someone to understand...these women do!
If you're feeling assured you're not!

Whether you've just begun your infertility journey, or have been on it for quite some time, there is something for everyone. From astounding statistics, to real-life examples, to concrete sources of hope, this is one book you won't want to be without.

So sit tight and buckle up! The journey will be bumpy, but with What to Expect When You're NOT Expecting: Navigating Infertility by your side, you've got this!

Unfortunate Events: 31 Short Stories

Life is often unpredictable. Many times, bad things happen that no one would ever see coming, not even ourselves. And such is the case for the people in each of these stories. Some will be attacked by vicious animals, while others navigate through wild weather. The rest will find themselves in freak accidents, coming face to face with the supernatural, being a part of something out of this world, and many other situations that can only be described as unfortunate. 

With traces of romance, adventure, humor, thrill, and mystery woven in, there is a story for anyone looking for an entertaining read while being short on time. And with just the right blend of horror and tragedy, this collection will leave you dreading the possible.

About Frances Hoelsema

Frances is a wife and mother residing in Michigan where she gets to enjoy all four seasons, autumn being her favorite. After earning a degree in business and transcription, she now gets the best of both worlds by working from home as a real-time writing manager for an international transcription company.

In her spare time, Frances thoroughly enjoys traveling, kayaking, hiking, shopping, chocolate, and loving on her cats. She is also an avid reader and writer who loves to engage with others through social media.

Some concepts that Frances stands for are positive parenting, homeschooling, clean eating, and pursuing a relationship with Christ instead of pursuing religion. She also believes in never giving up; that everyone should keep chasing their dreams.

Frances loves to imagine a good story and write it to life so she’s always busy working on her next novel. Be sure to check out her website for more information on the genres she writes in, as well as what you can expect to see next!

Connect with Frances!

Website     E-mail      Facebook      Twitter      Amazon      Goodreads


  1. Oh, Frances, I so enjoyed reading your post. It reminded me of my own struggles in life and how I often said to others, "I had to walk through fire and stumble over a path filled with boulders to reach some of my greatest rewards." Thank you for reminding me once again that sometimes those struggles are truly ones to be grateful for, right? Thank you for sharing and wishing you all the best!

  2. Thank you for a thoughtful post. I definitely agree the realization we cannot control everything teaches humility.

  3. Frances,

    We too struggled with infertility for many years, experiencing several miscarriages along the way. For us, there was never another side, as we never were able to conceive and start a family. I will say, the struggle did make me a stronger person. I found I am good at helping others through their struggles since I experienced my own. It's easy to support someone in the good times, it's much harder when times are tough. I find I'm actually better at the bad times, having been there for so long myself.

    I've heard it said that the deeper we fall into sadness and despair, the higher we are lifted by the joys in life.

    Thanks for your post. I wish your book had been around ten years ago...Thank you for putting it out there so others know they are not alone when life doesn't go as planned.

  4. I'm about to be the proud grandmother of another precious little boy--thanks to infertility specialists. Such a hard journey. As Debra said, the troughs are deep with sadness and despair. But the peaks are so joyful.
    Wishing you success in all your endeavors.

  5. Frances, Oh, that lesson of patience! I think that's the one Life dishes out most harshly of all... Great post!

  6. What you've said is so universal, Frances. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for the bad times--they make the good times...well...good :) Happy Holidays!

  7. In a dark tunnel now...your words give me hope. Thank you