Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Please Welcome Shirley Brosius, Former Stringer Turned Author, Speaker, and Teacher

Shirley Brosius
 I was almost a spunky senior when I debuted as a writer at age 53. I needed to make a job change and had a yen to write. My husband suggested I try it for a year and see what happens. Almost 20 years, five grandchildren and two books later, I’m still clicking those keys.

Starting out as a newspaper “stringer” helped me learn to express myself concisely. My editor’s red pencil taught me to “kill my darlings,” those flowery little descriptions that add nothing but word count. I loved interviewing people who had won awards, served their communities or excelled in one way or another. In those days, newspapers used more feature stories and I completed almost weekly assignments.

Of course, if I wouldn’t have had a husband to buy the ice cream, I would not have been able to write. 

Shirley doing a presentation
including her memorization of
the entire book of Philippians.
One of my interests is memorizing scripture, then presenting it from memory at women's events. I've memorized the entire book of Philippians, the first three chapters of the gospel of John along with a few Psalms. Don't ever think you're too old to memorize. I'm still at it at age 72.

I also taught classes at a seminary as an adjunct, and it was there I stumbled upon the idea for my first book. Researching a course on women in ministry opened my eyes to the many ways women have contributed to the church down through the centuries. I thought this was important for all women to realize, but who sits around reading history books?
So I wrote Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference. The profiles include martyrs and missionaries, teachers and writers, singers and homemakers, to name just a few categories. God uses ordinary women in so many ways, and I wanted to spotlight what women had done. The book was released in 2006.
Buy Link:

Long before that book was a flicker behind my eyelids, two women, Janine Boyer, Kim Messinger, young enough to be my daughters, had asked me to mentor them. We began meeting weekly to discuss Christian books. Eventually we decided we wanted to serve God together, and we offered to lead women’s retreats for area churches. We call ourselves Friends of the Heart and lead about 17 events a year throughout the East.

Kim Messinger, Janine Boyer, and Shirley Brosius doing a skit at a women's retreat.
 At a writer’s conference an agent suggested that because we speak together we should write together. Since guilt is always poking one of us and we noticed guilt is a common denominator of the women who attend our retreats, we chose it as the topic of our book.
Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides offers six months worth of daily readings that open with “A Guilt Trip to Avoid.” For instance: Faulting yourself for messing things up; wanting ministry to be perfect; setting a poor example, living an imperfect life, and the list goes on. After offering a scripture verse to consider, we share a personal story that relates to the guilt trip. Each reading closes with a way to “Take the Joy Ride,” a paragraph that applies the day’s scripture to the guilt trip. The book was released earlier this year. Kindle Link Paperback
We got dozens of good reviews during a recent Blog Tour with LitFuse. While the contest has ended, you can read lots of comments about the book at this site:

Besides writing, I love playing board games with my grandchildren. I just added an app to do Word Games on Facebook. I also am a regular at chair aerobics and besides speaking with my friends, I am a Stonecroft Ministries speaker.

For fun, I love walking, embroidering and watching Jeopardy and American Idol.

After a lifetime of raising kids and working hard—eight years as a public school teacher and ten years as a director of Christian education—what could be better than being a spunky senior who writes?

Visit or

Shirley Brosius
Author and Speaker

CoAuthor of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides
Author of Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference

Member of Friends of the Heart, three women who share God’s love through personal testimony, drama and song.  


  1. Welcome to Spunky Authors and Talents, Shirley. You are a woman of many talents!

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Fabulous! What an inspirational woman. I'll check out your books.

  3. Thank you, Jacqueline. It's been a fun ride. Many challenges along the way, but God has been faithful.

  4. What is a stinger? Sorry I'm not smarter than a fifth grader. Great post!

  5. A stringer is a freelance newspaper reporter. I did it for a while myself for the Daily Herald.

    Morgan Mandel

  6. Inspiring post. Wow, what a great memory you have!

  7. Wonder why newspaper correspondents are called "stringers." That was the first thing my family asked when they read the post. Anyone know? Regarding my memory, I need a grocery list for six items. But I'm a walker, and I wore a verse a day into my mind while walking (and reviewing the previous verses, of course). I think our minds can do more than we think they can. I'm amazed that with periodic reviews, these portions of scripture really stay with me.

  8. Really enjoyed this post. What a neat lady and I admire you for all that you do. I got my start in journalism, too, and I think that has helped me meet deadlines in my fiction writing. When you have to get a story turned in in two or three days, you have no time for writer's block. And my favorite stories were also profiles of interesting people.

    To answer Shirley's question. We were called stringers because we worked freelance. Here is a good explanation: A stringer is a person who writes for a publication on a freelance basis. Though a stringer earns money for his writing, he is not considered an employee and does not receive a regular salary. Instead, a stringer is considered an independent contractor and receives payment for each piece of published work. Often, stringers are used by news outlets, tackling projects for the television and print news industry.

  9. Great story Morgan - thank you for introducing Shirley to all of us here. And Shirley - congratulations on using your fabulous memory to share scripture! I asked my eighth grade history students to memorize the Gettysburg Address each year ... some howls of disbelief from students, but a lot of pride when they realized that they could in fact do it - with pride and understanding! I am sure that you fully understood and shared that understanding through your performances.

    1. Thanks to all of you for the great comments. Regarding presenting scripture--it takes you to a deeper level of understanding as you consider exactly how verses should be spoken. For instance, in the gospel of John, exactly what expression did Mary use when she told Jesus the wedding party had run out of wine? And with what tone did he respond? It leads me to research verses, and I sometimes toy with which word to emphasize until it feels right.

  10. Very enjoyable blog! Many of us who now write fulltime have retired from active careers and raised children and now have grandchildren. It provides us with a mature perspective and much to write about. Congrats, Shirley!


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