Books, Articles, Contributions

Everbloom – Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives by the Women of Redbud Writers Guild. Contributing Editors, Shayne Moore and Margaret Philbrick (Paraclete Press – 2017)

Through the pain, loss, beauty, and redemption in these pages, you’ll find freedom in Christ and the courage to embrace your own story. The women of Redbud know the importance of spiritual shelter, and how easy it becomes to feel alone and misunderstood.  In the Everbloom collection they offer essays, stories, and poetry: intensely personal accounts of transformation, and the journeys to find their own voices.  Best of all, they invite you to join them, with writing prompts that encourage a response of honesty, faith, and imagination. Accept the invitation: set out on the journey to find your own voice.

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“We read to see elements of our own hearts, experiences, and stories reflected back to us in the words of others. This collection is just that: stories that help us feel seen, known, and understood. Honestly and beautifully told, this book will keep you in good company along your own journey.”  —Shauna Niequist, bestselling author of Present Over Perfect

“Once I began reading these stories I couldn’t stop. Each writer is a strong woman who has learned much from life and God. Gritty, funny, painful, affirming. No punches are pulled, but grace abounds.”     —Luci Shaw, poet, author of Thumbprint in the Clay

“Readers will find gold within these pages. Excellent writing often springs from deep sorrow that has softened hearts, widened vision, and presses its bearer into the Man of Sorrows.”                     —Dee Brestin, author of The Friendships of Women 

Everbloom isn’t just a book… it’s a collection of stories that inspire courage, promote honesty, and promise freedom. When you travel through the journeys of these amazing women, don’t be surprised if you discover hope for your own story.”

Caleb Kaltenbach, Lead Pastor, Discovery Church, author of Messy Grace and God of Tomorrow

“Everbloom contains a smorgasbord of personal stories and reflections that put the strong writing of women and the reality of women’s lives on display. I suspect every reader will find themselves in one or more of these chapters.
—Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women and Maelstrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World

A Minor – A Novel of Love, Music and Memory
(Koehler Books – 2014)

a-minor-novelThe first novel with embedded music thanks to Koehler Books and Ingram Distributors

Clive Serkin, a teenage piano prodigy, seeks victory at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, and enlists the help of world-renowned pianist Clare Cardiff. She becomes his mentor and teacher, and even though she is more than twice his age, Clive finds himself falling in love with her. After Clare is diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Clare’s estranged husband Nero takes her away from Clive to pursue further medical testing. Clive is faced with the challenge of traveling to Moscow and performing at the competition without his beloved mentor. Ultimately, he must discover if the music they share is enough to keep them together. Read More

All print versions with music streamed at:

All eReader versions with musical selections included,  some original arrangements by the McMakens

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“An emotional story…breaks the mold…delicately constructed….nuanced characters…clear prose.” Kirkus Reviews

A Minor  is an Alzheimers’s Association Selection

“This is a deeply moving novel that touches upon love, creativity, and memory. It is the story of a musician who develops Alzheimer’s disease, yet continues to struggle with her craft. The author is a passionate and gifted writer who understands the nuances of memory and Alzheimer’s disease.”    Dr. Bruce Miller, Director, UCSF Center for Memory and Aging

“With A Minor, Margaret Philbrick has deftly penned an engaging and entertaining coming of age romance. It is pure entertainment from start to finish. Very highly recommended for libraries and personal collections.”   Midwest Book Review

“Music provides healing, inspiring, and calming medicine for our brains. It has the capacity to move humans unlike any other animal and we rely on music to help us when life introduces our greatest challenges. Margaret Philbrick educates us about the powerful role of music for those suffering dementia and for the millions of families who provide loving care.”  Dr. Paul Nussbaum, best-selling author of Save Your Brain, President of the Brain Health Center

“A powerful story, beautifully told.” Jane Stroh, Independent bookstore owner of The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn, IL

“I recommend this novel because it is a smart and insightful look at a family coping with Alzheimer’s. Philbrick finds a hopeful prism through which to view the illness…Music lovers will love this novel as well as anyone who loves a good story.” Sandy Koropp, West Suburban Living Magazine book review, owner of Prairie Path Bookstore




Back to the Manger

A Treasure Hunt for the Nativity
(Singing River Publications – 2009)

Throughout Inga’s childhood, visiting an historic Neapolitan nativity scene each Christmas was a time-honored family tradition. One year when Inga takes her own children to see it, she discovers that the creche is missing, Inga takes up the quest to find this Christmas treasure and restore a bit of holiday magic to the heart of the Christmas season. Read More

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Testimonies of God’s love, grace and truth from Christians personally affected by LGBT identity and issues (City on a Hill – 2016).

Very few issues in Christianity are as divisive as the acceptance of the LGBT community in the church. Many Christians lean toward one of two extremes: Sacrificing truth for the sake of grace, or sacrificing grace for the sake of truth. Jesus was able to love all people and yet still hold onto his beliefs. So can you. Even when it’s messy. Messy Grace combines biblical teaching from Caleb Kaltenbach with stirring testimonies from an author with a transgender sister, a college student who lived a double life, a former lesbian hip-hop artist – now married to a man, and a celibate pastor who’s same-sex attracted. This four-episode study will inspire and empower Christ followers to completely love their LGBT neighbors (and any other neighbor) while remaining committed to Scripture. Additional Messy Grace resources available at


Between Midnight and Dawn – A Literary Guide to Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide. (Paraclete Press) This collection features Biblical readings, essays and poetry to compliment and enhance your Lenten journey. A poem dedicated to our worship pastor, Steve Williamson is included.



Why Groot is the Greatest Superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Relevant)

Stop Excommunicating Christians Who Don’t Agree With You (Relevant)

Why Mary Matters to all Christians (Relevant)

A Reflection on Cancer – Gratitude to the End (The Redbud Post)

Gratitude to the End

Is the Proverbs 31 Woman for real? (The Redbud Post)

How Your Marriage Can Avoid the Seven Year Itch (Relevant)

Crossing the Road – A Path to Racial Healing (READY print)

Five Big Picture Takeaways from the Wheaton College Controversy (Relevant)

Loving my Transgender Brother/Sister. One of Christianity Today’s top 20 most read articles of 2015:

Christianity Today article in Spanish:

What is the Redbud Writers Guild?  (Declare blog)

How Do We Know When We’ve Found “the one?” (Relevant)

How to walk out Advent in WONDER! (Christianity Today)

When Martha Stewart Came for Christmas (guest post for Jen Pollack Michel)

Hints on How to Survive the Broken Family Christmas (Relevant)

Surviving the Broken Family Christmas

How Do We Get our Christmas Trees? (Shaw Media)

The People Who Bring Us Christmas

So angry Malala didn’t win the Nobel Prize the first time around, She finally did! A perspective on her impact. (Relevant)

Why Malala Also Deserved to Win the Nobel Peace Prize

When going to the ends of the earth isn’t in the cards, (Relevant magazine titled this article. If our calling is from God it is not going to be boring!)

When Your Calling is Boring

The more Rez changes the more she remains the same (Rez blog)

How To Survive Your First 15 Years At Rez

Thoughts on giving to the church (Rez blog)

A family perspective on my first book (Rez blog)Back to the Manger

More A Minor Reviews from Amazon readers:

“Must read. Setting in the new world and the intertwining of the old world masters was outstanding.”  John Vranas

“Captivating. Started over the ocean and kept reading all the way to the finish.” Judy Douglas

“Loved it. Thoroughly enjoyed this ebook with accompanying music. A real treat.” Heidi

“Intriguing. Intelligently written. A fresh story.” CWL