Gaylynne Sword

Gaylynne lives in Northern California with her husband, children and retired racing greyhounds. She is passionate about telling real stories about real people and encouraging others to embrace the story they are living.

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The more bandages you slap on to hide the wounds, the more painful it is to pull the nasty thing off...

Katy Walton spent her life trying to be a good girl, or at least giving the appearance of one. When she marries into a long family line of Southern Baptist preachers, it becomes her job to maintain the image of the perfect family in the perfect church with a perfect future ahead. When the façade starts to crumble and even her best intentions fail to fool anyone, she finds herself alone and abandoned. It's not until she realizes how much living in the shadows of secrets and shame has damaged her daughter, Ivy Rose, that she learns to let go of all she once held in order to save what matters the most.

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Q&A Interview

Gaylynne Sword discusses her inspiration for the book and what it means to "embrace your story."

All I Once Held is available from

Barnes & Noble

All I Once Held  is a fast-paced, intimate novel that explores:

How the habit and history of "keeping secrets" has devastating consequences that are passed down through generations.

How trying to protect the ones we love from the unsavory aspects of life places them in bondage to shame.

How the traditional role of leaders in our churches cannot be sustained.

How depression and suicide is destroying families, communities and churches.

How lives can be transformed when God is allowed to use our mistakes to reveal his purpose and grace.

How learning to let go of all you once held is the only way to save what you love the most.

Katy's Journey

We all have songs that take us back to awkward junior high dances and wild road trips with the girls. There's music that marks the memories and moods of a painful period, a joyous accomplishment, or just the day-to-day monotony of life.

These are Katy's songs. From her high school heartache, to the college party that changed her life…they are songs that offer happy tunes and promises of God's love that at times warmed her heart, but often left her wondering what she had to do to make the words a reality in her own life. Finally, we can see her honest questions and raw revelations, as she deconstructs all she once held as true and learns to live in freedom and Love.

Want more backstory?

Everything In Its Place is a must-read, short story prequel that centers on Katy's mother-in-law, Laura Walton—reminding us that everyone has a story of their own.

Buy on Amazon

From Gaylynne

I started writing my first novel in 1998, at the height of the Oprah Book Club craze. I've always been a big reader. In fact, my grammar school librarian used to ask me to read books for her so she could tell others what they were about. In retrospect I should have charged for this service, but I'm a writer, money's obviously not a major motivator for me. Anyway, I loved Oprah books, the true to life, gritty stories about heartache and loss and triumph. I was intrigued how readers would rave on and on about how the book of the month had changed their lives

Now, I'm a Christian, and I was always taught that if any book was going to change your life, it better well be the Bible. But I understood what these women were saying. These powerful stories were full of insight and inspiration, albeit of a somewhat "secular" nature. At frankly, the so-called Christian fiction of the day was not fitting the bill. It was, for the most part, full of fluff and prairie dresses, not the riveting, realistic stories people were craving. So I somewhat reluctantly and without an ounce of confidence set out to write a novel that would appeal to an “Oprahesque” reader, but also speak the Truth of God's Love.

And from this my first novel, Dear Me was born. I self-published it, not believing it would ever be picked up by a real publisher. But when it won "Inspirational Book of the Year" from the Florida Writer's Convention, it got the attention of RiverOak, the fiction division of David C. Cook publishing, who published it in 2003.

Life happened after the book was released. I had another kid. My mother passed away. I moved across the country. I got distracted and put my writing on the shelf for many years. But as is true with any "calling" if you are meant to do something, the desire will never go away and you will not find peace until you relent.

I relented. I chose a career path that would allow me to make some money and still give me the freedom to write the stories that were stirring in my soul. (I teach self-rescue swimming to babies and children, rewarding and somewhat seasonal work.)

I'm excited beyond belief about the release of All I Once Held.

People ask me all the time, "How much of what you write really happened?" I like to answer, "All of it. Except for the stuff I made up."

The reality is that every story I write comes from some real, meaningful, significant event in my life. One of the biggies. The game changers. From there I ask, "What if..." What if this had been different? What if I had done this instead of that? What if she would have said this? What if he had gone there? My new novel, like the first, is a true-to-life story, that reads like a memoir, because it was born from my life and the lives of many I have known. I believe it will ring True for many.

Invite Gaylynne to speak to your group about how to "Embrace Your Story" 
to better reveal God's purpose and power in your life.
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