Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ginny Aiken, author of 38 books, knows how to mix mayhem with humor

Ada: How many books have you written? I almost had to tuck my eyeballs back in when I logged into your Amazon author page. I started writing down the trilogies and series, turning pages and finally discovered I couldn’t report on it all without writing a book myself!
Ginny: All in all, I’ve contracted 38 manuscripts, but that’s over 19 years.
Ada: How many genres?
Ginny: I’ve written historicals, contemporary romance, cozies, and romantic suspense.
Ada: You must write with lots of humor. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the listing for “Deadly D├ęcor Mysteries” and “Shop ‘Til you U Drop” for series titles. Humor isn’t easy to write. It’s difficult to determine whether a situation will make a reader or listener laugh. How do you create humorous situations?
Ginny: I don’t know that I actually create the situations, at least, not purposefully. I think it’s more a case of the oddball way my quirky brain works. I tend to handle stress by looking for something humorous, and it tends to come out in my writing.
Ada: Do your mob and crime books contain humor, or are they suspense or thrillers?
Ginny: My mob books were very humorous, but my Carolina Justice series for Love Inspired was flat out romantic suspense.
Ada: I see you’ve co-authored books with Catherine Palmer and other authors with each of you writing a separate novella or fits into the theme. Is that difficult? If it’s easy, why?
Ginny: I love working on anthologies and collections. I find batting ideas back and forth with other authors to be the best way to figure out plot twists and levels of character development I otherwise wouldn’t have come up with on my own.
 Ada: What is your latest book and how does it differ from others?
Ginny: My latest title, REMEMBER ME WHEN, is the second book of my Women of Hope series. While the three books stand on their own, the group of stories is based on the lives of three biblical women. The first title, FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS, is of course based on Queen Esther. The second one, REMEMBER ME WHEN, is based on Abigail and King David. And the last book, SHE SHALL BE PRAISED, is based on the woman in Proverbs 31, and will release in January of 2014. These books differ from my previous titles in that the plots are loosely fashioned after the Bible stories familiar to all of us. My twist in the concept is that I set them in Oregon in the late 1870s and 1880s. REMEMBER ME WHEN, packs a powerful punch, touching on some delicate issues women have faced over the centuries, and unfortunately continue to face today. It’s the least humorous one of the three titles.
Ada: How long does it take you to write a book?
Ginny: As you can see, I write long historical as well as short contemporary romances. You can imagine that each holds its own kind of challenge, and if nothing else, there’s a huge difference between a 55,000-60,000 word book and one that clocks in at 100,000 words. And I love writing the two different type of books.
Ada: Do all of your books have a spiritual element?
Ginny: Yes, they do. Because I love the Lord, I live by my ever-present Bible. A book without a spiritual element would be completely foreign to me. I started writing for the secular market back in the Dark Ages, and I had a rotten time of it. When I was offered the opportunity to serve God fully with my writing, I jumped and have never looked back.
Ada: What satisfies you most about being a writer?
Ginny: Wow! I don’t know that I can pinpoint one thing. I do know I love the idea-rich creative process, so brainstorming is a treat for me. I love living in two worlds—sometimes my ‘real’ world isn’t so much fun, and having a second one to focus on for a while is a blessing. I can then go back to the day-to-day challenges with a refreshed attitude. Besides, who doesn’t love walking 5 steps to your office in your PJs?
Ada: What is your greatest desire for your future as a novelist?

Ginny: To continue to honor God with the stories He gives me to write, and I want to touch more readers—those reader letters mean the world to a novelist. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share a little of me with you and those who follow your blog.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Overwhelmed? Liz Tolsman has good advice and talks about her book, Snow on the Tulips


A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

 Summary of Snow on the Tulips

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

 When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love and learn to depend on the Perfect Love that drives out all fear? Or will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?



What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed


The kids need to be picked up from school, last night’s dirty dishes are in the sink, you have no idea what’s for dinner tonight and your deadline is looming. In big, red letters on your jam-packed calendar.

 Calgon, take me away!

Wouldn’t that be nice? But it doesn’t happen in real life. So what’s a woman to do when life gets downright claustrophobic?

1. Make a list and prioritize. The few minutes it takes to do that might save you a bunch of time down the line. And don’t cram everything into one day. Spread your obligations over several days. And give yourself the satisfaction of crossing items off that list.

2. Along similar lines, take one thing at a time. My son would get overwhelmed with the amount of homework he had to do. My advice? Focus on one subject at a time. Finish that, enjoy your sense of accomplishment, and then move on. You’d be surprised how that pile of papers dwindles when you concentrate on the task at hand without looking at what remains to be done.

3. Ask for help. Oh, it’s hard. We’re supposed to be super-women, aren’t we? Remember that song (or am I dating myself?). “I’m a woman. W-O-M-A-N. I bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...” Face it. And I know it’s hard. You can’t do everything. Your husband or kids might have to help.

4. Let go. Your house won’t be perfect. And it’s O.K. Kind of. I’ll admit, this is hard for me. I see the dirt and it bugs me until I clean it. And when I give in to #3, it’s next to impossible for me to not think that I could have done it better myself. But I don’t clean my bathrooms twice a week like I used to. And the dust on top of the refrigerator – who even sees it?

 5. As they say, last but not least: spend time with the Lord. Take a break and commune with God. He will give you rest for your soul. He will refresh you and lift you up on eagle’s wings. He will give you strength. Then everything will fall into perspective.
Meet the author
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at www.liztolsma.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

HOW DO WE DETERMINE TRUTH VS. ERROR?


              By Ada Brownell

      In anguish, Martha wept about her brother Lazarus's death. Can you imagine Jesus instructing her, his disciples and others about eternal life by starting with the resurrection beliefs of the Sadducees, Pharisees, Egyptians, Romans and various other religions?

     No, instead Jesus just spoke the truth: "I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25--26).

    Then, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

    Yet, frequently I hear theologians who find it necessary to teach more about beliefs of other religions and denominations than they do about fundamentals for faith. Now this is beginning to permeate our Christian education classes in the church.

  I’m Assembly of God, and our forefathers and the theologians who established Pentecostal churches came out of denominations that didn't believe in miracles, the imminent unexpected return of Jesus Christ, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. In my experience, these pastors and evangelists never wasted time teaching about those who don't believe as we do. They stuck to the Word.

   As a newspaper reporter, I've interviewed the president of the U.S. Unification Church (the Moonies), the Yahwehs which had a commune near our city, cult members, Hindus, Jews, a pastor of the Worldwide Church of God (Armstrong's church),  atheists, agnositics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, modernists, and leaders of almost every large Christian denomination. Each interview almost always revolved on, "What do you believe about Jesus?"

 I hate it that young people seeking to learn more about God are sitting under teachers who teach more about unbelief than they do reasons for faith. It might not hurt youth to know some of what they'll face out there, but if they don't know enough of the Word to know why we don't believe as others do, it's almost an abomination.

P.C. Nelson, the founder of Southwestern Assemblies of God University, in his book, "Bible Doctrines," writes in his chapter on "The One True God," "The Bible is against Polytheism," and followed with Bible teaching showing why we don't believe that way. He goes on to Pantheism, Christian Theism, and other false doctrine, followed immediately by scriptures that refute the beliefs. He didn’t start out teaching all the tenents of each false doctrine just to make his students wiser about different religious points of view.

In his book, "Handbook of Today's Religions," (Campus Crusade for Christ, Here’s Life Publishers) Josh McDowell wrote in the introduction, "This volume is intended to be a general reference work for those who are interested in knowing what various groups believe and why those beliefs are not compatible with biblical Christianity." (Italics mine).

 How does McDowell define a cult? “One characteristic that is found in all cults is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ in the light of historical biblical Christianity,” he said, and then quoted 2 Corinthians 11:4 where the Apostle Paul talks about those who believe in ”another Jesus.”

 McDowell said, “The ‘Jesus’ of the cults is always someone less than the Bible’s eternal God who became flesh, lived on earth, and died for our sins.... The Jesus of the cults is not the Jesus of the Bible (page 22).” 

The Jesus of the Bible?

·        “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

·        “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

·        “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19KJ).

·        “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

·        Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10.

·        Jesus answered Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight.” (John 18:36).

"Who do you say that I am?" Jesus asked.

 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. “And I tell you that you are Peter,” and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:15-18).

·       
According to my Strong's Greek dictionary, Simon's new name,  Peter, is  Petros or Petrus,  "piece of rock".  Protestant theologians interpret this scripture to mean the church will be built on the principle that Christ is the Son of the living God--Petra, a mass of rock.

At His trial the high priest said, “I adjure you by the living God that you tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus spoke up for the first time in the proceedings. “You have said it yourself” (Matt. 26:64). This is an affirmative reply in the original language. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied (NIV). “Plainly, I am” (Mk. 14:62).

Then Jesus quoted the Old Testament prophet Daniel to give evidence to the declaration. “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heavens” (Matt. 26:64).

We need to know these scriptures, and there is so much more. Why bother will error when there is so much truth to explore?

  ©Copyright  Ada Brownell August 2013


 
 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author of the Nun and the Narc talks about writing


The Nun and the Narc blurb/summary:
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.



Bio for Catherine Castle:

Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. The Nun and the Narc is her debut inspirational suspense romance book.

INTERVIEW WITH CATHERINE CASTLE

1.     Tell us about your writing career. 
I have been writing all my life. As a teenager I wrote poetry (and still do) and my first romance novel. I also did some short stories that have long since been lost. In the 1990s I began writing as a freelancer for the local newspaper and for the Christian Publishing house Standard Publishing writing for children. During the 90s I began writing fiction again.
2.      What is the most important thing you believe a writer should do when writing an inspirational book?
I think one of the most important things an inspirational writer can do is write a book that non-Christians will want to read. To me, that means don’t preach to the reader. Nothing will make a non-Christian stop reading a book faster than preaching at them. One of my favorite Amazon reviews comes from a non-Christian reader who didn’t expect to like the book because it was an inspirational romance. She expected preaching. Because I didn’t preach at her, she read the book and loved it.
3.      What kind of research did you have to do before writing this book?
I had to do a lot of research on Mexico, because that’s where the book is set. I also looked up information on drug dealers, points of entry along the Mexican border, and nuns, since I’m not one.
4.      How do you entwine the fun or humor into your novel when your leading characters are the middle of dangerous drug dealers?
My husband says I tend to make jokes and get mouthy when I get nervous or things get too serious. I think I infused Sister Margaret Mary with some of my quirks to lighten the mood in the tense moments.
5.      Years ago when I first studied fiction writing I learned trouble and hardship show a person’s true character; and fiction can’t be stranger than real life. Give me an example of how one of your characters was shaped by his or her experiences.
Although Jed has a family history of law enforcement, his drive to get the bad guys, especially drug dealers, stems from the loss of his father, who was killed by a drug user. It’s the reason he joined the DEA and partly why he doesn’t want to make connections with people. Losing them hurts too much.
6.      Who is one of your characters you can’t forget? Why does he or she stick in your memory?
I have to admit that I have a fondness for Sister Margaret Mary. She is full of spunk and has a caring heart that puts her and Jed in danger more than once. Her empathy also makes her a memorable character.
7.      Tell me about how you work to inspire readers in their faith journey. How do you introduce scripture? What is your favorite scripture?
That’s a difficult question because faith is such a personal thing, no matter where you are in your journey.  Sister Margaret is not a perfect nun: she has faults, flaws and foilables, and limitations to what she will and won’t do, all characteristics I hope the readers could recognize in their own lives.  If our characters aren’t real, how will readers identify with them?
I believe that scripture should be used naturally in a book and not forced into the context by constant quoting through characters. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go around everyday quoting scripture. I might paraphrase sometimes, if the occasion calls for it. In The Nun and the Narc  Mother Superior suggests that Sister Margaret read a certain set of passages before writing her vows of commitment to Christ.  Introducing the scriptures is a natural fit there and I do quote them. But when Mother Superior talks with her about the parable of the camel and the Eye of the Needle, she doesn’t quote the passage or reference the scripture location, referring to it instead in story form. Nor does Sister Margaret quote the Bible to Jed. She shows him her faith through her actions.
As for my favorite scripture, it’s But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. The image of God supporting us like the air currents support the soaring eagle is a very comforting one.
8.      How often do you write and how do you conclude each writing session?
Not as often as I should.☺ I tend to write in blocks of time, not daily, and I don’t like to be disturbed when I’m in the writing zone. If it wasn’t for my husband asking if I was hungry, I could miss lunch and dinner and my favorite television shows when I’m on a roll. I end each writing session by backing up and printing out what I’ve written that day.  I like to have that hard copy just in case. I learned that lesson after I lost 50 pages of work. My computer crashed while backing up a week’s work and I had to recreate all the new pages from memory. Not fun.
9.      What is your ultimate goal?
So often the world looks at Christians as people they don’t want to get to know. We can be viewed as judgmental, standoffish, preachy, and downright strange. I think that’s why most non-Christians will never pick up an inspirational romance or other Christian fiction. As an inspirational writer, I would like to write books that the secular audience wants to read, as well as the Christian audience. For me, this means books that let the faith journey of the characters shine through naturally without preaching or copious quoting of scripture. I want to show the readers the faith of the characters through their actions and make these characters real enough that a reader can say, “I know someone like that.” Or “Wow, I never knew Christians could be so real.”  
Where do we purchase your books and find out more information?
Currently, The Nun and the Narc is available at Amazon as an ebook. It will come out near the end of this year as a print book, too.
Catherine’s blog: http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/
Catherine’s Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/catherinecastle
Twitter: @AuthorCCastle

Monday, August 12, 2013

DO YOU NEED FAMILY RESTORATION? Anita Higman talks about restoring family relationships and her book, Winter in Full Bloom


This is great fun. I am reading Winter in Full Bloom and enjoying it immensely. I'm halfway through and will be excited to see how it ends! I see writing a rave review in my future!





INTERVIEW
Winter in Full Bloom is set in Texas as well as Australia. What made you want to set the novel in these two places?
Well, I live in Texas, and so I wanted to make use of my home state. After living here for about thirty years I have a soft spot for Texas now. Also, I’d visited Melbourne, Australia for about three weeks and had taken notes, and since it was such an exotic place and I’d had such an amazing time there, I wanted to share some of my experiences with readers.

The cover is beautiful. Did you have any input in this cover?
Yes, actually, I did. The publisher sent me a few samples to look at, and I chose this one. But the cover you see now was tweaked a number of times. One of the changes was the addition of the red tulips all along the snowy path. I’m so glad the publisher was open to changes. I’m very happy with the final cover. It reflects the story even better than before, and I think that bit of unexpected intrigue along the road will be eye-catching to the bookstore browser.

That title is unique. How did you come up with Winter in Full Bloom?
Sometimes I brainstorm titles, and then sometimes I use a phrase I find within the manuscript that works well as a title. Winter in Full Bloom was created during one of my brainstorming sessions. As a side note, there are a couple of meanings to this tile. The heroine’s name is Lily Winter. Also, half of the book takes place in Houston at the advent of winter, but when she flies to Melbourne at the same time of the year, Australians are experiencing the beginning of spring. So, even though Lily has begun getting ready for winter, she suddenly enters into a season of springtime—literally and in her personal life.

Are the characters from your imagination, or do they come from real life?
My characters are a mixture of both. I’ll be watching someone at the airport or the mall or at church, and I’ll think, “Wow, that gesture or laugh or walk is perfect for my character.” Then some of my character’s traits will come straight from my imagination. Usually, it’s a fun brew of all the above.

Do you and your husband travel a lot?
We travel much more now that we have empty nest. Last year we went to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. This year we’ve been to Mexico, California, and right now as I type this answer, my husband and I are waiting at the airport to fly to Ireland. Can’t wait. I’m hoping to set one of my future novels in Ireland.

Why do you write?
I have a real need to express myself creatively—guess I was born that way—and writing and I fit well together.

Your heroine, Lily Winter, is experiencing empty nest. Why did you add that element to the story?
I was going through this same rough phase of motherhood, and I thought it would be good to add this to the story. I hope it added an element of authenticity to the tale. And too, forcing myself to write about the pain surely helped me deal with it better.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been in this profession for about thirty years. It’s been a long, stumbly kind of journey. I’ve had some dark hours—those moments when I really didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. Moments when rejection swept me under like a scary undertow. Moments when getting published seemed pretty much impossible. But I never gave up, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve had thirty-four books published in many genres, and even though it’s been a rough ride, it’s also been deeply satisfying.

This story is about twin sisters? Are you a twin and do you have a sister?
I’m afraid I have to say no to both of those questions, but I’ve always wanted to have a sister. And that desire I suppose fueled the dialogue and some of this story.

Winter in Full Bloom is a love story but also a story of family reconciliation. Have you experienced that last part in your own life?
Yes, I have known the miracle of family reconciliation, and it has brought me great joy!

Any final words for your readers?
If you have ever taken the time to read one of my novels, I thank you with all my heart. I sincerely hope that Winter in Full Bloom inspires you and makes you laugh, and when you come to the last page and close the book, I hope your heart and your step feels just a little lighter.



Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-four books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.
Anita recently won her second Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and her latest novel, Winter in Full Bloom (Moody Publishers) is available now.
Please visit her website at www.anitahigman.com and drop her a note by clicking the “Contact Me” button.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

COURAGE TO CHANGE



BOOK BLURB:
“Courage To Change”by Elizabeth Maddrey, is Book Two of the “Grant Us Grace” series.
How much should you change for love?
When Phil Reid became a Christian and stopped drinking, his hard-partying wife Brandi divorced him. Reeling and betrayed, he becomes convinced Christians should never remarry, and resolves to guard his heart.
Allison Vasak has everything in her life under control, except for one thing. Her heart is irresistibly drawn to fellow attorney and coworker, Phil. Though she knows his history and believes that women should not initiate relationships, she longs to make her feelings known.
As Phil and Allison work closely together to help a pregnant teen, both must re-consider their convictions. But when Brandi discovers Phil’s new relationship, she decides that though she doesn’t want him, no one else can have him. Can Phil and Allison’s love weather the chaos Brandi brings into their lives?
Trade Paperback ISBN 978-1938708138
Ebook ISBN 978-1938708152

MEET THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.  Elizabeth is a member of ACFW and lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.  Visit her website at www.ElizabethMaddrey.com
Elizabeth’s books published by HopeSprings Books:
·         “Wisdom to Know”,  ‘Grant Us Grace’ Book One, January 2013
·         “Courage to Change”,  ‘Grant Us Grace’ Book Two, April 2013
·         “Serenity to Accept”, ‘Grant Us Grace’ Book Three, September 2013



Has God given you a book to write?



Write the stories God gives you, by Elizabeth Maddrey

For a lot of writers, writing isn’t something they choose to do, it’s something they can’t help but do. I fall into that category. Publication was always on that “someday I want to…” list that we all carry around with us in the back of our minds. Also on that list are things like going into space and taking a trip around the world. For the longest time, having a book published seemed just as likely as either of those.

I spent a lot of time reading about the craft and working on my writing, going to conferences, reading blogs…all the things you do to better yourself when you’re serious about a particular topic. And yet, nothing seemed to get me any closer to feeling like what I turned out was publishable. In fact, when I finally got something that I thought was close, I had it critiqued as part of a conference experience and the author who did that for me (someone whose books I’ve enjoyed and who I respect as a writer) told me, in pretty blunt terms, that it wasn’t something anyone would ever pick up. It wasn’t so much the writing as it was the topic. I write about things that aren’t all that mainstream. The Christians in my books sin – often on purpose. And while they feel guilty about it and, ultimately, repent, the characters in my books are a lot like me and the people I know. Which is to say, not perfect.

After I got that feedback, I did a lot of soul searching. Did I want to write things that were publishable or did I feel like the things I was writing were the things that I was meant to be writing? And if the latter, what did that mean? For me it ended up meaning putting aside the dream of having an agent and one of the big houses begging to publish my books – at least for a while – and going with a smaller publishing company. It might have meant self publishing – that was on my mind while I looked at the smaller houses.

So that’s my encouragement to writers out there. Don’t be afraid to think outside the big six. There’s a lot of change going on in the publishing world right now, and it’s opening some doors for new writers or those of us who are writing things that are a little different. It’s an exciting time to be a writer. So write the stories God gives you and then ask Him to help you find their home – no matter what kind of home that ends up being.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Does God need you? Valerie Comer, Queen Esther, and Raspberries and Vinegar



For Such a Time as This

Remember Queen Esther? She was just an ordinary (albeit beautiful) woman placed in a difficult time in history. I'm sure she never thought, growing up, that she would play a pivotal role in keeping her people from annihilation. Yet the book of Esther 4:14 quotes her uncle as saying, "Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” And her actions following his question prove his analysis to be correct. God had put her in the right place at the right time with the right tools to keep His people safe.

For such a time as this.

Powerful words. I don't think Esther is the only person in history whom God has called to meet a specific need.

I hesitate to put myself on such a playing field. Though I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has put me here and now, with the skills and passion for the task He's called me to, I know I'm not the only one. It's not all on my shoulders. (Not that it was all on Esther's, for the God who called her guided her through Mordecai.)

What unique purpose has God called me to? To write fiction that entertains, definitely, but also that challenges believers to consider their food choices. Many people consider that a strange statement. What does faith have to do with food?

A lot! Or at least it should. I have a series on my blog called Where Food Meets Faith that explains the relationships, not only from my perspective, but from that of other Christians in guest posts. (Click on the category label at the above link to see more.)

Food production around the planet is in trouble and will affect every one of us if it doesn't already. From slavery (google cocoa + slavery) to starvation (google famine + politics) to GMOs (google genetically modified organisms) to the declining bee population, our global population and global environment are in crisis.

Do people want to read a sermon on the topic? Some do, and they're spreading the news via nonfiction. Others prefer fiction, which enables people to examine various angles in a nonthreatening story. In my new Farm Fresh Romance series, I've written "Farm Lit" http://farmlit.com  with sweet simplicity and a bit of zing.

The first book, Raspberries and Vinegar, released August first. This novel finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

You can find out more about this novel (and download the first chapter) at my publisher's website: Choose NOW Publishing.

Sound interesting? You're in luck! From August 6-9, anyone who orders a paperback copy of Raspberries and Vinegar can receive the digital versions as a thank you gift. We're also offering a bunch of other fun downloads: digital art, a podcast with interviews about the intersection of food and faith, a video of me making Raspberry Vinegar, and more.

My question for you today is this: Why did God place you on Earth right now? What has He called you to do? And. . .are you doing it?






Bio
Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released August 1, 2013. Visit her at http://valeriecomer.com.

A Farm Fresh Romance Series:

A Farm Fresh Romance. This unique farm lit series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of three college graduates who move onto a reclaimed farm where they plan to take the rural area by storm with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods.       

Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance (1) by Valerie Comer

Short Blurb:

Sweet and tart Josephine Shaw is on a mission to rid the world of junk food and chemicals by promoting local foods and sustainability.

Back Cover Copy

Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can't handle? And surely there's something sweet beneath all that tart.

Release Copy:

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

Buy Raspberries and Vinegar: (includes links to various stores/versions)
http://valeriecomer.com/bookshelf/fiction-2/raspberries-vinegar-farm-fresh-romance/

Buy through Choose NOW Publishing: http://www.choosenowpublishing.com/posts/books/raspberries-and-vinegar-farm-fresh-romance/ (includes various links)

Connect at:
·         Website: http://valeriecomer.com
·         Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author
·         Twitter: http://twitter.com/valeriecomer http://twitter.com/towritestory
·         Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/valeriecomer
·         Blog: http://valeriecomer.com/blog
·         Writing Blog & Free eCourse: http://towriteastory.com


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fantasy: Keeper of Reign by Emma Right--Win a $50 Amazon gift card!

TITLE:  CrossReads Book Blast: Keeper of Reign by Emma Right


Keeper of Reign By Emma Right

About the Book

Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn't get himself killed first.
*~*
Emma RightEmma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.
Follow Emma Right Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Emma Right! This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Friday, August 2, 2013

HUSH LITTLE BABY--Novel by Deborah Piccurelli



COVER BLURB FOR HUSH, LITTLE BABY:


Investigative journalist, Amber Blake, is a little person bent on payback for the death of her average-sized twin sister. Enlisted by her former partner and estranged husband, Evan, she poses as a counselor in an abortion clinic to expose the doctor responsible for fetal harvesting. As a Christian, she struggles with concealing her beliefs to maintain her cover, while the doctor’s romantic overtures tumble her stomach. Amber agrees to date him for the sake of the story . . . but nothing prepares her for what’s behind a mysterious door in his office. 


MOVED WITH COMPASSION

By

Deborah M. Piccurelli


While waiting for my son in a radiology facility the other day, I listened as, one after the other, patients were called, and either told they were finished, apologized to for the delay, or taken in for their scheduled procedure.

 Each person, whether server, or recipient, exhibited much caring, humbleness and joviality. I watched an elderly gentlemen with a cane lumber out the double glass doors, as a woman entered. He held the door for her, and she thanked him. He said, “You’re welcome!” with cheerful conviction, as she, in turn, held the door for a woman exiting. Viewing all of this, I was “moved with compassion,” a phrase I’d become familiar with from my daily Bible reading.

It was Jesus, the Great Book tells us, who was moved with compassion many times for the masses who constantly pressed in around Him. I stopped and asked myself, “Am I like Jesus in that way? Like Him, do I have a heart for people?” I thought so. But when I dug deeper, I wasn’t sure. Of course, it’s easy to have compassion for friendly, cheerful, attractive, kind, considerate people; but what about the bitter, angry, standoffish, rude, unattractive, and inconsiderate? I just read a passage this morning in Luke, Chapter 6. It says:

            And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
            For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also
            love those that love them.

            And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For
            sinners also do even the same.

            And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For
            sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

            But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;
            and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest:
            for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

What? God is kind to the unthankful and to the evil? Okay, then. I guess that means that since I’m supposed to strive to be like Him, I should be doing the same thing.

So then back to my original question. Am I acting like Jesus? I am if I can be kind and compassionate to the unthankful and to the evil, as well as to the humble and the good. That’s a difficult and unthinkable task!

But then again, as the passage says, my “reward shall be great.”




AUTHOR BIO:
  
Deborah M. Piccurelli is an advocate for sanctity of life, and tackles such issues in her novels, weaving them into compelling stories. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, their two sons.