Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet Christian Author TRISH PERRY

Today we're visiting with Trish Perry. Please join me in welcoming her.

SHARON:
Thank you for joining us today, Trish. Can you tell us who has been one of your best encouragers on your writing journey?

TRISH:
My agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, has been a constant encourager. I don’t know if Tamela was a cheerleader in school, but she should have been. Right from the start, she always talked as if she fully believed in my capabilities. She’s wonderfully flexible to whatever is happening in my nonwriting life, and she constantly works to keep me sane and productive. If you ever have to hear a publisher’s words of rejection, she’s the one you want to hear them from. A total class act.

SHARON:
Why do you write the kind of books you do? Why Christian fiction?

TRISH:
It’s funny you ask that, Sharon, because recently I’ve considered this matter very seriously. The other day I watched a short video about evangelizing, and it occurred to me that I’m a lousy evangelist. I could probably count on my two hands the number of times I’ve even attempted to lead a person to Christ. But the very next thought I had was that God blessed me with a different kind of evangelism—my books. I don’t set out to get the four steps into my stories; as a matter of fact, with each book I become more subtle (at least I hope I do). Still, the letters and emails I get from readers tell me that God reaches people using my novels. Knowing that, how could I not write the kind of books I do?

SHARON:
I totally see where you are coming from. Writing is my means of communicating, and I so want to encourage hurting women. But back to the interview questions"
Are you a "plotter" or a "seat-of-the-pants" writer?

TRISH:
I’m definitely a plotter, but I don’t have a particular formula that I follow. I simply have a general idea of my beginning and end. I get a good grasp of my characters. Then I develop a skeletal outline of chapters, in which I lay out the steps the plot needs to take to get from that beginning to that end. But I find as I let the characters be themselves that the outline changes. So, while I plot to a certain extent, there’s a bit of SOP going on there as well.

SHARON:
What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?

TRISH:
My favorite part is the experience of losing yourself in the story as it leaps from your mind to the screen. My least favorite part is the stiff, painful, awkward writing you have to do in order to eventually lose yourself in said story-leaping mode.

SHARON:
And what keeps you writing in times of uncertainty? Or do you have times of uncertainty?

TRISH:
To be honest, deadlines keep me writing in times of uncertainty! But they’re gifts from God, because those are the very times I really need to focus on my writing and not wallow in uncertainty.

SHARON:
What advice on writing/publication has helped you the most?

TRISH:
I’ve heard so much excellent advice on writing, what works, and what doesn’t, that it’s hard to choose the best. But ultimately it all boils down to one concept. I can’t remember who is was that once asked Christian author Lisa Samson how she managed to keep writing the complex, interesting novels she does when sometimes they’re critical successes but not necessarily blockbuster sellers. Her one word response was, “Obedience.” Most of the good advice I’ve received over the years has centered on the importance of listening for God’s guidance and obeying it as best as you know how. If you’re doing that, the rest of the details are just accessories.

SHARON:
Wow. Obedience. That is so true. What is the worst piece of writing advice you’ve heard?

TRISH:
When I was brand spanking new and had written only five or six chapters of my first novel (which is still unpublished), I had what I now know was a rather racy opening scene, by Christian publishing standards. My heroine was unsaved, so her amoral lifestyle made sense to me. Still, I wondered if it was over the line. Trust me; it was. Yet when I attended a writers’ conference and had a paid critique with a well-known Christian author (who shall remain nameless), I asked her about it. She shrugged it off and said the opening was no problem. That was truly bad advice, and another well-known author set me straight later. Now that I’ve been in the industry for a number of years, I’m just gobstopped that any savvy Christian author would be so cavalier about a novel opening that spelled certain death for a manuscript.

SHARON:
Is there anything else you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

TRISH:
I could say I wish I’d known what would break me into the business faster—what genre was hot at the time. But that’s not true, because everything we write prior to publication is a step toward that publication. What I would have benefitted from earlier would have been becoming a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. I always recommend ACFW to new fiction writers, because it doesn’t matter where you are in your career when you join. You’ll make friends and contacts that will change your life. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from the most successful novelists in the industry. And you’ll learn so much about the industry itself, usually without even leaving your home.

SHARON:
I agree. I have learned so much from ACFW. What other writing resources do you recommend?

TRISH:
James Scott Bell’s Plotting and Structure is an excellent place to start. My favorite editing book is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Browne and King. And, as I mentioned above, the online resources at ACFW (www.acfw.com) are invaluable.

SHARON:
One last question: How can readers find you on the Internet?

TRISH:

· My website is www.trishperry.com I love visitors!
· I also have a Facebook page, and honey, I need friends: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=1459576628&ref=profile
· And my Shoutlife page is http://www.shoutlife.com/profile_view.cfm?uid=12222
· I’m also on Twitter, but I’ve only twitted tweeted twote two times, which I know is exactly the opposite of the whole point. I may eventually think my most mundane actions warrant announcement. If anyone’s interested, here’s my page: http://twitter.com/trishperrybooks

Thanks, Sharon! It’s been fun.

SHARON: My pleasure!

NOTE: We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Trish will send one blessed person a copy of Sunset Beach.

Monday, June 29, 2009

SUNSET BEACH

By Trish Perry

Why Trish wrote this book:

When I wrote Beach Dreams, I wasn't aware I would have the opportunity to revisit the San Diego beach house. I loved creating all new characters for the return trip in Sunset Beach. Sonny Miller, her vacation roommates, and their questions and confessions about family and identity provided plenty of conflict and fun. I enjoyed watching with Sonny as the mysteries of her past unfolded. And I loved exploring the possibilities of new friendship and romance afforded by Irina and her brother. I'm not yet ready to say goodbye to these new characters, and I hope readers will feel the same!

The Blurb:

Sonny's mother, classical soprano Teresa Miller, isn't aware she's about to be reunited at the beach house with her sister, Melanie Hines, after 25 years of estrangement. And Sonny isn't aware her mother has invited a surprise guest of her own. Russian adoptee, Irina Petrova, finds herself dragged along on a trip so tumultuous she summons her handsome concert violinist brother for moral support.

The four women converge on the funky little beach house in San Diego, each with her own disappointments and hopes about family, identity, and love. For Sonny, the trip reveals all she expected and more than she ever dreamed.

What Others Say:

"Gotta love a book about Southern California! Being a native daughter, I am partial to books that highlight the glories of living in the Golden state.

That being said, I enjoyed this book! Our heroine Sonny is likeable, realistic, and struggles with the same things I did when I was a coed in college. (In San Diego also) Our hero, Grig is the type of boy you want your daughters to marry, and if you have daughters give them this book to read so they can see the benefits of being with a strong Christian man.

This is a great book to read on vacation and well worth the time and money spent." ~~Keleigh Crigler Hadley

"I read this book pretty much straight through and finished it in two days. It's a sweet romance between two young people who are recent college graduates. But it's more than just a romantic tale. It's a story of healing and revealing secrets. It's a story of wounded people learning to love and support each other...and learning to trust and be honest about how they feel. There
are many beautiful, Biblical themes in Sunset Beach that make it well worth the read. The hero was yummy, and the heroine was loveable. You couldn't help but want to see things worked out in her family. I found the conflict to be very realistic and well-done. The character arcs were gradual and satisfying as well. I didn't cry my eyes out like I did with Trish's last book, Beach Dreams, but I managed a satisfied sigh at the end of this one. This is a great beach read. For real. Check it out! " ~~Michelle Sutton

My Take:

I love a book about family relationships. Trish did not let me down with her book Sunset Beach. The healing of a whole family who had been separated for twenty-four years gives a message of hope.

Sometimes we are afraid to reach out to those who have hurt us, to those we have hurt. This story shows how God can help put back the pieces of broken relationships IF all those involved are willing to let Him.

Trish does a marvelous job with characterization. Each character in this story, at least the one's staying at the Beach House, have their own personal problems and are three dimensional people that I came to love. I hope we will hear more about them in future stories.

NOTE: We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Trish will send one blessed person a copy of Sunset Beach.

Friday, June 26, 2009

BIBLE PUZZLE

The other day my friend Barb sent me this puzzle to share.

Can you find the names of 25 books of the Bible in this story?

This is a most remarkable puzzle. Someone found it in the seat pocket on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping himself occupied for hours.

One man from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat.

Roy Clark studied it while playing his banjo.

Elaine Victs mentioned it in her column once.

One woman judges the job to be so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help calm her nerves.

There will be some names that are really easy to spot...that's a fact. Some people will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. The truth is, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or scholar to see some of them at the worst.

This is something to do when you have time or are bored! Enjoy finding these books. Let me know how you do! Something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have. Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown.

One revelation may help, books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. And puctuation or spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete.

Remember, there are 25 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this story.

Let me know how you fare with the puzzle.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MISSION STATEMENT

Guest Blogger:
Raynene Burgess

MISSION STATEMENT

Read Acts 1:5-11

            "But you shall receive power...when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends...of the earth."  Acts 1:8 (AMP)

            We studied this in Sunday school and I realized that this really did become the apostles' mission statement.  The Lord commissioned these men to preach His Word everywhere.

            I have also wondered what my mission statement is for my life.  Just when I wonder if I am doing any good for the Lord's kingdom, I get a positive sign that I am on the right road.  Jesus encourages me and applauds me when I do little things for someone.  Helping out with meals for a Chrysalis weekend, calling a family to see how they are doing, praying for a hurting family, hugging someone at church, or sending a note of encouragement to my pastor is what Jesus wants me to do.  I am spreading His love to other people and living by the mission statement recorded in Acts.

            What is your mission statement?  Is it like the one in Acts?  Are you taking Jesus to other people?  The Lord applauds you when you help Him!

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meet Patti Lacy

Today we're visiting with Patti Lacy. We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Patti will send one blessed person a copy of What the Bayou Saw.

Thanks for having me on board, Sharon! You’ve been a writer soulmate for a long time and you’ve devoted so much time to ACFW and to other writers in both public and private venues! I thank you for that support and dedicate this first question/answer to you!

Who have been your best encouragers on your writing journey?

Soulmate writers offer CPR when rejection, discouragement, and/or writer’s block strangle hope. I define these special people as those who don’t just love but truly like my work and are willing to put the time and effort behind those words by buying my books, blogging, and word-of-mouthing! When cardiac arrest strikes, treatment begins with lengthy e-mails and/or phone calls. Thankfully a couple of local writers will meet me at our “plasma center,” the Coffee Hound shops in Bloomington and Normal, Illinois. Soon proper chemical balance returns to the heart, and work can resume!

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Of course! We’d all have to be loony not to have dry mouth and sagging smiles in this current economy! But as writers, aren’t we loony, anyway? With God’s help, we’ll step back from the precipitous edge of insecurity and pity.

What gave you the inspiration for What the Bayou Saw?

Cat Hoort of Kregel actually came up with this title, which is sooo much more mysterious than A Southern Woman’s Story, which was my attempt at a moniker. Cat’s title hints at the dangers lurking in that murky body of water and creates tension to foreshadow the danger wrought, not only by the evil Rufus, but by what I call the “human stain” of racism on the South. How was this story placed on your heart? Growing up in Monroe, Louisiana, in the 60s and early 70s, I lived and breathed desegregation talk and struggled to make my way through the gnarly undergrowth that made up society’s attitudes toward African-Americans. What the Bayou Saw is my attempt to explore that era of history through the eyes of two little girls who longed to be friends but were forbidden to play together by, not only their families, but by that society.

How much research and plotting do you do before you're ready to write a book?

I research before, during, and after the story captures my heart and soul. My family knows a new book’s brewing when materials pile up on the kitchen table, the bedside stand, and make the path to my study chair a treacherous journey! Whenever possible, I purchase books so I can underline key phrases and concepts. Usually I compose a paragraph that summarizes the book, then dig back into resources, including movies, magazines, and real-life folks! After I outline scenes, it’s time to unfold all those dog-eared pages and create setting. Oftentimes, the storyline changes as imagination spices up what I’ve read and seen and heard. Isn’t that the fun thing about being the writer, tossing those cool herbs and seasonings, into the olio pot?

In What the Bayou Saw, what was your favorite scene to write?

Definitely the Epilogue. After Sally’s and Ella’s and Shamika’s traumatic and dramatic experiences, I loved lavishing them with happiness and peace. (That’s kinda odd, isn’t it, to have enjoyed the very last pages of a 300+ page book the best!)

Which were your most difficult parts?

Opening up my love/hate memories of “Southern Living” caused soul-searching and more than one sleepless night. To do justice to the bayou scene with poor Sally, I interviewed several counselors and hotline technicians trained to aid women who’ve suffered sexual assault. It was hard to even picture that scene, much less write it.

What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve heard?

If you work hard enough and write long enough, you will be rewarded with publication. That publication is the be-all, end-all reward for writers.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

www.pattilacy.com. I’d love to hear from you at patti@pattilacy.com.

Any parting words?

Dear writers, do your best to craft your stories for the Audience of One. Pray that God will bring you contentment with that. And cling to His bountiful promises! Blessings to all of you. Patti

Monday, June 22, 2009

What the Bayou Saw

by Patti Lacy

My family moved frequently when I was a youngster, so I was blessed to call Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana home. In 1977, I graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, with a B.S. in Education, science and English teaching fields. That summer, I married Alan Lacy, a junior high teacher and basketball coach.

A year later, Alan and I packed up a U-Haul and moved to Arizona, where Alan attended Arizona State and I worked as a junior high school teacher and coached a boys' tennis team. Then we switched roles, and I attended and graduated from court reporting school while Alan taught and coached. For five years, we made a home, along with a Dalmatian and a Sheltie, in the Southwestern desert.

In 1981, we returned to our Texas roots. As a certified court reporter, I tore about the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with the help of my shorthand machine, taking depositions of high-powered executives, expert witnesses, and divorce-minded couples. Then our lives changed in a wonderful way! By 1988, we had two children, a girl and a boy.

After fourteen priceless years surrounded by our Texas relatives, we moved again, this time to Terre Haute, Indiana, where I worked on my master's in literature at Indiana State University. Now we live in Normal, Illinois, a strange place for wacky Southerners! Last year, I resigned from my community college teaching job to embark on a full-time writing career. To satisfy our need for children since our two are grown, Alan and I recently "rescued" a dog from the Humane Society. Laura, an interesting mix of at least ten breeds, accompanies me on daily jogs and then lies peacefully at my feet (or in my favorite chair) while I write.

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteer work at Ministries & More, a food distribution ministry. I've also enjoyed hiking and sightseeing in most of the fifty states, Canada, Ireland, and Switzerland.

Patti's Faith:

God gifted me with Christian parents who proclaimed the gospel of Christ Jesus, tucked me in with Bible stories, and woke me with a prayer on their lips. I accepted Christ at the age of twelve and was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in Monroe, Louisiana.

During my teenage years, I veered away from my Savior and chose to live to please myself. For years, I became mired in a cycle of repentance and regression. I had to experience both physical and mental struggles to come to a place where I could declare God as sovereign and allow His Holy Spirit to begin the miraculous process of sanctification on my life. Through God's Word, the Holy Bible, and God's gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, I can live assured of God's promises and have the hope of heaven.

The Blurb:

Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.

What Others Say:

I loved Patti's other book, An Irishwoman's Tale, so it was with pleasant anticipation that I sat down to read her second novel. It was also an honour to meet her during my USA odyssey last year!

I made the mistake of starting to read shortly before bedtime. An hour later I realised how late it was and flipped off the light. Ten minutes after that, I decided it was utterly useless to try and sleep. This book would not let me go until I finished it at an unearthly hour!

Sally, a Southern belle teaching in Illinois, is disturbed when one of her students is attacked. The course of events pulls long-hidden facts to light and forces her to deal with the consequences of her childhood's history.

Sally and Ella's friendship sheds light on the quagmire that hindered multicultural relations back in the 60's. To say that things were difficult back then is putting it mildly. Mistakes were made, lives ruined, childhoods destroyed by acts of violence and hate. Historical events are brought into the present in vivid colour as Sally, age 53, is confronted with her past that she left sunk in the bayou all those years ago.

I am amazed at the huge range of controversial topics the story covers. Abuse, denial, consequences and healing. Racism. Katrina. Murder. The supernatural. Friendship and betrayal. Mystery. Danger. These are disturbing ideas, and this is a highly disturbing story - in a good way, that stirs up emotion and conviction and awe.

Above all, this is a tale of a personal journey. Recovery from abuse is a difficult topic at the best of times, but Patti handles it with tact and gentleness. The consequences ring true for anyone who has experienced emotional pain. That's all of us somewhere, isn't it?

So if you're ready to face some shaking-up for your soul, go read this book. You won't be the same afterwards.~~Grace Brigette Francis

My Take:

This is a life changing book. I remember the 60's. I remember having colored classmates and the mixed feeling of friendships with them. The scolding of the older woman in the neighborhood.

I remember as a young child living in Washington DC and walking toward a drinking fountain, Mom pulling me back. I couldn't use it because it was for the colored folks. Mom said it wasn't fair for me to use the fountain because the colored people couldn't use the one set aside for the white folks.

Once again my friend Patti has written a gripping story. One that gripped
my heart, took my breath away and drew me in. The friendship of the Swamp Sisters takes many twists and turns and this story has real take away value.

Book Contest: We will have a drawing at the end of the week. Leave a comment on my blog. Patti Lacy will send one blessed person a FREE copy of What The Bayou Saw.

Friday, June 19, 2009

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver

Malachi 3:3

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.

He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:

'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered yes,he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?'

He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy --when I see my image in it.'

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire , remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Whatever we are going through, we will each be a better person in the end.

'Life is a coin. You can spend it anyway you wish, but you can only spend it once.

Special thanks to the friend who sent this to me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pray For The Children


My husband and I live in an empty nest. But when the children were younger I used to go into their bedrooms while they were at school or work and pray for them while surrounded by their favorite things.

When I was troubled I would surround myself with my Bible, a concordance, and my favorite Topical Bible. I would research the subject that was troubling me and then sit down with the child of the moment and go over the subject with him or her. Our oldest son has lamented that he doesn't know where the lessons are that I wrote.

Even though the children are all married with homes of their own we don't stop caring. When I see the grandchildren show disrespect to their parents I feel as though I have been given a physical blow. And so I pray. Will you pray with me please?

Father, I thank you for the gift of children and grandchildren— Ps 127:3— and for Your promise— Ps 128:6— that we shall see our children's children and that one day we shall see peace upon Israel.

Lord, the world wants to teach our children wrong is right and right is wrong. And I ache for my grandchildren and the children and grandchildren of my friends and loved ones. Oh God that my grandchildren would listen to the father that begat them and that they not despise their mother in what they consider her old age. Prov 23: 22

Great God of all the universe, hear my cry. Don't let my children or grandchildren drift from the path You set before our fathers long ago. I never thought any of my children was a fool. But Lord, you say— Proverbs 1:7— The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Heavenly Father help my grandchildren find Your truth in the Bible, Your Holy Scriptures.

Help me Lord to impart wisdom to the children you have trusted to my care. Proverbs 1:8 My child, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto your head, and chains about your neck. Heavenly Father help my child not to become intangled with the ornaments and chains of the world but be content with Godly beauty which comes from the heart. I Peter 3:4.

And Lord, help my grandchildren to know that you honor the wisdom of their parents and you care where the children get their advice. You tell us in Luke 1:17 that you desire the hearts of the fathers to turn to the children and you desire the disobedient to turn to the wisdom of the just to prepare a people for the Lord.

O God, that you would look down in pity on me and mine. That You O God would forgive my wrong examples. That you would take pity on the offspring of my offspring and remove the curse of my sin from them. O Lord that my grandchildren would honor You by honoring their parents, that their days may be long on the earth. O my God, put my tears in Your bottle when I cry unto you. Ps 56: 8-9.

Monday, June 15, 2009

THE INHERITANCE

Tamera Alexander is a best-selling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious--and precocious--silky terrier named Jack.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in a small town just south of Nashville with a rich history dating back to 1799. There they enjoy life with their two college-age children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.


The Blurb:

An unexpected inheritance. An unknown future. An unending love.

Determined to tame her younger brother’s rebellious streak, McKenna Ashford accepts her cousin’s invitation to move west, and to begin again. But she quickly discovers that life in Copper Creek, Colorado is far from what she expected. Shouldering burdens beyond her years, McKenna tries to be the parent Robert needs, instead of the older sister he resents. But an “untimely inheritance” challenges her resolve at every turn, while also offering a second chance to restore her sense of trust—and perhaps even her heart.

U.S. Marshal Wyatt Caradon is dedicated to bringing fugitives to justice, yet years of living on the trail have taken their toll. When his path intersects with that of McKenna Ashford, he comes face-to-face with a past he never wanted to relive—and the one woman who can help him find the future he’s been longing for.

As McKenna struggles to let go of her independence and Wyatt considers opening his heart again, they discover an inheritance beyond imagination. But it will come at a price.

Women of FaithTM has shared the message of hope and grace with millions of women across the country through conferences and resources. When you see the words "Women of Faith Fiction" on a novel, you're guaranteed a reading experience that will capture your imagination and inspire your faith. 


What Others Say:

I've read all Tamera Alexander's books, so when I saw this one on the shelf, I snatched it up. I do believe it's her best yet. McKenna Ashton and her young brother set off for Copper Creek, Colorado after losing everything because of her brother's gambling debts. 
She is an expert saddle maker and finds work doing just that but Robert continues to be a problem. She meets US Marshall Wyatt Caradon, who knows from experience that Robert needs tough love. McKenna longs to feel free from all the anxieties she suffers when Robert gets into one scrape after another. Wyatt has already fallen for her, but she is determined not to care for him. 
I won't spoil the plot for those who haven't read it, but the theme of God's love and His protection are awesome. The prayer Wyatt prays over Robert, "Break him, Lord, until he's wholly Thine" is one all Christians should pray daily. If we can stand it. Don't miss this book for you will be blessed for reading it. ~~Susan Snodgrass "Bookworm"
"The Inheritance" is the first book in a new series called "Women of Faith Series" published by Thomas Nelson and written by Tamera Alexander. 
Agnes "McKenna" Ashford and her brother Robert have lost everything and due to Robert's rebellious behavior, they must journey west to begin anew. They are to live with their cousin and her family but when they arrive, things aren't what they were supposed to be. McKenna's cousin is dying and on her deathbed, she makes McKenna promise to raise her daughter Emma and run the ranch. Unable to refuse her, McKenna vows to make Emma her own and ventures out to make a new home for the three of them. Between Robert's misbehavior and a certain banker informing her that if she does not make payments on the ranch, they must foreclose. On top of all that, McKenna must deal with the attentions of a US Marshall, Wyatt Caradon. When her cousin-in-law's brother suddenly shows up to claim the ranch and Emma as his own and Robert spins out of control and gets in trouble with the law, McKenna questions why God is permitting all these horrible things to happen. 
This is my first Tamera Alexander book, but I know for a fact it won't be my last. When I'm able I plan to read her other works. McKenna is a strong, independent woman of faith in a difficult situation. What caught my attention the most was her relationship with her brother Robert. It seems as though she is in a lose-lose situation. She can't very well abandon him in his greatest time of need, but when she mothers him too much he only rebels more. The romance between her and Wyatt, while expected it is also adorable. And her unique friendship with Chin Mei, a Chinese woman, only adds to the story. I certainly hope that this book will have a sequel. ~~Veronica Leigh  http://veronicaleigh.blogspot.com 

My Take:

This was my first Tamera Alexander novel and I found the story gripping from the first page. Tamera Alexander knows how to draw you into the story. Her characters are very real, very compelling and right away we care what happens to them. I love books where children are involved and maybe that is why this book is very special to me. I could relate with MaKenna's trials and sufferings of mother love with her teen-aged brother and with her niece. I enjoyed becoming friends with Mei Chin. And seeing the many relationships develop. 

I loved Tamera's parting words to her readers. "So my continued prayer---perhaps along with you now---is break me, Lord, until I'm wholly yours."

Highly Recommended

Friday, June 12, 2009

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

a dear friend sent me this and asked me to share:

Observe around you and be thankful for all that you have in this transitory lifetime . . . We are fortunate, we have much more than what we need to be content.

If you think you are unhappy, look at them

If you think your salary is low, how about her?

If you think you don't have many friends...

When you feel like giving up, think of this man.

If you think you suffer in life, what about him?

If you complain about your transport system,
how about them?

If your society is unfair to you, how about her?







Are you STILL complaining?

Let's try not to feed this endless cycle of consumerism and immorality in which this "modern and advanced" society forgets and ignores the other two thirds of our brothers and sisters.

Let us complain less and give more!

We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Jill Eileen Nelson will send one blessed person a copy of her book Michal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meet Jill Eileen Smith

Today we're visiting with Jill Eileen Smith. We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Jill will send one blessed person a copy of Michal.

Jill's personal testimony: 
The first time I seriously thought about death was when I rode home from the funeral home with my parents after a man my dad worked with died. I started asking questions, and I became very worried about the future. What happened when we died? What did death even mean?

The worries grew to fears and though I'm sure my parents answered my questions, I couldn't quite grasp their explanations. One day, to help me understand it all better, in content my eight year old mind could comprehend, my big sister handed me a little booklet titled, My Heart - Christ's Home by Robert Boyd Munger. I plopped onto my parents' big bed and read it cover to cover.

Mr. Munger's book pierced my heart. It exposed the fact that I was a sinner and that Jesus wanted to come into my heart and cleanse every room, taking ownership of the whole house. He would make my heart clean and whole, if I would but give him the keys.

As I closed the book, my eyes shut with it and I prayed with every ounce of my being. "Dear Lord, please come into my heart." I opened my hand and offered him the imaginary keys. "And take all the keys to every room. Clean them out and live there. I give my whole heart to you." To the best of my child-like ability, I surrendered my life to Jesus.

When my prayer ended, I felt this all encompassing sense of peace. I tested it right away with thoughts of dying, and there was no fear! I was free from the biggest fear that plagues mankind. I knew that Jesus would be with me from then on, wherever I went, and that one day, I would be with Him in heaven.

Nearly 40 years have come and gone since then. I won't tell you that those years have all been easy because they haven't. But this one thing I know. Christ is at home in my heart by faith because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross when he died for my sins. His death cancelled the debt I owed to God for my sin, and His resurrection gave me the power to become His child because I believe in His name. Even death can't take that from me. And I look forward to being with Him face to face someday.

A little booklet, a story, spelled truth to me that day so long ago, because Robert Boyd Munger obeyed God's call to write those words-words that explained the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ in words even a child could comprehend.

About ten years ago, God led me to write a children's story to explain the gospel. It was printed in a church newsletter and given to dozens of children. I never learned whether any of those children came to faith because of that story, but God used it to reach my youngest son a few years later. He came to me after reading it and said he finally understood what it meant to be saved, and he gave his heart to Jesus Christ.

Jesus is still using the power of story to spread His Word, to reach people for Himself. If He calls you to write, don't ever underestimate the power of His gift.

~Jill~


SHARON: To get into the interview, Jill, when and how did you get interested in writing more than the children's story you mentioned in your testimony above? 

JILL: I've written for as long as I can remember. I kept a journal as a child and wrote poetry (sappy love poems and serious God poems) in high school. In my 20s I went through a dry spell where I buried the gift and didn't touch the creative word. But God figuratively tapped me on the shoulder and told me to dig it up. I was in my mid-twenties and a new mom and started writing poetry again (poignant loves poems to my babies and songs of worship to my Lord.) Then after teaching a Bible study on King David's life, I wanted to follow it up by reading a novel about him. I could not find one that satisfied me, so I began to write the book I wanted to read. That was in the early 1990s. I've been working on the craft in various genres ever since. 

SHARON: Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

JILL: Yes. Not quite as often as before because the contracts and reader mail has encouraged and uplifted me to think maybe someone else besides me finds my stories interesting! :) But with the positive feedback I've had from Michal, there is the fear that readers won't be as positive the next time around. The fear of failure looms just over the horizon, especially when the words trickle instead of flow. But I'm learning that this, too, is in God's hands. I can doubt myself and my ability because I'm a frail human being. But I cannot doubt Him. To do so is sin, so I strive to write the best story I can at this point in my life and leave the outcome to Him.

SHARON: What keeps you writing in times of uncertainty? 

JILL: I learned a long time ago that I "can't not write." Whether my work is read by many or few or even only me, I write because God wired me that way. If I don't write, I diminish a part of who I am, and I won't complete the work He gave me to do. That does not mean He promised I will always be published or have unending contracts. But I will write regardless because I have to. (And my family likes a happy writing mom over a crabby not-writing one.) :)

SHARON: Are you a "plotter" or a "seat-of-the-pants" writer?

JILL: Both. I have to plot an outline of the story so I know where it's going, but it's a loose plot. I get to know the characters as I write and they often lead me places or reveal things to me I didn't expect, so I'm seat-of-the-pants with my characterization until the first draft is complete. Then I flesh everything out, fix any plot problems, etc. I could never write without a plot, but I need the freedom to change things if my characters have a good reason to lead me elsewhere.

SHARON: What’s the best advice you’ve heard on writing/publication?

JILL: Write what you love, not what you know. You can always learn what you don't know, and if you love the subject, you will devour information about it until you know it well. But if you don't love the subject or the era or whatever truly makes your story in the first place, your story will fall flat to you and to your reader. Write what you love - even if it doesn't sell. Someday it might. :)

SHARON: Are you planning another book? If so, what is the story?

JILL: Yes. There are three books in The Wives of King David series. Abigail is "in house" now and will come back to me with edits in the next month or so. I'm writing the first draft of Bathsheba now and loving it! After this series, Revell has contracted me for another 3-book series - right now titled The Wives of the Patriarchs - about the wives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I'm looking forward to that one too!

SHARON: Who are your favorite authors or books both Christian and/or secular?

JILL: I read mostly Christian fiction, though I've read some secular. I loved Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Redeeming Love and The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, Deadline by Randy Alcorn, anything by Tamera Alexander, Deborah Raney, Maureen Lang, B.J. Hoff, Kathleen Fuller, Jill Stengl, Tosca Lee, Ginger Garrett...loved Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the King series...there are too many to name! But you may notice I gravitate toward historicals. I love romance and suspense in the historical setting best.

SHARON: What advice can you give new authors seeking publication? 

JILL: The most important thing for a Christian writer to do, in my opinion, is to keep the Lord their primary focus. Pray about your writing. Pray with an attitude of absolute surrender. Right before I got the final call from my agent telling me that Revell wanted to buy the series, I remember sitting in my car listening to Amy Grant sing “Sweet Will of God.” I was crying and praying and once again had to surrender the entire dream of publishing to Him, no strings attached. Hard as it is, I still try not to focus on the publishing. The goal of life is to complete the work God gave me to do, whatever that may be, and of pleasing Him. We cannot know until it happens if we will ever see our books in print, just as we cannot know anything about our futures. Life isn’t about being published. It’s about obeying Jesus Christ. 

SHARON: What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?

JILL: Favorite part - having written! :) I love the journey of a first draft, but I enjoy it even more when I type "The End" and get to go back and read it all for the first time and then again and again. I love tweaking and making the story better with each reread. 

I also love getting emails from my readers. What a fun blessing that has been! 

Least favorite part - struggling with a plot point or a particular scene and wondering if I'll ever get it right, but when it comes together, it's so cool! Honestly, I can't think of any part of writing I don't enjoy in some way.

SHARON: How can readers find you on the Internet?

JILL: My personal website is: www.jilleileensmith.com
The Wives of King David's website is: www.thewivesofkingdavid.com - Bible study and book club questions are available for free download on this site - along with the first chapter of the book.

I'm on Facebook with a fan page and a personal page for Jill Eileen Smith

Michal has a fan page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Michal-A-Novel

Twitter/JillEileenSmith

Email me at: jill at jilleileensmith.com

SHARON: Any final words?

JILL: Thanks Sharon!

Book Purchase Links for Michal

Christianbook.com Purchase link: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=733209&netp_id=558395&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW&view=covers

Amazon.com purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Michal-Novel-Wives-King-David/dp/0800733207/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242416801&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble purchase link:http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Michal/Jill-Eileen-Smith/e/9780800733209/?itm

Monday, June 8, 2009

MICHAL

Jill Eileen Smith is the author of several articles, poems, and stories , and her unpublished novels have placed in five writing contests in the past five years.  A children’s story, “Seeking Treasureland,” which she wrote for her church led her youngest son to faith in Christ several years ago; much like a gospel tract led her to the Lord at a similar age.

Jill is a member of several online writing groups and helps promote fellow authors’ works through monthly interviews on the "Spotlight" page of her website. 

She, along with her husband and children, are active members in their local church. A stay-at-home mom, she homeschooled the couple’s three sons for twelve years through high school, seeing them go on to higher education. 

In her spare time, Jill teaches piano, reads, does picture scrap-booking, and enjoys trying out new recipes, especially those that include dark chocolate. Jill and her family make their home in Southeastern Lower Michigan.

The Blurb:

First in the Wives of King David series:

Michal, youngest daughter of King Saul, is determined one day to control her world. When the harpist David emerges as a great warrior, Saul promises David marriage to his daughter. But King Saul's unrestrained jealousy of his new son-in-law forces Michal and David to separate.

After her father's death, David reigns in his place and Michal renews her desire to control-to be queen. But other wives have come between them and Michal's demands estrange her from David until David puts her out of his life. Will she ever regain all she has lost?

What Others Say:

"Michal captivated me from the first page. I know that sounds, cliche, but it's true. I read the first two chapters about four years ago and they were just as good back then. I adore Biblical fiction when it is well done. The author did a fabulous job showing the culture of King David's time and explaining things that don't set well with our modern ways, such as having more than one wife. It made sense the way it was presented. I loved how the developing love story continued throughout the book, yet the story stayed true to Scripture. 

"There were so many things that I've read in the Bible before in the book of Samuel, but when placed inside a novel such as this one it really comes alive, from the horrors of war to the politics of the day. I enjoyed the sensual tension between characters and the wedding ceremonies. I'm glad in our present day that the wedding attendants and in-laws don't park outside the honeymoon suite until the marriage was consummated like they did in ancient Israel. How awkward! I also enjoyed the subtle humor about managing a household with so many wives being a challenge for a king. There were so many incredibly interesting details to this story I could talk for hours. And I won't mention the Philistine foreskins. Oy! Gruesome stuff. I really felt like I was there in Hebron, in Gibea, and finally in Jerusalem. I can't wait for the next
 installment in this series. I have a feeling Abigail's story will be quite compelling, too."~~Michelle Sutton


"I have read the biblical account of Israel's kings many times, but Smith made it come alive to me. I became an invisible bystander in King Saul's court, and witnessed his episodes of explosive jealousy and rage through his daughter Michal's eyes; saw her husband David forced to run for his life and hide in caves; and mourned the senseless death of David's best friend, Jonathan, slaughtered in battle beside his father, Saul. 

Dissatisfied with God as their unseen leader, Israel had wanted a visible king, so He gave them Saul. I imagine He knew that Saul--as well as every king who followed--would fail, even David. With that in mind, it was good for me to have seen the intrigues of King David's court firsthand. Michal and David became real to me, and I feel much more sympathetic towards these p
eople who had been up to this point little more than black figures on white paper. (Thank you, Jill!) I loved the hopeful, yet realistic ending. 

I recommend this book highly, and I'm looking forward the next installments of King David's wives."~~Elisabeth H. Bantz

My Take:

As I read Michal's story and came to know her I saw the ugliness of wanting our own way so badly we take matters into our own hands to make them come to pass. Still, life wasn't fair to this Princess from Bible times. And it wasn't just Michal who went her own way with out true authority. And as I saw her struggle with the truth about herself and turn to the one true god earnestly, I saw myself and the many errors I made along the way. This story made me cry.

        Read this and be blessed.

We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Jill will send one blessed person a copy of Michal.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Servant’s Heart


Guest Blogger: Alyice Edrich

Do you have a servant’s heart? Has God blessed you with the insight to see the needs of others and reach out in compassion and understanding even when they, themselves, cannot reach out and ask for help?

Four years ago I had the rare opportunity to not only reach out and touch a few lives, but to be blessed in return. I say rare because in my own experience, it’s either been one or the other—not both at the same time. I used to believe that it was because giving and receiving at the same time would take the focus off what God intended for us, or the other party, to learn.

But that year, as I was fulfilling God’s desire for me to serve others, God sent others to act as servants to my family. And you know what I learned? Humbling yourself to receive God’s blessings is just as important as humbling yourself to give God’s blessings to others. Whether you give or you receive, you must first humble yourself before the Lord and let His will take precedence over your circumstances, your emotions, your finances, and your actions.

It doesn’t matter what you own, how much money you have in the bank, how talented or educated you are, or how many people you know. If God calls you to have a servant’s heart, He will make a way for you to accomplish what He has put on your heart to do.

A servant’s heart has more to do with your relationship with God than it has to do with your desire to be recognized for your good deeds. Having a servant’s heart is one the most beautiful expressions of love I know because it’s showing your love to another human being by simply being who God intended you to be. It’s about seeing a need and fulfilling it without any strings attached. It’s about making yourself uncomfortable so that someone else can be comfortable. It’s about showing Christ’s love through your actions and your words. And finally, it’s about touching the lives of those around you with such a gentle kindness that your act will be remembered for years to come.

You might think a check to pay a bill will solve someone’s problem but that might not be what God wants you to do. God may want you to teach that person how to budget his income so that he’s not in the same boat next month. You might think a prayer is all that is needed but God might want you spend some quality time with that person. You might think a having a garage sale to remove clutter from someone’s life will help her get more focused but God might want you to help that person reorganize her life by ministering to her soul while you weed through her material possessions. It’s all a matter of God-perspective, not man-perspective.

Taking the time to listen to what God wants you to do, humbling yourself to do what He has called you to do, and then faithfully following His orders regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you is truly what a servant’s heart is all about. It’s selfless love at its best and God couldn’t ask for a better gift or testimony of your relationship with Him. So pay attention when God calls you to serve others. Listen with your heart, not your mind and ask yourself, “Is this what God wants me to do or is this what I think should be done?”

Byline
Alyice Edrich is the author of several highly praised e-books designed to help you work from home. To discover how you can earn $50 in two hours or up to $10K in your spare time visit her store: http://thedabblingmum.com/ebookstore

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Let me know when you get all of the answers

This list of questions was sent to me by a friend:

Why do phone companies give you a number to call if your phone doesn't work?

 

If the universe is everything, and scientists say that the universe is expanding what is it expanding into?

 

Corn oil is made from corn, Olive oil is made from olives, so what does baby oil come from?

 

Why don’t roman paramedics refer to IV's as "4's"?

 

Why do you often see a shoe lying on the side of the street?

 

What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

 

Why is abbreviation such a long word?

 

Why do we put suits in a garment bag and garments in a suitcase?

 

If a cow laughed would milk come out its nose?

 

Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injection?

 

How come you never hear about grunted employees?

 

If a parsley farmer is sued can he garnish his wages?

 

Did Washington just flash a quarter for his ID?

 

Could it be that all those trick-or-treaters wearing sheets aren't going as ghosts but as mattresses?

 

Why do we have to dry raincoats?

 

Does chewing gum lose its flavor on the bed post overnight?

 

Why do doughnuts have holes?

 

Why is there an expiration date on SOUR cream?

 

How can there be self-help groups?

 

Why does your nose run and your feet smell?

 

Why do we call it a hamburger when it is made from beef?

 

Why do they call it quicksand when it sucks you down slowly?

 

If you're born again do you have two belly buttons?

 

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

 

If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation or a murder?

 

Why do corn flakes and Sugar frosted flakes have the save number of calories per serving?

 

Where do all the missing socks go?

 

Why does the psychic hotline ask for your credit card number? Shouldn't they already know it?

 

Why does slow down and slow up mean the same thing?

 

If air travel is so safe, why do they call it a "terminal"?

 

Since light travels faster than sound, isn't that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak?

 

Just before someone gets nervous do they experience cocoons in their stomachs?

 

Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

 

What does the Q in Q-tip stand for?

 

If a mute swears does his mother wash his hands with soap?

 

Why doesn't onomatopoeia sound like what it is?

 

If the cops arrest a mime do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

 

How do they get deer to cross at the yellow sign?

 

What would a chair look like if your knees bent the other way?

 

If something was miss-spelled in a dictionary how would we know

 

Where do swear words come from?

 

Was the only reason God gave us a shin is to find things in the dark?

 

Why is it that when you transport something by car it is called a shipment but when you transport something by ship it is called cargo?

 

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

 

Does a fish get cramps after eating?

 

If fire fighters fight fires and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight?

 

If you're an atheist and swear on the bible, have you committed perjury?

 

If horrific is akin to horrible, why isn't terrific akin to terrible?

 

Why is it when a door is open it's ajar but when a jar is open isn't not adoor?

 

If it is zero degrees outside today and it is supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?

 

If nothing ever sticks to Teflon, how do they get Teflon to stick to the pan?

 

If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

 

If someone with multiple personalities robs a bank who is charged with the crime?

 

Why do old men wear their pants higher than young men do?

 

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

 

If you're cross-eyed and have dyslexia can you read all right?

 

Why is yawning contagious?

 

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

 

Why do banks charge you a " non sufficient funds" fee on money they already know you don't have?

 

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, than who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead"?

 

Is there another word for synonym?

 

Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

 

If a man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

 

Why don't we get goosebumps on our face?

 

Should you trust a stockbroker who's married to a travel agent?

 

Why is it when you get from here to there, you're still here and not there?

 

What are preparations A-G?

 

Why do men's bicycles have crossbars?

 

If vegetarians eat vegetables what do humanitarians eat?

 

What is the purpose of that little ball on top of the flagpole?

 

Why isn't there mouse flavored cat food?

 

Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?

 

Why do they call them straight jackets when they are never straight?

 

If 75% of all accidents occur within 5 miles of home, why not move 10 miles away?

 

Why is it that when you are driving and looking for an address you turn the radio down?

 

How does the guy who runs the snowplow get to work in the morning?

 

If a person kills their clone is it murder or suicide?

 

Can your face actually freeze while making ugly faces?

 

Why do they say new and improved? It can't be new if it was improved can it?

 

Why do they report power outages on TV?

 

Why isn't 11 pronounced onety one?

 

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

 

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

 

If trailer parks didn't exist would tornadoes exist?

 

If WalMart is lowering prices daily, how come nothing in the store is free yet?

 

If you can't drink and drive why do gas stations sell beer?