Thoughts on the New Release

By Staci Stallings

Eternity cover“Eternity” might be more accurately called “The one I’m going to get killed for,” and believe me, I fully know this going in.  Why?  Because I already know some of my Christian readers (especially the newer ones) will question the portrayal of Christians in this story.  They will say things like, “I would hardly call them Christian.  They went to church, but it didn’t seem to make any difference at all.”

That’s probably one reason I’ve called “Eternity” an inspirational (rather than Christian) romance in the past because I recognized this void almost from the start.  However, to be completely honest, that’s not totally accurate either.  I think “Eternity” is really about Christians who don’t know and live the meaning of the word.  They go to church, but church and God really don’t affect their lives in a practical way.

In fact, they are a lot like I was when I was younger–back when I thought the 10 Commandments were about God taking your fun away, making life harder with all of His rules, and waiting to bop you on the head if you broke one.  Since realizing God is about relationship more than religion, I now see my Father’s intense and immediate love in giving me these rules because in them, He is saying, “To be able to really LIVE, here are the ways to avoid life’s messiest, rottenest decisions that will really land you in a pit of yuck.”

So, I think ultimately “Eternity” is not just about the decisions and situations, it is also about how lost, confused, and deluded by the world even Christians can get when they see God as the rule-maker and punisher rather than as the all-wise, loving Father He is.

Therefore, if there’s not enough Christianity in this one for you, know that I knew that upfront and that I am simply giving you the story the way God gave it to me–with lost and hurting Christians who don’t realize they’ve had the Answer the whole time.  Call it a practical lesson in what happens when Christian is your label, not your life.

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Staci’s Internet “Home”:

http://www.stacistallings.net

Staci’s Ebook Romance Stories:

http://ebookromancestories.com

Facebook Author Page at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spirit-Light-Author-Staci-Stallings/266593276699576

Breakfast Casserole and Fillers in Novels

By Traci Tyne Hilton

I had a houseful of family today, and I needed to feed them. I went with brunch—the perfect company food, for a million reasons.

  1. Buffet (perfect for a crowd in a small house. Sit wherever you want!)
  2. Donuts! (I mean really, what other meal are you allowed to serve donuts?)
  3. Make ahead main dish. (Mmmm breakfast casserole!)

The variations on breakfast casserole are endless. Every dish starts the same: Bread, milk, eggs. But from there you can do sweets or savories, ham, sausage or bacon, with veggies or with fruit. Basically, whatever you have on hand!

I went with sour cream, sausage and roasted bell pepper (with a dash of Worcestershire and garlic salt.)

Sausage, roasted peppers, eggs and toast would be another great way to serve those same ingredients, but the reason you make a breakfast casserole is because you don’t have enough of those things to feed everybody. Breakfast casserole uses cheap white bread to stretch the yummy ingredients farther. This is a great trick when feeding a crowd, but a terrible way to eat on a daily basis.

And it is a terrible way to create a book.

Once on a writer’s forum someone asked, “What do you all fill those pages between the actions with?” There was sense of panic to the question. The writer desperately wanted to make a whole novel out of a short story. He wanted to make a meal out of a snack. He wanted to know the secret filler we all used to make our novels stretch.

There isn’t one.

You either have enough action for a story, or you don’t.

If you love your story to death, and you don’t want to see it end up as a short story instead of a novel, I have three tricks for you. They aren’t filler. They aren’t for stretching your story the way a loaf of white bread stretches a breakfast casserole. They are good, solid tips for creating a novel length piece of fiction.

  1. Add another point of view. It’s a painless way to give your readers more of your story world and to add dimension to your tale. Dig through your character notes and figure out who you find the most compelling and who has the most at stake in the tale.
  2. Make life harder for your main character. I don’t know what genre you are writing, but if the only hard time your character is having has to do with the main plot line, and then you have plenty of room to explore. Most folks have family life, work life (or finding work life,) school, church, or neighborhood life that intersects and distracts from the main goal. Find ways that these other aspects of your main character’s life can make achieving her main goal harder. Your book will be both longer and more interesting.
  3. Dig into that deep POV! I am pretty sure that anyone writing their fist novel can give “more.” Tell us more about what your main character is thinking, feeling, smelling, tasting, and seeing as she (or he) makes her (or his) way through life. Two or three sentences per page of observation and experience can both deepen, and lengthen a book!

 

Want to know what tortures I put my main character through? Then check out Good, Clean, Murder: A Plain Jane Mystery, available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords!

About Traci

DSC_3217Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.

Traci earned a degree in History from PortlandStateUniversity and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci’s work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com

Award Winning Mystery from Best Selling Author Traci Tyne Hilton!

Living on her own for her first time, Bible school student Jane cleans houses to make ends meet. But being independent brings big GoodCleanMurder3trials, like falling for a handsome professor, dealing with an obnoxious roommate, and then there’s the dead bodies…

Who knew being housekeeper to wealthy owners of a Roly Burger franchise would mean sweeping up clues to their death, while ministering to the needs of their heirs?

This is one big mess that Jane is intent on cleaning up before things get even worse.

 

BONUS!

 

My recipe for breakfast casserole.

 

I loaf of cheap white bread

Five eggs

Milk (I don’t know how much…enough to make the bread pretty soupy.)

About two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

About a teaspoon of salt/garlic salt

Two cups of red peppers

I package of cheap breakfast links

One cup of sour cream

Cut crusts off of bread, and then cut into quarters. Layer in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Break eggs into bowl. Add sour cream and beat. Add milk.

Cut the tops off of peppers and dice.

Cut sausage links into half inch pieces. Fry them up with the peppers. Add sausage and peppers to egg mixture.

Put half of the bread in the egg mixture. Let it get nice and soppy. Pour this over the remaining bread in the pan.

Cover and refrigerate over night.

Bake at 450 for an hour and a half.

Professional Mourner or Professional Joy Generator?

By Mary Anne Benedetto

I recently learned that in some ancient cultures, it was common to hire professional mourners to wail at funerals. Also known as Feb 2013 Albany guy dinnermoirologists, their duties could possibly include delivering a eulogy or simply weeping, moaning and crying loudly.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that even in current times, there are Mediterranean, Near Eastern and other cultures who still participate in this practice.  In the U.K. someone established a business called Rent a Mourner!

Imagine crying and wailing and actually getting paid for your emotional outbursts of sorrow? I know some chronic complainers who would probably excel at and love that job.

As caring siblings, children, parents and grandparents, don’t we sometimes want to mourn the poor choices and resulting situations of loved ones? One lesson that God has recently been teaching me is that I simply can’t control what other people choose to do, although I’d like to. I so wish that I could pave the way for my loved ones to walk in the lighted pathway the Lord has planned for them and never detour, but I can’t accomplish that any more than my own parents could spare me from making less than stellar decisions during my teenage and young adult years.

So what can I do? I can be vigilant as their prayer warrior. I can literally get on my knees and pray that they won’t stray too far away and that their early upbringing will always bring them back into the loving arms of Christ. They were already forgiven at the cross.

Since prayer is really the only way I can help besides showing them tons of love and making sure they know they are in my daily prayers, I choose joy. I choose not letting the decisions and acts of others steal my joy. I choose remembering that I can’t dictate their actions, and so I will be a professional joy generator.

Nehemiah 8:10…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (NIV)

Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Never Say Perfect Book CoverMary Anne Benedetto is a Certified Lifewriting Instructor and the author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Eyelash and Never Say Perfect. Please visit her at www.awriterspresence.com and www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com.

My Monster

Guest Blogs for Mary E. Twomey, author of Saga of the Spheres.

Writing is a strange monster. Gorgeous, unpredictable, terrifying, and precious. One moment you love what you’re into, the next you’re swearing you should scrap it all and declare yourself an illiterate just so expectations can be lowered. Learning to spell your name would become a note-worthy feat. “Wow! You did it yourself? Amazing! Sit down and take a rest. Have a cookie, you smart bunny.” Alas, with an English degree, more is expected of you when the pen hits the paper. If it’s not Shakespeare, and if you don’t use fanciful words like “alas”, then it must simply not be worth anyone’s time, lease of all yours.

This kind of thinking led me to deleted documents, trashed notebooks, abandoned plots and a total tailspin. If it wasn’t completely hatched and grown gracefully into an adult by the end of the page, it was obviously a failure. A plot that wasn’t complete before the first word was scribbled was a waste. Being a notorious math class disappointment led me to the conclusion that if you don’t have the right answer – all the right answers – it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your head down. Mistakes are for people who will never find the solution, and wrong guesses are for people who should find a new calling.

Oh, Mary. Silly Mary.

Oh, you reader. Silly you.

Today I write to encourage you to stop judging your imperfections. It’s odd that we are often the first one to cast the stone at ourselves. We’ll be amazingly polite and kind to others, but when it comes to giving grace to the person with the funky morning hair in the mirror, we plum run out of mercy just about every time. You would never tell your husband or your best girl friend, “What a stupid idea. That’ll never work. Look how many things you still have to figure out. Best just watch TV and leave the high heels to the big girls.”

Fortunately for all of us, today is a new day. Today we will be different. We will be kind to ourselves. We will look in the mirror and believe the things our loved ones say about us. We will trust our ridiculous ideas and not shoot them down just because they are ours. Today we take ourselves seriously and give an honest effort to becoming that person who can see the possibilities.

A funny thing dawned on me in the midst of writing and editing the Saga of the Spheres. I allowed the ink to flow for fun. I did not write for other people. I did not plot for the masses. I wrote, laughed, swooned, and bit my lip as an unknown world shifted into focus on the page. I’m very excited to share the keepers, the seers, the spheres and the wombats with you. My hope is that you find your own possibility, take the first step, and then start running.

 

Mary E. Twomey

The Silence of Lir

By Mary Twomey

ASIN: B0087LX826  $2.99

Book One

Genre: young adult fantasy fiction

Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornadoes don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis.

Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control.

Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.

About the Author:

Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.

Connect with Mary:

www.facebook.com/#!/SagaOfTheSpheres

Twitter @shesleepssoftly

www.SagaOfTheSpheres.com

www.JackandYani.com

Grace, Miracles and Chocolate

By Marriott Cole

GMC Front CoverMarriott Cole knows that sometimes it is difficult to trust God,
especially during the most challenging moments. In her memoir,
Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate, Cole chronicles a
life with more than its share of difficulties while demonstrating
how she overcame tragedy through the miracle of prayer and the
grace of God’s love.
Cole shares poignant anecdotes with accompanying Scripture,
tracing her life journey beginning with the details of her first
conversation with her birth mother. Despite the horrifying
details of her conception, Cole describes how she was eventually
led to forgiveness and to accept a second family into her heart.
As she retraces her complex life and reveals her unique problem
solving strategies, Cole details how she learned to rely on not
only her faith, but also her inner strength as she bravely faced
widowhood and the terrifying thought of raising seven children
on her own.
Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate challenges spiritual
seekers everywhere to either develop or rekindle a relationship
with Jesus Christ and to always remember that He is with us—
no matter what comes our way in life.
“This is an amazing story of God’s faithfulness, love and
incredible miracles in the life of His faithful child. … Marriott
is a real woman with real heartaches and triumphs. Her life story
will touch many, many hearts …”
– Amy McGuire, author of The Heart’s Discovery

“Captivating! Miraculous! Unbelievable! But true! Marriott’s story is
a must for anyone going through a tragedy of any kind! Her love for
God shines through nearly every page!!!” Dotti McGuinness, Future
Executive Senior Sales Director, Mary Kay Cosmetics

Besides being an author, Marriott Cole is a part-time remedial reading specialist. Other jobs have included fourth grade teaching,Nancy's portrait author central home-school evaluator, She lives within twenty minutes of her six living children and their families, and enjoys her ten grandchildren aged 15 – 4. Her hobbies include her new husband of two years, Bible study, friends and family, writing, and bridge.

To purchase the book go to these links: http://bookstore.inspiringvoices.com/Products/SKU-000526398/Grace-Miracles-and-Chocolate.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Miracles-And-Chocolate-Conceived/dp/1462401880/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1358799304&sr=1-1

Writing Your Roots

By Suzanne Williams

Familiar writing advice says to “write what you know.” I have taken this to heart.

Growing up in the same county in Central Florida as my parents and grandparents gives me roots here. It helps too that my grandmother was a history buff. She could rattle off who married who for ten generations in the family tree. So I grew up knowing how interconnected my life was to the past, to the people who struggled for a living here, to parents and children in old photographs she’d saved.

This photo is my favorite. It is a perfect depiction of how things were and where I come from. It is the land, the families that survived it, and the children who’d grow up on it.

 

the combee gang 640

 

If you’d have met my grandparents, you’d understand. Never were there two more kind, gentle people. He was a farmer, growing corn, beans, tomatoes, and any number of other vegetables, and toting them to market on weekends. My grandmother could cook you up a meal like you wouldn’t believe, most of which came straight from the garden.

All of that, I have applied to my writing, most often in the form of dialogue, but also in descriptions of the more rural areas around me, in the wildlife – the birds and reptiles particular to this area – and in the history, what happened in the late 19th century, how towns grew here or failed.

In the example below, an excerpt from my upcoming novel Love & Redemption (out March 1st), a girl named Anne Sawyer has gone for a swim at a natural spring.

“Lowering herself into the water’s clasp, she emptied her mind of the day’s troubles. This was her special place. Here, life was different, better. Here, her papa’s anger faded in light of the beauty around her. Her golden hair spread out in a fan, and tiny fish dancing on the water’s surface tickled her skin. Extending her fingers one by one, she watched their silver tails flicker in and out.”

 “A bird called, and her gaze went upward to its angular shape traced against the white sky. Wings held aloft, head crooked sideways, the bird absorbed the sun in muddied feathers.”

 “Her body cooled in the icy water, and she flared her palms upward, counting the ridges in her fingertips. Ducking her head below the surface, she swam into the spring’s depths. White sand and wavering grasses spiraled downward, ceasing only at the great crack split in the earth. Here, bubbles leaked from her nostrils, and she dug her fingers into the soil, delighting in the rush of water flitting over her flesh.”

All of that comes from who I am, from my roots here, otherwise I couldn’t write it.

But this thing within me, this Southern side of me, also emerges in my dialogue sequences. I write in dialect a lot. Love it, in fact, despite how it bothers some people. More than once, I have been told it is passé, that I should write with “good grammar.” However, speaking like that, in long Southern tones is what I know. It’s what I hear around me. It’s the voices of my past speaking in my ear.

In another scene from Love & Redemption, the main character, Michael O’Fallen, an Irish boy from New York, is fighting against a wicked man named Ferguson, who holds his life in the balance. Notice the use of dialect to give the character flavor.

“Ferguson yanked his horse around, and the group of men followed. Pausing briefly, he glanced at the house. The girl’s father lay unmoving on the earth.”

 “‘Pleasure doin’ business with you again, Milton,’ he laughed. He gazed at Michael, and his eyes glittered.

 “‘What’s this about?’ Michael asked. ‘And what do I have to do with it?’ His horse paced sideways, and the girl slid in the saddle. With a yelp, she reached out for his arm. He wrapped a hand around her waist to steady her. ‘You gonna tell me or not? I’ve kept quiet ‘til now. I never signed up for this.’”

 “Ferguson’s voice emerged a low growl. ‘You signed up to save yourself, and ye’ll do as you’re told. This here’s your wife, and we’re about to have us a weddin’.’”

Now, dialect comes in a million forms. Just as Ferguson is southern, Michael’s Irish roots come out in the story. For this, I had to do extensive research into Irish Gaelic. I also have segments where he’s remembering his mother talk. I used dialect to indicate her strong Irish roots. In another book I read recently, the characters were from Maine. The author did a fabulous job of writing dialogue to indicate their pattern of speech. It was as if I could hear them in my ear.

And that is precisely my point. As authors, we all individually have a background to share. Whether you’re from the West, the South, or the North, whether you grew up on the plains, the Rocky Mountains, or in the big city, you have something of you to include on the page. Don’t be afraid of the rules so much you fail to share it.

Because in the end, reading is traveling places in your mind that you’d never go, to eras you didn’t live in, with people you’d have loved to meet, and taking the reader to there is for an author the greatest sign of success. If my books never receive rave reviews but one person says it took them here, for me that’s the greatest pleasure of all.

 

Suzanne-900Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is Crossreads author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

 

To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor.

Love & Redemption

(The Florida Irish #1)

 

Take a trip into the past and fall in love with an Irishman.LAR-FRONT

 

Released March 1st

 

Michael O’Fallen simply wants to survive. A poor Irish boy living in post-Civil War New York, the events of one horrible night send him running­–far south to unsettled Florida and an unplanned marriage with a girl he doesn’t know.

Now, he must protect her from the lust and greed of evil men and figure out how to make their escape. Will the dangers and perils they face tear their marriage apart? Or will he finally find true Love & Redemption?

 

 

Chains that don’t chafe…

by Carol G. Stratton          

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

 

Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

 

Chains are chains for one reason—they keep one object tied to another. We understand their usefulness with inanimate objects whether it means securing bicycles to a hitching post or keeping a gate locked at night. But when we feel bound to our circumstances, imaginary chains become a point of frustration. Perhaps one spouse is tied to selling a house while the other has to move ahead to start a new job or a married couple has been called to the mission field and they need to sell their house to help fund their ministry. Maybe we feel imprisoned in an area we don’t like but because of situations with family and jobs, we are not free to leave.

 

When writing how his imprisonment had given him opportunities to share his faith, the Apostle Paul refused to fight his chains. History tells us that every four hours Paul was chained to a new prison guard and many became believers. The Bible tells us that as a result of what happened to Paul, the gospel was advanced.

 

Seeing our life chains as a way to anchor us to God, helps us stop chaffing against them. Those miserable, weighty iron links that seem to hold us down might be necessary to make us stop and do something we might not have done otherwise. When we are stuck in one place with few options, God often does his finest work. Being pinned to one place gives us time to think about our lives, to pray more, to communicate with others in our current community, and spend quality time worshiping our Lord.

 

God might even have a special project for us that we wouldn’t have seen while flitting around in our previous life. A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves unemployed while trying to sell our house. Fourteen months of showing a house in a down market seemed like an eternity when we wanted to move on, but I have a 70,000 word novel to show for my time of house arrest.

 

Are you bound to your present circumstances? God may have you anchored for a reason. Look around you. Is there someone God wants you to befriend in order to share the good news? Release from anxiety often comes when we respond to our current situation while looking for opportunities to make good out of it.

 

When we quit fighting our chains, we may find a greater purpose in wearing them.

 

CarolStrattonSMTaken from the book Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted to be available from Amazon.com  http://tinyurl.com/a3g5cdg  or Christian book stores,

 

Carol is available to talk to women’s groups and writing groups. You may contact her at carolgstratton@gmail.com or through her website: www.ChangingZipCodes.com  .

“Carol Stratton has chosen to write to a topic that is addressed in few other

places: clinging to faith during times of change. The fresh daily format and

encouraging, biblical insights will encourage anyone who is struggling

through the idea of moving to a new location, as well as uplifting those who

are joyfully anticipating a move.”— Darla Knoth, Leadership Development/

Content Coordinator, National Women’s Department, Assemblies of God.

“After twenty-two moves, Carol Stratton is a relocation expert with a heart for

the newcomer. Carol’s warm and witty stories, based on personal experiences,

offer hope and encouragement to anyone faced with a move.” — Florence

Littauer, International Author and Speaker, Founder of CLASSeminar

ministry.

“Having moved fourteen times, I find Carol’s devotional book both encouragingChanging Zip Codes-v2 (1)

and inspiring for anyone relocating. Filled with biblical principles, it keeps

the reader focused on Christ during the upheaval of change that comes with

moving. Her hands-on experience with relocating adds humor and warmth

that will capture the heart of anyone who goes through the transition and

adjustment of a move.” — Susan Miller, Founder and President of Just

Moved Ministry and author of After the Boxes are Unpacked

“Using wit, humor, and entertaining facts (even about Zip Codes), Carol

Stratton provides helpful tips, insight, and cheerleading for those who are

facing the “big move.” She proves that God is everywhere, even among

new neighbors, new coworkers, and new church members. Let her words

encourage you.”— Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, author The Power of Positive

Productivity

“Knowing Carol, I realize her faith in God helped her trust me to help with

their move. Carol has experienced many moves and knows the ins and outs.

Enjoy her tips, words, and insights.” — Mary Jane O’Brien, Top Realtor for

F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.

8 Carol G. Stratton

“Carol Stratton lives what she teaches us in Changing Zip Codes. I have

watched her life with admiration for many years. Her devotional is helpful

for anyone in any situation any day of the week. I look forward to each page

as Carol makes moving almost fun. She challenges us in so many practical

ways and shows us how to serve God and find community where we’re

transplanted.” — Muriel Cook, retired missionary, international speaker,

counselor and author of Kitchen Table Counseling

Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted

is for movers or anyone struggling with major life transitions. While using

scripture and real stories from her twenty-two moves, Author Carol Stratton

motivates readers with encouragement, humor, and practical wisdom,

reminding them that God is always at the other end of the moving van’s

trip. This upbeat 40-day devotional would make an excellent gift for anyone

relocating.” — Michelle Medlock Adams, award-winning author of more

than 50 books and inspirational speaker (www.michellemedlockadams.com)

“Carol Stratton has written not only a meaningful and valuable devotional

for those who are moving to a new location, but I see it also being very

valuable for those moving into new life stages such as: the youngest child

going off to school, empty nest, divorce, retirement, etc. Changing Zip Codes

will be the perfect gift to bless many women, from the young to the young at

heart, at any age in any stage of life.” — Mitzi Beach ASID CAPS, www.

LifesizingLady.com, “Designing life for the second half

 


Book Blast: Winter’s End by Rebekah Lyn – Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Something fun you might want to check out…

Title: Winter’s End (Seasons of Faith)

By Rebekah Lyn

Book Two of the Seasons of Faith Series

Musician Michelle Burton just had the best night of her life. Her band Tangled Web opened for Wonderland in downtown Orlando and the crowd loved them. Too excited to sleep she makes a fateful decision to go to work early. The best night of her life turns into the worst day of her life.

Nearby, at boutique Hotel Lago, Stephen Longbottom, acting concierge manager, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the board of directors for Silken Pleasures, a multimillion dollar company based in New York and specializing in high end cosmetics, fragrances and lingerie. Their incessant demands before they even arrive are driving him to distraction. Meanwhile Lizzie Reynolds, his boss is on a romantic ski trip in Vermont leaving him to manage his first solo event.

Hope, forgiveness and love are an integral message throughout the book and like a fine tapestry the threads of God’s master plan for the character’s lives are woven into a fabric of great storytelling, conflict and humor.

Readers who came to know and love the characters of Summer Storms will enjoy catching up with Lizzie, Stephen, Michelle, Jeffrey and Ian.

Kindle | PaperbackRebekah Lyn
ScanRebekah is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings. She is a Florida native and a graduate of Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Fl. A love of history, research and journaling led naturally to a passion for writing. She enjoys travel and has traveled extensively across the United States and Canada as well as Europe and the Caribbean. Her reading taste run from the classics to light fiction. When she is not working or writing, she enjoys cooking,baking and sharing recipes on her blog, http://rebekahlynskitchen.wordpress.com

Her current works include, Summer Storms and Winter’s End, books one and two in The Seasons of Faith series, and Julianne the first book in The Coastal Chronicle series. She is currently working on the, as yet untitled, second book in the Coastal Chronicles set in coastal Florida during the early years of the space program.

Rebekah currently resides in Florida along with her “attack” cat, Mia. They would enjoy meeting with you on her Facebook page.

Follow Rebekah Lyn
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $25 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Rebekah Lyn!

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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!

Blank Books: Imagining a Novel and Keeping Track of the Facts

By Johnnie Alexander Donley

Writing an authentic novel that takes place in World War II Europe requires more than just research. It also requires a system for keeping track of the facts and finding the right ones when they’re needed.

Helpful websites are easily found again by either bookmarking them or saving them to your browser’s favorite’s folder. Creating a simple bibliography will track books, videos, and personal interviews.

But what about the pages and pages of notes you take while conducting online research, reading books, watching documentaries, and talking to sources? How do you keep them organized?

I tried index cards, but then I needed to figure out some kind of filing system. Besides, an index box is awkward to carry from home to the library to the coffee shop.

Instead I use blank books. Not the fancy journal kind of blank book, but the office supply store blank book with spiral bounding so that the pages, which are about the size of a typical book, lay flat no matter which side I’m writing on. And I write on both sides.

I start out with two such books.

The first one is devoted to my novel. The blank book for my debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, begins with a journal-type entry written by Alison Schuyler, my female protagonist. A couple of pages have dates and years scribbled upon them as I figured out my characters’ birthdates and ages. Further on, each character gets a page where I write down physical characteristics, personality quirks, and any other significant information.

For example, my page on Count Theodor Scheidemann notes that he has a dimpled smile and a pale dueling scar across his lower cheek and jawline. He’s restoring an old family chalet in Bavaria, and his father died during the winter of 1938-39.

On other pages, I explored options for the characters and the storyline by freewriting about possibilities, motivations, and turning points.

An entry dated April 26, 2011 reads in part: “Surely [Alison] feels guilty about living in England instead of staying in Holland and enduring the hardships with her family. Someone (grandfather? great-aunt?) has to insist that she marry Ian and live her own life. . . . Alison’s loyalties are always torn between her dad and her grandfather. She loves and respects both men. Ian is a refuge from their ongoing quarrels.”

I’m not sure I’d have ever been able to understand Alison’s heart (or the family discord) without these freewriting entries.

The second book is a haphazard collection of research notes.

To write Treasure, I read books and watched documentaries on a variety of topics including Holland, Vermeer, the Monuments Men, the looting of art, Colditz Castle (a notorious POW camp), and survivors who hid during the war.

As I read, I copied interesting and pertinent information into my blank book.

I may have three or four pages of notes from Book A; the next page may be notes from a Military Channel documentary; then the next couple of pages may be notes from Book B followed by more notes from Book A.

Haphazard, yes. But somehow the mish-mash nourishes my creativity.

When it came time to plot Treasure, I read through my blank books (yes, there was more than one by this time) and wrote important info on square sticky notes. I arranged and rearranged the sticky notes on a large sheet of drawing paper to organize specific scenes and historic events.

As multi-stepped as it may sound, this process works great for me.

What are your favorite research and organizing tips?

joannieAuthor Johnnie Alexander Donley writes stories of suspense, intrigue, and romance set in World War II. Her debut book, Where Treasure Hides, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for Historical Fiction in 2011. A history enthusiast, Johnnie has also edited nonfiction manuscripts and textbooks. She is a founding member of the Central Florida chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. A longtime Florida resident, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, shelves full of books, and her papillon Rugby.

Find Johnnie at Treasured Moments blog: http://www.johnniedonley.com

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the cursejoannie2 that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

To Obtain this book just click here

WRITING WHAT WE LOVE

H.C.Beckerr

I have always loved to read, and I have always loved music. I have also, for as long as I can remember, been completely mesmerized by the stars in the night sky, often wondering if there were any other civilizations out there for mankind to meet one day. While many of my childhood fancies have turned to dust (one being the idea of other civilizations in the cosmos…we can talk about that another time), the dreams of writing and being published have been, and are being, fulfilled.

But yet, when I start on a new project, there is that one teeny, tiny matter that always arises before me like that car that pulls out of the parking lot on to the highway in front of me just as I want to share the exact physical place at the same time; what do I right about next? What style of vehicle am I going to climb into and drive down the superhighway of words? Will it be serious? Will it be funny? Am I writing in the past, the present, or even the future? How about a combination of all the above? How about none of the above? I love music…could I write an opera? No, I gave up on that idea a long time ago. I mean since I can’t read music I really shouldn’t try to write any (thank you Mark Lowry), and besides…I have never enjoyed opera (with solemn apologies to all you opera buffs, yeah, both of you).

Alas, what to write indeed! One thing I would like to share with you, and it is a very obvious matter indeed (at least, to me). Write about what you love or about how you feel. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t say it would be easy….but it doesn’t have to be as difficult to figure out as Celestial Mechanics either.

So, here we go….what is inside you that is screaming to get out? What is it that, if given the opportunity, you would like to share with the whole world? Or, would you like the chance to share something so precious to you that if only one life on planet Earth could be changed for the better by reading it, you would have fulfilled your whole life’s destiny? All of this, and more, awaits you. You simply need to consider the individual vehicle of writing that works for each and every message that you want to stand upon the highest mountain and scream to the world. Or whisper.

You know, if I could write a message in the sky for the whole world to read, I would borrow a line from the Bible; Enoch walked with God and then was no more, for God took him.

So, sit down with pen or pc, and let God write a story with your heart. After all, He is the source of our inspiration. Let Him use you to touch lives!

IMG_9903H.C. Beckerr is the author of HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS and he resides in the St. Louis area. Over the past ten years he has served as an interim pastor at a small Baptist church, an associate pastor, as well as a youth pastor in the St. Louis area, all the while working on his first novel.

A love for the outdoors as well as a love for mystery and the unknown things of life was fostered in his early childhood by his many visits to an archaeological site not far from his home known as Cahokia Mounds. This is where the idea for his Christian based Science Fiction novel was spawned, nurtured, and brought to life.

Being a man of faith and family, as well as having a love for his country is at the epicenter of all that entails this simple mid-western man. He can be found on Facebook pages H.C. Beckerr, Henry Martin, and HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS as well as reached at hcm59@att.net.

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In HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS, an ancient secret that lies buried deep beneath an American Indian Historical Site is accidentally discovered when a new type of rocket propulsion system is tested in near-Earth orbit. An good, old-fashioned, science fiction story with real-life Christianity (complete with our human flaws) at its core and tints of 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK fueling the adventure.

A fun blend of science fantasy/fiction, patriotism, various world views, and terrorism all rolled into one roller coaster of a ride!

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