Saturday, June 28, 2014

Special Guest: Megan Besing's Take the Quiz

I’m Katniss Everdeen. I’m also Anna from the movie Frozen. My life theme song’s Under the Sea, and apparently, I’m living in the wrong state…
Or at least that’s what I was told after spending way too much time answering those online quizzes. You know the ones. They beckon you on Facebook and Twitter, popping up on everyone’s feeds with enticingly bright colors and catchy phrases. To answer ten questions and BAM!, be given a life altering answer. You know, like, which Disney movie you truly belong.
Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who surrenders to the temptation of finding out which type of Barbie I am.  Classic, in case you’re wondering.
Fine. I admit it. I love those silly things.
Sometimes I totally agree with the results; other times I fold over my arms in defiance, and too often I’m left confused.  Not so much at the results but in the process. How in the world would answering a question about my favorite fruit tell me I have a ‘Selflessly Caring’ personality? Seriously, that’s stretching it, even for someone who loves taking them.  But online social networks aren’t the only places where we can find quizzes.
Have you taken this quiz: “Which Soil Are You?”  In Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus teaches a parable of the sower. Can you see where I’m going with this? Yes, the Bible has quizzes for us too.  Surprise! After reading this scripture, we can find our quiz results. Are we the compact path, rocky soil, soil choked with thorns, or the good soil? (Hint: we want to be the good soil. We want to be the one who hears the gospel, understands it, and blossoms to produce an abundant harvest.)
Or what about “The Wife of Noble Character Quiz?” Proverbs Chapter 31’s fully loaded with questions asking if we work vigorously, speak with wisdom, and don’t worry about tomorrow. Before you feel overwhelmed by the long list of attributes, remember this woman never actually existed; she’s who we strive to be as a wife and mother. Glancing around my house at the piles of…well, unkemptness, I’ll catch a whiff of my attitude while I’m loading the dishwasher for the billionth time. I’m not too often enthusiastic about my mundane chores. Are you?
What about “The Full Armor Quiz” in Ephesians Chapter 6? Or Galatians Chapter 5’s “The Fruits of The Spirit?”  A trip to Walmart with my munchkins in tow generally proves I frequently fail at that one.
After taking these “quizzes” in the Bible, I may not always like my end results. My life doesn’t always mirror the scriptures as it should. But one thing differs between the Bible’s quizzes and worldly quizzes. The Bible’s quizzes do contain life altering answers!
Do I have a clue how answering my favorite color’s pink makes me most like Pocahontas or more like Rachel than Monica from Friends?  No!  But despite the great fun I have taking those online quizzes, I’ll always crack open my Bible and take "The Living Like Jesus Quiz." Because that’s a quiz I need each day.

About the Author:

When Megan Besing isn't spending time with her husband, chasing after their munchkins, or running her photography business, she’s writing YA novels. 

You can find her short stories in Splickety Love’s 1.1 and 1.2 issues and her regular guest reviews at Edgy Inspirational Romance. Megan teaches youth and plays the piano at church, has an unhealthy love of vanilla cokes, and could really use more sleep.

Twitter: @meganbesing

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Review: Hog Insane by Carole Brown

The Book:

A dead body, a missing motorcycle, a strange key, and dope are at the bottom of the trouble Denton and Alex Davies, and Taffy, their Jack Russell Terrier, run into when they head for their first stop in the Smoky Mountains immediately after early retirement.

The Davies couple load up their RV and eagerly head for the Smoky Mountains, with the Mountain Mist Campground at Pigeon Forge as their final destination.
Newly retired, Denton hopes to use this trip to rekindle the dwindling flame of his marriage. In spite of her protests, he is sure his wife looks forward to the rest and relaxation as much as he does.

They barely arrive at their destination when a risk-taking motorcyclist speeds past them, followed by a careening sports car.
Denton remembers the fatal tangle of his nephew ten years earlier ... with the bike Denton taught him to ride.

Things continue to go south the rest of the evening, culminating in Denton finding a body sprawled in the brush beside the path to their cabin.
The man's booted feet toe down, as if they had dug into the ground, and biker gloves on his hands indicate Denton may have seen him earlier in the day.
Denton squats and presses two fingers alongside the neck of the victim. No pulse, just as he expects.

The bullet hole in the victim's head says it all. Denton has a job to do and a mystery to solve.

Available for purchase here:
Amazon print:
Amazon kindle:
Books a Million:
Barnes & Noble:

The Review:

Carole Brown weaves an intricate mystery as to lead the reader down different trails and wonder… who committed such a heinous crime and why?

After almost being ran over by a young motorcyclist, Denton Davies finds him dead in the bushes with a bullet to the head. Fearing he may be a friend’s nephew, he takes it upon himself to investigate with his wife refusing to wait idly by in the camper. She joins in, if nothing else but to occupy her time, only to prove she’s better at sleuthing than he could’ve imagined. Their combined efforts uncover clue after clue and soon, they’re in the midst of a conglomerate of suspects.

Hog Insane’s a well-written novel which captures the reader from beginning to end. Sprinkled through the pages, one finds lessons of love, forgiveness, and patience— many ways God can and does work in lives today. Carole’s writing style’s relaxed and fluid, making the book a quick and easy to read.

Good job, Carole. I give Hog Insane five stars.

The Author:

Carole Brown's debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Catherine Castle Charms the Corner

A Touch of Relaxation

Welcome to the Coffee Corner, Catherine. I’m so glad you could join us today. Texas is heating up. We’ve had temps in the 90’s and thunderstorms galore around Waco. I think summer’s has arrived. How’s life in your area?

It’s getting warm here in Ohio, too. We’ve had a lot of rain this year, and the garden weeds are growing like mad. I’m dying to be done with book edits and get out there and pull weeds.

I’d probably melt. I love the outdoors but heat’s not my thing, although I love my flower bed. Speaking of books, I loved your book, The Nun and the Narc. Can you tell us a little bit about the story and its road to publication?

The Nun and the Narc is about a novice who goes to Mexico on a house building mission trip and gets kidnapped by the local drug lord when she tries to stop a drug deal. Sister Margaret Mary risks losing her life, her vocation, and her heart when she falls for undercover DEA agent Jed Bond who is imprisoned with her.  Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary. Jed knows she’s off limits, but his heart can’t help wanting this woman who’s been promised to God.

Because the book is a bit outside the box for traditional inspirational romance, I had a hard time selling it. Publishers didn’t know what to do with a non-evangelical character. After writing the book, which placed second in its first contest I entered and was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest, it took me nearly ten years to find it a home with Soul Mate Publishing.

Ten years? What a struggle… and we all know life doesn’t fit inside a perfect square box. Even though I’m sorry for your trials, I’m grateful for the result. Your characters have such depth. I won’t beg you to reveal your secrets. Well, maybe just a little?

Thanks for that compliment, Renee. I guess I’d have to attribute it to years of honing the craft. Characters need to have faults and secrets, too. When I was acting, the drama coach said we should always give our character a secret, even if the secret was never revealed on stage. She said it gave our characters depth and gave us a backstory that showed in our actions. I’ve tried to do that with my characters.

Acting coach! (You are full of secrets yourself, milady.) She had a good idea, by the way. I know the readers would love to see what we’re talking about. Do you think we can have a little peek of your story?

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the book. I think it shows Sister Margaret Mary’s foibles.

Margaret inched forward, hoping to hear what they were saying. A mariachi band nearby blared out a tune, the polka-like melody destroying any hope of eavesdropping. The shriek of off-key brass sent chills up her spine. She covered her ears and moved closer to Rafael and the stranger.
After a couple of minutes of conversation, the man removed an envelope from his jacket and pulled out a handful of bills. He folded them in half and then slipped them into Rafael’s extended hand. With a furtive glance around, Rafael moved closer to the man, blocking Margaret’s direct view, and handed something to the stranger.
A wave of apprehension swept over Margaret. The chapulines she’d snacked on earlier that morning threatened to see the light of day.
A drug deal! Of all the things Rafael could do, this was the worst.
Esperanza had fought so hard to keep her son away from bad influences. Now he appeared to be involved in the very thing she’d hated most. Margaret imagined Esperanza banging on the gates of purgatory, trying to get out and rescue her son.
She hesitated for a moment, hearing Mother Superior’s admonishment. Stay out of trouble while you are in Mexico, Sister.         
Silencing the nagging voice in her head, Margaret charged forward, protective instincts in full swing.
Stopping Rafael and talking to him about the dangers of drugs surely wouldn’t qualify as trouble. Bluntness, maybe, but not trouble. It was more like saving. Yes, that’s it. I’m saving him.
Margaret grabbed Rafael by the shirt. “I’ve been searching for you, young man.” She faced the stranger, giving him her best withering stare. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
The man stuffed the plastic bag into his jacket pocket. “Who is this?”
“Some crazy gringa.” Rafael shrugged, hard, trying to escape her grasp.
The plastic bag contained something white. Heroin? Cocaine? Margaret tightened her hold and drew Rafael closer. She would save him whether he wanted to be saved or not.
“Get out of here,” Rafael snarled.
“What would your mother say if she saw this?”
Rafael’s expression darkened. “Leave my mother out of this!” He wrenched out of Margaret’s grip and spun around to face her. His expression morphed from anger to fear.
¡Madre de Dios!”
The man’s head jerked around. “Get down!” he shouted.
Rafael took off running down the street as the top row of pottery in the stand exploded like popcorn.
Margaret jumped at the loud noise and whirled around searching for the source. The man removed a gun from his jacket, swung around, and scanned the area.
Margaret’s knees buckled at the sight of the handgun. Her body tensed, her gaze frozen on his weapon. He fired off a couple of shots. Heart thumping like a jackhammer, she ran for cover behind the open car door. The window glass shattered as bullets whizzed over her head. She scrambled into the car and crouched on the floorboard. Another row of pottery shattered, sending fragments into the car like tiny projectile rockets. Sending up a quick prayer, she covered her head.
Slamming the door shut as he passed, the man leapt over the trunk. He jerked open the driver’s door then jumped behind the wheel. Jamming the car into gear, he roared out into the market street. Shoppers and vendors screamed, leaping out of the car’s path.
Margaret scrambled into the passenger seat. “Stop this car immediately!”
“Keep down,” he ordered, “unless you want to get shot.”
The rear window glass erupted into the car’s interior, punctuating his words. The man fired at the attackers through the shattered back window.
“Shot?” Her voice rose an octave. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, what have I gotten into?”
“Trouble, Lady.” He fired off another round. “Big trouble.”

Oh, I love it. Thank you for sharing that piece with us. How did you become an author, Catherine?

I began my writing career as a self-taught journalist for the local weekly newspaper. I decided one day that I could write as well as the paper’s staffer and the contributors (yes, I realize it was a bit nervy of me to think so), and so I set out to get myself an assignment. After writing a couple of gratis articles about our church’s building project, I finally mustered up enough courage to ask the editor what other kind of articles she’d like to see from contributors. She invited me to come down to the office and sign a contract. While working at the paper, part-time, I covered a local romance writer’s conference, and decided I wanted to try my hand at fiction (which I’d written as a teen—not very good writing, but I had done it.) I got hooked on fiction after that, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’m so grateful you covered that conference. The Lord is so good. What’s your greatest dream for your writing?

I’d like to write books which entertain and that non-Christians, as well as Christians, will want to pick up and read. Books that show them about the Lord without preaching to them. Books that present Christians as real people, with real problems, and believable solutions that share God’s love, and our faith, in non-threatening ways to those who don’t know the Lord. One of my favorite reviews for The Nun and the Narc indicates I’ve managed to do it with this book. Here’s a snippet of that review.

This review is from Amazon: The Nun and the Narc

I loved this book. To be honest, I didn't expect to, especially because in the forward, the author mentions trying to get it published as "Christian romance." I'm not Christian and don't enjoy books that preach to me. However, the premise was too intriguing not to give it a try… So, does the book preach? Surprisingly - shockingly, actually - it really doesn't. It shares Margaret's deep faith and her hilarious need to pray and confess even when bullets are flying, but it never seems too preachy or sanctimonious, even when Jed starts turning more and more toward Margaret's God.

Yep, I’d say you did it. A great accomplishment, Catherine. I’m so happy for you. Even with your success as an author, if you had one thing to do over again, what would it be? Why?

I’d start pursuing writing as a career sooner. I wasted a lot of years thinking writing was only a hobby, when it could have been so much more for me.

I have to agree with you there. It was a hobby for me for years. How many gifts does the Lord give us we brush off or ignore when we can use them for His work?

Thank you so much for coming today. One last question … what’s the next project on the horizon?

I’m currently working on a sweet romantic comedy I’ve given the working title of A Bride For Mama.

Catherine will be giving away an ebook copy of The Nun and the Narc to one person who leaves a comment about her interview. Do you have a question or tidbit to share?

After leaving your comment, enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Book:

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.


Buy links:

Print version:

About the Author:

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

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing is an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner, a 2014 EPIC finalist, a 2014 RONE finalist and a Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.

Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc

Saturday, June 7, 2014

GUEST: Caryl McAdoo's Keep Believing

Renee, thank you so much for inviting me to your Inspirational Moments blog. It is both an honor and blessing to be here and get to share an encouraging word with all your readers.

Have you been waiting on God? I think we all have. Do you believe there’s something more, some way for you to impact His Kingdom in a wonderful way? He gives us a Word or a vision and we grasp hold of it full of anticipation of being in His service. Then days pass, weeks, months, and sometimes even years go by—a lot of years.
          Certainly this has happened in my own life, more than once. Most recently when my husband and I agreed He was leading us to pick up roots more than fifty years old and move from our home in Irving Texas about a hundred and fifty miles northeast to Red River County—called the Gateway to Texas—with the grandsons we were rearing and all our horses and goats, chickens, dogs, and cats.
          In many instances, to the chagrin of family and friends, we had done what we believed the Lord told us to do. This was only another test, and obedience not a question. Lyrics of a testimony song the Lord gave me, ‘Red River Ballad’ goes: “So we packed up all our bags and loaded up the livestock. Took our sons and grandsons, too, for a brand new start. Our hearts’ desire was to obey—do His will, bring Him glory, so we headed north to parts unknown on a sunny spring Sunday.”
          I expected a great revival to begin within weeks. We moved into a thousand square feet 1940s farm house we said would be temporary until we could build. After we took in another homeless family of four, thirteen souls lived with one bathroom in that small house. The couple got married, saved, and clean living with us a year. Looking back, that alone would have been enough of a reason to move.
          But I anticipate so much more. It’s been six years now, and still no great revival, but I’ve been praying and fully expect any day that His Holy Spirit will move here and all of Texas will be affected for righteousness by what begins here in Red River County. I know it is coming. I have never doubted God’s plan, this vision He gave us. It will come to pass. It is just not the end yet.
          Here’s an excerpt from VOW UNBROKEN in which I worked this encouragement into my story for all my readers—a message from God to those who have ears to hear. My heroine Susannah is very discouraged over bad news and her nine-year-old daughter runs out of the trading post:     

“Mama! I have a surprise for you! Pick a hand.” She held out both fists in front of her.
Sue shook her head. She did not feel like playing any games. She did not want to be happy. Her life was ruined, and all she wanted was to be left alone.
“Go ahead! Pick one, Mama.”
But should she make her daughter share the weight of the world? No. But how could she act like any surprise pleased her? Becky was obviously so excited about it, but Sue couldn’t think of one thing good at that awful minute. She tried to smile and tapped her left hand – since nothing was right, after all.
Becky opened her fist, revealing a golden piece of hard candy. “It’s butterscotch! You get the butterscotch!” She opened her other hand showing a red piece. “Mine’s cherry!” She popped it in her mouth and closed her eyes. You could tell she enjoyed it. “Ummm, oh, Mama! Roll it around so it’ll touch every part of your mouth. It’s like Heaven.” She opened her eyes. “Why aren’t you sucking yours?”
Sue shook her head. “Watching you, I guess.”
“Don’t be sad, Mama. Eat your candy. Suck it slow, so it’ll last a long time, and it’ll make you feel better.” She popped her cherry piece back in her mouth then put her sticky little hand on Sue’s cheek. “Everything will be alright. You’ll see.”
“I love you, Becky.”
“I love you, too. It just isn’t the end yet. You have to wait for the end to know how everything turns out.”
…She studied the candy a little longer, then closed her eyes and popped it in, sending it with her tongue to every part of her mouth. And she remembered to suck it slow.
Ummm, it was like Heaven.

Habakkuk 2:3 “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

Don’t lose heart, if God’s promise hasn’t manifested, if the vision He gave you hasn’t come to fruition, it just isn’t the end yet. His Word never returns void, it always goes forth to accomplish its purpose, His purpose. You are His beloved, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Never, never, never quit believing!

Caryl McAdoo and her husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with four grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grandsugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.

Susannah Baylor believes her cotton crop is sold to a local business man and waves goodbye to her neighbors’ wagon train. Four days later, her charlatan buyer tries to bilk her offering only half what he originally agreed to pay. Left with few choices, she reluctantly hires Henry Buckmeyer—according to gossip, a lazy drunk—to help get both her wagons along the Jefferson Trace, the hard trail between her Northeast Texas farm and the cotton buyers at the port. It won’t matter that it’s her best crop ever if she doesn’t get a good price; she’ll be forced to sell off the land her husband and his brother left to her and the children.
Henry’s ne’er-do-well reputation is well known, and she’s prepared for insolence, but not for his irresistible good looks or gentle manner. Romance soon entwines her heart with his, but she’s made a vow never to marry again without her father’s blessing, and learning Henry doesn’t really know God further complicates everything. Plenty of dangers arise on the trace—but none more difficult than the desires of her heart.
Will love overcome all? Can she get her crop safely to market and sell it for enough? Or marry a man without the blessing of her estranged father? In this heartening adventurous tale, Susannah’s family, fortitude, and faith are put to the ultimate test.


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