Sunday, August 31, 2014

In the End



Faith…
A powerful concept. Think about it for a moment. Do you have a clock? What does it mean to you? Think about it… for a solid minute… think about it.
Well, what’d you come up with? Here’s a few words that came to my mind: blind, trust, love, security. Of course, I’m a Christian. For an atheist, those words would be markedly different. Or would they?
Let’s say I’m an atheist for argument sake (no, I’m not!), what would I put my faith in? How about this beautiful big blue planet? Humanity? Government? The expanding universe? Money? Or something I could control… or think I could… myself.
In the end, I’d pick the one thing in my life, easiest to manipulate. Whether it be my family, my job, my friends, my possessions… they’d bow to my will in my own mind. I’d be my own god… have my own faith… my security. Who needs God when you are one?
You see, faith’s in our DNA. God made us to believe. Everyone will place their faith in something or someone. The important part is… what are you believing in? Yourself? A false god? Or the One true God? And how will you know the difference?
The dirt of this world won’t rejuvenate your bones after they’re buried. All the money you beg, barter, and steal won’t bring you back to life after your last breath. And you can’t sneak your way into heaven. The only way to walk the streets of gold is through the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Do you know Him?
In the end, faith in God, the Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ will be the most powerful possession on earth. Do you own it?



Jeremiah 5:31  The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?



In Christ,

Renee


Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Review: Rebekah's Treasure by Sylvia Bambola




The Book:
FIRST PLACE WINNER FOR ADULT FICTION IN THE FLORIDA STATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value:  Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.


The Review:
From the streets of Jerusalem to the shores of Galilee, life’s brutal following Christ’s death. It’s hard to distinguish friend from foe. War rages and family’s pushed to the side.

Rebekah’s Treasure captures history in a pragmatic manner and sends the reader back in time. The days of the Roman Empire and the miracles of the Almighty leap from the pages as Sylvia Bambola pens an amazing tale of a family torn apart then pieced back together.

Bambola provides the story with character and biblical strength giving it support. A true pleasure to read, I give this book five stars. Awesome job, Ms. Bambola.

ATTENTION!!!
Ms. Bambola's giving away a free copy of her book!
Winner's choice of paperback or Kindle copy...
Leave a comment with your email address now to enter.
Drawing to be Saturday, August 30th at Noon! 


The Author:

Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored six novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar. 
Connect with author:
Twitter: @sylviabambola

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Coffee Corner Welcomes Carole Towriss

A Touch of Relaxation

Hello, everyone, welcome back to the Coffee Corner. We have an awesome guest today, Carole Towriss. So pour a cup and gather round… And here we go!

Hi, Carole, welcome to the Coffee Corner. It’s such an honor to have you here. Thank you so much for coming today. How has the summer been treating you?

Our summer has been busy. My oldest is getting ready for a semester in Italy. My second just returned from a youth mission trip to Ecuador. Right now we are in Colorado visiting some National Parks. And school starts in two weeks!

Summer? What summer? Wow, you have been busy. I sure hope your trip to Colorado was relaxing and joyful. The Rocky Mountains carry a special place in my heart (although I prefer the ranges a little farther north). There’s nothing like majestic peaks reaching for the sky or gazing at a starlit night above the ponderosa pines.
Although my family hasn’t been globe-trotting, I can relate to the busy summer. I relocated back to Wyoming last month. No time is no time. I’m sure you’ve heard the infamous words “time management.” Do you have any words of wisdom?

No! I have four kids and a husband, so, no.

Sorry, I don’t mean to laugh at your answer, Carole. But sometimes it’s nice to hear someone else in the same boat. I may not have four children at home and yes, my husband’s like my right arm but between my job as a pharmacist and writing, time isn’t my friend. Is there hope for us? I’ll keep praying. And I’ll add you to my list.
By the way… speaking of writing, how did you start writing and why biblical fiction?

I got the idea for my first novel when I was reading in Exodus about Bezalel, the man who built the Ark of the Covenant. The Bible tells us nothing about him except he was of the tribe of Judah, the son of Uri, the grandson of Hur. I started wondering, how does a slave who made bricks know how to craft something like that? So I created a life for him. And then I thought of other stories like that. There are so many characters like that, so many stories in the Bible yet to be told.

I loved it too. You have a gift for bringing the characters of the Bible to life. So what is your latest one about?

By the Waters of Kadesh is the story of the spies Moses sent to check out the Promised Land—actually it’s the story of one spy, one of the ten who said the land could not be conquered after God said he would give it to Israel. It’s also the story of an Egyptian soldier who escaped with Israel (the Bibles says a “mixed multitude” went out with them), and a young widow.

This one sounds as awesome as the last one. How do you do it? Do you think we can have a sneak peek?

Chapter One

8th day of Ziv, Spring
Wilderness of Zin
Tirzah slipped out of the tent, her bare feet sinking into the warm, coarse sand. She dragged the flaps down and tied them together to shut out the fading evening light, and tiptoed away. She cast a look at Gaddiel sitting on the other side of the campfire as she sank to the ground and reached for a cold manna cake from the stack on the plate. The sweet, honeyed taste filled her mouth as she bit into it.
She glanced past the rows of tents at the barren sand surrounding them as she chewed. Not a single sign of life broke through the gravelly sand; nothing could endure the blistering sun or evaporating winds of summer. Very little had survived the long, dry season of her life, either.
The setting summer sun cast long, twisted shadows of the flames onto her tent. The fire danced and skipped. When was the last time she had that much energy? She was tired … so tired. She could barely hold her head up to take another bite. How did she get to this point? Why did Yahweh let things get this bad?
She shoved the rest of the cake in her mouth. At least she liked the taste of manna, unlike most of those around her. One more and then a little goat’s milk. Maybe she could get some sleep tonight. She closed her eyes and let her head fall onto her raised knees, her long hair tumbling about her shoulders.
A plaintive cry broke the stillness.
Naomi. Tears pooled in Tirzah’s eyes. She delayed one more moment before putting her hand to the hot ground to push herself up.
Gaddiel glared at her, his dark eyes flashing from beneath bushy brows.
“I’m sorry. I’ll quiet her.”
Her brother-in-law rose and disappeared into his own tent, pitched next to hers.
She hustled into the tent. The child sat on her mat, eyes darting about, breathing raggedly, tears streaming down her face.
“Hush, habibti. Back to sleep.”
“I’m scared.” Naomi rubbed her fists into her eyes.
“I know. But it’s all right. I’m here now. Back to sleep.” Tirzah eased her back down and lay next to her. She pulled her close and rubbed circles on the little girl’s tummy to comfort her until the child, not fully awake, rolled over and drifted off.
Her twin sister lay fast asleep on the other side of her, undisturbed by the noise and movement.
But Tirzah stared at the green stripe around the tent’s roof for hours.
Again.


What do you think, folks? I know I can’t wait to read it!

Carole, I know you’re busy with writing and your family, but in the calm, more still moments, what do you like to do? You know… for relaxation… for fun?

I like to cook. I love to go to the beach. I like chick flicks. I love chocolate and Mexican food.

Ahhh… the beach. I love the beach. I wish you all the sand between your toes you can stand! As far as the art of cooking, well, can I punt that one? I’m not much of a chef. I can bake. Does that count? Chocolate, what kind? Chick flicks and Mexican… together or apart, or do you like chocolate and chick flicks? Just kidding! As long as you enjoy some relaxation in that busy life of yours, that’s all that matters.
With Labor Day coming up, I started thinking of holidays. People enjoy some more than others for various reasons. My favorite holiday’s Easter. I walked for years without Christ, going the motions of a believer, deceiving all around me. Easter reminds me of how and why I’m saved… by the blood of Jesus Christ. What’s your favorite holiday, Carole?

Christmas. I love Christmas. I love how everything about the gospel begins with Christmas, with God coming to us, seeking us out before we even knew He was coming.

Isn’t it amazing? He walked among us, healed us, nurtured, and delivered us. All because He first loved us. He truly is an awesome God.
Thank you so much for coming to the Corner. One last question before you can dump your coffee and run out the door, I promise. Any other awesome stories we have to look forward to?

I've finished the third book, and my awesome agent, Karen Ball is looking for a home for that one. I’m working on the fourth.


Well, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say, I’m sure it will find one soon and I can’t wait to read it! Thanks again for swinging by the Coffee Corner.



Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a signed paperback copy of Carole's new release,
By the Waters of Kadesh!

Drawing will be August 24th.




About the Book:




Kamose, once Egypt’s most trusted soldier, no longer has a country to serve or king to protect. Moses insists God has a plan for him, but Kamose is not so sure. Tirzah’s cruel husband died shortly after they left Egypt. She escaped his brutality, but now she’s alone, and once they reach their new land, how will she survive? Gaddiel, Tirzah’s brother-in-law, is chosen as one of the twelve spies sent to scout out Canaan. He’s supposed to go in, get information, and come back, but all he really wants is to bring down Joshua.

Buy links
Autographed print copies: http://caroletowriss.com/books


About the Author:


Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks, writes and waits for summertime to return to the beach. You can find her at www.CaroleTowriss.com.

Twitter: @CaroleTowriss
email: carole@caroletowriss.com



Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc

Sunday, August 10, 2014

GUEST: Jessica Everingham's When You Scream, Make It Loud



Do you want to inject raw passion in your stories? Are you looking for a deeper spiritual element in your book? Are you searching for a new way to touch readers?
Then be prepared to get angry.
Angry at what? I hear you ask. Well, there’s plenty of options — the declining state of society, the risks new technologies pose to today’s youth, the evils of…whatever.
There’s certainly room for those topics in fiction. But I’m thinking of something that will stretch you as a person and reach a hidden corner of your readers’ hearts. I’m thinking that you should get angry at God. Or the church. Anything labeled Christian.
“Hold on!” I hear you say. “Isn’t this a Christian site? Isn’t this chick a Christian writer? Doesn’t she love God?”
Yes, yes and yes. Just hold onto your hymnals and let me explain.
If you’re like me, there’s parts of God you don’t understand. There could also be parts of the church that send you to the brink of insanity seem less than ideal. You don’t say those things out loud for fear of being condemned as a heretic, but still… they’re there. What would happen if you explored those issues in fiction?
a.    World War Three would begin, signaling the start of the Apocalypse.
b.    The time-space continuum would collapse.
c.    Pigs would fly.
d.    You would have to deal with it.
Congratulations folks, the answer is D. By bringing up your doubts, fears and hurts you may reveal a struggle that other people go through too. You could make your characters relatable. You could find that God can handle those scandalous thoughts. And you could grow.
For me, that issue is the church.
To read some books, (and don’t get me wrong, they’re great books,) you’d think that every Christian wife is a casserole-cooking saint. Every pastor is so holy, you wonder if they ever pass wind like the rest of us mortals. Each church is a big extended family, full of hugs and kittens and smiles.
But that hasn’t always been my experience.
My childhood church split two years ago, after decades of squabbling. I have a friend whose feelings toward church are still affected by a selfish youth pastor on a serious power trip. I’ve seen elders arguing after a sermon, Christian families feuding and leaders failing to lead. All the while they claim to be better than the big bad world out there. I can feel my blood pressure rising already.
Yet God calls the church His Bride. He created it, loves it, and asks us to be a part of it. So that’s a conflict I have to deal with.
But in fiction, there’s not much for me to relate to. The churches there are so… perfect. No disrespect to those authors; I love a good sweet Christian romance and have read them by the shelf-full. But still, I sensed a gap. So I decided to fill it.
The books I write show the dark side of Christian Religion. (I say ‘religion’ because that is where the problem lies; in the man-made aspect, not the God part.) I rip off the holy fa├žade and scream about it from the rooftops. I make the fictional situation way worse than anything I’ve ever faced in my life. I multiply the emotions – the betrayal, the anger, the unforgiveness — that I’ve only experienced myself in small doses. Then I wait to see what God will do with it. And I throw in a heap of romance and humor to keep things interesting. J
I hope that dragging my issues into the light will spark up a neuron in another reader’s brain. They’ll think, “Hey, that happened to me!” And then we’ll work through it together.
Ripping off that band aid doesn’t just help your readers; it will be good for you, too. You’ll be forced to identify things you haven’t dealt with. You’ll have to admit they’re bothering you. And you’ll have to take it to God and thrash it out — repeatedly. It takes some soul-searching to get your main character to that satisfactory ending.
Your writing will also benefit. All the experts say to write from your heart; mine your emotions and use them to fuel what your characters are feeling. Now, if you’re swapping surface-level irritations for darkest-corner-of-your-heart conflicts, I’m pretty sure those emotions will benefit. 
So, put some thought into it. What is that issue for you? Don’t hide these things and pretend Christianville is A-OK. Turn the spotlight on that issue, then attack the rot at the source and get some genuine healing happening.

And when you scream, make it loud.

About the Author:
Jessica Everingham is a 23 year-old Australian writer. She is addicted to any form of storytelling — books, TV and movies — and loves creating her own (one-day-to-be-published) novels. When she’s not writing about romance and Jesus, she’s blogging or working as an eLearning training content developer. She has also been a journalist, boarding school mistress, dairy maid and shoe saleswoman.
Check out her blog at www.jessicaeveringham.com or connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jessicaeveringhamwriting) or Twitter @JessEveringham.


Lead picture courtesy of CreationSwap, by Matt Gruber.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Brooke's Blog Tour on Inspirational Moments

"Someone Always Loved You" Blog Tour



Brooke Williams - Author
Follow Brooke’s Book Blog Tour August 1-15 on her website here.




Welcome to Inspirational Moments, Brooke. I’m so happy my blog can be a stop along the way on your book tour.

Thank you so much for having me, it’s an honor that you have opened your blog up to me today!

You’re very welcome. Believe me when I say, the honor’s all mine. I’m excited to have you here. I don’t have many book tours pop in. What can you tell us about your book, "Someone Always Loved You?"

I always wanted to write a book about someone in a coma and speculate on what they could hear or whether or not they had memories. The idea was in the back of my mind for years and years. Then, once I formed a career in radio, the prologue for the book hit and I HAD to write it down. After that, I felt I owed it to the idea to finish it. “Someone Always Loved You” was born!
It’s about a man who, on his first day as an ambulance driver, hits a pedestrian. She is thrown into a coma and he keeps a constant vigil at her side. The book has plenty of love (though not between the ones you would expect), there are many surprises as well. Some of the smaller characters have interesting side stories that come out and you will even find deeper issues like adoption, substance abuse, mental illness. It deals with a lot of emotions and readers will likely find something they relate to within the storyline.

It sounds like a great story. Do you think we can have a peek?

Sure…

PROLOGUE

            The bright yellow taxi nearly took the curve on two wheels.  She told the driver that getting there fast was a matter of life or death.  She just didn’t want to lose her own life in the process.  She thought longingly of her car, up on blocks at the mechanics where it had been stationed for nearly a week.  Glancing out the window and seeing another curve coming, she cursed herself for not maintaining her vehicle properly.  Bracing herself for the turn, she held back tears as the phone call re-played itself in her mind.
            “Mrs. James?”
            “Yes.”
            “This is Memorial Hospital. Your husband had a heart attack. He just arrived a few moments ago…his condition is critical.”
            “Is he going to be okay?”
            “We just don’t know at this point.”
            She clenched her eyes shut as she remembered how her own heart nearly stopped beating as she heard those words….heart attack…critical condition…don’t know.
            The taxi had to get her there.  She needed to tell him before it was too late.  Even if he didn’t live, he had to know before he died.  Even if he couldn’t hear her, she was going to try.
            As she thought about the exact words she would use, the taxi jolted to a stop across from the towering emergency building.  She glanced at its massive presence with a sense of dread.    
She threw bills at the driver, not waiting for change.  After the fancy curve work, the driver deserved every extra penny.  In her rush, she didn’t bother to look both ways.  In her terror, she didn’t hear the siren.

*          *          *          *
          
             It was his first day on the job.  He had studied the maps for days at a time and he knew the city streets better than the back of his hand.  He knew the fastest routes at every time of day.  His first passenger would not die on his clock.  Not a chance.  With the siren blaring, he drove swiftly, but gently, so the emergency medical technician in the back could work without disruption.
            “She’s losing a lot of blood, Jay,” the EMT shouted.  “We gotta get there fast, man!”
            “Not a problem,” Jay replied.  “I called ahead.  They have her blood type ready.  Plus we’re already there.”
            Jay only glanced back for a moment.  He just wanted to see the look on the seasoned EMT’s face as the man realized he’d just taken the quickest ambulance ride of his career right through the city during rush hour. 
            The woman darted out of nowhere.  In his glory, Jay never saw her. 
            The second he looked away had been one second too long.  As his eyes fastened back on the road ahead, the ambulance pulled under the emergency room over hang, and he caught the worry in her eyes an instant before the impact.  The sickening sound jolted him backward into his seat. 


Oh, wow… you already have me running for the store. I’m not kidding! I can’t wait to read it. After finally deciding to yield to the ideas spinning in your head, did you experience many challenges while writing this novel?

I was working in radio full-time when I wrote it so time was a challenge. All I wanted to do was sit and write it, but I certainly couldn’t quit my day job! Another challenge was that I was desperate to find out what was going to happen myself! I didn’t sit around and plot things out. They unfolded as I typed. It was hard for me to wait for what was yet to come.

I can relate to every single one of those, Brooke. I work full-time and write whenever I possibly can. Plotting’s also a rare experience for me. While I’ve tried to do it, my stories don’t stick to any plot I put on paper. They tend to have a life of their own and surprise me almost every time I put the pen to the page (or fingers to the keyboard, so to speak). Do you have any interesting stories about the writing of your book?

I wrote it in about a month, maybe a month and a half. There are a lot of stories in the book that came from my life or my background. One couple in the book, for example, meets on the internet. My husband and I met on the internet. The woman in the coma has a lot of memories from growing up and many of those things were things that happened to me. Some of the other items, however, are totally made up. It was fun to use my experiences and blend them with things that came out of my head.

Now that sounds cool. Even more reason to read it. (Not that I’m nosy.) I think it’s so neat that "Someone Always Loved You" contains more than just your writing. It literally holds pieces of you. I know you’ve written other novels since this one. What makes this book different than the others you’ve written?

This book is unlike anything else I have ever written. It’s the first thing I ever wrote, novel-wise and it will always be close to my heart. It includes more personal stories than anything else I’ve written. And it is more intricate in design and plot. Now, I work with a smaller plotline that deals with just one or two things and is more streamlined. This plot has a lot of depth to it, which is really complicated to pull together. It is also something I wrote because I was so driven to write it I couldn’t NOT write it. The other things I’ve written, I’m inspired to write, but they don’t generally keep me awake at night like this one did.

My plots will wake me up at night, but only one storyline has ever kept me awake. I’ll have to tell you about that one someday. On a personal note, what’s a day in the life of Brooke Williams like?

Craziness on all sides! I get up around 5-5:30am in hopes of getting a quick run in before my youngest girl starts to rise. The baby is generally up by 6 or a bit before or after. My older daughter (age 5) gets up at 7 on the dot most days.
I spend all day, every day feeding, clothing, bathing, playing with, and enjoying them. My older daughter doesn’t really nap anymore, but I’ve been a stickler about nap time so she still goes to her room and plays for an hour or more in the afternoon while the baby naps. This, for my writing, has been a saving grace. That’s when I get freelance articles done for clients and fiction done.
So in short, my day starts at 5am and ends at 9 or 10pm whenever I pass out cold from the activities of the day. I’d love more time for writing, but I know both my girls will be in school in a few years and then I’ll miss this time. At that time, I will have more writing time than I will know what to do with!

You sound like a busy mama. Whoever asks the question, “You don’t work?” when someone has children needs to pay attention. It’s a full-time job with lots and lots of overtime (and no paid vacations). Although, I’m so happy you have the time you do with them even though your writing takes a hit.
Speaking of writing, what’s next on the agenda for "Someone Always Loved You?" For you?

I really just want more exposure for “Someone Always Loved You.” This blog tour is the first major thing I’ve done to promote it, though I wrote it years ago. The tour is also good practice for me since I have several books coming out with a couple of different publishers in the near future.
“Wrong Place, Right Time” on December 9th from The Writer’s Coffee Shop.
“Accept this Dandelion” Feb 2015 from Prism Book Group.
“Mamarazzi” August 2015 from Prism Book Group.
“Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” from Wee Creek Press in Feb 2016.
The first three are romantic comedies. The last is a children’s book. As for what’s next for me, writing as much as I can. Enjoying my girls as much as they’ll let me. Biding my time until I can take my writing business to the next level.
I have so many ideas, it’s hard to know where to start. For now, I can only do what I can do in the hour a day I have available. But in the future, watch out!


I will definitely do that, Brooke! Thanks for stopping by Inspirational Moments on your tour. It’s been a true pleasure and deep honor.

****GIVEAWAY****


Don’t miss your chance to win a Kindle copy of "Someone Always Loved You!" Enter via Rafflecopter today!



About the Book:

His first day on the job, ambulance driver Jay has a horrible accident. The victim of the crash is thrown into a coma and Jay keeps vigil by her side. As their lives, past and present intertwine; a story of love through time unfolds. An intricate drama including adoption, love, suspense, and plenty of questions, Someone Always Loved You is a novel that keeps the mind churning and the soul alive.

  

About the Author:

Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She began her career in radio, both on the air and behind the scenes. She did a brief stint in TV news and then took on her most challenging job as a stay at home mom. During the few quiet hours in her day, Brooke writes articles for a number of clients as well as fiction creations such as “Someone Always Loved You.” Brooke has also written “Beyond the Bars,” a thriller, “God in the Kitchen,” a Christian novel, and “Taxi Delivery,” a Christian Romance. Brooke looks forward to the December 9th release of “Wrong Place, Right Time,” a romantic comedy and the February 2015 release of “Accept this Dandelion” inspired by the Bachelor TV show. Brooke has been married to her husband Sean since 2002 and has two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.

Links:

Website:

Facebook:

Goodreads:

Someone Always Loved You amazon link:

Email:
authorbrookewilliams@gmail.com