Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Review: A Splash of Substance: A Story of Assumptions and Expectations

A Review: A Splash of Substance


A Story of Assumptions and Expectations


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The Book, A Splash of Substance:

She doesn't vote. He works for a Senator. Is it a recipe for love or disaster? Paige Jackson has always stayed out of politics, leaving it to God to govern the world. She has enough on her plate as the owner of a catering company founded on convictions to buy local, sustainable fare. Jackson Trent works on Capitol Hill for Senator Carson, putting his beliefs in action to help shape national policy. Hoping to find high-end clients to keep her business afloat, Paige bids on a contract to cater the Senator’s next fundraiser. Shake-ups in the Senator’s staff leave Jackson grudgingly in charge of the event. After Paige is chosen as caterer, she and Jackson must work together despite opposing beliefs on how God calls Christians to participate in government. As Paige introduces Jackson to sustainable fare, it’s not just the food that piques his interest. When Senator Carson becomes front-page news in Washington, Paige is sucked into the whirlwind of scandal. Can Jackson convince Paige he wasn't complicit and win her back or has politics burned his chance at love?
Book One in a new series of Contemporary Christian Romance from Elizabeth Maddrey, A Splash of Substance is a heartwarming romance that also provides readers a chance to consider their views on the civic responsibility of Christians and sustainable living in the suburbs.

* * * * The Review, A Splash of Substance:

Winning Senator Carson’s fundraiser contract’s the best thing that could happen for Paige Jackson…until she ends up in the papers. The budding relationship with the senator’s assistant crumbles into dust and her reputation—and her new business quickly follows. Her world turns upside down, but to her dismay, her parents are there to pick up the pieces. She moves on…broken and lonely.

When Jackson Trent meets Paige, he’s never the same again. Just when they discover their attraction for each other, betrayal by the senator reduces his chance for a relationship with Paige to ashes. After his job disappears into disappointment and disillusionment, he struggles to find direction and purpose, and Paige refuses to answer his calls.

A story of assumptions and expectations, Elizabeth Maddrey takes Christians where we don’t want to go, but need to be as civil servants and children of God. What do we do (or don’t do) for our principles? Our faith? Are we content to continue about our daily lives unheedful of the consequences of our actions or inaction? And in the end, consider…how can we put a “splash of substance” back into the world?

This was a well-written, contemporary book which addressed authentic, modern issues. It was a pleasant, easy read, and I give it four stars.
 

BOOK GIVEAWAY

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A SPLASH OF SUBSTANCE

Elizabeth Maddrey’s giving away a copy of her book! Comment below for your chance to win.
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(One commenter will win one copy (paperback or digital – winner’s choice) of A Splash of Substance by random draw on 5/3/15.)
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The Author, Elizabeth Maddrey:

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Elizabeth Maddrey
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn't writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.
Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Coffee Corner with Peggy Trotter

It’s Coffee Corner time, and I have a treat for you!


The Coffee Corner on Inspirational Moments


Pour yourself a cup, grab a cookie, and welcome my friend and fellow crit partner, Peggy Trotter.


RB: I’m so excited to have you here! For those who may not know, Peggy’s released her debut novel with Prism Book Group this month. Tell us more about Year of Jubilee, Peggy.
PT: Year of Jubilee is a Historical Christian Romance set in Southern Indiana. My heroine has a damaged past, abandoned, kidnapped, and abused by her first husband, she is struggling just to feed herself in the year of 1850. My hero is recovering from being left at the altar and believes he’s bought a vacated farm. Only he learns it’s very much occupied.
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RB: What a story…I absolutely love it! Okay, slap my wrist…OUCH! I almost gave it away. Back to the interview. I know this is your first published book, but you’ve written several. How do you decide what to write about and when do you do your research?
PT: I’m not sure I really ‘pick’ what I’m going to write. It’s like the premise finds me. Usually, the trail is someone who’s at the end of hope, who feels they are trapped in a desperate situation with no viable means of escape. I’ve found from experience that when you come to that bolder-lined bottom, where there is no option, we reach for God, and He eagerly pulls you up and out of the miry pit and turns the blackest future into splendor.
As far as research goes, I have a “find it when you need it” mentality. If I need to know if baseball was invented by 1850, I just start looking on the internet or in a book to find out. Sometimes, unfortunately yet fortunately, it leads me down different rabbit holes where another premise might tug my interest!
RB: What an interesting way to put it. I’m researching a bit before I start writing the next novel in my Snowy Range Series. I realized I didn’t know enough about some things, and thought I’d better find out. It’s been a challenge but fun. What’s easiest about writing for you?
PT: That’s easy. Plain writing. I have most of the story lines already worked out in my head, and they are dying to get out!!! But, that is not all to writing. I’m a pretty obsessive personality, so I have to pull myself away from it to get other things done. If I’m alone writing without disturbance from anyone, I might not even stop to eat a meal! LOL
RB: I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that! If my husband isn’t around when I’m writing or editing, I do the same thing. Truly, I know we’re capable of multi-tasking…anybody out there guilty of doing something similar?
So Peg, would you like to share a bit of your book?
PT: I’m afraid I’ll include something that will offend someone. My idea of an acceptable scene may not be someone else’s. And the last thing I want to do is turn someone away who could benefit from the hope in my book.
RB: I know your book addresses powerful issues such as spousal abuse, and rape, but it also speaks to the heart and mind. It shows the way to start anew after such things happen and become whole through Christ. Life can be cruel, but God is good…all the time. But how about we let the readers discover what I'm talking about for themselves?
Onto personal things…do you have any fun hobbies or things you like to do when you aren’t writing?
PT: I’m a hobby maniac!!! Here are some of the things I like to do: paint, knit, crochet, DIY, bead, scrapbook, play the piano, crafts, cross-stitch, sew, shop (LOL), latch hook, woodworking, repurpose furniture and other items, study genealogy, garden, yardwork, and more. Most of the things hanging in my house I’ve either painted, made, or repurposed. I love to learn new things. Some of my students are showing me how to make bracelets from rubber bands. Even that is fun!
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Peggy's Office Cubby
RB: I bet your home is awesome! What’s your writing spot look like?
PT: I have a little cubby off my kitchen. I like it there because I can stop and check something out while I’m supposed to be cleaning or cooking. Notice neither one of those were in the hobby list! J And I love sticky notes. It makes things super messy looking, but I don’t lose it that way. And it’s a handy reminder. All I have to do is look up. I tried to take them all down, but my personality works better with a little chaos!
RB: I love the yellow and the sign! And what I know of you, are you sure chaos isn’t your middle name? Just kidding! Be nice on my next critique!

 

Peggy’s giving away one copy (digital or paperback) of her new release, Year of Jubilee!

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Peggy Trotter

 

Do you have a favorite color? Peggy does! What do you think it is? Toss out a guess and comment below.

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About the Book, Year of Jubilee:

Orphaned and widowed, eighteen year old JUBILEE STALLINGS clings to her southern Indiana farm as her only refuge. The wilds of Gibson County are just being tamed in the year of 1850, and Jubilee ekes a meager existence. But when RAFE TANNER, a cousin of her abusive dead husband, shows up with the deed to her property, Jubilee’s dream of her own home dissolves.
Rafe, stinging from his ex-fiancée’s rejection, offers a business marriage, throwing him and Jubilee together in an effort to make the farm successful. But scars from the past keep her in constant fear of her new husband. The pair masquerades as a love-struck couple at Rafe’s family farm, enduring the romantic notions of his family and the jealousy of his ex-fiancée.
Once home, Rafe realizes his newfound love for Jubilee, and sets out to court her. Meanwhile, Jubilee fights demons from her past as her husband reveals his interest. Can Jubilee let go of her distrust and pain to embrace God’s plan of true love and finally find a place to belong?


About the Author, Peggy Trotter:

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Peggy Trotter
Peggy Trotter has been writing something for over 30 years. The empty-nest syndrome set her to groping for a new direction, and wow, did God answer! Year of Jubilee, a Christian Historical Romance set in southern Indiana, debuted on April 10th  of 2015 through Prism Book Group. A second, a Contemporary Romance entitled, Reviving Jules, will follow on Oct. 9th, 2015 as well. She loves to reveal God’s miracles through the world’s underdogs and mix in a little love and happy endings. And a dash of heat!
She finaled in the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest in 2013 in the inspirational Category, and is a 2014 ACFW Genesis Finalist in the Novella Category. Seldom does she stand still, but when she does, it’s to praise her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Creator of all gifts and Bestower of all blessings!
My website: peggytrotter.com

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pen to the Page: Paula Mowery's Showing Christ in Writing

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Bible and Pen

Fleshing Out the Word

(including giveaway of Paula Mowery's incredible release Legacy & Love)

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One distinguishing characteristic of a Christian writer is to show Christ in our writing. Just as we make our characters come to life, we are to “flesh out” Christ in our writing. This is exactly the example we find in the Bible.

John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”


At first, Christ was just a word. Humans knew nothing of His character. But, then God decided to “flesh out” Christ for the world.

John 1:14a states: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”


When God revealed Christ by sending Him to the world, He didn’t make a grand entrance in which everyone could see all about Him at once. No, Jesus eased into the world through a teenage mom in a small stable. As He grew, I’m sure there were noticeable characteristics. I mean, come on, the Kid never sinned. That would have stood out.

As Jesus became a man, He didn’t have a big “coming out” party. He slowly showed his character through His actions – miracles, words.

Isn’t this what we are to do with our characters as writers? We don’t write everything about that character on the first page of our manuscript. We slowly show that character throughout our writing. We “flesh out” our characters.

Jesus isn’t the character our book focuses upon, but we still want Him seen through our story. That’s our point and our goal as Christian writers, right?

Let me share something with you that God revealed to me about being a Christian writer. One day during my quiet time, I was reading in First John, and the Spirit seemed to highlight some verses which have become my philosophy of writing.

First John 1:1-4 in The Message says: “From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in – we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!”


We have experienced Christ, so we write for others to experience Him and have communion with Him. We write so others can enjoy this which will double our joy.

First John 2:1, 7, 21, and 26 explains that we don’t write anything new. The message of Jesus is still the same. We’re not writing something about Jesus that you don’t know but to confirm the truth you do know and to remind you that the truth doesn’t breed lies. We write to guide out of sin and warn against those who may try to deceive.

First John 5:13 in The Message states: “My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion.”


The world throws so many lies and illusions toward us every day. Satan would like nothing better than to cause us to doubt our salvation and God’s truths. The enemy would have us write stories devoid of Christ – play it safe.

Can I challenge you today? As you write your stories, “flesh out” Christ for your readers. Gain joy from revealing Him. You never know how God will use your story to touch a life for Him. That’s the beauty of being a Christian author.

Does God have control of your writing? Do you allow the message of Christ to come through your stories? What kind of philosophy or goals has God revealed for your writing ministry?

“Whatever else the writing life offers, nothing compares with the dream of actually changing lives with words.” Jerry Jenkins from Writing for the Soul.



Written by Paula Mowery


Paula's giving away an e-copy of her awesome book, Legacy & Love to one winner!

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Enter by commenting about the post below!

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Winner will be selected by random drawing on 4/19/15.


About the Book(s):

The Prayer Shawl

Sean Holland is a magazine reporter always looking for the next story. Hope Weaver is a pediatric nurse who shares Christ through making prayer shawls. The shawls are just the touchy-feely story Sean needs, even though he’ll have to endure Hope’s strong Christian beliefs to get it. An unexpected connection brings them together as a couple. But, can they find love if they don’t share their faith?

Inheritance

Alex Lyndon’s life has been a series of fits and starts with no finishes. She finds herself jobless and divorced. Now her only family, Granny Olivia, is critically ill.
Chase Carson had to step into running the family business when his father died. The time is past due to visit Miss Olivia.
Alex and Chase must go on a treasure hunt. Will each find purpose and love for their lives in the process?


About the Author:

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Paula Mowery
Paula is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter the hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. Paula enjoys reading and reviewing Christian fiction, writing Christian romance and devotionals, and helping other authors realize their dream of publication.
You can follow Paula at www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Mowery/175869562589187. Learn more about Paula at her blog at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com or enjoy her monthly columns on www.christianonlinemagazine.com.



photo credit: Open Bible with pen via photopin (license)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Faith at Work: New Beginnings

Faith at Work


New Beginnings


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James Blare

It’s Easter Sunday. The day they rolled the stone away and behold, the tomb was empty. Hope was rekindled for the many who mourned and thought all was lost. It’s the day we lift our hands high and praise God for all He has done for us…and bow our heads in prayer for those who do not know Him.

Welcome to Inspirational Moments…this is a special day. I introduce a new feature, FAITH AT WORK.


Are you the ultimate “Do-It-Yourselfer” whose gift of turning nothing into something amazing is used by the Lord to bless another soul? If so, this feature may interest you. For that’s what this is about.

Since FAITH AT WORK’s dedicated to my husband, how about I introduce you to him?


James Blare was an electrician for sixteen years until his body made other plans. Shoulder and knee issues sent him in search of another career or should I say two? He became a football and wrestling coach as well as a paraprofessional at the reservation schools in Wyoming. He loved his new jobs, and the kids loved him…but his body didn’t. Thirty-nine surgeries later, James is unable to work, but children and athletes still hold a place in his heart.

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Tomato Plants

What does he do with his time now? James calls himself…a Jack of all trades, master of none. I refer to him as my ultimate do-it-yourselfer. If you talk to him, he’ll tell you about rebuilding his Bronco II’s engine in the garage, making a matching set of furniture for the living room, decks…you name it. He loves to work with his hands. His favorite saying concerning Do-It-Yourself projects is “learning’s cheap.”

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Greenhouse
Since becoming disabled, he’s had to learn how to improvise. Instead of a monster garden, he adapted his growing technique to include hydroponics. Tubes and water provide the nutrients to his plants instead of digging and weeding. It's much less wear on his joints and back. The greenhouse shelters him and the greens from the unpredictable Wyoming elements.
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James' Garden

And what of the produce? As James gave his heart and soul to the children of the reservation, he gives of his garden. Tomato plants…green bean seedlings disappear out of his greenhouse before the first fruit or vegetables can be picked. Where are they going? You would have to ask him. Most likely to anyone who asks. And when the harvest comes in? We’ll pickle the cucumbers, dill the beans, make the salsa, and the jars of produce will disappear the same way, if not before.

So when you’re gathered ‘round the Easter Sunday table, offer a little bit of thanks for the do-it-yourselfer in your crowd. After all, life’s pretty good with them around.

FAITH AT WORK is dedicated to James Blare, Jr., Renee Blare’s husband. If you have a DIY story to share, please contact Renee at faithwalker007@gmail.com.