SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Sara R. Turnquist’s “Trail of Fears”

Welcome, everyone! I know I usually have an author to introduce you to, but today, I wanted to introduce you to my newest release: Trail of Fears! I have some goodies below for you to jump into the book a little more and a giveaway following so you can possibly snag yourself a copy!

Trail of Fears

He’s a steadfast missionary. She’s a proud Cherokee. Can their love survive the brutal Trail of Tears?

Thomas Greyson believes God had called him to spread the gospel. He leaves his sheltered world behind to live among the native peoples and teach in their school. But as the government tightens its grip, not everyone is ready to listen to the gospel’s message of love… least of all the stubborn beauty who stole his heart.

Adsila resists bending her knee to the white man’s God when Thomas seemingly tries to steal away the last remaining shreds of her heritage. Is she prepared to fight him tooth and nail? But when he stands with her people in the face of hardship, her soul begins to long for the curious stranger and his unshakeable faith.

Against impossible odds and staggering loss, can Thomas and Adsila find the strength to follow their hearts’ true path?

Trail of Fears is a stirring historical romance that captures the heartbreaking reality of the Trail of Tears. If you like spirited characters, personal journeys of faith, and enduring love stories, then you’ll adore Sara R. Turnquist’s gripping tale of survival and salvation.

Buy Trail of Fears to embark on a harrowing journey of faith and love today!

Teaser Video

Video Trailer (**you’ll want your volume on)

Enjoy an Excerpt

Thomas let out a deep sigh. Having finished his lessons for the day and dismissed his students, he took a moment to gaze over his humble classroom. Was he reaching them? His students performed well in their subjects, but had he made any lasting impact? He sighed again as he rubbed chalk dust from his hands. Perhaps only time would tell.

He gathered his things and made short work of closing the small schoolhouse. As he stepped out of the makeshift building, a breeze flowed over him. His eyes slid shut. If only it could take his worries and cares with it. The burst of air washed over him and refreshed his senses. And he allowed it. For several blissful moments.

His shoulders tightened, and his brow furrowed. What interrupted his peace? The children. Their eyes stared into him even now. Wanting, hurting, asking for something deeper than grammar and equations. It was important they get good instruction in these basic subjects; but it was vital they learn about God, about Jesus, about the Gospel.

Opening his eyes, Thomas gazed across the landscape. There were a few cabins visible from this vantage point. The Cherokee, his mission field, had proved more resistant than he had anticipated. His studies had taught him how much they’d given up to become ‘civilized.’ Much of who they were now lay in the past. Curious.

He began the walk toward his own cabin.

Did the Cherokee believe he now asked them to give up the last bit of their culture? Their religion? Was that the reason for the difficulty he had acquainting himself with his neighbors?

He had been invited to sup with Atohi and his family once a week, and he had the school. Beyond that, no one would open their doors, or their hearts. Or listen to the message he brought. No matter what the chief said, he was an outsider.

He spotted his cabin on the horizon. The structure’s modest proportions were nothing compared to his parents’ large home in Charlotte. But it belonged to him.

What would his mother think of him living in such a tight space? Unthinkable! Inhumane! And all other such craziness. But the little house had been more than adequate.

Ducking, he stepped through the door and set his school supplies down. He crossed his arms as his gaze wandered about the small space. It needed a good cleaning. There were dirty plates and a pile of clothes in the corner—it made him long for one day of the housekeeper’s time.

But as much as this humble abode belonged to him, the chores did as well.

Not today.

He needed respite for his soul. Having no one to talk to or share his concerns with, he often found himself in need of time alone with God. Grabbing for his knapsack, he walked back into the sunlight.

Today he needed space. From this village. From these worries.

Working his way up the creek, he left any semblance of the known behind as he sought a quiet spot in which to commune with God. He lengthened his stride, and the worries of the past days faded as the cabins diminished in his view.

He pulled at the strap of his knapsack, reassured by its weight. It was but a slight burden, bearing only his Bible, a block of wood, and his whittling knife.

From his youth, his father worked with him to whittle, using first soap and a dull blade. Soon after, he graduated to wood and a real blade.

His mother encouraged him to pursue art and sculpting as he grew, but his true passions lay with God’s direction—the mission field. Still, there was nothing like using his hands to create statuettes of birds, squirrels, and many other things in God’s natural world. But it could never be more than a hobby.

Glancing back, the village had long since disappeared. Perhaps now he should look for a place to nest down. Then he might read and study to his heart’s content.

And pray.

Perhaps even work the knife over the block and bring something new into being.

A tree nearby stood tall and proud. The grass around it appeared a lush seat. Nature’s chair, already prepared for him.

He stepped toward the aged oak, placing a hand on the trunk and shrugging the knapsack from his shoulder. Gazing up the height of the tree, he wondered at the storms it had weathered. Would he, too, prove sturdy enough to stand such tests?

Water splashed. Where did that come from? It seemed close. Should he concern himself with it? Maybe it was nothing more than a wild animal further upstream.

Or was it?

He wouldn’t have to go but a few feet.

But would it be dangerous to sneak up on an animal with no rifle?

The splashing continued.

Didn’t sound too large, he wagered.

He pulled the bag over his head, the strap resting across his chest, and stepped in the direction of the sound. The creek made a sharp turn a few yards upstream.

Following the bend, he kept his footfalls as soundless as possible and slowed his steps as he drew ever nearer.

The sounds were so clear now. For certain, he was only a few yards from the animal. He came to a stop and, holding his breath, lifted a shaking hand. This was nonsense. There was nothing to fear. Steeling himself, he pushed the tree limb to the side.

A young Cherokee woman stood in the creek, water to her knees. More striking—she wore a traditional deerskin dress.

He had never seen such, except in pictures.

Belted at the waist with fringe on the hem and on the sleeves, it was rather… becoming. And because of the depth of the water, she had hiked the skirt until the hem only covered her to mid-thigh. Long, black hair hung loose, flowing about her shoulders.

His face warmed. He wanted to turn away, to back up, to slip from this scene. In truth, he should. But he couldn’t.

She was captivating. The young woman hummed a tune that could have been as old as her people. And she moved back and forth in the water to a rhythm all her own. Was she from a nearby village? Perhaps she sought the same thing he did—solace.

Yes, he should go. Should have gone before now.

Moving one foot back, he put his weight on it.

Still, he could not tear his eyes away.

As he pressed back on that foot, the ground moved underneath him.

And he slipped.

When he stopped sliding down the small embankment, he was in the creek.

Jarred. And well deservedly so. But as he moved, nothing seemed broken, thank the Lord.

He opened his eyes and shifted forward, squatting on his toes. And the blunt end of a rather large branch greeted him. Mere inches from his chest.

Two angry deep brown eyes glared at him from the other side of the scary-looking limb.

His hands shot in the air.

“What are you doing here? Spying on me? White man!” Her voice was strong, harsh. Not at all like the gentle cadence he’d just heard.

“No.” He backed up as he rose, almost tripping on the smooth stones in the creek.

She kept step with him, not allowing for one inch of distance to come between him and the branch.

“I was… I was walking along and came upon you… by accident” He tried to find his words.

“By accident? You expect me to believe that?” Her eyes flashed. One side of her dress kept slipping down, exposing a perfectly browned shoulder.

He lowered his eyes. “I promise you. I am the village missionary. My village is three miles… that way.” Raising a hand a hair higher, he pointed behind himself.

“Missionary? So, you are the one teaching our children lies.” Her voice gave no hint of softening. She raised the branch higher so it was in his face.

“Yes. I mean, no! I mean…” He touched the branch with one finger to ease it back down.

Clearing his throat, he attempted to speak more firmly. “I am the missionary sent to teach. But I speak only the truth.”

Her lips curled into a snarl. “I suppose that is what you believe.” She lowered the branch… slowly.

“Please.” He stuck his hand over the lowering branch. “My name is Thomas.”

She stared at his hand, eyes dark and hard. “You should make your way back to the village before it gets dark, Missionary.” Taking a step back, she left no room for argument.

He let his hand fall to his side. Still, he could not just let it be.

“And you are?” he called after her.

“Someone who doesn’t trust you,” she said as she backed away from him, her gaze continuing to follow his every movement.

Pursing his lips, he lowered his eyes. What more was there to say? He swallowed against the tightness in his throat.

One more person who didn’t trust him.

His hands balled into fists. Was there nothing he could do to change his plight? Moving toward the embankment, he stepped out of the creek.

But before he began his climb, he paused. Nothing would excuse him not being a gentleman. He ground his teeth. “Shall I escort you back to the village?”

No answer. Not even a sharp rebuke.

He turned.

But she had vanished.

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

I’m a coffee lovin’, word slinging, Historical Romance author who’s super power is converting caffeine into novels. I love those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That’s what inspires me. Well, that and a good love story.

But of all the love stories I know, I’m living my favorite. I live happily with my own Prince Charming and our gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.

Happy Reading!

Connect with me and my books

Website – http://saraturnquist.com

Twitter – @sarat1701

Facebook – AuthorSaraRTurnquist

Pinterest – SaraVTurnquist

Instagram – @sarat0103

YouTube Channel – Sara Turnquist

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away TWO (2) ebook copies of my release, Trail of Fears. To enter, follow the directions on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW: Author Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Hello, readers! I have an author for you to meet today that you will adore! A clean Historical Romance author!! I am always excited to introduce you to new authors, but I can’t help but be a little bit partial to my favorite genre. Author Catherine Ulrich Brakefield is here to talk about her Destiny Series. And I can’t wait for you to meet her. So, without further ado, let’s move on…

Welcome, Catherine! And thanks for joining us today. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Destiny’s Whirlwind is the second book of the four-book faith-based Destiny series: Collina McConnell is thrust from adolescence to adulthood as she promises her father she will manage their estate, but her father dies before disclosing the mystery behind his legacy for Shushan. Dashing Rough Rider Franklin Long offers his help, and suddenly Collina’s heart has a will of its own. Does he feel the same for her? War is declared, and he leaves for the Cuban shoreline. He holds the key to her heart, but will he return?

I like the premise! Of course, Historical Romance is my favorite genre. So you have definitely piqued my interest. If you can, tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Because Destiny’s Whirlwind is part of a series, Swept into Destiny is the first book of the series. I shall supply a special Bonus Chapter to anyone who asks for this to go along with Destiny’s Whirlwind. http://www.crossrivermedia.com/Destiny-2-Chapter-Bonus.pdf

Swept into Destiny is about an Irish Immigrant named Ben McConnell and a southern belle named Maggie Gatlan.

Collina McConnell is Ben and Maggie’s daughter and the story begins just before the Spanish-American war in 1898. In Destiny’s Whirlwind, the McConnells have just come through battling smallpox.

You’re not making me want this series less 🙂 I am super intrigued now! Would you share the more historically significant events behind your story?

During the late 1800s up to around 1906 this time in America was much like the Victorian Era in Europe. This was America’s “coming out” era for women, so to speak, as portrayed by Charles Dana Gibson’s interpretation of this time in his Gibson Girl.

Roosevelt’s Rough Riders were volunteers and didn’t have a regimented uniform when the Spanish American War began. Because of the Rough Rider’s heroic exploits, they became the forerunner of the Great War’s cavalry unit in 1917.

Love those historical tidbits! What was the inspiration for your novel?

My grandmother inspired Destiny’s Whirlwind and the Destiny series. I never knew that the Irish immigrant often did the work that the slaves were too valuable to do. I had heard little about the Spanish-American War in school. It was my grandmother who drew my attention to that era. I never heard about the Gibson Era until Gran told me about the large sleeves and taffeta skirts that rustled when you walked.

Gran told me stories about her family, their determination to keep Shushan (a fictitious name) and about her eldest sister who drove a team of six white horses and managed the farm after their father had died unexpectedly.

So neat! I, too, have a novel with pieces inspired by my grandparents. It’s very sweet.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I became serious about writing after I won a contest to go to the Billy Graham School for Christian Writers. That was back in the summer of 1976. I remember the year, because I was pregnant with my daughter then. That autumn my grandmother came to live with us after her son had died. My daughter was two months old at the time.

That sounds like a lot going on at one time!

I love what we as writers can glean from other writers intuitively through reading… What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a contemporary fiction by Cindy Ervin Huff, New Duet.

I really love this book. It’s about Isabella Wilson who’s a guilt-ridden widow and Dan Sweeney, a disabled veteran.

She was on my blog just a few weeks ago. That storyline touched me too. I live in a military town and come from a military family (my grandfather was career military). The wounded warrior character is a personal read here.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I like to get my outside ranch chores done. Haha, maybe not full fledge ranch, but close. We have four Arabian horses, two dogs, four cats and eight chickens. After they are taken care of I’m ready to sit down and do some serious writing on my computer. I like to write in my study where it is quiet.

You sure do have your hands full…full of good things, though!

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m so glad you asked! I have just completed book three of the Destiny series, A Destiny of Heart. This should be released sometime in October of this year.

A Destiny of Heart is a handshake away from Destiny’s Whirlwind. My characters and their life choices are vividly real, and I feel that is why many of my readers totally relate to this Destiny series.

Thank you so much for being on the blog and sharing about your books and your inspiration! I look forward to my readers learning a little more about the series in the following information. And, readers, there will be details of a giveaway at the end of the post. Don’t miss it!!

Swept into Destiny

One brave decision leads to serious consequences. Maggie is secretly educating the slaves at Spirit Wind Manor. But the manor’s serenity is soon threatened by abolitionist John Brown. A new republic looms on the horizon and with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, her countrymen’s anger escalates as secession spreads across the southern states. With the fires of civil war glowing on the horizon, Maggie is swept into its embers realizing she is in love with the manor’s hardworking, handsome Irishman Ben McConnell. Ben joins the Union Army and Maggie is forced to call him her enemy. An unexpected chain of events leads her into choosing where her loyalties lie. Conscience and consequence—did she care more for Ben or for her beloved South? As the battle between North and South rages, Maggie is torn. Was Ben right? Had this Irish immigrant perceived the truth of what God had predestined for America?

Destiny’s Whirlwind

Collina McConnell is thrust from adolescence to adulthood as she promises her dying father she will manage their estate, but her father dies before disclosing the mystery behind his legacy for Shushan. Dashing Rough Rider Franklin Long offers his help, and suddenly Collina’s heart has a will of its own. Does he feel the same for her? War is declared, and he leaves for the Cuban shoreline. He holds the key to her heart, but will he return? A disgruntled in-law and a vindictive lawyer place the McConnell clan in the clutches of life’s tangled web of deception and greed. As Collina fights to keep her promise to her father, the words of Esther 8:6 ring in her thoughts. “How can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people?”

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Come, child.” Maggie rose tiredly from the large Bentwood. “Death never waits on convenience.”

“Pa?” Collina bent low toward the still form.

Her father’s eyes opened, fluttering for a moment. His lips worked their way into a crooked grin. “You got that hay and grain from the McWilliams okay?”

“With the usual measure of trouble thrown in.”

His lips creased into a smile. “It’s the pepper sprinkled on our table meat that gives it flavor. What’s the date? Are we still in February or—”

“No, Father, it’s March and would you believe, I just rode our whites through what felt like a blizzard.”

“It’ll not last. Hard times never do…Hardened people…nursed on God’s Word…endure. Collina, above all, ye must take up the armor…the shield of faith…to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one…”

Buy Links

Amazon – Swept into Destiny

Amazon – Destiny’s Whirlwind

More About the Author

Catherine says, “My readers inspire my writing!”

Catherine is an award-winning author of faith-based historical romance Wilted Dandelions. Her new Destiny series begins with Swept into Destiny. The second of her four-book Destiny series Destiny’s Whirlwind released this past spring. A Destiny of Heart will release this autumn.

She has written two pictorial history books: Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County.

Her short stories have been published in Guidepost Books; Baker Books, Revell; CrossRiver Publishers; Bethany House.

She enjoys swimming and horseback riding. She lives in Addison Township, Michigan, with her husband and their Arabian horses. Her children, grown and married, she and Edward are the blessed recipients of two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!

Connect with Catherine and her books

https://www.catherineulrichbrakefield.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineUlrichBrakefield/

Blog: Hopes, Hearts,& Hoofbeats https://catherineulrichbrakefield.wordpress.com/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/CUBrakefield

https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-brakefield-4710b315/detail/recent-activity/shares/

 

GIVEAWAY!!

Catherine Ulrich Brakefield is offering a copy of Destiny’s Whirlwind, the first book in the series, to one (1) winner, chosen by Rafflecopter (Continental United States only.) Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter to enter, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GUEST POST & SPOTLIGHT: Author Emerald Barnes

Hello, readers! I have a treat for you today. Instead of me blogging, I have an author for you to revisit. Author Emerald Barnes is back on my blog today with a fabulous guest post for us. And we will spotlight her book series, The Knight’s Academy. I can’t wait for you to dive in, so I’ll quit babbling and let you have at it!

Guest Post

by Emerald Barnes

Myka, my main character, struggles with her identity throughout The Marked. She’s adopted, and when she found out that she was, she completely lost who she was. She never felt like she belonged anywhere, so that’s why she chose to leave her family and what was familiar behind and move to a new place. There, she thought she could discover who she really was. It was a way of starting over for her. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that wasn’t easy for her, until the end, until she knew her back story and what lay ahead for her.

We’ve all felt a lot like her. I personally have. For years, I struggled with who I was, what I was supposed to do with my life, and what my purpose on this planet was. Why had God given me the gift of writing if no one bought my books? Why had God given me a passion to teach teens about Him and His love for them if I wasn’t being used as a youth leader?

Like Myka, I was searching for my identity and my purpose. And I searched for years. Until I quit searching. I didn’t give up, but I said, “Okay, God. You know what has been prophesied over me. You know what gifts You have given me. Whatever You want me to do. Whatever You need me to do, just let me know.” And I let it go. I stopped searching and waited.

Waiting isn’t easy, but it paid off. God gave me a youth leader position almost two years ago, and He’s even using my non-Christian books in ways that I couldn’t have expected.

When you feel like you don’t have an identity, just let life happen. Wait on God to show you what you need to do, and God won’t tell you everything at once. You’d get so overwhelmed! (I think Andrew Wommack is the one who said that.) He’s going to reveal it to you as you go along. Life is about living one day at a time. Whether you’re facing a horde of vampires or if you’re just facing a torrent of thoughts that like to bring you down, you’re going to be okay. You’re identity doesn’t come from you. It comes from God. It comes from knowing who you are in God.

That’s why I like to focus on that in my books. If you’ve read Entertaining Angels, you’ll know that in my series, that’s what I focus on. I focus on teaching young women that their identities don’t come from the mirror or the scars on their wrists. Your identity comes when you truly learn who you are to God and who you are in God.

You’re loved. You’ve always been loved. You’re created in the image of God, and He is the One who saw fit that the world needed you. Don’t let the world bring you down. Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you’re worthless and don’t belong. You’re where you are for a reason. There’s even a reason for your waiting period. Just give it to God.

The Knight’s Academy Series

The Marked

Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

The Hunted

***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK 1***

Myka Williams has been forced out of Knight’s Academy and is on the run, constantly moving to keep the vampires off her trail until Preston’s venom is no longer coursing through her veins. But she isn’t alone.

Brent Jacobson is her protector, training her and teaching her how to be the werewolf she’s destined to be. He’s annoying, stubborn—and hot. But there’s something he isn’t telling her.

Myka has to come face-to-face with the truth of who she really is. Will she find safety, or will she always be hunted?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Olivia and her family brought in storage containers, decorations, and more, while Myka sat uncomfortably. When they finished unpacking, Myka wanted to give them some privacy, so she grabbed her messenger bag filled with her sketchbook, markers, pencils, and other art supplies and slipped out of the room. She wandered through the hallways, looking for a quiet place.

She passed a couple of girls chatting, mumbled hello, and when they didn’t respond, she continued to the stairs. She hurried out into the foyer where a few girls sat around talking to one another or were on their cell phones. A hushed silence fell over them as they stared at her. Myka tucked a curl behind her ear, ducked her head, and walked outside.

Now that Myka was without Barry and Jilly, the campus seemed far more formidable. For as long as she could remember, she wanted to get away from home and the questions of who she was and why her parents had given her away. She stared at the campus and knew she wouldn’t find any answers here either. What had she been thinking?

The campus was abuzz with students, teachers, and parents. Myka continued her search for a quiet place to sit and think, much like she used to do when she was at home and needed a moment to clear her mind. She maneuvered around students and parents carrying suitcases, bathroom caddies, and bedding in search of a sanctuary.

She walked between the cafeteria and academic building, ending up on a plush lawn dotted with Bradford pear trees that would be beautiful come fall when their leaves changed to vibrant oranges and reds or in the spring when they blossomed white. Stone benches and tables offered places to sit, study, or relax. The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, covered in pines and oaks, rose in the distance. The concrete wall surrounding the school marked the end of the lawn, and behind the wall was a thickly wooded area.

Myka took a seat on the grass and began to draw. She stared at her surroundings, taking them all in, when she noticed something strange above the trees. It was almost like a tower, but she couldn’t be too sure. Maybe it was a silo. She knew it wasn’t a tree because it glistened in the sunlight. The tower wasn’t too far from the campus, but far enough she couldn’t tell if belonged to Knight’s Academy or not.

Taking a deep breath, she removed her sketchpad and pencils from her bag. As she drew, she saw nothing but the scene ahead of her: all of the colors, how the wind made the leaves shimmer, and the way the sun outlined the mountains. She was only vaguely aware of the sounds around her. The wind tossed her hair about, but she moved it aside mechanically.

It was afternoon when Myka finished the drawing and looked at her phone to see if she’d missed a call or text. She set both aside and rolled her neck and shoulders, stretching her tense muscles. She stood, then continued to stretch. Finally, Myka looked at her drawing, wishing it would’ve been in color. It could use some more work, but at least she had the basic image.

She packed her bag and walked back toward the dorm, hoping Olivia was alone now. A shadow moved along the wall, surprising her. She turned to see Milo, who she hadn’t seen since April. He moved his dirty blond hair out of his eyes and stared back at her. He put his finger to his lips, jumped, and pulled himself up on top of the wall with his well-defined arms. With one last glance toward her, he disappeared from her sight.

Part of her wanted to follow him, to see what was on the other side, but she stopped herself. She didn’t want to get in trouble her first day of being at Knight’s Academy, but something inside of her told her to follow him. With one long, fleeting look at the woods behind the wall, Myka walked back toward her dorm room.

Buy Links

The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1 – http://amzn.to/2jG7GKB

The Hunted: Knight’s Academy Book 2 – http://amzn.to/2sEKaxh

Book three is coming soon!

More About the Author

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald and her books

Website: www.emeraldbarnes.us

Blog: ebarnes23.wordpress.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Street Team: www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesstreetteam

Fan Team: www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesfans

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/emeraldbarnes

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Barnes/e/B004PL38QS

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/emerald-barnes

 

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW: Author Jenn Faulk

Welcome to my blog! I have a fabulous author for you to meet! Jenn Faulk is not only an author of clean chick lit, she is quite prolific! I know Jenn through a group we are a part of called Pure Romance Reads. It is a collection of authors who all write clean romance. You can check us out online at: https://www.pureromancereads.com/ and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pureromancereads/

We are hosting a “Christmas in July” party next Thursday evening (July 26th), starting at 5PM EDT. You will be able to meet the authors, there will be giveaways…it will be great!!

But you are here to meet Jenn. And I am so eager for you to do so. You will no doubt find her every bit as interesting as I have…

Welcome, Jenn! And thanks for being on my blog! You have quite the list of works to your name! Please, tell us a little about one of your novels.

My first novel, Resolutions, is about three friends who decide to celebrate the new year by creating a list of resolutions that will ultimately change their lives. Emily, Melissa, and Sara are lifelong Christian friends who are quickly approaching thirty, and as they juggle careers, extended families, and their different church responsibilities while also completing those resolutions, life (as it always does!) ends up throwing a few surprises their way. Resolutions is a story about friendship and faith, about growing in Christ and trusting Him more. And, of course, there’s a love story as well!

Sounds just delightful! The kind of read you could just sit and really get into. What was your inspiration for Resolutions?

I LOVE chick lit, and I love great Gospel-centered fiction that draws readers in, entertains them, and calls them to deeper faith. As a reader, I wanted more Christian chick lit books and was disappointed that it was such a small subgenre. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I started brainstorming the ideas behind Resolutions back when my children were tiny, writing out some notes in between feedings, diaper changes, and the general chaos that comes with having babies. Once my youngest started kindergarten, I sat down, read what little I had been able to scrap together over the years, and committed to finally finishing it. That part – actually writing it – took three months. The lead up, though, was a spectacular five years, lol!

That is no joke! My story is similar. A lot of lead up, but once my kids were a little more independent, I found I could work a lot faster. So, the writing and dreaming is fun, but what part of the process do you dread?

Those last few tedious weeks of pounding out the end of the first draft! I’ve written forty-five books, and it never changes. I always tell my husband, “I hate this book, and I want to punch these characters in the face” when I get to this point in the process. Ha! I usually set it aside when I’m done, give myself some breathing room, and come back to it with fresher eyes, realizing that I don’t hate it after all and that no one will be getting punched in the face. Whew!

I am so the same 🙂 I’m like, “you’re not going to make this same mistake again are you!?” And my husband’s all, “Didn’t you write it that way?” “No. The story wrote that way.”

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading D.A. Carson’s The God Who Is There, which is phenomenal. It’s one of those books that exposits Scripture with an eye towards the totality of the Bible, showing how God is consistent in His character from the Old Testament to the New Testament, intentionally leading up to the incarnation of Christ and the fulfillment of His ultimate glory that’s still to come. These are things that we know as Christians already, of course, but I find myself praising God over and over again when theologians who are so much smarter than I am ever going to be keep going back to the Scripture and pointing out the miracle of grace and redemption so that we can know Jesus in a deeper, richer way. Always learning!

I’m also reading through the last three books in Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy Miller Series. This is an embarrassing confession, but I’m going to go ahead and give it – I read all of the Christy books (her high school and college years and those newlywed years) in, like, three weeks a few years ago, when I was in my late thirties and clearly past the age of the intended audience. I couldn’t stop, though! My husband was all, “What are you reading?” and I’d tell him, all irritated that he’d interrupted me, “I have to find out if Christy ends up with TODD!” like they were real people. (Real in my heart.) Anyway, I didn’t even know that there were books about the baby years (!!!) until last week, so I’m bingeing again! My oldest daughter has just started the first Christy book, and she was peeking over my shoulder trying to find out if (you guessed it) Christy ends up with Todd. Sigh. Apparently I’m like an overgrown twelve year old, but whatever.

I totally get it! I am going through Priscilla Shirer’s study “Discerning the Voice of God”. Talk about deep! But I might need to add this D.A. Carson book to my pile…

I always ask this next question. Mostly because music has become part of my writing atmosphere…instrumental music mostly. But, what kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

It really depends on the book and what part that I’m writing. If it’s a scene of spiritual clarity for a character, then I have praise and worship going, usually something by the Gettys. The rest of the time, I’m really partial to seventies music (don’t judge!), especially the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, and, yes, even the BeeGees. While writing my last book, Picture Perfect, I was on a Coldplay kick for a while, and after listening to Trouble and Yellow a few too many times, my hero was just about the most depressing guy ever. Hymn for the Weekend and Paradise got us out of that slump, though, thankfully!

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

After I drop my kids off at school and get my run in, I sit down at the kitchen table and spend the rest of the morning writing. I try to prioritize and keep from writing and being buried in my work when my kids and my husband are at home, so I protect those few hours of solitude as much as I can. (And I run my miles faster with the reward of writing dangling in front of me, lol!)

So admirable. I’m one of those people that are like…”if I’m running, you should be too…’cause something’s chasing me!” 😉

How long does it take you to write a book?

During the school year, it takes me a couple of months per book. During the summer…. well, I’m lucky to get one out all summer. When my kids were little, I thought that they would require less of my time the older that they got, but as it turns out, they just require my time differently now that they’re in junior high. This summer in particular has been slow on the book front because I’ve had to be intentional about being all in with them, something that looks different than it did when they were younger. I’m taking my oldest daughter on a girls’ trip next weekend, and I’d had plans to get some writing done at night while we’re away, only to find out that she’s making plans to squeeze every last second of togetherness out of each day. (And the old lady in me is screeching that I need sleep, lol!) My readers are going to start thinking that I’ve given up writing, but it’s all good. The books will start coming more quickly once school is back in session!

I understand that the majority of writers take the summer off. At least that’s what I’ve been told is industry standard. I’m still feeling my way out though. Me? I’m putting a book out this week. It’s been difficult to push through this summer though…with trips and conferences, and my kids being home. It’s tough.

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Can I tell you about my first book instead? The fun tidbit about that is that part of the story is in Okinawa, Japan where Emily’s brother, Matt, is stationed with the Marine Corps. When I first came up with the idea of Resolutions, we were living in Okinawa! The church that Matt goes to is the church that my husband was pastoring, and I loved incorporating details (and some characters!) from our time there into the book. I also have a few books – Different Stars, Ready or Not, A New Tune, Something Better, From Here on Out and my favorite book of them all, Happily Ever After – that are set in Namibia, a country in the southwest corner of Africa where I served for two years as a missionary right after college. The characters in Happily Ever After actually live where I lived, doing the same type of ministry that I did while I was there. It was so much fun to write!

That is fascinating! My first book was inspired by my time in the Czech Republic where I spent time four consecutive summers doing mission work. I fell in love with the people, the culture, and the history there!

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

My current project is tentatively titled Worth It, and it’s a friends-to-more story. Nate and Athena meet initially because her sister marries his cousin, but they stay in touch because their acquaintance with one another is mutually beneficial to their careers as up and coming PhD students with their eyes on a future in university administration and academia. The real story picks up four years down the road from that first meeting, and it’s clear that though they’re total opposites, they’ve somehow managed to become the best of friends, so much a part of one another’s lives that there isn’t much that’s left unsaid between them, until… well, you’ll see. 😊

I’ll be honest, while I like Chick Lit, it’s not my first choice of genre, but I am definitely going to get one of your books and check them out! It has been so much fun getting to know you and a bit about your inspiration and process. Thank you for coming on the blog!

Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog, Sara! I’d love to let your readers know that one of my books, Happily Ever After, is always free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. The rest of my books, starting with Resolutions, are over at Amazon and are free to read through Kindle Unlimited. You can find a complete list of all forty-five of my books, along with descriptions and links, at www.jennfaulk.com

Happy reading!

Hey! That’s usually my line 😉 Well, readers, there is a fabulous excerpt waiting below for you and a giveaway rafflecopter as well. Don’t miss any of it:

Resolutions

Three friends, ten resolutions, and a year full of big life changes.

For Emily Fisher and her friends, New Year’s Eve has never been about more than eating cake and watching the minutes until midnight disappear. This year, though, Emily, Sara, and Melissa decide that as they approach the age of thirty, they’re going to make some bold resolutions together and see them through in the year ahead, never guessing how dramatically life will change for them in the process.

As the daughter of a megachurch pastor and the assistant to a sensational and exhausting wedding coordinator, Emily already has her hands full. Using the resolutions as a challenge to make life about more than being a mindless drone at work, she ventures out of her comfort zone – trying new hobbies, picking up new exercise habits, traveling abroad, helping out in new ways at church, DATING – and discovers in the process that there’s more to life than weddings and work. When her family experiences unexpected hardships, Emily is forced to re-evaluate all of her priorities, and the lessons she learns lead her to stronger faith, a new dream for her career, and a romance greater than any that she could have imagined for herself.

Excerpt

This is from Resolutions. If it’s too long, feel free to cut, cut, cut (lol!) or ask me to hunt up a better excerpt. 😊

It was ten minutes until midnight on New Year’s Eve night, and my mouth was full of wedding cake.

Not my wedding cake, obviously, since I was in my favorite pair of pj pants, a comfy old sweatshirt from high school, and a fabulously tacky pair of leopard print slippers. This cake was our New Year cake, from a vendor who catered most of the weddings I worked and who always had a “sample” available for me once a year. “Because I just love you like that, Emily,” he would wink at me as he passed the box across the counter and refused my money. His wife would pat me on the arm and tell me, “You tell all of your brides how wonderful this is!”

And it always was. Tonight’s specialty was my favorite – white chocolate with strawberry cream filling, covered with cascading chocolate-dipped strawberries, some of which were decorated to look like little men in tuxedos.

“Exquisite,” Sara had said when I lifted it out of the box.

“Kinda creepy,” Melissa had noted, pointing to a tuxedo strawberry that looked more headless than his brothers.

“Just wait,” I told her. “This will be better than last year’s. As if that’s even possible.”

The three of us were having a party – a party just for us. We had been having these every New Year’s Eve since we were ten. Our friendship had started long before then, back when we were the only three babies in attendance at Grace Community Church twenty-eight years ago when my father began his pastorate there. The church had been very small then, but we were blissfully unaware in our crèche department, chewing on the same plastic toys, being diapered by the same volunteers, and babbling incoherent ramblings to one another each and every Sunday morning. As the church grew, we transitioned from the crèche to the preschool, from the preschool to the elementary age wing, from the elementary age wing to the Junior High youth, and from the Junior High youth to the High School group. Along the way there were other friends who came in and out of our lives, but for the most part, it remained the three of us, running to class to meet up and tell one another some silly story during our younger days, coolly meeting up after the service when we were angst-ridden teens who were mortified by our parents, and now, post-college and nearing our thirtieth birthdays, finding time in our busy schedules and lives to continue our friendship.

This New Year’s Eve tradition had served us well, even during college. We were fortunate that even though we chose three different universities in different parts of the state, we were all home for the same holidays and could still do our annual countdown of the year.

“This,” Sara said, pointing her fork at the layers of strawberry goo wedged so delicately in the cake, “is what I’m getting for my wedding. Think he’ll cut me a deal?”

Sara had been planning a wedding for quite a while. Years, in fact. She had met Jon during her last year of college, and although he seemed as committed and focused as she was back then, the six years since had gone on with no move towards marriage. Sara had started working as a kindergarten teacher in Fort Worth after graduation, and Jon had started work on his MBA. Two years later, he took a position with an investment firm in San Antonio, although he had offers nearer to home. If you know your Texas geography, you know that Fort Worth and San Antonio aren’t exactly in the same neighborhood, and since Jon, two years into the relationship was still no closer to a ring and a date, we all thought it was the beginning of the end. Sara didn’t, though. She loved him beyond any valid reason we could see and continued to plan her life with him even though he made no move towards any kind of commitment.

That was Sara, though. Kind and sweet, optimistic and hopeful, perhaps to a fault at times.

Melissa eyed me questioningly for a moment. I gave a slight shake of my head, imperceptible to Sara, or so I thought.

“No, Melissa,” she said in a sing-song voice. “He hasn’t proposed yet. But there’s always Valentine’s Day, you know.”

“Ugh, Valentine’s Day,” Melissa groaned. “Hate it, hate it, hate it…” She speared a bite of cake and popped it in her mouth. “This is good,” she told me. “And you know I’d tell you if it wasn’t.”

I knew that she would. Melissa’s best trait was her brutal honesty… although at times, it was also her worst trait. I had, on more than one occasion during high school, seen some poor unfortunate and unsuspecting guy shyly ask her out, only to have her look at him dubiously and say, “Me? But you’re way too dumb for me.” When I would express some amazement about this after the wounded boys would retreat, she’d say, “What?! It’s true!” And it was. Melissa was smarter than all of them. She would eventually show some remorse for her harsh treatment of the male gender, saying that perhaps some kindness and tact would have been more honoring to the Lord. But she never apologized for being smart. After racing through a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree with high marks, she was now the only female engineer on staff at a secure government location that we couldn’t know too much about, even as her closest and oldest friends. “It has to do with missiles,” she told us once, very simply, and never spoke another word about it. (I remember Sara’s response to this had been to treat her with increased care and gentleness, as she was quite sure Melissa had become a domestic terrorist of some sort.) Melissa’s life was her job, and she spent even most of her free time working towards higher achievements there.

As for me, I was also working my dream job, a position that I ironically referred to as “Dream Destroyer.” That wasn’t the official nomenclature on the door of my office, though, as the truth would have likely scared any and all clients away. The friendlier title assigned to me was Assistant to the Bridal Events Coordinator.

I had applied fresh from college with little hope of getting the position, stepping into the regal downtown hotel for my interview and feeling as though I had shrunk three feet by being in the very presence of such elegance. Surely, I thought to myself, only THE most talented and experienced coordinator could get a job here! I hadn’t counted on being the last of twelve girls hired that year alone, thanks to the gruesome nature of the job. Unbeknownst to me that day, they were fully booked for the season, were in desperate need of some naïve help, and were ready to take just about anyone. My boss, THE Bridal Events Coordinator, greeted me that day in a full pink suit, fresh corsage on her lapel, spike heels on her feet, and hands full of bling. Big, huge, gigantic bling. Her hair was exquisite, her makeup flawless, and her smile so warm and tender.

She had me fooled.

“Dear Miss Fisher,” she said, holding out a hand to me delicately. “I’m Evelyn Primrose.”

I must confess, I didn’t know whether to shake her hand, kiss her 3-carat emerald cut engagement ring, or curtsy. I managed to firmly shake her hand in my own, then on her invitation, followed her to her office, a feminine space dominated by floral furniture and her own amazing bridal portraits. Evelyn had been stunning even then as a debutante set to wed the mysterious Mr. Primrose, whom I had never met. (And whom I suspected was actually a Mr. Butts or Mr. Snarflehock, names that Evelyn would have traded in during office hours for the impossibly feminine and genteel Primrose.) On that fateful day that I interviewed, stars in my eyes, she laid the job out for me with a genuine smile – assist brides in planning their dream weddings, walk alongside the wedding couple as they made decisions for the reception, act as the middle man between vendors and brides, and (she said this with a flourish) exude elegance that befits such a fine venue.

It was perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. I would have told Evelyn anything she wanted to hear. Do I know every kind of flower type ever seen under the sun? Absolutely, Mrs. Primrose. Can I sew up twenty layers of silk and tulle in ten minutes? Most certainly, Mrs. Primrose. Was I willing to be a team player in this bridal machine we were running? Without a doubt, Mrs. Primrose!

And so I began, quickly discovering that it was Evelyn’s job to dream big with the brides, to suggest the vendors, to show them how extravagant their big day could be, and to fill their heads with impossible fantasies…. before sending them to the face of hard-cash reality, yours truly. I had only wanted to have the fun of planning a wedding without the work of a marriage. What I got was akin to couples’ therapy as I broke the news to dazed brides and grooms that while, yes, those peonies that grow naturally in Bali (and nowhere else in known civilization) were exquisite, they did nevertheless cost a fortune. And while, yes, the dance floor we could offer looked like something your Uncle Bubba could set up for you with no problem at all, we would require that our people do it and that it would cost you $300 for set up, $300 for tear down, and, my sincerest apologies, $300 for repair work later at the very least. (Even if you didn’t do anything to it!) Oh, and our most efficient meal (Evelyn frowned on my more honest word “cheap”) would still cost $50 a head, even though it likely only cost us $2 a plate to make. I was the number cruncher, the business end of the deal, and many times, the great consoler of all manner of hysterical brides.

My dream job was a big nightmare most days. It paid the bills, though, and paid them well enough that I had paid off all of my student loans in record time. With that monkey off my back, I was saving up for a real home… if my little clunker car would just live a little bit longer. I anticipated being the Dream Destroyer for many, many more years, as it was a good job with the opportunity for advancement, for one day being THE Bridal Events Coordinator. And hiring some other poor schmuck to do my job.

It didn’t take me long at my job to realize that no one expected me to last very long. All of the other assistants had quit within a month of taking the position, but six years later, I was still there. Evelyn liked my tenacity, and God bless her, I liked Evelyn for just having the guts to be Evelyn. It couldn’t have been easy to send the wolves to me every day, but she did it without reservation, noting that even the unpleasant parts of wedding planning were crucial to a truly successful event. When things got really rough for me, she was a shrewd businesswoman who could come to my defense when it looked like I was going to literally be in the middle of a knockdown drag-out between brides and grooms. “Savages!” she told me once, after a particularly belligerent bride had attempted negotiating with me by screaming in my face. “As if they could ever have their hootenanny of a wedding here!” If for no other reason, I loved her for being able to wear a Chanel suit and Jimmy Choos while saying the word “hootenanny.”

The memory made me smile as the seconds ticked by to midnight.

Happily Ever After

Cammie Evans was a girl with a plan from the moment God called her to be a foreign missionary. After several years spent all over the world, though, she finds herself with a new assignment that leaves her questioning all that she once thought to be true about life, love, and calling.

David Connor was always the weird kid in the youth group, never destined to live up to his father’s expectations. After several years of working to find his own significance in Christ and his calling as a foreign missionary, he finds himself asking hard questions about who he is and what God wants from him.

As their lives change and the past becomes part of the present, can Cammie and David help one another find their own happily ever after?

Buy Links

Amazon (Resolutions)

Amazon (Happily Ever After) – FREE!!

More About the Author

Jenn Faulk is a native Texan who enjoys reading and writing chick lit. She’s a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and a marathon enthusiast who loves talking about Jesus and what a difference He’s made in her life. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and a MA in Missiology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Connect with Jenn and her books

For a complete list of all of Jenn’s books, visit her website: www.jennfaulk.com

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GIVEAWAY

Jenn is offering an ecopy of her first book, Resolutions, featured on today’s blog to one (1) winner. Please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.

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GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Author Kadee Carder

Welcome, everyone. We have a returning author, Kadee Carder. She is one of my favorite authors to have on. She is just one of the most encouraging people in general, and as a fellow author, she is always there with a word to lift up others and spur them on in their journeys. Just incredible.

Kadee is here with her new release, Kingdom Come. And she has agreed to give us a long excerpt as a guest post. So, let’s get right to it:

~ The Greatest Person You Know~

(an excerpt from the book KINGDOM COME)

Humans have many kinds of powers. What amazes me is that we forget we own them. Imagine if Superman forgot he could bend steel? Superheroes of the comics base their lives around their powers. They sharpen them. They thrive utilizing their powers.

You and I have power, too. The power to use a word for good, to share conversation with a friend, to lift up the human beside us with a smile, with words, with art, with kindness, that rectifies the cruelty of the world one soul at a time.

Jade Teta says humans have five powers, ownership being one. My ability to recognize my abilities shows power in itself. My cat doesn’t do that. She does not sit in the window pondering if she will need to do the dishes later or if she needs to do laundry. I, however, can recognize and analyze if I’ve done my best for the day. How beautiful is that fact?

Recognizing the possession of certain abilities offers an arsenal of strength. Recognizing the amazing person I was created as — senses riddled with textures, scents, pops of color, clicks of light, and a slurry of sounds — and that I can do far more than I imagine, put me on a higher playing field if I simply acknowledge my own presence. This one goes for you too. Seeing people, actually seeing them in their hurt, their pain, their trial, their joy, their bliss, shows just how powerful ownership can be. Have you ever been with someone who seemed to See You and enjoyed your presence? We humans need light and life. We create it even unintentionally. Ownership, the intentional recognition of the beautiful power held within, will guide a human toward life or it can crush the spirit like a weight sinking in the sea. What five abilities do you recognize within yourself? When given the option to empower yourself or limit yourself, which do you choose first?

“There is one grand lie — that we are limited. The only limits we have are the limits we believe” (Krista Johnson). In the face of danger, the human body releases adrenaline. It’s a natural way to protect. Lions have claws and fierce prowess, wasps sting heavy and hard, and humans — well humans can lift over twice their weight, survive under crushed buildings or tunnels for weeks at a time, swim farther, run faster, carry torn limbs, walk through fire, and dance in the hurricane. See, the natural human condition protects life. The instinct protects.

Have you ever considered that Superman only knew he could be strong, and so he was? For some reason we let in scarcity and timidity. We begin allowing the scrapes and bruises to win. We feel the cold winter nibbling at our fingertips and we withdraw from the ice.

Instead, learn to create fire.

The human brain takes its time to develop, becoming a fully-functioning body part around the late twenties, on average, age twenty-five. Have you ever taught a child to time travel? The fully-developed brain (typically one about thirty years old or more) uses the logical, rational portions to make decisions. Before the age of twenty-five, an average human brain does not fully utilize its total functional capacity because the area has not developed. Asking a child to make a rational decision compares to asking a child to time travel. He simply cannot. He can’t even comprehend the statement. But imagine if that child, from an early age, was daily surrounded by science, technological studies, encouraged to read about physics and astronomy, and was told he had the ability to travel through time? By his thirties, imagine this person and all he would know. Now, imagine a baby in a small room, surrounded by dim lighting and who had no access to books, education, or positive reinforcement to study and learn? By his thirties, who will this child be?

Now, every person has a unique fingerprint, but which child will believe he has the ability, and could possibly even travel through time? I’m betting on the first. So we are with our ownership of power. If you’ve been told that you’re broken, if you’ve been told you’re useless, if you’ve been told you’re lacking, then that will be your default. But my friend, you were built with intention. You are intrepid. You are creative. You are an intellectual. You are stronger and more powerful than you know. The thoughts you tell yourself, the input you process, that leads to the life you prove.

Do the heroes build their stories upon fear or upon saving life? I vote for life. I vote for leveling up, for choosing power, because it’s what surges bliss throughout our cores.

Own your abilities. Own those marvelous aspects of you which contribute to the lives of those around you. You’ve got a courageous story to create, my hero. Exercise who you want to be when the darkness drifts in. Train yourself to react to fear by facing it instead of running away. Train yourself to use your strengths when weakness would shout lies. Reiterate your own beautiful ethos when those thoughts sprinkle down. Who do you want to be when the lights go out? Who will you be if you believe you can walk humbly with grace and strength? Practice that. Act that. Be that. The time to go save your world approaches.

Wow. What a way to start the blog. Just wow. I LOVE this, Kadee! I am eager to hear more about this book!

Opt in for an adventure to discover purpose, tenacity, and to build your empire. Are you stuck? Questioning your purpose? Are you tired, broken, and hurting in the stale crumbs of the daily grind?

Even the most ordinary of humans can do impossible things. The elements of storytelling are tools to help us understand our purpose and to build a life greater. Here we discover the three protocols every hero satisfies in order to fulfill the mission. You’re the hero in your own story. Transforming into the hero may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Within these pages, discover the ultimate objective in understanding and experiencing the combined unity of these three tools in your hero story. Get ready to travel the vast horizon of the hero plot line and forge new paths toward your legacy.

What was the inspiration for Kingdom Come?

In my research and life experiences while writing my soon-to-be-released novel EARTHSHINE, I found myself in this dark, aching place of brokenness and hurt, of lost dreams and tainted hopes. While I wrote the story of a girl who had to get back up, I found my own self in the shadows. Could I be the girl who got back up? In my Sunday school class, our leader mentioned that all people had three tools they carried which God uses for good. I had never heard this premise before and immediately looked into what he meant. Within the next few months my life changed, from a place of devastation, to intention. My attitude changed, my purpose shifted, and I found true focus on what I knew my life needed to be, as I unearthed and sharpened my three tools. I didn’t need the ache of loss; I craved adventure and purpose. Here I’ve collected my thoughts, study, and research which offer readers applicable, faith-based tools for braving the earthly plot line and forging empires. From this guidebook KINGDOM COME, we begin rewriting the stories of our lives to fulfill our mission and create the life less ordinary.

I can so connect with what you are saying. I am completely drawn in…

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I adore 90’s punk rock, Imagine Dragons, and random indie bands. During my writing and research for KINGDOM COME and EARTHSHINE, I listened to several songs which inspired me to write these stories. Here are a couple links to YouTube videos if you’re interested in listening along while you read:

“More Than Life” by Whitley – https://youtu.be/dk8XrTbCPYs

“All The Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters – https://youtu.be/ieOL4X3nk2c

“Believer” by Imagine Dragons – https://youtu.be/7wtfhZwyrcc

“You’re Gonna Be Okay” by Brian and Jenn Johnson – https://youtu.be/LjF9IqvXDjY

“Hard Love” by NeedToBreathe – https://youtu.be/tE3Fp8C_ufg

“The Adventure” by Angels and Airwaves – https://youtu.be/JMl8cQjBfqk

“In the Name of Love” by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha – https://youtu.be/RnBT9uUYb1w

Thank you so much, Kadee, for being on the blog and sharing these words. I know I will be processing them for days to come…maybe even weeks! But I will hand the blog back over so my readers can delve into Kingdom Come!

Kingdom Come

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Fierce yet sparkly, I rally seekers to thrive in their stories. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach English on the university level when I’m not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.

INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, INDELIBLE, HERE BE DRAGONS, and non-fiction inspirational KINGDOM COME roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along on KadeeCarder.com.

Connect with Kadee and her books

Website: kadeecarder.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/

Instagram: kadeecarderink

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkYQcShpWHBua-7VVi9Swg

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kadeecarder/

Twitter: @kadeecarderink

And please feel free to subscribe for encouraging blogs! Kadeecarder.com

I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com/subscribe. Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

CURRENTLY FREE ON AMAZON FROM KADEE CARDER!

Follow Tucker Thompson to the brave wilds of the Australian Outback in search of his long-lost home (which he doesn’t remember) and to rescue the remnants of an undercover op gone wrong (which has been attacked). HERE BE DRAGONS is a young adult science fiction adventure for the thrill seeker and action taker.

“Those voices that tell you to stop, those are wrong. Those voices lie. They steal your victory. Out there be dragons, but in here—” Burkman tapped my chest, “—here lodges your sword and shield.”

Can Tucker lead his small crew in a daring rescue mission? Or will the ghosts of his past and the tech of tomorrow rip him to shreds? Find out now with your free copy of HERE BE DRAGONS!

Just click here: https://amzn.to/2KYcdVj

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

Kadee Carder is offering one (1) ebook copy of Kingdom Come by Rafflecopter. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION: The art of keeping up with yesterday

 

Procrastination...is there anything more frustrating? Or more thrilling? That last minute adrenaline…the rush of that fast approaching deadline…the burst of creativity…and the promises to never do it again, but deep down knowing that you will.

Why do we do this, procrastinators? We know about these deadlines. They are on our calendar. They stare us in the face every time we open our planner (those of us that have them). They loom over us, weighing down everything until they get done. They do for me, at least.

I can’t truly have freedom and fun until the project/work is done. But still I tend to push it off. Though it trails me, taunts me.

Thus my behavior makes absolutely no sense.

Oh, yes, we procrastinators tell ourselves we think better in a crunch. We perform at our peak in those rushed moments. We have to tell ourselves that because otherwise, we really did just waste all that energy and stay up all hours of the night and into the wee hours of the morning for no reason.

What if you could conquer procrastination? Stop putting off those deadlines?

I have no simple fix. I’m not a snake oil saleswoman.

What I have to offer is routine, discipline, practice, and dedication – things we tried to avoid in the first place.

I went from being a perpetual procrastinator to being ahead of the deadline – yes, earlyevery time.

Before you click the close button on my tab, hear me out! It came out of a need. Once I entered the writing/publication world, I saw the need to be a bit more serious about these things. It would just be plain unprofessional, in my opinion, to miss a deadline. And I hated the idea of presenting myself unprofessionally.

So I set up some things to prevent the procrastinator in me from rearing its ugly head.

I set MY deadline…two days before the actual deadline. This way I do have padding in case something wonky, like an unexpected sickness comes up.

Then I break up the project and make mini-deadlines. This allows me to make sure I’m on target to make it to the major deadline. Some of you, like me, may have a full life. I don’t have the luxury of devoting hours to my work to catch up for procrastinating like I did in college. So, I have to stay on top of things. These chunks of work attached to mini-deadlines are life-saving. In the beginning, these milestones were attached to rewards. Now, I only reward myself for the big deadline, but you do as you need.

Lastly, when it was the scheduled time to sit down and do the work. I did it. Period. This is probably the hardest step. Because more days than not, I didn’t feel like it. That’s not easy for a writer. There are strategies I have learned to employ to start the creative juices flowing (like doing a writing prompt, editing the last scene written, etc) that are very helpful. And I have had to find a tool that would block out parts of the internet (namely social media) that would suck me in when I sit down to write, but allow me to access places for research purposes. There are a ton of great tools out there.

So, there it is…my plan. My path from procrastinator to early finisher. I sleep better, I enjoy my time more, and I get things done with less stress. I won’t lie, there are still times I struggle with the procrastinator in me, but it becomes easier to overcome that tendency. More and more as time goes by.

Do you have other strategies that have worked to overcome procrastination?

 

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW: Author Krista Wagner

Welcome, readers! I have an author for you to meet today – Krista Wagner. I met Krista through our publisher, Clean Reads. And I am so excited for you to read more about her very intriguing book. And to see this fabulous cover! So, I won’t spend a lot of time gabbing here when I could be introducing you…

Thank you for being on the blog, Krista. First, can you tell us a little about this novel with the gorgeous cover?

A YA supernatural mystery, Cassi Is In A Coma deals with the worst kind of betrayal. The most liked high school senior is suddenly ostracized by all of her friends, and not given a reason. Seeking answers and feeling alone, she winds up falling ten stories off a water tower, which sends her into a coma. Did she commit suicide, like the papers say, or was she pushed? Through flashbacks, dreams, and an out-of-body journey, she will attempt to uncover the truth. Cassi is the third novel in the Small Town Secrets novel series.

I will admit this isn’t my primary genre, but I’m intrigued…

What was the inspiration for Cassi is in a Coma?

Everyone, at some point, has been betrayed, and often there is no explanation or justification. I wrote a story that we can all relate to, one that offers a way to get through a painful lonely adversity.

So true! I love this idea!

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

Yes! I have been writing since I was seven. I started penning plays and songs and then went to short stories and poems in high school, where I also contributed and edited our high school’s literary magazine and co-authored a zine. I have six novels published now, and am currently at work on the prequel to Intent, my spiritual dramatic thriller.

As much as we love writing, we all like some parts a bit less… What part of the writing process do you dread?

Timelines. Because certain events/plot points/character interactions can change, so do timelines. It is easy to lose track of them.

I, too, struggle with timelines…as a historical writer, some of mine are set (sometimes to much frustration). I find myself wishing away YEARS sometimes. Alas, they don’t let me change history…

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Take a break from your first draft, at least a couple of weeks, so that you can return to it with fresh eyes; this will allow you to see things you weren’t able to before. Having beta readers is invaluable—a myriad of perspectives can spot issues you won’t see, and get a good editor and proofreader.

What are you currently reading?

Fahrenheit 451

My readers know that I have to “set the mood” when I write. Most often that includes music. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t typically, but I have been known to listen to 80’s music from time to time.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Yes, at night, at my desktop, when the kids are sleeping.

How long does it take you to write a book?

With revisions and editing, about a year, but if I committed to writing 10 hours a day, every day, I could have a finished product in one month.

Right? If only…

Thanks again, Krista, for being here and for chatting with us. I won’t keep my readers any longer from enjoying the wonderful tidbits below about Cassi in a Coma. So, without further ado…

Cassi in a Coma

“You are not wanted”

Cassi Walker has been Royal High School’s most-liked girl for the past four years, but a lot can happen in two days. Suddenly, she’s the school’s most-hated girl, but before she can figure out why, a ten-story fall off a water tower sends her into a coma. Soon, rumors start to fly that it was attempted suicide. Unfortunately, she has no memory of those final seconds before the harrowing event. Through a strange barrage of dreams, flashbacks, and an out-of-body journey, Cassi will attempt to expose the secrets and uncover the mysteries behind what happened to her. But will she be able to handle the truth?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You will pay for it. You have to.” His voice was hushed, unlike the kind soft voice he’d always used with me. His eyes, which had once shone with warmth, were hard and flat. I detected a hint of disappointment there too, and I wondered what that meant.

His words haunting me, I found myself in turmoil not for the first time. The question that refused to be answered—what had I done?

“What did I do?” I said out loud.

“You know exactly what you did.”

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Krista Wagner is a 70’s product best known for her spiritual suspense and fictional realism. In addition to being a recipient of the Reader’s Favorite 5-star seal, she has been praised by award-winning screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy for her writing skill and strong plotting. Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English associate instructor with an indispensable faith in Christ.

Connect with Krista and her books

Find out more about Krista here: kristawagner.wixsite.com/author/bio
Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/kristawagnerofficial/
Twitter: twitter.com/IntentBook04
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8509957.Krista_Wagner

GIVEAWAY

Krista is giving away an ecopy of her book featured on the blog today, Cassi Is In A Coma. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway