Monday, March 17, 2014

Water Under the Bridge

My friend and writing associate, Verna Simms, has written a book which was published by Rocking Horse Publishing in St.Louis, Missouri, in February of this year.

Verna is 92 years old and this is her first book. It is captivating. If you want to read an excellent story that you won't be able to put down, you might want to go to Amazon and take a look at this book and at the reviews. I don't have permission from her to send a free one to the winner this week, but I know you will enjoy reading this book.

This book is historical fiction. It includes some things that happened in Verna's life, but it is not an autobiography. Amelia, the little girl who is the main character, does some things that Verna did as a child, and she very precocious. I was amazed at some of the things she was able to do--proving that this came from Verna's creative imagination.

You will be astounded by some of the things that happen in the book. I was amazed that a little girl could come up with such creative ideas, when she rescued her sister and herself from her father's plot to marry the two girls off to much older Mormon men. Amelia's brother was also creative as he helped the girls to hide out and escape.

The mother in the book is very creative in ways to take care of her family during a dark time in American history, the Great Depression. This was a time when family depended on each other much more than they do today. They had to, in order to survive.

Here's an interview with Verna about her writing and why she decided to become an author.

Question: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Answer: I'd say around 45 years of age or so, one New Years' Day I sat down to make a New Years' resolution and typed out ten things I would like to accomplish in my lifetime. I don't recall all ten but one of the dreams I had was to view both oceans. I did that. One was to learn to play the piano--no luck there--and the third that I remember was to write a novel and have it published.

Question: Why did you wait so late in life to start the project?

Answer: I'd say it was because I was too busy doing things that needed to be done, and wouldn't wait. I needed to help with my grandchildren and my aged mother. Also, I loved traveling and camping in the beautiful state parks in Missouri. No time for sit down projects.

Question: Is the novel in any way a story of your life?

Answer: Definitely not. I had the family live in the same town I grew up in and described the school I attended. I mentioned an aeroplane that came to town and Lindbergh's flight over the ocean.
These were happenings I remember. Also the mountain I loved in my youth, but Amelia's family and mine are no way related. All the characters and the life they led are 100% fictional. I created them from my imagination.

Question: How did you choose the topic to write about?

Answer: An article in the newspaper a few years ago touched my heart. It told about a dad that beat his young daughter unconscious because she ran away rather than marry her uncle who already had several wives. 

Question: Are you blaming the church for the problem?

Answer: No, I have no fault for the Mormon religion. You will find bad people in any culture. It just happened this girl's dad was a member of a cult that had spun off from the religion practiced today. 


I hope you will consider purchasing this book. I can guarantee you will enjoy it.

Verna will be having a book signing Saturday, March 22, at 100 Jefferson in Kirkwood from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. I'm sure she would be happy to sign a book for you if you are able to get there.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog Winner, and Guest Post

Blog Winner of the book by Eva Marie Everson is Dorie

Sweet Tea-- by our son, David Nobles
       ......Today I'm posting an article by our son, David Nobles, an attorney in Midland, Texas. I hope you enjoy his writing. I never tire of reading it.

I like sweet tea. Growing up, we had sweet tea at just about every meal. With four kids, it was hard and expensive to go out to eat, so my mom cooked for us, and she cooked really well. I can remember her pot roast, fried chicken, spaghetti, and lots of other great meals. Almost all were accompanied by sweet tea.

We very rarely bought soft drinks. Maybe Mom thought they weren’t healthy enough, but I suspect it was “all about the Benjamins” and cost kept them out of our house. I do remember they didn’t last long if they ever showed up. My biggest memory of soft drinks in the house was on Sunday nights after church, getting a half-gallon (in a glass bottle) of Dad’s Root Beer and having root beer floats. If only Blue Bell had been around back then!

So tea was my drink of choice, until I went off to college and they had soft drink fountain dispensers in the dorm cafeterias. Forget the tea, gimme the good stuff! Being a loyal Baylor Bear, Dr Pepper quickly became my favorite. I even learned that it’s spelled WITHOUT the period.

At some point in my early adult days, I began drinking tea again, and decided to drink it without sugar. At first it was very bland, but eventually I came to appreciate it. I was eating out more, and adding sugar to the iced tea brought to my table wasn’t anything like home, so I figured it was no great loss and maybe even a bit healthier.

Today, more and more restaurants offer sweet tea. I have noticed some of the tea in town is worth it and some is not: Rosa’s is amazing, Bush’s is good, McAlister’s is OK, Jason’s sweet tea is putrid. I’m sure you know as I do that it depends on the type of tea and sweetener used and when and how sweetener is added. When the tea is hot, real sugar (the best sweetener) dissolves and flavors the whole pot. When the tea is cold, you can stir that thing all day long and you’ll still end up with a lot of sugar on the bottom of the glass.

In other words, the tea has to be right to accept the sugar.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Just like the tea, we have to be in the right position to accept God’s truth and instruction in our lives. The sugar doesn’t change—it’s still sugar—but when the tea is hot it combines with the tea in a way that produces a much different result than when the tea is cold. I know there’s a scientific reason for this, and it’s all about the heat. When we are ready to accept God’s influence, he can dramatically flavor our lives. How do we get hot—how do we become ready? Admit sin. Repent. Ask Him to give you the desire to experience Him fully, then ask Him to fill you, lead you, influence you. Get in the habit of talking to Him all the time—He wants to hear about everything, no matter how big or how small. Read His word and let it fill your heart. Serve God by serving people.

All that is really easy to write and much more demanding to do—but when we do—life is sweet.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meet Eva Marie Everson

Today we get to meet Eva Marie Everson, a Christian author I met while reading one of her books she offered free on Kindle. It was so good, I ordered a couple more.  (By the way, the book I read is the one she is offering free to the winner this week!)

Q: Hello, Eva Marie. I’m so glad to welcome you to my blog today. I hope all the blog readers enjoy meeting you and learning about your books.

A: Me, too! J (Hello, readers …)

Q: The first thing that really impressed you was when you talked about your relationship with the Lord. Please tell us about your salvation experience and your decision to write Christian books.

A: I grew up knowing the Lord. There was never any question for me. Of course I had the “break away” during my teen years, and a pretty discouraging event in my late teens that hardened my heart. But God wouldn’t let go. I rededicated myself to the Lord at about age 21 but had my “real Come-to-Jesus” meeting when I was probably in my mid to late 20s. Closer to late. Everything changed for me in one night. Everything became more real. He became more real. I learned to listen for and hear His voice.

When the door to publishing opened (I was over 40 by this point), I walked through, knowing God had my hand. Writing for the Christian market wasn’t a decision I made. There simply wasn’t a decision to be made.

Q: I am always thrilled to hear authors tell about the time they came to know Jesus. It is so important to have a personal relationship with Him. Another big impression was when I read that you really love the Old Testament. I do, too. I just completed a Bible study about many of the Old Testament characters. I know many people say they don’t understand it or don’t know anything about it. Why do you like the Old Testament so much?

A: Well, I’d better like it; I’m working toward my Masters in OT Theology. I like the Old Testament because our Christian faith is built on it. It’s the root of our faith. Listen, Jesus (Y’shua) didn’t think of the OT as the OT. He thought of it and called it “the Scriptures.” What He talked about, what He taught from … where the Jewish Scriptures and the culture of their day. When we learn it … truly learn it … our eyes are opened to the completeness of Jesus Christ.

Each week I attend a class at a shul (Jewish congregation) on Jewish Life. I am amazed at what I’m learning about the Christian faith!

Of course, you may know that I wrote a book with Miriam Feinberg Vamosh called “Reflections of God’s Holy Land; A Personal Journey Through Israel.” This book, published by Thomas Nelson in 2008 (the 60th anniversary of the statehood of Israel) won an ECPA Silver Medallion as well as some other awards. But it was the writing of it, the walking the land with my Jewish friend Miriam, the photographing of the land and of the sites that will always stir my heart. I laid on a large rock at the brook where Gideon separated the soldiers as the ones who would fight from those who would go home … I placed my hand in that cool water … and watched the ripple. What an effect it had on me! I stood where Elijah called down fire from heaven and, after a few minutes of standing on Mt. Carmel alone (and I do mean ALONE), I cried like a baby. I went with Miriam by IDF protection to where Rachel is buried … in a bus with a few dozen Orthodox Jews who take their lives into their hands every day just to pray! I have so many amazing memories …

Q: Tell us a little about your family and your hobbies.

A: I married my husband nearly 35 years ago and he “gifted me with two children” right away. I love my stepson and stepdaughter dearly!! Then we had a child, a daughter—a gifted writer and editor in her own right. They are all married, all have kids now, and my husband and I are “empty-nesters” unless you count the two dogs who pretty much own us. As for hobbies, I love walking/hiking, photography, ancestry, knitting and … I’ll be honest … shopping. Of course reading and writing …

Q: I noticed that you have a seminary degree, something few women possess. What made you decide to go for this and which seminary did you attend?

A: My first trip to Israel. God had been nudging me anyway … I went to Andersonville Theological Seminary where I am still enrolled!! One day!! I. Will. Get. That. Final. Degree! My friends tease me that when I’m done with my Masters I’ll go for my Doctorate. But … no.

Q: I’m married to a preacher, so I worked while he attended seminary and typed all his papers. I only got a “Putting Hubby Through” degree along with my “MRS”. But I enjoy studying the Bible.

 Did you ever think about writing a novel based on the life of one of the Old Testament characters? If so, who would it be?

A: No, I haven’t … so, there’s no answer to the second part of that question.

Q: Has your writing career been a life-long one, or did you take it up later in life?

A: Like I said, I was 40. But as soon as I could hold a pen, I started spinning yarn … If I couldn’t write them, I told them.

Q: And I’m sure you attended Writers’ Conferences and studied about how to be a better writer. What importance do you place on these kinds of activities? Tell us about your speaking and writing life.

A: I attended my first writers conference as faculty, but I wouldn’t suggest that. I’m not the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and I cannot say enough about “sharpening your skills as iron sharpens iron” type of thing. I’m also the president of Word Weavers International, Inc, which is an international group of writing critique groups. I worked with Jerry Jenkins for years as a mentor (Christian Writers Guild) … so yes! I think this is important. I spend at least a little time every day learning more about my craft, not just for myself but to pass along that knowledge to others.

Q: If I could start over, I would study journalism in school and focus on writing. But we don’t get a second chance at life. What would you say to women who wish they had become a writer early in life?

A: Well, I think we do get second chances. We cannot go back but we can start right now. Listen, if you want to go back to school, go back to school. (But, you say, it will take four years to get a two-year degree. Okay, I say, so four years from now you can either stand with a diploma in your hand or nothing in your hand. Doesn’t matter. Four years will come no matter …) So, if you want to be a writer … write! Come to conferences. Join groups like Word Weavers. Take some classes at a nearby university or online university. But don’t just sit there wishing …

Q: Thank you so much for visiting with us today. I just wish it could have been face-to-face. I hope to read many more of your books.

A:  I’d like that, too! And be sure to tell me what you think!

And now readers, you can comment and enter your name to win CHASING SUNSETS (BOOK 1 IN THE CEDAR KEY SERIES). I have read this one and loved it! I know you will too. Be sure to leave your email address so I can notify you if you are the winner.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog winner!

Congratulations to Diana from Indiana. She won the free book by Kimberly Rae this week.

I just completed a new book by Meg Moseley--A Stillness of Chimes-- it will be out February 18.
Meg now has written three novels: Gone South and When Sparrows Fall preceded this one. If you haven't read one of her novels, you are in for a treat. Check your local library or go on-line to find one of these titles.

Another one I read this week is The Final Note by Kevin Milne. I read this in one sitting. My 94-year-old mother told me about this (we talk almost every day by long distance) and I wen on-line to find it. Since it's an older issue, I got it for $2.00 plus postage, and it was such a good book, I would have paid more to get it.

I also have been reading the Bible and many things have been brought to mind because of this reading. I'm teaching a study of Old Testament characters for some women in my church, and reading several of the Old Testaments books while we were snowed in for a couple of weeks has been a great blessing in my life.

Hope you're enjoying what you are reading these days. Tell me about a book you enjoyed recently!

In two weeks I will have an interview with Eva Marie Everson, another Christian author I met while blogging. The winner of those who comment will win of her brand new books coming out in April: The Road to Testament. Be sure to come back Monday February 17 to read her interview and enter your name to win.

Every day is one more day closer to spring. We're all anxiously waiting for that, I know. This winter has been a bad one!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Kimberly Rae, author of several genres...

Today we meet Kimberly Rae, author of Christian suspense. She has written a series on human trafficking as well as a series about dealing with pain, and I think we’ll be interested to hear what she has to say.

Q: Hello, Kimberly. It’s so nice of you to come to visit today.

A: Hi and thanks for having me!

Q: I looked on your Amazon page and saw that you had lived in several foreign countries and that you had work in five languages. Please tell us about that, how you came to be living in so many different exotic places and knowing so many languages.

A: I’ve lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia. I went to Bangladesh for 2 years after I graduated from college, to teach school and do writing projects. Uganda and Kosovo were both short humanitarian trips, and then after I got married my husband and I lived in Indonesia for nearly 3 years. He taught ESL at a University there. I love different cultures!

Q: I loved the trailer on your site where you talked about your books. Please tell our blog readers why you write the books about human trafficking.

A: When sickness brought me permanently back to the US, I wanted to stay involved in doing things that matter in the world. Human trafficking was a major subject on my heart. I had been writing for 10 years but mostly for magazines and such, so when I started thinking of writing a novel, I tossed around some ideas but wasn’t sure what to focus on. My mom looked at me and asked, “If you could write about anything, what would you write about?” By the end of the day, I think I had 3 chapters of Stolen Woman done. It brought together things I’m passionate about—human trafficking, missions, and women finding their worth.

Q: I also discerned from your trailer that you love Jesus. Will you tell us about your salvation experience and a little about your life?

A: I definitely love Jesus! Everything good in my life comes from Him. I trusted in Christ to save me when I was a child, and grew up loving Him. My dad was in the Navy, and my mom was a school teacher. I have two sisters—I’m the middle—and we lived in the South but I don’t like grits and don’t have an accent most of the time (though my husband thinks it’s funny how thick it gets when I’m talking to someone who does!).

Q: When did you decide to become a writer?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Actually I just found a set of stories I’d written when I was only 10 and ironically, I had a story of rescue in there. I guess this idea of helping the helpless was something God put on my heart a long, long time ago. Officially, I began writing for publication after college, if you don’t count the novel I wrote in high school that was so horribly cheesy I threw it away a few years ago to make sure nobody ever found it!

Q: How was your writing journey? Was it easy or hard?

A: Definitely hard work, with a lot of humility-inspiring events along the way, but that’s a good thing! When I started writing for magazines, at first of course rejection felt devastating. However, once I decided I was in this to learn and succeed, and after I told myself to expect nine out of ten submissions to get rejected, it really did get easier. I learned to submit several pieces at a time, so I wasn’t biting my nails waiting for that one to get returned, and to study my target magazines to know what they were looking for, and how to write a great query letter. I have a blog now for other writers, to hopefully make it a little easier on them!

Q: Tell us about your series “Sick and Tired”. What compelled you to write about this?

A: I have had health problems since childhood, but they seemed random and disconnected. When we lived overseas, my condition got worse and worse, but years of doctor’s visits and heaps of tests still didn’t reveal the problem. Now, after fifteen years of searching, I was finally diagnosed by a specialist at Emory. I have Addison’s disease, hypoglycemia, asthma, and a cyst on my brain. Dealing with lifelong illness gets discouraging, and those of us with chronic illness tend to feel alone. I wanted to read a book that was funny, empathetic and helpful, but especially one that would remind me that God loved me and had purpose for me, and my worth wasn’t it how useful I felt I could be. I couldn’t find that book, so I wrote it! It’s now a series, with the first two out and two more on the way!

Q: I know there are many, many people with chronic pain and I am sure they would profit from reading what you have written. If there were one book in this series that would benefit a sick person most, what would it be?

A: I’d have to say the first one, Sick & Tired. Nearly one out of every two people in America has some kind of chronic illness. They need to know they are not alone, and it helps to hear somebody say it stinks, they understand, and they’re cheering you on. That’s what the first book in the series is meant to, with some practical help like how to explain your condition in a way that doesn’t leave room for people to think it’s in your head. =)

Q: I saw a letter on your Amazon site from a doctor who was praising your work as something both doctors and patients would enjoy reading and was very impressed. Do you get a lot of letters like this from doctors and patients?

A: I love hearing from both doctors and patients! I have one doctor friend who keeps stocked up on the books to give to certain patients, and I love that. She gets to encourage them, and they feel more understood. I heard about another doctor who put the book in their waiting room and had a patient ask if she could keep it! They said no. =)

Q: Tell us a little about your new book, Blue Ridge Setup, that was released this month? It is anything like the other books you have written or it is the beginning of a new series?

A: It’s totally different novel than my ones on trafficking. At its heart, Blue Ridge Setup is a fun read about a young woman getting set up who doesn’t want to get set up. Kayla Madison moves in with her eccentric romance-novelist great aunt, who is determined she and Ryan Cummings would make great characters for her next novel, if only she can get them together! Poor Ryan has no idea what he’s getting into when he agrees to do a landscaping project for the great aunt, who intends to keep coming up with jobs for him to do until her plan works!

But it also has the serious themes of what illness takes away, struggling with feeling useless, needing to find worth for who you are, not what you do. It was good therapy for me, writing the book, and I hope it will be good therapy for others reading it!


Q: Sounds like fun, and it also sounds like a good lesson. I can’t want to read it. Tell us about some of the children’s books you have in print.

A: The newest one, When I’m With Jesus, is due for release November 29th. It’s a beautifully illustrated book for children who have lost a loved one, from the perspective of the person who goes to Heaven. This is a very special book to me, and I hope God uses it to touch and comfort many children and adults.

Q: It sounds like you have your finger in lots of pies--lots of different genres--I'm looking forward to reading some of them. Kimberly, it has been so nice to talk with you today. I’m looking forward to the readers’ comments about your diversified books. Thank you so much for your interview.

A: Thanks so much for letting me visit here today. God bless and keep you!


OK, bloggers, it’s your turn again. Leave a comment if you’d like to win one of Kimberly’s books, and don't forget to leave your email address and the name of the state you live in!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Bette Lee Crosby's new book!

The winner of Kimberly Rae Jordan's book is Valerie from North Carolina.
Congratulations, Valerie, and thanks to all those who visited my blog last week!
Now read about Bette Lee Crosby's new book:

Jubilee's Journey by Bette Lee Crosby
Give-away of one paperback and one e-book to the winner of those who comment!
If you read Bette Lee Crosby's book Spare Change, you met Ethan Allen, an eleven-year-old boy whose life was pretty destitute. Born to parents who cared more about spiting each other than caring for him, he found himself in a desperate situation. Both his parents were dead, and the sheriff was looking for him! All he knew to do was to try to find his grandpa. But he didn't know where he was. Finding an envelope in the house with his grandpa's address on it, he went searching for somebody to live with.

Jubilee's Journey starts out in a similar fashion. Jubilee, aged seven, and her brother Paul, aged fourteen, lost their parents, so they headed out to find a place to live and be together. When they arrived in Wyattsville, Virginia, a catastrophe took Paul away from her. Ethan Allan rescued her and took her to his grandma Olivia. The adventures they have are full of fun and suspense.

You'll love this novel, another winner by Bette Lee Crosby, in book two of The Wyattsville Series.

If you'd like to win a copy of this book, there is one paperback and one e-book to give away. Leave a comment, along with you email address, and I'll notify the winner on January 31 or February 1.

Winner of Kimberly's book!

The winner of last week's blog is Valerie from North Carolina. I appreciate all those who stopped by to leave a comment about the interview. I thought an interview with the daughter of a missionary was pretty special.

I'm teaching a Bible study that I wrote to women in my church, from now through the first of March, about people in the Bible. The title is Ordinary People come face-to-face with Extraordinary God.
We meet people in the Old Testament through the first part of the study and we're enjoying them. I've been working hard to get the book adapted to be used as a Bible study, and to make study sheets to go with each week's lessons.

As you might have noticed, I'm only doing one post per week. Enjoy the rest of winter, try to stay as warm as you can, and look forward to spring. I think it's only bout 50 days away, and I can't wait. Can you?