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I do not read every book/author I spotlight or book tour I host!
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes T.I. Lowe!

Good Morning and Welcome to the final edition of Wednesday Words with Friends for April 2020!

Today is your last chance to enter into my monthly gift card giveaway so be sure and leave a comment. I will pick a winner and email him or her and announce on Saturday Spotlight this weekend (May 2nd).

Our guest, T.I. Lowe has visited before so please welcome her back with the first of her new "Carolina Coast" trilogy releasing from Tyndale House throughout this spring/summer.

Take it away T.I.......

1.What inspired you to write Beach Haven?
The Bible verse shared at the beginning of the book sums it up. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Storms in life can come in and make such a mess that this promise can get overlooked. Haven means “refuge,” so I was inspired to write a story centered around finding our haven in God during these storms, seeking his refuge and redemption in the aftermath. Readers will see this physically manifested through a hurricane and spiritually demonstrated through Lincoln’s redemption of faith.

2.What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this story?
I’m most excited for readers to experience the victory of redemption. Lincoln will make mistakes, he will fight against necessary change, and he will try running from his faith and the feelings developing for Opal. I loved, loved, loved when I finally got to the part of the story where this giant of a man humbles himself to accept it all. He is a decorated soldier and wore bravery like a fine suit before he was wounded in battle, but I found him at his strongest when he stood up for Opal and when he reconciled with his father.

3.What role does faith play in this story?
Life is a gift from God, even when we perceive it to be in ruins and past repair. During a confrontation with Lincoln, Opal points this out to him by checking his pulse. She tells him, “Each pulse you have is another chance. Another opportunity. . . . You’re a living breathing miracle. Your life is a gift from God and yet you’ve just wasted eighty-eight chances to appreciate that in the last minute.”

4.What lessons or truths do you hope people take away from Beach Haven? 
Just because a chapter of your life inserts an unexpected plot twist and is far from what you had planned doesn’t mean the story is over. Embracing change is never easy, but it’s a part of life.

5.As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about writing this story?
The most enjoyable part of this story was introducing the Knitting Club, a geriatric group of busybodies. Opal has this thought in the book: “It was said that the Knitting Club came over on the Mayflower and somehow found the fountain of youth upon landing.” These feisty broads are the comic relief of the story with interesting dashes of wisdom thrown into the mix. They are big fans of mischief and meddling.

6.What was the most difficult part of writing this story?
When I create a character with such an altruistic background as Lincoln’s military career, my goal is to pay my respects and to honor them. I’m always a little nervous about getting that right and mindful of how it will be perceived.

7.Can you tell us about your inspiration for the main character in this book, Opal Gilbert? What about Lincoln Cole?
Opal is what folks consider weird. Different. Too silly at times. She allows people to form those opinions but doesn’t allow them to keep her from enjoying the eccentric fit of her quirkiness. Opal’s purpose is to inspire readers to own up to their uniqueness. Lincoln is a big ole teddy bear hiding behind a grouchy pout, but boy does he have one fierce stubborn streak. Once his mind up is made up about something, there’s no wavering from it. Lincoln finally reaches a point in the story where there is no other choice but to come to terms with accepting God’s repurposing plan for his life.

8.Can you tell us more about your inspiration for Opal’s shop, Bless This Mess?
I’m a huge fan of the show Fixer Upper, and I love the idea of taking something old and considered unappealing and transforming it into something new and charming. On the show, the designers highlight imperfections instead of trying to hide them. None of us are perfect, but our flaws can be used in an appealing way. This is what I hope for readers to discover while they are exploring Bless This Mess.

9.What can you tell us about the relationship that forms between Opal Gilbert and Lincoln Cole?
Neither one of them wanted a relationship. Opal’s focus was restoring her shop in the aftermath of Hurricane Lacy, and Lincoln’s focus was restoring his life, which was left in ruins due to a career-ending injury and the poor choices he made afterward. Even though they both fight against their developing feelings, of course love wins in the end. Exploring the unexpectedness of their love story was an appealing challenge for me. They butt heads quite a bit, but both have that endearing quality where they have each other’s back. I’ll share one of my favorite scenes below that showcases this when a guy makes fun of Opal in public.

“Aw, come on, Opie. You know you earned your weirdo status.” Ray laughed like it was the funniest thing until the formidable man behind her leered over her shoulder. Lincoln’s rigid stance pressed close to her, and Ray’s taunting eyes froze as the shadow encased them both.
“Who are you?” Lincoln asked with enough grit in his voice to scare even Opal.
She was about to back away from the confrontation when a strong arm secured itself around her waist, a wall of muscle pressing firmly against her back in a united front.
“Ray Owens. I’m a friend of Opal’s from back in high school.” He reached a shaky hand out and Lincoln ignored it. After getting the hint, Ray retracted his hand and swiped it over his forehead, looking right nervous.
“Opal’s never mentioned a friend named Ray. Certainly never mentioned an idiot dumb enough to call her a ridiculous name. What are you, two?”
Ray stammered out a shaky laugh. “Come on, man. I was just joking around. I mean . . . look who we’re talking about.” His head tilted toward her with his eyes growing round.
“No way are you talking about this woman standing in front of you. She’s one of the most creative and kindest people I know. You’d be wise to take note of that and to also take note I won’t be putting up with anyone treating her with anything less than absolute respect.” Without another word, Lincoln used his hold on Opal to spin her around and place her away from the hurtfulness the guy had just pushed on her.
Opal was used to having Lincoln’s strong personality aimed against her, but it was remarkably comforting to have it used as a shield of defense for her.

10.In what ways do you hope this story connects with contemporary Christian women?
By the time the contemporary Christian woman makes it to the last page of this story, my hope is that she will have a renewed confidence to be the individual God created her to be. We are not intended to be cookie-cutter humans.

Tonya “T. I.” Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in psychology but excelled in creative writing. In 2014, Tonya independently published her first novel, Lulu’s Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of twelve published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. She resides near Myrtle Beach with her family. Connect with her on her Author Page,  T.I. Lowe’s Website   Instagram   Twitter (@TiLowe)   and Facebook  Get a copy of Beach Haven at Tyndale, Amazon OR wherever books are sold.

Sounds like an incredible story, Ms. Lowe! Thank you for sharing. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings. 

Hope you enjoyed today's post friends and that you'll check back each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday spotlight. Good luck in the drawing!

Until next time, take care and God bless.
PamT


Saturday, April 25, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Alicia Dean & Precarious!

Good Morning Friends,

I hope this day finds you happy, healthy and prosperous.

Today's guest has visited us numerous times but please give Alicia Dean a huge, warm, WELCOME back with her latest release, Precarious, Martini Club 4 ~ The 1940s.

Boston ~ 1947
Iris Taggart should be ecstatic.  She’s engaged to one of  the wealthiest men in Boston, and he dotes on her. But, her marrying a rich man is her mother’s dream, not hers. Iris longs to be a nurse and care for others, and she’ll never have the career she wants if she marries a Boston Blue Blood. It just isn’t done. 

Dante Morello returned from WWII a war hero, and now he’s a Boston detective working the South End Slayer case where a deranged killer is butchering the poor and homeless. Dante’s investigation leads him to reconnect with Iris—a girl he’s known most of his life—who is volunteering at the soup kitchen where the murderer finds his victims. When Dante learns Iris is in the killer’s sites, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, and not just because she’s woken something in his heart he thought he’d never feel.

But neither of them is prepared for how precarious life can be. When secrets are exposed, and a madman’s full intent is revealed, will their love…and their lives…be destroyed?

Excerpt:

Dante stood and rolled down his shirt sleeves, then slipped on his jacket, not bothering to straighten his tie. “Hello, Iris. Is there something I can do for you?”

“Y-yes.” She held something tightly in her fists and shoved it toward him. “I-I found this.”

He peered at the object—a woman’s scarf, which looked as though it had been dragged through a tar pit—then lifted his brows. “And?”

She drew in a deep breath, her breasts rising with the action. He forced his gaze back to her face. “I found it at the clinic.”

He shoved his hands in his pockets, waiting. He’d offer her a seat, but then she might stay all day, rambling on and on about whatever popped into her pretty head. On one hand, that sounded like the perfect way to spend his day. On the other, he had a killer to catch.

“The bastard left it there for me.” She didn’t apologize, or even flinch, at her use of the curse word. She thrust the scarf out again, and this time he took it. “Have you heard any news? Any new victims? It belongs to Alma Vernon. She’s dead, isn’t she?” The sentences fell on top of one another. Her eyes filled with tears and she shook her head. “Mercy me. I don’t understand what’s happening.”

Dante tightened his fist around the scarf, battling the rage rising inside him. “How well did you know Ms. Vernon?”

“I saw her frequently at the kitchen. Then, a few days ago, she had a seizure, and I treated her.”

“Morello!”

Shannon’s shout drew Dante’s attention away from Iris, and for a moment, he was peeved at the interruption. Although she was bearing potentially disturbing news, seeing her lovely face was a balm to his soul.

“What is it?”

“We got a report of another victim.”

“Dammit to hell.” Dante shot a look at Iris but didn’t apologize for his language. He was damned well frustrated and feeling more incompetent each day. He said to Iris, “I’m sorry. I have to go. We’ll talk later.”

She nodded. Her lovely blue eyes swam with unshed tears, and her lips trembled. He wanted to stay, to hold her and comfort her. It was obvious that the killer was either fixated on Iris, or working his way through victims until he got to her. Either option opened a cold pit of fear in his chest.

Oh, Wow! What an excerpt, Alicia! Where can we get a copy?

Precarious, along with the other books in this series - Pampered by Kathy L Wheeler, Perilous by Amanda McCabe and Priceless by Krysta Scott can be purchased at Amazon.




Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 10, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. 

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like Ozark, The Walking Dead, Dexter, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Find Alicia Here:

Email: Alicia@AliciaDean.com
Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_
Instagram: AliciaDeanAuthor

Great! We certainly wish you and the other authors the best of luck and God's blessings with this and your other series.

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight, friends and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight. Be sure to leave a comment and enter into my monthly gift card giveaway.

Until next time take care, stay safe and be BLESSED!
PamT

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes D.V. Stone!

Good Morning Friends!

If you've followed my blog long enough, you know I just LOVE introducing you to new (to me) authors and their books. Today is no exception.

Though she may not be new to some of you, for those of us who didn't know her before now, D.V. Stone hosts a weekly blog, "Welcome to the Campfire." She is a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. 


Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County.  They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter and their cat Baby.

D.V.’s career path varied from working with the disabled to become a volunteer EMT, which in turn led to working in hospital emergency rooms and then in a women's state prison. After a few years, she took a break from medicine and became the owner of Heavenly Brew, a specialty coffee shop in Sparta NJ, and a small restaurant in Lafayette. Life handed some setbacks, and she ended up back in the medical field, but this time in a veterinary emergency hospital. 

During the poor economy, she was laid–off from a long-time position she cared about. Devastated, D.V. wondered what to do with her life. Finding comfort in her love of reading, she realized it was now time to follow her dream of writing. It's been a long road but worth every minute of it. Now a published author, she also works in a people medical office again.

Find out more about D. V. by visiting and connecting with her on  her  Website  Facebook   Twitter     Instagram    Pinterest     Bookbub      Goodreads    Amazon Author Page   Welcome to the Campfire Blog  and sign up for her Newsletter

Now let's see what D. V. has to share with us today....

Pam, thank you so much for allowing me to share today about where inspiration and ideas come from. I almost always keep a pen and paper with me. If I’m caught without them then I use the voice recorder on my phone or call myself and leave a message. 

Inspiration comes from life experience, pictures, items, and even smells. Even a fractured piece of an overheard conversation can spark a character or scene. The image below, inspired one of my works in progress, Jazz House’s character Madeline. 

In my first book (which is still a work in progress), I was watching Lord of the Rings, and this scene came on the screen. 

For those not familiar. Haldir, an Elven Prince, was pretty stiff. When Aragorn hugged him, he froze. Then he relaxed into the greeting. This lone image was the inspiration for Kíeran in my epic romantic fantasy Kingdom at a Crossroad (again a work in progress). I asked what if? Straight-laced and very proper, Kíeran becomes enamored with a human woman who, after centuries, evokes feelings of love but also anger, fear, jealousy, heartbreak. 

Rock House Grill, my new release, had many inspirations. In real life, I was an EMT and owned a restaurant. Blending these two things was very natural when I began to write the book under the pressure of National Novel Writing Month. Thirty days, fifty thousand words—go. Write what you know. 

But I think my best inspiration came from my nephew. One day we were at a Christmas concert. He crawled over a couple of laps and plopped across from me. Here’s our conversation.

“Aunt Donna, you’re a writer, right?” Carter’s hands were propped on the chair with his chin in them.
“Yes,” I answered tentatively.

“Good. I want you to write about me, but I want to have a long mustache and ride a Harley.”

So, truly, inspiration can come from anywhere. Even a seven-year-old boy at a Christmas concert.

Whether you’re an author, painter, jewelry maker, or musician—keep your eyes and ears open. You never know where the ideas will come from.

Wow, you are SO right, D.V! Thanks for sharing. We wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your writing career.

Hope you enjoyed today's inspiration friends. D.V.'s books can be purchased on Amazon. Be sure to leave a comment and enter into my monthly drawing for a $15 gift card!

Until next time, take care, stay safe & God Bless.
PamT        

Saturday, April 18, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on William Vietinghoff & Long Conversations, Old Regrets

Good Morning!

Well we're a week past Easter and a full month, more for some, into stay home and social distancing. Many are receiving their stimulus checks and/or increased unemployment benefits. Are you rejoicing in every new day the Lord makes or are you grumbling and complaining? Remember, this is your choice. Scripture tells us as a man thinks, he is and the power of life and death is in the tongue....so be aware of what you're thinking and saying because you're framing your future with your thoughts and words!

Today we welcome an old friend with a new book. William Vetinghoff visited us back in 2015 with his book, The Interceptor Program. Today, he returns with a brand new book so please give him a huge, warm, WELCOME!

As is probably true of many older men, Bill Vietinghoff toyed with the idea of writing a novel based on his life. The joyous, ironic, and often troublesome events he experienced might make interesting reading. But what would be the most engaging way to organize and present his memories? He wondered if there was a genre of that category, books written by men based on memories. The reference desk at the library couldn't help him. So he devised a plot. The main character, Steven Ribman, has the same problem. He is inexperienced in writing and can't conceive of a book structure. He dreams a woman approaches him in a coffee shop. The name she gives him is Bernice. She claims she overheard him talking about his need for a plot idea. She suggests that his main character meet her from time to tome and they share memories that he writes about. He is convinced, tries it, and discovers he is able to put a story together. But he comes across evidence that his dream woman may actually exist. A search begins for the identity of Bernice.

Excerpt: "Four weeks ago, his preoccupation with the front page of the morning newspaper waned and he casually turned to the obituaries—something he usually avoided. There, in small font, were the condensed biographies and praises for men and women he did not know. He looked at the stamp-size portraits of the deceased. He imagined his features there. Which of the few decent photographs taken of him recently, showing him timeworn and weathered, will be chosen? But then it might be more flattering to include, as was often done, a photo of him as a good-looking young serviceman in his sailor suit, the dress blues with the snow-white cap square on his head, per regulations. What will the words be under his photograph? He couldn’t imagine his life’s story being condensed into a couple of paragraphs. It was at that moment, with a vision of, maybe, a fifty-word eulogy that he knew he had to explain to someone what had happened to him growing up and growing old. But how to do that? His deliverance came in the resolution that the explanation of Steven Ribman would reside in a book, a place where people could find him after he was gone."

Sounds interesting Bill!

Long Conversations, Old Regrets can be purchased at Amazon.


William Vietinghoff graduated in 1953 from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. At the time, the political and technology movements in the world, generated by the missile race, converged and created an opportunity for Vietinghoff, at the dawn of the space age, to join the ranks of dozens of other young engineers, pioneers in a way, learning on the job how to get a rocket engine to start and run. Over the ensuing years,  Vietinghoff participated in many rocket engine, vehicle, and missile programs: Atlas, F-1, Lance,  Peacekeeper, KEW, and X-33. The Interceptor Program grew from a collection of on-the-job incidents, with some imaginary ones thrown n. Vietinghoff, his wife, Gladys, and his two sons and daughter live in California.

Bill wonders if his plot might be the only one of its kind in the world. He leaves a request for any future readers of his novel who are aware of similar plots to contact him or make a comment, with book title, on this Saturday Spotlight, He would like to compare the approaches.

Leave a comment folks, and let Bill know if you've written or read a book similar to Long Conversations, Old Regrets!

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight and will check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.
PamT

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Robert Herold!

Good Morning!

Well, the weather has gone crazy as usual...from 80's to 40's this week, but it doesn't surprise me. I've always said we have a cold snap around Easter. Speaking of, I pray your Easter weekend was blessed despite the current affairs.

This week we welcome a brand new-to-me author to our blog....

The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since Robert Herold’s mother refused to allow him, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)

As a child, fresh snow provided him the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors’ lawns halfway and then make paw prints with his fingers as far as he could stretch. He would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)

He has pursued many interests over the years (among them being a history teacher and a musician), but the supernatural always called to him. You could say he was haunted. Finally, following the siren’s call, he wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea he had as a teenager.

Ultimately, he hopes the book gives you the creeps, and he means that in the best way possible. Connect with Robert on Twitter @RobertHerold666, Facebook, Instagram or through his website.

Now let's see what Robert has to share with us today.....


Tips for Aspiring Writers
By Robert Herold
Author of The Eidola Project

As a newly published author, I am close to the circumstance in which you find yourself and have a good idea of what you may be going through. A short while ago, I was you. Here are some thoughts that may help you on your journey.

Most significant: KEEP WRITING!  Writing is a learning process and it will probably take years before you are published &/or gain notoriety. Prepare the psyche for the long haul.

Put the inner critic into a strong box and lock it tight until you’re done. (Let it out only when you’re in the editing process and only if it’s on good behavior!)

Come up with an ending first.  (If you are in the middle of something and don’t know where you’re going, stop and come up with an ending.) This gives your writing a direction and a purpose and you will avoid dead ends.

Don’t stop to do major revisions/edits until you’ve completed your first draft.

Once your first draft is completed, let the critic out, but keep it on a tight chain. Do not let it drive you to despair and cause you to delete your work. In fact, save each draft.  You may later find you want to use something from an earlier draft. Also, don’t let your inner critic cause you to get caught up in endless revisions.

Join a writers’ group!  Try to find one with published writers &/or members who are better writers than you. You’ll learn from them and their praises and encouragement will carry weight.

Develop a thick skin. Handle criticism wisely. Do not engage in defensive remarks or in explaining what you meant. Note what they had to say, and after a day or two decide if you will give it credence.

Take note if you hear the same criticism from more than one source.

Traditional AND self-published writers will need to engage in marketing. Cultivate those skills.  (A great resource is Your Book, Your Brand by Dana Kaye)

Read as well as write! Read broadly, as it will enrich your writing and help you learn by example.

Start your next book, story, or article.

Apply the lessons you’ve learned along the way. We learn by doing.

BEST WISHES!

THANKS Robert! We certainly appreciate you sharing your writing tips with us and wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your career.

Robert's book, The Eidola Project can be found at Amazon and GoodReads. Watch the trailer HERE.

Hope you enjoyed today's post, friends and that you'll drop by weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight! 

Be sure to leave a comment to enter into my monthly gift card giveaway.

Until next time take care and God bless.
PamT

Saturday, April 11, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Leigh Young & Lessons from the Letters!

Good Morning!

Well, we're in the waiting period now between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Seems appropriate right, as we wait for this Covid-19 crap and stay at home orders to end. They may not be over by tomorrow, but trust me friends....they will end. For now all we can do is wait and try to focus on the good things that come from this trial. Which is another reason I believe today's Saturday Spotlight guest and book is SO very appropriate!

Brought to us from Adams Media, author Leigh Young explains why letters written specifically to churches found in the Book of Revelation are still relevant to believers today....

“Jesus analyzed seven groups of believers and wrote to them to exhort and encourage them,” says Young. “Those new Christians were pioneers of our faith.  They were people who were making a great effort to follow the Lord in a difficult environment. With His omniscient vision, Christ pointed out their strengths and their weaknesses.  Now, the torch is passed to us. It is our turn. We are now the Christians trying to live like Christ in an often ungodly environment. Christ is showing us the way to the abundant life through these letters.”

Young says understanding the context of the letters is important, and her research of each of the cities and their corresponding cultures at the time the letters were written helps the reader gain valuable insights into the meaning of the scriptures.

“During the time when the letters were written, the Laodicean Research University invented and marketed a wonder drug—eye salve,” says Young. “They sent this miracle eye medication throughout the Roman Empire.  Yet, Jesus called them blind. Another celebrated commodity of Laodicea was black wool.  Because dyed cloth was expensive, black clothing was highly coveted.  The Laodicean black sheep supplied black wool allowing the merchants to sell the raw wool, black cloth, and garments made from this prized cloth. Jesus refers to the citizens of Laodicea as naked, not well-dressed, as they saw themselves. We would miss this head knowledge if we did not delve into the culture of this city. But more importantly than impacting our head, this can impact our heart. What areas of our life are we self-sufficient and do not need God?”

Young says these letters, written over 2000 years ago, should be seen as a source of encouragement to Christians in today's culture.

“These seven churches were located in cities ruled by Rome.  The empire did not separate church and state. The residents of these cities were supposed to worship the multitude of mythological gods and the emperor.  The Christians who refused to bow down to these gods were considered atheists and traitors. Today, we often feel overcome by the amount of pornography, violence, discord in government, and hatred. The original seven churches in Asia Minor faced these same issues.  In some aspects, the environment was worse than ours today. However, they overcame.  They lived for Christ in a world that often hated His way.  This realization gives me great hope.”

Q: What motivated you to write this book?
A: Although they were written 2000 years ago, the words of advice and counsel are as relevant today as they were to those churches and parishioners centuries ago. The gospel of John records Jesus saying, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  In the letters in Revelation, Jesus reveals this path to those early churches, to their parishioners, and to you and me. We should seek guidance from the One who created us. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He made us. The book of Revelation unveils this promise in the first chapter, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.”  Jesus ends each of his seven letters with the words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.” Jesus’s words of advice and counsel have the added supernatural benefit and blessing of the Holy Spirit working within us to help us put these words into practice.

Q: You address both the context and patterns of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Why are those things important to know?
A: Knowing the context of the letters is extremely important to understanding the nuances Jesus is conveying. As we plant ourselves in the place, time and setting of the original letters, we can extract more clearly the lessons being taught.  The more we ascertain about these locations and their churches, the better we can appreciate the intended meanings of their correspondences. For example, the city of Laodicea suffered tremendous damage from an earthquake. Just as here, the Roman Governor declared a State of Emergency and the Roman equivalent to FEMA came in with money to help them rebuild.  The people of Laodicea turned their money down.  They were too self-sufficient to accept any help. In Jesus’s letter to this proud congregation, he wrote that they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.  He calls them “poor” referring to their prestigious banking center. Historians report that Cicero cashed his checks in Laodicea.  However, Jesus called them poor. During the time when the letters were written, the Laodicean Research University invented and marketed a wonder drug—eye salve. They sent this miracle eye medication throughout the Roman Empire.  Yet, Jesus called them blind. The third celebrated commodity of Laodicea was black wool.  Because dyed cloth was expensive, black clothing was highly coveted.  The Laodicean black sheep supplied black wool allowing the merchants to sell the raw wool, black cloth, and garments made from this prized cloth. Jesus refers to the citizens of Laodicea as naked, not well dressed as they saw themselves. We would miss this head knowledge if we did not delve into the culture of this city. But more importantly than impacting our head, this can impact our heart. What areas of our life are we self-sufficient and do not need God?  The context helps us to find lessons we can learn from this letter.

The pattern of all the letters is fascinating as each letter is written in the same format. Jesus begins by introducing Himself in a way that is relevant to that particular congregation. Next, He assures them that He sees what is happening in their city and in their church with the words, “I know.”  The omniscience is comforting in some situations and confronting in others. Christ then compliments them on the things they are doing well and exhorts them in areas in which they can improve.  The letter concludes with a warning revealing the negative outcomes of not heeding the suggestions for improvement and the positive consequences of following the prescribed actions.

Q: Why do you believe these letters to the seven churches are still relevant today?
A: In the letters, Jesus addresses issues which He sees in those churches. For example, He reminds the church in Ephesus that hard work and perseverance are wonderful traits, but, first and foremost, God is looking for our heart. Jesus reassures the parishioners in the church in Smyrna that He sees so-called “religious people” slandering and hurting them. The injustice done to them by fellow believers is not unnoticed.  This encouragement is as comforting today as it was for the believers centuries ago. In Pergamum, Jesus tells the Christians that they must be on guard to remain true in a culture that is becoming increasingly immoral. Sound familiar for today? This message is timeless.

Q: It is unusual to tie the book of Revelation to abundant living. How did you make that connection?
A: Jesus analyzed seven groups of believers and wrote to them to exhort and encourage them. These new Christians were pioneers of our faith.  They were people who were making a great effort to follow the Lord in a difficult environment. With His omniscient vision, Christ pointed out their strengths and their weaknesses.  He wrote to seven churches because seven is the number of completion signifying that these traits, characteristics, and advice encompass all believers. Now, the torch is passed to us. It is our turn. We are now the Christians trying to live like Christ in an often ungodly environment. Christ is showing us the way to the abundant life through these letters. 

Q: The historical information in your book has been heavily researched. Were there any specific things you learned during your research that stood out to you?
A: One of the recurring themes that stood out to me was the immoral influence of the pagan religion of this period in Roman history and the way it permeated that society and the lives of the believers. These seven churches were located in cities ruled by Rome.  The empire did not separate church and state. The residents of these cities were supposed to worship the multitude of mythological gods and the emperor.  The Christians who refused to bow down to these gods were considered atheists and traitors.  The worship practices for some of these gods were immoral.  Temple priests and priestesses of the fertility gods indulged in sexual rites with parishioners as part of the required “worship.” Some gods had horrific ceremonies designed to please and pacify the gods and provide the worshiper with some sort of gain. Their religious practices revolved around harming themselves physically. In extreme cases, these gods were “fed” by human sacrifice and torture. The more utilitarian gods, gods of grain and the household, “blessed” the work of the worshiper. The Christians who were unwilling to bow down to these gods were excluded from business and unable to make a living for their families. Those who did worship these gods made the case that the non-compliant Christians would make the gods mad with their refusal to bow before the gods and remove the blessings of success from their community. In those cities in which emperor worship was prominent, the believers’ refusal to bow the knee to Caesar was construed as an act of treason punishable by death. In some instances, the believer’s livelihood was impacted, and in others, their actual life was endangered. The pagan’s false religion infiltrated their culture and their daily routine.  The Christians in these churches were looked down upon on as atheists, traitors, and just plain odd. Today, we often feel overcome by the amount of pornography, violence, discord in government, and hatred. The original seven churches in Asia Minor faced these same issues.  In some aspects, the environment was worse than ours today. However, they overcame.  They lived for Christ in a world that often hated His way.  This realization gives me great hope.

Q: What do you hope readers will ultimately gain from this book?
A: My hope is to combine modern anecdotal stories with the Word to bring to light something that will help strengthen the reader’s relationship to Christ. In the words of the letters, I pray that the reader will “hear what the Spirit says.”

Q: What is the Lessons from the Letters Weekend?
A: Lessons from the Letters Weekend is about life change.  During the weekend, we explore ways to walk more closely with the Lord by fellowship, Bible study, worship, and meditative prayer time.  We “visit” each city to discover the words of advice and counsel Jesus recorded for these parishioners centuries ago and for us today.  This weekend is a perfect combination of laughter, learning, and worshiping with sisters in Christ. 

Leigh Young has written and taught Bible curriculum for two-year-olds, third grade Bible classes, Confirmation classes, and adult Bible series. She began her career as one of the top national sales leaders in the healthcare technology with NCR Corporation. She currently owns and manages investments in real estate and in the stock market. She began her public service in the advocacy arena, focusing her efforts on women’s and children’s issues. Her statewide experience includes serving as a Director on the Boards of UNC-TV, the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, and the Board of Visitors for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. She helped to draft and advocate for legislation for children’s issues as the Treasurer of the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute and as the chair of the State Public Affairs Committee for the Junior Leagues of North Carolina. She most recently served on the Statewide Leadership Council for Youth Villages. For more information, visit www.lessonsfromtheletters.com

Sounds like perfect reading to me. Thanks Leigh for sharing with us! Good luck and God's blessings with your new release!

Well, Friends, I hope you enjoyed today's post as much as I did and that you'll check back each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight and I pray you have a Blessed and Holy Easter weekend.

Until later, take care and God bless.
PamT

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends with Jodie Wolfe!

Good Morning Friends!

It's Holy Week around the world and as we venture into Easter weekend, many are saddened by the stay home orders we're under to reduce the spread of Covid-19. If I can encourage you in one way I pray this is it: Remember it's all in your head.... Yes, that's right. We can embrace the truth, love and power of Easter through out heart and mind OR we can resent the current times - that is OUR decision and it begins in our thoughts. This is the power God gave us when He gave us free will...the power to choose how we think, what we believe and how we live. Therefore, as He instructed us in Deuteronomy.... Choose life.... Choose life in your thoughts, in your words and in your actions. Worship is more than attending Church daily, weekly or even occasionally - worship is a frame of mind and a condition of heart.

Something to think about!

Now, on to our guest. 

Last month I introduced you to Jodie Wolfe when she gave us a sneak peek into her novel, Taming Julia. Today Jodi returns to share some Q&A about her writing..... Take it away, Jodie!


Q: What motivated you to write Taming Julia?
I've always been a fan of mail-order bride stories. I wondered what would happen if a man desired a genteel woman and who showed up is completely opposite of that. How would he handle it, especially if they were married by proxy before she arrived?

Q: Do you have a certain time period that you enjoy?
My all-time favorite is the 19th Century, partly because things were simpler then, but there also were a lot new things, inventions, etc. coming out too.

Q: How did you develop this interest in the 19th Century?
It started when I was a young girl, watching and reading Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I didn't like history at the time. That developed much later.

Q: You write historical romance, but you didn't like history?
When I was in school, history was all about memorizing facts and dates for the test. This was never an area I excelled in. It wasn't until I started researching the time period, and read some of the stories, journals, etc. that I fell in love with history.

Q: Do you use real settings when you write?
Sometimes. If I do use a real setting, I try to meticulously research so I can accurately portray the area. There is a short scene in Taming Julia that takes place at a real place in Texas. I traveled there, so hopefully I did it justice when I wrote about it. Most times my made up towns are based on a real town. Sometimes I change the name, so it fits the time I need.

Q: Will there be more books in the series?
That's the plan. I'm working on finalizing the second book, Wooing Annie. My heroine from Taming Julia decides to return the favor and send for a mail-order bride for her brother, Joshua Walker.

Q: Are any other books in the works?
I'm also working on a book that's set in the town where I went to college. It deals with the topic of belonging. That one's entitled Hannah's Quest.

Thank you so much for inviting me back today!

Thank YOU, Jodie for sharing your life and writing with us!

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Taming Julia can be found at AmazonB&NPelican Book Group & Google Play.

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight!

Until next time, take care, God bless and be safe!
PamT

Saturday, April 4, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Alina K Field & A Leap into Love

Good Morning and Welcome to the first Saturday Spotlight in April 2020!

First please send up a prayer for my grandson, Sean - it's his birthday! Happy Birthday baby...Well he's a teenager so I bet he wouldn't like me calling him baby LOL!

If you haven't checked out the Just You and Me Romance giveaway (in sidebar) please do!

Now on to our guest....

Alina is not new to the blog. She's visited several times and shared thoughts, words and the spotlight before, but today she is giving us a sneak peek into her book, A Leap into Love...

A Leap Day plot against the village’s most eligible widower spurs a young widow who’s sworn off marriage to go to his aid, but the only way she can protect him is to agree to marry him.

Can a gentleman be too charming? The ladies of Upper Upton think so.

And it’s almost Leap Day, when a man who refuses a lady’s proposal of marriage must offer a forfeit.

When the single ladies of the village conspire to teach their charmer a lesson that might bankrupt him, the town’s loveliest young widow steps up to warn him. 

His secrets and hers make them a perfect match—and she’s the lady he wants. But she won’t accept his proposal, not even to rescue him.  

As Leap Day approaches, the clock is ticking. Can he convince her in time to say yes to his offer and take a leap into love?


Excerpt: 
When the Ladies’ Society for the Improvement of Village Life gathered, discussions could drag on.
Mrs. Myra Smith stood at a distance, watching the exhalation of so much talk fog the air in the unheated assembly rooms of the Royal George Inn. From her station near the door, she kept an eye on the boy who’d marched off to the far end of the room, away from the ladies.
The Society’s grandiose title always made Myra smile. Stuffy-sounding though it might be, the Ladies’ Society did have a valuable purpose. Village life could be dull, and didn’t she know that well.
It could also be closed-minded, a trap Myra was always dodging. She was here today representing Longview, the nearby children’s home that had brought so many interesting characters to Upper Upton—the teachers, ladies of questionable background like herself, and the children, London’s outcasts, who’d found shelter, and training, and love.
Longview had been generously endowed by the Lords Cathmore, Hackwell, and Wallenford, much as their lordships had endowed this whole village, trying to make the residents of Longview more palatable to the good citizens of Upper Upton. Even this inn had been thoroughly modernized and expanded. Their lordships had even plucked the handsome innkeeper from among their former military comrades.
Thoughts of the man reminded her, she and Barty should be on their way. “The room is quite adequate to your needs,” Myra said. “The children and I shall certainly see to—”
The door to the assembly rooms whooshed open, silencing her.
A wide smile flashed her way, and she caught her breath. “Mr. Grant,” she said with a clipped curtsy, remembering what she was dealing with.
True to his nature, Alexander Grant turned that handsome gaze on the other three ladies and bowed all around. “Such loveliness brightens the dreary aspects of this day.”
His grin widened, and his dark hair sparkled in the light from a tall window. The cold February rain had dampened his coats and breeches and ruddied his cheeks under the dark stubble. Warmth rose in Myra. She shook herself, searching for words.


Wow...great scene Alina! Thanks for sharing.

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:

A Leap Into Love is a short, sweet Regency romance, perfect for book clubs. Now available at AmazonB&NKoboApple BooksGoogle Play Books2Read and in print!

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight friends and that you'll stop by each week and check out our Wednesday Words with Friends as well as Saturday Spotlight's.

Until next time take care and God Bless.
PamT

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends with ME

Hello April!

No April Fool's joke here, the first quarter of 2020 is really over!

March's winner of my monthly gift card giveaway is Jacqueline Seewald! Congrats Jacquie and Thank You for your constant support of my blog/guests.

Thank YOU ALL for your support. Hopefully one of you will be my next winner!

A lot going on this month....

1st, I've put all of my indy-pubbed titles up at Draft2Digital which hopefully will extend my readership. I also have Tempered Hearts priced at 99 cents for 1 week only.

Also, I am participating in a month - long promotion through My Book Cave.


The Just You and Me Romance promotion is for readers to find new authors and authors to find new fans by giving away a novel or novella. So, if you know someone who would like to sample my work, Tempered Hearts is FREE for those who sign up to receive my newsletter! Details HERE.

I'm still working on Tempered Truth...slow but steady going. 

As I mentioned in my last post, My Heart Weeps is up for Pre-Order at Amazon and Tempered Fire is available in Audio.

Oh and one more thing.... Pelican Book Group has all of their Ebooks on sale at 30% off through Easter! Simply use the code: BrightSide2020 at check out. Here's a link to my titles if you don't have them already. 

Guess that's all for now friends, I hope your April is blessed and Easter celebration is happy despite the continued stay-home restrictions.

Until next time, take care and God bless.
PamT