30 Things About Me - Day 6- What Is The Hardest Thing You've Ever Experienced

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 6 - Hardest Thing I Have Ever Experienced.

I would have to go with being diagnosed with epilepsy. I was 28, living in Hawaii. Up until that point my life was going along perfectly. My youngest daughter was weaning and I what I now know as aura's were getting stronger, but I didn't know what they were. I was driving to the commissary at Pearl Harbor. I was the lead car, at the stop light, my 20 month old daughter was in the back seat. When the light turned green my foot slipped off the foot and the clutch and it died. A lady we never found again, who we know was an angel, came to my aid, I spent four days in Tripler Army Medical Center where they ran every test imaginable, and I was fine. On October 31, 1994 I went back to see the Neurologist and he said he could diagnose me with epilepsy but that would change my life, I wouldn't be able to drive, there were center beaches I wouldn't be able to go to, we were signed up for scuba diving and I couldn't do that. He no sooner said that and I had a seizure, my husband pointed and said "This is what she does." the doctor said a classic complex partial seizure. He wished he had a camera in his office to tape since that was a teaching hospital. That began my cycle of the medicine merry - go - round to get me controlled. It also began my four years of accepting my disorder.
God is a God full of Grace and Mercy and even when we refuse to accept our trials willingly He will continually be there to give us strength and encouragement to go on.

Scorned Justice

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Scorned Justice
Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)
Margaret Daley


Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold eighty-three books to date.

Margaret was the president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization of Christia writers with over 2300 members. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired a few years ago, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community as well as serving on her church’s vestry.

On a more personal note, she has been married for over forty years to Mike and has one son and four granddaughters. She treasures her time with her family and friends.


Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun is with his parents in west Texas when an unexpected attack injures the brother of Rebecca Morgan, Brody's high school sweetheart. The local sheriff, a good friend, asks for Brody's help. At first, it seems like an open-and-shut case. However, as Brody digs deeper, he realizes the attack may be related to an organized crime trial Rebecca will be overseeing. With Rebecca's help, he compiles evidence which involves cattle rustlers, bribery, and dirty payoffs that shatter the entire community and put Rebecca directly in the line of fire.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Scorned Justice, go HERE.

30 Things About Me - Day 5 - What Am I The Most Happiest About Right Now.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

List 5 Things I am The Most Happiest About Right Now.

1. I am absolutely, 110%, in love with my Cowboy husband! He is God's gift to me!

2. We are looking for a house, which is super exciting!

3.  Going to see our kids next month to celebrate our granddaughter's 5th birthday.

4.  We are apart of an amazing small group, and God is doing Awesome things as we walk through Revelation.

5.   Watching our children grow to accept each other as their step-parent and love them.

30 Things About Me Day 4 - 10 Things I Would Tell My 16 Year Old Self.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A list of 10 things I would tell my 16 year old self.

1. Enjoy high school, it goes by way too fast.

2. Most high school relationships don't last, so don't give your heart to one guy.

3. Be kind to your parents, your heart will break as you see them age.

4. Don't rush to turn 18, you will be an adult for a very long time and will long to just go to school and have homework be your only responsibility.

5. Take your time choosing your spouse, don't rush. I know you want to get married and have kids, but choose carefully and let God be your guide, not your heart.

6. Finish college. Get your degree that you have always wanted, don't quit!

7. Enjoy every minute spent with your friends and family. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

8. Don't argue with your Mom so much, she is on your side, and has your best interests at heart.

9.  Volunteer more. Giving back is a way to learn more about yourself and others.

10.  Spend more time in God's word. Really studying it.

30 Things for a month Day 3

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Describe your relationship with your parents.

My parents are 2 of my closest friends. We truly have a close relationship. I can talk to them about anything, and trust them with anything.
We have been through our rough times, as a teen going through my identity phase, I was cruel to my mother, and said some hurtful things. I look back and wonder how we all survived those years. I treasure my parents more than I ever thought possible.
I now live less than five minutes from them. In my 27 years of adulthood this is the closest we've lived. My ex husband was in the navy and we moved all over, while sometimes living so close can drive me crazy, I love being close to them. I get to have lunch with my mom, take my dad out for his birthday. Do things I haven't had the opportunity to do in years.
God saved me for them. They were not able to have children and I was a special angel waiting for them, and I am so blessed that He gave me too them. My life would not have been the same had I not had them for my parents.

Threads of Hope

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Hope
Abingdon Press (March 1, 2013)
Christa Allan


A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa is a writer of not your usual Christian Fiction. She weaves stories of unscripted grace and redemption with threads of hope, humor, and heart. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a brand new retired teacher. She and her husband Ken live in New Orleans with their three cats and do their best to dodge hurricanes.

And, since she is not fond of writing about herself in third person, she asked her oldest daughter to contribute. Like her mother, Erin is not at a loss for words…


Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O’Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the “soft” stories she despises—covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God’s plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Hope, go HERE.

My Thoughts: Christa has the great ability to write a book that pulls you into the heart of the matter that really gets you to think long after you have turned the last page. This book, like her book, Edge of Grace that will leave you pondering your own faith once you have finished. A must read!

30 Days - Day 2

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Describe 3 legitimate fears and how they became fears.

Fear # 1 - Small spaces

Absolutely can't stand being in a small space. This was never an issue until I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and had to have an MRI with the Jason cage mask over my face. After that I couldn't be in a small space, and to have an MRI I have to be sedated.

Fear # 2 - Loosing my daughter to type 1 diabetes

I hate DIABETES! My middle daughter has type 1 and while she is better at handling it then she was 11 years ago when she got diagnosed. There are so many complications with this disease, and I fear that the complications will be what ends her life.

I don't have 3. I have 2. My life is placed in God's hands, He is the author and finisher of my life and I know He will do what is best.

Preview: The Survivor

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
DiAnn Mills


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Survivor, go HERE.

Begining 30 Things About Me . . . for 30 days. Day 1

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 1 20 Random Facts About Me.

1. I am full blooded Italian.

2. I am adopted.

3. I was born in San Francisco, CA.

4. My birth family hails from Bologna, Italy.

5. My dad was in the navy, we lived in Cali, Northern VA, Colorado, and Florida.

6. I love reality shows.

7. I can't stand the snow.

8. Summer is my favorite season.

9. My first husband was also in the navy, and we lived in Hawaii for 4 years, I loved it!

10. The book of John is my favorite of all in the Bible.

11. I could listen to the song 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman all day and not get tired of it.

12. My husband, Mark is truly my best friend and God hand picked him for me.

13. I homeschooled my 3 daughters, and loved every second of it and miss it!

14. I have 8 of the most precious grandchildren God could have ever created, and I love them all dearly.

15. I have epilepsy, but it does not have me!

16. I am now the mom to six and I feel blessed beyond measure.

17. I was given a great Christian heritage which I do not take for granted.

18. I love being able to blog and review for all the authors that I have the privilege to, they are such a blessing!

19.  Jon Bon Jovi is my secret crush. :)SHHH!
20.  I will try anything once.

So Shines The Night

Monday, March 25, 2013

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Thomas Nelson (March 12, 2013)

***Special thanks to Tracy L. Higley for sending me a review copy.***


Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored nine novels, including Garden of Madness and Isle of Shadows. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. See her travel journals and more at TracyHigley.com


On an island teetering at the brink of anarchy, Daria finds hope among people of The Way.

She escaped a past of danger and found respite in beautiful Ephesus, a trading center on the Aegean coast, serving as tutor to Lucas, the wealthy merchant who rescued her.

But the darkness she fled has caught up with her.

The high priests of Artemis once controlled the city, but a group of sorcerers are gaining power. And a strange group who call themselves followers of The Way further threaten the equilibrium. As Daria investigates Lucas’s exploits into the darker side of the city, her life is endangered, and she takes refuge in the strange group of believers. She’s drawn to Paul and his friends, even as she wrestles with their teachings.

When authorities imprison Lucas for a brutal crime, Daria wonders if even Paul’s God can save him. Then she uncovers a shocking secret that could change everything—Lucas’s fate, her position in his household, and the outcome of the tension between pagans and Christians. But only if she survives long enough to divulge what she knows.

“Meticulously-researched, spellbindingly written with luscious prose and compelling and complex characters.” —Tosca Lee, New York Times best-selling author of Havah: The Story of Eve

Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 12, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401686826
ISBN-13: 978-1401686826



I am an old man, and I have seen too much.

Too much of this world to endure any more. Too much of the next to want to linger.

And though I have nearly drowned in the glorious visions of those last days, yet I know not when it shall come, nor how many years I must tread this barren earth before all is made new.

There is a Story, you see. And we are still in the midst of it, ever striving to play our roles, battling on for the freedom of hearts and souls and minds yet enslaved by darkness.

But I have seen a great light. Oh yes, I have seen it. Even now it is breaking through, as it did on that grassy hillside so many cool spring mornings ago, when Moses and Elijah walked among us and my Brother shone with the glory He had been given from the beginning and will rise up to claim again at the end.

You will wonder, perhaps, at my calling Him brother. And yet that is what He was to me. Brother and friend, before Savior, before Lord. In those days when we wandered the land, going up and down from the Holy City, we shared our hearts, our lives, our laughter. Oh, how we laughed, He and I! He had the irrepressible joy of one who sees beyond the brokenness, to the restoration of all.

I loved him. And He loved me.

But I speak of beginnings and of endings, and these are words that have no meaning, for the day of His birth was both the beginning of the Kingdom and the end of tyranny, and that magnificent Day yet to come—it is the end-which-is-a-beginning, and my eyes have seen such glory in that New Jerusalem, my very heart breaks to tell of it.

And yet they come, young and old, to this tiny home in Ephesus that is to be my last dwelling outside that New City, and they beg me to tell the Story again and again.

And I do.

I tell of seals and scrolls, of a dragon and a beast and a Lamb. Of music that makes you weep to hear it and streets that blind the mortal eye. Of a Rider on a White Horse with eyes of blazing fire, whose name is Faithful and True. It is a great Story, and greater still to hear the final consummation of it, for how often we forget that we are living it still.

But I have another tale to tell. A smaller story within the One True Story that began before the creation of this world and is echoed at its end, as all our stories are. It happens here, in this port city of Ephesus but many years ago, when the darkness lay even heavier than it now does upon the people, and their souls cried out for relief from anyone who could give it.

This smaller story does not begin here in Ephesus, however. It begins a day’s sail away, on the sun-kissed shores of the Isle of Rhodes, where the light first began to break upon one woman and one man, even as they walked in darkness . . .

Chapter 1

Rhodes, AD 57

In the glare of the island morning sun, the sea blazed diamond-bright and hard as crystal, erratic flashes spattering light across Daria’s swift departure from the house of her angry employer.

She carried all she owned in one oversized leather pouch, slung over her shoulder. The pouch was not heavy. A few worn tunics and robes, her precious copy of Thucydides. She clutched it to her side and put her other hand to the gold comb pinning the dark waves of her hair, her one remaining luxury.

The bitter and familiar taste of regret chased her from the whitewashed hillside estate, down into the squalid harbor district. Why had she not kept silent?

Along the docks hungry gulls shrieked over fishy finds and work-worn sailors traded shrill insults. The restless slap of the sea against the hulls of boats kept time with the anxious rhythm of her steps against the cracked gray stones of the quay.

She had run once, haunted and guilty to a fresh start in Rhodes. Could she do it again? Find a way to take care of herself, to survive?

“Mistress Daria!”

The voice at her back was young and demanding, the tenor of a girl accustomed to a world arranged to her liking. And yet still precious, still malleable.

“Mistress! Where are you going?”

Daria slowed, eyes closed against the pain, and inhaled. She turned on the sun-warmed dock with a heaviness that pulled at her limbs like a retreating tide.

Corinna’s breath came quick with exertion and the white linen of her morning robe clung to her body. The sweet girl must have run all the way.

“To the School of Adelphos, Corinna. I will seek a position there.”

Corinna closed the distance between them and caught Daria’s hand in her own. Her wide eyes and full lips bespoke innocence. “But you cannot! Surely, Father did not mean what he said—”

Daria squeezed the girl’s eager fingers. “It is time. Besides”—she tipped Corinna’s chin back—“you have learned your lessons so well, perhaps you no longer need the services of a tutor.”

Corinna pulled away, dark eyes flashing and voice raised. “You do not believe that, mistress. It is you who says there is always more to learn.”

They drew the attention of several young dockworkers hauling cargo from ship to shore. Daria stared them down until they turned away, then circled the girl’s shoulders, pulled her close, and put her lips to Corinna’s ear. “Yes, you must never stop learning, dear girl. But it must be someone else who teaches you—”

“But why? What did you say to anger Father so greatly?”

Only what she thought was right. What must be said. A few strong phrases meant to rescue Corinna from a future under the thumb of a husband who would surely abuse her.

Daria smiled, fighting the sadness welling in her chest, and continued her trudge along the dock toward the school. “I am afraid discretion is one of the things I have not yet learned, Corinna. Your father is a proud man. He will not brook a mere servant giving him direction in the running of his household.”

Corinna stopped abruptly at the water’s edge, her pretty face turned to a scowl. “You are no mere servant! You are the most learned tutor I have ever had!”

Daria laughed and looked over the sea as she walked, at the skiffs and sails tied to iron cleats along the stone, easy transportation to the massive barges that floated in the blue harbor, awaiting trade. Papyrus and wool from Egypt, green jade and aromatic spices from far eastern shores, nuts and fruits and oils from Arabia. Her eyes strayed beyond the ships, followed northward along the rocky Anatolian coast to cities unknown, riddles to be unraveled, secrets and knowledge to be unlocked. More to learn, always. And somewhere perhaps, the key to redeeming the past.

They approached and skirted the strange symbol of the isle of Rhodes, the toppled Helios that once stood so proud and aloof along the harbor and now lay humbled, its bronze shell speckled to an aged green, reflecting the impenetrable turquoise sky. The massive statue had lain at the quay for gulls to peck and children to climb for nearly three hundred years since the quake brought it down. Daria found it disturbing.

“May I still visit you at the school, Mistress Daria?”

She smiled. “One challenge at a time. First I must convince Adelphos that he should hire me.”

Corinna’s tiny sandals scurried to keep pace. “Why would he not?”

“It is not easy to be an educated woman in a man’s world of philosophy and rhetoric. There are few men who appreciate such a woman.”

“How could anyone not appreciate someone as good, as brave, as you?”

The child gave her too much credit. She was neither good, nor brave. She would not be here in Rhodes if she were. Though she was trying. The gods knew, she had been trying.

Corinna lifted her chin with a frown in the direction of the school. “I shall simply explain to Adelphos how very valuable you are.”

And how outspoken? Interfering? But perhaps the girl could help in some way.

“Will you demonstrate some of what I have taught you, Corinna?”

The girl’s eyes lit up. “Just wait, mistress. I shall amaze and delight that crusty old Adelphos.”

Daria studied the impetuous girl and bit her lip. But it was a chance she must take.

The School of Adelphos lay at the end of the docks, its modest door deceptive. Daria paused outside, her hand skimming the rough wood, and inhaled determination in the sharp tang of salt and fish on the breeze. Who would believe that such distinguished men as the poet Apollonius and Attalus the astronomer had studied and written and debated behind this door? Sea trade had kept Rhodes prosperous for centuries, but in the two hundred years under Roman control, the Greek island had grown only more beautiful, a stronghold of learning, of arts and sciences and philosophy.

Inside its most famous school, she blinked twice and waited for her sun-blind eyes to adjust.

“Daria!” Adelphos emerged from the shadows of the antechamber with a cool smile and tilt of his head. Tall and broad-shouldered, he was several years her senior, with the confident ease of an athlete, a man aware of his own attractiveness.

She returned the smile and straightened her back. “Adelphos. Looking well, I am pleased to see.”

He ran a gaze down the length of her, taking in her thin white tunic and the pale blue mantle that was the best of her lot. “As are you.”

“I have come to make you an offer.”

At this, his eyebrows and the corner of his mouth lifted in amusement and he gave a glance to Corinna, still at the door. “Shouldn’t we send your young charge home first?”

She ignored the innuendo. “My employ as Corinna’s tutor will soon come to an end, and I desire to find a place here, in your school. As a teacher.” She swallowed against the nervous clutch of her throat.

Again the lifted eyebrows, but Adelphos said nothing, only strolled into the lofty main hall of the school, a cavernous marble room already scattered with scholars and philosophers, hushed with the echoes of great minds.

She gritted her teeth against the condescension and beckoned Corinna to follow, with a warning glance to keep the girl quiet, but the child’s sudden intake of breath at the fluted columns and curvilinear architraves snapped unwanted attention in their direction, the frowns of men annoyed by disruptive women.

Adelphos disappeared into the alcove that housed the school’s precious stock of scrolls—scrolls Daria had often perused at her leisure and his generosity.

Daria spoke to his back. “Do you doubt my abilities—”

“What I doubt, my lady, is a rich man’s willingness to pay a woman to teach his sons.”

Daria waved a hand. “Bah! What difference does it make? I can do a man’s work just as well. And if they learn, they learn!” But a cold fear knotted in her belly.

Adelphos traced his fingertips over the countless nooks of scrolls, as if he could find the one he sought simply by touching its ragged edge. “And you, Daria? Do you want to live a man’s life as well as do a man’s work? What woman does not long for love and family and hearth?”

Her throat tightened at his words, too close to the secrets of her heart. Yes, she longed for those comforts. For a love that would accept her abilities, complement rather than suppress. But for now, for now she had no one and she must assure her own welfare.

She coughed to clear the dryness of her throat and stepped beside him, examined the great works of philosophy and literature, their tan Egyptian papyri wrapped in brown twine, sealed in waxy red.

Adelphos reached past her to a nook above her head, and his muscled arm brushed her shoulder.

The touch was intentional, clearly. Manipulative. Even so, his nearness left her breathless and her usual sharp-tongued wit failed. When she spoke, it was a harsh whisper, too raw with emotion, though the words emerged falsely casual. “And why should I not have both?”

At this, Adelphos huffed, a derisive little laugh, and turned to lean his back against the shelves and unroll the scroll he had retrieved.

“A woman of ambition. Does such a breed truly exist?” His gaze darted to hers. “But what am I saying? You have already wedded a husband, have you not?”

Daria pulled a scroll from its recess and pretended to study it.

“You are interested in the work of Pythagoras? That one is newly arrived from Samos.”

Daria shrugged. “I find his work repetitive. What new has he added to Euclid’s previous efforts?”

“Indeed.” Adelphos pulled the scroll from her hands and replaced it in its nook. “But you have not answered my question.”

“I am a widow, yes.”

“A widow with no sons. No dowry.” He glanced at Corinna, clutching the doorway. “And no employment. Is there anything more desperate?”

Daria lifted her chin and met his gaze. “It seems you are in an enviable position, then, Adelphos. You have found a skilled teacher, available for a bargain.”

Adelphos circled to Corinna, an appreciative gaze lingering on her youth and beauty. “And this is your prize specimen? The pupil of whom I have heard such wonders?”

The girl straightened and faced Adelphos with a confidence borne of knowledge. “Shall I demonstrate the superior skill Mistress Daria has given me with languages?”

Daria silently cheered and blessed the girl. “Corinna has been working hard to master the tongues of Rome’s far-flung empire.”

Adelphos’s brow creased and he opened his lips as if to speak, then sealed them and nodded once. No doubt he wanted to ask what use there might be for a girl who could speak anything but common Greek. As Daria herself was such a girl, the implicit question struck a nerve. She turned a shoulder to Adelphos and nodded encouragement to Corinna. “Let us hear Herodotus in the Classical first, then.”

The girl grinned, then gushed a passage of Herodotus in the proud language of her Greek forebears, the language of literature and poetry, before Alexander had rampaged the world and equalized them all with his common koine.

“And now in Latin, Corinna.”

The girl repeated the passage, this time in the tongue of the Romans, the new conquerors.

Adelphos tilted his head to study the girl, then spoke to her in Latin. “Anyone can memorize a famous passage in a foreign tongue. Few can converse in it.”

Corinna’s eyelashes fluttered and she glanced at her hands, twisted at her waist. When she answered, it was not in Latin, but in Persian. “Fewer still can converse in multiple languages at once, my lord.”

Adelphos chuckled, then glanced at Daria. “She does you proud, lady.”

A glow of pride, almost motherly, warmed Daria’s chest. “Indeed.”

Corinna reached out and gripped Adelphos’s arm, bare beneath his gleaming white tunic. “Oh, it is all Mistress Daria’s fine teaching, I assure you, my lord. I wish to be an independent woman such as she someday. There is nothing she cannot do.”

“Corinna.” Daria smiled at the girl but gave a tiny shake of her head.

Corinna withdrew her hand and lowered her eyes once more. “I have told my father this, but he does not understand—”

“Her father has been most pleased with her progress.” Daria tried to draw Adelphos’s attention. “He saw a superior mind there from an early age and was eager to see it developed.”

He waved a hand in the air. “I have seen enough. You may go.”

My Thoughts: So Shines The Night is one of Tracy Higley's Seven Wonders series. It takes you into Ephesus and the 19th Chapter of Acts, with the Apostle Paul. I fell in love with the cover and just knew I had to read it. I am a member of Tracy's caravan and this book pulled me in and I felt as if I was traveling with Daria through Ephesus. Tracy really does her research, Ephesus was one of the first churches, and it had a lot to battle and sorcery was a big one. Daria wants to know the One True God, but all she has known is Artemis and she is afraid of being abandoned. This is a book not to be missed!

Scent of Lilacs

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


After the summer of 1964, life for Jocie Brooke will never be the same.
Life-changing events rarely happen in quiet Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the humid summer of 1964. Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems like everyone in Jocie’s life has something they’re not saying, something they’re hiding from her-and from themselves. As Jocie digs into her family’s past, she stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries. Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs? Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?
Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story from bestselling author Ann Gabhart explores the very essence of new life and love.

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted. She lives with her husband a mile from...
Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart
My Thoughts:
Jocie is 13 and it's 1964 in Hollyhill, Kentucky. It's been seven years since her mother left, and took her older sister, Tabitha with her. She has prayed for a dog, and for her sister to return. She wasn't expecting to get both in the same day. With her sister's return comes a lot of unanswered questions about why her mother left and why she didn't take Jocie.
David, the girls' father is struggling with the local newspaper, and hoping to become the pastor of Mt. Pleasant Church. He is a good man, loves God and wants to serve Him, yet he doesn't think the church will vote him in because he is divorced from his wife. 
Aunt Love helps David with Jocie and also drives her crazy quoting scripture to her when she does something that drives Aunt Love batty.
Wes claims he's from Jupiter and is Jocie's best friend. She goes to him when she needs to be cheered up.
A lot happens during the summer of 1964 for Jocie, where some would say that Hollyhill is a quiet small town, the summer of '64 would prove you wrong. 

Wings of Glass - Gina Holmes

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Wings of Glass

Tyndale House Publishers (March 1, 2013)


Gina Holmes


Gina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey now called Novel Rocket and she is also the founder of Inspire The Fire.

Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW Religion bestseller. Her sophomore novel,  Dry as Rain, was also named a Christy finalist. Her upcoming novel, Wings of Glass will releases this month.  She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.


From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heart-rending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of womanhood, Penny  is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign-town, Penny’s happily ever after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time.  It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of Glass, go HERE.

My Thoughts: This book hit a little too close to home. I felt like I was reading my life story. I cried and laughed with Penny, Callie Mae, and Fatimah. These two women become Penny's life savers in so many ways. Introducing her to new things like bowling, having fun, Fatimah's cooking, cleaning for people. Penny began to find out who she was besides being Trent's wife. When Penny finds out she is pregnant, she believes that Trent will come around and care for her like he did in the beginning and their son, that she names Manny, short for Emanuel. Nothing changes, in fact things get worse, and when a woman from Trent's work is found dead, Norma, who would come by their house, Trent is fingered for the crime, but he swears he had nothing to do with it.
Gina writes a book that takes you right into the heart of an abused woman, who won't leave. I know that well because I didn't believe what was going on in my own life until I was away from it. Every woman, man, pastor, anyone who works with youth, needs to read this book! This will so show you the warning signs, and help you help someone who is in a relationship like this and seek help.

Tempest In The White City - by Deeanna Gist - Grab Your Copy Now!!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tempest in the White CityDeeanne Gist’s E-Short gives readers a peek inside the world’s fair. Tempest in the White City is a digital short story available from online retailers for 99 cents.

Deeanne Gist fans won’t have to wait until the April 30 release of It Happened at the Fair to read her latest work! On March 19, readers will be able to purchase the e-short, Tempest in the White City, a 40-page short story prelude to It Happened at the Fair, for 99 cents from all online retailers. While the characters from the short story are not carried over into the full-length release, audiences will get a taste of the awe-inspiring backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and will be anxious to spend more time exploring the exhibition.

In true Gist form, Tempest in the White City combines her trademark humor with romance. Hunter Scott is one of the elite. A Chicago World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character and ability to serve and protect. When Hunter is overcome with debilitating abdominal pain, he stumbles to an infirmary in the Fair’s Woman’s Building only to discover the doctor is female—which he is none too happy about. But even worse, she has the nerve to diagnose him—the toughest man west of anyplace east—with constipation.

The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair overflowed with the latest innovations welcomed by a throng of people from all around the globe. This setting replete with history, intrigue and wonder caught Gist’s attention and is sure to draw readers of both releases in as well. “I’m always drawn to events in our country’s past that are strangely absent from our history classes. Why the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition has been left out, I don’t know, especially since it was such a pivotal event for us,” explains Gist. “We were able to wow the world with our scientific innovations, and it gave women their first official board position recognized and approved by an Act of Congress (all before we had the right to vote). But it was technology which claimed the day as it nipped at the heels of horses, buggies and man-powered tools.”

More about It Happened at the Fair:

Young inventor Cullen McNamara gambles everything, including the family farm, in order to make his family proud—and earn his father’s entry money to the Fair Expo back—by selling his design for an automatic sprinkler system inspired by his mother’s death in a mill fire. Struggling with hearing loss from his previous life on the farm, McNamara finds it difficult to communicate with potential buyers over the din in the Fair’s Machinery Building. In an act of desperation, he hires attractive Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading. Much like the newly invented Ferris Wheel, Cullen is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground or will he be carried away?

Catherine's Pursuit

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Catherine's Pursuit
Realms (February 5, 2013)
Lena Nelson Dooley


Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers http://www.acfw.com/ and president of the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers. She’s also a member of Christian Authors Network, CROWN Fiction Marketing, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with fifteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins from American Christian Fiction Writers and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award at their national conference. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.


When Angus McKenna was forced to give two of his daughters to families in the wagon train, he promised he'd never try to contact them. Catherine made no such pledge. But when she sets out to find her sisters, she doesn't go alone. Angus sends Collin with her. Will they discover the two women---and love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Catherine's Pursuit, go HERE.

My Thoughts: As an adoptee I have enjoyed this entire series. Lena does a great job of showing the feelings of what an adopted child goes through. She definitely nails it in this final book with Catherine who has been lied to about being a triplet, and her sisters being adopted out. I highly recommend this book and this series. I would recommend reading them in order.

The Bible Series: On The History Channel

Monday, March 18, 2013

My husband and I have been watching this for the last three weeks, and YES we have noticed missing pieces from the Bible. My hope and prayer for anyone watching is that they will go to The Bible and seek out the truth there. In a mini series such as this there is no way they can put in everything. It would be hours long, and go on for years.
Also remember that Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are humans regardless of their faith status, they are human and will make mistakes.
Seek His Word! Don't rely on this series to be the be all end all for your Bible History. God will speak to you through His Word and it will become new every day.

Grave Consequences iPad Mini Giveaway from Lisa T. Bergren

Saturday, March 16, 2013

About Grave Consequences

The Powerful, Epic Romance Continues, Book 2 in Lisa T. Begren's Grand Tour series
For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future-her very life-depends on the decisions she'll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her newfound family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone's plans in danger.
And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences. 
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/i8ZWs     

Meet Lisa:  
Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs. 
Visit other bloggers on this tour here: 
Landing page: 
Celebrate the release of Grave Consequences with Lisa T. Bergren by entering to win an iPad Mini!


One "grand" winner receive:

  • A brand new iPad Mini

  • Grave Consequences and Glamorous Illusions will be pre-loaded onto the Mini!

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced on March 25th at Lisa's website.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

My Thoughts:  Cora is on a European tour with her new found family. Her rich "father" has agreed that after she goes on this tour he will pay for her education and help her parents who are struggling back in Montana. 
During this tour Cora and the tour guide's nephew Will have gotten close and her "father" isn't thrilled. He wants her to be with someone of means like Pierre, who really doesn't interest Cora at all.
My absolute favorite part of the book was when Cora copied the men and jumped off the balcony into the Rhone river, Will heard her and went to check on her. When he didn't see her surface he jumped in to find her. Got her out of the water, gave her what we know as CPR, something he had only heard about. Carried her to her room with her head on his shoulder. *sigh*
Lisa takes you right into the Regency era with the gowns, the language, and what a woman should and shouldn't do.
This book is filled with romance, suspense, and mystery. It kept me up late reading.
This is the second book in the series, the first was Glamorous Illusions, which I loved. The final book in the series will be released in October, Glittering Promises. You need to read these in order.

The Blue Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee

Bestselling author Carolyn Brown makes her first foray into women's fiction with this poignant and hilarious novel about four friends in Cadillac, Texas—where the best jalapenos in the world are grown.

Everything is calm in Cadillac, Texas until Aunt Agnes declares war on Violet Prescott, the president of the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society, just in time for the annual jubilee. But after the festivities—and the hostilities—are over, it's four friends who are left standing, proving once again that friendship is forever.

My Thoughts:  Cadillac, Texas just doesn't grow hot jalapenos, it also has a group of quirky, wacky, and hilarious people who just can't seem to stay out of each others lives. 
There was a lot going on in this novel, and I had a hard time keeping track of it all. When I was asked to read and review it, the description reminded me of Steel Magnolia's. However, there are way too many characters, and it felt like some got lost along the way. I really wanted to like it and have it engulf me but it just didn't.

The Chance

It’s never too late for those willing to take a chance.
Years ago, the day before Ellie moved from Georgia to California, she and her best friend Nolan sat beneath the Spanish moss of an ancient oak tree where they wrote letters to each other, and sealed them in a rusty old metal box. The plan was to return eleven years later and read them. But now, as that date arrives, much has changed. Ellie, bereft of the faith she grew up with, is a single mom living in a tired apartment trying to make ends meet. Sometimes she watches television to catch a glimpse of her old friend —Nolan, now an NBA star, whose terrible personal tragedies fueled his faith and athletic drive in equal measure. But Nolan also suffers from a transcendent loneliness that nothing has ever eased.

My Thoughts:  

This is a novel about second chances, faith and forgiveness. Things we all long for. It is typical Karen Kingsbury, nothing spectacular or life shattering. Having been a navy brat I experienced exactly what Ellie did. Had to move just before my Junior year of high school, left a boyfriend in San Diego, California and moved to Orlando, Florida. I thought I would die. I found that I enjoyed Florida a lot better than California. In Ellie's case she looses her faith, due a hard nosed Marine father who spits out Bible verses like he spits out commands to troops. With no love or compassion. She hates him and everything about God. The love of her daughter, and her sweet prayers begin to change her heart.
Nolan has everything he could ever want as a NBA star, except companionship. His dad died when he was a teen, he can't find Ellie, and he has searched and searched. He constantly prays to God for direction to find Ellie. He hopes she won't forget their date to meet underneath the tree to dig up the box and read their letters.

Memory of Murder

Friday, March 15, 2013

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Memory of Murder
Love-Inspired Suspense
Ramona Richards


A word from Ramona:

The hardest biographical sketch to write is always your own, whether or not you’re a writer by profession. You can’t decide what to throw in, what to leave out, and whether or not you should list strengths and flaws, or just strengths.

I like writing and telling stories so much that I once tried to live out a few. After getting a master’s in English, I went on to be the seneschale of my local Society for Creative Anachronism. I had a rocky start, but I did get better. (Robin Hood, eat your heart out.)

People often ask members of the SCA, “Are you in a play?” so I thought it would be fun to do that, too. For seven years, I produced and performed in shows staged by Nashville’s Circle Players.

Although I’m single now, I married in 1982 and in 1987 had Rachel. She’s a cutie. Severely disabled, she’s the heroine of many an article for Special Ed Today magazine. Rachel's nurse, Phyllis, is the real life heroine of “An Act of Desperation,” which I sold to Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul.

I’m not really a complex person, and my dreams are fairly straightforward: sell books, have enough money to pay the bills and travel a bit, and settle into a cottage. In early 2006, I bought the cottage, which is now more or less swamped by books and DVDs. I write at night (I’m a lifelong night owl), and I occasionally escape by scuba diving, hiking, dancing, and going to movies and bookstores.

I’ve gone to the same church since 1993, and I even sing in the choir. It’s a small but awesome church. I’m no angel, although occasionally I play one in the backyard.

I like staying busy. Life is too short not to follow your dreams.



Lindsey Presley certainly can't imagine why anyone would want her dead-though she knows she wouldn't be alive today if not for the local cop who saved her from two murder attempts. Deputy Jeff Gage has worked difficult cases, but with only Lindsey's fractured memories of a broken past to guide him, this is by far his most challenging.

For Lindsey, fleeing the town she has come to call home is unthinkable. Separately, they are vulnerable, but together, Jeff and Lindsey just may stand a chance of catching a ruthless killer.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Memory of Murder, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:

Love in a Broken Vessel - Mesu Andrews - Reviewed

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


An epic journey of intimacy, rejection, betrayal . . . and hope
God gives Hosea a difficult command-marry a prostitute in order to show God’s people the nature and depth of His love for Israel. When Hosea goes to Israel to proclaim the Lord’s message, the woman God directs him to marry turns out to be his childhood friend Gomer. He finds her broken and abused, unwilling to trust Hosea or his God. But when marrying Hosea becomes her only means of escape, Gomer does what she’s good at-she survives. Can Hosea’s love for God and God’s love for Israel restore Gomer’s broken spirit?
With her powerful combination of in-depth research and masterful storytelling, Mesu Andrews brings to life one of the most complex and fascinating stories of love and forgiveness in the face of utter betrayal.

Mesu Andrews

Mesu Andrews is the author of Love Amid the Ashes and Love's Sacred Song. She is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word, Andrews brings the...

My Thoughts:  

Mesu takes us right into the Kings and Prophets, when Israel was divided and at war. 
Hosea gets a prophecy from God to take a prostitute as his wife. Hosea takes Gomer as his wife, and they go to Tekoa the prophets camp to live. Even though she has been taken as Hosea's wife, she won't stop believing she is a harlot, and some in the camp treat her as one, so what is the point of her acting any different. 
Hosea has to leave on trips to proclaim God's messages and Gomer sees that as him constantly leaving her as others have so she doesn't believe his love for her. If that isn't bad enough she refuses to believe Yahweh loves her either, and she clings to the god of Asherah believing that she will fulfill her dreams. As Hosea continues to love her as God instructs him she finds her way to Yahweh.

This book is absolutely beautiful in that we are all broken vessels longing to be filled. We try on our own to fill our brokenness with things that we believe will fill us up, but the only thing that can fill us is the one that made us in His image. The God that loves us like no other, and calls us His own, and until we allow Him to fill in the broken places, we are just broken pieces.

I highly recommend this book. Don't miss it! You will be missing a huge blessing if you don't read this one!

*Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group*

Swept Away

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Swept Away
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.


When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there's going to be trouble in Texas!

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone...so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she's going to have to go with him.

But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.

My Thoughts: What I love about Mary Connealy's books is that you are Swept Away. Her books have a sweet romance, with a great hero who is fighting for what he believes in and the woman he loves. This one is no different.

Tracy L. Higley's Caravan Tour So Shines The Night

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

About the book:

Daria's new home in Ephesus with Lucas both beguiles and confounds her, until she meets followers of The Way.

Her past has taught her that evil is real, that it can consume a person. She saw it happen with her husband, before he took his own life. Widowed, with no family, Daria becomes a tutor to Lucas, a rich traveling merchant from Ephesus. There she discovers evil has a strong foothold and that Lucas himself seems drawn to evil and sorcery.

As her relationship with her employer grows, she fears that she will be unable to pull him to pull him from demonic influence. Tension in the city is about to erupt, as a new sect called The Way continues to draw followers. A man called Paul leads the movement against the economic and political strength of the city, found in its goddess cult.

When she learns more of the ways of the Christians and their ability to defeat evil, she begins to have hope. But then Lucas is arrested and jailed for a brutal crime, and it seems not even the Christians can help.

Tensions escalate in the city until thousands are pouring into the arena to protest the influence of the Christians, and a plot to kill Paul is underway. When Lucas's execution is scheduled, Daria must find a way to prove his innocence, save his life, and help her new friends before everyone she loves is destroyed.

Interview Questions with Tracy

1.                 1.  You have gone on so many amazing travels. What was one of your favorite things about visiting Ephesus?
I think it was the sense of being somewhere “where Paul walked.” Sitting in the theater, looking down over the Harbor Street where he was likely kept prisoner at times, I had this amazing moment of “I can’t believe I’m here” – the kind of moment that gives you chills and makes you feel connected to something larger than yourself.

2.                   For you, what is the hardest part of the writing process?
The actual rough draft, the first time I get the words out of my head, is the hardest part. I have to discipline myself to stop the research, stop the planning and plotting, and just start writing!

3.                   What is a typical day like for you, as an author?
Since last fall I’ve started a new routine, which is working very well for me. I get up at 5 AM every day and work on writing until about 8:30 AM. The rest of the day is given to the “business” side of writing and life, and my other business. Sometimes I’ll add in some more research or planning during the rest of the day, but those quiet early hours are when I’m at my most creative and get the most done.

4.                   What inspired the theme of So Shines the Night?
The idea of community is dear to my heart, and the struggle we all have to not live in isolation. I wanted to take a look at two people struggling to do the right thing, but going about it the wrong way because they were isolated both from other people and from God, and to see what would happen when they brushed up against a community like the first century church.

5.                   In your last book, Garden of Madness, the heroine came in contact with the Biblical figure Daniel.  Does Daria get to meet Paul and interact with him in So Shines the Night, or does she view his ministry from afar?        
Oh, it was great fun getting Daria and Paul to meet. Challenging, too, since everyone has a fairly specific concept of Paul and the way that I write him might not exactly conform to others’ preconceptions. Daria also meets some other biblical characters from the book of Acts, and I tried to portray them each struggling and human in their own way, wrestling with what it meant to be this new kind of Jew, this person whose Messiah had come.

6.                   When you visited Ephesus, what was it like to be in the same city that Paul ministered in centuries ago?   
It was thrilling, to be succinct. There is a sense of “this is real – this really happened” that sweeps over you and pulls you back in time and into the world of the Scripture in a new and fresh way. I loved it.

7.                   What's one thing you learned about Ephesus and its importance to Christians that you found surprising/interesting/challenging?
I had never realized or noticed until studying this time in Paul’s life, how much time he spent there (nearly three years). I always pictured him hopping around from place to place fairly quickly. I was challenged by the time that he invested in people’s lives, the relationships and bonds he formed. Later, when the Ephesian elders said goodbye to him, the book of Acts tells us that they were literally weeping. It’s easy for me to minister to people “from afar” but I was really challenged by Paul’s relational approach to sharing Christ.

8.                   What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
Keep writing.  If you haven’t finished anything, keep writing. If you’ve finished something and are trying to submit and sell it somewhere, don’t wait for an answer, keep writing. If you’ve gotten some interest and it’s moving through the process, keep writing. The publishing industry can move very slowly, and the best way to be ready for your “big break” is to keep improving through practice, practice, practice.

9.                   What's one thing on your bucket list (even if i you don't have an official "list")?
I think I might like to skydive someday. I’ve never admitted that before! (And now I’m terrified.)

10.               What made you interested in writing ancient history fiction?
I’m not sure! It evolved in my mind, and I suppose it was the tie-in to biblical history, to the time period which informed my faith and held so many stories I already knew and loved. But I’ve never been content to look at Scripture through the single historical lens of the Judea. I’ve always wanted to see the Old and New Testament periods through the eyes of the world outside the Jewish people, from the pagan perspective.

11.               How do you do your research?
It’s a multi-tiered approach, with very basic research at first (sometimes even juvenile non-fiction), to get a high-level view, then going deeper into the specific days/years I’ll be writing about, and then getting a broad view of the daily life and culture through dusty textbooks. All of this goes into my “notebook” and inspires specific plots and scenes. As I am actually writing the first draft, I often leave placeholders where more specific research is needed, like an XX where a number or detail should go. At the end, I go back and find all those placeholders and research the details, often online where it’s much easier to search for very specific information.

12.               Can you share anything about your future projects?
The best way to get a sense of what I’m working on now would be to visit this page: http://tracyhigley.com/books/work-in-progress/  Although, don’t hold me to all those thoughts about the book I haven’t started yet – who knows where that will go!

13.               What is your favorite thing about writing?
Seriously, writing is an isolated and lonely profession at times. I spend a lot of time in my office alone, working to put together stories that people will love, and that will touch their hearts. When I hear from readers, start to see the reaction to a new book, that is my favorite thing about the process.

14.               Where is your favorite place that you have visited in research for you books?
Egypt. I’ve been there twice, and loved every minute of both visits. The people, the history, the culture – all of it is very near to my heart. It’s a connection I can’t really explain, but I hope to return again someday.

15.               What is something new you learned while doing research for So Shines the Night?
That’s a tough one, because there were so many things! The whole city of Ephesus is such an interesting study. Because the river that fed into the harbor carried so much silt with it, the harbor eventually became too clogged for ships and the people basically abandoned the city. This rarely happens in the ancient world – most ancient cities, like Rome, are a mix of ancient, medieval and modern and you have to travel around to the pockets of ancient monuments that are left. In Ephesus, all you have is the ancient city, so it has this frozen-in-time feeling like Pompeii, which I loved.

16.               Your books remind me of a time machine, whereas the readers are transported  into the pages.  How do you make the stories seem so real and life like?
Thank you so much for saying that! It is exactly what I aspire to, so you’ve made my day! I don’t have a simple answer, except to say that there’s nothing in the world I’d like more than a time machine, so it’s definitely a priority. One thing that I do before I sit down to write a scene is to take some time walking around in it in my head, trying to really experience the sensory of the scene – the sounds, smells, tastes, textures, colors, temperature, and spatial details. If I don’t do that exercise, often those things don’t make it to the page. But when I do, I believe it helps bring the scene to life.

17.               How has your writing, research, and travels affected  your spiritual life?
Great question. All of it has definitely given me a larger sense of the world and what God is doing in it, both now and through the past. It’s made me realize, as I’ve studied God’s work in the nations throughout history, that He has always been calling all people to Himself, and that He still is. It’s also given me a desire to see the kind of Christianity that was born in the fires of Roman persecution become part of our experience now – a living, breathing faith that radically transforms our lives.

18.               What character has been your favorite through your writing journeys over the years and why?
Sophia,                 from Guardian of the Flame. She is the most like me, and ironically probably the character many of my readers have liked the least.  She is withdrawn and isolated, and doesn’t feel herself worthy of interaction with people and although it’s probably more honesty than you asked for, I will say that I struggle with this idea often. She learns that she is loved and accepted by God first, and that God’s love makes all other relationships possible. It’s a lesson many of my characters are often learning, and it comes from a deep place within me.

19.               What are your 5 favorite things, excluding your family? 
Dark chocolate, BBQ chicken pizza, a good book, foreign travel, a movie that makes me cry.

20.               What was the hardest topic to find info on that you've ever researched? 
Writing Petra was difficult. We don’t have much information about the daily life of the Nabateans, compared to say the Romans or Egyptians. I had to manufacture more than I based on known facts, and that was more of a challenge, to make the setting and people seem real.

21.               What's your favorite city so far that you've used as a setting?
Probably Pompeii.  It was really fun to be able to have people running around the city where I had actual buildings and layout to draw from – actual streets and temples, brothels and theaters and arenas. It was very real for me.

22.               I think one of my favorite subjects in school was history. Are you a history lover, if so, have you always been?
Yes, and yes. I’ve always loved stories in general, both fictitious and historical. Loved escaping into a story from the time I was a young child. History was a natural extension of that, and I still hope to help people “time-travel” into the past with every story I write.

23.               Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
The setting is usually what inspires me first. Many writers start with fascinating characters or a compelling plot, but I usually start with a place and say “ooh – what would it have been like to live there, in that time?” After that, it’s often the real history of the place that begins to inspire the story itself.

24.               I love the historical aspects of your books. It must be very difficult and take alot of studying to get all that information accurate and then make a believable story out of it. How much time do you spend studying the history of the place you are writing about?
Too much, perhaps!  It’s a big part of the writing process – from many hours before I start writing, to research breaks along the way, to digging up specific details to fill in the gaps later. I end up with so much information and I want to get it all in there, so the challenge is to feed it to readers in a way that’s entertaining while informative, and not boring or overwhelming.

25.               What can you tell us about the challenges of interweaving actual historical events with fictional ones?
It’s actually quite fun!  The historical events give me sort of “anchor points” for the story and help me structure the plot. Then I fill in around them with all the fun fictional stuff. I really enjoy it when the place and time give me lots of history to work with.

26.               What advice would you give other writers who want to bring their story settings to life and leave their readers feeling like they've been there?
Research is key, of course. Don’t skimp. You will end up with more than you can use, but you never know when a particular detail you’ve found will breathe life into a scene, or inspire a major plot point. Second, take time for the sensory. When you think about and make sure the page shows all the colors and sounds, tastes and smells, textures and feeling of a place, it will start to come alive.

27.               As a fellow writer I know that every story seems to have one character who just captures your heart. Was there a character like that in So Shines the Night for you, and if so, who was it?
I think I might have had a little crush on Timothy, if you must know.  And Lucas, well, sigh.  I just had to rescue him.

28.               How was the experience of writing So Shines the Night, compared to your other Seven Wonders novels?
It was much the same, with the addition of really being able to picture the city itself, as I could with Pompeii, after having walked the streets that are still so intact. It was also fun bringing in the “guest characters” from the book of Acts, and even an appearance of some characters from another novel (I’m not saying who – you’ll have to figure it out!)

29.               How do you start writing a new novel? Do you make an outline, use a gazillion different colored Post-It notes on a big wall grid, just sit at the computer and knock it out, or what?
I am definitely an outliner and a plotter, but most of what I put together is on the computer.  For the past few books I’ve been using a program called Scrivener, which I really like.  I have notes in my personal “template” file that pertain to all stories – to the structure behind them – and I look them over as I plot through the scenes. For every scene I create a brainstorming worksheet before I write it – something that gives me the high-level look at what’s going to happen in the scene, and contains some of the sensory details I’ve imagined.  I print this out and have it next to me as a I write the scene.

30.               What advice to you have for someone who wants to write "The Great American novel' and struggles to even get started? I know that's broad...
Like any huge, overwhelming project, the best advice is just to start.  See what kind of writer you are by getting started. Does an outline and a plot make you feel stunted? Do you fear the blank page and need to think it through first? There are tons of writing helps out there no matter what kind of writer you are. Find some, read and digest them, and then come back and keep writing.

31.               Who is your greatest inspiration - as a writer, mom, Christian?...any and all of those criteria.
As a writer, I’m inspired by C.S. Lewis (of course), but also by Stephen Lawhead and Frederick Buechner, both of whom have the ability to pick the reader up and carry them somewhere else. As a mom, it is the awesome friends I have, whose daily interactions with their children I am privileged to witness, that inspire me most. And as a Christian? The lives of those who live big and adventurous for the kingdom – willing to love and risk because they are secure in Christ.

32.               Do you and the main character have anything in common?
Daria is very independent, and thinks she can get things done on her own. It’s hard for her to ask for help. I can relate!

33.               If you could travel through time to see any of the seven wonders, which would you choose.
Even though the Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt) is the only one of the Seven Wonders still intact, I would still choose that one – to travel back and see it in its glory, to see the people and the culture…  ah, that would be amazing.

34.               Do you worry about the integrity of the story when you have to add so much to the story to flesh it out from the actual Biblical account?
Yes. It’s a core value of mine that as I write fiction that brushes up against actual biblical events, that I not alter what we know of this history and people. I may not always get it right, and some may argue about their interpretation of what really happened versus mine, but I always strive to keep the integrity of the biblical account intact. There is plenty to “flesh out” around the reality, and I let myself get creative there, but not with what we truly know from Scripture.

35.               While visiting modern day Ephesus, could you really get a "feel" for what it was like in Paul's time?
Yes, the streets and buildings are in ruins, of course, but there is plenty there to know what the different buildings were used for and to picture the streets full of townspeople and the shops and temples being used. You can see mosaics and writing and all kinds of “daily life” things that make it easy to picture the city in its heyday.

36.               How long did it take to complete this story from start to finish?  Was that about an average amount of time?
This story took about five months, which is just a little shorter than average.  I usually like to spend six to eight months on a book, but sometimes life intervenes!

37.               What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been writing about the Seven Wonders for awhile now, and when it came time to write about the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, it as a no-brainer that the action in Acts 19 would form the basis for the conflict of the story. From there, I had fun bringing it all to life!

38.               What advice to you have for authors who are looking at writing early history such as this?
There is plenty to study, so get busy!  Do your homework, honor the history even when it takes you places that are unexpected and challenging. Resist the urge to make your characters 21st century people in tunics (or “Baptists in bathrobes,” as my friend Randy says). It’s a challenge, but it’s important.

39.               What is your favorite book you have written and why?
I am absolutely in love with the Beauty and the Beast motif, and Guardian of the Flame was my homage to it. I really loved writing that book.

40.               You are not only a writer but also run your own business. When do you find time to write?
Over the years, the only way I’ve found time to write is by making it a priority. Sometimes other parts of my life didn’t get the attention they wanted/deserved. Lately, I’ve been finding that rising early (which is not natural for me) and writing from 5 AM to about 8:30 AM is working really well, and leaves the rest of the day for business and life-stuff.

41.               What advice do you have for writers launching their first book?
Find your people. It’s tough, but there are folks out there who are very much like you and will love to read what you write. So the first step is truly understanding yourself and your special brand of writing. The second step is to make sure your books, your website, etc all match up to that special brand. And then start spreading the word to find those like-minded people who will be your best fans.

42.               Why historical fiction?
I’m addicted to stories, and there’s a never-ending supply of them in history!

43.               When you write speculative, how do you research and get information?
I haven’t written much speculative, except for my time-travel book and the little bit of the supernatural I bring into my ancient history. Since much of that is just out of my crazy brain, I guess I don’t do much research there!

44.               What touched you the most on your travels for this book?
I think it was the sense of “realness” that being in the same city where Paul ministered brought to me. There’s a connection to faith and Scripture that happens, and it’s very powerful.

45.               What do you hope people will take away from this story?
There are a number of themes I explored here, so it will vary from person to person, depending on where they are on their journey. I hope people will get a sense of the reality of the first century church, of Paul as a man. I want people to see that the love God has for us makes us secure, and that from that foundation we can risk to love others. I want readers to long for a sense of community that is found in the church of Ephesus.

46.               What was the inspiration for So Shines The Night?
The 19th chapter of Acts was just too delicious to pass up!

47.               How do you pick your character names?
It’s always hard. I want them to be historically accurate, but I also want people to feel connected to the characters and that can’t happen if they can’t pronounce the person’s name.  I comb through historical name lists on the internet, looking for ones that aren’t too wacky!

48.               I am an aspiring writer myself. I am currently working on a project for school and have taken a fairy tale and revamped it for today's kids.  Where do you find your inspiration for your stories and characters?
That sounds like lots of fun!  I love fairy tales.  My inspiration often comes from myth, fairy tale and legend – there is so much richness there, and themes that resonate with all people, from all cultures and times. Beyond that, the setting and history of a place really inspire me.

49. What is the condition of the Ephesian church today?

Ephesus was eventually abandoned as a city because the harbor became clogged with silt, so there is no real city or church there today. The nearest city is Selçuk, which is a predominantly Muslim population. I did a quick Google search in answering your question, and came up with this page, which is really cool: http://www.worshipinephesus.com/

50. What influence of the Ephesian church do you see on the culture in that area?

Well, the Temple of Artemis is in ruins, and certainly Christianity came to that part of the world during the medieval period. These days, the Christians are again the minority, but I am sure they are working hard to share the love of Christ with their neighbors.

51. In Revelation, Jesus commends the perseverance of the church of Ephesus, but He also says that they have left their first love and urges them to repent and do the things they did at first. What evidence do you see in Ephesus that the church received and did (or didn’t) act upon this letter?

That’s a really tough question to answer. We don’t have any writings specifically about the Ephesian church after that time period, but it is traditionally believed that after John’s exile to Patmos he returned to live in Ephesus, and also that Timothy pastored the church there. With these two godly men in place, and such a specific revelation to challenge them, it seems to me that God would have been doing mighty work there, as He continues to do around the world today.


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