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Guest post: The Inspiration Behind ‘When Shmack Happens’ by Amber Neben

When Shmack Happens coverWhere did I get the inspiration to write When SHMACK Happens? I hit the wall, and I hit it HARD!!  My life, my goals, and my next steps were redirected in a span of a few seconds.  Prior to impact, I was on target to win that huge race at The Tour of California, and I was plotting ahead to more cycling goals, maybe even the 2016 Olympic Games.  After the impact, I laid on the pavement while my body screamed at me because it hurt…  SEVERELY.  Blood poured out of my nose and other parts of me.   I was scared and messed up.  But I was awake, and I could move.

In the midst of the pain and fear that filled me on the side of the road and then in the ambulance, I clung to Jesus.  I didn’t understand why or what had just happened.  I didn’t want to be headed to a trauma center, and I definitely didn’t want to have my dreams cut short by another obstacle.  But I clung.  And He filled me with His strength.

Honestly,   it was a miracle to walk away, and a miracle how fast I recovered.  But even more incredible was that in the aftermath of the crash, I had a peace and a stillness of spirit that was beyond me.  I was very limited to what I could do.  Simply moving was difficult for a few weeks.  However, in spite of the physical trauma I was dealing with, my mind was incredibly clear and crisp, and my heart was not anxious.

I began to think about writing my story, and then God began to pound on my heart “write the story that I have written into your life.”  I had always wanted to write a book, but I had never felt the inspiration to do it until the initial days after the crash.  Although there was a definite tug on my heart to write, I still continued to doubt that I could do it.  I also wasn’t completely convinced I was hearing God accurately, and I only wanted to embark on the journey with His help.  So for two weeks, I prayed often about the idea.

Finally, or desperately, after two weeks of talking to God about everything, I prayed a Gideon like prayer at 5AM.  I know it was 5AM, because I remember checking my phone before getting up to use the bathroom.  My prayer when I laid back down was, “God, if I am hearing you correctly, have Jenna Sampson email me.”  Jenna had written some articles about me for Sports Spectrum, and she would occasionally check on me.  She had promised almost 7 years prior that she would help me write if I ever wanted to.  I hadn’t heaAmber Neben photord from her in almost a year, but when I got out of bed that same morning, I had an email from Jenna arriving at 5:16AM.  Confirmed.  I needed to write.

And yes, I needed to write!   There was no way a ghost writer or another author could truly understand my journey or share those intimate lessons I had learned as I had been walking, struggling, or standing firm in Christ through all the storms.   So I met with Jenna, who agreed to act as my editor, I started praying for words and eloquence, and I embarked on writing WHEN SHMACK HAPPENS.

Link to crash:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z_6qDX_Yh8

 

Amber Neben is a decorated international road cyclist with victories in 11 countries and multiple UCI Category 1 stage race wins. She is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion, 2x Pan American Champion and 2x National Champion. She holds a B.S. from The University of Nebraska and an M.S. from UC Irvine. Amber and her husband, Jason, reside in Lake Forest, CA. For information on speaking engagements or coaching visit amberneben.com.

 

Neben banner

Character Interview: Mama Ringtail from Sylvie Michaud’s Bedtime Story ‘Book of Dreams’

We’re thrilled to be talking to Mama Ringtail from North Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Book of Dreams coverThank you so much for this interview, Mama Ringtail.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I like how I was portrayed. The author set me in an environment that I feel comfortable with, natural and green, so I could be myself. Raccoons are very family oriented, so being able to spend so much time with my son and partner exploring the natural world felt great!

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

My strongest trait is my ability to live in a world that is constantly changing but stay in the present moment at the same time.

Worst trait? 

Oh, I suppose I could be better at making plans for the future.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Angelina Jolie as a voice over.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

I can’t say that I felt nervous. There were no warning signs that our adventures were going to go sideways. Although, I was a bit concerned when Papa and Baby Ringtail were so close to the grizzly bears.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

I think it would be hard to be Baby Ringtail. Children are so dependent on the environment they find themselves growing up in. It’s a wild world out there!

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

It ends as it should, with a feeling of security and safety.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? 

I would say to keep true to the heart and let that guide the story.

Thank you for this interview, Mama Ringtail.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? 

Yes you will. In fact, I can be found in the two other titles that make up the Ringtail Series, the Book of Love and the Book of Wishes.

Purchase at:

Amazon soft cover: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family/dp/0978295587

Amazon digital: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family-ebook/dp/B00BTPBX0Q

B&N soft cover: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/book-of-dreams-the-ringtail-family-sylvie-michaud/1110202903

Sylvie Michaud is a North Vancouver, BC based writer and graphic designer. After years as a writer, editor and designer for The Canadian Red Cross Society newsletter, “The Responder”, Sylvie has gone on to write for several other groups & magazines including Pacific Yachting, GardenWise and the North Shore’s own Lynn Valley Literary anthology, “Wintertide.” 

In 2011, Sylvie won the Lynn Valley Literary Society’s short story contest for “Fire and Fortune.” 

In addition to her literary background, Sylvie is the ower of Blackbarn Crafts where she designs, produces and sells handmade crafts for crafts shows and other online venues. 

Learn more about Sylvie Michaud and the Ringtail Family collection at www.craftycanuck.com and http://shop.craftycanuck.com/

Character Interview: Arkas from K. Madill’s YA Fantasy Novel ‘The Stolen Herd’ – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

We’re thrilled to be talking to Arkas from Green Forest, Deep Forest, The Silver City, Harshlands, Azure Caves, Elphinstone Mountains…hey, he has wings – he gets around.


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]Thank you so much for this interview, Arkas.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Arkas: It was moderately accurate. She (the author) missed how utterly terrified Mandamus and Luco were when we first met. It was their own fault. They blundered into my territory, so I attacked them. It was written a little more comically than it actually was. Those two were scared out of their minds.  I thought that human, Luco, was going to cry and Mandamus may look like a big, tough horse but he was shaking in his hooves.  

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

Arkas: My strength, agility, wingspan, and fighting skills.  Not to mention …I can breathe fire!

Worse trait?

Arkas: Well, I have been called short tempered. But I don’t see that as a bad thing at all.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Arkas: Probably… Christian Bale. He was a pretty darn good Batman…and seeing as I’m an actual bat, I feel the transition would go smoothly.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

Arkas: I must admit, I did get a little worried when we were attached by Aicha, that dirty slug of a water imp. I wasn’t sure I could take him by myself, he’s pretty quick.  Just in the nick of time, Gideon showed up and helped me out, thank goodness.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Arkas: I definitely would not want to be Luco.  Alright, granted, for a human he’s not that bad…but he has only two legs and can’t fly.  He also doesn’t have the nerve to tell that naiad, Lethe, that he likes her. Even after he built her that glass room at the Gates to the Underworld!  He just hangs around mooning over her until Mandamus’ hoof heals, then we leave. Pathetic, if you ask me. I might have to do a little matchmaking there.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Arkas: Hey, Luco may be complaining because he’s afraid of getting eaten, but I’m full on ready to journey to the Azure Caves to see King Farzad and the rest of the Snowbreth tribe.  They’re supposedly man-eating monsters, but Gideon wouldn’t have sent us there if that was the case. I will tell you this though – if they do try anything, they’ll be sorry!

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Arkas: If? I’m one of the three main characters of this story so she’d BETTER have me in it.  Hmm…words of wisdom….well, I would like to get back to Luco’s village for more cherry stars and fire whiskey though that’s more of a suggestion, I guess.

Thank you for this interview, Arkas. Will we be seeing more of you in the future? 

Arkas: Of course. Those two (Mandamus and Luco) couldn’t last a day without me. Why, you should see what those dunderheads got themselves into just last week. Only, you’ll have to wait for the 2nd book to find out – ha!

Purchase on AMAZON

Karai MadillA chronic “head in the cloudser” K. Madill lives in a rickety house on a well treed street in British Columbia, Canada.  When she’s not hanging out with her best equine friend in the woods she can be found trying to stay upright on her roller skates or mediating the affairs of her various furred and feathered friends that rule the aforementioned rickety house. 

K. Madill’s website: kmadill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraiMadill1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643483-the-stolen-herd

Pump Up Your Book and K. Madill are teaming up to give away

a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:

  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
  • Raffle runs from 12:00 AM EST on June 2 through 12:00 AM EST on June 28, 2014.
  • Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
  • Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
  • Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

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Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible Book Blitz – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible coverTitle:  Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible: Proclaiming the Truth on 24 Controversial Issues
Author: Jay Grimstead
Genre: Religion/Theology/Instruction
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing, Inc.
ISBN:  978-0-9882976-5-4

Purchase at: http://www.nordskogpublishing.com/book-rebuilding-civilization.shtml

About the book:

False teachings threatening to corrupt the Church forced the leaders to join in councils, where they codified the orthodox teaching of the Bible into creeds received by the Church as faithful distillations of Scriptural truth and as a bulwark against future corruption. Error, heresy, and outright paganism are today common in churches that were once sound. Even many “better” churches have little depth to their teaching and are silent on critical issues of the day, and even in some paganism masquerades as Christianity.

This book is the fruit of the work of hundreds of theologians and Christian leaders working throughout a 37-year period to define and defend the key Biblical points on 24 controversial issues — which would not even be controversial if all believed like Jesus and Paul in the inerrancy of the Bible.

This book states the Bible’s position on 24 controversial issues and explains why each document needed to be written. It offers the global Body of Christ tools for reforming the Church and motivating Christians to live in obedience to Christ and to all commands in the Bible intended for us.

Excerpt:

“We heartily invite all Christians on this planet who desire to live in obedience to the Bible in all areas of life at all times, to form themselves and their local churches into “United Spiritual Armies” at the city and county levels, and to establish a network with other such churches and “spiritual armies” at their state and national levels with the goal of making Christ King of their cities and nation. We invite you to join with us in applying these 24 DOCUMENTS to the life of the Church and in making 2 Cor. 10:5 a reality. By that we mean that together we are called by God to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Grimstead photo color

About the author:

Dr. Jay Grimstead was born in Bismarck, ND. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1957 from Sterling College in Sterling, KS. He graduated from Fuller Seminary in 1961 with a Masters in Theology (ThM) and later received a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree. He spent 20 years on staff with Young Life Campaign, a ministry of clubs and camping to evangelize and disciple non-church teenagers.

In 1984 he founded the Coalition on Revival which created the 17 World-view Documents which state the biblical principles for the various spheres of life and the “blueprints for how the Bible applies to the fields of: Law, Government, Economics, Education, Science, the Media & Arts, Medicine, etc.” Under his leadership, COR organized the International Church Council Project in 1992.

In 2004 and 2005 he organized theological committees in Guatemala, San Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama to discuss and defend certain of the 22 Theological Documents of the Church Council Project which had been translated into Spanish. A year later, Dr. Grimstead gathered national leaders from various fields to create the “24 Year Plan to Rebuild America upon the principles of the Bible.”

Dr. Grimstead now lives with his wife, Donna, a registered pharmacist, in Murphys, CA. They have two grown children, Julie and Guy.  Dr. Grimstead’s favorite hobbies are mountain climbing and playing jazz and blues on his trumpet.

To learn more about Dr. Grimstead and his work, please visit http://www.nordskogpublishing.com/book-rebuilding-civilization.shtml

Pump Up Your Book and Dr. Jay are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 27, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email by July 2, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Tactics, Trends, & Traits of the Enemy Book Blitz – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

TTand T of the Enemy 3D coverTitle:  Tactics, Trends, & Traits of the Enemy
Author: Jermaine Gadson
Genre: Spiritual
Publisher:Crossbooks – Division of LifeWay(June 2014)
ISBN:  9781462736362—Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781462736355—Soft Cover
ISBN: 9781462736348—eBook

 

Pre-order at: http://www.amazon.com/PRE-ORDER-Tactics-Trends-Equipping-Believer/dp/1462736351/

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Tactics, Trends, & Traits of the Enemy by author Jermaine Gadson is a must have resource for believers who want to be well equipped to be victorious against the strategies of the devil. The devil is cunning and deceptive, and he will stop at nothing to keep God’s people from reaching their potential in Christ. In this book, Pastor Gadson discusses how the enemy uses temptation, seduction, fear, isolation, guilt, shame, and other such things in order to steal and destroy a person’s life. Satan works tirelessly through various means and mechanisms to keep sinners from hearing and being receptive of the Word of God, in order to prevent them from being saved. If you have family or friends who are not born-again, this resource will help you to identify schemes that the enemy may be using to keep your loved ones from being saved. This book is intended to equip the Body of Christ to wage a good warfare against the strategies of the enemy. It is not God’s will for His people to be taken advantage of by the enemy because of ignorance. This book exposes who the enemy is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will try to do in the future, as an enemy of God’s people. This book is written for the everyday believer to be able to understand and use. However, it is also a helpful tool for Christian leaders to be able to identify specific ways in which the enemy desires to attack them in order to steal their influence, kill their destiny, and destroy their reputation and ministries. In this regard, it is an encouragement to the Body of Christ to guard and protect their spiritual leaders.

Excerpt:

Know Your Enemy

Before engaging in battle of any kind, it is very important to be familiar with the opposition. The more you know about your enemy, the greater you will be equipped to fight against them and be victorious. Knowing your enemy includes being knowledgeable of their strengths, weaknesses, habits, origin, and the like. When you are knowledgeable about your adversary, you become empowered to develop a plan of action or strategy to adequately defend against their opposition, overcome their threats and defensive mechanisms, and ultimately defeat them.

Athletes and those who follow sports are familiar and acquainted with this principle. Coaches and players spend hours upon hours viewing video recordings of not only their own team, but of their upcoming opponents as well. They view recordings to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as revealed by previous games, and they do the same to identify strengths and weaknesses of the next team they have to face.

This principle is certainly pertinent in the area of the military as well. No military general, or top ranking official who has authority over military personnel will in their right mind authorize the use of military force without adequate information concerning the enemy to be attacked. Right decisions require right information. This is especially true if you want to come out victorious and on top.

Now that we can see the importance of this principle from a natural standpoint, it makes sense that this would also apply spiritually in relation to how we are to do battle with our spiritual enemy. As you read this book, I hope that you will be able to see the importance of this material in helping you towards this very end. The reason this book is so important is because the person reading it is like a ballplayer looking at tape of his or her opponent or a military general gathering intelligence on a terrorist organization.

When you know where your enemy came from, what your enemy has done in the past, and what your enemy is presently capable of, you are more readily prepared to wage a good warfare and defeat him in any present or future encounters you may have.

VIEW THE TRAILER AT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNfV81_SD0s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jermaine Gadson full photo

Jermaine Gadson is the Senior Pastor of Faith Ministries, Inc., a non-traditional church located in Birmingham, AL. Prior to starting Faith Ministries, he served as an associate minister, youth minister, and pastor for local churches and ministries in the greater Birmingham area.  While, growing up in the Baptist church, he gave his life to Christ at an early age, and is a third generation minister of the Gospel.

He holds a B.A. in Religion with a Concentration in Congregational Studies and a Minor in Classics from Samford University, and a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School of Samford University.  He is currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Beeson Divinity School.

Gadson enjoys reading, writing, sports, outdoors, movies, and spending time with his family. He is happily married to his wife Kristy and they have one beautiful daughter, Khloe.

Visit Pastor Gadson online at www.JermaineGadson.com.

Pump Up Your Book and Jermaine are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins May 19 and ends on May 31, 2014.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 2, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tactics, Trends, & Traits of the Enemy Book Blitz Schedule

 

May 19

 

Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Rebecca’s Writing Services

May 20

 

Inside BJ’s Head

Literarily Speaking

May 21

 

Lori’s Reading Corner

Between the Covers

May 22

 

Vic’s Media Room

As the Pages Turn

May 23

 

My Devotional Thoughts

Maureen’s Musings

May 26

 

The Book Rack

Beyond the Books

May 27

 

Read for Your Future

Little Shepherd

May 28

 

The Writer’s Life

May 29

 

The Book Connection

May 30

 

The Busy Mom’s Daily

Interview with Kim Hilton, Author of Closet Words

Kim Hilton photo

Kim Hilton, MCC, PCC, has a master’s degree in Christian counseling. Founder of Closet Words Ministries Foundation, Kim is a teacher on prayer and listening to God. An avid writer of several books, Closet Words was chosen as the first book to be published with the proceeds going to Closet Words Ministries Foundation. A sought-after speaker and Bible Study leader, Kim has spoken at both national and local events. She resides with her husband on their farm and enjoys spending time with their six grown children and grandchildren. You can find more information on Kim on her website www.KimHilton.org and also on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/KimHiltonAuthor.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Published for the first time.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: I had shared the manuscripts with several editors I had connections with but none picked it up. I made the decision then to self-publish.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: I continued to seek out other venues and educate myself on the book industry as a whole. I took matters into my own hands and chose to self-publish Closet Words.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: Westbow Press. Dec 2012. I chose them because they helped me choose an option that would accomplish my purpose with Closet Words.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: When I first saw the cover as I had described it, I had chills for over an hour. I celebrated, thanking God for the opportunity to share what He had given me.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: We held a book launch luncheon which was a lot of fun.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?Closet Words Cover

A: No.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: I have more understanding of the publishing process and book industry.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I should have kept trying and pushed harder.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Seeing lives changed of those who read Closet Words.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: A Teacher.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I grew up saying I wanted to be a teacher. I am now a teacher of God’s word.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: The author of 10 books.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Don’t give up. Especially if you know God has given you the inspiration for what you’ve written.

Thy Will Be Done VBT with Ronald Kirk

TWBD larger cover

About the book:

The world cries out for an imaginative but realistic Biblical guide to the life foreshadowed in Christ’s model prayer. No foolish utopia, here is a powerful, comprehensive portrait of a sinful world redeemed and transformed by Christ—including the tools needed to hasten the day.

The author weaves a tapestry of possibility–Christ’s people growing as salt and light, putting flesh on the Bible’s vision of blessing in every aspect of human life and endeavor, bringing joy to all peoples and glory to the One who came to save the world.

“Ron Kirk comprehensively applies the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life” (Peter Hammond, The Reformation Society, South Africa).

Purchasing information:

Nordskog Publishing: http://www.nordskogpublishing.com/book-thy-will-be-done.shtml

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Thy-Will-Be-Done-Blessed/dp/0988297655/

 

Book excerpt:

 

Jesus said we know a tree by its fruit. What fruit might we expect when the world has fully given itself to Christ on His terms? How would the world then appear when Jesus Christ generally establishes in the highest degree His Gospel among a receptive mankind, and men systematically apply that Gospel to every area of life?….

Thy Will Be Done thus attempts to present a crafted approach to biblically directed living. In this, applied-faith thinking in each area of life uniquely expresses itself in real life upon Biblically defined life objectives. Everything builds upon a simple set of coherent Biblical principles that speak comprehensively to God’s goals for men in this life in anticipation of eternity….

Rather than seeing this present life as a mere holding tank for eternity, Thy Will Be Done views this life as the first fruits, the down payment on the promises of eternity with Christ.

About the author:

 RonKirk-photo-SAM_1429

Jesus Christ confronted Ron Kirk with His salvation late in his college career at the University of California, Berkeley. Graduating in 1974, he became a professional landscape architect. In entering his first church ministry, a lack of a Biblical material on education led him to the Christian History Movement and the works of R.J. Rushdoony. Since 1980, Ron has studied and taught the Biblically and historically identified applied-faith theology and philosophy outlined in this book. Its principles have now long proven themselves in the curriculum and methods of pioneering day and home schools founded and administered by Ron. His work has been published internationally and translated into Spanish.  According to Jay and Vickie Dangers of New Hope Uganda Ministries, “Through what you have imparted to us, your lives have touched thousands of people on at least four continents, probably five, and the ripple effect is continuing.”[1] Gloriously married since 1971, Ron and Christina have five beautiful children, five more beautiful sons- and daughters-in-law, and twelve beautiful grandchildren, all walking with Christ.  American Heritage Christian Church ordained Ron as a minister of the Gospel in 1984. Ron has recently joined the foreign missionary staff of New Hope Uganda to assist in establishing a teachers college to supply the nation’s schools with a rigorously Biblical philosophy and practice of education.

Visit Ron online at www.getwisdom.us or like his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GetWisdomMakingChristianHeroesOfOrdinaryPeople

 


[1] From an inscription in a copy of Jennie Dangers, The Long Road to Hope: a day of small beginnings (El Cajon, CA: Christian Services Network, 2006).

 

 

Thy Will Be Done VBT Schedule

December 2

Interview at Blogcritics

December 3

First Chapter Reveal at Maureen’s Musings

December 4

Interview at The Book Connection

December 5

Guest post at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

 

December 6

First chapter reveal at Read My First Chapter

 

December 9

Book spotlight at Literarily Speaking

December 10

Book club discussion at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Book review and guest post at Read For Your Future

December 11

Book spotlight at The Writers Life eMagazine

Interview at Paperback Writer

December 12

Guest post and First chapter reveal at Lori’s Reading Corner

December 13

Book spotlight at Review from Here

December 16

Interview at Broowaha

 

December 17

Guest post at The Story Behind the Book

December 18

Interview at As the Pages Turn

December 19

Book spotlight and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily

 

December 20

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

Guest post at Maureen’s Musings

December 26

Book review at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Book review at A Simple Life, Really?

December 27

Book tour highlights at The Book Rack

Thy Will Be Done banner

 

Interview with T.J. MacLeslie, Author of Designed for Relationship

MacLeslie photo

T.J. MacLeslie is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, a minister, a missionary, and an author. Since his first missions experience in 1990, T.J. has been involved in a variety of ministries: pastoring, church planting, leadership development, and spiritual formation. Through it all, his mission has always been, “To envision and train believers to go deep in their relationship with Christ and each other so that they can be a blessing to each other and the world.” His new book: Designed for Relationship distills the lessons learned along the way to help those longing for more. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two children where he leads a team focused on prayer and spiritual formation for missionaries serving around the world.
Website: http://about.me/tj_macleslie
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TJMacLeslie
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/T.J.-MacLeslie/e/B00CGAIONC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, T.J. MacLeslie.  Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published? 

A: I just had my second book, Designed for Relationship, published.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why? 

A: My first book, Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool, was published 2 years ago.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it? 

A: Actually, I was kind of hoping that my first book would be rejected, as I did not write it for publication. The first book was kind of an accident. I sat down to write the current book, Designed for Relationship, but Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool is what spilled out of my soul through my fingertips. Pursuit was a no-holds-barred story of God’s pursuit of me and my foolishness, which I hoped would never see the light of day. I wrote it primarily as a spiritual exercise, but a friend showed it to a publisher who was interested and eventually published it.

My experience of rejection in publishing was more about the editing process than the publishing one. I write in community. After every major revision, I invite a variety of people to read and offer feedback. This process is incredibly helpful but also vulnerable. Also, some people’s honest feedback was that they hated the book and wondered why I was wasting my time writing. Ouch! I realized that not every book is for every person, and while some loved it, others hated it. Books are very personal and will not appeal to everyone. This is true with readers, and also for publishers.

My first publisher loved the first book, but didn’t want to publish my second book. It wasn’t that they hated it, but they have their own publishing priorities and my first book fit while my second didn’t.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows? 

A: I was really hurt and discouraged by the negative feedback and rejection. That hurt turned quickly to anger and defensiveness. I got stuck there for a little while, and then I turned all of that emotion into prayer. I honestly talked it out with God during long walks alone through the countryside near my house.

He led me to a place of peace by reminding me that He knows what it is like to be despised and rejected. When Jesus walked the earth, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. That helped me to feel less alone.

Then He reminded me that writing is just another form of communication. And the acceptance or rejection of a message has something to do with the communicator, but is primarily about the person receiving the message. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I have learned that the acceptance or rejection of the book by a reader or a publisher is mostly about the person doing the accepting or rejecting.

Me writing, telling my stories is my part, and other’s reaction to it is their part. I’m only responsible for my part. Designed for Relationship cover

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

A: Bottomline Media, a division of Pioneers, was my first publisher. As I mentioned, they chose me first. I seriously considered self-publishing instead because of retaining control of the work. But I thought that a small publisher would strike a good balance between creative input and bringing additional resources into the project. As a first time author I found it difficult to relinquish any control, but they were patient with me and we made it work.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: Publishing for me is a mixed bag. I am amazed that people believe in my work enough to invest in it and share it with others. It is such an honor to have others value your work and promote it. On the other hand, my first book in particular, was so honest and vulnerable that I felt apprehensive when it was first published for the world to read.

I still remember the day it went live on Amazon. That was the day I felt like a real author. Completing the text, or the publisher accepting the work, didn’t do it for me. Seeing it on the shelf was the day it clicked for me. I celebrated quietly with my wife and kids.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: The first official promotion was done by the publisher. Just before the book was available, the publisher reached out through their network and offered free copies of the eBook to bloggers and other potential reviewers. But I think the real promotion began when I started engaging others in the creative process. By the time the book was written, there were people who had invested something in the project and became advocates for the book.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I have thought about this quite a bit. Every relationship has some struggles and the relationship between author and publisher is not an exception. That said, I’m glad I went with a small publisher as I find it strikes the right balance for me between creative control and bringing additional resources into the design, printing, and promotion parts of the project. I’ve gone with another small publisher, Parvaim Press, for my second book, Designed for Relationship.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: Yes, my second book, Designed for Relationship, was just published recently. I found that I did not need as many drafts to get to the final text this time; which is nice, because I hate editing! I guess I learned the lessons that my readers flagged in the first book, and many of the bad habits were self-corrected during the creative process. I think I’m also more confident in my own voice. I recognize that my voice is valid, and while others might not say things the same way, I’m okay with that now. With my first book I wrestled more and had a hard time finding the balance between being open and teachable and losing my voice in receiving the feedback of others. I think I did better with this on my second book.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Knowing what I know now, I think a big part of the publishing process is expectations. If I expect to be published by a particular publisher or I expect for things to happen according to a particular timeline, I will likely be disappointed and/or frustrated. Particularly early in the publishing process I was really frustrated by missed deadlines, or what I perceived as missed opportunities. But, when I relaxed, did my part, and communicated clearly with my publisher, I found the process much more enjoyable and less stressful. Of course, my faith plays a big role in this too. I believe God is working all things together for good, for my good; that means I can relax a bit. (I’m still working on this!) He is in control so I don’t have to be.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: My biggest accomplishment has been to simply keep writing. Even after my first book was published I struggled with discouragement. I write because I believe God has asked me to, but I still want people to buy my book. My first book did okay, but it hasn’t made the New York Times best seller list. I watched the sales figures with interest and found myself taking some of my identity not just from being published but from the sales of the book. When it didn’t go viral I struggled. I felt jealous of the success of others. I found it hard to want to write again, and go through the whole process not knowing what the end result would be. But, God met me again, and reminded me that He has asked me to write. That’s my part. So, just continuing to write is an accomplishment and I still find the struggle a daily challenge. 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Actually, I have another profession. I’m a full-time Christian minister. I get to pray for, meet with, counsel, and encourage wonderful people serving the Lord all over the world. I love my job and the people I serve. My writing is an extension of my work with people.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I don’t think I would want to give up writing or my profession. My writing helps me to crystallize and communicate the things God is teaching me, and my work with people keeps me grounded in the real world. 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I hope I’m still doing exactly what I’m doing now, but with more wisdom and kindness. I would love to continue to serve people, supporting and encouraging them to love and serve others. I would also love to still be writing.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Nearly twenty years ago a mentor of mine, the first one to encourage me to write, told me to write something every day. He encouraged me to be a writer, and a writer is someone who writes. Publishing is a completely different question. A writer writes and a publisher publishes. Don’t worry about the publishing! Work hard at your craft. Write from your soul. Be curious. Investigate. Try new things. Share your work with your friends. Find, or develop, a creative community. Be open to constructive criticism. But above all…write!

Interview with Michael Bigham, Author of ‘Harkness’

Michael Bigham photo

Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, his daughter and a spunky Bichon Frise named Pumpkin. Harkness is Michael’s first novel. You can find him online at www.michaelbigham.com and http://blueparrot.blogspot.com/. His Twitter feed is @wassir.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Michael. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Harkness is my first novel, but I have had two short stories published: “American Clipper” in the anthology Coming Home and “Siren” in the anthology Aftermath.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: My first book was called Springtime in Tunisia written 20 years ago. It was a spy parody, very rough, very much a first novel. I took it to a writer’s workshop with Jack Cady in Cannon Beach, Oregon. He said it was very funny and that I wouldn’t have any problem getting it published, but he also told me not to publish under my own name, to reserve that for my “serious work.” It sits patiently in a trunk in my basement waiting for me to return to it.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

At least fifty rejection slips are in my desk. Shopping around a novel isn’t for people with fragile egos.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Yeah, so my ego is a little fragile. No one ever trashed my prose, but it is a difficult process, especially the form rejections that I got. I relied on the positive comments I got from other agents and editors to bolster my spirits.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: The publishing business is in a state of flux. Traditional publishers are in trouble, so it was time to try something different. A couple of writer friends and myself decided to start up a small publishing house, Muskrat Press. We’re going to publish our stuff first with an eye toward publishing other writers somewhere down the line.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: It felt great. I immediately sent copies to friends and family and set to work on promotion and the next novel.

Q: What was the first thing you did for promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I’m still trying to figure out the promotion thing. The first thing I did was to announce my book on Facebook. Social media is great for self-promotion.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I’m happy with this option, but for the next novel I’m going to have a self-promotion plan in place before publication. I’ve discovered that you need to make the publication of your book an event. That’s something I didn’t do and now I have to backtrack.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown asHarkness cover an author?

A: Harkness was published a couple of months ago, and I don’t have my next book finished yet. I hope I’ve grown as a writer. I have more confidence in my prose and in developing my characters. My main challenge right now is to plot before I write rather than winging it.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: There was a period when I stopped writing seriously. I had received some harsh criticism in a writing workshop and it shut me down for a couple of years. As a writer, you need to write constantly rather than suffer through long dry periods.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: I had a very successful reading in Portland a couple of months ago. Many of my friends and family were there, and I felt very proud of my book.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Tough question. I was a cop for 27 years. It was one of those love/hate things. Sometimes I loved my job, but at other times I didn’t. I seriously thought about going back to school for a degree in social work or psychology. Those interests reflect in the depth of my characters.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I’m exactly where I want to be. After leaving police work, I got a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Vermont College. It’s the best move I could have made, and I’m content with my decision.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Hopefully, I’ll have two series of mystery novels out in the world. I have an idea for a second series that will also take place in Eastern Oregon.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Keep plugging away and remember that the publishing business is being turned upside down. The traditional path of getting an agent and shopping your novel to the big publishing houses isn’t the only path to your success as an author.

Book Blast for Lakesha Monqiue Ruise’s Thy Kingdom Come + Win $25 VISA Gift Card

After petitioning the Father for answers to basic theological questions about the universal church, she took an eight-year journey with the Holy Spirit to provide clarity for herself about His vision.

Thy Kingdom Come provides readers with that clarity.

For anyone wondering what has happened to the Church, for anyone whose faith in God has been diminished, for anyone whose life has been destroyed by the yolks of bondage, Ruise offers new answers. She encourages her readers to follow along in the Bible itself to see how each of her lessons is validated by the Word of God.

“We perish because we don’t know how to survive,” writes Ruise. Thy Kingdom Come offers not only an apt diagnosis of the problem, but equips readers with the cure, as well. It is an excellent source book for Biblical history and spiritual revelation and it prompts valuable internalizing and soul-searching for veteran Christians as well as for new converts.

Link to book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1432787683/

Link to book at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thy-kingdom-come-lakesha-monique-ruise/1114171729

Lady Ruise is a native of Thomasville Georgia. She is the First Lady of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ in Macclenny Florida. She medically retired from the U S Navy in 2007. Since her retirement, she obtained a degree in respiratory therapy and works as a Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner. She has a strong Christian background. She dedicated her life to the Lord at the age of 9 and became a minister at the age of 14. She has been licensed through the Holiness Church and the Baptist church as a minister for the past 24 years. She has been mentored by countless Pastors and Elders in the COGIC, Holiness Church, and the Baptist Church. She currently labors in ministry with her husband Pastor Joe Nathan Ruise as a praise team leader. She is also the president and founder of the Baker County Circle of Sisters in Macclenny, Fl. Lakesha Ruise is a prayer-warrior and intercessor, who is holy-ghost filled with an assignment from Jesus Christ to build his church!

Website Address: www.theerrorproofchurch.com

Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/ThyCome

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/#!/lakesha.ruise.5

Pump Up Your Book and Lakesha Monique Ruise are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 8 – Apr 8. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on April 12, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, please visit the THY KINGDOM COME TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway:

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Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast Schedule

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Friday March 8th
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Friday, March 22nd
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Thursday, March 28th
Friday, March 29th – OPEN
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Friday, April 5th – OPEN
Monday, April 8th
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