Attending Events as an Author-Vendor by Shawn Lamb

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For an author, nothing is scarier than striking out on one’s own when it comes to promotion. When a publicist or agent is involved they usually take care of arranging books signings or readings. Some authors participate in online blog tours. All of these are goodto a point. Perhaps the best method I’ve discovered for promotion are events, whether a local street fair, book festival or convention.

In the past five years, I have established relationships with event organizers, other vendors and my readers from all across the country. With the majority of my events being Christian based, our commonality goes beyond the event to sharing our lives and even prayer requests. Each year the connection deepens, and we come together like old friends, picking up where we left.

Costs for a booth varies but generally runs around $150 to $500. Other factors should be considered such as gas for travel, food and hotel – if going out of town. I suggest starting local and making sure it matches your target audience.

Tips for a good, safe and successful event:

Plan: Yes, plan down to the last detail. Leave nothing off the list, including scotch tape, paperclips and Tylenol. Don’t laugh. When you are on your feet for up to 13 hours on a concrete floor, you will NEED Tylenol!

Pack wisely: What you bring to decorate the booth space is what you will break down. Yes, books are your first priority, but give due consideration to booth presentation with eye-catching signs and uncluttered displays. Have professional business cards ready to hand out. Also, do your back and feet a favor - invest in interlocking mats you see at gyms or day-care centers under kid’s play sets.

Pay attention: Every venue has a list of does and don’ts, what they provide and don’t provide. Most places charge outrageous fees for extras, so if you need electricity, plan for an alternative source. We have a power station that is all-inclusive along with extended life-batteries for laptops and cell phones.

Dress for success is a phrase often heard in business. Although events are usually in large convention halls or street festivals, it doesn’t negate the need to give a good impression. Comfort casual is the best attire, especially the SHOES! Make certain to have shoes that will support your feet.

SPEAK or teach a workshop related to your expertise or book subject. I know many are afraid of public speaking, but this is a great way to get your message across in a more personal manner. Do check the rule regarding speaking and/or teaching. Some venues charge for conducting a workshop. I have never paid to speak or teach.

Unless you are certain to make the fee back in sales, go where they don’t charged for reserving a room.

ENGAGE: Don’t bombard people with handouts and hawking, as that can be a big turn-off. This is probably the hardest since there isn’t a technique or 12-step method to closing a sale. Be personable and genuine in speaking to people.

If still uncertain about events, attend a free one in your area. While there, speak to the vendors. Above all, pray for God to grant you wisdom and direction.

Shawn Lamb

 

Short bio: Shawn Lamb is an award-winning author and event speaker. To learn more about her books and speaking engagements visit http://www.allonbooks.com. There is a contact link if interested in having Shawn speak at your church or event.

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Author Interview: Nigeria Lockley

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Our interview today is with Nigeria Lockley. Thanks for being here Nigeria and for agreeing to do this interview.

Question #1 What is the best thing about being an author?

I think one of the best things about being an author is having the opportunity to see and experience life through a different set of eyes, via our characters.

Question #2 What are some of the challenges of being an author?

Striking a balance between writing the story you want to write and writing the story readers want to read can be challenging. Then you have be able to switch between being a creative genius to being business savvy and now that social media has become so essential to establishing a platform, marketing, and interacting with readers that’s a lot for an author to manage.

Question #3 Describe a Typical Day for You.

A typical day for me includes teaching, loving on my children, Boogie an Woogie, laughing at my hilarious husband, and somewhere in between either during my commute home or late in the midnight hour I jotting down my words.

Question #4 What genre(s) do you write? And why or how did you chose them?

I write Contemporary Christian Fiction. I learned about Christian Fiction after having given my life to Christ and abandoning my writing because I didn’t know how I could use my writing to glorify God, but once I found out that writing Christian Fiction didn’t necessarily mean that my characters had to wear bonnets or live in the 19th century I asked the Lord if I could write Christian Fiction. Once He gave me the green light I haven’t looked back.

Question #5 Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?

I don’t always read in the same genre I write in. I began my writing career as a poet, so I still indulge in poetry and because I am a teacher I read a variety of things that include plays, short stories, and classic literature.

Question #6 What is something that readers would be surprised to know about you? Even though I have a degree in Creative Writing I never took a fiction writing class, so I am just running of the grace of God and not some set of skills or techniques that I honed in a university.

Question #7 When and how did the writing bug bite you? After my sister taught me how to read she wrote a book for me to make sure I could really read the words out of the context of her lessons. When I finished reading I promised her I would write her a book. Since 1984 I’ve had one true desire and that is to be an author.

Question #8 When you write, do you plot everything out or not? Why does that work for you?

I don’t plot or plan. I just let the characters live their lives on the page. I think it works for me because I am not formally trained, I’m just a writer who loves words, so when I do try to plot it out nothing comes out because language just has to flow.

Question #9 What is the best thing a reader or reviewer has ever said about you?

I think one of my favorite reviews came from a blogger Faith Simone of www.faithsimone.com and in her review she said, “If you want to read a book that will challenge your moral compass and have you feeling some type of way, then you HAVE to read Born at Dawn!” I never really saw the book in that light, so that made me feel really good.

Question #10 What is the worst thing a reader or reviewer ever said about you? How did you handle that?

The worst thing that a reviewer ever said was, ” The last 60 pages were the best and were much too late to make this more than a decent read. This is indeed a tale that needs to be told but the painting was much too drab. I encourage the author to liven up her characters and plot to build a momentum to reel her readers in and keep their attention.” I took it with a grain of salt. First of all, I understand that my work isn’t for everyone. Every book isn’t for everybody–for as many people as there are who love Harry Potter there’s someone who dislikes it. Secondly, I looked at the entire review and this reviewer was very disappointed in the actions of the protagonist and I believe that shaped her ultimate review of the book, because two sentences before the negative statement she stated something positive about the book. I am also very sure of the story and book I wrote. Domestic violence is dark, depressing, and scary. If you tell that story honestly and from the perspective all those involved the only light that can shine is Christ.

Question #11 If you could go to one place and write, where would it be and why?

I’ve always wanted to attend the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, R.I. It’s the quintessential writing retreat for all those who are serious about their craft and they’ve had some legendary teachers there in the past.

Question #12 If you could have one experience back to do over again, what would it be and why?

I don’t think there’s one experience I’d do over. All of my experiences have made me who I am today and I like who I am.

Question #13 Who do you consider a mentor in your life? What did that person teach you?

I consider Michelle Stimpson a mentor. She has taught me to put faith first and sit down and write.

Question #14 Is writing your only job? If not, tell us a little about your “day” job.

Writing is not my only job. I am a teacher as well. I teach English at a transfer school in Brooklyn. I work with students who are under-credited and over-aged. No two days are ever alike and I love that about my job.

Question #15 If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

I’d just be teaching, which I love just as much.

Question #16 What is your favorite verse in the Bible? Why?

I Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” is one of my many favorites. I think it tells me who am, where I came from, and how I got here, because of God calling me, looking for me just because I mattered to him.

Question #18 What is your favorite book? Why?

My favorite book of all time is For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange I love this book because of its lyricism, because of it’s integrity and variety. I love this book because the author’s creativity is evident, and it captures of plight that comes with life when we look for love in the wrong places so deftly.

Question #19 What other hobbies do you have?

I don’t really have any hobbies.

Question #20 What is your workspace like? Clean or chaos?

Chaos. I like to say I have an office, but it’s really a desk and every single day my children put their stuff in my office right after I tell them that nothing belongs in my office.

Question #21 How did you break into writing?

I broke into writing through a pitch session offered at the Faith and Fiction Retreat of 2012. At the retreat I was able to pitch my novel, Born at Dawn and give the publisher the first four chapters of the novel. After she reviewed the first four chapters she requested the whole manuscript and I am now a published author.

Question #22 Where can people find you on the Internet?

I’m all over the place however I’m more successful on some sites than others.

My website and blog can be found at: http://www.nigerialockley.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authornigerialockley
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NewNigeria
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/NewNigeria
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nigerialockley/
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NigeriaLockley/posts/p/pub

Question #23 What advice do you have for other authors?

Don’t write what you believe people want to hear, don’t write what you believe will sell, write the story you want to tell. The rest happens when you edit.

Question #24 Tell us about your book.

Born at Dawn

Born at Dawn Chronicles what happens when Cynthia Barclay decides she can no longer wait on God to deliver her from her abusive marriage, so she abandons her hope, husband, and two young sons.

Question #25 Tell us about the characters in your book.

Marvin Barclay is Cynthia’s husband. He is emotionally and physically abusive towards Cynthia. Their relationship wasn’t always like that, but as life beat up on Marvin he beat up on his wife. Cynthia is new in her faith and turns to God as a last resort in a sense, but when He doesn’t move at the speed she would like Cynthia takes matters into her own hands. Keith and James are their two beautiful boys (I really love these boys) who are caught in the crossfire of this war.

Question #26 Do you include your own life in your books? Why or why not?

I don’t include my own per se, however I do use insight that I have gained from similar experiences to craft my characters.

Question #27 What is special to you about this book?

It’s my first book. There’s nothing more special than that.

Question #28 What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope that readers recognize the importance of waiting on the Lord regardless of what the situation looks like. Even in situations that involve domestic violence if you are a believer every move you make in response should still be directed by the Lord and not a temporary solution that you came up with.

Question #29 What’s your favorite “treat”?

My favorite treat is Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

Question #30 Morning or night, which is the best and why?

As long as I wake up I don’t care what time of day it is.

Question #31 Favorite season and why?

My favorite season is a toss up between Fall and Spring. Fall is so beautiful, however the temperature and the atmosphere during Spring is comfortable and euphoric.

Question #32 Favorite sport and why?

I love football. I don’t actually play it I just watch it. I love the fact that every person is necessary to get the job done.

Question #33 Least favorite household or yard chore?

My least favorite chore is probably cleaning the bathroom.

Question #34 Least favorite thing to do?

My least favorite thing to do is grade. It’s one aspect of my job I could do without.

Question #35 Favorite thing to do?

Write and when I’m not doing that I love reading and hanging with my family. They are all very comical.

Question #36 You have a whole day to go anywhere and do anything. What would that be and why?

Shopping. I just love trying on different outfits and mixing and matching patterns. I might need to amend my answer to a question you asked me earlier. I wasn’t a writer or a teacher I’d probably pursue a career in fashion. Fashion is fun.

Question #37 Pose a question for our readers to answer.

What’s an issue or a theme that you’d like to see me address in my future work?

About the Author:

Author Nigeria Lockley

Nigeria Lockley possesses two Master’s degrees, one in English Secondary Education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second Master’s degree is in Creative Writing. Born at Dawn is Nigeria’s first published novel. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Church of God. Nigeria is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters. Join her online at NigeriaLockley.com

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Pastor Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 26:4-5 I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked.

The Psalmist shows us a sure fire way to keep our souls out of trouble with God. We stay away from those who would lead us into sin. When we choose carefully those whom we spend most of our time with, we can avoid many of the pitfalls of sin.

It is a waste of time to hang around with those who are liars. You cannot trust those who do not have the integrity of heart to tell the truth. You can be easily deceived by them. Listen to them and you will find it difficult to distinguish that which is true from that which is false.

It is not a good idea to spend time with those who profess one thing and live another. One can easily fall into the trap of justifying one’s own sinful behavior by believing that if it’s okay for someone who professes to have faith to do it, it’s okay for him to do it. It is never okay to do what you know God says not to do just because someone else is doing it. Sin is sin and will always be sin even if the whole world does it.

We can keep our souls pure before God by not hanging around where sinners hang around. We should despise being in places where we know people are sinning openly. It ought to shame us to be where sin is displayed and promoted. When we hang around in the cesspool of sin, we will more than likely fall into it.

A pure heart takes charge of his soul. He refuses to compromise the truth. He refuses to expose his soul to the ways of the wicked. He surrounds himself with people who can help him stay pure instead of hindering him. He just says “no” to sin and means it.

C Through Marriage
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In This World by Parker J. Cole

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I rarely respond to critics of my work. For one thing, everyone has an opinion and we’re all entitled to them.  One’s opinion is the same as any other’s I guess.

As of late though, I have come under fire by fellow Christian authors (several in fact) who have stated my work is not Christian but pseudo Christian. This attack surprises me for several reasons but for the most part, I find myself in a state of disbelief.

This has caused me to seriously consider exactly why I write and who I write for.

In my new book, The Other Man, I deal with adultery without sugarcoating the act. I delve into my character’s frame of mind and lead the reader into their thought processes where “Should I or shouldn’t I” is considered.

In a world that sees marriage as an antiquated institution in need of redefinition and reform, you would think the Church would grip this subject by the horns and tackle it. This is not to say that there aren’t churches that don’t tackle it but perhaps more books, fiction or nonfiction, need to address the issue head-on. Not just this one but other less savory and controversial topics running rampant through our Church today. Adultery is one of them.

Some Christians just don’t feel comfortable about talking about these things. In fact, their stance is to stay away from them, not let them into the house, don’t give them a breeding ground to rear their heads. To some extent, that is a very good attitude to take. After all, The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

And trust me, God is faithful to be the anchor we hold on to when we are faced with temptations. He promised He will never leave us or forsake us.

But what about those of us who love the Lord with all our hearts…and we fall into temptation? Not because we were tempted beyond our means but because we wanted to. It didn’t matter we know the Bible verses. It didn’t matter we knew the Lord would be displeased, we WANTED to do it. We like how they made us feel. We were energized by the attention. Our spouses neglected us in some way and so-and-so filled the void.

After we fall, the consequences of our actions scream into our faces and we wished we’d never succumbed. But we did. What about us? What do we do when the preacher preaches that Sunday about ‘our’ sin?

Christians sin because we are sinners saved by grace. No, that does not give us the leeway to sin however we want but while we are in this world, we are harassed by the temptations in this world and of our flesh. My work speaks to this dichotomy inside of us…the darkness of sin that lives within. The light that shines in the midst of this darkness.  Sure, I could make my characters holier than thou, never really tried with anything but the barest minimum of struggles with a steadfast faith that endures. I choose not to because I want to be real. Real about the effects of sin. Real about the temptations of life. Real about the redemptive power of God even when we fall. In 1 John 1:19 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

The Bible is littered with people who were not perfect. I mean, after the Fall, that pretty much applied to everyone. If we were to look at one person, let’s take a glance at Rahab, the prostitute. Yeah, the woman who sold her body. She shouldn’t be mentioned because of her lifestyle certainly doesn’t land in the ‘holy’ and ‘sanctified’ category. Yet she is and she is of a most interesting lineage. Great grandmother of Boaz, the grandfather of David the King, and ultimately an ancestor of Christ. God doesn’t use perfect people to bring about His will; He uses those who love Him even when they fall because He can pick us back up again, dust us off, and make us new again.

 

About the Author:

Parker J. Cole

Parker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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The Whistle Walk by Stephenia McGee

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Civil War tears the nation apart, but amid the struggle two women discover they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible…

Ruth lost her ability to breathe. How foolish she’d been. She’d hated people for making up their minds about her when they knew nothing of her soul. Yet she’d done the very same thing. Without thought she grabbed the woman who’d bought her as if she were worth nothing more than livestock and pulled her close.

Mrs. Harper stiffened and then returned the embrace sobs wracking her body. Ruth held her and prayed. What did God see? Slave and master? Or two of his daughters hurt by a world they couldn’t control…

The Whistle Walk

The Whistle Walk
A Mississippi Plantation: Civil War pits country men against one another and tears a nation asunder. Life and death are held in the balance where everyone is a slave to something.

One is born free, yet lives as a soul in bondage…

Lydia Harper never intended to purchase a slave. But when she witnesses a woman being beaten in the street, all her pretenses begin to unravel. A bride to a man she barely knows and bound by her secrets, Lydia will risk everything to save a stranger. Amid the War Between the States, the mistress of Ironwood faces the battles in her own heart and discovers strength in a way she never imagined.

The other is born to serve, yet holds the spirit of freedom…

Ruth, standing on the threshold of desperation, has lost everything she holds dear. After being pulled from the dirt, she is no longer a field hand but the personal maid to the lady of Ironwood. Ruth soon realizes adversity pays no mind to the color of skin. When propriety slips, she discovers they have more in common than she dreamed possible. In a time when fear brings the South to its knees, two women will forge a friendship in the fires of redemption and thrust Ironwood into a new future – where the battle for freedom has merely begun.

Available now at: Amazon

Bio:

Stephenia McGee

Stephenia McGee is a wife, mother of two very active little boys, author, and chairman of Spirit Horse Ministries. A portion of all her book sales go to help the ministry provide spiritual and emotional growth and a quality education to at-risk young girls. Stephenia currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and sons where she writes stories of faith, redemption and the deep south.

www.StepheniaMcGee.com

 

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Author Interview With Luana Pollock Ehrlich

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Our interview today is with Luana Pollock Ehrlich. Thank you Luana for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.

Question #1 What is the best thing about being an author?

The best thing about being a writer is the realization that what I imagine becomes a reality–at least on paper.

Question #2 What are some of the challenges of being an author?

The biggest challenge I face as an author is learning to achieve a balance between the time I spend promoting my first book and the time I spend writing my second.

Question #3 Describe a Typical Day for You.

I get up around 6:00 and spend the next hour in what I call my Quiet Time. This is the time of day I read my Bible, pray, and meditate on what I’ve read. Having a Quiet Time has been my practice for over forty years now. Then, between doing chores around the house, running errands, and picking up my grandkids from school, I answer emails, posts on social media and promote my first book. I don’t usually begin writing on my second novel until around 3:00 in the afternoon, and then I write until 11:00 at night, except for a two-hour break for dinner with my husband.

Question #4 What genre(s) do you write? And why or how did you chose them?

I write in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre, a category I first began reading when I was about eleven years old and was given permission to read my father’s adult spy novels. I’ve had a passion for this genre ever since.

Question #5 Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?

I enjoy historical fiction and occasionally read romance novels, but the majority of my fictional reading is in the thriller category. I love the action adventure of this genre more than the slower pace of other fiction.

Question #6 What is something that readers would be surprised to know about you?

Most of my readers would be surprised to know that I am a fan of NFL football. Although my family did not watch much football when I was growing up, I married a Texas boy, and, right away, I had to earn a Ph.D. in the intricacies of this game. Now, I’m an ardent fan of The Dallas Cowboys.

Question #7 When and how did the writing bug bite you?

At about age seven, I used to tell people that my name was Pam Black–don’t ask me why I chose that name–and that I was an author. I loved writing essays in English class and, later on, term papers in high school and college. Later on, after I was married, I wrote a weekly column in a newspaper and did freelance work for Baptist Press.

Question #8 When you write, do you plot everything out or not? Why does that work for you?

For both my novels, the one published last year and the one I’m writing now, I wrote out a two-page synopsis of the plot line. During the writing process, I sometimes add details to this synopsis, but, unlike some writers, I don’t usually have an outline for each chapter. The story seems to write itself sometime, and I just enjoy reading what’s happening to my characters.

Question #9 What is the best thing a reader or reviewer has ever said about you?

An Amazon reviewer, when writing about me as an author, said, “Her skill matches beautifully that of John Grisham or James Patterson.” This meant a lot to me because I love these authors and their books, but also because I knew this reviewer used to be both an editor and a publisher in his own right.

Question #10 What is the worst thing a reader or reviewer ever said about you? How did you handle that?

Although I’ve had excellent reviews, whenever I’ve heard comments about the slow pace of Part One of my first novel, I’ve often wanted to agree with them and tell them I intended for the reader to enter into the world of CIA operative, Titus Ray, before embarking on an adventure with him..

Question #11 If you could go to one place and write, where would it be and why?

I’ve heard of writers who dream of spending a month in a log cabin in the woods, but I’d much rather be alone in my own house, sitting in my own leather chair with my computer in my lap, than to travel to some faraway place. Ideally, though, I’d rather not have to see about meals or be disturbed by family members, and to stay up all night writing without getting tired.

Question #12 If you could have one experience back to do over again, what would it be and why?

My husband and I were privileged to have been missionaries in Venezuela while we were in our thirties. However, now that we are older, I would love to have this experience over again with the wisdom we’ve gained through life experiences. I believe we would enjoy it more and be of more benefit to the people of Venezuela.

Question #13 Who do you consider a mentor in your life? What did that person teach you?

I’ve been mentored through the years by men and women who were theologians and Bible teachers. I’ve always loved reading and studying the Bible and I’ve greatly benefitted from the teaching of John McArthur, Charles Swindoll, J. I. Packer, Jerry Bridges, and John Piper.

Question #14 Is writing your only job? If not, tell us a little about your “day” job.

Writing has become my full-time job, and, for the first time in my life, I’m working for myself instead of someone else. As an executive assistant, I used to help other people stay organized, meet goals, and carry out assignments. Now, I’m putting all those acquired skills to use in my writing career.

Question #15 If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t using my spare time to write, I’d be reading. I’m also a fan of Words with Friends, a kind of Scrabble game for the iPhone. I might waste a lot of my time on that game, if I weren’t committed to writing.

Question #16 What is your favorite verse in the Bible? Why?

Proverbs 3:5-6 is my life verse. It talks about trusting in the Lord and not depending on yourself. Since I’m a person who has a tendency to worry, I was drawn to this Scripture. It also goes on to say the Lord wants us to acknowledge him, and, in doing so, he will direct us. I also want to try and figure things out on my own and do my own thing, so that’s another reason this verse was written especially for me.

Question #17 What is your favorite quote? Why?

My favorite quote is “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him” by John Piper. The is one of my favorite quotes because it sums up the reason God created me in the first place.

Question #18 What is your favorite book? Why?

My favorite classic is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It has all the elements of a good read–great characters, great plot and great timing.

Question #19 What other hobbies do you have?

Besides reading, my other hobbies are gardening and cooking. I also enjoy interior design and I like to dabble in graphic design, using Adobe Photoshop and Canva to create posters, banners and newsletters.

Question #20 What is your workspace like? Clean or chaos?

I am a neat freak, so my workspace is totally uncluttered. I can’t function in a place that isn’t as neat as a pin or, to quote another “cleanliness cliche,” as clean as a whistle.

Question #21 How did you break into writing?

I guess you could say I did so by opening up my laptop and writing the first sentence. After that, some six months later, I realized I’d actually written a book! Then, I wanted to write the next one.

Question #22 Where can people find you on the Internet?

Website: http://www.luanaehrlich.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LuanaEhrlichAuthor
Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/luanaehrlich
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LuanaEhrlich
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=558MD5S-dsg
Blog: https://hisglorymyjoy.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/luanasbooks

Question #23 What advice do you have for other authors?

I always tell others authors to be a good writer you need to read and write, read and write, read and write.

Question #24 Tell us about your book.

One Night in Tehran

One Night in Tehran is a Christian thriller about a CIA intelligence officer who is brought to faith in Christ by a group of Iranian Christians. While being pursued by an assassin, he returns to the States, where he meets a mysterious Iranian couple, who may be connected to the man who’s after him. Then, through a series of events, he arrives in Norman, Oklahoma and becomes involved in a murder, encountering a beautiful, local detective. All the while, he’s trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ

Question #25 Tell us about the characters in your book.

Titus Ray, the main character, is a veteran CIA intelligence operative. He grew up in Flint, Michigan with an alcoholic father who was emotionally absent from the family. After a failed marriage in college, Titus joined the CIA, where he became a Level 1officer. As the story unfolds, he’s recently been converted to Christianity, brought to faith in Christ by a group of Iranian Christians. As he escapes from Iran and returns to the States, he faces many uncertainties. Can he continue to function as a spy while trying to live out the Christian faith? He’s been trained in deception and lying. How does that work when trying to follow the teachings of Christ?

Question #26 Do you include your own life in your books? Why or why not?

The majority of the action of One Night in Tehran takes place in Norman, Oklahoma where I’ve lived for the past twenty years. I did this deliberately, not only because it was familiar, but also because Norman and Oklahoma has been at the center of many terrorists type events during the last twenty years. As an example, many of the 9/11 hijackers attended the Airmen Flight School in Norman.

Question #27 What is special to you about this book?

What has been so special about this book is the way God has used it to present the gospel in a non-threatening way. Because the main character, Titus Ray, is discovering what it means to be a believer, the gospel is subtly interwoven throughout the plot line. Readers are giving the book out to unsaved friends, knowing they will enjoy the read, yet, at the same time, be receiving the gospel.

Question #28 What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope readers will be entertained by the sheer excitement of One Night in Tehran, encouraged by Titus’ efforts to tell others of his new faith in Christ and enabled to overcome their own difficulties as they watch Titus struggling with some of the same issues they face.

Question #29 What’s your favorite “treat”?

My favorite treat is a Starbucks caramel macchiato.

Question #30 Morning or night, which is the best and why?

I’ve always had difficulty discerning whether I’m a morning or night person. I hate to have conversation with anyone early in the morning, but once I’m up, I never feel sleepy or in need of a nap during the day. I can easily write late into the night, so, in that sense, I guess I’m a night person.

Question #31 Favorite season and why?

My favorite season of the year is probably Spring. I love Spring because I feel a sense of renewal, and I love to see plants and trees growing and budding. Overall, Spring seems a time of year when there’s a lot of excitement in the air. I was also born in March, so maybe that adds to my enjoyment of it.

Question #32 Favorite sport and why?

I’ve already mentioned that I’m an avid NFL football fan, but, since I live in Norman, I’m also a fan of at least one college football team. That’s the University of Oklahoma Sooners, whose stadium is only a few miles from my house.

Question #33 Least favorite household or yard chore?

The yard chore I hate the most is pulling weeds from my garden, and I do so hate to dust the furniture in my house.

Question #34 Least favorite thing to do?

My least favorite thing to do is go to a doctor, have blood test or visit the dentist.

Question #35 Favorite thing to do?

Not surprisingly, the most favorite thing I do is write. I feel the most fulfilled when I’m writing, as if this is what I was made to do, as if my writing is pleasing to God.

Question #36 You have a whole day to go anywhere and do anything. What would that be and why?

I would definitely go to a shopping mall. I love to shop for clothes, try on clothes, and buy clothes.

Question #37 Pose a question for our readers to answer.

What is the most important thing in the world to you?

About the Author:

Luana Ehrlich

Luana picked up her first adult spy novel when she was eleven years old. Today, she continues to have a passion for the thriller/suspense genre of fiction. In addition to being an avid reader, she is also a news fanatic, following events around the world on a daily basis, particularly the Middle East.

Luana is a minister’s wife and has lived in Norman, Oklahoma for the past two decades. Previously, she resided in several states in the South and Midwest. Along with her husband, she also served as a missionary in Costa Rica and Venezuela.

Occasionally, she reports on the experiences of newly converted Christians for Baptist Press, a national news service for Baptists. At one time, she wrote a weekly column for The Indiana Baptist, entitled “A Story To Tell,” which told the stories of ordinary people who became followers of Christ. Luana is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.

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CrossReads Book Blast for Paula Rose Michelson

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No Other Choice: The Naomi Chronicles, Book One
By Paula Rose Michelson

About the Book:

Naomi will be sent back! She left her family and all she held dear, traveled half way around the word while accompanying a blind, old grandmother because they promised to help her enter America and find her uncle. Instead they handed her over to immigration.

What she does now, she does because there is no other choice!

This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress. Trapped in a life where all who know her think her a saint, saddled with a mission and responsibility many would shirk from placed upon her shoulders, Naomi agrees to marry because that seems to be the easiest way to sidestep more issues.

As timely as the immigration debate of today is, author, William Struse’s endorsement says, “Duty, sacrifice, and faith are carried in the arms of love by a courageous young woman, who rises above her own flaws to help others.”

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Paula Rose Michelson0011Paula Rose Michelson
As a Messianic Jew, Paula Rose Michelson wanted to write about life, love, choices, and forgiveness. She researched what befell the Jews baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition, and when she began to write The Naomi Chronicles, Naomi told her the story you are about to read.

Because of her extensive background in recovery as a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor, her work with The Rubicon Center, and as the founded LAMB Ministries in 1988, where she continues to mentor women suffering from trauma and abuse the way God mentored her, the author knows that though her heroine’s story is unique, Naomi’s issues of fear and hiding are universal, for they are seen in anyone who is masking their real pain.

Paula Rose Michelson is the wife of Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Field Missionary, Ron Michelson. The mother of two married daughters, and grandmother of seven grandchildren, when not involved in ministry, writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use of scripture, you will find Paula researching her next book or meeting with friends.

 

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This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

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When My Heart Is Overwhelmed by Mary C.Findley

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Two people today posted the same statement on Facebook. They said they felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how to handle responsibilities. My immediate impulse was to quote the verse that says, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2) Lately I’ve been hearing people share about the need from more income, the need to hurry and get things accomplished, the frustration about not being able to do the good work God has called us to fast enough for various reasons.

My husband reminded me yesterday about the time spent in prayer by great men of the faith — Jesus Christ Himself spent all night in prayer. David wrote songs of prayer by the scores. Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and many others spoke about how, the busier the day was going to be, the more hours, in proportion, they needed to spend in prayer. These are people who didn’t have the internet to do research, a computer to type with, or even, in many cases, running water or electricity. But they accomplished more than we do.

So I have to go back to the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was doing a good work, showing hospitality. Mary was sitting around being lazy. Wait. No. She was sitting listening to the teaching of Christ. She chose the good part. Jesus said it wouldn’t be taken from her. So, if we get so busy we say we don’t have enough time to do what needs to be done, who took that time away from us? We did it to ourselves, when we took away our time in prayer and sitting at Christ’s feet.

But we need to take action too, to use what God gives us to do His work. The morning message at our church was about the three servants who were given talents. They got five, three, and one, based on their abilities. Five talent guy wasn’t jealous of the other two because they had less work or less responsibility. And Three wasn’t treated any differently than five when they came to report to the master and receive their rewards. They were each rewarded according to their abilities and what they’d done with them.

What happened to One Talent Guy? He wasn’t overwhelmed. The master knew what his abilities were, so he didn’t give him something too hard. One Talent Guy just decided to blame his failure on his boss. He insulted the man who had entrusted him with responsibility. He said he “knew” his master, but could only claim he was scary and greedy. The one talent, with which he did nothing, was taken away, and Five Talent guy got it. One Talent Guy got tossed out into outer darkness. Pretty stiff punishment for just not doing anything, huh?

People talk about sins of commission and sins of omission. One of our big sins of omission was what I talked about at the beginning, not praying enough or spending enough time in God’s presence. Apparently another big one is not doing anything with what God gives you. God knew One Talent guy. God gave him a job. He didn’t hang over him and hound him to make sure it got done.

But One Talent Guy screwed up, and he tried to blame his master. What that means is that he didn’t know the master. So he is like the people pretend they are believers, but who don’t spend the time getting to know God in prayer and study of His Word. Be careful that you know your Master. If you don’t, you might end up like One Talent Guy.

Photo of El Capitan from National Parks Services.

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Silver and Gold by Christopher Shennan

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But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” (Acts 3:6 – NASB)

Whenever the church has become wealthy, it has generally lost its power to heal.

Now I know this is a generalization, and money is often needed to do the Lord’s work. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about a pre-occupation with money as the primary means to accomplish the mission of the church.

I once suggested to a denominational hierarchy the need to start a work in a certain area. Their response: We don’t have any money to start that work.”

I’m not sure if I actually told them this, but my heart answered, “You don’t need a lot of money. All you need is someone with a call of God upon them – someone with a passion to share the Gospel. That man or woman will find a way, with little or much, to spread the Word and win people to Christ.”

Not Silver or Gold

Give me a man, or a woman, or child

With the love of God in their heart and mind,

Rather than a church with treasure high piled,

Yet faintness of heart in the pew still find.

There’s nought to compare with a holy, zeal,

That will live or die for the Master’s cause.

To find a man who in his breast can feel

True love for God and His holy, just laws.

It’s a treasure beyond all earthly gain,

It will bring down upon you Heaven’s smile;

It will comfort the heart and banish pain,

And create a soul that is without guile.

Silver and gold you may not have to give,

But the power of love will cause men to live.

Author Profile

Christopher Shennan

Born in South Africa in 1943, Christopher Shennan really began to live on the 29th of August 1967, when he was born again through the power of Jesus Christ. Since then, only one passion has consumed him: to communicate the love of Christ through any and every means at his disposal.

Christopher and his family served as missionaries in Zimbabwe where he established a church amongst the Shona tribe before moving to Canada in 1984. Since his so-called “retirement” in 2008, his involvement in Bible teaching, counseling, even pastoring a church in Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, has kept him busy.

With thirteen published books behind him, his passion is to pass on all God has taught him to the next generation. There are six new novels and numerous non-fiction projects he expects to take him the rest of his life.

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A LARGE SERVING OF PERSPECTIVE By Ada Brownell

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I loved it in the Ratatouille movie when the famous food reviewer wiggled his long fingers at the waitress and said, “After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective.”

Ratatoulie

That’s what I needed last week: Perspective—A measured or objective assessment of a situation, giving all aspects their comparative importance.

I imagine many writers could use some perspective as well.

You see, I had a special free promotion for my new book, Imagine the Future You, a motivational Bible study. When I had a similar promotion for my book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, 634 people downloaded the book. So, disappointment wrapped itself around me when the total last week stopped at 187.

A novelist friend of mine had 10,000 copies of her free book grabbed the same day. I was turning the color of Kermit the frog when I remembered she is a marketing expert, and it seems more people go for novels than a Bible study that digs around in their faith.

But, I imagine you Christian writers have had the Lord motion you aside and bring you close enough to give you some perspective, too.

Assessing the free days from a distance and several angles, I realized two important things. One, if I’d had a speaking engagement with 187 in attendance and every person in house got a book, I’d be overwhelmed with joy, and thanking the Lord! Ah. And if even one person was helped spiritually, I’d know it was a success and worth the exhausting blog tour and other marketing.

From now on, I’ll sit down occasionally at the Lord’s table, smile, and say, “I’d like a little perspective.”

Ada Brownell

ADA BROWNELL is a free lance writer who has sold articles to 45 publications. She is retired journalist who spent most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.Her books:

Imagine the Future You http://goo.gl/23C33a

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult http://buff.ly/XeqTvH

Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal: http://amzn.to/Jnc1rW

Confessions of a Pentecostal: http://goo.gl/eVBpqI

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com

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