Too Much “As” by Suzanne D. Williams

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I hate the word “as”. The irony of that is the number of times I will have to use it in this article to make my point. But, back to my point ….

Nothing says amateur writer quicker than the over-usage of that one small word. Don’t believe me? Take your latest first draft and count the usages of the word “as”. To be totally fair, I’ll do mine. Two thousand nine hundred and sixty words, and I used it nineteen times – a handful of those times in dialogue (which is often necessary) and the remainder in comparisons. For example, “as dark as midnight.” I’m not talking about comparisons in this article, but using “as” to show action. I used it in that manner only twice – that’s TWO times.

This is because there are a dozen better ways to convey the same message without that one small word, and even if you don’t agree with me, you have embraced “as” firmly in your writing, taking the time to remove it will make you a better writer. For one reason, it requires you to think. It’s easy to stick “as” in there and go on. Rearranging the sentence to remove it, however, takes a lot of brain power.

ALSO … Sometimes “as” is not accurate and leaving it in place makes the sentence untruthful. Check out the sentences below.

“Henry slammed the door as he skipped down the steps.” FALSE. Henry could not have possibly done both of those at once unless he had long arms.

“Henry slammed the door as he ate cake.” MAYBE. Okay, Henry could be eating cake and slamming the door. But what if we made the scene more exciting and took the time to delete “as”?

“A piece of cake firm in his palm, his face smeared with icing, Henry slammed the door, leaving behind a telltale stream of crumbs.” TRUE … AND now everyone knows Henry is a slob and where he’s headed.

HERE’S ANOTHER THOUGHT … “When” used to show action is almost as bad as (Ha!) using “as”. For example:

“When Henry slammed the door, he skipped down the steps.” FALSE. We’re back to Henry’s incredibly long arms.

“Henry slammed the door when he ate cake.” MAYBE. Like the example above, Henry could have done both.

But once again, why not eliminate “when” entirely and use sentence number three from our first example? It’s more detailed and gives a clearer version of events.

THE TRUTH … If a story has too much “as” in it, I rarely finish it because instead of reading, I’m rewriting the scene to get rid of “as”. That annoys me more than the word itself. So take the time to kick out “as” and instead, expand your vocabulary. There are thousands of fantastic words out there just waiting to be used. No better compliment can be made than when my editor flags a word because she doesn’t know it, and I can send her proof it exists.

Now available for 99 cents!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UETNO3C

Heaven and Hell

“I cannot find my way alone,” Serefina said softly.

His arms came around her, his hands landing in the middle of her back, and he pulled her to him. She leaned there, her cheek on his shoulder, his strength solid beneath her hands. Her eyes burned with tears she refused to shed, the corners dampening, and deep within her heart a tiny speck of hope glowed. For once, she didn’t toss it aside, but fearful, clung with all her might.

—–

Penniless and alone, Serefina Aguilar has nowhere to go but south to an unknown uncle her recently deceased aunt only ever spoke unkindly about. It seems the downward spiral of her life really is the spiritual test she’s been told.

But, as long as she covers her greatest sin, the flaming red locks on her head, she can keep herself pure and make it to heaven. She hopes.

Except a horrible encounter with a bank robber and a handsome man named Matthew Todd seem destined to send her to hell … and worse, take along with her what might be her only chance at love.

Book 2 and the completion of the Western Women Series by best-selling author, SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne D. Williams

Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit

http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

or link with her on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor

or on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/scw1217

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The Patience of Job by Naty Matos

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You have probably heard this phrase frequently. When someone seems to be able to tolerate what seems to be intolerable they are often told, “You have the patience of Job” Although I don’t consider myself a very patient person, I have been told that I have the patience of Job. Here’s the thing. I think we miss some of the elements of the patience of Job. We have the tendency to idealize that he never complained, never got angry. If that was the case, not even Job had the patience of Job.

Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The

Two Words

key words for me in this statement, without getting angry or upset and the fact that there are no screams, lamps flying or inappropriate language doesn’t mean a person is not angry or upset.

I’ve read the book of Job a little over three times. There are passages where I pushed my bible to the side fearing that just the fact that I read some of his remarks towards God was going to make a thunder come down from the skies. Here are some examples but you have to read the book, there are a lot more:

  • Job 3:11 “Why didn’t I die at birth, my first breath out of the womb my last?”
  • Job 6: 8-9 “All I want is an answer to one prayer, a last request to be honored: Let God step on me—squash me like a bug, and be done with me for good”
  • Job 7: 11-16 ““And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table; my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest. Are you going to put a muzzle on me, the way you quiet the sea and still the storm? If I say, ‘I’m going to bed, then I’ll feel better. A little nap will lift my spirits,’ you come and so scare me with nightmares and frighten me with ghosts that I’d rather strangle in the bedclothes than face this kind of life any longer. I hate this life! Who needs any more of this? Let me alone! There’s nothing to my life—it’s nothing but smoke.”
  • Job 9:21-24“Believe me, I’m blameless. I don’t understand what’s going on. I hate my life! Since either way it ends up the same, I can only conclude that God destroys the good right along with the bad. When calamity hits and brings sudden death, he folds his arms, aloof from the despair of the innocent. He lets the wicked take over running the world; he installs judges who can’t tell.”
  • Job 10:1 “I can’t stand my life—I hate it! I’m putting it all out on the table, all the bitterness of my life—I’m holding back nothing.”
  • Job 16:8-10 “God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family! You’ve shriveled me like a dried prune, showing the world that you’re against me. My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror, a mute witness to your treatment of me. Your anger tears at me, your teeth rip me to shreds, your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!”
  • Job 17:6 “God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—people spit in my face”
  • Job 21:4 “It’s not you I’m complaining to—it’s God. Is it any wonder I’m getting fed up with his silence?”
  • Job 23:1“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground. My complaint is legitimate. God has no right to treat me like this— it isn’t fair!”
  • Job 30:20-23 “I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer! I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare! You’ve turned into my tormenter—you slap me around, knock me about. You raised me up so I was riding high and then dropped me, and I crashed. I know you’re determined to kill me, to put me six feet under.”

So once again, if your image of the patience of Job is this quiet guy who took everything in longsuffering not getting ever upset, go read the book again, that was not in the one I read. I don’t know about you but I read a lot of griping and complaining. If someone is saying constantly that he hates his life that is someone who is upset.

I’m not saying this to down Job. He was patient and truly waited on God. He endured everything that happened to him, but he vented and complained quite often. Don’t ever feel that when you bring your sorrows to the Lord it means that you are not trusting God. When you feel the need to vent to God, don’t think that you can’t. If God is our everything, it means HE will also be THE ONE to whom we should go with our heartaches, anxieties and pain.

One of the things I admire about Job is that he always knew that his life depended on God. He knew he was feeble and that God was sovereign. He never cursed at God, he kept his faith through losing it all and he lost it all. He lost his wife, his sons, all his earthly possessions, his friends and even his health. When I say he lost it all, he lost it ALL; but his faith.

So at least in my case, I may have some of the patience of Job. I whine and whine and complaint knowing that God is there. I give it all to him, but I still say “God is not fair” and God says it’s true, I never said life was fair, but I am fair.

I don’t only want to have the patience of Job. I also want to have his faith and endurance to be able to Praise the Lord no matter what comes my way.

Food for thought.

Burdens

 

Naty Matos

Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at http://www.therisingmuse.com

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CrossReads Book Blast for Femi Bolaji (God Tells the Sun to Shine)

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GOD TELLS THE SUN TO SHINE: An amazing story of love and forgiveness
By Femi Bolaji

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About the Book:

God tells the Sun to Shine is a short story about ambition, love, intrigue and forgiveness. The main character is the second-born of twin boys Esau and Jacob. Jacob struggles to come to terms with the privileges that the natural birth order accords the first-born twin Esau. He becomes so obsessed with the desire to become the alpha male in the family enterprise that he plots with their mum to upstage Esau. Although his plan succeeds, he is forced to flee the homeland after Esau plots to kill him in retaliation. For two decades, his life in exile is marked by turmoil in love, marriage and work. When a business arrangement goes pear shaped and he is faced with bankruptcy and the loss of his family, he decides instead to return to his country and face his nemesis – Esau. How will Jacob manoeuvre his way through the ordeal?

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

Femi Bolaji - photoFemi Bolaji is a seasoned writer and commentator on topical Christian themes. He likes to tell Bible-based stories in contemporary language and style that would appeal to all, yet with profound insight and application to the pressures of modern day living. He is an alumnus of the Bartlett, University College London. He lives in London, United Kingdom.

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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!


Website: http://graceandfaith4u.com/
Facebook Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Faith-4-U/249437741772914
Twitter: @graceandfaith4u

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Run Your Race by Patricia PacJac Carroll

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I love the movie Secretariat. It’s about the racehorse that won the Triple Crown in 1973. His owner ran her own race by not giving in and risked all to keep him. And these were the words that her father gave her, “Run your race.”

How much more are we, the children of the King of Kings, to run our race? For it is not for mere earthly treasure that we run, but for eternal life. First for ourselves, and then for those that the Lord puts across our path. Run Your Race.

Whether it be from writing our books or to be kind to the Starbucks Barista who waits on us. Or maybe it’s a timely word for the checker at the store who looks tired. Run Your Race.

Hear it? Sense the admonition in your hearts and souls? Lives are at stake. Eternal destinies hang in the balance. Run Your Race.

In Hebrews 12:1 We are encouraged to “…run with patience the race set before us.”

Run Your Race. Run it with patience. Patience for yourself, first. Taking the time to hear from the Lord what He would have you do and the way in which you are to run. Paul was an evangelist. I write Christian novels. All of us are commanded to tell the Good News. Run Your Race.

Run with patience for those you encounter. Take time in your run to be kind to one another, to honor your mother and father, to raise your children under the admonition of the Lord, to be honest, gentle, caring. To love one another. Run Your Race.

In Hebrews 12:1 it also says to “… lay aside every weight,” Put aside those burdens that want to cripple you. Ask the Lord what is hindering you. What weights are you carrying that He took for you. Do you think you are not smart enough? Pretty enough? Do you feel that you are a failure? Put those weights aside. The only weighty thing we need to carry is the cross. And Jesus did it all for us proclaiming “It is finished.” Run Your Race.

Aside from the weights and burdens of life are the sins that cripple us and cause us to stumble and even turn away from our race. What sins are hindering you? Ask Him. The Lord promises to give wisdom if you ask. And if you forgive, He also promises to forgive you. Turn away from things that you do that you know are wrong. The very things that ensnare your feet and make it hard for you to run, He has paid the price. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Run Your Race.

Now, know this that as you run your race, there is a crowd of witnesses cheering you on. Those who have gone before you. They have left their testimonies. Their treasure. Even their blood. To remind you that this is an eternal race. A glorious race that you do not run alone. For the Lord is always with you.

Run Your Race.

About the Author:

Patricia PacJac Carroll

 

Patricia PacJac Carroll~ I am a writer, Christian first, and blessed beyond my imagination. I live in the Dallas-Ft Worth area of Texas with my wonderful treasure of a husband, my spoiled dog, Jacs, and my awesome grown son, Josh. Did I say I was blessed? The PacJac is from my initials and my husbands. I wouldn’t be able to write if it weren’t for him.

I love adventure and the open road. The stories of the western era have always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy writing, and my goal is to write stories readers will enjoy.

Hope you are enjoying the series ~ Mail Order Brides of Hickory Stick. I’ll have a new series this year set in Montana – Solomon’s Valley ~ First book is The Feud.

My blogs http://patriciapacjaccarroll.blogspot.com/
Also on FB http://www.facebook.com/PatriciaPacJacCarrollAuthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/@PacJac
Email pacjaccarroll@aol.com

Psalm 26:7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

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Calling All Christian Indie Authors and Readers by Mary Findley

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decision time is here

We at the Christian Indie Author Network want to help you make a very important decision. We want you to decide to join us at our first ever Indie Author Conference. It will be held July 30-August 2, 2015, at the Radisson Quad City Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, 111 East Second Street, Davenport, Iowa, 52801.

We have come up with three reasons why you may still be undecided and we’d like to deal with them one by one to relieve your mind of some of the decision-making responsibility.

questions

I still have questions
Please ask. If we don’t have an answer right now, we’ll get one. Our conference pages do have lots of answers already, though. We hope you’ll stop by the site and take a look around. We’re only an email away if you don’t find what you’re looking for. Check out our sessions or our full conference schedule. Look at the facilities, accommodations, and vendor possibilities. Don’t just keep saying “I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure.”

money

I don’t think I’ll have the money
Many CIAN members are struggling with finances right now, as are many Christian indie authors. We are believing God for finances, praying for each other, and seeking all the financial help we can get, to find vendors and supporters. We look at this as a need. God’s writer people have to help each other learn, grow, and have an impact in publishing. We declare 2015 to be the Year of the Indie. Come meet us, pray with us, and become inspired and informed.

fun

Not sure what our plans for the summer will be
Make sure. Set aside this date and this place and come join us. If you are concerned about Davenport, Iowa being a boring or pointless place to spend precious down time, family time, or vacation time, please keep in mind that the Quad Cities area is a major cultural center not that far from Chicago and other cities. The host hotel has a major jazz festival at the same time as our conference and the hotel is already fully booked beyond our specially discounted and reserved block of rooms. Check around for yourself and see that we’re not asking you to drop into the middle of a cornfield.

vendors title

This post applies to vendors as well. We need swag and swag bags. We need cover designers, on-demand publishers, small presses, editors, writer software providers, marketing experts – Indie authors make their own choices about what services and products they buy. Help them choose you by being there where they can see you.

readers

We haven’t forgotten readers, either. You are welcome, and more than welcome. We need you! Come and see our costumed story characters. Meet authors you know and authors you’ll be glad you discovered. Find nonfiction, children’s and young reader selections, romance, historicals, YA, scifi, fantasy – yes indeed, we write it all! Learn about the diversity that is the Christian Indie Author Network!

CIAN Website/Conference section
http://www.christianindieauthors.com/cia-conference.html

Facebook group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/818894711513293/

YouTube Video (made by Debby De Quilettes-Alten of Alten Ink)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLdzIkr5jR0&feature=youtu.be

who or what wait

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Our Identity Is Our Authority by Tina Webb

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Who you believe you are makes all the difference in life. It did for Peter.

Last Sunday, my pastor shared the difference between the pre-Pentecost Peter and the post-Pentecost Peter. Picture a strong, boisterous man, hands rough from handling fishing nets, outlook on life seasoned by unpredictable daily catches and the harsh climate of Roman-ruled Israel. We meet Simon Peter in the Gospel of Matthew, while he is fishing with his brother on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus recruits him and eventually Peter’s revelation that Jesus is the Son of God becomes the rock on which Jesus builds His Church.

Peter’s personality often amuses us as well as confounds us. He is brash, direct but loving and sincere. He is used by the devil to threaten Jesus’ destiny yet readily accepts the truth that Jesus Christ is the fullness of God in a human body. This pre-Pentecost Peter makes us cringe each time he denies Jesus out of fear of being identified by the Roman police force.

Here is a man who knows God more intimately than most of us, yet after Jesus’ death, he returns to being a fisher of fish, assuming that he has disqualified himself from that higher call of being a fisher of men. Hopeless, he returns to the Sea of Galilee.

When Jesus meets Peter the first time, he calls him up out of the Sea. In the Bible, seas often represent sin and evil. Jesus gives Peter the opportunity the abandon sin to embrace a new life. Years later, does Peter understand the meaning of Jesus’ words to him? “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18) Peter’s name means “rock”. Jesus establishes a new identity for Peter but Peter, bless his heart, doesn’t get it.

However Post-Pentecost Peter is certain, convinced, fully persuaded and enveloped in his righteousness identity. He spoke with authority of a man who knew His God.

What happened to him?

While Peter was back in his fishing boat, the resurrected Jesus appears to him and initiates a conversation. “Do you love these more than me?” is the questionJesus asks. Jesus is asking Peter, “Peter, do you live these fish, do you love being a fisherman, do you love this identity, more than what I have to give to you?” Each time Peter answers, Jesus gives him an authoritative mandate. It took three denials for Peter to lose himself, but three assents to discover his redeemed self, a man of authority.

Jesus’ church, established upon the belief in His divine identity, must understand her redemptive identity as His spotless Bride and reject her former identity. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The seas of “who we once were” will always tempt us to return after we think we’ve let Jesus down. However, Jesus establishes who we are. Our God-defined identity gives us the authority to stand and the gates of Hades will not prevail against us.

About the Author:

Tina Webb

 

Tina Webb is the author of the fantasy fiction novelette, Abba’s Lament which illustrates the nature of God the Father, as He experiences the rejection of one of His own. Her newest release is a inspirational devotional, Selah: Daily Quotes for Daily Meditation, co-written with her best friend, Sena Woodall. Tina is married to Doug and the mother of six. Besides writing, she enjoys homeschooling her children, leading worship for prayer meetings, and cooking. She writes about topics related to her books on her author blog: beforethebeginningbook.blogspot.com

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 33:1 Let the godly sing with joy to the LORD, for it is fitting to praise him.

Do you have a song in your heart today? Does your soul sing forth His praises? If not, you need to take a few moments and examine your heart and see why not. It is the natural thing to do for the godly. Christ in us gives us much cause to sing with joy to the Lord.

If you have no song to sing, perhaps it’s because you have wandered away from His love. Perhaps you have neglected to do those things which keep your salvation fresh and alive. Perhaps you have taken your eyes off of the Lord and have let others fill your mind with thoughts that are not true. Perhaps you have become too engrossed with the things of the world and have failed to keep the Lord the priority of your life. Perhaps you have listened to Satan lies that God is not faithful and true because of your circumstances of life. Perhaps you have gotten too comfortable in your salvation and no longer pursue growth and greater understanding of God’s Word. Perhaps your prayer life has become stale and more of going through the motions rather than actually communing with God. Perhaps you have not diligently protected your soul and let sin in. There are many reasons why the godly no longer feel like singing with joy unto the Lord.

It is fitting to sing praises unto the Lord. It is the right thing to do and the natural thing to do when we are living godly lives. Christ in us is worth singing about! Oh the joy of knowing that Christ lives in us! Oh the joy of knowing our sins are forgiven and all is well between God and us! Oh the joy of knowing that Christ is at work within us to make us new creations in Him! Oh the joy of knowing the work of the Spirit within us as we grow into becoming a holy people before God! Oh the joy of knowing that if you were to die within the next few moments you would be welcomed into the Kingdom of God with open arms!

Oh the wondrous joys of our salvation! Let us sing for joy unto the Lord today and every step we take on our way home. Oh praise the wondrous name of Jesus!
C Through Marriage
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Express Yourself by Lorieen D. Henry

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Three years ago, I wrote There is a Miracle in 21: God Completes! It was written to encourage anyone who may doubt their importance in life. Travelling the journey with me was meant to encourage you to make a difference right where you are in life. You don’t have to be perfect nor have it all together. There is but, ONE who is perfect and that is JESUS CHRIST. However, He can clean you up enough to use you for His glory. With Him, you will quickly realize the difference in your life and the contribution you make in the lives of others. No matter how hard you try, you can’t be successful on the journey alone. My book touches on where your focus should lie on your road to victorious living.

Think of yourself as you were created to be not as your emotions speak to you in the moment. GOD can use minimal skills to produce a completed work and in my case a miracle. On many occasions, I have the focus of a two year old. I can’t write or let’s say I’m not a professional. Many days, I’m not sure what my skills are in this area because I haven’t mastered or perfected the art of writing. I have been expressing myself for many years on paper. However, there’s a difference in writing for my eyes only and writing something that someone else will read. Expressing my thoughts as often as I want and how I want is therapeutic but very random. Therefore writing a book took a lot of effort on my part (21 months to be exact).

My book is not perfect, but it ministers to people. Even if it just inspires another to action, it was not written in vain. I want others to know that GOD COMPLETES! NOTHING can be done by your own strength. Even with GOD, things can be hard, but the testimony is that “ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE” with GOD.

I said all of that to say, “Someone is waiting on you to express yourself. Your expression is a healing balm. Your expression is an inspiration!” Express yourself!!!

About the Author:

Lorieen D. Henry

Lorieen D. Henry is a homemaker and veteran of the United States Army. She holds a BA degree in Journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. She spends most of her time exhorting others for the glory of God. Henry, the ordinary, has been graced to do the extraordinary. She and her family currently reside in Germany.

Contact Lorieen:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00A4F3RJ2
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/lorieenhenry

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Excerpt of “The Other Man” by Parker J. Cole

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Everyone loves to read an excerpt so enjoy this from my new book The Other Man, Book 2 of the Sins of the Flesh series. Available now!

The Other ManLeah Westwood loves her husband Jacob with all her heart, even as the smoldering glances of her ex-flame Vincent Miller continue to affect her. What she once shared with Vincent threatens to rip apart the bonds she is trying to build with her husband.

Jacob’s heart belongs to Leah, but his body refuses to accept that. Rachel is the one who has been his mainstay at the most difficult times in his life. How could he leave her alone?

Vincent wants Leah back and all he has to do is watch and wait as Jacob and Leah’s relationship unravels.

Ultimately, Leah must make a choice . . . between fantasy and fidelity.

________________________

Excerpt

Vincent Miller stared at the beaming bride, who stood at the altar as she married Jacob Westwood. He had never seen Leah Martin look so beautiful. She had always been a looker, but now at her wedding, she had a bridal glow about her. Her caramel skin radiated with a golden sheen, the thick riot of russet curls shimmered, and her ivory gown was the perfect complement to her curves.

She laughed as she gave her flowers to her maid of honor. A little boy came down the aisle with a broom decorated with pink ribbons and frills. When the little boy placed the broom at the bride and groom’s feet, she and Jacob jumped over it. The bridegroom tripped and his arms flailed to keep from falling. The church rang with laughter as he smiled and stole another kiss from his new bride.

Third in line, Vincent watched with hooded eyes as Leah hugged more guests while the photographer took pictures of the bride and groom with everyone in the receiving line. As his turn came up, he braced himself and allowed his face to show only happiness for her.

“Vincent!” she screamed in his ear as she hugged him. The world receded. The flash of the photographer’s camera faded as an onslaught of sensations cascaded over his mind and heated his surging blood. His nostrils flared as he greedily inhaled the cocoa butter–scented skin. The assault of that delicious aroma nearly made his eyes roll into the back of his head. All her round, soft curves melted into his solid frame like warmed syrup over pancakes. The gentle clasp of her arms around his middle effectively imprisoned him, but he was a willing captive. He gritted his teeth in an attempt to still his senses from saturating themselves in the presence of this woman. Yet, when she pulled back from him an instant later, his body ached to hold her again.

“Hey, Vincent.”

The sound of the husband’s voice was an ice cold bucket of distraction that disintegrated the hold Leah’s presence had on him. Vincent gave himself a mental shake as he tugged on the ends of his suit and smoothed his hair in a nonchalant way. He hoped as he reached out to shake the groom’s hand that the slight tremble of his own hand wasn’t visible.

“Congrats, you guys.” How words erupted from his mouth was a mystery. Before he could say more, the photographer gestured and Leah jumped between them with her arms around their necks. Vincent’s lips stretched and curved upward as a sardonic voice whispered in his mind. Smile for the camera.

___________

Me in a nutshell(literally):

Parker J. Cole

A recovering Mountain Dew and marshmallow addict, church girl, trekkie, radio host, bookaholic, and romantic who writes to fill the void the sugar left behind.

 

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The Jesus Seed by Staci Stallings

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Here is an interesting concept, but first, we’re going to look at a scenario you’re going to find humorous.

A farmer decides that he wants to grow corn. So he goes out into his field, and he makes all the furrows. He waters the field because he’s been told he must do so in order to yield a crop. He makes sure that he starts watering in the Spring because he’s heard that’s the best time to raise a crop. He fertilizes the soil because he’s heard you should do that if you want good corn. He waters it some more and puts on some bug killer because he doesn’t want the bugs to come and destroy his crop.

He waits, and soon something starts coming up–a bunch of weeds. Angry, he goes out and starts hoeing the weeds. He hoes from sun up to sun down, row after row after row. When he’s finished, he looks out over his field and is incredibly disappointed. He’s done everything right and still no corn!

So he increases the water and keeps chopping at the weeds. After all, that’s what the farmer down the road did and this worked great for him. He keeps this up all summer, and at the end, he is incredibly frustrated. Why didn’t his field produce any corn?

Go ahead. Answer the question.

Why did this farmer’s field not produce corn?

Right.

Because he didn’t plant any!

Now this is going to sound ridiculously simple, but if you don’t plant a seed, I don’t care how much you work and tend that field, you are not going to get a crop.

So I’m going to ask you–have you ever worked to get a crop but forgotten to plant a Jesus Seed first?

In the book I’m reading, “How People Change” by Timothy S. Lane and Paul Tripp, the idea of Jesus as seed is touched upon. Strangely maybe, I have never had cause to think of Jesus this way, but if you start with that metaphor and look at the Bible stories and parables about seed, it will illuminate many new insights.

You see, I don’t care what “crop” you are wanting to grow, without Jesus at the center of it, you’re watering and weeding a crop that is never going to show up. And if it does, it will feel very empty and will almost certainly lead you to death rather than life.

Really. Look at some of the news stories of the past couple years. Bernie Madoff for example. He wanted money, and he scammed and lied and cheated. Clearly he forgot to plant the Jesus Seed first. Instead, he did what the world said would give him what he wanted, and he ended up with a field full of weeds.

Look at some of the stars that have gone off the deep-end. They wanted fame and fortune. They watered their talent and let the sun shine on their careers, but when the weeds showed up and took over, they had no defense against them. The crop of fame and fortune turned to bitterness and regret.

If you want change, if you want a great crop, you have to start with a Jesus Seed. You must plant HIM in the middle of your field. The dreams with Him in the center may not bring you where you thought you wanted to go, but they will always bring you where you were always meant to be.

To plant your Jesus Seed, seek His will for your life, put your desires in His hands and take the steps He’s asking you to take when He asks you to take them. Yes, there will still be watering and weeding, but the Seed of Goodness is the key to having an abundant crop that will lead to a life you cannot even imagine right now!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012

Now Available from Staci Stallings

More Than This

by Staci Stallings

More Than ThisAll Jake wanted was a cup of coffee and a quiet place to write. What he found was her and far more than he ever imagined could be possible…

Liz Savoy has no plans to date anyone — least of all the dark handsome mystery man who sometimes inhabits the corner table at the coffee shop where she’s working to get through school. But plans change, sometimes in ways no one expected.

Jake McCoy is the next mega-millionaire author, or at least he would be if he could get the stories in his head down on the ether. With no good place to write, he resorts to dark corners in Wi-Fi hotspots, knowing no one in the world cares about him or his comings and goings one way or the other. However, there is one waitress at The Grind coffee shop with a cute smile and kind eyes who doesn’t seem to think he is as invisible as he likes to think he is. Can reality with her ever hope to match the fantasy world where his imagination has him living?

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