Friday, October 18, 2013

Blog Tour for Secrets Kept by J. L. Mbewe


With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.

Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.


Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.




I recently read The Dragon Thief, a prequel to Secrets Kept. This short story was mesmerizing. It left me with a hunger to learn more about these characters and their entrancing world. What more could you want in a story that has mysterious merfolk, an intimate mentor, and a stalwart friend? J. L. Mbewe's writing is poetic, flowing beautifully, effortlessly. 

Secrets Kept is a new release. It's a bargain at only 99 cents. I got my copy today. I look forward to reading more of the wonderful world J. L. Mbewe has created.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Moonbow Cover Reveal

Moonbow, my romantic suspense book, will be published in ebook format on December 17th by Alt Wit Press. I’m so happy to have found such a great publisher, one who believes in me and my book. My publisher commissioned a new book cover. I love it!

Moonbow2

 

Here’s the blurb:

A widow, a doctor, an unborn child. Three lives are at risk in this high stakes suspense. Die Auserwahlten, the Chosen Ones, have impregnated Gisa with an embryonic clone. Is it evil or just a child? It's up to Dr. Rayden Brooks to untangle the web that keeps them captive and to save their lives. But will Gisa trust him?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Progress

This year started out with a bang—a trip to the emergency room in January. And since then, for over nine months now, I have been battling health problems. Add to that the stress of dealing with my ninety-year-old mother’s worsening dementia, and…what can I say? I’ve fallen way behind on my goals for this year.

But things are improving! I am closing in on the last chapters of Moonbow. Based on some early beta reads, much of the book has been rewritten. And I have a publisher. Alt Wit Press will be publishing my book. I will have a new book cover and will reveal it soon—stay tuned.

Also, I plan to do the third booklet in the Rise, Write, Shine series. I was hoping it would be finished by September but that month has come and gone. But soon—I hope!

And, lastly, I hope to write Thunder’s Shadow during NaNo—if Moonbow doesn’t leave me completely exhausted and if my health cooperates and if…well, you get the idea. In other words, if it’s God’s will. I have a ton of ideas for this last book and look forward to getting started on it. It will be published next year…if I get the rough draft written during NaNo.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Week on Facebook

Monday Meme
This is a picture, taken by my husband, of our pond on a foggy morning.

Treasure Tuesday 

Earthly safety is but an illusion. Real safety is when we abide in our Father’s hands. It’s only then that we can be“convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Writing Wednesday

One year, many people watched Tim Tebow’s team, the Broncos, in the playoffs. The Broncos were crushed by the Patriots, as most of the world knows. 

Tebow had this to say: 

"I just wanted to show character. You just continue to fight, and it doesn’t change who you are, who you play, how you go out there. You should be the same at all times. That’s what I wanted to show. It didn’t matter whether it was the first play or the last play or you were down by 42. I was going to be the same player and I was still going to give everything I have. Because that’s all I have to give. Every time I step on the field, I’m going to give my whole heart, regardless score-wise of what’s happening."

Failing doesn’t matter. We still keep our focus, stay the same, still remain children of God, and give everything we have, our “whole heart.” When we do, God will be with us. "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." ~Matthew 6:33 

Stay focused and seek God, no matter what, and he will guide you in your writing. Trust his promises!

Throwback Thursday

A picture of my husband, Carl, me, and my son who was a year old at the time. Many moons ago!

Fun Friday



This is a real fish! The eyes are inside of the clear dome of its head. One day I hope to write a sci-fi book. Perhaps my aliens will have some of the physical traits seen in this weird fish!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Excavate the Trenches and Claim God’s Promises (My Week on Facebook)

Meme Monday

Treasure Tuesday

Suppression of doubts either completely destroys faith or infantilizes the Christian.

Years ago, my teen children were taught some things I had never considered and led to some questioning. A group of parents said--"Should we pull our children out so they are not exposed to those teachings?" I said something like this:

"Truth is truth. If these teachings are not truth, digging deep will expose their falsehood."

Maybe I was overly optimistic. However, I do believe that doubts, questioning, and searching should never be suppressed. Only by digging deep can we excavate the trenches needed to build a firm foundation.

"The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." ~Acts 17:11 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Writing Wednesday

In Joshua, Chapter One, God promised Moses much more than the Israelites ever received.

Why? God tells Joshua: I will give you every place where you set your foot. (verse 3) The Israelites simply did not step out in faith to receive all God had promised.

Have we tentatively placed our feet onto the ice, to see if it will break under the pressure, to see if we will fall into the icy depths? Christian writers need to stride into their writing lives strong and courageous.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. ~Joshua 1:7-9

God will be with us. He will guide us. Our job is to stay focused and to meditate upon his word. Let go of fears and step into the promises of God. He will give us success, perhaps not worldly success, but success nonetheless.

Just put your best foot forward today and claim the promises!

Throw Back Thursday

I found this in my father’s pictures. I’m not sure but I believe it was taken near Ansbach, Germany around 1952.

Fun Fridays

Cool landscapes—check out more at http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/stories/too-beautiful-to-be-real-16-surreal-landscapes-found-on-earth

You can catch all of these over on my author Facebook page.

Please consider giving me a “Like” if you have not done so! https://www.facebook.com/SheilaHollingheadAuthor

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back to School Hop


Giveaway! The winner will receive a paperback, autographed copy of both Thundersnow and Clothed in Thunder. (The covers will not be those pictured.)


Enter to win below the excerpt.

An excerpt from Clothed in Thunder, Sarah Jane's first day at a new school:

Chapter 3--New School

My aunt took my arm, and we walked in the direction the girl had pointed. Before we rounded the corner, I turned to give the girl one last look.

The teeming students hurried orderly to their classes. The girl stood amidst them, as if in an oasis, and gave me a small wave. From this distance it looked as if concern furrowed her brow.

Near her was a male teacher. Shorter than most of the students and balding, yet still with a shock of black hair, he narrowed his dark eyes when his gaze fell on us. No wonder the girl looked concerned.

A sense of dread filled me that I tried to shake off. Clutching the tablet, pencil, and my syrup-can lunch pail so tightly to my chest that my knuckles whitened, I followed my aunt into the office.

She stood at the counter and fidgeted under the scrutiny of the secretary. “Miss Ballard, I wish to enroll my niece.”

Was she nervous for me? I placed a hand on her arm to comfort both of us.

Miss Ballard gave a curt nod. “Yes, Mrs. Barnett. I heard your niece and nephew moved in with you.” She pushed some papers across the counter. “What grade will she be entering?”

My aunt glanced at me, and I swallowed. Technically, I had never finished ninth grade. And now, also, I had missed the first two months of tenth grade.

I swallowed down the fear rising in my throat and raised my chin. “Tenth, Miss Ballard.”

“Where did you last attend school?”

“Sterling School in Covington County.” I looked down at my new pair of shoes. Sturdy brown leather whose soles didn’t flap.

Miss Ballard handed a list to my aunt. “These are the books she’ll need. The prices are beside each one.”

My aunt’s eyes widened. She shook her head as Miss Ballard came around the corner. “There aren’t any cheaper books?”

“Oh, yes.” Miss Ballard nodded vigorously. “You can get them used. As a matter of fact, I have some here you can choose from.”

She walked to a cupboard and pulled down books in varying degrees of decrepitness. She pointed out the prices until my aunt cut her short.

“We’ll take the cheapest ones.” She glanced over at me, apologetically.

I gave her an encouraging smile. At least I had books for school, and that was all that mattered.

"I'll show you to your homeroom," Miss Ballard said. She stood by the door and waited.

Aunt Liza straightened my collar and gave my shoulder a squeeze. I gave her a quick hug, breathing in her smell of vanilla. I released her and followed Miss Ballard.

The empty hallways echoed the sounds of our clacking shoes. Sunlight streamed through the large windows but did little to dispel the gloom from the tall, dark, wood-beamed ceilings.

The hallway was eerily silent. For such a large school, the students seemed exceptionally quiet. Either that or the walls were thick enough to muffle all sounds.

She stopped at a door and turned to face me. "Sarah Jane, please let me know if, if . . ."

"Yes, Miss Ballard?"

She eyed me anxiously. Highly efficient until now, her sudden indecision worried me.

"Just let me know if you ever have a problem. Okay?"

"Yes, ma'am." What did she mean? A problem with a teacher or a student?

Before I had time to ask, she knocked briskly on the door.


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Keep on hopping! Visit the links above for other great giveaways.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Week on Facebook

 

Meme Monday

We owe all to God

This is a meme I made from a picture of the pond near our house. God has given us so much beauty to enjoy!

Treasure Tuesday (Sharing treasure from God’s word)

Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them. If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. ~Ecclesiastes 10:9-10 (NIV)

We know “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.” ~Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

God’s word is our ax that helps us meet the world head on. Its sharpness will give us the strength we need to “quarry stones” and “split logs” without being fatally hurt by them.

The more skill we have in handling God’s word, the more we can combat the things that threaten to destroy our joy. And truly rejoice!

Writers Wednesday:

The sound of silence can be deafening and devastating. Silence is not always golden. Sometimes it indicates a putrefying morality, a fear to speak.

Remember: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. ~Proverbs 25:11

Let's speak and *write* with boldness.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7

 

Throwback Thursday

Army1

I found this among my father’s pictures. As many know, my In the Shadow of the Cedar series was inspired by my mother and father. In the third book, Thunder’s Shadow, Michael and Dan will be in the military during World War II. Lord willing, the book will be published in July, 2014.

Fun Friday

You can catch all of these over on my author Facebook page. Please consider giving me a “Like” if you have not done so! https://www.facebook.com/SheilaHollingheadAuthor

Thanks!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Book Covers for In the Shadow of the Cedar Series

I have a strong personality trait—I crave change. I also have a strong creative streak and get antsy wanting to create. The decision was made to change the covers of my two published books for young adults. And, so, I contacted Lynnette Bonner and we put our heads together. She did a beautiful job on the new covers. I’m enamored of them and have to stop what I’m doing and pull them up to just stare for a minute. Smile

Two are uploaded to Amazon and hopefully will go into effect soon. Thundersnow and also Clothed in Thunder are available on Amazon. (Click to buy)

1. ThunderSnow2. ClothedinThunder3. ThundersShadowThunder’s Shadow, the last of the series, will be published in July, 2014—Lord willing!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Branding

So, unless you live under a rock, you probably saw the hullabaloo about the performance of Miley Cyrus on VMA Awards.

But wait…I’m confused. Haven’t we had other performers doing similar things? Didn’t Michael Jackson grab his crotch many, many years ago? Don’t we have the Madonnas and Lady Gagas? Don’t we have commercials that sell products using sex? (The latest I’ve seen—Liquid Plumr).

Why the outrage over Miley Cyrus? True, there has been outrage over some commercials and some other performers but mainly among conservative Christians. What is the underlying reason for the attack against Miley Cyrus?

As a conservative Christian, I agree that commercials and many entertainers are portraying porn, including Miley Cyrus.

However, the shock and outrage is coming more from our expectations than from the reality.

Branding is an interesting concept. It is not simply the artist who brands him or herself. Branding comes from the fans also. We have branded Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. She can skirt on the edges of the brand but can never fully break free. There have been exceptions where a few performers have reinvented themselves, but it is an arduous process that takes creativity and talent. Why go from a respected, well-liked singer to one people abhor?

Basically, these are my points.

1. Miley Cyrus became a mega star based on her likability, not on sex appeal. She needs to embrace that—if she has not done irreparable damage.

2. Branding comes as much from fans as from ourselves. Let’s own the important part our fans play in the branding process.

3. Our outrage should encompass all the manipulative, dehumanizing actors, performers, advertisers, politicians, television shows, movies, books, etc. out there. It’s time to wrench our country’s future back on the right path.

After all, the United States of America has its own brand.

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Let’s keep our country worthy of the blessings of God.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Relationships, Disappointments, and Embarrassment

Most of us love the Andy Griffith shows. In “Opie’s Charity” we have an example of a child embarrassing a parent. Opie gives only three cents to a charity fundraiser. Andy becomes angry after he asks why, and Opie explains that he is saving up his money to buy a present for his girlfriend. (And this, THIS, is what Jesus meant by not judging. Later we find he has a good reason to give his girlfriend a present.)

Here’s the entire plot: When the town do-gooder, Annabelle Silby, informs Andy that Opie contributed only three cents to a fund raising drive, Andy attempts to teach Opie the importance of giving with hilarious results. Shortly after Andy's lecture he meets Tom Silby, Anabelle's husband, on the street. Andy rushes Tom into the office out of public view. Andy then explains to Tom that as far as he and the rest of Mayberry is concerned, Tom is dead. His wife had told everyone that he was hit by a taxi in Charlottesville. Tom reveals that he wasn't killed at all, but simply got enough of Anabelle's nagging and left her. Rather than admit she lost her husband, Anabelle pretended that Tom was killed and proceeded to have a funeral. After visiting his grave, Andy convinces Tom to go home to Anabelle and patch things up. Back at home, Andy tries again to convince Opie to give more than three cents to the children's fund. When Opie refuses, stating that he is saving his money to buy his girlfriend Charlotte something, Andy gives up and send him off to his room without supper. Aunt Bee then turns the tables on Andy, lecturing him about having the same foolish pride as Anabelle Silby. Andy sees the error of his ways and decides to let the issue drop. Opie then reveals he is saving his money to buy Charlotte a coat because her family is poor and cannot buy her a new one. Andy realizes that his own pride has got the best of him. ~http://mayberry.wikia.com/wiki/Opie's_Charity

So, the parallel plot also shows embarrassment—this time between a husband and wife. Damage to relationships occurs when we hide our problems instead of openly dealing with them. Embarrassment comes from an inflated ego. This is why we are told in the Bible to humble ourselves before God. Humbleness leaves no room for embarrassment.

When we are disappointed and embarrassed by others, we often end up rejecting them. In this case, Andy sends Opie to his room without supper; Anabelle pretends Tom was killed. Rejection leads to feelings of worthlessness, and in many cases, the behavior only worsens.

Let me make this point very clearly—not being embarrassed or disappointed does not mean we allow misbehavior from our children or that we don’t work out problems with our spouses. It means we are open and honest. Our job as a parent is not to make sure our children reflect us in a good light. No, no, no. Our job as a parent is to raise our children to make correct choices, to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Nurture them. Even when they have a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. Or, perhaps, especially.

from Keisha S Caldwell on Facebook

Laugh for the Day via Facebook

I sneezed on my computer. Carl said, "Quick--clean it before it gets a virus." *groan* ~me

Thought for the Day via Facebook

When we are young, our love is written in the stars. When we grow old together, our love is written in the scars. ~me

Helpful Hint for the Day via Facebook

Friday, August 9, 2013

Angels Among Us

My brother sent me a link this morning about a mysterious priest who appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. You can read the story here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/07/angel-crash-missouri/2630227/

It reminded me of an event that happened to my husband when he was twenty. He was driving through downtown Opp, Alabama when a man stepped in front of him. The man fell on the hood of the car and then rolled to the pavement. By the time Carl reached the man, he was face down in a pool of blood as if dead. A crowd gathered and paramedics arrived. Carl moved back and watched helplessly.

A middle-aged lady with black hair walked up to my shaking husband and wrapped an arm around him. “He’s all right,” she said. A peace descended and later Carl searched in vain for the woman to thank her for her comforting words and presence. When he asked around, no one in this small town recognized the description. No one had seen her, or anyone else, talking to Carl. All agreed that Carl had been standing alone.

Later, a trip to the hospital revealed the man had torn ligaments in his hand but otherwise was fine. The blood had come from hitting his nose on the pavement, and the blow had also temporarily knocked him out.

So, who was the priest in the article? Who was the woman? What do you believe?

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? ~Hebrews 1:14

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Facebook Happiness

People do not always use Facebook to their advantage. Writers and especially Christian writers must guard their countenance. Of course we don’t want to be accused of this: You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. ~Matthew 23:27. My mother always said, “Pretty is as pretty does.” We need to cultivate beauty by studying God’s word. Let’s reflect the happiness from within us.

1. So don’t be all like--

anigifblog

(FYI:The Muslim man is the one kicked out of an event because he was too good looking.)

2. Cultivate kindness and your fans will love you.

anigif2

3. But stay humble. And don’t make a big deal out of it.

Over the top

4. And be careful of ranting or you’ll look like this:

MM900282737 (1)

5. Maybe you don’t want to be the fluffiest person around…

anigif3

(http://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseamarshall/the-33-fluffiest-animals-on-the-planet)

6. But let’s work to cultivate the right image to sell our books.

MM910001121

7. Because who wants to lose readers?

Oops. Didn’t mean to say that.

8. When we’re really looking for this:

MM900283559

Let’s make Facebook our happy place!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blog Tour for Emerald Barnes

Alexia Wheaton’s problems go far beyond picking a dress and a date for the homecoming dance.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory - the memory of her parents' horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet about the identity of the murderer to protect herself and her family and friends, but when a journalist over hears her secret and writes about it in the local newspaper, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents' murderer will soon find her - and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents' murderer to justice. She will face many secrets, lies, and betrayals before the truth about their murder is revealed.

It’s on the edge of her memory like a word on the tip of her tongue, but Kandi can’t remember what it is to save her life.

Despite being a cop, Jimmy can’t protect Kandi from the one thing that haunts her. She’s in danger and doesn’t even know it. After it happened, her brain repressed her memories of the accident, and now, she’s taking a Biology class under a man who wants to see her dead. The memories have started coming back, and it feels like she’s miles away from him. How can he protect her when she doesn’t even know she needs protecting?

Can these characters pierce their way through the darkness?

Enter to win this Summer Fun Prize Pack!


About Emerald Barnes:

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.  She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.  

She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!  She's constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with.  She blogs at emeraldbarnes.blogspot.com 
and ebarnes23.wordpress.com which takes up more of her time than she anticipates but loves it so very much!  She's also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is so amazing!

She's an auntie to two beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews (and another unknown gender coming by the end of 2013) who take up the other half of her time, but she couldn't imagine spending her time in any other way!  

She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person.  God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.  

Stay up to date with her at her Website, Twitter, and Facebook.  You can also find her on Goodreads , Google+, and stay up to date with her releases on her Amazon Author Page
For more stops on the tour visit: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us/on-tour.html
***Author’s note: If the ganxy html code doesn’t work for the buy links, here are my links without the html code.***
Read Me Dead
Createspace                    

Piercing Through the Darkness


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Modesty and Other Thoughts

Modesty is a topic that has been bandied about quite a bit recently. What is modesty? I say it’s an ever moving target. I assure you that if most Christian women transported back fifty years with their current wardrobes, church folks would be horrified.

This is an area that we cannot dictate to others. Here is a common-sense yardstick—if you feel uncomfortable wearing it and if it draws unwanted attention from others, choose something else instead. (If you find yourself among the people of Wal-mart photos, probably not modest either.)

I have written several blog posts about judging—here: Don't Judge Me! and here: Reprove. The Bible teaches us to discern that which is right.

Nowhere does it tell us what we are allowed or not allowed to wear. Nowhere does it tell us what TV shows or movies we are allowed to watch. It does say--Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8.

If a TV show or movie is not those things to you, then don’t watch. But each person needs to judge those matters for his/herself. We cannot impose our thoughts of what is “good” or modest upon others.

Where the Bible teaches clearly—for example, murder is wrong—then we do have the right and, furthermore, the responsibility to judge others.

Otherwise, leave the judging to God.

 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cover Reveal, Secrets Kept, Book One of The Hidden Dagger Trilogy.by J.L. Mbewe

With a curse, she will build an army. 
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice. 
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper. 

Coming this fall.
Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father's death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people's bizarre behavior. 

Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother's disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.

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Enter to win this bookmark: 


Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete.
She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don't seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and books, among other things. While living life balanced between reality and dreams, she is creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril.
Her debut novel, Secrets Kept, is coming this fall, and in the meantime be on the lookout this summer for short stories set in the World of Nälu. For more information about her journey as a writer mama and all things creative please visit her at http://jlmbewe.com.
You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zombies and Christians

zombie noteZombies are everywhere—books, TV, movies; even the Centers for Disease Control put out an article on preparing for the zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead on AMC accounts for much of this interest. The third season’s finale broke a record for the most watched drama series on cable TV. And, yes, even children know all about zombies.

My grandsons had a conversation a few days ago. The four-year-old said, “My daddy loves zombies and I do too.” The seven-year-old responded, “You can’t love zombies. They’ll eat your brains.”

Yes, we’re all familiar with zombie shows. I’ve noticed the zombie apocalypse in the shows I’ve seen is a microcosm of our world. It’s our world intensified. What would that do to our faith? How would we, as Christians, react when we see the chaos and evil around us?

Zombies, as most know, are single-minded in their quest for brains. Nothing stops them. They move slowly, yet steadily, towards their goal. They can lose an arm and will use the limbs that remain to claw through solid boards. If they lose legs, they crawl through mud and filth. Their thirst for brains cannot be quenched.

And that’s the same kind of world we live in. The world is relentless in it’s pursuit of our souls, never stopping in its quest. How do we combat it? The same way survivors combat the zombies.

When fighting the undead, the combatants don’t worry about how fancy their homes are, if they’re wearing the latest fashions, if they’re driving the latest sports model—they have no concerns about the material world around them. They are focused on defeating the enemy.

They actively search for the best weapons, the sharpest swords to chop off zombie heads, the strongest homes to ward off attacks, the most trustworthy friends to help with the fight.

And that, my friends, is the same way we fight the world.

We learn God’s word for it is our sword: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit…~Hebrews 4:12

We seek good companions to help us stay strong: A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~Proverbs 18:24

We remain righteous to fortify our homes: The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. ~Proverbs 3:33

Good to know for the zombie apocalypse and good to know in the here and now.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spit Shine Your Writing

Excerpt from Shine that will be published at the end of the year.

Someone told me yesterday that nothing polishes boots better than a little spit. Having a scientific bent of mind, I wondered about “spit.”

I know that real “spit,” saliva if you prefer, moistens our food and helps it slide down our esophagus easier. Even the most delicious food becomes challenging if saliva is not present. We choke on it.

In the same way, if our writing does not contain “spit,” readers are going to choke on it. They may manage to swallow, but it will be difficult.

Besides moistening food, saliva also contains enzymes that begin the breakdown of food. I’m guessing here that the enzymes might be the reason spit works better than plain water. The enzymes help eat away the gunk clinging to the boots.

In our first drafts, we also have gunk. Our “spit” will remove the gunk and let our words shine.

Spit is rather disgusting, and, yet, it gets the job done. Anyone who has ever spit polished a pair of boots will tell you it takes a lot of elbow grease and a lot of time.

Many people want to be writers. What many do not realize is the messy, disgusting part of getting the manuscript polished to a perfect shine.

How many are willing to take the time and effort needed to bring their writing to a stage of palatability for their readers?

Notice the title of this series? Rise, Write, Shine? Today, let’s make it:

Rise, Write, Spit-Shine!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review of Armored Hearts


Armored Hearts by Melissa Turner Lee and Pauline Creeden is about a young man, Gareth Smyth, who is a cripple, confined to a wheelchair. Gareth is not happy with his lot in life. The only one he allows to get close is his young aunt, Tabitha.

And then one day he discovers his special power when a girl, Jessamine, falls from a tree. More secrets reveal themselves as he grows to adulthood and discovers those around him are not whom they seem. Will Jessamine help him stand on moral precepts? Will Gareth allow even a chink in the armor he is encased in?

This is a fun read with likable characters. It delves into equal rights for women, steam punk, and the land of fairies.

However, there were a couple of problems—one was that the “bad guys” seem to come out of nowhere. I would have liked to have seen  more scenes leading up to the ending. And, speaking of the ending, it seems over before beginning. Also, although I skim when confronted with long descriptions, at times it was difficult to visualize the surroundings due to the sparseness of detail.

Despite the minor problems, overall, I enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the next in the series.
**I received an ARC for a fair, honest review.**

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 6th, Weogufka Center, Authors’ Day

Had a great day yesterday at the Weogufka Center that is dedicated to supporting Alabama Writers and Artists. I got to visit with some authors and met some wannabes too. It's always great to share your passion with others and speak words of encouragement while receiving encouragement.

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These were the authors invited: Brenda Ladun from Birmingham Alabama; Col Alton Barnes, Sheila Hollinghead (me!) from Opp Alabama; Annie Brown from Birmingham Alabama; Ron Tew from Pensacola Fl; Cabot Barden from Talladega Alabama; Sandra Davis from Gulf Breeze Florida; Charles Davis Gulf Breeze, FL; Rick Watson from Empire Alabama; Michele Linn Boartright from Sylacauga Alabama;  Joe Teel  from  Brent Brook Mission; Tiara Hawthorne  from Brantley Alabama; Denise Cook-Godfrey from Sylacauga Alabama; Noah Sanders Hanover Alabama; and Pamela Ree Pearson from Sylacauga Alabama