Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Who are your favorite authors?

Reading....something I have always enjoyed. I remember sitting in the kitchen each night while my mom would cook. I would have reading homework. I looked forward to reading the chapter or two I was given...but not allowed to go any further. That was so frustrating to me....lol. Later on in life my mom admitted that it frustrated her as well. She wanted to know how the story would end.
  Now, I don't like waiting. I am the kind of girl that will stay up until 5 am just
to finish a book. My sleepy eyes fighting to stay awake for one more chapter! I get so wrapped up in my books. I personally love reading my Bible, some classics, and Historical Christian Fiction. Right now I read many authors but have some favorites. They include Gilbert Morris, MaryLu Tyndall, Karen Witemeyer, Tracie Peterson, Cathy Marie Hake, Tamera Alexander, Lynn Austin, Lauraine Snelling and so on. I have enjoyed so many books by these authors and have many of their books in my bookshelves.

I just finished reading To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer. I really enjoyed it...I didn't want it to end!

I am now waiting for a pre-buy from MaryLu Tyndall I purchased several months ago. It will release March 1st...and I am not being so patient. This cover was so beautiful! I have to admit that is the first reason I wanted to buy it. This one is called Forsaken Dreams and as soon as I read it I will post a review. Only 10 days now......come on March 1st!!  Forsaken Dreams can be purchased now at Amazon.com, Christianbook.com and many other places!

After Forsaken Dreams I hope to read Rosa's Land by Gilbert Morris.

So my questions to you are: Who is your favorite author or authors? What are you reading? Which book/books are you looking forward to reading?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Q & A with Christian Author MaryLu Tyndall and chance to win her newest release Forsaken Dreams

Forsaken Dreams and Author Q&A with MaryLu Tyndall!!

Check out Forsaken Dreams, book one in the exciting new Escape to Paradise fiction series by MaryLu Tyndall!

Embark on a seafaring adventure as a disillusioned colonel and a hopeful widow seek a fresh start on the shores of Brazil. Colonel Grant Wallace cannot leave his once precious Southern homeland fast enough. After witnessing the death and destruction of the Civil War, he charters a ship and sets sail for the pristine shores of Brazil, eager to start afresh in a new land. Widow Eliza Crawford boards the ship NewHope harboring a dirty secret and a blossoming hope within her heart for a new life away from old memories. But once at sea, troubles abound. Will Grant overcome his demons of bitterness and rage? Can Eliza find the peace she longs for?


Get to Know the Author!
MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people's eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Author Q & A:
1. How would you describe your new series Escape to Paradise?
An adventurous, romantic tale about a group of Confederates, wounded in both body and soul, who flee the destruction of the South after the Civil War for greener pastures in Brazil, but who find much more than they bargained for, both on the trip there and once they arrive.

2. What inspired the storyline for your new series?
History. Nearly three million Southerners migrated from the devastation of the South following the Civil War. Close to twenty thousand of them went to Brazil where the Emperor welcomed them with open arms, the farm land was plentiful, and the temperate climate mimicked their own weather back home. Though most ended up returning home, several thousand remained, and their descendants still live there today. Their struggles to create a new Southern Utopia in the heart of Brazil make for a fascinating story!

3. How is this series different from your previous series?
Escape to Paradise is like nothing I’ve ever written before. The six main characters, the hero and heroine in each book, have a huge presence in each of the three books, so by the end of the series, the reader will know them all really well, as well as several of the secondary characters. Secondly, and more importantly, this series contains a lot of supernatural elements—curses, angels, visions, demonic battles—which I have not put in any of my other books.

4. What type of research did you have to do for Forsaken Dreams?
Surprisingly, not much has been written about this particular historic event. I did find a couple of great books on Amazon. I was also able to locate some original source material, which is a researcher’s dream: three journals written by actual Confederates who traveled to Brazil. Then of course I studied the flora, fauna, cuisine, customs, religion, climate, topography, and history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. I tried to talk my husband into funding a trip to Rio (For purely research purposes, of course) but he wasn’t buying it! :) I also studied the Civil War, clothing and customs of the time period, and, in particular, of the South.

5. What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Forsaken Dreams?
There is a city in Brazil called Americana, which was founded by migrant confederates in the late 19th century. To this day, the inhabitants still speak a mixture of English and Portuguese and celebrate American holidays by playing “Dixie”, while some of the local women dress in big-bustled skirts for dancing. President Carter visited the city in 1972, after discovering its little known history, and he was reportedly brought to tears by the American influences he found there.

6. What surprises do your fans have to look forward to in your new series?
An exotic locale, powerful secrets held by each character, a strong spiritual theme that runs through all three books, cannibals, evil temples, visions, angels, demons, prophecies, and a supernatural battle. Doesn’t sound like romance novels, does it? Yet, readers can still expect to find all the adventure and romance they normally enjoy from one of my books.

7. Do you have a favorite character in Forsaken Dreams? Why?
Yes. The heroine, Eliza Crawford. She’s all the things so many of us want to be: strong, independent, smart, caring, selfless. But she has a fatal flaw—one which I can relate to very much, and one I’m hoping others will relate to as well. She wants to live life on her own terms. She wants to do things her way and follow her own heart and will. She doesn’t want to be told what to do by anyone, especially God. Consequently, she disobeyed her father and ran off to marry a man who was all wrong for her, an action that cost her and others dearly. Still, she struggles with an independent spirit that refuses to submit to God, even when she knows His will is best. Sound familiar? It does to me!

8. What message would you like your readers to take away after reading Forsaken Dreams?
There are several messages woven into Forsaken Dreams. Forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, running away from God, but I would say the main message is that submission to God and His will is the only thing that brings true happiness.

9. Most of your stories revolve around swashbuckling pirates and sea captains. What draws you to write about them?
Actually I only have one pirate series, but a good majority of my books have several scenes set at sea. Ever since I was a child growing up on the shores of South Florida, I have loved the sea and especially the tall ships of old. To me, there’s something very romantic and adventurous about those magnificent sailing ships and the men and women who journeyed on them in search of new lands.
10. What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Meeting deadlines! I never feel like I can take a break and just relax when there’s a deadline shouting at me from my computer. Other challenges come in the form of negative reviews and harsh comments, most of which I’ve learned over the years to ignore. However, the occasional one slips through and stabs my heart. Then there’s the marketing aspect of being an author, which is most definitely my weakest skill. I’ve never been very good at selling myself, or in fact, selling anything, to anyone. :)

11. What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The writing! Coming up with new stories and settings, and especially great characters. But my favorite part is putting those characters into impossible situations that I would never survive personally, but ones in which they must survive! Those hours I spend at my computer with my head and my heart in a distant land, living life through my characters, are the happiest moments of my day. What a great job I have!! I get to live in a fantasy world of my own making. God is good!

12. What clubs or organizations are you involved with to help with your writing?
American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. However I receive most of the help I need from other writers who I’ve grown close to over the years. It’s so wonderful to have an online support group of people who understand what I’m going through and who can offer suggestions and help and who can lift me up in prayer when needed.

13. What new projects are on the horizon?
Forsaken Dreams is the first in a trilogy entitled Escape to Paradise, so I’m currently working on the last two books in the series. After that, I’ll be in God’s good favor as to what He wants me to write next. :)

14. What was your favorite book as a child?
Can I have three? The Last of the Mohicans, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Pride and Prejudice.

15. What is your greatest achievement?
My children. Although I really can’t take credit for them turning out as well as they have. That was God. But they are my life and my true loves, and I can’t imagine my world without them.

16. What do you do to get away from it all?
Go to the beach. Although it’s not as warm here in California as it was in Florida where I grew up, I love sitting in the sand and gazing out over the foamy waves and smelling the salty air and feeling the wind on my face. It makes me realize how big God is and how small I am, yet how much He truly loves me.

17. And, finally, where can your readers find you online?
You can sign up for my e-newsletter on my website at www.marylutyndall.com, and my blog is crossandcutlass.blogspot.com where I post all sorts of things from book giveaways and book information to articles and devotional thoughts. I have a Facebook group called MaryLu Tyndall: Swashbuckling Romance, and I’m on Twitter: @MaryLuTyndall. Hope to connect with you all!

Check out MaryLu's blog Friday, February 7, to learn more about the hero from Forsaken Dreams, Blake Wallace, and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Russian Missionary Team Dinner

Okay so this is all I have time to share tonight (Have to get my Sunday School lesson etc ready)...but tonight we met early for revival. We started at 5pm with a dinner. It wasn't your normal church dinner with the fried chicken, baked hams, all the steaming hot veggies, mashed potatoes with butter melting all on the top, the rolls, desserts, drinks...you name it....This was a dinner that our missionary friends would have in Russia.
   It was a pot of soup. It had very few veggies and a little chicken in it. No rice or noodles...no cream. It tasted wonderful....but what you didn't see is the serving sizes. A very small bowl. A half of a thin slice of bread..a little jelly..some pickle slices, a little cole slaw...and some thin wafer type cookies for dessert. Hot tea for your drink.
  Well it doesn't sound too bad...but when you are in the cold and haven't eaten anything all day...and just a small portion...sure makes you think how blessed you really are. Tonight there of course were seconds...and for some 3rds. Everyone could have extra bread and cookies....plenty of pickles....but that isn't so in Russia...and def not on the missionary team.
  It was very humbling....and I felt blessed that I could get a little vision of what it was like. I
asked the Lord to help me never take for granted the blessings he has given me...and that I would be able to help more people with what I have.
  The soup was delicious, and everyone was really blessed by it...but it sure changes your outlook. Here is a picture of the large pot of soup. You will see how clear the broth is..and won't find much in it...you can see the spoon though


A board and a towel

Yes...this is yet another odd title for a post. But I just have to share a little bit about our revival ....I wish you all could be here to hear and experience for yourself.....but Larry....our friend and missionary to Russia, last night he gave everyone a white towel...not a fluffy towel you use to dry off with, but a shop towel or cleaning towel you would by at Lowes or in a cleaning section of a store.
   He began sharing how Jesus taught His disciples. The story He told was when Jesus began
to wash His disciples feet. And how Jesus humbled himself, and knelt down and used a cloth to clean away the dirt and grime...and to refesh his friends. Some of the disciples said no....I should be doing that for you...or no..You are not cleaning my feet...I mean..here was Jesus, the Son of God...washing their feet?
   You know Jesus was teaching them a big lesson....how to be a servant. How to think of
someone else...before you think of yourself. How to do something to help, meet a need etc. The Bible clearly teaches us that Jesus came to be a servant of all....and that if we want to be great in God's kingdom..we have to learn to be a servant of all.
   So Larry began telling us this towel he gave us...was meant to be used. Meant to remind us to get
out and do something for others. Not to keep the towel as a memory of a great service. Work towels are meant to be used, they get dirty...you don't keep them folded all neat and pretty...they generally are filled with dirt, grease and oil. These rags were to remind us to stop acting like we are followers of Jesus...and to get up off of our comfy seats...and out of our comfort zone....get out there and start living it.
   There are many people that just need someone to love them, care for them...they need a hand.
Help mowing the lawn, watching their kids, food for their family..whatever the need. We need to step in. And while helping...we should be humble, and show the love of Jesus to them.
  I just thought it was wonderful....the altar call was wonderful...even a little 2 yr old with tears
streaming down his face...he loves Jesus and wants to serve him too. We are never to young, never to old to begin.

 Mary told us a story about their travels in Russia..and how they were dropped off to stay with a woman...she showed them to their room for the night...the bed was a small pull out bed with a matress maybe an inch thick. It wasn't big enough for both of them to sleep on...and it was a very small room too. Well she had a really hard time falling asleep..and was complaining...this is to small....you know..how any of us humans would feel when we are not comfortable. Well she needed to use the restroom so she went out to find it..and saw where this sweet woman was sleeping. She has taken 2 small wooden chairs, laid a piece of a wood board (just barely big enough for her body to fit)on the chairs and she slept on this. They did not realize the bed they were in...was her only bed. And out of her kindness she was laying on a hard board to give these Americans..people she didn't know...her own space. Wow...what a servant's heart. What would you give up for someone else?
 Thank you Larry and Mary  for this reminder..and thank You Lord for teaching us, to love us enough to come down to where we are...to love us when we are unloveable...to meet our needs. I for one want to serve and love others!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The little old woman's dead goat

So, I have been really busy today..and leaving in an hour for revival tonight. I promised I would share something about last nights service......I cannot tell everything that was told....but I did want to share a short story.
   They told a story about a newly saved young lady(6 months) in Russia...who devoted 1 year to be a
missionary to remote parts of Russia. She went and knocked on a door and a little old woman came ...she was sobbing so hard she couldn't even talk or explain what was wrong. This missionary did not know what to do...so she just wrapped her arms around the woman and loved her. Finally she calmed down enough to explain....her goat was dead.Everyone in the village knew her goat was dead
   Okay....this sounds silly to some. Or sad to those that love animals or their pets. But this
goat was not a pet. This goat supplied food...milk and cheese for this woman and others in her village. People depended on this goat. There wasn't another goat anywhere close...and who had the money to buy one?
   The missionary didn't know what to do...but she layed on the dirt near the goat...the dead,
stiff goat....and pulled out her small little bottle of oil. Well she opened the goat's mouth and poured that whole bottle of oil down it's throat. Then she began to pray...nothing happened. Our Lord....the missionary prayed in her head...what am I going to do.....well she only could think to get the goat warm. So she took off her only coat, wrapped the goat in it and carried it to the woman's house. She began to pray again....and in less than 5 minutes..that goat was up, crying (baaa baaa) and running everywhere!
   What do you think this meant to the village? To the little old woman? Not only was her goat now alive....but she also wanted to know this God that would do something like this!

  I know .....no big deal...it is just a goat....but you know here in America..for now...we are
spoiled. Most of us have everything we need and then some. We may go without something here or there...but just imagine if this happened to you...and it was all you had. Then imagine not knowing God, or ever hearing about Him. What would have happened to the goat, the village and little woman..had the missionary not gone?

 There was so much more to share that was said last night...but know this...no matter how great or small your need, He loves you and He cares for your need. No matter how little you can give to God...He will use it and bless it. It isn't what we can do for God...it is what He can do through us...if we are willing and let Him. If we stop just saying we love God...and get out and show Him!

 I sure can't wait to see what happens tonight =)