20 Short Ones

20 short ones

 

20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno  is a short story collection that focuses on human relationships. E-reader version – $1.99 on Amazon.

Each story is peopled with a new cast, usually just two or three characters, exploring a new friendship or beginning a romance. Salerno has sprinkled in many details that enrich the experience, such as lively bantering dialog and settings he’s described with intimate knowledge and a full range of senses. The stories are light in topic, but make you think about how the baggage of families, organized religion, and influences of culture impact our abilities to connect with one another.

Salerno draws from popular culture and literature, and because he casts each story with different characters and settings, none seem stale or cliche.

My only hesitation about the stories are that Salerno wrote them in a style that’s not used often these days. His use of the omnicient point of view takes a few paragraphs, if not a story or two, to settle into. I can understand his choice, though, because it’s an efficient way to quickly delve into each person’s inner dialog and backstory. And in the short amount of time and space you get with a short story, an author needs to include enough backstory and information about each character so you quickly get to know them, as Salerno’s been able to do. However, because of this style POV, it’s occasionally tough to determine who is speaking or thinking. That said, there is still a lot to like in this collection. After a few minutes adjusting to his style, I found myself absorbed and turning the pages to find out more about each intriguing situation and how the new relationships progressed.

If you like short stories, I recommend you check out 20 Short Ones. And keep an eye on this author, I predict he’ll be bringing us many more enriching stories and collections.

Summary:

20 Short Ones takes you from Northern Ireland to New York and places in-between. Each story offers a snapshot experience and an opportunity to emotionally relate to the age-old mystery of how friendships (romantic or otherwise) happen.

Meet Dan Salerno:

Dan SalernoDan Salerno has traveled to Northern Ireland five times and to Japan (once) on mission trips. This was before he lived in New York City for eight years, earning a master’s degree in social research while working for the National Coalition for the Homeless. After that he worked and lived at the Catholic Worker’s Joseph House near the Bowery, before moving back to the Midwest.

 

 

Bev out.

Lent Devotional – .99 for a limited time

 

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Preparing for Resurrection Sunday? Here’s a devotional you’ll want to consider, on sale for .99 from  2/14-2/17.

The 40 Day Lent Vocabulary Word Devotional pairs uncommon words with a verse or passage from the Bible. Specifically, the goal of this devotional is so you’ll understand more clearly the life, ministry, and teaching of Jesus Christ including His death, burial, and resurrection. At the end of each daily devotional, you’ll get the “Bottom Line for the Day” that has specific takeaways for you to apply for that day, and really for a lifetime.

Here’s a sample:

Day 6

Word for the Day:

ganef [gah-nuh f] noun

  1. a thief, swindler, crook, or rascal. ganef. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ganef (accessed: January 7, 2017). The concept of this word includes a thief, crook, or scoundrel.

Scripture for the Day:

Luke 23:33-43 (NASB95)

33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ?  Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Devotion for the Day:

The salvific work of Jesus Christ couldn’t be stopped while He was suffering in anguish on the cross. Grace was even extended to the thief on the cross next to Jesus. The man on the cross admitted that he was receiving the punishment, in the form of death, justly for what he had done. In spite of his past, when sincerely trusting that Jesus was the path to heaven, the thief was granted grace by Jesus. At the end of this thief’s physical life, he was extended the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that all of humankind should partake. Today, I’d like for you to reflect on those people in your sphere of influence who you may have written off because of their past. Their past may have made you believe that they are a throwaway person; similar to the way the thief on the cross was treated. The important thing to remember is that it’s never too late for someone to give their life to Jesus Christ. You may very well be the person who needs to reach out to that “throwaway” person who is racing through your mind right now.

My challenge to you for today is to reconsider with whom you might need to share the message of Jesus Christ. Are there people in your sphere of influence who you’ve written off as unreachable? Jesus doesn’t have that perspective; He died that all would have an opportunity to come into a relationship with Him. Don’t delay in taking the opportunity to reach out to this person or persons for Jesus Christ.

Bottom Line for the Day:

The ganef (thief) on the cross next to Jesus was granted salvation as he realized and recognized his physical and spiritual condition; imploring Jesus for what he knew he needed. Take the time now to consider who you may need to reach out to in order to share the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ. You may be the only one who can reach this person for the Kingdom of God.

 

End of Sample

 

A Deep Thing

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I’m pleased to introduce you to a book that’s close to my heart because it’s also a mystery/thriller/romance from my publisher, Wild Rose Press/Crimson. The Kaleidoscope is mentioned at the conclusion and so when AK Smith contacted me about our mutual books, I couldn’t wait to dive in. See what I did there?

Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

As I began reading, I was immediately drawn into the exotic world of scuba, and the main character, Kendall Rigg’s journey to solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death while he was diving cenotes in Mexico. Cenotes are deep underground reservoirs of water that are the only source of fresh water in the Yucatan Peninsula. And apparently a really dangerous place to dive!

The location is beautiful, the plot is compelling, and the writing is lovely.

“Cave decorations came in all shapes and sizes; they grew from the ceiling and from the floor, resembling rippled sheets or even twisted worms. Stalactites and stalagmites were the most commonly known, but decorations in the cenotes were outstanding.”  Kindle loc 1092

I recommend A Deep Thing for its setting and plot, and especially because it’s obvious that AK has done her homework. The details are well researched and the setting and scuba scenes she weaves together make for a great read.

Summary

What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico?
Rocked by her husband’s tragic death, Kendall Jackson strives to put her life back together. But Ryder, her nineteen-year-old stepson, is bitter and wants nothing to do with her. And she can’t keep the grief at bay. Sometimes, it’s so strong, she wonders if life is worth living.

A call from a cave diver in Mexico gives her hope of mending the relationship with her stepson. Before his death, her husband arranged a diving expedition as a birthday gift for his son. Kendall persuades Ryder to honor his father’s last wish.

From the campus of Western Maryland College to the woods of Camp David and the caves of the Yucatán, Kendall and Ryder take a journey to discover what her husband worked so hard to hide, and to protect his treasured secrets from falling into the wrong hands. The choices they make will decide their fate and the future of others. Will they risk everything for the truth?

About the Author

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AK Smith is oiginally from Western Pennsylvania, she is the youngest out of six children. She has lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona and abroad in London and Mexico.  She is a graduate of Shippensburg University (BA) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (MA) SAHE program. She has worked at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State University and Western Maryland College. She has written for various national and international publications and blogs including Flight Network, Examiner.com and has been a monthly travel columnist for Rocky Point Times Newspaper for the last six years.  Published in various print publications including two cover features in Mexico Living Magazine she continues to trek the world to experience off-the-beaten-road destinations. She is also the author of Travel Secrets: Insider guide to planning, affording and taking more vacation under the name Anita Kaltenbaugh on Amazon (release date 2-1-2017).

Fascinated by the ‘What If’s’ in life, she still wonders if Shangri-La and The Holy Grail exist—hidden somewhere—waiting to be discovered. Her favorite question, “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” led her to both marriage and writing her first book.

Her big loves are her husband, family, friends, and kindness. Her goal is to step foot on every continent on Planet Earth—she’s slowly getting there. Member of: RWA and Desert Rose RWA chapter Scottsdale.

Please contact : aksmithbook@gmail.com, @aksmithbook, facebook/aksmithbook or follow her blog at www.wordstravelfilm.com. She loves to hear from readers!

Bev out.

Don’t Call Me Missionary – Guest Post

Today’s guest is Chad Owens who has a very honest take on being a…gulp.

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For me the most surprising thing about publishing a book has been the large amount of positive responses I’ve received. When I wrote Don’t Call Me Missionary I didn’t expect anyone would read it. I thought if anyone did ever read it, they would dislike it. So when I started getting emails and comments about how much people enjoyed the book instead of angry emails, I was very surprised.

You might wonder why I would write something that I thought people would dislike. You have to understand that I never really wanted to become a missionary. When you prepare to become one, there can be a lot of training involved. I was never the type who liked school. In high school I did as little reading as I could to still get decent grades. In college I had to do so much reading, I never read for fun. To me, books were work and I hadn’t developed an interest in recreational reading until I moved to the land of no streaming internet, no television, and precious few movies. (Things have changed now of course).

Because I didn’t like all this training and reading to become a missionary, I became very selective about what material I would engage with on the topic of moving overseas. So when I finally moved overseas I started realizing that the experiential things I was learning, had not been mentioned before in any of my training. I wondered if this was all part of it? Had I been tricked? Were these things some sort of odd initiation ritual? Or were there simply some things you just aren’t supposed to say out loud?

Don't call me missionary

$2.99 on Kindle

My book says those things out loud. Which is why I suspected people would not like it, especially missionaries. I mean no offense to the wonderful men and women working in missions work today, but I never wrote the book for you. Several of you already know what it’s like to risk your life to use the toilet, or to pick bugs out of your rice. I wrote this for the people like me, who hate reading, hate training, and even when they are forced to train, don’t believe nor like what they’re told anyway, because they suspect the real story is being hidden.

My audience is someone who wants to know the reality of missions work, without the work of having to go overseas to find it out. I sort of expected that attitude to offend people. But to my surprise, people have actually enjoyed the book. Before publishing I had to ask myself, “Is this really something you want to release into the world, Chad?” After praying over it, I came to the conclusion that it was. I have been very happy to discover the lives it has already touched. The testimonials that have been shared with me have been wonderful. This book seems to be striking a chord with a much larger audience than I ever anticipated.

I have been sincerely delighted and surprised at the positive comments people have shared with me, and I hope that many others can find it a useful addition to their book list.

I’d like to thank Bev for giving me a chance to share some of my thoughts on the process and for hosting me on her blog!

-Chad Owens
http://dontcallmemissionary.weebly.com

You’re welcome, Chad. I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s def on my TBR now! Let me know what you think, readers!

Bev out.

Top 5 Reasons to Live Abroad – Guest Post

As you may already know, Gary and I lived in England for three years thanks to the US Air Force, so when I was approached by Alex to host him on the topic of living abroad, I was intrigued. If you’ve ever thought of doing just that, today I’m pleased to host Alex Park, who is backpacking in Thailand right now, with his thoughts on living in a foreign country and how it can be a life enhancing experience.

Top 5 Reasons to Live Abroad at Least Once in Your Life

The world beyond our borders is home to millions of other people. Just like you, they all have their own reasons for choosing to live in their respective areas. There are very many reasons people dream of relocating to a foreign land. This can either be due to work, volunteer, study, pursue other opportunities or retire. Moving into a new country can be a rich and rewarding experience. This can either be permanently or temporarily.

Furthermore, it can be really hard particularly if you move into a country based on a dream without considering the responsibilities and risks. The step to leave familiar surroundings and adapt to another social and cultural environment should not be taken lightly. This decision requires a thorough research, knowledge and good planning. The better you are prepared before leaving your country for a foreign environment, the better your experience abroad will turn out to be.

284484_361073073967978_518768910_nHere are my five reasons why everyone should find the energy to pack up and move abroad:

  1. You become adaptable and open-minded

When you move to a foreign country everything basically becomes mixed up. From road rules, choices to choose from in the daily activities, to people’s attitudes and common behaviors. Due to these facts, you definitely have to stay positive and continue to learn new things. This is like going to school again, social etiquettes, healthcare system, the education system, the country’s history, cultural beliefs and traditions.

The moment that you know you are not afraid of change is when you learn to embrace it.

The moment that you know you are not afraid of change is when you learn to embrace it. You will thrive on change. Stagnancy and complacency becomes your worst enemy. One of the best way to improve yourself is to do the things that you are most scared of.

It is not as difficult as it sounds. No matter how difficult it sounds you will become your own cheerleader.

  1. You know yourself better

One of the best relationships in this life is the relationship you have with yourself. Nothing brings you closer to building an intimate relationship with yourself and getting to know yourself better when you move from your normal environment to a new country. This gives you the freedom to discover who you are, what you want and what you really don’t want without the influence of your family or friends. This makes you your own boss.

Staying abroad is a huge eye opener especially if the place is far removed from where you originally came from. This gives you the ability to observe things from an outsider’s perspective. This makes you to rethink the way you know and understand your culture and your own self from inside.

IMG_0037This whole process helps you as a person to start questioning your original values and beliefs, attitudes, and the values that were influenced by your upbringing. With different perspectives coming back and forth you are able to shape yourself into a strong, independent character which helps you to find your purpose in life.

  1. Career enhancing

One of the most important advantages of living abroad career wise is that it enhances or gives you a competitive edge in a tough job market. This enables clients or employees to gauge you due to the fact that you have different perspectives on things. The employers/clients feel that with an individual’s hands-on understanding of cultural and business nuances you are better prepared to localize their products for the homelands job markets.

In case it is not possible to work abroad due to visa restrictions or family issues during your stay abroad, this is the ideal time to get new qualifications that may go a long way in improving your credentials.

In addition to this, living abroad greatly improves your negotiation skills. You will learn how to establish a good rapport with people from different nationalities and improve your language skills. Showing that you have successfully lived abroad gives your resume the edge it needs in a very serious competitive job market.

Moreover, a lot of hiring in the modern world comes from referrals. When you establish yourself in a new country, you are forced to pick up a skill set which is the ability to build a connection and an ability to break into a circle of tight connections and fit in.

  1. Culturally immersive

iStock_000017545021SmallMoving abroad gives you a great chance to observe a country in its own raw environment. This gives you the ability to know new techniques of doing things and understanding. You will also immerse yourself in the local language. This not only improves your grasp of the native language but also your communication skills. By immersing yourself with the local way of living, you can comprehend how and why these customs came to be. Adopting them further makes you feel home away from home.

You will have the time to visit more areas that you would not have covered in the few days as a tourist compared to you being like one of the locals.

Living abroad gives you the chance to travel slowly so you learn about the country, just like the locals. You have the time to visit more areas that you would not have covered in the few days as a tourist compared to you being like one of the locals. One of my favorite activities in Thailand was learning to kayak. It helped me experience the surrounding island and just appreciate the beautiful landscape in front of me.

  1. New friends and building a new identity

Barley MowThe distance created by moving away from home makes it hard for you to interact with your friends and family. In some instances, you may be tired of your friends. Moving abroad opens the avenue for you to meet different people. This is always an exciting time for most people. New friends will become your family so you should choose them wisely.

Moreover, there is no better way to start fresh than moving to a new state. You become a new brand. People don’t know who you are or where you come from. No one basically cares about your background. This gives you the space to put your travel backpack to use and do what you want and be who you want to be. This inspires you to explore and create new things without outside influence from family and friends. A new job, a new house, a new car and new neighbors are all that you need. You don’t have to change yourself to please your parents or friends.

References

Pascoe, R. (2009). A broad abroad : the expat wife’s guide to successful living abroad. Vancouver, BC: Expatriate Press.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ginny-copestake/heres-why-you-should-live_b_8682674.html

Massey, B. (2006). Where in the world do I belong. Place of publication not identified: Jetlag Press.

Find Alex at  www.authorizedboots.com

 

 

Bible Origami

Bible Origami

Origami based on Biblical stories is such a great idea. When our son was four years old and waiting to have a broken arm set in the ER, a pediatric nurse calmed him by folding a paper crane, and presented him with it. We still have it to this day and it reminds us of the nurse’s kindness on an otherwise stressful day.

The author of Bible Origami, Todd Huisken, suggests that kids can do origami while sitting in church instead of fidgeting. To me though, folding paper is a form of fidgeting so I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I do like the concept of teaching the art while drawing on stories from scripture. He’s included designs from the Old Testament including Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Whale, the Ark of the Covenant, and from the New including a fishing boat, a dove, and fishes and loaves.

Huisken has indicated the levels of difficulty from 1-3, and the drawings are good and relatively easy to follow, but after fooling around with a couple of levels, I think the activities are better suited for a group situation than expecting a child to be able to follow the directions on their own until they’re adept at the task.

“Did you know” trivia accompanies each design and I can imagine homeschoolers, Sunday school teachers, and grandparents would find origami a great way to teach and also spend some going over the Bible concepts in a visual way. If you’ve never folded before, I suggest practicing first before introducing the activity, but I think all ages will really enjoy the craft that’s also a beautiful art.

I really like the concept and recommend Bible Origami .

 

New story for The Seasons of Cherryvale fans

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A short story. .99 on e-reader

At the conclusion of “Christmas Bells” Mark surprises Grace with a trip to Hawaii. I’d been wondering how to write a fun story for Grace to experience the island, and for the island to experience Grace!

While I was thinking about Aloha Grace and what she’d do while on Oahu, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was on the news and I had my story. As those of you who’ve read my other books know, I like to add a little something that’s an extra touch, like in Fresh Start Summer, the information about the Oscar award ceremony for “Gone with the Wind” that adds fun details.

I hope you enjoy Aloha Grace as much as I enjoyed writing it. Escape to the tropical paradise of Hawaii with Grace and find out how she helps a new ohana, as welll as a young woman who must make a life changing decision.

 

Sharing Jesus with Muslims in America

Sharing Jesus with Muslims

 

As God is in the business of answering prayer, it was no coincidence that the request for a review landed in my inbox recently. In a sec, you’ll understand where I’m going with this.

I’m nearing the end of my latest manuscript, and while I won’t spend time on it here cuz I don’t want you getting weary hearing about it, I’ll just say it’s going to be a doozy and it’s kicking my proverbial writer’s behind to the curb, y’all.

But I will tell you like all my books, there’s a faith theme, because when all is said and done, that’s probably the only thing that’s going to get us out of this world alive. Can I get an Amen?

So let me tell you about this book I was asked to review.

It’s a doozy, too.

While we all debate open or closed borders and who’s right and who is wrong, the real question should be, “how do we treat our Muslim neighbor?” Because if you don’t already have a Muslim friend or neighbor, you probably will soon. You don’t have to traipse across the Sahara  >cough< may or may not be a hint about my WIP, to find them.

Abu Daoud has written a stunningly well organized, well researched and cited book that walks a Christian through how to befriend and answer their Muslim friend’s questions about Jesus. It comes from experience, which is important because the Qu’ran teaches about Jesus so before we go off spouting what may be either silly or offensive, knowing how a Muslim thinks about Him will help immensely.

And this book lays it all out there.

I read it in a couple of days, and feel like I have a good foundation, and yet I also was inspired to learn more.

And I suggest you pick up a copy as well, because understanding a culture and religion we only hear about or shy away from because we’re uncomfortable won’t do anyone any good at all.

Here’s just a hint of how you will be challenged and informed in Sharing Jesus:

  • “Most Muslims in the United States have no idea what Christians actually believe. Muslims are from locations where the gospel is hardly available, and they will not come to know the gospel without the efforts of American Christians.” Kindle location 380
  • Did you know most Muslims believe all westerners are Christians, and because of that they attribute everything, and I mean all the bad stuff too, as being acceptable to Christians? Better to call ourselves “followers of Jesus” or “a follower of the way.” Kindle location 985
  • The Qu’ran quotes the Bible, but some Muslims claim the Bible has changed, and yet one can compare the two and see it hasn’t, which actually validates the Bible’s claims. Location 1083
  • Muslims do not have the same understanding of religion that most secular folks in the West do. They do not believe that religion needs to be hidden away in churches or homes.” Location 1516

Your own faith will be increased and perhaps even challenged in places, and I know your understanding of what Muslims believe will be. It’s not too academic or clunky, it flows well, and has many references so you can check their work and learn more. The author told me there is a video and study guide coming, so stay tuned for updates about that.

Grab a copy and be prepared to speak gently and with respect to every tribe and nation. (Bev’s paraphrase)

Here’s the publisher’s summary of Sharing Jesus with Muslims in America:

“The Muslim population in the United States is growing quickly, and there are no signs of this growth slowing down. So how should Christians respond? With fear? With tolerance? By ignoring Muslims? Or with boldness, hope, and the Good News of Jesus Christ, clearly the biblical answer. For centuries the church did not go to Muslims with the gospel because Christians thought it was too dangerous or too difficult. Now God is bringing Muslims to America where Christians can lead them to Christ. But when I share this opportunity with churches around the country, I’m asked, “But how? How do I meet Muslims? How can my church make the connections?” This book seeks to answer those questions and more. If you are a Christian, I hope you will open your heart to God’s plan for Muslims in your community. You can start by reading this book.”

Bev out!

 

 

 

Grace in the Flames

Graceintheflamescover

Grace in the Flames (Inspy Contemporary Fiction)

 by Michelle Massaro

From Bev: Recently I read a debut novel that I had to share with y’all. You know how it is when you read the first few pages of a new-to-you-author and you’re not sure if a) the writer has any chops, and b) the story will grab your attention? Well, I have to tell you that Michelle DOES have mad writing skills and this story had my attention from the first few pages. And more than that, it was a real CPID* sleep stealer. Here’s the back cover teaser, and a sample scene, plus some Q&A with Michelle.

 And be sure and sign up for her newsletter because she’s got another one coming out soon!

Good job, Michelle!

*can’t put it down

GRACE IN THE FLAMES

Three people. One God of grace.

John Douglas thought he knew the future God had for him–raise a family and grow old with his bride, Hannah. But then a deadly house fire incinerated his faith, destroying the man he’d been.

Worship leader Jenni Dupont conquered her demons years ago and has the scars to prove it. But temptation strikes when her world is shattered, and this time she’s not sure if God can carry her through.

Bar waitress April Johanson lives with the secret trauma of an abusive past. Desperate to stay off the streets of Vegas, she’ll do whatever is necessary to pay the rent.

When their lives intersect, God will ask them to do the impossible. To love Him even if…

  • What would you say is/are the major themes explored in your book? I always say the main theme is surrender. Second to that is divine love.
  • What do you hope readers take away from this story? That our relationship with an Almighty God is not measured by how comfortable our circumstances are, but that despite the trials we face, God is real, and He loves you.
  • Do you have a favorite character? I actually love them all! Over the years, they’ve all come so alive to me and it’s hard to pick just one. I’ve come to identify with each of them in different ways. April’s story in the initial drafts was always captivating for me and I relished returning to her scenes. But as time went on, I really got close to Jenni as well. I was always drawn to John and the way he looks out for others. They’re all my favorite!
  • Sometimes authors slip in cameos of people they know in real life, or tuck other little gems into the pages of their story. Are there any fun Easter eggs hidden in your book? Yes! Two of my kids’ names are sprinkled in—Katy and Brandon—and I also slipped in mentions of a few other real-life friends: Chris Bowen is one, as well as Pastor Barry. And the dog, Sadie, is based on my childhood dog Sammy! I love doing stuff like this and will probably always find ways of placing people into my stories. It’s so fun!
  • What’s next for you? I’m releasing a book called Better than Fiction in a few weeks. (facebook.com/betterthanfiction2016) It’s a two-in-one—contemporary women’s fiction and historical romance—set in my hometown of Corona CA in 1916, during the height of its famed road races. I co-wrote this story with April W Gardner over the past several years and we are releasing it in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the final Road Race. The contemporary side features an author struggling with feeling invisible in her marriage, who then finds her heart wandering toward a male friend—one she sees as ideal, attentive, spiritual, and attractive enough to base her fictional hero on. The historical side features a romance between a hotshot racer and a female mechanic.
    While creating a fictional romance between her 1916 heroine and a reckless racecar driver, a novelist falls prey to an emotional affair with the man who inspires her handsome hero.
  • What is the best/hardest thing about indie publishing? Retaining complete control is a good feeling, but the hardest part is learning to market so readers know I exist.
  • How can readers best support their favorite indie authors? We need reviews. There is a minimum threshold of reviews needed to be considered for various promotions, and indies have a bigger challenge when it comes to crossing that barrier.
  • Could you tell us about your journey to publication? In 2007 I was inspired by Stephanie Myers’ story of writing her books during her kids’ swimming lessons that I sat down at my screen determined to get an entire story written. I had no clue where to start such a monumental task so I started searching online for guidance. I ended up finding a NaNoWriMo board, and the Snowflake Method, both of which were so helpful in those early days. I wrote and rewrote this story multiple times over the next 8 years, learning the craft, attending conferences, finding mentors and critique partners. In 2012 the manuscript was a Genesis finalist under the original title, Beauty for Ashes. I rewrote the story again, sent it around to the big pub houses, and got great feedback. But it was not ultimately picked up. I finally decided last year to go ahead and release my baby on my own. Ultimately, I think this was the best choice for me for this title. It’s so near to my heart that I’m glad I have all the control in the final manuscript, the cover, etc. and it was time
  • When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing? I love musical theater and old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, hanging out with my teens watching Once Upon A Time (though it isn’t what it used to be, we’ve bonded over the show. Plus, everyone says that my husband looks like Neal Cassidy,) and I recently WON a karaoke contest singing What I’ve Been Looking For from High School Musical with my hubby at our church’s Valentine’s Day dinner. =)
  • Can you share a favorite scene/line from your story? Grace in the Flames is a weighty book, but there are definitely some lighter scenes full of fun and romance. This excerpt makes me smile. The hero works at a home improvement store and our couple have just begun moving from friends to something more when this scene takes place:

Once outside, he took her hand. “If you have an hour to spare, there’s something I want to do.”

She stopped while he got out his keys. “Like what?”

“You’ll see.” He released her hand for her to climb into the car, then waited till she was safely settled to close her door.

When they pulled up to their destination a few minutes later, Home Depot was the last place she expected to see. She shut her door and looked over at John, who wore the expression of a child on his way to Chuck E Cheese. “So…what are we doing here?”

He shrugged. “I used to love Saturday mornings building stuff with my dad. Come on.” He held his hand out and she took it, letting him lead her into the home improvement store. Strangest date ever.

When they’d stepped through the doors, John paused, lifted his face, and inhaled deeply. “Ah…smell that?”

“Saw dust and paint fumes?”

“No. Creativity.”

He led her toward the back center of the store where long tables had been set up. Small squares of wood lay on them, and tools, and her eyebrows came together. “What’s this?”

“Our Saturday morning project.” He grinned then grabbed a work apron from the table, slipped it over her head, and reached around her waist. His nearness made her head pound, and he smiled down at her as he secured the apron ties, giving them a little yank. She stumbled into him and her hands flew to his chest as she steadied herself.

They both froze. “Sorry,” she whispered up at him.

“Don’t be.” His hint of a smile made her heart skip a beat, then she followed his gaze down to where her hands were still plastered against his…very firm chest.

Red faced, she withdrew them and inched backward with a shaky smile. Her legs would not hold her up much longer if she didn’t get some distance. She pivoted toward the table and busied herself examining its contents. “So…how do I help? What do you need?”

“Well, first, you won’t be helping…you’ll be building. And second, you’ll need this.” From somewhere under the table, he produced a hammer and held it out to her with both hands.

She stared down at it. “It’s pink.”

He smiled. “Yep. And it’s yours.”

“You…bought me a hammer?”

“You’re welcome.”

She poked out her lips and nodded, then wrapped her fingers around the handle. “Thanks.”

Definitely the strangest date ever.

MichelleMassaro

MICHELLE MASSARO writes contemporary fiction soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.

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Thanks for having me, Bev!

Bev: You bet, thanks for visiting, and keep up the good work!

Bev out.

 

 

“The Kaleidoscope” Cover Award – InD’Tale Magazine contest

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Cover Design by Diana Carlile

Cover Award: July 2015, InD’tale Magazine names The Kaleidoscope the winning cover of its Creme de la Creme monthly contest. Recently I blogged the process, from conception to final product and how each element describes the story within. Here’s a link to their full review.