New Release Novel Spotlight: The General’s Wife by Sara R. Turnquist


 The General’s Wife
 by Sara R. Turnquist 
New Book Release & Excerpt!!!!!

Ismene, a beautiful, somewhat naïve, young noblewoman, is torn from her childhood home in Greece and her first love. Bound by honor and duty, she marries Pharaoh’s chief military commander, Alistair. Though determined to remain true to the man she left behind, her new husband stirs feelings in her she cannot ignore.

Attempting to accept this brazen new culture, it isn’t long before she discovers that the locals don’t like her. The Alexandrian mob starts making anonymous threats. This faceless group will stop at nothing to achieve its goal of driving out the unwelcome Greeks. In the midst of these heightening attacks, the general must leave for battle. Ismene fears that she is on her own.

Evidence of a spy within her own household arises. It soon becomes apparent that one of these Egyptian rebels wants her dead. The safety of Ismene, and possibly the entire ruling class of Egypt, hangs in the balance.
 
Sara has been a guest on my blog before, and I am delighted to have her return, especially with a new book release to share with us! Sara will join us again next week as well!  

So, Sara! Welcome! Let’s get started! The General’s wife is Historical Fiction?
     Yes, but there is definitely a romance in the book that drives the story.

Care to share the more historically significant events behind your story? I’m all about some history.
      Well, my favorite thing that I uncovered was that Ptolemy II was a great supporter of the Library of Alexandria. In fact, he was on a mission to see the collection within grown to something like 500,000 scrolls. Not only that, it was during his reign that the Septuagint was written. This was the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.

What was your inspiration for The General’s Wife?

    I’m going to share a little secret with you…I hated history as a high school/college student. But I excelled at it. The only thing I ever enjoyed about history was Egyptian history. I devoured everything my teachers/professors shared about ancient Egypt. And I clearly remember the first time I heard about this period (the Ptolemaic period). I was amazed – Greeks ruling Egypt as Pharaohs!?!? And so I happily delved into any and all resources I could come across. Be they museum, book, discovery channel movie…you name it.
I love history, historical fiction, and I know a lot of readers do as well…especially such an interesting time frame. You’ve done your research! Lots going on back then!!! And being an Army wife, you know I LOVE the military element to your story!

Thank you for being with us today and sharing your latest release, and we can’t wait to hear from you again next week! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sara is originally from Clarksville, TN where she currently resides with her family. She enjoys writing and spending time with her family traveling. Sara is the author of The Lady Bornekova and a member of the ACFW.
CONNECT WITH SARA

PURCHASE 
Readers can pick up a copy of The General’s Wife through any of the following venues:

Enjoy and excerpt from The General’s Wife: 
A frown was etched into Alistair’s features. The sight before him caused his whole body to tense up. It was a sight that had greeted his staff early that morning. Neterka had been the only one brave enough to bring him out there to see it.
“Get it off,” he said, each word enunciated and pushed out of his mouth with force. There were plenty of servants gathered around, but he spoke to no one in particular.
On the inner wall of their great garden two symbols, two words, were splayed across the wall in what could only be blood. The thick, red, viscous liquid had dried as it ran, in stripes reaching to the ground.
A din of whispered conversation among the servants could be heard, but only just. No one wanted to speak out for fear of enraging the general further. Many of the servants were unable to read Greek and had no idea what important message was scarred into their master’s most prized sanctuary. As if the vandalism alone wasn’t enough to evoke a great anger in him, the message itself had pushed him closer to the edge of violence. They had never seen their kind master in such a state.
“What is everybody…” Ismene’s voice interrupted their musings. No one, not even Alistair, had even noticed that she had arrived at the grand estate, least of all made it all the way out to the gardens. Her voice, which started light and happy, trailed off as she noticed the source of everyone’s fixation.
There were many audible gasps as the servants, like Alistair, turned and saw Ismene’s paled face, her mouth moving as if trying to form words, though none came forth.
Alistair rushed over to her, “Ismene, don’t look…it’s…” he said, trying to turn her away, to go back in direction she had just come.
It was only then that he realized—the message—it was for her. Ismene and Alonah came to the gardens each day to check on her tiger lilies. This wall faced the entrance into the gardens closest to her bedchambers, the entrance she came through every day. How did anyone outside of his house and Pharaoh’s know that? His heart sank. There was a leak in one of these houses.
Ismene stood her ground, refusing to let Alistair turn her away. She was shaking.
“Who…what…I don’t understand,” she managed after several seconds. As she glanced up at him, he could see tears in her dark eyes as she repeated the terrible words that were written there. “Go home?”
His heart ached for her.
“Who wants me to go home?” she asked, voice breaking, clearly injured by the implications.
He pulled her into his firm embrace.
She began to cry.
“Shh, shh.” He soothed her, rubbing her shoulders. “It’s all right. It doesn’t mean anything.”
He knew it wasn’t all right. She was in a foreign land, a place she was still having great difficulty adjusting to—a place where she was surrounded by people she didn’t know and who were so different from her. She was still adapting to these new people, a new culture, a new way of doing things, a new government…a new way of life. This must have been her worst fear confirmed. Not only did she not know these people, not only were they foreign in many ways, they did not want her here.
He kissed the top of her head. “Don’t give it any thought, Ismene. Remember last night. Remember how the people cheered for you. They loved you!”
Her crying stilled for a moment.
“This is the work of one person who is dissatisfied with me and is doing this to get back at me. This is not about you. I promise,” he lied. He was quite certain this was at least the truth in part. But he feared that it may be the work of the Alexandrian mob and it may well be aimed at her.
Ismene allowed him to comfort her a little longer, but before he was ready to let go, she started to pull away. With reluctance, he released his hold on her. He then tugged on her arm more firmly until she was facing the direction she had just come, her back to the wall and the horrible message.
“Alonah, please take the Lady Ismene to her bedchambers. I’ll have some refreshments brought for her.” He made sure that there was no room for argument in his voice.
Alonah took Ismene’s arm and led her back inside, away from the small crowd and the offensive markings.
Alistair watched them go. Once they were inside and a safe distance away, he spun back toward the small crowd of servants.
“Get. It. Off.” His voice sharp and his words heated; the words penetrated the air, thick with apprehension, before he stormed off.

 ~~~

The 1888 Journal: Mysteries & Entries Part II


We’re picking up where we left off in the 1888 Journal entries. 
Since the last post (Part 1), a reader took it upon herself to dig into this mystery writer, and found some interesting info that leads us to believe this girl, Siena, or Siera, or Sirra, is from Vermont…we think Dover. That’s a great start to putting together the pieces of this young lady’s life!
Hopefully we’ll have more to share soon!
Enjoy the entries below, and feel free to comment at the end of the post with any info or insight you’d like to share. 🙂 
Tues. Jan. 10, 1888
Snowy.
Went to school.
Wed. Jan. 11, 1888
Stormy
Went to school. 
Thurs. Jan. 12, 1888
Pleasant & cold.
Went to school.
George Piper [pretty sure it’s piper] and George Prouty here this evening. [Here we find out Geo. Prouty from the Jan. 5th entry is George Prouty…now I wonder who George is…both Georges. Family? Suitors?]
Fri. Jan. 13, 1888
[no entry]
Sat. Jan. 14, 1888
Snowy.
At home, helped do the work, finished a pair of wristers [I think wristers are similar to mittens]. 
Sun. Jan. 15, 1888
Rainy.
Couldn’t go to meeting today. Went up to the Baptist meeting this eve.

Mon. Jan. 16, 1888
Cold.
Went to school.
Scottie & I went to Ann Knapps this evening, a few minutes.
Tues. Jan. 17, 1888
Snowy.
Went to school.
Wed. Jan. 18, 1888
A beautiful day.
Went to school.
Scottie, Will, Sucian [not sure about the name…] and I went up to meeting this evening.
I weighed 137 ½, and Scottie 102 ¼ . [I wonder if they were weighed at church? Strange.]
Her entries stop for a while, and do not pick up until Feb. 1, 1888…which makes me wonder why the long silence. Was there a winter storm? Sickness? Did her brother Scottie play a joke and hide her journal?
Will post again soon!
Related Posts:

The 1888 Journal: Mysteries & Entries part 1


Awhile back I came across this pocket-sized journal at an antique store in Nashville, dated 1888. HAD to have it! It inspired the post The Journal and the Journey: The One Who Knows the Way, but it hasn’t stopped inspiring or intriguing me. 

I’ve kept the little book on my writing desk, and looked it over many times thoroughly enjoying the entries—as close to time travel as I will ever get.  

 It wasn’t difficult to picture the owner—a young lady, mid-teens more than likely, modest attire. I picture her hair done up in a neat bun, custom to the time period. Educated, church going, and cares for her family, even helping out neighbors. Her evenings are spent working on stitch-work, and visiting with family. Peaceful really.

I’m not certain of the owners name, or residence, only can I speculate given the clues she leaves, but I’m certain many people will find her entries, and the mysterious abrupt ending, interesting.
Her writing is soft, elegant, and often times difficult for me to read or make out, so bear with me as I translate the entries, and feel free to look at the images and help me figure out some of the words.
The plan is to post her entries on the actual day she wrote them, but of course, this year has begun, and I’m behind—imagine that!
Please share this post. Perhaps we may be able to find out more about her, her life, or even locate living descendants.

Let’s begin! I think this journal once belonged to Sirra Hunt (That’s what I see…do you see another name)

Name: Sirra? Hunt?

 Sun. Jan 1, 1888

Cold, storming, and lonesome.
At home, all day. Aunt Maria stayed here last night and went away this morning.

 Mon. Jan 2, 1888
Pleasant.
Went to school this forenoon, and stayed at home, “dumphed [not sure what that word is] up”  this afternoon.
Tues. Jan 3, 1888
Pleasant.
Went to school

Wed. Jan. 4, 1888
Pleasant.
Went to school & went to meeting this evening [I can’t help but wonder what kind of meeting!!]
Thurs. Jan. 5, 1888
Pleasant.
Went to school.
Geo. [not sure if this is correct] Prority [again unsure of name] here this evening

Fri. Jan. 6 , 1888

Pleasant.
Went to school.
Mother, Scottie & I went over to Ona [not certain of name] Knapp’s this evening.
Sat. Jan. 7, 1888
A little stormy.
Helped do the work and wash. Cornmal [unsure of word]—
Need a pair of whislets [unsure of word] this evening

Sun. Jan. 8, 1888
Snowy.
Went to meeting twice. [What meetings!!???]
Mon. Jan. 9, 1888
Cold.
Went to school. Received a letter from B. M. H [oooohhh…a secret crush? Or something to do with the meetings?]

Sermon Notes for Kids: Helping Your Kiddos Grow in their Faith

click to downloadI grew up in church. Every Sunday and Wednesday. Summer programs too. And I’m grateful for my upbringing and foundations of faith.

Now, I wasn’t the most quiet child during church service. Dad pecked my head a time or two–kept me in line. Kept me from squirming, doodling on the back of the bulletin, humming, or tossing paper wads at my brother.  🙂 Church service was sooo boring, well, up until my early teens, and then I started paying attention. Started understanding the relevance of the Bible, and faith. Started taking notes. Still take them, and enjoy going back through them from time to time.

Now that my kiddos sit in church service with us each Sunday, I find myself wondering how I can help them pay more attention…let the sermon sink in…help them apply it to their lives, and grow their faith…and keep the paper wads from flying across the room!

How??? How ?

Sermon notes for kids!!! Of course!!

Apparently I’m not the first to think of this idea. A whole host of Pinterest pins offer a variety of sermon notes for kids of all ages.  Check them out if you get a chance.

So I took my time, scanned through the pins and posts, gathered ideas, thought about my kiddos, how our church service is laid out, and created one for them, which I’m totally sharing with you. Free of charge! You’re welcome. 🙂

The notes include a page that highlights the importance of memorizing Bible verses, Prayers, Praises, and answered prayers pages, as well as a notes page for dates to remember perhaps from the bulletin, or other church social events. 

My oldest, now 10, won’t have any issues with filling out/reading the note pages. My youngest, now 5, will need some help. I will also be tweaking her sermon notes booklet a bit, equipped with Bible verses she can trace, and things more suited for her age (I’ll share that when I’m done).

So the game plan is: print out the pages, enough for a years worth of sermons, and bind them together to create a booklet for my oldest to take with him to church every Sunday. Now, one could easily print out the papers, hole punch them and put them in a binder, folder–whatevs. 🙂

Enjoy!! Print them out, get’em to your kiddos!

Click Here to Download the Sermon Notes pdf

Confessions of a Writer: Nearly Six Years into the Journey


This past Sunday, our Pastor preached a sermon entitled, Confessions of a Disciple: Nearly 40 years into the Journey. Highly recommend listening. Here’s the audio link.
 
Wow, these confessions were so real, and raw. His transparency was like a gift. We as Christians live messy lives as we work to live out real faith in real life. Sometimes others like Pastors or Best-Selling Authors seem to have arrived—got it all together, but that’s not the case. 
So, as a gift to fellow writers starting out, here are my confessions nearly six years into the journey as a writer.
1: If I wrote when I was inspired, the project would never get finished. 
Most, if not a great majority of things in life require discipline—an intentional action repeated on a consistent basis. 
I make a writing schedule and stick with it until one of the kiddos gets sick, or the back porch roof starts to cave in, or an after school practice or program takes precedence. I’m learning to apply an Army Wife Motto to my writing life: roll with it. If my schedule gets out of whack, I find the time I can write. 
Oh how I wish I had 4 or 5 hours of sheer uninterrupted time to write when I wasn’t exhausted from a day of adult-ing, but then again, I may be prone to wonder from the page and end up sucked into Pinterest or Facebook, or something else equally and wonderfully distracting. 
The point is, I’m learning to set writing goals to keep me on track.  Even going as far as to set a timer for 90 minutes, 4 times a week, and bust my chops to get in 1,500 words each session…which leads me to the next confession:
2: Embrace grace when goals go unmet.
There are some days when I don’t get a single word written. Ugh, that’s another confession that stands on its own. 
Sometimes life happens in the strangest of ways and sucks up your day. The oddest, most unpredictable things can occur…quite peculiar, really.
And then there’s just the day to day conflicts. I work part time, take care of my kiddos, juggle their schedules with mine and my hubby’s, volunteer, teach Sunday school, lead a writers group, cook, clean, market, blog…yikes, I need some chocolate just thinking about it all. 
But God reminds me of who I am. I’m His. And I can plan and schedule all I want, but each novel is His, and He will give me the grace, and strength to finish…even if there’s a day or a week when I haven’t typed a single word.
And that leads me to my next confession: 
3: Prioritizing time is a challenge but a necessity.
Yes, I set writing goals. Yes, I carve out and prioritize that writing time, but my first priority, even before family, is God.  Perhaps strange for some to hear, but it’s a way of life that works well for our family, and a multitude of other followers of Christ.
It’s almost become routine to wake up before the family and spend that time reading the Bible, praying, and listening. It’s a routine I like, and crave. It’s become a priority. 
That priority extends into the way I live, how I treat others, how I spend my money, and how I spend my time.  And I need daily reminders, helpful nudges from God to keep Him first. Family second. Friends third. Writing fourth. 
It’s a struggle, not gonna lie, but I remember that writing is just a part of my life, a good part, but not the whole. 
4: There’s more fear involved in the writing process than what I ever imagined. 
It hangs out beside my desk, in the corner, sometimes on my shoulder. It takes me a bit to acknowledge the fear…that my first draft is going to be probably the worst thing I’ve ever written…that I will probably get some bad reviews…that some people may never like a single thing I write…that I don’t have what it takes to be a writer. 
Fear acknowledged, then swallowed, because I know that fear doesn’t come from God. So, I press forward and write anyway, because I’m writing for another reason, and that reason is more powerful than a bit of fear hanging around.
And the last confession:
5: The first draft is gonna be terrible.
Ugh, I can’t stand this confession because I don’t want to embrace it. I want to write the perfect novel the first time. 
To help assuage my little writer heart, I asked MANY, MANY, MA NY other authors light years ahead of me in experience about their first drafts. Every single one of them either laughed, rolled their eyes, or grimaced, each stating there’s was terrible. Good news for the rest of us writers! 
But, after guidance, input, rewrites, and edits, that raw rough copy becomes a polished novel worth the struggles. Even better news!
So keep going, fellow writer! I pray these confessions help encourage you in your writing journey.

Service, Love & a Cold Fighting Soup: Living Like Jesus

Moms don’t have time to get sick, and Military Wives whose spouse is deployed or away, dreads the thought of falling ill.

Never in my adulthood had I ever caught the flu….until my hubby was on his last deployment. That’s how it goes, right?

Well, I got it, and got it BAD!

Woke up drenched in sweat, chills, fever, the whole nine yards, yet I still needed to care for my kiddos. A mom’s job, well, we all know it’s never done.

I’m not one to ask for help, or share my burdens on social media, but that day, I wrote a simple message about being ill and needing prayer to get better soon.

An outpouring of love and support ensued. Several ladies brought soup, movies, meals, and crafts to keep my youngest occupied. They watched my youngest, made sure I didn’t have to prepare supper for a few days, called to check on me, and even helped pick up my house! Kinda makes me wanna get sick again, ha. 🙂 

These wonderful women demonstrated love by taking a moment to step away from their life, their obstacles, their problems, and their to-do-lists to help a friend in need. What a blessing they were to our family!

1 Corinthians 13: 7 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 
No one lived out this verse better than Jesus. He continuously demonstrates his love for us, but in this particular instance we find Jesus not only living out love, but giving us an insight to how to handle our trials and hurts. In Matthew 14 we find Jesus in mourning after the gruesome death of His cousin and friend, John the Baptist. He takes a moment to be alone and grieve, and then we see Him get up, and go out to serve and meet the needs of others.
When we shift our eyes from our burdens, busy schedules, hurts, and trials to meet the needs or serve someone else, we live out love. We live like the ladies who helped me in my time of need. We live like Jesus, and that’s the best way to live.
Think of ways to serve others. Think of ways your family can join in, and though it can be difficult, remember it’s okay to be the person who may need help.
And if there’s ever a need for a hearty, cold battling soup for family, friends or yourself? I got ya covered! Check out the recipe below, and it’s GLUTEN FREE:
 
Fight a Cold Soup
5-6 cups of Chicken broth (I’m sure veggie broth would be okay too)
2 Whole Carrots
3 Celery Stalks
1 Half of Onion Chopped
2 Tblsps of Minced Garlic
Kale & Baby spinach
1 1/2 tsp of Sea Salt
1 1/2 olive oil
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50-60 minutes
Chop or dice carrots, celery, and onion. In a pot large enough to hold the soup, heat up olive oil on medium-high heat, and sauté the carrots, celery, and onion. Add in the garlic. Stir constantly. Add in 1/2 of broth, cover pan, set to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the chicken broth, and sea salt. Bring to a low boil and add the kale and spinach (use as much as you’d like; I do a handful of each).  Let boil for 5-7 minutes, then simmer for 30-40 minutes. Check the tenderness of the veggies and serve when they’ve reached desired firmness or softness. Feel free to add to or take away. Hot sauce and paprika goes well in this soup too. ENJOY!

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Helping Kids Cope with Deployment

September 11th means many things to Americans–many things we aren’t even able to put into words.

It’s been 14 years.

Doesn’t seem like it.

I’ve often thought it strange that my children cannot remember a time when our country hasn’t been at war, nor do they quite grasp why their Daddy has had to be gone for long periods of time to fight the bad guys.  So today, Dear Readers, we have a special Guest Blogger & Army Wife who is going to talk with us about helping our kids cope with deployment. We want to honor our brave men and women who keep our country safe, and support their families with all the love and encouragement we can muster.
 
Welcome, Julie Provost!
 
~   ~   ~
Helping Kids Cope with Deployment
 
My oldest son was only about 2 years old when his Dad deployed for the first time. By the time my husband deployed for the 2nd time he was 4 and his little brother was 2. By our 3rd deployment my boys were 6, 4 and 2.5 months old. Then the 4th they were 8, 6 and 2.
As I look back over the years I can see how each time they handled the deployment a little differently. This is normal because different kids in different ages tend to do that. Some kids can handle deployments better than others. Sometimes it is because of their personality, but sometimes it is because of their age and how much they can understand.

There is a lot you can do as the Military spouse to help your children cope during a deployment. If you have a small baby, one who can’t even talk yet, you might just keep sharing photos with them. Some people will laminate them and put them up in the nursery. Just so your baby sees their Dad and gets used to his face.

For a toddler or preschoolers it might get a little more difficult. They might not be able to explain to you how they are feeling about the issue but they might act out a little more because they are missing their other parent. It is best to keep that in mind as you go through your day. Try to set up Skype chats if you can and just be there to help them through it.
When your kids get a little older and can understand what the word “war” and “Army” means you can sit down with them and have conversations about it. You can check in with them about how they are doing and what they might be worried about. Have them help you with care packages and have them talk to their Dad as often as possible. Just let them know that you understand how hard it is for them.
 
You can do some fun activities around the house that might help them through it. Have a chain of deployment days. Put up pictures of your spouse. Have them help make the homecoming posters. Get them excited when you know it is coming to an end.

Remember to pray with your kids for Daddy every night. Pray for his safety and the safety of his Company, Unit and the whole Army. It can be a good way for kids to get used to praying for others too.
 
There isn’t a lot you can do to change the fact that your spouse will be deployed when they are in the Military. It happens and could happen more often than you would like. But, you can be there for your kids and get them through the separations. You can be the person that they can always go to when they are feeling too sad about it. You can help them cope.

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Julie is a blogger & social media addict living in Tennessee. She has been married for 13 years to her National Guard Soldier and has three boys, 10, 8 & 4. You can find her at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram.

The Journal & the Journey: The One Who Knows the Way

Not too long ago, I stumbled on an old diary at a flea market. The journal year? 1888.

Wow!

What a treasure for a history lover like myself. Of course I bought it, then struggled whether or not to read it. I wouldn’t want a stranger snooping through my journal! Friends assured me no moral dilemma existed considering the age of the document, and we were all curious, so…well, we read it. 🙂

To our amusement and utter awe, Sierra Hunt, the writer, described her life, and it’s simple, often mundane tasks. With her words, this young teen, transported us back in time. Glorious experience!

Not much changed from Sierra’s day to day routine. School, fetching water, helping Ma in the kitchen. On Sunday she walked to church. She made mention of the weather, social gatherings, a family friend getting ill, and visitors. At times, she seemed frustrated by her simple life, and skipped several days in the journal –a sad thing for all of us reading.

Sierra had grown used to her life, and it’s routine. I found myself able to relate well this young lady of the past. For years I’ve stayed at home with my children, raising them, and moving from state to state with the military. At times the life set before me seemed so rote, and blah. Even as a 21st century grown woman, I understand Sierra’s century old teenage rant.

So we continued to flipped through the journal, thoroughly enjoying each entry, until it stopped mid sentence.

She wrote on July 6, 1888: “Warm & Pleasant. I worked for Mrs. Struthers this forenoon. Sewed some. Scottie [her brother] and I went up and got the “

And that’s it. Nothing more. We’re left wondering where she and Scottie went, what they were doing, and what ever happened to Sierra. Did she finish school? Get married? So many unknowns!

If our lives were a journal, how many unknowns would we have?

For me, plenty.

We don’t know what tomorrow brings, or what our future holds when our paths in life change. We’re on this journey, and our journals are filled with unknowns.

But God knows. He knows what happened to Sierra, and I intend to ask him one day. He knows the paths our lives will take, and we can trust Him with all our unknowns. All of them — the career choices, parenting tips, finances, the good & the bad of it all. I’m learning this day by day as I transition into a new phase of life with my hubby retired from the Army, and my youngest starting school.

A new path doesn’t have to equal uncertainties when we are certain of The One guiding us.


“And whenever you turn to the right or two the left, your ears will hear this command behind you — this is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Many blessings, and a journey full of joy for all of you.

Click to Tweet: “A new path doesn’t have to equal uncertainties when we are certain of The One guiding us.” ~Author @hannahrconway http://ctt.ec/6IC6h+

3 Steps to Finding the Grace to Chase a Dream by Cara Putman

http://www.amazon.com/Stars-Night-Cara-C-Putman-ebook/dp/B00EV56C4S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440123709&sr=8-1&keywords=stars+in+the+nightHello Dear Readers! Today we welcome Award Winning Author Cara Putman! Cara has some great advice to share with us today & will be giving away a copy of her novel, Stars in the Night. Enter to win below!


Without further ado, let’s give Cara a warm welcome!



 

~    ~    ~
ONCE there was a 14-year-old who quickly realized her favorite authors simply could not write books fast enough. Because she was young, she decided she could write books, too. Her mother smiled and allowed her to write as part of her English. Slowly two novels grew on an old computer, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. She loved creating ideas, research, writing. The process delighted her soul, and she wondered if she’d found what she was created to do.
        Then life got busy. College, a career. A husband and a family. Writing was pressed to the perimeter of her life by the busyness of a full life.
                Most days it was enough.
                But some days, the whisper to write became a roaring ache to try. When this occurred, this girl grown into a woman would take the dream to God, hold it in open hands, and ask Him if this was His dream for her. If not, show her so she could kill the dream and focus on His will for her life.
                In due time, He announced it was time to follow her dream. Nine years later she’s awaiting the publication of her 18th and 19th books later this year.
                You may have already guessed: I am that girl. I know what it’s like to have a dream burning inside me and wonder if anything would ever come of it. I want to encourage you. If this is you. If you’re convinced your dreams have disappeared under a pile of laundry, dirty diapers, and grocery lists, that there are ways to live with grace until the appointed time for the dream to burst to life.
                Here’s what I learned on the journey:
1)      Hold the dream loosely. Pry your tight grip from the dream and offer it to God. Ask Him for wisdom to know if this is the time or the dream. Seek Him first. A dream without Him at the center is simply not as fulfilling.
 
2)      Prepare when you can as you can. For me that meant continuing to read voraciously. Through that I had a core understanding of what made a story and characters work. I might not have known all the lingo, but I intuitively gained an education. It also meant I read how-to write novel books. Each time the itch would resurface, you’d find me in the stacks looking for another book, so I could get structural understanding.
3)      Be prepared to run when God gives you the go-ahead. The years since God told me it was time to test the dream have been a whirlwind of work. It has required immense discipline and stick-to-it-iveness. I’ve had to let go of things to make room for the dream. Are you willing to do the same?

Waiting for a dream is hard. But with God’s grace, the waiting can be a time of preparation and drawing closer to Him.

Cara Shares Some of her Faves!

Favorite Dessert:                           Apple pie
Favorite Restaurant:                     Runza   
Favorite Branch of the Military (I won’t judge you if say anything other than Army, lol J): ARMY – My dad flew Heweys in Vietnam and Desert Storm
Favorite Genre of Music:              Praise and worship
Favorite Subject in School:           history


Author Bio:

Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 20 books, graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” It received the Christian Retailing BEST award for Historical Fiction and the HOLT Award of Distinction. Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman recently received her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

Shadowed by Grace:
http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Grace-Story-Monuments-Men/dp/1433681781/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440123649&sr=8-1&keywords=shadowed+by+graceShadowed by Grace is a dramatic story inspired by the Monuments Men of World War II by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy to capture images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive – to find the father she never knew — an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It’s an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her

Connect with Cara:

 

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4 Reasons to Host A Backyard Bible Club


Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

My name is Hannah Conway, Army wife for more than a decade, and the author of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, and Wedding a Warrior from Olivia Kimbrell Press.
This summer, our family hosted our very first Backyard Bible Club! We want to share the experience, and encourage military and civilian families to host your very own Backyard Bible Club for several reasons:
 
1: We’re promoting community, and that’s always a good thing!
 
2:  We’re cultivating relationships when we invite your neighbors over, and living in a military community it’s so vital to make connections with others we can trust, learn from and grow together. So to my military families out there, I challenge you to host a club.
 
3: The third and most important reason to host a backyard bible club is, we get to share Jesus with kids! How often do we sit in our homes and ever really get to know our neighbors, let alone work up enough nerve to tell them about Jesus or even let them know we’re a follower. A backyard Bible club helps to bridge that gap.
 
4: The 4th reason to host a club…well, that’s pretty easy! We get to have a lot of fun…a lot of messy fun…or not so messy, but our family likes messy games…really messy games! We’ve got the pics to prove it!

Thinking of starting your own Backyard Bible Club? Check out Lifeway.com for easy-to-use curriculum or use any of our ideas, lessons/agendas, crafts, games etc.
 

Feel free to comment below with suggestions for next year’s club, or suggestions/advice for anyone interested in hosting their own club.  

Scripture Blocks Made From Scrap Wood, Paint, Construction
Paper, and Modge Podge.