Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

It is a very busy time for me at work and busy trying to squeeze in that last novel or novella.  I am also reminded why we celebrate Christmas and remember that Christ is the reason for the season!!!  

I love reading Christmas stories this time of year.   I usually start after Thanksgiving and reading them.   I also indulge my love for coffee too and my favorites are Starbucks Christmas Blend and Peppermint Mocha they are my favorites.  The weather has been yucky these past couple of weekends and it has been perfect for staying indoors, reading a great book and drinking plenty of coffee.

It is hard to believe that Christmas and New Years Eve has quickly came upon us and we will soon will be celebrating Christmas and then turn around to ring out the old year and bringing in the New Year!!

Have you made out your 2014 MUST READ LIST this year?   I have started on it and it includes lots of new books and new authors!   I am so excited about the new reads with familiar authors and the not so familiar authors either!   I am looking forward to traveling to different places and meeting new people!!!!   So please look for me and my new "friends" (books) here!!!   I promise no spoilers on this page either!

I have enjoyed this blog and be on the lookout for reviews that I will post here or on Goodreads! I found out that some authors are willing to give a free book away just for your honest reviews on either your blog or on Barnes and Nobles, Amazon or Goodreads!  So, look out for new and exciting things here!   Who knows maybe I will get lucky again and have another guest author posting on my blog!


MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!


Monday, December 9, 2013

A VERY EXCITING WEEK!!!!!!


This has been an exciting week for me and my fairly new blog.   This past week I have had Erin Healy as a guest on my blog!   She is my very first guest author on my blog and please look for more in the future (I hope)!  


I will also be posting reviews on Sarah Ladd's books this month too!!!  This is my favorite time of year to read books!!!  Because of the hectic season, I choose to read short Christmas Novels that celebrate the true reason for the season and little romance to boot too!  It also is my favorite time to buy my favorite blend of coffee and that is Starbucks Christmas Blend and especially when it is on sale!!!!  It makes for one happy girl!!!!

If you are wanting any suggestions for books to read in your book club or just individually, please feel free to email me at rtiaj6@gmail.com.   I love to read!!!   I read mainly Christian, but am very selective about what I read if I read a secular author!!!  Also, if you go and check me out on Goodreads you will see some of the books that I have read since joining and some of my reviews too.   Some people read more than I do, but I like to digest a book instead of reading in such a blur that you miss out on so much!   I been there and done that one and have agreed not to do it again.

Remember Jesus is the reason for the season and let us celebrate His Birth!!!  

Tia

   

Monday, December 2, 2013

Welcome Christian Author: Erin Healy!

Photo Credit:  Erin Healy
Erin Healy’s latest supernatural thriller, Stranger Things, comes to stores on New Year’s Eve.

Library Journal says: “Serena Diaz’s teaching career came to an abrupt end when a student falsely accused her of sexual misconduct. Seeking solace in the woods, she discovers that a gang of sex traffickers has taken over a vacant house. Serena is almost captured by one of the criminals but is saved by an unknown man who has been shadowing her. He is shot, and Serena escapes with her life. But she is drawn to know more about this stranger who died for her. What follows is a suspenseful story of danger and pure evil. Whom can Serena trust in a world that seems intent on serving its own self-interests? 

VERDICT Healy (Afloat; coauthor with Ted Dekker, Burn and Kiss) has written an edgy, fast-paced spiritual thriller that will please Dekker fans.”

How was your idea for Stranger Things born?

Two years ago, during a Good Friday service, my pastor (Kelly Williams of Vanguard Church, Colorado Springs) asked the congregation: “If a complete stranger died while saving your life, wouldn’t you want to know everything you could about that person? Wouldn’t you want your life to honor that person’s death?” He challenged us to consider Jesus Christ in a new light—as a stranger, as a savior we might not know as well as we think we do. This idea has roots in Romans 5:8—“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Before I ever had the chance to know him, while he was a complete stranger to me, Christ died for me. The Message translation says “when [I was] of no use whatever to him.” Why would he do that? Have I investigated him thoroughly enough to connect my own life with his purposes? This is all background, though. Stranger Things isn’t an overtly Christian tale as my previous novels have been, but it’s a parable about these questions.

Stranger Things sounds like a pretty dark read. Why did you choose to write about sex trafficking?

Human trafficking (of which sex trafficking is a subcategory) is the world’s third-fastest growing illegal industry behind drugs and weapons. It is the most horrifying kind of modern captivity I can imagine, and my research proved that even my imagination fell short of reality. I picked it because it’s a real contemporary crisis, but also because it profoundly symbolizes the kind of bondage that Christ came to end (Isaiah 61:1-3). Freeing the captive, physically and spiritually, is a high calling for followers of Jesus who want to express their gratitude for his sacrifice and demonstrate his love through the continuation of his work.

What does all this have to do with the “thin places” that you’re always talking about?

The traditional (Celtic) definition of a thin place is a physical location in the world where the division between physical and spiritual realities falls away, a place where we can see the greater truth of our existence. In my stories I use the term “thin place” to define moments when a person experiences a sharpened spiritual awareness about what’s really going on in his or her life. Stranger Things  is the first novel in which I’ve combined both ideas. The thin place is a physical location, a burned-out house in a sparse terrain, where Serena discovers her purpose. “There are places in the world where you will encounter things so real that you will be surprised others don’t have an identical experience,” Serena’s father tells her. “But then you will realize that the clarity given to you is a gift from God. Perhaps this gift is just for you, maybe also it will touch the lives of others.”

Did anything surprise you while writing the novel?

Photo Credit:  Erin Healy
I started with intentions to write about an Asian-based trafficking ring, but in the course of my research was distressed to learn just how close to home the problem lies. Though it’s impossible to get a precise count of how many people are victims of sex trafficking in the US, most estimates fall between 100,000 and 300,000 (mostly women and children). Since I learned this my own awareness has expanded, and I’m happy to see just how many efforts are already underway—not only in the US—to end this atrocity. The Polaris Project is a great place to begin learning about global human trafficking.

What do you hope readers will take away from Stranger Things?

I hope the novel is layered enough to meet each reader individually. Maybe some will be challenged to investigate Jesus Christ further. Maybe some will use their new awareness of trafficking to do something about it. (I’ve joined the prayer team of a local home for girls rescued from sexual slavery.) To date my favorite response to the book was from the person who found herself looking in a new way at the strangers who surrounded her. She felt unexpectedly protective and concerned, on heightened alert to ways in which she might be able to help them. In other words, ways in which she might be able to do what Christ did for her. So many opportunities! If we all moved through the world with eyes like that, what might change for the better? I love to think of all the possibilities.

Additional Questions I asked and she answered:

What author or authors influenced your writings the most?

Ideologically, Chaim Potok. Though he wrote from a Jewish perspective, I love the way his stories tease out the tensions between the traditions of faith and the experience of faith. I write about a different kind of intersection--where our spiritual and physical lives jut into one another--but I admire the way Potok's books are so tender, honest, and important when it comes to the role belief plays in our lives.


When did you get interested in writing?

When I was in second grade I plagiarized my best friend's story about a duck that broke into someone's house via chimney, because I thought it was so smart and brilliant. Unfortunately the effort didn't bring me very much satisfaction. She forgave me, and I tried my own imagination. Even then I was full of self-doubt, comparing myself to my friend's better storytelling sense. But when I was in third grade I wrote a poem about my newborn cousin and a short morality tale about a sandwich-stealing seagull, and I haven't stopped writing since. The self-doubt hasn't gone away, unfortunately.

I am currently reading The Baker's Wife.   What made you choose the genre that you write about?

I write supernatural suspense--until we come up with a better label. The suspense/mystery component represents what I most like to read (and watch, when it comes to screen dramas). I love to participating in puzzling out a story--who did it? why? what's going to happen? The supernatural component is a device that I find very helpful when trying to see issues from a new perspective. Supernatural events, symbols, and elements just offer a fantastic breadth of possibility. In The Baker's Wife, for example, I wondered what it would be like if compassion had a physical component. How would our lives change if we could truly feel another person's pain? I was trying to shake up the "bear one another's burdens" notion that has become familiar to the point of cliche--do we even know what it means? I hope my stories cause readers to say, "I never thought of it that way before," whatever the theme is.

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