Monday, March 30, 2015

New Feature Launch


I’m launching a new feature in my Whispers in Purple blog, called “My Cozy Den.”

It will feature guest blogger writers, friends, reviews, interviews, new book releases, devotionals and some occasional giveaways and contests.

Posts will be on weekdays Monday-Friday

Find out more by clicking on the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES tab. If you’re interested in being a guest blogger, click on the CONTACT PEG tab and send me your query.

Thanks! Looking forward to working with you.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

February Releases Clash

In the winter, we all need a pick-me-up, and often,

a good book does just the trick!

Clash of the Titles is pleased to present these brand new novels.

Which one is calling you? Take a moment to browse, then choose which you're most likely to read first.


 from now until next Wednesday - tell your friends - then come back and see which book is this month's champion!

Convicted thief and con-woman Teagan Copperfield is willing to do anything to avoid prison--even become an honest woman. She has one chance to redeem her future...if she can escape her past.


If Isaac Daniels can catch the pranksters before they ruin Tillgiven Bible School's traditional Christmas Smorgasbord, he can make up for playing hooky in October. It's a great plan--until the pranks take a deadly turn.


Has-been hockey player, Knox Everhart, has a reputation for being fast on the ice and with women, but widow Eden Snow has always been a fascinating mystery to him, which is why he agrees to let her use the back room of his bar for her church. But when Eden brings the church to the bar, it offers something the bottle can’t--hope--and Knox finds himself falling in love with a woman and a Savior he feels unworthy to pursue.


When the Broussard family secrets are revealed, can Cheryl deal with the truth and accept the blessing of a second chance for relationships with her family, old friends, and with the God she never really knew?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

For Writers: Interview Your Character(s)


If you’re like me, you already have a mental image of your main characters. But we sometimes have trouble bringing our character(s) to life. No matter what you do, or try, he or she fails to stand out from the crowd. Yes?

Well, let's take a few minutes to find out who your character is.

  • Where was the character born and raised?
  • Who were the parents?
  • What was the character's childhood like?
  • What members of a family does the character have?
  • What education did the character have?
  • What kind of a student was the character?
  • What special skills or knowledge does the character possess?
  • What hobbies did or does the character have?
  • What are the bad habits of the character?
  • What are some of the traits of the character—emotional, mental and physical?
  • What kind of job or profession is the character occupied with, past and present?
  • And, finally, what are some of the character's past and present relationships?

Can you see how the answers to these questions determine what and who your character is? If he's the 'good guy' then you want to create favorable background information to the questions above. If he's the antagonist, the answers will be far different.

Okay, let's take the above questions and supply some answers for your male protagonist –the good guy. I’ve written some answers to help you understand what to be thinking/looking for.

  • Where was he born and raised?

Born in the American Embassy in Berlin. At the age of two, family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

  • Who were his parents?

Educated; U.S.-born. Liberal and easy-going.

  • What was his childhood like?

Unhappy; only-child.

  • What family members does he have?

Paternal grandmother; Aunt; Father & Mother; cousin.

  • What education did the have?

Engineering school

  • What kind of a student was he?

Good student, but not straight A

  • What special skills or knowledge does he possess?

Fencing; Architecture;

  • What hobbies did or does he have?

Horseback riding; Ham Radio; music

  • What are his bad habits?

Impatience; jumping to conclusions; preoccupation; quarrelsome

  • What are some of his traits—emotional, mental and physical?

Farsighted; intense; stubborn; wiry; moustache; tanned; wavy, graying hair; ruggedly handsome; bachelor

  • What kind of job or profession is he occupied with, past and present?

Builder; architect; musician

  • And, finally, what are some of his past and present relationships?

Old girlfriend; partner; former employee; rival.

All right! now print this out and take another look at the questions and the answers I've provided. Does this guy begin to take shape? Is he 'fleshing out' a little bit in your mind's eye? Good! Now, start a new list, using the same questions, only this time put in your own ideas. Then, another list, and profile your antagonist.  Then your female protagonist. This will be fun.

Hope this has helped you with your troublesome character, hero or heroine, antagonist, or any other character you plan to have in your story. Once you 'see' them like this, you'll find it much easier to write about them and make the come alive to your reader.

I’ve used this ‘interview’ many times before and am using it right now with the characters in my current work-in-progress.

I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts about this.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Cozy Den: Author Stephanie Landsem



Stephanie Landsem-106cropStephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

Stephanie is kicking off a blog tour of her latest release, THE TOMB, a Novel of Martha. Here’s what Stephanie has to say about it:


How did I come to write biblical fiction?

The Living Water series started with a question that kept nagging at me one Sunday after hearing John’s Gospel account of the woman at the well. Who was this woman that Jesus stopped to speak to on a lonely road in Samaria? I had heard the story many times, but when I heard the gospel read this particular Sunday, I couldn’t stop thinking about this woman. I wondered not only why Jesus had spoken to her and what her story was, but what had happened to her after her encounter with Jesus.

These wonderings turned into the story of The Well, the first book in the Living Water Series. But the questions didn’t stop there. When I sold The Well to Howard Books and agreed to write two more works of biblical fiction, I used the same approach for each one.

As I wrote the stories for The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, I asked myself these four questions:

1. What was it like to live in the time of Jesus? We can’t enter fully into a story until we’ve learned what was going The Tomb cover finalon around us. What did people eat, what did they wear? What were their worries and their joys? The historical research within each story allows us to step into the world of our characters and live beside them, and beside Jesus.

2. What was it like to meet Jesus, the Incarnation, face to face? It must have been an amazing experience to meet Jesus. My favorite part of each story is when my characters meet the Son of God. I like to imagine what they would have felt, thought, and said to him.

3. How did meeting Jesus change the characters’ lives and the lives of those around them? Meeting Jesus had to have made an impact not only on one person’s life, but on their family, friends, and community. In each book of The Living Water Series, I explore how a single meeting could change the course of history for a whole community.

4. Did meeting Jesus lead to a happily-ever-after ending for my characters? We all know that being a Christian doesn’t promise us an easy life in this world. In real life, and in the stories I write, believing in Jesus leads to sacrifices and tests to our faith.

In The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb, I hope to immerse my reader in the time and place of first century Israel. Then, I want them to live with the character as he or she encounters Jesus and their lives are changed.

Ultimately, when readers finish one of my books, I hope that they can ask and answer these questions of themselves:

  • What would it be like to meet Jesus?

  • How would encountering Jesus change me, my friends, and my family?

  • Would meeting Jesus myself lead to THE happily-ever-after, eternity with him in heaven?

You can reach Stephanie at the following:


Tomb blog tour button

Stephanie is hosting a blog tour giveaway from March 17th to April 1st.

  • 1st Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card

  • 2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card

  • 3rd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card

  • 10 more winners will receive an olive wood pocket cross from the Holy Land

To enter the giveaway, you can click on the tour button here, or go to the giveaway site at:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Found Treasure


I read an article in a writing magazine a while back about a writer’s mother who was moving from a large house to a much smaller condo. As they kept  finding stuff, the mother would ask her daughter if she wanted it. Some of these 'treasures' were papers from the daughters school years, stories she wrote as a teen, and so on.

After going through some of it, she wrote “there is some good fodder there for future writing, fleshing out and improving on those early writing attempts.”

This got me to thinking and I realized I, too have some rich material from which to draw new articles and stories.

When our mother passed away in January, 2003,  my sister sent me some things she knew I would want: music, song books, and other books Mom had, and a large packet of loose, old black & white photographs, many which appeared to have been torn from long-gone photo albums. When the box arrived and as I was going through those wonderful things, bittersweet memories washed over me. Mom and I had often sung together in church and local revival meetings, and there were marks in the books where we each had made notes as to who sang which part. What wonderful times we had.

When I got to the bottom of the box I found several pieces of paper folded in thirds, yellowed but not brittle, in my mother’s beautiful handwriting. I carefully opened the sheets and found that Mom had written about 2-1/2 notebok pages on the song-writer P.P. Bliss, who was also a close friend and companion to Dwight L. Moody. Bliss and his wife died in a tragic train wreck in December, 1899. Some of his hymns are: Almost Persuaded; Wonderful Words of Life; Hallelujah, What a Savior; Let the Lower Lights Be Burning, and the tune for Horatio Spafford's It Is Well with My Soul.

Anyway, I don't know the purpose of what Mom wrote. I’d never seen it before. It may have been for a Sunday School class (she taught the teenagers) or a Young People's meeting. It wasn't quite old enough to have been written when she was in school (She died at 89.)  I’m guessing it was written sometime in the 1950’s. But she obviously put a great deal of time and effort into what she wrote. "I should do something with this," I thought.

Along with the papers with Mom’s writing, my sister included a letter she’d found addressed to Mom. It was from her soldier brother during WWII, dated August 20, 1945, from an unspecified location somewhere in the Philippines. The letter, 10 hand-written pages, was still folded and in the original envelope. The postmark date was probably a mere few days before he disappeared and was reported Missing in Action. He never returned home. Story material? You bet.

My dad, for the last seven years of his life, (he passed away in April, 2002) was my 'online computer companion' – he living in Florida and me in Nevada. He wanted to put up his own website and do some Bible studies about the Book of Daniel online and I helped him make the beginning effort. It never came about except for a single page on my own website we finally managed to create. . . now lost somewhere in cyberspace. He wrote many notes that we exchanged in email, which, sadly, disappeared along with the webpage. But Mom gave me his Bible before she passed, with highlights and notes throughout. I'm sure there are things in his many writings I could use for some purpose, sometime, if I can decipher his scribbles. He always started out with a legible few sentences, but as he continued writing, it deteriorated into a hasty scrawl.

So, my message to you today is this: DON’T OVERLOOK treasures like this from your own life. What about that stack of papers in your bottom drawer? Get up into Grandma's attic; rummage through old family picture albums; or go through some of your old papers from your school years. Ask the family for memories of years gone by.

No, you don't have to write about what you find if you don't want to. But if you need some inspiration, this kind of 'stuff' is a real treasure trove. You may even find something you can use in something you are working on right now. I'm not sure I can use either of my parent’s writings in any of my current projects, but I’ll find a way to use them, if God wills.

SO, GET BUSY! Who knows what gold you'll find buried under those layers of dust.



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Featuring Julie Cosgrove's Christian Suspense Series

From the first clap of thunder to the conclusion of the book,

Julie B. Cosgrove holds the reader in the palm of her hand.

                                               --Author Victoria Pitt Caine

About Hush in the Storm:

Jen, a young widow floundering in the storm of mourning, whose only lifeline is her humdrum job, is tossed into a maze of deceit and intrigue by a coworker named the request of her late husband, or so Tom says. He kidnaps her and fakes her death to keep her safe from the cartel who he thinks caused her husband's "accident." Together, they are thrust into a tempest of danger and deceit where no one is whom they claim to be. The list of people Jen can believe in keeps diminishing. Who can she trust while dodging the Feds, human traffickers and the press who've discovered she's alive? How will Jen rescue the two held-captive girls she befriends without drowning them, Tom, and herself in the waves of betrayal, especially when she's begun to suspect her husband may not be as dead as everyone thinks...



About Legitimate Lies:

Jen assumes she can escape her past after she testifies against Robert, her human trafficking mogul husband, and enters into witness protection under a new identity. That is until a baby shows up on the stoop of the library where she works, and another man from her past, Tom, appears in her living room. Now she must relocate again under yet another name and memorize a new set of legitimate lies to explain who she is.

When Robert discovers her latest identity, he has other plans for her, such as enslaving her in a Tudor manor in Southern England. The scandalous family secrets she discovers may hold the key to her and the daughter of the manor’s freedom. But first she must tunnel through a myriad of lies, including the dark sin which has held her own heart captive. If the truth is revealed, will it hinder her one chance for happiness?


What COTT Voters Had to Say:

--I have loved all of Julie Cosgroves books . Always waiting for the next one!!!
--I was eager to read Legitimate Lies and found it to be that most rare of all books. ..a sequel that is even better than the first in the Series! Author Julie Cosgrove tells a tight, well paced story which sweeps the readers along in a swirl of suspense. A protagonist in Witness Protection needs to learn to rely on the Lord s she seeks to discern whom she can trust and what is true, when her life seems to depend on a fragile web of legitimate -and not -so -legitimate -- lies. Her personal and spiritual growth made this a powerful and enjoyable book to read. I loved it and recommend it whole heartedly!
--Julie, this is one of the best books I've read. Can't wait for the sequel.
--Julie Cosgrove writes non-stop action and deeper meaning into her plot. Legitimate Lies is a good read.
--Great job, Julie! Keep up the good work. Proud of you :-)
--Julie Cosgrove is an excellent writer.
--Every book looks inviting, but Legitimate Lies captures my curiosity. Good job, Julie!
--Really enjoying Julie's latest!

About Julie:

Freelance writer, author and professional speaker Julie B Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and

Bible studies. She writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications and has been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul, Faith Filled Family Magazine, Upper Room's Devozine and Alive Now, The Secret Place, Light from the Word, The Journey and Good News Daily.
Julie has published three Bible studies, an inspirational, a devotional and several novels - Focused (2012), Hush in the Storm (2014) and Legitimate Lies (2015). She is contracted for two more novels: Freed to Forgive (2015) and Navy Blues (2016), with two more in process.

Julie has one grown son and lives in Fort Worth, TX with two cats.

Visit her website at or her blog:

Sunday, March 15, 2015



Noun: salmagundi ,sal-mu’ gún-dee - A collection containing a variety of sorts of things. salmagundi-1

To be fair, it can also refer to an assortment of cooked meats, eggs and vegetables  usually arranged in rows around the plate and dressed with a salad dressing

In other words, a hodgepodge of stuff.


Now that I’ve got your attention . . .  Happy Monday!

I’d like to remind you that today, March 16, is the debut for JEAN ANN WILLIAMS’ sharing of a series of chapters from he book God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart. You can read the introduction HERE and read the first installment HERE 

Jean will be posting chapters three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday over the coming weeks. I do hope you’ll take a few minutes to read and follow her journey to healing

Thank you. 


Coming up…

I will be a guest this coming Thursday, March 19, on Patti Shene’s Over 50 Blog, talking about my long, bumpy road to this crazy thing called being a writer. You’ll also learn a little bit more about me.



Now, a bit of self-promotion…

I have just completed my third Volume for the Sweetland series through Helping Hands Press. My latest release is an Easter story featuring the same characters I used in the first two. I’d love to have you check them out. Each is a short, quick read and only .99 cents! And, if you’re so inclined, perhaps even leave a review.

Summer in Sweetland V4

All Things Work Together
‘Tis the Season in Sweetland V4

Silver Bells and Candlelight
Sonrise in Sweetland V3
Perfect for the Job



And some good news…

I have just signed a contract for a multi-volume series of my own! This is also through Helping Hands Press and it will feature all the folks that peopled the above three stories but developing each character more in depth, digging deeper into their backgrounds, finding out what makes them tick. Discovering their fears, ambitions, likes and dislikes . . . I am so grateful for this opportunity and excitedly looking forward to it!

That’s it for today. Now you’ll understand my choice for this blog post title. Do come back and see what I’



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Featured Novel: Baxter Road Miracle by Carlene Havel

I read [Baxter Road Miracle] in one day, simply because I really didn't want to stop until I got to the end. Bet you will as well. Kudos to Carlene Havel for sharing this story with the world.

--Amazon Reviewer

Baxter Road Miracle

by Carlene Havel

About the book: 

Can faith move mountains? The Youngbloods are about to find out.

Henry Youngblood is determined to plant a new church in Buffalo Creek, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Meanwhile, his pregnant wife worries about paying the bills. One daughter dreams of a college education she cannot afford, and the other wants nothing more than popularity. It will take a miracle for the Youngblood family’s dreams to come true.

What COTT voters had to say:

--I love covers with churches on them.

--Thank you for well written words that speak truth.

--Keep writing those good books!

--I'm reading it now and can't put it down!

--Excellent book.. wonderful author!

--You are an awesome woman of God. You are an inspiration and a great author.

Q&A with Carlene:

Q: The book is categorized as ‘historical.’ When does it take place?

A: The setting is during the early 1960s, when good girls didn’t kiss on the first date. When smoking a cigarette in the high school bathroom was a huge scandal. When parents disapproved of bleached hair, eye shadow, and short skirts. When an idealistic preacher decided to take on the world to fulfill his calling.

Q: Do you have another book on the horizon?

A: Of course – how nice of you to ask! Joan Alley at Prism Book Group came up with the idea of a series based on the characteristics of love. Each author selected a phrase from the First Corinthians description of love as the theme for a short novel. Mine is entitled “Evidence Not Seen,” based on love keeping no record of wrongs. It’s the story of an attorney whose father is returning home after completing a long prison sentence. If the relationships among the father, mother, and son are to survive, each one must let go of old hurts.


About Carlene:

Carlene Havel is an award-winning writer of Christian-themed fiction. She has lived in Turkey, Republic of the Philippines, and numerous US States. After a career in human resources and software development, she began writing in 2005. The Havels live in Texas, surrounded by their extended family.
Find more great new releases all year at Clash of the Titles!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bible v Cellphone

Just something to think about.

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

Bible cell
  • What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
  • What if we flipped through it several time a day?
  • What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
  • What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
  • What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
  • What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
  • What if we used it when we traveled?
  • What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. Up front and in full.

And no dropped calls!

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities?'


Trust in the Lord and ASAP (Always Say A Prayer) Author: Phillip Beebe 2008


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Was's and commas and adverbs . . . Oh, my!


As I write and edit, I've become quite conscious of grammar usage, the overuse of adverbs, the all-too-frequent use of "was" and a dozen other things most of us do that we really know NOT to do. I even had some POV (point of view) problems. Oh, and the proper insertion of commas—some included where they didn't belong, and others omitted where they did belong. I’m really bad at commas.

So, I thought I'd share a little tongue-in-cheek list that ties right in with this subject. I think you'll enjoy it and chuckle as much as I did when I found it.

Here we go: Rules for Editing

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat)

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

14. One should NEVER generalize.

15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.

16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

19. The passive voice is to be ignored.

20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

21. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.

22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.

24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

25. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.

27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

28. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

29. Who needs rhetorical questions?

30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

And the last one...

31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Guest Blogger Jean Ann Williams: God’s Mercies after Suicide

I AM PLEASED TO INTRODUCE JEAN ANN WILLIAMS, one of those dear friends I’ve never met. Jean and I have ‘known’ each other for a number of years. I’ve prayed both WITH and FOR her through these years as she dealt with her son’s suicide. I can in no way imagine the grief she endured. Her book, GOD’S MERCIES AFTER SUICIDE takes us through the grieving process, and the long, slow road to healing. Please read the following introduction to her story, and mark your calendars to watch for each thrice-weekly installment as Jean chronicles her experience.

Thank you.


God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart will be released at my Love Truth blog in installments on March 16, 2015.

I’ll post three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. There are three parts to each chapter, the devotions, My Mother Memories, and a journal page for the reader.

Until the book comes out in print you could journal on your own, using the suggested headings as shown below:

  • ~Your Mother Memories~

  • ~Your Prayer of Praise~

  • ~A Scripture of Encouragement~

On March 16, 2015, it will be eleven years since my son left his family and friends with our grief, questions, and the memories of him.

“When our children die, we want their lives to have mattered. We long for the world to know they were here.”

—Jean Ann Williams


God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart is a devotional of two hundred and nineteen pages–30,000 words– and is intended for mothers who’ve lost children to suicide. This book is a friendly, approachable, inviting book that helps mothers feel welcome and at ease to allow them a peaceful time to reflect on their loss and the child they miss. Each chapter has three sections. The devotional begins with Scripture and where the author tells the story of her loss and then ends in a prayer. The second part is of the author’s anecdotes and memories of her son. They are short and sweet, with a dramatic style rather than a how-to. The author reenacts moments in her child’s life and recalls how she felt to see the different stages of growth and challenges he faced in life. The concluding part to each chapter is a journal page for the readers to write their memories of their child. It allows them space for both memories and grieving, a prayer of praise, and a Scripture of encouragement.

When a mother has lost a child, there are times when it’s hard to mingle with other people. Each God’s Mercies after Suicide chapter can be read and journeyed in within the privacy of a mother’s home, giving her a bit of hope and rest for another day. The book is distinctive in that it combines coping with the pain of loss while encouraging mothers to search for their own blessings. The book reaches out from its pages and wraps mothers in the warmth and love of their heavenly Father.

It has been stated by sufferers of loss to suicide that the topic of suicide is taboo, and that the survivors feel they’ve been isolated from the normal hum of life. In truth, the ones left behind after the suicide do have a valid point. Included in the preface of the book is this paragraph: “I’ve written these devotions for those mothers who have shared the deep heartache of a child’s suicide. Through my writing, I believe God wants me to share from my heart to theirs, by encouraging them and giving them ways to cope. Mothers can have hope and a due measure of peace after a suicide. God has helped me, and He wants to help other mothers. The loss is horrific, but God is faithful. He brought me through this dark time, and He wants to do the same for all mothers.”

Mothers of loss from suicide face separate concerns—concerns that are not taught nor thought about when they become parents. No one wants to consider that they’ll give birth to a child who could die by suicide. The mothers who endure this type of pain need a resource that considers their exclusive struggles and offers honest help from one mother to another—not in a step-by-step format but in story form, which draws the reader into a world they may know all too well.



Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth,

do you not perceive it?

—Isaiah 43:18-19

I had a dream. I dreamed the nightmare never happened. Our son Joshua never passed on to the hereafter. He married and had children. Then I woke, and knew the dream was only that—a dream. We live with our reality.

I’ve written these devotions for those of you who have shared the deep heartache of a child’s suicide. Through my writing, I believe God wants me to share from my heart to yours, by encouraging you and giving you ways to cope. You can have hope and peace after a suicide. God has helped me and He wants to help you. The loss is horrific, but God is faithful. He brought me through this dark time, and He wants to do the same for you.

A yearning to write this story came five years into my journey of loss. I sensed a dawn of courage within myself, but I haven’t come this far in a blink, nor on my own. Although I knew I’d lose my nerve, only to gain it back time and again before I completed my story, I also knew I’d have the help from Lord God, and the folks He sends my way.

Am I full of courage? Yes! Yes, I shout, with God’s hand upon me.

God, when I falter, I pray You will renew my strength. In Jesus’s name. Amen.


First Book Signing GP2Jean Williams Short Bio

Jean Ann Williams lives in Southern Oregon with her husband Jim. Although one of their children has passed on to the Great Beyond, their two remaining children have blessed them with thirteen grandchildren, their Baker’s Dozen. To learn more about Jean Ann Williams visit her on Face Book, Twitter, and her blogs Love Truth and Jean Ann Williams: Author.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Salt Covenants: A Novel on the Spanish Inquisition

Clash of the Titles is excited to announce this year’s Olympia Finalists!! 

Please congratulate:

*Kelly Goshorn

*Madelyn Herbert

*Mary Vaitkevicius-Vee

All three authors’ entries will go to our Round 3 judges:

Karen BallBecky Philpott, and Becky Wade.

The winner will be announced on April 8th!

And now, for our featured novel!


“In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words.” Micki Sorbello, artist and free lance writer

The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola

About the book:

“But these plans they have laid out for me like an embroidered rug, showing me where my feet must travel, is to me an awful penance for sins I did not commit.” --Isabel

Spain 1493: Millions of Jews are forced to convert to Christianity or flee their homeland or die. Caught in this web is young Isabel, who has broken her mother’s heart by her sincere conversion to Christ. But her conversion is not enough to shield her from the eyes of the Inquisition, and in order to save herself, she is forced to marry a man she does not love and flee to a faraway land with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. Here she struggles to make a life in this wild new land, struggles to adjust to her new faith, and struggles to find love. But how is she to survive? With all the risks and hardships? And can she find love with the sophisticated Antonio Villarreal who unexpectedly enters her world? And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?
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What others are saying:

“Bambola (Rebekah’s Treasure) elevates a simple historical tale into something transcendent, in this beautifully written novel about a young Jewish noblewoman, Isabel, who flees the Inquisition on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the New World.” Publishers Weekly starred review

“This is not a quick read, but Bambola (Rebekah's Treasure) adeptly depicts a time and place not often explored in Christian historical fiction. Her theme of loss of ethnic culture suffered by the Jews and Native Americans should resonate with readers. Isabel is a well-developed character living in a cruel world, who never succumbs to becoming cruel herself. There may be some crossover appeal to readers of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir.” Library Journal 1/1/15

“Bambola’s gift for storytelling in this work of historical fiction is noting short of remarkable.” Sallie Yusko, pastor, founder of Women of Worth and Destiny, conference speaker and writer

“In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words.” Micki Sorbello, artist and free lance writer

What COTT voters had to say:
--It's been a long time since I've read anything set during the Spanish Inquisition. I would LOVE to get my hands on this book. :)
--Sylvia this looks very interesting!
--I really love the cover of "The Salt Covenants"! I have a thing for beaches and the model really makes an eye-catching cover. Plus the book description sounds really unique.
--I love books that touch the heart. By Chapter 3, I cried about the injustice of the Inquisition period. Sylvia must have spent hours researching the data given. Excellent and spell-binding !
--Sylvia is a very talented author. Her books are ones you don't want to put down.
--Sylvia this sounds fascinating.
--I totally enjoyed this book. I hated to put it down and was sorry when I reached the end. Great Job Sylvia!
--This is a fantastic book. Very impressed with this author! Well written as she takes you along the journey of the Inquisition and travels to the new world. Highly recommended!
--Sylvia your next book looks wonderful!!!
--Historical fiction is a challenge for an author to fit the characters to the time in a believable manner.. Sylvia Bambola does it!
--I'm sure God has given each of you such talent that you are pleased to share with us. However, I based my vote on the novel historicity displayed in The Salt Covenants. Rosie
--Your novels are always well researched and address interesting issues. This one is of particular interest to me because of the time period...amaangela
--Creative, ingenious, captivating...your books always take me With them! Looking forward to going on the Salt Covenant journey.

A moment with Sylvia:

What is the one take-way you’d like to leave your readers?

Answer: Well, there’s actually two. The first is that forgiveness is paramount. Both getting it and giving it. Without it we will never heal those deeply buried wounds. The other thing is that as Christians we must not allow history to repeat itself. The ill-treatment of Jews by the Church and the rabid anti-Semitism during the Spanish Inquisition was troubling. But now that anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head, we, Christians, must take a stand against it, as well as to stand with God’s chosen people.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer:

Answer: For me, the most challenging thing is the marketing. I’m not a fan. But I do it. I suspect that’s a problem with most writers. Still, I’d like to be like Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, whose only responsibility (regarding writing) seemed to be to write novels while someone in the background handled all the p.r. and marketing for her. I guess one can dream.


About Sylvia:

Born in Romania, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in post World War Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored seven novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Who we are in Christ

BibleI found this tucked between the pages of my Bible as I read today’s Scripture during my quiet time with the Lord and I thought I’d share it with you. There is a lot to think about.

Go through the list, look up the Bible passages and perhaps you’ll feel as blessed and comforted as I did.


  • We have been Transferred into the Kingdom of Jesus [Colossians 1:13]

  • We have been Redeemed [Colossians 1:14]

  • We have been Forgiven [Romans 5:1]

  • We have been Justified [Romans 5:1]

  • We have been made Holy and Blameless in God’s sight [Ephesians 1:4]

  • We have been made Righteous [Ephesians 4:24]

  • We have been Adopted as part of God’s family [Romans 8:15]

  • We have been Cleansed from all sin and guilt [I John 1:7]

  • We are Seated in Heavenly places [Ephesians 2:6]

  • We are Co-Heirs with Christ [Romans 8:17]

  • We are Transformed into Christ’s likeness [Romans 8:19]

  • We are New Creations [II Corinthians 5:17]

  • We are Complete in Christ (Colossians 2:19]

  • We are More than Conquerors [Romans 8:37]

  • We are God’s Ambassadors [II Corinthians 5:18-19]

  • We are God’s Chosen people, a Royal priesthood, a Holy Nation [I Peter 2:9-10]

  • We have Peace with God [Romans 5:1]

  • We have Christ’s Love [Romans 8:35]

  • We have the Mind of Christ [I Corinthians 2:16]

  • We have the Will and Power to Obey God [Philippians 2:13]

  • We have Access to God [Ephesians 2:18]

  • We have a Spirit of Power, of Love and Calm, a well-balanced mind, Discipline and Self-control [II Timothy 1:7]

  • We have Eternal Life [Romans 5:23]

  • We can do Everything through Christ, Who gives us Strength [Philippians 4:13]

  • We are Overcomers [Revelation 12:11]

  • Jesus Intercedes for Us [Hebrews 7:25]

  • We cannot be Separated from the Love of God [Romans 8:35]

  • God Transforms our mind [Romans 12:2]

  • God will Carry on His good work in us to Completion [I Peter 5:10]

  • God Gives us His Holy Spirit [John 14:16]

  • The Holy Spirit Lives with and in us [John 14:17]

  • The Holy Spirit will Teach us all things and Remind us of everything Jesus said [John 14:26]

  • The Holy Spirit will Guide us into all Truth and Tell us what is to come [John 16:13]

  • The Holy Spirit will never leave us [John 14;16]

  • The Holy Spirit Intercedes for us [Romans 8:26]

  • The Godhead Lives in us [Colossians 2:10]

Yes, some of these Scripture verses are repeated in this wonderful list for a reason: not to make you keep looking up the same verse again, but to break out each facet of Who we are in Christ, making you take in each one on its own.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Church Ladies With Typewriters.....


church bulletin

You’ve probably seen these before…so have I, and they still crack me up. I happened to see these yesterday and thought I’d give you some chuckles for this Wednesday’s Whispers log post. I was sorely tempted to add some asides, but decided they pretty much speak for themselves so why comment on the obvious?


Peg sig_25px

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters.

Peg sez: Hmm, I’ve known a few pastors who typed their own bulletins. Just saying….

These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:


The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow..
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours

Peg sez: Be sure to check your Sunday church bulletin! Smile

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ac-cen-tuate the Positive


There’s an old, old song from which we, as writers, could learn self-discipline. It goes like this:

“You’ve got to ac-cen-tuate the positive,

E-lim-inate the negative,

Latch on to the affirmative,

Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between!”

Some of you, I’m sure, recognize those lyrics and are smiling and nodding your heads. They do have something to say, don’t they?

You see, every writer, whether an old pro or a rank beginner, has times when we begin to wonder if we should have chosen another vocation. Those days when sitting in front of the computer staring at a blank screen with blinking cursor can be pretty discouraging. We have no idea why we’re there, what we’re going to say, or how to say it. Been there?

Yes, we all have. I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me when sitting down to write. Today’s is no exception. I avoided staring at the blank screen, though, and gazed out the window for a while, when those lyrics just popped into my head. I thought, well, okay, what do I do with them? As I wrote them, the rest of the idea came right away! Amazing how these things happen.

So, we’re going to talk a bit about ‘e-lim-inate the negative’ part of the song. The old tired-but-true axiom that “can’t never did anything” is as apt today as it was when it was coined. If we say “I can’t” then it’s for sure we won’t. Have days when you feel yourself wavering, wailing “I’ll NEVER be a writer! I just can’t do this!” Um-hum. Deadlines don’t always help, either. Although there are some writers who thrive on them, deadlines do seem to push that panic button that causes us to doubt ourselves and lose faith in our abilities. Here’s something I’ve used before – see what you think:

‘It would have taken about a year to finish the book at this point, but reading it had depressed Peggy severely. The work to be done was tremendous, and if she completed it—then what? How could she submit it anywhere when she feared lawsuits and dreaded professional criticism? And when she compared her work to that of Glasgow and Fitzgerald and Benet—how could she dare to think of herself as a true writer? She had worked hard and long hours, but that was not enough to qualify her as a literary figure. And she was sure that the authors she admired had no need of someone like John at their elbow, helping them all the time. Someday, perhaps, she would go back to the book, but at the moment, the entire project seemed to her like little more than a waste of time.’

Peggy, in the above message, is Margaret Mitchell. And the unworthy manuscript – “Gone With The Wind.”

Interesting? Discouragement, depression, fear . . . all are part of the negative and we need to work really hard on them. If we don’t, then we surely will fail in our attempts to become writers.

Almost as counterproductive is “Mr. In-Between.” He personifies apathy, a lack of passion for this profession. And, his writing shows it! Funny thing is, many of them are big sellers, and that’s pretty ironic, to my way of thinking. How many times have you picked up a book with an interesting title, or colorful cover, or because it was by a well-known author—whatever it was that attracted your attention—bought it (or borrowed at the library) only to get it home and find everything was sterile and generic? You know what I mean. There is a no-name setting in a no-name town (or city) with non-description of much of anything. The story-line may be okay, but there’s a great deal lacking . . . it just doesn’t keep you interested. There’s no enthusiasm to turn the next page. You probably didn’t even finish the book. Makes you wonder how it ever got published. And, I’ll bet you sat back and said “I can write better than that!”

Compare that to a book you have read that was so well written, so captivating, that you couldn’t put it down. You kept turning the pages, one after the other, until you reached The End…and realized it was 4:00 AM. That book was the result of the ‘positive’ side of a writer. No, the writer wasn’t perfect. Probably had a few of those ‘negative’ and ‘in-between’ days, but, more often than not, decided to ‘ac-cen-tuate the positive’ and ‘e-lim-inate the negative’ and gave ‘Mr. In-Between’ the boot. This writer managed to “Latch on to the affirmative!”

We can all do that, and our greatest advantage and assurance is to be sure we are writing in His will. When you face that blank screen, don’t stare at that blinking cursor, put your knees to the floor and ask for His help and guidance. I guarantee that you will be able to surmount those negative and in-between times.

I have found this to be true in my own writing life.

I would love to hear from you on this, share your thoughts. Just leave a comment below and let’s chat!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Winner of the February 2015 Clash of the Titles

A big thank you to all four authors for sharing news of their wonderful new releases!

 One voter sums it up

"All of these books sound so good. I would really like to take a vacation where I could just read, read, eat, read, eat, and did I mention read some more? Well, all of your books sound amazing like you! May God bless each of you as you endeavor to do His will. May you shine for His glory."
Congratulations go to Marissa Shrock for her young adult novel!

Voters had lots to say about The First Principle, many comments from Marissa’s students.

It is a wonderful book! I loved it!

To God Be the Glory...

Really interesting, great book

Very good. My favorite book.

It was amazin’

This is the best book I have ever read.

This book looks so interesting! I look forward to reading it!

While all sound like good reads, I love the concept of a young, pregnant girl fighting against mandatory abortion.

Great book. Looking forward to the sequel.

Great concept!

Great book with lots of non-stop action and wonderful character development. It belongs on your must read list.

It is inspirational even to a grandma like me to read stories such as this.

Bless your efforts!

The latest comment from a teen reader:

I absolutely loved The First Principle, a dystopian story with a Christian twist....Tear-jerking, heart-racing, and beautifully written. -- Tessa, 16

About The First Principle

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of North America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For sixteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Martina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory termination–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

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Marissa Shrock is a writer and language arts teacher who enjoys working with her seventh grade students. She is a graduate of Taylor University and has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She is a member of ACFW.Marissa has written articles for teens and adults in Evangel and Encounter. The First Principle is her debut novel.

In her spare time Marissa loves spending time with family and friends, shopping for cute clothes, traveling, baking, playing golf, and reading. Her favorite genres are young adult, suspense, and science fiction.

Visit Marissa’s web site site