Unconditional

tanyaimage003

He will fight for her at any cost…
Elizabeth Roberts can’t remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter’s death, her husband’s affair.

When his wife’s coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can’t erase his betrayal, but with God’s help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.

She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?

Hi, I’m Samantha from Tanya Eavenson’s debut novel, Unconditional. Elizabeth Roberts, the main character, is my sister. Okay, this is harder than I thought.

Do you ever feel responsible for something even if it wasn’t your fault? A part of me feels that way for Elizabeth’s tendency to run from her problems. I guess you can say it’s what I showed her when I left home at nineteen.

See, Elizabeth looked up to me. She tagged along everywhere I went, tried to dress like me, even liked the same music I listened to. But I couldn’t handle Mom and Dad always nagging me to go to church. How I needed better friends or why couldn’t I be more like Elizabeth. I just got tired of it and left. The world was not what I thought it would be like, but I was determined to make it. And I did. But at a price.

When I got the news about Mom and Dad’s death, it really hit hard. Not only had I not spoken to them in years, but now Elizabeth avoided any contact with me. I know I deserved it, pushing her away like I had. But by God’s grace, a few years ago she forgave me and let me back into her life. That’s when I met Chris, Elizabeth’s husband, and his brother Phillip, my husband. Yes, Elizabeth and I married brothers. Funny how God works things out.

Anyway, what can I say about Chris? He was always so sure of himself and where he was going in life. Nothing was going to stop him. You know, the “everyone knows your name” type. And he was in love with my sister, the total opposite. Quiet—well, unless she was talking about her faith—otherwise quiet, very loving, and extremely beautiful with those eyes of hers. Turquoise I’d call them. Yes, Chris and Elizabeth were complete opposites, yet in a way, perfect for each other.

I never thought they’d have marital problem. Chris’s family are church goers, missionaries, deacons, lawyers running a homeless shelter, but I’ve learned that if you’re not living day by day in the presence of the Lord, it doesn’t matter who you are; the devil will find his way in and try to destroy what God has created.

I think a lot about what happened between Chris and Elizabeth. I also think a lot about my own life and the past. How God took the bad things that had happened, the ugliness of my sin, and used those circumstances to draw me to Himself.

Before I leave I want to read a short scripture. Hold on, let me get my Bible. Here it is. Hosea 2: 14-15, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give back her vineyards, and make the Valley of Archor a door of hope.”

I see this verse being true in my and Chris’s life, even though our stories are different. God lead us into the desert, and that is where we listened. God didn’t give us what we deserved. Instead, He loved us, wrapped us in righteousness, faithfulness, and compassion, giving us hope for our future.

Has there been a time in your life the Lord allured you into the desert—a time of loss or uncertainty—and spoke tenderly to you? Compassionately bringing you back to Him? If so, share your story. In your story there is hope and assurance of God’s love for others.

Endorsements:

“Unconditional is a powerfully-gripping story of deep heartache laced with fears, yet even through the sorrow, Tanya Eavenson reminds us that nothing can separate us from God’s love.”

~ Alice J. Wisler, author of “Still Life in Shadows” and other novels

“Not your typical amnesia story, Unconditional tells a tale of loss, betrayal, and forgiveness. Eavenson drags her characters through the fire, then reveals God’s power through their broken lives. The writing is stellar; the emotion, raw and palpable; the cast, impeccably crafted. This author is one to be watched!”

~ April W Gardner, award-winning author

Unconditional explores the struggles that married couples sometimes experience, and the decisions they must make after going through difficult circumstances. A powerful story of hope and healing.”

~ Laura V. Hilton, Healing Love (Whitaker House)

“Unconditional is a beautiful story of God’s never-ending love. Throughout its pages, Tanya Eavenson evokes a myriad of emotions in her readers, from deep despair to heartfelt praise. The characters gripped my heart, showing me the reality of man’s sin but also the depth of God’s grace. Unconditional is a well-written, heart-stirring novel written by a talented new author.”

~ Jennifer Slattery, Novel Reviews

Tanya pic 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tanya Eavenson and her husband have been in the ministry for fifteen years teaching youth, adults, and counseling. Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world. You can find her on Twitter at @Tan_eave and contact her at her website www.tanyaeavenson.com  Want to learn more about writing? Stop by her blog http://guidedgirls.blogspot.com

That Summer, by Jo Huddleston

COVER That Summer

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novel, That Summer, Book One in the Caney Creek Series has just released. Book 2 in the series is scheduled to release April 2013, and book 3 in the series is scheduled to release September 2013.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

We live in a college town, which made it convenient for our children to earn college degrees. We love living in the South and vacationing on the seashore of the Gulf of Mexico. We lost a fourteen year old cocker spaniel. I won’t get another pet because the pain of loss is too great.

What 3 fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

I chew my ice cream. I fear being in the dark. In high school I played varsity basketball.

 Please describe yourself with three words.

Positive, hopeful, enthusiastic.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Being with my children and grandchildren, spending time at the beach, and of course reading.

How did you become involved in writing?

I minored in English in college and reading the literature in classes whetted my appetite for the written word. After that I became a voracious reader. When I retired from working, I sent a few short stories out. When the swift rejections arrived, I decided maybe I needed to know more about writing than just reading it. After reading writing craft books and magazines, the first article was accepted. I was hooked. Three years later my first two books released.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

I have a corner of a room anchored with a desk, laptop, printer and stacks of papers.

Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?  

In my mind I do. I plot my book in my mind. I choose a title that describes or summarizes that story. None of my titles have been changed by a publisher—yet.

Please tell us about That Summer.

That Summer is the first book in The Caney Creek Series. The book is an inspirational Southern historical novel set in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. The Great Depression brings devastation to all , but love’s triangle survives.

To escape his poppa’s physical abuse and their dirt-poor farm life, Jim flees to an imagined prosperous city life where he can make his own choices, ignoring God patiently knocking on his heart’s door. Settled in town, Jim strays from God and the way of faith his momma taught him. He meets a girl and loses his heart … and meets another girl and loses his willpower. Jim wrestles with social and moral dilemmas as he makes a choice beside Caney Creek that will alter the lives of five people.

Can you relate the book cover with your story?

That Summer is Book #1 in The Caney Creek Series. The top half of the cover shows a beautiful, peaceful creek that is as important as a character in the entire series. The lower half of the cover has a photo of a snazzy car from the late 1920s. You’ll have to read the book to learn why the car is significant.

What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?

That Summer is the story of God’s forgiveness so readers will understand that no matter how far they may stray from Him, His forgiveness is available. The book’s message is that God does not abandon His children, but rather they let go of God. The reader will discover that God is always close, waiting on the other side of their heart’s door; waiting for the straying one to love Him and depend on Him.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

All of my ancestors and I were raised in the East Tennessee Appalachian Mountains area. I listened to their entertaining stories, especially at family reunions, about their times past. As my ancestors began to pass away, I felt that their stories should not be forgotten. That Summer is NOT a true story. It is a story of many stories with a good bit of embellishment from me.

Did you have to do any research for this book?

Yes. Thank goodness for the internet where I found factual details to include in my book.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I began writing in 1990, sold my first article in 1991, and sold my first book at a writers’ conference in 1993.

What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?

Pray about every step you take on your writing journey. Strengthen that fruit of the Spirit—patience—for you will need it. Writing for publication is many times a waiting time. Be patient and never give up if you believe God has given you the talent to write for his glory.

What are you working on now?

That Summer has just released. I’m writing on book two in the Caney Creek Series. Publisher plans are for book two to release in April 2013 and book three to release in September 2013.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Read all you can about the craft of writing. Find a writers’ conference near enough to be affordable for you to attend. Soak in all you can in the workshops and from the speakers, editors, and publishers even at meal times. Be prepared for rejection. They won’t be rejecting you but what you wrote. Margaret Mitchell received over twenty-five rejections for Gone With the Wind! They told her nobody wanted to read about the Civil War.

Please tell us where we can find you.

My website/blog is at www.johuddleston.com

On Facebook you can find me at https://facebook.com/jo.huddleston.hope

Please tell our readers where they can get your book.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CBD. If your bookstore doesn’t have the book they can order it for you if you give them this information:

ISBN 13: 978-1-9392190-3-9.

Jo’s publisher will sell her novel, That Summer, at a discounted price through this month of December only. You can buy the book for $9.99 if you click on this link  http://donaldjamesparker.com/sosproducts.aspx?p=473&c=5

No limit to number of books purchased, but only discounted through December, 2012. The Kindle and Nook books should be online this week. Paperback will be on Amazon, B&N, and CBD whenever they put them on their websites.

Leave a comment by clicking on the conversation “bubble” at the top of this article, to enter a drawing to win your own copy of That Summer.

Batman, Cat Woman, and the Goddess

     When I was six, I had an older sister who I just knew was a goddess.Seven years older than me, she was thin and pretty like the girls on the cover of Seventeen Magazine.She had shoulder length brown hair that swung side to side when she walkedScan or whipped around her face when she was angry.I knew about the angry part because when I wasn’t considering how much of a goddess she was, I was tormenting her as only a six-year-old sister can do.Unfortunately for her, she was assigned the role of babysitter to my younger brother and me whenever our parents went out.This gave us occasion to use the well-worn phrase, “You are not our mother!” which we had down to perfection.

Once our parent’s car was out of the driveway, Goddess would immediately pick up the telephone and call her boyfriend to chat and my brother and I would commence our onslaught. Our first strategy would be to see how many chocolate chip cookies we could snatch from the old Lance cracker jar my mother used as a cookie jar.

     Unfortunately for us, the glass jar had a metal lid, which clanged loudly each time you opened it, unless you pulled it straight up off the jar, like a game of pick-up sticks. I’m afraid we lacked the finesse needed to quietly open the jar and were caught each time, shoving chocolate chip cookies in our mouths before our sister could grab the jar lid and clang it back into place.
    Of course, by then she was agitated from having to get off the phone with loverboy and would castigate us loudly. Upon which time we would use the “You are not our mother!” phrase again.
     By this time Goddess was getting perturbed. I imagine she pictured our parents coming home to an empty cookie jar and two youngsters with chocolate smeared faces and belly-aches.
     So she put plan two into action. She placed us into two separate bedrooms and told us to amuse ourselves. Her plan might have worked if she’d actually given us books or something to do, but I imagine she was in too much of a hurry to get back to the phone and loverboy.
     That was her second mistake.
     Brother and I, having watched too many Batman episodes, knew that when you were separated from your super-hero sidekick, you used morse code. We immediately began rapping on the wall separating the two bedrooms. Knock, knock knock, meant, “Are you still alive?” Knock, knock in reply meant, “Yes, and my stomach is starting to hurt from all those cookies.” Knock, knock meant, “Let’s keep at this until we annoy her.”
     KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK meant…and just then the door flew open and  Goddess grabbed my arm in a not-too-goddess-like way. She proceeded to grab Batman also, and pushed us toward the open back door of the house.
In a voice not unlike the Wicked Witch of the West when she screamed “I’ll get you my pretty!” she announced through clenched teeth that we would now run laps around the backyard.
     To which we danced around and shouted, “YOU ARE NOT OUR MOTHER!”
     Whereupon, Goddess melted into a puddle of tears. Out of ideas to control us, she had resorted to every teenage girl’s best weapon. This took all the fun out of the game. Of course we hadn’t intended to make her cry, it was a lot more fun when she screamed in her wicked-witch voice.
     Batman and I went and hugged the Goddess and promised we would be good, and ran out the back door to do our assigned laps around the yard. The End. And the moral of the story is: Two cookies do not a full Batman make, and every Goddess stands on a shaky pedestal.

Our Failures Don’t Threaten Him, He’s God

She bounces unsteadily across the room, sheer delight painted across her plump cheeks, her tender arms outstretched towards yours. She’s never taken a step on her own before and you hold your breath, as if by that one action you can keep her upright.
“Come to Mommy baby!”
Her eleven-month-old legs stutter and splay, and she goes down hard on the floor. Looking up at you she wails her defeat.
You:
A. Turn your back and walk away.She should have gotten it right the first time. Wicked child for wasting your time. You have better things to do than waste your time on such a helpless situation.
B.You run to her and dry her tears and tell her to try again.
No true mother would ever act out the first scenario.
No true father would do anything BUT the second.
To God we are all toddlers, faces smeared with jelly, pudgy hands making a sticky mess of everything we touch. 
We fall down. 
A lot.
And God smiles.
He smiles because we tried.
And if we come to Him, he wipes our sticky faces and hands, and cleans the mess we made on the furniture. He kisses the tops of our heads and says, “Go on baby, you can do it.Try again.”

John 6:37

New International Version (NIV)
 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

Stand

A father walked with his young son on the beach. An approaching storm churned the ocean mossy green.

The two plowed into the waves, laughing and jumping over them until at last they stood shoulder deep in the briny water.
When the next wave came, the father called to his son over the roar.
“Drop into the sea and let the wave take you in.”
The boy did as he was told, and the current took him far up the shore.When he had made his way back the father asked the boy,
“Were you able to make headway against the current?”
The boy gazed down into the waters, as if to stare at his feet.
“It took me farther than I  wanted to go.” 
The father said,
 “Stand still now, hold my hand and face the next wave.”
The boy’s forehead wrinkled in fear.
 “It’ll sting when it hits me.”
“That it will,” the father said,
 “But you must lean into the pain, and in doing so, you will stand.”
A gray, foaming curl of water closed upon them.
The boy wanted to swim with the wave, but he did as the father instructed.
He planted both feet, teeth outlined beneath thin lips, and leaned toward the coming wall of water.
A sharp slap of saltwater nearly knocked him to his knees, but when the wave had passed over them, the boy emerged.
Slinging wet hair and wiping water from his eyes, he turned a freckled face toward the father.
The father slipped his hand to the back of the boy to steady him as the froth rolled shoreward.
“Did it hurt?”
The boy curled pruny fingers into his father’s palm.
“Like the wind was knocked out of me.” 
The father bent and studied his son’s face.
“But see, the wave has moved past, and you still stand. You will encounter many waves of pain in life my son. I wish it were not so, but it is true.If you give in, they will take you where you do not wish to go, but if you take my hand and step into the pain, you will stand.”~Suzy Parish


“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”Ephesians 6:13

Summer’s Perfection


     “The perfect tomato!” I held it in my hand and felt it’s plump, juicy roundness. It was still warm after being plucked from my neighbor’s garden. We have a barter system. They give me their excess tomatoes and I bake homemade bread for them. It works. I  stand over this little marvel, knife in hand and hesitate. Shame to destroy such perfection, but then again, it’d be a greater shame not to eat it!
     Tomatoes represent summer to me. I remember my mom’s garden, how she would come in wiping the sweat off her forehead with a dirty gloved hand. In her other hand would be a bowl filled with deep red tomatoes. Her offering of love to us.Plan, till, sow, water, reap. An age-old cycle repeated before my eyes.A sermon in a vegetable.A visible reminder of my Father in Heaven’s love and his commands to us. 

John 9:4 (New International Version)

4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

Plan, till, sow, water, reap. Amen.

Old dogs

My dog Brandy is neurotic. She is, really. She’s a full-blooded black lab, beautiful with a graceful angular face and liquid brown eyes, but she is an emotional  pot-pourri. She’s afraid of: fly swatters, dish towels, plastic bags, umbrellas, and loud sounds. If the noise level in a room gets to be too much for her, she quietly slinks to the hallway or the farthest room she can reach. Her father was a hunting dog, the type that does hunting trials. Go figure.Poor Brandy has been the whipping dog of our other dogs. She just wouldn’t take up for herself. Until the other day. I guess after five years of being put in her place, something snapped. We were throwing a tennis ball in the living room for Charlie, our other dog. Charlie is a Heinz 57 who snarls and bullies her way around Brandy. If there is a tennis ball being thrown, it is without saying, Charlie’s. That day though, we went through the usual scenario. Tennis ball thrown, Charlie lunges. Suddenly from the right corner of my eye I see a blur of black. Brandy’s white teeth flash and the tennis ball is in her mouth! She looked proudly at my husband and I, wagging her body in her “happy dance.” I cheered. Brandy ruled.That showed me there is hope, as long as we breathe, we can choose to change. That was the day I watched an old dog learn a new trick.

The Last Runner

I’m stopped at a red light. A high school track team jogs past my car, the group is bunched together, each runner jockeying for position. Legs flail and elbows push to get that extra bit of advantage. As the trample of feet pass me, two stragglers come into view. They are a half block behind the others, probably won’t catch up. The closer they get, I can see one is struggling to keep running. Her head is down, like someone pulling a load, like a draft horse. Her chest heaves. The runner behind her tries to pass, no wait. She is not trying to pass. My heart breaks when I see what she is doing. Her hand rests lightly on the back of the struggling runner. She is keeping pace easily, and by that light touch, she is saying, “Go on, you can do it.” The last one is obviously a strong runner. She moves effortlessly.She sacrificed her place in line to strengthen the last, the least.

 

Isaiah 41:9-11 (New International Version)

 9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
       from its farthest corners I called you.
       I said, ‘You are my servant’;
       I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference

“The Premier Christian Fiction Conference”

STANDING FIRM…MOVING FORWARD

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)

DENVER, COLORADO
SEPTEMBER 17 – 20, 2009

Bestselling authors, publishing industry representatives, and newcomers to Christian fiction writing will gather in Denver at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s annual conference September 17-20 to compare notes, learn from each other, and encourage one another in the pursuit of publishing goals.

This year’s conference theme , Standing Firm…Moving Forward, will especially inspire the full range of talent and dreams in the ever-changing publishing world today.

This amazing conference will feature representatives from major publishing houses like B & H, Guideposts, Zondervan, Harvest House, Barbour, Steeple Hill, Summerside Press, Bethany House, Waterbrook Multnomah, Marcher Lord Press, Tyndale House, and Thomas Nelson, and top literary agents who will meet with writers and identify promising proposals from both new and veteran novelists. Conferees will have access to publishing panels, professional critiques, and customized workshops based on skills and interests.

The keynote speaker is New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, who has more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Learn more about the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference by visiting www.acfw.com. Click on the left sidebar on Annual Conference.

_______________________________________________
Copyright 2005
American Christian Fiction Writers
www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com

I will not be attending ACFW Conference this year, but am already saving for next year’s conference. This year is sure to be a big hit. God bless everyone attending!

Another Epic Battle


The battle in the supermarket began…Round one, Grapefruit vs. Chocolate chip cookies. Grapefruit won. Round two, Kashi cereal vs. Poptarts…Kashi won. Round three, Orange Juice vs. Coke, Orange Juice won!
By round four I was feeling cocky, “yeah, bring it on!” I breezed through the bakery department, stopping only to pick up a package of flatbread. Only one more product added to the grocery cart and I was done. Another epic battle, another triumph of the human spirit.
By the way, cheese danish is considered a dairy product, isn’t it?

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