Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A number of you have asked about my upcoming TV interviews, so here's the schedule for that, on the week before Mother's Day:
1) The Harvest Show on Wed., 5-6, 6-7am (I’ll be only about 10 minutes of that). I get DirecTV, which has the Harvest Show airing on WHT, channel 367. I don’t know what it is for other TV systems.
2) 100 Huntley Street on Friday, 5-8, showing various times during the day. On DirecTV it’s on NRB, channel 378. I’m supposed to be on for about 20 minutes of the hour long show.
I hope some of you can tune in, or TiVo it! And please pray for me! My kidney stones are acting up and this will be baby's first big trip, so there are two big areas where something could go really wrong. Yikes!
Next, I was recently asked some questions about being a mother, and thought I'd share a part of that interview here in honor of Mother's Day coming up. So here ya go:
1. In what ways do your children bless your life, your home?
My children are such a beautiful reminder of God’s goodness and grace. I find as they discover God, I rediscover Him along with them. When their eyes are opened to who He is, what He’s done, and His love for them, I see God in new and deeper ways too. So, they’ve added a deeper level of insight into the wonder of our loving God. I love seeing Him anew through their eyes!
2. Has motherhood lived up to your expectations? Do the joys outweigh the sacrifices?
My mother-in-law says that mothering is the hardest job you’ll ever love. And she’s right! The chaos of the days, the struggles with discipline, the questions, the challenges, the temper tantrums, and yes, even the laundry, are much harder than I anticipated. But the wonder of seeing them grow and mature, discover new things, and learn to love one another and God far outweighs the sacrifices.
3. What do you enjoy the most about being a mom?
I love being the one who teaches them how to make wise choices, to read, to write, to know God, and to see the world in truth. And I love watching them learn to make those good choices, to love God, and develop as unique individuals. They are amazing to me.
4. What do you enjoy the most about your children?
I very much enjoy how they’re so different from one another. God has given them each their individual gifts. And they also have their individual stumbling blocks. For example, one has an incredible perception of God, right and wrong, and what it means to live in Christ. But she also is the first to complain. Another loves to learn, but she also doesn’t always tell the truth. Another gets into absolutely everything, but has such a kind and happy spirit. Another can be so sweet, but she throws the most awful tantrums. So, despite the tough parts of their personalities, I love seeing how God has made them into such unique individuals. I love seeing them grow in their strengths, and learning to overcome their weakness. I love seeing them grow more and more into the people God wants them to. And I love being a part of that.
5. Considering the years of struggle you went through to become a mother, do you believe you have a deeper appreciation for your children than you would have had children come easily for you?
All those years and years of infertility have taught me what a wondrous and incredible gift my children are. Knowing how many things have to fall perfectly in place for a child to be conceived, grow, and be born healthy, makes me realize what a true miracle they are.
Don’t get me wrong though – there are times when the chaos, the yelling, the naughtiness, the crazies get so bad that I wonder what I was thinking wanting to be a mom. But those times pass. And knowing how hard it was to become a mother makes me determined not to miss any of the “good stuff” – the teaching, the fun times, the school and church events, the moments together that make up their childhood. I have a lot of commitments, and a lot to do, but remembering the struggle to have my kids reminds me to not let those commitments get in the way of the things that are really important, like being a good mom to my kids.
6. Now as a mother, what are some challenges you face?
Three year old twins – need I say more?!!? Just last week my twins found a pair of itty-bitty travel scissors and gave each other haircuts. They said they wanted to be “boo-ti-ful.” Well, with quarter-inch long bangs, beautiful’s a few months off. Some days it seems that I all I say is “No! Don’t write on that. Get down from there. Be nice to your sister. Don’t scream. That’s not for you. Put that down. Don’t do that. Eat your food. Don’t put that up your nose . . .”
Other than that, my biggest challenge is finding the time to do everything I want to do with the kids – teach them, read to them, do crafts with them, plus do my regular work, my writing (I’m on deadline for the next book – yikes!), my church work, housework, plus be a good wife, friend, daughter, etc.
7. What are some challenges you have worked through?
At our house, we talk a lot about how to choose wisely, and be the way God wants us to be. We talk about being kind to one another and always telling the truth. You get in trouble for doing something bad, but you get in a lot more trouble if you lie about it. And in all things, if you’ve done wrong, you have to both pray and ask God to forgive you and also ask the person who you wronged to forgive you.
Also, I’m working through the time challenge, believing that God won’t call me to more than I can do. If he has asked me to do all these things, He’ll help me to do them all well – be a good mother, wife, writer, and child of God. I’m depending on Him to help me do what’s right in the time He’s given me.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.
With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man’s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.
This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing—and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.
Summary for Aurora:
Unique and treasured quilt pattern variations
More than 100 photographs, many never-before published, from 1850 to today
Cherished stories from Aurora descendants
Rich images of fine crafts from the Aurora Colony and private collections
An introduction by renowned American artist John Houser
Aurora is about the difference every ordinary life can make—and a beautiful celebration of a time and place in which people expressed their most cherished beliefs through the work of their imagination and hands.
Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.
Secrets Can’t Last Forever
A PAINFUL PAST
Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.
A RACIALLY-MOTIVATED KILLER
As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.
A LIFE-ALTERING CHOICE
A racist's well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?
Q and A with author Amy Wallace
Q. Where did the idea for the stories in the DEFENDERS OF HOPE series come from?
A. The Defenders of Hope series started with a literal dream about an FBI agent with a wounded heart and a mom on a dangerous quest for answers. That dream became the book Ransomed Dreams. During the research for Ransomed Dreams, I met with a federal agent and asked the question—what would happen if an FBI agent found out he had cancer? His answer became the second book, Healing Promises. And the third book in the series, Enduring Justice, grew out of a secret one of the characters, Hanna Kessler, struggles to keep hidden.
Q. Your current release is Enduring Justice, book 3 in the Defenders of Hope series. Is it necessary to read all the books in order?
A. I’ve been told by many readers and read reviews that have said the Defenders of Hope books can be read as stand-alones. The cases and suspense story-lines are self-contained, no cliffhanger endings until the next book. But the characters’ friendships and relationships grow and are challenged in each book, so I’d say it’s best but not necessary for the stories to be read in order.
Q. You’ve said that Enduring Justice contains the shards of your once-broken heart. What do you mean by that?
A. Fifteen years ago, God placed me in a safe place and used my future husband’s hands to hold me together while my heart shattered. David was the first person to hear about my being date raped when I was a teen. For five years I’d denied what happened or blamed myself. So when my walls of secrecy started to crumble, I felt alone and terrified.
But God met me there. He covered my shame with His grace and we started down the painful path of healing. Even though this isn’t the same circumstances as what Hanna Kessler faces in Enduring Justice, a lot of my personal story went into the writing. And while this subject may qualify this story as “gritty,” the focus is not on the past experiences, but on the healing an adult woman finds as she opens up to her family and the man she loves.
Q. One of the key themes running through Enduring Justice is racism, as Hanna’s love interest, FBI Agent Michael Parker, is investigating a white supremacist. Why is this topic near to your heart?
A. I grew up in the military and had friends of all skin colors and nationalities. One of my best friends was African American. We never talked about our skin color, but I remember one time she made a comment about how people treated her differently because of her skin. She wouldn’t explain. It wasn’t until years later after hearing some ugly words from extended family members about people of other skin colors that I started to understand racism still exists. And it breaks my heart.
Through Hanna and Eve and Michael and Lee, I wanted to highlight some of the challenges I’ve learned about from friends of other nationalities and also to show that it’s not skin color that matters, it’s who we are on the inside. We truly can be color-blind.
Q. Where can readers learn more about you, Enduring Justice, and your other books?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
First, the news: Beyond the Night was just named a finalist for in the National Readers Choice Awards. Yay!
Next, in preparation for Mother's Day coming up, I wanted to share a letter I wrote to a friend awhile back when she was considering whether she wanted to try having a baby:
So, you’re thinking about embarking on the journey of motherhood? Is it worth it, you ask? Will it be too difficult? Too scary? How well I understand your hopes and fears! Not so long ago, I too was wondering.
But now, after a few years of being “Mommy,” here’s my take on it: Beautiful, wondrous, nerve-wracking, crazy, incredible, scary, and worth every minute. My mom-in-law says motherhood the hardest job you'll ever love. And so it is. There are moments of breathtaking wonder. Then, there are times when I'm sure I'm losing my mind permanently.
People say children will change your life. I have not found that to be so. I still do the same things I did before. I write, go out to eat, stare at the blank computer screen and think about how I ought to be writing, sneak a game of computer solitaire while no one’s looking, scrub toilets, teach Sunday School, read a good book (though, I must admit, it's been mostly Dr. Suess and Sandra Boynton here lately). What has changed, however, is who I am. I am "Mommy" now, and that makes all the difference.
Someone looks up at me with big, dark eyes and knows that everything is all right now because Mommy's here. Someone watches how I interact with others and takes her cue from me. Someone laughs when I come into the room and sometimes cries when I leave it (I'll be glad when we're over this latter part). Someone toddles across the room, then looks at me with a big grin, wanting my approval. Someone gives me big, open-mouth kisses and nuzzles into my neck when I pick her up. Someone puts her fingers up my nose then puts my fingers up hers. Somebody smiles, a huge joy-filled smile, when I read books and make silly noises. Someone stops to listen when I sing and doesn't care if I'm out of tune and my voice cracks. Someone pulls the sheet over her head, then pulls it down again fast and waits for me to say "peek-a-boo."
Those are the precious moments. They are treasures mined from a field of dirty diapers, concerns about eating, sometimes-little-sleep nights, crying (both of us), doctor appointments, and nooooooooooo Mommy, no nap for me - waaaaaaaaa.
So, should you too have a baby? I can’t tell you that. I can tell you to know what you're getting into, and don't let it be fear that stops you. And I can also tell you that I’m glad there’s someone who calls me Mommy, a little someone who reminds me daily that God has looked upon me with kindness.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
When Dottie Meyers loses her ‘no place like home’ during a Kansas tornado, she wakes up to find a pair of ruby slippers left by her father who abandoned his family thirty years ago. With her sister hot on her trail to find the treasured ruby slippers, Dottie travels a yellow brick road with three friends to find her father. No wizard can solve her problems. Only the love of a heavenly father can heal her wounds and give her the desires of her heart.
There’s no place like … the heart for God’s healing touch.
Winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, Leanna Ellis writes quirky women's fiction. When she’s not busy writing, taxiing her kids to and from dance and fencing, or taking the dogs in and out, then she’s contemplating some new weird plot. Visit her website at http://leannaellis.com/ .
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
New news in Horses: We got a new horse this week. We traded our Palomino, Biscuit, for the sweetest little Paint mare named Oreo. She's just awesome - much safer for the girls than Biscuit was, and such a well-behaved and friendly girl. We just love her.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The next books I wanted to tell you about this week are by Christian author Sara Mills. Sara's husband just died unexpectedly of a heart attack last Tuesday. He was only 40. So, please pray for Sara and her children. And consider buying one or both of Sara's books.
Here's a bit about the books, and an interview with Sara:
Q: Miss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in NYC in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...
A: I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me:
One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.
The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.
I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.
Q: These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?
A: I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.
One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.
Q: Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?
A: Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.
Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.
Q: One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?
A: If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.
|Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1|
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers
In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.
Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fianci was still alive.
|Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2|
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers
FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.
A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.
A Passion for Dance
Gilly Kincade is a rising star on the New York ballet scene. Dancing is her life's passion, second only to her love for Jesus, and she believes her faith sets her apart--but hasn't held her back. Chosen for a plum role in a new ballet choreographed for her, it seems the sky's the limit. Then she meets Jacob Ferrar....
A Passion for God
Jacob Ferrar has left behind the glittering temptations of stardom in New York ballet. He has established a reputation as a brilliant, innovative artistic director of a regional dance company in Alabama, with a vision for choreography that glorifies God and encourages the audience. In fact, he's certain nothing could make him go back....
Becomes Love's Tour de Force
When Jacob offers Gilly the lead in his original Easter ballet, she begins to reevaluate what she's willing to sacrifice for dance. And he sees exciting potential of shining light on the world's dark stage. But their brilliant first performance is destroyed by a terrible accident, and Gilly and Jacob find themselves facing an uncertain future. Together, they dance the fine line between personal vision and God's will, listening for the beat of the Father's heart.
Romantic Times BookClub says:
“White takes readers behind the scenes into the competitive dance world. It's refreshing that Gillian befriends and respects people living different lifestyles while still boldly living out her faith.” (4 stars)
Elizabeth White invites readers to meet her on the Web at http://www.elizabethwhite.net/. You can buy Tour de Force at your favorite Christian bookstore or at http://www.amazon.com/Tour-Force-Novel-Elizabeth-White/dp/0310273900, http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=273900&netp_id=578064, or http://www.lifewaystores.com/lwstore/product.asp?isbn=0310273900.
An interview with Beth about Tour de Force:
Q: What inspired you to write a novel about ballet dancers?
A: Too much cold medicine? JUST KIDDING! Actually, Gillian Kincade was a character in last year’s Off the Record.. As the off-beat teenage sister of Judge Laurel Kincade, Gilly took on such a distinct personality (as characters often do) that she demanded a story of her own. Readers have written to ask if she follows through with her crush on musical heartthrob Tucker McGaughan…To be blunt, no. Too easy. But rest assured, Tucker makes his appearance in Tour de Force.
Q: So were you ever a dancer yourself?
A: If you could see the bruises on my knees just from trying to make it across the Wendy’s parking lot, you wouldn’t ask that question. But since you did…I once took tap, jazz and rudimentary ballet as a child. I learned just enough to pick up elements of the dance language. Everything I know about professional ballet has come from interviewing and observing real dancers, notably the exquisite Kathryn Morgan of New York City Ballet and Kathy Thibodeaux of Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, Mississippi.
Q: What spiritual take-away is involved in a story about dancers?
A: I was interested in exploring challenges to Christian artists in general. The Scripture I kept coming back to is Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Debates have gone one for decades (probably centuries, for all I know) regarding Christian art. For example, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, the story goes, discussed whether the world needs more “Christian writers” or “writers who are Christian.” The only way I knew how to tackle the subject was to create characters who must face those questions, take a stand, and either live for God—or not.
It’s my belief that flawed people are more interesting than perfect ones. They’re also more real. Though Gilly and Jacob aren’t “real” in the obvious sense, they do struggle to cope with universal issues. How much overt “witnessing” should a Christian performer or teacher do? What’s the line of grace between acceptance (“tolerance”) of the lifestyle choices of non-believing friends and sticking up for morality and truth? How should we respond when God seems to pull the rug out from under our dreams and desires? Are Christians allowed to feel disappointed?
My job as a novelist is not to preach the answers to those questions, but to draw pictures of possibilities and to point readers back to God’s Word—the only place to find answers. If I succeed in making readers think and pray, then I’m happy.
Q: This book has a subtitle, “A Love Story.” Is there significance to that?
A: Well, I’ve always considered myself a romance writer, but this one is truly focused on the development of relationships—not just between the hero and heroine. Tour de Force explores friendship, family love, and God’s love. It was a very satisfying book to write. I hope readers will like it.
Monday, April 6, 2009
So, if you have kids and want to do some fun Bible stories and crafts this week, try this:
Monday we'll color and cut out paper Jesus figures and put them on a stick to use all week. Then we'll make paper palm leaves, put our Jesus figures on cut-out donkey figures, then wave our branches and sing the Hosanna song.
Tuesday we tear up bits of construction paper, spray lots of perfume on them, make painted "jars" out of more construction paper (paint the paper, cut out front and back jar shapes, staple together on all sides except the top), put the perfume paper in the jars, and pour the ‘perfume’ on our Jesus’ figures feet.
Wednesday, make our gardens of Gethsemane from throwaway plastic containers…go outside…put in dirt, plants and flowers. Put in our little Jesus figures.
Thursday is family communion.
Friday we make little crosses and put our Jesus figures on the crosses. Then we take them down and put Him in a tomb, i.e., in little boxes with rocks on top.
Then, after they are in bed on Saturday night, we take the Jesus figures out and hide them somewhere. When the girls get up and check their tombs, “Voila!”
On Sunday morning, Jesus is risen! Then the girls go around finding their Jesus figure.
Oh, and I also read the corresponding scripture passage for each activity. I did this a couple years ago with just Bethany and Joelle and it worked out GREAT. They just loved it and it was a super neat way to go through the different events of the week with the appropriate sadness on Friday and celebration on Sunday. Really fun.
So, there ya go!
Lives are made up of tiny steps. Some are chosen for us; some we choose.
All hold the power to change who we become—but only if we let them.
"Pull up a comfy armchair! The main and secondary characters in Beyond This Moment instantly become people to care about, and the plot twists will keep you turning pages long into the night. The themes of racial tolerance and second chances are as timely today as they were back in the early days of Colorado's history." -Romantic Times, 4 1/2 star review
“Tamera Alexander paints scenery with the written word, and makes characters, stories, and insights linger long after the book is read.”—Cindy Woodsmall, New York Times bestselling author
“The characters are charming, engaging, and very realistic . . . a great story that will have readers quickly turning pages . . .”—The Romance Readers Connection
About the author:
Tamera Alexander is a best-selling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious--and precocious--silky terrier named Jack.
If you have a minute, you can visit Tamera's website (http://www.tameraalexander.com/) and her blog (tameraaalexander.blogspot.com). Or read an excerpt of Beyond This Moment (http://www.tameraalexander.com/cmsdocuments/BeyondThisMoment_Ch01_Website.pdf). And for a chance to win a copy of one of Tamera's books, visit (http://www.tameraalexander.com/contest.html).
Hyperlinks for Amazon and CBD are:
Friday, April 3, 2009
This morning I was interviewed about miscarriage and the infertility journey on the Debbie Chavez Internet Talk Show. If you'd like to listen, Debbie has the interview on her website: www.debbiechavez.com. I'm on the show for April 3 (click on that one and you can listen). Later, you'll be able to click on the “archived shows” tab and then scroll to the show with the April 3 date. My interview will be available there for several months.
So, I just thought I'd let you know in case you're interested!