Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Waiting for Wonder Fun Christmas GIVEAWAY!!

Hi Friends!

Couldn't wait (pun intended!! :-)) to tell you about the fun new giveaway my publicist is doing for Christmas for my new book Waiting for Wonder.

Sign-up HERE to enter! Click HERE and then click on the picture to get to the entry form. The giveaway is for a really great watch plus two copies of my new book. Can't beat that! And the giveaway is running until December 23. The winner will be posted here on my blog on December 27th.

So, sign up now! And in the meantime, here is an excerpt from fictional section of chapter 1. These fictional sections, meant to bring to life the story of Sarah, Abraham's wife, are one of the unique qualities of this book that explores Sarah's story to help us find the wonder of waiting in our own lives.

Read on...

EXCERPT (from Sarah's point of view):

I never dreamed my shame would define me. I never imagined I would be known for the very thing that causes me the deepest pain.
            Everyone I know has children. Everyone but me. Decades have passed. Hope has turned to a bitter herb in my mouth. Dust stirs around me as I make my way to the marketplace of Ur. They know me here, know that I am barren, childless. And they whisper.
            Today, as always, the marketplace buzzes with the sounds of children’s laughter, the murmuring gossip of women, the shouts of merchants. And beyond that, I hear the footfalls of worshippers traveling to the great ziggurat, the temple tower, just built by king Ur-Namma. Its bricks rise over the city, calling us to the worship of Nanna, the moon god. Calling me to come and beg favor from a god of fertility.
            I do not listen.
            I will not go.
            Instead, I pause beside a cloth-maker’s booth. I block out the sounds of the children, the mothers, and the silent beckoning from the temple of Ur. I stare at the bolts of cloth. A deep red, a tired yellow, a pale blue. My fingers barely brush the rough weave. The blue cloth would make a good garment for travel.
            Travel? Why do I think of these things? Perhaps because the walls of the city seem to press in on me today, the dust, the noise, the thousand voices, the footsteps, and the temple. Mostly the temple. And the children. And the whispers that always follow me.
            The pitying glances.
            The cruel conjectures.
            The snide advice that always involves a trip to a tower of bricks, timed with the moon’s transformations.
            Barren Sarai. Childless Sarai. The one whom the gods hate.
            Shame. Guilt. Pain.
            Hopelessness. Helplessness. Despair.
            I choose the bolt of blue cloth. My fingers fumble as I pay. Blue cloth. For travel. But where would I ever go?
            I hear my name, spoken gently. I hear it despite the bustle of the city all around me.
            I turn. He is there, my Abram, standing behind me. He has come from tending his sheep. It is too early for him to come in.
            He moves closer, his hand touching my arm. “Follow me, we must speak.” He takes the cloth from me and my hand flutters to my belly, flat as always.
            The noises fade as we walk out from the shadow of the great temple. We walk toward home. Then my Abram speaks.
            Elohim has spoken to me. God, our Creator, has come to me.”
            “You saw him?”
            “No one sees him, and lives. But he spoke to me all the same.” Abram’s voice catches, lowers. “He made us a promise. An impossible promise.”
            My hand drops to my belly again.
            Abram pauses, swallows, and I see the wonder in his eyes. “He has told me to leave here, go from our father’s house, to a land he will show me.”
            “Leave?” A blue cloth, just right for a garment for travel. . . .
            “And, and . . . He has promised to make me into a great nation.”
            My hand falls. My heart constricts. What kind of promise is this? I am barren. Decades barren. Who is this God who promises a nation? Who is this Elohim who makes promises in the place of my deepest pain?
            “Listen, Sarai. He says we are chosen, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through us.”
            Us? How could it be us? I tremble and straighten my shoulders. I fight to hide my tears.
            But he sees them anyway.

            And there, with the cries of children playing in the distance, with the soft tread of feet toward a temple to the city’s god, with a blue cloth for travel, I weep and wonder.
            Does this God of promise see me after all? Does he know who I am?
            I draw a long breath. “When?”
            “I don’t know. He said only what I’ve told you already. But this I know.My husband’s eyes search mine. “The promise is for us, Sarai. Elohim, God himself, will accomplish it.”
            I press my lips tight shut. Isn’t it already too late? This Elohim could have promised wealth, power, beauty, long life. But instead he promises to remove my shame.
            What kind of crazy, impossible promise is this? No one calls a barren woman to birth a great nation. No one chooses the childless to bless the whole world through their seed. No one but Abram's God would do such a thing.

            No one but Elohim would dare.