Scavenger Hunt for Miram

I have the privilege of being a part of the launch team for Mesu Andrews’ newest book, Miriam, the second installment in her Treasures of the Nile series. Several of us on the team decided to get together and have a scavenger hunt and giveaway to celebrate the book’s release. We want to invite you to be a part of the fun next week!

Miriam Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop

From 1am Eastern (US) time on March 15th, the book’s release date, until 11:59pm on March 20th, there will be a scavenger hunt with stops on 14 different blogs!

You’ll start at Mesu’s blog and finish your journey at Mommynificent.com. At the end of each post, you’ll find links to all of the stops in the hunt. Between March 15th and 20th, click on the next link, head over to the page, meet a new book-lover, and read their thoughts about this fantastic book. Somewhere in each post there will be a single word that is in BOLD AND ALL CAPITALS. Write it down. (The words “Home” and “Good Luck” are not secret words for anyone.)

Then, go to the next stop. That post will also have a word that’s bolded and capitalized. You will need to visit all 14 blogs as each one will have a word that you need.

Once you reach the end and have found all the words, you will have found an inspirational quote from the book Miriam. There are 14 words in this quote. Enter the quote into the Rafflecopter on the last stop and you will be entered to win a Kindle Fire from Mesu Andrews!

In addition, each blogger will be running their own giveaway of a set of paperbacks of Mesu’s two Treasures of the Nile books – The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam!

If you have any questions, get lost, or experience any technical difficulties, you may email Tina at tina{at}mommynificent{dot}com for help.

Good luck and have lots of fun!

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Balloon Busters

Oh shiny rubber wonder
Bobbing along beside me
Tugging at your tether
Longing to be free

Oh, bouncy balloon of delight
You hold the best
The brightest parts of me
Within your supple skin

The hopeful dreams of ‘someday’
The whispered bliss of ‘maybe’
The terrified promise of tomorrow
Swirl endlessly within

I keep you safe and silent
For the dreams you hold inside
Could shatter and die within
If I dared to give release

This week’s sermon dealt with finding your God-given dream. To find the passion that he laid on your heart and to go with it.

Well, I know my dream, I know what he has called me to do. Or I know about as well as any of us can truly know the heart of God. One of the few things on this earth that can really fire me up is an increasing ignorance of the Bible. More and more I come into contact with people, average American adults, who have no idea what is in the scriptures. Many of them don’t even know the most basic stories that were once common knowledge like Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, to name a few. Or if they know the story, it is from a simplified children’s story or a blockbuster Hollywood film.

Yet there is so much more within those wonderful pages. The stories within are about real people, real events, and a very real God. My passion is to reacquaint today’s people with those people of long ago. To make their stories come alive and awaken the world to the God who loves them.

I have the calling. I have the talent (or so I believe). What I don’t have is the courage. Yesterday, the pastor spoke of turning away from the dream busters, the people who tell you that you are not good enough, not worthy, and you don’t belong. But what do you do when the biggest ‘balloon buster’ (I like the alliteration) is yourself?

I read the words of other authors and often think to myself; I could never write like that, I will never be that good, and other self defeating phrases. I could go on all day. Yet even with such negative ‘self-talk’ God keeps bringing me back to the computer to type another scene, another chapter, another section. Because like the prophet Jeremiah,

If I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name’, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed, I cannot. Jer 20:9

I am no prophet, and my stories are not earth-shattering messages to God’s people, but there are stories within me that beg to be told. I have stories of God’s faithfulness and grace, of his love and provision for everyone and they burn to be told.

And yet, lack of faith holds me back. Faith in myself, in my words, and yes even in God. Even then, in my darkest place of despair, in that vast sea of hopelessness, He meets me there and encourages me.

Oh, faithless child
Your dreams are safe with me
Let go the chains that bind you
Yield them to my hand

Look close, you will see
That my dreams are also yours
I put the spark within you
To brighten up the night

So trust me, child
To lead you where you want to go
To feed your dreams of ‘someday’
And take you safely there

 

So while others may not understand the dream that I hold close and tight, a dream that I can barely speak of (unless it is couched in a joke) because it is too important to risk the attention of a ‘balloon buster’. I know that God understands the dream and the weakness that holds me back. And he will never bust my balloon, he is waiting for me to find the courage to release it so that He can make it come true.

Try Again

How are you doing on your 2015 resolutions? Even if you don’t make specific resolutions, most of us at least have something in the back of our minds that we want to do better this year.

I know I do. I have a whole list but there are two that stand out at the top of the pile.

1. Lose weight/get in better shape.

Now that isn’t exactly an earth shattering revelation, the majority of Americans have weight loss somewhere on their ‘to-do’ list. But this year I have to get serious about it. I’m no longer 20 and with middle age in full swing . . . or droop as the case may be . . . the hours I spend sitting and staring at this screen are taking their toll. I am teetering on the brink of Hypertension and diabetes. Perhaps I have already begun the plunge to my doom . . . unless I can make some changes, I am done for.

2. Get at least one writing project finished and ready to pitch to an agent.

This one is a little trickier. I have trouble finishing what I start and my writing is an innocent victim of my predilection for procrastination. I sit at my desk and think, ‘I will work on my WIP today.’ I turn on my computer, and think, ‘Let me just check my email first, just in case there is something important.’ There seldom is, mostly ads, reminders and those dreaded Facebook messages. So I of course have to go to FB to check on things there . . . the next thing I know, three hours have gone by and it is time for lunch. I can’t type while I’m eating, of course, so I check on some of my favorite blogs and shopping sites. Another couple hours go by, the kids are home and I have to settle squabbles, help with homework and start supper. The kids and my husband get the  computer in the evenings, so another whole day has gone by without even looking at my stories. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

So my plan is to make a schedule for myself . . . just as if I was back at work and accountable to my boss for a certain amount of work to be finished before I am done for the day. I will have a block for eating, exercising, writing and critiquing the works of my writing friends. There will also be a block of time to check Facebook and blogs . . . after my other work is done.

I’m not sure I can contain the procrastination gene that keeps popping up to disrupt my best laid plans, but every day that I do the right thing is a step in the right direction. There will be days that I fail to follow ‘the plan’ . . . probably a lot of them . . . But each day is brand new, with no mistakes in itdouble rainbow, to quote Anne Shirley. So each day I will get up and prepare to try again. And again. And again.

I will never be perfect, but perhaps I can edge a little closer to that goal.

Christmas Tales

The shepherds watching over their flocks at night.

The Innkeeper with no room.

Angels who watch and celebrate.

Wise men who follow a star to find a king.

A new mother and father with their first child.

A servant of God who sees the promise fulfilled.

These are actors in the greatest production the world has ever seen. Who were they and what did they see and hear on that first Christmas? Each week through the month of December I will be publishing a Christmas Story through Amazon Create Space. Come and See.

shepherd copyThe Shepherd’s Tale http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PUZ9AD8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The InnkeeperThe Innkeeper’s Guest (Free thru Dec 10) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QOA67OS

 

 

 

 

 

Watch for the Angels’ story later this week.

 

The End is Near!

Here it is, November 26, the final days of NaNoWriMo.

Have I kept pace with my goal of 1700 words each day?

No, I am averaging about 1400, but have picked up the pace with ‘the end’ looming.

Will I finish all 50,000 words before Dec. 1st?

Well, its not looking good. I passed 36,000 yesterday, but that leaves 16,000 to write over the next five days (including today)

Do I like what I have written so far?

Well, parts of it. It is, after all, a very rough draft since I have had to lock away my ‘inner editor’ for the last few weeks. There are a lot of notes, highlights and whole sections to revisit during the coming months before I will consider it good enough to send through my critique group. That being said, the basics, the bare bones of it is good and there are some rough gems hidden within. The coming months will determine if cutting and polishing can bring out the shine of the early promise or if it would be better off as a paperweight.

I did write in a turning point last night and this morning:

NGS Picture ID:1075708“You have one shot, make it worth it.”
John sighted down his musket barrel until his vision cleared. He could see the play of muscle beneath the coppery skin.
His finger was greasy on the trigger as his pulled away the primer cover. The smell of burning saltpeter from the wick caked the back of his throat. 1. Steady your stance. 2. Take a deep breath and let it out slow as you draw a bead on the target. 3. As the last of your breath goes out, squeeze the trigger . . . gently.
Please, Lord.
Blinking, he focused on the brown, now, red skin. The forest had gone eerily still, even the birds and creatures that rustled in the leaves went still.
“Don’t move. Reload. There are always more.”
Swan crept forward once more with his already loaded gun. John rushed to follow, loading primer, powder and ball. They made it to Clary without incident. John laid a hand on the older man’s chest.  The heart thumped strong and steady beneath his hand.
“He lives.” John swallowed the lump in his throat.
Swan moved toward the bleeding Indian. “So does this one.” He stepped on the indian’s wounded shoulder to keep him from crawling away. The native’s black eyes were emotionless with not even a tremor to show the pain he must be in. Swan grabbed a leather thong from the Indian’s outfit, tied the native’s hands behind his back, and forced him to his feet. A bead of sweat traced its way through the garish paint. It stared at John with quiet menace.
“We will take them both back to the village. The savage will be our hostage to keep the others at bay. Can you manage Clary?”
The sight of the arrow sticking obscenely from Clary’s back made him queasy, but John swallowed and lifted his friend to his shoulder, careful to disturb him as little as possible. Bowing under the weight, he nodded to Swan.
Swan nudged the captive with the knife he had pulled from its sheath.
For John, the beautiful forest, just stirring with the new life of spring, had suddenly become a labyrinth of peril where death lurked just out of sight.

Sary stood and brushed the wrinkles from her skirt with her eye fixed on Mr. Whitaker. He would know if her father had arrived.
Before she was more than halfway across the crowded lawn, there was a commotion where the clearing gave way to trees. The shrill scream of a woman and the shouts of men made her grab her skirt and run. She pushed her way through the mass of bodies until she could see the trio of men that staggered from the woods. Skipping over the black haired savage and Mr. Swan, her eyes latched on the stooped form of a young man staggering beneath the burden of a familiar brown coat and shock of grizzled chestnut hair. Bright crimson blood streaked both men.
“Papa.” Sary clapped both hands to her mouth to hold back the cry that rose to her lips.

 

The Character Sketch

Who is this John that I write about?

His blood, diluted by 300 years and more, runs through my veins.

Will that help me to know him? What did he dream of? What did he dread?

He crossed an ocean after losing everything, yet so many others stayed.

What drove him across the water? A quest for significance? Dreams of feasting flames? Simple family duty?

He lived, laughed, loved and thrived.

Did he ever look eastward toward his past and wonder ‘What if’?

Did he look westward toward the future, where his grandchildren and their grandchildren would set down roots?

100 years after his Atlantic voyage, his grandchildren and great grandchildren fought for independence.

Did the seeds of rebellion lie dormant in his heart? Did he cling to king and country til they laid his body down?

Who is  this Sarah, who loved him and bore him sons?

Her blood rushes with each beat of my heart.

She was a child of independence, a new life in a new world.

Did she walk pristine New England woodlands? Did she huddle in her home?

What did she think of the land her parents fled? What did she see in the man who stole her heart?

Fresh from the shores of England, did she welcome him or offer scorn?

Did her parents arrange the union? or did her heart choose its course?

She bore him children, some lived, some died.

Did she thank God for the moments they breathed or forever mourn the ones who ceased?

Who are these people, who yet live through me.

I write their story to answer these queries. To know what came before and wonder what will follow me.

NaNoWriMo is Here!

The challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Since I work best with deadlines and a support system I am signing up again this year.

Follow my progress as I create a tale of long ago. John and Sary Perry in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1667.

Perry Across the Pond: This is the working title, I will come up with something better by the end.