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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The "If Only" Zone



My mind is in overdrive (again) and the Holy Spirit nudged me to blog about beating myself up over past mistakes.

I confess my sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but there are times when I just cannot let go. The tapes of my mistakes keep replaying in my mind, and I end up entering the "if only" zone, wishing I could turn back the hands of time.  Yeah, like that's going to happen.

It is Satan that pulls out those old tapes and I can almost see him laughing as he hits the rewind button, highlighting all the ugliness and shame. What saves me from self-destruction is turning to God.  He fast forwards the tapes to lessons learned, and reminds me if I was able to turn back the hands of time, I would not be the person I am today ... defined by His mercy, not my mistakes.


I'M TAPING THIS ON MY MIRROR:




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NEW FEATURE COMING SOON!



I AM HONORED TO HAVE THE FOLLOWING
GIFTED AUTHORS AS GUESTS:












Tuesday, September 16, 2014

HAVE A SEAT: A.M. HEATH!



Being raised in a small Tennessee town, A.M. Heath grew up with a love for southern history and nostalgia. Her husband and 4 children embrace the small town lifestyle and southern standard of back porch relaxing, tea sipping, homemade comfort food, strong Christian values, and tightly woven family bonds. For many years, she has nurtured a desire to write but chose to nurture her own family until the time was right. How do you know when the time is right? You just do! With lots of prayer and support, she began to put pen to paper and explored her passion for writing. 

Inspiration can strike at any moment and spawn from a simple garden stroll, a biblical passage, one of her kid's school projects, a recipe, or a phone call from a friend. This unbridled inspiration makes A.M. Heath's stories, characters, and settings unique and fresh; an assurance for her loyal readers as new stories are projected to release in the future.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I don't know that I was "inspired" so much as I was eventually led to it. I love to read and always have. And I've always enjoyed writing. I can remember when I was a young girl folding paper together to create a book and writing stories in it. Another time, when I was in the 8th grade, I had an assignment to do and was inspired to tell a 3 page story instead of the 1 page paper it should have been.  And as an adult, I came to a place where the stories burning inside me begged to be told. I don't think I was inspired to write so much as I have been chosen to write. I can look back and see how God had been gently and slowly guiding my path all along.

Which of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”? Why?

Before I sat down to write publicly, I started out writing in private (a practice that I'm learning many authors do). I wrote one book and started another and both are tucked away in a private file. There are serveral on my waiting list. But the book that I'm most proud of is the one that is releasing this year titled Where Can I Flee. As any author can tell you, every book they write becomes a favorite of sorts, and so it is with me. But this book isn't just a piece of my heart, it IS my heart. It's me being poured out. There is such a beautiful blend of history, evangelism, and romance in this novel. And as it turns out, it's the very heart of who I am.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

I don't have a ritual before starting a project. But each day as I settle down to write, I clear my head by browsing pinterest. There is something about the pressure of knowing that you're expected to preform that overwhelms me sometimes, and so it helps me loosen up to do something mindless before I begin. I often listen to Christian music while I work too. 

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

For Christ Alone  For Christ alone is how I aim to live my life. It's easy to get off track and I constantly have to repent and bring myself back to what matters most.

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Lynn Austin. I'm a huge fan of her work. She has written my favorite Civil War series and went on to write several more that make it to my favorites list. But I would also really like to sit down with Tamera Alexander....and since we're both settled down here in Middle Tennessee, I feel like that could be a reality some day :)

We all have family, work and other obligations...how do you maintain balance while in the
middle of a writing project?

I'm a stay at home mom with four children - two in public school and two at home. So balance is something that I often struggle with. I pray daily and repent often. I've learned that at this season it's best for me to write while the kids are in bed, so during the day I focus on the housework and children. Then once I settle them in, it's just me and the computer. There are other seasons where I try to do a little work during the day, but it doesn't normally work out very well since there are so many distractions. I pray often for God to bless my time and my efforts, and to make me productive. Since I'm self publishing, I have a little more freedom to take my time when needed.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

There was a really long season where I struggled with stress. I felt like I was spinning my wheels more than I was writing and that time was escaping me. I was putting more pressure on myself to finish and it was hurting me more than helping me. Then I ran across this quote that God used to change my life and my writing habits. "This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It's that easy, and that hard." Writing really is that hard and I soon discovered that I was that easy. I had been making the mistake of trying to write an entire novel in one day, in one hour, in one sitting. It can't be done. If I've learned anything in the last 23 months, it's that writing a novel word by word, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter is a tedious process. Nothing is fast.  I finally grasped the concept that I don't need an entire chapter floating around in my head to be productive. All I need is one word. One word. Then one more. Then one more. And before you know it, I have a page, then a chapter. Through this God led me to embrace the stress free writing and I've never looked back! 

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

Here is my official site: http://authoramheath.wix.com/amheath and a link to my facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/?q=#/AMHeathfanpage? I can also be found on pinterest.com and goodreads.com under the name A.M. Heath

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis...

Where Can I Flee is my debut novel due out late this summer. (Can you snag the book cover from Goodreads or do I need to send you a pic?) Here's the blurb:

War is on the horizon during the spring of 1861. It will be an event that will change the lives of everyone in it's path. The Harper family included.

Frank Harper is a young man full of dreams and ambitions. Even when the country is split and war breaks out, Frank will do whatever is necessary to see his dreams come true, even when that means putting on a uniform and leaving home.

For the first time, Claire Harper is forced to consider the reasons behind such a conflict. Should slavery be abolished? Which side should she be on, and what does God have to say about this? Claire is torn between her own opinions and those of her family. The struggle within her only increases when she repeatedly runs into a kind and handsome Union soldier. She longs to see her brother turn to Christ before it is too late. Desperate to reach her brother with the gospel, Claire pens a series of inspiring letters. Will she be able to handle all the obstacles of war and continue to be a witness to those around her?

How long can Claire last when her heart is torn in half and she is burdened for her brother's soul? How long can Frank resist his sister's urgent pleas or the gentle tugging from within? Can a man really outrun a Holy God?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Forgiveness: Giving vs Receiving

Forgiving is one thing ... being forgiven is another.

1 John 1:9 states, “If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” That verse assures me of God's forgiveness when I accept responsibility for my transgressions and repent. Unfortunately, doing the same in an earthly relationship does not always reap the same reward.


There are times when we unintentionally say or do something to a family member or friend that breeds anger, hurt or distrust. Because we cherish that relationship, we humbly ask for forgiveness, but our plea falls on deaf ears.

Not too long ago, I was trying to help out a friend with a situation, and because the relationship had always been open and honest, I felt comfortable using a little tough love, and in this case, it was necessary. Although the words said were out of love and concern, they were not received in the same manner. I knew deep down I said the right thing and for the right reason; however, holding on to the friendship was more important.  I apologized and asked for forgiveness. What followed was a complete loss of contact, and the silence was deafening. I ended up shedding a river of tears, losing hours of sleep and turning into a self-loathing, muddled mess.

Through prayer and meditation it came to me: If a relationship is built on the foundation of mutual love, trust and respect, it will survive even the strongest storm. I hope that is the case and that time will heal the wounds.

Until then I pray:

Heavenly Father, I bring a heavy heart to You at the foot of the cross. 
I know You can and will lighten it. Please give me the strength to turn my worries over to you and leave them there ... and place my trust 
in You .... Your Will ... Your Way.

Amen