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Thursday, October 30, 2014

MY GUEST TODAY IS MICHELE HUEY ~~~ DROP IN AND SAY HI!



A writer with a passion for teaching and speaking, Michele Huey writes an award-winning weekly newspaper column, God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, which placed second in the 2009 Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Keystone Press Awards. Two compilations of these columns have been published as devotional books. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and national publications. Her daily radio program, God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, aired on stations in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Alabama for 10 years. She writes devotionals on assignment for Pathways to God and is a former newspaper feature writer, photographer, and editor. Her debut novel, The Heart Remembers, has enjoyed 5-star reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Her second novel, Before I Die, and her short story series, Fifth Wheel, are also published by Helping Hands Press. An inspiring speaker, Michele is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and serves as pulpit supply for a small, local congregation, which she calls her "little flock." A former teacher with more than 20 years of experience in the classroom, Michele was named to Who's Who Among America's Teachers (2004-2006). In addition to serving as a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, she coaches writers through The Writing Academy, teaches at writing conferences, and was a member of the team that rewrote two CWG courses. She has a passion for reaching women with the Word of God and serves as the assistant director for the annual Punxsutawney Christian Women's Conference. In addition to her addiction to reading, she's an avid (sometimes rabid) Pirates fan and grandmother; loves baseball, Italian food, and hiking; and makes the best homemade pizza around. Michele and her husband, Dean, live in western Pennsylvania and have three grown children and five grandchildren.


What five words describe you? 

Passionate, fun, down-to-earth, generous, introverted, determined (From a friend: optimistic; kind; lover of the Lord; great storyteller)

What are you working on at the minute?

Getaway Mountain

What is it about? 

A reclusive romance novelist overcomes betrayal to find the love she writes about.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your 
most recent book?  

My most recent book is Before I Die about a 50-something woman who longs to fall in love again—to experience, just one more time, that head-over-heels feeling—the only problem is her husband. I think Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney (I liked them in One Fine Day. Or Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Or  Sandra Bullock. Kevin Costner. I like their acting and believe they would portray the theme of the story and the comedy in it effectively.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? 

Christy by Catherine Marshall because I love her technique and because it’s about a teacher, a pioneer of sorts, who is learning about life, faith, and love.

What is the hardest thing about writing? 

Writing

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? 

Write

Where would your dream location be for writing? 

A cabin in the mountains (Getaway Mountain <grin>)

When creating characters, are they based on people in your life? 

Not really, but people give me all kinds of ideas for the characters that come to life as I write.

Do you read your reviews? Yes  Do you respond to them, good or bad? No

Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 

Take it with a grain of salt. That is one person’s opinion, and that person might have a point. Think about it, think about how you can use this review to improve your writing, and move on.

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be? 

A teacher (which I was for 20 years—teaching is my passion. When I write, I teach.)

What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career? 

Learn the craft. Improve and refine your skills. Learn about the publishing world. 
Don’t wait until someday.

Where can we buy your books? 

Amazon, on my website (see below), and on the soon-to-be-put-up Helping Hands Press online store.

How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc......

Weekly inspirational blog and award-winning column: http://godmetea.blogspot.com/
Facebook author page: http://tinyurl.com/m8yo4cl
Amazon author page: http://tinyurl.com/m4leglq
Goodreads author page: http://tinyurl.com/mub52j3
 Author & speaker website page: http://tinyurl.com/pgeecxh

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Accepting Grace



I am a big fan of Max Lucado's writing and this one is definitely thought-provoking.


It happened too fast. One minute Barabbas was in his cell on death row playing tic-tac-toe on the dirt walls, and the next he was outside squinting his eyes at the bright sun. "You're free to go." Barabbas scratches his beard. "What?"  "You're free. They took the Nazarene instead of you."

Barabbas has often been compared to humanity, and rightly so. In many ways he stands for us: a prisoner who was freed because someone he had never seen took his place. As far as we know, he took his sudden freedom for what it was, an undeserved gift. Someone tossed him a life preserver and he grabbed it, no questions asked. You couldn't imagine him pulling some of our stunts.


We take our free gift and try to earn it or diagnose it or pay for it instead of simply saying "thank you" and accepting it. Why do we do that? The only reason I can figure is pride. To accept grace means to accept its necessity, and most folks don't like to do that. To accept grace also means that one realizes his despair, and most people aren't too keen on doing that either.

Barabbas, though, knew better. Maybe he didn't understand mercy and surely he didn't deserve it, but he wasn't about to refuse it. We might do well to realize that our plight isn't too different than that of Barabbas's. We, too, are prisoners with no chance for appeal.

But why some prefer to stay in prison while the cell door has been unlocked is a mystery worth pondering.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MY GUEST TODAY IS MARCIA LEE LAYCOCK ~ DROP IN AND SAY HI!

Marcia’s writing has won awards in Canada and the U.S.  Her devotionals are distributed to thousands and her novel, One Smooth Stone, won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award from Castle Quay Books and The Word Guild. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone has also garnered excellent reviews. Marcia’s work has often been short-listed in The Word Awards. Her most recent release is a The Ambassadors, a YA fantasy series just launched with Helping Hands Press. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker for women’s events. Visit her at www.marcialeelaycock.com






What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?

I am working on the third book in my fantasy series, The Ambassadors.  In this book, Eghan is in a dark place. He has been badly wounded, his father is dead, his kingdom ripped away from him. The prince's faith is hanging by a very thin thread, but God has a plan. I am also working on a play, based on an experience my father had when he was part of the liberation forces that freed the prisoners at Bergen Belsen at the end of WW2. The play will be produced at a local theatre in May. April 15, 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the liberation of that camp.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Alex Pettyfer (I am #4) would work for Eghan, Patrick Stewart for Ulhrik, Ellen Page (Inception) for Nara.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Les Miserables. It's my favourite book of all time because of it's amazing portrayal of grace/legalism, love/hate, hope/despair.
What is the hardest thing about writing? 

Just doing it.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Do something fun, something that will take your mind completely off the project you're working on.

 Where would your dream location be for writing?

 A quiet cabin in the woods - no cell phones, no electricity, wood heat. Oh yeah. :)

When creating characters, are they based on people in your life? 

Sometimes. The main character in my first novel, One Smooth Stone, is a composite of several people I knew in the Yukon who were trying to run from their past lives.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes I usually read them and sometimes respond to thank the reader who took the time to write the review. I greatly appreciate any who do. How to deal with the bad - after ranting and raving for a few minutes read it again to see if there's any truth in it. If so, act accordingly. If not, hit delete and carry on.  

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?

An artist or musician.  I so admire both.  

What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?

Show, don't tell, is one of the best skills to learn.  I wish I'd learned it sooner.  Also, remember god is doing something in you as you write.  Even if that piece is never published it has purpose.

Where can we buy your books?

If you live in Canada you can get them directly from me by emailing or going to my website: www.marcialeelaycock.com

Here are the links where you will find them online:

One Smooth Stone - http://amzn.to/1vyyBHO
A Tumbled Stone - http://amzn.to/XXnIA9
Spur of the Moment - http://amzn.to/VgcjcM
Abundant Rain - http://amzn.to/1r5zsgZ
The Ambassadors - Journey to a Strong Tower (Volume 1 of Book 1)  http://ow.ly/wTXe0
The Ambassadors PB - book one – Amazon.ca - http://amzn.to/1qNMZUr
The Ambassadors PB - book one – Amazong.com - http://amzn.to/1rEz618
The Ambassadors Book One PB on HHP site - http://bit.ly/ZRooID

 How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc......

Website/personal blog - www.marcialeelaycock.com
Blog for reviews of Christian books - www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca
Twitter - @MarciaLaycock

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Food" for Thought



As a writer, life experiences sometimes inspire ideas for future projects, but I never expected a menial household chore to be one of them.

You see, I had an attack of domesticity the other day and decided to clean out my refrigerator.  I realized the contents could very easily be used to get rid of a spouse, backstabbing friend, noisy neighbor ... well, the possibilities are endless, and the passing would more than likely be determined an "accidental poisoning".

I'm embarrassed to say I had cottage cheese that expired three months ago, hidden behind a plastic container filled with something that morphed into a green slimy substance, hidden by all newly purchased grocery items.  In fact, there were several hidden plastic containers and some of the slime was even black. Did you know jelly can mold?  I didn't. I guess 2009 wasn't a good year for grapes. Of course, let's not forget salad dressing, horseradish, cans of whipped cream and a jar of maraschino cherries (I don't even remember using them - of course, they did expire in 2012).

Not only did this chore give me ideas for a future book, it reminded me to be more diligent in checking expiration dates and throw the old stuff out. It's bad enough to be faced with slime and mold, but the smell.....that alone could do someone in.

And ... here it comes ... it gave me food for thought:  Just like expired items in the fridge, unresolved anger or hurt will fester and eventually poison your soul if you don't throw it out through forgiveness.