Monday, August 27, 2018

God Knows Your Name by Alexis A. Goring



God Knows Your Name
A devotional by Alexis A. Goring

Pastor Charles A. Tapp shared a story one Sabbath morning, as a sermon illustration for his congregation.

He talked about how when he was about to graduate from school with his M.Div. (Master of Divinity) which is a degree that he needed to be a pastor, his fellow theology students were gathered around talking about how they know this person and that person who will give them a job when they graduate. Pastor Tapp said they turned to him and asked, “Charles, who do you know?” Without skipping a beat, Pastor Tapp said, “I know God.”

Years later, this sermon illustration returned to my mind in relation to my job search. I earned a B.A. in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve trained all of the talents the God gave me through studying for these degrees. But the dream job has not yet materialized.

So for a while, I’ve been trying to do what a lot of aspiring creative professionals do—reach out the big names in the business, the famous ones who have a proven track record of success because as someone told me last year, “Once Oprah knows your name, you’re good.” They mean that if Oprah knows your name and likes your work, she can open doors and do wonders for your career.

But lately, I am reminded of that sermon illustration and my Mom’s advice. My Mom told me, “Why are you trying to network with all of the big names in the industry? Just network with God because He knows everybody.”

A song by one of my favorite Contemporary Christian music singers comes to mind. The song is called “He Knows My Name”, and Francesca Battistelli sings it.


He Knows My Name - Francesca Battistelli


The essence of the song is that we are less than perfect. We might not choose ourselves to be on a winning team or celebrated as a champion so we think that God should choose somebody else. But God sees our heart. He made us which means He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
The song points out that you don’t need your “name in lights” (which means to be well-known due to your work in the Arts & Entertainment industry) because you’re already famous in God’s eyes and He knows your name.

It’s comforting because it reminds me of what really matters and teaches me that even if my name is never in lights, I will be more than okay because God knows my name. He will take care of me whether it’s blessing me with my dream job or opening my eyes to something He has planned that is better than what I’ve imagined.

Ultimately, I realize that God knows my name and He is in control of my destiny. I choose to trust Him to lead me to the job that He knows I need.

Are you experiencing something similar? Let me encourage you to reach out to God. He loves you with all of His heart and He can connect you with the right people to make your dreams come true. He will place you in the best situations and bless you with what you need. It may be something that you never even knew you wanted.



About Alexis: Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.


Wedding photographer Michelle Hadley has a passion for diversity and believes that love comes in all colors. So, she’s working hard to convince editors to feature her clients’ images on the covers of the mainstream bridal and wedding magazines.

Despite having a career that focuses on celebrating forever love, Michelle has never actually been in a romantic relationship, and she’s not looking for love, until she meets the one man she cannot forget. 

Since his fiancée broke his heart, Logan Emerson’s focus has been on his career. He’s won awards for his work as a print journalist and dreams of greater success on television as a broadcast journalist. But his personal struggle presents many challenges that might prevent his dreams from coming true.

Michelle doesn’t date often, and since his heartbreak, Logan has shied away from the dating scene. But something about Michelle awakens Logan’s desire to love again.

Purchase link for Love in Pictureshttps://amzn.to/2weGlT9


Monday, August 20, 2018

Writing About The Middle East by Author, Physician, Missionary, and Hostage Jim Carroll Ends August 20th

Please welcome Jim Carroll to my blog this week! Jim has worn many hats, one of which is a hostage during the Kuwait invasion. Jim is giving away 2 copies of his book Kuwaiti Seeker so be sure to read on down to find out how to enter.

WHY WRITE ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST?

I’ve spent a significant portion of my life working in the Middle East. The area has remained at the center of world news for two thousand years, sometimes a bit out of focus, often put aside by local and national news, but lingering over us nevertheless. The themes of the Middle East are eternal conflict, apocalypse, and salvation, with the three great Western religions at the epicenter. Perhaps we’d like to avoid the issues extant there, but they keep coming back to haunt us, often pulling our sons and daughters into war, threatening the gas for our cars, but always haunting us with questions of right and wrong. The examples are many. Who is right? The Jews or the Palestinians? Do we continue to support the existing governments even when we know they’re unjust? Do we join conflicts solely for our national interest? We must know these matters aren’t going to change until Jesus comes again.

But at the heart of these big, seemingly theoretical disputes, are the personal conflicts experienced by the people. Their concerns amplify the speculative and bring the complex down to our level, the potholed land where the citizens of the Middle East live out each day. These are some of the recurring thoughts: the rights of women, the rights of the individual for personal autonomy, the right to choose one’s beliefs about eternity and how to get their safely. Muslims cannot put aside Islam and turn to another religion. To do so carries the risk of the charge of apostasy, which can bring a death sentence.

The themes of life in the Middle East, then, hinge on decisions which affect the individual’s position in the universe. And these decisions cannot be made in the Western paradigm. In contrast to the importance of the individual in the West, all judgements in the Middle East must be made in the context of the group, the family, or the tribe.

In my writing, I try to untangle this web for the individual. How does the framework of their lives constrain them? What influences their decisions? Melville wrote that a great book requires a great theme. The Middle East offers more such themes than any one author can manage.

MY BOOKS




Born into a Muslim family, Yacoub searches for truth in Islam. During his spiritual struggle and battle with sin, he is buoyed by his wife Rabea (Arabic: springtime), a believer in Christ through independent reading of the Bible. Yacoub proceeds through misadventures and moral failures until he reaches the end of his resources. Islam fails him. But God, in His mercy, rescues Yacoub. See how much God cares for us.





This memoir tells the story of our family’s trials when I was held hostage in the US Embassy in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. At the time we were missionaries in Kuwait. My wife, Shirley, back in the States for surgery on one of our seven children, was without money or means of support. The Lord preserved us in this ordeal. The dramatic intervention of the Holy Spirit gave us hope and eventual rescue.





Diwaniya is unique Kuwaiti custom whereby men of the same social class come together to gossip, discuss politics, and sometimes, tell stories. In this little volume, Yacoub, the main character of Kuwaiti Seeker, is the story-teller.



THE AUTHOR

Jim and his wife, Shirley, live in Augusta, Georgia. They have been married for 50+ years with eight children and fifteen grandchildren. Jim is a physician on the faculty at the Medical College of Georgia and an elder at First Presbyterian Church.

Jim and his family served as missionaries in Kuwait. He was held hostage in the US Embassy in Kuwait during the Iraq invasion (memoir: “Faith in Crisis – How God Shows Up When You Need Him Most”). He has worked and traveled extensively in the Middle East.

BOOK GIVEAWAY


Two copies of Kuwaiti Seeker will be awarded to two individuals who answer the following questions:

Would you rather hold a Kindle or an old style book?

How many books have you read about the Middle East in the last year?

LINKS

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Carroll/e/B0724Z8B7S/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Website: http://www.allfaithsoil.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jimcarroll65/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JcarrollJames

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carroll-james-696a11a0/

Monday, August 13, 2018

Camp Hope by Sara L Foust ends 8/20

Be sure to read on down to learn how to enter in Sara's giveaway!

Camp Hope: Journey to Hope is the second installment in my Love, Hope, and Faith Series. It tells the story of Amy Dawson and her foster daughter, Mattie. Amy had a traumatic childhood, abused and then yanked from her jailed mother. Her life improved drastically when she was sent to live with her Aunt Zena on a huge farm in Briceville, Tennessee. Zena ran a summer camp for foster children with her best friend, Sam. Now that Zena has passed on, Amy has taken role as the director.
However, her scarred childhood has never left her. She is withdrawn and scared a lot of the time, especially of men. When Mattie is kidnapped and Amy is faced with the return of her high school love, Jack Evans, she isn’t sure how to handle things. The fear in her says hide. The desire to retrieve Mattie says be brave and go find her.
Amy’s motherly instincts win out and she delves deep into the mountains of Royal Blue. Royal Blue is a real mountain chain here in East Tennessee, part of the Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. It is thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, marred only by 4-wheelers paths that are like a maze of crisscrosses. It is home to bear, elk, rattlesnakes and copperheads, bobcats, coyotes, and more.
Amy stopped believing God cared about her when she was a young girl, and she gave up hope in any type of full healing for herself a long time ago. My hope is that readers will learn from Amy’s story. It is not only a story of loss and adventure, it is a story of reclaiming hope in God. Of realizing that no matter what has happened to you or what mistakes you have made, God has an abundant love for you and can provide full, complete healing.


GIVEAWAY: Ask Sara a question to be entered to win her Camp Hope.
AMY DAWSON directs a summer camp for foster children near Briceville, Tennessee. A foster mom for the first time, her responsibilities as mother to a traumatized child bring a whole new set of challenges and joys.
But when Amy’s four-year-old foster daughter is dragged into the mountains of Royal Blue by a former employee, parenting challenges are overshadowed by a new nightmare. The Sheriff's department fails to procure viable leads, and Amy can’t sit idle. Her childhood friend and first love, JACK EVANS, returns to lend his skills as tracker. Problem is, he also stirs up romantic memories Amy would rather leave buried.
Jack struggles to let go of his past failures and prove his reliability by bringing Mattie home, but fears when he left camp nineteen years ago and failed to keep a promise to Amy he permanently lost her confidence.
As Amy plunges into the wilderness on horseback to search for Mattie, she must decide who she trusts, let go of her childhood traumas, and learn to rely on hope in God. Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will she succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in the vast wilderness forever?


Author Bio:
Sara is a multi-published, award-winning author who writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her debut novel Callum's Compass won second place in Deep River Books' 2017 Writer's Contest. She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com.



Monday, August 6, 2018

Come Next Winter by Linda Hanna and Deborah Dulworth ends 8/13



Read on down to find out about their giveaway!



Connecting with Our Readers


One common denominator we have as writers is to bond with those who love our books. To some, the thought is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In preparing to write, the first question we ask is: who is the target audience? So using that same analogy, let’s think of our outreach as a target as well. 


The outer circle on the target includes the readers online who you will probably never meet face-to-face. Social media followers have a great influence on book sales. It’s a perfect tool to connect because you can reach a vast number of fans.


To bridge the gap between readers and authors, it helps to make a list of how people respond when you work online. How many shared, emailed, tweeted, and liked what you posted? Find the sweet spot that readers reacted to the most, then repeat what worked, and explore more ways to keep the same level of interest. For instance, our stories are laced with humor and followers say they’re disappointed if we don’t give them the expected fun-filled posts on our author page.

Those ongoing exchanges with fans often result in a writer’s biggest reward: word of mouth marketing. The more dedicated your followers are, the wider your readership becomes.


The next ring on the target is comprised of those who are in your book signing audiences. It’s easy to connect with this group. Area librarians are more than happy to host signings for local authors. Most will advertise it in the paper, on the library marquis, their bulletin board, etc.


One of the greatest pleasures of being an author is meeting with local readers. That personal interaction is an effective way to guide them toward your books. When people talk one-on-one with a writer, a natural curiosity quickly grows and they will want to read your stories.


As authors, we become the center of our own circle of readers and, let’s face it; they can make or break the success of our books. Good stories stir readers and they are the ones who write reviews and share with their friends about how great the books are. One fan can become a valuable link to his larger sphere of influence.
The bull’s eye of the target represents your inner circle of peeps. Family, friends, church, and work relationships are crucial in your networking.


Family reunions are the best time to connect with relatives you rarely see. Most of them are proud and excited to have a family member who is an honest-to-goodness author.


Church functions offer a plethora of speaking and book signing possibilities. Male authors find men’s breakfasts and sports-related banquets are great opportunities to present their books. Meanwhile, lady authors find women’s groups such as mother/daughter teas or banquets, and ladies overnight retreats to be perfect occasions to share.


Additional speaking possibilities are senior adult groups and district groups. Find a church (or a civic function) that offers a holiday market where you can set up a booth.


Building an Audience


Ø  Look for common interests


            For instance, long checkout lines are a good place to strike up a conversation with the bored person behind you. If you see someone looking at books in a store or a person in a restaurant with a paperback, that’s an open door to ask what they are reading and who their favorite writer is. Then casually point out that you too are a published author and mention your book’s genre. That starts the ball rolling. Keep in mind that while you’re talking, the goal is to lead that dialogue toward the content of your books.


Ø  Find ways to compliment


            This puts the person at ease and makes them more receptive to what you have to share.


Ø  Acknowledge their struggles


            Everyone carries a burden, so it’s important to respond to their concerns. It shows them you care. You never know how your interaction with them will affect their lives in profound ways. They’ll remember your kindness.


Ø  Celebrate their successes


            This gives them encouragement and bolsters their self-esteem.  Ephesians 4:29  says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”


Now that we’ve filled your quiver with conversational arrows, get out there and enjoy your target practice. Ready, aim, fire!


Linda Hanna and Deborah Dulworth

GIVEAWAY:  Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win a PDF e-copy of Come Next Winter

The Call of Indian Summer


Will their struggles and personal doubts overpower the prospect of love and loyalty?
Recently widowed Sue North leaves her stately Vermont home to work with her daughter and son-in-law caring for orphans near Apache Pointe, Arizona. The last thing Sue wants in her peaceful new life is to catch the eye of another man. But then, in one jaw-dropping moment, suave attorney, Brian Campton, saunters into her path. After dealing with her husband’s abuse, can she find the courage or desire to begin a relationship with someone as serious-minded as Brian?
Meanwhile, Stuart Drake, the handsome survivor of a loveless marriage, is on the lam from the dogged church ladies keen on his availability. He chooses the tuck-tail-and-run method to guard his battered soul, all the while yearning for affection he’s never known. Has finding the joy of a shared love eluded him? Enter Sue North. Stuart finds himself tripping over his heart. She’s beautiful, vibrant, and . . . too young. The age gap haunts him. Can he compete with the flirtatious lawyer’s money and sophistication?
The Call of Indian Summer will lure you into the struggles and personal doubts which challenge the prospect of love and loyalty.



ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Author Bio: The writing team of Hanna and Dulworth deliver a story full of love and faith, and sprinkled with touches of humor that will have you wondering whether to laugh or cry. Their first novel in the Seasons of Change series, Come Next Winter, released in 2016. Linda and Debbie love to share uplifting messages of faith, family, and love. Their hope is to inspire and encourage readers on their own spiritual journey. Though their paths have unexpected twists and turns, they cling unswervingly to their faith and God continues to bless.



Both:
Website: [www.dulworthandhanna.wordpress.com]www.dulworthandhanna.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Thebooknookoflindaanddeb/

Linda: