I Miss the Rains Down in Africa

by Harriet Michael

Okay, I know. The real words to that song are “I bless the rains down in Africa” but personally, I miss the African rains and so many other things too! As some of you may have noticed, my blog posts often have some connection to Nigeria, the nation of my birth. I’m a Third Culture Kid—a person born and reared in a country different from her citizenship. Well, I actually had duel citizenship until I was 18 and had to choose. Of course, I chose the USA. That was the right choice, but I do miss so much that I left behind in Africa. Thanks for letting me tell you again about a place my heart loves.

Though travel to Nigeria today is not advised due to political dangers, such as Boko Harem and other sad realities, the country does have some incredible places, many tucked away forever in my memory.

There are beautiful rivers to see. The Niger, near where I was born, is a wild river. Swimming is not recommended due to the possibility of crocodile attacks. But it’s beautiful, just the same. My family crossed it in a large open canoe-type boat with wooden seats and a thatched roof when I was about 10. I remember sitting on that boat and thinking it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen in my short life. The first time I ever visited Disney World and rode The Jungle Cruise, I was taken back in a flash to that moment in my early life when I traveled the Niger.jungle cruise

The Ethiope is a different story. It’s tame and wonderful. Most all of my missionary kid friends have fond memories of swimming in the Ethiope. Here is how I described snorkeling there in a post on my personal blog a few years ago:

“The place we entered was only about a five-minute swim from the pier, but it seemed to take forever to get there. First we drove for a while, then walked a small path for what seemed like a long time. Finally, we came to the river. From the bank we could see the other side. Even to a child it did not look too far to swim. My dad put goggles, flippers, and a snorkel on me. Another missionary went in first, then me, and my dad behind me. What happened next was like entering into a world of wonder—one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

What appeared to me to be a short, easy swim to the other bank suddenly seemed wild, challenging, exciting, and even scary. As I kept my eyes under the water, in an instant I saw the ground below me drop what seemed to be a mile. I don’t really know how deep it was but it was clear to my child’s eyes that it was deeper than anyplace I’d ever been before. It was over my head and my dad’s by a long shot! It felt like I was swimming from the top of one underwater mountain to another, as I swam from that shore line to a sand dune a short distance away. The river floor below was alive too! There was grass swaying and fish swimming everywhere. I understood why my dad wanted to be behind me and didn’t want me swimming this part of the river by myself. And I was really glad he was there!

Very soon the three of us were on the sand dune resting. I sat in utter amazement and wonder at what I had just seen. Then we set out again and swam to the pier which seemed to be just around the corner. The river floor below me in this part was much more shallow, brown in color from the sand, less green and not so alive.”

Eku River

This is an actual picture of the Ethiope River shared with me by a childhood friend who grew up in Eku, very near the river.

Another place I fondly recall from my childhood is the warm springs in Ikogosi. The mission had a retreat there when I was a child. The place was managed by missionaries, John and Doris Mcgee, and the beautiful chapel on the grounds was designed by missionary Wilfred Congdon. Even as a child, the warm water had been diverted in part, so as to gather in a swimming pool but flow out again so it would not become stagnant. Today, it is a resort. The pictures from the website show much development, but the chapel still stands. http://www.ikogosiresort.net/ Ikogisi chape

The chapel in Ikogosi in the 1950’s, when it was fairly new.

There are so many other places I could write about—the Yankari Game Reserve–I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard stories about it from my childhood friends, http://www.wcsnigeria.org/Wild-Places/Yankari-Game-Reserve.aspx.  The incredible rock formations in the northern Plateau State, http://www.nigeriagalleria.com/Nigeria/States_Nigeria/Plateau/Riyom-Rock-Formations-Jos.html, –and so many more.house in Jos (Joy)

I love this picture! It was taken about three  years ago by a childhood friend on a visit back to the Plateau State.

I miss these places, but I must admit, I’m glad I am a US citizen. Ours is truly the greatest nation on earth, and we are blessed to live here.

Writing Prompt: Make up a fictional adventure in Africa. Include why you went there (business, pleasure, mission work?) and what happened while there.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Tracey Lyons

tracey-lyons-1345-hr-colorPlease make welcome multi-published author, Tracey Lyons, to the Writing Prompts Blog. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances…

Glad you dropped by, Tracey! First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

TraceyWriting From the Inside Out by Dennis Plumbo, Pencil Dancing by Mari Messer and Donald Maass’s on Writing the Breakout Novel. How? These books help to unleash my inner creativity by giving me different ways to think about my writing process.

We all need our creativity unleashed.🙂 Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Tracey:  I dabble in watercolor art. I started doing this about a decade ago when I was struggling with my writing career. I figured if I could write, then I must be able to paint! So I took a few watercolor classes and discovered that I do have a tiny little talent for art.

Watercolor art sounds like fun. Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Tracey:  I would probably make my old standby dinner of roast pork loin, steamed green beans and roasted red potatoes. Which I would follow with a killer dessert maybe a fruit cobbler or some chocolate confection layered in my trifle dish.

Put me down for the chocolate confection! Thanks, Tracey, for being our guest…

Tracey is ready to bless one person with a Kindle e-book giveaway of A Changed Agent. Just leave a comment to be entered…


  A Changed Agent

achangedagentbookcoverWhen schoolteacher Elsie Mitchell meets rugged William Benton on a train platform in Albany, it appears they have nothing in common. He isn’t the sort of fellow a proper young woman of the 1890s would ever speak to, much less become involved with. But when she arrives at her small town in the Adirondack Mountains, Elsie is offered a job as caregiver for this mysterious out-of-towner’s niece and nephew, who’ve been tragically orphaned. Heartbroken for them, she accepts.

Unknown to her, William is an undercover Pinkerton agent posing as a lumber-company foreman. He’s never wanted family—his work is too dangerous. Yet as Elsie transforms his house into a home and he spends time with the children, he feels drawn to family life—and to Elsie.

As a good Christian, Elsie is troubled by William’s secrets…though she does find him intriguing. And when a sinister figure from her past arrives, Elsie and William will have to trust in faith and newfound love to protect their unlikely family from danger.


tracey-lyons-1345-hr-colorAn Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author of the Women of Surprise series, Tracey Lyons sold her first book on 9/9/99! Her books have been translated into several languages and are available in print, digital and audio formats. Tracey lives with her husband in New York’s Hudson Valley region. She has appeared on the award winning Cox Cable Television show, Page One and on the stage of Lady Jane’s reading salon in New York City.

She holds membership in Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers and Novelists Inc. A true upstate New Yorker, Tracey believes you should write what you know. Her historical romances are all set in the New York State area. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at www.traceylyons.com. Her new release is available here.

 

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Following in Jesus’s Footsteps

 

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By Karen Jurgens

About nine years ago I experienced a trip of a lifetime. Landing at the Israeli airport in Tel Aviv seemed like a dream where the pages of my Bible came alive and allowed me to live inside those stories.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

Early morning in Tiberias

Our tour began in Tiberias, a town nestled on one edge of the Sea of Galilee. After a good night’s sleep my jet lag lifted, and reality hit. Drinking early morning coffee on the balcony of my hotel room, I gazed past the sunrise and across the sea to Jordan’s distant shore. White doves floated in azure skies, making the experience surreal. It was like stepping into another dimension. Although Jesus’s physical presence in this town had been absent for more than two thousand years, this was a place where Jesus had walked, and I could feel His eternal presence.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

A boat ride on the Sea of Galilee

The first day we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, followed by a fish dinner on the shore. It made Scriptures come alive as I remembered stories of His disciples pulling in their nets bursting with fish, or waking Jesus during a storm, or Peter walking on the sea at Jesus’s command.

Following in Jesus's Steps by Karen Jurge

The Temple in Capernaum where Jesus taught

Following in Jesus's Steps by Karen Jurgen

In Capernaum where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount

Especially wonderful was visiting Capernaum, a town Jesus cursed because the Jews had refused to believe in Him. We walked through the ruins of the synagogue where Jesus preached, climbed the hill where He delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount, and visited Peter’s house where the Lord healed his sick mother-in-law. The little Catholic church built next to the sea was full of that same sweet peace, and His Spirit whispered that we stood on holy ground.

Ascending to the top of Masada, a fortress erected by Herod the Great, also proved incredible. Its stunning panoramic view surrounded us as we walked through the ruins, sat in the remains of a temple, and listened to the story of how 960 Sicarii rebels had exhaled their last breaths there. What these Jews had experienced as they waited to be overcome by their enemies kept swirling through my mind. How frightening!

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

View from Masada

 

Would a trip to Israel be complete without a dip in the Dead Sea? We changed into swimsuits and took the salty plunge. No worries if you couldn’t swim because it’s impossible to sink! Some people smear on the mineral-rich sea mud and soak for hours to gain maximum benefits. The strong residue left on your skin feels like a rubber glove, but it comes off after a good, soapy scrubbing.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

Bathing at the Dead Sea

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

Floating in the Dead Sea

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

Slathering up with mineral-rich mud from the Dead Sea

Have you been baptized in the Jordan River? Many tourists can’t wait for the chance to follow in Jesus’s tradition when John (the Baptist) baptized Him in those waters two thousand years ago. What an awesome experience!

Do you enjoy museums? We toured several sites, including Qumran. About 75 years ago shepherds discovered 981 Qumran Caves Scrolls. Viewing some of these ancient holy documents behind glass cases was a rare privilege.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

The caves at Qumran

Another interesting place was the Holocaust Museum. Each room, nook, and cranny held displays that related a story of the past. Families, torn apart and shattered, told their individual stories through audio-visual and written displays. A separate building honored the children, and a recording eternally repeats their individual names 24/7. Specks of light like stars shone in the darkness as tourists walked through the narrow corridor, representing each precious life.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgen

The Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem

I was especially anxious to visit Bethlehem. Jews are not allowed to enter it anymore, so our guide exited our tour bus, and a Christian Arab replaced him. He led us to the famous Church of the Nativity. We descended a staircase to the bottom level where a huge star marked the spot where Jesus was supposed to have been born. I imagined the divine scene with cattle lowing around the straw-filled manger, flanked on either side with Mary and Joseph worshipping the newborn King. It was a moving experience.

 

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgens

The city of Bethlehem

During our tour, Christian tourists were allowed entrance into the area outside the Temple Mount. The golden Dome of the Rock could be seen almost anywhere in Jerusalem. It was fascinating to see the vast space next to the Dome and realize that the third Temple is prophesied to be built there someday soon. In the Jewish part of the Old City, we saw artisans inside a glassed area working on the golden menorah for use in this third temple.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgens

The Dome of the Rock

In the Old City, we reverently traced the steps where Jesus bore His cross on the Via Dolorosa. From the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, nine stations mark the Trail of the Cross.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgens

A Christian pilgrimmage in Jerusalem

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgens

Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

Next was the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives. After prayer in the grove of ancient trees, we had a service inside the church grounds. Then we walked down the road descending into Jerusalem, retracing Jesus’s steps as He rode on a donkey. I imagined the palm branches waving and the cries of “Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest!”

Afterward, we visited what may have been the Upper Room and enjoyed a time of praise and worship. We reveled in what it must have been like during Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles that day.

Prayer at the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) was another moving experience. The stones seemed to vibrate with God’s holy presence as I laid my hands on them and prayed. I wrote my requests on a slip of paper, rolled it, and wedged it between the rocks.

The highest climax for me was entering the garden tomb, the Protestant holy site, and witnessing its empty grave. Our tour concluded with holy communion as we remembered Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. I am convinced that He is alive! Everyone says that you’re permanently changed after visiting Israel. And that was absolutely true for me. I’ll never be the same.

Following in Jesus's Footsteps by Karen Jurgens

He’s alive!

Writing Prompt: If you have been to Israel, write about your most meaningful experience. If you haven’t but would like to go someday, write about what you are looking forward to seeing the most and why.

How I Would Travel Around the World in Eighty Days

By Betty Boyd

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In June of 2016, Solar Impulse 2 just finished an epic flight around the world. The trip took over 16 months to complete and made aviation history. I want to mimic what was done in the movie “Around the World in Eighty Days” but with a solar powered airplane, rather than a balloon.

What wonders would I see in the air, the glistening water, billowing clouds, land masses with different shapes galore, using this type of airplane. I would start my trip from Huntsville International Airport in Alabama, cruising at an altitude 23,000 feet above the Earth. I want to head up the East coast and visit New York City, landing at LaGuardia International Airport. I would take in a Broadway show, visit the shops on Fifth Avenue, and other famous sights and sounds that are the Big Apple.

I then would cross the North Atlantic Ocean and land at London’s Heathrow Airport. I can’t wait to see Big Ben and hear it sound off on the hour. I’d drive over the Tower of London, boat on the River Thames, see a Shakespearean play at the Globe Theatre, and finish up at Trafalgar Square.

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My next stop is a mere 1130 miles (a lot less than the over 3400 miles to London). I would land in Rome’s Fiumiacano-Lenardo da Vinci International Airport.  Hopefully, it will be a Wednesday and I can to go Vatican City and try to get a glimpse of Pope Francis. There are so many fantastic places of interest such as the Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum. I would eat gelato, pasta, and partake of some wine. There are also day trips from Rome, where I would explore Tuscany and see the beautiful wine country, along with Pompeii. To top it all off, it would be fun to discover the alluring island of Capri.

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My journey is not yet finished. Hovering above Africa and passing over the Indian Ocean covering 8,935 miles, I would arrive in Sydney, Australia. This would take 21 hours to complete, crossing over 3 datelines. I could spend a lifetime on this beautiful continent. Some of the best sights in Sydney are the harbor, Opera House, and the Botanical Gardens. If I have any time left, I would take a trip to the outback, depending upon the time of year. The seasons are opposite to what’s in the United States.

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I would finally fly almost another 9,437 miles across the southern Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, landing back at Huntsville, AL. My trip was not long enough, but proved to be incredible, invigorating with memories that will last a lifetime.

Writing Prompt: What if you had a solar plane? Imagine where you would travel…

 

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3 Questions Wednesday with Lori Stanley Roeleveld

roeleveld-headshot-2015It is my privilege to welcome Lori Stanley Roeleveld, author and disturber of hobbits, back to our blog.

Hello, Lori! I’m so glad you’re back. 

Please let our readers know what books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Lori: Pivotal to my early spiritual formation (aside from God’s Word) was A Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster.  I devoured this book and incorporated these disciplines into my life as a freshman in college and taking this path has made all the difference.

I’ve read countless books on the craft of writing and for me, it was finding the courage of my own creativity that was the battle (as well as the gumption to make my writing dream a priority while still serving my family). The books that helped me most to find my voice and schedule the time for writing were: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett,  and Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg .

Aside from these, I also consume large quantities of fairy tales, folk tales, and epic fantasies so that my non-fiction has wings.

Writing true, huh? Might have to add that one to the wish list…

What secret talents do you have?

Lori: When I was forty, a group of women who had black belts challenged me to take karate. They wanted to study the Bible but I had to attend karate classes with them prior to leading the study. Before this time, I was a world-ranked sitter. If sitting were an Olympic sport, I’d be the Michael Phelps of the event! It took me four years but I earned my black belt in karate and discovered I have a fierce back kick as well as a solid right hook. The experience also taught me that with small steps and perseverance, we can achieve what appears to be impossible.

That’s awesome🙂 Last question…

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Lori: I would hand you a lovely glass of water or a hot cup of coffee depending on the weather as we discussed which local restaurant we’d visit. With a full-time day job and a full-time writing habit, my cooking muscle is atrophied but southern Rhode Island is a sea of fine dining. My favorites are sushi, Mexican food, chowder and clamcakes, white pizza, or good bleu-burgers with sweet potato fries.

I love eating out! And let’s try the seafood. Thanks, Lori, for stopping by!

Lori has graciously offered to give away a copy of Jesus and the Beanstalk, in print or Kindle. (winners choice) Please leave a comment to be entered…


Jesus and the Beanstalk

We live in unsettling, challenging times. Everywhere we high-res-beanstalk-cover-300-pxlook, we see giant problems: giant obstacles to sharing faith, giant barriers to peaceful lives, giant strongholds of fear. But what if you knew eight small secrets to unlocking a strength big enough to overcome whatever obstacle life may bring?
Using allegory and a bit of humor, Jesus and the Beanstalk explores a passage in 2 Peter 1 to uncover eight truths that will help you unleash a larger-than-life faith:

· Faith

· Goodness

· Knowledge

· Self-control

· Perseverance

· Godliness

· Affection for others

· Love

 In this creative, refreshing perspective on spiritual growth, you will discover an unyielding strength when you tap the power of a God who is stronger than any beanstalk and bigger than your biggest giants.

Links to my books:

Jesus and the Beanstalk (Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life) 

Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus)

Red Pen Redemption


roeleveld-headshot-2015Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored an unsettling blog since 2009; a pursuit that eventually resulted in her first book, Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus). Her next book, Jesus and the Beanstalk (Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life), releases September 2016. Her speculative Christmas novella, Red Pen Redemption, is a quick but challenging read if you love history and life’s big questions. If you don’t find her at her website, www.loriroeleveld.com, know she’s off somewhere slaying dragons. Lori is a retired home school mom with a day job who lives her Jesus adventure in Rhode Island with her husband, Rob.

All Things Irish

by Robin E. Mason

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Dia daoibh agus Fáilte.   Hallo and welcome to me bit on world travel. Of course, when the topic came up my first thought was Éireann (Ireland) don’t’cha know?  I’m part Irish, see, and I do love all things Irish.  It’s in me blood.

Sad little note: I so wanted to do audio on this post, with some good Irish music in the background. Irish is one of two accents I do quite well, but alas, I have no sound to the video. Which rather defeats the purpose! I’m so sad.

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The first thing, of course, once we’ve left the aerfort is to get settled at the inn. A lovely little bed and breakfast. Don’t ye love the thatch roof? I do.

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First stop, then, is a real Irish pub! (I’ve a little secret to tell ye, but ye mustn’t tell anyone. I might have a go at a pint of Guinness! It’ll be our little secret, aye?) I’ll give the cottage pie a try for supper. What do ye think?

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Isn’t this a spectacular view? It’s the O2, now called 3Arena, in Dublin. U2 was the first band to play there in 2008.   Wouldn’t you love to see Riverdance perform here?

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After a good night’s sleep and a hearty bricfeasta (breakfast) of bagún (bacon) and ubh (eggs) and arán (bread), and a nice hot cuppa, we’re ready to see the town.

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An historic landmark, as are so many in Ireland, is Trinity College. Me breath catches just walking through the gates…

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… and then there’s THIS! Have a look at that library!

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We could spend days in the city, stopping at every little café and nook and cranny. And a mall’s a mall’s a mall, and not so different to the U.S. But take a gander at that clock, will ye?

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One place I’ve longed to see since I studied geology a few years ago (yes, me, shocking I know) is The Giant’s Causeway. It’s to the north, and it’s magnificent. Don’t you agree?

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Would ye like to see how Irish pottery is made?  I’d go just to see inside that gorgeous building! They’ve lovely porcelain china, and a ton of other pretty baubles. Which is your favorite? Mine’s the Celtic mugs. And the Shamrock dishes.  All things Irish….

http://www.belleek.com/

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I’d visit every castle in the county if I could. And probably write a story for every one of them!

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But this. This is what I love the most. The mountains. The green.  The misty sky.

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Breathtaking, isn’t it?

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There’s a story is this cottage….  Can ye hear them speaking to ye?

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Ruins.

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Villages and towns.

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Ballyedmond House.

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We’ll take a day here, at this little shop, Molly Gallivan’s. They’re in County Kerry, and they’ve quite a bit going on behind those stone walls. There’s a craft shop and a tea room, dinner theatre and the farm to tour. It’ll be a fine day, don’tcha think?

http://mollygallivans.com/

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No trip to Éireann would be complete without a visit to Blarney Castle. Will you kiss the stone? I will.

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One last lovely view before we fly across the pond. Slán, fare thee well, for now, me lovely Éireann (Ireland), I’ll come back again one day.  Will you?

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WRITING PROMPT:  You’re only here for an interminable business trip. Your business associate insists on showing you ‘round town, but you can’t wait to get back to the hotel and put your feet up. You’re ready to pack and head home. Until…..

ME - 041115“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina. She has three novels published, the unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess and Cissy are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. She also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2017.

http://www.robinemason.com

http://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S

https://twitter.com/amythyst212

Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas, World Travel, Ireland, Éireann (Ireland), Giant’s Causeway, Irish Pub, Molly Gallivan, Belleek Pottery, Blarney Stone, Four Leaf Clover

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Breach of Trust by Jodie Bailey

jodie baileyToday we welcome Jodie Bailey to discuss her latest release, Breach of Trust.

Hi, Jodie! How long have you been writing?

Jodie: My whole life.  I honestly do not remember a time when I wasn’t writing or telling stories.  When I say “I’m wired that way,” I mean it sincerely.  It’s just in me.  My brain constantly makes up stories. I added a second major in college–writing–simply because I enjoyed it.  My advisor asked me what I was going to do with my writing and I said, “Keep it all in a drawer if I have to. I just want to write the stories, I don’t care if anyone reads them.”  (Of course, this was because he was “encouraging” me to write “marketable” fiction by his terms: sex, drugs, and violence.  Nope.)

I started “for real” writing in 2008.  I had taken time off of teaching when my daughter was born and was deciding what to do when she started kindergarten.  It was like God whomped me in the head and said, “I didn’t give you this writing heart for you to stick it in a drawer.  It’s now or never.”  So I decided to write Bible studies, because I thought that was the only way to write and honor God EVEN THOUGH I WAS READING CHRISTIAN FICTION!  It never hit me that I could write the kind of fiction I loved.  I’m dense?  I don’t know.  Maybe I was too scared to embrace my unspoken dream coming true.  After a fruitless 2007 of trying to write Bible studies, hitting brick wall after brick wall, I turned to my real love of fiction and have been happy putting words on paper ever since.  This.  This is my calling. 🙂

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Jodie: I am a romance novel junkie.  Have been since I was in elementary school.  I love love.  I love the intricacies of relationships, the road blocks, the heart racing, the heart dropping, the joy, the pain… all of it.  And I love a good happily ever after at the end of the journey.  I started out writing romance as chick lit, right as that genre dipped.  My agent loved my voice enough to take me on, but we had to find another genre and she suggested I dip my toe into military suspense, being an Army wife and all.  I did.  And I figured out I like it!  Now there is even MORE drama in the love stories, more obstacles… and more creative ways to create roadblocks.  So much fun!

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Jodie: Breach of Trust (I love that title, by the way!  A friend of mine brainstormed it and my editors chose it.  I love symbolism and this title packs it.  So does Compromised Identity, the book before it.  Gives me chills just thinking about all of those layers!)…

Where was I?  Oh, yeah. Breach of Trust is the third book in a loosely connected “series” that started with Smokescreen, then Compromised Identity.  It follows an elite cyber terrorism unit, so I had to do a lot of talking to people.  Google is my best friend sometimes, especially for some of the murder scenes.  (It’s cliche’ but true…  Don’t look at my browser history.)  My husband is my greatest “reference.”  He is a saint for dealing with my “dumb” Army questions and explaining things to me.  He helped me design the whole cyber terrorism unit, even though a lot of it doesn’t show up on the page.  It just helped me to know.  I am more of a people person than a book person, so I ask friends for connections to people who know the facts I need.  It’s more fun than book research, and they tell me fun side stories too.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Jodie: Tate.  Hands down.  I love his character, even though he gave me fits at first.  He first appeared in Smokescreen, and he was never meant to have his own book.  Funny “backstage” story:  My cousin and I have a game we play. He gives me a challenge for every book, something unusual that I have to fit into the story somewhere.  It can be a word, a character a scene…

For Smokescreen, it was someone mowing the lawn with a manual push mower.  Okay, tricky, since it took place in New York in early April.  But Tate was my man for the job, and he came onto the page with this presence in that book.  After he told part of his backstory to Ashley in that book, I had tons of people wanting to see more of him.  He showed up in Compromised Identity, and I decided he might be worth exploring, so he got his own book.

At first, because he’d been this big “hero” in the first two books, I had trouble finding his flaw, so he wasn’t talking much.  But then one of my critique partners said, “Duh.  He’s so cocky!”  Ah!  From that point forward, Tate was fun.  He’s this wise, no-nonsense, formerly broken soldier whose whole restored life is based on his faith in God, but he’s cocky too, because he’s always been the one called on when the chips where down and they needed someone to clean up the mess.  So the most fun part of this book was exploring his character and getting him onto the page… and then throwing Meghan into the mix to totally mess with his neatly ordered world.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Jodie:   I have some more suspense novels in the works for Love Inspired, including a book in a series on Texas Rangers. I’m also working  on a series set on the Outer Banks and dealing with a family that is knee-deep in some crazy psychological operations.  I’m toying with a couple of contemporary romance novellas as well, “for fun,” so to speak.  There is always something happening!

Thanks for dropping by, Jodie!


Breach of Trust

Meghan McGuire’s ready to put her military career behind her 9780373447688and start her dream job helping troubled children—until a man from her past reappears. Tate Walker is supposed to be dead. But now he’s standing on her doorstep, telling her she’s in danger. Tate never thought he’d see Meghan again…and certainly not as the target of the hacker he’s trying to bust. With both of their lives in danger, they have to work together to hunt down the criminal. But when Tate learns about the past Meghan’s been hiding, he’s not sure if she’s still the woman he once loved. Or if he can trust her with his survival—and his heart.


jodie baileyJodie Bailey writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it.  Her military romantic suspense, Crossfire, won a 2014 RT Reviewers Choice Award. Quilted by Christmas, a contemporary romance from Abindgon, spent two months on the CBA bestseller list and won a 2015 Selah Award. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs. Visit her at www.jodiebailey.com.