Thursday Things: 10 Things I Googled This Week

Thursday Things: 10 Things I Googled This Week

So I’ve started a file on my computer called “Things I Googled…” As an author, I get to tweak reality and suspend belief and live vicariously and create worlds, et al. But to do all those things in a way that makes readers WANT to believe the unbelievable, I have to infuse my falsities with at least of fraction of facts, right? So what does a girl do? She Googles.

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The Most Delightfully Venomous Book!

The Most Delightfully Venomous Book!

Years ago, I stumbled across this little delightfully venomous book in the discount cart at a Barnes & Noble. I have to tell you, I have had the best snickers over this one…admittedly at the expense of the poor recipients about whom these vile and venomous statements were made. And yet, I’ve discovered that most of the said recipients rose to the occasion and proved the viper-tongued insult-hurlers wrong…which just makes this collection that much more delicious!

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Exciting News Ahead!

Exciting News Ahead!

As is the way it usually goes, in the middle of life happening around us, a visit to the doctor delivered news that isn’t so exciting. But our response to that news DEFINITELY is, and we want to share it with you!

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Change is in the Air!

Change is in the Air!

THANK YOU for your faithful support and encouragement in following my blog posts. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. I’ve heard from so many of you who are feeling overwhelmed and too busy these days, and the Holidays are just barely upon us! I can relate, my friends. I can relate. (I’m fondly labeling this year “Becky’s Boot Camp 2015”).

And in light of these busy times, a little change is in the air….

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Who is God’s Daughter?

Who is God’s Daughter?

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Would you believe it if I told you God’s Daughter was a Viking?

A volva, a pagan seeress who chose to turn away from the ancient religion of her people to become a child of God?

I’m talking about Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, the main character of Heather Day Gilbert’s new Viking novel, God’s Daughter!

Yep, today is the day we get to OFFICIALLY meet Gudrid, a woman pursued by too many men, respected by the women who followed her, and committed to the ONE GOD who loved her.

I had a chance to visit Heather and we shared many (MANY) cups of coffee, and even more laughs, and not nearly enough sleep in the short time I was there. The plan was to do a vlog interview…. We did, in ONE TAKE!!!!!!!!, but at 7 o’clock a.m, less than an hour before I hopped in my little rental car and jetted off to catch a plane home. We didn’t realize the recorder on the new webcam needed to be adjusted until long after I was gone, so we ended up with good audio, but lousy video… sigh. We’re sharing it with you anyway, partly because WE enjoyed ourselves, and partly because this is a glimpse of what having and being critique partners is all about.

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BONUS BITS!

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I’m reviewing God’s Daughter over on Braveheart: Tales from the Front Lines, so do stop by over there!

Heather has posted sample chapters of God’s Daughter, a Viking family tree, and an Old Norse glossary on her website.

And here’s the link to God’s Daughter on Amazon where you’ll find sample chapters, too!

You can also find God’s Daughter on Smashwords, where you can download it in many different e-reader formats.

So thrilled for my friend!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/372110

Building My Platform

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As  a writer, I’m constantly working on my “platform” – my public appearance, my saleability, my ability to influence others to want to be in my “tribe.”

But God often directs us in a different way….

A few weeks ago, I posted about building a platform God’s way at Splickety Magazine. Come check out what it means to me to “LOVE LIKE THAT.”

 

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Is There a REAL Elderberry Croft?

Is There a REAL Elderberry Croft?

Many of you have asked if Elderberry Croft is a real place.

In a way, it is. So today I thought I’d give you a teeny-tiny bit of story-behind-the-story on Willow Goodhope’s story.

Most of you know that Kevin and I just celebrated 25 years of marriage on June 25th, 2013. But those of you who know us personally, might secretly wonder about “that one year….”

Several years ago now, our marriage imploded on itself, and I cut and run. Yes, I abandoned my husband and three children to go “find myself,” and during that year or more, I did some horrific, and sometimes very dangerous things, including studying and practicing witchcraft. [UPDATE: If you want to read more about my journey through the shadowed places, you can read about it HERE.] It was a treacherous time, in so many ways. Our children suffered terribly because of our decisions, and by the time I walked out of the marriage, we both believed a future together was impossible.

During my frantic search to find a place where I could live, I stumbled upon a “For Rent” sign on a side road while out riding my motorcycle (yes, another indulgence I invested my time and money in – my motorcycle was aptly called a “Rebel”), at the front of a trailer park. I figured beggars couldn’t be choosers, and if a rented trailer was all I could get at such short notice, then I’d make it work.

But God had other plans for me (and ultimately for our marriage), mainly because He wasn’t ready to let me ride off into the sunset without Him, or Kevin, for that matter. The park manager led me around to the back of the property, across a little bridge with a creek flowing beneath it, and pointed at a tiny cottage on a river rock patio. “That’s it,” he said, as though it was nothing special.

Maybe he saw nothing special about the place, considering the poor little house was all but naked, but, like Willow Goodhope when she first arrived at The Coach House Trailer Park in Episode 1: January Breeze, I envisioned vines and pots and pretty garden things, my herbs and twinkle lights and wind chimes everywhere.

I now wish I’d taken pictures of the place before I moved in, but here it is all dressed up in my things.

Becky's-Cottage

Behind that gigantic eucalyptus tree is a fire-pit built right into the patio. This is where Patti and Richard Davis celebrated Valentine’s Day in Elderberry Croft: February Embers.

Friends around the firepit

To the left of the fire pit, just past the green chair and the pole, is where the little stream ran right along the edge of the patio. This is just about where Myra sits with her foot propped up during the 4th of July celebrations in Elderberry Croft: July Madness.

Cottage Stream

Yes, I actually lived here.

Becky at cottage stream

The tiny covered porch that led to the front door, looking at it from behind the eucalyptus tree. You can see into that large plate glass window that conveniently, and oh, so deliciously, looked out over the patio and stream. That’s the kitchen window to the right, the one Donny kept yelling through in July Madness, too.

View to front cottage

And here’s a peek at the inside. Oh, how my love of all things medieval had free reign in here, because there was no one’s taste to consider but my own. (if you look closely, that’s me in the mirror with my camera – ha!)

One room cottage

Reading and Writing Chairs

cottage kitchenette

But there’s so much more to this story than just these few (and disappointingly fuzzy) pictures. Perhaps one day I’ll share with you how God met me here, in this sanctuary, in the only place He knew I’d hear Him, and how He used these two little guys, Pip and Squeak – they played an amazing role in the story of mine and Kevin’s restoration! [UPDATE: Click here to read the rest of the story, SHE GOES HOME]

Humming bird babies 3

Yes, Elderberry Croft is a real place. And yes, as you’ve likely guessed by now, there are bits and pieces of Willow Goodhope in me, just as there are bits and pieces of every character who lives at The Coach House Trailer Park in me, too. But the main thing we have in common is that we both found profound healing and restoration in this little cottage by the stream.

I’m honored and humbled to be able to share our stories with you, and I hope you’ll come away from Elderberry Croft with hope and healing, too!

Grace and peace to you!

Becky-Dought-Signature

Diane & David Munson: 5 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Fresh!

Oh my goodness! I have a WONDERFUL post to share with you today!

As many of you know, my husband, Kevin, and I just celebrated our 25th Anniversary this Tuesday, June 25th. It was the last day of a rare, week-long getaway that included celebrating the wedding of a friend, as well. While on our road trip, Kevin wrote a great post about the miracle of marriage that he shared over on Married… With Fiction, to which there were some wonderful and thought-provoking responses. Needless to say, this month has been ALL ABOUT MARRIAGE for this Braveheart.

So when I asked Diane and David Munson, a long-time married couple who writes incredible inspirational suspense thrillers TOGETHER, to share from their hearts about making marriage work–or should I say making WORK work in their marriage–I was very excited to get their gracious yes, and the following article.

The coolest thing? They wrote this on a road trip last week, too! There’s just something about being in a car with the one you love….

Without further ado, please help me welcome Diane and David Munson!

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Five Ways to Keep Your Marriage Fresh

When Becky asked us to write about 5 ways to invest in marriage, we thought, okay, we’ll pen about worshipping together, listening, taking time with each other, laughing, and working on a joint project, like gardening. Some of you may already know David is a former NCIS/DEA agent and Diane a lawyer/former federal prosecutor. We’ve experienced high levels of stress in these jobs and also God’s protection.

Our article took shape this past week. We were leaving the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) annual meeting where we signed two of our eight novels that we write together. The more we talked of what strengthens our marriage, the more we realized it is Christ. After training to be Christian peacemakers, we’ve learned how much the Scripture deals with living in peace. So while David zoomed past lush cornfields and dodged raindrops, Diane pulled out her smart-phone Bible. We got busy finding several verses to enlighten your lives.

These 5 goals live deep in our hearts. Don’t think we keep them perfectly. Nope, when the spaghetti boils over, or we’re caught in traffic, the heat of the moment may erupt. The love we have for each other grows with each day, and we give thanks to the King of Kings. See what you think about these insights:

  1. Forgive – “Please forgive me” are three powerful words. They can be difficult to say, often sticking in our throats after we’ve hurt our spouse. After learning the hard way, we now find it much easier to say we’re sorry and seek forgiveness. After all, Jesus teaches God forgives us as we forgive others.  Check out Matthew 6:12-15.
  2. Speak the truth in love – “Your idea is crazy and I won’t do it!” Okay, we’ve blabbed what we’re thinking. Now what? David’s quest to buy an airplane or Diane’s desire to write Amish fiction (we write thrillers based on our careers) may be out of this world. But, is that the right way to approach the subject? The Apostle Paul says we should speak the truth in love. So the bottom line? Evaluate if what we want to say is from anger, frustration, or love.  In Ephesians 4:15, Paul promises when we speak the truth in love, we grow to be more like Christ. That’s a worthy goal.
  3. Look to your spouse’s interests – Your hubby loves golf. You decline because you’d rather walk the beach. Your sweetie reserves dinner for two at a quaint Italian restaurant. You like burgers and refuse to go. This is a recipe for a life apart. We’ve learned to give each other room to explore new things. David used to detest asparagus. “It was made for horses and not humans,” he said. These days, he loves the tender sprouts with a dash of butter and salt. “Go camping in that tiny thing?” Diane lamented, mainly because she is claustrophobic. Or used to be. We now both love camping beside lakes, and watching birds. Go figure. But really, in Philippians 2:4, Paul reminds us, “to look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.” Let’s do it!
  4. Live in peace – Romans 12 tells us how to hate evil, cling to the good, and be devoted to one another. There isn’t room to write all his points. Here’s the key: If possible, as much as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. When our lips fire up and we’re bursting to bust one another (as we once did to the bad guys), we stop and ask: Are we living at peace? Look at Romans 12: 18. Even this morning we prayed over this verse due to some trying circumstances we’re dealing with, and put our angst at the foot of the Cross.
  5. Just between the two of you – Jesus shares how we should respond if someone offends or sins against us. In Matthew 18: 15, Jesus wants us to first talk with each other, before involving others. So, if hubby complains to his buddy how his wife keeps a messy house, this is against Jesus’ teaching. If his wife moans to her mother that he tinkers in the garage every night, she isn’t following Jesus’ teaching. First, try one-on-one. It’s Biblical and God honoring. Keep reading past verse 15 if your situation is serious and talking together fails.

On a lighter note, when Diane first met David, he claimed it was Biblical for a man to wear both suspenders and a belt, citing Eccl 4:9-10. She thought he came from a cult, and then realized he was a jokester (he is!). These verses refer to the benefits of Christian relationships, and most appropriately, our marriages. Try them on: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has no one to help him up.

Writing Together Each day is a new beginning. We love writing about the challenges and victories of married federal agents in our novels (the latest is The Joshua Covenant).  Share the above ideas with your spouse in a quiet place and see if any inspire your marriage. May God bless you and your marriage.

In His Grip,

Diane and David Munson

www.dianeanddavidmunson.com

(Becky here: I so loved this picture of Diane and David from their ABOUT page that I copied and pasted it in here. Isn’t it romantic???)

scroll dividerWow. Love this article. Especially appreciate the fifth point you make, about going to each other first! So very important to establish and keep trust alive and well. Thank you, Diane and David, for sharing your heart with us today.

And guess what else the Munsons are sharing with us! One reader will be drawn to win a copy of their latest novel, The Joshua Covenant! You can click on the link or the image below to learn more about this book and others they’ve written!

Joshua Covenant - MunsonsJust leave a comment with your name, your email address, and we’ll notify the winner next Friday, July 5th, here on BraveHeart, and by personal email notification.

Something else that’s really cool about the Munsons: They’ve recently written Night Flight, their first novel for Young Adults and adults who are ‘young at heart’. This new adventure features Gregg and Glenna Rider, the teenage children of CIA agent Bo Rider, the protagonist in their last three novels. They came to love Gregg and Glenna during their brief appearance in The Joshua Covenant, so they created Night Flight to feature them.

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Readers: Do you have specific ways you invest in your marriage?

 

 

A Hope Named Grace

A Hope Named Grace

 

June already. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

And what happened to the list of achievements I was to have accomplished by the end of the first half of 2013? I shake my head in shocked bemusement–what else can I do?

I told a pastor friend that I feel like I’ve been treading water forever and I’m worn out. Have you ever tried treading water for an extended period of time? It’s exhausting! And the scenery stays the same when you’re treading water, so the spirit grows weary, too.

But this I know: Things, they are a-changing. I can feel the shift in the wind pattern, the rise in the temperature, the subtle changes in the water current, and I’ve got new hope. It’s as though someone just called out to me and said, “Hold on, Becky! Just paddle a little longer. You’re next! The lifeboat is coming for you next!”

GRACE. God has given me a new perspective on GRACE, a new hope called GRACE, and it has a lot to do with the word, GRACE, and the passage from HIS WORD, the one He gave me at the beginning of the year.

STILL. Be STILL and know that He is God. Stay STILL so I can hear His voice. STILL stay in His will for my life. STILL here and not wandering off on my own way. STILL hearing, and waiting for His blessing. STILL. It’s a condition of the heart, and an action of the will, all in one word.

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight your battles for you; all you must do is be STILL.”

And so, I’m learning, while I dog paddle and scissor kick, while I wait to be scooped out of the water and brought to shore, to be buoyed by this new way of seeing and receiving and extending GRACE.

I am wrapping up the first half of 2013 by celebrating. This month, June, we’re celebrating transitions for our kids, family birthdays, contracts, licenses, new jobs, relatives visiting, a kindred spirit’s wedding, and mine and Kevin’s 25th anniversary on June 25th, and GRACE. We’re going out with a bang!

And I’m REALLY looking forward to what He’s got planned for me, for you, for HIS KINGDOM, as we prepare to launch into the second half of 2013.

What are you doing to celebrate the first half of 2013?

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“Pastors’ Wives” iPad Mini Giveaway and Facebook Party with @LisaCullen! {5/23}


In association with Litfuse Publicity, I’m pleased to be a participating host in the virtual book tour event for Pastors’ Wives, by author Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. For more reviews, please visit the Pastors’ Wives Blog Tour!

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen was a longtime staff writer for TIME magazine. She now develops TV pilots for production companies and recently sold her first pilot for “The Ordained” to CBS. Born in Japan, Cullen lives in New Jersey with family.

Find out more about Lisa at http://lisacullen.com.

About Pastors’ Wives:
 Pastors' WivesWhat’s it like when the man you married is already married to God? asks Pastors’ Wives, an often surprising yet always emotionally true first novel set in a world most of us know only from the outside.

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen’s début novel Pastors’ Wives follows three women whose lives converge and intertwine at a Southern evangelical mega church. Ruthie follows her Wall Street husband from New York to Magnolia, a fictional suburb of Atlanta, when he hears a calling to serve at a mega church called Greenleaf. Reeling from the death of her mother, Ruthie suffers a crisis of faith—in God, in her marriage, and in herself. Candace is Greenleaf’s “First Lady,” a force of nature who’ll stop at nothing to protect her church and her superstar husband. Ginger, married to Candace’s son, struggles to play dutiful wife and mother while burying her calamitous past. All their roads collide in one chaotic event that exposes their true selves. Inspired by Cullen’s reporting as a staff writer for Time magazine, Pastors’ Wives is a dramatic portrayal of the private lives of pastors’ wives, caught between the demands of faith, marriage, duty, and love.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/klK8c

MY REVIEW:

Pastor’s Wives is a “behind the scenes” slice of life of the Greenleaf mega church, in which three prominent pastors wives are represented.

I’m going to begin with the not-so-good stuff. The book started a little rocky for me, for a few reasons. From the very beginning, I had a hard time “buying” the story of the first wife to whom we were introduced, Ruthie, who was uncertain about everything, from her religion, to her faith (two very different things), to her husband’s calling, and in particular, about her own place in their future together. That this prominent mega church would hire on a new pastor without clarifying the faith/belief of the wife, was hard for me to accept.  The reason this felt disingenuous is because I know from personal experience (having been a church administrative assistant for years, and been intimately involved in hiring pastors in both large and small protestant churches), that it’s standard practice to interview BOTH husband and wife when hiring for pastoral positions. This practice is specifically in response to the biblical view of marriage in Genesis 2:24 & Ephesians 5:31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh,” and therefore, are in accordance with each other in the calling to ministry. The absence of her faith was something they even discussed in their marriage, so her husband, Jerry, was under no misunderstanding that she might have been equally yoked with him in his beliefs. Again, this would have been one of the first criteria for offering Jerry the pastoral position. Honestly, I kept waiting for this to be addressed, but it was only Ruthie who seemed to be concerned that it might be a problem.

Candace’s and Ginger’s stories were much more believable, but because I’d been set up to doubt the integrity of the church (based on the way they conducted the hiring process with Jerry and Ruthie), it took me a while to really care for and believe in the other characters.

I also had concerns regarding some of the watered-down theology presented and promoted in this novel, but I am decidedly conservative when it comes to interfaith relationships and compromise. Take that however you will.

NOTE: There was some language and a few scenarios not typically “acceptable” by CBA standards, but there was only once or twice when it seemed to me to be unnecessarily gratuitous, one being that Ginger and Pastor Timothy slept together the first night they met, and called it “love,” with no acknowledgement of their actions being in any way less than honorable.

That being said, here comes the good stuff. The more I read, the more intrigued I became by Candace, in particular. She certainly grew on me in a way that surprised me, something I believe Lisa intended – like peeling back the layers of an onion, only to be surprised to find a multifaceted jewel at the core. I loved how each woman’s discovery of who GOD is, became a discovery of who they were as individuals.

Even though this novel is about a church and the women who “run” behind the scenes, it was not an in-your-face introduction to God, but a much more subtle unwrapping of how He is uniquely embraced by unique individuals.

Lisa is a lovely word artist; she has a way of painting her characters that makes them come to life between the pages of this story. Although written from all three women’s points of view, it wasn’t distracting when Lisa moved from one head to the other. I appreciated the way she developed the characters, and in turn, how their development changed the relationship between the three women.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Pastors’ Wives from Litfuse for the purpose of this review.

scroll dividerLisa Takeuchi Cullen is celebrating the release of her début novel, Pastors’ Wives, with an iPad Mini Giveaway and connecting with readers on Facebook on May 23rd.

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One winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini
  • A $25 iTunes gift card

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 22nd. Winner will be announced at the “Pastors’ Wives” Author Chat Party on May 23rd. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Lisa will also be giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Pastors’ Wives and join Lisa on the evening of May 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss out on the fun; click on one of the above links and RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Elderberry Croft: Five Fabulous Reviews!

Elderberry Croft: Volume 1

From Barnes and Noble:

Wonderful story! I started and finished this book today and I’m in love with a new series! I love finding a book that tells a great story and this story pulled me in from the very beginning! Now I’ll try to patiently wait for volume 2.

From Amazon:

Elderberry Croft is the sort of book that leaves you hanging on each word. The characters are so well-developed, you feel like you know them. And the enigmatic, yet constantly encouraging Willow Goodhope would make a great best friend! Looking forward to the upcoming volumes in this series, though I’ll hate to see it end.

From Smashwords:

I purchased this book during Smashwords’ Read an Ebook Week and I am glad I did. Although disappointed at the end, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I found the story itself captivating and I really do want to know what happens next in the lives of these people – and, of course, what’s really bugging Willow Goodhope. And that’s where the disappointment comes in. Like most people, I want closure to this tale, but I am content to wait.

Ms. Doughty is a wonderful storyteller, if a bit overmuch on the religious side, and has woven a compelling story with quite believable characters with whom I can easily identify. We’ve all known people like these, which makes Doughty’s book all the more worth the read.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes an intelligently written and compelling book.

From HERE:

This person went out of their way to come here to Braveheart. This was the comment:

I took a brief look at your book and wanted to leave a comment, but *** has rules about that. Here’s what I wanted to say:

“Not the story for my tastes–but Doughty knows how to write, and I’d bet lovers of good romance novels would go for this one.”

Not a big-time review, I realize, but I wish you luck with the Elderberry.

I felt like this was an awesome review because the reader appreciated my writing, even though it didn’t suit their personal tastes.

And one more, just because…

In my opinion, one of the signs of a talented writer is the ability to make secondary characters come as fully to life as their main characters. Thank you for a wonderful, heart-gripping read!

Wow. THANK YOU!

Elderberry Croft

Do you know that Elderberry Croft: Volume One is FREE on Barnes and Noble? And on Smashwords, where you can download it to any e-book reader, including your Kindle, your iPad, and more? And it’s free here on Braveheart too!

Download a copy, or click on the Elderberry Croft tab above, and enjoy a relaxing read, instead of being “taxed” this weekend!

Elderberry Croft Home

The residents of The Coach House Trailer Park are just as run-down as the park itself. In fact, they’ve all come here to die. Then one day, on a crisp January breeze, Willow Goodhope sweeps into the neighborhood. She moves into the lonely little shack on the other side of the driveway, bringing her potted plants, her Elderberry gifts, and her outrageous laughter. The Coach House residents can’t resist her charm as she breathes new life into hardened hearts, but there’s something about Willow, a terrible sadness that hovers at the back of her enigmatic eyes, and it has everyone talking, wondering, worrying. Kathy overhears her sobbing in her kitchen. Doc catches her burning letters in her fire pit. Myra swears she drinks alone out on her patio in the middle of the night. Patti knows the beautiful girl is after her husband, and Eddie and Donny, forever-feuding brothers, are competing to see who can make her smile first, even though they’re both fairly sure she’d prefer her men with real jobs, real homes, and real teeth. What–or who–is haunting the mysterious Willow Goodhope of Elderberry Croft? Will her new “family” be able to rescue her before it’s too late?