Wouldn’t it be neat whenever we sense a need for renovation to do a flip? I’m not speaking in terms of real estate. Sometimes I think I’d like to trade any bad, static experiences in life for good, seeking a fresh perspective. A few words sweep into my mind for how to get there. “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” (Romans 12:2) and, “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” (Romans 8:28). The motivation of flipping negatives for positives rather than flipping out holds a more promising outcome, for sure. On the other hand, the ability to appreciate the good things is oft times amplified by having encountered the bad. Yin and yang, as many would say. #iamonlyhuman
Here it is, the last day of January, and ever since the beginning of the New Year, I’ve witnessed many people talk about wrapping 2017 around a single word. What one word will be your emblematic motto?
I’ve always had a Biblical verse as the theme for an oncoming twelve months, never a single word. After pondering, I finally deliberated that my word is Onward. I don’t have new plans for this year, per se, but I have pre-set plans that, unless the Good Lord deems otherwise, I intend to accomplish. So…onward I go. My word just happens to coincide with my verse for this year: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
To help inspire me, I’ve posted near my desk a recent drawing my son did. It’s a ten-second sketch, but speaks volumes of how he sees me. How I interpret, anyway. In the rough outline, I see most of all, diligence. Diligence is a part of my name…literally, my birth name means diligent harvester. And back in the day, a few I’d toured with didn’t call me “Tenacious Tessa” for nothing. All of this is a part of me still, and accompanies my present word for a 2017 focus, Onward.
Another word has snuck up, however; more like hammering me in the head everywhere I turn. That is, Meekness. It’s a word definition I seem drawn to, yet hear very little about in this day of narcissistic society. The world tends to interpret meekness as weakness or wimpy. Truth is it takes more strength to hold your tongue when you want to give a what-for, to exhibit kindness regardless of circumstance, and to portray leadership partnered with humility, a humble leader, putting others first. When I recently heard a sermon by Mark Hoffman/2RC on the topic of meekness, I learned a perfect definition for the word. Meekness is “Strength under control.” That is definitely something for which I wish to wrap not only my year but also my entire life around.
Okay, so maybe I have two words this year. To sum it up, I strongly desire to have a year of pressing onward with meekness. How about you? What might be your word?
One of my personal favorites in The Brother's Keep novella series, Wind's Aria, has been rereleased and offered at a lower price. So, if you have not yet read this story, grab yourself a copy. You won't be disappointed if you like romantic, lyrical, allegorical fantasy. This also happens to be novella #1, the launch in the 8-novella series - so, it's a good place to start. Here is a recap of the overview:
Elected as the Songstress, Aria takes her place on the sacred platform to sing before every dawn. As long as she does so, peace and abundant life belong to her people. One morning, amidst a strange wind that brings with it a curse in its eerie howl, Aria loses her ability to make music. But the encroaching death that transpires isn’t her biggest tragedy. It’s that she adores the cause of her blunder, for he’s a magnificent winged creature who’s stolen more than her voice.
Get your copy on:
As I grew up in a home that was both Jewish and Christian, observance of the winter holidays proved interesting to say the least. It wasn’t unusual in our house to have a Christmas tree with a Star of David at the top, or a Chanukah menorah alongside a manger scene. We made Chai cookies (that’s Chai, the Hebrew word-symbol meaning life pronounced like “Hi” – not the spiced tea) alongside gingerbread men. I cherish that world, my world, the one I grew up in, because of the beautiful memories, symbolism, and great offbeat humor shared among family.
Today, I still put up a tree and a Magen David; yard lights, although they are Biblical Blue (techelet) and white. We light the menorah. I sing my favorite carol, Little Drummer Boy, while playing a game or two of Dreidel because it teaches my kid about giving charitably – and hey, I also like eating chocolate gelt, just like I like eating candy canes.
I’ve always valued the expression “Happy Holidays” because with my background it’s inclusive of both Christmas and Chanukah. It strikes me as a very sensitive way to wish someone well during the winter. “Merry Christmas” is warm and meaningful, too. Yet when it comes to the once-a-year hyperdrive cavalry expression, “Jesus is the reason for the season. Take Christ out of Christmas and you don’t have a holiday!” I’d say every day; every breath we take is reason to esteem faith in the Son of God. Each day we live is cause to celebrate in whom and what we believe, but hopefully with increasing gentleness, humility, and grace.
As you do what you do this season, I simply and joyfully wish you, with warmth and respect, a Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas – or as we say in my crazy household, “Happy Christma-kah.”
Love in Yeshua (the Jewish way to say Jesus),
Want to let you all know that my contemporary romance set in Africa, Warm My Heart, is now also available on Kobo. Kobo primarily serves the Canadian and French markets, as well as its partnering countries. I’m excited to expand and offer my books, one at a time, into other venues (more to come, soon). Therefore, if you don’t utilize Amazon Worldwide for your book purchases, Kobo is another worthy option.
Here is a recap of this missionary romance, Warm My Heart (Hearts in Africa series #1):
SARAH finds herself heading into the bush of East Africa as a short-term missionary to the Maasai, a trip she initially took in an attempt to get over a broken engagement. Her trust in men forever marred, she is challenged when she serves under her team’s magnetic leader, Mitch.
MITCH finds a home in Africa, but is driven to serve God out of a guilt-ridden past. Hiding from wasted years spent carousing and chasing women, running from his weaknesses, he is stopped in his tracks when he meets the beautiful “Miss Sarah.”
Forced to serve together, they struggle through their crippling issues of trust and guilt. In the process, their faith is challenged. Together, in a harsh and often dangerous environment—including tribal skirmishes—they examine themselves, and learn that it takes more to survive than just a profession of faith. It takes the abandoned day-by-day trust in a living God. Sarah and Mitch become a sweet solace for each other and reach an understanding. They believe they belong together. But when the hindering issues of the past resurface stronger than ever, with a secret rising up to stand in their way, they find it difficult to carry on. Can they retain the power of love between them when they have so much to overcome?
*Also now on Barnes & Noble!
Ahead of me in a store’s checkout line, a conversational clerk asked two young women, sisters perhaps, “What do you do?”
One bubbly answered, “I’m an interior decorator.” While the other in contrast sardonically responded, “I’m a writer, it’s complicated.”
I chuckled under my breath. Because I am a writer, I know “it’s complicated” could mean a variety of things maybe even all of the following. 1) It’s difficult to make a living as a writer though it’s your number one passion, 2) carving out a niche sometimes seems impossible, 3) the world doesn’t take you seriously until you have enough titles or experience for proof (especially true if you work from home), 4) you relate to people better with written words rather than spoken and so keep outward responses uninviting and compact, and 5) you don’t just “do” writing you eat, sleep, and breathe it.
“What do you do?” is a loaded question for a writer, especially a novelist. The answer is equally loaded. Everything you experience in life is fodder to process for potential stories. There is no vacation from writing; it is not a 9 to 5 job. Even on vacation, you are thinking about the next stage of your plot. Not to mention, the oddity of the profession can creep in, threatening to expose the fact that you’re not always aware of speaking aloud dialogue in public places by make-believe characters from whom you never want to part. That’s messed up. And perfectly acceptable. The rest of the world may never understand.
Writers don’t just do. They are. So be.
I love it when a story grips, giving a lasting effect, don’t you? I’ve just finished reading, The Blood Gospel, another influential book added to my personal favorites list. The plot is heavy yet thrilling with a clever tie-in of history to fiction. Archeology, religion, prophecy, legend, mystery, symbolism, and good versus evil – I thoroughly enjoyed this loaded book. It was a thought-provoking trip from realism to paranormal, and an adventure from Israel to Rome, to Germany, Russia, and back. I’d also found the dark yet noble Hungarian Sanguinist priest, Rhun Korza, undeniably appealing. I’m going to have to read the next in the series and have already ordered a copy.
Next, Strindberg’s Star, I’d read last year – and I still think about the novel. There is something within it haunting me. I’ve never read a more peculiar yet intriguing book that I seemed to understand completely. The author, Jan Wallentin, wrote in a postscript, “In the few places where the novel diverges from reality, it’s the reality that ought to change.” This novel was so entirely engrossing I didn’t always know which was which, reality or fantasy, nor did I care. That’s a great book!
Happy reading of your favorites; May you discover many more books to add to your personal list – maybe even one of mine.
In what was once my debut novel (and favored baby I’d nurtured for years), The Unforgivable: My Argentina has just been rereleased. It’s the same story with minor editorial updates, and repackaged. These things occur when contractual terms are fulfilled between an author and a publisher. The rights have reverted to me, and so here is the newly published second edition of my long lost love.
If you have not yet read this Christian-romance-meets-political-intrigue-international-mystery-and-crime novel, the price point will stay at 99 cents for a while – so go ahead and grab a copy now. Reviewers have classified this work as a daring, thought-provoking book. It’s truly a different kind of love story.
Accused of the worst war crimes in the history of Argentina, Carlos Cornella is despised by a wounded nation....
“I'm in love with a monster. That's what people call him anyway: monster, murderer, kidnapper, torturer, sociopath, even the devil. His crimes are so terrible that he may be unforgivable. But I have come to know him as something else. I know him as God's Treasure. And I'm not sure what to do about that. So, here's my story.”
If you’d like to stay abreast of when I have a new book release or an occasional publication update, I invite you to visit my Amazon Author Page and “FOLLOW” me there. In this easy, efficient, non-barraging option, Amazon will then alert you of any changes to my literary product page.
Click on the button below to take you directly to my Amazon page, then on to the yellow “FOLLOW” button. That’s it. :D Thanks so much!
The Unspeakable (Puma) is now in its second edition, a version with the same storyline but repackaged. Newly categorized under Christian Suspense, and International Mystery & Crime, if you have not yet read this book I invite you to do so – though it might keep you up at night.
When bad things happen to good people, what then?
When a furtive conflict is pitted between violent leftist guerrillas and a rightwing paramilitary group in Colombia, a North American woman mistakenly gets caught in the middle.
“I spent four months, one week and two days in a clandestine prison referred to as The Water Cave. Every day I stared hell in the face, and each day I wanted to die. I don’t want to share too much too quickly. To understand fully, you must join hands with me, fasten your heart to mine, and course through my book. Stumble over the incomprehensible human rights journey with me. I've pondered it to the brink of questionable sanity, and it's the only way to explain. I suppose I should consider myself lucky I survived at all—for many did not—yet, perplexingly so, that’s not the premise of this narrative.
He altered my life, marked me forever.
But it’s not how you might imagine.
This is a story involving Horacio Botello, my torturer known as Puma.”