Category Archives: forgiveness

Don’t Go To Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight by Deb & Ron DeArmond


Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

We’ve all been there. He doesn’t understand what she’s really upset about. He thinks she blows things out of proportion. Neither of you can agree on the right course of action. In every marriage, there is conflict. And with every conflict, there is a choice for resolution. Will you ignore the issue until it seemingly goes away? Or will you work together to find peace?

In Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Deb and Ron DeArmond give you permission to fight. Marriage is worth fighting for. Conflict isn’t the problem, after all; the real issue is how we deal with the conflict. Combining a healthy dose of personal experience with relationship-affirming biblical wisdom, Deb and Ron demonstrate how communication through conflict can lead to greater insight and understanding of thoughts, feelings, and perspectives that can safeguard–and even strengthen–your relationship. Immensely practical features including worksheets, discussion questions, callouts, and prayers make this a definitive go-to resource to help you start fighting–together–for your marriage.

Click on this image to enter

Review

Wow! I have read books on marriage, and I have to say, this book takes the cake. There is so much to like about it. Seriously. You would think for a short book, it wouldn’t contain so much relevant information, but it does and then some.

The main premise of this book is how to communicate in a marriage and tools on how to resolve conflict effectively. I honestly wish this book existed before I married my husband thirteen years ago. I pretty much did everything this book advises against.

I have gotten into conversations with friends about how there isn’t a guidebook on what to do when you get married. Here you have two people coming together, from different worlds, upbringings, and communication styles. You know the saying, the “honeymoon is over?” Well, when you start living with your spouse, stuff starts coming up and if you don’t know how to fight fairly, or resolve conflict, you are going to find yourself in a very precarious situation. Don’t God To Bed Angry can help as it is a guidebook on how to do marriage successfully.

So, for any of you who are thinking of getting married or are married, I highly, and I mean HIGHLY, recommend this book. It doesn’t matter how many years you have been married, or how many problems you have had, or even if you are at the brink of divorce, you need to get this book. The information contained in this book alone, if practiced and applied, can revolutionize and save your marriage. Guaranteed.

This is by far one of the best marriage books I have read in years. I give five stars, but if I could give it more, I would. I will be referring to this book and recommending it to everyone.

In conclusion, I want to thank authors, Deb and Ron DeArmond for sharing their lives by helping me and other married couples. I also want to thank Abingdon Press for publishing this gem of a book, and last but not least, my Litfuse Publicity Group family for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. Thank you, it truly blessed my life.

Deb DeArmond is an author, speaker, and coach with a focus on communication, relationships, and conflict resolution. Her writing explores marriage, parenting, in-law and extended family relationships. She is the author of “Related By Chance, Family By Choice” and “I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last.” Deb is the founder of Living-Write, where she coaches aspiring authors. She’s monthly columnist and feature writer for Lifeway’s “Mature Living” Magazine, and has published more than 120 articles online and in print publications. Ron DeArmond has a hungry heart for the Word, and has studied the Bible for 45+ years. Ron’s call to serve men is evident in his previous ministry positions with Christian Men’s Network under Dr. Edwin Lewis Cole and Faithful Men Ministry. Ron is currently the Associate Pastor of men’s ministry at Catch the Fire/ DFW and has ministered around the world. The DeArmonds live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The Bishop’s Mistress by CJ Miller

Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Rhea Leto Media Group (September 18, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0990472736
ISBN-13: 978-0990472735
Price: $14.99
Purchase: cjmillerbooks.com | Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Bishop James Samuel Jr. lives the typical, flashy lifestyle of a successful Los Angeles, California bishop. He drives luxury cars, has two thriving churches, and has the reputation every minister wished to possess. The Bishop’s life appears to be scandal free. However, will his highly visible and anointed lifestyle remain intact after Patrick? Patrick is a member of the Bishop’s church, a former drug lord whose Christian virtues are tested when he discovers his wife, Kerrah, is his Bishop’s mistress. Will the Bishop and his blessed life survive the wrath of a scorned husband who is still learning to forgive?

Review

This is my first introduction to CJ Miller’s work, and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. As I mentioned on my video reviewThe Bishop’s Mistress is a Christian urban book. However, it’s not your atypical Christian novel. It’s different than most Christian books I’ve read and reviewed, as it’s real, gritty and relatable.

The Bishop’s Mistress is about a good looking, prominent and anointed Bishop James, who is married to a wealthy white woman by the name of Janice. He loves Janice, but falls from grace by having a steamy, and passionate affair with one of his church members; a sexy, attractive black woman by the name of Kerrah. Kerrah happens to be married to Patrick, who is a dangerous drug dealer.

Patrick finds out that Kerrah is cheating on him with the Bishop and the consequences that spiral out of his discovery will leave you in suspense.

Perhaps there are those who would not agree that someone would go to the extent as Patrick did to avenge his betrayal. However, I believe the circumstances to be realistic, if someone is angry and ruthless enough. Anything is possible and can happen when you take a chance and cheat. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with your life and soul.

I really enjoyed this book, it draws you in from the very start and continues throughout the entire book. There is a moral and message to this story, without feeling like you’re being preached at. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading more by CJ Miller.

CJ Miller was raised in Southern California and started writing at the age of ten. After graduating from Wilberforce University in 2004, he fell in love with the writing process. Miller believes writing is CPR for the soul.  He is the author of the book Grind How To Turn Your Coffee Break Into Your Big Break, a book dedicated to showing readers how to strategically utilize coffee shops and effective network to turn their dreams into reality and the novel, The Bishop’s Mistress.

CJ Miller is nationally and internationally recognized for his roles on reality television shows such as Season 1 of the ABC Networks and Tyra Banks “True Beauty”, TV Ones Donald J. Trump Presents The Ultimate Merger, and as a reoccurring personality on the Tyra Banks daytime talk show. CJ is a sought after consultant for creative ideas in the entertainment industry and book projects.

CJ is also the founder of H-Eleven 1 Innovation, a nonprofit organization which creates community enrichment programs geared towards youth. The nonprofit’s most successful program is the Phabb5 After School Book Publishing program; a turn-key book publishing program that teaches students in underserved communities to write, publish, and brand their own books. The goal of the program is to increase matriculation and reverse the trend of illiteracy in underserved communities while bridging the gap between classroom, corporations, and community.

These days you can find CJ encouraging students at Locke high school to write their stories and graduate from school. He is also the author of the new released novel, Dirty Dolls.

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Love, Don’t Judge

I’ll be the first to admit, I am fed up with all the “holier than thou” Christians in this world, who point their fingers at everyone else around them. Do they know what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Wouldn’t it be better to use their energy and focus on themselves?

I never understood why people gossip and talk negatively about other people behind their back.

Unfortunately, this happens in the Christian community as well, and it’s hypocrisy. Aren’t we suppose to be a light in this world and salt of the earth? (Matthew 5:13)

How is it possible that Christians are tearing each other down?

If you have been following me or my blog for any length of time, you know what I’m about.

I have never been the type to judge other people. I don’t care who they are or what they’ve done. I accept people for who they are. I respect the Word of God, and as I age, I realize I’m no one to point my finger at anyone. I do not care who they are.

The job of a true Christian is to love others.

There was a time I didn’t get this. I didn’t get the importance of loving others. But God in His grandiose, gracious, merciful way, was patient enough with me to allow me to learn this vital lesson.

The lesson happened this year, while I have been in the process of advocating for someone who was wrongfully convicted.

I’ve learned that passing judgement is reserved for God alone. Jesus didn’t die for perfect people. He died for flawed and broken people.

Christians are sinners saved by grace. How dare we think we are better than anyone else.

How can we point our fingers at anyone?

I don’t care if they are murderers, serial killers, rapists or pedophiles. The only way they are going to see Christ in us, is if we stop judging and start loving.

I know this may sound cliché, but love is the force that changes the hardest heart… not judgement. Judging others doesn’t lead to any change.

If you are a Christ follower, the only way to truly reach others for Christ is by loving them.

What do you think is stopping you from loving others?

Everyone Deserves A Second Chance

Last week I was on vacation. We were able to get away for a few days, which was nice.

What I found interesting was that by changing my environment and routine, I was better able to connect with my creative side.

I still woke up early for writing practice and as I wrote, ideas flooded my consciousness. I realized I need to do this sort of thing on a regular basis. I need to unplug and change my environment to be able to get in touch with myself; to think, write and create.

One of the things that came to mind on my vacation was the concept of second chances.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I believe people deserve second chances. Yes, even those who may have done atrocities.

Look at Paul in the Bible, before Jesus appeared to him, he was killing His followers.

So what makes Paul different than anyone else in God’s eyes?

Humans are the only ones who seem to put limits on God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.

We are the harshest critics and judge of others.

Why do Christians believe they can get on their high horse and be self righteous of others they “deem” as unforgivable?

Christians forget where they came from. They get cleaned up and then they begin noticing the dirt on others. All the while oblivious to how dirty they were before God pulled them out of the mire.

Excuse me, but what right do we have to judge those who are in prison for instance?

As Christians, we shouldn’t be uttering under our breaths how they deserve everything they get or how they must of done something bad to be where they are in the first place.

We mock, we criticize and we judge. We act as if we are better, and have attained some high moral standard which allows us the right to point our fingers at others.

We read our bibles, pray, attend church and tithe, yet, we are not Christ like in the least.

We preach a good game, and mastered Christianese. However, we are so far from the heart of God and loving the outcasts of society.

We look down at and snub the homeless, the drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes. We look at those who are in prison like they’re lower than animals.

This grieves me. I see Christians all around me convinced they are living out the Bible. Meanwhile they can’t even control their tongues as they pour out their unrestrained and thoughtless criticism on others around them.

Their attitudes are far from what it means to love others as Christ does.

And we wonder why there are so many Christian marriages failing today.

This sums up the equation: Christians + Church = Hypocrites.

I want to assure my readers that I love Jesus. However, I don’t love religion or judgmental and religious people.

My vision of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is much greater than the limited and legalistic Christians who I see a lot of nowadays. I have no interest in mixing with them. I’ll pray for them, but I’m not playing religion. I’m also done pretending, it’s not for me. I’d rather walk this walk alone than be fake or phony.

I’m not the type to preach at people or tell people what I think they should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s not me. I will be the first to admit I have not arrived and am a work in progress. I refuse to walk around high and mighty, like I have my stuff together and have all the answers, because I don’t.

Nor will I look down my nose at anyone, not those selling their bodies, not homosexuals, not criminals, not murderers, not drug addicts or drug dealers, or alcoholics.

God loves everyone. He loves the sinner, but hates the sin. And guess what? We are all sinners, even those who have been saved by grace. We still contend with a sin nature, even after we get saved.

What I’m saying is there is no one better than the next guy. We are all the same in God’s eyes.

I know it’s a hard pill for some Christians to swallow, but it’s the truth. The reason why some have a hard time grasping this truth is because they feel the need to be superior or important.

God loves the humble and lowly.

Yes, I love Jesus, because Jesus is the only one who loves us in a way, no human is able to emulate. His love, compassion and forgiveness is all encompassing and far from our limited reach.

We want to put Jesus in a box and project what we think His love should be. All we’ve managed to accomplish is forming and following a god of our own warped understanding.

God is greater than anything we can come up with. Our vision is clouded to see Him as He truly is.

Jesus is loving and invites everyone, especially the outcasts and rejects of society.

He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Mahatma Gandhi said it best — ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’  Truer words were never spoken.

Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?

Jesus Isn’t A Racist or A Murderer

A few weeks ago, I read this letter by Ray Jasper who was executed last Wednesday night in Texas.

Ray Jasper

Ray Jasper was 18 years old when he murdered David Alejandro.

David Alejandro

At the age of 33, David Alejandro was a lead singer of a Christian band besides running his own recording studio. Before Ray Jasper, an aspiring rapper, killed him.

Jasper had previous sessions in Alejandro’s recording studio prior to the attack. He devised a plan with two others to steal Alejandro’s studio equipment.

I’m not sure what possessed Jasper to make a tragic mistake in taking the life of someone he considered one of the nicest people he ever met.

But what I do know is that his final letter evidenced a changed man prior to his execution last Wednesday night.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, which is why I consider the death penalty unethical. I know there are Christians who don’t agree with me.

They quote bible verses in the Old Testament as their justification and reason for why they believe capital punishment is allowed by God. However, when I look at the New Testament, the new covenant, Jesus didn’t go around killing anyone.

Saul (before his name was changed to Paul) persecuted and killed Christians. If Jesus was in favor of the death penalty, he would have killed Paul on the road to Damascus. Yet, Jesus didn’t kill him, He showed him mercy, grace, love and forgiveness.

There are thirty-two states in the USA supporting the death penalty. Meanwhile, there are many on death row (or serving life sentences in solitary confinement) who are innocent.

Currently, there is a series on CNN called Death Row Stories, which is revealing a few of the many cases of those who were on death row and are now exonerated.

I’ll tell you this, I wouldn’t want to be those who are killing people by lethal injection, and have innocent blood on my hands the day I see Jesus.

In my humble opinion, the prison system is modern day slavery and the death penalty is a modern day genocide, where whites still lynch blacks by lethal injection.

Yes, I’m white and writing this. I refuse to pretend or turn a blind eye on the reality of racism in this country.

Jesus isn’t a racist, so therefore, neither am I.

As Christians, I believe we shouldn’t be in agreement or in favor of the death penalty. My heart grieves for all those who are innocent and sitting on death row or serving life sentences in solitary confinement.

Christians need to take a stand for change and be a voice for the voiceless. The death penalty is antiquated, inhumane, unethical, barbaric, and needs to be abolished.

Human beings do not have a right to dictate who lives and who dies; only God reserves that right.

What are some of the ways which we can advocate to abolish the death penalty?

Every Action Has A Reaction

A long time ago, I used to think my actions didn’t effect others. I was single, living in my own world and doing my own thing.

Unfortunately, being single didn’t allow me the ability to see myself clearly. It was when I got married, I was able to see choices, decisions and actions have repercussions and consequences, not only to myself, but to others as well.

Courtesy of Creative Commons – alicemariedesign

This was a huge pill for me to swallow and accept. We go along with our lives when we are alone, thinking we can do whatever we want, say whatever we want and it’s nobody else’s business or concern.

The world is our oyster.

However, this is living in a bubble or fantasy world, which is self-centered and self-absorbed.

The truth is every action has a reaction.

There is no getting around it, whether you are married or single, whether you want to believe it or not, your actions and choices effect everyone around you.

It’s like a pebble hitting the surface of water, you see the ripple effect. The same occurs with us; our choices are like pebbles and our actions cause rippling effects.

This is why we have to be careful to choose wisely because some actions are irreversible. The damaging effects of one wrong choice can destroy more than you bargained for.

For instance, a family member who continually betrays you by speaking negatively about you behind your back with other family members, thinking it will never get back to you.

But it always does, doesn’t it? Some way, somehow, the information finds its way back to the person.

Once this occurs, the damage is done, because you can never look at that family member the same way again. A seed of distrust is planted and with each repetitive instance, the seed of distrust continues to germinate and grow.

Yes, one can forgive and move on, but the trust and respect needed for a good and healthy relationship is broken and lost.

Has this ever been your experience? Can you recall a time when this applied in your life?

Do You Gossip?

I find around the holiday’s people tend to engage in gossip more than usual. Sometimes the holiday’s brings the worst out of some people.

Gossipers preface what they have to say with, “Promise you won’t say anything…”

Courtesy of Creative Commons

But, do they know, that the information will eventually get back to the person their gossiping about?

When I get wind of someone who has gossiped behind my back, while smiling at my face, I want very little to do with them. I honestly do not care if they are family either.

If a so-called family member or friend has the audacity to talk garbage about me (or those I love) behind my back, I want nothing to do with them.

I forgive them, but I keep it moving. Life is too short to be around those who speak ill of you.

I’ve come to the conclusion that those who engage in gossip, don’t have your best interest in mind. They only care about themselves and whatever thrill they get in bashing other people behind their backs.

Gossip is negative and destructive, causing unnecessary harm and irreparable damage to relationships.

The Bible says, whatever is hidden will be brought to light. (Luke 8:17). The light pierces the darkness and truth is always revealed.

The person who engages in gossip, talking negatively about others, is actually causing themselves more harm than good.

Think about it… if you continued to hear from different sources that someone, whether a family member or a friend is talking badly about you, wouldn’t you distrust and lose respect for them?

An individual who engages in defamation or slander of another person, thinks they are not doing anything wrong, but it’s quite the contrary.

Gossipers cause harm and stand more to lose than gain.

Once the information finds its way back to the person, the gossiper is found out, and well, they will never be looked at the same way. No matter how much they smile and act nice, the damage is done.

If you engage in gossip, whether it is casual or consented, please think twice before doing so. Why not start the new year fresh by asking the Lord to help you not talk about other people behind their backs? I know it’s easier said than done, but gossiping is hurtful and the damage it creates is irreversible.

Do you gossip? Have you ever been a victim of gossip by family members, close friends or coworkers? How did it make you feel?

Author Interview – Julie Cantrell

I have the sincere pleasure of welcoming another one of my favorite authors, Julie Cantrell. I first discovered her after reading her debut novel, Into the Free. I can’t emphasize enough, how much I loved this book. I fell in love with the characters and story, so when Julie Cantrell came out with a sequel, When Mountains Move, I was excited. These two books are on the top of my list.

Julie Cantrell is such a gifted writer. The characters and story do not reflect her life at all. They are works of fiction and the story is entirely made up from her imagination. I can only dream and aspire to write like her.

Without further ado, Julie Cantrell.

  • When did you decide to become a writer? or When did you discover you were a writer?

Writing has always been my way of processing the world around me. When I was a young girl, I kept a journal. As a teen, I wrote poetry, song lyrics, and short stories. And I’ve always loved to write letters to friends and family across the miles. But when I told my high school teacher that I wanted to be a writer, she quickly nipped that dream in the bud. She told me not to waste my scholarship to study writing, saying that I would be lucky to write greeting cards but that I would never get beyond that. I happen to think writing greeting cards would be a fun job, but she meant it as a criticism. The problem is, I believed her.

I spent the next decade writing only my college assignments, and I never took a writing class. I would walk past the English and Journalism buildings every day and want to sneak into those classes. I ended up studying to become a speech-language pathologist because I am fascinated by language development and communication in all forms. Plus I love to help people. It has been a wonderful career for me. But, I am happy that now, after twenty years, I finally realize that teacher was wrong. I am glad I took the leap and dared to write a novel; and I’m thankful readers are taking a chance on Millie’s story.

  • Which writers inspire you?

I am inspired by the authors who blog with me at Southern Belle View: Beth Webb Hart, Rachel Hauck, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and Lisa Wingate, as well as dear author friends I’ve met the last two years of my journey. Just a few include Christa Allan, Missy Buchanan, Judy Christie, Lynne Gentry, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Kathy Harris, Ann Hite, River Jordan, Michael Morris, Kathy Patrick, Jolina Petersheim, Karen Spears-Zacharias, Carla Stewart, Michel Stone, and Renea Winchester. I’m also inspired by authors in my local community, (Oxford, MS.) such as Katie Anderson, Ace Atkins, Beth Ann Fennely, Tom Franklin, and Neil White, and by those represented by my agency (WordServe Literary), many of whom join forces to blog at www.wordservewatercooler.com.

  • What are your favorite books?

I have WAY too many favorite books to list, but here are a few that surface in my brain at the moment (in no particular order): The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver; Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren; Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand; The Samurai’s Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama; Life of Pi, by Yann Martel; Looking for Alaska, by John Green; I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb; The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini; The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls; Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen; and The Last American Man, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

  • What books help shape you as a writer?

I send a big shout-out to the classic, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. A friend, Katie Anderson, loaned me her copy of this screenwriting manual. Of course, I’m still learning new things every day…but this book (actually it is one of a set of three) is a wonderful tool that can be used to sculpt a three-act plot structure. While it is written for screenplay writers, it can easily be adapted for a short story, novel, stage play, etc.

  • What is the hardest thing about writing?

Writing. And by that I mean, the actual physical act of sitting down and diving into that fictional world. I have to enter a different mental zone to really get a good scene down on the page, and that’s not always easy in the midst of a hectic life. It’s also difficult to find time to enter that sacred creative space because so much of my day is spent on the other part of the job…emails, social media, interviews, phone calls, mailing books, etc. I fantasize about having an intern someday who could handle some of that “other stuff”…ahhh…the dream.

  • What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Insomnia. And a bucket list. And a very strong nudge from Millie, my main character, who gave me her story and insisted it wasn’t mine to keep. (Thank you, Millie!)

  • How did you come up with your characters and story?

Honestly, it really did just come to me. The original spark for the first novel, Into the Free, was a blurb I had read years earlier about a gravesite in Meridian, Mississippi. Kelly Mitchell was buried there in 1915, and her tombstone reads: Kelly Mitchell, Queen of the Gypsies. This fascinated me, and I thought I’d write about the Romany Travelers who roamed through the southeastern segment of the US (and continue to do so today). The Roma ended up being a thread in a larger coming-of-age tale about Millie Reynolds.

  • Where do your ideas come from?

I’ve always been a daydreamer, so most of my ideas come from that strange realm of imagination. I also rely on sparks, like the blurb I mentioned regarding Kelly Mitchell’s grave. And from my real-world experiences, although I never write about real people in my life and hope no one ever worries that I’ll put them in a book. People tend to assume I’m writing about myself, especially because I write in first-person, but the works really are fictional, and Millie’s story is not my own.

  • What is your writing process?

I tend to write freestyle, meaning I don’t outline or do anything by following a routine. I write without worrying about edits, and when I come to a space where more research needs to be done or I might need to go back in the story and confirm a detail matches, etc…I just insert *** in that spot and then work out the kinks later. I don’t let those little holes slow me down as I’m writing the story. All of that can be tweaked after the story has roots.

I’m a gardener, so I see the act of building a story much like that of building a garden. Seeds first. Then the roots. Then the stalk. Then the stems. Then the leaves. Then the pruning. Then the blooms. And finally…the fruit. It’s a process that takes time, patience, and a bit of hard work. If you’re afraid of getting dirt under your nails or sweating a bit…writing is not for you.

  • Do you write every day?

If I’m lucky.

  • Do you write full-time or part-time?

I have been teaching English as a Second Language to Kindergarten and First Grade students until this year. Now, I am writing fulltime. It became a little too tricky to juggle teaching, farming, writing, volunteering, and … my top priority … mothering. While I love all the segments of my life, something had to give, and I feel very grateful to have quiet time now to write during the day while my children are at school. I’ve always been one who believed in Family First. Now, I no longer have to work while everyone else sleeps, and I admit…it’s divine.

  • Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?
  1. If you feel called to write, then write. No excuses. Just write.
  2. Don’t worry about what anyone else will think of your work. Write as if no one will ever see it. Write as a gift to yourself, as a tool to stretch your soul, expand your mind, and free your spirit.
  3. If you do decide to venture into publishing, don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t get caught up worrying about reviews, sales figures, awards, or shelf space. It’s all part of the business of publishing, but your job as an author is to create. When the other stuff begins to steal the joy of the creative process, remember to put things back in perspective and celebrate the gift you were given. Write because it’s who you are and because you can’t NOT write. Write because it makes you happy and brings you peace. And if you are nudged to share the stories you are given, share them to make others happy and to bring them peace. Nothing else matters.

Pilar, thanks so much for inviting me here today. It’s been an honor to chat with you about writing, and I am grateful that you have dared to pull Millie’s story from the shelf and enter her world for a while.

Thank you, Julie. The honor is mine.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is the author of two children’s books as well as Into the Free, whichreceived Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and Book of the Year 2013 as well as the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, released September 2013.

Learn more:

Website: www.juliecantrell.com
Blogsite: www.juliecantrell.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliecantrellauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieCantrell
Email: julie@juliecantrell.com

When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (September 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781404258
ISBN-13: 978-0781404259
Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

It is the spring of 1943. With a wedding and a cross-country move, Millie’s world is about to change forever.

If only her past could change with it.

Soon after the break of day, Bump will become Millie’s husband. And then, if all goes as planned, they will leave the rain-soaked fields of Mississippi and head for the wilds of the Colorado Rockies. As Millie tries to forget a dark secret, she hasn’t yet realized how drastically those past experiences will impact the coming days.

For most of Millie’s life, being free felt about as unlikely as the mountains moving. But she’s about to discover that sometimes in life, we are given second chances, and that the only thing bigger than her past … is her future.

Review

When Mountains Move is the sequel to Julie Cantrell’s debut novel, Into The Free. I absolutely loved Into The Free that I was ecstatic when the sequel arrived.

Julie Cantrell does it again. She does not disappoint. What a beautiful story. I am in love with her writing and characters. Julie Cantrell is a phenomenal writer. I can not say enough about her.

When Mountains Move picks up where Into The Free leaves off, which I was thrilled about. As I wanted to know what was going to happen. I was left with an expectation with Into The Free that needed to be satiated.

When Mountains Move does that and more.

I don’t want to spoil it for you by giving anything away. This is the kind of book you must read for yourself. But please, do read Into The Free first.

Julie Cantrell has become one of my favorite fiction authors. I can’t wait for her next book.

In conclusion, I want to thank Wynn-Wynn Media and David C. Cooke for the complimentary advanced copy of this amazing book.

Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, which won Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and for Book of the Year 2013 as well as the Fiction Award from the Mississippi Library Association. Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She and her family live in Mississippi, where they operate Valley House Farm. Her new novel, When Mountains Move, is the sequel to Into the Free.

One Thing I Don’t Regret

Yesterday I came across a story that crushed my spirit. I couldn’t sleep. All I could do is think about this precious boy in China.

AFP

For the life of me, I can’t understand how anyone, much less a woman, could gauge out the eyes of an innocent child.

His uncle says he asks why the sky is always dark … and why the dawn still hasn’t come.  Heartbreaking.

How does one explain to a six year old he is blind for life by the hand of a cruel stranger?  How is he suppose to understand this? I feel heartbroken for him, his parents and family. No child should have to go through something like this.
******

At three-thirty in the morning, I cried out to God, asking Him why? Why this little boy? Why any child for that matter?

Silence.

I fell back to sleep eventually and had a dream. I saw Jeremiah 29:11.

Every now and then, God speaks to me through dreams. I count it a blessing when He does.

He is kind and thoughtful, unlike this cold, callous and cruel world that hurt this boy.

Yes, God made the world beautiful, much like the Garden of Eden, until evil destroyed it.

God reminded me in Jeremiah 29:11, that He is with me, even when my heart feels like it will explode from the pain.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What a hope. What a promise! One I will grip on to tightly in the days ahead.

*****

When I look over my life, I have a lot of regrets. But the one thing I don’t regret is giving my life to Jesus Christ.

If there is one thing I did right in my life, it was that.

Since giving Him my life, there were plenty of times He could have turned His back on me, but He didn’t.

He loves me unconditionally, something I have a hard time grasping, because I think I need to earn everything.

But grace can’t be earned. He gives it freely.

Which is why I can’t wait for the day I meet Him face to face.

I need to stick around for my boys sake to make sure they are standing on their own two feet. But I can’t wait to experience His uninterrupted love 24/7. Where there will be no evil, tears, pain, hurt, sickness, tragedy or death.

I’m grateful I am a child of God. When things look bleak and I grow weary, I am glad I have His hand to hold.

He is my only hope in this world. I can’t fathom living life without Him.

I remember when I didn’t know Him. What a dark and hopeless place that was. I never want to live like that again.

I wish the woman that gauged the boy’s eyes out knew Him. If she knew Him, she wouldn’t have committed this heinous crime. If she knew His deep and abiding love, she wouldn’t have been consumed with evil to harm him.

My heart is heavy today and I am weary. My prayer is that the darkness which is consuming hearts will be replaced by Jesus’ love and light.

Is Jesus your only hope?

Never Say Never by Victoria Christopher Murray

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (June 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451695772
ISBN-13: 978-1451695779
Price: $15.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

In this emotionally charged and inspiring novel about a love triangle, secrets between best friends threaten to blow up friendships and a marriage and change lives forever.

When Miriam’s fireman husband, Chauncey, dies while rescuing students from a school fire, Miriam feels like her life is over. How is she going to raise her three children all by herself? How will she survive without the love of her life? Luckily, Miriam’s sister-friend Emily and Emily’s husband, Jamal, are there to comfort her. Jamal and Chauncey grew up together and were best friends; Jamal and Emily know they will do all they can to support Miriam through her grief.

Jamal steps in and helps Miriam with the funeral arrangements and with her children, plus he gives her hope that she has a future. But all the time that they spend together—grieving, sharing, and reminiscing—brings the two closer in ways they never planned. . . .

Review

There is one word to describe Never Say Never, scandalous.

Victoria Christopher Murray does it again by this cleverly written novel.

Never Say Never is heart wrenching on many levels. I had trouble reading this book because it was so realistic and emotionally challenging.

Victoria Christopher Murray is a masterful writer and storyteller, she lures you in at page one.

I do not want to get into the specifics of Never Say Never, because I do not want to spoil it for you.

But if you want to go on the ride of your life, I highly recommend reading Never Say Never. You won’t be able to put this book down.

Personal Disclaimer: For mature audiences only.

Victoria Christopher Murray is the author of ten Essence bestselling novels, including Too Little, Too Late and Lady Jasmine. Her most recent novel, Destiny’s Divas, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction). Winner of the African American Literary Award for Fiction and Author of the Year, she splits her name between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.