It’s been TOO long since I’ve checked in and said hello, and I hate it. This blog is my baby, and I miss it when I’m not personally posting. I thought I’d give you an update on my writing and the “Oh-oh” moment I had.
ENGAGED is set to release next month and I’m excited. This is the third story in my Surrendering Time series, and it’s Trish’s turn. Trish Maxwell was the bad girl in ENTRUSTED, but she’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. Her dream job in NYC was a nightmare and now she’s living with her parents working at her mom’s department store. Her hometown starts growing on her, especially after she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson. Yet everywhere she seems to go, people want to know what her plan is. Will she stay in town? Go back to New York City, or something else?
This story has been easier to write than ENTANGLED, I think because I can relate more to Trish than Carla. However, the closer I got to the end, the more my mind drifted to what’s next. Not only did a six book series drop from heaven onto my lap, but then another idea to write a series with my teen daughter came to mind for the summer.
I’ve been filled with plot ideas, characters. Themes. Character traits. Names. Title ideas. So much new to work through that the thought of going back to the old had me dragging my feet a bit. I reached a place where I had to press pause on the new ideas and put all my attention on ENGAGED.
It was then I realized that’s an affair mentality. I’ve seen it play out on TV, country music, and sadly, real life. Marriage that feels lonely, selfish, distant, too comfortable, whatever—and the new person comes around. They say the right things. Listen. Spend time. Show affection. And the new person starts to be on the front burner. The spouse is old news, it’s too late as far as the drifting spouse is concerned, and sparks become a forest fire.
Okay, so my writing wandering isn’t quite the same as a marital affair, but the comparison was enough to send me back to ENGAGED and the current work before I move on.
That’s my update. How about you? What’s new?
At the end of the month I will be sharing ENTRUSTED with newsletter subscribers to prepare them for ENGAGED. If you’d like a monthly update with giveaways, author updates, recipes, book reviews and more, subscribe for free at juliearduini.com. Make sure to tell a reader!
In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Esther, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.
This is a colorful book for girls ages 4-8 that features Bible stories that will help them learn about the Bible, important women who are part of “His-Story,” and draw closer to God. The stories are more for the elementary age, but it makes for a good nighttime routine where a parent could read to the girl.
The illustrations are colorful and feminine, very attractive for a little girl. What sets the book apart is each story has an envelope flap that the girl can open. It is a letter that can be addressed to the reader, and it is an encouragement from God. Just reading it for myself was a special experience. I could see where a little girl would see her name (if you filled it in ahead of time) and be excited to see what God has to say to her.
I think this is a great book for any girl’s library. If they are the younger side, they will appreciate being read to and looking at the pictures. For the older girls, the stories they can read themselves and the letters from God make this is a book they won’t forget.
I definitely recommend LOVE LETTERS FROM GOD.
I received this book from the publisher and the review is my own honest opinion.
Tags: Bible, Bible stories, book review, Book Review: Love Letters from God by Glenys Nellist, children's bible stories, children's book, daughters, encouragement, girls, Glenys Nellist, Julie Arduini, love letters, Zondervan
In a culture that bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection, women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?
Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives—and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.
There’s nothing that inspires me more than reading other people’s stories. I love when there are anecdotes and testimonies full of encouragement that leave me with an attitude that I can do this. BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL is a wonderful encouragement because it offers hope among the pages.
The author shares different stories about overcoming, and they inspire. They are transparent, but not depressing. Each story is just right in length, yet you get the details needed.
Lee Wolfe Blum is a new-to-me author, but now she’s on my radar. I look forward to more, and I definitely recommend this book.
To purchase BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL, click HERE.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own.
Tags: author, beauty, book review, Book Review: Brave is the New Beautiful by Lee Wolfe Blum, Brave is the New Beautiful, bravery, Christ, freedom, God, hope, Julie Arduini, prayer, testimony, thinspiration, women
I’ve always been inspired by those who are willing to give their all for the cause of Christ.—missionaries who give up home and family to live in foreign lands in less than comfortable places, men, women, even children who stand by their convictions regardless of the consequences. These people have counted the cost and surrendered their lives to God anyway.
Surrendering our lives to God never comes easily. If you’re like me, you can give a situation to the Lord only to take it back again and again in a tug-of-war for control. I suppose that’s why I wrote about the theme of total surrender in my debut novel, Under This Same Sky.
My heroine, Becky Hollister, doesn’t willingly choose to surrender her will to God; instead, adverse circumstances compel her to choose between entrusting her life to Him or turning her back on her faith. It’s touch and go for a while. After enduring great suffering and loss, Becky questions how a loving God can allow such hurtful events to happen.
Under This Same Sky takes readers on a journey alongside Becky as she works through her resentment toward God and seeks to determine what His will for her might be. But just as in real life, it takes the wisdom of God’s word and the love of friends (and in Becky’s case, a godly man) to pull her through.
Becky’s story is a tale of friendship and love, but even more so, it’s a quest for wholeness and deeper understanding of a God who longs to hold the deepest desires of her heart. Fully surrendering to the Lord is something I believe we all struggle to achieve. I hope you’ll be encouraged by Becky’s story and the message of surrender it conveys.
Under This Same Sky Book Blurb:
~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~
Illinois ~ 1854
Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.
Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under This Same Sky is her debut novel.
At its heart, Cinderella Boot is a story about second chances, and change is the engine creating that chance.
“Cinderella,” Cynthia Ellen Cooper, left her fiancé at the altar four years ago—to work on a sheep station in Australia. She wanted to spread her wings before marriage tied her down forever.
Keith never recovered from the deep wound Cynthia dealt him. After graduation from vet school, he returns home to work in his father’s practice—where Cynthia now works as a pet groomer and vet assistant.
The former couple forms an uneasy working truce. Cynthia soon realizes she loves Keith more than ever and wonders if she can win back his truck. Her pastor suggests she study the life of John Mark. the gospel writer and companion to the apostles Peter and Paul.
Mark ran away from his responsibilities, too—he left Paul and Barnabas in a lurch during their first missionary journey. Paul refused to have anything further to do with the young man. Years later, however, Paul described Mark as his companion in the ministry, and at the end of his life, asked for Mark specifically because he was helpful to him.
Cynthia starts at that point: she makes herself helpful to Keith. Not only in the office, but even in his social life. She takes him to new, local restaurants for him to decide on the location for his date with of their patients.
Since Cinderella’s Boot is a romance, the answer to “will they?” is a given. I’ll let you read the book to discover the answer to “how will they?”
My point is—Keith and Cindy’s second chance at love came as they changed. When his attitude changed. When she became a servant.
My second chance at better physical health started with my attitude. I decided to work, whether or not it hurt, whether or not I thought I could. If the therapist challenged me to try, I did. Now I can walk, at least until my lungs give out. I can lift my arms higher than in five years. I can sit up from a laying down position and get into a car.
Believe it or not, those aren’t as simple as they seem for someone in a wheelchair.
One of the many things I praise God for—every day is a new beginning. Today I don’t have to repeat yesterday’s failures!
Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. This year she expects to reach fifty unique titles in print and she’s also contributed to more than twenty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears in four monthly magazines. Her most recent titles are Capturing the Rancher’s Heart, Romancing the Ranger, and Cinderella’s Boot.
Cynthia Ellen Cooper—known affectionately as “Cinderella”—left her wedding boot in the dust when she ran away from her wedding to work on a sheep station in Australia. Four years later, she’s back home—and so is her ex-fiancé, now a DVM from Oklahoma State University. They reach a truce and work side by side in his father’s animal clinic. Cyn soon discovers she wants more—but she has to battle bad history and a demanding pet owner for Keith’s attention. How can Cinderella find a second chance at love?
PURCHASE CINDERELLA’S BOOT HERE
A Highland Pearl Character Interview
Greetings from 16th century Scotland. My name is Andrew Dubh Munro. I’m know as the Black Falcon of Fàrdach, and I am the Thirteenth Baron and Chief of Clan Munro. My home is located in the Scottish Highlands on the north shore of Cromarty Firth. The seat of my clan, the place I reside, is Fàrdach Castle. Fàrdach is a Gaelic word meaning, home. Gaelic is my first language, although in order to trade with merchants in Inverness and other places, I also speak Inglish and French.
My father, Sir William Munro was killed in a battle with the MacKenzie Clan. The MacKenzies and Munros have been feuding since that time. I wanted to bring peace between the two peoples, but Hugh MacKenzie and his warriors continued to reive Munro cattle and destroy Munro property. While confronting the reivers one day, I was seriously wounded, and thought I would die.
My brother, Gavin, sent for a bonnie lass and healer from the nearby village of Drumainn. Maidie saved my life, and I fell in love with her. She was a strong believer in the Lord of All Creation. I wanted to take Maidie as my wife, but she was hesitant since I, at that time, did not believe.
One night, the MacKenzies burned one of the Munro villages, and I accompanied my brother and our warriors in the chase for the culprits. My injury had not healed completely, and I could not keep up. I insisted Gavin and the band of warriors go on without me. My gille, Colin, stayed with me. We made ourselves comfortable and settled down to wait for Gavin’s return.
I soon learned the burned village was a trap to get me out of the castle. The MacKenzies captured Colin and me, and took us to the dungeon of their castle. We stayed in the dungeon five days, eating rancid meat and drinking foul water. Our physical condition weakened until I thought the two of us would die.
Being thrown into the dungeon was the best thing that could have happened to me. Colin was a believer and taught me the way to the Lord through his son, Jesus the Christ. I prayed and was accepted into the Lord’s kingdom. I wasn’t afraid to die then, for I knew Heaven awaited.
Hugh MacKenzie released us on the urging of my former father-in-law, Bryson Fraser. The story takes many turns and twists before Maidie and I were reunited and I declared my love for her. The miracle was, she loved me in return and promised to become my wife. The Lord truly blessed me with the desire of my heart—Maidie Cameron Munro.
My story is told in the novel by Brenda B. Taylor, A Highland Pearl. Secure your copy today while the e-book is on sale at most vendors. You will enjoy the adventure through the beautiful Scottish Highlands.
A Highland Pearl
A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.
The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.
Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.
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