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COTT: Interview with Judith Rolfs

Posted by Julie on March 8, 2017 in COTT, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

http://www.judithrolfs.com/
This week we have a special treat! Author Judith Rolfs has been
published in every genre. As an author and professional marriage and
family counselor, Judith focuses on motivating people to live their best
lives – emotionally, physically and spiritually. In her thirties, she
researched the complexity of the natural world and moved from
agnosticism to faith in God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today, she
talks about her latest novel, Never Tomorrow.

Tell our readers about your new mystery novel Never Tomorrow.

Thanks for asking. It’s like having a new baby – I welcome a chance to
talk about Never Tomorrow after literally years in the writing. This is
a powerful murder mystery, plus more – a psychological thriller that
probes the marriage relationship, infidelity and forgiveness. I use my
insights and experiences as a psychotherapist for three decades to
instill deep emotions in my characters– the grieving, the loves, and the
deep joys, that we all experience in real life. These are integrated
with a compelling murder mystery.


This is your seventeenth book but only your third mystery novel. Tell
us about your switch to fiction from non-fiction.

My previous books were how-to books about marriage and parenting and
family issues, also a devotional and a teen book. Mysteries are a huge
change. They are much more difficult to write, but seem to have a
greater impact on readers.


Which leads to my next question. I understand your slogan is
Mysteries With A Message. Explain please.

My mysteries center on real life family issues while keeping the
suspense steaming. Directive 99, my first self- suspense novel is about
conflict between a woman’s career vs. family priorities. She makes major
life changes when her husband is kidnapped. My next mystery novel
Bullet in the Night with Prism Books is about genuine
rehabilitation leading to life change and the value of nurturing
friendships. I want readers to have a takeaway to ponder that can help
them face situations in their own lives with more wisdom and
confidence.

Tell us about where you like to write and a bit about your
process.

My favorite writing places are my cottage in the woods in
Fontana-on-Geneva Lake and a winter beach condo we rent in Venice, FL. I
need solitude to create the story and develop my characters, but then I
love to edit in coffee shops where I’m immersed in the energy of people.
Relationships have always been fascinating to me, which is why I became
a psychotherapist. Of course it’s helpful as an author to develop
well-rounded characters. I also love to travel. In fact, Never Tomorrow
starts out in Ballybunion, Ireland which I researched during a
three-week trip there.

How and when did your writing career begin?

My writing career began at age ten creating stories for neighborhood
children. I wrote newspaper editorials in high school, and was part of
the Superior Student program at Marquette University, which published me
in their literary journal. I love everything about writing especially
contact with readers and other authors who are so gracious! I recently
met Pat Gussin, New York Times Best Selling Author of After the Fall and
she offered to read Never Tomorrow prior to publication. She blessed me
with an amazing review: “Layer upon layer of intrigue—laced with
murder–propels this novel to the pinnacle of suspense. An ingenious
plot, dynamic and complex characters, and an insight into the troubled
avenues of human behavior rarely exposed make NEVER TOMORROW a stand-out
for readers of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense.”

In closing, where can we find your new book baby?

Never Tomorrow is available through Prism Book Group, on Amazon
and Barnes
& Noble
and through local libraries. If it’s not at the local
library I hope readers will request it. Thank you for featuring me on
your blog. It’s been a pleasure.

———————————————–

Visit Judith at http://judithrolfs.com/Dr._Judith_Rolfs/Home.html

 

A compelling mystery with a powerful theme of forgiveness and
healing…

Journalist
Whitney Barnes investigates the mysterious death of her mother and
three women from Cortland City seeking the thread that links them to an
enigmatic killer. Why are women being murdered with no apparent motives
for their death? Police are mystified at the lack of clues and a growing
sense of fear surrounds the community. Who will be the next victim?

Determined
to find the killer, Whitney discovers these women were dealing with
wounds from their troubling pasts, but what was their connection? She
teams up with Dr. Sarah Stevens, an expert on women’s issues, to ferret
out information while TV talk show host Rich and real estate broker
Jordan vie for Whitney’s affection.

Whitney discovers new
strength within her, but is it powerful enough to cope with this dark
force of evil? Suspense escalates as Whitney becomes the killer’s next
target.

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Lazarus: The Samaritan by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on March 3, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

LAZARUS: THE SAMARITAN

Lazarus lives a complicated life. He is a Samaritan who married a Jewess.  He is estranged from his brothers because their father willed him his prize Arabian steed. He supports himself as a road worker in his youth when his Arabian meets his future wife’s delicate Egyptian horse. Her brother hates him and her snobbish mother constantly insults him.

Her brother enslaves him in a copper mine down at the top of the Red Sea near where southern Israel and Arabia meet.  Eventually through a mess of twists and turns, he becomes a copper mine owner and gets rich.

His sister is the “Woman at the Well” Jesus talked to. Having five husbands does not mean she was a wonton woman. In the story, all die of accidents (one of them on the road to Jericho) or diseases. By the time she meets Jesus, she decides to send her live-in on his way. Jesus stays three days in the city, she introduces him to her brother and their family, and they are baptized in the reflecting pool of the estate his wife inherited.

Zarus, as he is called in the book, lives through forty of Jesus’ parables. These parables come alive as his mine workers beat a servant to death to take over the mine, his youngest son grows up, gets his inheritance, and goes to China where he nearly starves to death. His daughter grows up and marries a sea captain, and he is so late to the wedding that five of her ten virgin maidens run out of oil waiting for him on the docks.

His father, original owner of the mine has great plans and builds bigger warehouses for the increased copper production, but dies that night. Lazarus’ widowed mother-in-law loses the family estate, and she appeals to an evil judge and pesters him to death until he finally relents and gets her estate back for her. His sister’s husband is robbed and beaten on the road to Jericho and left for dead until Lazarus, “The Good Samaritan” sees him and takes him into the city. There is a mine collapse, and ninety-nine workers survive, but Lazarus goes into the dangerous mine to see out the one.

My readers love trying to guess which parable he is living through as they read each chapter. (At the end of each chapter I quote the actual parable in italics.)

This is the story of rags to riches and back to rags again. It is the story of a strange courtship, a marriage with three children and ongoing romance of husband and wife, betrayals, treacheries, celebrations, overcoming—everything that Jesus put into his amazing parables.

Read this book to be amazed at the new insights you gain by going through life with Lazarus: The Samaritan.

This, by the way, is the first book in the historical novel series: INTREPID MEN OF GOD. This series has remained in the top ten in their category on Amazon since their beginning last year. One woman contacted me and said, “I want to order six more copies and send them to my family members.”

 

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase Lazarus the Samaritan HERE

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Paul: The Unstoppable by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on February 17, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE

I would have hated to be the apostle Paul’s parents while he was growing up. I can imagine them telling him not to do something, but he wouldn’t stop. So, they would punish him. Then he’d turn right around and do it again. What a stubborn child he would have been and stubborn man he grew up to be.

Don’t be shocked, but I made Paul (called Shaul by Hebrews) a boxer and runner in the book, at least in his youth. He had to have been a strong man to have survived treading water “in the deep a day and a night”.  Plus he wrote of winning the fight and boxing and running the race several times.

Paul, the unstoppable, spends his life making up for torturing and killing Christians in his youth. He is driven. To Paul, it is never enough. Gradually, he loses the strength of his youth.

Warning: My book is graphic. Over and over he was beaten with rods and whip lashed and even stoned. I go into slow motion to describe what is happening to him at such times. I, personally, am scared to death to watch horror movies. But I had to include the violence he endured because that was Paul’s reality.  Gritting his teeth, he must have strained his neck muscles and called out “Jesus, this is for you!” Can’t you hear him?

What can I say about such a man? I wrote 550 pages walking with him and all he must have gone through for thirty-five years until his death. The scar tissue on his back must have built up on top of older ones until his back was in constant pain just from the scar tissue. Medical science says scar tissue is twenty times more sensitive to touch than normal skin. But he kept going. City after city. Facing floods, snow, robbers, hunger, ship wrecks, imprisonments, humiliations. But he couldn’t stop.

Why? Love. He loved people so much, he was willing to endure their hatred in order to snatch them away from the gates of hell. Can we do that? Dare we do that? Go through all that Paul did? Or perhaps a fraction of it? To Paul, even in the dank, urine smelling, mold growing, rat infested cell where he sat on the slippery cold stone floor in chains the last few days of his life, he had never done enough.

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase PAUL: The Unstoppable HERE

 

 

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Sue A. Fairchild: Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan

Posted by Julie on February 15, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan

By Sue A. Fairchild

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV)

I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s been a plague on my life since I can remember. I was always “huskier” than other kids and often felt the sting of my peers’ disapproval in the process. Once, in high school, I was asked when my baby was due. I wasn’t pregnant.

One prior boyfriend loved to work out and encouraged me to do so with him, so I did. He pushed me daily, taking inventory of what I’d eaten and condemning me if I hadn’t attended the gym that day. He convinced me it was because he was concerned for my health, but eventually he ended our relationship because I wasn’t thin enough for him.

These things, along with others, caused me to spurn working out. Going to a gym sparked anxiety in my soul and reminded me of my boyfriend’s harsh words that I wasn’t trying hard enough or eating healthy enough.

When I met my husband, neither of us loved working out, but we both needed it. We were unhealthy, overweight and I was often sick. I longed to be thin, but, more so, I longed to have the stamina and strength to simply do. I knew God had placed it in my heart to work with Christian authors, to write His words for others to read and to be His light in the world. But it’s hard to be that light when you’re exhausted, sick or don’t have the strength to do so.

I’d tried various exercise programs and even tried to do exercise by myself, but it never stuck. The old fears and the old doubts always came rushing back in and I’d quit before I’d begun.

So, in April of last year, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and started working out with a personal trainer. Yes, I wanted to be thinner. I wanted to fit into smaller jeans and to look good in all my clothes, but I also simply wanted to be stronger so I could do God’s work in my life. I didn’t want to fail myself, or Him, any longer.

The trainer I chose was a Christian and, within one of our first sessions, she expressed to me how important it was to her to show others how they could take care of the temple God had given them. Her personal training work was more than helping people be thin—she wanted people to wisely manage what God had given them.

I’d never considered this thought before. My body is God’s—not mine. By overeating and not exercising, I had been, essentially, destroying His temple. Plus, I’d let others, not God, determine my journey. I was weak and sick from within because I hadn’t been managing what He’d given me.

The truth was a harsh blow. I have been working hard the last few years to follow God’s purpose for my life, but the entire time I’d been neglecting the vessel He’d given me to do it!

I’m convinced He brought my personal trainer, my new friend, into my life because no other gym, no other trainer, and no other exercise program would have expressed His word for me. The only way for me to accomplish God’s plans were to take care of me, my health, wellness and body, first.

Now, I’ve started classes that my trainer conducts and have met new friends with similar stories. My trainer pushes me in more ways than with my body. She pushes my mind and my walk for God. Even when I don’t want to go exercise, I do. And I’ve been blessed every single time. My body is stronger, but, more importantly, my faith is stronger, too. I’ll never turn back now. My plan was to lose weight, but God’s plan—His plan to bring me closer, expand my mind and my strength—is what I’ve achieved.

 

 

Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

 

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Losing More than the Weight with God’s Plan

What You Think You Know

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase What You Think You KNow HERE

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Kimberly Rose Johnson: My Recent Transformation

Posted by Julie on February 8, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

My Recent Transformation

By Kimberly Rose Johnson

 

Transformation sounds painful, and I suppose it often is. One thing is for certain—it’s a process. Change does not happen overnight. At least it didn’t for me, nor was it instant for Kayla in A Love Song for Kayla.

I’m kind of a control freak, and Kayla is as well. Two years ago, my then publisher, closed the line I wrote for. At that time I wasn’t sure what to do. I sought guidance from the Lord, but I didn’t like the answer He gave me. He was clear that I was to indie publish (publish my books on my own). I did not want to do that. I was petrified at the very idea. Yes, I know I said I’m a control freak and an indie writer is in complete control. However, part of being a control freak is knowing all the variables, and for me indie publishing was a mystery and very scary.

God was gracious and allowed me to publish eight more books with a small press, but this past year He was clear that it was time. So on February first I uploaded my first indie book that I did on my own. I couldn’t believe how easy the entire process was compared to my fear. Talk about a freeing experience! I experienced a complete transformation. I no longer fear indie publishing, and I’m super excited to publish my next book.

A Love Song for Kayla is the book that I published. I recently received my rights back from my original publisher and chose to use this story as my first indie book. I mentioned that Kayla is a control freak too. When she was a teenager some stuff happened that caused her to pick up this trait. Her way of handling it was to create a list of the qualities she desired in a husband—the perfect man. As you can imagine it was close to impossible to check every item off her list but she insisted on hanging onto it. She even framed it and hung it in her bedroom.

When the man for her came along, he wasn’t perfect, and she had to choose. Would she cling to the security of being in control, or would she allow the Lord to transform her heart? I won’t spoil the story and tell you what she did. J

Life is filled with opportunities for transformation. I’m glad I finally obeyed and allowed the Lord to transform me. I can’t begin to explain how different I feel now. I suppose that what transformation does—it changes us from the inside out.

 

Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

 

A LOVE SONG FOR KAYLA

When two strangers cross paths their lives are forever altered.

 

Ever since she was sixteen Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

 

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

 

Formerly published under the title A Valentine for Kayla.

PURCHASE A LOVE SONG FOR KAYLA HERE

 

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Luke: Slave & Physician by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on February 3, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

LUKE: SLAVE & PHYSICIAN

 

Physicians were always slaves in first century Roman Empire. Each wealthy household had their own physician, and Caesar began telling his military to have a physician follow them around. This means that “Luke, the beloved physician” that wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles was written by a slave or perhaps a freed slave.

This says a lot about Luke’s character. He is apparently not bitter.  He rises above what life has handed him.  In early millenniums of history, during war the losing side’s soldiers paid for their loss the rest of their life, for they were made slaves of the winning side.

I investigated major battles of the Romans in the first century and just prior, and found a major battle that took place in Germanica in the area of today’s Holland. It was the Battle of Baduhenna Wood, AD 28.  Since he seemed to be younger than Paul, I made Luke eight years old when his Viking father apparently was killed, and Luke became a slave. That would have made him about fifteen years younger than Paul.

Despite all this, he apparently did not show bitterness toward his master. What master would provide an education for a bitter slave? This slave was taught to write. Not only that, but his style of writing was almost in the classical style.  His master gave him a good education.

Perhaps he had always had a knack for treating people’s wounds and diseases. His master apparently let him apprentice to someone in order to become a physician. Would a master have provided this kind of education/apprenticeship to a bitter slave?

Luke did not meet Paul until around 51 AD.  What does Luke do with his life those twenty plus years? If he was captured during war by Roman troops, whoever took him probably remained in the military. Men signing up for the military signed up for thirty years.  So, it is likely he was with the Roman army most of that time.

In Luke: Slave and Physician he is never sure his father was actually killed. All anyone knows is that he was not there at the end of the Battle of Baduhenna Wood. Throughout the rest of the book, every place he goes, he walks around singing a little song his father had taught him, hoping to find his father someday. He could have been bitter because of losing his father at such a young age.

It wasn’t until he met Paul that he learned about Christianity. Luke was not only a slave all those years, but he was a pagan. He probably many gods. Because he was so open to Christianity, he must have struggled all those years with his beliefs. At one point in my book he climbs Mount Olympus which is near Berea in Greece, so he can interview the gods themselves. Of course, he does not find them, and his anger at the non-existent gods grows.

Throughout Luke: Slave and Physician, Luke is involved in military affairs as his regiment moves from fort to fort. Being blonde because of his Nordic heritage, he becomes a spy for them and goes down into Parthia which Rome was never able to conquer. He is gone several years surviving mining disasters, deathly heat in the deserts and mining accidents. He also meets a young lady and falls in love with her, but she is kidnapped and taken to Kandahar. He follows her there and…well, I’m about to tell you too much.

In my book, Luke writes his gospel and Acts after Paul dies. By then, the apostles have scattered. He travels the world to find them, and usually they are in the midst of some kind of predicament with the local pagans.

Through it all, Luke never becomes bitter.  How could a bitter man write two books of the Bible?

Are you bitter? Do you know anyone who is? Let Luke, slave and physician be your encourager.

 

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase LUKE: Slave and Physician HERE



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