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COTT: Interview with Judith Rolfs

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

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

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


A compelling mystery with a powerful theme of forgiveness and

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?

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

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Blog Talk Radio Interview: Step Into the Light

Posted by Julie on February 26, 2017 in About Me, ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

Sorry it’s been quiet here, there’s quite a bit going on behind the scenes, and I’ll share more in the coming days. It’s a busy time, but an exciting one!


A big part of being an author is also being in marketing. That’s not natural for most authors, we just want to write, and that’s true for me. Thankfully, I went to college for public relations/communications, so I have a handle on marketing challenges. Like everyone else, I don’t love it, but it’s part of the call.


Some people make talking about our books very easy. Patti Shene is one of those people, so it’s no wonder she hosts a show on Blog Talk Radio called Step Into the Light.


Patti interviewed me on Valentine’s Day and it was a fun time. We talked surrender, chocolate, Valentine’s Day and about my writing.

It’s about 45 minutes long and if you wondered what Upstate NY sounds like, give my interview a listen!


Julie Arduini interviewed on Blog Talk Radio, Patti Shene’s Step into the Light.

It is also on the right sidebar of

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Valentine’s Day: Surrender, Chocolate and Interview on Blog Talk Radio

Posted by Julie on February 13, 2017 in About Me, ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Have you ever connected with someone through e mail and it was just a click? You felt like you knew the person and wanted to have coffee with them? That has been my feeling towards author and blog talk radio host Patti Shene. Through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers,) we somehow crossed paths online and touched base because of the Adirondack Mountains.


You probably know my Surrendering Time series, ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED are all based in the Upstate NY region that features 1 million acres. Patti has history there as well, so I always enjoy when I hear from her.


Tomorrow Patti and I are going to have a chat, and YOU are invited! Patti hosts STEP INTO THE LIGHT, a program on Blog Talk Radio. My interview will be live at 10am Eastern. We plan to talk about surrender issues, chocolate, and Valentine’s Day. I’m sure we’ll talk about writing, too.


If you would like to learn more about any of these things, or, if you’re just curious to hear what an Upstate NY accent sounds like, come check it out!

Listeners can access show via telephone or over the internet

Internet URL

Guest call in: 646-564-9712


I’m thankful for people like Patti that have a passion to share her time to encourage others. She has a great roster of speakers who have given their personal stories to share in hopes of helping listeners. I hope you check it out!

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COTT: Child of Dust by Shoba Sadler

Posted by Julie on January 16, 2017 in COTT, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

Today we’ll sit down to chat with Shoba Sadler, author of
the contemporary title Child of Dust. Shoba will take us behind the
scenes of her unique new novel and give us a glimpse into her

Shoba, why did you choose to write this type of novel?
Social status and cultural barriers makes for great conflict. Child
of Dust is like a modern-day classic of Romeo and Juliet only instead of
opposing families, these lovers, Kim and Bryan have cultural and social
barriers to contend with.

Kim, the rich and spoilt socialite who loses her money is taken under
the wing of her reluctant chauffeur, Bryan, who has his own struggles to
deal with. They find love under the most unexpected circumstances.

Can you tell us why you started with an Asian setting for your first
two novels?

I was founder of Agape Christian magazine in Malaysia. I also freelanced
for the leading English, secular newspaper in Malaysia, The Star. My
feature stories forThe Star were several page write-ups with gorgeous
photos. Many of my stories were selected by the features editor to be
cover stories as well.

As I interviewed people all over the world for Agape, I saw God moving
powerfully in Asia and yet there were so few stories coming from there
especially in the Christian romance genre.

In Asia, Christianity is seen very much as a Western culture. Yet so
many Asians have had powerful encounters with Jesus Christ. Then there
is the struggle to validate their faith in the midst of culture,
tradition, loss of identity, social stigma and so on.

There alone you have so much material for backdrop, tension, drama,
conflict and final resolution.

An example of what I mean can be seen in my short story Finding
Enlightenmentthat was awarded second place at It can be read

Talk a little about your unique setting.
When I read novels I am drawn to the backdrop and setting. A great
description of the setting subtly woven into the story is what makes the
difference between being a narrator who takes a person on a journey
through his “telling” and a facilitator who steps out of the way
altogether to allow the reader to explore the journey on his own. The
writer should aim to be the facilitator and not the narrator.There is nothing like a great setting to make the reader feel like they
are there with the characters. It is like the difference between
watching a 2D and 3D movie.

Unfortunately, many formulaic romance novels that are churned out in
quick production-line succession fails to capture this allure of setting
because it takes research and time. It is also not easy to write setting
discreetly in the background and that is the only way to write it.
Otherwise it will seem like reading lecture notes instead of a story.

I read one review of a multi-cultural romance set in an Asian country
where the reviewer said she felt like she was reading a tour company’s
brochure and that is the wrong emotion to invoke.

So another reason I wrote Child of Dust was to give romance readers a
chance to explore unique settings and backdrops not normally experienced
by a reader in the current trend of romance novels available out

We’d love to hear a little about the historical background for your
novel. Will you talk about that?

The main character, Bryan, Kim’s chauffeur has been deeply affected by
the Vietnam war in the sense that he is the illegitimate child of an
American GI and a Vietnamese woman. This historical background sets a
different dimension to the story and adds intrigue and authenticity.

Who would you say is the audience for this novel?

Child of Dust is an appealing read for anyone. As I have also
written for the secular press, I am able to write in a manner that
appeals to all walks of life both Christian and non-Christian. I have
had non-Christians tell me they were so engrossed in the story that they
didn’t not notice the message of the gospel woven into the story. Yet
that message is undoubtedly there.

I am an inspirational writer and everyone loves a good inspirational
story just as they love watching a Hallmark movie.

What readers have to say about the novel:
“Make sure when getting ready to read Child of Dust that you don’t have
anything else planned for the day, you won’t be able to put this book
down. I could go on and on about this book. Highly and strongly
recommend it. Is it possible to give a book 10 stars?” — Debra Dunson,
reviewer at The Edgier Christian Fiction Fan

“I found the writing of this story to be close to excellent…. I found
this book to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long
time. It was interesting, the story kept moving along, and I learned a
lot as I read this story. I found myself intrigued with the constant
difficulties faced by the protagonists – and their stories were
presented so much more like real life stories than any other book I have
read in a long, long time.” — Marina, Community Writer, California

“This novel has a consistent rhythm, adding surprise after surprise,
twisting our emotions at each new difficulty Kim faces. I couldn’t put
this book down, waiting to see if any or all the ends would be tired up.
I would actually like to see the novel transcend into a movie. An
amazing read.” — Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews

About Child of Dust:

Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese
socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents shocking death from the
dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen.

Kim steps out of a world of crystal
and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi. She
finds herself living under the roof of a shop cum living quarters with
Bryan and his adoptive family.

conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional
ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her
an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life.

He still bears the scars of
abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops
pulled out of Vietnam.

Eventually Bryan and Kim’s powerful attraction to each other
begins to break down the wall between them.

About the author:
Shoba Sadler has been a journalist
for 20 years and founder of Agape magazine in Malaysia. She is a
versatile inspirational author that likes to write in multiple genres.
She has pioneered a new genre in Christian multi-cultural writing with
her novel Child of Dust and her many award-winning short stories can be
read here

Her passion for writing is matched only by
her passion for cooking with farm fresh produce. She lives a healthy
lifestyle on a farm with her husband, Kevin, a talented musician, who
also loves to surf and ski. They grow their own vegetables and fruits
and share their home with a multitude of animals and wildlife. They are
passionate about buying directly from local farmers who practice organic

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COTT: The Daughters of Jim Farrell by Sylvia Bambola

Posted by Julie on September 14, 2015 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |

This week we’re proud to introduce Sylvia Bambola and her beautiful book,
The Daughters of Jim Farrell! With a wonderfully unique background
and several published novels to her name, see the advice she offers other

First, a peek at her latest book:

The Daughters of Jim Farrell by Sylvia Bambola

Pennsylvania 1873: When, in the harsh world of Pennsylvania coal country,
Jim Farrell is hanged for murder, his wife and three daughters must turn
their beautiful home into a boarding house in order to survive. But
struggling beneath the shadow of shame becomes too much for eldest
daughter, Kate, who resolves to clear her father’s name, and in spite of
her mother’s admonition to “let it go,” convinces her sisters to help. All
too soon their dangerous quest rips the family apart. Will it also cost
them the men they love?

Q&A with Sylvia:

Q. What are the main themes in your new historical novel, The Daughters of
Jim Farrell?

A. There are a few but I’ll mention only three. The first, and I believe
the most important, is the issue of forgiveness even in the face of the
ultimate sin—that of having a loved one killed unjustly. All of us will
have opportunities in our lives to forgive wrongs. And the importance of
doing so cannot be understated. Jesus says in Luke 6:37 “Forgive and ye
shall be forgiven.” That’s a stunner. And means what it says. So we cannot
afford to harbor unforgiveness of any kind. And forgiveness isn’t a
feeling, it’s an act of will.Another theme is the tension between labor and management. And this tension
seems to be intensifying as politicians seek to divide us by income and pit
us against each other. The Bible cautions us that “if a house be divided
against itself, that house cannot stand.” Labor needs management (and
entrepreneurs, etc) to create jobs and management needs labor in order to
make their companies successful. We are ONE nation under God. We need each
other to succeed.

Finally, what family hasn’t seen its share of sibling rivalry? The
Daughters of Jim Farrell touches on this as the three sisters struggle to
find their identity and place in the family.

Q. What is the one thing that influences your writing the most?

A. In a word—Scripture. The thing I love about writing fiction is that it’s
a nonthreatening way to share spiritual truths. Like the parables in the
Bible, story and characters can bring these truths to life.

Q. You now have eight published novels. What would you say to those writers
just starting out?

A. I would make these four recommendations:1) Get connected. That means join a critique group, go to writing
conferences and become an on-line member of associations like ACFW
(American Christian Fiction Writers) and others.

2) Learn your craft. Take no short cuts here. Learn and employ good writing
techniques and understand that good writing means LOTS of rewriting.

3) Learn about marketing. You the author will be required to do most of it
even if you are fortunate enough to be picked up by one of the Big-5
traditional publishers.

4) And finally, NEVER give up. This is generally a long and bumpy road full
of ups and downs. I personally don’t know any “overnight wonders” those who
have taken about a year to write their first book which then becomes an
over night success. Most published authors have written for years before
getting published. Remember, the spoils go to those who

Meet the author:

Born in Romania, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven
she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and
America for the first time. But the memory of those years in post World War
Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel
Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat”
gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new
country. Bambola has authored eight novels, has two grown children, and
teaches women’s Bible studies.

Connect with Sylvia Bambola:






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COTT: The Living Water Biblical Fiction Series by Stephanie Landsem

Posted by Julie on May 18, 2015 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |

This week Clash of the Titles is proud to feature Stephanie Landsem,
author of The Living Water biblical fiction series. She will carry you back
into the times of Jesus and explore beautiful truths that resonate deeply
with readers.

Let’s hear from Stephanie about her books and how she handles the
interesting challenge of writing about Jesus.


1.) What was your favorite part of writing The Living Water series?

Research is the part of writing I love best. I usually spend about a month
just doing research before I start plotting a book. I find some of my best
plot twists, characters and settings right in the pages of history. Maps
and pictures of archeological finds really help me get the feel for the
setting. As I craft the story, this research comes out and helps the reader
become fully immersed in the story.

2) How do you balance the real person of Jesus with the other characters
in your story?

I like to think of every encounter with Jesus recorded in the Bible as a
stone thrown in a pond. We know the initial splash — the cure of the man
born blind, or the raising of Lazarus — but I want to write about the
ripples. I love to imagine how these personal encounters with Jesus moved
outward in ever-widening circles to touch more people than we can even
imagine. So I start with the event described in the Bible and move outward
into imagination, always keeping in mind that Jesus knew exactly what
ripple-effect his actions would have and they would always be for his
father’s glory.

3.) What are the binding themes throughout the Well, The Thief and the
Tomb and what do hope to bring to your readers in this series?

I love the gospel of John and how it shows the very personal way in which
Jesus connected with the people of his time. Each of the stories in The
Living Water Series begin with an encounter with Jesus from John—the
Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Jesus’ relationship with Martha.
Each of these encounters were intensely personal and led to deep
conversion. I hope that in reading about these one-to-one meetings with
Jesus, readers can imagine themselves face to face with our Lord and come
to know him more deeply.



The Living Water Series are a set
of intersecting stories based on personal encounters with Jesus in the
gospel of John. The first book, The Well, is the story of the Samaritan
woman at the well told from the point of view of her daughter, Mara. Mara,
a desperate Samaritan girl, must make a dangerous journey across Galilee to
find Jesus and save her dying mother. The second book focuses on Jesus
ministry in Jerusalem, starting with the healing of the man born blind and
continuing on to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. It is told
from the perspective of a poor Jewish girl and a Roman centurion – both of
whom don’t know what to think of the so-called Messiah. The Tomb, A Novel
of Martha, is—of course—about the family of Lazarus in Bethany. It focuses
on Martha, her doubts and anxieties, and finally the desperate decision she
must make to save her brother’s life.


~ * ~


Stephanie Landsem, author of The
Living Water Series, writes historical fiction because she loves adventure
in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins,
medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is
equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and
three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde,
avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in
person or on the page.


Connect with her online:!/stephlandsem

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