Surrender fear, loss, & Change with Julie Arduini

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Book Club Launches Tuesday

Posted by Julie on October 10, 2016 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

fall-book-club-1_edited

When I was sent to the assistant principal’s office in middle school it wasn’t for mouthing off or fighting. Nope, I got in trouble for reading ahead.

Story of my life.

Reading remains my favorite relaxation. Although most of my time is invested in writing, I love sitting down with a good book. I long to talk to people about it.

Starting Tuesday, I’m combining writing and reading by launching my Fall Book Club. My plan is to connect with fellow readers and start reading and discussing my first contemporary romance, ENTRUSTED. We will discuss the chapters, and I’ll share behind-the-scenes features with characters, chapters, plot, and the Adirondacks. I’ll talk about the writing process. Some weeks will feature other authors and an interview with them, as well as “free surprises.” Once we finish ENTRUSTED, we’ll move onto ENTANGLED. Hopefully, ENGAGED will be after that. If not, we will read the third installment of the Surrendering Time series. I also look forward to reading books from my favorite authors.

Tuesday’s meeting is a kick-off with no reading required. I want us to get to know each other and I’ll release the reading schedule. After that, we’ll meet weekly.

Here’s more information:

The Surrendering Time series is an entertaining yet reflective adventure to the Adirondack Mountains. Each book takes an element of time (past, present, future) and explores through flawed and humorous characters what a surrender journey looks like.

In ENTRUSTED, Jenna Anderson leaves her Ohio hometown for the unknown in Speculator Falls. She’s determined to make her new job as senior center work and become one of the locals.

Ben Regan’s family is the backbone of Speculator Falls and he’s made a vow to protect the rural village. When his grandfather passes away and his former girlfriend leaves without even saying goodbye, Ben’s determined to prevent further transition in his life.

But Jenna produces a lot of change for Ben in a book about surrendering the present fears we have about change and wanting to belong.

BOOK CLUB KICK-OFF:

Tuesday, October 11, 8pm, EDT
Julie Arduini’s Facebook Author Page
Format: I’ll paste a graphic a few minutes ahead of time saying that all our discussion will take place under the picture. You might need to refresh, if so, hit F5.

To purchase ENTRUSTED: click HERE.

 

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Surprised by Tears by Teri Wangard

Posted by Julie on September 22, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Surprised by Tears

Five years have passed since my mom died. Her final years brought significant back pain from a narrowing of the spinal column, or something like that. We used to range far and wide on bicycles; she had to give up bike riding. She stopped driving. She couldn’t even go for a walk. To get anywhere required holding onto someone’s arm.

Her life contracted to the house with visits to the therapy pool at the YMCA.

And then dementia began destroying her mind. She’d put plastic bowls in the oven. She forgot how to spell. Children’s books became her preferred reading.

Staying patient with her wasn’t always easy. When I had full care of her during my dad’s absence, she insisted he didn’t want to bother with her anymore. I kept telling her, he’s on a business trip, he’ll be back. She would not be consoled.

There were times I wished she would die. There is, after all, no more pain or crying in Heaven. She was no longer living; merely existing. A painful, confusing existence. What’s the point in this suffering?

And then she died. She is free from pain and crying and sorrow. But we are not. Five years has passed, and sometimes, still, the grief strikes fresh.

While cleaning the house, I decided to look through the half dozen boxes stacked in the tiny sewing room. They contained remnants of yarn. Mom was a prolific knitter and sewer. As I pulled out the skeins, I remembered their use. I remembered when she fell on ice and broke her arm. She had completed one mitten of a new set for me and wanted to finish its mate before I returned to college after Christmas break. With her arm in a cast, she couldn’t knit, and was so frustrated.

I remembered trying to sew a new top for the first day of a school year. I had to rush off to orientation, my sewing unfinished. I returned home, wondering what I’d wear, and discovered she had finished it.

Holding that yarn, the tears fell. The agony and horror of her last years are fading, and the memories of the good years are pushing forward. And I miss my mom. The mom who could be found in the church kitchen stirring up Kool-Aid during Vacation Bible School. The mom who helped plan and hosted a birthday party for two friends and me, born just days apart, with the church youth group.

She was very much an involved mother. Mom had the gift of service. Had she been old enough during World War II, I could imagine her serving as a Red Cross doughnut girl. For my new release, Soar Like Eagles, I named my main character for her. And I dedicate this book to her.

Carol wants to do her part for the war, but can she maintain her ideals?

Chet joins the air force, hoping to find peace.

Carol joins the Red Cross, serving doughnuts  and coffee to GIs in England. Convinced wartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she avoids entanglements. She transfers to France, away from Chet, the B-17 navigator who tempts her to throw caution to the wind.

Chet’s father and brothers always belittled him. Now a squadron lead navigator, he longs to prove them wrong. He’s been offered a terrific job with PanAm after the war, but has several close calls in combat.

Carol and Chet continually cross paths. Do they dare make plans for a future together?

terri-wangard_editedTerri Wangard’s first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her occupied as an associate editor. Her first two books, Friends and Enemies and No Neutral Ground, were published earlier this year, but the publisher went out of business one month before the third book in her WWII series was to release. All three books will be released by Celebrate Lit later this year.

www.terriwangard.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

 

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CD Review: Live On Forever by The Afters

Posted by Julie on September 11, 2016 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

From Moses to Job to Jesus, the most intrepid heroes in scripture knew times of trouble that multiplied like a plague-—but always led, in the end, to mighty celebration.

It’s easy to assume such stories of trial and triumph are for the Bible’s books or the history books. But miracles happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of the Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, Live on Forever began during a season of tragedy.

Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—-part of the worship team—-was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.

But Live on Forever still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise-—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God.

“If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says. “Look at the titles we’ve selected: They reflect themes of ‘rise up, get up, God has your back, you’re not in this alone.’ We thought, ‘Let’s encourage people and let this be a weapon for people’s faith: something they can hold onto.’”

Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy.

“I remember going to that funeral and seeing a casket that was way smaller than any casket should ever be.” Havens recalls. “I will never understand why tragedies like that happen in this life. It was in that moment of loss and sadness that our thoughts turned to eternity. ‘What is heaven going to be like? We began writing ‘Live On Forever’ and pulled from Revelation where it describes heaven as a place where there’s no more pain, no more crying, no more suffering.”

The Afters have a new release, LIVE ON FOREVER, a CD that took two years to create. In that time, the band suffered loss after loss, and each of their experiences molded what became the music for LIVE ON FOREVER. The members share their losses on their website, and it is well worth the read. Even in grief, they realize God is ever-present and caring.

LIVE ON FOREVER is a great Christian pop CD to listen to for encouragement and uplifting. There’s nothing in their music that reveals the depth of their pain and grief, and I think it’s a testament to how faithful they believe God is, and we get the results of that with upbeat music. LIVE ON FOREVER is already well known, but I also really enjoyed SHADOWS and BATTLES. I enjoyed each song, but the first two really stayed with me in both beat and lyrics.

I highly recommend LIVE ON FOREVER if you enjoy a good pop beat with a positive message. If these band members can endure the losses they did and come out with these uplifting songs and messages, I think they deserve a listen.

PURCHASE LIVE ON FOREVER

I received a CD for review purposes in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Northern Light by Annette O’Hare

Posted by Julie on August 5, 2016 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
Northern Light by Annette O'Hare

Northern Light by Annette O’Hare

Civil War has robbed Margaret Logan of all she holds dear, including her beloved New Orleans home and her fiancé. When her family moves to the desolate Bolivar Peninsula to manage a lighthouse that is no longer there, all her hopes for a normal future are dashed. Her world is rocked once again when a wounded Yankee soldier washes ashore needing her help. Despite her contempt for the North, Margaret falls in love with Thomas Murphy. As their love blooms, Margaret’s sister is overcome with neurosis, and her mind slowly slips away. Bitterness, psychosis and depression yield a decision fueled by contempt. Will one fatal choice cause Margaret to lose the man she loves and condemn Thomas to death?

I wish I could write historical romance, because I love to read it. When I learned that there was a review opportunity for a civil war romance, I jumped at it because that’s my favorite time period.

Northern Light did not disappoint.

Margaret is a single young woman living in Bolivar Peninsula grieving the loss of her fiancé who died in the war. It’s not her only loss. Her family had to leave New Orleans and her sister is falling ill, a consequence of the war. The last thing she wants to do is get involved in any aspect of the war, especially when it comes to anything yankee.

She then comes across a Yankee solider who is near death. Her family takes him in and nurses him back to health, something Margaret struggles with despite her Christian upbringing. Thanks to her parent’s example and their prayers, she overcomes her grief and bitterness, only to be threatened to go through it all over again.

This is a solid story that put me smack dab in the south during the war. It felt authentic and I could feel Margaret’s pain and conflict. The characters were all well-developed and well-researched, including Margaret’s attempt to make a meal for Thomas that is ripe of his Irish history. The secondary story of Margaret’s story is one I never thought about when it came to the war. It’s moving and heartbreaking and enhances an already great story.

If you love historicals, are a fan of the Civil War, and read romance, Northern Light is a must read.

To purchase Northern Light, click here

I received Northern Light in exchange for an honest review.

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The Comfort of Full House and Wind Chimes

Posted by Julie on July 20, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

The words for my 2016 are perspective and fierce. Perspective has kept me in check through transition I never saw coming. Fierce? I’m not feeling it, but I’m still reflecting on it.

With the year more than half over, we’ve hit a lot of those stress lists where counselors tell you to only endure one or two. We’ve…

-Had two major job changes

-A wedding

-A graduation

-Two book releases

-Health stuff

and last week, Tom’s dad passed away.

If I had not survived a season similar to this, I’d be reeling. I’m hanging on to God’s word, praying a lot, letting tears come, being honest with my feelings and watching Full House.

Not the re boot, but the original. Early in the summer we ditched cable and a friend knew our daughter loves Full House. He gave her every episode on DVD.

Every.

Episode.

You know that show lasted 8 seasons, right?

That means there is a lot of Uncle Jesse.

Funny thing is, a lot of times I’m in the same room when our daughter is and that’s what she has one. At first I was annoyed because I watched it as a teen real time, then as a step-mom when kids visited, then as a nursing mom, and now with her. I know the episodes. I can tell you the next line and what actors played two different characters. I know this show.

And as the summer goes on, I realize when I have the opportunity to turn off the television, I let it play.

Because with such a topsy-turvy year, the show is comforting.

It’s wholesome and light, even with a single dad and girls who miss their mom. There is love and family. Commitment. Laughter.

Full House and Wind Chimes

Full House and Wind Chimes

We also received kind gifts as we grieve. Tom’s work gave us customized wind chimes that play the opening measures to Amazing Grace. I hung them out on our deck and the chimes are so soothing. As I tended to a little crisis outside, the chimes kept me calm.

It’s the little things, isn’t it?

There’s nothing big to take away from this post, just a confession that Full House isn’t driving me crazy but actually helping. Wind chimes soothe me.

What everyday items help you when things are going crazy around you?

 

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Celebrate Summer with a FREE and .99 Read!

Posted by Julie on June 19, 2016 in About Me, Julie Arduini |

Oneday_editedNOTE: If you receive this blog via email, the sale might already have started.

Although Ohio has seen 90+ temps already (and snow in May,) it is now summer. One of my favorite things to do is watch our daughter swim and have a book on the deck.

And now, I want to put a couple books in YOUR hands.

If you enjoy the feel of a “real” book, I priced ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED so you could buy both and spend less than $20. Typically, you would see a full length novel sell for $15 each. I believe that much in these stories getting to people and changing lives.

If you have a Kindle, or a tablet, laptop, desktop or phone that you use for reading, I am having a sale on the ebook versions of ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21. Remember, if you don’t have a Kindle, download the FREE Kindle app to your device and start reading!

ENTRUSTED will be FREE. Yep, no cost at all.

ENTANGLED will be .99. You can purchase both books in the Surrendering Time Series (book 3, ENGAGED, due later this year) for .99 ebooks. That’s how to say hello to summer!

About ENTRUSTED:

ENTRUSTED will be FREE (ebook/Kindle version) Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21.

ENTRUSTED will be FREE (ebook/Kindle version) Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21.

Purchase Link: http://ow.ly/RGOs301mVag (Please check to make sure you’ve selected preferred format, and that the ebook sale started. It is slated to begin Monday, June 20, approximately 12am Pacific.)

“You need to go home, city-girl. You don’t belong.”

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS and a determination to fit in as the newest resident. She wants to live a life without regret and make a difference. Moving to become the senior center director is the biggest risk she’s ever taken, and she believes her ideas are worth investing in. The senior citizens have been hurt by the last director, so Jenna has to work hard to earn their trust. When they embrace her, she thinks it’s time to show the seniors she intends to stay and make the center beautiful for them.

Town councilman and grocer Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving from the double loss of his grandfather’s passing and his former girlfriend leaving town without saying goodbye. His grief is so strong he wants to shut down the senior center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. Re opening the senior center and hiring a new director was never his plan. Jenna isn’t a Speculator Falls local and she has too many plans that will cost money the village doesn’t have. She’s too excited about his dream to expand the store his grandfather built. The harder he tries to keep Jenna at a distance, the more they are thrown together to work on community projects. They build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

About ENTANGLED:

ENTANGLED will be .99 ebook Monday and Tuesday.

ENTANGLED will be .99 ebook Monday and Tuesday.

Purchase Link: http://ow.ly/1ryi301mVyX (Please check to make sure you’ve selected preferred format, and that the ebook sale started. It is slated to begin Monday, June 20, approximately 12am Pacific.)
“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?



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