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The Fictional Inauguration

Posted by Julie on January 21, 2017 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Like much of America, I’m tuned into the Inauguration. No matter who is being sworn in as our new president, I make a point to watch. I love the traditions, and yes, the fashion and looks that surround everything.

There’s also what I think is the author brain. What is this person thinking? What if that one did this gesture, or said this? What are they talking about at that tea, anyway?

I thought I’d invite you into my imagination. If you could write a story about the inauguration, what POV, point of view, would you want to write from?

-The outgoing president

-The incoming president

-The outgoing first lady

-The incoming first lady

-The outgoing vice-president

-The incoming vice-president

-A child of the outgoing president

-A child of the incoming president

-A former president attending the event

-A secret service agent on detail

-A member of the military involved

-A member of the media covering the event

-A citizen attending the event

-Someone else (Who?)


What would you write about? Would it be suspense? Romance? Thriller? I know some of you are already thinking horror, I see you.


My guess is not everyone thinks like this, but it’s a rainy day and I thought it would be fun to imagine.


Share in the comments or on Facebook. If you don’t follow me on social media, I’m everywhere, including snapchat, @JulieArduini.


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Book Review: The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling

Posted by Julie on July 16, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling.

The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling.

Bestselling author Lauraine Snelling shares a heartfelt story of a couple who put their plans for a peaceful retirement on hold to assume guardianship of their young grandchildren.

Mona and Ken Sorenson are approaching the best years of their lives. Mona’s greatest concern is that Ken will learn of the surprise party she’s planning for his retirement from his job as Dean of Students at Stone University. They’ve already been making plans to travel, spend limitless hours in the garden, and Ken is looking forward to working on his woodworking and fishing with his grandchildren. It’s what they deserve after years of careful planning.

But things begin to unravel when Ken learns that office politics are about to destroy his department. Can he really just leave, abandoning the work he spent a lifetime achieving? Mona is eager to build her event planning business with Ken’s help, but rather than supporting her, he expresses concern that the stress of the work will send her back into the depression she struggles with.

Then, just days before Ken’s last official day of work, their son, a Special Forces officer in the Army, learns he’s being immediately deployed on a six-month mission in Pakistan. Since his wife left him, the only people he trusts to care for his two young children are his parents. In an instant, everything Ken and Mona spent their lives planning changes, and they will need to find strength, both physical and mental, to become parents once more. This is not the second half they wanted, and when their son fails to contact them as planned, they struggle to trust that it is God’s plan, not theirs, that matters most.

THE SECOND HALF is a very realistic look at what I know is happening with baby boomers across the country. Ken is ready to retire and Mona is close to taking on a project she’s always wanted. They have fought hard for this season, including Mona’s depression.

Their son calls, and he’s been called overseas by the military. His ex wife wants nothing to do with their children, and the kids need a home. Between the divorce and his military lifestyle, the kids are hurting and scared. They need the stability their grandparents can provide.

I was immersed in this book because it was so realistic to me. The conflict never stopped, and I wanted to see how Ken and Mona would fare. I enjoyed that they weren’t perfect. Ken was trying to find a balance in retiring when his place of employment wasn’t doing well. Mona carried fears her depression would return. The grandchildren had issues.

The only minor problem I had in the book was the names were a bit complex and I was distracted wondering how they were pronounced. It’s so minor though, these characters will feel like family to you. I had tears by the end. I think you will, too.

To purchase THE SECOND HALF, click here.

I received THE SECOND HALF from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Unlikely Merger Authors: Our Business Influences

Posted by Julie on June 15, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

It’s a new week and more chapters are being released from Unlikely Merger at Write Integrity. If you missed last week, no worries, you can always catch up. Starting June 20 you’re able to vote on your favorite hero for Mercy to choose.


Last week here the authors shared their answers to business related questions. This week we’re letting you know who our business influences are.

We start with Carole Towriss.

Carole Towriss:

My father-in-law was drafted into the Army just after the Korean War. They pointed at several of the men and said, “You, you and you, report to the mess hall.” They taught him to cook. When got out of the service, he opened a restaurant, John’s Awful Awful (Awful Big and Awful Good). He opened a second, then later closed those and opened a Mexican restaurant, the One Accord.

He’s retired now, but I think his shops all did so well because he always concentrated on giving the best possible service to the customer. If someone walked up to the door at two minutes to close, they were greeted and served as warmly as if they got there hours earlier. I can’t count how many times I’ve been to a restaurant that had the chairs up on tables and the kitchen all but closed fifteen minutes early. I think of him every time that happens.

I think a business influence for me is George W. Bush. I know, he floundered for awhile before owning the Texas Rangers and moving into politics, and I think that’s what inspires me. He had a couple burdens to conquer—the family name and his affinity for alcohol to excess. He never gave up and has been able to laugh at himself despite never being a standout.

I think through all those years his country was important to him, and I’ll always admire that. He might not have been the perfect president, but there is no doubt that man loves America and the military.

And that’s always inspirational to me.

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COTT: Clash of the Titles Newest Champ

Posted by Julie on February 4, 2013 in COTT, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Writing |


The Champion of the December New Releases Clash is:


A Promise to Protect, by Liz Johnson
Her novel takes the honors but it went up against some formidable competitors:
The Song of the Tree,
Lotis Key


Mind of Her Own,
Diana Brandmeyer


Counterfeit Cowboy,
Lacy Williams


The Knitting Fairy,
Jaime Marsman
Thanks to all for showing up and playing with COTT this week. The voting was amazingly close for a few days, and we had well over 200 voters. Congratulations to our readers and supporters!
A few of the comments from the survey say:

I absolutely love inspirational fiction. Thank
you all for your books… I seem to always find one that speaks to my needs.

Keep on creating and inspiring.

ALL of the titles sound fabulous! It was a
tough decision. Thank you for writing such awesome books!



Anything about our Seals is a definite buy!


Sometimes it seems unfair to have to choose.
All the books look interesting. But I picked the one that I would pick up


What a wonderful list of books! Great job,

The books all look very interesting and well
worth checking out. It was very difficult making a choice and all 5 authors
should be encouraged for doing a great job.

Liz Johnson is one of my favorite authors. I
love how she develops her characters in such a way that I not only want to know
what happens in the story but I am emotionally invested in the characters.





About the Book:
Navy SEAL Matt Waterstone knows about keeping people safe. When his best friend’s sister is attacked, Matt promises no harm will come to Ashley Sawyer–not on his watch. But Matt’s not the only protective one. Ashley will do anything to safeguard the residents of the battered women’s shelter she runs. She’s sure she can handle the threats she gets in return. What she can’t handle is the way Matt scales the walls around her heart. Yet when she falls prey to a crime web more sinister than she’d realized, trusting Matt could be the only way to survive.
Buy the book on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Liz Johnson graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a
degree in public relations and works as an editorial and marketing manager at a
Christian publisher. She is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, and A Promise
to Protect is her fourth novel with Love Inspired Suspense. Liz makes her home
in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring the local music scene, and
making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her two nephews and three nieces.
She loves stories of true love with happy endings.
Keep up with Liz’s adventures
in writing at, Twitter
@LizJohnsonBooks, or book news: Ashley’s brother, Tristan, gets his own
story in SEAL Under Siege, which will release in September of this year.



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Our Service Men and Women Deserve Thanks For All They Do by Jill Schultz

Our Service Men and Women Deserve Thanks For All They Do


As our annual day of thankfulness approaches, it’s once again time to take stock of the things for which we’re grateful. We generally dwell on areas like good health, friends, and family, but we need to broaden our scope to include those blessings we tend to take for granted, particularly the freedoms offered by our country. So many places in the world do not enjoy the liberties and choices we experience day after day.


To think along these lines means appreciating the men and women around the world who have willingly stepped into harm’s way both now and in the past to keep our liberty alive. This includes both active military personnel and the defense contractor employees who today play a large role in supporting our troops all over the world and who are also putting their lives on the line.


Many of the defense contractors work to thank our military personnel by providing a little bit of home in faraway places. DynCorp International currently supports U.S. troops and civilian employees in Southern Afghanistan, and each year their food service staff creates a Thanksgiving meal for those who can’t be with their families for the holiday.


Here at home, DI and other defense contractors such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin thank our troops by supporting their families and by hiring soldiers when their military service ends. Once hired, our former warriors give to us again through volunteer work performed as employees of these various companies.

Along with being a strategic partner of the Hire Our Heroes program and a member of the Veterans Employment Advisory Council (VEAC), Lockheed Martin employees participate in a number of community volunteer efforts including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education outreach activities and their Employee Disaster Relief Fund.


Similarly, Raytheon Corporation  helps former military personnel make the transition back to civilian life with their Wounded Warrior Project and is also committed to community outreach in math and science education as well as support to local communities. This includes volunteering, charitable giving and contributions.


So this year, when you number all the things you’re grateful for, remember all that our service men and women have done–and are still doing–to make our lives and our communities richer in so many ways.

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Guest Blogger Jill Schultz: It Takes a Strong Leader to be an Army Chaplain

Posted by Julie on September 28, 2012 in God's Word, Guest blogger, Speaking |

It takes a Strong Leader to be an Army Chaplain

Being an Army Chaplain is a career that not only helps our country and the great men fighting for our country but it’s a career that can transition into civilian life after your service and will allow you to continue to help people in many different capacities.

Qualities and prerequisites to become an Army chaplain
The Army requires certain qualities in being a leader and these need to be exhibited in a chaplain since they will be a spiritual leader. An interested recruit needs to show self-discipline, initiative, confidence and intelligence. Leaders make decisions quickly, always focusing on completing the mission successfully – this is no different for a chaplain who must make quick moral decisions, bear ultimate moral responsibility for those decisions and focus on keeping morale high in time of war.

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To be an officer in the Army Chaplain Corp, you must obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement from your faith group. This will certify that you are a clergy person in your denomination or faith group and are qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally to serve as a Chaplain in the Army. You must possess a baccalaureate degree of at least 120 semester hours and hold a master’s degree in divinity or a graduate degree in theological studies, which includes at least 72 hours.

Chaplaincy Training

Chaplains do not go through Basic Training but rather attends the Chaplain Officer Basic Course, (CHOBC)

to learn core skills of a non-combatant, Army writing and specific training to help you succeed as a chaplain in any environment. Once this is complete, an Army chaplain begins service immediately as a staff officer. An Army chaplain will not be required or allowed to bear arms as part of their military duties.

Chaplains serve in many environments
Much of the work that chaplains do are one-on-one support with soldiers and their families. However, chaplains are sent wherever troops are deployed. This means they are in the barracks, offices, training areas, as well as in combat zones ministering to men and women of all faiths, denominations, and persuasions. They must be able to work in environments that house many beliefs and respect those differing religions without compromising their own beliefs.

Army chaplains are necessary to the success of the Army’s mission
The main responsibility of an Army chaplain is to care for the spiritual well-being of Soldiers and families. In this end, providing spiritual leadership to such a large group requires special patience and a unique calling. When deployed with troops, they bring religious stability to the post through performing religious ceremonies in accordance with their respective faith as well as providing advice to all deployed soldiers and personnel in regards to religion and morals and have an intricate part in boosting morale.

While deployed, a crucial part of a chaplains’ duties included providing religious ministries to not only our troops but also to offer religious support to armed service personnel and civilians from the US, other foreign nations and agencies as needed. Many government contractors such as DynCorp and Raytheon are working hand in hand with our troops overseas to bring peace in many parts of the world and benefit from having an Army chaplain as a resource.

About Jill Schultz:

Jill works from home and really is a “jack of all trades.” She loves the flexibility of her freelance career and that it gives her the opportunity to research such a wide variety of subjects. Though she tends to focus on career advice and government-related topics, she can write on just about any niche you throw her way. She is an excellent researcher and loves to put pen to paper.

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