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Sunday Sabbath: The Duck in the Lake

June2015duck

It’s so easy when we look around to absolutely freak out at what we’re seeing, hearing and believing.

The God that created the duck also created you and me.

As I watched this little guy travel around the lake in Speculator, New York, I realized what a picture of peace he is.

And he might look lazy but I think under the water where I can’t see, he’s getting the job done.

I might not be the loudest voice on your newsfeed but I can say this: underneath the water, I’m praying.

For the root cause behind the flags and the rainbows. For wounded people wounding people. And so much more.

Prayer is key.

Prayer changes things.

Prayer gives peace.

May Christ’s peace be yours today.

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Kelly Tough, Part One

81g0HcX146L._SL1500_I’m going to take two days to cover and review Kelly Tough by Erin and Jill Kelly. Today I want to give the backstory on why I wanted to review this book.

Most everyone knows I’m from Upstate NY. Although my hometown is Corning, I received my BA from the State University of New York at Geneseo. It was 1990-92 when I was there.

The school for the most part was divided into two categories: Upstate NY and NYC/Long Island. Now remember the time frame. Come Superbowl time, it was the Buffalo Bills and NY Giants. Talk about a battle. No, not the football teams. My friends.

When it came down to that one kick that unfortunately didn’t give the Bills a win, my dorm shook. No lie. The uproar between upstate and downstate probably scored on the Reichter scale.

Those were the Jim Kelly years and Geneseo was close enough to Buffalo somehow as an Upstate-er I felt a connection. There were times we heard the players used our track or were on their way to party at the exact places we were at. We had friends of friends of friends who had been to parties. He was part of my college scene by association and again, with that Superbowl moment, embedded into my college memories for life.

It seemed fitting as I graduated and moved on, the Bills kind of faded as well, at least as far Superbowl invitations and national fanfare. I’d hear Jim Kelly news here and there but I was busy carving out my place in Upstate NY.

The next phase where I felt a connection was after college, after marriage, after children. I was evolving as a woman of faith—not as tied to approval as I once was, but still not where I am today. It was the darkest time of my life. My dad was dying. My husband was on the precipice of moving to Ohio for a new job. Our baby was still sick with multiple breathing issues that often had her hospitalized. I wasn’t healed from her near death and how it came at a doctor’s hand. I heard about a women’s luncheon at our local radio station where Jill Kelly would be sharing. I knew Jill was married to Jim and that they had the little boy, Hunter. I thought it would be a nice break to see what she had to say.

Jill’s testimony remains a spiritual marker in my life. As she shared life with Hunter she talked about how each ER visit to them could mean his last. Our situations were different yet I knew that fear she spoke of. How many ER trips we’d endured. Our pede even gave me his personal cell in case I needed it. He had to convince me she was going to live to see her first birthday. When Jill spoke, the grief imploded and I sobbed as she spoke. She was so honest about her past and where her faith was at that moment. Where Jim was at spiritually. Then she shared a verse that was helping her through it all—the therapies, the ER visits, caring for her daughters, encouraging Jim.

 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

I grabbed that verse and held on for dear life as we navigated more grief, sickness and change. I followed the headlines as Hunter left this world. I never forgot that verse. As our daughter stabilized I prayed for the Kelly family. I couldn’t even fathom the depth of their grief.

Fast forward and I then read about Jim’s cancer. I lifted up prayers and continued to follow headlines. When I read the cancer came back, I felt my gut drop. I wanted to do something for them, still remembering how Jill’s talk gave me the courage to move forward in faith. How so many great college memories were intertwined with Jim and the Bills. The only thing I could think of was to pray. I wrote one out on the Facebook page, returning that same verse to them in their great time of need.

During this time I saw Erin’s posts on social media. As difficult as her situation was, a young woman already fluent in grief, sharing their journey to encourage others. I saw such a gift in her writing and a maturity in her faith.

And here we are. Kelly Tough is Erin’s account of her life and faith and I want to say more than that, but I’ll wait for my review tomorrow. But for a family I’ve never met, somehow when I read the Kelly name, I always perked up.

And I think I always will.

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Crumbs and Embers Now Available

Posted by Julie on February 6, 2015 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Last year I offered monthly installments of Match Made in Heaven, a contemporary romance based in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. It was my way of thanking newsletter subscribers for joining me on the journey. It was a fun novella and well received.DSCN0729

When I asked what readers wanted this year, they asked for a sequel. Earlier this week I unveiled the first installment of Crumbs and Embers, the follow-up to Match Made in Heaven.

Although Crumbs and Embers can stand alone, new subscribers receive Match Made in Heaven as my thanks for signing up, and all subscribers receive the monthly installments of Crumbs and Embers.

Wendy Bass is the Hammondsport Senior Complex director and she’s good at what she does. She’s organized and looking out for the seniors and their future. When a curve ball comes, it leaves her reeling.

Derek Spencer arrives in Hammondsport with his work cut out for him. He’s ready to make changes when he sees something familiar in Wendy’s reaction to his presence. He wants to reach out, but to do so, he’s got to share his past. And that’s something he vowed to keep hidden.

Can Wendy let go of her control and allow Derek in? Will Derek push past his skeletons to show Wendy a path to freedom?

Curious? I’d love for you to read more. To receive Crumbs and Embers, subscribe for free to my newsletter by completing the form in the left sidebar of my website. Make sure you watch for activation in your inbox and all folders.

If you’ve read the first installment, what did you think?

Crumbs and Embers is on Pinterest, as is all my writing. Check everything out here.

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Entrusted: My Interview with Heroine Jenna Anderson

Posted by Julie on December 15, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

This week I’m featuring interviews with the characters from my debut romance, Entrusted. If you need a stocking stuffer for the reader in your life, I hope meeting these fun characters will encourage you to purchase this Adirondack surrender read.

Entrusted starts out with you getting in a bit of trouble. Is that what you’re about, Jenna?

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedNot really. I think a more accurate statement is I find myself in unusual predicaments. Often. I still say that my little incident was all my GPS. Not me.

You spent most of your life in Youngstown, Ohio. What made you leave the area for the mountains?

I spent most of my childhood with an elderly neighbor who was a dear friend. Florence Owens made me promise before she passed away that I would live life to the fullest. After her death I looked around and realized my job didn’t leave room for advancement. I needed change. I found an ad in a rural magazine about a job opening and I called. When the call ended, I had a new job in Speculator Falls, NY.

One of the first people you meet is Carla Rowling. Tell us about her.

I was scared of her at first because she was meeting me on official business as the sheriff, but I quickly realized she was going to be a great friend. She’s warm, funny, sensitive and a great mom to Noah.

You seem to worry about not belonging, yet Pastor Reynolds comes to you for advice. How did that make you feel?

Honored. He’s a respected man in the community and I don’t think what I did by moving to Speculator Falls was that inspirational. And given how Ben reminds me at every chance that I’m not from the area, I’m sure there were better people to talk to than me. But I’m happy he chose me.

Speaking of Ben Regan, tell me about him.

Well, the first meeting didn’t go well. Nor did the second or probably the third. But once I realized it wasn’t so much personal against me but protecting himself from further hurt, he was easier to take. And those muscles from stocking shelves, that’s a perk to visiting JB’s. Ben also has the richest brown eyes. Like chocolate.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Interacting with the senior citizens. They are wonderful people and I’ve learned a lot from them. At my old job in Ohio I didn’t have a lot of direct and consistent contact with them. I’m building deep relationships with everyone at the senior center and I love it.

What do you love about Speculator Falls?

That it’s like family here. The smells. I can’t begin to describe how wonderful it smells outside. The pine and air is so pure and fresh. Sara Bivins took me to the hunting cabin and showed me the journal everyone signs when they visit. That’s a precious memory for me.

What’s your biggest challenge?

I have a few. The senior center needs updating and that costs money. Ben is on the council and he’s definitely not rooting for the center to make it. Quite the opposite, actually. Howard Wheaton is a senior who is a bit grumpy with me, but I think he’s a teddy bear. Kyle Swarthmore is a mogul from New Jersey who has a summer home in the area. He’s nice to me, but I think he has an agenda. I’m on a campaign to have the food service to realize that a dessert is not a fruit cup. It’s chocolate. And, I’m homesick. I miss my parents and sister.

Jenna, thanks for sharing today. I think readers got a great glimpse of you and Speculator Falls.

Great! I hope readers take a chance on us and purchase Entrusted today.

This interview first published at Inspy Romance.

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Entrusted Now Available for Purchase!

Posted by Julie on November 9, 2014 in About Me, Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

 

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedEntrusted Now Available for Purchase

Adirondack Care Package Drawing in December

Thanks for allowing this quick update apart from the monthly newsletter.

Entrusted is now available in Kindle and paperback versions through Amazon. I’m excited to share Ben, Jenna and the Adirondacks with everyone.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and 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?

Purchase Entrusted HERE

If you enjoy Entrusted, leaving a positive review is vital. Go to Goodreads, Amazon, etc…

  • Be sure to share what it was specifically you liked about the book.
  • Don’t give spoilers or too many details.
  • Don’t share that you want people to buy because you are a family member or friend. Let your review speak for itself.
  • If you are someone who was given the book for review purposes, be sure to mention that.

I’m also looking for street team members to join my Facebook Group to help spread the word. These members are also known as influencers. I will share links or updates for street team members to share throughout their blogs and social media. If you would like to do this please contact me at juliearduini@juliearduini.com.

Street Team Members who share will be eligible for an Adirondack care package I will give away in December. I’ll have an update in the next newsletter.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Have a blessed week!
Julie

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Author Blog Hop: Getting to Know Me, Julie Arduini

Posted by Julie on May 29, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Laura Hilton and June Foster invited me to do a blog hop in which I answer the following questions about my writing:

What am I working on?
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Why do I write what I do?
How does your writing process work?

I haven’t really done something like this before, but I figured I’d give it a shot, because these are questions I haven’t seen before. In addition to answering the questions, I also need to choose 3 other people to answer these same questions on their blogs. I’ll list those 3 at the end. I hope you visit them.

What Am I Working On?

That’s a great question. You might want to get a snack, because we could be here awhile.

I have two active fiction projects right now. The first is editing Untangled, the contemporary romance I started as part of NaNoWriMo 2012. This is the second in my Adirondack series, and it’s Carla Rowlings turn to share her story. I’m having so much fun with this. In Spectacular Falls she was the single mom sheriff who became Jenna’s best friend. Now she’s been given the opportunity to attend cosmetology school, but she doesn’t feel worth it because of past mistakes she’s made. Carla’s also raising a teenager, and she’s scared Noah might repeat her mistakes. And it’s hard to forget her choices when Noah’s dad is back on the scene, causing trouble between her and her flannel-loving boyfriend, Will Marshall. And then there’s Daniel Garrett, tightly wound beauty school student. Yep, I’m having a lot of fun. Check out my Pinterest board for Untangled.

The second is Match Made in Heaven. This was a little story I wrote years ago that was really rough, but I loved the characters. I decided to re write it and share it with my newsletter subscribers throughout 2014. This has been a great success.  Beth Prescott didn’t know when she took the job at the Hammondsport Senior Complex that the senior citizens would spend their time matchmaking her with their grandsons. She’s focused on doing a great job despite personal challenges, and she’s still burned from her last relationship. When she runs into Dean Kellerman, he’s interested in paying his grandfather back for his kindness, something Dean knows he didn’t deserve. The two keep getting thrown together in the same events, and it’s been amusing to watch the sparks fly. If you’d like to receive Match Made in Heaven, subscribe for free in the right sidebar of juliearduini.com, and watch your inbox for activation. Check out my Pinterest board for Match Made in Heaven.

The third is a devotional for Chalfont House on infertility. Heidi Glick, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery, Donna Winters and myself are sharing our infertility experiences and embedding them with prayers, hope, and Scripture. As we edit each other we keep saying this is the book we wanted when we were going through this. Stay tuned!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’m intentional about writing romances that deal with surrender issues and have Upstate NY settings. Spectacular Falls, Untangled, and one I need to revise, To Be Determined, are all set in the Adirondack Mountains. Match Made in Heaven showcases another gem, the Finger Lakes area. I also write in my tagline that I’m not quite ready to surrender the chocolate, so that usually gets a mention, too.

20130421_132718 (2)

Charlie Johns grocery store in Speculator, NY is my inspiration for JB’s in my Adirondack romance, Spectacular Falls.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

I find it funny that I write contemporary romance because it’s usually my last choice for movies and shows. I do love a romance with great writing and chemistry, like Return to Me and The Proposal. I also think I write this because “offline” I tend to encourage women and share on a fairly deep level and it is emotionally draining. I like the escape fiction brings, and I know there are a lot of readers searching for answers that I believe my work can give. I was called by God to write for Him. I trust Him to take care of the rest.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I shared a little of that earlier this year with Valerie Comer. Aside from plotting, I’m constantly listening for God’s voice and believe He leads me. I feel I’m a reader first, so when I write my goal is to create something character-driven that keeps me reading. To bring constant conflict and twists readers can’t see coming, but love when they happen. It’s always at my laptop, and usually as I sit on the living room couch.

I hope this has given you some insight about me and my writing.

Now, these are the authors I’ve tagged, and the ones that tagged me. I hope you check them out!

Laura HiltonLaura is an award winning author, a pastor’s wife, married over twenty-five years and has five children. She homeschools, writes book reviews and books. Her books include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, Promised to Another, Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. The Snow Globe will release in September 2014 and Swept Away in November.

June FosterJune Foster is a retired teacher who travels full time with her husband in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She grew up in El Paso, Texas but moved to the magnificent northwest after she retired from teaching. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba labtop in 2010 as she and her husband sailed along the interstate. Now June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. Her novel Ryan’s Father will be available from WhiteFire Publishing in January 2014.

Heidi Glick—The youngest (and perhaps loudest) of three children, I was born in Lancaster, PA (think Amish country). At the ripe old age of six, this sinner found a Savior, and so it’s no surprise that I write inspirational suspense stories.I’m married to my college sweetheart, John, and live in a northern suburb of Cincinnati. John and I have two dogs (a Chihuahua and a Schipperke) and a happy baby boy.Interesting facts about me include I’ve visited 46 states; I’ve lived in California, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Canada; I’ve had someone nab my bag from me at the Las Vegas airport; I’ve been hit by a car; and I’ve been extricated from a overturned vehicle using the Jaws of Life.

Elizabeth MaddreyElizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.

She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.

Paula MoweryI’m a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool Mom. I’m also a Christian writer. My articles have appeared in Woman’s World and in my ongoing column on http://christianonlinemagazine.com/. I also write Christian fiction. My debut novella, THE BLESSING SEER came out July 6, 2012 from Pelican Book Group. The sequel, BE THE BLESSING, released Sept. 13, 2013. I am an author and acquisitions editor with Prism Book Group. My story, Forgiven, is in the anthology, Brave New Century which released Nov. 13, 2013. This book appeared on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers in Religious Historical Fiction.



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