Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Succoring Us in Our Afflictions

By Lisa Rector

Part of Christ succoring us is not only giving us strength or patience to endure out infirmities, but also allowing a moment when the Spirit confirms a comforting truth that heals us emotionally and spiritually. “This is the power the Savior extends to us to succor us in our trials.” (Darren Wilcox, October 2017 Ensign) This is the power that comes to us through His atonement.

For example, we know that when our loved ones die, we don’t really lose them. They are waiting for us on the other side of the veil. But in the midst of our grief and affliction, we are often so weighed down by our sorrows that, until we receive again the confirming witness of the Spirit, re-declaring to us what we already know, our darkness won’t lift and turn to light. But as long as we put forth effort—studying and praying to God and trusting in His son, eventually that confirmation will come and bring us relief. It may come in a light-bulb moment, when darkness turns to light, after we go through our own personal Gethsemane and experience the darkness and bitterness.

I have felt the darkness turned to light. I have had my own light-bulb moment when the Spirit confirmed a spiritual truth to my soul that healed me from depression. I know there is power in the atonement to heal us. The Savior truly does succor us in our afflictions.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Student and the Slave: an Adventure Novel with a Giveaway

Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase! This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard

The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

The Collar and the Cavvarach by Annie Douglass Lima
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: 


Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?


Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.


The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass LimaBook 2: The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?


Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.



And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!




Book 3: The Student and the Slave

Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?


Check out this except!


Excerpt 19
In this excerpt, Steene discovers that just being a slave is enough to place a person under suspicion.

“In a hurry to get away?” said a voice behind him. Steene turned. The two Watch officers had followed him out onto the platform. 
“I’m looking for my next train.”
“Really?” One of them gestured to the empty tracks beside them. “Unfortunately, there isn’t one handy to get you out of here at the moment. Thought you could get away from us?”
Steene stared at them, puzzled. “I didn’t even realize you were behind me. I have somewhere to go.”
“Do you?” said the other man. “You wouldn’t happen to have a pass that says you’re actually allowed to go there, would you?” Judging by his tone of voice, he was certain Steene didn’t.
“As a matter of fact.” Steene pulled it out and handed it over, irritated that they assumed he must be doing something underhanded just because he was a slave. Or perhaps because he was a slave who hadn’t been submissive enough to give up his seat the moment some free arrogant jerk demanded it.


Of course, I am doing something underhanded. I’m on my way to mail a letter talking about plans for my escape. But that wasn’t the point.


Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!




About the Author:
Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.



Connect with the Author Online:
Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com
Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon
LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn
Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus


Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!




Books by Annie Douglass Lima:
Student poetry anthologies edited by Annie Douglass Lima:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Music of Her Heart Blog Tour with a Giveaway!



Sophie Dawson is back with a new book! Just published on November 16th! It's all about music and a marriage forced on them by circumstances. Can Red and Gema make things work?

About the Book

 Red Dickerson is shocked to see a young woman running through the woods in the freezing rain. He’d gone to the far end of Hawk’s Wing Ranch to think after his engagement was broken by the woman he planned to marry. Recognizing her as Gema Volkovichna, one of the women from Sanctuary House, he spurs his horse to go after her. Finding she’s escaped after being kidnapped by the infamous King Gang, he vows to keep her safe. 


Gema Volkovichna is one of the newest women to come to Sanctuary House in Stones Creek, Colorado. She came to find work and possibly a husband. When a spring blizzard forces them to spend three days alone in a line shack, there’s only one conclusion. She and Red must marry to salvage her reputation.

Can Gema and Red learn to be husband and wife? Will love grow from this forced marriage? Will the King Gang return to reclaim what they lost? Can Red and Gema learn to dance together to the MUSIC of HER HEART?




About the Author


Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.


Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie has branched out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.

Sophie lives with her husband and very old cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.


Excerpt

Red suggests bundling

They'd finished the stew and Gema was working on the tangles in her hair. Red could tell she was still very cold. Her hands trembled as she brushed. Every so often her entire body shook, her shivering trying to warm itself.
Red was standing behind her, leaning against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. He’d placed the bowls in a bucket of water. They could be washed in the morning.
How was he going to suggest what he knew needed to be done? He’d been in a similar circumstance before when he and several other cowboys got caught out in a blizzard. It was awkward enough with men. But with a man and a woman— That just made their situation and its outcome even more inevitable.
He was still chilly but nowhere near how cold to the very core he knew she’d gotten. That was so very hard to relieve.
Red stood and rubbed his face with his hands. No point in putting it off. Gema needed to be warmed so she didn’t succumb to lung fever. It was a real possibility. It looked as if her hair was dry. That was good. Having a wet head, everyone knew, could lead to lung fever. He moved in front of her and squatted down.
“Miss Gema? Are you any warmer now that you’re all dry?” A violent shudder jerked through her. Red took the small hand that still had the bluish cast to it in his. “Miss Gema— Gema. There’s a way to get you warm. I haven’t suggested it before because— well, you’re a woman, a single woman trapped here with me, a single man.”
She lifted her eyelids, and the pool of her deep blue eyes studied his face warily.
“It’s bundling. We share the warmth of the bed. Our body heat trapped beneath the blankets creates sort of a cocoon. My body heat will warm you.”
Gema’s eyes got wide. Shock was written on her face.
“No, Honey. We’ll both be fully clothed. You can even put on some of my trousers if you want.” He pointed to the tan canvas pants folded on a corner of the table. “And socks. I have a pair you can wear. That will help you too.” Red got up and retrieved the items.
Another shudder wracked her body as he set the garments in her lap. She needed to agree soon, or he was afraid she’d become ill.
“I—I need to— before.” Gema’s face turned bright red.
He figured out what her problem was. “Oh, yeah. I’ll just go check the animals. There’s the chamber pot.” He pointed to the corner. Grabbing his coat and hat, Red donned them and fled out the door. He’d give her plenty of time to finish her business before he returned. He’d take care of his needs too.

Giveaway



In honor of the Music of Her Heart Blog Tour, Sophie is giving away one print copy of Music of Her Heart along with an autographed tote bag. Also, two Kindle copies will be awarded. Winners will be notified by email – keep your eyes open for an email from Sophie Dawson. You can enter here: http://sophiesgiveaways.com/giveaways/music-of-her-heart-giveaway/


Tour Schedule



November 16
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 17
Reveries Reviews – Review
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Spotlight

November 18
Peggy's Hope 4 U – Author Interview
Little Bits Blog – Excerpt

November 19

November 20
Shout out – Book Spotlight
Bookish Orchestrations – Winner Announcement

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Comes Early: An 8 Book Blog Tour

Christmas tour


Christmas time is here! Okay, so not quite yet. It's still over a month away, but that doesn't mean we can't start celebrating early, right? So today, we're celebrating the release of not one, not four, but eight new Christmas books! All written by Rebekah A. Morris. I'll be spotlighting two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour.

About the Books

The Christmas She Wanted


She gave a sigh. “You know, I wish we could have a real Christmas for a change.

Christmas had lost its charm and wonder. Mrs. Rush hated the feeling but was powerless to fix things. Traveling to visit relatives for the holidays, the Rush children pass the time with their eyes glued to the screens of their devices. That is, until the flashing lights of a State Highway Patrol car bring their trip to a sudden and unplanned-for stop.

A Christmas Disaster


“Whew!” Derek sighed. “There’s no way I want to be an actor now! It’s hard enough running backstage.”

As the students of Coolidge High School prepare for their annual Christmas play, excitement mounts. Performed at the local theater, the play, with the students in complete charge of, the performances has become a tradition in town. Everything is going well until the morning of the final performance when calamity hits. Should the students cancel the final performance or try to turn the disaster into something good?

About the Author



Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn't’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

Tour Schedule


November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee's Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano's Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia's Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Stephany's BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel's Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey's Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing Post

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Canary: Artificial Fragrances and Environmental Toxins: Are They Making You Sick?


Canaries are vulnerable and highly sensitive to toxins, making them useful as early detectors of toxic gases. Because of this, miners would take them underground. If a canary became sick or died in the mine, the miners knew to put on protective respirators or to get out of there.

I know you've seen this in movies.

The reality is toxic gases aren’t just underground.

You may have heard of fragrance allergies or sensitivities. You may have friends who declare they get headaches from smells. That’s because something in the environment is toxic and is reacting with their system.

Don’t just ignore them or brush their symptoms off. They are one of the unlucky few that are cueing the rest of the world to how toxic it really is. They are real life canaries.

Are we listening to the canaries?

Take it from a real life canary who is highly sensitive. Every synthetic fragrance makes me sick. This canary is ill on a regular basis and is “sick” of it.

I had a recent exposure to some sort of fragrance. The following is a simple timeline after exposure. At the time, I didn’t connect my symptoms with the cause. Only when I was standing right next to the source and my symptoms dramatically became worse did I realize what the cause was.

My first clue should have been the ringing in my ears.


Within five minutes after entering the area, while waiting for guests to arrive, I said, “Whoa, my ears are ringing. That’s weird.”


Within fifteen to twenty minutes, I had a blotchy circular rainbow-colored patch in my vision.


Five minutes later, the blotchy circle shifted to a wavy rainbow of color diagonally across one-third of my vision. Reading because difficult. Concentration was impossible. I couldn’t focus on anything anyone was saying.


At this point I was worried I was having a stroke. I was prepared to interrupt the goings-on and have someone call 911. But my speech wasn’t garbled. So instead I sat there and prayed quietly to myself.


A few seconds after I finished my prayer, a fan came on, creating airflow. This is when the wavy rainbow lifted upward until it left my field of vision. Feeling shaky and disoriented still.


As event concludes, vision is clear, but flulike symptoms begin to increase. Disorientation. Headache. General feeling of malaise.


Make it home. Awake for most of the night because of extreme side effects. Mostly pounding head. Body aches. Brain fog. Edgy.


As I am writing this, I am still having side effects. Typing is really hard. I have to correct every other word because my fingers keep hitting the wrong keys.

Toxins are in our environment. They are everywhere. They are making people sick, causing things from ADHD and behavior issues to migraines to dementia and Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. Even headaches, flulike symptoms, malaise, and disorientation. Who knows what else. If you’re chronically sick, consider getting rid of the toxins in your environment.

Here is a list of some of the things that affect me and should be avoided. Baby wipes, plugins, Febreeze and other sprays, dryer sheets, hand sanitizer, perfumes, household cleaners, cigarette smoke, and scented candles, diffusers, and warmers using artificial fragrances.

I am the canary. You may not be feeling the effects, but the toxins are getting into your system. Do you really want to expose your children to this stuff?

Think about it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Blog Tour with a Giveaway! Mice and Marriage: A Contemporary Christian Romance



What do mice and marriage have in common? I don't know, but now I'm curious to read Sophie Dawson's new book, Mice and Marriage!

About the Book


Noelle Copeland has no intention of ever letting another man break her heart. She’s content to take care of her two boys and help her brother around the church. That is until a mouse sends her onto a table screaming like she’s being murdered, and a handsome, heroic man comes to her rescue. Now, she finds her heart longing for Turner Metcalf, but he’s keeping things from her. She wonders if she can trust him not only with her heart but her sons’ hearts as well.

Turner Metcalf is a man on a mission. He’s in town for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season for one reason only; to protect his sister and her new husband. He has a secret life he isn’t willing to give up. That is until he comes to the rescue of Noelle Copeland. Now, his heart is drawn to the one thing he never thought he could have; a future. He finds himself falling for the divorced mother of two and her sons.

Can he survive his secret mission long enough to let her know? Or will his frequent travel and hidden agenda end things before they really get started? Will he live through his mission and be able to consider a future with this ready-made family? What about Noelle’s ex-husband and his new girlfriend? Will they mess things up for Noelle and Turner? Can love find a way to overcome the doubts of a woman afraid of Mice and Marriage?

Love and marriage come to us inspired by many things. Who would have thought that mold, spots, and mice would bring love and marriage? Well, they have. The Love's Infestation Series continues with Mice and Marriage.

You can find the book on Amazon!

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Struggle is Real


I’ve been dealing with several different health problems this year, and I’m about crushed with exhaustion. Having health issues is very isolating and often people don’t understand. I haven’t really been questioning why, but more really, how much longer can I endure? 

I have many moments when I have felt God’s help, and it has been humbling. I don’t blame him, and I’m not angry at him, but I’m frustrated. I’m putting forth so much effort every day just to stay mobile, and it’s tiring. I have felt the spirit guiding me with things I need to do to help myself. There are some areas where I had to give up things, and this leaves a lot of guilt, so I am trying not to be too hard on myself. 

A sister missionary said in church one Sunday that she always says the phrase, “The struggle is real,” but conference helped her see it in a new light. Now she says, “The struggle is really good for us.” I wanted to get up and leave the meeting, but I mostly choked back tears. I have had many struggles in my life. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and now physically, which I think is the hardest one for me to bear. I try to look at how my struggles might help me grow, and I wonder what I agreed to in the pre-existence spirit realm when I said, “Yeah, I will tackle that trial.” 

What was I thinking? 

I’m questioning my strength to endure. But I was reminded today through a song called “King of the World” by Natalie Grant that God is in control. I at least know that he will multiply whatever little effort we can put forth.

And so here I am, slugging along for another day. Whatever I have to give will be enough, because it has to be, because it’s all I have.