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Pushing Back Temptation by Marianne Evans

Marianne Lates 2Today, Marianne Evans, author of Devotion brings us a post pertinent to all of our lives.

It’s just one small line I’ve crossed. It’s no big deal. Sure, there’s another one just up ahead, but look at everyone else. They’re comfortable climbing over it…why shouldn’t I? Then comes another…and another. Pretty soon, the lines of what I know to be right and wrong blur into a sloppy form of gray then simply disappear.

Temptation. The call to wrongdoing. Stealth, quiet footsteps that become thundering hoof beats. The devil isn’t stupid. Many times, he starts things small…and from there, things build. Christian or not, I’m human, I’m sinful and I fail. Before long, left unchecked, temptation becomes overwhelming and can send a well-centered life spiraling out of control.

In Devotion, Kellen and Juliet are attending church one Sunday when their pastor launches into a sermon that hits home with Kellen in particular as their marriage has begun to fracture.

Pastor Gene says: “Seldom does temptation just step up and smack you over the head all at once and pull you under. That’s too obvious. Too easily rebuked. More often than not, it hits you at your weakest points. It starts small, and it builds.” While he speaks, the pastor demonstrates the impact of temptation by fashioning a straight, smooth rope into a complex ball of tight knots.

The consequences of giving in to temptation form the theme of Devotion. What are your feelings about marital infidelity? How do you define infidelity? Is infidelity a lustful look, a kiss, a full-blown straying into an intimate relationship outside the bond of marriage?  Have you lived through such an instance, or do you know someone who has? What were the ramifications and impact?

Consider an instance when you found you could rebuke temptation. Next, think about times when you allowed temptation to have its way—letting it push you across lines you knew you shouldn’t approach. What were the consequences? What processes or actions healed you? If this is a continuing battle in your life right now, what measures are you taking to move beyond?

When it comes to battling evil, and the call of sin, do you feel like you’re alone? Do you feel like you’re past redemption? If so, don’t listen to that lie. As Kellen and Juliet learn, nothing is beyond Christ’s healing, mercy, and divine forgiveness—especially when reclamation is authentic and completely embraced.

When temptations loom—and they always do—I try to focus on the fact that Christ spent forty barren days in a dessert, battling the devil’s call. Christ knows, and He understands. When I return to Him, invariably, goodness and miracles happen.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  Hebrews 2:8 (NIV)

http://www.imdevoted.com

Marianne Evans is a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’

Marianne’s novel, Devotion earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award from Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America.  Hearts Communion earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category as well as best inspirational romance from the Ancient City Romance Authors, a chapter of RWA. Her novella Finding Home earned the Selah Award for excellence in Christian fiction and Evans has also earned acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.

Happily married to her forever love, Steve, Marianne has two children and three fur-babies who rule the roost. She’s a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Connect with Marianne:

Website: www.marianneevans.com; Blog: www.marianneevans.blogspot.com; Facebook Reader Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744;  Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Marmo212

Devotion:

From This Day Forward…

Christian music agent, Kellen Rossiter, has everything he wanted. A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that’s what she thinks.

For Better or Worse…Devotion_h11067_680

But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

’Til Death Do Us Part…

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

Devotion may be purchased at Pelican Book Group or Amazon.com

Click here to read our Interview with Marianne Evans.

Click here to read our Interview with character, Kellen Rossiter.

Character Interview: Kellen Rossiter from Devotion

Devotion_h11067_680Kellen Rossiter is our guest today. Kellen’s story may be found in Marianne Evans’ masterfully written novel Devotion.

Welcome, Kellen. Readers are always interested in hearing what brings a character’s plight to the attention of his or her author. So, what issues did you bring to the table for your author?

Hi, Fay. Well, my issue? I made a life-altering mistake. I betrayed the woman I love. My story is that of winning back her love, her trust, reestablishing the foundation of our Christ-centered marriage, and most of all, returning to the God I’ve always loved and longed to serve.

Kellen, my heart ached for you and for Juliet, and that’s a compliment to your writer because it is often hard for a reader to connect with a man who has made such a mistake. How has dealing with this issue changed your life?

My wife Juliet and I now counsel couples at our church, Trinity Christian. During one particularly difficult session, I was shocked to hear someone say, “I didn’t have sex outside of my marriage. I flirted. I kissed. I fanaticized. Where’s the crime?” Having walked that very line in my own life, I could very clearly illustrate the betrayal that kind of emotional infidelity inflicts on your spouse. Damaged trust, a betrayal of the heart, damages self-esteem, relational confidence, and most of all trust. Juliet had always been able to trust me, until by slow yet irrefutable degrees temptation blurred the direction of my moral compass. One line of gray that you cross, something that seems innocent and ‘within bounds’ at the time, inevitably leads to another, and another…until even the worst things you can do feel somehow justified and acceptable. The devil knows how to lead us into pretty frightening territory!

This is fascinating to me because it is so very true. Would you mind sharing with the reader one more of the truths about this issue that you had to learn on your journey?

If you allow yourself to believe that a kiss is just a kiss, and that fantasies and flirting are acceptable and don’t affect the foundation of your marriage, you’re kidding yourself.

Quirky is always my favorite character trait. Do you consider yourself quirky, or is there another character you think is just a bit odd? If so, how does the quirkiness add to your story—from your perspective?

(Laughs) Hmmm. Quirky. Not sure I’ve ever looked at my personality in that light before. I’ll have to get back to you on that! Don’t really consider myself quirky. More like intense, and passionate.

(Laughs, too). Yeah, I think you’ve pegged yourself correctly, and Juliet is such a busy, caring woman. No quirks there—but there is a lot of depth to both your personalities. In relation to Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose,” what good do you believe God brought to you through your journey?

Oh, wow. The list of ways God has worked miracles from the redemption of my marriage is long indeed. We now work together to help others who are struggling; Juliet has often said she feels like she’s married me all over again; by God’s grace, I think I’ve become a better man than the one she originally fell in love with. After what we went through, after the road we traveled to reassert the best of our love and marriage, those truths are absolutely, positively, a miracle in motion.

(Now in tears) Kellen, I do pray that the readers of this post will pick up Devotion. Your story absolutely made me feel as if I’d married my husband all over again—because, if possible, I now treasure the man God has given to me.

And I just have to say this, we’re expecting in our family again…our sixth grandchild, and his parents have named him Kellen Michael.

From This Day Forward…

Christian music agent, Kellen Rossiter, has everything he wanted. A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that’s what she thinks.

For Better or Worse…

But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

’Til Death Do Us Part…

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

Devotion may be purchased at Pelican Book Group or Amazon.com

The author of Devotion, and many other wonderful titles, is Marianne Evans, a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-Marianne Lates 2affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’

Marianne’s novel, Devotion earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award from Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America.  Hearts Communion earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category as well as best inspirational romance from the Ancient City Romance Authors, a chapter of RWA. Her novella Finding Home earned the Selah Award for excellence in Christian fiction and Evans has also earned acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.

Happily married to her forever love, Steve, Marianne has two children and three fur-babies who rule the roost. She’s a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Connect with Marianne:

Website: www.marianneevans.com; Blog: www.marianneevans.blogspot.com; Facebook Reader Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744;  Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Marmo212

Click here to read our Interview with Marianne Evans.

Author Interview: Marianne Evans

Marianne Lates 2This week’s special guest on Inner Source is Marianne Evans, author of one of my favorite novels, Devotion—a must-read for every couple. Marianne is a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’

Marianne’s novel, Devotion earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award from Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America.  Hearts Communion earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category as well as best inspirational romance from the Ancient City Romance Authors, a chapter of RWA. Her novella Finding Home earned the Selah Award for excellence in Christian fiction and Evans has also earned acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.

Happily married to her forever love, Steve, Marianne has two children and three fur-babies who rule the roost. She’s a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Marianne, I’m so delighted to have you join us this week on Inner Source. Please tell us about your novel. Where does it take place? Who are your main characters? What trouble do they get into?

Devotion takes place in Nashville, Tennessee. My main characters are Kellen and Juliet Rossiter. Kellen is a successful and dynamic entertainment agent who specializes in the representation of Christian music artists. He’s charismatic, handsome and devoted to his marriage. Juliet, his wife of nine years, is a tireless volunteer for charitable outreach programs and in mission work sponsored by their church. She aches to create a family with Kellen. As the dream of parenthood comes true, Kellen finds himself powerfully drawn toward a new client. The unwanted, but undeniable attraction leads him to betrayal and a shattering of the trust Juliet always placed in him and their relationship.

I know the answer to this question because, well, I got so emotionally attached to your characters that I cried myself through the reading of their story. Would you mind telling our readers what issues your characters face that will speak to their hearts?

Overcoming betrayal. Redeeming a relationship when trust has been lost, re-finding God when we feel like we’re not worthy of His love and grace.

You brought into this story what most individuals would think a minor and forgivable sin, and you showed so masterfully how our thoughts cause us to act and how that action can devastate our relationships with our spouses—the ones who should be able to trust us the most. I’m delving deep here, and I hope you don’t mind. Have you ever faced this issue in your life or did you deal with the issue while you were writing the story? In other words, did you write your story to share how you overcame the issue, or did God call you to write the story because He knew you needed to face the issue?

What a great question! The best answer I can give is that Devotion is definitely GOD’S story. He laid these characters on my heart in ways so powerful I couldn’t refuse them—despite the subject matter. As their lives and scenarios played out, the story arc captured the entirety of my spirit. Hopefully that shows in the writing and storyline.

Your spirit does definitely shine through Devotion, Marianne. What Biblical concept did the Lord bring to the table with your writing? Would you mind explaining how God has spoken to your heart about the issue?

For me, it’s the idea of a three-strand chord when it comes to marriage: God, Man, Woman. When this Biblical truth is faithfully embraced, the concept is not only unbreakable, it’s love at its most powerful.

At a church I attend when in North Carolina, their couple’s Bible Fellowship class is called The Three-Strand Cord. I agree that when we allow God into the middle of our marriage, we are made stronger for it. What advice based upon scripture would you give a reader who is dealing with the issues that are front and center in your current release?

Into every long-term and committed relationship, you’ll find rainbows and you’ll find storms. The key, like the depiction of a three-chord strand in Scripture, is to fight through, weather turmoil by standing together, and by always putting God first through worship, prayer, and loving devotion to your spouse.

I said just this weekend that love is not a noun. Love is a verb. Love should be actively pursued and not allowed to roam in different directions from our spouse. As in writing with active verbs, an active love makes that precious relationship with our spouses stronger.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Marianne. I’m looking forward to meeting Kellen Rossiter on Wednesday’s Inner Source.

Devotion_h11067_680From This Day Forward…

Christian music agent, Kellen Rossiter, has everything he wanted. A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that’s what she thinks.

For Better or Worse…

But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

’Til Death Do Us Part…

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

Devotion may be purchased at Pelican Book Group or Amazon.com

Connect with Marianne:

Website: www.marianneevans.com; Blog: www.marianneevans.blogspot.com; Facebook Reader Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744;  Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Marmo212

This Dance by Jerusha Agen

Jerusha0040 (cropped) (2)This week, Jerusha Agen and her character, Nye Sanders, from Jerusha’s novel, This Dance, have been our special guest on Inner Source.  Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her fiction and nonfiction have been published in various journals, magazines, and newsletters. In addition, she is a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. Jerusha is also a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com. Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and one little, furry cat.

Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com. Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).

If you look up “introvert” in the dictionary, you might find a picture of me. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I’m shy (anyone who knows me could tell you I am anything but). It does mean that being with others takes energy out of me. After interacting with others, I need alone time to recharge. While I cherish my family and the special friendships I have, being an introvert means that I don’t always feel like engaging in relationships.

You might think that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, if I don’t feel like it, or if I don’t enjoy it, I shouldn’t have to get involved in relationships, right? It’s a free country. Nice thought, but there’s just one problem. I’m a dancing Christian.

Many years ago, I was happily getting in touch with my introvert desires, neglecting relationships and avoiding them when I could because I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to be social. Then I heard a sermon that changed my life. In that message, Dr. Timothy Keller, a pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, said “There is a dance, and the greatest need of your life is to get into that dance.”

What did he mean? Believe it or not, Keller was talking about the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “in Christianity God is not a static thing—not even a person—but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”

The Trinity, a confusing doctrine for many people, had always puzzled me a bit. The doctrine of the Trinity is undeniable from Scripture, yet it’s hard to understand the existence of one God, but three persons who are all equally that one God. When I heard this explanation of the Trinity as a dance, however, it was like God turned on the light bulb in my head.

In John 8:54, Jesus Himself says, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.” From this and other passages, the Bible’s depiction of God becomes clear—God is three Persons, constantly encircling and glorifying each other in a continuous movement of glorification that can aptly be described as a dance. At the center of Christianity, then, is a God who is equally individual and interpersonal.

Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.” Thankfully, my God and Father is the one who created dancing and has been in an eternal dance of relationship for all eternity. I am thankful for this truth because understanding the Trinity is not just random intellectual knowledge. There is an application to this reality that, if you’re like me, you may not like at first.

Because our God is both individual and relational, we as individuals are called to be involved in relationships with others. The importance of relationships is emphasized throughout Scripture, from the command to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) to the many passages on being in the body of believers (the church). For me, those passages were easier to ignore or extrapolate only other aspects of meaning. The fact, however, that relationships are so central to our creation, our purpose, and God Himself is too much to ignore.

Nye Sander’s story from my novel, This Dance, has driven this point home for me and provided an opportunity to expose readers to this topic. Nye is a former dancer who wants nothing more to do with dance in the literal sense, since she walked away from a dancing career. Spiritually, she is also refusing to be part of what C.S. Lewis calls “the Great Dance,” by rejecting God and avoiding relationships with others.

Like Nye, I didn’t want to dance. I didn’t understand who God really is or understand how crucial being in relationships with others is to my ability to glorify God. Since glorifying God and being satisfied in Him is the purpose of my life, I want to become the best dancer I can be.

What does Nye decide to do? Pick up a copy of This Dance to find out.

This Dance:This_Dance_FRONT_COVER_smaller (for promo use)

No love, no pain. No God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.

Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?

This Dance maybe ordered from Amazon.com.

To read the Inner Source interview with Jerusha, click here.

To read the Inner Source interview of Nye Sanders, click here.

Character Interview: Nye Sanders from This Dance by Jerusha Agen

This_Dance_FRONT_COVER_smaller (for promo use)Today’s special guest  is Nye Sanders. Nye comes to us from the imagination of Jerusha Agen, and Nye’s story can be found in This Dance, the first novel in Jerusha’s Sisters Redeemed series.

Nye, readers are always interested in hearing what brings a character’s plight to the attention of his or her author. So, what issues did you bring to the table for your author?

It’s still hard to think of myself as having a “plight” or “issues.” I’m a person who is used to being in control. I pride myself, or I suppose I should say that I used to pride myself, on my ability to control my emotions at all times and to be as close to perfect as I thought a person could get.

Now, I have to admit that, even though I seemed like someone who had everything together, I was a mess inside. My emotions were organized and quiet most of the time, but I wasn’t really living. I had squelched my pain only enough to fool myself.

I think my author was one of the people who saw past the pretty picture on the outside to see the bitterness, anger, and sadness that was killing me inside.

I’m so glad your author did recognize your inner turmoil because she has written a story that will resonate for readers who might be dealing with the same emotions. Your story is sure to help others. How has dealing with this issue changed for life?

I wasn’t living before. Now, I’m not just living—I’m dancing.

How wonderful! For me, “to dance” is to show that we have been set free from those things that consume or bind us. I think of David’s turmoil just before he danced before the Lord before the people of Israel. David had some anger toward God, and David took a while to get things straight in his heart, but when he did, David did as the Lord directed and then he was able to dance with abandon. Would you mind sharing with our readers one of the truths about this issue that you had to learn on your journey.

I had to learn that I wasn’t in control and that not being the one in control was not actually a bad thing. That’s a hard lesson to learn and one that I found impossible to accept or believe for a long time.

Veering away from the issues, I always love quirky characters. Do you consider yourself quirky, or is there another character you think is just a bit odd? If so, how does the quirkiness add to your story—from your perspective?

My sister, Oriana, is definitely the quirky one in our family. She’s the laughter and joy of the Sanders with her vivacious personality. She’s not afraid to stand out and let her individualism show. I admire her ability to jump in and talk to anyone without making any attempt to hide her true self, including her quirky sense of humor.

Quirky people often do add joy and laughter to our lives. Thanks for sharing. We won’t tell Oriana what you said.

In Monday’s interview with Jerusha, she mentioned Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose,” what good do you believe God brought to you through your journey?

He has taught me how to dance like never before. If you’re wondering what I mean, please read my story, This Dance.

Please do read this story. I have, and I recommend it very highly.

This Dance:

No love, no pain. No God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.

Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?

 You can order This Dance at Amazon.com.

Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Jerusha0040 (cropped) (2)Fiction Writers, her fiction and nonfiction have been published in various journals, magazines, and newsletters.

In addition, she is a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. Jerusha is also a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com.

Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and one little, furry cat.

Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com. Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).

To read Monday’s interview of Jerusha, click here.

Author Interview: Jerusha Agen, Author of This Dance

Jerusha0040 (cropped) (2)Today’s guest on Inner Source is Jerusha Agen, author of This Dance, the first novel in her Sisters Redeemed series published by Write Integrity Press. Jerusha is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her fiction and nonfiction have been published in various journals, magazines, and newsletters.

In addition, she is a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. Jerusha is also a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com.

Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and one little, furry cat.

Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com. Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).

Jerusha, please tell us about your novel. Where does it take place? Who are your main characters? What trouble do they get into?

This Dance takes place in the fictional locale of Harper, Pennsylvania. Set in the dead of winter, the story takes readers to the cold world of Nye Sanders, a former tango dancer whose rise to the top was destroyed when God took her reason for living. Three years later, Nye has a new career at a private equity firm and a nonexistent social calendar. It may be dull, but it’s exactly what Nye wants—passionless, controllable, pain-free living.

The trouble starts when Nye meets a charming lawyer who threatens to break through her carefully constructed emotional defenses. As if that isn’t enough, this same attorney uncovers secrets that may make Nye lose everything she’s fought to build in her new life.

Then there’s the annoyingly perceptive, grandfatherly landowner who’s bogging up a land deal Nye is supposed to handle. Nye is strong, but when her nightmares return and a ghost from the past brings her grief out of hiding, she might lose control. If she does, she won’t be able to go on.

The fellows Nye meets have troubles and stories of their own, too. The lawyer, Cullen Chandler, is stuck in a never-ending scramble to succeed in his career. He finds himself sacrificing the relationships he holds dear on the altar of corporate success. When Nye enters Cullen’s life, she’s a distraction he thinks he doesn’t need, but he can’t get her out of his mind.

As for the landowner, he’s an unexpectedly shrewd man who has what it takes to send the young folks in the right direction—straight for the joy, hope, and love of God.

What issues does Nye face that will speak to the heart of your readers?

Where do I start? Nye’s story hits on a lot of pertinent issues that I think most of us have to deal with in our lives. On the basic level, there are the issues of grief and loss, as well as fear of experiencing more loss in the future. While Nye likes to think she has control over her life, she’s really being controlled by her repressed grief and fear of being hurt again.

Then there’s the issue of joy. Nye has lost whatever enjoyment she once had in life. Her fear of pain keeps her from seeking anything that might bring her joy, while her sorrow prevents her from believing there could be anything that would bring her happiness ever again.

I hope that readers who are struggling with a painful loss, who know the fear of being hurt, or who have lost the sense of joy in their lives will find hope in reading Nye’s story.

God handled the matter of grief with me through my writing several years back, so I connected easily with Nye’s struggles. Have you ever faced this issue in your life or did you deal with the issue while you were writing the story? In other words, did you write your story to share how you overcame the issue, or did God call you to write the story because He knew you needed to face the issue?

Like most people, I’ve had my share of grief and loss. The sneaky thing about those types of trials is that they can come in all forms—any loss, not just death of a loved one, can send a person into a cycle of grief. I’ve been blessed by some tremendous teaching by ministers and writers on the subject of suffering, most significantly through teaching on the Book of Job. This Bible book has taught me so much on the subject of suffering—how to deal with it and what God has to do with our suffering. Writing This Dance was a chance to communicate through a story some of the awesome comfort that Scripture has for us on the issues of loss and suffering.

Your words are a blessing to me, because, yes, grief can come not only from death but from other trials as well. What Biblical concept did the Lord bring to the table with your writing? Would you mind explaining how God has spoken to your heart about the issue?

Grief and loss aren’t the only issues in This Dance that the Lord knows I need to look into again and again. At the root of the problems Nye and Cullen face is also an often overlooked form of idolatry. No, they don’t worship funny golden statues, but they do love things like career success, the arts, and even a special relationship so much that they’ll sacrifice everything for them. Loving good things like these too much is such an easy trap to fall into. I need the reminder of the experiences Nye and Cullen have to check for the idols in my own life and be sure I’m not replacing God with what He’s given me.

Such good stuff. I’m one who sometimes allows my career to shove out my worship and my walk with the Lord. What advice based upon scripture would you give a reader who is dealing with the issues that are front and center in your current release?

Remember that God is in control and that He’s a loving God, who will work out ALL things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). You can try to control your life like Nye does and try to avoid things that might cause you pain. It might seem to work for a while, but, sooner or later, you’ll realize that you can’t control anything.

That might sound scary, but it isn’t when you know the God who is in control, when you know that He’s good, that He loves you and has the wisdom to see the big picture that you can’t see (Jeremiah 29:11). As much as whatever you are going through may hurt right now, cling to the truth that God is there and that, in the very end, everything, no matter how awful it seems now, will be turned into victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).

You brought forth some of my favorite verses. I write—always—with Romans 8:28 in mind, because God is always in the details of our lives.

Jerusha, thank you so much for visiting, and I look forward to meeting your character, Nye, on Wednesday.

I love Jerusha’s tagline for her novel. Here’s a little more information about this wonderful book.This_Dance_FRONT_COVER_smaller (for promo use)

No love, no pain. No God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.

Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?

 You can order This Dance at Amazon.com.

Character Interview: Opal from The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots by Karla Akins

481277_393414957413547_1531682686_nPlease tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? What story did you bring to your author?

My name is Opal and I’ve lived in Eel Falls my entire life. I’ve been the church secretary at Eel Falls First Independent Community Church for over thirty-two years. I’m sixty-five, and I’ve never been married. There aren’t too many men to choose from in this little town. Besides, I’ve always been too shy for dating anyone anyway. Not that any man would ever notice me. I’m so small. But things changed for me when Kirstie and the girls talked me into learning to ride my own motorsickle. I’m not going to tell you everything because that would spoil the story, but things happened to me that made me feel like a teenager again.

Opal, you’re too cute—and way too hard on yourself. You add so much to the story. Authors always bring conflict to their characters’ lives. It’s what they do. Please tell us the major conflict your author has you face in your story?

I wanted to throttle Kirstie and the girls when they took me to the top of that mountain and wanted me to ride down it like I was some sort of Evel Knievel. I was constantly learning to face my fears in that story. But I did, and boy howdy, was there a gob smacker of a prize at the end of the road.

You were a lot braver than I’d ever be. I wouldn’t get on a motorsickle let alone do what you, Kirstie, and the other gals did. Now that you’ve overcome those fears, how do you feel about them?

Much better now that I’ve faced them. And well, you’ll have to read the story to know why it is that I can’t wipe the grin off my face.

Oh, yes, I know why, and well, I don’t blame you. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. Did you discover this on your journey, and if so, how?

I most literally did. When my motorsickle blew a tire, God ushered in the best part of my life yet. The road I travelled next took me places I never knew I could go.

Opal, is there scripture or a biblical concept that you lean upon to help you through your crisis?

Psalm 91:11-12:

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

I learned that God will protect me as long as I allow Him to. I can trust Him with my life. He can turn fear into faith, cowardice into courage, and a lonely old woman into the happiest girl on earth.Karla Akins

Karla Akins, the author who placed the angst in Opal’s life grew up in Wichita, Kansas with a bookish set of parents and a typewriter. She is the mother of five, including three children with disabilities. She cares for her mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s.

When she’s not writing she enjoys riding her motorcycle to faraway places such as the Smoky Mountains.

 

About The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots:

Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl. So when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons, and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.

The Pastor’s Wife Wear’s Biker Boots may be purchased at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and Pelican Book Group.

The Pastor’s Wife Wear’s Biker Boots–Book Trailer.

Please feel free to leave a comment. At the end of the week, we’ll do a drawing for a free digital copy of Karla’s wonderful novel.

If you missed the Inner Source interview of Opal’s author, please click here.

 

Author Interview: Karla Akins

Karla AkinsThis week’s guest on Inner Source is the author of one of my favorite books, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots. Karla’s fresh voice and the ability to pull both laughter and tears from her reader are exactly what puts this book on the top of my all-time favorites list.

Karla grew up in Wichita, Kansas with a bookish set of parents and a typewriter. She is the mother of five, including three children with disabilities. She cares for her mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s. When she’s not writing she enjoys riding her motorcycle to faraway places such as the Smoky Mountains

Karla, readers are always interested in knowing how an author develops his or her characters or the conflict an author designs for those characters. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your writing process that brings character and conflict to life?

The idea for this book came to life as I learned to ride a motorcycle at the tender age of forty-seven. Many hilarious things happened as a result of me being a rather clumsy, non-suspecting rider, and I knew my adventures would make a great story. The book isn’t biographical, but it’s based on some of the funny experiences I’ve had since I’ve learned to ride. So my writing process was like a movie in my head that I transcribed to paper. However, at times when I felt the story needed some conflict, I did map out a plan.

You did a wonderful job mapping out that conflict and adding poignancy and humor to the story as well. When writing, do you find that God has issues for you to face? If so, do you incorporate those into the lives of your characters?

What an interesting question. I think because this is my first novel, I did use a lot of issues that I myself have experienced as a pastor’s wife. From what I understand, a lot of writers’ first books are based on something that actually happened in their life. And this is true of myself. What’s fascinating, though, is that I wrote about some issues that didn’t happen to me until after the book was written. For example, I wrote about Alzheimer’s before knowing my mother-in-law would acquire the disease and come to live with us. There are other things in the book that happened to me later. It was as if God was preparing me through my own story.

God bless you, dear lady, as you care for someone suffering that dreaded disease that steals our loved ones from us before they leave this earth.

I love how Kirstie embraces not only the open road but those that she meets while traveling upon it. In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bright to the light for your readers?

The theme of James 2:1-13 fits it quite well. I usually read, teach and study out of the KJV, but here it is in the ERV:

My dear brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So don’t treat some people better than others. 2Suppose someone comes into your meeting wearing very nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. You show special attention to the person wearing nice clothes. You say, “Sit here in this good seat.” But you say to the poor person, “Stand there!” or “Sit on the floor by our feet!” Doesn’t this show that you think some people are more important than others? You set yourselves up as judges—judges who make bad decisions.

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters. God chose the poor people in the world to be rich in faith. He chose them to receive the kingdom God promised to those who love him. But you show no respect to those who are poor. And you know that the rich are the ones who always try to control your lives. And they are the ones who take you to court. And the rich are the ones who insult the wonderful name of Christ, the name by which you are known.

One law rules over all other laws. This royal law is found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighborthe same as you love yourself.” If you obey this law, you are doing right. But if you are treating one person as more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God’s law.

10 You might follow all of God’s law. But if you fail to obey only one command, you are guilty of breaking all the commands in that law. 11 God said, “Don’t commit adultery.” The same God also said, “Don’t kill.” So if you don’t commit adultery, but you kill someone, you are guilty of breaking all of God’s law.

12 You will be judged by the law that makes people free. You should remember this in everything you say and do. 13 Yes, you must show mercy to others. If you do not show mercy, then God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the one who shows mercy can stand without fear before the Judge.

You and me—we think alike. I love the KJV as well. I mentioned that Kirstie meets some quirky and heartwarming characters on her adventures, but she also has to deal with those who are afraid to embrace her new ministry. What advice would you give a reader who is dealing with that issue and the other issues you write about?

To do what the character does: pray. Seek God. Realize that He is always up to something good and that you can trust Him even when things don’t make sense.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Karla. Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

I am writing a historical novel entitled River Moon Don’t Cry that deals with a young girl who has been thrust into the early 1800s sex trafficking and slave trade. So she is dealing with fear, betrayal and trust.

Wow, no light issues there. I’ll be praying for your work to reach the hands of those who can further the message you present.

About The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots:481277_393414957413547_1531682686_n

Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl. So when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons, and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.

The Pastor’s Wife Wear’s Biker Boots may be purchased at Barnes & NobleAmazon.com, and Pelican Book Group.

The Pastor’s Wife Wear’s Biker Boots–Book Trailer.

Please feel free to leave a comment. At the end of the week, we’ll do a drawing for a free digital copy of Karla’s wonderful novel.

Facing Our Fears by JoAnn Durgin

JD2_origToday JoAnn Durgin, author of Catching Serenity, is our guest blogger. Catching Serenity is JoAnn Durgin’s fifth full-length novel. The author of  The Lewis Legacy Series: AwakeningSecond Time Around, Twin Hearts and Daydreams (Torn Veil Books), and a Christmas novella, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing), she’s an estate administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky law firm and lives with her family in southern Indiana. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (national and Indiana chapter) and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn’s prayer is that her contemporary romantic adventures will touch hearts and lives with the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. She’d love to hear from you at www.joanndurgin.com or via her  Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook.

Do you remember the first time you felt afraid? I mean really afraid? I do. Even though I was barely over a year old, I can recall my entire house shaking—photos on the wall rattling and my crib moving across the floor—and the sheer panic I experienced. When I heard the ear-piercing, loud whistle from the nearby railroad tracks, I just knew a big old scary monster was coming to get me. But instead of cowering in my crib and screaming to get out, I took action. What did I do? Well, I somehow managed to propel myself over the high bars of my crib onto the hardwood floor and then ran into my parents’ room with my favorite blankie clutched in my hand. My dad once told me this went on for months. At first he worried I’d seriously damage my noggin (that’s still up for debate), but he hated to “cage me in.” He told me I never cried but just climbed in and curled up beside him. You see, it was there I found my safe place, my comfort and protection.

As I’ve gotten older, like many people, I’ve become more afraid of heights. Not that I was ever fond of them. When I visit a very tall building and step out on the observation deck, I usually hesitate to go to the outside railing or wall. The thought of that glass walkway above the Grand Canyon scares the daylights out of me. Although fascinated by the beautiful view from atop something so high up in the air (and the Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing natural formations I’ve ever seen), it makes me realize how small I am when I look down from such a dizzying height. Question to ponder: is my true fear one of heights or the actual fear of falling?

Flying in an airplane and is one of my favorite things in life—that feeling of power and speed as the magnificent, manmade bird lifts off the ground and soars into the air. In the case of an airplane, I have something surrounding me in a cocoon of steel protection. On the flip side, roller coasters absolutely scare me to death. I’ve always avoided them until I decided to try Space Mountain at Disney World many years ago. To this day, I have no idea what possessed me. Disney represents safety and security, right? Mickey and Minnie wouldn’t steer me wrong. I actually loved it (but still won’t ever go on another roller coaster), but I think it’s because Space Mountain is completely dark. You experience the speed and the ups and downs yet you can’t see what lies beyond the rails. Again, a question to ponder: is it the fear of falling or the fear of what’s out there beyond my comfort zone?

Writing my latest novel, Catching Serenity took me through a gamut of emotions—a veritable roller coaster of ups, downs and all-arounds. As much as any character I’ve ever written, Serenity McClaren has faced a number of issues in her life, including profound loss and rejection. So many times in penning her story, I paused and wondered how I would react given identical circumstances. Honestly? A few times, I couldn’t presume to know how I’d personally react. But it made me think, and as much as anything else, I want my readers to think while still being entertained and gleaning spiritual truths when they read one of my books.

As much as the issues we face, it’s our response to events and people that matters and shapes our life. Serenity has been through so much yet she’s much stronger than she realizes. She’s been deeply hurt by circumstances in her life that might cause many people to turn away from God. Before these things happened, she didn’t know the Lord. What’s interesting is that she finds Him in the midst of working through her pain. Like me curling up beside my dad, Serenity finds her security and comfort in a new relationship with Jesus. She ran away from home because she couldn’t stand the sadness, the loneliness and the pain. But as the story opens, she’s come back home to stare her fears in the face. Bolstered by her new faith, she recognizes the only way she’ll be able to truly live again with purpose and meaning is to conquer those fears.

Have you ever had a secret you were dying to tell someone but couldn’t for whatever reason? Dr. Jackson Ross is falling in love with Serenity. He also recognizes that until she finds answers to what happened that sent her running away from home, she won’t be free to fully love him. Then he unlocks the key to her past and discovers the shocking truth. Within Jackson’s grasp is the ability to set her free from her past. However, sworn and bound by ethics and professional standards, he can’t tell her, and it’s tearing him up inside. Jackson’s greatest fear? He’ll lose Serenity’s friendship and love no matter what he does. A believer in Christ for a number of years, Jackson turns to the One he knows can shoulder his burden and give him the desires of his heart.

Ultimately, I believe it’s all about trust. The theme verse in Catching Serenity is Psalm 18:2 which says: The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you’ve had to stare down fears or forces you felt were working against you? How did you react and what was the outcome? I’d encourage you to ponder that today with the knowledge there’s no greater comfort or protection than that which comes from the One who laid down His very life for you and for me.

Many blessings, friends, and a heartfelt thank you to Fay Lamb for graciously allowing me to share a bit about Catching Serenity with you this week.

A woman torn apart by secrets.

A man held prisoner by the truth.

Can the greatest love of all

set them both free?

Serenity McClaren had it all before her life crumbled around her like the sand castles on her beloved beach, causing her to flee Croisette Shores and the only home she’d everCatching Serenity Front Cover ImageCome home, Serenity. Things aren’t as they seem. Time to find your answers. Returning to South Carolina, she prepares to face her demons and the ailing father she left behind, hoping to make peace with both.

Child psychologist Jackson Ross is a man with a surprising past. He’s ready for the quiet life and  eager to establish his practice in the quaint, coastal village. After he hires Serenity to decorate his new office, he’s drawn to the beautiful and enigmatic woman yet sees she’s haunted by a past she can’t escape. Wanting to help her, he begins to suspect one of his young patients may hold the key to unlocking Serenity’s secrets. Jackson follows his instincts and discovers the shocking truth, but how can he tell the woman he’s grown to love what he knows—and set her free—without compromising his professional ethics and losing her forever?

Catching Serenity, a poignant story of faith, hope and love, and discovering the everyday miracles from an all-powerful God.

JoAnn, it’s been a pleasure having you as our guest this week. I hope to see you here in the future to discuss your other novels.