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Responding to Betrayal by Angela D. Meyer

publicity pic for bioBetrayal is painful. I know. I’ve been there. I am still in the process of healing and restoration, so I won’t be going into any details about what happened. But I can share some things I learned. How we respond to betrayal influences to what degree there will be healing in our own hearts and restoration in the relationship.

Choose to say nothing until you have had time to think. It is important to ask our self what we want as the outcome. If we aren’t sure, then a little bit of space may be in order. Not forever space, just a time and place to think and pray.

Draw close to God. Grieve our loss in His arms. Seek his wisdom when our ability to think straight is shot. Rely on His strength when our own is zapped.  We cannot walk this road alone.

Take an honest look at our own life. We are not responsible for the other person’s actions, yet our actions and attitudes may have provided an atmosphere that nurtured the other person’s bad choices. If we want our hearts restored it’s important to allow God to change our hearts, not just keep blaming the other person.  

Understand what is driving the other person towards their actions of betrayal. This is not an excuse for their behavior. They are still responsible for their own choices, but the compassion that comes from understanding makes room in our heart for healing and forgiveness.

Confront the issue and do not attack the person. There will come a time to address what happened. Keep in mind that Christ died for ALL our sins, including the betrayal foisted upon us. If the person is not repentant and the actions of betrayal continue, apply healthy boundaries with compassion.  

Choose to forgive. We usually don’t feel like forgiving. It most often comes as a choice of the will. This is not letting the other person off scot free. It is giving them to God and breaking the chains of bitterness which fester and color everything in our life

Seeking counsel from a Christian professional is a wise step to help us through this process but the most critical action we can take when betrayed is to keep our eyes on Jesus. He will walk with us through it all.

Have you discovered an important step to approach healing after betrayal?

About the Author:

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than twenty-two years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now a Marine. She taught Bible class for over thirty-five years and served for over two years on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. Her debut novel, Where Hope Starts, is a finalist in the Grace Awards. She loves God and her family and enjoys good stories, connecting with friends, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she would like to vacation by the ocean and take a ride in a hot air balloon.

Connect with Angela at her website, on FacebookPinterest, and Google+. Angela also has a newsletter, and she is a contributor to www.Wordsowers.com and www.puttingonthenew.com.

Where Hope Starts Cover resizedMore About Where Hope Starts:

In a city full of dreams… Karen Marino’s life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge.

Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he messed up, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fistfight on the streets of the city lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars.

Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won’t repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?

View the trailer for Where Hope Starts.

Meet Karen Marino , the heroine from Where Hope Starts, and her author, Angela D. Meyer.

Author Interview: Angela D. Meyer, Author of Where Hope Starts

publicity pic for bioToday, please meet author, Angela D. Meyer. Angela lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than twenty-two years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now a Marine. She taught Bible class for over thirty-five years and served for over two years on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. Her debut novel, Where Hope Starts, is a finalist in the Grace Awards. She loves God and her family and enjoys good stories, connecting with friends, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she would like to vacation by the ocean and take a ride in a hot air balloon.

Connect with Angela at her website, and on FacebookPinterest, and Google+. Angela also has a newsletter, and she is a contributor to www.Wordsowers.com and www.puttingonthenew.com.

Angela, thank you for visiting with us at Inner Source. Please tell us about yourself and your writing career.

I began writing when I was in junior high. Of course, at that time it was mostly poetry and teenage angst. From there, I wrote essays and children’s stories.

As an adult, I read books on the craft of writing, attended writers groups and critique groups. I learned everything I could about writing, submitting my work and self-editing.

A few years ago a fellow writer challenged me to add more details to a children’s story I took to critique group. I didn’t think I could sustain enough words for a novel, but I surprised myself.

Where Hope Starts is the second novel I have written and then I found my publisher at a writer’s conference almost three years ago.

Where Hope Starts is a very issue driven story, with issues that many of our readers may have faced. What would you say to readers who may be dealing with unfaithfulness in any form in their relationships?

God is able to bring beauty from the broken pieces. He is all about restoring-and we can’t do it without Him. Keep your hope in God, not in what you think the process should look like. He often takes us down an unexpected path to bring about healing.

You deal with forgiveness in your novel. I’ve actually run across folks who do not believe that Christ-like forgiveness is a possibility. What did you discover before, during, or after the writing on Where Hope Starts that you can share with us about forgiveness?

Little did I know at the time I wrote my book or signed the contract, that I would need my eyes and heart focused on what God wanted from me when it comes to forgiveness. Through Karen’s choices, I examined my own.

God reinforced with me that forgiveness is a choice. We don’t have to feel like it in order to choose it. We do need to trust Him to step into it.

Forgiveness opens the door for healing, hope and restoration in our relationships. And even if a broken relationship is not restored, forgiveness makes room for our own heart to be healed and restored.

Also, understanding our own propensity towards sin can help us when it comes to offering compassion towards those who offend us. Compassion makes it a whole lot easier to offer forgiveness.

Knowing that I don’t want my life poisoned with bitterness also helps with the choice to forgive, because unforgiveness leads to bitterness. 

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?

Trusting that God has good plans for us no matter what life feels like at the moment. And then allowing that trust to lead us through the tough work of forgiveness and healing.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Do you have any future projects in the works. If so, please tell us about those.

I am currently under contract for book 2 in this series, which you can expect to see out by the end of 2015. Where Healing Starts will continue the story of Karen’s siblings and the redemptive work of God in their lives.

Until then, you can keep up with the characters with between-the-books short stories for all of my readers who sign up for my quarterly newsletters. 

Karen, thank you for visiting with us at Inner Source. I hope you’ll come back to share your future projects with us.

Where Hope Starts Cover resizedMore About Where Hope Starts:

In a city full of dreams… Karen Marino’s life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge.

Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he messed up, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fistfight on the streets of the city lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars.

Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won’t repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?

View the trailer for Where Hope Starts.

Meet Karen Marino, the heroine from Where Hope Starts.

Character Interview: Karen Marino from Where Hope Starts

Where Hope Starts Cover resizedThis week, Inner Source is visiting with author Angela D. Meyer and Karen Marino, Angela’s heroine from Where Hope Starts.

Karen, thank you for visiting with us at Inner Source. All I can say is that you’ve had a tough few months, with a lot of things happening. Would you care to tell us a little about your life?

Thank you for having me, Fay. My life in NYC was great for the most part. I was living my dream. I managed a five star restaurant, was married to this great guy, and enjoyed a wide variety of activities with friends.

Over the last few years, our relationship began to erode. I didn’t understand what was happening or why and more or less buried my head in the sand. I’ve always prided myself on being able to handle stuff on my own, but when I finally discovered my husband’s betrayal, I came face to face with my own weaknesses.

That’s when God took me on this adventure of rediscovering Him. It was quite uncomfortable at the time, but I would never undo the journey.  

What I see in your life is a lot of secrets and betrayal from both your family and your husband. I know I’m delving deep here, and I’m probably opening some wounds, but I know that some of our readers may need to know that they aren’t alone. Karen, will you share us with you how that betrayal made you feel, especially the betrayal of the man you love? What did the hurt from the betrayals you faced cause you to do?

It made me mad. I couldn’t stand the sight of my husband, so I ran. At the time I had no intention of trying to make it work. I even went so far as to allow myself to think it would be okay to find comfort with someone else. I was totally surprised by what God did in our individual lives and our marriage.

Now that you can look back and know the truth, what would you say to others who might be facing the type of hurt and pain you have gone through?

Someone has said – and I know I’m probably not saying this right, that until we are uncomfortable enough, we won’t move out of our wrong choices/addictions.

The anger we feel upon discovering betrayal can be a catalyst to begin changes in our life. We don’t have to feel guilty about anger towards sin that moves us away from wrong choices and toward God. Ultimately toward healing.

At times space is good so we can think clearly and reconnect with God, just don’t give up on what God can do and don’t do anything in the heat of that anger that you will regret or that can’t be undone.

Understanding the addiction your loved one has can help overcome some of the hesitation to forgive and offer compassion. I have to remember that I am not perfect – my imperfections just show up in different ways places than my husband’s.

This is a tough question, I know, but even though we know that God wants us to forgive ourselves, moving forward from there, looking back, do you see that you might have done anything that fed into the things that your husband did that were a betrayal of you?

While we are each responsible for our own actions, there certainly are things I did that contributed to an atmosphere that nurtured certain behavior. Barry was already on a path towards addiction in response to old wounds, and I didn’t help matters with my attitudes. 

Kind of like falling dominoes, he did this, I responded with that. On and on until here we are and it doesn’t really matter who did what first. We both have to come clean before God in order for our individual hearts to find healing. And for there to be hope for restoration. Which isn’t always possible if either spouse doesn’t want to work at it.

I ask this question of most of our guests. 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?

Yes. Yes. Yes. When I first discovered what my husband had done, I thought our marriage was over. I didn’t think there was any way we could ever be back together. I didn’t want to be together. But through everything that has happened, God has been faithful to walk through it with me. I have learned to trust God. Wounds from childhood have been healed. And my marriage is better than it ever was. So much good has come out of this, that although I wouldn’t choose for this to happen, I wouldn’t go back and undo it. 

More About Where Hope Starts:

In a city full of dreams… Karen Marino’s life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge.

Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he messed up, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fistfight on the streets of the city lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars.

Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won’t repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?

View the trailer for Where Hope Starts.

publicity pic for bioAbout the Author:

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than twenty-two years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now a Marine. She taught Bible class for over thirty-five years and served for over two years on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. Her debut novel, Where Hope Starts, is a finalist in the Grace Awards. She loves God and her family and enjoys good stories, connecting with friends, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she would like to vacation by the ocean and take a ride in a hot air balloon.

Connect with Angela at her website, on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. Angela also has a newsletter, and she is a contributor to www.Wordsowers.com and www.puttingonthenew.com.

 

I Learn from Children, Even the Imaginary Ones by Cynthia T. Toney

CindyPurpB&W3rev.reducedThe garbage truck makes its presence known each Tuesday morning with a rumble and a screech, but the last visit was different.

I heard a honk. My dogs barked, and I ran to the front window and raised the shade.

One of the garbage men waved an arm and pointed at a little girl standing next to my garbage can. I hurried out to see what was going on.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said, ‘’’but she won’t let me take the can. I think she said there’s more garbage in the house.”

“No, there isn’t. She’s not my daughter.” Concern began to build. I didn’t recognize this child, who couldn’t have been much older than six. I scanned the street both ways. Where were her parents?

“I think she’s mentally challenged.” The garbage man, who was over six feet tall and as lanky as a professional basketball player, had the gentle voice of an angel.

I finally looked into the little girl’s eyes, not as clear and focused as a healthy child’s. “Go ahead and dump the can,” I told him. “I’ll try to find out who she belongs to.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you. I’m sorry I had to bother you.”

“No, thank you for calling me out here.”

He tossed the garbage, and the truck rolled on.

I placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Where do you live? Do you live on this street?”

“K,” she said.

In her hand she held a bowl, eating unrecognizable crumbs from it. The morning was a hot one, and the sun beat down on both of us standing at the edge of the street.

“Would you like some water?”

She shook her head. “K.”

“Is Kay your momma? Or your babysitter?” I stroked the girl’s hair, but panic was setting in—for me, anyway. She remained composed.

“K.”

Just as I decided I’d better take her inside and call the sheriff, a young woman on foot appeared around the curve in the street. I waved one arm to get her attention, then two. She picked up speed. The child glanced her way.

“Is that your momma?”

“K.”

It probably took the woman less than a minute to reach us. Although winded, she smiled, her cheeks rosy.

“Are you her mother?” I stroked the girl’s hair again. “She’s a sweetheart.”

“Yes, thank you.”

“She keeps saying ‘K.’”

“She means ‘Cade,’ her brother. He likes to go down to the creek and play with the other boys, and sometimes she tries to follow him.”

“What’s her name?”

“Emma.”

Now we had three overheated, possibly thirsty people standing at the street. “May I get you a bottle of water? Emma didn’t want any.”

“That’s very nice of you, but no thanks. I have two little ones asleep in the house. Mine is the second to last one on the other side of the street.” She pointed. “I’d better get back.”

“No problem. I’m home every day, so if she goes missing again, let me know and I’ll look out for her.”

“Thank you so much.”

I went inside, where the green peas I’d left on the stove had burned. I’d lost my focus during the drama, but Emma hadn’t.

She knew what she loved and didn’t forget what she wanted: her brother Cade (which, by the way, means “pet lamb.”) And she went after him.

That kind of devotion and single-mindedness is what makes me love kids, kindergarteners and teenagers alike. We adults have so much to learn from them, so I choose to write about them and for them.

While writing Bird Face, my main character became real to me. I watched Wendy and speculated what she’d do next. How would she handle this situation?  What would she try first? I knew she’d make a mistake or two before figuring out successful strategy and tactics. It was all so that she could learn to love herself and those around her better. She had a lot of love to give, but it took her a while to discover where and how to direct it. And to forgive.

I was the same way for many years when I didn’t look to Jesus to show me how. I believe he used the story of Wendy to reach me. As I wrote her story, she demonstrated how to love better, further, and more wisely.

And sometimes so does a child like Emma.

About the Author:

Cynthia enjoys writing both historical and contemporary teen fiction with a touch of mystery and romance. She holds a BA in art education with a minor in history and worked as an advertising designer and marketing copywriter when she began her first novel. More recently she has been an interior decorator, and her decorating articles appear on eHow.com and homeguides.SFGate.com (The San Francisco Chronicle online). She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and encourages people to adopt and save the life of a shelter dog or cat. In her leisure time she cooks Italian and studies the complex history of the friendly South, where she resides with her husband and several dogs.

You can connect with Cynthia via her e-mail: birdfacewendy@gmail.com, also her website, her blog, on Facebook, and Twitter

About Bird Face:

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer, will Jennifer still be around to support her?

Wendy and Cynthia talked about Bird Face on Monday and Wednesday.

 

Author Interview: Cynthia T. Toney

CindyPurpB&W3rev.reducedToday’s guest is Cynthia T. Toney.

Cynthia, it’s no secret that Bird Face is one of my favorite novels. It’s definitely at the top of my young adult list mainly because for me, the best young adult novels transcend the age group, which Bird Face does so well. Adults who read such stories are just as entertained and enlightened as the younger folks. In your writing, did you even think about the impact upon an adult reader or did you simply write the story for the teen audience only to find that it did transcend?

You can connect with Cynthia via her e-mail: birdfacewendy@gmail.com, also her website, her blog, on Facebook, and Twitter

Thank you for inviting me, Fay, and it means a lot to me that you rank Bird Face so highly. As I was writing the story, I had no idea it would affect adults the way it has. My first clue that it might was when one of a few adults who read the entire pre-published manuscript said a scene between the protagonist and another young character was so touching it made her cry. That helped me know that adult readers might closely identify with one or more of the teens, or at least relate one of them to a young person in their lives. I originally wrote Bird Face to reach shy, socially awkward teens and those who struggle in families with divorced parents.

Other authors may find this unusual, but my husband didn’t read any part of Bird Face until after it was published. Before that, I only said to him that if he wanted to read any of it to let me know. That approach worked out for the best because after I gave him a published book, he surprised me one day by saying he’d already read half of it. He finished it the next day and told me how good he thought the story was. Now when we’re together and I’m talking with adults about the book, he pipes up and says how much he liked it. My husband is usually reserved, so that kind of public affirmation is very special to me.

Wendy Robichaud’s young teen years seemed to mirror mine, and the sweet memories, the laughter, and the tears that came while reading are also what endeared the story to me. How much of Wendy’s life mirrors your teenage years.

Wendy and I share some traits, but she is not exactly like anyone I know. At her age, I too was shy and wished I was prettier. I wasn’t popular with boys and didn’t develop a figure until late in high school. Like Wendy, I’ve always had only one or two close friends at a time. We’re both list-makers and lovers of the arts. However, it was my daughter who was a child of divorced parents, and that aspect of her life remains a painful subject for us both.

I have a feeling that one thing you and your heroine have in common is a love for animals. Do you work or volunteer with agencies that work with animals? If so, would you care to share that with us?

Helping find a way out of animal shelters for animals that might otherwise be euthanized is a passion of mine. Each shelter, or pound as they were once called, is different. Some shelters try hard not to euthanize while others don’t. Some facilities have adequate space, heat, cooling, vet care, and supplies. In others, the animals live in misery. I urge people to adopt from a shelter rather than buy a pet. Many beautiful animals, including purebreds, wind up in shelters through no fault of their own.

My most recent success story was a very large female dog in my county shelter that had been blinded in one eye. No one knew when or how because she was picked up as a stray. I found out about a blind dog rescue organization, contacted it, and offered to foster her (provide a temporary home) if this organization would rescue her and find a permanent home. We worked it out, and I went to the shelter myself and got the dog because the organization was located out-of-state. The dog was a gentle giant, sweet and lovable. With the rescue organization’s funding, she had surgery to remove the eye, which was swollen beyond repair. She must’ve been in a lot of pain. She was with us a month and is now in Pennsylvania awaiting adoption.

Anyone interested in helping or adopting shelter animals (dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, rabbits, pet pigs) can find rescue organizations in every state and most counties. Search Facebook and the Internet for specific or general animal rescues. You can also search for rescues of particular breeds.

I can’t stress enough how important donations to animal rescues are, and donations to 501c3 nonprofit rescues are tax-deductible to the extent of the law. No amount is too small, and animal rescues are some of the most appreciative charities around. I once received a thank-you note for a donation of only one dollar!

Some of the issues and secrets that the teens deal with in Bird Face are serious ones. I’d love to know if you’ve ever dealt with them or if you know someone who has because the way you present them is very real and very touching.

I do have a personal connection to someone who had an eating disorder as a teen and to a few young people who committed suicide. Eating disorders can kill, only more slowly than suicide.

It’s so hard sometimes for teens to understand that no matter what hurts them right now, life won’t always be this way. Not only are they precious human beings, but they have the power to make their lives better. Decades of good times are ahead, but they have to be here to enjoy them. I still tear up when I think of a particular boy, a friend of my daughter’s, who committed suicide in high school. He was such a nice person when he visited my home. When I see an old photo of him smiling and looking so normal and happy, I wonder what was going on behind that façade.

Do you have any future projects in the works? If so, we’d love to hear what they are.

I’ve begun a sequel to Bird Face, hoping that readers of the first book will let me know which characters they’d like to see more of. Because Wendy has four years of high school ahead to meet new people, experience new things (get herself into trouble), and discover more about herself and her fellow human beings, there’s the opportunity for a series.

I just completed a YA (some say MG) historical novel titled The Other Side of Freedom. What’s it about? In the 1920s South, a thirteen-year-old boy and his immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend.

Because I have defied convention and am writing for two very different subgenres of YA that may require finding two different publishers, I think I should find representation for one story or the other, or I won’t have much time to write!

521390_391234014291056_168496479_nMore About Bird Face:

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer, will Jennifer still be around to support her?

Be sure to meet Wendy Robichaud.

 

 

Character Interview: Wendy Robichaud from Bird Face

521390_391234014291056_168496479_nToday’s guest is Ms. Wendy Robichaud from Cynthia T. Toney’s wonderful young adult novel, Bird Face. Wendy, I have to say that I am so glad that I met you. Your story brought memories back to me that I’d thought I’d forgotten, and they showed me that not much has changed since I attended school. Please, tell our readers a little about you and your story.

Thank you, Mrs. Lamb. It’s great to meet you too. I used to be so shy that I wouldn’t have imagined being able to talk with you like this a year ago. And it seemed that when I did work up the courage to say something to a person I didn’t know very well, I could never say the right thing. I always put my foot in my mouth and made someone mad. It was so hard to make new friends because of that, so it was a good thing I had Jennifer, my best friend. When people were mean to me for no reason, she stood up for me. But after a while, I knew it was time to start standing up for myself.

Teens often experience change in their lives as they grow older. Friendships change or strengthen or new ones are created. What did you learn about friendship during the last school year?

I realized there were people out there waiting and hoping to be friends with me, but I either didn’t recognize the signals they sent or was too shy to act on them. I had a feeling Jennifer was changing, and it scared me because I never had to try to impress her and could always be myself. But I couldn’t see that I was on the verge of changing too. It wasn’t until I was forced to seek new friends that I did, and I believe God gave me the right push at all the right times. I looked at people with new eyes and saw things we had in common that I could build friendships on. But on the other hand, you never know when an old friend might reappear, and because of what you’ve experienced when you were apart, you might become close again.

With everything you experienced in the year leading up to entering high school, what is the biggest lesson you learned?

That it doesn’t do any good to feel sorry for yourself and wait for someone to come to you to be your friend. You have to reach out to them or at least meet them half way. If you wait too long, you may lose them forever, and you’ll wonder all your life if friendship with them could’ve made a difference in your life and theirs too, if only you’d done something to show you cared. No matter how low you feel, there’s always someone who feels lower whose spirits you might lift with a friendly smile or a genuine compliment. If you’re rejected, it may hurt a little; but if you keep trying, you’ll find someone who appreciates your effort. Who knows? That person may be your new best friend!

This, I believe, is a deep question, but somehow I think it is a question meant especially for you: If you could go back to any time in your life and change history, would you do it? If so, when would that be and how would you change your life? If not, why would you be willing to go through the same conflicts that you have faced?

I think I could’ve gotten an earlier start on some things, like being nicer to my stepmother. I could’ve taken the attitude that if being nicer to her didn’t make her act nicer toward me, I wouldn’t be any worse off than I was before. If it did help, a lot of days at her and Dad’s house would’ve been more pleasant. And I wish I’d noticed and cared more when people at school were bullied or looked like they were sad or needed a friend. I would’ve tried to be as nice to them as people like Alice, David, and Jennifer have been to me.  But I believe some of the other things had to happen when and how they did. I wouldn’t have been able to change that part of history, and I don’t think I’d want to. Certain people, places, and events had to come together in the right way at the right time to make me truly understand them and myself.

Okay, Wendy, before we close, I just have to know—what’s the scoop with you and David?

(Blushing) Well, he’s the nicest boy I’ve ever known. Just for example, on the first day of sixth grade, my first day at Bellingrath Junior High, I couldn’t find English class. I’d heard the teacher, Mr. Stanley, could be a real bear, and I was scared to death I’d be late. I must’ve looked it too because David stopped and asked if he could help me with anything. I thought, Oh, sure, you must’ve seen me with Jennifer earlier, but that wasn’t it at all. He’s just nice. He walked me to class and then had to practically run to make it to his own class. I think we’re really only friends right now in ninth grade, but he does sit with me at lunch sometimes. And the other day he mentioned something about wanting to see me run track and asked if I’d come to one of his baseball games when the season starts. So maybe we’ll be more than friends someday if I don’t mess it up!

More About Bird Face:

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer, will Jennifer still be around to support her?

CindyPurpB&W3rev.reducedAbout the Author:

Cynthia enjoys writing both historical and contemporary teen fiction with a touch of mystery and romance. She holds a BA in art education with a minor in history and worked as an advertising designer and marketing copywriter when she began her first novel. More recently she has been an interior decorator, and her decorating articles appear on eHow.com and homeguides.SFGate.com (The San Francisco Chronicle online). She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and encourages people to adopt and save the life of a shelter dog or cat. In her leisure time she cooks Italian and studies the complex history of the friendly South, where she resides with her husband and several dogs.

You can connect with Cynthia via her e-mail: birdfacewendy@gmail.com, also her website, her blog, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Our Broken World by Susan J. Reinhardt

Susan J. ReinhardtWhat if we no longer enjoyed the freedoms we’ve taken for granted?

That question followed on the heels of the experience I mentioned in my earlier interview. As I meditated on the voices of the forefathers fading like dying echoes, I considered what it might be like to live in an America that was no longer the home of the free and the brave.

Free speech, freedom of religion, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are aspects of life in America that we all hold dear. People will resist major changes, but the slow erosion of our rights can go almost unnoticed.

The story of a family, who experienced life unhindered by excessive control and now facing anti-Christian bigotry at its worst, flowed onto the page. Someone once said to me my story was too mild. Yet, I knew it would impact those of us accustomed to worshiping as we see fit, speaking our minds, and making decisions based on what was best for our families.

Recently, my mom’s baby sister, passed away at the age of 80. She’s with Jesus, and we know we’ll see her again. Death has a way of emphasizing that life is short – a mere blip in terms of eternity. I want my life to count for God’s Kingdom.

The Lord’s Prayer talks about, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This world is broken – not just our country. Jesus came to bring life and life more abundant. My desire is that my words would be containers of life, pointing the way to the Life Giver.

Will I always write stories like this? I don’t know, but I had to write this trilogy. Whatever the future holds, I know that my life is in God’s hands. We’re truly pilgrims passing through.

About the Author, Susan J. Reinhardt:

Susan J. Reinhardt’s publishing credits include her novels, The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, and The Scent of Fear, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.

You can meet up with Susan at her blog, Christian Writer/Reader Connection on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. Susan is also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Susan’s other novels, The Christmas Wish and The Scent of Fear are also available.

More About The Moses Conspiracy:

In 2025, the Christian World is under attack!

Two seemingly unconnected events set in motion a diabolical plan. Ellie and John Zimmerman find themselves embroiled in a life-threatening investigation, fighting a shadowy enemy.

After a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C. in the near future, Ellie plans a trip with her young son, Peter, and they become separated. At the same time back home, John witnesses a buggy accident with unusual circumstances.

Caught between strained family relations and ominous warnings from a faceless enemy, the couple rely on God for wisdom and protection.

The truth of the past tragedy is revealed. While they may expose the culprits, will they survive the heartache it brings?

You can meet up with Susan at her blog, Christian Writer/Reader Connection on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. Susan is also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Susan’s other novels, The Christmas Wish and The Scent of Fear are also available.

And be sure to meet, Susan’s heroine, Ellie Zimmerman, in her interview from Monday, and also check out Susan’s interview from Wednesday.

 

Author Interview: Susan J. Reinhardt

Susan J. ReinhardtSusan J. Reinhardt is our guest today. Susan’s publishing credits include her novels, The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, and The Scent of Fear, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.

Susan, thank you for joining us. Since The Moses Conspiracy has a very clear message and theme, I’d love to hear why you wrote the story.

Thank you for having me. My original focus was non-fiction, and I thought it would continue tracking in that direction. In December 2004, my late husband and I visited Gettysburg. As we stood in the town square surrounded by old buildings, I “heard” the voices of the forefathers as fading echoes. I couldn’t shake the sense that something profound occurred in those few moments. Yet all my efforts to write a non-fiction piece ended in frustration.

We were discussing the Gettysburg experience in August 2005 when he made a startling declaration: “That’s it. That’s your book, and you’ll write it in four months and call it Ghosts of the Past.” I thought he was crazy, but I soon caught the vision.

I looked at a blank computer screen and started typing. In four months, I had a 55,000-word manuscript. To call it a rough draft is an understatement. It took years of honing my fiction skills for the book to go from that point to the final product.

The first thing I noticed about the novel was the encompassing of so many genres. The story is speculative in nature. You provide political aspects as well as a mystery. Was it difficult to form your plot with that in mind or did you even think of the genre when writing the story?

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. The original vision described above fueled the story rather than any plotting technique or genre. It was a story I HAD to write because it spoke to some of my deepest concerns about our country.

I have to say that the story’s overall conflict, your picture of what America might be like in the year 2025, the laws that might be passed, the things that Americans might no longer have during that time, the way Christians are treated, was very disturbing. Do you believe that American can fall to such evil in only eleven short years from today?

This project began in 2005. In eight years we’ve seen many changes that would shock previous generations. I spent a year at BibleSchool in 2003. We did not have television and were totally immersed in the Word. When I came home for summer vacation, the programming horrified me. We’ve been so desensitized that many people no longer recognize right from wrong.

One of my greatest concerns is the passing of the older generations, who remember when God was honored in our halls of government, schools, and the public square. Those who have grown up in a society where God is no longer welcome will think this is normal.

The Moses Conspiracy gives a possible scenario of what might happen if we continue on our present path. While the book focuses on the U.S., it’s really about two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of His Dear Son. Like Israel in the Old Testament, we must decide who we will serve. Our decision will impact and set the course of our nation.

As I mentioned the story was disturbing but only because I do feel that we are headed down the road you portray. For those of us whose hearts quake at the thought, what Scripture would you give to us to remind us that God is in control?

One of the lessons the Zimmerman family learned was that God will turn around what the enemy meant for evil for our good. They asked for God’s help, and He brought it in the form of allies like Jim Kenneman and Monty Addison.

Reliance on God kept them getting up when they were knocked down. Their hope was not in humans, but they recognized the necessity to pray, be involved, and stand for what was right.

Do I believe there is hope for our nation? Absolutely, but it will take a major spiritual awakening for it to happen. George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

The following verse spoke to my heart during a time of great personal trial:

Habakuk 3:19 (Amplified) 19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Are you working on any future projects? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

The Moses Conspiracy is part of a trilogy. The second book, The Scent of Fear, released in late November 2013. This volume continues the story with Jim Kenneman, the Director of National Security, and Monty Addison, the operative, taking center stage. The Zimmermans are also featured.

Last year, my publisher requested I write a Christmas novella. I took several characters from The Moses Conspiracy and gave everyone a peek at a critical event between the two books. Some new characters were introduced, the identity of one of their enemies was revealed, and clues given regarding future events. The Christmas Wish is a book for all seasons.

I’m currently working on the third book, Out of the Mist. This will wrap up the trilogy.

The Moses Conspiracy Print BookMore About The Moses Conspiracy:

In 2025, the Christian World is under attack!

Two seemingly unconnected events set in motion a diabolical plan. Ellie and John Zimmerman find themselves embroiled in a life-threatening investigation, fighting a shadowy enemy.

After a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C. in the near future, Ellie plans a trip with her young son, Peter, and they become separated. At the same time back home, John witnesses a buggy accident with unusual circumstances.

Caught between strained family relations and ominous warnings from a faceless enemy, the couple rely on God for wisdom and protection.

The truth of the past tragedy is revealed. While they may expose the culprits, will they survive the heartache it brings?

You can meet up with Susan at her blog, Christian Writer/Reader Connection on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. Susan is also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Susan’s other novels, The Christmas Wish and The Scent of Fear are also available.

And be sure to meet, Susan’s heroine, Ellie Zimmerman, in her interview from Monday.

 

Character Interview: Ellie Zimmerman from The Moses Conspiracy

The Moses Conspiracy Print BookToday’s guest is Ellie Zimmerman who comes to us from Susan J. Reinhardt’s novel, The Moses Conspiracy. Welcome Ellie. My you do live in changing times, and I believe that your reality is the result of the “change” that’s been brought to our nation now, but maybe you have a different opinion. Would you mind telling us what we can expect in the year 2025?

Hi, Fay! I’m honored you chose me for this interview. People can expect a continued slide into immorality. There will be a sharper dividing line between darkness and light, but people will consider the light as evil. In my 2025 world, life is not valued. Everyone from the pre-born to the elderly are at risk.

Ellie, it wasn’t clear to me as a reader, but it was something that caught my attention. You live in and around the Amish, but you do not appear to be Amish. I realize that the changes in the world have dictated that you live somewhat as the Amish do, but were you and John ever Amish? If not, do you feel that the Amish and their showing of faith helped you to deal with the atrocities that took place in your life in the same way?

You’re correct, Fay. My family is not Amish nor have we ever been Amish. Because we live in this area, which is considered an important tourist zone, we have more freedom than other areas of the country. What helped us deal with the atrocities is our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Please share with the reader one of the truths that you have learned on your journey though the changes in our country?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one truth. Both my husband and I worked to preserve our freedoms, but many in our family and community stood by and did nothing. They declared that Christians had no business in the workings of the government. One thing became increasingly clear: If we are not salt and light in this world, evil will flourish unchecked.

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 this journey and the changes you have lived through?

After the tragedy that occurred in our family, I went to pieces. I wasn’t exactly the picture of trusting God. Through the grief, some of our family and friends prayed and supported us. God strengthened our relationships as we regained our spiritual footing. A wise man once said, “Christians are not perfect, but they get up. They don’t stay down.”

What is the one precaution about the present would you give to our readers—something that could help us prevent what you are going through in 2025?

Change happens in small, seemingly innocent, steps. Yet when viewed together, we can observe where they’ll lead. Ignoring evil and doing nothing will soon bring a tidal wave of consequences – ones we won’t like. The answer? Seeking God’s wisdom and putting feet to our faith.

Ellie, thank you for sharing your experiences from the future and how we might work to change what has occurred in the world of 2025.

More About The Moses Conspiracy:

In 2025, the Christian World is under attack!

Two seemingly unconnected events set in motion a diabolical plan. Ellie and John Zimmerman find themselves embroiled in a life-threatening investigation, fighting a shadowy enemy.

After a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C. in the near future, Ellie plans a trip with her young son, Peter, and they become separated. At the same time back home, John witnesses a buggy accident with unusual circumstances.

Caught between strained family relations and ominous warnings from a faceless enemy, the couple rely on God for wisdom and protection.

The truth of the past tragedy is revealed. While they may expose the culprits, will they survive the heartache it brings?

 Susan J. ReinhardtAbout the Author, Susan J. Reinhardt:

Susan J. Reinhardt’s publishing credits include her novels, The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, and The Scent of Fear, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.

You can meet up with Susan at her blog, Christian Writer/Reader Connection on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. Susan is also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Susan’s other novels, The Christmas Wish and The Scent of Fear are also available.