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Author Interview: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Photo on 2-11-14 at 1.25 PM.jpgToday, I’m delighted that Kathleen Y’Barbo is back with us at Inner Source. Kathleen is a bestselling author, and a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine.

A member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and a former member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, she is currently a proud military wife and an expatriate Texan cheering on her beloved Texas Aggies from north of the Red River.

To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

Her latest novel, a contemporary Texas beach themed romance called Their Unexpected Love, released July 1 from Love Inspired Books.

Kathleen, I last spoke to you after the release of Sadie’s Secret. I enjoyed it so much that when you advised your next work was a contemporary romance, I couldn’t wait to read it. Naturally, my first question to you is about the difference in writing historical versus contemporary. Do you find one more difficult than the other, or maybe more enjoyable than the other?

Thank you! I love writing in both genres! My challenge with both genres is to get the details right, so I cannot point to either as being the more difficult. When I’ve been writing historicals for a while, I find I’m yearning to write contemporary, and vice versa. My ideal story—and one I love to read—has dual contemporary and historical threads. Perhaps one day I’ll write that story!

My next question is along those lines because I’ve attended some writer’s conferences recently, and I’ve listened to other faculty members state unequivocally that authors should not switch genres. As an author who writes in three genres (all contemporary), I disagree. Historical romance/fiction and contemporary romance/fiction are two different ends of the spectrum. What do think of the advice to stick with one genre? What would you say to a reader who hesitates to pick up a novel in a genre they don’t normally read, even if they are a fan of the author’s work?

I would tell that reader to do the research and see what sort of book this is. Has the author completely departed from what he/she writes (romance to sci-fi or dystopian to Amish?)? If so, it’s unlikely there will be much resemblance to the stories the reader might have already read. Or is this a switch from contemporary to historical romance or perhaps from romance to women’s fiction? If so, it’s likely there will be a similar voice in all of this writer’s tales even though the content is different. For example, does he/she write feisty female heroines? If so, there’s a good chance this author’s women’s fiction will feature such a main character.

Ultimately, my best advice is to check out the new book before you buy it. If you can’t find the book in a store, many publishers offer samples of books before a reader must decide to purchase. Check out the reviews and see what other readers think, but please understand that reviews are not always representative of the work. Some reviewers just don’t share your particular taste in books, and others are trying to prove a point by posting things that may not be very nice. Thankfully the good and honest reviewers FAR outweigh the others. Still, judging for yourself is always best!

Good advice. 

With its unique backdrop, different storyline, and the fact that hero and heroine were both in their own ways right but willing to listen and disagree with each other, I enjoyed Their Unexpected Love very much. I’d like to know if you’re familiar with any portion of the Gulf Coastal area and the extreme sport/recreation you depicted.

Thank you. My roots go VERY deep into the Texas Gulf Coast. My ancestors settled there in the 1820s. I was born there and spent most of my teenaged years at Crystal Beach (an inspiration for fictional Vine Beach) and in nearby Galveston. Later, I owned a beach house that sadly did not survive Hurricane Ike several years ago. Other than a stint overseas in Jakarta, Indonesia and five years in Lafayette, Louisiana, I lived at or near the beach. In 2010, I married and moved north of the Red River, but the beach is still in my heart.

As to the extreme sports, oh yes, I have far too much knowledge about that! My middle son was an inline skater and my youngest son was a skateboarder, as were their friends. A group of us moms used to drive carpool on select Saturdays down to South Houston to Southside Skate Park (www.southsideskatepark.com). When they weren’t skating at the skate park, they often skated around town, using parking lots and other places to do their tricks. I was stunned and appalled at the harassment these kids endured from people who thought they were the worst sort of criminals because they dressed like skaters. Honestly, if I hadn’t been their mom and known the other guys so well, in my heart I know I would have likely felt the same way.

That group of “skater thugs” that included my two sons and their friends are now young adults. All are still friends, and every one of them is either in college or has completed his education and is in the workforce. Several are married and one has a daughter. In short, they are intelligent, well-spoken members of society.

In writing Their Unexpected Love, I wanted to show that looks do not indicate the heart and that sometimes the kids on skateboards are exactly the ones the Lord sent into your path to speak the gospel to.

Your hero has a healthy weight of regret on his shoulders? What scripture or Biblical concept would you use in ministering with someone who carries that type of burden?

Logan has deep regrets over insisting his wife take a flight that ultimately crashed. The fact that their marriage was already strained is also a regret, both for what he feels is his selfishness in not being a good husband and in his inability to make things right before she died. His regret also goes back farther to the time when he made poor decisions and caused his parents to be deeply disappointed in him. While Logan turned his life around and made his father proud, he has yet to shake the feeling that he has let down God. In ministering to someone like Logan, I would remind him that God’s mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that there is no burden too heavy for God to bear (Matthew 11:28-30).

And I have to ask again. Do you have any other projects in the work? If so, please tell us about them.

Actually, I do! I just finished an historical novella called The Bogus Bride of Creed Creek that will be released later this year in Barbour’s Homestead Brides collection. In addition, I’ll be doing another historical novella, The Last Baker Bride, for Barbour as well as a 365-day devotional. There are a few other projects in the works, including a contemporary Southern novel that I’m very excited to finally be writing, but the details aren’t firmed up on those yet. Thank you for asking!

Well, you know what I’m going to say next. I hope you’ll come back and join us at Inner Source to share the new releases!

Thank you for being with us again!

0714-9780373879007-bigwMore About Their Unexpected Love:

Widowed contractor Logan Burkett knows exactly what troublemaking teens need: discipline. A former rabble-rouser, Logan had his life turned around by firm guidance and hard work. But try telling that to Pippa Gallagher. The softhearted event planner runs a skate park ministry for troubled teens and thinks a place to be themselves is the answer. As he and Pippa work together renovating the space, they seem to disagree about everything. But when disaster strikes, Logan finds himself feeling very protective of the beautiful planner and surprised to discover they share one very special thing in common…love.

If you missed Monday’s interview with Logan Burkett of Their Unexpected Love, you’ll want to hear what he has to say.

 

 

Character Interview: Logan Burkett from Kathleen Y’Barbo’s Their Unexpected Love

0714-9780373879007-bigwToday, it is my pleasure to meet Logan Burkett, the hero from Kathleen Y’Barbo’s Their Unexpected Love. Welcome Logan.

I want our readers to know all about you. Would you mind giving us a little background about your past and where you are today?

I hate to admit what my younger years were like. Suffice it to say, I was not the person I am today. Until a year or so ago, I was on the mission field in Africa. After my wife died in a plane crash, my dad insisted I come back to Vine Beach and heal up. Not one to sit still for long, I ended up helping Dad, who has a business selling and redesigning homes.

Your heroine, Pippa Gallagher has some very different notions about her ministry than you do, and I want to tell you a secret. I think that the truth lies somewhere in between your suggestions and what Pippa does for the teens she’s trying to reach. What do you believe benefits a teen on the cusp of rebellion the most?

Pippa is under the impression that all these rebellious kids need is a place to hang out and some cool music to listen to while they skateboard. Well, I was one of those kids, and having a hangout didn’t fix me. It took tough love and a firm direction before I was finally set straight. So yeah, she and I disagree on that.

I know you carried some heavy regret in your life. 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 what changes would you make? If not, why would you be willig to go through the same conflicts that you have faced?

Regrets. Yeah, I’ve got a few of those. If I could go back and change things, I would have listened to my dad instead of going along with friends who were heading in the wrong direction. I would never have insisted my wife get on that plane. And I wouldn’t have waited so long to notice how very pretty Pippa Gallagher looks, even when she’s dressed like a skater.

This previous question is about the regrets and changing the past and could be mistaken for this same question, but I want to talk about the events you’ve recently experienced. In light of all that hampered Pippa’s ministry, the misunderstanding between the two of you, and other difficulties, do you believe that God brought home to you and probably to Pippa a definite confirmation of 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”?

Oh definitely. Since my wife’s death, I felt like I had no idea what God had for me next. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure He had anything for me at all. Taking on the job of renovating the old building for Pippa and her grandmother just seemed like something to keep me busy until I could figure out what to do next. And having a skater’s ministry next to the property I was trying to sell so I could leave town? Only God could orchestrate that. I’ll admit that I wasn’t keen on seeing those skaters coming in and out, and I sure didn’t think the ministry was serving any purpose other than to make my property harder to sell. But I’ll admit now that the Lord had a lesson to teach me, and it wasn’t just patience. No, He taught me that He’s got His ways and I’ve gone mine. And His ways? Yeah, they’re a whole lot better than mine.

I’m curious. As Pippa moves forward with her ministry, do you think she’ll truly allow you to offer some of the structure and the understanding of consequences that I know (and I agree) teens need? And on the other hand, do you think you’ll loosen up a use your skills as a surfer to meet the teens where they are—on the skateboard ramp?

Pippa and I have talked about that, and I think she’s actually going to let me take some of the kids down to the beach and teach them how to surf. The kids have been asking me about surfing, mostly giving me a hard time that I have to use a board that’s so much bigger than theirs. So we’ve kind of got this running joke going about which is harder, surfing or skateboarding. I’m thinking the next time the waves are just right, it’s time to decide that once and for all. In the meantime, yeah, I’ve been hanging around—just making sure my wife’s safe and all—and I have to say I’ve tried my hand at that ramp those kids go up and down on. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s not as easy as it looks.

Well, you’re talking to someone whose cousin is a member of Christian Surfer’s International, and her husband offered to teach me how to stand on a surfboard—in the sand. So both are difficult for me.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Logan. I look forward to the interview with Kathleen on Wednesday.

More About Their Unexpected Love:

Widowed contractor Logan Burkett knows exactly what troublemaking teens need: discipline. A former rabble-rouser, Logan had his life turned around by firm guidance and hard work. But try telling that to Pippa Gallagher. The softhearted event planner runs a skate park ministry for troubled teens and thinks a place to be themselves is the answer. As he and Pippa work together renovating the space, they seem to disagree about everything. But when disaster strikes, Logan finds himself feeling very protective of the beautiful planner and surprised to discover they share one very special thing in common…love.

Photo on 2-11-14 at 1.25 PM.jpgAbout the Author: 

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine.

A member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and a former member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, she is currently a proud military wife and an expatriate Texan cheering on her beloved Texas Aggies from north of the Red River.

To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

Her latest novel, a contemporary Texas beach themed romance called Their Unexpected Love, released July 1 from Love Inspired Books.

 

A Devotional for Starving Artists in Need of Hope and a J-O-B

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Author photoElle Brighton, a starving artist who paints on canvases and creates graphic design, aspires to become a paid professional in “Peace and Love” which is the final story in my novella, Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories.

Writing Elle’s story had a profound impact on my life. I relate to Elle on so many levels! I know what it’s like to be a “starving artist” and for the past three years, I’ve experienced the struggle of seeking a professional creative job that pays me enough to make a sufficient living. I completely understand the challenges of being self-employed and I hope I will soon be able to relate to Elle’s breakthrough because I truly need one too!

Hopefully, Elle’s fictional story will open the eyes of my readers to the issue of unemployment. I pray Elle’s story will inspire hope in the hearts of my audience, as they see an example of how God can work out the details for His children and provide for their every need. A perfect scenario to illustrate this concept is when Elle meets Mandy Dawson at the gym. Mandy is a professionally friendly person but Elle, who was stressed due to a lack of employment and an unfruitful job hunt, was not too friendly. Mandy persists in getting to know Elle and after a few minutes of conversation, gives a business card to Elle who does not think much of it, at all and eventually loses the card.

But when we as humans lose hope, God does not. Who knew a brief conversation about music and life shared between these two characters during a workout at the hotel’s gym, would lead to Mandy reaching out to Elle for an interview? God knew, even when I as the author did not know! I did not initially plan for Elle to interview with Mandy! Initially, they were just going to be gym buddies during Elle’s stay in the D.C. area. But as I delved into their characters and motivations, I realized that Mandy should interview Elle. Now you’ll have to read the story “Peace and Love” in order to find out if Mandy hired Elle or not because Elle has a track record of being disappointed in her job hunt.

Honestly, as a real-life starving artist, I hope and pray my job situation works out like Elle’s or even better! My career path has not been predictable or steady! But I have faith that God will provide! My heart hopes my career will be what dreams are made of and better!

So if you too are a starving artist, I want to encourage you today by telling you to keep pushing for your dreams to come true! Remain steadfast in your faith in the Creator of the Universe (God) who cares for the sparrows that are never in need because God supplies all they need! Surely God cares for you who are worth more than a sparrow (Matthew 10:31)! So trust God to provide your every need! These words of encouragement are not just for you, they are for me!

Here’s to the starving artists: keep dreaming, praying and believing in God! He knows what He’s doing and He can bless you beyond your wildest imagination! So move forward in faith, God’s got you covered!

About the Author:

Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

You can connect with Alexis at her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Media imageMore About Hope in My Heart:

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Besides the Amazon link given with the title, this collection of stories may be purchased at Barnes & NobleBooks-a-MillionChristianbook.comCrossbooks.com, and Lifeway.com.

If you didn’t catch our interviews with Brian Henderson, a character in this collection of stories, or with Alexis, we hope you’ll visit those posts and learn more about the collection of novellas and its author.

 

Author Interview: Alexis A. Goring

Author photoToday’s guest is Alexis A. Goring, the author of a collection of short stories she has entitled Hope in My Heart. Alexis is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

You can connect with Alexis at her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Alexis, thank you for joining us on Inner Source. The first question that I have is about the unique way you bring the collection of stories together. Each collection focuses on several different couples at one time. However, there doesn’t seem to be a connection to the couples in those stories. I’m thinking that the hope they need to embrace is the fact that they all hope for something. Would you elaborate on this for us?

Hi Fay! Thanks for hosting me on your blog!

You’re right, there is no connection between the couples in my stories that compose my novella and I did that on purpose. The way I see it, the lives and unique journey of each character mirrors real life here on Earth where we all may be going through something at any given point of time and share similar hopes and dreams for our lives but we do not always connect with each other. Case in point, when you’re shopping at the grocery store, you’re passing by many different people from parents and kids to couples and single people. Each of those people has their own unique story but they don’t always share their story with you or become a part of your life. Yet their stories are personal and important. So I guess you could say my not weaving a connecting thread between the characters in the three separate stories in my novella was my way of reflecting real life in the sense that as Shakespeare says—and I paraphrase—the world stage where we’re all actors.

I would like to add that while the characters do not connect with each other, the tie that binds the book is hope. All of my characters in each of the three stories are hoping for a dream of their heart to come true.

I think that often hope is what connects most of us. The hope of friendship, the hope of someone to depend upon. As a writer, do you identify with these desires and/or journeys of discovery your characters are making?

Yes, the theme of all of my stories in my novella is hope. My characters who believe in God know to put their hope and trust in Him. Take the story Peace and Love: There’s Kristine who is adopted and searching for her birth mom. Kristine’s faith in God helps her through the process. There’s Eric, a divorce attorney who’s hoping to resolve his issues with his parents’ divorce which happened when he was a teenager and there’s Elle who is the classic “starving artist” hoping and praying to land a steady job that pays her enough to make a living.

As a writer, I do identify with many of my characters’ desires along with their journey of discovery. Such as with Christina who’s a magazine photojournalist who covers the wedding of a rich politician’s daughter. My dream—one of my dreams—is to become a wedding and lifestyle photographer so it was sweet to see Christina live out my dream on paper and even sweeter to see her “discovered” by a very handsome, kind and eligible bachelor!

I’d like to add that a few readers told me that they identify with the character Joshua in “The Best Gift” (the middle story). One reader said she loved how Joshua transformed from being self-centered to becoming a passionate disciple of Jesus Christ. So that’s a journey of discovery I hope more of my readers will relate to and enjoy.

What advice would you give a reader who feels that their situation is hopeless?

My advice to a reader who feels like their situation is hopeless is, “Don’t give up, look up!” Look up to God, the Creator of the Universe who loves you unconditionally and cares about everything—big or small—that happens in your life. Read Jeremiah 29:11 and know God has a plan and a purpose for your life. God will take care of you. Continue to seek God and if praying about your situation and talking to a few trusted family/friends/pastors is not helping then you may want to seek professional help from an effective Christian counselor and a life coach who can help get you on the right track. God puts health care doctors in place here on Earth to help you. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of seeking help from a professional who believes in God and you.

In my interview with Brian, I asked this same question, but I’d love to know this question from his author. Is there a verse of Scripture that you hold to that helps you to remember where it is your hope emanates?

Yes. Jeremiah 29:11 is what I like to call my “life verse”. My mom made me aware of it when I was going through a tough time as a teenager and I’ve held onto it ever since. When times get tough or uncertain, I hold onto the truth that God knows the plans He has for me…plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me HOPE and a future!

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

I do have a future project in the works. I’m working on three main stories as I decide whether my next book will be a novella comprised of three stories like my first or if it will be my first full-length novel. I cannot tell you too much because I don’t want to give away the book but I will say the story I’m working on now explores my passion for food as it revolves around four main characters who love this fictional five-star restaurant in Northwest, Washington D.C.

That sounds like a great project, Alexis. I hope you’ll come back and share more with us when it is released.

Media imageMore About Hope in My Heart:

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Besides the Amazon link given with the title, this collection of stories may be purchased at Barnes & NobleBooks-a-MillionChristianbook.comCrossbooks.com, and Lifeway.com.

If you didn’t catch our interview with Brian Henderson, a character in this collection of stories, we hope you’ll meet him.

Character Interview: Brian Henderson from The Best Gift by Alexis A. Goring

Media imageToday’s special guest is one of the cast of characters from Alexis A. Goring’s inspirational romance novella titled Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories. Brian’s story is told in The Best Gift.

Brian, your author has an interesting concept of short stories told around and about numerous characters, but I wanted to interview you because you are my favorite, and I think there is a story behind a story. So, first off, please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? And how did you first meet your heroine, Jordan?

My name is Brian Henderson. I was born in Riverside, California, before my parents moved to Maryland where I was raised and my younger sister was born. My parents returned to California to retire soon after my sister and I graduated from college. My graduate studies took me to Loma Linda University in California where I am studying to become a doctor.

The first time I met Jordan was in high school. We became friends after I saved her from falling down a flight of stairs. We took a Chemistry class together during our sophomore year and discovered the chemistry between us but we didn’t date until our senior year because before senior year, I was in a serious relationship and Jordan well you know, she wasn’t the type to commit to a steady relationship. But after the girl I was going steady with decided to dump me for a college athlete, Jordan and I started talking again (our senior year) but we broke up after graduation because she wanted to be free to date whomever she wanted in college.

Authors always bring conflict to their characters’ lives, and your conflict was hilarious to me. I don’t know how you managed under the weight of what was expected of you. However, most heroic to me was the fact that you were the man of reason in the situation. Without giving away the story, how did it feel to stand in the middle between a mother and daughter and speak wisdom into the daughter’s heart when, in reality, she didn’t want to hear it?

It wasn’t easy. I love Jordan but sometimes her strong will and propensity to get what she wants doesn’t work in her favor. I had to gently convince her that telling the truth about our relationship would help her mom understand the bottom line which is Jordan wants time to discover what she wants out of life and once she does, she’ll find the right guy (which I hope is me) and settle down. Looking back on the situation, I believe I did the best thing. As for my ability to maintain my composure under all of that pressure, I have to say it was only by God’s grace and the power of prayer!

In loving the heroine, you could have asked her to marry you right off, but you didn’t. Still haven’t, as far as I know, unless you want to give us the scoop on that. What helped you to separate your love for Jordan and do what was best for her—to help her and her mother bond and forgive over the issues that caused you great conflict?

You’re right, I could have asked Jordan to marry me from the start but that would not have been fair to her parents. I’m a traditional guy. I believe in asking the father of the woman I love for her hand in marriage and Jordan’s quick plan/charade to quench her mom’s desire for Jordan to marry and have kids didn’t settle well with me. So I decided to wait until the time is right out of respect for Jordan’s parents and out of my concern for Jordan’s happiness. I believed Jordan would be the happiest about our relationship if we were not lying to her parents and if she finally had a sincere, calm conversation with her mom about the matter. You’ll have to read our story to find out whether or not I was right.

Is there scripture or a biblical concept that you leaned upon to help you to navigate the tenuous steps between daughter and mother?

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

I prayed through this situation and I believe God answered my prayers in the best way by giving me the words to speak and helping me know what to do.

Inquiring minds have to know. If you do every plan on marrying Jordan, do you have any idea how you will propose?

I can’t give away all of my plans but I will say that the proposal process will start with me asking Mr. Mayfield for his daughter’s hand in marriage. If he says yes and gives me his blessing then I will arrange the most romantic and spontaneous engagement Jordan has ever seen. I hope she will say “yes!” Given our history and the love we have for each other, I believe we’d be very happy together as husband and wife. 

Thank you for being with us, Brian. I look forward to speaking with your author, Alexis, on Wednesday.

More About Hope in My Heart:

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Besides the Amazon link given with the title, this collection of stories may be purchased at Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Christianbook.com, Crossbooks.com, and Lifeway.com.

Author photoAbout the Author:

Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

You can connect with Alexis at her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Treasure Hunters by Sylvia Bambola

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

SylviaBambolaHeadshotAs the name implies, Rebekah’s Treasure is a story about treasure. No, not pirates and parrots and pots of gold, but so-called “holy” treasure, treasure that seems good, that seems to make sense at the time. But set in 70 A.D. Jerusalem can this story really have anything significant to say about our modern times? Well, sure. Because most people are looking for treasure, treasure that will validate them, make them feel important, loved, secure. But what most find is a tin-plated substitute because they are trying to fill a void that only God can fill. And when He doesn’t, disappoint always follows.

Being adopted, one of the greatest “treasures” I sought was to be married and have a happy, loving family. I did meet and marry a wonderful man. So far so good. A few years later we had our first child, Vincent. He was born with Down Syndrome and then died months later. My world was rocked. That which I held most dear was suddenly taken away. “What was life all about?” I asked.  It suddenly made no sense. But oh, how our loving God uses moments like this! In the vacuum, in the midst of my searching and seeking and studying various religions, I found Him! Standing right there beside me all along, patiently waiting for me to seek the greatest treasure of all.  And that changed everything. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” How wonderful this is! It’s the “treasure” that’s capable of filling every void if only we allow God to do it.

After I came to know Jesus personally did life became a fulfillment of all my dreams? Hardly. Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve had my share of trials and tribulation. But here’s the difference. When your treasure truly is the Lord, even the losses and hardships of life are bearable, and what’s more, they have the awesome power to conform us into something beautiful—the very image of Christ. I’m smiling here because I often find the transformation painfully slow. Even so, we can be encouraged because God promises in Philippians 1:6 that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” So He’s never going to give up on us. Never! And I’m so glad!

First Century Rebekah must face many of the challenges that Twenty-First Century people face in a violent, chaotic world. And in the end, like all of us, she and Ethan must decide where their treasure lies. But truly, what treasure can compare to God? To His friendship and love, to His presence, His joy, His peace? And here’s the amazing part. Not only is God our treasure, but we are His treasure as well! Think about that. The very God who created the universe views us as His treasure. Once we understand that, there’s nothing we won’t be able to face in life.

May the God of all glory become the true treasure in each of our lives.

More About the Author:

Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored six novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

You can connect with Sylvia at her website, on FacebookTwitter, and GoodReads.

RTreasureFrontcoverMore About Rebekah’s Treasure:

FIRST PLACE WINNER FOR ADULT FICTION IN THE FLORIDA STATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value:  Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.

You can find Rebekah’s Treasure at Amazon.comBarnes & NobleBooks-a-Million, and other book retailers everywhere.

Author Interview: Sylvia Bambola

SylviaBambolaHeadshotToday’s guest is author of Rebekah’s Treasure, Sylvia Bambola.

Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored six novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

You can connect with Sylvia at her website, on FacebookTwitter, and GoodReads.

Sylvia, thank you for joining us. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your novel. You took me to Jerusalem and the surrounding areas in 70 A.D., and I was mesmerized by the world you took me into. Would you mind sharing how the idea for this story came about?

As a Bible study teacher I’m very interested in all that’s connected with Israel and its history. And since Jesus, Himself, predicted the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24:2 “There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down”) I wanted to find out exactly what happened. And when I did, the writer in me kicked in. How could I weave this into a novel? Then the idea came. Why not have a husband and wife flee from war-torn Jerusalem and each take something of value: Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; her husband, Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Through them the reader could learn first hand what happened to God’s city and His Holy Temple.

I felt that Rebekah’s true treasure was not what she physically possessed in the story, but what she held in her heart—the love of Christ–but the treasure she possesses is a symbol of this love of Christ and how people relate to Him through us. Was that your intent for the novel? If so, would you share a little more about that? If not, I’d love to hear what you wanted your readers to get most from the story.

Obviously, treasure is one of the main themes of the story—Rebekah’s cup and Ethan’s copper scroll. And why is that important? Because in a real sense we are all treasure seekers, or have been at one time. I’m talking about the treasure people seek to make them feel safe and secure; to make them feel valued, significant and important; the treasure they seek to fill the void that only God can fill. Things like financial security, material possessions, pleasure, comfort, success, fame, a good reputation, happy homes and marriages, peace…well, you fill in the blank. Yet all along, we have the greatest treasure of all: Jesus. And at some point in our lives we will have to determine where our true treasure lies.

I’m always interested in research and the writer’s background. I know that one does not have to be a scholar in order to write a well-written novel that contains fascinating historical and biblical truths in fiction. How long have you studied this era and has it given you a greater understanding of the issues covered in the novel?

Since the setting of Rebekah’sTreasure is in a time and place I was not sufficiently familiar with for the writing of a book, I needed to do a ton of research. The actual research took nearly as much time as writing the story. Dozens of books had to be read, notes taken then catalogued for future access. One of my most helpful resources was The Complete Works of Josephus. Here was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. All of this intense research finally enabled me to understand the time, place and events so that I could write about them accurately.

This novel is filled with Biblical truths, but I am curious. Did God bring an issue to you that is clearly the one you wish your writers to receive?

As I mentioned, this whole concept of treasure is one of the reasons I wrote Rebekah’sTreasure. And though the story is set in 70 A.D. the heroine, Rebekah, faces many of the challenges we face today in our violent, chaotic world. And in the end, like all of us, she and other characters in the novel must decide where their true treasure lies. And make no mistake, this is not always easy. It’s often a hard fought battle with the question always being: Will we seek God’s way or our own? Fame comes and goes. Finances can be shaken and depleted. A good reputation can be lost, even undeservedly. Pleasure is fleeting. And we can lose those we love. But the treasure of God’s presence in our lives, His peace, His joy remains as long as we abide in Him.

Sylvia, you use one word in this novel that kept the tension high for me throughout the reading because of the little bit of knowledge I have about Masada. Was then mention of Masada purposely done to heighten the tension, knowing that your readers would pick up on it and wonder how Ethan’s final decision could dictate the faith of his family?

Yes, that was my hope. I love suspense and tension in a story, and I wanted to keep the reader guessing, until the end, what would happen to this family.

That you did! Do you have any future projects in the work? If so, would you mind sharing with us what they are?

I’m currently working on my next historical novel, The Salt Covenants, which is coming out January 2015. The backdrop is a totally different timeframe (late 1400s) and again, I use suspense and a bit of romance.

Sylvia, thank you! I do hope that you’ll accept my invitation to join us again upon your next release so that we can get to the Inner Source of The Salt Covenants.

RTreasureFrontcoverMore About Rebekah’s Treasure:

FIRST PLACE WINNER FOR ADULT FICTION IN THE FLORIDA STATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value:  Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.

You can find Rebekah’s Treasure at Amazon.comBarnes & NobleBooks-a-Million, and other book retailers everywhere.

Character Interview: Rebekah from Sylvia Bambola’s Rebekah’s Treasure

RTreasureFrontcoverToday’s guest is Rebekah who comes to us from Sylvia Bambola’s novel, Rebekah’s Treasure.

Welcome, Rebekah. You and your husband, Ethan, had such a magnificent story to tell. Will you share with us a little about your life: where you are from, what your husband does, and the problems your family faced?

I am the daughter of a priest, and my husband, Ethan, is a priest of Hasmonean lineage. The blood of the Maccabees runs through his veins. We lived in Holy Jerusalem, the navel of the world. We were happy there and our lives full until our countrymen rebelled against Rome, bringing down Titus’ legions on our heads. Oh how cruel the Romans are! And what they did to my people! It was because of this that my husband, a Zealot, forced me to flee with my daughter while he and my three sons remained in Jerusalem to fight. It was not my wish, this fleeing. I longed to stay and face the danger with my family. But for my husband’s safety and peace of mind I left him and my sons, and took my daughter, Esther, and traveled to Pella, a heathen city where they consult their gods by studying the entrails of animals. I doubt I would have survived if it had not been for the other believers in The Way that were also there.

My daughter and I faced hunger, hardship, danger, separation, and persecution, but God was good. Oh, how good He was! How faithful He proved Himself to be! And I saw things…yes, miracles even…as true and as real as those seen in the days of the apostles. And through it I learned we are all in God’s hands, and He is able to sustains us.

Of course, 70 A.D. was a time of great tribulation for Jerusalem, but prior to that time, before the infighting and the siege, what would you say you treasured most about living there?

Everyone knows Jerusalem is God’s HolyCity. Prophets and priests have walked her streets. Messiah Jesus walked them, too. It is the one place that is carved in the heart of every Jew, and follower of The Way, too. It is the place where the Shekinah glory of God rested for a time; then afterward where the glory of God came in the form of a man. This is the treasure of Jerusalem. This is what I loved most.

What was it like being a follower of The Way during this turbulent time?

Wonderful. Sad. Terrible. So many things all mixed together like one of Leah’s olive and rosemary bread loaves. Wonderful because of the mighty way God showed Himself to us trembling, fearful believers. Sad because so many of our relatives and friends do not understand why we have chosen to follow The Way; do not understand this grace; do not want to understand it because it frightens them. It has made enemies out of friends. It has split us in two. And terrible because of the cost. We are hated by everyone. But we have learned to endure this hatred. And here is the miracle: we have learned to love in spite of it.

Rebekah, I don’t want to give away your story, but you lost so much. 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 and the losses you sustained?

I have learned this: God can be trusted, with my life, with the lives of my family, and with our futures. We must not fear the circumstances. God is more than able. And in the end, He will use all our trials to make us stronger, make us more like Him.

As someone who has faced persecution, what advice would you give to those who are facing it or may face persecution in the future?

Persecution is a fearful thing. It separates and isolates. It can be endured only if one is rooted in our precious Messiah. Only with Him, with His grace is it possible to endure without cowardice or without becoming hateful or bitter. But it is also a beautiful thing. Like a furnace, it has the power to refine, to make one as gold, a gold that reflects the love of Jesus.

Such great advice, Rebekah. Thank you for speaking with me. I look forward to the Inner Source interview with your author, Sylvia Bambola.

More About Rebekah’s Treasure:

FIRST PLACE WINNER FOR ADULT FICTION IN THE FLORIDA STATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value:  Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.

You can find Rebekah’s Treasure at Amazon.com, Barnes & NobleBooks-a-Million, and other book retailers everywhere.

SylviaBambolaHeadshotMore About the Author:

Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored six novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

You can connect with Sylvia at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.

Author Interview: Christina Rich

IMG_1096Today’s guest is Christina Rich, the author of The Warrior’s Vow.  Born and raised in Kansas, where she currently lives with her husband and children, Christina loves to read stories with happily ever afters, research,  take photos, knit scarves, dig into her ancestry, fish, visit the ocean, write stories with happily ever afters and talk about her family and Jesus.

Her debut novel, The Guardian’s Promise, released from Love Inspired March 2014. Her second novel, The Warrior’s Vow releases July 1, 1014.

You can learn a more about and catch up with Christina on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

Christina I truly enjoyed the story. Please tell us about your novel. Where does it take place and who are your main characters?

Hi, Fay. Thank you for having me. The Warrior’s Vow is set in ancient Judah. It is the fictional story of a princess who must choose between taking her deceased mother’s place as queen or stepping back and allowing the rightful heir to rule. She meets Jesse, a warrior intent on keeping his vow to protect the rightful king, even if it means killing any and all who pose a threat.

When I interviewed your character Abigail, I wanted to clarify that this woman is entirely fictional. However, her evil mother, Queen Athalia and the actions she took to secure the throne are not fictional. How did your plot for The Warrior’s Vow come to you?

When I completed my debut, The Guardian’s Promise, I knew I had to write Jesse’s story. I knew his heroine had to pose a threat to the newly restored line of David, and what better way than to have her also be heir to the throne.

Abigail’s strength lies in her tenacity to stand up against the evil in her life and to still be good in all things. I won’t give the story away, but God placed individuals in her life who showed her that there is a God that is not carved in wood. Has God granted you a Shema in your life?

God has granted me many Shemas along the road. The most important ones have been the ones who conveyed the realness and relationalshipness (I like to make up words;) ) of God, not just a God who sits way up high in heaven looking down upon us. There are far too many people sitting in church pews who keep God at a distance, when in fact He’s right here. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” He dwells in us. He lives in us. We host His presence, and as such we should understand that He’s not just some distant, dead god with no power and authority, like those made of wood from ancient times, but the God whom we host is living, active, and full of power and authority.

Christina, those words made my Spirit sing within me. Thank you for this awesome reminder.

What Biblical concept did the Lord bring to the table with your writing of The Warriors Vow?

Wow. You know I’ve discovered that God often brings more than one thing to the table in my stories. What I love is that He uses them to work in me. I have to say Lamentations 3:22-24 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. Abigail could have been swept into all that was evil, especially given the wickedness of both her parents, but God is compassionate and He is faithful. Fictionally, He yanked Abigail from the fire and set her apart to help bring support and the restoration of God back to the land of Judah.

Would you mind explaining how God has spoken to your heart about the issue?

I was talking to a cousin not too long ago; most of us are lovers of the Lord, which is a miracle, given that my grandparents did not bear witness to Christ in their lives. I had always wondered who prayed for the future generations. I may never know, but I know God is faithful, He is compassionate, and His mercies are new each morning. I am so very thankful that He called me out the muck and mire of my ancestry and set me apart for His purposes.

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works? If so, we’d love to hear about them.

Yes! I have a book coming out in 2015 about a Greek merchant and the daughter of a Hebrew slave. It’s set on the Mediterranean. And I’m currently working on another story about a Greek pirate, the merchant’s twin brother, and a Philistine slave.

I can’t wait. I hope you’ll consider this an invitation to return to share more about these stories when they are released.

officialMore About The Warrior’s Vow:

He Was Hers to Command

Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice—if she dares trust him.

She is royalty, yet Jesse is surprised by the gentle compassion Abigail shows him as he heals. In return, he will help her escape to Jerusalem, protecting her life with his own. But Abigail’s rank and Jesse’s deadly past makes any future impossible, unless forgiveness forged by love can triumph over all.

On Monday, Inner Source interviewed Christina’s heroine, Abigail.  You can read more about her here.

Character Interview: Abigail from The Warrior’s Vow by Christina Rich

officialToday’s guest is Abigail the fictitious daughter of Athalia. Athalia, is definitely not a fictional character. She was an evil woman, who after the death of her son, King Aaziah, killed most of his children to secure her reign over Judah. Abigail, please tell us a little of what it was like living with a woman who was so clearly evil as to have had her own grandchildren destroyed.

To be honest, until recently, I didn’t know my mother was responsible for the deaths of her grandchildren. All I knew was that I wanted to make my mother happy enough to like me a little, perhaps even love me.

I love your story because it shows so well that we are not bound by who are parents were. If there is a cycle of ungodliness in a family, a person can change that cycle. What do you believed spared you from following in the jealous, murderous steps of your mother?

*smiles* The very thing I wanted most, time with my mother. I believe her neglect kept me from her evil ways. Is it not like our Almighty God to honor the prayers of his people? I believe my old nurse, Shema, prayed for my protection from my mother.

After spending some time with Jesse, what would you say helped you to see that there is only one true God and that Jesse knew that God?

The sunsets. Have you seen them? They are glorious and wondrous. As Jesse shared with me, only the one true God could create something so magnificently unique each day. Besides that, Jesse’s character spoke of truth. His actions equaled his words. I laugh about it now, but when Jesse said he’d kill me if I betrayed him, I had no doubt he’d keep his word. It was then I knew falsehoods would not leave his tongue, not like many of the people who surrounded me. So when he spoke of God as if He was absolute and real, I had no reason to doubt Jesse.

In the New Testament we have today, 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.” Both you and Jesse leaned upon this truth by stating that you had to put your trust in God. What good do you think came out of trusting God even when things looked bleak?

 Trusting God built my faith in Him and drew me closer. I knew the outcome, had I chose not to trust Him, would lead to certain turmoil and my eventual death. I knew I’d rather die trusting God and believing His word with the hope that all would work according to His plan, than live with the shame of denying Him as my parents had.

I won’t give the ending away, but I’m curious to know how Jesse is adjusting to the new life he has now?

 I’m certain that if you asked him, Jesse would say acting as my personal guard is much more onerous than any other duty he has performed, but if you’ve seen him you know his joy is evident, and if I’m to be honest, it’s contagious. I have never smiled so much in my life. He never fails to remind me of God’s goodness and mercy.

Thank you, Fay, for spending time with me. It is my hope that you and your readers will watch the sunset once, twice, or even seven times this week, and praise Him for His goodness.

Such great advice, thank you, Abigail. I look forward to introducing Christina on Wednesday.

More About The Warrior’s Vow:

He Was Hers to Command

Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice—if she dares trust him.

She is royalty, yet Jesse is surprised by the gentle compassion Abigail shows him as he heals. In return, he will help her escape to Jerusalem, protecting her life with his own. But Abigail’s rank and Jesse’s deadly past makes any future impossible, unless forgiveness forged by love can triumph over all.

IMG_1096About the Author:

Born and raised in Kansas, where she currently lives with her husband and children, Christina Rich loves to read stories with happily ever afters, research,  take photos, knit scarves, dig into her ancestry, fish, visit the ocean, write stories with happily ever afters and talk about her family and Jesus.

Her debut novel, The Guardian’s Promise, released from Love Inspired March 2014. Her second novel, The Warrior’s Vow releases July 1, 1014.

You can learn a more about and catch up with Christina on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.