A Ruby Christmas Guest Author Jerusha Agen
Today, author Jerusha Agen shares some “behind the scenes” information about A Ruby Christmas. Jerusha is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. She is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series and co-author of the novellas A Ruby Christmas and A Dozen Apologies (releasing with Write Integrity Press, February 2014). Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com.
Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com. Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).
While many people consider the Christmas holiday season to be their favorite time of the year, not even all of these Christmas lovers match that sentiment with their actions. Those who work in retail will be able to tell you that dread grips their hearts when the first green and red merchandise arrives and Christmas sales begin. The reason for this foreboding? Retail employees know they’re about to see the worst in people emerge, turning their customers the same color as the red bows that decorate the store over things like the price of a cute Santa dress or the scarcity of the latest Elmo toy.
Yes, this festive time of year is often sullied by short tempers, hectic schedules, and mixed-up priorities. But the sad fact is that people are not always lovable the rest of the year either. In my chapter of A Ruby Christmas, Ruby Joy Buckner faces a population of humans that are often considered among the least lovable in the world—New Yorkers. The encounters that Texas cowgirl Ruby has with “sophisticated” New Yorkers are often funny, sometimes unpleasant, and even frightening.
Ruby reacts as I’ve been tempted to do myself at times when I’ve encountered difficult people—she hides. When I get hurt, or perhaps meet a socially awkward person, someone who is particularly needy, or someone who is downright rude, my instinctive reaction is usually one of self-preservation. How much easier is it to retreat than to be the one who faces up to the cantankerous customer? Or how about when the friend who has never been there for you needs your help for the hundredth time?
As an introvert, I’ve had to think a lot about the issue of relationships and how crucial they are to our lives as Christians, even when I, in my introvert attitude, would rather not see them that way. I had the opportunity to write about that very topic on this same blog earlier this year. I don’t often love people in the general sense, but perhaps many extroverts don’t either. People can be hard to love.
Writing about Ruby’s experience with the people of New York City gave me a chance to delve deeper into this topic and explore what the Christian’s attitude should be toward all people. If the notoriously cold residents of New York City want to brush rudely by or not offer help when assistance is needed, then isn’t it fine, and even more culturally acceptable to do the same to them? After all, if people don’t care if they have your love, why offer it? And, in this day and age, we have to protect ourselves and our closest loved ones from the worsening people around us, right?
As tempting as it is to use those seemingly logical points to guide my response to people, the Bible doesn’t give much credence to social acceptability, doing only to others what they do to you, or protecting ourselves (emotionally or physically) at the expense of others. When I try to get better at having a Christian attitude toward people I have trouble with, I tend to aim for the basics: help the poor (Matthew 25:40), help the widows and orphans (James 1:27), turn the other cheek when someone mildly hurts me (Matthew 5:39). On a good day, I can even try to forgive someone for a repeated offense or annoying behavior (Matthew 18:21-23). But is that enough?
What if love is required? Love of the unlovable. Love of the people God created in His own image. The God of the universe Who came as a baby to live and die for the sins of His chosen children did so while we were still his enemies (Romans 5:10). He did so because of His unmatched love for us. But that’s God. What can we do? Ruby finds out in her New York adventure. Check out Chapter Five in A Ruby Christmas for more!
About Jerusha Agen’s Sisters Redeemed series:
No love, no pain. No God, no games.
A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.
Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?
This Dance is available at Amazon.com and other book retailers.
She’s famous for her upbeat outlook. Then the world goes black.
Oriana Sanders is always happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She enjoys a close relationship with God and a purpose-filled career teaching troubled kids. She even has the potential for romance in her sister’s friend, Nicanor, whose dark good looks and brooding manner make him an intriguing project for Oriana.
Oriana’s attempts to reach Nicanor with the joy of the Lord are brought to a halt when a confrontation with her student’s drug-dealing brother ends in tragedy. Facing darkness she has never known, can Oriana learn to forgive the unforgivable and find her way through the shadows to the light? This Shadow is available at Amazon.com
Ruby Joy Buckner, cowgirl, has never left the Lone Star State, but at her father’s request, she takes her faithful canine companion and travels the world in search of Nativity pieces. As Ruby collects the pieces, she also collects a few unexpected surprises, including an awareness of the beauty in other cultures, and quite a menagerie of new friends, thanks in part to Yippee Ti Yi Yo who charms everyone they meet.
Ruby’s budding awareness of life outside Texas opens her eyes to a world of whimsy, and the Nativity pieces she collects are unusual. Will her father approve her eclectic collection … and the changes that travel brought to Ruby’s life?
Jerusha’s chapter of A Ruby Christmas is posted on the Write Integrity Press blog. We hope you’ll also take part in our Altered Photo Contest. Check out the unaltered photos posted each day on the Write Integrity Press blog and then visit that day’s author’s website (Today you’ll visit Jerusha’s website) for a look at the altered photo. Keep a list because on December 13, we’ll ask you to send in your list. Those with the most correct answers will be eligible for a drawing. The prize? A bundle of all of our books in PRINT and DIGITAL (for giving and/or keeping) formats. The winner will be announced Tuesday, December 17, but rest assured, the books will be shipped in time for Christmas. (Continental U.S. Residents only for print books. If an international winner is chosen, they may receive two sets of digital books for gift giving).
Last year’s Write Integrity Press novella: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is also available on Kindle.