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Posts tagged ‘Christian Romance’

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

Years ago, as an elementary teacher, I attended a reading conference in Toronto, Ontario. I enjoyed the privilege of hearing keynote speaker, John Corcoran. At the conference, I bought his book, The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read and today treasure my autographed copy. It has graced my bookshelf for quite awhile, but when the idea for my novel Misty Hollow came about, I ran to my shelf, grabbed the book, and gave a victory cheer. His book was the perfect reference in creating my illiterate Appalachian hero, Joel Greenfield.

Corcoran describes an unbelievable story about how he graduated high school and college and actually taught history for seventeen years. At around fourth grade, he began to fall behind and compensated for his handicap by acting out. In high school, he excelled in athletics and was admired by faculty and friends. So how did he get by as a functional illiterate?

He devised clever ways of deception including cheating and lying. With his charismatic personality, he charmed others into reading books and documents to him. Once in college, he actually passed his test out the window to another student who took the exam for him. A favorite deception was claiming he forgot his glasses at home.

While teaching high school, he utilized discussions and debates where texts were never used. He even asked a student to read the morning bulletin to the class, though at the bottom it read “Please don’t let a student read this bulletin.”

He eventually married and had a daughter. He would “read” her bedtime stories by looking at the pictures and making up his own version.

Corcoran doesn’t place blame on the educational system but on his circumstances. Since he went to school in the 50s, educators have discovered more ways to help students with reading disorders. In his thirties, Corcoran finally found the courage to sign up for an adult literacy class and learned to read. He now supports literacy through the John Corcoran Foundation.

In writing Joel’s character, I borrowed some of Corcoran’s methods of compensation. Joel uses the glasses excuse, asks others to read for him, and employs deception such as taking his Bible to church and pretending he’s following along. Most valuable in writing his character were Corcoran’s descriptions of his emotional journey—the shame, frustration, and fear of being exposed.

For all readers with a heart for literacy, Corcoran’s book is a must read. In any case, it’s a fascinating tale. Thanks, Mr. Corcoran, for sharing your story with American. Like my fictional character, Joel Greenfield, many have profited by the telling of your journey.

About the Author:

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart. Visit June at junefoster.com.

About Misty Hollow:

When two people are cultures apart, only God can bridge the gap.

Molly Cambridge arrives in the tiny Appalachian town of Misty Hollow intent upon bringing literacy to the area’s uneducated women, only to be met by opposition at every turn by the headstrong, unbending mayor. When she asks for use of Town Hall, he refuses her offer to teach without pay and turns her down flat saying he only allows village business conducted there.

Joel Greenfield, son of a poor dirt farmer, is illiterate. When he admits to his passion to turn the family farm into a dairy business, the obstacles are insurmountable. He couldn’t even read the manual on how to use farming machinery, much less generate the necessary capital. His father’s objections further frustrate his desires.

When Joel offers Molly use of the old barn on the Greenfield property, they discover an irresistible attraction for each other. But the mayor has plans of his own to break them up, send Molly back to Nashville, and seize the Greenfield farm for himself. Can Molly and Joel overcome the hurdles to fulfilling their dreams and find their way to each other? Only God has the answers.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Raelee May Carpenter:

Raelee May CarpenterMeet Raelee May Carpenter, one of the winners in the novella contest. Raelee entered her chapter about ex-rock star, Reuben Miller and was one of the two authors chosen to work on the collaboration. Raelee is a Christian and an author of contemporary fiction, inspirational essays, and modern mythology. Her work is passionate, descriptive, and just a little edgy. Raelee’s three lifelong passions are faith, people, and words. She’s a tone-deaf music fan and “Mumma” to a young-at-heart, rescued Beagle mix. She has ADHD and ASD, and she is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Her favorite thing to write about is the force that saved her life: Grace.

Raelee likes to connect with readers. You can find her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Here’s what she has to say about her chapter and her hero.

The main theme of all of my work—the very reason I write—is grace. I believe God’s grace applies to everyone, and anyone who lets it in to their life and lets it win in their heart can become someone who will make a huge positive impact on this world. Rube Miller’s a rock star, complete with copious tattoos, tabloid attentions, and broken hearts. In him, I created a redeemed man out of someone a lot of people would see as beyond redemption. I hope readers who meet Reuben can remember how BIG our God is, so they can learn to love like He loves and know the Truth—that no one is beyond His reach.

~Raelee May Carpenter

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

liberation songRaelee is the author of Liberation Song:

When we first meet Aili MacIntyre, she’s doing what she’s been doing all her life: running in fear. She flees through a foreign jungle with two young girls and tries to save them from the forced prostitution ring that has held them in a virtual hell-on-earth. But tragedy meets them under the trees, and only one child escapes.

Three years later, Alexandra Adelaide has acquired a new identity and a radically different scene: the metropolitan jungle of Greater Los Angeles. She, though saved by Grace, has invented what she believes is the appropriate way to suffer for her own sins. Alex is raising the child who was orphaned by her insecurities. And she never, for a second, lets herself forget the pain caused by her mistakes.

Then the real tragedy strikes: she falls in love.

Matthew Gold is everything she needs and a lot more than she could’ve imagined. Bright, attractive, generous, and with his own vested interest in Grace, Matt works hard to earn Alex’s trust and a place in her life. He even loves and seeks to protect her daughter, who is the key to breaking open the biggest human trafficking case in recent history.

But Alex has lived in fear since she took her first breath. So how does she let Love start a new day? How does she choose courage even as very real dangers draw closer to her barred doors?

Raelee is also the author of The Lincoln High Project and Kings and Shepherds.

Surrendered by Julie Arduini

Portrait of a happy middle aged woman enjoying lifeWhen I surrendered my fear of rejection and what others would think and promised God I would write for Him, it didn’t take long before I knew surrender would be the center of everything I do. When my fiction life moved forward I decided to make that my brand. Every reader can relate to a surrender issue, so each of my stories has one. Entrusted focuses on surrendering fear.

Entrusted shares a lot of my life with my husband. Jenna Anderson moves from Youngstown, Ohio to the Adirondack Mountains after one phone interview. For us, we were living in Upstate NY and the financial effects of 9/11 hit our area hard. His job transitioned from salary to commission with no benefits. My job ended. We had a kindergartner and a newborn who was chronically ill. Tom got a call from a company based in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and after ninety minutes, they basically offered him the job. We had to surrender everything and everyone we knew. I’d never moved far from home. My dad was terminally ill. Our baby was very sick. It meant new doctors. Finding a school for our oldest. A new church. The ability to leave at a moment’s notice to be back for my dad. Fear? I was bathing in it.

Jenna’s fear is wanting to belong. She moved quickly and once things slow down she realizes she’s homesick. She learns there is a culture shift she isn’t prepared for. Her stable car needs to be sturdy for Adirondack winters. Most Speculator Falls residents access the internet through the library. The church dress code is casual. It isn’t comforting when the only one who seems to understand her is Kyle Swarthmore, the mogul from New Jersey. Every time Jenna and Ben clash he reminds her of the one thing that unnerves her—she isn’t one of them.

Ben’s fear is change and loss. He’s had a lot of transition in a short amount of time. To him, it’s easier to shut down, literally. The senior center represents everything he lost, and too much change. If he never enters the doors again, he’s fine with that. With Jenna in the picture, he’s challenged. She runs the place he hates. The last director broke his heart. On top of that, he’s trying to follow his grandfather’s final wish and expand the store his grandparents started together. But that means more transition in an unstable economy. Jenna’s presence messes with him on several levels. She appears to have courage to try new things that he doesn’t have.

What I loved about writing Entrusted is there is a faith message that isn’t banged over anyone’s head and yet the truth that God can be trusted with our fears is evident. I believe readers will walk away encouraged because are funny and touching moments that will make them think about their own lives.

As for us, the day we moved to the area our daughter, delayed by illness, pulled herself to stand for the very first time. We claimed that as confirmation we had done the right thing, as scary and hard as it was. It’s now been over ten years since that move. I still have my Upstate NY roots but I can’t imagine any life but our Ohio one. God has done such a work in our daughter. Our son is a teen with solid friends and a great school. My husband loves his work and is choir director at church. Had we not yielded to His call, we would have missed these blessings.

And that’s my challenge for readers. As scary as it is, I promise trusting God with your fears is the best choice. He will take care of you. What He starts, He will finish.

I’m living proof.

melodylodgekoct132_editedAbout the Author:

Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with five other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

You can also connect with Julie on Facebook, her Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedAbout Entrusted:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows—literally—into Speculator Falls with a busted GPS, arriving in town as the new senior center director. She has only one goal—that of belonging no matter how out of place she appears and how angry she makes town councilman and grocer Ben Regan.

Her new life is so rural there are no traffic lights, and when she learns her car isn’t equipped to handle the mountain terrain, Ben’s grandmother offers her late husband’s vehicle, further alienating the local businessman.

As she endears herself to the seniors at the center and creates a vision full of ideas, programs, and equipment, she ruffles Ben’s plans to keep Speculator Falls void of change, including the store his grandfather built.

The two work through community events and shared heartbreak only to face off in a town council meeting where Ben publically rejects her proposal for the senior center, causing Jenna to react out of her fears about belonging.

She returns to Ohio where she realizes she needs to surrender her plans for the center and fears about belonging and trust her Heavenly Father when facing fear, change, loss, and love.

Author Interview: Julie Arduini

melodylodgekoct132_editedJulie, thank you for being with us today. Entrusted is a sweet romance with a great message wrapped inside. The story is set in the Adirondack Mountains, and I know you have a special connection there. Would you mind sharing that with our readers?

I first visited the real Speculator, New York in the early 90s when my good friend from college invited me. I instantly fell in love with the area and looked to visit whenever I could. That same family was even gracious enough to give us their home for the week for our honeymoon. I’ve always felt such peace there, definitely a gift from God.

I mentioned the message above. For me, my take away was to let go and learn to trust the Lord for our future, to sort out the things of the past, and to surrender to Him our worries and our fears. Is trust something that the Lord brought to you while writing Entrusted or is it something you wrote from personal experience?

I think a little of both. I certainly battled fear, and for me it was fear of rejection. Jenna needed to belong and Ben kept her second guessing with his reminders she didn’t belong. I grew in faith while writing Entrusted because for years the lie I believed was I wasn’t good enough. I was always the mediocre English student. As Ben and Jenna transformed through surrender, I believe I did, too. I know I’m called to do this, and through that, God equips.

What impressed me about your writing from the very beginning when I was reading it in critique was the ease with which the humor flows. I know that writing humor is not as easy as you make it look. This will seem a bit contradictory, but I have found that whether humor comes natural to a writer or whether they have to work at it, the art of bringing a smile to a reader isn’t as easy as you make it look. I’d love to know your process.

I truly believe its God at work. I ask Him for the words because I know humor is hard to translate on paper. I also look at my writing from a reader’s perspective. I want to deliver books that I know I’d love to read. When I read Kristin Billerbeck’s Ashley Stockingdale, I knew sassy characters were more than okay to write. They could be embraced—because I absolutely loved Ashley. I felt like that gave me permission to write what I love reading—funny, sassy characters who are also growing in faith.

And I’d like to know if you are anything like your character, Jenna Anderson?

I would be a horrible senior center director. Although I spent a decade in the field, I love encouraging the director, not being one. However, I share Jenna’s love for a mocha and I can speak freely like Jenna without always thinking it through.

Tell us about the upcoming novels in your Adirondack Surrender series and any other projects that you might have in the works.

Entangled is Carla’s story and I can’t wait to share it. She’s creating split ends for the people she loves when she can’t let go of her past choices.

Thank you, Julie. I hope that you and Carly will join us here at Inner Source when the novel is released.

More about the Author:

Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with five other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

You can also connect with Julie on Facebook, her Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedMore about Entrusted:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows—literally—into Speculator Falls with a busted GPS, arriving in town as the new senior center director. She has only one goal—that of belonging no matter how out of place she appears and how angry she makes town councilman and grocer Ben Regan.

Her new life is so rural there are no traffic lights, and when she learns her car isn’t equipped to handle the mountain terrain, Ben’s grandmother offers her late husband’s vehicle, further alienating the local businessman.

As she endears herself to the seniors at the center and creates a vision full of ideas, programs, and equipment, she ruffles Ben’s plans to keep Speculator Falls void of change, including the store his grandfather built.

The two work through community events and shared heartbreak only to face off in a town council meeting where Ben publically rejects her proposal for the senior center, causing Jenna to react out of her fears about belonging.

She returns to Ohio where she realizes she needs to surrender her plans for the center and fears about belonging and trust her Heavenly Father when facing fear, change, loss, and love.

Character Interview: Jenna Anderson from Julie Arduini’s Entrusted

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedInner Source’s first guest of the year is Jenna Anderson from author Julie Arduini’s wonderful novel, Entrusted, the first book in her Adirondack Surrendered series. Welcome Jenna.

Jenna, you’re an incredibly brave, young heroine, setting off to live in an unfamiliar place far from your family, following your dreams. Tell us how you got the courage to make the move?

I think it was adrenaline and grief, with God’s leading. I’d promised my elderly neighbor I’d live life to the fullest right before she passed away. I was looking at my job and I knew there was no room for growth. I “happened” to look at a magazine with a listing in the back. I called, got the job, and it seemed to click. And I was off.

You have a unique job, and you sure work with some unique individuals. Who is your favorite in the group and what is it about him or her that gives them the favored status?

As a senior center director I can’t have favorites, but I can say Shirley is my right-hand woman. She’s my volunteer administrator and comes through for me time and time again.

You had a run in with your hero, Ben, from the very start of the story, yet you maintained dignity and control—Well, there was that one boating incident where there wasn’t too much dignity—. Is there a Scripture or a Biblical precept that you leaned upon to help you deal with Ben?

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8, NLT.

I fix my thoughts a lot when I’m around Ben. Without God’s help I think Ben and I would tangle more often.

Without giving the story away, you do face a bit of tragedy in your new life in the Adirondacks. If someone else is facing the same kind of heartbreak, what would be your words of wisdom to him or to her?

Don’t isolate yourself. Whatever you’re feeling, share it. It’s okay to feel.

I’m just curious as to what the seniors are up to these days? Any new events planned for this upcoming year at the senior center?

Roxy is working on another variety show, of course with a Rockette flair. Bart and Dora pitched an idea for a book club, but of course, classics only. The prom is definitely coming back, too. We like to keep busy!

Thank you, Jenna. I look forward to the interview with your author, Julie Arduini on Wednesday.

More about Entrusted:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows—literally—into Speculator Falls with a busted GPS, arriving in town as the new senior center director. She has only one goal—that of belonging no matter how out of place she appears and how angry she makes town councilman and grocer Ben Regan.

Her new life is so rural there are no traffic lights, and when she learns her car isn’t equipped to handle the mountain terrain, Ben’s grandmother offers her late husband’s vehicle, further alienating the local businessman.

As she endears herself to the seniors at the center and creates a vision full of ideas, programs, and equipment, she ruffles Ben’s plans to keep Speculator Falls void of change, including the store his grandfather built.

The two work through community events and shared heartbreak only to face off in a town council meeting where Ben publically rejects her proposal for the senior center, causing Jenna to react out of her fears about belonging.

She returns to Ohio where she realizes she needs to surrender her plans for the center and fears about belonging and trust her Heavenly Father when facing fear, change, loss, and love.

melodylodgekoct132_editedAbout the Author:

Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with five other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

You can also connect with Julie on Facebook, her Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.