Trapped

I’m gingerly trying to get my writing mojo back after spending some time focusing on family and fitness (check out my other blog at runningintome.wordpress.com).

Here is  a short something I wrote the other day, based on a real life story. I hope you enjoy…

TRAPPED

I ran into my bedroom and locked the door, the footsteps following closely behind me. I could hear them out there, the two of them. Their heavy breathing and fingernails scratching against the wooden panel that separated me from their ravenous fangs. I grabbed my phone from beside my bed and scrolled to find my mum’s number in the missed calls list.

“Hi darling,” she answered after a few rings.

“Mum…they’re at the door. I’m trapped.”

Pause

“Where are you, Alison?” she asked

“Barricaded in my bedroom.”

“Right, I’ll be there in thirty,” Mum replied, hanging up.

I waited in my room for her to arrive, the noises and wails from outside the door becoming unbearable. At last I heard the car pull in the driveway and footsteps arrive at the front door.

Wiping away the remaining tears, I unlocked the door, brushing aside my two toddlers to let Mum inside.

“Have you two little monsters been giving your mummy a hard time?” asked Mum. She leant over and kissed my cheek, then told me to go have a lie down. Mum had arrived, everything would be okay now.

Where have I been?

Hi everyone,

I’ll try not to make this one of those blog posts where I apologise for how long it has been since my last post. Yes, it has been quite a while though, so I thought I’d give you an update on what I’ve been up to of late.

Study – This year I began a Graduate Certificate in Management as part of my career development (for my day job). I am really enjoying the course, although there is a lot of reading, which has meant less time for writing – I’m missing it!

Writing – In between my exams and assignments, I’ve been devoting most Friday nights to writing. ‘Double Pursuit’ is coming along well. I’m in love with the characters and can’t wait to finish so I can share them with you too. It has been a different experience to get inside the head of someone who has lost a husband way too early – I’ve found myself shedding a few tears while writing. I am still aiming to finish the book so it can be out before Christmas. I’m also looking out for some good cover designs that will fit well with the book.

Positive reviews are still coming through for my first two books – ‘Second Chances’ and ‘Trust Me Twice’ – ‘Second Chances’ has almost received 500 reviews!!! I am amazed how God is using my ‘experimental’ book to help people find their way back to him. I could never have imagined this when I first started writing it almost three years ago.

I have a backlog of books that I have read, and now just need to find the time to write reviews for. I will try to get to these over the next few weeks before my next subject starts.

Personal life – I’ve just come through a couple of weeks of illness (cold & flu related) – it’s that time of year in Australia! However, on a positive note, a few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a women’s retreat at my church where we talked about the parable of the seeds that fell on different soils. I was challenged to tend to my soil to make sure I continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus, and to make sure I pull out any weeds that start to grow. It was great to spend a whole day singing praises to God, hearing from God’s word, and talking with godly sisters in Christ. My husband and I have also just started leading and hosting a church bible study group together, which has been fun.

I’m really enjoying the stage of life that my kids are at right now. They ask such perceptive and challenging questions, and they still think that I’m awesome (which feels great when I’m having a low day). It is such a privilege and responsibility to lead these little ones, and I feel so blessed.

Thanks for your ongoing support in my writing journey!
God bless,
Alison

Interview with Author Alison Stanley

Curious to know more about my writing journey? – see E.A West’s interview with me here.

The West Corner

Please welcome author Alison Stanley to The West Corner! We swapped interviews, and I’m happy to have her here today. If you want to check out my interview on her blog, you can find it here.

Without further ado, let’s get to Alison’s interview.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Alison Stanley author photoI have been married for 8 years (time flies!) and I have two delightful little girls who are 6 and 4 years old. We live in Sydney, Australia.
I work full time, and I’m also studying this year. Some people think I’m crazy!
In my spare time, I enjoy writing novels. I also love to read. I have too many hobbies and not enough spare time 🙂

Please tell us about your latest release.

My latest book, Trust Me Twice, is an inspirational romance book based in Australia. The story follows Alana Johnston, a talented interior designer, who returns…

View original post 988 more words

Interview with author Laura Jackson

Today, I’m interviewing Christian author Laura Jackson about her new book and how she became a writer.

2013-07-08 23.15.16-1 (2)Me: Hi, Laura. You must be excited, having recently published your first novel. How long has it been since you began your writing journey?

Laura: Not very long but forever, I guess. I remember writing as a kid, and I wrote some in high school for fun. I taught middle school language arts, so I wrote with my kids. When I became a librarian, I missed writing with my students. So, I started writing a book. The first attempt was so bad I quit in the middle. Worth the Wait is my second attempt.

Me: What have been the highlights and lowlights in your experience so far?

Laura: I’m new at this, so I don’t have a lot of experience. I got an early review from a reader I’ve never met. She wrote about how much the book affected her even though she’s an adult.

The worst thing is just seeing my “baby” covered in red ink from the editor. It was so discouraging for just a minute, and then I dived into it and enjoyed making it better.

Me: I can relate to that – seeing the track changes in a manuscript is disheartening, but once you get into it, it is exciting to see how much better it will be. How long did it take you to write Worth the Wait?

Laura: I wrote Worth the Wait during NaNoWriMo 2012. I did over 50,000 words that month and then added to it the next two months. The book I’m working on now is going so slowly…maybe because I was editing Worth the Wait, working on marketing, etc in addition to my fulltime job as a librarian.

Me: As a librarian, you must come across a lot of books. Do you have a favourite author/s?

E.A West: I love reading just about everything. I love the Pigeon books by Mo Willems to my library kids. Have you read them? SO FUNNY!

YA—I love Jenny B. Jones, Sarah Dessen, and Ally Carter.

Romantic Suspense—Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey.

Chick Lit—Kristin Billerbeck, Erynn Mangum.

I could list a ton more, but those are my favorite.

Me: That is a great selection. Thanks for the tips! Can you tell us a bit more about Worth the Wait?

9781938708268Laura: Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn’t get it. She always does the right thing – doesn’t God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.

Me: That sounds fantastic. I’m already hooked 🙂 What kind of readers do you think would enjoy your book?

Laura: Christian teens as well as older women. I’m 33, but I love YA. It’s always my first choice for reading although lately, a lot of it seems really dark. I hope Worth the Wait will be an encouragement to teens to wait for God’s best…not just about sex but about every aspect of their future.

Me: I’m sure it will be. I also enjoy reading YA, even though I’m in my thirties too – we must be young at heart! Now that you are out of your teenage years, looking back, what advice would you give to your teenage self?

Laura: Focus less on boys! I was boy crazy. My poor parents!

Me: A great piece of advice! I’m sooo not looking forward to when my daughters are that age. Thanks for visiting my blog today, Laura. I hope God uses your book to touch many hearts.

Laura: Thanks so much!

Author bio:

Laura Jackson loves books – reading and writing them. A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master’s degree and becoming a school librarian. Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.

http://authorlaurajackson.blogspot.com/

Worth the Wait, a Christian YA novel, was released on 4 February 2014.

Find it on Amazon: Worth the Wait on Amazon
Find it at Barnes and Noble: Worth the Wait on BN.com

 

The only one to stop

RockEditWhen Jesus was on earth, he spoke in parables – stories with a hidden spiritual meaning that was only revealed to some. I think it is cool that Jesus was a storyteller. One of my favourite stories is the one about the Good Samaritan, which can be found in Luke 10:25-37.

I wrote the following song /poem when I was 19, telling the story of the Good Samaritan from the perspective of the man who was injured. I came across it today when I was cleaning the house and it took on a whole new significance…

The Only One To Stop

Verse

I know I shouldn’t have come here alone

when the thieves intercept me on my way home.

From what I’ve heard, I’ll be lucky if I survive.

They steal my clothes, take my money too,

then beat me until I am black and blue

I lay on the ground, waiting for help to arrive.

Chorus

I’m helpless, and stuck on the ground.

It’s getting late and there’s no-one around.

I’m crying in pain, will anyone hear

as my body lies bleeding

and the darkness draws near.

Verse

I lift up my eyes and see a priest,

a man of religion, my chance for release.

I can’t say a thing, but my eyes speak for my heart.

But he doesn’t stop, he walks on by

He crosses the road and I want to know why

a man of religion, would dash my hopes apart.

Chorus

I’m helpless, and stuck on the ground.

It’s getting late and there’s no-one around.

I’m crying in pain, will anyone hear

as my body lies bleeding

and the darkness draws near.

Verse

Are those footsteps I hear, the sound of crunching sand?

Above my body stands a Levite man.

I beg him to stop, but he’s already passing me by.

Where’s the compassion and the care

that these holy men boast of everywhere.

With his nose upturned, he won’t even look in my eye.

Chorus

I’m helpless, and stuck on the ground.

It’s getting late and there’s no-one around.

I’m crying in pain, will anyone hear

as my body lies bleeding

and the darkness draws near.

Bridge

A Samaritan man comes along

He picks me up, his arms are strong.

Why doesn’t he just leave me there?

It doesn’t make sense that he would care.

Verse

With trembling lips I begin to cry.

He sees the affliction in my tear streaked eyes.

Why did he stop, when I would have left him to die.

Is there someone he knows? Someone up there.

A God he believes in, who taught him to care,

compelled him to stop when he saw the fear in my eyes.

Final chorus

My enemy, how could he be

the only one to take pity on me.

I want to find that man and ask him why

he was the only one to stop, while the others passed by.

* * *

I could never tell this story as well as Jesus (see Luke 10:25-37 – click here), but I hope this different perspective on the story of the Good Samaritan highlights that, as Christians, the way we treat people we find unpleasant or difficult to love can have an eternal impact.

There was a beggar woman near my work. I walked past her every day for several months, wondering what her story was. I felt sorry for her, but I was too concerned about my own comforts to ‘get involved’. I did give her a $2 coin once, thinking it might ease my guilt, but it only made me feel worse. Where do you begin with helping someone like that? Would any effort I made to help her be rejected? What would others think? I would be relieved when she wasn’t standing in her usual spot, begging, as I wouldn’t have to go through the internal turmoil of wanting to help, but not wanting to help enough.

I feel ashamed about my attitude. Especially when I’ve seen in the news that a homeless woman matching her description died recently from horrific burns. I can’t be certain it is the same woman, but it has been several weeks since she has graced her usual spot outside the building with her plastic cup in hand. I feel terrible knowing that I could have shown love to her by stopping and having that conversation that I only ever had with my conscience.

Reading back over this song, I can learn a thing or two from my 19-year-old self. I pray that, with God’s strength, next time I feel Him tugging on my heart to help someone in need, I’ll have the strength of character to be like that Samaritan man.

Signature2

Interview with author E.A West

Today, I’m interviewing Christian author E.A West about her writing process and her books.

BattlefieldOfTheHeartMe: Hi, E.A. Thanks for joining me on my blog. I’ve just finished reading one of your books, so it was great to have the opportunity to ask you some questions about yourself and your stories. First up, how long have you been writing, and what do you love about it?

E.A West: Hi, Alison. I started writing my freshman year of high school. A creative writing class I was in required us to create a fictional character and write a short biography for him or her. I created a cat-owning hippie for the assignment, but I wanted to know more than the short biography told me. Ideas began flowing, and I’ve been creating characters and writing their stories ever since.

I absolutely love coming up with unique ideas for characters and plots and seeing where it takes me. Outlining and I have never gotten along well, so I’m what they call a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants). That allows me to watch the story unfold as it happens. Sometimes the characters take over and go in an unexpected direction, but that’s just part of the fun of writing.

Me: That sounds like a lot of fun. Most writers I know are avid readers. What do you like to read? Do you have any favourite author/s?

E.A West: I’m an eclectic reader. If a book catches my interest, I’ll read it regardless of genre. I do prefer clean fiction to the racier stuff out there and try to avoid books that contain sex scenes and foul language. Beyond that, I’m not picky about genre. I do enjoy a good thriller now and then, as well as romance, mystery/suspense, historical, non-fiction, and the occasional sci-fi or fantasy. I don’t really have an all-time favorite author, but I can always count on Sigmund Brouwer, Terri Blackstock, and Max Lucado to produce books I’ll enjoy.

Me: It is good not being limited to one kind of genre. I imagine this would influence your writing too. How do you come up with new ideas for your own books? What inspires you?

E.A West: My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. I was once inspired by part of a scene in an episode of Bonanza. Conversations, books, movies, music, even just a passing comment somewhere can trigger my imagination and send me down the road of “what if…?”

Me: One of the main characters in your book Battlefield of the Heart suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). What prompted you to want to write about this disorder?

E.A West: With Battlefield of the Heart, my inspiration came from a few years of a nearly constant flow of news reports, documentaries, interviews, etc. concerning the War on Terror, veterans, and the effects of PTSD in combat vets. After a while, my imagination took all of that information I’d absorbed and started putting together Danny Flynn, the hero of the book.

When I started thinking about writing a book with vets going to college, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to share a deeper look at a disorder nearly everyone has heard of but few know much about. Since the prevalence of PTSD ranges from 11-20% in those who have served
in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I knew that what life with PTSD looks like was something that needed to be shared.

It also offered an opportunity to help combat the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues that was extremely prevalent in the military at the time I started writing the book. Thankfully, that stigma isn’t nearly as strong now as it was then, but there’s still a long way to go before it’s commonly accepted that PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you have survived something traumatic that affected you deeply.

Me: It definitely opened my eyes to what sufferers of PTSD, and their loved ones, might experience. What kind of readers do you think would enjoy Battlefield of the Heart and your other books.

E.A West: Anyone who enjoys sweet and/or inspirational romance. Many of my books would also appeal to those who are curious about a side of life they may never experience themselves (i.e. autism, PTSD, etc.).TheKeyToCharlotte_w5071_300

Me: Thanks so much for sharing with us today. Before I let you go, I have one final question – what one piece of advice would you give to your teenage self?

E.A West: Stay strong and hold on to your faith. No matter how difficult life gets, those two things will get you through. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in. Not everyone will agree with you and some may even ridicule you, but more will respect you for standing up for your beliefs.

Author bio:

EAWestProviding journeys of hope, one story at a time. E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Find out more about books by E.A West on her Amazon author page (http://amazon.com/author/eawest) or the books page on her blog, which contains links to
various retailers (http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com/books).

Connect with E.A. West in the following places:

FTWB_NewCover_300 TrustOfTheHeart_coverImperfectBeauty-200x300

Interview with author Michelle Lindo-Rice

Today, I’m interviewing Michelle Lindo-Rice, author of Christian fiction books Sing a New Song and Walk a Straight Line.MISH 2

Me: Hi, Michelle. I’m really looking forward to learning more about you and your books. Firstly, can you tell me a little about yourself and your family?

Michelle: Hi, Alison. I am originally from Jamaica, West Indies. I migrated to New York when I was 11 years old and I lived there for most of my life. I migrated to Florida and have lived here ever since. My family is crazy and close-knit—it seems to go hand in hand—but I wouldn’t trade any of them. They were the reason I moved to Florida. We all seem to follow each other eventually. When I am not writing, I’m a full-time educator and a single mother of two teenage sons. So, yes, I am a chauffeur as well.

Me: A woman of many talents! So, how did you get into writing?

Michelle: It’s going to sound dramatic, but I think I was born to write. I love writing songs and I loved, loved, loved to read. Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I can give all the credit to the Holy Spirit for leading and directing my path. Writing is a passion and I’m glad for the opportunity to share my gift with others.

Me: How wonderful! There are several aspiring authors who follow my blog. Can you tell us, what is the best thing about being an author?

Michelle: Hands down it is the interaction with readers. Having someone really care about the characters and be invested in what happens to them is priceless. I get to entertain but uplift others at the same time.

Me: What about on the flip-side? What is the most difficult thing about being an author?

Michelle: Time management. Juggling all the different facets of my life to make sure nothing is neglected for too long. Sometimes, I disappear in my own world, in my ‘bubble’, my ‘haze’, and when I come to, there is laundry and dirty dishes piled up… how did that happen??

Me: Haha, I’m sure most authors could relate to that struggle 🙂 You have just published a brand new novel, Walk a Straight Line. Can you give us a summary?

Michelle: Walk a Straight Line is a tale of two friends. Two brothers. Two weddings. Too many secrets. Colleen MacGregor rededicated her life to God when she met and married Terence Hayworth. However, her happily ever after will have to wait, because she has some serious dragons to slay to sustain her marriage and keep her friendship with Gina Price intact. After fifteen years of friendship, Colleen must now draw the line and stop telling Gina everything.

What did God do to her friend? Gina finds it hard to deal with Colleen’s newfound faith. She thinks Colleen has become self-righteous, subjecting Gina to her holy tirades whenever the mood strikes. When Gina begins dating one brother, while simultaneously falling in love with another, boy, does she get an earful! Gina, however, is way too busy trying to sort her way through her own murky feelings to worry about her soul. Her heart wants what it wants.

Me: It sounds full of drama. I’m curious to know how it ends. What kind of readers do you think would enjoy your books?

Michelle: I think readers who love strong characters and intriguing plots will love my writing. I think there is something there for everyone. It’s clean and engaging.

Me: Now, a couple of more personal questions. If you had $5 to spend on only yourself, what would you buy?

Michelle: I would buy a book.

Me: I should have guessed that based on your earlier answer 🙂 Finally, a common question I ask in my author interviews (maybe I’ll put together a book of these quotes some day), what advice would you give to your teenage self?

Michelle: I would tell my teenage self to lighten up and enjoy life. I was way too serious as a teen. Now, I can laugh at myself, though I admit, I’m corny 🙂

Me: Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Michelle.

Michelle: Thanks, Alison.  I truly enjoyed your questions. Blessings to you and I thank you for the opportunity.

Author bio:

Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner. She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. A pastor’s kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. From a young teen, Michelle discovered a passion for reading and writing and feels blessed to use her talents to bring God glory. Michelle currently works as an educator and is the proud mother of two teenage sons.

Her published books are:

Sing a New Song – as featured in Black Expressions Book Club

If you found out you were dying, would you suddenly confess all your past sins? Sing a New Song official cover

When former chart-topper Tiffany Knightly learns that she’s dying from cancer, she leaves behind her plush California lifestyle to return to Hempstead, New York, with Karlie, her reluctant teenaged daughter. Her fans think she has simply gone home to die, but Tiffany has another mission. She desperately wishes she could leave her past in the past, but in order to secure her daughter’s future, she must tear open past wounds.
Life wasn’t always easy for Tiffany. With a stepfather who abused her and a mother who didn’t believe her, she acted out by becoming promiscuous. Fifteen years later, she’s back to reveal to her ex-husband that he might not be Karlie’s biological father. In fact, there are four men who could have fathered Karlie – four that she’s willing to acknowledge, anyway.
As Tiffany reveals her truth and searches for Karlie’s father, she reconnects with old friends and old lovers. Some reunions are happy, but some innocent lives are torn apart, leaving Tiffany to wonder if she’s doing the right thing. Through it all, she will have to learn to rely on the healing power of God’s unfathomable love.

Purchase Sing a New Song on Amazon – click here

Walk a Straight Line

Two friends. Two brothers. Two weddings. Too many secrets.            WALK-A-STRAIGHT-LINE-COVER

Colleen MacGregor rededicated her life to God when she met and married Terence Hayworth. However, her happily ever after will have to wait, because she has some serious dragons to slay to sustain her marriage and keep her friendship with Gina Price intact. After fifteen years of friendship, Colleen must now draw the line and stop telling Gina everything.

What did God do to her friend? Gina finds it hard to deal with Colleen’s newfound faith. She thinks Colleen has become self-righteous, subjecting Gina to her holy tirades whenever the mood strikes. When Gina begins dating one brother, while simultaneously falling in love with another, boy, does she get an earful! Gina, however, is way too busy trying to sort her way through her own murky feelings to worry about her soul. Her heart wants what it wants.

Michelle Lindo-Rice explores the complicated world of female friendships. Can a friendship survive when one friend becomes saved?

Purchase Walk a Straight Line on Amazon – click here

Join Michelle’s mailing list, or read a sample chapter for her books, at http://www.michellelindorice.com