Today’s Word of Promise

actsMany days a week, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 17 – Acts 28.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To the most excellent governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man,I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.

Farewell. ~Acts 23:24-30

I have always imagined that the government in the time of the New Testament was corrupt. I think it stems from the fact that Jesus, a man without sin, was crucified so terribly — in my mind, only a corrupt system could have that be so.

However, while it’s not necessarily “moral” to the way that our society operates today (and I use the term moral in conjunction with our society loosely), it was absolutely NOT corrupt. It’s fascinating to me the lengths that were taken to protect Paul – a Jew – because he was a Roman citizen. He was about to be beaten when Paul revealed his nationality – and in a day and age without recordings and video evidence, they could have easily beaten him, killed him, and covered it all up because was a Sadducee in the Jewish faith. Instead, they immediately halted anything against him until they could investigate who he was and what he was.

In the meantime, the Jewish leaders sought to kill him. Rather than just letting it happen and washing their hands of this whole religious feud between the followers of Christ and the Jewish leaders, they took great pains to keep Paul safe and transport him out of the area for his protection.

When I listened to this, the lack of corruption both surprised me and impressed me.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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Sum…Sum…Summertime

summerThis is going to be a crazy summer.

On top of the whole mothering three kids and being a wife thing I have going on, there’s a whole lot happening on the Hallee Bridgeman Author side of the world.

  • I have already attended Arizona Dreamin’ in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
  • I will be sitting on the panel for the Woodford County Library’s Inspirational Pens on Fire in Versailles, Kentucky.
  • I will be attending the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • I will be attending the Romance Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • I will be attending the Romance Writers of America Convention in San Antonio, Texas

I will also be on “vacation” with my husband and sons in the Washington, D.C. area for about two weeks. I use vacation in quotation marks, because he’ll actually be on National Guard duty. The kids and I are just taking advantage of no school and going with him. We’re very excited about that, because we have family in that area of the country.

1600x2400_ac4kWith all of this travel, I also have the following work to complete:

  • Virtues and Valor Series.  I have 3 1/2 written. I need to have all 7 (or 8) written before I can begin publishing them. I can’t risk beginning this story and having to make changes in an earlier book due to a plot point in a later book. The first two books (Temperance’s Trial and Homeland’s Hope) are scheduled to publish on September 11th.
  • A Harmony for Steve: A Carol for Kent hasn’t even been out for a month yet, and already people are clamoring for book 4 in the Song of Suspense Series. It’s not written yet – in fact, the only thing for that book that’s written is the preview that went into A Carol for Kent. But I won’t let that stop me! That book will be scheduled for release as soon as we have an idea of when it will be finished.

Consequently, my social media is going to s l o w d o w  n. I have  no choice.

I do have six days home alone coming up. I’m going to see what I can do about finishing up the plot outlines of the Virtues and possibly writing the remaining 3 1/2 books in that series during those days.

How does your summer look?
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Worst Trip Ever

Last week I traveled from Lexington, Kentucky, to Phoenix, Arizona, for Arizona Dreamin’. It was a fantastic time. I hope to be invited back next year.  But, the week I went, on Wednesday our 6-year-old had a stomach bug, and on Friday, sitting at the gate to fly out of Lexington, the school nurse called to tell me that our 7-year-old was sick as well. I got him picked up and taken care of and we flew out – we were only there from Friday until Saturday night, then flew a red-eye to arrive home on Sunday morning.

The entire trip, I was paranoid about getting sick. I’ve always been susceptible to stomach bugs. But, as I’ve gotten older, I don’t *always* get the anymore when my kids get them. I think it’s just because I’ve had every possible strain I could ever have *heh*. But, every twinge in my stomach, I’d think, “Oh no. I’m going to be Typhoid Mary and send this stomach flu all over the world.” It never did happen, though (thank you, God.)

This weekend, I’m at the Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It’s about a 7.5 hour drive for me. When I woke up Thursday morning, my stomach was upset. But, I chalked it up to the fact that for the last 5 weeks, I’ve been on  a strict vegan/no refined sugar diet. But, on Wednesday night, we had company for dinner and I made beef stroganoff and strawberry pie. I thought my body was rejecting the idea of my over-consumption of red meat and sugar the night before.

I lied down for a bit in the morning, and around 11 felt much better. So, I packed and left the house.

I started feeling lousy again about an hour into the trip. I actually called the hotel to cancel the reservation, but I was beyond the window of being able to do that, so I decided to go ahead and plug forward since I was going to be charged for the room, anyway.

Not the best decision.

About three hours into the trip, I was very sick. Thankfully, I’d made it to a rest area. I had about 4.5 hours to go in one direction, or turn around for 3 hours to get home. I felt a lot better, so I decided to keep going. I never got sick again, but I started running a fever that made my body ache, and I had to drive through this horrible, horrible storm that was hitting the Huntsville, Alabama area with 60-65 mph winds and heavy rain.

rain

I have never been so happy to get to my hotel.

I’m a big proponent of letting a fever do it’s job in the body. Consequently, I didn’t want to take anything for it, even though my muscles ached. Instead, I ran to a store and bought some organic soup and lavender bubble bath. I soaked in the tub until I just couldn’t stay awake anymore, then went to bed.

I had a very restless night due to the fever, but woke at 4AM feeling better. My fever was down to low grade, I was hungry and have been sipping on soup while I type this, and just have a faint headache — which I’ll chalk up to the lack of coffee yesterday.  I have several hours before the conference starts, which will give me more time to monitor that the fever is truly gone and that I’m capable of withstanding a 9-hour day of writerly things.

My husband suggested I skip this conference and stay home. I almost did, but I truly felt better after spending the morning lying down. At one point while driving during the hellish storm, I thought, “If I get swept away by a tornado, Gregg is going to be SO mad at me or not listening to him.” HA!

Last night, apparently one of the boys was running a high fever as well, and complaining of a stomach ache. Clearly, whatever bug hit LAST week isn’t the same as this one. And, while I’m incredibly thankful to not have flown to Phoenix with a stomach bug, whatever this is isn’t the same thing. I just pray that I haven’t gotten anyone sick while I was having as minimal contact with people as possible.

*UPDATE* It’s now 9AM local and I feel perfectly fine. I’m so thankful it was a 24-hour thing, and just pray that I got no one else sick while traversing my south-bound route.
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Interview with Author Angie Brashear and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so excited to introduce to you Angie Brashear. Angie is the author of Of the Persecuted, a young adult fantasy novel (with a breathtaking cover). As I interviewed Angie, I was so intrigued by the fact that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis opened her eyes to Christ! Christians everywhere know that Lewis wrote that series of books as an allegory about Christ and the love and sacrifice of Christ — but I’ve never actually known anyone to be led to Christ through the books. How thrilling it is to discover that – especially as an author, like me, with a mission statement like this:

Hallee prayerfully crafts stories as modern day parables to uplift fellow believers and minister to seekers in our fallen world.

To know that God uses fiction, even allegorical fantasy fiction, to open doors in hearts is just exciting! I’m SO happy she’s joining us here today. And, she’s giving away a copy of her book, Of the Persecuted. If you enjoy young adult novels, or have a young adult girl who reads, be sure to enter to win with the Rafflecopter at the end of this interview!

Angie Brashear - Headshot (2)Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My normal activities surround raising three amazing kids, as well as a career in public education with a focus on students with disabilities. I love to read and I love to run, especially now that my kids are old enough to do both with me. And now I love to write books into the wee hours of the night, after my kids fall asleep.

Tell us about your current release.

Of the Persecuted is a fantasy with a strong thread of romance geared toward young adult females. The story surrounds an insecure girl who believes she is no more than a burden to the people she loves. But in the midst of physical and spiritual war, and through the loss of loved ones, as well as the turmoil of unrequited love, she discovers her true worth lies in her faith.

Ultimately, my goal is to reach young adult females much like the lost, lonely girl I once was. As a nonbeliever for the majority of my life, I enjoyed reading speculative fiction and it was the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis which ultimately opened my eyes to Christ. My prayer is that my stories will do the same for others. I also hope believers will enjoy the Christian undertones of my work.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?

Without a doubt. While I have no idea how the Lord intends to use my story to His glory, I believe the heart of at least one nonbeliever will be opened to the truth of the One True God. And that makes my efforts worthwhile.

Of the Persecuted (ebook cover)What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction?

A little edge. I firmly believe that in order to reach nonbelievers who’ve suffered abuse – whether physical, emotional, sexual, etc. – we, as Christians, need to reach them where they are and help lift them to the Lord. We cannot be preachy in the midst of turmoil. My opinion regarding this matter occasionally upsets fellow Christians, which is certainly not my intention. My response to such criticism is two-fold. First, I’ve been on the other side and it took a little edge to open my eyes to the truth. Second, by “need to reach them where they are,” I do not mean to insinuate that we should deviate from the Word of God. Ever.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?

In January 2012, my assistant and I exchanged late Christmas gifts. During the exchange, we discussed the various challenges of our jobs and the “what ifs” of other possible employment endeavors. Cue the violin, right? I mean, a lot of people face stressful situations in the workplace on a daily basis. As we talked, my assistant said, “The longer I work with you, the more I imagine you as an author.” My jaw dropped, for I’d NEVER shared my deepest dream with her or anyone else for that matter. I squeezed the lovely gift in my hands. She smiled and glanced at the journal. “Whenever you’re ready,” she said as she walked out of my office.

So I prayed for the next three months. And then I wrote. I completed the manuscript after seven months of late night writing, having absolutely no knowledge of the writing world. I later had to convert the manuscript from lackluster omniscient narrative to one person point of view. While I don’t profess to write without flaws, I do believe my story will reach lost girls. The journal my assistant gifted to me has been life changing. I’m grateful she allowed God to work through her.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?

413logo-square-medNot too long ago, I made the heartbreaking decision to leave traditional publishing, and to pursue an indie publishing route. While there are many pros and cons to both types of publishing, I ultimately felt God’s plans for Of the Persecuted did not involve traditional publishing. Now, I’m happy to share that my debut novel has been released under my very own indie publishing label – 4:13 Publishing. Because in Him, I can accomplish all things to His glory.

I strongly recommend using a professional cover designer, editor, and formatter if pursuing an indie publishing route. My website includes recommendations for all such professionals.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?

I’m a total panster. And sometimes I wonder if that is good or bad for my writing endeavors. As I write, I know exactly where I want to start and finish, but I fly by the seat of my pants when writing all of the details in between. In some ways, it’s a fun approach because my own characters surprise me with their decisions. LOL!

Thank you for hosting today. I’ve enjoyed our visit!

Back Cover Blurb:

Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.

Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.

Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?

Author Bio:

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.
Enter to win a copy of Of the Persecuted!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Author Rebecca DeMarino & A Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Rebecca DeMarino. Like me, she was a military brat married to a military husband, so I totally identify with her longing for a “home”. Her debut novel, A Place in His Heart, is inspired by a true story! Read on to learn more about it. Rebecca is also giving away a copy of A Place in His Heart to one lucky winner — so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter below for all of the different ways you can enter!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’ve lived in ten states (sometimes more than once) and one U.S. territory and have never found one that I didn’t like. Having grown up with a father who was a career Navy pilot, I credit my mother with my adaptability. She could always find the good in every place we lived. I did long for a place to call home, so the fact that the man I married also made the military a career is a bit perplexing, but life has never been dull!

A Place in His Heart XTell us about your current release: My debut novel, A Place in His Heart, is a historical romance inspired by the lives of my ninth great-grandparents, Barnabas and  Mary Horton. It is book one of The Southold Chronicles and is set in the 17th century.

Here is the blurb: Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother. With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas’s secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary’s world is upended. How could she possibly leave her Papa and her dear sister? And can she ever reach the secret places of her husband’s heart?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Most definitely, and for many reasons. I believe God is in control. I’m not the one who gets to decide how many readers pick up my book, how many hearts are touched, or how many, if any, lives are changed. But I do believe God called me to write this book. I think he put a yearning in my heart to give Mary a voice. And while I’ve prayed I can touch women who might struggle in their relationships, who might have suffered loss through death or the pain of infertility, I might be the one person whose spiritual journey has benefited.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Actually, I think we are seeing some exciting times for Christian Fiction. No matter what the genre, the authors being published today in the CBA are writing stories that are gripping, engaging and pure entertainment from a Christian world view. And it seems even the secular side of the entertainment industry is turning toward more wholesome offerings, but they have a ways to catch up!

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Getting outside and exercising is a big boost for me. Taking in the beauty of the outdoors and getting my heart rate up seems to work. Some of my best thoughts occur while walking in the garden, hiking up a trail or going for a jog.

Demarino-29 Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? Treasure Island by RL Stevenson, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Stevenson, and because I was horse “crazy”, The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.

 What is the inspiration for your writing? I thought for many years that I would write a novel, often entertaining the idea of writing suspense, because I love to read it and have an active imagination about all of the horrible things that can happen in life. But, it wasn’t until I took my mother to Long Island in 1999, to visit a lighthouse named after our ancestor Barnabas Horton that the story of my ninth great-grandmother tugged at my heart. I began writing it in 2008 because there was no way I could not.

 Rebecca DeMarino lives in the Pacific N.W. and enjoys hiking, baking, genealogy and gardening. Her debut novel, A Place in His Heart, is a historical romance inspired by her ninth great-grandparents, Barnabas and Mary Horton, and is book one of The Southold Chronicles. It is available now from Revell. For more information please visit her at www.RebeccaDeMarino.com or https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaDeMarino  She can also be found on Pinterest!

 Thank you, Hallee, for having me on your blog! It’s been fun!

Find Rebecca’s books online:



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Today’s Word of Promise

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 9 – Acts Acts 17.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Acts 10:9-16

Almost certainly, whenever we explain our choice to follow a Biblical diet, someone brings up Peter’s vision. However, this vision has nothing to do with food. In fact, Peter himself knew that. While he was having this vision, Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian regiment, had a delegation on their way to where Peter was staying. These were not Jews, and it was unlawful for a Jew to “keep company with” someone who was not Jewish. However, these men explained that an angel of the Lord told Cornelius to send for Peter. So, he put the men up for the night, and the next day went with them to see Cornelius.

When Peter met Cornelius, he said:

Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Peter’s dream was showing him that God could sanctify and cleanse any MAN.

So, if you want to argue about whether God has approved those country hams for Sunday after church consumption, this isn’t the passage you ought to use. If you want a passage to use, it’s better to use Acts 15. There was a church in Jerusalem that was preaching that Gentiles had to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses in order to be saved. So, Peter and other church leaders met and held a council to determine how to handle this situation, because the Gentiles were coming to Christ in huge numbers. They determined that:

They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell. ~Acts 15:23-29

So, there you go. If you’re a Gentile, and that country ham wasn’t sacrificed to an idol, it isn’t a sin to eat it.

But that doesn’t make the meat clean. Or healthy. Or pleasing to God.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

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