Christina Rich

Inspirational Romance… Weaving a Threefold Strand


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Lisa Belcastro and a Giveaway

Please welcome back Lisa Belcastro!

DSC_0017_1bFor two years, Tess Roberts has longed for Hawk, her father’s first mate, to glance her way. With vivid clarity, she can recall the exact moment she placed her hand in his eight hundred and thirty-seven days ago. She was climbing up the gangway to board the Shenandoah, and there he was and he’d offered her a hand. Tess was a goner. Her heart had hammered in her chest, her eyes stared into the deep pools of blue looking down at her, and she knew she never wanted to let go of the hand holding hers. But she had, because she was carrying her father’s lunch and couldn’t very well stand there holding a stranger’s hand.

Minutes later, she discovered the man in question was her father’s recently hired first mate. Two seconds after that revelation, Hawk found out she was the captain’s daughter. And that was the last time he’d held her hand. Pretty much the last time Hawk had spoken to her, except for those rare occasions when he had to.

At twenty-five, Tess is convinced God’s on vacation and He sure isn’t visiting Martha’s Vineyard. Hawk ignores her, she can’t captain one of her father’s ships because she’s a woman, and her heart feels as though there is a gaping hole growing larger every day. She’s too old to run away from home, but Tess can do something better. She knows a secret. She knows that Cabin 8 on the Shenandoah is a time portal and that she only has one night to go on the adventure of a lifetime. She throws caution to the wind, and disappears to 1776.

She never expected Hawk would come after her. He can’t stand to be in the same room with her, so why would he care that she’s gone? But he does show up and demands that she return home with him. She refuses, and begs the men aboard the colonial ship to allow her to stay.

Troubles arise when a British warship appears. During an attack, Hawk reveals his deep faith, an unwelcome surprise to the prodigal Tess. More surprising, is Hawk’s declaration of love as he is taken prisoner. Tess isn’t sure what to fret about more, that Hawk might truly love her and die on an enemy ship, or that he might return and find out she’s not too keen on God.

The situation appears hopeless to Tess. If he dies, she can’t be with him. If he returns, he won’t want her because he’s a believer and she’s not sure God exists. She realizes that she can never be a wife to Hawk if she doesn’t share his faith. She’s seen what her parents have. She’s heard them talk about the three-part cord between themselves and God. She can’t give Hawk what she doesn’t have.

Minutes become hours, and Tess wears a hole in the floor she is pacing. She begins to question everything – and in turn learns that she has choices to make. Choices of faith, choices of trust, choices that will affect every day of her future.

Like so many people with broken dreams, broken hearts and broken lives, Tess is afraid to surrender all to God and trust his path for her life. I won’t ruin the story for you by revealing Tess’s stubbornness and a few foolish conclusions she will reach. Have you ever been a slow learner in life’s lessons? I know I have – too many times to count!

Blurb:

9781602903791-Perfect.inddTess Roberts may live on Martha’s Vineyard, vacation spot for movie stars and presidents, but the Island feels anything but idyllic. Tess has had it with lousy dates, lying, cheating men, and the rules that forbid her from working on her family’s centuries-old schooner, Shenandoah.

Lucky for Tess, she knows a secret–the Shenandoah has magical powers. Her best friend, Rebecca O’Neill, once stayed in Cabin 8 and discovered a time portal that transported her to 1775. A month after Rebecca’s “disappearance,” Tess’s father, brother, and Shenandoah’s annoying first mate, Hawk, plan to shut down the time travel for good by dismantling the cabin. But what if Rebecca might someday need to come home? What if Tess isn’t ready to say good-bye forever?

Sneaking onto the ship late at night, Tess slips into Cabin 8 and drifts off to sleep. She wakes anchored off the New England coast amidst the American Revolution in 1776. The British frigate HMS Greyhound has seized Shenandoah and taken the crew, cargo, and all onboard hostage. To make matters worse, Hawk is relentlessly tracking her, determined to bring her back to the twenty-first century against her will. Sparks begin to fly, from more than cannonballs and gunpowder….

 

 

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities — as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! Being on or near the water is pure joy for her, and she can’t wait for the warmer weather to arrive.

When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, gardening, training for her first 50-mile road race, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.

http://www.lisabelcastro.com

http://www.twitter.com/lisabelcastro19

http://www.facebook.com/belcastrolisa

Lisa is giving away one e-book copy to one commenter!

Ohhhhhh!!!! And I’ll throw in a paperback copy of The Guardian’s Promise (must live in the United States) to one commenter too.

So, show us some love and leave comments. ;)


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GOD IS SO STINKIN’ AWESOME

But you knew that already, didn’t you?

So yesterday, last night, I was working myself into a full out tizzy. I hadn’t started the hyperventilating yet, but I was close. I was feeling beyond overwhelmed. You know when you have 20 projects to do and they’re all pressing at one time and you can’t think of which one to put off for another moment. Yeah, magnify that about 50 times and you have what’s going on in my brain, or was.

I knew when I woke up this morning that the only way my day was going to work was to start it with the Lord. It’s so full of busyness that I knew I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t.

Well, wanting to keep things simple this morning, I dove into Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

This is the day that I have made. Rejoice and be glad in it.

Begin the day with open hands of faith, ready to receive all that I am pouring into this brief portion of your life. Be careful not to complain about anything, even the weather, since I am the Author of your circumstances. The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank Me for them. This act of faith frees you from resentment and frees Me to work My ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it.

To find joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries. I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four-hour segments. I understand human frailty, and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant Life in My Presence today.

 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (KJV)

Philippians 3:12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. (The Message)

Okay, so my time is short today, but I wanted to just send a huge shout out to the Lord for reminding me that this is His day, not mine!

Have a blessed day!!!!!


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Street Team Search for The Warrior’s Vow

officialI’m looking at building a street team for The Warrior’s Vow.

What is a Street Team? My team will help promote The Warrior’s Vow. This can be done several ways

  • Read my book and leave a review at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads etc (this is a requirement)
  • Submit reviews to your local papers, church newsletters, your blogs.
  • Have me as a guest blogger. (I’ll do book giveaways)
  • Post pictures of my books from your local store with a link to your review on Facebook, Twitter, etc
  • Hold a discussion group about The Warrior’s Vow
  • If you come up with something creative, let me know so I can share with others.

What’s in it for you? Well, for one you’ll be reading a fabulous book! ;)

  • You’ll get a chance to read The Warrior’s Vow before it hits the shelves.
  • You’ll be entered into a drawing, exclusive to my street team. I’m still working on the details, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

If you think you’d be interested in joining my street team, please contact me through the link at the top of the sidebar and let me know why you’d like to be a part of my street team.

Spots are limited.

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.


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Laying It All Out There ~ Book Launch, Book Signing and TV Appearances, Among other Things

The last few weeks have been crazy, and I know several of you are probably interested in my experience.

On March 15th, I had a book launch party. It wasn’t a huge success in terms of numbers, but I initially had intended it to be friends and family. Soon invites were flying left and right. I was very thankful for the turn out. Several local friends showed up as well as family. Some family drove a few hours to get there.

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Book Launch Party

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I love the flower arrangements my mom came up with. First of all I can’t kill them, and secondly, aren’t those little book covers cute?

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Gluten Free Cake Balls made by my wonderful sister-in-law Holly

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This gluten free cake my mom made was absolutely delicious. It’s a recipe from cousin Sarah Johns. Watch for the recipe on The Most Important Thing.

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The vase was given to my mom by my grandmother when I was born. My grandmother passed away on my 5th birthday. It was nice to have a piece of her there. I know she would have been thrilled for me.

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Isn’t it beautiful? My mom put this together. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Now, the scrapbook:

702439_10154018606625294_1118307624_nAfter my little book launch I got up the nerve to walk into Wal-mart and ask for permission to move my books from the bottom shelf to eye-level and for permission to sign them. I also ran into Barnes & Noble and signed the copies they had ordered.

On March 22, I had a book signing at God’s Storehouse Thrift Store. Again, I had no idea what to expect. Only people I knew showed up, which was okay with me. I like to ease into things. I was blessed with seeing a good friend drive in from out of town and with seeing a good friend from high school. I hope she doesn’t mind me snagging this photo from her facebook page. ;)

My next little thing, well, it was big to me, was the upcoming interview with one of our local television stations. Now, you have to understand that I’m a very shy person. I flunked speech in high school, and I’d become nausea whenever someone asked me to stand in front of people. I’d usually find ways out of it.

This time I knew short of a family member dying or me having a car accident on the way to the studio that there was no way I was getting out of it. The teleprompter for the host was already set. And, I knew my mother was most likely at home pacing back and forth in front of the television waiting to hear my name. I also knew if she didn’t hear my name, well… there’d probably be a lot of h*** to pay. ;) Love you, Mom! Besides, this was one of those honoring your elders kind of things. My dear Aunt Liese got the ball rolling and my mom and dad made sure it kept rolling know matter how many excuses I came up with to not do the television appearance.

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Awesome camera guy, Eric Ives and host Ralph Hipp interviewing our local Zoo folks.

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Me, waiting. This was actually taken before the zoo crew went on air.

I walked out of there alive. My three minutes on the red couch didn’t kill me. I survived. And then I went home and there was hubs waiting to watch it with me. Gulp! Gulp! Whoever said the camera adds on ten pounds lied! It’s more like 20-30 pounds. Anyway, it was all done and over. Or so I thought. The private link I shared with my brother and mom soon appeared all over facebook, and then it showed up on Goodreads and then to one of the writer’s email loops. I was all over, and it wasn’t supposed to happen that way.It wasn’t supposed to be seen by that many people! I mean it’s like being stripped bare for all to see. Seriously.

But that’s okay. I’ll chalk all of this up as a learning experience.

1. The book launch went very well. Much better than I could have hoped for. There weren’t even any wardrobe malfunctions.

2014-03-30 17.46.132. On my way to the book signing I stopped at the store and bought what I thought was a nice looking shirt. I ripped off the tags and changed in the car, put on some cute wedges and strutted into the building. I did NOT know the back of my shirt was completely see-through. Thank goodness my back was to people most of the time, but I also did not realize how thin the front was and how much of my, uh, jelly rolls showed. Embarrassing!

3. I made another trip to the store before my television stint. Yep, a few hours before I had to be there. My time is that tight. Anyway, I about had breakdown because 1. large sizes in the regular section are too small and the 1x in the plus size are too big, 2. the majority of the plus size shirts were to thin. I did not wish to share my jelly rolls on live TV.

4. Finding no satisfaction with any of my clothing options, I chose to where a sweater. My favorite, plain beige, sweater was still in the dryer and far from being dry even though it had been in there for quite some time, so I went with my striped sweater. It looked good in the mirror, but not so much on the monitor or on the television screen.

*big smiles here* Learn from me… don’t do like me. Lord knows I’ll be more aware of my attire before any more public appearances.

Okay, so I suppose y’all want to see this video, huh? Well, here it is.

My First Interview

Now, I don’t want you all to think I thought it was all bad. It wasn’t. Even though I stumbled over some of my answers and wished I would have answered them differently, this interview did bring an awareness to a genre of fiction that is often overlooked; Christian Romance. And I’m happy with that.


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Lisa Belacastro and A Giveaway

DSC_0036_1belacastroWhat would you do if you fell asleep in your bed and woke up in a strange place two hundred years earlier? Scream? Pray? Cry? Try to go back to sleep?

In Shenandoah Nights, Rebecca O’Neill finds herself transported from present day Martha’s Vineyard to 1775 colonial Boston. She has a choice to make: will she trust God with her life, or will she panic and give in to despair.

I have often dreamed of traveling back in time to see how the Ingalls family lived, or farther back to witness Jesus teaching the crowds and feeding the thousands. Occasionally, when problems come from all directions, I wish for the opportunity to step into the future and find out how beauty will be made of ashes. But, I always come back to my life, my house, my family, my bit of earthly security no matter how crazy it might be at the moment. Can anyone relate?

My momentary fantasies are just that: flights of fancy. Rebecca doesn’t have the choice to go home. Her running shoes, her yoga mat, her job, every physical aspect of life as she knew it is gone. And, as often happens in our lives, Rebecca’s situation goes from bad to worse quicker than a 90-mile an hour fastball hits the catcher’s mitt. Not only is she lost at sea, but Rebecca is then accused of treason and faces death by hanging if she is found guilty.

I love, how in the midst of turmoil, Rebecca falls back on what her parents and grandmother modeled: God is in control. Knowing she’s innocent, but unable to prove to anyone that she traveled through time, Rebecca turns to her grandmother’s favorite scripture and falls asleep reciting the Twenty-third Psalm.

The days pass, and Rebecca finds herself drawn more and more to the honorable Captain Benjamin Reed. He is kind, a man of integrity and of faith. He exemplifies the qualities her father always told her to look for in a man, and she knows her da would approve of Ben. But she is a woman of the twenty-first century and Ben lives in the eighteenth century. Any attachment would be foolish, and potentially heartbreaking.

But time is not the only obstacle standing in the way of Rebecca and Ben. Before she could ever hope of having a loving relationship with him, Rebecca knows she must first tell Ben who she is and where she is from. Though she fears she will lose any chance of winning his heart, Rebecca confesses all to Ben.

I imagine Ben’s reaction to Rebecca’s revelation was similar to what many of us would feel – a mix of shock and anger, wondering why she didn’t trust us enough to tell us sooner. Though Ben is hurt, he turns to prayer and also seeks the counsel of two wise, trusted men.

With the truth in the open, Ben and Rebecca confess their love for one another. As I much as I, and probably you, wish that love conquered all, Ben and Rebecca still face their biggest obstacle: will Rebecca disappear in the middle of night as she has before, and if she does, will she be able to return. With Rebecca a deck below in her cabin, and uncertain she will be there when the sun rises, Ben prays, “Father, I know you hear me. I know you know my needs even before I ask. Please stay with Rebecca, Lord. Please keep her safe and guide her path. And please give me the strength to get through this night, to trust in you and to accept whatever answer the morning brings. Amen.”

I won’t tell you how the story plays out and ruin the ending, but I can share with you that it is only through their faith and trust in God that Rebecca and Ben are able to release their fears and surrender their lives to the Master planner.

Shenandoah Nights Excerpt

9781602903784-Perfect.inddThe last thing sixth-grade teacher Rebecca O’Neill wants to do during the final week of her summer break is chaperone twenty-five kids on a six-night, seven-day trip aboard the schooner Shenandoah. But after a desperate phone call from the school principal, she doesn’t have a choice. Worse, the ship is rumored to be “haunted.” Five years ago, during the Holmes Hole student cruise, teacher Melissa Smith complained about hearing voices and seeing visions, then disappeared without a trace—from the very same cabin where Rebecca will be staying.

Everything seems normal on Sunday as Rebecca boards the impressive Shenandoah. But as she sits in Cabin 8, she hears hushed voices that don’t sound like they’re from this century. Mike, a crewmember, insists he believes the crazy Island story that Melissa time-traveled to Colonial Boston. His eerie interest in constantly tracking Rebecca’s whereabouts rattles her nerves.

Her first night onboard, Rebecca drifts off to sleep…and wakes the following morning with memories of a secretive conversation about a battle with Britain. Monday night Rebecca crawls into her bunk after an adventurous day of sailing, swimming, and overseeing students. She’s startled awake when a man grabs her and yells, “Stowaway!” Dragged in front of Captain Benjamin Reed, she looks up into the most gorgeous brown eyes she’s ever seen….

Bio

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities — as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! This winter has not been fun for Lisa. Being on or near the water is pure joy for her, and she can’t wait for the warmer weather to arrive.

When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, gardening, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach with her husband looking for sea glass.

There will be two winner- one print book and one e-book. Please state in the comments which you would prefer if you won. U.S. residents only for print copy, please.


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A Prayer from A Reader

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Ephesians 5:2

I received a lovely surprise in the mail today; a card from a reader who has yet to read my book. What’s so special about this card? The prayer inside.

sarahbakercardLord, thank you for the gift You’ve blessed Christina with; the ability to take ordinary words and tell a story in a way that catches a person’s attention and grips their heart.

Please continue to guide her as she writes, give her the stories you have for her to tell and the words with which to express them.

In all things we give You praise.

Amen.

sarahbakerprayerThe writing journey can seem lonely. Only other writers understand the voices running in your head and the frustration that occurs when the story just isn’t working out like it should. Family and friends don’t always get the countless hours of work to create a story, and the countless more that goes into revisions and marketing. The don’t always understand the inability to stop and watch a movie or needing to order take-out.  Funny, as a writer, it’s not always easy to take ordinary words and tell a story that catches a person’s attention and grips their heart, especially when the stresses of life press in and demand attention, leaving little time to create gripping stories.

Standing on the outside, I understand that when I ask for prayers from my family and friend, they don’t always know how to pray. The above prayer is a great example.

Sarah, thank you for blessing me today. This prayer will be a constant to carry me through my stories. I accept the prayer and the blessings through it, may it be so. And may God bless you tenfold in your endeavors.


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Marilyn Turk

turk-HR-14I have a confession to make. I have not always wanted to write a book. But I’ve always admired lighthouses. Of course, I’d never seen a real one until I moved to Florida. While working in my sales job, I found myself at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. I had gone there to call on a restaurant located in the Naval Air Museum. When I walked out to my car, lo and behold, there was a lighthouse rising above the trees across the street! It was awesome, and I had to check it out for myself.

I saw a van turn onto a road leading to it and followed. Rain was falling, so the driver rolled down his window to talk to me.

“Do you need to get into the lighthouse?” he said.

“I don’t need to, but I want to,” I answered.

“I’m sorry, but it’s closed. I just came here to do some work.”

I had just started writing, but for some reason I summoned my courage and said, “I’m a writer, and I really need to see the lighthouse for my research.”

And to my surprise, he said, “If you can come back in an hour, I’ll let you in.”

And so I did. And I received a personal tour. I’m convinced that meeting was God-ordained, the first affirmation from him that I was headed the right way with my writing. You see, I’d been writing devotionals and going to writers’ conferences where people were talking about their books. At first, I thought I’d never write a book, just devotionals. But while researching the history of the area I’d recently moved to, I’d read about some of the Gulf Coast lighthouses and how they played a part in the Civil War. And quite by surprise, “What if…” came to my mind and the story of my first novel began to develop.

When I pitched the idea to an editor at the next conference, she said she liked it and wanted to see a proposal for it plus synopses for three more books to make a four-book series! Three more? I’d barely thought out one. But in writing the first book, the ideas for the next three were born, and so Coastal Lights Legacy became the title for my series set in coastal lighthouses in Florida during the 1800’s. The editor I first spoke with had moved on by the time I was ready, but another editor liked them, and my first book in the series, Rebel Light, comes out in August 2014.

At the conferences, I heard that I needed to write a blog to develop a platform. I couldn’t imagine what to write about that anyone would want to read, so I did the only thing I could. I prayed about it. I asked God what I could write that would be informative, encouraging and inspirational. And He told me to write about lighthouses. Funny thing happened when I started researching lighthouses for stories, which by the way is my favorite part of this job, is that with every story, a Bible verse popped into my head.

At first I wasn’t going to include them, thinking a secular audience wouldn’t read the blog. But then I realized that God put those verses in my head for a reason, just as he wanted me to write about lighthouses, and so the Lighthouse Blog became devotionals. I’ve been writing the weekly blog for two and a half years now, and many people have asked when I was going to make them into a book. Well, guess what? I am.

I’m thrilled and happy to announce that my Lighthouse Devotions book will be published toward the end of 2014.

I’ve been asked if I might run out of stories for the blog. To that I laugh, because there are thousands of lighthouses and thousands of Bible verses. Our God is infinite, and I’ll trust Him to keep supplying the material as long as I’m able, and He wants me to continue writing them. He hasn’t failed me yet.

Check out Marilyn’s lighthouse blog at http://marilynturk.com/, click on Lighthouse blog. You can also find her at http://pathwayheart.com/

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