Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mara Purl Releases Second Book in the Milford-Haven Series

I recently had a chance to talk with actress and author Mara Purl about her latest release, Where the Heart Lives, the second book in the Milford-Haven series.  She's received rave reviews. Here's what she had to share with us:
Author-Actress Mara Purl 

1. Tell us a little bit about your series, the Milford-Haven saga. 

    On one level, the Milford-Haven Novels are pure escape. Get in your virtual car, drive up the virtual California coast and arrive at this gorgeous little fictional town: Main Street and its shops, cafes and art galleries; Touchstone Beach and its long blustery walks; the private art studio of Miranda Jones; the environmental offices of Samantha Hugo; the cozy Sally O’Mally’s café; the romantic Michael’s Restaurant with its view of the lighthouse. Lose yourself in characters’ problems and leave your own behind for a while. In the process, gain perspective and feel refreshed. 
    On another level, the series in an invitation for a woman to get in closer touch with her own heart. The essence of the series is this: in your heart of hearts, what did you always want to do? Are you doing it yet? If you don’t yet know what that might be, you start to find it with book one, What the Heart Knows. If you don’t yet know where you truly want to live, you continue exploring with the new book, the second in the series, Where the Heart Lives. And there are three more books in this pentalogy that will focus on Why, When and Who. 
    Ultimately, the saga will contain ten novels, and at least twice that many short stories. And these can be read in order, or out of order. But I personally feel its most fun to read them in chronological order. That’s how I enjoy reading books.

2. Tell us about some of the characters in your new release, Where the Heart Lives. Do you see yourself in any of them?
The story’s protagonist is wildlife artist Miranda Jones, who grew up privileged and has left the comfort and connections of her San Francisco-area home and career, following her heart to the small coastal town of Milford-Haven, about four hours south, along what’s called the Central Coast. It’s far more rugged and undiscovered than either San Francisco to its north or Los Angeles to its south. She has two close friends who, oddly enough, don’t like each other. Sally O’Mally has also followed her own heart to Milford-Haven having left the farm where she grew up in Arkansas. She’s feisty, stubborn, true-blue and has a heart of gold. But she does indulge overhearing as much gossip as she can in her restaurant. Meanwhile, Samantha Hugo, who’s about twenty year’s Miranda’s senior, is an accomplished PhD environmentalist with a successful, passionate career. But she has followed her “head” to the Central Coast, and abandoned her “heart” a long time earlier. When her marriage collapsed, she gave up her son for adoption—and that now haunts her as she begin to try to find that son.

I do see myself in two of my characters in particular . . . Miranda Jones and Samantha Hugo. Both are interested in ecology and wildlife, as I am. Miranda is an artist, and so am I, though my art is in writing, theatre and music, where Miranda’s is in fine art. Samantha, who’s in a more mature chapter of life, has reached a point where she’s connecting a lot of dots between her inner and outer worlds. She’s dealing with personal issues, but also with global ones, realizing that every personal breakthrough is also in some ways a global one. She realizes how very connected we truly are to the world around us.

3. How did you get interested in the area you are writing about?
It all started when I was invited to spend a summer performing in Cambria, California. The play was Gardner McKay’s Sea Marks and my co-star and I both felt so passionate about this play that we were honored to accept this job. We were at a precious jewel box of a theatre, the Pewter Plough Playhouse, which at that time was starting to attract audiences from San Francisco and L.A. Though we performed in the evenings, during the days I began to explore life in that part of the world and became intrigued by the eclectic groups of people who lives there, and the fact that there seemed to be a lot of artists and craftsmen on one hand, but also developers and builders on the other hand. I also got fascinated by life in a small town, having grown up in a huge city. It struck me as a wonderful framework for storytelling. Characters began to arise in my imagination and pretty soon I found myself writing this story. It wouldn’t leave me alone . . . and still won’t! And I still adore the Central Coast. I’m so excited that the last stop on my current book tour will actually be in Cambria . . . where the whole story began!

4. What places did you visit on your Where the Heart Lives book tour? 
This has been the most extraordinary book tour ever, so far. It was really a “concept” tour, in that the book and the book tour were connected at the core.

The map of the California tour closely resembles the book cover of Where the Heart Lives! And we decided to focus on only independent bookstores for this whole tour, which I am so enjoying. I love indie bookstores and respect their booksellers, who know their customers, and know what books they’re likely to enjoy. The tour included stops in Malibu, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Solvang, Menlo Park (near San Francisco) and Cambria. In addition, the tour included a huge loop through Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona with stops in Taos, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Sedona, Prescott, and Phoenix. What a joy to connect with readers in so many locations! And what’s SO exciting is that even after the physical tour concludes, the blog tour will continue and I’ll be blogging about all these stops along the way. It may actually take me through the end of the year before I complete the blogs, because so many interesting things are happening along the way!

5. Tell us a little bit about you, and some of your favorite things to do. 
By now I’m sure you can guess that one of my favorite things to do is spend time in Cambria, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara and other locations along the Central Coast. These are places that truly feed my soul. I love being there alone on my writing getaways, and I also love sharing them with my family. I also enjoy exploring cities. I grew up in Tokyo, which I love; my husband and I adore hiking up and down the amazing neighborhoods of San Francisco; I enjoy special regions of Los Angeles like Little Tokyo with its multicultural delights, Malibu with its coastal pageantry and sense of community, and Hollywood, with its rich history. Add to the list of favorite cities New York and Paris. Of course, I love to read! I love theatre and film. And my husband and I dance the Argentine tango.

6. What is your favorite part of writing? What is your least favorite part of writing? 
There’s really no “least favorite” part of writing itself. But what is sometimes challenging is the degree of time and focus it requires, and how that impacts the other parts of my life. As I work my way into a novel, I tend to get more and more absorbed in the task, and in the fictional world and all its possibilities. I write longer and longer hours and begin neglecting other things, like walking, exercising, cooking, seeing friends. . . . I don’t ignore my husband, but even he begins to feel I might fall through the rabbit hole! So the challenge for me is maintaining balance. I’ve made a life-long practice of hiking and walking. My best friend Erin Gray and I used to hike almost every morning before beginning work on the non-fiction book we co-wrote. My husband and I often start our mornings with a hike. And enjoy long walks in the mountains and hills, and along the ocean. Not only is it good for the body, it’s good for the soul. To put it in Milford-Haven terms, it’s good for both head and heart.  

Thanks so much for sharing with us! We look forward to reading Where the Heart Lives. You can visit Mara at 

Be sure to head over to her website,, to download a FREE copy of her book, When Whales Watch


Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Unconditional Love

It's amazing to me that God can love me unconditionally. It's not that I go out of my way to upset Him, but there's plenty of days I need to be spending time with Him, only to skip right over and go do something else I think is more important.

Each time--thankfully--He reels me back in and reminds me just how much I need Him.

While reading through my devotional, Seeking Purity, I came across something very profound. Laura says, "Hear me loud and clear when I say this: God is not like us! Amen! He is not upset with us if we are coming up short. He loves you and this love is not based on a feeling, it is based on Christ, on truth, on the choice He made to love you unconditionally. Feelings change with conditions, but God's love for you stands firm."

What a blessing to know that God will love us NO MATTER WHAT! I don't have to perform, I don't have to grovel when I mess up. I can come to him with my whole heart, and He will take me just as I am.

He continually loved the Israelites, in spite of themselves. Each time, He drew them back in and loved them unconditionally, just as He loves us. The Israelites were and are worthy of His love. So are you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Not a Fan of Idols

I love the fact that God had so many prophets throughout the Bible. I'm sure they walked back into their tent each night so frustrated with people not listening to what God wanted for them.

I would've been one of the top non-listeners. I tend to have a mind of my own. I'm sure the hubs could fill you in on that one quite easily. :)

Laura tells us in Seeking Purity, that the Lord warned the Israelites many times through His prophets. I'm so grateful to know that I wasn't the first one to put up a fight when it came to listening.

She goes on to tell us that when we read 2 Kings 17:14-23, we will see that God makes it very clear that the Israelites were not to have idols, among other things. In her research, she found that in the NIV the word "idols" is used. But in the KJV and the NASB, the word "vanities" is used in its place. She says, "A word study will further clarify this for us: 'vanities' and 'vain' are translated in the Hebrew as hebel and habal. Hebel, meaning 'vanities' is a 'breath or vapor,' and habal is 'to act emptily, to become vain or to be vain.'"

Wow! That's quite a statement. A breath or vapor doesn't last long. At all. I don't know tons about science, but I've learned enough to know that a vapor is gone pretty darn quick. Kinda puts things in perspective.

In my daily life, it's easy to find things that seem important. Cars, clothing, purses, Starbucks (yes, you read that correctly. We all have different things we love - ha ha!). But trying to get a bigger paycheck just so I can have more Starbucks won't work. It won't last (except around my waist). Focusing in on "idols" will be a waste of breath - literally.

God placed his prophets in the midst of Israel to bring them closer and fully to Himself. They are in the pages of His word so we can look back and learn, and see that He still wants us closer and fully to Himself. Fleeting moments of vapors just don't seem to measure up - and never will. I'm so thankful we serve a God that still wants every part of us!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seeking Purity

I've been wanting to share my thoughts as I go through the new Bible study, Seeking Purity: An In-Depth Study of the Book of Hosea by Laura Ford.

I am so blessed with a wonderful and amazing family. Laura is my cousin, and although we lived far apart during our growing up years, we've had many opportunities during our lives to visit and hang out together. I even spent one summer in Montana living near her family and loving every minute of it.

So, when I heard she was releasing a new Bible study, I was one of the first to line up and get it. I've read through a great deal of it, but I wanted to put down some of my thoughts as I went through and studied. My plan is to start over and share as I go along.

I've read the old testament plenty of times, but never delved too deep into the books. However, I've always been fascinated with the story of Hosea. God told this man to find a promiscuous wife, marry her, and have children with her. Wow, that's quite a request! Hosea obeyed with a willing heart. There are plenty of times in our lives when we wonder why God wants us to do something. We question, rebel a little (or a lot), and act like we really didn't hear what He said. I'm actually pretty good at that. I have a feeling my reaction would have been a little different than Hosea's.

Many times I've wondered when am I going to stop and listen to God and what He wants for my life? God wanted Hosea to marry a promiscuous woman for a multitude of reasons. He's just asked me to do a couple small things, not even close to comparing with Hosea, and I have a hard time with that.

Laura says in her study, "Dear friend, we have nothing to fear. If we genuinely love God and keep His commands, He will show loving-kindness not only to us, but to many generations after us. God is jealous for you, just like a groom should be of his bride. He wants you all to Himself."

My plan is to listen with my ears and my heart.

Blessings to you today in your journey.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

30 Days of Seeking Challenge

Several months ago, my cousin Laura Ford celebrated the new release of her Bible study, Seeking Purity. It's special for me because I feel like I get a few perks while reading through the study, because I know her so well. When she discusses people and events, I can relate all the more, simply because I know them!

I decided to join her 30 Days of Seeking Challenge, which started Wednesday, September 19th. I am excited because it's a chance to spend thirty minutes a day in the Word seeking God. I am going to spend my 30 days learning more about Him through her new Bible Study. You can order her Bible study through the links below, or just seek out after God in your Bible.

I'm attaching a few links so you can join the challenge with us. If you decide you want to join us, be sure to let Laura know on her Facebook page or on her blog.

So, grab your Bible and start reading!

See you there!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cookin' and Laughin' with Sandra Bricker

Sandie Bricker is the kind of girl that can make you laugh when she shoots you a three-word email. I'll never know how she does it, but she's got it down to a science.

Known for writing laugh-out-loud Inspirational fiction, she's ventured out into cookbooks. Not just any cookbooks, but ones that come from her heart. She's just released the first two in a three-book series.

I had a chance to talk with her and here's what she had to say:

1. What made you decide to write the cookbooks?

When my mom passed away, she and I were working on compiling her recipes for a family cookbook, which had been her dream for many years. Unfortunately, I lost her before it was all put together, and it was a little too painful to continue so I loaded it all into a box and closed the lid until I could manage to look at it again.

2. What is your favorite dish?

Really?! Just one?! How about if I narrow it down to a few? My mom was sort of a genius when it came to baking and cooking. She used to make these unbelievable cookies made from chocolate and coffee, and they were half-dipped in chocolate. Ahhh-mazing! And then there were the comfort foods like beef stew, dumplings, and stuffed peppers. I could never narrow it down to just one, Julie. I can’t believe you asked me to!

3. What are some of your favorite cooking memories with your Mom?

To tell you the truth, I didn’t learn a lot about cooking from her. Certainly not for lack of trying on her part either! I just don’t have the gift that she had. In fact, there probably isn’t a single dish on earth that I couldn’t ruin with very little effort. But baking! That was our thing. I have such wonderful memories of sitting on a high stool in the kitchen, rolling out dough, using the mixer (and licking the beaters afterward, of course), prepping the pans. I’ll never forget when she taught me how to use the cookie gun. We laughed so hard that day that she had to run out of the kitchen before she peed her pants!

4. Tell us about the wonderful way you came across these recipes. What does it mean to you?

A few weeks after Mom’s funeral, I was going through her things and came across a cookbook she’d made for me. It was red-and-white checkered and held together with a bright red plastic spiral, and inside she’d written down her very favorite recipes in her shaky little handwriting. The note on it said that she didn’t have much to leave me, but she considered her recipes the legacy she had to give. I’ve intended for a long time to do something with them, and for a while we’d discussed doing a cookbook related to the Another Emma Rae Creation series of novels I did for Abingdon Fiction. When they decided against it, I started thinking about how I might pay homage to my mom, and eventually the idea for these e-cookbooks was born.

5. Tell us about the "Hostess with the Mostest," and what you learned from her.

Mom and I were a tag team when it came to hosting the parties and brunches that she loved so much. I would design the tables with flowers and china and centerpieces, and she was the master chef. In my mom’s world, food equaled love. So you can see just by looking at me that I was deeply loved!

6. It sounds like your Mom had parties down to a science. What were some of your favorites?

My mom was the queen of the impromptu neighborhood barbecue because she could put together the most amazing gatherings in no time at all! And she loved to create brunches and cocktail parties where every morsel, every beverage, and every fine detail coordinated the theme or tone she wanted to present. I have such wonderful memories of helping her get ready for them, too. She’d show me her dress and shoes, and then let me dig through her jewelry boxes to choose what she would wear.

7. You are well-known for writing Christian fiction. What recipes do you think some of your characters would like to cook?

Nearly all of the recipes that I used in the Another Emma Rae Creation series came from my mom’s files, so I think those characters would have as hard a time as I do narrowing it down to favorites.

8. What projects are you working on now?

I’m just finishing up the third and final cookbook in the Legacy Recipes series before I complete my book for Abingdon Fiction’s Quilts of Love series. It’s called Raw Edges, and it’s based on the creation of an ovarian cancer memory quilt. Since I’m a survivor, it’s a project very close to my heart. After that, I’ll get started on my second Contemporary Classics novel for River North Fiction. Those books are contemporary takes on fairy tales. The first one was based on Cinderella, and the second will be a new spin on Sleeping Beauty.

9. Where can readers find you on the Web?

Thanks so much for joining us on the blog! I for one look forward to trying out some of these recipes!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recipes With a Heart from Sandra D. Bricker

When award-winning author Sandra D. Bricker was a child, her mother was widely-known for the meals and sweet treats she put on the table.

“I always used to tell her, ‘Mom, you’ve made me what I am today!’ Which, of course,” quips the author of best-selling romantic comedy for the Christian market, “is a diabetic with a weight problem.”

Bricker gave up an established life as a publicist and aspiring screenwriter in Los Angeles to move across the country to Tampa, Florida, in order to provide care when her mom could no longer care for herself. It was her mother, in fact, who suggested to the writer that, since she felt that she’d left her screenwriting dreams behind in Hollywood, perhaps she could try her hand at writing novels.

“My very first romantic comedy was published a few months before she passed away,” says the author, “and I’m so happy that she actually had the chance to hold it in her hands and read it before I lost her. She was so proud, and it really made me feel like I’d accomplished something to see that look in her eyes.”

When Jessie Kovacevich Bricker passed away, she and her daughter were in the process of compiling the family recipes in hopes of fulfilling her dream of publishing a cookbook. Unfortunately, the project didn’t come to fruition. Until now.

“After she died, I found a cool little spiral cookbook that she’d made for me,” Bricker explains. “All of her favorite recipes written in her shaky little hand were inside, and a note that said it was the only legacy she had to leave me.”

In honor of her mother, the author has begun working on a series of cookbooks called Legacy Recipes. The first volume, Legacy Sweets: Cookies, Cakes & More from the recipe files of my mother, is available now for Kindles at, priced at $2.99.

“These cookbooks are the epitome of a Labor of Love,” the author beams. “But the response that they’ve gotten from my readers has been so gratifying. My mom would be over the moon about it!”

For further information about the author or her books, including Legacy Sweets, contact, or email the author directly at

Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Interview With Author Sheryl Young

I had a chance to interview another author, the wonderful, sweet Sheryl Young. Thankfully, she lives locally, so I get to visit with her every once in a while. She talked about her new release, God, Am I Nobody? Here's what she had to say:

Sheryl Young’s new pocket-sized devotional is called God, Am I Nobody? Subtitled Yielding Our Desire for Success to God's Will for Our Lives, it deals with how Christians might be conflicted between wanting personal “success” as the world defines it, versus following God's plan for their lives – or whether we can have both!

Sheryl explores why God uses some people in the spotlight, and others in the shadows.

What made you write a devotional on “worldly success” versus God’s plans for us?
I had spent three years proposing an earlier book to publishers. I received lots of interest within that time from five major Christian publishing houses. But one by one, they decided that I was too unknown for them to take a gamble on…

Within that time, I also did quite a bit of article writing for newspapers, magazines and websites. Then the economy crashed.

One day, while having a pity party about many of my freelance writing venues closing down, I  brushed against a shelf in a Christian bookstore. Out tumbled a book that landed open to a short sermon by Hudson Taylor entitled A Higher Calling.
Taylor, a 19th century missionary who devoted his life to serving the people of China, begged Christians to fully turn themselves over to the Lord, no matter the cost, and to put our pride aside even if we had to work in obscurity. This really touched me and made me feel like a self-absorbed fool! It became the basis for the devotional.

It sounds like a good topic to study. So how is the devotional structured?
It’s a convenient, carry-anywhere little book consisting of 17 chapters. Each chapter includes segments of Taylor's sermonette, along with parallel Bible verses and thoughts for everyday application. The chapters are short enough to be studied one per day, but can also be absorbed at a reader’s own leisurely pace.

It’s really good for Christians of all ages looking for God’s next open door…teens wondering what direction to take, empty nesters, career people, ministry leaders, stay-at-home moms; and it would also make a good small group study on a number of topics like waiting on the Lord, humility versus pride, low self-esteem, or just folks struggling with the desire for their “15 minutes,” like I was!

And, did you get a “big” publisher this time?
Sheryl Young
(She smiles) - No, but it was my choice this time. In proposing it around, it was suggested to me by two large companies that if I could stretch this little devotional into 90 days by adding other missionaries’ pieces, it would stand a good chance. But in researching possible additions, I realized that coming across Taylor's piece was a Godsend that I couldn't duplicate…

I felt it would be selling out on the topic, which includes the struggle with pride, if I expanded the book just to get a bigger publisher. So it’s published by a small press, Treble Heart Books, that saw value in its pocket-sized coverage of the subject. 

God, Am I Nobody? was released in November 2011 by Treble Heart’s nonfiction division, MountainView. Although it’s not in bookstores, it’s available at many places online:

-At in paperback:  

-At the publisher’s website in paperback or e-book (Treble Heart Books):

As of May 2012, 10 great reviews have been placed at Amazon!

By the way, Sheryl’s first book, What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People (she’s a Jewish believer in Jesus), is still available at Amazon, too: She and her husband prayed about it and ended up self-publishing that earlier work.

“It was a very rewarding experience, and we have faith that it has reached the hands of those Christians who are interested in being good witnesses and friends to the Jewish people,” she says.

Sheryl blogs about stuff like politics, faith and entertainment at  

Sheryl, thanks so much for stopping by the blog! I am excited about the other books you have in store for us in the future! I always love your work.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Interview With Author Tessa Afshar

Harvest of Rubies: a novel
By Tessa Afshar

It's rare that I cry over a book. But author Tessa Afshar has a way of finding the deepest part of a character's soul and putting it on the written page. And I cry.

Her newest release, Harvest of Rubies, is the beautiful story of Sarah, cousin of the prophet Nehemiah, and her new life as a scribe in Queen Damaspia's Persian court. Afshar excels in writing fiction with the most important truth: how much the God of this universe loves us. Each one of us. Not only does He love us, He seeks us out, desperately wants a relationship with us, and cares about every detail of our lives. 

Afshar weaves a love story between Sarah, the scribe, and the aristocrat Darius. But she takes it even further. She gives us an unexpected love story between Sarah and God. She shows us the all-consuming compassion and love that He has for us. The way Afshar is able to get to the deepest part of my soul through her writing, and remind me of my worth in God, is amazing. And again, I cry.

I've found myself, with both of her books, putting them down before I get to the end. I don't want to be finished. I want to read more and I savor those last pages. Afshar has a God-given talent for creating characters, giving them life, putting them in the midst of trouble, and making it excruciatingly hard to put the books down. Through her writing, she gives us a God that is a redeeming, compassionate, patient God who wraps His arms around us until we grasp those truths. As a reader, we are immersed in the time with vivid descriptions and a story that will be remembered for a long time.

Be sure to leave a comment below and enter the drawing for a free give-away of Harvest of Rubies from Tessa, and publisher River North. The winner will be announced on May 31st!

I had an opportunity to interview Tessa Afshar. Here's what she had to say:

You have a very diverse background. Can you tell us about where you’re from?

I was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, and lived there for the first fourteen years of my life. I moved to England where I survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte’s writings, before relocating to the United States permanently. My conversion to Christianity in my twenties changed the course of my life forever.

What gave you the desire to write Biblical fiction?

Tessa Afshar
That was not the plan! I have always loved historical fiction, and I have a healthy dose of respect for the Word of God. I did not dream of putting the two together, however, until God gave me a fascination for Rahab. What I realized as I wrote Pearl in the Sand is how biblical fiction can help bring readers into a deeper understanding of that time period.

Your books are rich with Biblical history and you have a remarkable talent for bringing the Bible to life. How do you research your novels?

Thank you, Julie! Biblical novels require two separate threads of research: historical, which requires a solid knowledge of the period, its geography, culture, food, scents, and any other detail you can manage to unearth. I find that academic books are still the best source for this kind of information. Online knowledge only goes so far. The second thread of research, of course, is biblical. I read the pertinent texts a number of times, do word searches in the original language, sift through commentaries, listen to sermons. Then I try to pull these two threads together in such a way that feels seamless and unacademic. Finally, I beg God for grace. I beg a lot.

I adore your characters. They are so well formed that I find myself praying for them in the midst of a trying situation, and giggling when I remember they are just characters. How do you go about creating them?

You just made me laugh out loud. Your words have captured that illusive relationship with a beloved character that most readers long to experience. As a writer, it’s my job to weave a connection between my readers and my imaginary characters. Recently, a woman told me that after finishing Pearl in the Sand she felt like she was saying good-bye to a friend. That’s what I hope will happen with every novel. A central character needs to be imperfect in such a way that a reader can relate to, and still captivate the reader’s affections.

What do you want readers to take away from Harvest of Rubies? What does the story mean to you?

I want them perhaps to see a little bit of themselves in Sarah. Many of us struggle with finding our worth in our accomplishments as Sarah does. Harvest of Rubies asks the primal question of identity: who are we? What gives us value? Do we live as if we believe our own theology? As a recovering achiever, this is a question that hits close to home for me. God has been healing me of false measuring sticks for years now. Like Sarah, I used to feel only as good as my latest achievement, and fear of failure cast a long shadow over me. I hope that I live a much healthier life now.

 I love the way you incorporate Nehemiah into Harvest of Rubies, and Joshua in Pearl in the Sand. Who are some of your other favorite men and women of the Bible?

I think mentors are an important part of the life of faith. We all need someone more mature than ourselves to come alongside us and demonstrate the love of God. David is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. He has the makings of a great friend: he is honest with his emotions and easy to relate to. I can imagine him praying when you are in trouble; making mince meat of anyone who dares to harm you; being the life of the party by playing astonishingly moving music; and commiserating with you from the bottom of his heart when things aren’t going well. And the whole time, he would build up your faith.

 Do you have a current project you are working on?

The sequel to Harvest of Rubies is called Harvest of Gold. I am hoping to finish that by early fall.

 Do you have any writing advice for those trying to enter the world of publishing?

We can drive ourselves crazy with depressing statistics, discouraging circumstances, and impossible odds. However, there is a truth that we sometimes misplace: God is strong. He is able. He is an ever-present help in trouble. He can cover our gaps and our shortcomings. He is the best agent, the best marketer, the best editor you can find; after all, He too is a writer. Our destiny is in the palm of His hands, and though we are buffeted by the winds of adversity and the wiles of our enemy, God is far more powerful than both.

You’ve spent a lot of time in Christian service. How has God blessed you in that field?

He has taught me to judge less and love more. He has taught me that our enemy is powerful, but God is much greater.

Are there any other genres you’d like to try? 

One day I would like to try my hand at a fantasy. I have a trilogy knocking around in my brain somewhere. But that won’t be for a long time. I need first to establish myself in my present genre, which is a sort of biblical psychological romantic suspense. It’s a complicated genre, and I’m pretty sure I just made it up! I figure that’s my job—to make up things, so I better do it well.

Julie, thank you so much for inviting me on your wonderful blog. It’s been an absolute pleasure. If your guests would like to visit me on my website, the address is or visit me on my Facebook author page where there is always some new discussion going on:

Tessa, thanks so much for being a part of my blog today! I'm excited about your next book and look forward to reading it. So, hurry! We are waiting...impatiently!

Don't forget to leave a comment below and enter the drawing for a free copy of Harvest of Rubies from Tessa and River North!

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.