Lauren Salisbury on “Strength”

Today I have the honor of hosting Lauren Salisbury, author of The Legacy Chronicles, as she discusses what God taught her about a woman’s strength: within fiction and in life. I hope you’re as blessed by her words as I was:

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Finding Strength

There has been a lot of talk recently about what makes strong female characters, whether it is their ability to wield weapons and kill their enemies or to get out of trouble without the aid of men. Some say it is the way female leads problem solve while others focus on their witty comebacks and feisty personalities.

I think women can be strong in many ways, not just those portrayed in popular fiction. I also think the most interesting form of strength is internal—emotional, mental, and spiritual—rather than physical. It takes strength to raise a child, to love when we are hurting, to walk a different path from everyone else, to forgive and move on. It is getting up each day while suffering from chronic illness, walking into school with the knowledge that bullies wait inside, trusting God to eventually work something good out of life’s current madness, or living according to faith when others ridicule and condemn those principles.

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Some of my favourite Bible characters are barely mentioned but so strong and courageous—the women who were instrumental in the life of Moses. When I stop to think about their lives and the decisions they made, my admiration only grows. Imagine the constant fear of discovery Jochabed must have endured while hiding her infant son, or the agony of leaving him in the river. I am not sure I would have been able to do what she did.

It is also difficult to comprehend the terror felt by a slave as young as Miriam on approaching a member of the royal family, or the quick thinking that enabled her to reunite her mother and brother. Likewise, what courage would it have taken for the Egyptian princess to go against her father’s orders? What repercussions would she have faced both initially and through the course of Moses’s childhood?

Her actions, especially given her station, always astound me, and when I think of the position she put herself in, I find her such an inspiring woman. Moses’s story would have been vastly different had she ignored his cries or looked on him with less than pity. God surely placed him in her path most deliberately.

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In reading about these women, I have realised that, to me, strength is synonymous with faith, and that true faith is giving all to God and being willing to follow Him into the dark abyss of the unknown. It takes courage as well as trust to truly allow God to lead in all areas of life and to step out in faith rather than give in to fear.

That said, I have also learned that the process is circular. The more we trust, the easier it is to step outside our comfort zones, and the more often we do that, the more confidence we can have that God will be there to meet us.

My own life has been filled with moments where I have had to be brave, trust God, and keep going. Years of being bullied in school forged the core of my faith at a young age. Long-term health problems in my twenties refined my reliance on God’s promises. Leaving an established career to start my journey as an author has tested my courage in many new ways. There is something intrinsically terrifying about putting pieces of myself out there for people to see. But I am still here, still believing, and still moving forwards.

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That is why it is so important to me to include these themes in my work. I write about women with faith, courage, and strength, and I hope those who read my books will see the incredible examples they set for us today. I want my writing to encourage others to be brave and bold knowing that God is always with them. He might not fix everything straight away or make our lives perfect, but he sees, he cares, and when we run out of our own strength, He gives us His.

This happens in Strength with Reemah, who has no knowledge of God and serves His purpose unwittingly. She reminds me that God can use anyone to accomplish His goals, even non-believers, and He cares enough about all of us to be active in the lives of those who do not yet know Him.

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I wanted to show not only her personal courage but also how God bolsters and comforts her through the trials she faces. He guides Reemah subtly, allowing her to feel His presence in small, simple ways until she can be introduced to Him properly (later in the series). Until then, He is the calm assurance that all will be well in the end.

Thank you for taking the time to read about how the women in Exodus inspired me. You can discover more of their reimagined stories in The Legacy Chronicles.

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Learn more about this series in my earlier blog post here and in the links below.


Links:

The Legacy Chronicles – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G69G81W/
Courage – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07954NGNS
Conviction – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FB5LBVF
Strength – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PX4DXN7

Website – http://www.laurenhsalisbury.com
Newsletter sign-up – http://eepurl.com/djCo0z
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/gillascourage
Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/gillascourage
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/laurenhsalisbury

About the Author:

Lauren-Salisbury

Lauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. The Legacy Chronicles is her debut series.

 

Biblical Fiction Author: Kandi J Wyatt

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Today, I’ve invited Kandi J Wyatt to share her heart for Biblical Fiction with special emphasis on her medieval retelling of Hagar’s story, The One Who Sees Me

Without further ado… here’s Kandi’s post on her transition into biblical retellings:


I grew up in a Christian home and was in church at least three times a week if not more up until after I graduated from Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. That may explain my love of Biblical fiction. Since I heard the Bible stories from the time I was too little to remember and still hear them today, almost forty-nine years later, I needed a fresh perspective on old favorites.

About sixteen or seventeen years ago, I gained an interest in bringing the Bible to life for believers who, like me, had heard the same stories over and over again. My husband and I collaborated to create two plays for church. One was mostly his doing and the other was more my doing. For Easter, we created a passion dinner play that rocked my view of the crucifixion for several years, since my husband played the part of Jesus. I’ll never forget the feeling when I heard the pounding of the nails and then looked up from my spot on the floor in front of the cross to see Eric there.

The following Christmas, we blended scenes from the passion play into a Christmas program that focused on Jesus coming to the manger with a view for the cross. He Made a Way Through a Manger can be found on my website.

That intro gave me a heart for making Bible stories alive and interesting. Most of the time I kept my stories in the time period they were told and just tried to give a fresh perspective, until November, 2014, when National Novel Writing Month came around.

Our Sunday school class had been studying the life of Abraham. I saw his marital relationships much like a modern-day blended family. However, I knew I couldn’t write a modern Abraham story, but I loved the medieval and fantasy settings. So, I set out to write a Biblical retelling in a fictional medieval realm, never expecting to have historical fiction tagged to my name.


The One Who Sees Me hardbackTeenage slave girl Faru’s life has been turned upside down when she discovers she’s been traded to a new master, forcing her to leave all she‘s ever known. Upon her arrival, Faru meets a friend, Cailean, who helps her adjust to life in the strange location. Life settles into a new pattern, and romance blossoms between the young friends. But as soon as they plan to get married, another proposal comes about – one that cannot be ignored. Being a slave means not always marrying who you love.

On a daring journey to heal her heart, Faru encounters the Existing One. Will she trust Him and do His bidding even if what He requests is so hard?

Follow Faru’s tale in author Kandi J Wyatt’s retelling of a Biblical story found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, showing that when things don’t make sense, God will guide the way.


The One Who Sees Me gained its title from the name that Hagar gave the Lord when she ran away from Sarah. I love that aspect of the Lord. He’s the One who sees me no matter what I’ve done, or what I’ve gone through. It wasn’t until after I wrote the novel that I realized how important that title was to me personally. You see, as a fifth grader I experienced abuse but hid the memories until I was in my late twenties. I drew comfort from the idea that even though it was a horrible happening, Jesus was there with me walking through it with me and saw all the pain and hurt.

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Since I moved the story’s location, I changed names of characters. Hagar became Faru, a servant girl in a castle. We meet her as King Cyning has a conversation with a stranger while Faru’s on her mid-afternoon break.

Chapter two begins with her hard at work:

FARU HAD RETURNED to her duties in the kitchen. Each day she oversaw the plating and delivery of the queen’s evening meal. It was with a jolt of surprise that she heard her mistress’s voice call out her name.

“Thank the gods, Faru,” the tall, fair queen exclaimed. “I’ve found you.”

“Milady?” Faru drug the word out a bit with apprehension. In all her life in the castle, she had never seen the queen concern herself with dinner preparations; she doubted today was any different.

Even in the surroundings of the hot, sweaty kitchen, the queen seemed to preside with the dignity of her position. She moved with a lithe grace that Faru had always admired. Yet, underneath that poise, Faru saw an uneasiness that was unusual.

“Faru, come with me,” the queen commanded, in a voice that was not to be questioned.

The prep cook just shrugged and called to another servant to take Faru’s place. Faru turned and followed her mistress, a fear beginning to settle in her stomach. She knew better than to ask any questions.

The queen’s steps tapped a staccato on the stone floor. Her skirts swished as they brushed past servants, potted plants, and other decorations in the hallways. From past experience, Faru knew that her mistress’s anger was much like a volcano. It could erupt at any moment, and it didn’t matter who was at the receiving end of her wrath.

As they rounded a corner, a drapery swished past the queen. With precise movements, she ripped it down. Dreading what she was about to do, Faru opened her mouth.

“Your majesty?”

With a frustrated sigh, the queen turned around, her blonde hair swinging behind her.

“Faru.” Her voice came out soft compared to her movements. “It is nothing that you did.”

Faru raised a delicate eyebrow, her dark eyes pleading for more information.

“No, young one. It was my lord.”

Faru nodded understanding. The royals were known for their spats.

The queen pulled Faru into an alcove where they were out of the way of castle life. She laid a shaky hand on her servant. Faru’s initial reaction was to move away, but the tenderness in her mistress’s touch surprised her.

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As I researched into Hagar’s life, I knew we’d want to know more about her background. The Bible tells us she was Egyptian, and she shows up after Abraham lies about his relationship with Sarah to Pharaoh. So, I decided to show that aspect of Hagar, a girl who has no say over what happens to her, as she’s traded off in exchange for a bride for the king.

There are so many darker scenes in Hagar’s story. I tried to treat each with the respect and honor they deserved while still being true to the written account. There were several characters that popped up unexpected, but that was okay since the story is framed in a fictional account. Since my first books were middle grade to young adult, I was concerned that my Biblical retellings were for an older audience. I’ve framed these with the young adult to adult category.

Writing The One Who Sees Me seemed to have broken my inability to write Biblical retellings. Since then I’ve written a steampunkish retelling of Esther, and am working on an Ancient Egyptian view of the plagues and exodus of the Jews. I don’t even have a name for that trilogy yet. Whereas my Bible 2 Life writings in plays and stories on my website were focused more toward believers, my Biblical retellings have a broader scope. Yes, I want to draw in believers who’ve heard the stories ad-nauseum, but I also would like to bait in non-believers who’ve never read the Bible or maybe don’t even realize the Bible’s important. For them, my goal is that they read the story and think, “Wow! I never knew this was in the Bible,” and then they’d go read the original story.

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As my Biblical retellings have morphed over time, I see a possible adjustment yet in the future. I really enjoyed taking spiritual truths and masking them into a fantasy world in book three of my Myth Coast Adventures trilogy. Last Christmas, my husband spun the idea of a world that has slowly been taking shape in my head. It’s the perfect place for more of those stories with spiritual truth to come to fruition. Who knows? Maybe my Biblical retellings will take place in that fantasy/sci-fi world.

In the meantime, I still have a desire to share God’s truth with the world to edify both believers and seekers with His guiding, timeless principles. The means of achieving this is through the written story. As the Lord burns these tales into my heart, I will write them—no matter the format that they take.


About the Author:

Kandi J Wyatt Author

Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.


Where to find me:

Website: http://kandijwyatt.com/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/kandijwyatt/
Google: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+KandiWyatt/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kandijwyatt
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kandijwyatt
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13817774.Kandi_J_Wyatt
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kandi-J-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/
Fellowship of Fantasy: http://www.fellowshipoffantasy.com/directory.html?filterP=Kandi%20J.%20Wyatt
Clean Indie Reads: http://cleanindiereads.com/dragon-courage/
Langlois, Oregon website: http://worldfamouslanglois.com/content/dragons-langlois-local-author-kandi-wyatt


Buy links:

Kandi J Wyatt books branded as of 6-17

Dragon’s Future: https://www.books2read.com/u/bzpDq9

Dragon’s Heir: https://www.books2read.com/u/47YQE3

Dragon’s Revenge: https://www.books2read.com/u/b5qvGb

Dragon’s Cure: https://www.books2read.com/u/47kxJa

Dragon’s Posterity: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DA8og

Dragon’s Heritage: https://www.books2read.com/u/3neVN6

An Unexpected Adventure: https://www.books2read.com/u/3yDLX6

An Unexpected Escapade: https://www.books2read.com/mythcoastadventures2

Journey from Skioria: https://www.books2read.com/u/4AwJee

The One Who Sees Me: https://www.books2read.com/u/mdrRlb

To Save a Race: https://www.books2read.com/u/49PG5k

Mineralogy & Petrology of Terrene

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Today I have the honor of hosting a guest post by RJ Metcalf, author of the Stones of Terrene Fantasy-Steampunk Chronicles, which just released its second book in the series less than two weeks ago!

Here’s a quick summary of the new release before we get to the post.

Void Born

The bloodstone has been stolen.

Although the barrier remains, its stability is at risk. And if it falls, all of southern Terrene will be forfeit.

After the tragedies in Doldra, the valiant crew of the Sapphire struggles to regain their footing. Jade returns to Lucrum with the escort of Prince Weston only to find herself cornered by Lord Everett’s political maneuvering. With her freedom at stake, Jade is faced with a choice: give up her dreams for the future, or watch as those closest to her die.

Ben hunts down Victor and his mysterious Void Born with the help of Finn and his granddaughter Raine. The longer they are together, the harder Ben falls for the enigmatic swordswoman. But mad sages and ruthless assassins aren’t all he needs to fear—if Ben’s friends find out his secret, he could lose everything.

With Terrene at stake, they cannot lose sight of their goals.

Even with the past and the future pulling at them.

Void BornGet it today on Amazon | Renegade Skyfarer: Amazon or B&N


Mineralogy and Petrology? Say what?

Mineralogy is the study of minerals. Petrology is the study of rocks.

That’s the subject of RJ’s post and—given my background in geology—I couldn’t think of a better world-building topic to guest host. So, without further delay, let’s learn a little more about the actual stones that give this series its name!

Take it away, RJ!

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So the name of the series is the Stones of Terrene. But what’s so special about these stones?

Much like our own rocks here on earth, the stones are naturally made in different ways, but unlike our own world, the stones of Terrene are used for more than just paving roads and making gardens pretty. I’ll focus on four specific types, as these are mentioned enough in the first book to be memorable.

Gravity Stones

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Anyone who’s read Renegade Skyfarer or Void Born has likely caught on to the fact that the best airships use gravity stones for their lift and even some propulsion, and they may have caught on to the detail that these gravity stones are now rare. That’s because the gravity stones were first found and mined in the mountain region north of High Doldra, where the Barrier now resides. Once the Barrier went up, the free-floating stones typically found in the caverns of the mountains were inaccessible to either side, and new tech was needed for airships, thus resulting in the steam-powered airships, “steamies.” I honestly can’t even remember where this particular idea originated from. It’s just always been!

Lightning Stones

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Okay, I confess that lightning stones were instigated by Stardust and the lightning harvesting. Mike and I had this sudden idea of: “What if lightning could be harvested in something as compact as a stone? How insane would that be?” Thus the lightning stones were born, and they have proven to be immensely useful in several walks of life. With the right application and necessary skill, doctors use lightning stones to jump start a patient’s heart. Dragon hunters use lightning stones with specific weapons to stun and/or kill their prey. And some have used lightning stones to stun fish in small lakes as a youthful hazing ritual despite many voices of wisdom cautioning against such foolishness. The stone itself is unremarkable when mined from the Sparkling Hills of Columbine, but dozens of these simple stones, when tied to lightning rods, quickly charge with lightning power and are sold for a fairly decent amount of lut. But these stones do need to be charged every few years, so they aren’t as valuable as the seemingly-endlessly charged gravity stones.

Healing Stones

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Then there’s healing stones, which are not at all innately magical to any degree. These stones are rumored to have been discovered by accident by one of the sages of old, whose names has been lost to time. Whatever happened, someone figured out that a sage could use their own gift of bending elements to literally bend time into the stone, and if they were truly skilled, they’d be able to even bind traces of different healing properties. Some sages being more skilled in reducing inflammation could tie that into the stone, or others could make the rock absorb numbing qualities. It would depend on what the sage’s particular gifts were, and how adept they were in harnessing and pouring that into the rock. Sages of such skill are not necessarily rare, but the volume of what they produce isn’t exactly grandiose. To have any type of healing stones is a sign of wealth, having the right friends, or a simple fact of royalty. As for how they came about…well, I’m a mom of two boys. Wishful thinking!

Luminary Crystals

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And then there’re the luminary crystals. Full confession: Every time I see a rock-salt lamp, I think of these and I wish so desperately they were actually stones that weren’t based off electricity! Luminary stones are hands down, my favorite. They are just so pretty! Luminary crystals are popular in the entire nation of Doldra, and they are harvested in caverns close to Loore’s Landing and the western ocean. These gorgeous, shimmering crystals come in a wide variety of colors, and can be used for anything as simple and soft as a nightlight to something as bright and warm as a chandelier in a throne room. The lighter colored gems are much more plentiful than the deep, almost dark crystals. In wealthy places like the palace, there are full patterns of the deeper, gem-tone colors in the floor of the throne room. Balls and evening events take on a magical feel in Doldra with their plentiful amount of these beauties.

I hope that was a fun little bit of the worldbuilding! Which stone is your favorite? Do you have any fun ideas for stones that you wish were in the books?

About the Author

rj-metcalf

During the day, Becky is a stay at home mom of two active little boys. When she has ‘free time’, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and sewing.

After many years of creative writing classes, writing fanfiction drabbles and daydreaming, it was high time to start writing her husband Mike’s story. She dove into the world of Terrene and hasn’t looked back—except for when she runs out of dark chocolate.

Any free time not spent in Terrene is typically expended on hosting dinner and game nights, running amok with the two little monkeys or watching nerdy movies with Mike.

New to this series? Start here:

If you haven’t read the first book, you should check out the blog tour links here: https://unicornquester.com/renegade-skyfarer-blog-tour-wrap-up/.

And be sure to check out my contribution to the first tour.

Here’s the Void Born Blog Tour Line-Up:

November 9 – Becky Gaines – Book Spotlight (Instagram)

November 12 – Lauren Salisbury – Fly Into The Unknown Blog Hop (Instagram)

November 13 – Jamie Foley – Character Feature

November 16 – Laurie Lucking – Character Feature

November 17 – Sadie Slater – Book Review

November 18 – Anthony Avina – Book Spotlight (Instagram)

November 19 – Laura A. Grace – Fly Into The Unknown Blog Hop

November 20 – Lara Hitchcock – World Building Feature

November 21 – Amy Grace – Book Spotlight (Instagram)

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