Character Interview – James

JamesYou’re in for a special treat today. I promised extra behind-the-scenes posts from the Bending Willow Trilogy, and that’s what you’ll get. I’ve invited James Hinton to be with me today to answer a few questions. Please give him your complete attention since he’s missing his Genetics class right now to be here.

All right, James. Thank you so much for meeting with me.

James: It’s my pleasure…anything I can do to help out. I love your Bending Willow Trilogy.

You should, since you’re one of the main characters in it. Well, let’s get started. I know you need to go soon. Are you a cat or dog person?

James: Definitely dog. I’m allergic to cats.

So am I. That makes the choice easier, doesn’t it? What is your favorite childhood memory?

James: The time I shot my brother in his butt with my BB gun. I got grounded for a month, but it made me laugh so hard to see him holler and dance around the yard when I shot him…still does when I think about it.   

Do you have a nickname?

James: I’ve been called Jamie all my life, except by my Mom…and Suvi. She likes my full name better, and truthfully, I’d be offended now if she called me anything but James.

Any Pet Peeves?

James: 1) Men who disrespect or abuse women, 2) forward, bossy girls, and 3) cats

Do you sleep in or get up early?

James: I’m always up by 6. I can’t sleep in—it’s not in my genetic makeup. The sun rises…I rise with it.

What do you do to relax in your spare time?

James: Mountain bike or play piano.

So you like music. What are some of your favorite music groups?

James: I love anything on the piano or cello, since I play both. PianoGuys are my favorite group since they utilize both. I love their newest Youtube song–Angels We Have Heard on High for this Christmas season. 

That was awesome! Thanks for sharing. What super power would you like to have?

James: I’d like to fly.

What candybar would be your motto for life?

 James: 100,000 Grand Bar; that sums up all the blessings I’ve been given.

Are you a light-saber or magic wand type of guy?

James: I think I’d like a wand. It seems safer.

I guess that depends upon whose hands it’s in. Well, I know you have to get going. Thanks for stopping by and giving us a moment of your time. I wish you the best in your classes this semester.

James: Thank you. I hope everything goes great with your trilogy release. I’m sure I’ll talk to you later.

Most likely. See you, James. [WAVES!]

There goes one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. So polite…so cute. If you haven’t met him before, download Eyes of Light for only 99 cents right now and learn more about him.

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Release date – Hands of Mercy

BW TrilogyMy daughter is in the process of redesigning my covers for the Bending Willow Trilogy. I’m so excited and love her ideas! This series has been four years in the making (shhh! I know I’m slow, but please don’t taunt me).  As I’ve written and revised each volume, my overall vision for this set has transformed as characters have surprised me and done things I haven’t expected. As I watched my characters suffer, this quote became my new theme.

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the…willow survives by bending with the wind.

-Bruce Lee-

Life can be hard, and it’s natural to want problems and trials to go away when we experience them. I’m sure the willow tree hates screeching windstorms. I know I do. Winds break branches, sometimes whole large limbs…once a powerful gale snapped my backyard willow in half. Parts of trees–and us–are destroyed by storms in life, but with God’s help and mercy, we become stronger by enduring and bending with the winds, instead of cursing them.

When my willow broke, I almost pulled it out and replanted, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s now thriving after three years and has filled in broken sections with new, stronger growth. It’s beautiful because of what it had to overcome.

What if I had given up on it after the winds tore it?

I would have missed out on something miraculous.

4926184010_70ab1942d1_zThe characters in my stories are tossed and broken by the winds of life…and there are times they want to give up or think they’re worthless because of how broken they are. Yet the storms that broke them also strengthened them. When their lives seemed shattered, they had to send their roots down deep to survive, they had to question who they really were and what their purpose in life was…and once they did, they flourished…just like my willow.

That’s why I changed the name of the series to the Bending Willow Trilogy. Each book follows three characters through the winds of life. Suvi, Austan, and James are very different, but one thing is the same…they’re all survivors. They bend with the winds and when life breaks them, they get back up and keep living.

Now for my good news! DRUM ROLL, please……………………………!!!

I have a release date for the final book, Hands of Mercy. Yes, I’m serious. You probably think I’m pulling your leg because this has taken so darn long, but I’m serious as a jury summons.

Hands of Mercy will be available for purchase on January 26, 2015!

The book is finished and just waiting to be formatted for eBook and print and get finalized covers. Yippee!!! I can hardly wait! So grab a plate of cookies and fudge and settle in for some fun. In two more days, I’ll start posting extras about my Bending Willow characters–pictures, music, interviews–and the spotlight posts will continue into January to pump you up (even  more than your Christmas baking will) about the release of Hands of Mercy.

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Share the Gift

I love the Christmas season…usually. In the video clip at the end, the first part shows the stresses of this season, and I think we’ve all had our moods affected by those at times. But the true reason for this season is to remember our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This video makes me cry as it reminds me that Heavenly Father gave all of us the ultimate gift in His Son over 2,000 years ago. Jesus Christ came to earth in the most humble of circumstances and He lived a humble life.

The prophet, Isaiah, said of Him:

…and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. [Isaiah 53: 2-5]

I always wonder if I would have glanced over the Christ when He walked the earth. I doubt he had the magnificent form and countenance that are depicted in so many paintings. From Isaiah’s words, I imagine him being very plain and blending in more than most. Handsome looks or a daunting figure would have drawn people to Him for the wrong reasons. That’s why I think it might not have been as easy to recognize Him as the Messiah back then as we might think.

Would I have seen and esteemed Him as smitten of God because of the adversity that followed Him? I hope not. But I don’t know. Do I overlook others today, judging them on their appearance alone or maybe their pitiful circumstances? To be honest, I have. But Christ said in Matthew:

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I hope that we will all pause to remember the only gift that really matters. Christ came to earth to do His Father’s will. He atoned for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to suffer if we would repent and come unto Him with all our hearts. That GIFT is for everyone, so who am I to judge another because of their outward traits or circumstances?

Whenever I think of how much my Savior has done for me, I want to weep. He has made my weaknesses strengths; He has lifted me out of despair when tough times have crushed me; He has comforted me in my sicknesses and afflictions; and He has made me feel unspeakable joy. I haven’t seen Him, but I don’t need to. I know He lives and loves me. He wants me to return to Him when this life is over, and all He asks is that I humbly lay my sins, weaknesses and troubles at His feet and follow Him. And He will save me.

 

 

And He wants me to spread His love to others. I hope you will feel the joy of the first Gift of Christmas this season. Discover Christ; Embrace Christ, and then Share the gift with others. Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Char Signature

 

Reading for the Sweet Tooth

under a georgiaUnder a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson

Addie Heywood thought she was doing okay after her fiancé dumped her just weeks before their wedding, claiming he’d found someone else more compatible with his health food tastes. But when he marries the other woman three months later, Addie needs to get away. Leaving her home in Idaho, she escapes to Mitchel Creek, Georgia to visit her Aunt Janie. She just wants to spend the next two weeks enjoying her aunt’s southern cooking, not dodging the guys her aunt is determined to set her up with.

Chase Nichols isn’t looking for love. His dream is to trade his computer mouse for his guitar and make it big in the country music world. If he can land a job in Nashville, he might have a shot at getting discovered. His plans get derailed when he does his neighbor a favor and picks up her niece, Addie, at the airport. Things get even more complicated when his ex-girlfriend comes back into the picture. Continue reading

Bounty of Books

At this time of year when we focus on all that we’re grateful for, I want to feature a few books I’ve read over the past months that have been winners.

I’m very thankful for books–for authors who write them, for being able to write my own and get those crazy imaginings out of my head, and for the ability to read. I love reading (if you can’t tell from my Goodreads log)…and these stories all rated the highest score from me. Continue reading

Forgetting and Remembering

Forget Me Not

I just read and reviewed these Young Adult books in the Collective Series. The first book, Forget Me Not, was very riveting. Anamae (or Mae) is a normal 17-year-old girl who struggles to get up in time for school, spend time with her best friend, Will, and hang out with her dad since her mother disappeared years ago and they only have each other. But when she touches her mother’s necklace pendant and opens the gift of invisibility, everything she knew to be true is shattered.

She changes her definition of ‘normal’ and unknowingly brings down the wrath of the Collective upon her, a secret society of techno-gurus who run the world incognito through the use of technology that no one else knows about. Mae and her best friend, Will, escape and are taken in by the resistance. That’s where she meets Jax, a hot 18-year-old who confuses and attracts her. This book was Continue reading