Interview with Marshalee Patterson

The first two people to comment on this blog post will get a free ebook version of The Path of the Chosen Warriors.

Marshalee, I am so excited to interview you today. I’ve really enjoyed what you’ve been doing with your blogPlease tell me a little about yourself and what made you start this awesome blog.

Well, I am a Christian author from Jamaica who has always loved reading since I could walk. I didn’t grow up with a television so books were a way to discover new things and new places for me. I grew up in a large family, which still surrounds me- was kind of a tomboy at one point too. I love learning about different cultures and got fascinated with the Spanish culture to the point where I can now dance salsa, merengue and cha-cha, very well. The language, however, has been my challenge- but I promised myself I will learn it. In regards to what made me start the blog, actually, it was some of the marketing tutorials I had been reading, which recommended I start one to build an audience. Most tell you to share whatever your good at, I wasn’t sure what that was for me, so I thought it was a great way to teach life lessons to readers through my books by using different characters and how they dealt with it. I find it also a great way to minister Christ beyond my books.

I’ve been reading your latest book, The Path of the Chosen Warriors, and really enjoy it. Can you tell us what inspired the story and what you hope readers will get from it?

That story idea came to me through a dream after I started learning how to pray spiritual warfare prayers. I wanted to grow more in that area so I don’t have to call my pastor to do for me when we are all called to be soldiers in God’s army. Since I began to pray and do a lot of midnight prayers, God has revealed to me so many things the devil had been doing against me and family. With those prayers, I saw how strong my spirit man became in fighting against the enemy in the spirit when I went to bed at night and dreamed. I realised that the Lord wanted me to get readers aware of how real the spiritual realm is and that what we see in dreams are important and also to show them how to pray and get deliverance. What I want readers to get is knowledge and to understand how to help themselves in similar situations as the characters. To be aware that the spiritual realm is more real than the one we see every day. Every prayer I used are real ones based on scriptures as I have been learning.

What surprised you when you wrote the book?

What surprised me was how God has been transforming me to be a better Christian by the way I saw the characters live. Joshua’s character got me realising the importance of starting my mornings with God, something I didn’t think was very important if I was already praying every day. Ruth made me desire to have more of God’s love in me so that I wouldn’t look upon the vilest of sinners through the eyes of the flesh and allow them to miss salvation if I was whom God wanted to use to reach out to that person. And then there’s Hannah who builds my faith level and also challenged my heart to stand in prayer for those who hurt you.

The Path of the Chosen Warriors is a Christian romantic thriller. Is that a genre you enjoy reading?

I haven’t read many in that genre, but I grew up loving mystery books and movies. I do enjoy thrillers though.

How does your Jamaican culture influence your writing?

My culture as a Jamaican hasn’t really influenced my writing so much except for the fact that I try to make one of my main characters a Jamaican, to represent and identify with my heritage. But I have included a dish we eat here in my first book and some places of interest to someone who would be interested in visiting.

How does your faith influence your writing?

My faith is the backbone of my writing, although the books entertain, they are first and foremost to minister to readers about God and their relationship with him. God has opened my eyes to see that even though I write fiction, it is the platform given to me to glorify him and help readers find healing, deliverance and salvation through the characters. I write as if I am someone who seeks God and this is the only place I would find him, as someone who wouldn’t go to a church because I would feel judged or rejected, as someone who needed to learn how to pray and how to do so through the word, and as someone who needed to learn how to stand and have faith in God while He works through our situations. I have learnt that I will be held accountable just as a pastor will be if not give the readers what God puts in me and study his word to be effective in doing so.

What are some of your favorite diverse Christian reads?

I have read Discovery of Hope by T.I Lowe, Waiting for Rachael by Kimberly Rae Jordon, Not by Sight by Kay Lyons Stockham and Street Preacher by Aaron Davis, which was a really good read too.

What else have your written? And what’s next?

I have another book out called Predestined Love; it’s an inspirational romance and another called A Shattered Life Restored that is now being edited. I also have two books to follow after A Shattered Life restored and I’ve already done the covers for them.

Finally, a fun question! 🙂 If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

First I must say, I love classic literature above all and I don’t know if I could pick just one of those books but if I had to, it would probably be Les Miserables. There is just so much to learn from that one book; from watching a man hardened by the governmental system getting transformed into a helpful and forgiving person from the act of kindness of an old priest. The lengths he went through to help a woman’s child trapped in the care of a greedy family and in return found love through that child when he himself didn’t have anyone to offer him any. It makes you want to cry in some parts, full of forgiveness to those who wronged you over and over and you see the Spirit of God at work.

Thank you, Marshalee. I’m really enjoying getting to know you!
Here is a little more information about Marshalee’s latest book, The Path of the Chosen Warriors, available now on Amazon.

 

A story of spiritual warfare: the perpetual fight of good over evil in a paranormal setting with demonic forces attempting to overcome the Christians in the community. This story draws you in and holds your attention as you want to know what the final outcome will be. Who will triumph? Will the evil forces of Abaddon defeat the Christians? Will Ruth and Joshua escape from Sodom Shadows and return to their home in Shiloh City? Suspense, action, intrigue and romance, in this story, which takes the reader to the realm where the struggle for supremacy takes place.”

Staring into the eyes of the man she loved, Ruth knew coming home was where she would make her fondest memories with her beloved Joshua. She was looking forward to their journey together as man and wife. All their plans were interrupted when they were caught up in a terrible storm, and their boat crashed in an unknown area. Although they were lost, it seemed as if destiny had brought them to this unfamiliar territory, and until they discovered what it was and fulfilled it, their future together would be put on hold.

Excerpt from The Path of the Chosen Warriors:

Abbadon was quick and Brad’s eyes widened when he felt Abbadon’s hand on his throat. Abbadon gritted his teeth and glared at him. Brad kicked his feet when he felt his body lifting off the ground. He tugged against the hand of the High Priest while gasping for air. With a loud growl Abbadon flung him into the direction of the crowd.

Abaddon walked towards the crowd with his grip firmly around Ruth’s neck. They stepped back, as the sight of him was nothing they had ever seen before. Even though they saw the blackness in his eyes and felt the evil within him, they remembered the God who had just saved them and they held their faith. Joshua and Brad joined with them.

“Abaddon, we are not afraid of you. Our God told us that we have power over all rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in the high places. Therefore, we command you to release her and be consumed by fire in the name of Jesus,” they shouted at him.

Marshalee author pic

Marshalee Patterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She has loved reading since she could walk. Growing up without a television sparked in her a love for reading and the world of imagination. Some of her favourite novels were written by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre and Victor Hugo, as she found she liked the true to life stories that we all can relate to. She wrote her first novella-Predestined Love after travelling to Italy and wanted to write a romance novel about it, only she didn’t know that God had plans for her and that story, when he change the direction of what she originally had in mind.

It was then that she knew she was called to write stories to uplift and inspire readers, showing them how to find God in their struggles and the faith to trust Him through it. She is a lover of nature and the tranquillity of it. She finds the outdoors refreshing and peaceful. Marshalee loves Spanish ballads and dances salsa very well.

Connect with Marshalee

Website: https://inspiringchristian.wixsite.com/marshaleepatterson

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nZqXa4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2GgF1Cw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormarshaleepatterson/

Blog: https://sharingthechristinme.blogspot.com/

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Book Review: The Masterpiece

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for each Friday that comes my way. I have dreams of diving into my TBR pile throughout the weekend. But first, let me share a book review of Francine Rivers’ The Masterpiece. I read this book a couple of weeks ago and new it would be a great fit.


About the Book

The Blurb: “A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My Thoughts

I heard a lot of good things about The Masterpiece before I picked it up, but it was a recommendation from a close friend that had me adding it to my TBR pile. From the very beginning I was hooked. I had to know what was going on behind the scenes with Grace and Roman.

Y’all this book is captivating and so very worth the time to read. If my TBR pile wasn’t so massive, and if this wasn’t a book on loan from the library, I’d reread it. Who else wouldn’t want to read about a budding romance, exploration of faith, and desire to be free from shame?

Francine Rivers has the ability to get to the heart of the matter and engage the readers’ heart in the process. I was thoroughly invested in the faith lives of Grace and Roman and the spark flying between them both. Bonus was the info that Ms. Rivers shared at the end of the book. So awesome and now the cover has a whole new meaning for me.

Add this book to your TBR list. You will not be disappointed.


About the Author

Follow: Website, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter

Book Spotlight: An Informal Date

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

Thank you so much for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’m happy to share some bookish info on Heather Gray’s An Informal Date. Have you read it? If not, you should. 🙂 It’s book 4 in her Informal Romance series, but can be read as a stand alone.

Let’s get started!


About the Book

The Blurb: “Could two people be more different?

Kimi Fairchild is pursuing an Art Therapy degree while working as a barista at a local hospital. She takes life as it comes and has a smile for everyone who crosses her path. She’s never much cared for schedules, either…until a mysterious man starts showing up at her coffee kiosk every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at exactly 7:05 a.m.

Owen Pratt is a research scientist on the verge of obtaining FDA approval for a new cancer-fighting drug. He has limited people skills, a fondness for caffeine, and a love of strictly kept routines. He’s the antithesis of Kimi in almost every way. Something about her smile, though, keeps bringing him back for more.

How can two such different people go from a shared interest in coffee to a shared future? By getting out of God’s way and letting Him handle the details. Ha! Easier said than done.”

Links: Amazon, B&NGoodreads


About the Author

Heather Gray loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter – not necessarily in that order! She writes approachable characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her. Her books almost always include someone who’s infatuated with coffee, too. Some things just can’t be helped. Heather delights in creating characters who, like her, have their share of faults and foibles, characters who are flawed…but loved anyway.

Follow: WebsiteFacebook, Twitter


Post by Contributor Toni Shiloh

Interview with Pat Simmons, author of “My Rock: Tabitha”

Happy Monday, reader friends!

Let’s welcome Pat Simmons to the blog again. Last week, we shone the spotlight on her book My Rock: Tabitha. Today, you get to read my interview with Pat about her book!

Pat shared great insight into her story and her life as an author, in this interview.

Enjoy!


Author Interview with Pat Simmons about her book My Rock: Tabitha

Alexis: This book focuses on three sisters living in different cities. Why did you choose to tell their stories?

Pat: God told me to write it. “Someone needs to hear from Me,” He said. I obeyed to bring awareness to the sacrifices of caregivers who are struggling in plain sight.

Alexis: What were the challenges in merging three storylines?

Pat: I focused on Tabitha’s story while setting up Kym and Rachel’s. No two caregivers’ situations are the same, so I will highlight different scenarios in the other stories. Our society has an increasing number children, teenagers, and young adults with special needs who will need care for the rest of their lives as well as elderly loved ones.

Alexis: Would you say that this book is Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction or something else? Please explain its genre and category.

Pat: I write Christian romance about contemporary themes and universal issues that are important to women. There are differences among inspirational, sweet, and Christian romances. Christ’s whispers and the Scriptures are integral parts of my romantic storylines, so I classify myself as Christian romance writer. Inspirational romance may focus on positive and uplifting thoughts without Christ being the center.

Alexis: Why did you write this book with a focus on caregivers?

Pat: Besides God inspiring me? I like to tackle real issues in my books. I always want my readers closing the book knowing something they didn’t know in the beginning.

Alexis: How did you select the three cities for each of your main characters? Give us insight into the research that went into writing this story.

Pat: It was random choices that I felt I could get help from a friend or reader to assist me with the cities’ backdrop. I have a news background, so I approached the topic as a reporter. I interviewed caregivers and organizations’ spokespersons, attended meetings, and did online research. I also made sure I had a clear understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Alexis: Why is your character Tabitha from St. Louis struggling to find a balance?

Pat: Her situation can be typical of a caregiver. The demands of her new job were overwhelming. After work, she had no respite at home, because she focused on Aunt Tweet’s needs.

Alexis: In what ways does a potential romantic relationship rock Tabitha’s world?

Pat: When it comes to romance, a person wants to give their all to invest in a relationship. Tabitha felt the timing wasn’t right. She knew there could be no spontaneity like going to a movie at the last minute. Aunt Tweet’s well-being had to take priority over everything Tabitha wanted to do. Marcus proved her wrong. He convinced her that they were in it together.

Alexis: Why is Tabitha beyond overwhelmed with being a caregiver?

Pat: Despite her textbook knowledge of medical terms and conditions, she wasn’t prepared for an 89-year-old’s contrary behavior to mimic that of a helpless child. The person can appear self-sufficient, but little by little, their mind begins to slip away. She is taking care of her great-aunt Priscilla “Tweet” Brownlee who doesn’t have any children of her own.

Alexis: Who is Marcus Whittington and what role does he play in this story?

Pat: The story begins with a neighbor whose surveillance video captured a woman sitting on her porch a few times in the morning. When he learns that the elderly woman wanders from home, Marcus accuses Tabitha of endangerment and threatens to call the authorities on her. He’s clueless to Tabitha’s frustration as she tries to keep track of her aunt’s every movements 24/7.

Alexis: What is it about the elderly that brings out a soft side in Marcus?

Pat: He had endearing memories of his grandparents. Marcus begins to see the Aunt Tweet on the outside isn’t the same one on the inside. Recognizing Tabitha’s frustration and helplessness, coupled with his growing attraction, gives Marcus reasons why he can’t walk away.

Alexis: Why does “every caregiver need a caregiver” in this story and in real-life?

Pat: As many caregivers focus their attention on the loved one’s needs, they don’t take care of themselves. That scenario happened to my next-door neighbor. She cared for her husband for years while she still worked. We didn’t know she was very sick until after she died barely nine months later after her husband had passed. My message to caregivers is to take care of yourself. People on the outside should not assume caregivers have it under control. They need compassion, help, and respite, especially if they are caring for two or more generations, such as grandchildren and an aging mother.

Alexis: What do you want your readers to remember most about this story?

Pat: Being a first-time caregiver is a learning experience no different than a husband or wife becoming parents for the first time. You don’t know what to expect, you have to infuse patience with love.

Alexis: Do you only write about African American or Black characters? Why or why not?

Pat: My main characters are always Black because I’m Black or African American. Minorities like to see themselves portrayed in movies and sitcoms on television. Reading about people of color is just as appealing, especially in storylines that reflect the Black community. For me, it’s an honor to write about Black love when society has denied it exists from slavery to the White House. The big publishers, even some Christian publishers, don’t believe a character with brown skin and curly hair is attractive as a hero or heroine.

Alexis: Would you like to see more African American (AA) people on the covers and characters of color inside the stories of CBA books? Why or why not?

Pat: YES without a second thought. Christians are not one race as Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, is mentioned in the Bible. Native Indians, Mexicans, African Americans, and other’s stories are just as important. Unfortunately, stereotypes and racism have kept many great AA authors out of the publishing industry. One national bestselling author was offered a contract in the 90s, if she changed her characters from black to white.

Alexis: What did you enjoy the most about writing “My Rock”?

Pat: Two things: Showing Tabitha’s mindset that she considered it a privilege to take care of Aunt Tweet and despite the frustration, she did it with love and respect; and inspiring readers that there is no obstacle too great for love to find them.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Pat! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

Pat: Thank you for sharing your readers with me. I hope “My Rock” is an eye-opener and readers will recognize we all are each other’s caregivers. I think former First Lady, Mrs. Rosalyn Carter said it best: “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book:

Three sisters living in three different cities (Baltimore, St. Louis, and Nashville) make a pact to share responsibilities for their aging relative after authorities find Aunt Tweet across state lines. Her destination had been a neighborhood grocery store. The siblings soon learn the definition of caregiver includes a cup full of patience, a slight sense of humor, and when to cry out for help. Women juggle between career and family all the time, but Tabitha Knicely (St. Louis) is struggling to find a balance. Romance is the last thing she’s trying to add to her list. The Aunt Tweet she knew all her life is not the same one who is residing in her home when she accepts the role as a caregiver for six months.

Overwhelmed can’t begin to describe her emotions. Marcus Whittington is an opinionated, successful business owner, but he has a soft side when it comes to the elderly. They remind him of good memories of his grandparents. When Aunt Tweet is the mystery woman who stakes out his porch, he becomes concerned that she is not being taken care of properly. He sheds his misconceptions about what Tabitha isn’t doing right when he discovers that every caregiver needs a caregiver. Marcus knows in order to win Tabitha’s heart; he has to charm Aunt Tweet’s too.

Book Purchase Link: Amazon


About the Author:

Pat Simmons is celebrating ten years as a published author with more than thirty titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels, in the hope of tracking down any distant relatives who might happen to pick up her books. She has been a genealogy enthusiast since her great-grandmother, Minerva Brown Wade, died at the age of ninety-seven in 1988.

Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She believes God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.

Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. Currently, she oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions.She is the multi-published author of dozens of Christian titles, including the #1 Amazon best seller in God’s Word category.

She is the multi-published author of dozens of Christian titles, including the #1 Amazon best seller in God’s Word category A Christian Christmas. Her award-winning titles include Talk to Me, ranked #14 of Top Books in 2008 that Changed Lives by Black Pearls Magazine.She is a three-time recipient of the Romance Slam Jam Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance for Still Guilty (2010), Crowning Glory (2011), and The Confession(2016). Her titles consistently hit the top ten ranking in the BCNN1/BCBC National Bestsellers List, two books in the Carmen Sisters series hit #1 and #2.

In addition to researching her roots and sewing, she has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

Pat has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.

Readers may learn more about Pat by contacting her at authorpatsimmons@gmail.com.

Visit Pat’s website, http://www.patsimmons.net, to get to know her better.

Follow Pat on Twitter.

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Book Review: Dear One by Brandi Boddie

Happy Friday! Today I’m reviewing a novella that we spotlighted here on Diversity Between the Pages in February – Dear One by Brandi Boddie

About the Book

Dear One by Brandi BoddieLove in Steel Town America during the midst of WWII

Youngstown, Ohio 1944

Molly Clayton works as a ladies columnist for the Valley Bulletin, the town’s most prominent African American newspaper. Between writing, aiding the war effort, and helping her struggling parents pay the bills, she doesn’t have time for her favorite pastime of swing dancing.

When a friend gives her tickets to a Valentine’s Day dance for her birthday, Molly can’t wait to attend. She meets Stephen Keller, a handsome jazz magazine editor. She’s attracted to him, but a painful secret lurks beneath the surface of Stephen’s easy charm that makes him defensive to others and suspicious of her faith.

Things take a turn for the worse when a vicious rumor threatens to destroy both her career and her blossoming courtship. Will she gain the courage to confront the rumor and speak her heart to Stephen before it’s too late?

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

Dear One is a short novella, but it is rich in historical tidbits that will make you want to do your own research. The pace flows well (it doesn’t feel rushed at all) and the plot is vividly drawn. In cases of stories with this short of a page count, sometimes the end result is a narrative that barely scratches the surface of the emotions or history of the day. Other times, it has the opposite problem – everything but the kitchen sink is crammed into those few pages. With Dear One, Boddie achieves the right balance of story pace and character development, covering a lot of ground in the plot and tying things up nicely too. However, you wouldn’t hear me complaining at all if she ever rewrote this as a full-length novel – I enjoyed it that much to willingly invest more time in the plot and characters if given the opportunity.

I very much appreciated the history covered by Dear One; in our historical fiction, we – to our detriment – don’t often focus on the soldiers of color who fought during WW2 or on what wartime looked like for black Americans back at home. The fictional African-American newspaper in Youngstown is based on similar papers of the day, papers I never knew existed and which prompted me to do further study on my own on these and the Associated Negro Press. Boddie also explores prejudice from within the African-American community, as well as from without, and weaves a tender message of faith throughout the story too.

And yes! She does that all in less than 75 pages without feeling rushed or incomplete. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella and would recommend it for everyone, especially readers who believe that learning about the past can better help us understand the present and change the future.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this novella which I read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Brandi BoddieBrandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Youngstown State University. She lives in Texas with her husband and two rambunctious canines who aspire to be food critics. When she’s not writing or playing dress up in Victorian/steampunk/1940s garb, you can find her swing dancing or getting her daily fill of antioxidants through coffee and dark chocolate.

Connect with the author: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

What about you? What most intrigues you about this novella?

Reviewed by Carrie

Book Spotlight: My Rock, Tabitha

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’d like to introduce you to a new author. She’s new to our blog, not to the book world. Her name is Pat Simmons and she’s one multi-talented woman!

Enjoy this spotlight that we’re shining on her book, My Rock: Tabitha.


About the book:

Three sisters living in three different cities (Baltimore, St. Louis, and Nashville) make a pact to share responsibilities for their aging relative after authorities find Aunt Tweet across state lines. Her destination had been a neighborhood grocery store. The siblings soon learn the definition of caregiver includes a cup full of patience, a slight sense of humor, and when to cry out for help. Women juggle between career and family all the time, but Tabitha Knicely (St. Louis) is struggling to find a balance. Romance is the last thing she’s trying to add to her list. The Aunt Tweet she knew all her life is not the same one who is residing in her home when she accepts the role as a caregiver for six months.

Overwhelmed can’t begin to describe her emotions. Marcus Whittington is an opinionated, successful business owner, but he has a soft side when it comes to the elderly. They remind him of good memories of his grandparents. When Aunt Tweet is the mystery woman who stakes out his porch, he becomes concerned that she is not being taken care of properly. He sheds his misconceptions about what Tabitha isn’t doing right when he discovers that every caregiver needs a caregiver. Marcus knows in order to win Tabitha’s heart; he has to charm Aunt Tweet’s too.

Book Purchase Link: Amazon


About the Author:

Pat Simmons is celebrating ten years as a published author with more than thirty titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels, in the hope of tracking down any distant relatives who might happen to pick up her books. She has been a genealogy enthusiast since her great-grandmother, Minerva Brown Wade, died at the age of ninety-seven in 1988.

Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She believes God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.

Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. Currently, she oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions.She is the multi-published author of dozens of Christian titles, including the #1 Amazon best seller in God’s Word category.

She is the multi-published author of dozens of Christian titles, including the #1 Amazon best seller in God’s Word category A Christian Christmas. Her award-winning titles include Talk to Me, ranked #14 of Top Books in 2008 that Changed Lives by Black Pearls Magazine. She is a three-time recipient of the Romance Slam Jam Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance for Still Guilty (2010), Crowning Glory (2011), and The Confession (2016). Her titles consistently hit the top ten ranking in the BCNN1/BCBC National Bestsellers List, two books in the Carmen Sisters series hit #1 and #2.

In addition to researching her roots and sewing, she has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

Pat has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.

Readers may learn more about Pat by contacting her at authorpatsimmons@gmail.com.

Visit Pat’s website, http://www.patsimmons.net, to get to know her better.

Follow Pat on Twitter.

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Fear of Appropriation

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, folks! Today I’m going to share a little about what I’ve been going through with my writing, and I would love some ideas, support, feedback, etc. Whatever you have, throw it at me. I am happy to learn!

So, here is what has been going on. About a year ago, after I released my first book, I started hearing the word cultural appropriation thrown around in terms of artists, etc. While it wasn’t about me or my work, I began to wonder if publishing my book, Vivir el Dream, was cultural appropriation. For those who aren’t aware of cultural appropriation, here is an interesting Wikipedia page about it. The first sentence of the article gives a pretty good explanation of its meaning: “Cultural appropriation is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power.”

I am a member of the dominant culture writing about members of a minority culture in a country where there is an imbalance of power between dominant and minority cultures. And though I am married to someone from the culture I am writing about, have many friends and family from that culture, go to church almost exclusively with my brothers and sisters in Christ from that culture, work with people from that culture on a daily basis, am bilingual, and in my heart feel like that culture is part of me, I know that in the end, I am on the outside looking in. There are many things I can miss or won’t ever completely understand because I am not actually from that culture. Not to mention any unconscious bias that might be hiding inside me.

To complicate the matter, I was doing research for my current WIP by asking a friend about some cultural aspects of El Salvador that I was unfamiliar with: language and food questions, etc. During this conversation she wrote something along the lines of “Gringos, always trying to talk about things they don’t understand.” I got angry about it and then got worried about it and spoke with another friend who had been writing a lot about race and bias. Her reply, “Well, she’s not wrong.” This began a complete tailspin and an overwhelming fear of appropriation. I almost trashed my WIP and since have developed a giant case of writer’s block. It has shaken me to my core. Am I writing what God wants me to write? Should I be writing something completely different?

When I prayed about my WIP, God gave me more ideas to turn the book into a series. So I didn’t chuck it. Now even though I feel in my heart that God has led me to where I am with writing and I am writing what God wants me to write, fear is hindering me. I don’t want to appropriate culture. I don’t want to misrepresent. I just want to share God’s love and create understanding within our communities.

So, what’s a girl to do? Please comment below. Thoughts and advice appreciated!

Allison K. García

Book Spotlight: People of the Book by Kathi Macias

Happy Wednesday!

Today, I’m continuing to spotlight the Extreme Devotion series from Kathi Macias with a look at People of the Book, a story which pulls at my heart from conversations I’ve had with my Muslim friends.

About the Book

people of the bookWill God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?

Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.

Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.

Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?

goodreads | amazon

About the Author

KathiMaciasPhoto-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 50 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

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What about you? What most interests you about this story?

 

Open Discussion: Token or Not?

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

I know it’s been awhile since we had an open discussion topic. Today’s topic came to me as I recalled a conversation I had with a writer friend. We were talking of diversity and the need to add more people of color to books, not because it’s a trend, but because we live in a diverse world. My friend added a secondary character that is a poc. Not for the sake of just adding a poc but that’s how the character was in her mind’s eye. So it begs the question, if you have a secondary character who is a poc and the main character is Caucasian, is the secondary character a token or not?

Personal opinions are fine but please explain why you feel this way. What makes a character a token? Is it simply their isolated state of being the only person of color or is there more to it?

Let’s talk!

*Please keep the discussion respectful.

 

Book Review: No One Ever Asked

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’m thrilled to share my review of Katie Ganshert’s No One Ever Asked. This poignant story travels three different women. It’s a must read so be sure to add it  to your TBR pile!


About the Book

The Blurb: “When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams.

Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated.

Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into.

Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My thoughts:

Wow. Just wow. I knew when I picked up this book that Katie Ganshert would take me on an emotional journey that would challenge my intellect as well as my mind. And wow, oh wow, Ms. Ganshert did NOT disappoint.

No One Ever Asked follows the journey of three very different women, or are they? Camille Gray seems to have it all and there were moments where she made me cringed. I’ve met women like her and have been on my guard around women like her. By the end of the novel, I wanted to give her a hug.

Jen Covington, bless her heart, I wanted to give her a hug the entire time I read her story. She went through so much and bottled her emotions, something I can completely identify with. I ached for her to let the fear go and embrace love and hope.

Anaya Jones. As the only African American of the group, I identified with her right away. It wasn’t just the race that had me empathizing with Anaya, it was her life experiences. Man, oh man, did Ms. Ganshert bring me back to the days where I went to the beauty shop every 2 weeks. I felt like I was right in there when those scenes unfolded. The way Anaya was cautious about how she responded, careful to no perpetuate any stereotypes, I felt that to my core. And the issues we women face, I could empathize with that too.

But it wasn’t just these three ladies that captured my attention. That kept me turning the page. The secondary characters were so integral to this story. The issues that Ms. Ganshert tackled were nothing short of amazing. For one, she chose to tackle them. Two, they were done in such a way that not one overlapped the other. I mean we have racial issues, social class issues, sexual harassment issues, etc. Each time she unveiled a piece of the story my mind was whirling, thinking of times I’ve experienced the same or haven’t and understanding what a person could have been dealing with.

If you don’t find an ounce of empathy growing in your heart after reading this book, I’d ask you to read it again. It’s that great. That life altering.

*I received a free copy from the publisher. This review is my own, honest opinion. I was not required to do a review.

**Review first seen at Soulfully Romantic blog.


About the Author

Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.


Review by contributor, Toni Shiloh