A Special Guest Post – Featuring Award Winning Author, Alana Terry

Hey y’all! I’ve come to the conclusion that when you’re digging for fossils in Montana and not finding anything, time passes rather slowly. But, when you’re digging for fossils in Montana and you do find something, well? Then time seems to move along quite rapidly. I’ve been putting together a vlog of the trip, and plan to post part one either later on today or tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve got a special post for y’all.

Do you remember me talking about Alana Terry’s books? I think the first time I mentioned her on Noveltea was during my “Top 5 Book Releases from 2017” vlog. (I might have gushed about her writing a bit on the vlog because her writing is amazing and you should totally buy her books….)

Miss Alana is currently doing a special sale for a very special reason on some of her books, and therefore graciously agreed to guest post on Noveltea. So, without further ado, I’ll hand the post over to Miss Alana.

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We all have different passions. Maybe yours is spending time with your family or working on a craft you love or encouraging others or growing your business.

One of my passions is prayer — growing in my own prayer life and hopefully encouraging others to deepen theirs. That calling and desire comes through in the prayer guides I’ve made, the blog posts I write, and the Prevailing Prayer Podcast I put out with my co-host Jaime.

Part of this “prayer passion” of mine is interceding for persecuted believers. This prayer burden began back when I was a teen. At that point, I started studying Christian persecution around the globe, and one country stood out the most — North Korea, which has been ranked the worst persecutor of Christians for over a decade in the Open Doors
watchdog list.

One of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me is when God took my prayer burden for persecuted believers and my love for writing fiction and allowed me to publish my first novel about Christian persecution in North Korea. Since then, in addition to my multi-award-winning North Korea series, I’ve published seven books so far in the Kennedy Stern Christian suspense series, and the exciting news is the first three are on sale in a 3-in-1 book bundle. You can get one convenient ebook with all three novels for just 99 cents, available for the low price on all platforms, not just amazon.

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If that wasn’t exciting enough, the entire 99-cent sale revolves around a fundraiser with Liberty in North Korea, an organization that runs an underground railroad for North Korean refugees. A portion of all book sales from the bundle will be donated to LiNK. Our goal (and I’d love your prayers that we could hit it!) is to sell 10,000 copies of this ebook, which would lead to $3,000 for LiNK (the amount it costs to rescue one refugee on their underground railroad).

How can you help a North Korean refugee find freedom and safety?

Buy the 99-cent Christian suspense book bundle to help raise funds for North Korean refugees!

In addition to raising money for LiNK, you’ll receive 3 full-length novels that tell the story of Kennedy Stern, a missionary kid who arrives back in the States completely unprepared for her first year at Harvard University.

Confronted with questions of underage abortion, plagued by a stalker and paralyzing PTSD flashbacks, and eventually caught in the center of a police brutality scandal, Kennedy has experienced it all …

And you can too with 3-books-in-1 box set … on sale for 99 cents through Sunday night.

Happy reading to you!

Alana Terry, Women of Faith Award-Winning Novelist

The special price and the chance to raise $3,000 to rescue a North Korean refugee ends Sunday at midnight, so grab your copy today and ask your reading friends to do the same!

My “Adopted” Parents – An Explanation

In all probability if you’ve been around Noveltea long you’ve heard me talk about my adopted parents. Well, I’m going to be talking about them an extra-lot this week because I happen to be on a grand adventure with them out in Montana. *Cue excitement, happiness, and all sorts of dreams coming true* Therefore, I thought it might be helpful if I clarified my relationship with them a bit.

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So, what exactly am I talking about when I say “adopted parents”? That’s a great question, and one that I find rather confusing to answer. First of all, I’m not actually legally adopted. Second of all, I have a perfectly wonderful biological family who I live and work with. Why don’t I really talk about my biological family, you might wonder? Quite simply because they like privacy, and we talked about it long ago and decided that just because I choose to be a writer and make my life somewhat public, that doesn’t mean that they need their lives to be public as well. By the same token, my adopted parents already live public-ish lives, and therefore are totally fine with me talking about them on Noveltea.

I met my adopted parents years ago at a conference (my adopted dad, Buddy Davis, is a singer, songwriter, dinosaur sculptor, speaker, actor, and author who works for Answers in Genesis). It’s a looonnnnggggg story that I don’t have time to go into today, but eventually over the years my future adopted parents and I developed a close friendship, which in time turned into them becoming my second set of parents.

I call them “Dad and Mom” (or “Papa and Mama” – which is how I’ll be referring to them this week on Noveltea), and they call me their daughter. In fact, if you’re familiar with them and have ever heard them talking about their daughter, that would be me they’re referring to.

Some people wonder how it can actually really work out for us to have “adopted” each other, but they really totally are my second family. I treat them just like a second set of parents, and they treat me just like their child – a very spoiled child, my siblings from my other family always point out…. Although they get spoiled by my adopted parents too; just not nearly as much as I do. 😉

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Papa, Mama, and I have had lots of grand adventures together. I’ve gotten to help them build a life-size model of a dinosaur, watched them record a new CD in the studio, “helped” with the last half a dozen DVDs they’ve made, and co-authored books with them. We’ve spent weeks together at the Creation Museum, traveled throughout the United States, and spent many happy quiet evenings together at their cabin. Papa wrote a song for me which is on his Songs of Life, Love, and Faith CD, they celebrate all the “big moments” of life with me, we’re together during hard times, and the list goes on.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have a whole second family and all the love and joy and blessings that goes along with that. Speaking of that today is Papa’s birthday, and it’s nearly time for me to join them for breakfast though here in Montana, so I’ll leave it at that and say good-bye for now. If there are any questions I can answer, just let me know and I’ll do my best. Have a great Monday, y’all!

Packing for Montana

My intentions to vlog yesterday morning were superseded by the need to go shopping and pack for my up coming trip to Montana. (I’m leaving tomorrow! *cue happy dance*) The shopping list wasn’t incredibly long, and included elemental elements of traveling like candy, because the ability to buy candy has yet to get old. I chose three different kinds, and then like a mature child put two of them back and came away with a package of Jolly Ranchers – a hard candy which will forever hold a special place in my heart.

There was a kid my age at the church I grew up in, his name was Eli and he always had Jolly Ranchers and sometimes gave them out to the other kids. I still feel a delightful burst of summer and nostalgia whenever I pop one of those tasty treats into my mouth.

Of course there were actual needed things on my list – like a hat for protection from the sun, and sunscreen in 3-ounce-or-under containers so I could take them as carry-on (it hurt to spend so much money on sunscreen, but I figured it would hurt a lot more than $5 if I didn’t get any protection from the burning rays).

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The most important item on my list were jeans – long pants are required for the dig and since I don’t own any pants, I was off to Goodwill. (If any of y’all are curious, I’m planning on wearing a skirt over the pants, although I don’t have a problem wearing pants when needed – like when caving.) On my way to the store I realized I’ve never actually boughten pants before, so I had no clue how to go shopping for them. Well, I did buy coveralls several years ago for caving, but that was before I could drive so my brother took me to the store and I was like “David, what coveralls should I get?!?” and like the precious brother that he is, he helped me out.

After praying that I’d actually find the right kind of jeans, I headed into Goodwill and started grabbing jeans off the rack. Thankfully it took me far less time than I’d imagined to find two pairs that fit well and were comfortable.

The idea of vlogging was present when I arrived home from the store, but instead I packed, then I did some work for my non-writing job, then I took a nap with the little girl I’m babysitting (who family members had graciously watched when I went shopping). By the time evening arrived I was finally ready to vlog.

After prepping my vlogging set-up, changing into clean clothes, and making sure the camera had enough memory and battery, I was just about ready to start and…. the darling little girl I’m babysitting decided enough was enough. She’d had a long day and was ready to go to bed. I had a delightful time of reading her bedtime stories, and that was that.

I’m enthusiastically excited about going to Montana. I was working on finishing up all except the last-minute packing this morning, and of course packing for something makes it feel so much more real. Montana has always been one of my dream destinations, and to have it so close? Wow, it’s nearly surreal.

Have y’all ever been to Montana? I’d be delighted to hear about it if you have been.

Coffee Shop & Echoes

Today I’m hanging out at a coffee shop in Mexico, working on Echoes, and drinking a frappè de caveat y chocolate blanco. I’m not exactly sure what it means, except for being an exceptionally delicious and extremely, extremely sweet cold coffee drink  with carmel  and white chocolate. (And, in case anyone doesn’t know this, white chocolate is the best.)

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I’ve finally reached a place with When Life Hands You Lymes where I can’t do any more on it until I receive feedback from the (hopefully) last round of beta reading. That means I can turn my focus nearly solely to Echoes, which is a crazy feeling, and rather exciting. (Just for the record, I’m chomping at the bit to send WLHYL off again so I can focus 100% on Echoes. When that day arrives, I will probably be found dancing around and yelling happy comments to the world.)

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For now though, I’m happy to have snagged a round table by the window that includes a nice little ledge where I can put my drinks. There’s AC (a rarity around here!), internet for blogging, Spotify, and maybe allowing myself to be distracted by texting. Twenty-eight other people are moving or sitting around me, all completely intent on accomplishing their own set of tasks. It’s the perfect environment for a writer.

Adios amigos!

The Swing

Do y’all remember how last year near the end of my time in Mexico the swing I’d been delightedly swinging on all month gave way and broke, depositing me into the sand?

Well, I was hoping and praying that they’d have a new swing up before I came back this year, and excitedly they did.

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The swing hang there, suspended above the sand from the arm of a gnarly-looking, grandpa of a tree with wispy pine needles. Small roots poke out from the sand next to the swing, and a baby coconut tree is just out of reach from my toes when I’m swinging vigorously. The ocean is maybe two hundred yards away, its placid beauty in several shades of blue and green.

If swinging was an Olympic sport, I think I could probably be a gold medalist.

Swinging is my muse. Swinging makes my thoughts come clearer, my brainstorming more productive, my tiredness go away, and solves problems without me even consciously trying.

I am incredibly thankful for this swing. For this peacefulness. For these memories.

Editing, Reading, and Sunsets

When I said I wasn’t going to stress if I didn’t blog on time, or if I didn’t blog at all during May, I hadn’t really expected to up and drop off the blogging scene for nearly a week. In fact, each day I awoke with the expectation of blogging, but then as the day wore on and I hadn’t sat down to blog, I decided to just try again the next day. (And obviously, that thought process was on repeat.)

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Yesterday I edited for twelve hours – basically straight. (I mean, I did stop to swing a few times, make rice, and of course to watch the sunset. But other than that, little ol’ me just sat and edited.) While editing, I came to the conclusion (once again) that it’s simply so much fun to accomplish.

I’ve been resting a lot this week, just like I’d decided to. But resting isn’t always fun. Editing until I’m exhausted though? Now that’s more my style. Plus, I drank coffee to help keep me going, because coffee is amazing. Unfortunately coffee also has that crazy side affect of keeping me awake until all hours of the morning, but at least I was able to catch up on some reading. (Who am I kidding? I’ve read ten books and twelve days – there’s pretty much no reading to “catch up” on.)

While editing, I was rather astonished by how many words I was able to cut out of When Life Hands You Lymes. Y’all. I was working on draft twenty. I’ve been editing and re-writing this book for over two years now. I thought the story was good and done by December of last year. I’d already cut the story from 150,000 words down 80,500 words. And yet, somehow, somewhere, during this draft I found 4,500 words to cut. I’m not sure how much more of this my book (or me!) can take. In reality though, it made the book a lot better. And so it’s worth it.

 

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And that, my friends, is a quick glimpse at my life recently. Lots of reading. Editing. Resting. I even got to eat some freshly-picked sugarcane, which of course was yummy. And watching the sunset every night…. That’s one of my favorite parts of being here. I’ll have to show y’all pictures of it sometime. (The picture in this post is of the one and only time I got up in time to watch the sunrise since arriving.)

What have y’all been up to?

Reminiscing About Indonesia

Three years ago this month I flew to across the world to surprise my best friend. Sarah had told me if I could ever come visit her to make it be a surprise, and although I thought she had guessed I was coming she was properly amazed and shocked when I arrived.

My month in Indonesia was delightfully wonderful. It was utterly gorgeous there with exuberantly abundant vegetation, more varying shades of green than I’ve seen anywhere else, refreshing waterfalls, and breathtaking mountains.

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The food was also some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Their fruit was unparalleled. There were so many kinds that I’d never even heard of before. Trips to the marketplace to buy bundles of fruit make up happy memories for me – especially the first time we went, because it was pouring down rain and we got drenched.

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I’m fairly sure I could have survived solely on fruit while I was there, but the stir fries, rice dishes, and chicken kabobs with peanut sauce weren’t exactly something I would have wanted to miss. Even now, three years later, I have a strong liking for rice and eat it far more than I ever did before going to Indonesia.

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The mode of transportation in Indonesia was so much fun that looking back it was one of my highlights. Most of the places we went we traveled either on motor bikes or piled in the back of a pick up truck. I never travel that way in the states for several reasons – the main one being safety. But over in Indonesia that’s pretty much how everyone traveled, so therefore we didn’t have much of a choice, plus it’s a lot safer. Everyone drives at a slower pace, and they’re a lot more engaged in the activity.

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Feeling the wind rush around me as we drove places was very much like swinging, and swinging is one of my favorite things to do, so I was one happy little cupcake. One time we went on an excursion where we left in the middle of the night, then came back the next afternoon. We piled a bunch of blankets in the back of the pick up truck, then star gazed on the way there, and dozed on the way home. It was a gloriously fun day.

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Despite how totally marvelous the island, adventures, and food were, the best part about the trip was the people. I have hundreds of very happy memories of laughing, talking, cooking, playing games, and hanging out together.

We had an extreme amount of water fights – something that was nice and cooling since it was really hot there, we danced in the rain, and we explored waterfalls. Splashing in water that had recently tumbled down the mountain was refreshing, and sometimes almost too cold.

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We climbed one mountain twice – each time contributing a thousand memories into my memory bank. The view from the top was both beautiful and rewarding. The second time we did it early in the morning (to be specific, it was actually the middle of the night) in an effort to be at the top when the sun rose. Almost humorously, the morning turned out to be extremely foggy and we ended up huddling in blankets and not really being able to see much. It was well-worth it, though.

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There was one big mountain that I wanted to climb and wasn’t able to. I still dream of some day being able to go back and climb that mountain. I’m not sure if it will ever happen, but it’s on my “maybe-someday” list. For now though, I’m just enjoying the memories of my wonderful visit there.

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Thank you for letting me indulge in a bit of reminiscing. I’m glad I get to share my adventures with y’all, even if they aren’t exactly current ones.

Have you ever been to Indonesia? If so, what was your favorite part? If not, what sounds like the most fun to you?

Cooking, Sunlight, and Life

This week I’m in all-out kitchen mode, which is one of my favorite things ever, but also makes blogging a bit harder to fit into the schedule. Obviously the smart and efficient thing to do would be to blog ahead of time, but that didn’t exactly happen.

I don’t think y’all particularly want to hear about the dozens upon dozens of cookies I’ve been baking. (Although, there is a bit of a funny story that goes along with me experimenting and trying to figure out how much flour to put in each batch.) And I figure you’re even less inclined to hear about the meat we’ve been browning, or the groceries we’ve been organizing, or the accidentally-too-salty chili I made for lunch, so instead I thought I’d share a verse with you from my devotions this morning.

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So, the mornings here are absolutely delightful because the sun floods the room I’m staying in, and it’s a fantastically wonderful atmosphere. Back home my room is positioned so I can see the sunsets, but never the sunrises. And although I like sunsets, sunrises are a really wonderful way to start out each day.

You probably can’t tell from the above picture, but my journal was drenched in warm, amazing, beautiful sunlight.

And now I’m back to the kitchen.