I love the word “hope.” Just saying the word “hope” aloud makes me hopeful. I’ve been blessed to be able to travel a bit. Often, I put Scripture quotes on my photography and share them on social media. Here’s some of them that reflect hope.
Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope. A Chicagoan since age five, she now lives in the Kansas City area with her family, but they go back every now and then for important things like good pizza and White Sox baseball. Sally’d love to hear from you and hear your thoughts about Kept and other great fiction.
Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.
Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.
When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.
QUESTION FOR THE AUTHOR. Why did you decide to write this story? What led to the premise of your story? This story came straight from SportsCenter. (Can you imagine!) I was watching SportsCenter just for Chicago Bears coverage since they were about to play in the Super Bowl, and SportsCenter was doing a series on temptations pro athletes face. One was women who make their living off pro athletes.
They interviewed a woman who made her living that way, by being available to one athlete—and only him—when his team came to town. She was completely silhouetted, except that she had this really uniquely shaped short hairdo.
As the interview went on, she confessed that not only did she do this for one athlete, but for two! And I thought, Honey, I hope you’re wearing a wig. Or they know now.
I could not stop thinking about her. She haunted me. What would make her live that way? She had fallen for so many lies, and I just felt so horribly for her. On top of that, I wondered what would happen to her if those two men did find out? So eventually I had to explore what would make a woman live that way and then give her a happy ending.
And My Review:
Wow! Amazing, Sally Bradley. Kept kept me up until 4:00 am and rarely does that happen for me. Scene after scene drew me in to this excellently crafted storyline with fascinating sub-plots and a spiritual depth that could only come from a Christian who knows Jesus intimately.
Sally, you rocked your debut novel! Totally! Five Stars all the way! Kept is first-class fiction with characters so well-developed that you feel a part of their inner circle…as if you’ve been forever friends with all of them.
Miska–a non-Christian who’s living a scandalous life–isn’t the type of character you’d think you’d instantly love, yet you do. She’s a beautiful, kind-hearted, vulnerable soul who is caught up in a bad lifestyle and truly doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong. It’s survival. I love that she’s open and honest, real and raw. And the truth, which the reader gets right away, is that she really doesn’t know Jesus–at all. Her past has wounded her in a way that even she doesn’t understand at first.
Miska stereotypes Christians, but asks her new friends questions, even challenges them. She doesn’t easily buy into their odd principles and takes time to understand and weigh these new thoughts as she considers what’s really important in her life.
It’s a fun, frustrating, and heart-tugging walk with Miska. There’s no sudden transformation. She stumbles, falls, gets up and then stumbles and fall again, but you find yourself rooting for her and yes, even praying for her.
Hats off to Sally Bradley for crafting such an incredible novel that covers all the bases; excellent characterization, amazing plot with superb subplots, smooth and beautiful prose, dialogue that fits perfectly to the characters and scenes (even the men), page-turning scenes (never a dull moment), and superbly described locales (I feel like I’ve lived in Chicago). Sally Bradley knows how to draw the reader into the story and hold them there, yes, even until 4 am when you only wanted to read for an hour before sleep.
And one more very important observation: Sally Bradley’s apparent solid, clear, and deep understanding of true Christianity would allow any non-Christian to pick up this book, become completely absorbed, then easily and naturally (along with the characters) be transformed by Christ. There’s no peachiness or shoving it down your throat Christianity in Kept. Even the solid Christians must learn and grow in their faith in this novel. Truly, one of my best reads ever! It’s clear that The Holy Spirit guided the heart and mind of this author in crafting this amazing book. I read literary mainstream fiction and Christian fiction and this novel would fit well in either market.
I sure hope Sally Bradley writes a lot of books because the girl can craft fiction like any bestselling author I’ve ever read.
Sally Bradley’s contact information:
Awesome Book Review and website! Crooked Lines #3 in an inspirational fiction category!
…secondly, this cutie above is playing the San Francisco 49ers today. Last week Jake had his first touchdown against the Seahawks!
Go Jake! Do it again! #proudmom (gotta use that hashtag on #gameday).
Game time: 3:00 pm CT
Isn’t he a cutie?
…since I’ve recently launched my debut novel, CROOKED LINES, I chose today as a KINDLE sale day!
Crooked Lines is only $1.99 today!
Church. Football. Then a good read. 🙂 Great way to spend Sunday…oh, and if you missed church, Crooked Lines is a spiritually themed book, so you’ll get some good inspiration, along with a some drama and a bit of mystery.
Here’s the blurb for CROOKED LINES and the link to buy it at KINDLE, HERE and below the blurb, too.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace.
Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.
Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.
Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.
CLICK HERE FOR CROOKED LINES KINDLE DEAL OF THE DAY and have a GREAT DAY!!!
America, America to India, American, Author Holly Michael, big dreams, Bishop Leo Michael, Christian Fiction, Christianity in India, Crooked Lines, Crooked Lines A Novel, Darjeeling, debut novel, Faith, fiction, Goa, Holly Michael, Hope, India, Novel, Religious Fiction, Spirituality, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, www.indiascrown.com, www.writingstraight.com
Crooked Lines: From America to India Along Life’s Crooked Lines. India’s Crown (ICICLE) a premier site linking American Authors to India Readers featured my novel, Crooked Lines! Read for a fascinating look at how Crooked Lines came to be and a photos from India.
Also, a chance to win a free signed copy of Crooked Lines!
Here’s a short amazing clip about a beautiful young woman who–after discovering her birth mother–found out that she survived the abortion that took the life of her twin brother.
Claire Culwell shares her story in honor of him. While her twin and other babies lost to abortion cannot be brought back, the beautiful girl’s story shows how a life saved from abortion can be an amazing witness of God’s love.
I will not be silent because each mother and child are in the same place my biological mother, my twin and I were in 22 years ago and I am here to say THERE IS HOPE and there are options! – Claire
Follow Claire on Facebook
Check out Claire’s blog
Haven’t blogged much lately due to holidays and writing commitments, but I have been splashing photos and news on Facebook about Jake (my NFL player son).
A fantastic Romans 8:28 story! (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.)
Even if you saw this on Facebook, here’s the story behind the story.
We’ve all had those moments when life is going great, plans are coming together, sun is shining, and bluebirds are singing on our shoulder, then BAM! We get slammed with the unexpected. Instead of bluebirds, feels like life is giving us the bird.
Happened like that a few weeks ago for Jake. He was cut by the Houston Texans. As a mom, my heart went out for the uncertainty he felt regarding his career and future. (And given his career is in the NFL, unfortunately he’s had these moments before).
I prayed for him, asking God for His perfect plan for Jake’s career and life (as I do for all of my children.)
Side line note
Secret to life as I know it:
1. Pray Submit yourself, your situation to God.
3. Trust. Trust God can work all things for his good. (Romans 8:28)
4. Thanks. No matter what your feeling, give God thanks for hearing your prayer. Because He’s God and you’re not, trust He will take care of things and don’t forget to thank Him.
Then let go!
That secret to life has never failed me. And it’s what both Jake and I did.
Then, BAM! Jake was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs on practice squad. I live in Kansas City! How cool is that? What are the chances?
While I relished in the mom role again (doing Jake’s laundry and feeding the big boy), as always, I know that God’s plans are always even better that we can imagine.
So….after only one week in Kansas City, The San Diego Chargers signed Jake onto their roster. While I loved having him here, I kind of thought he’d get snapped up fast by a team who needed his skills.
And of course, the move is great for his career.
Imagine, being cut from a losing team, then getting picked up by a winning team now in the playoffs. Jake is playing more and has a greater role in the offense with the Chargers.
Jake (#81-Tight End) had a fantastic game this past Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Really good plays and outstanding blocks! Chargers won!
See how happy Jake and his teammates are. Photo from http://www.chargers.com
So, this Sunday Jake will play in Denver against the Broncos. Please keep him in your prayers and cheer on #81 and the Chargers!
And back to Romans 8:28…God can work all things to the good, even for a kid diagnosed with Type One Diabetes in high school who wondered if he’d even be able to continue playing football. God has a plan for this guy, who also spends his time encouraging youth with type one diabetes.
Isn’t he cute? Follow Jake on twitter @sugarfreejb82
Isaiah 40:28-31 says, Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
The dictionary describes wonder as, “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
Wonder is often associated with Christmas, in regard to the wonder of the season, the “beauty” and “awe”.
In the song, (Mary’s Song), Breath of Heaven, Mary uses the word wonder to tell of her unfamiliar and unsure situation, traveling into the unknown, feeling her unworthiness to have been chosen by God to give birth to a baby who will become the savior of the world. After reading this, click the link below to hear this beautiful song.
Wonder. Amazing how this words meaning can change through the power of prayer.
I’ve been in a phase of waiting, “wondering,” for so long. I’ve submitted my “wonders” to God in prayer, then done my best to leave them with Him, trusting He would answer according to His perfect will.
Then, praise His Holy Name, I’ve seen real true miracles unfold around me, and I am in WONDER at how much He truly cares about the small as well as the big things in my life. I have so much to share, and I will, but can’t yet. So just for now, I’ll share one part of an answered prayer.
I have a book contract! In a day or two I’ll share the entire beautiful, and wonderful story.
What do you wonder about? Pray, then leave your wonderings with God, trust that He loves you, hears your petition, and will answer, according to His will. Then rejoice in the peace He will surely give you. And thank Him. By doing so, I am certain you will experience the WONDER of His Love! I have and am so thankful!
Packing for a church visit to St. Peter’s Anglican in Albuquerque, New Mexico I was stressing over several chapters and a nonfiction proposal due to an editor in a few days. My husband assured me he’d drive there and back so I could write.
Then the phone rings.
My sister Jane.
Our mom had a A-Fib heart event that landed her in the ER, then the ICU. Jane said she was lucky to have survived because her heart had been pounding like crazy for too long. Here she is in the hospital:
She looks happy and healthy, doesn’t she? Though the condition is chronic and she’ll have to take meds for life, the doctor said it’s a miracle she survived.
Miracle # 1
I spoke to my mom via Facetime. Jane sent the above picture, assured me she was fine and advised me to go ahead with my travels.
A few days after the event, the condition flipped and my mom’s heart went back to normal. No more meds. She’s fine.
Then, that evening, my mother had a major stroke, was without speech and paralyzed. She was rushed to a larger hospital in Green Bay, given meds that they said could:
1. Kill her.
2. Heal her
2. Do nothing at all.
33% chance any one of those things could happen.
Thank God, the medicine worked.
Here she is two days after her stroke, about to be released from the hospital:
The baby in her arms?
My youngest brother’s wife had a baby in the hospital the same day my mom was admitted (a hospital an hours drive from her home). Grandmother and grandson were released on the same day. A great-grandchild was born a day later.
Miracle # 4
Can you see God’s grace in all of this?
I phoned my mom yesterday, planning our visit home to Wisconsin. There was something different in her voice. A peacefulness I hadn’t heard in years.
When I asked her how she was feeling, she said, “In a lot of ways, better than before all of this happened. Not only physically, but something has changed in my heart…in ways I can’t even explain. All of this was meant to happen.”
The truth is, there have been family issues, wounds from the past plaguing her and our entire family.
My mother said that from her hospital bed she saw hugs between her children that she never thought she’d see.
My sister says she’s different. “Everything is different, ” Jane said. “You’ll see when you come home.”
I haven’t been home for a very long time. We’re looking forward to going back.
We’re on our way to a writer’s conference. Have a lot of stuff I want to accomplish. Thinking, “Can I do this?” Doubting. Praying, then I look up and see this:
Don’t miss the orange signs pointing to the truck.