Show a Little Love


In a world of so much division and hatred, I thought I’d share a little short story that reflects how we might choose to handle life. This week, I want to be one that shows the love of Jesus in my reactions.

I’ve also made October the month of FREE books. With fall moving in, don’t you want to curl up with a good book and a cuppa (Aussie for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate)? Even here in balmy Southwest Florida, we’ve had a few nights of “cooler” (70 – LOL) weather. So after you read this little short story, head on over to Amazon where you can pick up the Kindle edition of Voices of the Past this weekend. It’s FREE starting yesterday, October 9 until the 13th.

Then from October 16-20th you can get Dangerous Ground for FREE.

New Release, When the Wind Blows, will be FREE October 20-24th. That’s a month of great reading! Starting with the story below. And don’t forget to show a little love…

Joy Wurshop yanked on the handle of her rolling briefcase. For the last time. The handle came off in her hand. The impact nearly threw her off her black high heels. Walking was no longer an option. She’d have to call a cab now. Ten minutes before her meeting started. Only a miracle would get her there.

“Taxi!” She scanned the crowded street for yellow while attempting to shove the bag’s handle back in place.

You’ll have to be aggressive in the big city. The unsolicited advice from her previous boss incited her to take a step off the curb. Without looking. A cab screeched to a halt inches from her black pencil skirt. Joy’s free hand flew to her mouth while her purse slid off her shoulder and down the grey and pink floral silk blouse adorning her arm.

“Lady, what the heck’re ya doin? Trying to get yourself killed? Do you want a cab or a coffin?”

“Cab, please.” She let the coffin remark slide. Gripping her broken briefcase and purse, she fumbled with the door handle. The driver turned, facing her, and yelled out the passenger window.

“Come on, lady. I ain’t got all day.” His booming expletive carried over honking horns blaring behind him.

Joy threw her belongings through the door and slid in beside them.

“Where to? Where to? Let’s get a move on.”

“27th Street. The Town Center Building. Please hurry. I have a meeting, and I’m already late.”

“Oh, miss fancy-pants wants me to hurry now. Dawdled getting in my cab, and now I’m the one to get her to her meetin’…”

Joy closed her eyes against the pooling tears as the man carried on. Not what she needed. Not today. Not when her career hung by a thread.

Drawing in a deep breath, she dug in her purse for a tissue, settling for a wadded piece at the bottom. By the time she removed mascara smudges and reapplied lip gloss, they turned onto her street. Joy prayed she had enough cash for the fare.

Flipping through all her cards, her heart plunged. Bank, credit, medical, pharmacy, Sam’s Club, library. Nothing. Opened her change purse. A couple of folded up ones and two pennies. They were pulling up to her building. Praying for a miracle, she peeked in a little, side pocket, fully knowing she never kept money there.

“That’ll be $17.50. No charge for not runnin’ ya over back there.” He howled a laugh.

Tucked inside the pocket was a folded bill. Thank God! But when she pulled it out, the sight elated and crushed her. A fifty. Since when…she never had that kind of money. But she knew what she needed to do. She closed her eyes with a sigh. A moment later, she opened them and handed the bill over, offering a shaky smile.

“Here. Keep the change.”

As she closed the door, she caught his muttering.

“Well, I never…”

And she guessed he never had.

When the Wind Blows is coming soon…

New Release Coming Soon!


Deadly Silence CoverThe benefit of sheltering at home is more time to write. In April, I released A Deadly Silence. Here’s what a few of people have said:

“Sara and Brad’s story gripped me the second I opened the book. Laura Bennet weaves believable storylines and it’s like you are an invisible person witnessing it as it’s taking place. Emotions run high with the characters, but also the reader. Thank you, Laura, for such an outstanding book. Bravo!!!” J.Messmer

“I really couldn’t put this down. I enjoyed reading this, and I was surprised because it’s not usually my reading genre. A definite recommend, especially if you like reading about relationships, family, friendships, overcoming trauma, personal growth, spiritual growth, and learning.” J.N.

“I enjoyed this book as I have all of Laura’s books. Her honest writing style is refreshing in that things don’t always work out the way we think they “should” – just like in real life. This book covers a difficult topic but one that many people face. I’m glad to see an honest take on removing the stigma in talking about issues when they occur. Can’t wait for the next book!” Peggy I.

I’m glad to know readers are anxiously awaiting the next book because it’s almost here! Anticipating an October release, When the Wind Blows, shows how being in community brings hope, healing, and redemption.

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Category 4 Hurricane Harriet slams Southwest Florida, throwing six high rise neighbors together in unexpected ways.

Alec and Jessica Freeman can’t seem to make their five-year marriage work, and Jessica’s secret isn’t helping. Author Dylan Davis loses himself in writing books about missing children as therapy for the daughter he lost. Bailey Crenshaw, a free-spirited young woman who’s been on her own since girlhood, finds family with strangers. Older, retired folks, Ralph and Edith Manning wonder if life is over for them, but experiencing trauma with neighbors offers a new sense of purpose. Within community, each one discovers that weathering a storm together is better than surviving alone.

Is It Too Soon?


I love that everyone is connecting so much on social media, through webinars, and email. We were created for community. After all, when God created us, he said “Let us make man in our image.”  He was God in three persons: God the Father, Jesus God’s Son, and the Holy Spirit so why wouldn’t he/they make us to crave community?

Neighbors I’ve never seen are suddenly hanging out in their driveways or garages, waving and calling out to each other.

Isolation has caused us to be more connected than ever. Go figure.

But I have to say that my inbox has never been so full, and I simply don’t have time to read all the fabulous content out there. While others may be off work and find themselves with time for art projects, puzzle making, and trying new recipes, I work from home, writing, blogging and running a financial education business with my husband. That means we’re still working as we always do.

So if you’re like me, business as usual, I understand if you don’t have time to read another post since I just posted yesterday.

BUT…

I had to do it. I’m excited that my new book, A Deadly Silence, is already available for pre-order onA Deadly Silence by [Bennet, Laura] Amazon! I know I said yesterday that it would be available soon, but I didn’t expect the next day soon. The print version is still processing, but the digital version can be set to hit your Kindle reader by April 15th! (The paperback might be ready then too.)

I simply had to put the word out for those of you who have been asking me for it.

It’s here! And you can get it HERE.

Here’s the skinny…

Sara Maree Matley didn’t expect the contents of a moving box to blow apart her world. And when did her husband become her worst enemy? Her ideal family life hangs on the edge of destruction, and her silence is a deadly accomplice that could push them over the brink. In order to survive, Sara must find her voice and make the hardest choice she’s ever faced.

So while your connecting in isolation, waiting for this virus to vanish, you have something to look forward to.

My Story’s Not Finished Yet


Having just completed my next book, Dangerous Ground, I’m extremely aware of what goes into writing a novel.

Usually the beginning is the easiest.

An idea grabs me, and my creative instincts take over, spinning a new tale with ever-evolving characters. It’s fun to get to know the players and see what they will do as the story unfolds. I also typically have a general idea of what the goal is, and therefore, what the ending will be.

But then, there’s the middle.

Ask any author, and they will tell you the dreaded middle is where we aren’t sure how it will all fit together, and whether the ending will actually play out, This is when we question our ability and desire to be a writer in the first place.

Recently, one of our pastors shared a message about having faith for the middle.

God often gives us a vision of what is to come in the future. He tells us where to start, and as we say yes to him, we’re launched into something we know will be great.

But then, the middle comes.

We don’t see the point, we’ve lost sight of the goal and we’re tired. And maybe confused. Things don’t look like we expected. As a matter of fact, they may even seem to be moving backwards.

Our pastor made some really great points about how to keep our hearts and minds in the right place when we’re in that middle space.

  • Don’t allow our feelings to determine our faith.
  • Don’t put our faith in things or circumstances.
  • Trust that God has a greater purpose while we’re in the middle.

I could relate to the idea of God working in the middle. That’s the messiest part. That’s the place where I fall in love with Jesus because I have to press close to him to get through. (You can watch his entire message here.)

Like in writing a book, the middle is where all the action is. It’s where the characters fall in love or start to see a solution to the crime. And that’s where we perfect the story.

In the middle, the story’s not finished yet.

Maybe you are in the middle of a story in your life. I know I am. It may feel like it will never end or certainly never end satisfactorily. But with God, there is always a good ending. Don’t give up while he’s writing the middle of your story.

I made it through the middle of Dangerous Ground, and while it didn’t exactly turn out the way I expected, I think it ended up being better.

Here’s a sneak peak of the cover. Thank you, CulpritMedia Group!

Look for it on Amazon in time for your Labor Day weekend reading!

The Writing Journey


Me at my desk

It’s been nearly three years since the idea for my next book, Dangerous Ground, began rattling around in my head. Bits and pieces flew at me on the road, in my sleep, in the shower and, well, just about everywhere.

It’s quite a journey to write a book.

Surprisingly, the idea originated with a writer’s group prompt. A local organization held a contest for a few weeks during which time they posted a picture in the newspaper and asked for short stories based on the photo. (The original is posted below.)

I’m not good at short stories, but I forged ahead with the prompt for our next meeting. What happened next? The beginning of a story unfolded.

No short story, either.

The picture inspired a scene which connected to a book on human trafficking I’d read a few years previously and turned into an idea for a novel. Of course that was only the beginning.

Three years later, a book is born.

It’s like waiting for a baby. Only longer. And the labor, rather than being a few hours to a couple of days lasts much longer.

So here I am in the final stages of that labor. I’m polishing words, sentences and formatting while the cover is being designed.

One exciting aspect about Dangerous Ground is that I will be donating at least half the proceeds to three organizations that fight human trafficking and help those who have been rescued. One is international, one is national and one is located near my home in Florida. In my years of research, I found that each one of these organizations has the same heart motivation, but targets a distinct need.

If you’re interested in checking out the organizations click on the links below:

http://www.a21.org/content/who-we-are/gnihwo?permcode=gnihwo&site=true

https://www.notforsalecampaign.org/

https://www.bridgingfreedom.org/

So every person who buys the book will also be helping an important cause.

I love that.

Look for your chance to be a part of changing the world one book at a time beginning in August. Release date coming soon!

Here’s a teaser:

Sierra tried to pull her eyes open. Through blurring slits, she saw the black car with its door open. She didn’t want to go in the big car, but her legs wouldn’t work when she tried to kick them to say no. Then the seat belt buckle hit her face. A trickle of something wet rolled down her cheek. The last thing she remembered was her body pressing against the seat as the car sped off.

 

 
Writers Competition 

Nearly 20 Years Later…


Just Right
A rainy day and a backyard tree lead a little girl to discover that God made things exactly as they should be.

Sometimes moving our life forward means taking care of the past.

It all started with a silly poem I made up for my daughter, Ashley, when she was little. The poem traveled around with me, visited various illustrator possibilities and spent months pinned up on my double, sliding closet door.

In between, the being-refined poem and stack of illustrations resided in an unidentified large envelope in various drawers and cupboards making it’s way out for a few weeks or months at a time when determination overcame insecurity and fear.

I’d work on it until overwhelm set in and set up roadblocks, then I’d pack it away again in frustration. Maybe, eventually, I’d settle all the issues keeping it from moving all the way to completion.

Life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it?

We decide we want more. Something creative, better, whole or workable, but issues stand in our way. In a moment of bravery, we face the challenges and determine to set things right. Maybe we make a little progress, but get derailed by the difficulty, pain or inability to handle the questions.

Perhaps it’s a relationship that needs restoring or an addiction we want to be rid of. Or a habit that’s dug itself into our life against our will, and we desperately want it broken. Whatever it is, it can never be too late or take too long to finish.

I finished, and so can you.

The message of this little poem book is that God made things exactly right. Everything he created is the way it should be, and even though we mess things up or people mess things up for us, at the end of the day, we can rest in knowing that God is the one holding everything.

The Bible tells us that God who began a good work in us, will carry it on to completion. (Phil. 1:6) He won’t leave us hanging.

And he can make things “just right” again.

So, finally, Just Right in digital format is complete and available for FREE, but tomorrow is the last day.

But wait, that’s not all.

(LOL. I simply had to say it.) You can now also order the print copy of this rainy day, bedtime story book too!

AND if you order using this link, and send me (laurabennet14@gmail.com) some proof (copy of your receipt, an email saying you ordered, or a note on a carrier pigeon – okay, so that last one was just to see if you were paying attention, I will send you 2 freebies – my new booklet How Reading Grows Great Kids AND the Book Navigator (study/activity guide) for the book Five Children and It (book not included).

What a deal!

But the best deal of the day, is the chance you have right now to tackle something you want finished and know that God will help you get through it in his best timing. Even if it takes twenty years.

I’d love to know what you’ve completed or would like to complete that’s taken you way longer than you thought or hoped it would. Tell me your story in the comments below!

 

 

Are You in a Season of Hope?


seasons of hope 1

This week’s post is featuring author, Sara Jane Jacobs, and her new book, Season of Hope.

The Bible has a lot to say about hope.

Our hope is in Jesus. When we hope in him, we won’t be disappointed. God gives us hope and has a future hope for us. When our character is built through trials, we develop hope. Our endurance is inspired by hope. All good, right?

But sometimes what we hope for takes longer than we expect.

As is the situation with Amanda and Tyler, the main characters in Season of Hope.  An answer to prayer begins their season of hope.

season of hope 2

Sara Jane Jacobs, has given us a sneak peak into her life as an author, the premise for this book and a little about her upcoming projects…

  1. Do you work with an outline or just write?

I just write! I’m definitely a panster. When I first start a project, random scenes will pop into my head and I have no idea where they will end up in the story.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The next book in the series, Season of Deception, starts at the very moment book one ends. A new character is introduced in book two, and Amanda moves to Paris. We get to check in on Tyler, too. There are a couple of BIG surprises, a visit back to Nathan’s mountain, and the people that annoy you and creep you out come back stronger than ever. That’s pretty much all I can tell without giving anything away! I’ll be sharing a synopsis on my website soon and start revealing a little more about the story as it gets closer to launch.

  1. Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

There are flashes of memories from my childhood laced throughout chapter one. Ha-ha, there is a conversation that Amanda has with Tyler about a cow, in the upcoming book that was based on an experience.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

The “season” part of the title originated in what is now book two, which started out as the original manuscript. Amanda writes a note to Tyler, making a slight reference to a verse in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes and saying they will only be apart for a “season.” Obviously, she wasn’t counting on the “deception” part. When I had to come up with a title for book one, I felt Season of Hope was fitting, as the move Tyler and his mother make to Nathan’s mountain gives them opportunities for a better life.

  1. What project are you working on now?

Book three which follows the story a couple of the characters from book two.

ABOUT THE BOOK:season of hope 3

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn’t upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda’s not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda’s family over the next ten years.

As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he’s crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he’s hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

When Amanda’s summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler’s impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she’s falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she’s hiding a secret, too.

Phoebe Garrison, Amanda’s controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda’s manager is just what she’s been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe’s obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Amazon: http://a.co/aDtFaUz

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-season-of-hope-sara-jane-jacobs/1125877392?ean=2940157214357

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/708666

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY BELOW TO WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK

season of hope 4

Enter to win the SEASON OF HOPE giveaway! One person will win the following items…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

season of hope 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

season of hope authorI began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with family. I love most any activity that involves being outdoors, especially camping, hiking and spontaneous excursions to splash in the ocean. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida with my cat Selah and her delightful offspring, Colby, Jack and Tuesday.

AUTHOR CONTACT LINKS:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarajanejacobs

Website: http://www.sarajanejacobs.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jacobsjanesara

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/50289360-sara-jane-jacobs

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacobsjanesara

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSpH25j4GdaoKDMXkOVNlxA

season of hope 6

June 26 – Truth to Shine

June 27 – ASC Book Reviews

June 28 – Meagan Davenport

June 29 – Linda Shenton Matchett

June 30 – Barbara Brutt

July 3 – Ink From an Earthen Vessel

July 4 – Faithfully Bookish

July 5 – A Real Writer’s Life

July 6 – Smiling Book Reviews

July 7 – Bookworm Mama

July 10 – Tell the World

July 11 – 2014 and Beyond

July 12 – Tammy Karasek

July 13 – Rebecca DeMarino

July 14 –  Julie Arduini

July 17 – Laura Bennet

July 18 – All Betts Are Off

July 19 – Rachel Scott McDaniel

July 20 – Rebecca Van Daniker

July 21 – Leslie L. Mckee

season of hope 7This blog tour was coordinated by A Latte of Literature Blog Tour Services. Find out more:

http://christiswrite.blogspot.com/p/life-literature-blog-tour-services-for.html

 

Why Do You Write?


Yesterday, I opened an email from a follower of this blog and a reader of my new book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater. My tears of joy could not be contained as I read how this person’s life was being challenged and changed by God.  In part, as a result of the book.

DSC_0248
Bella at Riding Lessons

I’ve seen the growth. I feel proud, like a beaming mother watching her child on stage or at a sporting event. (I know this feeling well with seven children and seven grandchildren!) The joy that bursts forth in your heart to see someone live out who they were made to be can’t be described. And the blessing of being a small part of that overwhelms me.

I told my husband, “This is why I write.”

 

It’s not for money. Forget the hype of “New York Times Bestseller! ” Most authors make very little in comparison to the hours they put in.

Nor is it for fame. True, it’s been kind of cool to have a few people recognize me from one of two newspaper articles about the release of my book. But that is nothing but a bit of lovely fun.

To make a point? Well, I suppose that the point I try to make in all my books is that God offers us hope, healing and redemption. His love for us is beyond our comprehension, and he is able and willing to do anything to show us that.

But the bottom line reason is this:

“Thank you again for this book. I’m learning to believe in miracles and the One who works them.”

“I just finished reading your book “The Miracle of Us.”  I loved it! I was in tears at times as I read the miracles that God did in your relationship with Brendan.”

“Laura’s book strengthened my faith in God’s ability to work miracles for broken people.”

“What a lovely story of love, adventure, and God’s faithfulness!”

 

God uses our words, gives them to us in fact, to change lives for people’s good and his glory.

 

I’m so stoked on that. Amazed. Humbled. Grateful.

And I’m convinced he wants to use each of us to do the same. Maybe through books, or poems, or songs, or art or your job as a postal clerk (Tina has blessed me every time I mail something, and she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it), a doctor, a mother, a sales representative…in other words, whatever you do.

So, why do you write?

 

Ready for an Enjoyable Read?


Newest Release

Author, Sherry Kyle, has written a delightful novel that weaves a thread of forgiveness and redemption throughout the lives of four very real and loveable characters.

“When the alcoholic father of Jessica MacAllister’s son reappers in their lives, Jessica and her son go to her Uncle George for advice and refuge.

Following a year of grief, Evelyn Sweeney is finally ready to move on. Pondering her new path in life, her mind drifts to her first love, George MacAllister.

When the lives of these two women cross, they discover that one heart-shaped ring binds their stories together. But will the results be a rekindled faith and new hope, or will it lead them both back into the darkness they’ve fought for so long?”

The Heart Stone was hard to put down.

The romantic possibility and tension as well as intriguing suspense kept me engaged and guessing. Jacob, the 6 year old son, had me smiling and even brought an outright laugh. By the end, I felt as if these characters were my friends who had overcome obstacles and grown emotionally and spiritually. I wished the book didn’t have to end.

Sherry Kyle’s gift as a connector of people shines in her novels which rekindle and reconcile relationships. I believe Sherry’s ability as a writer grows with each new release. I can’t wait for the next one.

Well done, Sherry.

The Heart Stone, Published by Abingdon Press released on April 1, 2013 and is available from these retailers:

Cokesbury

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

What are books you’ve enjoyed reading lately?