Kate Hodges, Biblical Storyteller Extraordinaire

I’d like to give a big welcome to Kate Hodges on the Diamond Mine today. What a treat it is to have you here with us during this holiday season. I wanted to give you a chance to tell us the story behind your drive to write. How did it happen for you?

After years of enjoying a close connection to Christ, I hit a spiritual desert in my late twenties. Somewhere along the line, I had lost my passion for Christ and was going through the motions of the Christian walk. I battled depression and self-doubt. A wall had developed between God and me. Until one day, listening to the pastor read the story of the paralytic who was let down through a roof, something struck a spark. He didn’t just read the story. He spoke of the hot day, the dusty road and the men carrying their friend. He spoke of them digging through the roof of a house and the people within spattered by dirt and bits of stone. He brought that story to life in a way I had never thought of.

Over the next few months, that story churned in my head. I was full of ‘what ifs’. Finally, on a slow day at work, I took a sheet of computer paper and started to write. For four hours. Those handwritten words, barely legible in some spots, gave me a glimpse into God’s heart. I looked into the face of Christ through the eyes of a paralytic and saw his love and compassion.

A few weeks later, the pastor told another bible story. I had heard and read these stories so often over years of going to church as well as a Christian College, that I no longer saw them. They were words on a page of little more meaning than a child’s nursery rhyme, the characters merely actors on a stage.

For the first time, I was seeing the stories told by people who once lived and breathed, loved and despaired the same way that I do. The difference is that they had actually looked into the face of Jesus. They had spoken to him, heard his words and felt his touch. There is story after story of Jesus meeting the needs of people where they were. Perhaps, he could do the same for me. Perhaps, if I found the right story and told it with the right words, I would also find his healing for me, I would find the key to get beyond the wall.

So I write, story after story, page after page. It seems that there is not one key, but many. In each story is a piece of me. In each story, Jesus meets that part of me and touches, accepts, loves me. In each story, a piece of me heals.

I’m not done yet, I don’t know that I ever will be, but each story draws me closer. I have begun publishing my stories so that others can perhaps find a bit of healing for their broken pieces. They are available on Amazon as e-shorts. I also have a collection in print The Other Side of Miracles contains five of my favorite stories including the very first one, The Forgiveness of Sins. I hope that others will see the old bible stories in a new light and through them find new depths of faith.

I am also working on a novel, Safe Within These Walls, that tells the story of Rahab and the spies during that fateful month before the fall of Jericho. God not only saved her from the destruction of the city, but she became the mother of Boaz, the great grandmother of King David and the ancestor of Jesus. If God can take someone like her, a pagan, a harlot, an outcast and turn her into a hero of bible history, then perhaps he can take a shy farmer’s daughter and use her words to touch the world.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Kate. Have a blessed holiday!

Kate Hodges is a stay home mom who lives with her husband of twenty years and their three teenage children in upstate New York. She is a book addict and always looking for new authors to feed her habit.

Check out her book The Other Side of Miracles.Product Details

 

Carlene Havel’s The Scarlet Cord (with Sharon Faucheux)

Welcome to the Mine, everyone. We’re digging for diamonds in Christian fiction. Are you ready to get your hands dirty? I sure am.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Carlene Havel, a fellow Prism author. Join us as we discuss her literary gems.
 
Hello Carlene, welcome to the Mine. I’m so glad you could be here today. 

For those readers who may not know, what kind of books do you write and can you enlighten us on your ‘process’? You know…how you create one of your jewels?
 
Thank you, Renee. I’m happy to be here. Let’s see.

I write Biblical fiction with co-author Sharon Faucheux. We start by discussing Bible characters, finally narrowing the choice down to the one whose story we’re most interested in telling. Then she peels off to do research while I begin writing the plot synopsis.
 
As a solo act, I’ve published two contemporary Christian romances and one historical novella. There are always new stories bubbling through my imagination. For me, ideas come easily. Staying focused on one long enough to complete a book is the challenge.
 
As busy as life can be, I can believe that. Still, I can see you’ve reached the finished line. Congratulations! And you’ve been published which is awesome as well. I see you’re an author with Prism Book Group, like me and a couple of other miners at the Diamond Mine. What may a reader expect from a Prism book?
 
Congratulations on winning a Prism contract, and welcome to the fold! Like most writers, I also love to read. Prism Book Group publishes works that are clean, well-written, and carefully edited. I don’t care to read filthy language or casual sex disguised as romance, and you’ll never find those things in Prism books.
 
You hear that, folks? Clean, and well-written. Thank you, Carlene. I’m honored to be part of a publishing company such as Prism. Speaking of publishing, have you ever been published by anyone besides Prism?
 
The answer to this question could fill a book. Hmm, maybe someday it will. I got off to a rocky start, but my mother, who also happens to be an author, kept encouraging me. I considered asking Mom (pen name: Barri Bryan) to intercede with Desert Breeze, where she has several books. Ultimately, I decided I would get a publishing contract on my own or not at all. Prism began accepting submissions at a perfect time for me, and I love working with Joan Alley and her crew.
 
That does sound like quite a story; one I would love to hear (or read) one day. Anyone else agree? I believe you have writing in the blood, so to speak. And did you say Desert Breeze Publishing? What a small world. One of our miners has a contract with them as well.
 
Back to your latest gem… what are you working on now?
 
Next up for publication is “The Scarlet Cord”, co-authored by Sharon and me. It’s the story of Rahab. You may recall she was the harlot who survived the fall of Jericho when the walls came tumbling down. Rahab and her family were spared because she had the faith and courage to shelter Israel’s spies. Later, she married Salmon, the Prince of Judah. The Bible doesn’t tell us much more about her life—that’s the part Sharon and I imagined and wrote.
 
What a story… and in the Bible. I’ve reviewed several Biblical romances for my blog. I enjoyed reading them, although I don’t write them. I’ll definitely have to check this one out. Can we get a glimpse?
 
Sure…
 
     The tall man held up a hand, and his companion fell silent. Rahab was accustomed to men who could not afford her services, but the reactions of these two stung her. One seemed completely indifferent, while the other made her feel unclean. The truth flew into her mind with such force it escaped from her mouth. “You are Hebrews.”
     “Yes, we are,” the tall man said, much to Rahab’s surprise.
     They were such beautiful young men. What a pity it would be for them to be impaled in the public place. “Do you not know the king’s men keep track of foreigners in Jericho, because of all the trouble across the river? If you hurry, you may be able to escape.”
     The shorter man quickly pushed his food away, stood up, and shook out his clothing. The taller one stood and faced Rahab. “Would you hide us?” he asked.
     “I could be executed for helping you. And my whole family along with me.”  Looking into his eyes made her heart beat faster. Yet his face would no longer be handsome after a beating from the soldiers’ rods.
     The tall man spoke gently. “Help us and you will live when we take this city.”
     “Take Jericho? You cannot,” she whispered. “Our walls…”
     “Your walls are nothing to the Lord. We will conquer this city and all others who stand in our way, just as we have overcome the Amorites.” His manner conveyed absolute confidence. “Our lives in exchange for yours. Yes or no?”
 
I remember the fall of Jericho in the Bible. What an awesome story to tell. How do you decide which characters to pick for your books?
 
The Bible is filled with fascinating characters! How would it feel to be truly “given” in marriage?To live in an environment where a malevolent king had absolute authority? To be one wife among many? Those thoughts, coupled with a wish to write about a heroine from the Bible, eventually resulted in selecting Princess Michal, King Saul’s youngest daughter, to take the starring role in our first co-authored novel. After Sharon and I sifted through numerous possibilities, Rahab grabbed us next and wouldn’t let go. We were intrigued by the unlikely inclusion of a pagan harlot in the lineage of the Messiah. Once we selected our heroine, we include characters named in the Biblical account and invented the others.
 
I’m so excited for you (and Sharon). This book sounds absolutely amazing. Do you have any special events planned involving its release?
 
Prism covers are always smashing—perfectly reflective of each book’s theme—so I’m planning my first ever “cover reveal” event for “The Scarlet Cord”. A year and a half ago, Sharon and I looked at a picture Joan suggested for the cover of “Daughter of the King”. Almost as if we were leafing through a family album, we both said, “This is not a picture of Michal. She’s Rahab!”  
 
That is so cool. I love it. And I can’t wait for the reveal. I can’t wait to see her shine. After all, I think we have a diamond. Thanks for stopping by the Mine, Carlene. Are you open to taking some questions?
 
I’m honored to be your first featured author. It has been my pleasure to visit your lovely site.  May your jewelbox be filled with sparklers! I am most definitely open to questions, but I will be away from my computer for a while today, beginning a new Bible study. So if I’m slow to respond, you know why.
 
I completely understand. Don’t worry, we have plenty of time. After all, we’ll be here all week! (Oh my, I sound like a comedian.)
 
So if you have a question for Carlene, have at it, folks and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for her latest release and a $25 gift certificate on Amazon! (see details below)
 
 
TWO
GIVEAWAYS!

$25 AMAZON GIFT CARD

AND

Carlene Havel’s Daughter of the King
(e-copy or signed print version)
winner’s choiceEnter via Rafflecopter!
(drawing on 5/14/14)

About the Giveaway’s Prize:
 
 
 
Princess Michal was the youngest daughter of Saul, the first king of Israel. In an age when fathers arranged marriages, Michal dared to fall in love with a handsome young musician named David, from the little town of Bethlehem. As recounted in the Bible, Michal helped David escape from her insanely jealous father. King Saul punished his daughter with forced marriage to a distant war lord. Princess Michal unexpectedly returns from seven years of exile to find a changed world. Most of her relatives are dead. David has become King of Judea. He has acquired six additional wives, one of whom is a princess from Geshur. Michal longs to have a son to reign over Israel and reestablish the rule of King Saul’s heirs.  But each royal wife has hopes of placing her own son on the throne. Can Princess Michal’s love for King David survive war, madness, infidelity, and betrayal?
 
About the Author:
 
I grew up in Texas and married a military officer.  Courtesy of the US Air Force, I’ve also lived in six or seven US states, the Republic of the Philippines, and Turkey. My husband loves to travel, and we’ve had lots of fun satisfying his wanderlust. Although I prefer peaceful mountain forests, he enjoys big cities, exotic locales, and archaeological excavations. Glenn and I still laugh about our adventure in a Parisian coin operated laundry, and I’m pretty sure a couple of French housewives do, too. 
My home is now in Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family. I had no interest in writing until 2005, when I became a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Along with everything else that changed, I developed a passion for writing. I love Bible study, normally devoting most of one day each week delving into the scriptures with a small focus group. I also enjoy sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery.
Amazon, Daughter of the King:  http://goo.gl/5WLKj
Amazon, all my work:  http://goo.gl/ugcII