Meet My Character–Patience McDonough

This week I’m participating in a blog hop tour, an opportunity for authors to introduce a character from their recent or upcoming novels. I was invited by Carrie Anne Noble, winner of this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Young Adult category. I met Carrie at a writer’s conference last year. Carrie’s YA fantasy, The Mermaid’s Sister, will be released February 24, 2015, by Skyscape Publishing. I can’t wait to read it! You can pre-order The Mermaid’s Sister on amazon.com. Check out Carrie’s blog at at www.carrienoble.com.

And now…meet Patience McDonough.FC---Whitewashed (3)

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?  Patience McDonough is a fictional character.

2) When and where is the story set?  Most of the story occurs at Verity College in a fictional town called Hades, Mississippi, in June-July, 2014. The historical parts occur at Heaven on Earth Plantation (which becomes Verity College) in June-July, 1864. 

3) What should we know about him/her? A life-long homeschooler, eighteen-year-old Patience is completely impatient. Despite her parents’ objections that she’s earned the grades to go to school anywhere, she’s decided to attend Verity College and live in Hades, Mississippi, with her grandparents. She plans to fast-track her degree and become a doctor ASAP.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? Patience’s big plans are threatened from the beginning. Besides her horrible first day, she finds that Verity is really rundown, just as her parents feared. Poppa acts so weird she fears he has Alzheimer’s. Patience has to work a ridiculous amount of hours inputting data from Verity’s ancient paper files into their new computers (their first ever!). She quickly falls behind in her schoolwork, something she’s never done before in her life. On top of that, she suspects somebody of stealing millions from the college. Oh, and a psychopath wants to kill her.

 5) What is the personal goal of the character? Patience wants to become a doctor like her grandpa McDonough, one who cares for the whole person, not just his/her physical symptoms.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? Whitewashed is the first novel in my three-book On the Brink YA suspense series that follows three homeschooled friends as they step out into adulthood. Check out the On the Brink page of my website to read more.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?  Whitewashed released February 15, 2015, from Mantle Rock Publishing. It is available on Amazon in both Kindle and print formats.

I’ve invited Tamera Lynn Kraft to continue the blog hop tour:

Tamera Lynn Kraft writes Christian historical fiction. She’ll be telling about her novella A Christmas Promise, published by Pelican Book Group and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GM59GN4/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmbhttp://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=512, and http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=48711EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1206746&event=ESRCG&view=details

You can contact Tamera online at these sites: Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/TameraLynnKraftTwitter: https://twitter.com/tamerakraft.

Guest Post–Carrie Anne Noble

My new friend Carrie Anne Noble, winner of this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Young Adult category, invited me to participate in a blog hop tour, in which we get to introduce a character from our upcoming novels.

Next week I’ll post about my YA suspense novel, Whitewashed (coming out in February), but this week I wanted to share a link to Carrie’s post. Her YA fantasy novel, The Mermaid’s Sister, also releases in February and I’m excited to read it!

Here’s a link to Carrie’s “Meet My Character” post:  http://www.carrienoble.com/.

Jesus Is…

Wonderful                                                                                    Counselor

Mighty God                                                                             Prince of Peace

Everlasting Father                                                          My Righteousness

Light of the World                                                                    The Doorich217

The Word                                                                                        Immanuel

Messiah                                                                                          Son of God

Son of Man                                                                               Suffering Servant

Alpha and Omega                                                               Beginning and End

Prince of Glory                                                                            My Salvation

My Joy                                                                                                  My Song

Crucified One                                                                     Firstborn of the Dead

The Second Adam                                                                The Lion of Judah

Son of David                                                                                         Rabbi

Master                                                                                                      Lord

My Friend                                               Very Present Help in Times of Trouble

Holy One of Israel                                                         Very God of Very God

The Lamb                                                                                   The Living One

King of Kings                                                                               Lord of Lords

The Christ, the Son of the Living God

 Who do you say that Jesus is?

Crown of Righteousness: A Short Story

images (1)Josiah’s chair clattered to the floor, and he shot from the kitchen like a stone from a sling. He reached the far side of the yard before the screen door popped against its frame. Too upset to heed his dad’s calls, Josiah raced down the path through the woods. Shadows deepened with dusk, but he didn’t slow. He knew this path so well he could find his way in pitch darkness, but how many more times would he follow it? A writhing, churning ache began in the pit of his stomach.

Minutes later, his chest rising and falling in violent heaves, Josiah tore into Uncle Peter’s yard. He raced down the path lined with Aunt Mary’s tulips, thriving despite her death the previous spring. Soft mooing came from the barn behind the house. His feet pounded up the blue-painted wooden steps illumined by the circle of light pouring from the kitchen window. Without knocking, Josiah burst through and halted beside the small table where Uncle Peter and Baby Sarah sat eating supper.

“Well, hello, Josiah.” If Uncle Peter was surprised he’d crashed in on them, his face didn’t show it. Instead he smiled, stood, and pulled out the third chair—Aunt Mary’s seat. “Join us.”

Sarah banged her spoon on the high chair tray and grinned, her small teeth gleaming. “’Siah!”

Josiah couldn’t help but smile at his motherless little cousin. “Hi, Sarah.” He patted her blonde curls, still damp from a bath.

“Hungry?” Uncle Peter crossed to the stove and lifted the lid of a pot filled with macaroni and wieners.

“No, sir. Thank you.” With what felt like rattlers coiled in his gut, there was no way he could eat. Besides, he wouldn’t take their little bit of food, especially not now. Josiah sank into the seat beside his cousin, who’d just turned one a few weeks before. He sighed as his dad’s announcement at their own supper table replayed in his mind. “Peter’s losing his place.”

He caught his uncle’s eye. “What are you going to do?”

Uncle Peter put the lid back on the pot and moved to the table. His broad shoulders drooped as he sank into the chair, but he smiled at Sarah, who rounded her blue eyes at him and squealed “’Siah!” again, as though to inform her daddy of Josiah’s visit.

“Yes, Sarah. Your big cousin came to see us.” He kissed her forehead then scooped some macaroni onto her spoon before answering Josiah’s question. “We’ll be fine. We’re moving in with Grandpa, aren’t we, sweet girl?” He looked at Sarah again.

The baby jabbered something about “Papa” and let out a giggle.

Josiah felt a hot stinging behind his eyelids. It wasn’t right. First Aunt Mary and now this. “They can’t do it.” He gestured toward the spotless kitchen and the happy baby. He couldn’t keep the anger from his voice. “You work hard. It’s not fair.”

“Josiah.” The single word was a warning: it wasn’t the proper time to discuss the situation, not in front of little Sarah.

Josiah released a long breath and mumbled, “Sorry.”

Uncle Peter’s smile softened the rebuke. “Why don’t you come and help me with the cows in the morning? Grandpa’s driving over to play with Sarah.”

The little girl gurgled something at his words, and Josiah nodded. The writhing snakes in his stomach would just have to stay there awhile longer. But he was going to figure out a way for Uncle Peter and Sarah to keep their home.

imagesJosiah straggled from bed as the sun peeked over the horizon. He scrubbed at his gritty eyes. Had he slept even an hour? Before bed, he’d talked with his dad about Uncle Peter’s dilemma, but that hadn’t helped. Josiah still burned to make the bank see things his way.

He threw on some clothes and snagged a piece of bread on his way out. His parents had agreed he could help Uncle Peter this morning instead of caring for his usual chores. Josiah emerged from the path into his uncle’s yard just as he walked from the barn with the Widow Thomas. Josiah moved behind a tree and peeped out at the pair.

“Here you go. I hope this helps.” Uncle Peter handed the woman a good-sized pitcher.

Her grin revealed gaps in her teeth, and she reached up a gnarled hand to pat his cheek. “Thank you. You’re a good man.”

Uncle Peter smiled and dipped his head. “You’re welcome, ma’am. Glad to do what I can.”

She hobbled away cradling the pitcher to her chest.

Josiah shook his head. How many times had he witnessed such a scene? Maybe if Uncle Peter didn’t give away milk to anybody who needed it, he wouldn’t be losing his dairy farm.

The rattlers in Josiah’s stomach began to bite as he watched his uncle go back into the barn. Josiah stalked after him. He passed through the cool, bright milk house to the milking parlor and peered around for his uncle. There he was, hooking up his favorite Jersey cow to the milking machine.

Josiah waited in silence until he finished then said, “Why’d you give her free milk?” He heard the accusation in his voice and added, “Sir.”

Uncle Peter’s sigh joined the gentle wheezing pulse of the milking machine. “Because she needed it. God’s Word says to help the widows and orphans.”

“But what about Sarah? She’s an orphan.”

Uncle Peter’s look speared him. “She has plenty of milk. I see to that.”

Josiah grunted then whirled to snatch up a shovel. “How can you keep a home for her if you give away your profits?”

“I won’t turn away someone in need, Josiah.” Uncle Peter’s voice was firm. He turned to check the Jersey.

Josiah crossed through to the nearest stall and began scooping manure. The acrid, earthy scent reminded him this place wouldn’t be his uncle’s much longer. “What if you ask the bank for more time?”

“I’ve already had a couple of extensions.” Uncle Peter spoke softly to the cow and patted her brown flank. “There’s nothing more they can do for me.”

Another snake bit Josiah’s stomach, and the poison spread through his veins. “Nothing more they will do, you mean.” He tossed the shovel into the corner with a clank that made the cows kick and low.

Uncle Peter shot him a reproving look. “Anger does nothing but produce bitterness, Josiah.”

“Maybe my anger will make the bank see sense.” Josiah stomped toward the barn door.

Uncle Peter crossed to him in three long strides and took hold of his arm. “It’s not worth fighting for, son.” He pulled Josiah closer and bent to meet his gaze. “God didn’t promise me ease on this earth. He didn’t promise I’d be rich or that I’d always have this place, much as I love it.” He gestured around the barn. “He didn’t promise I’d never have sorrow.” Tears filled his eyes.

“That’s what I mean.” More bitter poison coursed through Josiah. Aunt Mary never should have died so young, and with a baby, too. “How could God let all this happen to you? You’ve always served Him and helped people and done your work.” His throat clogged. “It’s not fair!”

Uncle Peter hugged him close, and Josiah cried until he’d soaked the front of his uncle’s work shirt. Some of the poison in his heart seeped out with the tears. Finally, sniffling and hiccupping, Josiah pushed back to search his face. “How can you just stand there and take it? One blow after another, without getting mad?”

His uncle’s sad eyes met his. “It hurts, Josiah, I won’t tell you it doesn’t. But I can’t forget what the Word of God says in 2 Timothy 4:8: ‘Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.’”

Josiah thought about the verse a moment. “So because you get a crown of righteousness in Heaven one day, you shouldn’t be upset when God lets you lose everything?” He shook his head, lips pursed. “I just don’t see how you can do that.”

Uncle Peter stood to his full height and rested a hand on Josiah’s shoulder. “It’s not easy, but it’s a lesson we have to learn. To fight God for what we think is best, to struggle for what’s passing away, that’s pure foolishness. Wisdom says to let God be God and simply obey His Word. Trust Him to know what’s best to fit us for Heaven.”

“But what about here on earth?”

Uncle Peter’s smile barely lifted his lips. “Life isn’t about getting the most stuff and having fun all the time. It’s not about being comfortable either. It’s about being made holy.” He gave Josiah’s shoulder a squeeze. “Remember God’s plan for a person is that they’ll be like Him.”

“Without anything to show for it?”

“Oh, there’ll be plenty to show for it. We’ll get to spend eternity in His presence. That’s a pretty good reward, don’t you think?” Uncle Peter raised both eyebrows at him.

Josiah blew out a breath. “But what about you and Sarah?”

A peaceful look settled on his uncle’s face. “Don’t worry about us. God’s taking care of us, even when it doesn’t look like we think it ought to.”

Josiah felt the snakes in his belly shrink a little, and the poison eased its grip on his blood.  “I guess so.”

Uncle Peter gave him a full smile. “Well, I know so.”

Josiah saw the sincerity in his uncle’s eyes and nodded. “If you can trust God in all this, then I’ll try to trust Him, too.”

Uncle Peter gave him one last hug and headed for the milking parlor. Josiah followed.

Tip #6: Exercise Your Influence

As pastors’ wives*, we usually don’t get our own desks, but we fill an important church position nonetheless. Not just as a sounding board for our husbands, but as an influencing factor to the church women. How we use (or misuse) that influence can help or hinder our husbands’ ministries and can build up or tear down Christ’s church.15g-gather-us-in-2011-prayer-7

See. The first step in properly exercising our authority is seeing that we have it. For some of us, the mere thought of such responsibility makes us want to hide under the bed. For others, that authority prompts us to list all the things and people we plan to “fix” in the church. Our true role lies somewhere in the middle. We’re not called to change everybody and everything into our image of perfection; we are called to recognize that our speech, attitude, and attendance are on display before the church as a model of Christian womanhood, for good or for ill.

Embrace. How our authority plays out depends on our talents and seasons of life. God has gifted some of us as singers, speakers, writers, teachers, organizers, musicians, hostesses, etc. We’re to use our gifts for His glory. When we have babies or young children, we probably shouldn’t take on major, time-consuming roles; however, we should be conscious of other women watching the way we mother. As older women, we should watch for opportunities to guide (gently!) other women to greater faithfulness.

Speak. The influence of our position gives us a platform from which to speak. For the shy ones among us, being “the pastor’s wife” can give us courage to greet visitors or invite neighbors to church. In cases where a woman needs to be reproved for sin, our position gives us the authority to talk to her about it, sometimes with a frankness that our husbands can’t. In such situations of reprimand, we must check our heart attitudes carefully. We only want to speak with humility, gentleness, and wisdom.

Grow. In order to exercise our influence the way God wants, we need to maintain a proper relationship with Him. That means we need to be in Worship, praying and singing with the church and hearing God’s Word preached. We need to maintain personal Bible study and prayer times. Without tending to our own spiritual growth, we’re apt to fall into a wrong use of our authority. After all, we want to be a wise woman like Abigail, not a vicious she-devil like Jezebel!

*NOTE: This tip also applies to elders’ wives and, depending on your church’s ecclesiology, deacons’ wives and other women’s ministry leaders.