Responding to the Angels of Advent, Week 1

 

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1st Week of Advent: Zechariah’s Angel

Luke 1:8-20

Angel’s Message:

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the  Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the  righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (vv. 13-17)

Zechariah’s Response:

“How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”  (v. 18)

Zechariah was a priest, which meant he had spent his life studying the scriptures, and was therefore well-acquainted with what the Word of God said. If anyone would have faith, we might assume it would be a priest. However, his response to the angel’s message suggests that this man of God’s faith wasn’t as strong as it should be, and it seems his relationship to God was more ritualistic and liturgical than personal. In his study of the scriptures, he had to have read the accounts of the Lord answering prayers and fulfilling His promises. Yet when the angel appeared to him, breaking into his rituals to tell him that his own prayers would be answered, his response suggested a lack of faith. He could not bring himself to believe the angel’s words; he immediately provided the reason why God’s promise couldn’t come true.

The angel’s message was not only news of an answer to Zechariah’s personal prayer for a son; it also held a deeper significance for all of God’s people. The long-awaited son for Zechariah and Elizabeth would be the forerunner of the long-awaited Messiah who would take away the sin of the world. In responding doubtfully to the angel’s promise of a son, it appears that Zechariah completely missed the second part of the message given to him. Did he doubt the news of the coming Messiah as much as he doubted the news that there would be a child in his house at last?

Application and Questions to Ponder:

Christmas is often considered a time of miracles, a time to believe that prayers will be answered and that our wildest dreams will be realized. In our scientific and all-too-often skeptical world, miracles have been relegated to Christian novels, Hallmark movies, and the occasional Readers Digest article. If and when a miracle does occur in someone’s life, there is always someone who bursts in to offer a rational explanation–the doctors gave the wrong diagnosis, someone read the medical tests wrong, the vehicle was built to protect occupants in the event of an accident. But where we don’t allow for the possibility of miracles, we also don’t allow for the possibility of God to act.

Have you been praying earnestly and seeking God for something in your life? Do you truly believe that God can and will answer those prayers? How would you respond if God sent an angel to you right now to tell you that God had heard your prayer and would answer it?

What promises has God made to you that you can’t bring yourself to believe? What reasons have you given God for why His promises can’t/won’t come true?

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

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Breigh Forstner’s Straight From the Heart

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART

By BREIGH FORSTNER

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AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW!

‘MUSIC WAS IN HIS BLOOD, AND SHE WAS IN HIS HEART…..’

Young attractive rock girl playing the electric guitar

SYNOPSIS

Cale Pelton didn’t want to fall in love.

Fresh off a breakup, he was scrambling to find a new lead guitarist for his band, Everlasting, before they went on tour. He wanted to enjoy being single, singing his heart out nightly to fans.

Never did he expect to meet Bryn Schaefler, the sassy rich girl that would change his life.

Bryn left her parents’ house with only her suitcase and guitar, leaving her old life behind her. She nails the band audition and becomes Everlasting’s new lead guitarist. Bryn didn’t want to find Cale attractive, let alone develop a crush on a bandmate. But when trouble starts to find the band, Bryn starts tobelieve her family will do whatever it takes to get her home.

Will Cale and Bryn listen to their heads and stay strictly professional? Or will they follow their hearts and admit their feelings towards eachother?

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AUTHOR BIO

Breigh Forstner currently resides in Southeast Michigan with her two daughter. While she works full-time during the week, at night she spends time with her girls dancing and coming up with her next book idea. Her goal is to make it onto a best sellers list at some point in her career, and writes any chance she can get. She is a music lover and is a sucker for going to concerts, rock bands, and tattooed bad boys.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: www.facebook.com/breighforstnerauthor

Twitter: @BreighForstner

Instagram: https://instagram.com/breighforstner/

Blog Page: http://breighforstnerauthor.weebly.com/

BLOGGERS: For review copies, please contact the author.

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Follow Breigh’s book news as she’s featured on other blogs throughout the week, including author spotlights, author interviews, guest posts & more!

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Justin Edison’s The Churning

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THE CHURNING

By Justin Edison

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AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW!

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Synopsis

In Justin Edison’s second novel, Persian-American soccer star Arman Hessabi wakes in chains in a house of enemies. Driven in part by an abusive older brother, the hero feels his life is complete with the glory, women and riches afforded by a Premier League striker’s lifestyle. But he meets his match in Fat Man, Captain, Huck and Kay—men who hold him in thrall somewhere in Europe. Through trials, Hessabi comes to question his own ego and position in life. But is it too late for a soccer star with no apparent power over his own fate?

Author Bio

Justin A. Edison has been writing fiction and stories fortwenty-odd years. A graduate of the Evansville and Hamline writing programs, he counts among his adventures a rocking semester at Harlaxton (in the British Midlands) and a tour of the Czech Republic. His pursuits include hiking, Web site design, trying to fix the world (in too many ways) and playing soccer (rather poorly). He lives in the Seattle area with his wife, two energetic kids and a vocal cat.

The Churning is his second novel.

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Author Links

To contact the author: edisonchurning@gmail.com

www.jedisonwriting.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ChurningBook?ref=hl

@jedisonbooks

BLOGGERS: REVIEW COPIES ARE AVAILABLE. PLEASE CONTACT THE AUTHOR.

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Author Interview: Apollo Papafrangou

The Writing Life Blog

The Writing Life is pleased to welcome Apollo Papafrangou, author of the upcoming novel, Wings of Wax.

Apollo Papafrangou is a writer from Oakland, California, where he pens novels, short stories, and, occasionally, poems. He is a 2010 graduate of the Mills College Creative Writing MFA program, and the author of “Concrete Candy,” a short story collection published by Anchor Books in 1996 when he was just 15 years old.

His debut novel WINGS OF WAX, the story of a shy, young artist seeking to reconnect with his ladies’ man father in Greece, will be published in March, 2016 by Booktrope.

HBO Films optioned the movie rights to his story “The Fence” from 2000-2004, and his fiction has appeared in the 1998 Simon & Schuster anthology entitled “Trapped. Apollo’s work has appeared in “Voices,” a collection of works by Greek writers published in 2013 by Nine Muses Press, Quiet Lightning…

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Review of Jennifer Felton’s Through Life and Death

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As a rule, I’m not one for stories containing vampires, demons, or gods and goddesses, but Jennifer Felton’s Through Life and Death was a pleasant departure from what I view as the norm in those types of novels. Felton does a nice job of keeping her supernatural characters well grounded in the real world, and the reader has the sense that the events in this work of fiction could well occur in the real world.

Maya is the creator of The Council, a gathering of supernatural beings whose task it is to ensure the peaceful coexistence of humans and supernatural beings on earth. For too long, humans had blamed all manner of violence and riots on supernatural beings, resulting in the hunting of demons, witches, and others. The goal of the Council is to keep the supernatural aspect of these beings hidden from humans and to make humans believe that demons, vampires, and the like were either extinct or never existed in the first place. To do this, the Council has enlisted Enforcers who keep the supernatural beings in check and make sure they do nothing to call attention to themselves or their actions.

Maya and Sebastian, twin children of Katricne, Goddess of Time, and Tobias, King of Vampires/Hell, are more human than their supernatural parentage might suggest. Throughout the story, they struggle with the decisions they have to make and the actions they have to carry out as Goddess of the Unholy (Maya) and an Enforcer for the Council (Sebastian). These uncertainties help move the plot forward and make the characters believable and likable.

While much of the story seems to revolve around Sebastian and his duties with the Council, I was drawn to Maya’s personal struggle to belong. She especially seems to wrestle with who she is and what her place is, whether in the world of humans or in the heavens or Hell:

“Unfortunately, they [Maya and Sebastian] were half vampire and half god, so while they were too evil for the gods, the demons viewed them as too evil for hell. There had to be a happy medium, and living on earth amongst the humans was Maya’s solution.”

I really wish her struggle could have been developed further within this story, and I hope the author has a chance to do so in later sequels.

The main action of the story occurs as things in 19th Century England take a turn for the worse, and the tides of belief seem to be turning back to blaming supernatural beings for an increase in violence and rioting. This turn of events threatens the dual existence of the world of demons and the world of humans that Maya’s Council has worked so hard to achieve, and she realizes that she and Sebastian are no longer safe in England. Fearing for their safety and suspecting a traitor among them, she makes the decision that she, Sebastian, and Tobias must hastily leave England for the Americas.

One of the cleverest parts of this story for me happened when Sebastian set off to execute a woman believed to be a witch responsible for some gruesome murders. He and his manservant Watson arrive in the town where the accused witch is to be found, and he disguises himself as an officer of the law. He stops at a pub for a drink and to see if he can find out information about the accused, and he initiates conversation with doctor and would-be writer Mr. Arthur. When Sebastian introduces himself as Mr. Holmes, and regales him with toned-down stories of his experiences as an enforcer, it sets up the idea that he and Watson will come to be known in the future at the hand of the struggling writer at the pub.

An unexpected twist at the end of the story shows that Maya’s suspicion about a traitor in their midst was not unfounded, and Sebastian has to deal with the one he believes is the real enemy before he joins his father and his sister in the Americas.

This was a quick and enjoyable read, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Author Interview: Jennifer Felton

Hawk's Happenings

  1. Who is Jennifer Felton? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in the country, now I love in the city. I’ve been in a relationship for almost seven years now, and last Christmas Eve, he finally popped the question.

With three kids and a dog, life is hectic. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time (quiet time where I can actually hear myself think) to write, but I do the best I can. Occasionally, the writing bug comes and the house gets ignored. Small price to pay, right?

I’ve always loved to write, so it’s beyond words, how it feels to be a published author. Then again, it’s terrifying because there are very few people who have seen anything I have written, prior to being published. Despite the fear I’m sure most newbie authors face, this is it. This is what I have to do, what I’ve always…

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Author Interview: Jennifer Felton

  1. Who is Jennifer Felton? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in the country, now I love in the city. I’ve been in a relationship for almost seven years now, and last Christmas Eve, he finally popped the question.

With three kids and a dog, life is hectic. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time (quiet time where I can actually hear myself think) to write, but I do the best I can. Occasionally, the writing bug comes and the house gets ignored. Small price to pay, right?

I’ve always loved to write, so it’s beyond words, how it feels to be a published author. Then again, it’s terrifying because there are very few people who have seen anything I have written, prior to being published. Despite the fear I’m sure most newbie authors face, this is it. This is what I have to do, what I’ve always wanted to do. I have no choice but to make it work- especially since the characters like to badger me until I tell their stories!

  1. What made you write “Through Life & Death” and “Through Love & Hate?” This is a series I started working on a few years ago. Initially, it was supposed to be a trilogy. Through Life and Death started out as a character development exercise for my character of Sebastian! Eventually, it just took on a life of its own and the characters bullied me into making it a full-blown story!

    3. They say that life imitates art, but in my own experience, I’ve found that art often imitates life. Was there any aspect of your life that found its way into your novels?


While it’s safe to say that the events of the book are purely fictional, Through Love and Death is very special to me.

This was written to deal with the pain I was feeling when I found out a loved one was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Suddenly, one of the most kind and generous women I know, went from vibrant and healthy to being diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was like a punch to the gut.

In this book, a lot of what Anya goes through is based off parts of her journey, in some shape or form. Here, we have Megan willing to do anything, include sell her soul, in order for her best friend to live.

4. What has being a writer taught you about writing? About yourself? About life?

Anything is possible, and mistakes will always be made. LOL.

  1. And just for fun, what was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you still have it?

Honestly, notebooks and pens! *chuckles* I always preferred to be by myself in my room, and just write or draw. I wish I still had things I wrote from when I was young, but I think the earliest writings I still have are from my teenage years.

Jennifer Felton: One Hell of a Romance

 

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Through Life & Death

Through Love & Hate

 

by Jennifer Felton

http://authorjenniferfelton.com/

 

Series: One Hell of a Romance, Prequel & Companion

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Cover Designer:  Scott Deyet

 

Release Date: November 13, 2015

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Through Life & Death

 

One Hell of a Romance, Prequel

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Through Love & Hate

One Hell of a Romance, Companion

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Runaway Goodness/Booktrope Pre-Funk the Holidays

Hawk's Happenings

Have yourself a SCARY little Christmas; fill your hearts with FRIGHT…

If you enjoy a scary read, check out Runaway Goodness & Booktrope’s Pre-Funk the Holidays promotion. Lots of FREE ebooks November 9-14! Below is a list of the paranormal books offered during this promotion. Go to https://runawaygoodness.com/prefunk/ to check out these books, or search for your favorite genre.

Happy reading!

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