Friday, January 25, 2013

BOOK GIVEAWAY!


Please welcome fellow DeWard author and friend, CAROLE TOWRISS! I'm excited to introduce Carole to all of you as she is celebrating her debut novel's release IN THE SHADOW OF SINAI. Here is my review of her wonderful novel:

A STORY EPIC IN NATURE

I was there! I felt like I was right there in the palace of ancient Egypt. Carole Towriss brought the Bible to life. Amazing how an author can make me wonder what's going to happen next, even though I know what's going to happen. After all, it's a Bible story. But told from the unique perspective of Bezalel, a Hebrew Egyptian slave, I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen to him and Ramses' lovely concubine, Meri.

Bezalel's name means "in the shadow of God." He thinks it's a negative place to be, but it's a good place because that's where he's safe. A great spiritual lesson, and something we all need to realize when we don't want to submit to God. His shadow is our protection!

The Shadow of Sinai is a definite page-turner.

Back Cover Blurb   Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.
     When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful, young concubine.
     When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…

LET'S GET TO KNOW CAROLE:

Carole, what are 5 things you love? 

Ummm … my husband and four kids? J  OK:
1.     The beach
2.     Summer
3.     Mexican food
4.     Chocolate
5.     A hot bath and a book



Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?        

I absolutely dread making phone calls. I would rather email or do it online I just hate making appointments or doing tasks by phone.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?       

The message of Sinai is the sovereignty of God. Bezalel has to learn to accept what God has done in his life, good and bad, and there are some pretty bad things. But the trials in our lives often have a purpose, even when we can’t see it. Bezalel’s grandfather tells him, “You can trust God, or be blown about like a leaf in the wind.”

What inspired you to write this story?        

I was reading the Bible - I think I was in church - in Exodus 31. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.' And I thought, 'Now how would a slave know how to do all that?' God could have just poof, given him all that knowledge, but that's no fun, and generally not how God works. So I made up a story.

Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.

It’s pretty unusual, and I’m not sure you realize how much you had to do with getting Sinai published, Sandi. At at least three points you played a major role.

I was in an online critique group with you. You told me my main character was boring, and no one would care about him, that I needed to add a flaw. I did, and you finally proclaimed it worthy! That’s about when you first got sick. I had to rewrite most of the manuscript, but it flowed easily from there. I completed it in February 2011. 

I went to a conference that April and an agent asked for the full manuscript. I sent it, but then I never heard from her again. I’d finished it, but not all of it had gone through my crit groups.
While I waited and polished, I entered several contests. Most were romance contests, as they are most popular. I always got dinged because my story is not a romance and does not follow the very strict rules. But I learned even more—it’s a great and inexpensive way to get good feedback.  I won second place twice and first place once.


Eight months later, when the manuscript completed the crit rounds and I was happy with it, I tried the agent once more, then I heard a small, traditional press—your publisher—was looking for Biblical fiction. He asked for the full an hour later. Three months later he offered me a contract. He told me later that you gave him the final nudge and said he should publish it. Six months after that I had a book in my hands! With my name on it! That’s the advantage of working with a smaller press.

Do you have anything else coming out? 

I’m almost finished with the sequel, which I hope will be published next fall. It’s called By the Waters of Kadesh, and it’s the story of the spies in Canaan. I also have a short story, “Thirty Minutes or Less,” in an anthology by OakTara called I Choose You, available now.

What does the act of writing mean to you? 

Writing is about the only thing I do that is just for me, just mine. It’s something I feel I was meant to do, I have to do. I think every writer feels like God wants them to write, like God gave them the story. I feel the same way.

How do you do the research for your books? How does the research differ between historical or contemporary? 

Since it’s a Bible story, I start there. For facts about the land or history, I use books, the internet. If it’s on the internet, I make sure I find it in three or four places, or quoted in a book or very reputable place before I use it. I try to find tidbits about plants or animals or things like that to add some authenticity.

What do you love about writing? 

Seeing where it goes! Sometimes the characters take me in a completely unexpected direction! In this book, one charater was supposed to disappear after chapter one. She ended up being a main character. She’s even in book two!

How do you develop the plot of your novels? 

The basic plot is the Bible story. From there, I try to immerse the characters into the story, and show what’s going on from their points of view, what’s happening in their lives. As a general rule, what happens to the group in the book comes from the Bible, what happens to an individual comes from my imagination. 

Places for readers to learn more about you?


Carole, thank you so much for joining us on my blog. It was great to have you here and to learn how my earlier critiques encouraged you, whew (so glad they didn't have the opposite effect). For those who wish to win a copy of Carole's awesome book, leave a comment with your email like so sandirog at gmail dot com. 

Best of luck to the winner!

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me on your blog, Sandi! It's so pretty!

    Carole

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  3. Would love a copy of this book! mandyerog at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! (Your name looks vaguely familiar...)

      Carole

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  4. Thank you so much for the very interesting interview. It was really neat to see how you, Sandy, went through the process of rewriting and then getting your manuscript published. I love Biblical fiction and would enjoy reading reading book. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Kay, It was a lot of work, but worth it in the end!

      Carole

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  5. Carole, your book sounds so interesting. Every time I read through the Bible, I learn something new. I would love to read this book, to get a different perspective of this story. I am in a contest over at CQ, with a chance to win a copy of I Choose You. It sounds like a very good read, too. Thanks for being here and giving me the chance to win. Blessings.
    debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

    Sorry, had to delete my previous post because I put my email wrong.

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    1. I enjoy telling a well-known story from a different point of view, especially that of a minor character most people have never heard of before. I hope you enjoy it!

      Carole

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  6. I've had the privilege of reading Carole's second manuscript and can testify to what a good writer she is. She brings Biblical stories to life through the eyes of characters you quickly come to care about very much.

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    1. Thanks, Laura!

      Laura is a tremendous writer as well. She just won a major contest-- you should check her out!

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  7. Would love to be the recipient of your book! I follow Sandi Rog's blog and know her SIL Amanda, so will enjoy anyone she recommends. My e-mail address is jmxmas50@yahoo.com. Blessings for your new book!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am very happy to hear that!

      Carole

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  8. Hi, Ihave heard good things about this book from another source. I would love to read it.

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    1. Wow, Teresa, that makes my day! Thank you!

      Carole

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  9. This is so great to hang out with Sandi and Carole, as we were all members of the same crit group and I got to read two great biblical fiction stories before the rest of your commenters. So there!

    Carole, I'm so happy for you. Your writing went from good to great in such a short period of time, and I know readers are going to enjoy this series. It has always been a treat to sink in to your setting and live that incredible story through your characters' eyes!

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  10. Debra,

    -also a major contest OVERALL winner. I consider your compliments high praise! Thanks for joining us. I know we'll see your books in print soon.

    Carole

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WHEN THE WORLD SAYS YOU CAN'T, FAITH SAYS YOU CAN!