19 November 2017

Dare from Deep Within – Character Interview with Fatima, Guest Post by Dina Sleiman

Dare from Deep Within – Character Interview with Fatima
Guest Post by Carol Award-winning Author Dina Sleiman

We're delighted at OWG to welcome Carol Award winner Dina Sleiman, who is interviewing beautiful Fatima from her new novel. Look further down the post for the blurb from this new release! Welcome Ladies!

(Dina) Hello Fatima! Tell us a little bit about your role in Dare from Deep Within, as well as book 1 in this series, Dance from Deep Within.
Fatima: My role in book 1 was small. My best friend in the world, Layla, had just set off on a grand adventure to go to a university. It was a dream we always shared. I know we live in America where such things are normal, but we’re both Muslims. Of course, Layla’s Lebanese family is much more liberal than my Saudi Arabian family, and it only took her a few years to convince them. So while she was off studying and making new friends, I was locked away at home. My parents stopped letting me leave the house, even in my normal full veil that covered everything but my eyes. My father was determined to marry me off and send me to Saudi Arabia, and the more I resisted the meaner he got.

That must have been a dark time for you. But you’re here now, what changed?
Fatima: I don’t like to dwell on that time. I tend to look at the bright side and enjoy life. Fortunately, Layla and two of her American friends kept emailing me during that period. That brings us to book 2. Everything finally came to a head when I overheard my father telling my brothers to purchase drugs to try to force me onto a plane to Saudi Arabia. I grabbed my purse, my veil, and my brother’s wallet and dashed out the door to find Layla and my new friends in Virginia.

Weren’t you afraid they would follow you there?
Fatima: I was hoping I got enough of a head start from Detroit. I took a bus and surprised Layla, and I arrived in my full niqab veil, which I realized afterwards was a mistake. It was just such a habit for me to wear it, and it hid my cuts and bruises, which I was ashamed to show. Oh my, this is definitely getting too sad now. Anyway, I quickly found a new home with Layla’s friend Rain, she’s hysterical, and her boyfriend works in security, so I felt safe there.

What was your new life like?
Fatima: Wonderful! My friends really rallied around me. I felt so loved, and I quickly adjusted to Rain’s boyfriend, James, seeing my face. I watched a lot of television and read a lot of books like I did at home. Then I got braver and visited a church and even helped with a soup kitchen. It felt great to be helping others instead of just being the one who needed helped.

Did your family come after you?
Fatima: I don’t want to spoil the story. Let’s just say things got harder before they got easier.

Okay, and I have to ask, do you still think of yourself as a Muslim? Do you still believe in God?
Fatima: A Muslim? I would have to say no. I’ve seen too much darkness in that religion. So much terror and abuse. I didn’t grow up with the beautiful, peaceful side like Layla did, but even she left Islam and is now a Christian believer. I was hoping for a while that maybe there was no God at all. But when my story reached its lowest point, what happened…well, I could only call it a miracle. I’m thinking that maybe God does exist, that He reached out to me, and that He’s more loving and kind than I ever expected. I still have a lot to figure out, but I can tell you that my story has a happy ending.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about the book?
Just don’t get the wrong impression and think it’s a sad book. It’s full of humor and romance and lots of interesting perspectives and characters, although my story drives the plot forward. And I think you’ll get a fresh perspective on God and life. I know I certainly did!
Dare from Deep Within: Three young women from varying backgrounds risks everything to help a friend escape her abusive family. Still at odds with her own Muslim parents, Layla faces unexpected challenges when her childhood companion shows up at her doorstep. As Fatima risks everything for freedom, her desperate circumstances draw a new circle of friends who will be forever changed by her plight. Layla, the Muslim-background believer, turns to a forbidden boyfriend for the guidance both to protect Fatima and to find her identity apart from her parents and her former culture. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, secrets Fatima away from her violent family, but as the experience draws her closer to Christ, Rain's own relationship with her significant other, James, will suffer the consequences. Sarah, an ultra-conservative Christian on the surface, is torn between a desire to help Fatima and a need to conceal her shameful double life and dangerous habits from her older sister, Allie. As they struggled to safely guide this courageous young woman through a maze of intrigue and terorism, all will be forced to ask what they are willing to risk for love, for each other, and for God.
Author Dina Sleiman

Dina Sleiman is a Carol Award winner and holds a Masters in Fine Arts. She's a multi-published author with several publishing houses including Bethany, Zondervan, Whitefire and more. In her day job, Dina utilizes her writing talent with Operation Blessing International. She also serves on the Editorial Board at Whitefire Publishing. Most of the time you'll find this Virginia resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and children, preferably at the oceanfront! Visit her at http://www.dinasleiman.com

Buy links: amazon Barnes & Noble 

17 November 2017

Review of Jan Karon's Audiobook "To Be Where You Are"

Another Winner!

To Be Where You Are (Penguin Random House Audio. 2017)
by Jan Karon

John McDonough does the narration on this new novel from Jan Karon. I was so delighted to go back to beloved Mitford. This time we get more of Dooley's story. With scenes from the "point of view" of almost every Mitford character, diehard enthusiasts like me will be in seventh heaven.  John McDonough "is" Father Tim. I couldn't associate any other narrator with this wonderful character.

Bibliotherapy aspects: Adoption, infertility, aging, family, faith.

Do yourself a huge favor and purchase the audiobook now! I purchased mine through audible.com as a download. This book is also available in multiple formats.

12 November 2017

The Fuzzy Socks Ministry -- 3 Reasons to Craft Gifts

Fuzzy Pink Socks -- Image from Easy

I had the joy of speaking with a beloved family member recently who shared with me how much she enjoyed a special pair of fuzzy socks she had. You see, my mother, Ruby Evelyn Skidmore Fancett, who passed away seven years ago, had knit them for this special lady. My mom was always making lovely things, particularly quilts, and gifting them. She had a special knack for knowing who needed what. Granted, she may have asked! This family member shared that she could no longer wear any of her shoes, but the fuzzy hand-knit socks are now keeping her feet warm. And we both shared a good cry remembering how my mom loved people and shared her talents with them.

If you're thinking of making some heartfelt hand-made gifts this season, here are three reasons you really should:

1) You're creating the gift of self. The giving of your time.

2) Hand-crafted items can be the gift of love. They represent that you care enough to make something unique for the recipient.

3) Well-made hand-crafted gifts can last even longer than the maker and be a beautiful reminder of #1 and #2 above -- someone took the time to send you a gift of love.

In a way, books are a hand-crafted gift by the author to the readers. That's something I realize now.

Question: Have you ever crafted something special for a loved one? How was it received? I'm giving away a commenter's choice of several pairs of my hand-made earrings (here's an example above) OR one of any of my books this week.

09 November 2017

Giveaway - My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leana's Choice by Angie Dicken

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate Utah by Angie Dicken

Book blurb:
Journey now to Castle Gate, Utah of 1910 where...
Forbidden Love Tries to Survive Old World Expectations

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart...and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him.  When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

Guest Post by Andrea Stephens
Andrea's Thoughts

This book fits the theme of Overcoming With God so well.
     Leanna must overcome the guilt and anger she has for herself and her late husband. “How many times had she prayed forgiveness since Jack's death? Yet how many times had she thought ill of the man since he's been laid to rest?”
     Alex must overcome the prejudice between Greek immigrants and the Americans.  More importantly, he must overcome the feeling that God left him when his wife died.
     Leanna and Alex acknowledge their love. During a discussion,  Leanna says “But we have a whole country against a match like ours.”  Leanna decides it is best for everyone if she leaves and accepts a new job in Salt Lake. Before she leaves, a wealthy family friend finds her in Castle Gate from a letter she had written to her cousin. He offers to marry her, restoring her to her family and former life. She does not love him, but he does offer security. What will she do?
    Leanna leaves Castle Gate after tragedy strikes the Pappas family. Will they be able to overcome the hate crime?
     Months pass, both Alex and Leanna have moved on with their lives but are not happy. It is only after surrendering everything to God that they see the truth. Will it be together or apart? 
This is a good book! It is so much more than a romance. It made me want to look up some of the historical points for more information. I was not taught any of this in school.   I enjoyed the bits of Greek culture and tradition I learned from the book too.

     Angie Dicken did a wonderful job of writing the message of hope in truth and forgiveness throughout the story of Leanna and Alex.
     I will leave you with another quote from the book.
“Plan? We are all foolish to think we have the best plans for ourselves, aren't we? There's something greater nudging us out of the darkness.”

Giveaway: A paperback copy of Angie Dicken's new release My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leana's Choice from Barbour Publishing!

05 November 2017

Interview & Giveaway With Angie Dicken -- Overcoming Marital Struggles

Angie, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
About three years ago, my husband and I went through a very low point in our marriage. For about a year, we even questioned whether we should stay married or not. It was a very difficult time, and I still feel the residual from emotional wounds inflicted by both of us.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
Isaiah 61:3- and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

 Psalm 34:18- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 1Peter 4:8- Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty? 
The people around me helped me cope with this difficulty. I have dear friends—some who are writers and know my heart—and I also have some Godly men and women who would speak to me when I couldn’t hear from God myself. They all said the same thing, and God confirmed it in His word. I know now, that above all else, God was calling me to love my husband. And as soon as I recognized that, I had an overwhelming sense of love for him again. It was amazing!

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
Yes, My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah is available in Large Print.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
In my story, the hero and heroine deal with prejudice from both their families and those around them. I hope that my book offers encouragement and understanding for those who find themselves discriminated against, or questioning God’s acceptance of those different than themselves. Ultimately, my book points to the same conclusion I discovered in my marriage, that Love truly does cover a multitude of sins, it breaks through the toughest barriers, and it’s the driving force for everything God does in this world.

BIOAngie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in Cambridgeshire, England. Now living in the U.S., she's an ACFW member, a blog contributor to the Writer's Alley, a baseball mom, and a self-proclaimed foodie. Two of her historical romance novels comprise her Fall 2017 debut: The Outlaw’s Second Chance, in September, and My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah, in November. She also writes historical and contemporary fiction. Sign up for her newsletter at www.angiedicken.com

Angie’s Links:
website www.angiedicken.com
Author Page on Amazon

Giveaway: A copy of My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate Utah: Leanna's Choice. Answer Angie's question: What situation have you found yourself in that has ultimately ended in you stepping out in love first, regardless of receiving love in return?

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