Monthly Archives: April 2012
Intended For Harm
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: February 2012
About the Book:
From Amazon.com: 1971: Jake Abrams is desperate to leave his oppressive home in Colorado and begina new life in college in LA, but his dreams are waylaid when he meets Leah, an antiwar protester who pushes him into marriage and family. Through four decades Jake struggles to raise a family, facing tragedy and heartbreak, searching for meaning and faith and challenging a silent God as he wanders through his life.
“Intended for Harm” is a contemporary family saga set between 1971 to present day loosely derived from the biblical story of Jacob and his family. The title comes from Gen 50:20: “What you intended for harm, God intended for good—for the saving of life…”
“Intended for Harm” explores the depth of a heart that doubts, and how it finds its way home to a God who has never been absent. It delves into the theme of harm—how those suffering loss and unmet needs intend harm toward others, but can find redemption through grace and humility.
Written in a contemporary flash-fiction style, “Intended for Harm” covers forty years, each chapter a year, with a theme from a hit song for that year. Each scene is a fifteen-minute snapshot of the Abrams family, a “photo album” of Jake’s life of wandering “through the wilderness” and coming home to faith at the end of his life. Anyone familiar with the Bible will recognize many similarities to the famous story of Jacob and his son Joseph. At the heart of this story is an exploration of fathers and sons, of loyalty and betrayal. And mostly, how we often intend harm to others because of wounds we carry in our souls, often without our knowing.
I enjoyed The Wolf of Tebron (Book1) in The Gates of Heaven Series when I read it a year or so back, but Christian allegory is not my favorite genre (except for The Chronicles of Narnia, of course). So I was tickled to learn that in addition to the “Gates of Heaven” series, C.S. Lakin also writes contemporary fiction – my favorite!!
I was tickled when I realized that Intended for Harm loosely parallels the life of Jacob and his son Joseph, from the Bible. All the major characters: Esau, Isaac, Rebeccah, Rachel, Leah, and 6 of Jacob’s 13 children are all represented in this modern story. I have to say that when I read the story of Joseph as a child, he was the character I most identified with. I couldn’t understand why his brothers hated him so much. Reading the story in a fresh light, as an adult, I can identify much more closely with the older brothers. I mean how annoying would it be if your brother turned to you and told you about a dream in which you bowed down to him? You’d probably want to slug him.
I love the story told for the modern day. I especially enjoyed the songs at the beginning of each chapter – many brought me back to my childhood. And the story of redemption and reunion is as touching and heartwarming as it is at times painful and heartwrenching. I highly recommend this book!!
About the Author:
C. S. Lakin writes novels in numerous genres, focusing mostly on contemporary psychological mysteries and allegorical fantasy. Her contemporary fiction novel Someone to Blame won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition 2009. Lakin’s Gates of Heaven fantasy series for adults features original full-length fairy tales in traditional style. Already in print are the first books in the series, The Wolf of Tebron and The Map across Time, with five more to follow. In addition to her mysteries and fantasy series, she has also written the first book in a Young Adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers. Her contemporary mystery Innocent Little Crimes made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher’s Weekly review which stated her book was “a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”
Lakin currently works as a freelance copyeditor and writing mentor, specializing in helping authors prepare their books for publication. She is a member of The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), CEN (Christian Editor Network), CAN (Christian Authors Network—regular blogger), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and two regional writers’ groups. She edits for individuals, small publishing companies, and literary agents, and teaches workshops and does critiques at writers’ conferences, and occasionally guest blogs on writing sites.
She is developing a swashbuckling dog memoir in the style of Moby Dick entitled A Dog after God’s Own Heart. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband Lee, a gigantic lab named Coaltrane, and three persnickety cats.
An Interview with C.S. Lakin:
TM: Do all of your books contain biblical and/or Christian elements? What draws you to those themes?
CSL: I want all my writing to glorify God and help people know He is there and cares for him, so what I write is motivated from that. Not all my books have spiritual or faith themes as I also like to explore the human condition, but ultimately they show we are flawed and need help.
TM: How did you choose the songs you use at the beginning of each chapter of Intended for Harm?
CSL: Each chapter in this book takes place in a particular year, so there are forty years and forty chapters, primarily. I chose a hit song for that year that fit in with the events going on in the life of the Abrams family.
TM: Did you encounter any obstacles in writing this book and if so how did you overcome them?
CSL: This book was a joy to write and although challenging to create 15-minute scenes that would be deep enough to convey the passage of forty years, I didn’t feel daunted but challenged and excited to put this book together. Although it’s quite a long book, it seemed to write itself and took about four months. I didn’t rewrite anything when I was done and felt led the whole time as the story unfolded.
TM: How do you balance your career as an editor with your writing?
CSL: Well, since I have bills to pay, my editing comes first. But when I have some slow days, I write. Somehow I get my novels written, and I have two I need to write in the next year for my publisher, but on a good writing day, I get about 5,000 words done, and so for a 100,000-word book, that comes out to 20 writing days to write a complete novel. If I need to, I’ll take a month and just write to finish a novel.
TM: What writers inspire you?
CSL: I love a lot of different writers’ books. For fantasy, Patricia McKillip—she’s the best. For mystery, Elizabeth George. I am now reading Charles Martin’s books and loving his depth and style.
You can visit Suzanne online at http://www.cslakin.com
What is skillet bacon jam? you ask. Here’s the definition from Skilletbaconjam.com:
What is bacon jam? Well, we take a big bunch of really, really good bacon and render it down…add a bunch of spices, onions, etc. and let it simmer for about 6 hours, give it a quick puree, blast chill it…take a left turn, and end up in pure bacon heaven.
I was lucky enough to receive a sample of skillet bacon jam to try for this review.
I made two recipes with the Skillet Bacon Jam. Here they are with critiques from my taste testers (Bud and his friends):
Bacon Cream Cheese Spread
1 part Skillet Bacon Jam
2 parts cream cheese
Combine the ingredients, then microwave for about 20 seconds on 80% power. Spread on your favorite cracker.
“Sweet”, “a sweet explosion in my mouth” and “not bad.” 8 out of 10 spice jars
Skillet Bacon Jam Cracker PIzzas
Skillet Bacon Jam
Spread one tablespoon of Skillet Bacon Jam per cracker, then top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese. Broil on low for 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.
This was the runaway favorite – “so good”, “I like this on the best,” and “can I have another”. 9.5 out of 10 spice jars!!
Personally, I think they were both good, but the bacon cream cheese spread is a lot more rich. So it’s up to you.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
It’s my six month blog-aversary and I’m celebrating by giving away some items from my Zazzle store.
The first prize I am giving away is this Just Breathe t-shirt.
The prize will be the winner’s choice of this style, the women’s tanktop or men’s t-shirt style.
2nd prize is the Just Breathe design on a coffee mug.
Thank you to all those who entered!!
You can visit my Zazzle store here. Use code PERSONALTEES to save 10% off your t-shirt purchase in my store.
I have been very lucky, through this blog, to meet and have the privilege of interviewing some phenomenal people. One of these amazing women is Rasheda Kamaria the founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Enchanted Power Girl. Empowered Flower Girl is an organization that provides motivational workshops and clothing that inspire girls and young women to live powerfully. It is my honor to be interviewing Rasheda today.
TM: How did Empowered Flower Girl begin?
RKW: I came up with the idea of Empowered Flower Girl back in 2005 when I was writing a manuscript for a guide book for girls. I always wanted to be an author and even thought of self-publishing a book. A couple years into the process, I encountered several teachers and parents who were asking about workshops to help teen girls resolve issues with cyberbullying and drama. That motivated me to turn my text into workshops.
TM: Why is it so important for a girl to have a mentor?
RKW: Mentors make a difference for people of all ages, especially girls. Even as early as elementary school, girls are building their social circles. They’re being included and excluded among their peers. The need to belong and connect is almost as powerful as the need to be fed.
Having positive female role models can transform their lives. A positive role model gives them that sense of connection they seek. I met my mentor when I was 13. She was my supervisor at my first summer job. Seeing a fun, down-to-earth, compassionate and humorous business professional helped me realize that grownups can work corporate jobs and have exciting social lives too. She showed me how to be effective at work and was the first person to teach me about ethics.
TM: Tell me about the motivational workshops you offer for girls.
RKW: Empowered Flower Girl offers engaging content that inspires youth, teachers, parents and the community. From workshops combating teasing, cyberbullying and cliques, to programs encouraging goal-setting and career exploration, Empowered Flower Girl helps schools and organizations address critical social issues in a way that empowers and entertains.
Our most popular workshop is Chica Chat, which is designed to foster positive and empowering relationships among girls and young women ages 11 to 18. Participants have the opportunity to be self expressed, heard and understood by their peers and adult mentors in a supportive, safe and accepting environment. Additionally, girls learn the art of networking by participating in fun and engaging icebreaking activities, written exercises exploring stereotyping and rumors and a Q&A session where they have the opportunity to ask questions anonymously that are answered by their peers with facilitation by adult mentors.
TM: What are ways we can grow the self-esteem of girls in our own communities?
RKW: I am a proponent for mentoring and modeling behavior so I definitely believe that mentoring girls – formal or informal – is a tool for building self-esteem in girls. Girls need to see women who are confident and pursuing their goals. The more we speak with optimism and hope for the future, the more they’ll actually believe that it is possible for them to achieve their own dreams.
TM: How can people help your organization?
RKW: People can help Empowered Flower Girl by spreading the word about our company and interacting with us online (@efgempowered; facebook.com/empoweredflowergirl). We’re more than a company that sells stuff – we’re on a mission to transform the way girls think of themselves. We want them to know that their age doesn’t limit them. Even as tweens and teens, they can have an impact in their own lives and in the world. People can support us by purchasing a t-shirt online at www.shop.empoweredflowergirl.com. We donate 25% of sales to support mentoring and youth organizations during campaigns like our National Mentoring Month “MenTEES: T-shirts for a Cause.”
If you know of or represent an organization that you would like to see highlighted on my blog, please leave me a comment below, or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
So, being big fans of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and having done our homework extensively, Art and I have started a free range guinea pig farm (or ranch?). South Americans domesticated guinea pigs, known as cuy (pronounced coo-ey), for food over 7000 years ago, and for good reason!! They are high in protein and breed like rabbits, LOL.
Guinea pig meat has become more and more popular in the U.S. over the past few years. You can find it frozen in specialty markets and even buy it from some food trucks!! So we thought we’d better get in on the game early. A cuy is larger than the average “pet” guinea pig – more the size of a small cat. To date, there are no cuy growers in the U.S, – all cuy meat is imported from Peru and other South American countries. We’ll be the first to grow cuy and sell cuy for meat in the U.S.!! We’ll clean up!!
The best thing about raising guinea pigs, even on a large scale, is that they don’t take up much space, they won’t run away, and they will keep our grass mowed year round!! Our little corgle has even learned to herd the little suckers!! I’ve included some photos of our first batch. They should be fully grown by summer and ready for market. Anyone want to be the first to try cuy? Come on – you know you want to be the guinea pig!!
If you’re still curious how we could open a guinea pig farm, remember this:
HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!!