Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Our Search for Significance

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that every now and then I have these – “Just Thinking” moments. Well, here’s another one.

Exodus

This weekend I went to see the movie Exodus, Gods and Kings starring Christian Bale (you know – the old Batman). As a believer of the Bible, I was curious to see how the creators and directors would portray the second book of the Bible. I must say, I enjoyed the movie. Not just because it had some great action, dynamic actors, and some AWESOME special effects, but also because they did a good job in telling part of Moses’ story. Granted they took a few creative liberties (which I liked), but for the most part, they were on point. Initially, I wasn’t sure I liked the part of how they had God reveal Himself to Moses, but by the end of the movie, I thought it worked. And then there were some scenes that were absolutely brilliant! As a Believer, those scenes, were downright powerful, reminding me that God is truly in control. Throughout the movie, you clearly saw the power of God.

For those who are not familiar with the book of Exodus (in the Bible), you might want to check it out before seeing the movie. You’ll better understand various parts.

Oh, and let me say this about the movie – I’m REALLY glad I didn’t go and see the movie in 3D. The scenes with the plagues would have totally freaked me out! Lol.

I can’t say that I had one favorite part, but one of the things that intrigued me about Exodus (the movie) is how Moses struggled with the truth about who he really was. He was raised as an Egyptian, but born a Hebrew. Once the truth was revealed, I wouldn’t necessarily say that he was searching for significance, but I enjoyed watching his internal conflict play out from that moment on in the movie. I also liked how the creators of the movie showed him arguing (sort of) with God. Basically saying that  – You want me to help free your people, but You need to help a brotha out! Okay, maybe he didn’t really say it like that – but that’s what I heard (in my own twisted way of hearing/thinking – smile).

At any rate, it was an enjoyable movie that got me to thinking. Hence, my “Just Thinking” moment.  I think many of us search for significance. Either by trying to keep up with the latest fashions, by trying to be seen with a popular person or group, or anything else that will make us feel important – like we matter. It’s easy to forget that none of that really matters as long as we know who we are to God.

As we go into the Christmas season, I can’t help but feel blessed in knowing that I have a wonderful family and amazing friends who make me feel like I matter. But most importantly, I know I’m significant because of whose I am. I belong to God. For me – just as long as I remember that, nothing else matters.

“For I am the Lord your God…you are precious and honored in my sight.” Isaiah 43:3-4.

Merry Christmas All!

Have a fun and safe holiday season and remember that you are significant and loved!

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December 18, 2014 Posted by | Just Thinking | | Comments Off on Our Search for Significance

Leap into the Knight and Giveaway

Tour-Banner-Leap-into-the-Knight

It is with great pleasure that I welcome M.J. Schiller back to my blog! She’s on a blog tour and introducing her latest release: LEAP INTO THE KNIGHT. She’s also doing a giveaway – but more about that shortly. Check out her new release:

LeapIntoKnight_CVR_MED

Blurb:

Sir Darius Lee is a Knight of the High Order.

But when Darius discovers a stranger in his room in the middle of the night, and the intruder turns out to be a beautiful woman, he begins to question how he is meant to live his life.

Princess Megan of Bethyea is being held captive.

But when two knights help her to escape and bring her back to her home planet, she finds the home she knew no longer exists.

When The Council of Twelve questions Darius about his relationship with Maggie, she tries to flee from The Academy of the High Order to prevent him from losing his knighthood.

Will Darius and Orion find Maggie before she leaves Albion? And if they do, how can they face the decision of The Council? And what about the feelings Orion has developed for the princess?

Excerpt:

Darius Lee sat up in bed and listened to the darkness. What interrupted his sleep and caused him to become so fully awake? Several seconds elapsed while he held his breath and waited, but he heard no noise. Still, he was aware someone else was in the suite he shared with his young novice, Orion Quinn. He closed his eyes and tuned into his Spirit Within in order to get a feel for his current level of danger. He sensed at once the outside presence he felt in the room was not threatening. Despite that, he knew something must be amiss for a stranger to enter their rooms unannounced in the middle of the night.

He had been uneasy since he and Orion landed here on Faador on their latest mission. It all started when The Academy of The High Order, where Darius gained his knighthood, received a transmission from an older man dressed in uniform. The man stated Faador’s leader, Justin Filithy, held captive a woman, a princess, from another planet. Little was known about Filithy other than he had some questionable dealings with slave traders. Details of the princess’s abduction were sketchy too, as the communication was cut short. The Order sent Orion and him to quietly investigate any wrong doing under the guise of a routine security check. Yet, ever since they arrived, the leader was occupied elsewhere. In fact, the whole place was crawling with guards and he surmised they were under a high alert of some kind, but no one provided any information. A trio of soldiers stuck them in this suite and promised a meeting with Filithy the next day. He was annoyed by the delay, but since they arrived on the planet late in the afternoon it seemed reasonable to wait until morning.

He slid out from underneath his lightweight bedcover without making a sound and grabbed his clothes, which were lying on a chair beside the bed. He slipped his head through the opening in the loose-fitting shirt, but left it untied at the neck, glancing at his laser-sword leaning against the nightstand. He decided to leave it. No need to scare anyone off if they meant no harm. He would simply have to use caution.

Darius reached the door and thankfully it slid open across its tracks without the usual high-pitched hydraulic hiss. He made out a figure standing in the open doorway to the room where his novice slept. The interloper was dressed in the same slightly puffy white uniform of the guards who they’d seen in abundance ever since they arrived. He was amused at first by the fleeting thought that they resembled marshmallows. Now as he watched the shadowy form, he was curious. What reason would anyone have to steal into their rooms like this? The guard wore a white helmet as the others had, with a tinted visor which could conceal the entire face. This visor, however, was open. Darius could see it flipped on top of the helmet, no doubt so the guard could see in the dim lighting. He wondered why the sight of this stranger gazing at Orion, who was lying completely unaware and vulnerable, didn’t alarm him more. But again, something told him the intruder was frightened, even desperate, but not a threat.

His training taught him how to enter the room without a sound, but the stranger seemed to detect his presence, darting to the left toward the door leading to the outer hallway. Darius took several steps before launching his six-foot-four-inch frame, timing his tackle perfectly. He wrapped his arms around the fleeing legs, bringing both parties down heavily. On contact the stranger’s helmet flew off and skittered across the dura-tile by the entryway. The guard twisted around to try to fight him off, while Darius sought to pin his shoulders to the ground. To his immense surprise he found himself staring into the face of a beautiful, terrified young woman. Long, wavy blonde hair fanned out on the floor as she struggled to free herself from his grasp. Their gazes locked and he drew his breath in a rush. Hers were the eyes of the hunted, wide and intensely blue-green. The oddest sensation came over him, as if, in that one look, an invisible hand reached into him and somehow tied him to this unknown woman. At the same time it was like the connection had been there all his life, an answer to a question he never knew to ask.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he whispered to calm her. Surprisingly she stilled, searching his face as if to determine something there about him. “If I let you up, do you promise to stay here and answer a few questions for me?”

She hesitated.

“I will not harm you.” He dipped his head to better catch those eyes. “Trust me.”

Something in the way he said it seemed to convince her, and she nodded slowly. He released her arms and moved to the side. He sensed she was still tensed to flee if necessary, but for the moment, she decided to place her trust in him.

*

Get your copy today! AmazonBarnes &  Noble | Kobo Book

About the Giveaway:

M.J. is giving away one of four copies of AN UNCOMMON LOVE.

An uncommon love

Here’s on you can enter the giveaway – Rafflecopter

 

About the Author:

MJ-Schiller

 

I was born in Overland Park, KS, grew up in St. Louis, MO, went to school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and moved to Bloomington, IL fresh out of college.  I worked as a high school/junior college teacher, personnel recruiter, office manager of a jewelry store, and, for the past ten years, as a lunch lady.  I  like to karaoke and attend rock concerts.  I’m also actively involved at church and spend too much time on Facebook.  I am  the mother of a seventeen-year-old, fifteen-year-old triplets, and have been married to my husband, Don, for over twenty-four years.

I have been a writer all my life.  My first book, which was co-written with Mary Ellen Murphey in second grade, was titled The Black Cat, and was written on blue hotel stationary, hole-punched, and bound by white yarn.  I believe it is currently  out of circulation.

When I turned forty, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized those bigwig publishing houses in New York were now probably run by people younger than me, so I shouldn’t be intimidated by them.  At about the same time, I was watching one of those award shows, and Jaclyn Smith got up to give a posthumous award to Aaron Spelling.  She credited him for encouraging her to go into acting, saying something brilliant like, “Reach for your dreams.”  Nothing new.  Almost even seems a little Jiminy Cricketish.  But, for some reason, it struck me that night.  When Aaron Spelling was thirteen, he was probably just like any other acned thirteen-year-old.  But he worked to achieve his dreams, and became a household name.  So, I  began to write.  Once I finished my first book,I wasn’t able to stop.  I would rather write than do just about anything else.  After all, I get to make people (characters) do what I want, and design their happy endings. What power!  And what a  privilege.

M.J.’s Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Blog Guest | , | 5 Comments

Color of Love Blog Hop and Giveaway

ColorofLove_Banner500pwHi All!

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with some awesome books and great giveaways? It’s that time of the year where we celebrate our love for characters of color in romantic fiction in the Color of Love Blog Hop. From December 4th thru December 8th, not only do you get to meet some great writers, but you also get a chance to win LOTS of books and prizes (including a $50 gift card)! But first, let me tell you about my Color of Love featured novel.

I enjoy reading and writing romance. Not just because you’re guaranteed a happily-ever-after, but also because love has no color. As an author who usually writes multi-cultural and African American romance, I recently released my first interracial romance – ALL YOU’LL EVER NEED, book 2 of the Jenkins Family Series. Check it out:

AllYou'llEverNeed 300x200

Blurb

A woman wants what a woman wants…

Quick-witted, sassy, construction worker, Jada (JJ) Jenkins, loves the finer things in life. She’d rather be in designer clothes and stilettos than sporting steel-toe boots and a hard hat. She hates getting dirty and worst, sweating. Jada’s ready to quit her job and marry a wealthy man who’s able to support her shopping addiction and her expensive taste. She’s not looking for love, only a comfortable lifestyle. What she doesn’t expect to find is a blue-eyed hunk with dimples and a disarming ability to throw her off her game.

For professional football player Zack Anderson, its love at first sight when he meets Jada. The fact that she’s a construction worker is even better. He wants a woman who’s not afraid to get down and dirty, someone who enjoys fishing, hiking and the great outdoors. He thinks he’s found that in Jada.

Before he loses his heart, will Zack discover that the last thing on this feisty steel-toe-boot-wearing-beauty’s mind is getting her hands dirty with love?

Excerpt:

“Okay, answer this. What do I have to do to get a man as fine as yours, one who worships the ground I walk on, and is crazy wealthy?” She rolled her neck and slapped her hand down on the table. “I’m talkin’ stinkin’ rich as in lunch on the French Riviera and dinner at La Vague d’Or in Saint Tropez.”

Toni shook her head, and a wide grin tilted the corners of her rose-colored lips. “I know suggesting that you lower your standards is out of the question. So I won’t bother. I will say though, when the right man comes along, it’s not going to matter if he’s downright fine and stinkin’ rich. All that’s going to matter, or should matter is that he treats you right and loves you unconditionally.”

“Uh, well, yeah, it is going to matter if he’s fine and rich because if he isn’t he won’t be able to hang with me.” Jada ignored the way Toni’s perfectly arched eyebrows slanted in a frown. “Now what’s the scoop on the hunks who just walked up to your new hubby? The one on the far right looks as if he could carry a small car on his back.”

“Those are the guys he grew up with. Actually, today might be your lucky day.” Toni perked up, a mischievous glint shined in her eyes as she adjusted the hem of her beaded lace wedding gown. “Craig’s bringing Zack over.”

“How does that make it my lucky day?”

“Because he’s single and he’s gawking at you.”

Jada sized him up as he approached. At least six-one, broad shoulders that tapered down to a narrow waist, dark, spiked hair, and a powerful stride – he was a walking billboard for everything masculine. “Mmm, I don’t think so. He’s definitely a cutie in that Channing Tatum kind of way. But I like my men like I like my chocolate – dark and exceedingly rich.”

“Is that right?” Toni placed her soda on the table and sat forward in her chair, her elbow on the table and amusement danced in her eyes. “Well, did I happen to mention that he’s a professional football player who plays for the Cincinnati Cougars and has just renewed his contract for nine-point-five-million?”

Jada’s mouth dropped open.

“Oh, and that’s only for one year.”

Damn!” Jada smoothed down the front of her bridesmaid dress that stopped just above her knees and ran her fingers through her long auburn streaked curls. She quickly pulled a tube of lipstick from her strapless bra and ran the Coral Berry over her lips, and then took another glance at Craig’s friend. “It’s a good thing I’m switching over. I hear white chocolate, like milk, does a body good.”

“What?” Toni narrowed her eyes. “I’ve never heard that before.”

“Oh, hush up and tell me if I have any food in my teeth.”

Toni shook her head and laughed. “Girl, you’re a mess!”

“Hey, baby, are you feeling better?” Craig bent slightly and brushed Toni’s bangs away from her forehead. “Did the soda help?” He extended his hand to help her rise to her feet and rubbed his large palm over her barely-there baby bump.

“Between the soda and the crackers you hunted down for me earlier, I’m feeling much better. You take such good care of me,” Toni said in a baby-like voice.

“That’s my job. I plan to spend the rest of my life taking very good care of you, Mrs. Logan.” Craig lowered his head and his lips brushed against Toni’s.

Jada rolled her eyes when the newlywed’s lip-lock grew more intense and Toni’s arms snaked around her husband’s neck.

“You guys have a lifetime to play kissy-face.” She stood and turned her gaze to the man standing next to her cousin-in-law. He was even sexier up close, and then he smiled. Her knees weakened. Oh my God, he has dimples. A sucker for a man with dimples, the once steady beat of her heart now pounded double-time. Her hand hovered over her chest as she struggled to fill her lungs with air. Okay, just breathe. She told herself over and over again.

“Are you all right?” the sexy gift from God asked, his palm at the small of her back sent a spark of desire shooting through her veins. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“Uh, no. No, I’m fine.” She definitely had to pull herself together. Never has a man seen her sweat and she sure as hell wasn’t going to let a cutie with a nine-point-five-million dollar contract see her off her game.

“Evidently we’re invisible,” Craig’s friend said and removed his hand from her back. His voice intoxicatingly deep sent an exciting shiver up her spine. “I’m Zack Anderson.”

*

Get Your Copy Today!  Amazon | B&N  | Smashwords | ARe

About the Giveaways:

This is how the blog hop works. Each blog stop (50 blogs) is giving away prizes AND the blog hop has FIVE grand prizes as well! You can go to EACH blog stop and leave a comment to be entered to win. That means you can enter at all 50 blog stops! More details below.

But first – here’s what I’m giving away:

1st Prize – A $10 Amazon or B&N gift card (you must be a subscriber to this blog or follow me on Facebook to be eligible for this prize)

2nd Prize – An ecopy of STILL THE BEST WOMAN FOR THE JOB, book 1 of the Jenkins Family Series AND a $5 Amazon or B&N gift card.

How to enter to win:

In the comment section below, answer one of the following questions: What do you enjoy most about IR/Multi-cultural romance novels? Or, why do you read romance novels? NOTE: Don’t forget to leave your response in the comment section below.

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NOW, here are the Color of Love Blog Hop Prizes:

Grand prizes:

1st prize $50 Amazon GC + 7 ebooks

2nd prize $25 Amazon GC + 7 ebooks

3rd prize $15 Amazon GC + 7 ebooks

4th prize $10 Amazon GC + 6 ebooks

5th prize $5 Amazon GC + 6 ebooks

How to enter to win: A Rafflecopter Giveaway

ColorofLove_collageFINAL

Click on the photo of book covers above, for the list of 50 blogs participating in the Color of Love Blog Hop. REMEMBER – every blog stop is giving away prizes!

Deadline: You must enter no later than 11:59 p.m est on Monday, December 8, 2014. This goes for all blog stops and the rafflecopter.

I will post winners in the comment section below by Wednesday, December 10th. Note: The winners will have been contacted via email by this time.

Good Luck – I hope you win!

(don’t forget to leave a comment below)

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Blog Hop | | 28 Comments

Simon’s Splinter and Giveaway By James Fant

NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHT!

I’m happy to announce the release of James Fant’s third romance, SIMON’S SPLINTER. Check out the blurb and excerpt. James is also giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card and a free Kindle copy of the novel. Enter to win below.

SimonsSplinterEbookCover

Blurb:
He said he would never marry her.

The splinter said otherwise.

Aisha Elian is NOT in love with the man of her dreams. Her boyfriend Graham isn’t spiritual and he never ever wants to get married. Aisha says she’s okay with that but she’s lying to herself and Graham.

Enter the Splinter.

The Elians believe that they are descendants of Simon of Cyrene. Also, they possess a splinter they insist was pulled from Simon’s hand after he carried the cross for Jesus. If the splinter resides in their home, it will give them what they desire. Aisha wants to marry Graham. But will she use the splinter’s power to do it…even when she thinks it is killing him?

Excerpt:

“I don’t see why you’re making a big deal about this,” Graham protested as Aisha paced back and forth across the white and black tiles of their kitchen floor.

“You don’t see this as a problem?” she replied. Her nerves were clearly fried.

“It’s going to be okay.”

“No, it’s not. You don’t get it.” Aisha walked over to the kitchen counter. She turned to face him, gazed at him with utmost seriousness. “My family, my entire family, will be here Sunday,” she said nervously.

“Again. I don’t see the big deal about your family coming here.”

“Oh, you don’t? Let me paint the picture for you. My father is the head deacon of his church in London. My brother, Jared, is a youth minister at that same church. My sister, Izza, is an evangelist. And my sibling’s spouses—don’t even get me started. Hercules, Izza’s husband, is an Elder in the church. Jared’s wife Kensington might as well be the matron saint.”

“Okay, Aisha. You’ve made your point.”

“No, I have not. My mother doesn’t believe in recreational sex! And my grandmother…”

“Hold up. What exactly do you mean by recreational sex?”

“I mean that my mother is so pure and holy that she will not have sex with my father unless they’re trying to make a baby. And my grandmother, my Jaddah…”

“You mean to tell me that your mother and father aren’t knocking boots—at all?”

“Owen! Listen to me. This, their coming here, is bad news!”

Aisha rarely called Graham by his first name. So he knew that something was wrong.

“I think that it’s cool that I’m finally going to meet my in-laws.”

Wouldn’t we have to be married for them to be your in-laws? she thought.

“You’re making a big deal of this.”

“No, Graham. I’m not. First of all, my sisters are going to look down their noses at me the entire time like I’m some sort of leper. My brothers, they’ll probably give you the cold fish. And my parents, they’re probably going to preach to us the entire time.”

“What’s a cold fish?”

“It’s when a man loosely shakes another man’s hand and refuses to make eye contact. It’s a sign of disrespect. But never mind that. My grandmother, my Jaddah, she is going to be the worst out of all of them because she’s going to…”

“This cold fish. I still don’t get the analogy. Why not just call it a disrespectful handshake?”

“Unbelievable!” Aisha said in frustration as she hung her head and shook it from side to side.

“I’m playing with you, Aisha. Baby, I know what a cold fish is.”

“Graham, this is going to be bad. We are going to be persecuted on a level you cannot fathom. Tormented!”

“You make it sound like your family is going to burn us at the stake.”

“No. It will be much worse than that.”

*

Get Your Copy Today!

Amazon |  Barnes and Noble

Enter the Contest: Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

James Fant Photo-1

James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC with his lovely wife and two hilarious children. When he’s not reading everything from business management to mysteries or “entertaining” his family with piano solos and spoken word, James writes inspirational romance and suspense that warms the heart and hopefully makes readers laugh—in public.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Blog Guest | , | Comments Off on Simon’s Splinter and Giveaway By James Fant