Virtual Book Tour – Nicole Benoit-Roy

Today, author Nicole Benoit-Roy stops by my blog as part of her What I Gain Through His Pain Virtual Book Tour. This Christian non-fiction came out in July.

Excerpt

Something Fishy

Daddy practiced Voodoo, but even as a child I considered it foolish. During summer vacations in Haiti, the family expected my sister, my next younger brother and me to go to Lèogane. As the summer months drew to a close, my father lined up every child in the house to bathe us with a special Voodoo water made with crushed leaves.

As I got older (though not much older), I grew to detest the act and so I decided not to go on vacation anymore. I thought it ridiculous to allow myself to be bathed with stinky water. I never believed in the Voodoo stuff either. I had a good sense of who I was since early childhood. I knew God made me, and no evil could harm me (Now I know evil can’t touch me without His permission). That knowledge made me very bold and never afraid of any Voodoo stuff. My father had a special table with a white small washbasin and other Voodoo items on it. No one was supposed to touch them. However, on many occasions, I pretended to be cleaning just to touch and rearrange everything on that table. I held no fear. I just knew they lacked any authority over me. It’s weird though, no one told me that Voodoo held no potency. It was always a gut feeling. I was always very bold about expressing my belief every chance I got.

My father use to hold Voodoo ceremonies where kids in the house were expected to eat out of special wooden bowls. All that I shunned eventually. Because my brother Kesnel and sister Carol were twins, the ceremony held every year honored the twins (a Voodoo ritual) even though Carol died as a baby. Those were the kinds of things that made no sense to me, leading me to refuse to take part in them as soon as I grew old enough to say no. With me so hardheaded and strong-willed, no one in my family could force me to take part once I said no. Not even my father.

On one occasion, something terrible happened in my family, causing my father to be the focus of suspicion. I felt his pain afterward. He needed so much to have someone on his side. Unfortunately, not even his favorite little girl was willing to be that someone.

In desperation, one evening in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, he pulled me aside. In a private conversation, he explained his own version of the incident after he visited my mother in the U.S. in 1982 for the first time.

He said, “Nicole, I know you’re getting older. You can understand what I’m about to tell you.”

I was 14 years old then.

“When I went to New York,” he continued, “I swear I did not take your mother’s soiled panties. It’s only after I came back to Haiti I saw them in my suitcase. I swear I did not take them.”

I listened attentively, but my eyes stared at the cement floor as we sat on the edge of my bed.

“You believe me, don’t you, my girl.” He held onto my left arm as if begging me to say yes.

I’d heard the rumor that he wanted to use her underpants to hurt my mother through witchcraft so often that I’d already made up my mind of his guilt.

My father returned to Haiti finding himself in an awkward predicament. At that age, I was naïve and awfully honest.

“Well, I can’t say whether you did it or not. I wasn’t there. You’re the only one who knows if you did it or not,” I said.

Suddenly, the look he gave me told me he wanted another answer. His eyes turned red. His pain turned into hatred.

I knew then I was not his favorite little girl anymore and I would pay.

In retrospect, I realized I could have answered differently had I known better. I still feel his pain even now as I write about it.

As soon as my mother found out her panties were missing, she demanded that my father purchase a plane ticket and return them to her.

When he did, she burned them in his presence.

My father continued to make his regular weekly visits from Lèogâne bringing us fresh produce every time. Our relationship was never the same, however. At times, I’d purposely stayed away to avoid seeing him altogether, not showing up until after he left. He was the enemy of the family. He knew it. That made him very uncomfortable and angry.

During one of his visits, he threatened to beat me because I did not greet him. Of course I put up a fight. He tried to pin me to the ground. I escaped from his grip and ran to a nearby stony hill. I picked up a stone and made the motion to throw it at him, but an invisible power stopped me. I knew Who kept me from flinging the stone, and I’m glad He did. Deep down inside I really loved my father. I believed that he gave me so much love and attention that he made it possible to never feel insecure about myself.

During my college years at Stony Brook University in New York, our father-daughter relationship remained broken. I recall lying on the bed in my dorm room reminiscing about my childhood. My entire family lived in the U.S. by then. My mom and dad separated shortly after the panties incident, although they waited to divorce until eleven years later. I finally realized the pain my father must have gone through to have his whole family against him, and the pain he continued to feel every time he and I met.

“Look at Nicole, the daughter I loved so much. Now, she can’t even talk to me,” he sometimes said.

At that time, we were on greeting terms. As I empathized with my father, I decided to put an end to our broken relationship. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi, daddy, how are you?” It felt uncomfortable saying “daddy” but I also realized that doing the right thing was never easy.

“Who’s this?” he asked.

“This is Nicole,” I said. “I just call to tell you that I love you. Bye.”

“Ok,” he said.

I hung up the phone, feeling a burden lift from my chest.

For the first time I began to understand the power of forgiveness. I still had a long way to go.

Our relationship continued to improve after that phone call. My father is now ninety-two years old, and I love him as if nothing ever happened between us.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” (NLT). I desire to obey God’s Word. Through this experience, I learned that making mistakes is what we (humans) specialize in the most. What’s essential is that we learn from them.

Book Blurb

In a society filled with easy Christianity and cheap grace, Nicole Benoit-Roy takes her relationship with Christ to a much deeper level. Since becoming a Christian, she has been learning about her newfound Savior, Jesus Christ. She is an educator who vows to be a student for as long as she lives. The more she learns about the cross of Christ, the more she realizes the importance of it in her life. As she meditates on His suffering, she concludes that His pain is the reason for every blessing in her life. In this book, “What I Gain Through His Pain,” she shares her story about the benefit of the cross as she expresses gratefulness for His pain.

About the Author

Nicole is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Andrews University. She directs the Children Ministries Department at her church. She works as a special education teacher by day, a literature evangelist by night, and writes during the wee hours of the night. She enjoys reading and playing the piano (beginner). Nicole struggled with college writing, which lead her to eventually drop out. For this reason, one of her many goals in life is to become a best-selling author to the glory of God. Nicole and her husband, Roosevelt Roy, have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of a handsome brown-eyed son, Nolan. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find out more about Nicole on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase What I Gain Through His Pain on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Today’s Featured Author – Michelle Stimpson

Please welcome author Michelle Stimpson to my blog. Michelle currently is on a virtual book tour for her short story, Who Killed My Husband?, which was released in June.

Guest Post – Advice for first time authors

The publishing industry has changed tremendously since I first became an author in 2004. In fact, I would say that anything written about publishing/marketing books before 2012 is pretty close to obsolete.  Here’s what I would tell first-time authors who are entering the market in this digital age.

  • If you’re writing non-fiction, know the purpose of the book before you publish. Did you write this book to get clients? To establish yourself as a fresh, innovative voice in your field? If your goal is to use this book to validate your expertise, use it that way—not necessarily as a money-making tool. You might end up giving away more copies to secure radio/TV appearances than actually selling them online to the general public.
  • If your goal is to become a full-time writer, realize that also means become a full-time marketer. This doesn’t mean you have to become a sales person, per se, it just means you have to be serious and deliberate about reaching your market with your message. Be prepared to pay money in order to get in people’s faces on social media and Amazon. Free advertising is just about over these days. Can you post stuff on your page? Yes. Can you make and share memes? Yes. But the question is: How many people will get to see them? These days, not many unless you pay for the exposure. Don’t be afraid of this. You can start small ($2-5 a day for 7 days), then gauge your success. If it’s not working, quit and try something else. When it does work, scale up to $10 and more a day for as long as it works. You’ve got to think of this like: Somebody’s selling 20-dollar-bills for $10. The only catch is you have to wait 60 days to get the $20. If you’re in it for the long haul, this is not a problem.
  • If you really don’t have a goal for your book, that’s okay, too. Whatever happens happens. It’s all good. Write because you want to have fun with it. If your book helps just one person, you’ve succeeded in your own way. This is what matters most. You won’t have to live with regrets your whole life about not ever writing the book that’s been sitting on your heart.

Book Blurb

Ashley Crandall finally convinced her husband, Allan, to attend the Christian men’s retreat…but he ends up dead there. What happened to him on the campgrounds? Who would want to kill Allan? And why are the detectives pointing fingers at Ashley? In her quest to solve the mystery and clear her name, Ashley will learn something about her husband that she didn’t want to know and something about her Christian faith that shifts her life.

About the Author

Michelle Stimpson is an author, a speaker, and an educator who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994. She earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002. She has had the pleasure of teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as training adults. In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle ministers through writing and public speaking. Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Falling Into Grace. She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, at http://www.wegottaread.com. Michelle serves in women’s ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, in Dallas, TX. She regularly speaks at special events and writing workshops sponsored by churches, schools, book clubs and other positive organizations, and she has taught writing classes at the University of Texas at Arlington. Michelle lives near Dallas with her husband, their two teenage children, and one crazy dog.

You can find out more about Michelle on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Who Killed My Husband? on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Google.

Today’s Featured Author – Pat Simmons

Today, please welcome author Pat Simmons. Her latest book, Love by Delivery, was released in February. She is currently finishing up her novella, Late Summer Love, which should be out by the end of summer.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My Name is Pat Simmons. I’ve been a wife for 34 years and a mother of a son and daughter. I graduated from a great college in Boston, and eventually worked in my field of broadcast journalism for over twenty years. I started in radio and was truly blessed with an opportunity to transition into television news for ten years. Because of my media experience, I head the publicity team for the RT Booklovers Conventions. In my free time, when I’m not writing, which seems like all the time, I enjoy sewing, tracing my family roots, reading, and watching romance movies.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

It was my play mother, the late Lorna Robnett. She had faith in me that I could do anything, especially after she heard me weave a story to a houseful of guests.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I received an email from a reader about my first book. That’s when it kicked in that I really was an author. That was 10 years ago.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I think each story has a little bit of Pat Simmons’ personality in them, or my alter ego, like Grandma BB or Sandra Nicholson in the Jamieson Legacy series. Grandma BB is the seventy something smart talking childless widow who says what she wants, when she wants. On the other end is sweet and sanctified Sandra Nicholson, who finally found love in her early sixties and married him. She was the epitome of an uncompromised Christian woman. The Confession won the Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance in 2016, so I was happy readers fell in love with Sandra and Raimond’s story. My news background has sparked many a plots in my stories. It’s my curiosity about a subject that has created great storylines, like Guilty by Association. Kidd Jamieson wasn’t fond of carrying his absentee father’s last night, but thanks to my genealogy search, I was able to write his story when I uncovered documents that showed pages of enslaved African Americans who were buried without last names.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Actually, I’m sitting on the second edits of a completed novel, Mystery of Love, because I’m trying to finish Late Summer Love before summer is over. I’ll close out the year with my annual Christmas novellas, Prayers Answered by Christmas, which is a sequel to Couple by Christmas. I’m looking forward to writing it.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Yes, I’ve been writing full-time for about nine years. When I run short on cash, I’ll work a temp assignment, but my steady income is from my monthly royalties, mainly from eBooks. Since I’m a Christian author, I begin my day with prayer time, I study my Bible, hoping God will give me a message to incorporate in a scene, or a personal word of encouragement for me. After that, I try to start writing my ten a.m., and many times will write until midnight. I do take breaks for chores, eating, and a movie with my husband, but I spend a lot of my time doing administrative tasks: reading and sending emails, looking for blog content, newsletter content, monitoring my social media accounts, looking for stock photos for book covers, and most importantly, staying on my writing schedule to meet my releases. I think every author is always in search of promotional opportunities, me included.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

I want to say I’m in control of my income, but it’s God who supplies my needs, especially when I’m on the road and can’t write, or my funds get low. The worst? People don’t think I work—that writing isn’t a job, and therefore, I have to tell me people I’ll call them back or let it go to voicemail, then I forget to check voicemail. The other thing is some people think I can write a book in a month or less—I wish.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Since I release three to four books a year, I appreciate outlining them. I didn’t at first. When I did, I would go off the outline anyway, usually by chapter 7. But even now, God gives me fresh scenes every morning and I say, “Thank you, Lord that is a good one.”

Please tell us about your current release.

My recent book, Love by Delivery, was released in February. Since then, I’ve completed a full length novel entitled Mystery of Love that is waiting for me to do the second round of edits until I finished Late Summer Love.

What inspired you to write Late Summer Love?

It’s a sequel. Readers wanted Paige Blake to find happiness.

How did you come up with the title?

I got the idea last year while I attended my husband’s family reunion. The plot was perfect for Paige’s story, so I had planned to name it Summer Reunion, but a fellow friend had a release called Winter Reunion, so I changed it to Summer Love, but when my first round of re-writes for Mystery of Love worked me over, I knew my novella wasn’t going to hit a May or June release. I told my husband the story had to come out before the end of summer because it was called Summer Love. He joked, “It’s going to be a late summer love.” I thought about it, and tweaked the title and gave him the credit.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Of course. They are a mixture of physical characteristics, personalities and mannerisms. My best friend says she can hear our voices in my characters’ conversations.

Which of your characters is your favorite?

My hero: Blake Cross. It’s easy on the eyes and has a good heart.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

This is book 2 of the Perfect Chance at Love series. I have to come up with another scenario for my main character’s cousin. I don’t have anything yet. I’m sure it will come to me.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

All my characters have too many issues for me to jump into their shoes. LOL. They all have happy endings, but their journeys aren’t easy. I’ll pass.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I have a home office that faces the front. I can write and be nosy—a great combination for an author.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

That I read—The Warmth of the Other Sun; That I’ve written—Crowning Glory.What book are you reading right now? I won’t read until I finish a project, then I’ll read three and four books to detach from my characters. I have a TBR pile.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

I’m around a lot of authors—indie and New York Times bestselling authors like Sylvia Day, Charlene Harris, Brenda Jackson, and Francine Rivers. So I count it a privilege to mingle with these ladies and others at the yearly RT Booklovers Convention

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I do have bouts of shyness, but nobody believes it—seriously!

Book Blurb

Could a chance meeting during two family reunions be God playing matchmaker? Paige Blake recently witnessed her best friend marry. Now, Paige is struggling to tame the pity party stirring within her heart, questioning whether God had forgotten about a husband for her. After twelve years of serving his country, Blake Cross is ready for civilian life. He soon learns there is another battle he must fight. When he meets Paige on an elevator, he’s drawn to her. There’s one slight complication to win her heart. Blake has to surrender to the Lord’s will in his life first.

About the Author

Pat is the multi-published author of more than thirty titles, and is a three-time recipient of Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, Pat is passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.

Currently, overseeing the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions, Pat has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Pat has converted her sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and her administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.

You can find out more about Pat and her books on her website.

You can sign up on a wait list for Late Summer Love here or check out the rest of Pat’s books on Amazon.