In Absentia …

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May 1, 2018

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Claire O’Sullivan

Well, not really  ‘oops,’ but mercy, I have been busy. Halted work on Nobody Girl (WIP name that was once Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis) to fiddle with the (last?) of the edits on How to Steal a Romance.

Ya’ll remember that one, right?

In the meantime, with the edits, reading, and interviewing … I have posted much to my WordPress site. Ahem. Cough. I have been flying by social media. A post here and there.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Katrina McCain about her non-fiction, ‘Beyond Being Good,’ and I will say she has an acute understanding of the double life we may live as Christians. Check  here: https://cindy212.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/beyond-being-good-by-katrina-mccain-a-five-star-author/

If you understand this conundrum, please read her book and blog.

https://www.katrinamccain.com/blog

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‘Beyond Being Good,’ by Katrina McCain — A Five Star Author

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Today I’ve had the pleasure to interview Katrina McCain on Beyond Being Good, her first breakout non-fiction that tackles the ‘trying to be perfect as an imperfect person.’

Katrina

Claire: Hi, Katrina. New author, how exciting! You’re from North Carolina, right?

Katrina: Yes–I grew up in Charlotte and attended college there. My younger brother lives in Texas, and I am married (5 years, now). My husband, Jarrett and I have a 2 year old daughter and another on the way!

Claire: You’re a busy mom, and congratulations. You have a fascinating past as a fashion model ~ what a different world than your ministry, Pearls of Hope. What is your ministry about?

Katrina: Pearls of Hope Outreach, is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina. We have 16 members between the ages of 20 to 35 years old. We engage in Bible Study and outreach ministries. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other Christian women in the area. I’ve really grown personally from the experience.

Claire: That’s terrific, getting young women involved in studying the Word and in outreach ministries. So, tell me a bit of your testimony, coming to Christ?

Katrina: It’s been a long road to Jesus. My parents are ministers and I admire them greatly, but I always felt like I was missing something. I knew right from wrong, but I struggled. Once in college, I reinvented myself, launching into a 9-year fashion career. I began to compromise for the sake of having friends. I did things I knew displeased God, yet did them anyway. I became hypocritical, because I lived one way around friends, but portrayed the “good girl” to family and church. It became exhausting.

Claire: Exhausting is a good way to put it.

Katrina: I guess you could say I was a “goody two shoes” type of person. People thought I was a Christian, but I knew I wasn’t. I had a lot of head knowledge, but not a relationship with God. Because of my upbringing, I determined to maintain my virginity, which by the grace of God, I did. But I found my friends’ lifestyle to be a huge hindrance on my dating life. I cut corners in my dating, which led me into a relationship with a boy with his own issues. Ultimately, he lost his life over his choices. He was robbed and shot 9 times and died in the summer of 2007. We were only 21 years old. I was devastated!

Claire: How heartbreaking!

Katrina: I felt so alone, ashamed around family. Even though they extended their love to me, I wasn’t sure if God was still there. For a long time I believed God was punishing me, but Scripture tells us that God is close to the broken hearted (Ps. 34:18) So, one night, I prayed this really sloppy prayer. I was so remorseful. I asked the Lord to forgive and change me, and though I wasn’t really sure what that meant or even what it entailed, I believed with all my heart that He could do it. That prayer was my first step to salvation, and I’ve been on this journey, ever since.

Claire: Very powerful testimony. A lot of heartbreak, too.  Who would you say was the biggest influence in your life’s path?

Katrina: My mother. Hands down. She has a heart for people and whatever you’re going through, she finds ways to understand with compassion. Nothing is off limits. She’s open to listening and discussing anything with any one. I desire to be like her.

 

Claire: It sounds like she really grounded you. Quite the variety from Mother Teresa type talking about Betty Crocker to Jerry Springer! I would love to meet her.

Your book is for every woman. But tell us a bit about Beyond Being Good.

Katrina book cover

Katrina: In the fashion world, the image of perfection can be debilitating. The expectations are outrageous. The same can be said in our personal lives. The pressure of perfection is one that God never put on us to carry. Salvation is a gift, not an object we have to work or prove ourselves worthy of. In Beyond Being Good, I share my mistakes and failures. People need to know that they are not alone in their imperfections. I’m very transparent, because pretenses only perpetuate the myth that perfection is necessary to live in abundance. What a lie!

Claire: Again, amen. Once we drop the veil of self-secrecy, we can live out ‘carrying one another’s burdens.’  

Katrina: Beyond Being Good is my gift to anyone who is in a place where she is tired of her past year, past week, past cuss word, past abortion, past lie, past drink, past mistakes holding her back from truly experiencing the fullness of God’s perfect love over her.

Claire: Well said. And you’re quite open and real in Beyond Being Good.

Katrina: That’s exactly why Beyond Being Good is my message to women of all backgrounds, that our goodness is not required for God’s love. I think church culture, subconsciously, teaches this error and many of us have been deeply wounded with confusion regarding God’s grace. But the Bible is filled with imperfect people who have been used by God in very dynamic ways!

Claire: –Oh, amen, amen. Who are some of your favorite authors, non-fiction and fiction?

Katrina: I’m not much of a fiction reader—there are movies to curb that crave. But my favorite nonfiction authors are John Piper, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Gary Thomas, Gary Chapman and, believe it or not, Malala Yousafzai (the youngest woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize).

Claire: Great authors, all. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Katrina: Jess Connolly, writer of Dance, Stand, Run, and Wild and Free. She has such a heart for women that I find captivating. She’s about my age, writes to women in our Millennial generation, but is still very relevant to older women, as well. Also, Stasi Eldridge. Stasi’s book, Becoming Myself, is a staple in my personal library! Each time I read it, I re-discover new aspects of myself as a woman and Christian. I hope to write books that produce similar reactions in others.

Claire: Something we can look for, reality in our lives, not shame. I love Dance, Stand and Run! Jess Connolly helps us ‘get’ that grace isn’t cheap indeed. And Stasi Eldridge is a terrific author with a difficult past. I read Captivating and believe it to be one of the most spiritually-awakening books I’ve read. Know you are on this edge is really exciting. What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Katrina: Recently, I’ve completed Fierce Hearted by Holly Gerth, And We Are Changed by Priscilla Shrier and Still Waiting by Ann Swindell.

Claire: Nice! Priscillar Shrier’s book is so raw, real, it is tear-provoking. And Holly Gerth reminds me of a 21st century Brother Lawrence, in Practicing the Presence of God. Great choices! So now, what do you do in your downtime?

Katrina: Ha, downtime! When I can steal a moment from mommy life, I love getting dinner with my friends! I love getting dressed up, going into the city and having a great meal with extra giggles! For family time, Jarrett, my husband and I, enjoy doing quiet things, like walks in the park or visiting a museum before dinner. Any time spent with him is great!

Claire: You definitely deserve rest! What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Katrina: I studied the scriptures, particularly Romans and James. I wanted to be sure that the words I spoke aligned with God’s Word. I believe, just as the human heart is flawed, so are human opinions. If my writing doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then I don’t want to risk being at fault in giving untruthful information.

Claire: Agreed. Too many opinions not backed by Scripture, and so many people fall for it, not testing the scriptures What are you working on now? Any chance of a follow up?

Katrina: Right now, I am working on carrying my baby girl, full term! She’s due in July Also, I am focused on sharing my book, loving my family and being available to my readers who reach out to me.

Claire: Oh, groan and excitement! I bet you are counting the minutes. Congratulations coming in July– and congratulations on your very well-received book.

I have so many more questions for Katrina, that we are going to follow up with more interviews on living for God’s glory, fully in His grace. Thank you, Katrina

*If you want to purchase Katrina McCain’s book, it’s available through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Being-Good-Perfection-Imperfect/dp/1595557598/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524007800&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+being+good

*Katrina lives in North Carolina and blogs every Sunday on relationships, faith and her personal life lessons. To connect with Katrina and learn more about her, please visit http://www.KatrinaMcCain.com

 

Demystifying, Debunking Dubious Diets, and Detoxifying. Snark ahead…

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 March 14, 2018

Claire O’Sullivan

 Anyone who struggles with weight, cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension… etc., can tell you two things: been there, paid for the book, I suffered ***and gained the weight back, my sleep apnea returned, my diabetes worsened … I’ve lived through this. Weight, cholesterol, sleep apnea.

Every day I hear/see a new diet/health book on television.

 

*Follow my program, my book, my recipes and you can lose 150 pounds in less than six months! In less than one month!*

No, dear. You will be in the hospital. Or dead. Order premade? How will you know how to cook when it’s done? What about ‘lose the belly fat diet?’ Good grief. Fat is fat is fat.

facepalm gif

And today I heard about another one. Yes. The woman made two dishes on the show (er, showed one, and everything prepped for the ‘simple’ sandwich).

First, ‘Detoxifying isn’t hard.’ She launched into the explanation. Sounded difficult. Then, onto the easy prep of the sandwich. Time passed. These were ‘easy’ (and all the difficult work already done). Not one ingredient was anything I would eat, nor inexpensive. All recipes  just  500 calories. Wow. Amazing.

Quick question: what if your dietary needs to lose weight are 1200 calories?  Unless you are exercising your butt off to the tune of 600 calories you will gain weight. That nets you a loss of a total 100 calories. What if you want side dishes? Dessert? You can’t have any.

What do you have to lose? Time, money, at the very least. You can however, keep your butter in spades. But no sugar. Fewer carbs. Where have we hear this before? Lose foods you love, get foods that go straight to your arteries. No, thanks. Been there with several popular diets.

But, but, what about the blood type? The Creation diets (they contradict one another, by the way)? The hunter gatherer diet? The steak and grapefruit diet? The zone? The Beach? Atkins? Um, no.

Am I shamefully hawking my book? Yes and no. I will not give up taste and balance for sheer bunk. Well, not any longer. I won’t starve through detoxifying. I will not give up pizza. I  will not give up my comfort foods. I will not spend a thousand dollars looking for bizarre ingredients. Most of my meals are ‘after a day of work,’ easy. Some are ‘make it on your day off. You will thank me. Inexpensive. You get three meals and two snacks (dessert). Might you have to decrease sugar, or gluten? Sure. Easy. Are you a vegetarian? Easy. Do you like black beans instead of kidney beans? C’mon. Use them. Do you want it spicy? Go for it. I have a few recipes posted in my blogs. Try them. Fiddle with them.

Then, click the link on the home page. My cookbook is small but mighty. And as Amazon removes stars and reviews (they do this on purpose, they don’t have to pay smaller authors royalties), please leave one. Oh, and I lost 90 pounds, no sleep apnea, and cholesterol down 60 points. This took me 11 months to get into a healthy goal. Patience is key. Another few months and I was there. 125 pounds. This, eating carbs, protein, fats. Desserts. No special ‘sugars.’ And maintaining, because I like food. That was 2004. Do I waiver? Sure, from time to time. Then I stand up, dust myself off, and continue the right path.

 

fabulous foods

Fabulous Foods: Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods. Click link below. Not a fad diet. This is it:     https://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Foods-Enjoying-Healthy-Comfort/dp/1496053621/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521069007&sr=1-1&keywords=cynthia+mahoney+fnp 

If you pray, please pray.

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via Writing until “The End” 

I AM PRAYING FOR YOU. And in a moment, going to your amazon site.

Blessings, hope, prayers, miracles for you I pray.

Love Uganda Foundation

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I feel compelled to share this ministry. No matter one’s status of faith, or none, it’s imperative to recognize the disaster in this region, and the compassion we need to pray, share, and support. Love Uganda Foundation runs an orphanage, clinic, outreach. They are hard pressed to reach all those in need. Please take time to read this.

Josh Kisakye McMillan shared this post on Facebook.

“There is a great need to reach out to the most vulnerable people of Uganda, which category includes orphans and widows in the furthest of the remote areas of Uganda characterized by shortage of water, HIV/AIDS, school dropouts due to early pregnancies, poverty, violence against women etc.
2016, we visited two regions Gulu in July and 2017 Kabale in August and we had an experience of a tough living of the people accompanied by high poverty levels. Many school-going girls had to drop out of school due to lack of pads, early child marriages among many girls due to lack of sensitization and cultural constraints thus early pregnancies, growing HIV infection rates due to low sensitization as well ignorance among the people, high levels of poverty which has affected the standard of living of the people . With us, we afforded to donate a few materials to the widows which included soap, rice, flour, clothes, shoes, as well conducted a workshop where widows were equipped and empowered in various skills that included sowing, hygiene.

On average, every widow in Gulu and Kabale looks after 8 to 10 children after the deaths of their husbands in the recent LRA rebel war, which situation today has left many of these ladies single-mothers. This is a burden as they have to clothe, feed, accommodate, educate and provide for the medical bills of their families. There are unsafe and unclean water supplies currently in the community. Being that a big part of the region is dry, the few available water sources are located far away from the communities where people stay. Therefore children have to travel long distances on foot approximately 600 meters searching for water. The children must then return back home on foot which poses a great risk to their physical safety. Most of the shelters in these areas are grass-thatched thus prone to catching fires during the scotching heat season, in cases of conflicts, they are easily burnt, thus leaves many shelter-less.
On interaction with the widows, many prefer a modern house with iron roof sheets.

Additionally, HIV/AIDS epidemic is at a high rampancy as a result of rape among young girls during the LRA bush war. Accompanied with ignorance, this has led to easy spread of the
Disease among people. Cultural beliefs where a woman can be remarried to the brother of the deceased, has contributed greatly to the high rates in HIV infection. Child neglect associated with early child marriages. Many of these children have missed out on school and other basic needs of life.

Basing on the above challenges, there is a great need to extend a hand to such unfortunate people and help save a life. Love Uganda Foundation (LUF) is offering to provide for both the physical, social and spiritual needs of these people and this is to be achieved through Love Activity programs and mission.
Love Activity project is a life-saving mission that is aimed at restoring hope among the vulnerable people in different regions of Uganda rough donating basic materials like food stuffs, scholastic materials, clothing, shoes, medications etc.

Our goal is to partner as well engage the community in this exciting activity, giving a chance to everyone to donate in every way possible.
The next mission is scheduled for 2nd -7th April 2018, as an opportunity to restore hope to the vulnerable people of Bugiri Busoga. It will offer an avenue of sharing the love of God with the community members through meeting their needs.

Join and be part of changing and transforming a life of a community.
Any donation rendered will be highly appreciated.”
With a transformed community, we can achieve a greater nation.

Secs Sells …

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innocentMy works are not filled with sex scenes or erotica. On purpose. Yep, I know sex sells, but I would rather NOT sell at all than pander to the worldly view of voyeurism. Image, well maybe not that ‘cute,’ but you get the idea.

Passion is different. Fighting the battle of not falling into sex is a battle (a subplot) but the main plot is that which grabs. I have read good writing and must skip the erotic scenes because it’s simply a turn-off.

My main characters are flawed, angry, worldly, physically flawed, and emotionally damaged. Once they accept Christ, they backslide. Are we perfect? St. Paul bemoaned his imperfections. At the end of his life he says, ‘I fought the fight, I ran the race’ … what in heaven’s name could that possibly mean? It’s an easy thing to accept grace. It’s a battle to walk, even pray or read the Bible.

I read/write Christian suspense/romance. I want readers to know the plot and the subplot of walking the talk of faith, stumbling, battling the worldly enemy as well as the physical enemy. Asking for help understanding Scripture. It ‘is’ realistic. It is attainable in real life. Using sex to sell is an easy copout.

What do you think?

 

 

Interview… Tonight!

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Hi friends of the written word. And food. Etc.

I was invited for an interview regarding my (healthy) cookbook on an internet based radio show, one I’ve never been on.

PR is PR. Right? It is exposure, and I will be donating a portion of my proceeds to disabled vets.

The radio show is Republic News Radio 101 and you can tune in here: http://tunein.com/station/?StationId=287184

It begins at 9 PM EST and I will also be chit-chatting about my fiction, my website and how to purchase the cookbook.

Hope to see you there! Well, with internet vibes ….

Here is the link to my  website because I KNOW you’ll want the cookbook… http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan

Just click on the URL next to Fabulous Foods.  After Oct. 31, click on the book.. it’s confusing yes. I know.

 

 

cake

Because We All Wanna Be Wonder Woman

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Well, I can’t speak to her magical, mysterious, curious powers. Or her work out (if she does), but I can tell you about a balanced diet.

Wonder_Woman

OH wait. I think I have, however, I have made ordering ridiculously simple. You can click on it here, or on my website, facebook page OR on twitter.

My promos for the paperback and KDP have disappeared.

PHTTP, however, if you love me, even a little …  you might order from this URL: https://www.createspace.com/4686721 … OK fine. You don’t have to love me.

But if you LOVE food, good food, healthy food, easy-to-make and great for newbies, this cookbook is for YOU.

I can guarantee you will like the recipes. Like PIZZA.

That is what said.

And STICKY ROLLS. Again, not a mistake.

Adapt any recipe to YOUR diet style (vegetarian, vegan, meat-lovers, gluten free, lactose free, sugar free, ADA, AHA, etc), add/subtract spices, meats, and other goodies, and you have the workings of food for life.

Food should be fun. Easy, affordable, taste great, for any cook, any age — and any level.

Fabulous Foods, Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods …  because, besides being Wonder Woman, we still want to have our cake and eat it, too. cake.jpg

My link is different these days… okay, today. But if you want to see reviews from others, please check out the KDP version, and the other versions under Cynthia Mahoney FNP. Don’t forget, puhleeez review.

Hope to See You on the Website … the New Look

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Good friends 

If you keep up with my website, you may think you have arrived on the wrong page. Well as the weather cools down, I am looking for tropical. I may also check into a good fireplace video that I can upload. I am not even CLOSE to being done. But, if you like the ocean … a margarita… come on by.

http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan

Have you ever been without your computer for days on end? What a traumatic experience for me! ha ha.

I had a notebook, however. A pen. And the time and frustration to get my writing in. So I fiddled with the rewrite for Forget Me Not (the novel I have been avoiding like the black death — that’s the plague for those who’ve never heard of it, or in the words of Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!”). Yes, and it was a comedy. Forget Me Not is now in the ‘typing’ stage of rewrite/edit.

Then because I didn’t have enough to do, I started the third in the Whiskey River Series (1. How to Steal a Romance and 2. Glass Slipper), working title, Murder in the Mist.

I read a blog that said writers shouldn’t blog… Then read a blog that said writers should plot/plan (basically, totally pants it). Also read a blog that proclaimed that blogging and social media had nothing to do with writing and to eschew it.

Well, says I, snappy writing in social media is like a snappy ad, or PSA (public service announcement), and economy of words = writing, editing, rewriting. Try twitter.  A fifteen word pitch for your novel. Get onto Facebook, etc., and work over your 85 word back flap on a writers group. Get feedback. When you hit a dry moment, work on a blog to keep your friends/ family/ fans up-to-date.  

And try to tell the authors who write online for a living that it’s not real. Yeah, good luck telling an author online that.

Okay, all writers. Do me a huge favor. You are not a writer, you are not an aspiring writer. You are not hoping to be a writer. You are not ‘trying’ to get a book published or agented. And you are not trying to be a paid author ‘some day.’ To me, that says you are not reaching high enough. A writer is a fiddler of words on occasion, like how I used to write poetry (which was bad). An author is one who seeks to be a pro. If you get paid or not, you are an author. Like the saying goes, you might be an author if you say writing is your job/career, not the one you actually get paid for…

One last favor: Support other authors. Follow their blogs, newsletters and websites. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook. Do NOT drag them down. Never, ever stamp out even a flickering flame. All it takes is one jealous, mean-spirited review to destroy the confidence the new author has, and their possible Really Great Novel may be shot down in flames. I am not saying be dishonest. I am saying, be respectful. Our work is always part of us, remember that, for yourself as well.

If you buy a book … please review it. If it came in bad shape or you don’t like the genre, don’t give it a one star… ! Gimme a break. If you spot some spelling and grammar problems, but you like the content well enough (despite that you ‘wouldn’t have written it like that’), check your ego at the door before you read, and remember, some editors and publishers are actually human and make a mistake…

Whatever you do, write gold, and give gold. You are never going to be a Stephen King, no matter your genre. Keep that in mind.

(I have no idea where I plagiarized that pic, but it was from SomeeCards ha, ha)

Please be Safe!

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Short, sweet, to the point. Be safe from east to west, north to south. More hurricanes on the way. Please give this information to all you know out there, in another path!

Strengthening Hurricane Maria a threat to Irma-hit Caribbean