Mommy Land Monday – Through the Eyes of a Child

Ryley’s shed story

Mark: Christopher, repeat after me… I
C: I
M: am
C: am
M: not
C: not
M: allowed
C: Yeah (what he says when he can’t say a word)
M: to
C: three

Regardless- Review, Interview with the Author, and GIVEAWAY Continued

Welcome back! I am so excited about this giveaway! I know whoever will win it will thoroughly enjoy it. Yesterday I shared how much I loved regardless and began an interview with the author Michelle, aka MK Jorgenson. You can read that here, if you have not already.

Interview with MK Jorgenson Part 2

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

Sure!  Here’s the opening of Sergius Paulus:

He shoved his soldier’s body against the wall, not caring that the young man groaned in pain. He must learn this lesson.
“Governor Paulus,” the young man choked out. “They were breaking the law.”
“They are not on trial here,” Sergius Paulus sneered. He would not tolerate insubordination. “How can you be certain they were breaking the law?”
He released the young soldier’s shoulders; the boy slid down the wall for a moment before regaining himself. “Sir, they was singing Jewish hymns.”
“And it never occurred to you that they might be ordinary Jews, gathering to worship?”
The young man’s upper lip drew into a sneer. “Regular Jews don’t do that often, sir. They just wait and sing in their synagogues.”
“He has a point, sir,” Bar-Jesus called.  The advisor, a Jew himself, had entered the main hall silently.  Paulus was a Roman soldier, a veteran of the battlefield and trained in stealth; how did this pudgy man keep sneaking up on him?
“That’s right, I have a point,” the soldier said, growing bold.
Paulus gave another shove and moved away from the soldier, crossing the wide expanse of the hall.  After years in tents and barracks, the transition to his Roman house had seemed lavish.  This place, the governor’s mansion in Paphos, was cavernous; still, he worked hard to fit the role of governor—wise, wealthy, and comfortable in splendor.
“Watch your tone, young man,” Paulus warned. “Continue.”
The soldier squared his shoulders beneath their armor and straightened his back as if that might make him grow taller. “Them religious zealots aren’t like the regular Jews. They yell out in the streets about their Messiah, they preach about him in the synagogues until the regular Jews kick ’em out, they meet together in their houses even though they knows there’s a law against it.”
Paulus stifled a sigh, then a yawn. “But do you think it fitting to beat them for a crime you cannot prove they committed? There is no cause to use excessive force, even if they are crazier than the rest of the Jews.”
The soldier snarled. “Well, you would.”
Paulus crossed the room and towered directly over him. He waited, watched the soldier’s throat move up, then down with fearful anticipation. “I would not if I were working to gain this people’s confidence and goodwill toward the glorious cause of Rome. If that meant nothing to me, I certainly would—” he trailed off and pushed the soldier again, the clang of metal loud against the stone wall.
The young man gasped as Paulus turned his back. He smiled, knowing that he had made his point. As he opened his mouth to dismiss the boy, he heard him rustle. “From what I hear,” the soldier said, “the old Sergius Paulus would have beaten those fools himself. Guess the old war stories are just legends, not history.”
Lightning flashed through Paulus’s limbs as he sprang back to the soldier. He landed a punch to the boy’s jaw, a drop of blood landing on the patterned marble wall behind.
The soldier hung his head. He did not move as Paulus turned and strode down the hall toward his quarters.
“Sir,” Bar-Jesus piped up from behind. “Would you like him escorted out?”
Paulus nodded. He continued toward his exit but stopped at a statue, a gift from the Greeks: Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.  Their legend had it that she was born just off the coast of Cyprus; a temple had even been built near the seaside to honor her.
Paulus was not a religious man; the myths and stories only got in the way of business at hand. Besides, in all the stories the gods hate one another. How would they have ever accomplished anything if all they wanted was revenge and sabotage? The world ran simply because it did; there were no gods overlooking and interfering with the lives and desires of mankind.
Still, the statue looked so like his wife, Cybele, that his heart ached when he looked at it—but he could not look away, either.
He could still hear Bar-Jesus and the insubordinate soldier moving down the hall behind him but refused to turn around.
The footsteps stopped. “You know, I never wanted to come to this stupid island, especially not to report to some has-been who can’t even control his own wife. Is she enjoying her stay in Rome?” The soldier’s tone was derisive, mocking.
Paulus clenched his fists. “Ten lashes for insubordination,” he called, never turning around.
“Yes, sir,” Bar-Jesus replied. There was a scuffle as the soldier tried to weasel his way out of Bar-Jesus’s grip, his bravado failing at the reality of his fate.
“Sir, I was…please, please don’t do this…”
Paulus took in a breath, his chest heavy with the burden of missing his wife. “You did this to yourself.”
Bar-Jesus handed the soldier off to a guard waiting outside the entrance of the hall. The guard had heard the entire exchange; no orders were necessary.
His Jewish advisor meandered back up the hall. “Sir, might I have a word?”
Paulus held up one of his large hands. “Not now.” He fumed in silence. How could rumors follow me all the way to Cyprus?
He had only been on the island for three months.  At first, everyone understood why his wife stayed behind: she was pregnant and feared losing the baby in harsh travel conditions. Though Paulus loathed the idea of traveling without her, he could not bear to lose a third child and what he feared might be his last chance for an heir.
Paulus had only been in Paphos a few weeks when he got the letter that the baby had been lost.

“So why has she not come to me?” he whispered. 

What an exciting book! I can not wait to read it.

What is some advice you can give to other work at home moms? 

 Hmm…I think I would say, give yourself grace.  You might be less productive with little ones underfoot, but this is such a short season (even though it feels long).  You can always work; you won’t always be able to cuddle!  On the flip side, it’s okay to let your kids entertain themselves.  Even though Pookie has a long nap every day, we still do about a half hour of “room time,” time in which she plays alone in her room.  This allows me time to get things done, but it also teaches her to occupy herself, to enjoy being alone with herself and her thoughts, and to have self-control.

Who were the most encouraging people to you as you started the journey of publishing your first novel?

My husband!  I wouldn’t have even started without his prompting…and I wouldn’t have finished without his support.  A close friend shared with me her novel planning system, which was an eye-opener and inspiration to me.  And then several Facebook friends I haven’t seen in ages were really encouraging, always cheering me on as I posted my daily word counts during the writing process.  I had a lot of great support!

What is your favorite part about writing? What is the hardest? 

I like when it’s done!  Ha…writing is painful!  I love coming up with ideas, then seeing the end result…but everything in the middle is pure torture.  But for some reason, I keep going back for more–because the story simply screams to be told.

How do you balance writing and homemaking? 

Well, we live in a pretty small apartment.  We try to keep things simple, fairly minimal, laidback.  My writing happens during naptime.  Pookie’s always been a good napper and at 20mo she’s still napping for two hours a day–which is a great blessing! Some days I end up missing–other commitments, illness, no nap because she’s stuffed up or teething–but as long as I keep planning to have that time on every “normal” day, I’m making progress!

Do you have a life verse that applies to your writing?

I refer to 1 Corinthians 10:31 often: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” But I also loved this passage from Psalm 40:9-10 as a reminder that my writing is my testimony to the world: “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.  I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”

Do you have any words of encouragement, or advice, for those who would like to publish their own novel at some point!

Read, read, read.  Read books like you want to write, read blogs about writing, read books and blogs that have nothing to do with your writing.  READ ALL THE TIME! And then go for it.  Use the advice that makes sense to you, carve out a little time each day that works with your season of life, and see what comes of it.  The page of a novel is about 250 words on average.  Writing 250 words when you have an idea what you want to say only takes about 20-30 minutes.  If you were able to take that kind of time every day (once you’ve got an idea!)…you’d have a first draft in a year.  Progress is progress, no matter how small.

Thank you again Michelle for your words of wisdom and glimpse into your upcoming novel. 


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Click here to buy Regardless


  1. Thanks for writing this review, Debra; and thanks for hosting another giveaway! So far I have read FIVE WHOLE BOOKS this year! For me that is A LOT! I know I enjoy non fiction books, but I would like an introduction to the world of Christian fiction, and to add a sixth book to my 2012 list!

  2. I LOVE getting lost in historical/biblical fiction! The blurb above sucked me right in, so if I don’t win, I’ll be ordering a copy. :-) Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  3. I love your website! So much great info.

  4. This looks like a great book! I am always looking to build our library with good encouraging books.

  5. Thanks for writing the review! Sometimes it is hard to know if a book is worth it until you see some reviews