Tag: mother of Jesus

Release Day! Get your FREE copy here!

May 5th and Reflections from a Pondering Heart is being released into the wide world of readers.

Today, I’m offering readers of my blog a chance to win a copy of the book. I will give one eBook copy and one print copy (signed, of course) to randomly drawn commenters on today’s post.

Now, for the excerpt I have been promising for awhile.

What a welcome home! I bolted outside and heaved into the waste bucket until I thought my stomach might rend in half. I vomited until all that came out was a thick green slime. It burned my throat as it erupted from my mouth.

It was beginning. I pressed my sleeping shift against my stomach. Elisabeth warned me to expect as much as a month of nausea, usually just in the mornings. She kept flat bread beside her sleeping couch, claiming it helped to have something in the stomach before trying to stand up in the mornings.

I didn’t know if I would be able to convince Anna to let me leave food beside my bed. Even if she allowed it, my brothers might eat it before I did. Those three were always hungry.

I clutched my stomach and returned inside. Tonight, Father and I would meet with Joseph.  An honorable man like Joseph bar Jacob would find infidelity an unacceptable breach of contract. How could I defend my virtue when my body told a different story?

Darkness fell early. Father and I walked to the village and down a small street far from the town’s center to a sturdy brick building. Joseph’s house (would it ever be mine?), a simple two room box, had sturdy wooden furnishings. Two pillows were nestled together near the hearth. Father lowered himself onto one of them. I stared toward the ground and nearly missed Joseph’s gesture for me to sit on the other pillow.

Father shook his head.

“Thank you,” I said, raising my eyes as far as Joseph’s beard, “I will share with Abba.”

Joseph nodded. “Would you care for wine, Father Heli?”

“Not at the moment.”

I squatted beside Father on the edge of the pillow, my back resting against his side. Joseph folded his legs beneath him and nodded to Father respectfully.

In the light of the candles flickering on the nearby table, I studied this man, my betrothed. A few gray hairs dotted his dark brown beard, which he kept closely trimmed to his face. His skin was sun-darkened and weathered.

Pale brown eyes, flecked with amber and green, stared at Father. The planes of his face were broad and masculine, accentuated by his neatly trimmed hair, which hung to the collar of his robe in the back but was brushed away from his face in the front. It wasn’t a traditional haircut, but it made sense for a man who bent over wood and stone, working with tools all day.

The two exchanged greetings and small talk, while I watched Joseph from beneath my lashes. I pulled my shawl further forward to camouflage the inappropriate staring.

“This is more than a social visit,” Father said.

Joseph nodded. “Of course.”

I felt Father glance toward me. I clenched my skirts with suddenly cold hands. Tightness in my chest made breathing difficult.

“Something unexpected has mired our betrothal agreement,” Father said.

Joseph tilted his head toward Father, but his eyes swept in my direction. Heat clawed up my neck and burned my cheeks.

“Just over three months ago, Jehovah’s messenger visited Mary.”

A whisper of wind could have knocked me backward at that moment. Father said we would keep the truth from everyone, and yet he was telling Joseph. I glanced toward my future husband, wondering how he would react to the unbelievable account.

His face didn’t change while Father repeated the angel’s declaration. A calloused brown hand smoothed his beard. He cupped his chin in one hand, a finger straying to cover his strong mouth.

Father’s direct approach shouldn’t have surprised me. Of course he would tell Joseph. How else would he explain my condition?

“Mary is with child,” Father said. “Although she has done nothing to violate the marriage contract, the law gives you the right to divorce her.”

Joseph’s hazel eyes filled with emotion. I guessed it was disbelief. My experience spotting Anna’s disapproval and condemnation made it easy to rule out those emotions. He rested his gaze on me, and I tried to shrink into my robe, wishing for a larger shawl to hide my embarrassment.

If he spoke to me, what would I say? The whole thing sounded absurd when Father admitted it aloud.

“You realize how incredible this sounds?” Joseph drew each of his words out, as if carefully selecting them.

“Yes. Precisely why no one outside this room knows about it.”

“You are claiming she is carrying the Messiah,” Joseph said.

“I claim nothing. I am simply repeating what happened.”

“I’m expected to believe my wife is pregnant but didn’t have marital relations with another man?”

Father’s silence made my stomach clench. Bile burned the back of my throat. I gritted my teeth, keeping the churning acid from making an escape. If I vomited here, I would die.

“I expect you to accept my word, one honorable man to another.”

Silence filled the space around us. It was so complete I could hear the fire hissing against the lard on the candle nearest to me.

Father expected too much.

In order to be entered into the special drawing I’m running on my blog, comment below. When have you experienced the uncomfortable situation of sharing unbelievable news? OR what should Mary do to convince Joseph of her innocence?

I will draw a name in one week and contact the winners via email. Thanks for visiting. Share this page with any of your friends who might be interested in reading this book.

To purchase your copy, click here.

Or for another chance to WIN a copy, sign up for the Goodreads giveaway.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Reflections from a Pondering Heart by S.L. Hughson

Reflections from a Pondering Heart

by S.L. Hughson

Giveaway ends May 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

In Search of… a Street Team

The release date of May 5, 2015 marks my calendar. On that day, the novella Reflections from a Pondering Heart wings its way to readers. As a first-time publisher of an independent title, I’m doing what even traditional authors do – seeking help from my readers.

If you follow my blog, I expect that means you think my writing is read-worthy. Perhaps you’re here for the fantasy titles my author tagline promises. Maybe you like reading about my writing journey and aren’t interested in my fiction at all.

Bottom line: I need you.

In order to get the word out about my upcoming novella, I need people who will read and review it – before the official release. I want people who aren’t afraid to tell all their friends about the book – after they read and love it.

(Obviously, if you read it and aren’t all that impressed, you aren’t obligated to continue any further. I hope that won’t be the case, but reading pleasure is subjective.)

What the Book is about

Here’s a rough “back cover” blurb for Reflection from a Pondering Heart:

Living in Galilee near the dawn of the First Century, Mary is a simple girl dreaming of her upcoming wedding. In a single moment, a heavenly messenger changes the course of her future.

During the next thirty-three years, Mary pours the pondering of her heart onto the pages of a journal. From a nearly-broken betrothal to a strenuous journey in her final weeks of pregnancy, Mary’s innermost musings reveal the heart of this “handmaiden of the Lord.”

What might it have been like to see your firstborn son rise as a notable prophet? How would his ministry affect the rest of his earthly family? Read the story of the Gospel from the perspective of the woman chosen by the Lord chose to mother His only Son.

What is a Street Team?

A street team is simply a group of readers who believe in an author’s work and agree to help promote it.

This promotion can be as simple as sharing status updates on your Facebook timeline and tweeting about reviews, blogs and releases. It will certainly require you to post a review on Goodreads and Amazon.

A street team provides the biggest impetus for book sales – word of mouth. Team members reach out to their circle of friends and acquaintances and encourage them to try the book.

What it means for you

This novella is a story from the perspective of Mary, the mother of Jesus. If you think you would enjoy such a story and wouldn’t mind writing reviews, posting about it on Facebook and telling people you know about where to buy it, would you consider applying for this street team?

For about three weeks, I will ask you to post something to your preferred social media. One thing per day so your friends aren’t annoyed. I’ll provide the text, images and ideas for sharing them.

If this sounds like something you could commit to, please click here and complete the form. That’s it.

If you complete this contact form, you’ll receive an email from me notifying you that you’ve been selected to “audition” for my Street Team. You’ll have the opportunity to unsubscribe at that time.

In about one month, I will send you an ARC (advance review copy) with another questionnaire (5 to 10 questions). Since this is a novella-length book (less than 40,000 words), I hope you would be able to read it and return the questionnaire by April 20.

After I review the completed questionnaires, I will notify people if they’ve been recruited for my street team. So basically what signing up here means is:

You get a free eBook

That’s it. If you have any interest in this at all, please complete the form. Thank you.

Join the Pondering Heart Street Team

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