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My Summer Round-Up

I can’t believe how quickly this summer has flown by. It’s been very busy for me as I’m sure it has been for you, too. I’m doing some reevaluating as we go into into the last few months of the year, which is so much fun for me as I love introspection and evaluation (typical introvert). And I’m working on a Life Plan. I totally recommend it. It’s great for thinking about where you are and where you want to be 🙂 Anyway, I’ve been a little quiet since publishing Pressure (Pure Passion 4), so here’s a rundown of what I’ve been up to this summer (apart from my regular writing duties of course):

Publishing Pressure

PRESSURE COMPLETEI was a little worried about how Pressure would be received because it was the first thing I published after the Crystal series. I hoped people wouldn’t find it boring since there’s no ‘missions’, danger or supernatural stuff. However, I received some lovely feedback about it. My favourite was an email that said: ‘James (the hero in Pressure) has replaced Juda for me’.

I was like, ‘are you kidding me?’ I put in so much effort to make Juda mysterious and enigmatic and appealing in that dark, dangerous way of his. But it was great to hear that a lot of my readers are happy to move on from the Crystal series and are excited about new characters. I wrote Pressure in 2013 and couldn’t really remember much of what it was about until I dug it out to edit it. I think the way you feel when writing a book sometimes affects how you view the book. I was really unwell back when I wrote it, and I even spent a few days in hospital, so I’ve always thought it’s not a great book. But it’s actually pretty good (if an author is allowed to say that about their own book).

Weddings

20160709_112126.jpgSo many people I know got married. There was a wedding like every weekend in July. This is me at one of them. Some lady tied my head-wrap for me in the toilets because I had no idea how to do it but I really wanted to fit in with all the other women, ha ha. Believe me, the headache I had when I took it off at the end of the day was no joke.

The Olympics

Mobot Christ our Redeemer.jpgCongratulations to the USA for winning, but how awesome were Team GB? I couldn’t believe how well we did. For such a small nation to come second and do so well made me so proud. I’m still in shock. There were so many things I learned from the Olympics. Life Lessons. I won’t bore you with them all, but here are a few.

Lutalo Muhammad – He was about to win a gold for Great Britain in Taekwondo but his opponent somehow managed to kick him in the head in the dying second of the fight. It was heartbreaking to watch Lutalo’s interview after it. He was crying and saying it was a low point in his life. I got on my soap box and preached at my husband for like ten minutes about how we have to be focused and fight until the very end. That interview was so heartbreaking because Lutalo was crying like his whole world was crumbling when everyone back home was so proud of him. A silver medal is pretty awesome. So I changed tack and started preaching at my husband about how we’re so hard on ourselves when we should just take a step back and see how awesome we are and how much we’ve achieved. It was so inspiring to see how much Lutalo wanted that gold. How much it meant to him. True hero.

I wasn’t sure what I thought of Shaunae Miller diving at the finish line in the women’s 400m, but if you want something that badly I guess you just have to go for it. The women’s triathlon was another thing that had me just staring at the TV in awe. Goodness gracious it looked painful. But it was also so inspiring to see their endurance and how they were pushing beyond the pain, pushing themselves past their limits.

Not to mention the ‘greats’: Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps & Mo Farah, who are just dominating in their respective sports. I think it’s awesome that they are older athletes, too. They’re not ‘old’ by any stretch of the imagination, but they are older athletes and they’re still swiping all the golds. It’s just amazing to watch these people. I get the same feeling of awe when I see Serena Williams still winning grand slams. Regardless of these people’s nationalities, pretty much the whole world supports them and likes to see them win. If I can be half as good at writing as Usain, Michael and Mo are at what they do, I’ll be a very happy author. I watched a documentary about Mo Farah, called the Road to Rio. The sacrifices he makes to be the best are astonishing. He couldn’t even speak English properly when he moved to the UK as a child. Imagine the self belief and discipline it took for him to get where he is. It got me thinking about how seriously I approach my writing, how good I am at fending off distractions and having just one focus, and my personal discipline.

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 9:25 – KJV).

I like the NLT for this verse: “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.”

There’s another life lesson right there.

 

I did a 5K

IMG-20160813-WA0013 (2).jpgMy daughters think I’m an Olympian and won gold, ha ha. Let me preface this by saying I have NEVER done anything like this before. It was one of my New Year goals to live a healthier lifestyle, so I got two of my friends on board and we did it together. It was so much fun that we’re signing up to do it again next year. We’re thinking of signing up our husbands for a 10k. I’ve been dropping hints to my husband about it but he’s not taking the bait at all, ha ha.

Church Stuff

ablazelogowip.gifEarlier this month we had our annual youth conference, Ablaze 2016, which was so much fun. My husband made the cool Ablaze gif to the left. The highlights for me were:

– My brother’s talk on salvation. I was wondering how he was going to approach it since it’s been done a zillion times and our youth group has heard it all before, but somehow he managed to make it fresh and inspiring and I really got a lot from the talk.

– The talent show. There’s so much talent out there. God has given it out so liberally. If in just my youth group there are singers who’d give Beyonce a run for her money, rappers who can write their own lyrics, artists who can look at a picture of Jesus and draw it perfectly, guys and girls who can create a whole indie movie, and much more, then how about the rest of the planet??? What are we doing folks? We all need to start using our talents.

I also just got back from a national church conference yesterday, at which I spoke to the young adult section about choosing a career. I used to work in HR and I have now quit my job to focus full-time on writing, so I have a lot to say about careers and success (it’s my second-favourite topic to speak on after purity 🙂 ) It was a lot of fun. Even more flattering was the fact that they all thought I was their age (19 – 21) Until I mentioned my husband and children, then they were all gasping in shock. Great for my ego, ha ha.

Anyway, summer is over now, so it’s back to serious work. I’m hoping to publish six books before the end of this year. I’ll try very hard to do it. I’m praying for God to help me to have more discipline. More about those books in a later post.

So, enough about me. How was your summer?

God bless.

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Out Now: Pressure/Pure Passion Boxed-Set

PRESSURE COMPLETEHowdy all,

How are you enjoying your summer? We’ve had a lovely heatwave here in the UK, which is great. Even better, it’s wedding season 🙂 There are five Saturdays this month, and on each one of them someone I know is getting married. My husband and I decided to only attend two of the weddings. As much as I would like to go to all five weddings, I just can’t go to a wedding every Saturday for a month :-S

Speaking of weddings and romance, if you read my last blog post you’ll know that I’ve been cleansing my palate from all the high-octane stuff of the Crystal series with some sweet romance. It’s been so much fun for me to work on Pressure (Pure Passion 4). If you enjoyed Lust, Bondage and Purity, you’ll love this new installment of the Pure Passion series.

Brooke, a preacher’s kid, is a crushed young woman who runs away the night before her wedding. James, a Formula One driver, has been burned in the past, literally left waiting at the altar on his wedding day. Can he love a woman who has jilted someone else the way he was jilted? If he can, will his love cause her to rethink her decision to turn her back on God? Throw in some lessons about overcoming fear through faith and you have a sweet romantic read perfect for the long summer evenings 🙂

Get your copy of Pressure: Amazon UKAmazon USB&NKoboSmashwords.

 

Pure Passion Series Boxed Set
box set pps.pngIf you haven’t started the Pure Passion series, or you’ve only read one or two of the books, I’ve compiled a boxed-set of all four books in the series. You can get the boxed-set for a special launch price of $5.49 (or £4.99) which is a saving of over 50%.
Instead of getting Pressure alone, why not load all four books onto your e-reader for a hefty discount, and enjoy a romance binge. Everyone loves a romance binge 🙂

Get your copy of the Pure Passion Boxed-Set: Amazon UKAmazon USKoboSmashwords.

 

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

Dayo.

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Cleansing my Palate – Pressure (Pure Passion 4)

PRESSURE COMPLETE.jpgHowdy guys,

I’m in that funny little place where I’m between writing projects and I don’t quite know what to do with myself. Well, actually I do know what I should be doing. I should be editing the four books that are sitting on my laptop waiting to be released. But I don’t like editing. Writing is much more fun.

I have done some editing, though. I finished editing Pressure (Pure Passion 4) last week, and even sent it on to an editor, which is pretty exciting. The Crystal series was quite intense, so it was nice to work on something a little milder. It totally cleansed my palate. I think I’ll release that next so that you all can cleanse your palates too.

I have lots of thrillers lined up to write, and also lots of sweet romances. It’s hard to decide what to write next. Today, I asked myself ‘What kind of writer do you want to be remembered as?’ Someone who wrote sweet, run of the mill Christian romance, or someone who wrote books that were deep and thought provoking and made people pause to think. I do like writing sweet romance, and romance can be powerful and meaningful. But thrillers are really growing on me. The best is when both genres are combined as romantic thrillers. I think that adding some romance into a thriller (especially if it’s an agonizing romance, like Juda’s and Crystal’s was to begin with) makes for addictive reading. And it means I don’t get bored with writing 🙂

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the things you want to do? My best friend asked me last week if I have any more books planned. I was like, “girl I have 175 books on my ‘to be written’ spreadsheet.” She probably thought I was joking. I wasn’t. And I feel a sense of urgency about writing them, because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life looking at that spreadsheet. I want to write all those books by the time I’m 40. My husband just shook his head at me when I told him that. To be honest, I know it’s crazy, but there’s no harm in trying. If I miss my goal, I’ll settle for 45. Or 50. Nah, 40 would be ideal. (No questions about my age please :-))

Anyway, so I’m taking a break from practitioners and craft and light vs. darkness (:-) ). Pressure, a contemporary Christian romance that I wrote back in 2013, will be next. I’ll release once I get it back from the editor and I’ve had a quick look over his amendments. (Yes, my editor is a dude this time. I just hope reading all the romantic elements of Pressure isn’t too torturous for him, ha ha).

Here’s the back cover blurb for Pressure:

A woman in despair.

Brooke Chandler has lived with the guilt of her brother’s death for nine years. Despite her efforts to put the loss behind her, it still haunts her. It doesn’t help that her parents blame her, or that they see her guilt as an excuse to control her.

On the eve of her wedding to a man selected by her parents, Brooke runs away. Never mind that her fiancé is the son of the biggest preacher in the city, or the fact that as a preacher’s kid herself, she is supposed to follow the rules.

James Cassidy knows a thing or two about pain, having been jilted by the love of his life two years ago. He didn’t think he was ready for love again, but there’s something about Brooke that stirs him the way no other woman ever has. But can he love a woman who has jilted another man, just as he was jilted?

Even if he can, Brooke’s heart is surrounded with seemingly insurmountable walls.

When Brooke decided to leave, she didn’t expect to run straight into the hands of a new man. And she didn’t expect to fall in love.

Can James’ faith cause Brooke to rethink her decision to turn her back on God? And can his love bring her healing?

Pressure is a compelling love story of faith overcoming fear, and freedom from guilt.

***

I’m terrible at writing book descriptions. Some of you have told me that in the past (thanks for that feedback, ha ha). I really tried hard with this one. It might change. I’ll see if my editor has anything to say about it.

Ciao xx

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Help! Stuck with Book Cover.

pressure coverSo, Pressure (Book 4 of my Pure Passion Series) has been sitting withing my laptop doing nothing for weeks, because for some reason we can’t get the book cover right.

I wrote a blog post at the beginning of June about how I was struggling with finishing the book. Well, like a week later, I finished it. And that was while also writing book 1 in another series that follows on from my Beauty for Ashes series. So The book has been finished for a while. But the book doesn’t ‘work’.

I suggested to my husband that he uses an image of an orange being squeezed, but he said that was too typical of ‘pressure’ and that we should think of something else. Well, we’ve been thinking for over a month now and can’t seem to come up with something. So guys, I need your help. Any ideas on an image to use?

By the way, I did a Guest Post on author Ava Bleu’s website today. Check it out.

Many Blessings xx

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Stuck!

ImageI’ve been writing the next book in my Pure Passion series, Pressure, since March, which for me is pretty miserable. I can’t believe how long it’s taking me. Ever since I wrote one of my books, Refiner’s Fire, in three weeks, I find that I get impatient with myself if a book takes me longer than six weeks to write. I also get fed up of the book and it becomes a uphill task. Not that I don’t care about the characters in Pressure, or don’t find their story absorbing. I really do. I’m just stuck. There are people who don’t believe in writer’s block, they think it’s just an excuse for laziness. On the other hand there are people who blame writer’s block for every lapse in concentration that they have while writing a novel. I’m not really sure where I stand. I wouldn’t call what I’m going through now a ‘block’ as each time I sit down to write, the words do flow pretty easily; it’s just that I’m fed up with myself for not finishing this book sooner. I have definitely been blocked before though. When I was writing Lust I had about a three-week period where I really couldn’t write and I wasn’t sure why. That was pretty scary.

Anyway, I don’t have a cover for Pressure yet. Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long for me to write. Maybe I need something visual that represents the book and will inspire me to be passionate about it again. I don’t have a book description yet, either. But here’s a summary:

Pressure is the story of a young woman called Brooke who is controlled by her parents and is being made to marry some guy that she doesn’t want to marry. She runs away to Bridgefield the day before the wedding and her parents are furious, especially because the guys she’s jilted is the son of some big shot preacher. They want her to come back and marry the guy, but Brooke meets someone else in Bridgefield. His name is James Cassidy. And he’s been jilted before. A few years ago, his fiancé didn’t show up for their wedding and she ran off with his friend. So he likes Brooke, but will he still like her when he finds out that she jilted some guy, or will he think she’s just like his ex-fiancé, not to be trusted?

Pressure is all about a young woman getting to know God for herself, rather than just accepting what her parents have told her about God. There’s a lot of conflict around whether she has to obey her parents and break up with James, or disobey them and stay with him. Then, there’s also an element of faith vs. fear as Brooke has a lot of fears in her life that she has to deal with. Also, James is famous, but Brooke has no idea who he is until someone says words to the effect of ‘that’s James Cassidy. You don’t know who James Cassidy is?’ Oh, and the guy that Brooke jilted, his name is Darren by the way, tries to get revenge.

This is not really a good summary at all. There’s quite a lot that happens in the book. I think my problem is that I’m getting distracted by the next series I’m going to write (which is about Lexi’s daughter, Crystal, and is pretty exciting). I’ll share the cover for Pressure when it’s ready. I’m at 92,000 words. I guess all I need to write is another 10-15,000 words and I’ll be done. Pray for me 🙂

Blessings.

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New Book – Purity – Available Now

ImageWell, I was considering holding Purity book back until the next book in the Pure Passion Series is ready, so that I can publish them both at the same time. But Purity was just sitting there on my computer, ready, doing nothing, and I felt kinda sorry for it. So it’s out. Check it out on Amazon UK, Amazon US & Smashwords. It’ll be on Kobo soon. They take a bit longer to process things.

Anyway, guys I need a favour. I’m trying to get Lust to be free on Amazon. Which is impossible, unless it’s free elsewhere and then Amazon might decide to price match. So here’s where you come in. If you would kindly Click Here and go on the Amazon page for Lust, and click ‘Tell us about a lower price’ which is about halfway down the page. You want to select ‘website (online), paste the following url into the ‘url’ field:

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lust-pure-passion-series-a-christian-novel

And report the price as 0.00.

I would be very grateful if you could do that. In fact, email me or leave a comment below to let me know. As anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows, I’m pretty openhanded with my books so you can have a free book in return.

Blessings xx

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The Wait is Over!!!

bondage cover 1First of all, I need to apologise because Bondage was supposed to be out in March. But everything took longer than usual. I was back and forth with my editor, then I realised that the book cover didn’t suit the book and had to get my husband to design a new one. It was so funny because I loved the original cover, but the more I looked at it, the more I realised that it wasn’t the right cover for Bondage. Rather, it belonged to Purity (Book 3 in the Pure Passion Series, which I will do a blog post about soon). So anyway, that’s fixed now and I’m so pleased with the new cover.

So guys, check Bondage out. It’s on Amazon. It’ll get on Smashwords and Kobo over the next week. I’m willing to give out free copies in exchange for reviews so if you’re interested in that, email me (dayo.benson@ymail.com).

Bondage is quite different to my previous books, so as you read give it a chance. It takes some time to warm up, but I think you’ll enjoy it. Also, I’ve added something at the back of the book where you can submit your email address and sign up to get updates about my forthcoming books the day they get released, so make sure to sign-up.

Blessings xx

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Is Poetry a Dying Art?

Poetry is like…almost non-existent these days. Most poetry that gets any publicity was written hundreds of years ago. New poetry gets little publicity. And it’s pretty sad. I like poetry. I enjoy nicely rhyming verses and have even contributed poems to a Mother’s day anthology (I don’t know what became of the anthology so don’t ask). Yet, I wouldn’t personally buy a poetry book unless it was a gift for someone else or a friend wrote it and I wanted to support them. For me, poetry is more effective alongside something else like music, or a novel e.g. I included poems at the end of each beauty for ashes novel that summarised Lexi’s journey/growth in that novel, and I think it was pretty effective. It gave those books some added uniqueness.

However, poetry doesn’t come all that natural to me. It’s usually pretty painful for me to write them because each word needs squeezing out, whereas with writing fiction they just flow freely.

Anyway, I said no more tidbits about my next book, Bondage, but maybe I’ll give one more tidbit. Bondage is about a poet and a songwriter, so naturally I had to write poems and songs to accompany the book. I could have just been lazy and said ‘he wrote a poem’ and ‘she wrote a song’ but I wanted to push myself so I actually wrote the stuff and inserted them into the book. And I’m gonna treat you to a sneak preview of one of the poems. In the book, Savannah is training for a freestyle poetry competition and here is her shot at freestyle poetry (which is just standing up and saying whatever comes to mind and hoping it rhymes):

poem2

Not very uplifting, I know, but it summarises Savannah’s outlook. And I think more people should write poetry so that it doesn’t die out. Seriously, I actually sit and ponder things like ‘what if poetry dies out.’ And the thought sucks. So I plan to write more poetry, and put them in my books.

God bless x

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Upcoming Book

ImageI am very pleased to share the cover of my upcoming book with you. As usual, it was designed by my lovely husband and I absolutely love it. He really is a genius.

I’m currently editing the manuscript. My editor came back with lots of things for me to change or at least look closely at and I have to reduce the wordcount by 25%. This is so painful because I slaved over every word and now I have to remove chunks that I slaved over (arrgh!!!). But I know it’s for the best. I hate editing my work though. Writing is the fun part. Editing is too much like work.

The unedited synopsis of the book is:

David Steel is living the perfect life, now that he’s sworn off women. Hard work and long hours are all the companion he needs. Until Noémi comes crashing into his life and disturbs his steady equilibrium.

Noémi Casson has booked herself on a sexual healing retreat after struggling in silence for fifteen years. She’s done her best to contain herself, but it was just a matter of time before she gave in to her demons. Giving in was easy, and even felt right—at the time. It’s the aftermath that is painful.

David is convinced that his love is all the healing Noémi needs.

Noémi is convinced that David must be delusional.

As Noémi allows God to work on her, she begins to see herself and her problems in a new light. But just when all seems to be going well the unthinkable happens and Noémi’s private sin becomes public knowledge. Noémi doesn’t know whether to focus on saving her relationship with David or saving herself. It’s all she can do to stay sane!

Let me introduce you to some of the characters:

Noémi Casson – the main character of the novel is a child abuse survivor. She’s seeking healing as her scars run deep. She meets David and isn’t sure whether to take a chance on him since he’s so obviously out of her league.

David Steel – David tries to be patient and accommodating with Noémi, but how much can he take? He loves her but her self-hatred continually gets in the way.

Aaron Cass – Aaron is a temptation that Noémi has fallen for before and he’s out to floor her again.

Kadeigh Lovell – Kadeigh attends the same healing retreat that Noémi attends. She’s feisty and outspoken and she whips Noémi into shape near the end of the book.

Rita Moorcroft – Rita is Noémi’s best friend but Noémi is forced to reevaluate their friendship when she gets into trouble and Rita gives her some dubious advice.

On a completely different note, here’s a picture of the pretty little addition to our family, Esther Shola ImageBenson. She was born last week and she’s adorable. Me, my husband and our other daughter, Rhema, are absolutely smitten with her 🙂

Anyway, I better get back to editing xx