Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet Kate Breslin

I met Kate Breslin through our agent, Linda Glaz, and I'm excited to introduce you to her today. Her book, For Such a Time, is one you don't want to miss.

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, her Aryan-like looks allow her to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners. When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice. God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself?

Kate, welcome to Patterings. I have to say (again) that your book, For Such a Time, is probably one of the books that I have most looked forward to reading!

Patty, thank you so much for hosting me today and letting me share with your readers!

The Holocaust is a tough topic, particularly today. What made you decide to do a historical on such a difficult issue?

I got the idea to write For Such A Time while reading Queen Esther’s story in the Bible. I realized how much the Jewish people had suffered at the hands of one tyrant or another throughout history; I began to see similarities between the wicked Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews and Hitler’s more recent Holocaust of WWII. I wondered if I could superimpose the life and challenges of Esther into this more recent time period. I knew little about WWII or the Holocaust when I began my research, but it soon became an emotional journey as well as a spiritual one. I was shocked to read first-hand accounts of Nazi brutality, yet moved, too, by tales of courage and faith-keeping in those who faced death. And there were so many real-life heroes and heroines who risked all to save others. Needless to say, I felt compelled to try and write their story.

How long did it take you to write For Such A Time and what did your research involve?
The entire research and writing process took me about five years: I studied WWII history in the European theater; the Nazi party, including Himmler’s evil SS; I also pored through personal accounts written by prisoners of the camps, including Dachau, Theresienstadt (Terezin,) and Auschwitz. I read memoirs of German Wehrmacht soldiers who fought from North Africa to Stalingrad, and I also attempted to become knowledgeable in the tenets and traditions of Judaism. At final count, my bibliography stood at close to thirty books, including several documentary videos and substantial online information. It was important to me to treat this horrific period with the sensitivity and accuracy it deserved, while crafting a fictional romance between a Jewess and an SS-officer.

What was a highlight of the research?
Much of my research was emotionally exhausting, but I do recall a story that stands out, written by one of the prisoners: about a former Luftwaffe pilot who, because of an injury, had to earn his living as an SS-guard at the camp of Dachau. He saw the plight of the prisoners and many times would bring from his home in the village food and medicine for them. When the Americans liberated Dachau in 1945, they were shocked to see a crowd of sickly, emaciated prisoners circle the guard protectively, so that he would not be hurt. The humanity in that moment touched me; like a glimmer of light in the darkness I’d been reading. It gave me hope that even amidst such evil, goodness could exist.

Did you travel to the region For Such a Time is set in? If you did, how did that affect you?
While I would like to visit the camps I wrote about, I’ve never been to these places. Instead, I “saw” my story setting through reading, viewing pictures, videos, and other imagery. I know that when I do go, it will affect me deeply!

Who is your favorite character in the book? How did their story impact you personally?
Well, I confess I love them all (except Captain Hermann, of course!) I admire little Joseph, because of his bravery and his child’s willingness to love, yet I think Stella (Hadassah) resonates with me most. Her journey became mine, and as we both struggled with the big question of “Why?” I gained a better understanding into the strengths and weaknesses of my own faith.

What was the main thing you learned from writing For Such a Time?
I learned that unconditional love is the surest weapon against evil; it was how Jesus destroyed death. And while evil may take the body, it cannot take the soul, so long as we hold fast to our heavenly Father.

What would you like readers to take away from the book?
I hope readers will gain better insight into the real events of WWII and Hitler’s reign of terror. It’s also my wish they’re inspired to stand a little more courageously in their daily lives. It only takes one to make a difference!

Where can people find you on the internet?
Either my website:
Face Book:
I’m also on Pinterest and Goodreads!

If you like, you can sign up on my website to become a “Kate’s Crusader” and receive information on future events, books, giveaways, and/or blurbs from me. There’s also a contact form, or you can email me direct at I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for being here with us today, Kate!

Here's an excerpt from For Such a Time...

You can purchase For Such a Time at Amazon.

Monday, April 14, 2014

From Where I Am

You know how it is—you’ve been gone so long that your first time back is awkward. You don’t know what to say, how to explain your absence, or even IF you should explain why you disappeared.

Sometimes things just can’t be explained.
Sometimes the explanation is still too raw. Too personal. Too close.

We’ve all been there at some point. And if you haven’t, you will. Trust me. You will.

This is where I am.
Trying to figure out if it’s time to come back.
Trying to figure out how to break the silence I’ve been in. Processing the pieces in my hand even while enjoying and treasuring those very pieces. It’s an odd and unexpected combination.

I’ve been living by that old maxim “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Only I tweaked it, as I’m prone to do, to “If you don’t have anything upbeat to say, don’t say anything at all.” Being a downer isn’t my style.

Neither was it King David’s. And I need to remember that. David was not a downer. He shouted and danced in praise and worship. He led his people in devotion and worship. But he certainly didn’t feel like it at times. There was nothing easy about his life that would make him an upbeat person. Life threw him many curve balls and it never went as he probably thought it should have, how he planned for it to go. I'm sure things happened to him that left him gasping for air to breathe. He cried and we still see his tears today. He stormed about and we still hear his indignant stomping today.

But he always came back to praise.

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; 
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, 
In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, 
To see Your power and Your glory. 
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. 
So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, 
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. 
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, 
For You have been my help, 
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. 
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. 
Psalm 63:1-8 NASB

A reminder for us as we hold the broken pieces pieces to make the mosaic of life.

It's time to let the praises ring. 

In spite of the tears.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hard to Get

Toby likes to play hard to get with me. He'll look at me and watch me, then, as soon as I look his way, this is what he does...

Monkey Monday at Patterings

He quick looks away and ignores me.

He makes me feel so special.
*eye roll*

So tell me, do you have a pet that plays hard to get with you?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Monkey Interview!

My friend, Kathy Rouser, and her cat interviewed Toby!

Cats listen so well and that must be their secret to asking such good questions. LilyBits and Toby had a fun conversation.

Please come visit with us at Kathy's Writing, Whimsy and Devotion site!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mr. Cool

Fonzie is another monkey we get to work with. Like his namesake, Fonzie is far too cool to do many of the things Toby does, making him totally different than Toby. While Toby is my baby, Fonzie far prefers my husband, Jim. They're great buddies and work and hang out together.

Monkey Monday at Patterings
Today is Jim's birthday, too!!

Happy Birthday, hon. =)

It's interesting to see the different personalities of the monkeys. Like us, they're very distinctive and unique.

Toby is playful and often silly while Fonzie is Mr. Cool. Toby will mind me but Fonzie just looks at me as if to say, "You want me to do what? For you? Dream on, crazy lady."

Needless to say, I leave Fonzie to Jim. They make a great team.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Spoonful of Sugar

They say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but that might not always be true...

Toby LOVES strawberry jam. Adores it. But he's smart.

He's learned that sometimes I'll mix a little bit of medicine in his jam. This is what he thinks of it...

Monkey Monday at Patterings

I had to be very persuasive to get him to eat his bread and jam, and even then he wasn't too happy with me. But he got over it and when he was done with that bit, we rewarded him with a bit of good jam.

He's such a character.

Friday, February 07, 2014

It's Not Just Saving

"You can have it if you'll use it."

That's a phrase I find myself saying sometimes--probably because it's been said to me several times. It's a phrase that is relevant to my life.

What's the good in having something if you don't use it?

Exactly. It's not much good at all.

When I was a kid in Ecuador, American candy was an extreme treat. Any time I had some, I kept it in a cute tin my older sister gave me (which I still have--does that tell you anything about me?). I loved it when the tin was full. I would open it, poke through the candy then close it and hide it away again. Rarely did I eat any of the yummies.

I didn't just keep the candy, I hoarded it.

After a long time I decided to eat  the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that was hidden in there, along with a candy cane and several other tasty tidbits.

The peanut butter cup was awful. It was dry and had a funny taste to it. Hoarding it had ruined it. If I had just nibbled away at it--a little bite here and a little bite there, I would've been able to enjoy it, and enjoy it for a long time. But I didn't and it was ruined.

That's a lesson I've had to relearn many times in my life--including just recently.

Over the years I've come to love snapping pictures, and I've taken lots of them. But all too often they sit on my computer or phone, doing nothing but taking up space. In the past couple of months I've gotten involved on Instagram and I have to admit to loving it. It's a place to do something with some of my pictures. A place to share them for no other reason than that they make me smile or I found them interesting.

But Instagram is all about the insta. I still have all the pictures I take with my camera which, in my experience, are not insta. I can't click and post while exploring the creek or standing in line at the grocery store--both of which I tend to do.

So, I've decided to apply what I've learned.

No more hoarding pictures. That means if I have a picture I want to share just because it makes me smile, then I'm gonna post it. Here. On my blog. Even if it's not a real good picture. Even if I have no words to go with it because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

So tell me, are you hoarding something in your life?

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