Did You Ever_ _? Well I Did! by Paula Rose Michelson

Did you ever start writing a book knowing that you wrote well but lacked the mechanical skill sets needed to insure a good edit? I did!

Did you ever start writing a book without knowing it? Well I did!

Did you ever find yourself writing a story other than the one you planned? I bet you know by now that I’m going to tell you that I did! And you’re right! I did!

Now to some this sounds like the most harebrained idea one could concoct, and you’re right! That’s why I love telling people that I didn’t make this happen, Messiah did! Don’t you love it when the Lord takes the reins and takes you on a journey you never signed up for?

Oh, that hasn’t happened to you? Well it will if you yield to his leading! You’ve done that and nothings changed. Then let me suggest that you’re still in your comfort zone. You know the place where everything makes sense. It’s that comfortable place where your bills get paid on time, everyone at work is your friend, and the people at the grocery store know you by name. It’s the place where our illusion of doing what the Lord challenged us to do might be pushed off to one side because we don’t want to make waves. Yep, you know what I mean! It’s the place where we never have to “Cast all our cares on him because he cares for us” cause we’re busy caring for ourselves.

Sometimes, especially during these stressful times, it’s easier to hide out instead of calling God our hiding place, a place where we’re protected from the troubles that surrounds us. It seems to me that right now many of us aren’t listening for songs of deliverance, because we don’t know what that is. Or sadder yet, we’re looking for the government, our local officials, or our family to deliverer us. Perhaps we don’t even believe in deliverance or a deliver. So the words found in Proverbs 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” are just a bunch of gibberish.  

However, I have it on good authority that everything that comes around goes around, meaning you have only one ticket to ride so make it count!

You’re probably thinking I’m a Bible thumper. Well I’m not! What I am is a truthsayer.  Don’t believe me order Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing at Amazon.com Then visit my Casa de Naomi Reflections Blog at http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com and tag along. And no, this not an add. What it is, is an invitation to join something where what you think matters! That’s right! Every time I post I’m hoping you will leave your comments so I can post them. So come on! You’ve nothing to lose! In fact what you have to say, might give site to the blind metaphorically speaking! 
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Giving Back from What I was Given, by Paula Rose Michelson

Since it is exactly one month shy of one year from the date my dear friend and author Marlayne Grion helped me get started, I wanted to begin today’s posting by mentioning that over this year, I’ve shared stories, you have told me what books mattered to you and why, and you have read some of the research that birthed the Casa Saga. Whew! Looking back I see what an amazing year it’s been, and just how much your participation has added to the joy of going from writer to published author!

Usually when one looks back after achieving what some thought could never have been done without them, as in a publisher friend of mine said, “You need to learn how to write.” Then offered me a sort of verbal contract, hoping, I assume, that her comment would let her get control of the Casa Saga from A to Z. However, as much as you might wish to read the details of that drama, my posting today hinges on a long over due thank you and a retired teacher that I meet while participating in a weekend event at the church Marlayne attends. 

Unlike Snoopy’s stories or Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Book 1, which you can now order at Amazon.com, this story is personal, autobiographical in nature. If you really want to understand all I’m sharing please revisit “My Faulty Education and Writing the Casa Series,” posting or visit Http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com, and read “‘From Why Johnny Can’t Read’ to See Paula Write,” which you’ll find under the heading “Meet The Author.” Good! Now I’m finally able to being!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Giving Back from What I was Given~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was an odd set of circumstances that caused a rather tomboyish me to end up spending four days a week with a retired school teacher who lived in a mobile home park. Her place was sort of a studio type. From the outside this never been married teachers place looked like the embodiment of the Long Rangers silver bullet glistening in the sun. On the inside the overly organized cramped quarters felt like a haven to me until the summer heat escalated beyond what most could endure by lunchtime. Yet there the two of us meet four days a week for four hours. By end of each day, we were both sweating profusely. However, discomfort did not stop her from demanding that I learn everything she could pour into me while she sprayed water onto her arms and placed moist clothes on her neck. And, I tried not to look at the good climbing tree that I walk by each time she opened the screen door and invited me in.

That was the summer when I discovered how little our system pays those who they appoint to teach for Miss. (I’ve forgotten her name) had neither a fan nor a trailer with cross ventilation. As the hours advanced, so did the heat, and I am sorry to admit that I never thought about Miss. Teacher except to wonder how she could stand to live there. I don’t even remember what our last day together was like. But I do know that what she gave me that summer made it possible for me to pass a proficiency test so that I could matriculate to the fourth grade. Now I don’t want you to think I wasn’t paying attention when I attended kindergarten through the third grade, because I was! But because my nearsighted condition went undisguised it was understandable why Paula, like Jonny couldn’t read.

By now you’re probably scratching your head and wondering why at 64 this matters to me, so I’ll tell you. During the weekend I spent at Marlayne’s church, I met a retired teacher named Carol. She was very nice. In many ways she reminded me of Miss. Teacher, and the memory of that lady tugged at my heart. I noticed that Carol seemed bored, and discovered that she was because there was a lull in the foot traffic. Having nothing to offer her but my book, I discovered that she liked romantic historic fiction, and handed her a novel.

“What’s this for?” she asked.

“If you’d like to read my book, I’d love to hear what you think.”

“Okay.” She began to read. When it was time to leave she walked over, book in one hand, purse in the other. “I’d like to buy your book.”

“I didn’t give it to you to read so you would feel that you had to buy it.”

She smiled. “I know that! But I want to buy your book.”

I smiled. It was as if Miss. Teacher was standing in front to me. I told Carol about her and asked if I could gift the book to her in memory of the woman who helped me, whose name I did not remember, and who would in all probability be deceased since she would be well over 100 by now. Carol agreed. I left feeling all warm and cozy inside, as if in doing this I had done something my mother taught me which was to giving back from what I was given.

I believe that Carol’s mother must have taught her the same thing because the following morning she shared that she loved the novel, and asked when the next one in the Saga would be published. When I shared that many readers had already purchased that book, she opened her check book. “How much?” she asked as she began to write a check.

“I didn’t give you the book to make you feel that you had to buy one.” I reminded her.

“I know.” She smiled and filled in the sum while I inscribed the first novel for her. She read the inscription. “How, do I say thank you, for this?” she asked with tears in her eyes.

“By letting me give to you what Miss. Teacher gave to me. A sense that I was worth whatever she could impart.” She smiled once more, and I smiled back. And it seemed to  me that both of us had tears in our eyes. 
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Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing was released today! by Paula Rose Michelson

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing is on sale! Please help me make this a stellar launch! If you read and loved the book, post a review on Amazon.com, and buy several books to gift.

Each book you buy will allow me to give $1 from the proceeds to The American Cancer Society. So make this season's gift giving choice one that gives back. 

If you wonder why funds are being given to the organization mentioned above, please read the article that I posted below this announcement. And remember that when you purchase Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing on Amazon, it's a win-win because you and your friends get to meet some wonderful people in its pages, and a portion of the cost of your book helps fund cancer research! 

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Paula Contacting The American Cancer Society - Please Pray! by Paula Rose Michelson

I am aware that authors can affect change because of what they write about and what they support. I have been asking the Lord to show me what he wanted me to affiliate with. While preparing to visit the writers group at Shuvah Yisrael that supported my initial writing of the Casa Saga, the Lord reminded me of the article that Marie Oden gave me, which delineated how four oncologists determined that generations of women that lived in Colorado's San Luis Valley, and had experienced early onset breast cancer were of Sephardic heritage. While reviewing the text, I realized that this is a cause that needs support and, more importantly it is one that affects the Sephardic people because when women become ill, or die the family is affected.

Since Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Book 1, and all the other novels in the Casa Saga will be bought by people I will never meet, and since cancer is a problem for all people, I will contact The American Cancer Society on Monday. I hope to set up something that will allow one dollar from the sale of each novel to be donated to them. Once they have agreed to my idea, I hope that each novel will carry The American Cancer Society logo, and that the cover of each book will say that one dollar of the purchase price will be donated to the Society. Of course, you know that the first book is set, and I cannot make any changes. However, our God can!

I hope you will lift this endeavor up in prayer, that you will ask your friends to visit this blog and read what I have posted, and follow the blog so they and you can stand united in our course.

To read the article, visit The Smithsonian Magazine, October 2008, on line, and look up the article on the Hidden Jews of the San Luis Valley.
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A Book—Almost by Another Name by Paula Rose Michelson

Yesterday I got up early ready to start writing this blog, which had already been written and edited in my thinker, posted. As always, I began my day by responding to emails. Two hours later, I did what I try not to do, but often do these days. I checked Amazon to see if “Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Book 1” had been posted. It had! In fact you can pre-order the novel, which will ship on December 20! I was all smiles. Then I noticed that the name had been shortened to read “Casa de Naomi.” For more than a year, I have been speaking, blogging, and talking about “Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing.” Knowing that anyone who had heard or read anything about the book would enter that name, I did likewise and discovered that nothing showed up!

The drama in my head beat a staccato refrain when I realized that the discussion I had with the jacket designer had not been emailed or signed off on, and shortly afterward, she left Tate to pursue another opportunity. I remember being told that once “Casa” was on the dot coms changes would be VERY expensive and SOME COULD NOT BE MADE AT ALL!

However, I felt I had to try, so girding myself with prayer, I emailed my marketing rep. I received a response that I couldn’t understand, and sent another email. For over an hour I tried to understand what I wasn’t, and I finally picked up the phone. While the receptionist put me through I got on Amazon again and discovered that hurray, MY TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT HAD BEEN FIXED!

I would love to tell you that I immediately remembered Matthew 6:34 where Messiah says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” However, I must confess that it came to mind when I finished writing this blog, stopped, and wonder how to end this posting. God is so loving and kind! He did not hit me over the head with this scripture yesterday as a reproach for my behavior. He already knew that what I had put myself through showed that I was not relying upon him. No, God—my loving Abba, waited until I could receive, and then he sent me in search of that which I already knew but had not used when to do so would have been a blessing!

Don’t we all wish that those who love us would treat us this kindly? And having been blessed by the enormity of Gods love, don’t we wish that we did not disappoint him as often as we do? I imagine that like me, you, want to please him. Perhaps, just perhaps, when we, or to be more specific, me, fall short, God uses us more. For those in need may be more attracted to the one we serve when they see how much he loves us, though we are still in process.
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A Season and a Reason to Give Thanks by Paula Rose Michelson

If I remember it right, and I should be able to do that since this is my story, though its really about my brother Ron, it all began when I came home from school and found the house locked, not a soul, especially not my mother, who was a stay at home mom – well, as I was saying, not a soul in sight! If that had happened a year before I wouldn’t have banged at the front and back doors hollering for someone to let me in. Nor would my angst have led me to believe that the unthinkable had happened, and my family – mom and all – had moved while I was at school, a horrid punishment for crimes I had not committed. Yet the mind of a child seems, or at least in my case, finds the fault hers. So with no grandma living next-door to run to with my problems as I had done until we moved, and without any idea what to do next, I cried myself to sleep as the sun set, and a chill wind reminded me that it was almost Thanksgiving.

A voice seemed to call to me while hands grabbed mine insisting that I stand when all I wanted to do was sink back into the oblivion of the ice-cold cement slab I was laying on. As Mrs. Bauer rubbed my chilled hands with hers, she looked at the yellow stain on our porch. I saw what she did, realized my panties were wet, and knew that in my distress, or perhaps because of it, I had peed my pants! It seems odd now, looking back on feeling abandoned, that I found it comforting that our neighbor did not mention what I knew she had seen. Instead she took hold of my hand with a firm grasp, and pulled me of the porch as I screamed, “I can’t leave! My family will be back and mom always told me to wait here if anything happened!”

“Their not going to come,” was all she said as she led me up the hill to her place. Their not going to come! I couldn’t believe my ears. What did I do that was so bad that their not ever going to come? I wanted to yell. But all I did was…NOTHING! After all what could a child do to get her family to care enough to come?

Of course everything worked out all right. My weekend from hell was endured, and then my parents picked me up acting as if nothing unusual had happened. They pretended, and taking my que from them, so did I.

Suddenly it was time to prepare for Thanksgiving. Only there was a big problem, from the moment my parents had picked me up, our family was missing one person – my brother Ron. And odd as it might seem, no one – well neither mom nor dad - talked about him, so I didn’t either. But as the time for baking drew near I noticed that mom didn’t ask me to crack nuts, nor did she bring home a turkey. Needing to know what was going on, I snuck from my bedroom to the family room imitating the GI’s I had seen in war movies. I had done this so I could watch TV when I was supposed to be asleep. Now, with the need to know what was going on uppermost in my mind, I used the skill I had honed, and heard about my brothers’ radical Mastoid operation on both ears and the fact that the doctors had told my parents that most likely the surgery would kill him! Even if the surgery were a success, the infection he had was life threatening, and because the surgery would allow the toxins that had built up in his system to become systemic and invade every area, even if he survived the surgery there were no guarantees that he would live. Dad was holding mom and both of them were crying. I wanted to join them. However, young as I was, it was obvious that they didn’t need needy me hanging on to them. So as I sunk back to bed, I told myself, Sometimes secrets are a good thing.

I don’t remember if they ever told me the details of all Ron was facing. Perhaps they did. But I don’t think so because the first memory I have of my brother was him in a ground floor hospital room, surrounded by mom and dad, and me standing outside in the cold wind holding our dog. Ron smiled and waved to the dog. He seemed not to see me, nor did he wave. But he was all smiles – although I though that he had forced those smiles to ally our parents worries. His head was so bandaged that it was triple its usual size. And I found myself worrying that what I had overheard had happened and his infection had spread.

As the sun began to set, my folks joined me outside. We waved goodbye and headed home. While in the car I learned that the surgery had been so radical that my parents had called our rabbi, and asked for prayer. It wasn’t until the next Saturday while attending Shabbat school that I discovered that there had been a twenty-four hour prayer vigil for Ron. Now everyone was all smiles, happy that he was doing well and would soon be home. Not wanting to upset anyone with my tail of woe which, next to life threatening surgery, seemed insignificant I agreed with them, and thanked them for all they had done.

Now 64, I look back on this experience as a defining moment for each of us. For each of us made choices that set our feet firmly upon a path they may, as in my parents’ case, have traveled before, or, as in my brothers and my case, wandered down many times since then. For me that sad weekend when I felt abandoned followed by a week of not knowing where my brother was, and weeks of not knowing if he was going to be alright instilled within me a desire to protect and nurture those I love. That I never spoke of what I felt or asked why they had forgotten about me was part and parcel of who I became in large part due to this episode. As far as how these events affected the rest of my family, I have my ideas, but since I am not a mind-reader, I will leave it to them to share if they wish, or to you – my reader to embellish, if you must.

The one gem that I took from this episode, the one that for me made and continues to make that long ago Thanksgiving that we celebrated together – mom, dad, me, and Ron, a week prior to Christmas joyous, was the tradition I unknowingly instituted by asking before we began our meal if each of us would share what we were most thankful for. The sharing that occurred that day brought smiles to our faces, and tears to our eyes. Each year since that sad one – the year I really thought we would never have anything to be thankful for again – my family – husband Ron, daughters Danae, and Cheryl, and whomever else is with us take time to speak out loud the reason this season is one of thanks. And in saying what matters most to us – family, friends, faith, and our commitment to each other and God, we affirm that this really is a season of and we really have many reasons to give thanks for everything - even those things that seem at the time to take the thanks out of Thanksgiving!

If you have a Thankful Story that you would like me to post on this blog during this season, email your story to paula@paulawordsmith.com
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Along the Way by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors meet such interesting people along the way. When authors of any type of fiction, find that their characters begin speaking to them, literally dictating their story they become friends we meet and visit with sometimes for a season as in a short story, sometimes for a lifetime of writing as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes did. Add to that experience the startling reality that what we researched can validate another persons history that they themselves are not sure of and you will understand my surprise when I decided to revisit a poo pourri critique group led by a wonderful man many refer to as Bahia Rob, and emailed my pages to those who attended.

Upon arriving, I was greeted warmly, enjoyed chatting with those that I knew, met some new members, and heard about their projects. As the group began, Rob asked me, since I was in the process of being published to share, which I did. When the critiquing process was to begin, Rob asked me to begin, and I agreed. When I finished, I happily took a back seat hoping to observe, listen, and learn. However, much to my surprise it seemed that the women were of one accord. For having read my Historical Notes and the first paragraph of book two of the Casa Saga, they praised my writing comparing it to such luminaries as Francine Rivers and wanted to know more about the second Casa de Naomi novel and Tía Rosa.

I was surprised that these well-read women compared my work to one of my favorite authors. But I was more surprised when a new member joined the group because she seemed to me to be a kinswoman though how I sensed that I did not know. Nor did I understand why I suggested that we go to lunch together, especially since I was trying to save money. As we began to dialogue while we ate is seemed that the offhanded remark I had made as we crossed the parking lot had resonated with her for instead of her asking me why I had thought she was Jewish she said, “You said I was a Jew. How do you know that?” I do not know why I said what I said, but assumed to was Adonai who chose my next comment for me for instead of answering her I began speaking about my researching the Sephardim, and that those who fled the Mexican Inquisition had traveled as far as Colorado and married plains Indians like the Apache. She interjected some amazing comments and before half and hour had passed I realized that I was sitting with a Sephardic Jew who had not been sure if what she thought about her history was true until our meeting. Yet here she was a woman whose family had journals, diaries, and papers from the Spanish crown dated during the time of Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva (1589), who was himself a converso (a Jew baptized into the Catholic faith during the Inquisition), and the first governor of New Spain.

I was as excited to meet and speak with Parrish, as I had been to meet and speak with Phillip - a distant cousin to the direct decedent of Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva because all research showed that every member of that family but a distant niece had died during the Inquisition. Yet there was Phillip and now Perrish to verify their history. However, as amazed as Perrish was, she was circumspect as well she should have been. Where Phillip had always known who he was and what his heritage was, Perrish needed to begin a lengthily search, and like many she found that her family affirmed what she suspected, but others, especially those she contacted about taking the DNA test did not. Undaunted, she pressed on.

Two months later, we meet at the critique group again. This time she did not come because my pages had piqued her interested. This time she came to share about her journey. After that group and another lunchtime discussion with Perrish, I found the email I have posted below, as you read it please remember that 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
Hello Paula!

After spending the past two months researching and uncovering me and my families Sephardic roots-- thanks to you--as I read these testimonies a kindred spirit sparks in my heart. Thank you for expelling the healing oils of courage out from your soul and onto mine! You’re a "mend setter"...


To read what my Sephardic friend did, please visit http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com and read my post entitled "A Sephardic Voice.
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Casa de Naomi Update by Paula Rose Michelson

Because the last few weeks have been so auspicious, and the events and comments came at an ever-increasing rate, I have posted the highlights by day. My prayer is that as you read them, you will see Gods hand in my “Year of 5,000 Books!”

On Sunday, October 23, I received an email from Tracey Awwad, which read, “I read the first book and loved it! When is the second book coming out? I can't wait!” When I saw her she exclaimed, “I read the book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down!”

That evening I attended a writers group where friends seemed eager to hear all that was going on while some wrote out checks and told me how to inscribe their novel.

On Monday, October 24, I met with the members of the Laguna Woods Writers Club to prepare for my Friday interview. Both of them had read Casa de Naomi, and visited my “Year of 5,000 Books” and “Casa de Naomi Reflections” blogs, as well as my PaulaWordsmith website. The questions they asked put me at ease for I could see that I was in the hands of expert interviewers. That belief was validated when our interview commenced. By the time our segment ended, I felt I had made two new friends. As I stood, I realized that they had done a lot to prepare and wanted to give them something as a thank you. However, I had nothing except the book they had read. When I asked if they would like me to inscribe the novel they were handing back to me, they smiled and I inscribed their books. “I really wanted to keep this but didn’t want to ask since you bought it,” they seemed to say in one voice. As I headed out I heard one of them comment, “Casa de Naomi reminded me of my Flamingo lifestyle after I graduated college and teaching Spanish after that first year.”

I spent the week unpacking from our move, discovering new things about Laguna Woods Village, and meeting new people, one of whom is an author and true to an unspoken protocol, we exchanged books. However, as we sat chatting amicably she thumbed through Casa de Naomi, and before I left bought a copy for a friend.

On Friday afternoon, the Lutheran Church of the Cross-hosted a Casa de Naomi Event. Though attendance was light, those that came enjoyed the program and one woman took my contact information as she exclaimed, “My woman’s group will definitely want you to visit and present Casa de Naomi as you did here!” she scooped up the books she had bought, smiled, and headed for home.

On Sunday, October 29, I got a call from my daughter Cheryl who shared, “I planned to read a chapter every night. However, that didn’t happen because when things started to build I had to read more. I told myself, 'Just one more chapter, then I’ll go to bed.' But I couldn’t put the book down until I finished the read! I always knew that you told good stories, but how did you do that?”

I would have loved to tell her that I had honed my craft, but who am I kidding, I’m still a journeyman (in my case woman) author who was blessed beyond my wildest imaginings when the characters began to speak. All I did was write what Naomi and the others said. Still, I must confess that a sense of having accomplished what I wanted to engulfed me.

Thursday, morning I spoke at the Biola University Library, about My Writers Journey from Manuscript to Publication, afterward I manned (womaned?) a Casa de Naomi book table that Dean Vliet set up in the library. As students walked by I spoke with them about the novel and before I knew what was happening students were hurrying away with one of my novels in their backpack or hand.

I know this sounds like a heady experience, and it is! However, it’s getting better all the time! Tonight I prepare for a weekend event at Abiding Savor Lutheran Church. Next weekend my own Laguna Woods Village will host a weekend event and I’ll be there selling Casa de Naomi!

Having sold half of the books I ordered and having presold 120 books prior to signing the contract with Tate Publishing this leads me to one conclusion, if God is involved in our life and our work, we can do anything! Even a dyslectic artist like me can write a book that has people (even daughters) asking, “How did you do that?” Think I’m wrong? Then let me share that five readers have already purchased the second novel in the Casa Saga, and two have spoken about the book their reading and sold the novel to their friends! Obviously, I have accomplished what I wanted to. I wrote a historic romantic fiction that readers would not put down until they had finished the read. Moreover, it appears that I have entertained them so well that readers are telling their friends about Casa de Naomi and to their own amazement selling the novel because of their enthusiasm! To order Casa de Naomi prior to its December 20 release date, visit http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com
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Praise Report – Prayer Request by Paula Rose Michelson

Please pray! Amazing possibilities are on the horizon!

I had not wanted to mention this until Casa de Naomi had arrived at the offices of Grace TV, which is owned and operated by pastor, preacher, evangelist, Peter Youngren, but now I can!

While interviewing Peter for The Messianic Times, I mentioned that I might be in his area (Toronto, Canada) while on tour with Casa de Naomi, and asked if we could grab a coffee. He asked me to guest on his TV show, “Encounter…Your Gateway to Israel.”

A month later, I received information about a local Christian Book Event, seeking author participation. Knowing that Casa de Naomi is a cliffhanger, I emailed the person in charge. When I sent off that query, I realized I should send a revised query to Emily who books the guests for Peters show. Emily tentatively booked me for a November 14, 2011 taping. Rabbi Lowinger and his wife, who live in Buffalo NY offered to put me up, have me worship at thier congregation, speak about and sell Casa de Naomi, and drive me to Peters TV station on the following Monday.

When I received my long awaited shipment of Casa de Naomi, I sat down and read the story as if I were a reader – not the author. Then I thanked God! It seemed to me that the Spirit whispered in my ear, “Offer the book to Peters Ministry.”

I spoke with Emily, she (or they, I’m not sure) visited my website and blog. I heard back from her that very day asking for pricing! At this point, I contacted Tate to see what could be done and long story short, Emily emailed me this morning! The two volumes of Casa de Naomi that they asked for have arrived. The novel will be reviewed and they will contact me by the end of this week to confirm my interview on the 14 of November! The exclamation point at the end of the last sentence needs to read as a nonverbal ‘Tada!’ for the Lord because having looked at what they had previously reviewed, and what I had shared with Emily, they appear to be very interested!

However, to make certain that they are hearing from God, I ask you to pray! I know that having a worldwide ministry like 'World Impact Ministries' involved would help me accomplish what God wants. Yet, I want to walk in the anointing of Messiah. Therefore, I ask that each of you seek the Lord so that if the answer is yes we can come together praising His name for He has done great things for us!
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Unexpected Blessings by Paula Rose Michelson

Although I usually do my weekly posting on this blog on Tuesday, I could not wait to share this with you!

Sometimes, unexpectedly one finds herself the recipient of praise. Not because they have originated anything that is noteworthy, but because they have needed to research the history of a people, synthesize it into an easily readable form, and discriminate the material.

As many of you know, when I posted my research on Abraham Lincoln having Sephardic roots, an individual who wanted to publish the article on various internet sites contacted me. I asked that person to give a website or another url so that I could see who they were. I received no response.

Yesterday, I received another request, this time about Christopher Columbus. Without my asking, this person offered me information and links which proved that she is who she said she was. Since it is very rare for an author of historical fiction to receive any requests of this type, I have posted her query below.

As you read it, I hope you will rejoice with me because God has granted me favor with people I have not met.

Dear Paula,

I read your blog today, finding it very informative. I am a converso, who has returned to Judaism. I am an activist and educator for the anousim movement. I lecture to Road Scholars; Crypto Jewish program in Albuquerque, NM. I am contacting you to ask if I may have permission to copy your article on Columbus, of course giving you full credit. My next lecture is Oct. 18, 2011. It seems appropriate to hand it out in the class. If I get your permission, I then have to send it to Karen Long our tour guide for her to get permission from the main office to make copies for handouts for the class.

Mazel tov - (congratulations) on your great writing, good resources, and research

Sonya Loya
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Biola Opportunities - by Paula Rose Michelson

Rodney Vliet is the Dean of the Library at Biola, and my friend. He and I have been discussing the various events Biola might schedule once Casa de Naomi was released. Since that release will occur during the semester break, he suggested that we schedule events prior to the break, which means that Casa de Naomi will be available for purchase when I am on campus thus allowing students and facility to purchase the novel before the holidays.

My friend envisions a multiple event opportunity including an event at the library, another involving those students who are studying to become writers, and a third that might be of interest to various ethnic groups. When I spoke with Rod yesterday, he mentioned that he would be speaking to various departments and teachers today.

When I first asked him if the library might have me speak about my research, I had envisioned nothing more than that. But God has motivated Rod to do more than I would have ever asked, equipped with nothing but what he has heard me say, the email I have sent, and a visit to my website. All he asked was that I provide him with some necessary background, which he could share.

Since I have spent the better part of today developing and reformatting material, and since you are partnering with me in this endeavor, I thought it wise to post what I sent him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Paula Rose Michelson’s Press Kit~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paula Rose Michelson is the author of Casa de Naomi and a Messianic Jew. For years, she worked as a beautician and listened to women’s troubles. The issues they spoke of led her to return to school where she studied to be a Chemical Dependency – Life Style Disorder Councilor. While working in a Psychiatric Hospital she received Christ as her personal Messiah.

She founded LAMB Ministries, which uses scripture and prayer to help women affirm their lives by purging out dross. When asked to speak at women’s events and retreats she always wrote something special for the event and shared it. Encouraged by many, David Hockings presentation on Israel being the land and the people ignited her imagination and led her to research and write about the hidden Jews in Spain. When she began writing Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing, the characters began speaking to her. Because of this, what was to have been one book became a six-volume saga.

Currently she leads a monthly writers group at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California. She and her husband, Ron are staff members of Chosen People Ministries. The happy mother of two amazing daughters, mother-in-law of two great guys, and grandmother of seven adorable grandchildren, when not writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use of scripture you will find her researching her next book or meeting with friends.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Fulfilling the Great Commission through Literature~~~~~~~~~~~

As a believer in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), who has mentored hundreds of women and served with Chosen People Ministries, I have found that each person who receives Messiah receives a unique gift that affords them the ability to answer the higher calling. This calling is the foundation of my life, and the Lord has used me in many interesting and varied ways. However, the oddest and most amazing has been his calling me to write, and showing me how to use romantic historic fiction to bring the gospel into the secular marketplace.

Since God gave me this assignment, it has been my focus. Because I have pre-sold 100 books, I have emailed my Mishpukah (faith family) many times. This portion of an email that I sent them sums up why I believe it is time for me to visit Biola and speak about my journey, all I have learned, how the students can assist me, and sell book one of the Casa de Naomi Saga.


Dear Mishpukah,

Since I am a missionary’s wife, it was always my goal to write a novel that the Lord could use. When Casa de Naomi was completed, I believed I had accomplished that goal. My belief was affirmed when I sent it out for review for those who read it told me that the witness was strong but not to harsh.

When I began my publishing journey, I discovered that Casa de Naomi was larger than publishers were publishing. Taking this as a firm, “No,” I was perplexed. Invited to speak at a woman’s group and pre-sell the novel, I asked the women if they would be more inclined to give the book to others if the first novel was just historic romantic fiction with a cliffhanger ending. They nodded. When I mentioned that the next novel would carry the detailed salvation stories of the heroine and hero, they bought the book.

I reviewed this experience with Ron, and I realized that because Tate Publishing publishes secular as well as Christian books, the secular booksellers would host book signings for Casa de Naomi, and if they went well they might order the novel. Upon learning that the number secular booksellers look for in sales before they stock a novel is 5,000 books sold within the first year of a novels release, I realized that when the sales of Casa de Naomi reach 5,000, they would pick up the phone and order the books thus bringing salvation stories into the secular marketplace. This is my goal to place what is scared amongst what is profane.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Formatting of the Casa Saga Novels~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To fulfill the Great Commission through Literature, the odd numbered books in the Casa Saga show our characters needs and issues. The even numbered books carry their detailed salvation stories. The books will build believers up in their faith while they use them to build a bridge between them and their unbelieving friends. Since the novels deal with real world issues like faith, fear, and morality, I have set up a Casa de Naomi Reflections Blog at http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com

Each blog entry uses the novels text, from which reflective questions are drawn. At the end of each posting, a scripture is sighted. This is a valid outreach into the secular community, a great tool for teachers and preachers, a means to reach the lost, and a tool for those who want to teach teenagers and those that are college age how appropriate world choices fall short of Gods perfect plan of salvation and restoration. You will find the Sagas six-book synopsis at the end of this material.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Author Topics~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since I hope that you will invite me to speak at Biola either to a class, at the library, or another form, I have selected topics that I believe best suited to the campus and those that would be most relevant to students and teachers. To review a more complete list please visit http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com/

• Research - Why Libraries and Books Still Matter
• Editing – The Never Ending Process
• When to Listen, Learn, and When to Break the Rules
• About the Biz – Lessons from the Trenches
Since many ask, I will add, that if you wish, I am always happy to share a little of my writers journey before I begin speaking especially since it is interesting that God called this dyslectic artist to write for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Casa Saga Synopsis~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Casa de Naomi – Book One (working title - Yearning)
An immigration official takes fifteen-year-old Naomi from the ship she is on before it docks in New York harbor. Because the old woman she companioned has died, she has no one to vouch for her, and she knows that immigration will send her back to Spain. An old woman rescues her from immigration. She eventually takes over the work of the old Tía who rescued her, because the woman becomes ill, and then dies leaving Naomi the estate. When the attorney, and priest learn that Naomi will inherit the old woman’s estate they decide to find her a husband. While they plot, Naomi scarifies all her plans to fulfill her commitment. Because of the Decree of Alhambra that began the Spanish Inquisition is still a real threat in her mind, she continues to hide her Jewish faith from everyone as her mother taught her to do while she lived in Spain. Ten years pass and the people in Spanish Harlem look upon her as a saint. However, our protagonist has never owned who she is. It takes an arranged marriage to a man named Chaz whom she assumes is Catholic, and her bringing Lola home from immigration for her life to unravel for it is Lola’s ambition to discredit and replace Naomi. When Lola unmasks our heroine before the Spanish community as a Jewess, Naomi is forced to own her reality. Her friends take her to a retreat that she is told would be good for her. Chaz prepares to leave and everyone gossips about them. At the very end of the novel Chaz is confronted by Nicco who tells him, “As God is my witness Lucinda and I will not say our wedding vows until you and Naomi are standing with us.” Our hero’s startling answer, “Nicco leave God out of this!” will cause all who read this book to buy the next one, thus fulfilling the great commission through literature.

Casa de Naomi – Book Two (working title – Fulfillment)
While Naomi wrestles with God and the Scriptures, Chaz visits his family who tell him about his Jewish heritage. Unable to believe that what they say is true, he travels to Mexico and visits his Uncle Hilario a noted cultural anthropologist who lives outside Mexico City. Both our heroine and hero take a separate pilgrimage of the heart. In the end, each of them gives their life to Messiah. When Naomi returns, much is changed, but the truth that haunts her is that she and her spouse are alienated from one another. Before Naomi is able to grieve for her loss of a love that had never bloomed, she is confronted by her friend Lucinda who informs her that she cannot wed unless Naomi and Chaz stand up for her and Nicco. While Naomi shares why this request can never be realized, Nicco greets an unsuspecting Chaz at the airport and hears the same litany. The couple is manipulated into agreeing to the bride and grooms request. When they finally see each other, they know that their love is more vibrant than when they first pledged themselves to each other. After the bride and groom recite their vows, the priest invites those who wish to reaffirm theirs, and everyone watches as these star-crossed lovers reach across the isle, take each other’s hand, and reaffirm their love. It is only afterward that they share that they are both believers in Messiah, and both Sephardic Jews.

Casa de Naomi – Book Three (working title - Beginning)
Chaz and Naomi return home and begin married life. Chaz suggests that they wait a week as Naomi had originally requested so they can get to know each other before they consummate their vows. They decide to take up residence in the small casita on the lower patio. Because of this, the Casa de Naomi sign that Chaz ordered and had attached to the large casa needs to be moved to their home and replaced with the Casa de Vida sign. Since they have agreed to live in the back, the large casa will be used for Naomi’s work. Aware that he cannot move the sign by himself, Chaz calls Nicco’s Uncle Ricky for help. However, he is on vacation so old Uncle Luis comes instead. As Luis enters the garden, he divulges that he knew Tía Vida well. It is this comment, Naomi’s curiosity, and some strange occurrences that cause Naomi to want to learn more. Her desire is realized when Teresa gives Naomi, Tía Vida’s journal, which she has held in trust for her. Upon reading the entries, Naomi discovers Vida’s story, which gives her an understanding of how to help Chaz deal with the Anti-Semitism he is facing. The journal also allows her to fulfill a long held dream as she gets to know the woman who adopted her. However, her fervor to discover this information is overshadowed by romance, an invitation to meet the rabbi, the couple’s first Sabbath together, and gossip.

Casa de Naomi – Book Four (working title - Commitment)
Since the vows that the couple reaffirmed were real, Chaz has asked his friends to prepare their casa for a surprise wedding reception that includes his family, which Naomi has never met. While friends work to fulfill his wishes, Chaz takes Naomi out for a day of fun and pampering. When they come back, the festivities await them. It is during this time that Naomi meets her in-laws and her mother-in-law dispenses words of wisdom. Once everyone has left the couple consummates their marriage. The next morning, Naomi has her first bout of morning sickness. That afternoon a battered Lola returns with Flora to take up residence in the large casa. Both Naomi and Lola are pregnant. Aware that her child is the result of rape, Lola considers abortion. Naomi’s doctor insists that becoming pregnant at 31 means she must be placed on bed rest. Chaz receives a subpoena and must testify at an embezzlement trial and goes to Dallas. While he is gone, Lola cares for our bedridden heroine. Naomi forgives and mentors her and Lola gives her life to Messiah. When Chaz returns, he brings Naomi’s mother and sisters for a visit. During their stay, the sisters notice Naomi’s calm demeanor. They ask Lola about the change, she teaches them about Messiah, and they believe. While our couple experience this season of joy, Spanish Harlem is in an uproar, and Ralph (the attorney) uses their anger to foment a riot. Padre Paul the priest, Rabbi De Behar, Naomi, and Chaz discover that some in their community are angry, and plan a fiesta in the park as an outreach hoping to defuse the situation. However, Ralph will not be satisfied, and when the riot dies down without fulfilling his purpose, he threatens Naomi’s life, as her sister, Beca watches. Upon hearing the man’s name, Beca remembers her friend Nathanael, who lives close to the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Phoenix, asking her to say hello to his cousin. She asks Ralph if he is that man. Affirming his relationship, Ralph is mortified to be told he is a Jew. As the festivities move to Naomi’s house, Ralph regains his equilibrium but finds himself handcuffed, and facing charges. When Naomi and Chaz refuse to file a police report the Ralph is released. As the couple turn the work of the Tía’s over to those Naomi has appointed, Ralph realizes he has lost everything. When everyone turns away from him, Ralph blames Naomi.

Casa de Naomi – Book Five (working title - Sorrow)
This book and the next take place in Pinal County, Arizona where Naomi’s family has lived since they left Spain. The couple has traveled there so that Beca, who disregarded her parents’ beliefs, and left to attend Naomi’s fiesta, can be restored to them. Naomi’s parents know that she believes in Messiah and refuse to have anything to do with her, Chaz, or Beca. However, when Naomi’s father hears the cry of his grandson, he capitulates and tells them to rebuild the pile of rubble everyone refers to as Esperanza’s Casa. During the time it takes to rebuild the place, Ralph finds Naomi, strips her of her reputation, causing her to flee to the brothel where she finds work as the housekeeper. While all of this is going on, Naomi and Chaz’s infant daughter becomes ill. Once the baby recovers the couple leaves, happy for a chance to break away and happier still to attend a wedding of the college students Naomi met when she was taken to a retreat in book one and who help with their fiesta outreach in book two. Needing a respite from Naomi’s sorrow and her insistence that he act as her redeemer and rescue her, Chaz looks forward to meeting everyone. He hopes that when they return, the plans he and the men he met with and made are successful in bringing about all he and Naomi desire.

Casa de Naomi – Book Six (working title - Joy)
While the couple is gone, the men show Ralph a life he has always longed for. They hope he will chose the narrow road and confess what he has done, thereby freeing Naomi to return home. However, the man has no desire to do that. When Chaz returns, he discovers that his plans are not bearing fruit. He tells Naomi that he cannot solve her problem, for he is a man, not The Redeemer. His confession frees her, and it is with an uplifted heart that she returns to Arizona, intending to take up residence in Esperanza’s rebuilt casa. However, when she arrives she is met with disdain, goes to the brothel, and continues cleaning the house insisting that her reputation is restored. Chaz refuses to believe all he planned it thwarted. He puts everything in motion so that he can reclaim his bride. Through observing Chaz’s behavior and attitude of calm acceptance, Ralph repents, receives the Lord’s salvation, and Naomi rejoices when her bridegroom fetches her home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Joyful Endings~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upon taking up residence in the little casita, Naomi reads some old documents and discovers that two previous Tías whose work she inherited after she was saved from deportation are long lost members of her family. Finding them enlarges the family’s blessing, for they thought them dead, lost to them forever. This revelation brings Naomi’s parents into the blessing of salvation, and Chaz and Naomi rejoice as they remember the word of God that says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

An overview of the Casa Series reveals Naomi’s journey from yearning to fulfillment, from beginning to commitment, from sorrow to joy, mirrors the walk of every new believer. Moreover, her restitution is achieved through Messiah, our Kinsman Redeemer, The Holy One of Yisrael.
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Searching for a Publisher by Paula Rose Michelson

Everyone who writes knows, or thinks she or he knows, that what they have written is the next best seller, destine to become a blockbuster movie. Perhaps I should amend the above statement to read, everyone knew that but me! If you wonder why I said that, being one who could not learn, and then had to learn everything everyone else had in four years in one summer, made me feel that any attempt at writing would be inept at best and most likely a disaster at the onset. Therefore, I am certain that you are not surprised to hear that having written the original draft of Casa de Naomi, I sent it to my publisher friend who had said she wanted to publish my novel, only to hear one excuse or another as to why we could not get together to negotiate a contract. Months passed, and finally my vanity battered and bruised, I decided to look elsewhere.

The word elsewhere does not seem to engender a world where there is no up and down, no right or wrong. However, that is exactly what the elsewhere world of the writer is; for no doors open invitingly while someone bids you, “Enter.” Even if one should open the novice, eager to step through, might find the wave meant for another. So it was with this erstwhile writer cast upon a sea of unknown depth and breath with no idea how to navigate the situation. If someone mentioned that I needed a platform, I had no idea what that person meant. Another might ask who was I to write about such and so. Yet another might question my literary background, or what classes I had taken to hone my craft. And having grown up with a mother who loved to point out my deficiencies, I knew what I lacked. Aware that I was not a writer who wrote whatever I wanted, but a scribe for God, I believed that the story Naomi and the other characters had dictated to me superseded the requirements that educators and many well-known authors held in high regard and began calling around and emailing inquires to publishers and agents.

I continued to hone my craft and little by little, I began to believe that what God entrusted to me had to be published by someone who would not tamper with the text without my permission or own the copyright. The more I thought about the novel, the more convinced I became that God would appoint the publisher as surely has he had appointed me to this project. By this time, it had become apparent to both my husband Ron and me, that my time working for Chosen People Ministries was ending. Neither of us was surprised because I had known, and told Ron in December of 2008 that God was closing the door. By that time, I was writing the third book in the Casa Saga and the more my research and work on the novel feed my soul, the more my work with the mission, which had born fruit, dried up. Ron knew I would not leave, although I had told him I must, until he as my spiritual head told me I could leave. That did not happen until the third Thursday in June of 2009. If you are wondering why I remember the day, it is because having quit at Ron's insistences that very afternoon without having a publisher caused me to wonder at my audacity since I had seldom left one situation without having another lined up.

My concerns where short lived because Marlayne Grion attended our Bible Study. By way of introduction, she mentioned that she was a published author. If any of you have seen the movie “Stranger than Fiction” this is where my reality took a turn that seemed to mirror that movie. Life imitated art when I mentioned that I needed a publisher. Before I knew which way was up, I was sitting in Marlayne’s house, reviewing her contract, and hearing her story. I am still not certain if I blinked before I exclaimed, “I thank God that you came to Bible Study because I know your publisher is the one I have been looking for!”

As certain as I was, Ron felt I needed to continue my search. However, a long drive to Big Bear, while I read the contract, and the beginning of Marlayne’s novel, "The Victor," convinced my husband that I should take the next step and email a query.

To be continued next week. Until then remember that our God will use whatever means he can to accomplish his purpose. If you want to join his team, invite him in and…
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After Writing … Endorsements’ by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors of any genre would admit, if asked, that endorsements’ or lack thereof can make or break a novel. Since I have always decided upon one book instead of another because of the endorsements, teaser on the back of the jacket, and author information that told me why this author was qualified to write about the topic I was going to read, reader/author endorsements have been important to me. Therefore, once I had finished book one and two, which were originally one book, I sought acknowledgments from those I knew whose opinions mattered to me. From an early age, I was taught not to bother scholars or heads of large organizations with expectations prior to asking. I followed that advise and a month prior to summer college recess, I spoke with both people and was assured that they could find time to read Casa de Naomi for endorsement purposes. I mailed the manuscripts out and waited expectantly for a word or missive.

September had almost become October before I had mustered enough courage to ask those who had agreed to read my text if they had found time to do so. One had but decided they could not endorse for personal reasons which as always is everyone’s right. However, it did seem odd to me that I had to track the person down and when we spoke, I had the distinct feeling that they might have not completed reading the text. That stuck me as strange because when asked to do a favor, it seemed to me that even if one had not completed the task they might have something salient to share. Instead, I read a brief email that said, “This is going to be a best seller!”

The second person I had hoped would endorse received the same query I had sent the first, asked for my phone number, and made an appointment for us to talk. This seemed very promising indeed and I was surprised to hear her state that the people I was writing about did not exist. In fact she told me that she would be happy to endorse Casa de Naomi if I set the story 100 years earlier, making the opening date 1852 instead of 1952. She challenged the validity of my research and refused to hear anything I said that might sway her. At my wits end, I finally suggested that she review the material gleaned from Simon Wiesenthal’s book Sails of Hope. To facilate her inquiry, I sent her a copy of the material I had found on the internet. However, she was convenced of her opinion and I received neither endorsement nor encouragement from her.

By this time I found myself asking if I really did need endorsements. Try as hard as I might, I was unable to make myself believe that I did not need what I had sought. A week passed, then another before I finally asked God why he had pointed these two people out as endorsers. Before I finished asking, I had the answer! One person felt that fulfilling my request could hamper her plans; the other debated the very existence of the very people I had spoken to who had befriended me. A lightning blot shot into my cerebral cortex I seemed to hear the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)say, You know the truth. What are you going to do to prove her wrong? Nothing in my life had prepared me to wage the battle I was about to enter, yet enter it I did as one by one my Sephardic friends walked down 16 stairs to my cottage, knocked at my door, entered my little office, and told me their stories. With each telling, I became more compelled than I was before. Compelled to make certain that these hidden peoples lives and struggles became known, in fact more committed than I had been about anything entrusted to me. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you might have read the personal accounts of three Sephardic women that I posted on January 19, 2011. If you joined this blog later, please visit http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com tomorrow to read one of the three stories that comprise the Sephardic Voices in Book One of the Casa Saga. And if you wonder why I am posting this material in an interactive blog please drop by and find out.
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After Writing … Endorsements’ by Paula Rose Michelson

Tomorrow I reveal all I learned while seeking other peoples endorsements and how what I learned lead to me writing Sephardic Voices that you can read in the preface of Casa de Naomi.
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Writing for a Publisher or Writing for God by Paula Rose Michelson

Whether one is writing for a Regency type publisher, another publisher, writing historicals, mysteries, or any other type of novel, the overarching themes found in Scripture are the ones that resonate with readers. God fashioned us in our mothers’ womb creating at our core a need to align ourselves with him. We see this truth to be self-evident throughout Gods Word that shows us archetype heroes and villains, and tells us how certain behaviors will affect our lives.

Looking for a heroic man, check out David, from shepherd to King. Need a villain, look at Haman. Want to understand how prayer can save a nation, read Esther’s story. And on and on the list goes. I’m not a simpleton for I know that you know these things. However, I do believe they are worth mentioning because when we use or paraphrase Scripture by populating our writing with biblically based characters and situations, we are using Gods Word, which he promised would accomplish his purpose.

I have noticed that some refer to Jane Austin as the quintessential Regency author prototype. If she is, then count me amongst those Regency writer want-ta-bees because like Jane, I wish to show a world where good, and bad exist, and the heroine or hero must chose. Thereby creating a world where our readers and we discover what befalls the characters who make good and bad choices.

Growing up in the 50’s and coming of age in the 60’s I would have had to suffer through what most of that hippy-dippy era did if it weren’t for all the literature, especially Austin that I read, which informed me of the folly certain choices would bring my way. Since I was not a believer in Messiah (Christ) at that time, having these role models was critical to my sidestepping slippery slops.

Therefore, I do not want to discount what some categorize as Regency writers’ for reading about people that have achieved a certain lifestyle has caused many who came from modest means and did not have role models that had achieved much, to achieve excellence in. I know for my husband is one of these wonderful people.
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Never Forget! by Paula Rose Michelson

For many, ten years ago on this day, the world changed. For some, the world ended. For all who lived in America, it was a wakeup call that we will never forget, nor should we. To forget means that life has no value. To forget means it can happen again. To forget might mean it could happen to you or someone you love. Never forget, always be ready! Never allow the memory of those peaceful lingering summer, winter, spring, and fall days since we fought the last World War to dim. For if we do, we will reap what we haven’t sown, a world of anarchy and terror where who we are and what we believe will make us a target for others agendas.
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Historical Fiction - Accuracy vs. Readability by Paula Rose Michelson

Dear Friends,

Before you read the article titled, Historical Fiction - Accuracy vs. Readability, I must share that if you were disappointed that I reposted two previous articles, so was I. Although it was never my intent to do this, working through the galley proof of Casa de Naomi, in a timely fashion meant choosing between reposting or missing my self imposed deadline, which had to be adhered to if the novel was to be available on the dot coms before the holidays. Since this is the beginning of September, my concern may seem odd to you. However, the publisher informed me that they must have a published book before they begin the process, which takes three months to complete. So I did the math, and made sure that Casa de Naomi was in the mail on September 1st praying all the while that the necessary corrections will be done quickly enough for the novel to available by mid November.

Working through a galley proof in two weeks, instead of the month I was given, was a feat of endurance I would have never undertaken if the Ruach Ha Kodesh was not directing me. However, the Holy Spirit filled me, and gave me the energy to work 40 hours with only 10 hours of sleep.

Last Thursday Corrine and I prayed over the manuscript, and then mailed it to Tate Publishing. It has taken several days for my feet to hit terra firma because of the excitement of that moment which was four years in the making, and the powerful anointing I received while we prayed.

So here we are, seven days later. I am praising the Lord, and ask you to join me as I pray that this novel and the other novels in the Casa Saga accomplish Gods purpose.

Yours in Messiah,
Paula Rose Michelson

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Historical Fiction - Accuracy vs. Readability~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Several years ago, I joined American Christian Fiction Writers because I knew I needed to communicate with published authors, and writers who want to publish, as a means of visualizing my goal of becoming a published author. A few months later, I joined an on line chat for historical fiction writers and authors. Becoming a member of this group has proven invaluable to me for we affirm and support each other. Since this unique genre requires skills and hours of research, that other fiction does not, having people to discourse with about my craft has bolstered me up. I have spent hours isolated while researching little known facts, and been blessed to share my journey with others who need to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

All of this might sound as boring as dirt to you. However, without perusing every conceivable link that could yield information, the author of historical fiction has possibly done a shoddy job making her work a potential target of ridicule. Writing historical fiction is not for the faint of heart.

Both this and last month’s writers loop, focused on several things historical writers deal with. Since I found the discourse stimulating, I hope you will enjoy reading my synopsis of what I read, which affirmed me and my work.


Question: How do you handle it when writing things in a historically accurate manner makes it difficult to read by a modern day reader?


• There is a fine line between the historical accuracy needed to set the stage and pull your reader into the setting. Write so the reader can see the story unfolding in their minds eye, but refrain from being so accurate that you lose the reader because the story is shrouded in history that it creates a barrier making it impossible for the reader to identify with the characters.

• When being historically accurate creates a barrier between your reader and your characters, you may have become too historically accurate.

• If the language is too stilted or obscure it is difficult to read.

• Having read hundreds of books in my genre, I have gotten a feel for the dialogue of the era and that seems to give me the words.

• When looking at the language of a period, for example the 18th century, many wonder about using contractions. Researchers discovered that contractions were used throughout the history of the English language, and are found in the fiction of the mid-18th century.

Question: When does using the terminology of the period make reading what I have written so difficult to read that I might lose my audience?

• Most people who pick your novel are going to know exactly what these words mean because they read historical fiction.

• Research your work, and read fictions written in the period your story is set in.

• Write so that your reader will get lost in the story, merging with the time-period that the story takes place in. However, be careful that there is nothing jarring in the text because that can bring them back to the present.

• Use enough archaic language so the reader relates to the time-period, and knows that the characters do not talk quite as we do.

• When using archaic, or a foreign language, one needs to make sure that there is enough context around the word for the reader to be able to figure out the words meaning.

• Read a book aloud that is set in the same time and location. Then read your text aloud.


By now you might be wondering why none of the questions sighted dealt with hidden populations like the Sephardic Jews I researched, or noticed that I posted no questions or answers about any of the authors’ research into historical data. The reason, dear friends, is that when it comes to research my work differs from all the others. When they were asking historical questions about the pioneer days, or looking for information on the First and Second World War, my needs differed from theirs so completely that to give you an overview of what they were asking bears little resemblance to the work I did. However, I would love to tell you all, and since that would make to long an article, please send me an email inviting me to visit and I will share more of my journey than this blog could ever contain.
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Winning by Default by Paula Rose Michelson

As I near what some might call the finish line of being published, which as we writers know is the just the beginning of this publishing journey, many have read the first chapter of Casa de Naomi and sent me rave reviews. These accolades reminded of last year when I decided to enter a short story contest, thought I had won, and was told that the winner won by default since theirs was the only entry that was a short story.

Saddened by the certain knowledge that I had won but not won, I wrote the piece I am posting tonight. However, I will not keep you in suspense as I was for the twenty-four period between those enunciations. If you would like to know what happened, please read...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Winning by Default~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recently, I entered a story contest for writers. I had never entered anything like that before and hoped my work would be good enough to raise and eyebrow or two. I even imagined the judges saying to each other as they passed my work along, “Not bad…this shows potential.” I must admit that my fantasies soared so high that I envisioned them smiling as they proclaimed, “This is the obvious winner!”

I am certain that all the writers who entered their work were as anxious as I was to discover who had won. The day before the committee was to announce the winner, I discovered that only one entry could win since all but one had submitted their best, but the submissions were not stories.

Disqualification of my work was not an option, so I told myself that I had won. “Hurray,” you might say. “Good job!”

However, the idea of winning by default crept in. Now you might wonder why I did this to myself and so did I. Then I remembered the Jewish rabbis attitude towards people, God, and life. These wise men understood how we view the world and they discovered the use of the word adequate covered everything we would experience from cradle to casket. They taught us that when you are born – you are adequate. When you’re a Bar or Bat Mitzvah – your adequate. When you marry – you are adequate. When you graduate college – you are adequate. When you become a Roads Scholar, a doctor, a humanitarian, invent a means of illuminating nuclear waste, solve the problems of the world, and unify the solar system – you are adequate. In Judaism, one can never be more than adequate because according the rabbi’s we would be elevating ourselves to a position, which belongs to God alone.

This philosophy is valid until we apply it to God incarnate, Yeshua HaMashiach...Christ. In Him, we see the deity of the Godhead and all the humanity of man. Since he called us to be His and walk in a manner worthy of Him, I found myself wondering what He would think of wining or to be more specific, what would He thing about winning by default.

I sought Him, turned to Isaiah 55:8, and read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

I ponder these words, thought about the apostle Paul, and realized that he gave up everything. I assumed that he had wanted the rabbis to consider him adequate. Yet when Messiah called, he gave his desires no credence – none at all. And we are asked to do likewise.

Now I understand that winning by default or not winning has no value whatsoever unless I am trying to garner applause from men. If that is where my focus is, I will always loose in the end because the things of this world will perish. Only when I strive towards the goal, which is Messiah himself, do I win for then I remember that in Him, I am more than a conqueror!
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Paula’s Praise Report

Before I ask for prayer let’s praise God with a hearty hallelujah because last night I emailed my final edits to April who is working with me on the galley proof of Casa de Naomi! Today Corrine and I will pray over the hard copy of the novel before I overnight it to April.

If any of you were wondering what it is like to go from writer to published author, let me share that without the Lord, this crucible would have overwhelmed me. I have often wondered why many talented writers never pursued publication. I now realize that if they heard stories like mine, they might have been put of by the daunting amount of writing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. Perhaps the fear of having their work criticized and critiqued caused many wise people who are gifted writers to decide to forgo this experience by never submitting their work! I understand that concern. However, Messiah entrusted this work to me. Therefore, I pledged to bring it to fruition.

While Ron and I worked through the galley proof it became apparent to both of us that the story is so compelling, that our focus changed and we found ourselves reading the novel as any reader would. Instead of editing, we were enjoying! I discovered that our experience was not unique when I posted chapter one on my PaulaWordsmith.com website and invited people to stop by and read the opening and discovered that two of my Face Book friends were discussing the novel on Face Book. One commented that the posting had errors; the other argued that those issues did not matter to her. Both of these women pre-purchased the novel!

Since my goal as a scribe for Messiah is for Casa de Naomi to be received as a stellar read and a well-crafted text, I cannot accomplish this without your prayers! I have done all that I know or could learn to do. Please pray that God will use the novel to reach the lost!
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Please Celebrate the Grand Opening of my "Casa de Naomi Reflections" Blog with Me!

I have not done this before and probably will not do it again. However, I love a celebration! Whenever there is a reason to celebrate from Saint Patrick’s Day, which is decidedly not Jewish, to the Chinese New Year, I’m your gal. So it’s probably no surprise to anyone who knows me, that the party that begin last night at by new, interactive bog, titled “Casa de Naomi Reflections” has landed here. Since I am as passionate about what is going on there as I am about this blog and all you who follow it, I have decided to do a dual posting. This week I am posting the Grand Opening Message from the new bog. I hope you read it and decided that another blog is not one to many. If you do, visit http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com and join.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Casa de Naomi Reflections~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for meeting Naomi and me here. Pull up a chair and stay a while. While you are getting comfortable let me share that this Interactive Reflections Blog is for YOU!

Though one can garner blessings from visiting this blog without reading Casa de Naomi there are benefits to reading the text as we move through Naomi’s story so I have posted Chapter One – A Safe Haven on my websites home page. If you would like to read the first chapter, please scroll down to my website link posted in the right hand column, hit the icon, and read A Safe Haven. Since I will be sighting sentences from the novel with each posting, you might want to read the chapters as we work through them. Although Casa de Naomi is not available on the .com booksellers yet, you can order the novel from my website and I will send it to you as soon as I have the book.

When we consider why we might follow or join anything, each of us reviews our needs and the benefits accrued through participation. If you chose to form or become involved in a Casa de Naomi Registered Book Club, your group can use the material to further discussion. However, whether you participate in a group or not, you can experience the fullness of this and the other novels that follow by visiting this blog weekly, then reflecting on or writing down your insights.

I will post material every other week, and I am inviting you, dear friend, to email me through this blog, my website, Tweet PaulaWordsmith on Twitter, or email Paula Michelson though FaceBook with your thoughts, observations, and anything else you would like to share. I will post your comments and the feedback I receive every other week so that each of you can have a voice thereby making this an interactive, yet personal experience. Should you like your comments to remain anonymous, please let me know each time you correspond.

Before we begin, let me share that I look forward to getting to know each one of you and look forward to discovering what this blog will become since it is our interaction that will define and move this blog forward. Therefore, I feel that I can state with candor, that we are in this thing together and together, I believe we will create something lovely that each of us will value and share with others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chapter One - A Safe Haven~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Safety is a fundamental need. Without it, nothing thrives. Since safety is the key issue in chapter one, that is where we begin our sojourn with Naomi. For while you read this Saga and participate in this blog you are choosing to experience Naomi’s life, issues, and her desire as the subtitle ‘The House of Blessing’ indicates, become a blessing and be blessed. My prayer for you is that all you experience here blesses you and prepares you to become a blessing when the time is at hand.

Text: Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island.

• When have you been in trouble?

• Did you create the problem or was it foisted upon you?

• Did someone help you?

• If you received help, did the person expect something in return?

Text: She remembered leaving her family in the middle of the night without an explanation or a good-bye and tears threatened to fall.

• Have you ever left family or friends without telling them why?

• Have you ever felt trapped?

• Did you find yourself wishing for the problem to disappear?

• Were you able to handle the situation as it unfolded?

Text: Naomi gasped. Maybe God is watching out for me after all!

• When troubles come your way, do you engage in wishful thinking?

• Do you believe that behavior is neither good nor bad?

• If you had to face a horrid situation, would someone help you?

• Do you believe that consequences are just or random?

Text: “I used the handcuffs, just as you told me to. Do not worry. She is safe.”

• Are you safe because someone makes you feel or says you are safe?

• What might you have to give up or become to feel safe?

• When you are in danger, can you make yourself believe you are safe?

• Is life more important than the way you live it?

Scripture: Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge (safety); his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Did You Know that when Messiah wept over Jerusalem and said he wanted to cover the inhabitants with his wings, he was referring to his the Tzitzit (fringe)on his Tallit(prayer shawl) referred to as wings within the scriptures. Numbers 15:38-40, says, They shall make themselves tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they shall place on the tzitzit of each corner a thread of techeilet. And it shall be tzitzit for you, and you will see it, and you will remember all the mitzvot (blessings) of the Lord and do them and not follow your heart or your eyes and run after them.

Summary Question: When Tía helped Naomi enter America illegally, was she thinking of herself or the girl?

Thank you for dropping by. Please send me your comments so I can include them in my next blog, and if this weeks posting has proven to be of interest or beneficial, please invite your friends to drop by.
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NEWS FLASH! This evening my "Casa de Naomi Reflections Interactive Blog” begins.

Writing the Casa de Naomi Saga has been a joy, sharing my writers’ journey with you, a pleasure. The culmination of my years of research, writing, and rewriting is being realized with the grand opening of my "Casa de Naomi Reflections Interactive Blog” this evening, the mailing of my galley proof to Tate Publishing on Thursday, and receiving the published book this September.

Since you have been following this blog, I am certain you will enjoy the new one so I will let you know when it is operational. Please drop by, check the blog out, join, and ask your friends to follow so that you and they can experience Naomi’s life choices and explore yours as well.
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Was President Abraham Lincoln the Descendent of a Sephardic Jew? by Paula Rose Michelson

I have received innumerable requests to repost “Was President Abraham Lincoln the Descendent of a Sephardic Jew?” Since I am in the midst of editing the publishers’ galley proof for the first book about my Sephardic heroine, Naomi, which birthed the research I have posted in my blog, I have decided to repost the Lincoln piece, which you will find below.

Visit http://PaulaWordsmith.com and discover how research infuses literature.

The 16th President of the United States of America was born on February 12, 1809. His mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was a young, poor, illiterate woman from Virginia. She gave birth to him in a log cabin built along the banks of the south fork of Nolin Creek, near what is now Hodgenville, Kentucky. That infant, whom she named Abraham, grew to become a great but tragic national leader.

Lincoln was a man known for his spiritual convictions. Yet, a fascinatingly instructive fact was that Abraham Lincoln was the only American president who did not declare himself a member of any particular religion or faith. This fact has caused many to speculate that he might have been Jewish. After all, his name was Abraham and his great-grandfather was named Mordechai. Lincoln was the only President that had no formal religious affiliation, he was not raised in, nor did he ever belong to a church.

The town of Lincoln, in eastern England, where his ancestors came from, had a large group of Jewish people who build homes there in 1159. Since Spanish Jews had been dealing with programs hundreds of year prior to their Expulsion from Spain, since it was a short route from Spain to England, and since those who fled usually took the name of the town they settled in for their last name, these Jews were most likely Sephardic Jews fleeing oppression. Over time, these Jews flourished, had many offspring, and became a large part of that community. However, during the Crusades riots were fomented against these Jews. The Sheriff of Lincoln saved them by giving them his official protection. The great Bishop of Lincoln, St. Hugh, taught those of the Christian faith that they should love the Jews. His death was marked by an official period of mourning among Lincoln's Jews. Jews flourished in this community and many learned scholars claimed Lincoln as their home. However, in 1255, Lincoln's Jews were accused of ritual murder. Ninety-one of them were sent to London for trial, 18 were executed. However, Lincoln’s Jewish community flourished until 1290 when they were forcibly expelled by edict.

To understand why Abraham Lincoln might have known about his heritage and chosen to keep quite, or why his mother may have never told him, one needs to understand what happened when Edward I implemented The Edict of Expulsion that forced all Jews to leave England. To the Jews this was unfathomable because following the Conquest of 1066, Jews were an important part of Norman English society. English Nobles were constantly in need of money, and borrowed heavily from Jewish moneylenders. William the Conqueror had recognized the importance of the Jewish moneylenders to Norman society, and offered them special protection under law. He declared Jews to be his direct subjects, not subjects of their local feudal lord. Because of this, English kings saw the Jewish moneylenders as a convenient source of funds. The king could levy taxes against Jews without needing the prior approval of Parliament.

The Norman invasion caused the medieval world to undergo a gradual shift towards religious emphasis on a single belief epitomized by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, which required Jews and Muslims to wear special dress so that they were easily to distinguish from Christians. Jews were required to wear a special badge. Church proclamations gave official approval to attitudes that were already prevalent in medieval society. Persecution became more evident culminating in outbreaks of mob violence aimed at Jews, which were, common in England, for example, in 1190 a mob killed hundreds of Jews in York.

At the same time as attitudes of intolerance became more common - and more acceptable the emergence of the Italian system of merchant banking made the Jewish moneylenders less vital to the nobility. Measures of punitive taxation against the Jews became common, with the result that there were fewer Jewish moneylenders with ready cash to lend. In 1285, the Statute of Jewry banned all usury, even by Jews, and gave Jews 15 years to end their practice. Unfortunately, given prevailing altitudes towards Jews in trade, few avenues of livelihood were open to those affected by the Statute.

Abraham Lincoln might not have claimed his Sephardic Jewish heritage, or his mother may have chosen to keep mute about his families’ history because of England’s expulsion of the Jews in 1492 when writs were sent to the sheriffs of most counties advising that all Jews in their counties had until 1 November to leave the realm. Jews remaining after this date were liable to be executed. Parliament agreed to a special tax on the Jews. Records are inexact for this period, but it seems that about 3000 Jews were forced to leave England due to the Expulsions decree.

But back to Lincoln...

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, entire Jewish communities sat shivah...morning Abrahams death as one would a son. Rabbis throughout the country eulogized the fallen President. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the man who created Reform Judaism in this country, began his eulogy with …”Brethren, the lamented Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone from our bone and flesh from our flesh. He supposed himself to be a descendant of Hebrew parentage. He said so in my presence.”

Lincoln religions beliefs were often questioned. When asked, he sighted a passage from Scripture that summed up his theology. It was the twentieth chapter of the Book of Exodus that he recommended that every American study, learn and follow. In English, it is usually referred to as the Ten Commandments.

Professor Elizabeth Hirschman of Rutgers University did extensive research and concluded that Abe Lincoln was Jewish
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Writing what was given, then discovering that it was true! by Paula Rose Michelson

The statement, “Writing what was given, then discovering it was true,” sounds like fiction. Yet that is exactly what happened to me when I wrote Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing novels. That may sound odd to some of you. However, if the Holy Spirit had not told me to refrain from editing what I was given, my natural inclination would have taken over, and I would have eliminated portions of the text where I wrote about places I had never been to, and others I had not seen, or heard about. An alternative might have been, so as not to seem as if I had disobeyed, to have done some research to make sure that such-and-such place did, in fact, existed. However, having heard that I was to leave my writing alone, I did as I was instructed. I would love to tell you that this was easy to do...becoming a scribe for God. But many nights, I was unable to sleep because I had written about Ellis Island, a neighborhood, or a park that I had never been to, or seen a picture of. Leaving what had been written alone was the most difficult to follow instruction that I had ever been given. Yet leave it alone I did!

A year passed, then another. I was writing book four by the time Ron and I began to worship at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California. To some of our friends changing congregations seemed unwarranted. Nevertheless, since Ron and I wanted to serve Messiah where we worshiped, longed to be involved in outreach, and discovered that the heart of this congregation mirrored ours, we had to go. Still it was hard to leave friends whose weekly hugs and hellos made us feel like family. Though we felt the pangs of loss, we were resolute because we were convinced that this congregation was where the Lord had called us.

A chance conversation while standing in line at the Oneg (potluck) after worship gave me an eyewitness account of the validity of all I had questioned but left alone within the pages of the Casa Saga novels, it affirmed our belief in this being our congregation, and our faith family. For Thomas who had graciously offered to spoon some casserole onto my plate asked me what I did. What followed was an amazing discussion during which he told me that the park in Spanish Harlem does exist, the ferry to Ellis Island has two levels, and that the boat docks at a wharf just as I had written.

By now, Thomas and I were fast friends. Although we had not sat down, I was reaching into my purse to fish out my card hoping that we could meet and continue our conversation. While I did this, I was asking if he were available for lunch during the week. Imagine my surprise when the gentleman standing behind me began to ask me some questions about my writing. I answered each one, followed Thomas and my husband to a table, and set my plate down. I scanned the throng, saw the soft-spoken man, waved, and hurried towards him hoping he did not think me rude. When I reached the table he was seated at, I realized that Melanie, a new friend of mine, was seated by him. She introduced me to her husband, Rod. Rod smiled, asked me several unusual questions about my reason for writing, about the people I was writing about, and what I hoped to achieve. Our discussion ended, I turned to leave, thought a moment, turned back and asked if he was bookish since he was wearing a tie with books all over it, or if he loved to read romantic historic fiction since that is my genre. He smiled at me once more, told me that he was The Dean of the Library at Biola College, and that he wanted the Casa Saga for his library! I could not believe my ears! Boila and Talbot Theological Seminary share the same campus and use the same library! Before I knew what I was doing, I asked him why the library would want historic romantic fiction. Rod explained that the library brought in specific works to build up awareness and support the authors. His answer brought a smile to my lips; still I found it hard to believe that my novels would grace the libraries shelves.

When I signed my contract with Tate Publishing, my rabbi asked me to speak about the novels. I found myself in unfamiliar territory addressing the congregation during worship. I had told Doug that I would be circumspect. He suggested that I not worry but cover everything that I was led to share and he would say a few words once I had finished. At the conclusion of the service people bought books, some purchased several for friends. Rod bought two books, which I hoped would grace the shelves of Biola Library, but when I asked him he shrugged and smiled. Prior to this discussion, I had asked him to consider bringing some of my author friends’ books into the library, and became aware that each book, though fiction, might have to undergo academic scrutiny, and assumed mine would as well. Although I will never know why he bought two volumes of book one before reading the novel, I believe it was because I had been faithful with what I was given, and had shared that with him.

A few weeks ago, I approved the jacket cover for Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing. Last week I discovered that this September or October, the novel would be released, and sent a mockup to the 100 people that had pre-purchased the novel, which include the cover, Sephardic Voice, Historical Notes, and Chapter One – A Safe Haven. When I arrived at the congregation, Rod had finished setting up for the Oneg, which he does once every five weeks. I spoke with him about my desire to speak at the Biola Library about the importance of libraries for writers like me whose fiction requires extensive research into historical facts. He seemed eager to help and mentioned that I might prefer a book signing at the college bookstore. The question I had wanted answered since he had purchased the novel(s), I asked and he affirmed that the books would be in the Biola Library!

Had I done as my head told me and corrected the text, I believe that none of this would have happened! Had I asked Rod before he had time to read what I sent, I believe his response to my library question might have been yes. However, his willingness to help me develop a relationship with the new Dean of the Library of Biola, since Rod will retire in December, and his interest in having a signing for Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing at the college bookstore might have never been. For left to my own devices, I have occasionally run ahead of the Lord. Therefore, my suggestion to you is...Do what God says without adding to or subtracting from...For within that doing is a blessing fashioned just for you.

Visit http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com, to watch a YouTube video, read what Rod did, see the jacket cover, email me from the site, or buy the book.
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