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.
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.
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.
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.