Author Archives: Michele Israel Harper

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen

Startling.  Fascinating.  Gripping.  History come to life.

When Tosca Lee posted on her Facebook page that she was looking for reviewers for her latest novel, I wrote her instantly.  (After hyperventilating and almost falling out of my chair in excitement, of course.)

Crazy dances, screaming, and running around my house ensued when I received an email that, yes, I would be sent an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.  My boys joined me, leaping around the house like we were in a musical, but I’m quite certain they had no idea what we were celebrating.

I devoured the book in three days, never wanting it to end.  Wishing for time to stand still so I might read it from cover to cover without interruptions.

Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions.  2 Chronicles 9:1

Has there been a more mystifying or enigmatic queen briefly mentioned in the Bible than the queen of Sheba?

She traveled hundred of miles, over vast deserts, to question the wisest and wealthiest king of all of Israel, and Scripture only dedicates a few verses to her.

For someone who has been fascinated by every account of mighty women in Scripture, this drives me crazy!

Shouldn’t there be more verses dedicated to her?  Shouldn’t there be annuls of history full of her–full of accounts of Solomon?

I have come to appreciate genealogies thanks to my recent research of Noah’s lineage; however, I have always wished more of the Bible was dedicated to riveting stories and less to genealogies, laws, Tabernacle details.  I have especially wanted more of this story.

Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.  However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me.  You exceed the fame of which I heard.”  2 Chronicles 9:5-6

Tosca Lee’s latest novel, The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, satisfies my insatiable curiosity about the Ethiopian queen.  Following her ascension to Saba’s–or Sheba’s–throne, Queen Bilquis receives tantalizing reports of King Solomon, whose wealth and thirst for knowledge rivals her own.

They begin an unlikely correspondence, leading to her infamous visit to the Israelite king’s palace, to see if he is who he says he is–to see if the reports of him are true.  And to save her kingdom from ruin.

Tosca weaves a magical story, full of intrigue, brimming with heartbreak and romance.

Her historical research blows me away!  It is exhaustive, succinct, book-spine gripping.  (Believe me, it’s a good thing Kindles don’t break easily!)  And it does not bog down the story in the slightest.

Every time I had to put the book down was sheer agony.  Processing the story throughout the day was delicious, and I hurried the kids off to bed each night just so I could read more.

Come now, you might say, there must have been something you didn’t like about the book.  Well, there was.  That it ended.

Please–just–please make this breathtaking piece of mastery into a movie.  I’ll buy it.  On pre-order.  Just like this book should be on pre-order in every lover of history’s home.  On every avid reader’s list.  In the hands of every book lover.  And read by anyone even slightly curious about the queen of Sheba.

Tosca Lee’s Legend of Sheba, releases September 9th, 2014.

It. Is. Lovely.

In Him,

Michele

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen

Author:
Genre: Historical Fiction
ASIN: B00GEEBA0U
The queen who captured the heart of the wisest of kings. The queen who fell in love with Solomon and his God. I was hungry for every page, then devastated when it was over. Exquisite storytelling at it's finest!
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
About the Book

Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. The Queen of Sheba. A powerful new novel of love, power, and the questions at the heart of existence by the author of the award-winning “brilliant” (Library Journal) and “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) Iscariot.

There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you were meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world—or of Sheba’s queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite—and ruin—them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.

Look Inside
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Operation First Novel

I have entered my book into ANOTHER contest.  Ok, that only makes three, but it seems like it’s been quite a lot!

Zombie Takeover is now in the hands of the judges at Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild.  The contest, Operation First Novel, is open to all Guild members.  And, just like it sounds, your book has to be unpublished to enter.

But don’t worry, I will not be asking you to vote for my book daily!  ;)

There are three winners who all receive publishing packages.  First place just has everything–editing, cover design, promotion, coaching from SuzyQ, ebook, physical book, and more; while third only includes copy editing, cover design, and ebook distribution.  Second is in the middle somewhere.  I really hope I win first place, but any of them will do!

I was concerned the CrowdScribed contest, where I chose Jerry B. Jenkins as my mentor, might disqualify me, but a very kind Guild executive assistant assured me it did not.  Thank You, Lord!

I believe contestants will find out who won at the end of February 2015.  Man, that seems worlds away right now!

(Btw, the deadline for entering is September 3, 2014 if you are considering it.  If you do enter this contest, be sure to read the rules carefully.  I had to convert all my Word files from .docx to .doc–something I almost missed!)

One of the submission requirements was a “narrative synopsis…summarizing the entire novel, including setting, major characters, scenes, plot points, plot twists, and the conclusion.”  Thankfully, I was able to take and write this from the chapter outline of my book proposal.

I suppose that book proposal did come in handy.  ;)

There you have it!  The latest in my journey to publication.  This is one crazy, roller-coaster ride, and I can’t wait to see where God takes me!

In Him,

Michele

Update on the Craziness Known as My Life

DSC04931

Where have my blog posts been, you may ask?  Lost amid the swarm of writing contests, book proposals, and Wisdom and Folly chapters.

Don’t I need to write consistent blog posts?  Why, yes, I do.

What am I going to do about it?  I set an obnoxious alarm on my phone so it will buzz like crazy every Sunday evening after my boys are in bed.

I’ve, ahem, ignored it the last two weeks, but no longer!

So here you go–my weekly Sunday evening blog post!  :)

My first exciting news of the evening is…drum roll please…

Indiana Faith and Writing Conference  (faithandwriting.com)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to the first writing conference of my life, and I am so stinkin’ excited!

Located on the campus of Anderson University, it is October 31st through November 1st, and there are so many intriguing workshops and speakers.

I will most definitely let you know how it is!

Indiana Faith and Writing Contest  (ifwc.submittable.com/submit)

I have also entered the first few chapters of Zombie Takeover into their writing contest.  Winner gets free admission to next year’s conference as well as a cash prize.  Shannon Marchese, Senior Editor of Fiction for WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Random House, is the fiction judge, and I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of it!  I encourage you to enter if you plan on attending IFWC.

Crowdscribed.com’s Writing Contest with Jerry B. Jenkins  (www.crowdscribed.com/challenges/73)

I have to admit I’m a little bit bummed that I haven’t heard back from the CrowdScribed contest yet.  I have finally stopped checking the results daily.  As of today, the entries are still under review.  Then again, that means I’ve still got a chance!  :)  Thank you for all of your votes!

Writer’s Edge  (www.writersedgeservice.com)

Quick recap–Writer’s Edge is the submission service that, once your manuscript is accepted, sends a book list to a plethora of publishing houses that require agents.  Although my manuscript was accepted by them, I have yet to hear from any publishing houses or acquisition editors.  Believe me, you will know the minute I know anything!  Praying for patience…  (And that my manuscript will find itself in the right hands soon!)

Operation First Novel:  Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild Writing Contest  (www.christianwritersguild.com/contest/)

This is on my to-do list.  Big time.  Like the title suggests, this contest is for a novelist who hasn’t been published yet.  I will most definitely be entering if I do not hear from CrowdScribed soon.  Winner also gets their book published.

Editing Class/Writing Certificate through Taylor University  (online.taylor.edu/degrees/aa/professional-writing-certificate.shtml)

I have decided to wait until Wisdom and Folly is complete to work toward my writing certificate.  My number one priority is my boys, and, believe me, when they are in school I will be able to devote much more time to perfecting my craft.  I can’t wait to take that editing class!  I’ve already got the textbooks, I’m that excited!

Writing Classes  (www.acfw.com)  (www.christianwritersguild.com)

I have, however, been taking online classes through the Christian Writer’s Guild and American Christian Fiction Writers.  Classes are included in membership, and I have learned so much!  Also, The Guild offers the one-hour classes to non-members for $10 each, if that interests you at all.

Book Proposal  (www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/)  (honestediting.com)

I’m just gonna say, the blasted thing is as done as it’s going be until I hear from an editor requesting one.  It is as filled out as I can make it without crying!  Lol.

Is your head spinning yet?  Mine most definitely is!

Please pray that I use my precious time wisely, that my manuscript finds the right publishing house soon, and that I glorify God in absolutely everything I do!

Whew.  I just feel better knowing you have my back.

Night!

In Him,

Michele

Taking a Much-Needed BREAK!

I am SO hoping I don’t disappoint anyone, but I am sitting here, staring at my Wisdom and Folly Scrivener doc, and all I can think of is my bed.

How good it would feel.  How soft it is.

How completely free of children it is at the moment.

(That will change when the next airplane flies over, another all-nighter fan sets off another blasted firework, or a freak storm comes rolling through.  Getting a non-sardine-packed bed in this house is a great luxury.  Even with carting the kids to their own beds night after night.  Multiple times.  Every night since the week before the 4th.  Thank you, Independence Day.)

Anyway, I have the next TWO chapters of Wisdom and Folly greatly compiled, but not edited.  Oh-ho-ho, no.  Not edited in the least.

And an all-nighter tonight seems like it will be physically painful.  Not to mention, non-productive.

(Are these enough excuses to be pardoned for the night?  I’m sure I could come up with a few more if pressed.)  :)

So I am going to take this night off, go to bed, and push the ending of my story out one more week for sanity’s sake.

When is the story going to end, you may ask?

Well, I finally have an outline of sorts–seriously, God has been giving me each chapter a week at a time.  Nothing ahead except for the final chapter.  I begged Him for a outline or rough idea so I know where the story is headed and when it might stop, and He very kindly gave me the roughest outline ever.  I am thrilled.  This planner who loves to know every detail was given just enough to keep me from crying that it might never end.  It most definitely has an end in sight!  Woohoo!

Anyway, my over-zealous self did way too much today and yesterday and is exhausted.

And I feel completely released by God so that’s good enough for me!  :)

Take some time to rest today, dear one, and I will do my best to manage my time more wisely.

I will see you all next week!

Thank you for your faithful readership.

Each and every one of you mean so much to me.

Goodnight, all!

In Him,

Michele

Book Proposal

DSC04887

I am wracking my brain over here to come up with a good proposal.

I’ve been working on the thing for a little over three weeks now (instead of the ONE in which I was hoping to have it completed) and I have to admit, I am floundering.

There are roughly five million guidelines for proposals out there, and most of them say proposals are for nonfiction works only.

Those for fiction are as varied as their authors.

Include Market Strategies; don’t include market strategies–your publisher will know this better than you will anyway.

Don’t include Comparative Titles; do include them–your publisher wants to see if you know your genre and market.

Ahhh!

For the love!  Please–just, please get together and agree on what you want.  Then get back to me!  I’ll do it, any of it!

I guess my plan for now is to compile as much as I can, then include whatever the publisher asks of me.

Have you ever put together a proposal for a fiction work?

If so, what was your process?

Here’s what a fiction proposal can include:

  1. Title Page
  2. Cover Letter
  3. One Sentence Hook
  4. Brief Overview
  5. Sell Sheet
  6. Synopsis
  7. Market Analysis
  8. Competitive Analysis
  9. Market Strategies
  10. About the Author
  11. Author Marketing
  12. Table of Contents
  13. Detailed Table of Contents
  14. Outline of Chapters
  15. Two to Three Sample Chapters
  16. First 30 to 40 pages instead of a set # of chapters

(This is taken from my notes from Dr. Hensley’s class, honestediting.com’s editing service (including proposal packages), and several fiction proposal articles from wherethemapends.com and rachellegardner.com.)

A bit much, you think?  :)

Right now I have a massive 50 page proposal including a title page, sell sheet, synopsis, market analysis, competitive analysis, market strategies, about the author, chapter outline, and first three chapters.

And my “Market Analysis” and “Market Strategies” have crickets chirping on those particular pages.

I’m tired just looking at that list.  And I’m hoping I get to write fiction again someday.  After that proposal is completed.

Ok, thanks guys!  Sometimes it is good to just vent and get it all out there!

Any suggestions on what I should focus on?

Until then, back at it!  :)

In Him,

Michele

%d bloggers like this: