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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It Could Happen Anywhere

I was going to start the interviews of my author friends after January began, but last night one of them sent me the answers to the interview questions and I had to share this interview now. I cried when I read about this woman's life. It began so typically, but in a day, everything changed for her and her country.
Somehow, here in the United States, we feel insulated from this kind of thing. After reading this I realize that it could happen here or anywhere.

The thing that stood out to me is that she has a very joyful personality even after everything she has been through. You will not feel depressed after reading this interview. She is a very positive person. Please read the interview with my new acquaintance, Sanela Jurich.

My name is: Sanela Ramic Jurich

My genre: 1.Fiction / Historical 2.Fiction / War & Military (Although I wanted it to be Romance).
The title of my book is: Remember Me
My website:

1. How long have you been an author and when did the desire to write (the writing bug) bite?

I've been a published author since June 7th, 2011, but I knew I was going to be one ever since I can remember.

I heard someone say once that in order to become a writer, you don’t just learn the skill; you have to be born with it. It’s inside you all along. It’s your calling.

I strongly believe this to be true. I remember exactly the first set of books I’ve ever read. It was Greek Mythology given to me by an old neighbor. I was seven years old at the time.

I know, you might say that Greek Mythology is too complex for a seven-year-old, but to my-seven-year-old mind, this was fairy tales. I loved reading about those strong, smart, wise Gods and gorgeous Goddesses.

And as I was growing up, each time I’d feel lonely, or sad, I’d always go back and read those wonderful stories that never failed to inspire and make me feel better.

Soon after I read those, I had my library ticket and was spending most of my after-school time there. My parents didn’t mind, since they both worked. I was left alone a lot, so the fact that I’d actually enjoyed being in a library was kind of like a relief to them.

I absolutely loved reading and so, in my heart, I knew that some day I was going to write cool stories to make people laugh and feel good.

I wasn’t going to write sad stories; all of them were going to be happy and fun. Filled with love. I’d sometimes write short stories just to amuse myself. They were filled with child’s imagination, funny names, and, always, love…

At some point, I'd even started to think like I was reading a book. For example:
I’m having a normal conversation with a friend or someone, at the end of their sentence, I’d think to myself something like: She said, as she looked away. Or... she stated, but the icy look in her eyes said otherwise….

I learned to read people’s facial expressions at a very young age. It was all so amusing to me. I loved being in a crowd - like in a crowded bus. I’d hide in the back and just watch people, telling myself their stories, just by reading their facial expressions and body language…. I’d usually make them funny.

When I was fifteen, my whole life changed in a blink of an eye. The world I saw through my fifteen-year-old eyes was not innocent and pretty. It was filled with death, sadness, and hatred.

You see, I was born in this cute town of northern Bosnia, called Prijedor. Now days, this town is known for its horrible concentration camps that were run by the Serbs in 1992.

I know, when you hear the words “concentration camps” you think of the World War II and Nazis. But no, this was not our grandparents generation time, this was our generation, 1992… on the threshold of the 21 century.

I remember my parents talking and thinking that war was going to end before it had even started… the world would not let another Nazi genocide go on.

But, to our surprise, the world did let it happen. It went on for four years: Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, Concentration Camps, raping and slaughtering women and children…

It all happened.
And so my writing had to be put on hold....

When I had finally moved to the United States in 1993, I was a completely changed person then. My dream of becoming a writer became just that… a dream; so distant and unreachable. I thought that even if, somehow, I managed to learn enough English, I could never write happy, fun stories any more. My mind was reset and it was filled with darkness, pain, and distrust.

But in time, little by little, my sense of humor returned. The writer in me was getting tired of being quiet. So I'd started thinking like I was in a book again.

For example; I’d go to the Six Flags with my husband, children, and our friends, but because I’m afraid of heights, I wouldn’t go on any of the rides... (I know... I bore myself sometimes too).

So, anyway, I’d sit on the bench and wait for them to get off their rides. It’s perfect because the place is always crowded which gives me a chance to just watch people undetected. For example, I'd see a guy talking to a girl. I'd watch their facial expressions and body language to determine whether they like each other, so my inner analogue would go something like: “I don’t care,” she said firmly. Turning around, she smiled, ever so slightly.... Etc.

One day in July of 2009 on my way to work, I'd dropped off my two boys over at my mom’s house. She had made some comment about my kids, which got me a little upset and I thought to myself, boy, if this was a book, that comment would be perfect…

And so, my mind had started building a web of events and before I knew it, I had about three chapters. The character of Sabina, the mother, was born…

2. Why did you choose the genre you write in? Are there plans to write in another genre?

Honestly, I didn't chose this genre. It kind of chose me. When I first started writing this book, it was going to be a romantic tale between Johnny and Selma. However, as I was writing it, the story itself took me to a completely different direction then what I'd previously had in mind. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but it's true.

What's amazing about writing is the fact that you never really know where you'll end up. Your characters take on a life of their own and you just go with it.
So anyway, Selma and Johnny fall in love when she is sixteen. They get separated by the war. The story is told from Selma's point of you, so she tells you about her falling in love, then being taken away from home and thrown into a concentration camp where she gets raped and tortured repeatedly.

When she finally gets out, she's broken beyond repair and doesn't want Johnny to know of anything that she'd been through. On their way out of their home town, she witnesses Johnny getting killed by one of the soldiers...

However, as I said before, the romantic in me could not let my book have an unhappy ending, so I'd found a way to bring Johnny back into the picture and restore Selma's faith in God.

At the end, love prevails and they live happily ever after.
So, I thought the genre was definitely going to be romance, but the experts at Tate said it was Historical... I guess it's a little bit of everything.

3. Please tell about each title here:

So far I only published one book - Remember Me.

I did, however, sign another contract with Tate Publishing and am waiting for my second novel to be sent to production. It's going to be a sequel to Remember Me. Not sure what the title is going to be yet.

4. Do you do speaking engagements? Tell about your subject matter.

Yes, I do.
The subject that people seem to be most interested in is my own story of how I became an author.
Others ask questions about my experience in Bosnia, and so I talk a little bit about both.

5. What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

Getting some things out into the open and having people read and comment about my work.
6. Where can your books be purchased?

My book can be purchased anywhere books are sold:, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, etc. It can also be purchased directly from my and Tate Publishing's website as well. Also, autographed copies can be ordered from my website via PayPal.
7. How can readers reach you through twitter? through facebook? through your blog? through your website?

I can be reached through my website and

8. What was your biggest surprise at being an author?
I was really surprised at how much marketing I have to do myself. I was one of those people who thought that the hardest part was behind me once I signed that contract with the publisher. Boy, was I wrong, haha!

However, I try to look at it in a positive way and enjoy every single moment of it. I am loving every step and the experience I'm gaining. There is absolutely nothing in the world I'd rather be doing than writing and then sharing it with others.

9. We all know that writing can be a lonely occupation, what do your family and friends do to lift you up when you are down?

They buy me books and leave me alone, haha!

10. What is the last song you sang while you were all alone at the top of your voice and where were you?

It was an old song by Boys II Men - End of the Road.
I was in the kitchen loading up my dishwasher. I thought I was alone until I heard soft giggles coming from behind me. My nine year old son, Denny and my four year old son, Devin were cracking up. They find it hilarious that I have an accent even when I sing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The book, Remember Me by Sanela Jurich, is amazing! Everyone should take some time out each day and just read it! I actually feel like I gained some optimism after reading the book. Also, I love love love romantic stories. This was definitely my kind of book. The ending was unpredictable, as well, unlike most novels and books.

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)


JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446509396

ISBN-13: 978-0446509398



Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you’ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better day—a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.

I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing won’t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?

I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn’t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn’t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.

In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?

I discovered it wasn’t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasn’t the problem—I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.

Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. I’d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didn’t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers weren’t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.

Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasn’t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadn’t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.

I could not figure out why I wasn’t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.

Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!

Jesus offers us a “new way of living,” and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you’ve allowed to take over? Let’s get started.

Do One Thing at a Time

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything elseówe are the busiest people in the world.


Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].

—Hebrews 12:2

When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. It’s like removing an egg yolk from the egg white—both can be used separately but the result isn’t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.

The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.

Practice living one day at a time; give yourself—your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of you—to the day at hand.

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

1. Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.

Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? It’s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.

The Blog Tour for "Nan's Journey" Begins July 23

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

Nan's Journey

Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)


Littau is a life-long resident of Perryton, TX. She met husband, Terry at the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1974. They married March 1, 1975 and reside on a small acreage near Perryton where they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They raised three sons and now have three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren added to their family. They also enjoy visiting with their extended family located in Perryton, Clear Lake, Laverne, and Amarillo.

Author Elaine Littau is a busy woman who by profession is the church secretary for Harvest Time First Assembly of God Church in Perryton. Among other things she has led women’s groups and taught preschool, and was a mentor for the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. She has been active in Toastmasters and enjoys painting, crafts, and playing piano and organ. She was recently appointed to the Campus Education Improvement Committee for Wright Elementary in Perryton. She belongs to Christian Storytellers and Faith Writers writing groups.

“Nan’s Journey” was written over the course of several years. “A salvation message is at the core of the book.” Littau says. “If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I truly enjoy meeting new people.”

Littau is currently working on two other books that are continuations of “Nan’s Journey.” Book signings and speaking engagements are currently set up for venues in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602478325
ISBN-13: 978-1602478329


Chapter One

It was late. The moon had risen and the night symphony was in full force. Crickets chirped at their rivals, the frogs, and dominated the night chorus. Only one sound in the forest was foreign—a whimper from under the ferns. At the base of the largest pine in the woods was a small form crying, moaning, and whimpering. Black hair, matted and dirty, hung in long ropes down the front of the tiny girl. She had been in this spot for hours. At least that is what it felt like to her. Stretching, she cried out in pain. The blood-covered welts burst open to bleed again. Her back was wet with blood, and her dress was torn and useless.

Why had she dared to speak to the woman that she was obliged to call mother in that way? She knew that talking was not allowed from children before chores were finished. The accusations being made by “Ma” were totally false and she could not let Elmer take the blame for something she herself had forgotten to do. She shut her eyes tight against the memory, but it intruded anyway.

She had just gotten up to take the water off the stove to make up dishwater for the supper dishes. Ma had stepped outside the room to turn down her bed and prepare for sleep. When she reappeared in the kitchen, she realized that the wood supply next to the stove was low. Elmer was standing next to the table gathering the plates for washing. “Elmer, where is the wood you were supposed to bring up to the house?” Before he could answer, a hand had slapped him across his face. Getting back onto his feet and standing as tall as a five year old can stand, he looked her in the eye and said, “Ma, I was sick today, ‘member?”

“So, Elmer, you’re going to play up that headache trick again. Nan, didn’t your good for nothing Mama teach you people how to work, or are you just lazy?”

“Our Mama was good! Don’t you say mean things about her!” Nan yelled as her heart raced at the assault against her real Mama’s character.

“What about it, Elmer, are you like your weakling Mama or what?” Elmer’s eyes became very large and filled with tears. He could barely remember his real Mama, but when he did, he remembered soft kisses and sweet singing and a beautiful face. “I’m sorry; I’ll get the wood now.”

“No, Elmer, don’t. I promised you I’d do it today when your head was hurting, but I forgot. I’ll get it after I do these dishes.”

“Listen here, Nan, I’m the boss around here and Elmer will do what I say, when I say, and you will respect me.”

Nan’s eyes widened.

“Don’t look at me like that, little girl.”

Nan held her breath.

“Well, I guess you will be making a trip to the wood shed…with me!” Ma had grabbed her by the arm and jerked her along behind the shed. The strap was hanging there, waiting. Whippings were becoming more and more frequent. After Ma’s husband left, they had taken on a more cruel form. The last whipping was more like a beating. It took days for the marks to scab over and heal. Little Elmer had come in that night and brought some horse medicine from the barn and applied it to the oozing marks.

The next afternoon when the schoolteacher came over, Ma had already formulated a story. “Mrs. Dewey, we missed Nan and Elmer today at school. Are they sick?” Ma lied the first time in her life and said, “Well Miss Sergeant, since Mr. Dewey is going to be gone for another four weeks, I need more help around here to get things done. I’m holding the kids out until he gets back.” Week after week went by, and Mr. Dewey still hadn’t come home. Everyday Ma grew more and more angry. It became more and more impossible to please her. When she began hitting Elmer, it was too much. Nan had to do something— right or wrong; things couldn’t stay the way they were.

The coolness of the earth had settled into Nan’s bones. She stood silently for a minute and carefully crept up to the farmhouse. As she opened the door, she saw that Elmer was in the pallet at the foot of the stove next to her bedroll. Ma was asleep in her room. The door held open with a rock. Slowly she began peeling off the dress and the dried blood stuck to it. She reached for the old shirt she normally wore over her wounds and under her dress. She had washed it today. It had bloodstains on it, but it would keep her from ruining another dress. She retrieved the old work dress that she wore when chores were messier than usual; it was the only one left. She put it on swiftly and shook Elmer awake with her hand over his mouth. “Baby, we must leave. Do you understand? Stay quiet and I will get some stuff to take with us.”

She found large old handkerchief and began looking for food supplies. There was one sourdough biscuit and about a cup of cold brown beans. She located her tin cup and another rag. She would probably need that. Three matches were in the cup on the stove. She would just take two. Suddenly she heard a sound from Ma’s room. A scampering sound… just a rat. Ma turned over. Her breathing became deep and regular. For once Nan wished that Ma snored. She tied the handkerchief in a knot over the meager food supplies, grabbed their bedrolls, and slowly opened the door.

“Come on, Elmer. Can you carry this food? I’ll get your bedding. That’s a good boy. We must hurry!”

The cold air bit at their faces, but they walked bravely on.

“Elmer, we must go tonight so we can get as far away as we can before Ma wakes up and sees that we are gone.”

For the next half hour the pair walked in silence through the familiar woods past the graves on the hill. In one, a mother dearly loved, in another, an infant who had died the same day as his mother, and the third, a father that only Nan had memory of. Elmer was only two years old when Pa died in the logging accident. Nan snapped out of her reverie and urged Elmer on. Molasses, Pa’s good old workhorse, stood in the pasture. He skidded the logs Pa cut with his axe. His legs hadn’t healed quite right, but Mama hadn’t let Mr. Dewey kill him because he was all she had left of the husband of her youth. Molasses was a faithful friend to Nan and Elmer. He stood there and waited for them to mount him.

“Molasses, take us to…” Nan realized then that they had nowhere to go. Mrs. Dewey had said that they were ungrateful little imps who didn’t realize she and Mr. Dewey were taking care of them out of kindness, and they could easily be put into an orphanage. Nan didn’t know anything about orphanages except what Mrs. Dewey…uh, Ma had told her. “Molasses, just take us out of here.”

Cruise Blunder

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO
Great book signing in Colorado!

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO
Booksigning - Elaine

Elk's Resolve Proof is Here