Issue No. 3
JULY 2014
Happy summer everyone. It's been three months since our last visit and we here in central Oklahoma we are in the middle of the dog days of summer.

It may be smoking hot outside but there are cool things happening. I received and signed the contract for book four. THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW:SAMANTHA will be coming to a your favorite book vendor next spring. The exact date will be announced just as soon as I have it.

In the mean time I am working hard to
 (I found the goodie) complete book five, THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: KATE. I have a snippet I want to share with you:

The look in his eyes forced the breath from Kate's lungs.
"I know you want to take things slow, but I've been thinking of kissing you all night..."
She stared up into his eyes. That's makes two of us.
"May I?"
Kate couldn't speak, she took a half step toward him, hoping he'd take that as encouragement.
Nicolas raised his eye brows, backed her up against the closed door, and lowered his forehead to hers. He smiled against her lips. "You're a very special woman, Kate." His lips came down on hers and all of the afternoon's musing about what their first real kiss would be like fled her brain. He cupped her face in his hands, pressed in closer, and took a second plunge, Kate was grateful for the door at her back. Without that to lean on her liquefied knees would not have supported her. She circled her arms around his neck and abandoned herself to feelings she'd promised herself were a thing of the past.
An eternity...a second...later, he raised his head, released her face, and ran the tips of his fingers down the insides of her arms. They trailed down her sides, leaving fire in their wake, and finally came to rest at the small of her back. "Kate..." His sigh shuddered and he dipped his head for a quick peck against her lips. "I have to go."
Kate nodded, continuing to use the door for support while she watched him get into his car. He raised his in farewell and she followed suit. His taillights disappeared around the corner and she opened the door. If her feet touched the floor on the way to her room she never knew it.

Romance isn't my genre. What do you think?

In news of a more personal sort, I'm gonna be a great grandma, again!

This is my grandson, Derrick and his lovely wife Kyia. The baby bump around her middle is Miss Brinkley Marie. I can't wait until Thanksgiving!!


Sharon Srock


     Elizabeth (Liz) Newman

Of the many women who have influenced my life, Elizabeth Newman ranks highest on my list of exceptional women. Elizabeth has been the pastor of Judah House of Praise for many years, and is the Bishop and CEO of SI'ON Ministries, an organization that trains and ordains ministers. She is also an accomplished musician with an awesome talent for praise and worship and has recorded several CDs.

In her community, Liz has established the Simeon Center, a place where teens can meet and interact, and opened a thrift store which provides various items for those in need. She and her husband are involved in feeding the hungry in the surrounding areas through the Judah Food Bank.

Liz has also traveled to Russia, Holland, and Mexico on mission trips.

Liz has the honor of being "Mama" to many ministers and lay persons. Under her training I have learned things about the work of the ministry that I would never have known otherwise nor been brave enough to step out and do. With her help many others have started their own ministries and regularly meet with Liz through SI'ON for support and encouragement.

Elizabeth is a humble, ordinary woman, but she's a strong, extraordinary woman of God! Thank you, Sister Liz, for being such a great example of a godly woman, one who has done much to further the kingdom of God.

Sincerely, Anita Breitling, one of Elizabeth's grateful ministers



An Amazing Ending

I overheard two friends talking about one child's award ceremony. Her child didn't think she was getting any awards because she was just average, so her expectations were low. The mother's heart grew heavy, though, as multiple children were recognized for their achievements while her child appeared overlooked. At the very end of the program, her child received an award based on her character. That changed everything for the mom. She was proud not of what her child had achieved or failed to achieve, but she was proud of who her daughter was becoming.


That got me thinking about how God views us. I know I for one get discouraged. I feel like I'm walking steady throughout life - just ordinary, not extraordinary. However, sometimes it gets discouraging when others get "awards" for their accomplishments and I'm overlooked. It's not always about being recognized, but could be that a particular season of life is incredibly difficult and I grow tired of moving forward.


I got a word picture when overhearing the above conversation. Our Father already knows the ending. At the beginning of the program (my life), He already knew the award (blessing) that was waiting for me at the end. He also knew all I would have to go through (trials) before I would see the blessing. He sat there patiently, even during my moments of discouragement or impatience for the trial to end, knowing what was ahead. Not an award to recognize my hard work. No, recognition for my character change when I chose to lean into Jesus and trust Him.


What a peaceful analogy. It's nice to know the trials I face help shape me into who God wants me to be. If I continue to trust God until I take my last breath, when I finally stand face-to-face with my Father, the award I get will be based on closely my character resembles Jesus, not based on my performance.

Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. She enjoys writing regularly for Book Fun Magazine and LIFE TO THE FULLEST. Her Spoken from the Heart Series is available through Amazon in both eBook and paperback versions. To read one of her many articles on life from a Christian perspective, visit her blog at: She loves to interact with her readers, so send her an email at or "like" her on Facebook:



1 egg
garlic salt, to taste
onion salt, to taste
� cup plain panko bread crumbs
� cup finely shredded cheddar jack cheese
3 oz cooked real bacon crumbles
1 package (14 oz) uncooked chicken tenders (not breaded)
optional-sour cream ranch dip


Heat oven to 400�F
Spray roasting grill pan with cooking spray
Season each chicken tender with garlic salt, onion salt, and pepper
In shallow bowl, beat egg
In large bowl, place bread crumbs, cheese, bacon, and additional garlic salt, onion salt, and pepper
Dip chicken into egg
Press each chicken tender in the bread crumb mixture and coat the entire tender
Place chicken tenders on sprayed roasting grill pan
Spray the tops of the chicken tenders with cooking spray
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in center and bread crumbs are golden brown
Optional-serve with sour cream ranch dip

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Join Our Mailing ListA special gift for all subscribers
Valley View Prequel

I love to give things away to my readers and every issue will offer at least two chances to win something really nice.

Prize #1 will be a book signed by
our guest author. For this newsletter to be a success, we need
more readers. To qualify for the
book drawing you must forward
the news letter to a friend, not currently signed up to receive it. When you forward it, copy and paste the newsletter address shown below in the CC line:

I'll see the email and know you are playing. For each friend who subscribes to the newsletter, you get an extra entry for the book

Prize #2
is pictured below. Hidden in the text of this news letter is the phrase (I FOUND THE GOODIE). When you find it, email it's location to the newsletter email or just hit the reply button and tell me where you saw it.

Lysette Lam won the piece of jewelry.
Melissa Stout won a signed copy of Irene Hannon's book. 


Randy, Thanks so much for taking time to answer a few questions for my news letter.

You are an attorney, an author, a pastor, and a teacher. How do you divide your time?
Sounds like a lot, I know, but I've got great teams at the firm, at church and as an author. I try to focus on just the things that I do well and let others handle the other stuff. My time is roughly divided 40/40/20, i.e. 40% on law firm matters, 40% on church matters and 20% for writing. Weekends are heavily church-time-preparing on Saturday and preaching on Sunday. I try to take off Monday mornings. Monday afternoon through Friday I am at my law office, though I have a lot of church appointments as well. I squeeze the writing in early in the morning (mostly) or sometimes I will take a few days off just to get away and write.
By the way, because time is my most precious commodity, I am obsessive about recording how I spend it. I can tell you how much time I have spent on each of my three main pursuits-law (which includes teaching law), pastoring and writing-for every day for the past seven years. It is amazing how much time we waste if we're not diligent about holding ourselves accountable.

How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of yours?
As a lawyer, I object to your question because it assumes a fact not yet in evidence-that I am sane! Kidding aside, I try to start each day with a half-hour of prayer and journaling. This keeps me focused on the most important tasks, reminds me each day that life is impossible apart from God, and helps me to look back and recall his faithfulness and answers to my prayers.

A lot of your books have ties to the Middle East. Is there something that drives you there?
As a writer of legal thrillers, I tend to go where the conflicts are. That's why I love writing about trials-the clash of ideas in the crucible of the courtroom. The Middle East is where so many world views clash on a daily basis-it brings out the stark differences between faiths and the stark differences between democracy and theocracy. Having said that, only a few of my books actually have scenes in the Middle East. I have also written about India and my most recent book takes place in ancient Rome. Mostly, my books are set in my own backyard-Virginia Beach, Virginia-the greatest city on earth.

Where do you get your story ideas?
Many of my story ideas come from my real-life cases. I represented the daughters of a man who was poisoned by his wife (the stepmother of my clients). She was acquitted in a criminal case but we obtained a judgment in the civil case. Some of the details of that case formed the inspiration for parts of The Last Plea Bargain. I represented a young man who was convicted of a felony, found Jesus in jail and turned his life around. After he graduated from law school, I represented him in hearings before the Virginia State Bar to see if he could get licensed to practice law. He became the prototype for my protagonist in Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales. I handled a case arising out of a school shooting that became a nation-wide story, spurring a gun control debate. That case inspired the book The Justice Game. Each of those books went in entirely different directions than the real-life cases, but the actual cases are what started me thinking about these themes.

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
The strangest thing, hands down, is the way the Roman emperors behaved during the First Century time period featured in my book The Advocate. Nero and Caligula were some narcissistic, arrogant, mean-spirit, sadistic dudes. I told enough in The Advocate so readers would get the gist of it but there is so much more that I couldn't tell.
In terms of interesting, the premise of my book False Witness, is based on the fact that most Internet security codes are based on the fact that nobody has figured out how to factor big numbers into their prime number components. Granted, that sounds a little nerdy, but it was interesting to me that Internet security was based on this mathematical principle and that, if somebody could figure out an algorithm to quickly factor big numbers into their prime components, they would basically have the key to every Internet lock. Scary...but intriguing at the same time.

Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don't, do you know why?
My characters definitely surprise me-they are strong-willed and hard to control. I'm afraid of giving examples because it would create spoilers. However, I will say that after I have fully developed my characters, I frequently ask myself this question: What is the one thing this character would never do? Then I consider creating circumstances that would compel him or her to at least consider that one thing, and sometimes do it. This is one way I try to develop multi-dimensional characters.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
One, that I have no formal training in writing and never dreamed of being a writer until I was in my forties. (At least I hope the "no formal training" would surprise readers. Maybe some would say, "I suspected that all along!") Two, that I dictate, rather than type, most of my first drafts. And three, that I love my dog Lambeau (a black lab). This third one will only make sense if you have read the one novel where I commit the cardinal sin of a novelist and had the antagonist kill a beloved black lab.

What can you share about your current work in progress?
Having just released The Advocate, I would like to do what politicians do-dodge your question and answer a different one! Unlike my previous books, The Advocate is historical fiction. It has brought together my roles as storyteller, pastor, trial attorney and former history teacher. It's focused on the two greatest trials in the history of the world: the trial of Jesus (which has been written about extensively) and the trial of Paul in front of Nero which we know next to nothing about. Both changed the lives of everyone associated with them and the trajectory of history.
The book is told from the perspective of Theophilus, Paul's court-appointed advocate. He was there at the trial of Jesus and thirty years later had the job of representing the world's greatest missionary in front of the world's cruelest tyrant. Doing his job well would incur the wrath of Nero but his only alternative was to let an innocent man die.
Like all of us, Theophilus had to make a choice.

At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young "assessore" raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, "Offer to release Barabbas." The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths--Roman crucifixion.
Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire and has an opportunity for redemption. He takes the case of Paul of Tarsus, defending the outspoken apostle in front of Nero, Rome's cruelest tyrant. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?
The advocate's first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.
Purchase THE ADVOCATE here

Thanks so much for spending some time with me today. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Sharon Srock
237 Bartley Dr.
Newalla, Oklahoma 74857

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