My Beauty For Your Ashes
By Traci Wooden-Carlisle
By Traci Wooden-Carlisle
Traci: I will try, but I don’t do much in writing in little quantities. I am a true product of the 80s, and tend to revisit its era of television sitcoms, movies and music often. I define myself first as child of God, a wife to David Carlisle, daughter and sister to the Wooden clan and friend to a hodgepodge of people who make me laugh with abandonment, cry in equal measure, provoke me to thought and just make me want to be a better friend. I am employed as an office manager, administrator, graphic artist and networker. I write to feed my soul.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Traci: I had to decide between gut-clenching grief and gut-stirring physical awareness.
Let’s keep it light. Butterflies it is…
As she sat there, the thoughts of the last time she was in a hospital waiting room came back to her sharp and clear. She had been asked by her pastor to visit the sick on occasion, and after the initial fear of what it might be like to enter a hospital again, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that when she was praying and concentrating on others, the memories were not overpowering.
She sucked her teeth at her lack of thought. She began to gather up her belongings. Surely the nurse would not object to her going around to the different rooms, minus Vivian’s of course, to pray with the patients until Mr. Jenson came back. Still deep in thought, she stood, glancing around her to check that she didn’t forget something. She turned forward taking a step into someone before she could halt her movement. As she bounced off of them, she began juggling and shifting her things to keep them from slipping from her hands. Hands came out to help right her and her small pile. She looked up to thank the person for their help, but the words along with the beginning of a smile were frozen on her lips as she stared into the face of the most ruggedly-beautiful man she had ever seen.
When Mason came off of the elevator the nurse at the front desk directed him to the waiting room, giving him the message that the donor had arrived. His nervousness heightened. He chastised himself. Don’t get your hopes up too high. Just see it for what it is: a chance.
He covered the distance quickly then forced himself to slow down and take a few, deep breaths. As he reached the doorway he scanned the room, stopping at the sight of the back of a woman. He watched her, trying to assess her and find out anything he could before she had a chance to put on airs. She seemed to be gathering her things. Did she change her mind? Was she leaving? No, she couldn’t leave! The panic that rose up in his chest cut off his air supply.
As she stood he noticed her small stature, wondering fleetingly if she would even be strong enough to donate a kidney. He took a step forward, misjudging the distance between them and her agility. Her shoulder bounced off of his rib cage causing what remaining air there was, to leave him. He reached out to keep her from falling and dropping her load, but was not prepared for his reaction to her face.
He took in the glassy, black eyebrows, shaping wide-set and deep, hazel-brown eyes which stirred something deep within him in that instant. Her olive complexion caused her lashes to stand out, framing her eyes delicately, but there was something vaguely familiar about her face on a whole. It was beautiful, but it caught him off guard.
His body went fever hot then ice cold as a chill raced down his back. He shivered, but still said nothing. He watched her eyes widen and her lips part slightly, and the thought that crossed his mind made him feel ashamed. This sobered him up immediately. Afraid she could read his thoughts from his expression he tried for his most pleasant tone in order to distract her.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for My Beauty For Your Ashes?
Traci:The thought of this title came to in the shower as one particular piece of inspiration came to me about Mason and his inability to let go of the past. Each character in this book has a memory, situation, decision or person they have been holding on to for too long. Instead of looking forward to life’s serendipitous moments, they are concentrating on pulling the baggage that’s weighing them down. Once I grasped the concept of the story I saw that God was systematically causing each of them to give over the things they still considered precious, but had died in their hands, for life with Him, I was very comfortable with the thought of this title.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Traci: I am currently working on the third installment, ‘ My Oil of Joy For Your Mourning’, in this series, Promises to Zion. I am not sure how far the series will go. I am just happy to write it.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Traci: Depending on the emotional depth of the scene I am writing, I will either find myself at my laptop on the couch next to my husband –while he watches anything but horror – , to sequestering myself in the bedroom in complete silence for hours until I am released or finished with the chapter.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research this book or any other?
Traci: I did quite a bit of research for this book. Though there were some topics I was more familiar with than others, but I had to do some degree of research for each of them. For instance, I had fun visiting different parts of Chicago online, but it only made me want visit it for real.
Crystal:Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Traci: Max Lucado, for his transparency, Dee Henderson for her clever enticement to Christ, Gene Edwards, Tommy Tenney, Nora Roberts, Rochelle Alers, Nicholas Sparks and my girl, Jane Austen, whose books I read over and over.
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Traci: I think I would like to try a thriller where the main character’s life revolved around some type of law enforcement. They would have to be a field officer because I would want to be in the thick of things.
About The Book:
Elder Paige Morganson has worked hard to overcome the anger, hate and abuse of her past. With God’s help she believes healing and wholeness is within her grasp when she is propelled into a world of secrets and lies that threaten to unravel the very thread of hope she’s clung to in her struggle for peace.
Mason Jenson is a self-made man who has been able to create his own fortune and build a home life with his wife and child void of God’s help…so he thinks, but as the world he knows balances precariously on the edge of destruction, who will he turn to?
Elder Brandon Tatum’s, new in town, has prided himself on not making a move until he’s heard God, but even as he accepts his new position in ministry, he is faced with decisions of the heart; a whole new territory for him.
Victoria Branchett has ruthlessly survived the death of her only daughter by fierce determination, but is the strength she has relied on enough to see her through a failing marriage and an ailing grandchild?
This novel merges colorful characters facing one untimely circumstance after another, and mixes in a serious spin on how one views God, both inside and outside of His will. Of course, this is just the beginning. More people emerge from behind the scenes; some to help and others, to hurt. With everything happening simultaneously, one would almost question if God is able to truly fix and heal everything, and the readers will see just how far each person's faith (or lack thereof) will carry them. As they sift through the debris of past dreams and hopes left by the wayside, they are offered a lifeline and given an opportunity to receive God’s Beauty for their ashes.
Paperback: 454 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 21, 2012)
Genre: Christian Fiction Romance
About The Author:
Today, Mrs. Wooden Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband, David Carlisle. She serves as a church Office Manager, teaches fitness classes, continues to praise the Lord through dance, and is currently writing her third book in this Christian-fiction series.
VictoriaWith a knot in her stomach she packed quickly, rescheduled some meetings that were set for the next day, wrote out specific instructions three times, and on the fourth attempt gave up and decided to just call an emergency meeting with the immediate staff.
By six the next morning, she was ready and waiting at the private airport with Richard, watching as a sudden and violent rainstorm delayed her flight. It rained consistently for four hours, not letting up until just before the afternoon. Seeing her agitation grow, her husband whispered in her ear just as they were leaving the small terminal, beginning boarding the aircraft.
“Well, at least you won’t have to water the roses when you get back.” She turned to him with a quick retort ready on her lips, but was defused by the smile on his lips. “Oh, you almost got it that time. Thank you for trying though.” She touched her hand to the side of his check as a form of endearment.
Once they arrived at the hospital, all thoughts of her hopeful reunion faded when they exited the elevator and came face to face with a sobbing Vivian. Richard bent down and tried fruitlessly to console the child. Victoria raced passed them to her daughter’s room where the doctor was talking to Mason over her daughter’s body, now covered by a sheet. She was too late. Her legs threatened to give away beneath her so she sat down in the chair just inside of the door. The sound of the chair scraping the floor caught Mason’s attention. He came towards her, arms reaching for her with the purpose to comfort.
The slap resounded through the room. Victoria watched as Mason’s head snapped to the side. When he straightened she came at him again, catching him across the other side of the face, and throwing him off balance. Reaching out to stable himself, he caught hold of the bed Rachael’s body was laying on, pulling the sheet as he stumbled back.
Victoria would have hit Mason again, but the site of Rachael’s body momentarily paralyzed her. She watched as Mason righted himself again, and all she could think of was causing him as much harm as he had caused her daughter. Her daughter was dead. Her daughter was dead, and he killed her. He killed her with his inability to listen to anyone due to his selfish pride. “Rachael is dead,” kept ringing in her ears, until the volume drowned out every other thought or sound.
She stood there staring at the arm that had been uncovered. It was unfair. It was so damn unfair. The anger built up in her, quickly turning to rage.
She charged at Mason with a sound coming from her, foreign to her ears. All she wanted to do was cause him bodily harm. She hit him with all of her force once, then twice. Why wasn’t he defending himself or hunching to protect himself like the coward he was? He wasn’t fit to even be in the same room as her daughter’s body.
She couldn’t control it anymore. She hit him a third and fourth time before he went to one knee, and the doctor that had been standing in shock on the other side of the of the bed grabbed her from behind, holding her arms to her sides. She cried out in frustration using whatever part of her that was free, to reach Mason.
She kicked at him, catching him in the shoulder once and the chest on the next try, but neither one of those blows was satisfying. They felt superficial, like she was slightly off target. She struggled to kick him in the face, but was pulled out of reach by the interfering doctor. She screamed and cried out again, the anger and frustration causing tears to spill from her eyes.
“No!” she screamed. “He killed her. That bastard killed my daughter! Don’t let him get away. He has to pay. He has to!”
Two nurses came in to assist the doctor in holding her away from Mason. Then Richard was in front of her, holding her face in his hands so that he was the only thing in her line of sight.
“Victoria!” He shouted, shaking her almost violently.
He came into focus. His hair tossed, eyes red and wet. The energy drained from her body. She didn’t think she could hold herself up any longer.
“Richard,” she whispered as if she were afraid to hear what she was about to say. “Our baby’s gone.” She felt his hands tighten on her face, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in focus. She sought the peace of the dark she was slipping into.
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