Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Friend's Five with Rita Stella Galieh & Gwendolyn Gage

Hi Folks!

In honour of our birthday celebrations, we have some guests stopping by over the next 4 weeks.  We've asked them all to share 5 books that have impacted their lives. 

Today we are pleased to have Australian author, Rita Stella Galieh, and writer Gwendolyn Gage join us.


Rita Stella Galieh

Thanks for the invitation to be part of Book Review Sisters celebration!

The Holy Bible is a given, as I have been daily guided by God's Word for all my adult years. And I have read thousands of novels, biographies, and nonfiction which have entertained, held me in suspense, and blessed me, but the following list comprises the five memorable books that made an impact on my life.

In chronological order:


1.  SNUGGLEPOT and CUDDLEPIE. Illustrated Children's Fiction by May Gibbs.

I must have been about eight when I saved for months and proudly took my piggy bank to Angus & Robertsons.  I loved this book and still look twice to see if the bad banksia men are watching me!

2.  ANNE of GREEN GABLES series by L M Montgomery.

I devoured this book in my pre-teens and a few years later. In my technicolour imagination I became part of this young orphan girl's adventures. I truly felt her to be a kindred spirit.

3.  THE PERSON & WORK of the HOLY SPIRIT Theology by Dr Rene Pache.

I studied this at a spiritually hungry time in my life before entering Emmaus Bible College.

4.  THROUGH GATES of SPLENDOUR Christian Biography by Elizabeth Elliot

This story of five young martyred missionaries challenged my husband and me to dedicate ourselves to the Lord's service. And soon after we became involved in a full time evangelistic ministry.

5.  CURRENCY LASS Australian History by Margaret Reeson.

This awakened my love for our Australian heritage and spurred me on to write Historical Romantic Intrigue. All to entertain, inspire, and keep my readers turning the pages.

About Rita Stella Galieh
As co-speaker for the weekly Australia-wide Christian radio program, Communication, Rita's first published book FIRE in the ROCK was set in the opal fields. Late last year SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED was published by Ark House Press. She is now looking for THE TIE THAT BINDS and A PARCEL of PROMISES to be published. This trilogy covers the life of a young woman transported to Australia and the stories of the daughters she never knew. Her weekly blog http://inspirationalromance.blogspot.com features true life stories from all over the world. A graduate of Emmaus Bible College and the National Art School, she and her evangelist husband regularly present their message with music and art at church functions. A contributer of non fiction to several US anthologies, she is a member of Christian Writers Down Under, Omega Writers, International Christian Fiction Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. Each year the Galiehs travel to Thailand ministering for a month in government Buddhist schools, hospitals, orphanages, prisons, and churches.


Gwendolyn Gage



A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers swept me into the depraved world of Ancient Rome, and the life of Hadassah, a Messianic Jewish slave girl in love with her master's son, and afraid of taking a stand for Christ and facing death in the arena. Not only was I able to relate to Hadassah's fears and self-loathing over her failures, but Francine was able to do something that no other novelist had ever done: she whetted my appetite for more of God and His Presence through Hadassah’s story, and made a difficult ending beautiful and perfect—one that stayed with me long after I closed the book.

As Baret rebels against the Jamaican council and forms a shocking alliance with Henry Morgan, Emerald’s wedding preparations and dream of teaching the slaves are shattered, leaving her in a nightmare. Yes, before anyone had ever heard of MaryLu Tyndall, Linda Chaikin wrote a Christian pirate series. And I Ate. It. Up. I even read it out loud to my mother and sister. It was while reading The Pirate and His Lady that I had an epiphany. I put the book down and said to myself, "I could write something like this!" And The Back of Beyond was born. Back then, I called it In Time. The scene I began with involved dinosaurs. Don't laugh. Okay, you can laugh. My manuscript has come a long way. :-)

The Gates of Zion by Bodie and Brock Thoene is the first of a historical series that was near and dear to my heart as a teenager. The Thoenes drew me into war-racked, fledgling Israel during the 1940s, where I became the American photographer, Ellie, as she got herself into pickle after pickle and wavered in between wanting to give ex-fiancé and American pilot David another chance, and continue seeing the intriguing Israeli professor Moshe. The action and edge-of-your-seat suspense packed in this great love story made it an instant favorite.

Corrie Ten Boom was a leader in the Haarlem underground movement, a Holocaust survivor, and a devout Christian who forgave and loved the Nazis who killed her family and took everything from her. This woman's testimony is amazing and inspiring, and she’s on my list of people I’m dying to meet when I get to heaven. If you haven't read The Hiding Place, you're missing out.

Can I add a book I've read recently? Redeeming Love is an amazing story, modeled after the Book of Hosea in the Bible, and staged during the California gold rush in the 1850s. The hero, Michael, was a type of "Christ" as Hosea was, and so I expected his forgiveness and patience toward embittered prostitute, Angel. But I didn't expect the depth of pain the hero went through, which Francine Rivers captured beautifully. I've read the accounts of Jesus marveling at human unbelief and being angry at the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, but somehow I still imagined God far removed from the emotions that tear our insides apart. This book was eye-opening, and gave me a completely new perspective.

About Gwendolyn Gage
Gwendolyn Gage has written three full-length novel manuscripts—two speculative fiction, and one historical romance. She is actively seeking homes for them, and networking with potential readers in the meantime. She doesn't write to simply entertain. She sees her talent as an opportunity to minister, and it is her ambition and prayer that her readers will come away from her stories and blog with a desire for more of God. Gwendolyn attended Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, TX, and graduated in 2002 with a major in Christian theology. She lives in Dallas with her husband, David, and their two-year-old son, Micah.

You can find Gwendolyn on her blog at http://gwendolyngage.blogspot.com.au/

Thank you so much to Rita & Gwen for taking the time to be with us today, and sharing some books that have impacted your lives.  There are some wonderful reads there!

29 comments:

  1. It must be fun for the two of you working together. I love to blog about personal stories of how girls met the love of their life at http://inspirationalromance.blogspot.com It would be great if one of you could share your story with me!

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    1. Rita - Thanks so much for sharing these books with us. I grew up on Snuggle Pot & Cuddle Pie too! Our grandma gave it to us, and our dad used to read it to us. It's a nice memory we have of our childhood.

      Jess and I do love working on this together! It's something we can do together even though we live 4hrs apart. Jess should think about sharing her story with you on your blog :)

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    2. Helen, I'm not sure what you are remembering about Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie! I don't remember much about it except that I was afraid of them and have harbored a distrust of them ever since I was little! :) Must be one of those childhood things...

      Rita, I would love to share my story with you about how I met my husband! Let me know what to do etc :)

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    3. Now that you mention it Jess, I remember you being afraid when dad was reading Snuggle Pot & Cuddle Pie to us! Maybe because you were just that bit younger. I just remember it was the only thing dad ever read to us, and he had such a nice reading voice.

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    4. Every time I see Banksia's I think of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. And where we live in WA there seems to be a good number of Banksia trees.

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    5. Me too, Mel!

      I love Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, thanks for reminding me of this Rita.

      Congrats on your birthday, Jess and Helen...a wonderful milestone for your blog!

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  2. Thanks again for the honor of being your guest, Helen and Jess! Waving at Rita -- I think I read "Through the Gates of Splendor". Elisabeth Elliot has an amazing testimony!

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    1. Thanks Gwen for sharing your five books with us! It's our pleasure to have you here :)

      I have a friend whom I think you would get along very well with - she raves about Francine Rivers (but I think anyone who has read her books does!) and she also told me about Bodie and Brock Thoene. I will get to them, I'm sure! So many fabulous authors out there.

      I think I'd almost have to put The Hiding Place on my own list (if I ever do one!). My mum gave it to me when I was about 10 or 11. It did make a huge impact on me. And when I re-read it in my mid-twenties, it stunned and moved me all over again. What an amazing testimony Corrie Ten Boom has.

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    2. Hi Gwen, Thanks for being on our blog! Yes, The Hiding Place is an awesome book. I have also heard MANY great things about Francine Rivers...I might just have to have a read of her sometime soon :)

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    3. Someone else who likes both Francine Rivers and the Thoenes??? Yes, it sounds like we are kindred spirits! Helen, I would be interested in seeing your book list! That settles it. You must write a blog post featuring your five :-)


      You're welcome, Jess! I'm so tickled to be your guest. Yes, you need to read a Francine Rivers book. I would start with "A Voice In the Wind". "The Mark of the Lion" series is my favorite!

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    4. Gwen - ok, I will definitely do my book list! I thought it might be terribly difficult, but I thought about it last night and was able to pick my 5 pretty quickly :)

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  3. Came over from Gwen's blog...So nice to meet you, Helen, Jess, and Rita!

    Happy Blog Birthday!!

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    1. Thanks Loree for stopping by - and for the birthday wishes!

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  4. I came over from Gwen's blog, too! What a fun post. Happy Blog Birthday to you - I'm going to have a look around your blog! :)

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    1. Gabrielle - so nice to have you visit! Hope you had a nice look around our blog :) Hope you like what you see enough to vote for us in the Best Australia Blogs comp :D

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  5. CONGRATS on the 1st anniversary! And, Gwen, it was great to see you over here, too. =D

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    1. It's great to see you here too, Rissi! Helen and Jess are terrific book reviewers, and they're also writers.

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    2. Thanks Rissi! We hope you enjoyed your visit :)

      Thanks Gwen for your encouraging words! You write great reviews too :)

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  6. Great to see Gwen here and meet Rita:) The title Currency Lass sure is intriguing! Such a great series you sisters dreamed up - and a great way to share books! Bless you all!!

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    1. Hi Laura! "Currency Lass" caught my eye too. An Australian historical just sounds fascinating. I've added it to my TBR. :-)

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    2. So glad to see you here Laura! And I'm glad you like the series idea :) It's so interesting to hear about books that have impacted people's lives.

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  7. I love the books you both picked! I really want to read Through gates of Splendor and The hiding place. Both sounds like wonderful books.
    Nice to met Rita and see Gwen here. God bless you both for following the Lord in your passion for writing. :)

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  8. Hi Cathy, it's nice to see you here! Yes, definately add The Hiding Place to your TBR! It's one you don't want to miss out on. Elisabeth Elliot also has a pretty amazing testimony, but I can't remember if "Through Gates of Splendor" was one I read. Knowing my memory, it probably was. :-)

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  9. LOL at the dinosaur part =) You have come a long way. Francine Rivers is on my TBR pile already (because of you).

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    1. LOL, Marie! You know, I never kept that original scene, and I'm wishing I had. I had quite an imagination as a seventeen-year-old. :-) So glad to bring your attention to Francine Rivers. She is truly an inspriation. :-)

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  10. Visited because of Gwen and stayed because it was interesting. I also voted for you for the Best Australian blog. Actually, you're the only Australian blog I know of, but hey, nobody else need know, right?

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    1. Thank you so much Michelle! I'm so touched you were pleased with our blog and decided to vote for us, even though we're the only Aussie blog you know :P We're glad to be the first one then!

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  11. Hi Michelle, thanks for visiting, voting and for sticking around!! So glad you enjoyed our blog! :)

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