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Artist Scoop ~ Interview with Rob Westall

singstudioRob Westall co-leads the worship team at Gateway Church in the UK. He is currently in the studio recording his debut worship album, and took time out in-between sessions to speak to us! And I tell you, it’s been quite an inspiring journey! Learn more about this incredible recording artist and worship leader in our chat below!


Miranda ~ Hello Rob! Happy to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Rob: Hello! Thank you for inviting me and for the warm welcome! Okay, well, I’m a former BBC journalist. I am the joint leader of the worship team at Gateway Church (AOG) in Wales, UK, which is in the pretty market town called Abergavenny (also known as the Gateway to Wales). I live there with my wife, Anna, and two small children, Isabella, (5 years old) and Benjamin (3 years old); and, I am currently recording my debut worship album.

Miranda ~ You have a passion for music. When did you first decide to use it for God?

Rob: I have always written songs ever since I first picked up the guitar, even with the few chords I had managed to master! Those songs were, of course, about girls and all sorts of crazy things going on in my head at a young age, and they helped to keep me sane, I suppose. It was a way of expressing my feelings and heart.

I grew up listening to what my parents loved musically—The Beatles, Rolling Stones etc., so I learned and knew what makes a good song, and was encouraged to keep at it by my peers and music teachers.

I come from a very close family, and when my grandmother, who was a great woman of God and the rock of the family, passed away, that’s when things changed, I suppose. I remember her funeral and thanksgiving service was full of the Gospel, just as she would have loved it to be; and when I sat down to write a song to deal with my feelings about it all, I ended up writing my first worship song. It’s called Death’s Lost its Sting, which ironically enough, we’ve just started recording this week in the studio for the album. I wrote it, but hadn’t told anyone, and amazingly that Sunday, my cousin shared a scripture…it was from 1 Corinthians 15:24-25—

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I can’t tell you how awesome it was, God speaking to us like that, at such a difficult time, and, I know the song has brought great comfort to my mother and father. I suppose that was also the moment when my focus changed musically, especially songwriting-wise.

Miranda ~ When you sing, what do you hope to pass across to the people who’re listening?

Rob: I sing from the heart. I dedicate the songs I sing to God, and give Him my best and my all. We can give our best at work as an act of Worship, whether it’s sweeping up the trash or cooking a meal or serving clients. Whatever the song, secular or worship, I put my all into it, singing it from the heart, and I hope people listening will be touched by that in some way for their benefit.

Miranda ~ How has music affected your personal walk with God throughout the years?

Rob: Wow, tough question! Music is a constant in my life. I have quite an eclectic taste, so I listen to a wide range of music. One constant in all of that, however, is my focus on the lyrics. I remember going to a gig with a good friend of mine. All my friends were jumping up and down and dancing, and I just stood there watching. My friend turned to me and said, “You’re focusing on the lyrics, again, aren’t you?”

So, to begin answering your question, one of the ways in which my relationship with God manifests itself, is through the lyrics of songs, both worship and secular tunes. I remember once praying about a difficult situation on the way to work, and the song, “Ain’t no mountain high enough,” came on my earphones. The lyrics were so relevant to my situation, it blew me away. That said, I do turn off music in order to listen, quite often, too.

From a songwriting perspective, the last 18 months has been amazing. I’ve always sought God and have been led by Him as to what the song should be about etc. This period has been the most prolific period, and it’s ultimately down to my relationship with Him—that is, me getting closer to God. My inspiration comes from Him, so when I’m close to Him, the songs come, usually.

Miranda ~ Apart from the guitar, do you play any other instruments? If you do, which one(s)?

Rob: I dabble on the piano, but my voice is my first instrument.

Miranda ~ When you write songs, who’re the people you write for?—the lost, destitute, broken-hearted etc.?

Rob: Someone once prophesied over me before I wrote a song that I will write songs with a prophetic edge. Guess what? Years later, that has come to pass! I’ve written a lot of songs which are from God’s point of view sung over us with a worship chorus to respond to. I just seek to write whatever God lays on my heart, and sometimes it includes the lost, the destitute, and broken-hearted who He wants to communicate with. So I don’t have an agenda other than to listen to where He leads me, lyrically and musically. Often, I have a chord progression and melody, and I will have no lyrics, but I’ll know what the song is going to be about.

Miranda ~ Do you write all your songs by yourself? If no, who do you write with? Have you worked with any artist in particular?

Rob: Currently, just myself. But I am always open to collaborations. At the moment, I love it when people express their hearts to God. Ultimately, that’s what He desires, and what worship is all about. As it says in Scripture, everybody has a song to bring. So I’ve told the worship team at Gateway this, and I’ve encouraged them to expect songs to flow from their hearts. After all, we sing new songs in worship all the time. My cousin who is in our worship team took me at my word and sent me a recording of a song she made up on her phone, and I’m helping her record it, which is awesome.

Miranda ~ In your opinion, why should a Christian go into music? In what way do you believe they can affect the world?

Rob: Music is powerful. It can sometimes communicate what words cannot. Having a Godly influence in the music world is therefore important. Ultimately, though, it boils down to this: you should go into music if it’s the right thing to do in God’s eyes. I think you simply have to follow where God is leading you. What’s the point, otherwise? My advice is to seek the counsel of Godly men and women to test things out directionally, and discern the right road for you. God has given us so many gifts and talent, and it’s great when people use these gifts for His glory in whatever line of work they do. Ultimately, true fulfilment comes when we are doing God’s will. Seek Him first in everything. I’ve had a few members of the team leave because they’re moving etc., and I try not to get too emotional about it. If they are following God’s will, that’s all that matters. That’s my heart.

Miranda ~ Who are the people that have influenced you in music the most? In what way has their ministry affected your life?

Rob: You don’t ask easy questions, do you? Haha! Wow! I mean, it’s unfair to pick just one guitarperson. There have been so many inspirational people—from my parents, friends, family members to former and present pastors. It was cool to support Dave Bilborough earlier this year. I grew up listening to his worship music, and he was so encouraging and full of great advice. I also greatly admire Mat Smith, Paul Baloche, and Matt Redman too, not just for their music, but the way they serve. I will however single out my good friend and former pastor, Mike Sutton-Smith, who leads Lifepoint Church in Swansea, South Wales, UK. As a young Christian, I called him one day when I was struggling and feeling a bit down, and he simply said: “Rob, whenever you feel like this, pick up your guitar and worship!” Awesome advice! Mike and others have encouraged me to seek God first in everything, and that is the approach I take into my music and ministry. It so simple, yet profound. I think, us, humans, tend to overcomplicate things all the time!

Miranda ~ In becoming a professional music artist, what can you say are the misconceptions people have about a career in music, especially in regards to one that can lead to fame?

Rob: I’m not really sure. I suppose if you play your songs all the time, people may think you are doing that because they are your songs. I just try to be myself as much as possible, although, I naturally battle against worrying too much about what people think. In my case, I treat my songs like sharing a prophetic word. I get them weighed up lyrically by Godly people. I faithfully share them, and use what God has given me. I’ll also happily throw one of my songs out of a set to play the right song that God is leading us to play. That’s what it’s all about. I suppose in playing your own material, and especially when trying to get your songs out to as many people as possible, there could be the perception—along with the fame example that you gave—that one may find it difficult to keep one’s feet on the ground. That’s not always the case. Joseph’s brothers thought he was a showoff, and look what happened there. All you can do is be accountable, and do what God says. Focus and try not to worry or make yourself too aware of how some people may perceive you, good or bad.

Miranda ~ As a music artist, what has been the most difficult time for you in your career? How did you overcome it? What lesson stayed with you afterwards?

Rob: I suppose it’s now. I am faithfully recording my debut album. I have a wife and two small children, and I have been blessed with these awesome songs, and I’m following what God has told me to do. I have no idea what the future holds, which can be scary and exciting at the same time. Yet, I have faith that God provides, and that as many people as He wants to hear these songs will hear them and be blessed. So, in short, the lesson is to trust God, even if it looks and feels like things are impossible. In fact, a few weeks ago, I wrote a song called, Faithful One, which was born out of this situation, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever written…so my good friend, Chris, tells me!

Miranda ~ What one moment in your life can you say was the most inspiring? How did it shape your life forever?

Rob: The birth of both my children was awesome. Obviously, with Isabella being the first, and it all being so new to me, that was amazing. Caring for a helpless child, feeding them, doing everything for them was amazing. I had a lot of time to reflect with the lack of sleep I endured, too! I concluded that she (and now Benjamin) are more important than me, and in doing so, I realized how selfish I used to be.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—generally/presently?

Rob: My family and home.

Miranda ~ What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in music?

Rob: Enjoy yourself and believe in what you’re doing. Listen to advice, but don’t let it affect your ability to be creative and try things out yourself; people will not always get it.

Miranda ~ Is there anything you’d like to say—anything word of wisdom at all—that wasn’t covered by the above questions?

Rob: I think you grilled me sufficiently! Thank you, once again, for this opportunity, and if what I’ve said has struck a chord with any of your readers and/or can help anyone in a small way, please get in touch!

THIS or THAT

Coffee or Tea? Tea, but it has to be Green Tea! (I’m on a health kick!)

Vanilla or Chocolate? Easy! Chocolate!

Fruits or Salad? Tough one…salad with the right dressing!

Jogging or Pushups? Jogging

Rain or Snow? Snow. Please, I’m fed of the rain being British!

Spring or Fall? Fall, as it’s my birthday, my mother’s birthday, and my two sisters’. It’s like Christmas time.

Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner.

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Blazer these days!

TV or Magazine? TV

Books or Movies? Movies

Thank you, Rob, for stopping by today!

rob-profile-blueAbout Rob Westall


Rob Westall is a Christian singer songwriter from South Wales. He leads worship at AOG’s Gateway Church in Abergavenny and has two beautiful children Isabella and Benjamin with his wife Anna. Music and lyrics have always been an important part of Rob’s life. He has sang professionally all over the UK as a solo artist and as part of several bands and worked for 15 years as a BBC journalist and broadcaster.

In 2014 an intense spiritual encounter led Rob back to the heart of worship and he has been prolifically writing worship songs ever since. “I see worship songs as tools which help people to express themselves and their heart to God,” says Rob. Connect with Rob on twitter and learn more about him on his website.

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

standing

Life will throw you curve balls. There’s no getting around that.

But what keeps one afloat?

For me, one of the things that does this—aside from praying and constantly looking up to Jesus—is learning from my heroes. It takes humility to do so, and it’s not always easy, because, part of the process is admitting where you’ve been painfully foolish. The next step is seeking God’s forgiveness and help, which may materialize in the form of wise advice from family, a friend or mentor.

Doing this has not only deepened my appreciation for people and community, but it has taught me to have immense respect for those who’ve gone before me—those who’ve been through similar situations as I have or worse, but have victoriously come out on the brighter side. I’ve learned that I no longer have to figure everything out on my own. God is with me, and so are the awesome people that He’s provided in my life—my heroes!

Whether it’s a conversation with a family member or friend, or advice from a person you’ve come to respect and admire, receiving these beautiful gifts of wisdom from them is like standing on the shoulders of giants. It makes your journey easier, and sometimes even, shorter. You avoid mistakes that otherwise on your own, would have been inevitable, and you gain sound wisdom that alone, you may have learned painfully. This gift—is what it means to stand on the shoulders of giants.

miranda-a-uyeh-6About this Contributor


Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a copywriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards, in 2014, in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category. In 2016, Miranda was honored to be one of 500 book reviewers across the world invited to help launch Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken.

When Miranda isn’t reviewing books & entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! Miranda is presently writing the second book in the Child of Grace series, To Lie Once.

Book Review ~ The Writer’s Book Launch Journal by Keely Brooke Keith

the-writers-book-launch-guideAbout the Book


The Writer’s Book Launch Guide: A Step-By-Step Plan to Give Your Book the Best Launch Possible

Let The Writer’s Book Launch Guide lead you through the marketing and promotional tasks every author should do to ensure a successful book launch. Filled with explanations of essential tasks, an abundance of publicity suggestions, and ideas to personalize your promotions, The Writer’s Book Launch Guide will provide you with a step-by-step plan for a fun and fulfilling book launch.

Discover how and when to:

  • Ready your author website
  • Craft a compelling book description
  • Rally your writing allies
  • Recruit a launch team
  • Build media connections
  • Get book endorsements
  • Create a media kit
  • Find book reviewers
  • Use social media
  • Create promotional videos
  • Run giveaways
  • Contact book bloggers
  • Let book websites spread the word for you
  • Throw a book launch party
  • Send email announcements

And much more!


Category

Non-fiction/Writing

Genre

Self-help

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


This is a book with a straightforward plan on how to successfully launch a book from start to finish. While professionals who’ve been in the business for a while, due to much familiarity, may be inclined to take its simplicity for granted, I maintain that the advice from this book is golden, and that authors take each step seriously; you never know which one of them will open the [biggest] floodgate that will lead to your book’s success.

I applaud Keith’s meticulousness in not only following the order in this book, and therefore made her books a success, but in also putting it out there for fellow authors—beginner or veteran—making their publishing journeys much easier. Need I mention the companion books—The Writer’s Purpose Journal, The Writer’s Character Journal and The Writer’s Scene Journal?

You can grab a copy of The Writer’s Book Launch Guide by following the links:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords | Nook | iBooks | Goodreads

 

Keely Brooke KeithAbout the Author


Keely Brooke Keith is the author of The Land Uncharted (Edenbrooke Press) and Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media). Her novels are known for blending genres in unconventional ways. Keely also writes resources for writers, including The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Purpose Journal. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely resides with her husband and their daughter on a hilltop south of Nashville. She is a member of ACFW.

Find Keely Online

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Find Keely’s Fiction Online

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Audible

Entertainment Scoop! ~ Interview with Jamie Lee Smith

jamie-lee-2.jpg.jpegMeet the talented and lovely filmmaker, Jamie Lee Smith! In learning about her, I’ve fallen in love with her principles and work ethic. Also, she’s the sweetest and kindest! Her honesty sheds light on the truth about how Hollywood really works in a manner that not only encourages one to stand for what they believe in, but also to maintain one’s integrity. Learn more about the lovely Jamie as you follow our chat below!


Miranda ~ Hello Jamie! Wonderful to have you visit TBAP today! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Jamie: Thank you! Very happy to have the opportunity to speak with you.  I was born and raised in Colorado. Although both my degrees are in politics, I started my career in the music industry, and then transitioned into video production, working mostly on movies, and in more recent years, film.  In addition, in the last four years, I have also been blessed to be able to work on three independent films. I also speak at events and teach seminars for women, students, and young filmmakers trying to break into the business.

Miranda ~ How did you become a Christian? What’s the story behind it?

Jamie: I was raised catholic and started going to Church with my aunt when I was in middle school. She is a Christian so, it naturally evolved from there.  I developed my personal belief some time later.

Miranda ~ What led you into acting/filmmaking? As opposed to secular, why choose the Christian film industry?

Jamie: I was working in public relations for a Columbian newspaper/magazine when I was asked to work on a music video for a partner company.  They were shorthanded on the back end. The director approached me afterwards to tell me that my talents were being wasted behind a desk and to come work for them. I ended up switching careers completely, and started my own company a year later. Since I had a musical background, I started out in music videos, commercials, and then progressed into film, and then later, TV. Mainstream movies and TV are what my company, Global Rockstar Productions, does. There is so much violence and garbage on TV and in films that I felt there was a need to do something more meaningful. I wanted to create family-friendly films that were wholesome, and that people could relate to. I teamed up with Doc Benson, and together we have made three indie-films. All of them are family-friendly, including the latest comedy thriller, Shadow of the Missing. I like to call it the “family-friendly horror!” There is no violence, no blood and guts… just a lot of suspense, leaving much to the imagination. It was an experimental project we did for young filmmakers and talented students trying to break into the business in Wales. So I guess you could say, on the personal side of things, I prefer to make content that is good for people and families…something wholesome, and that I can be proud of. By the way, I only act in our own independent films and, usually only small parts or simply come in as an appearance.

Miranda ~ How different do you believe the Christian film industry is from the secular? How can it be made better?

Jamie: 100% different! Everything is different from production to content. There are so many great Christian scripts out there, but sadly, they often don’t have the backing, budget or crew to make great films. Hollywood has finally taken notice in the last few years with a couple of great Christian blockbusters, but in order to make these films great, we will need great actors, great crew, and a budget to make something enjoyable to watch. To make Christian films better, I really think it comes with assembling a solid, knowledgeable team, and the funding to do so.

Miranda ~ Where do you see the Christian film industry in the next ten years?

Jamie: Wow! That’s a good question. Everything is heading towards streaming, so my guess is that there will be a platform for Christian films through streaming. I think that with the rate with which technology is changing, we will see a lot more Christian or family-friendly films available. The key is good content that everyone can enjoy.

Miranda ~ What lessons have you picked up along the way? How has your journey improved your relationship with God?

Jamie: I have learned a million lessons along the way, and I’m still learning every day. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t do everything yourself. It takes teamwork. Putting together a good team who work well together is key in this business. People don’t realize how much work goes into making films. Preproduction to post-production, to post-marketing, can take years, and so, will involve many people. The team is like a chain; if you lose a link, the chain is broken. You need really good people to be by your side who work well together.

This is not an easy industry to be in. You should never sacrifice yourself or your personal morals because someone says you have to. Sometimes this job is so hard, and so frustrating that you want to throw in the towel; but I know that nothing is thrown my way or given to me that I can’t handle. This has only strengthened my relationship with God.

Miranda ~ Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Jamie: No. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without everything that has happened in my life. There are no regrets, just lessons.

Miranda ~ Can you tell us the movies you’ve starred in, made, or have been a part of the production process?

Jamie: Jumper, Battle Los Angeles, 51, Up in the Air, Montana Sky, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mirror Mirror, Things we do for Love, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.  TV series as The Philanthropist, CSI, and NCIS: New Orleans.  On the Independent, more meaningful side: Seven Deadly Words, Losing Breen and Shadow of the Missing. All family-friendly!

Miranda ~ What other filmmakers/actors have you worked with in the past and, how has working with them made you a better filmmaker and person? Also, who do you hope to work with in the future?

Jamie: Too many to post! I will say I would love to work with Tyler Perry. Stephen Baldwin and Candice Cameron are two of my favorites! I would love them to act in one of my films.

Miranda ~ What are your principles behind choosing a story which you make into film and, what do you hope to pass across to the people who view your movies?

Jamie: When making independent films I work with Doc Benson. He writes great screenplays. In the latest film, Shadow of the Missing, we had the team, and so the story was built from there. I just want to make meaningful films that have a great message which both secular and non-secular people can watch and enjoy. Something for everything that will perhaps, bring back what was lost over the last few decades—moral turpitude.

Miranda ~ In your journey so far, can you say that the actual experience is different than what you initially imagined it to be? If yes, how so?

Jamie: Oh absolutely! I would have never guessed I would be where I am today doing what I am doing! Growing up, I thought I would be living in another country working for the Department of State or at least a lawyer, but I am exactly where I am meant to be, and I am very happy.

Miranda ~ In your opinion, what misconceptions do people have about the movie industry as a whole, especially in regards to money, hard work, and the road to fame?

Jamie: Everything people think about the movie industry is a misconception. They think that films are made quickly, it’s so glamorous, you get to meet all the famous stars, and it’s a cool or easy job. Nothing could be further from the truth! It really depends on the project. Movies take years from Pre-production to market. It is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. The hours and schedule alone is tough. Call time is sometimes 2, 3 or 4 a.m. Schedules change with every set.  I regularly work 100+ hours a week, but I run my company, which does regular films/TV, and makes Independent Films. I don’t have a family, so the schedule works for me. Not everyone in the industry works this much, but there are always deadlines, and you can never miss one. As for the road to fame, many people get lost along the way, but I think if you keep a strong level head, focus on your faith, keep you personal morals, and don’t let your head get in the clouds, you’ll stay grounded.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—generally and at this time in your life?

Jamie: I am grateful that I am at a point in my life where I can help young ambitious women and filmmakers while doing what I love.

Miranda ~ You’ve been in the movie industry for a long time now; how do you balance this with family and still stay afloat? Is it harder being a woman?

Jamie: It is very difficult as a woman in this industry. Hollywood is very much still the “good ole’ boys’ club.” I’m not married and don’t have kids, but I’m very close to my family in Colorado. I always make time for them and for myself regardless of the hours and schedule.

Miranda ~ What word of advice would you give to anyone venturing into the acting/filmmaking business?

Jamie: If you have talent and drive, there is nothing you can’t do. You have to work harder and smarter than anyone else. When you walk into a room, you have to demand respect. Your attitude and demeanor says everything about you. Always walk with your head high, and don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good enough—it should go in one ear and out the other.  Don’t lose yourself. Don’t ever sacrifice yourself or your personal morals because someone says you have to.

THIS or THAT (The Fun Questions!)

Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Coffee for sure, but tea in the afternoon!

Heels or Flats? Boots or Sandals? Definitely Heels or big boots/wedges when working!

Chocolate or Vanilla? Swirl!

Vegetables or Fruits? Fruits in the morning, veggies in the afternoon/evening! I love them both.

Juice or Smoothie? Freshly-squeezed juice

Rain or Snow? Rain

Spring or Fall? Spring! I love the sun!

Summer or Winter? Summer. I am not fond of cold weather, even though I am from Colorado!

Cooking or Cleaning? This one is easy! Cooking! Who likes to clean?

Breakfast or Dinner? Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.

Music or Books? Both! I love music and I love to read.

Dresses or Pants? Dresses. Classic 40s-60 styles.

Gym or Outdoor? For exercise the gym…. But there is nothing like spending time outdoors with the fresh air.

 Leather Jacket or Blazer? Blazer

Thank you, Jamie, for visiting today!

jamie-lee-2.jpg.jpegAbout Jamie Lee Smith


Jamie Lee Smith (JStar), a native of Colorado, holds degrees in both Political Science & International Relations.  Jamie Lee began her career in the music industry.  Grateful for those opportunities, she would next utilize her experiences to transition into the development of a production company, Global Rockstar Productions, and found that she had a talent for film making.
She has grown Global Rockstar Productions into a reputable part of the film making community with contributions to films such as Jumper, Battle Los Angeles, 51, Up in the Air, Death House, Montana Sky, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mirror Mirror, Blood Out, Things we do for Love.  Global Rockstar Productions has also been involved with such TV series as The Philanthropist, CSI, Real Housewives, various reality shows and NCIS: New Orleans.
Most recently, Jamie Lee has expended into independent film making as an Executive Producer, Producer and Assistant director. Her first independent film, Seven Deadly Words, has been highly awarded, winning more accolades than any other faith-based film.  In 2015 she went onto make Losing Breen and is currently working on her third independent film while still running Global Rockstar Productions.
When not working on films, Jamie Lee travels the world speaking at conferences for women, entrepreneurs and young filmmakers.

Author Scoop! ~ Interview with Rachelle Rea Cobb

When you go through my biography, one of what you’ll discover about me is that I’m the authorRachelle Rea 5 of contemporary Romance/suspense, To Die Once. What you may not know is that I had two editors who worked with me. Rachelle was one of them! She’s one of the sweetest people I know, and she, among others, made my publishing journey a lot easier. I can’t thank her enough for that! Rachelle is the author of the Steadfast Love series. If you’re shopping for something new in the historical romance division, the three books in this series will color your day.

That being said, it is my pleasure to interview Rachelle and present our chat below!


Miranda ~ Hello Rachelle! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Rachelle: Hi Miranda! Thank you so much for having me! Okay, so me in a nutshell: I’m a novelist, newlywed, and freelance editor. I wrote the Steadfast Love series during college and the third book in the series released in April. Also that month, I got engaged to a man with the same name as my fictional hero. In June, I married him! Some fun facts about me: I’m a homeschool grad, an Oreo addict, and I drive a pick-up truck.

Miranda ~ How did you become a Christian? Tell us your story!

Rachelle: I was raised in a Christian family, and I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was quite young. Then I was twelve, I started having daily quiet times with a girl’s teen Bible. I fell in love with Jesus and haven’t looked back since!

Miranda ~ The Steadfast Love series is your first published work. What inspired you to write it and, what message did you hope to pass across to your readers?

Rachelle: The first book was inspired by a song; thus, sounds feature predominantly throughout the series (can’t tell that from the titles, right?). After the first book was completed, I knew there would be another. Then another. Through this series, I hope that readers see that there is always hope to be had in Christ.

Miranda ~ White Fire Publishing is the house you chose and approached to publish your book. What—about White Fire—inspired you to choose them, and, how did it happen?

Rachelle: I love Roseanna White’s books and the relational, caring way she blogs on Go Teen Writers. I first “met” her through those two avenues, and when I learned she and her husband founded and run WhiteFire, I was immediately drawn to that publisher. Seeing the quality of the books they publish sealed the deal for me. I am so grateful for the thoughtful expertise and quality editing they invested in my series throughout the publishing process. My stories are better for the ones who read them first.

Miranda ~ In your own opinion, why should a Christian with a talent for stories write fiction—what do you believe they can offer the world?

Rachelle: Jesus told stories, so I’d say that speaks pretty highly of storytelling right there! In my own life, I can certainly speak for the fact that stories have made a world of difference. Teaching me lessons I might not have otherwise learned (or learned the hard way!). Taking me places I never otherwise would have seen. Stories are important, special, and powerful.

Miranda ~ How would you describe your author voice and, why do you write the way you do? Is there a principle behind your type of writing?

Rachelle: Hmm, answering this question hopefully doesn’t make me sound prideful! I’ve been told I have a lyrical, poetic writing voice—and I’ll claim that in a heartbeat. No principle, just the fact that I try to infuse hope and truth into every sentence through the Spirit’s leading. I never want my stories to come across as preachy, but rather real and inspiring.

Miranda ~ Who are the people/authors that have inspired you the most? Why?

Rachelle: This could be such a long list! As for historical and contemporary reads go, I greatly enjoy the writings of Roseanna M. White, Joanne Bischof, Sara Ella, Joy Palmer, and Stephanie Morrill. Their stories have shaped me. When I’m looking for nonfiction, I enjoy Gary Thomas and Natasha Metzler. Their (true) stories have shaped me, too. Check them out!  :)

Miranda ~ What should we expect from you in the future? Are you working on any project now?

Rachelle: Yep! It’s Top Secret right now, though. Sorry.😉

Miranda: The last three years have been a whirlwind and, a lot has happened early in your life. What message/advice would you give to those still waiting for love or to become published authors?

Rachelle: Wait with patience but expectancy. I think there’s a tendency or temptation (at least there was for me) to think that it will never happen. That may be an easy trap to jump into, but resist the urge to be pessimistic. Work hard. Love life. Learn more about writing, and enjoy time with friends who just may introduce you to your future Beloved.🙂

Miranda ~ As a novelist who’s completed her first series, what advice would you give to a first-time writer who wants to become a published author?

Rachelle: Do your research. I can’t say enough good things about Go Teen Writers, the writerly website that did a lot to give me my start. Learn the industry lingo and become familiar with the (long) process of publishing. Exercise patience. Make connections (I actually guest posted on GTW about that very thing). And pray and ask God to open doors.🙂

This or That Q&A

Coffee or Tea? Neither! I don’t particularly care for warm drinks, but I’m always up for a milkshake or smoothie!

Salad or Fruit?  Fruit

Dresses or Pants? Dresses. I wear pants regularly, but I adore frilly skirts.

Lemonade or Orange juice? Lemonade

Flats or Heels? Flats. I own only one pair of small heels, and I wore them at my wedding!

Boots or Pumps? Boots

Movie or Music? Music

Cooking or Cleaning? Cleaning. It relaxes me.

Breakfast or Dinner? Breakfast (and often breakfast for dinner)

Summer or Spring? Summer. I love it.

Winter or Fall? Winter. What can I say, I’m a woman of extremes.

Leather jacket or Blazer? Blazer. I own several, and they (along with sweaters, wraps, and shrugs) are among my favorite closet items!🙂

Thank you, Rachelle, for stopping by today!

Thank you, Miranda, so much for having me!

Rachelle Rea 5About Rachelle Rea Cobb


Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago–her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. During college, Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She’s a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South. Find Rachelle on her website, twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram, goodreads, and Amazon.

Artist Scoop! ~Exclusive Interview with Natalie Villa

I remember when I first heard Natalie’s LOL song.natalie-villa-photo I was blown away by it, and decided to follow this amazing artist. Fast-forward years after, I have the privilege of interviewing Natalie today, and presenting her inspiring words on TBAP!

Follow our chat below and learn more about this amazing woman of God!


Miranda ~ Hello Natalie! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

 Natalie: Hello! Thank you so much for having me. So a little bit about me…I love Jesus, my husband, Marco, my two children, Destiny and Judah, and Dr. Pepper! I am also a fan of shopping and Starbucks. I am a girly girl to my core! I was raised in Las Vegas and, I currently live in Nashville. I love music and have been singing since I could talk.

Miranda ~ How did you become a Christian? Please tell us your story.

Natalie: Well, I was really blessed with an amazing, Godly mother who taught me about Jesus at a very young age. She modeled the love of God and a love for His word. I grew up knowing about the Lord and I asked Jesus into my heart, and was baptized at 5. The rest is history.

Miranda ~ Natalie, your songs are full of heart, faith, and fun. Please tell us, when and why did you decide to sing for God? What led to that moment?

Natalie: I love singing for God! I remember when I was 7 years old, a ministry group called Master’s Commission, came to my church. I remember seeing the passion they had for Jesus as they sang, did dramas, and preached. I knew from that moment that I wanted to spend my life doing the same thing—sharing the Gospel through the arts.

Miranda ~ Your latest release came out this year. What message do you hope to pass across to your listeners?

 Natalie: Yes! I just released my 2nd project in June, 2016, natalie-villa-symphonycalled Symphony. This was a very special project to me. The whole project carries a message of trust and surrender, especially the title track, Symphony. The Lord is faithful to take the broken pieces of our lives and the parts that feel out of tune, and then turn them into a masterpiece—His symphony. I hope people are encouraged to trust the Lord as they listen to every song.

Miranda ~ You have a long history with music. In what way has it grown you spiritually and how has it brought you closer to God?

 Natalie: I feel like I grow spiritually every time I sit at a piano to worship or write a song, because I normally write about what the Lord is doing in my life. It’s like therapy for me. Sometimes I will sing declarations, scriptures, or just be still and listen to the Holy Spirit. Music is definitely one of the ways the Lord speaks to me.

Miranda ~ In your own opinion, what are the misconceptions people in the world have about the music industry, especially in regards to hard work, fame, and the road to fame?

 Natalie: I think a lot of people see the façade of fame thinking that it is true success. True success is loving God, your family, and living in the purpose that He created for you. Another misconception I think people have about the music industry—and following the dream that the Lord has put in your heart in general—is that success happens overnight. The reality is that to be successful, you have to work very hard no matter what you are doing. You also have to TRUST the Lord and His timing. He is faithful; and as you follow Him, He will work out all the details. Don’t listen to the thoughts of failure or quitting just because you don’t see the results that you think you should see. The Lord’s timing is perfect.

Miranda ~ How is the Christian music industry different than the secular? Is there any advantage of one over the other?

 Natalie: Anytime there is a chance to do something for the Lord, I think that is an advantage! You can let your light shine wherever you are, secular or Christian. I think it just depends on where the Lord has called you to be. You need to know your calling.

Miranda ~ Where do you see the Christian music industry in the next five to ten years?

 Natalie: I hope the Christian music industry continues to grow in the worship movement that has happened over the last 20-30 years, and I also hope to hear more diverse music on Christian radio.

Miranda ~ Who are the people your heart writes for—those in despair, the broken-hearted, the lost etc.?

Natalie: I love writing for the Church, for people on the streets, and really for anyone who needs encouragement. A lot of my songs are based out of Scripture. The message in my first project, Fast Lane, was about faith and healing, and for my new project, Symphony, it is about trust. I hope anyone who listens feels like they can relate.

Miranda ~ Who are the people that have inspired/encouraged you the most? How have they done so?

 Natalie: The people that have inspired and encouraged me the most are my husband, Marco, and my family. I would never have been able to step out in faith to sing, write songs, and record, if it hadn’t been for them.

Miranda ~ In your opinion, why should a Christian with the talent to sing, go into music? How powerful do you believe music can be in impacting a person’s life, or better yet, the world?

 Natalie: I think you have to know your calling. If the Lord has given you a voice and you feel the pull from the Holy Spirit to pursue music, lead worship at your church, write songs or whatever you feel, then go for it! Music is one of the most powerful tools we have in our world. Songs can be life-changing. Step out and go for it! There is room for everyone.

Miranda ~ Who are the artists/producers you’ve worked with in the past? Are you working with any now? Who do you hope to work with in the future?

 Natalie: I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite people on the planet—artist and producer, Liquid. He produced my last project, Symphony, and half of my first project, Fast Lane. He is a musical genius and is one of the funniest people I know. I’ve also gotten to work with Derek Minor, and he is awesome! I would be so excited to work with them again, and anyone else the Lord connects me with.

Miranda ~ How has working with these artists/producers shaped you as an artist? What lessons have you learned along the way? How have these lessons shaped you as a person?

 Natalie: They have encouraged me to be better, dig deeper, and to never give up! I think the biggest lesson I have learned personally is to trust the Lord more.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—generally and in the present?

Natalie: I am most grateful and thankful for my family—for my wonderful husband, Marco, my miracle children, Destiny and Judah, and all my family members. The most important thing to me is family, and I am so thankful for them. They are my biggest blessings.

Miranda ~ Natalie, is there a word you’d like to offer—anything at all!—that wasn’t covered by the questions above? And, what word of wisdom would you offer to an artist venturing into the music industry for the first time?

 Natalie: Never despise small beginnings, and don’t be afraid to trust the Lord. Step out! God is faithful, and as you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalms 37). He loves you so much!!!! Xoxo

THIS OR THAT (The Fun Questions!)

Coffee or Tea? Tea

Heels or Flats? Heels

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Orange juice or Lemonade? Orange Juice

Boots or Sandals? Boots

Rain or Snow? Rain

Fruits or Vegetables? Fruits

Cooking or Cleaning? Cooking!

Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner

Gym or Outdoor? Gym

Run or Walk? Spiritually running, physically walking. LOL!

Book or Movie? Movie

Thank you, Natalie, for stopping by today!

natalie-villa-photoAbout Natalie Villa


Natalie Villa is a dynamic singer and songwriter, uniting the genres of Contemporary Christian and Pop, with Praise & Worship. Combining upbeat dance sounds, soulful ballads, and heart-felt lyrics, Natalie Villa hopes to encourage and uplift her listeners. Raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Natalie started singing in church at the age of 7. She met her husband, Marco Lobos (F.K.A. Oracle), while attending Bible College in Las Vegas. The couple began writing music, ministering together, and fell in love. After Bible College, they married in 2005. Together they founded an independent music label, Blood Bought Entertainment. From 2004-2007, Blood Bought released 5 albums and traveled, ministering to schools, prisons, youth groups, festivals, youth detention facilities, radio shows, Indian reservations, and much more—sharing the love of Jesus Christ through music, drama, and spoken word. In 2006, Blood Bought Entertainment performed at a Joyce Meyer’s Youth Conference in Las Vegas, and in 2007, Natalie sang at The Call Las Vegas.

In 2008, Natalie and Marco relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, and served for 3 years as missionaries, along with Co-directing and Co-pastoring a creative arts school called Thunder School. Natalie was also the worship leader at Provision International for 3 years, where she trained multiple Praise & Worship teams. Along the way, Natalie has sang and been featured on over 25 different projects ranging from Hip-Hop, Pop, and Worship including: Kurtis Blow & The Trinity’s album, The Father, Son & Holy Ghost, featured on RMG’s Welcome to the Family album on, You Can Have It All.

Natalie released her debut Pop Worship EP, Fast Lane, charting on iTunes in 2013. That same year Natalie’s Christmas music video, The Perfect Gift, was aired nationally on UPtv. Fast Lane and The Perfect Gift were played on numerous Billboard Charting stations in the US, Africa, Australia, and the UK. She also had the honor of being featured on the Winter Jam Anthem of 2014 with Derek Minor. Natalie has opened for artists such as Tasha Cobbs and Love and the Outcome. On June 10th, 2016, Natalie Villa released her sophomore EP, Symphony. In 2016, her single, Running, was #1 on Christian Rhythmic radio; she toured the Midwest and West Coast on the Symphony Tour, and was a musical guest on JUCE TV.

Natalie Villa currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Marco, and two children, Destiny and Judah. For more information about her music, videos, and booking, visit http://www.NatalieVilla.com.

“This is truly one of my life desires—to see generations encounter the presence of the Lord through all genres of music. I really believe that there is nothing greater than worshiping the Lord through all forms of creative expressions.” —Natalie Villa

Actor Scoop! ~ Interview with Luciano J. Vignola

Luciano Vignola is both an actor in film and theater, as wellluciano-j-vignola as a musician, and has been in the entertainment business for quite a while. He recently starred in the short film, Children of War by APOLONIAD Productions. It is my pleasure to have a sit down with him today, and get to know him a little better. Join us in our chat below and learn more about Luciano.


Miranda ~ Hello Luciano! Glad to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Luciano: I was born and raised in Bohemia, New York.  I come from a one hundred percent Italian family.  I began studying the art of drumming at the age of five, and then at the age of eight, I began my career as a drummer for a pop/rock group.  At thirteen, my family relocated to Nashville to pursue greater opportunities for that group. And then at seventeen, I was blessed with the opportunity to study at Lipscomb University, with a focus in acting.  Upon graduation, I began my journey, and have been blessed with many different experiences in both my field of acting, and in everyday life, itself.

Miranda ~ Are you a Christian and, how did you become a one? Tell us your story.

Luciano: Yes I am.  At the age of seven, my mother accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior.  Through reading the Bible, and learning about the many Biblical heroes, I discovered I wanted to be just like them.  Sometime during the age of seven or eight, I decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps and accept Jesus as my Savior.

Miranda ~ You’re into acting. How did it all begin?

Luciano: As a kid, I did a few auditions.  Several industry people had seen my drumming, and saw me as a TV talent as well.  I wasn’t really too crazy about it.  It wasn’t until I was fifteen when I started seeing real film and hard-hitting motion pictures, that I developed this love for acting, storytelling and directing!  I became set on being an actor.  I chose Lipscomb because it was local, and they had a startup program that needed actors.  I knew nothing, but I figured they were new, too, so they would use me.

Miranda ~ What led you to decide to go into Christian film acting as opposed to secular? Or do you work in both industries?

Luciano: I actually act in both industries.  It’s an interesting mix.  There are certain roles that I will not accept, and I’m very much into redemptive stories; whether it’s a Christian film or a secular one, I’m all for the deep-rooted worlds.

Miranda ~ In what ways is the Christian film industry different from the secular? Do you think there’s room for improvement in the Christian film industry?

Luciano: Christian film and secular film differ very much in content and believability. Secular film isn’t afraid to take it to a realistic place. With that being said, I believe it’s important to filter what is essential to tell the story, and what is not.  On the flip side, Christian films have excellent morals, standards, and are usually safe to watch, but it lacks on believability and story structure.  I think as Christians, we play it safe at times, and strictly cater to our own audiences.

Miranda ~ How has your journey so far in acting/filmmaking helped develop you spiritually?

Luciano: Honestly, I can’t say that acting has made me a stronger Christian. It could be a culmination of the projects that I’ve worked on as well as my relationship with God at the moment that I was involved.  But a goal of mine is to always bring a positive and encouraging vibe to every set.

Miranda ~ What has been your experience on the Children of War set? How has it made you a better actor/person?

Luciano: Working with Apolonia was AMAZING.  She is so talented and creative.  Working on the Children Of War set was very exciting and full of awesome and upbeat people.  We all met the first day of shooting and became a family when it ended.  Everyone contributed to the story.  If we didn’t understand something, then we would talk it out.  The role was a stretch for me because I am not a Southerner, nor have I ever been a Coalminer.  The research about the city of War was fascinating, and it painted a picture of struggling families.  I worked on my southern accent with a dear friend of mine, Steve Alberts (the character, Slavy Freeman).  The work stretched me, and caused me to dig deeper to make it real for me.  Lots of fun it was!

Miranda ~ The role you played in Children of War, has it inspired you personally—if so, then how so?

Luciano: The role of the character, Les, shines light onto the sons/daughters who stick around with a parent(s) into their old age.  It’s like the older son in the Prodigal Son story from the Bible.  The younger son walked away, but the older son remained to help take care of everything.  Les is that to me.  He speaks support, love, and protector.  In a way, I think he also wants to live up to his Father’s will to keep going.

Miranda ~ What do you hope viewers of this movie will walk away with?

Luciano: Forgiveness.  I think it’s important for the viewers to make the connection that it’s not about the past.  It’s about the present, and the return of a family member that has messed up.  It’s about celebrating that return.

Miranda ~ Are you part of any film project right now? May we have a sneak peek?

Luciano: I am currently working on a TV show called American Super Group!  It airs on Pop, MTV Live, and MTV Classic.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—generally/presently?

Luciano: I am most grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ; He has brought many blessings into my life that I would never have encountered if it wasn’t for Him.  He is amazing and truly loves me!  The second blessing that I am most grateful for, is my fiancée, Kelly, and our son, Kamden.  They are both life to my day.  Kelly is the strongest, most hard working person I know, and she inspires me to push harder every day!  Kamden knows exactly how to put a smile on my face, and his love is so precious!  He teaches me that the simplest things are what truly matter most.

Miranda ~ How would you describe your experience as an actor as opposed to what you expected it to be before you started acting, especially in regards to fame and hard work?

Luciano: Acting is definitely a hard job.  The common thought is that you just simply say your lines and then you’re done.  There is such a craft and an art that goes into acting. As far as becoming famous, I think that depends on who you are, and what you define as your point of success. If fame is the goal, then the artist will not get far.  Love for the craft is what ultimately pushes the artist into the spotlight because, they refuse to allow a No to stand in the way of what they live to do.

Miranda ~ What advice would you give to anyone venturing into the industry for the first time?

Luciano: Really think about what you want—why do you want it? Can you live without it? Do you have a plan B set in place? “Plan Bs” are double-edged swords.  The thought is that, if you have a plan B, then you will automatically default when Plan A fails, so therefore never have a plan B so that Plan A can’t fail.  I’m torn with this because, if an actor gets burned out, and decides after 10 to 15 years that things aren’t working, and so no longer wants to live the stressful life of an actor, then they have no other skill in their tool belt that will feed them.  Plan Bs offer a safety net just in case the career of an actor takes a turn for the worst.  It would be much better falling into the backup plan of Plan B (doctor, teacher, accountant, corporate world, director etc.), than being stuck working a job that forces you to live paycheck to paycheck.

In the end I encourage anyone who has a dream to go for it! Dream big, live your dream, and strive for it.  But I also encourage you to think smart.

THIS or THAT Q&A

Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Coffee

TV or Magazine? TV

Jogging or Pushups? Pullups!!! J  Pushups, first; then jogging.

Rain or Snow? Rain

Spring or Fall? Spring

Summer or Winter? Summer

Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner

Movies or Books? Books, first. Then movies.

T-shirt or Collar shirt? T-shirt

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor

luciano-j-vignolaAbout Luciano J. Vignola


Luciano J. Vignola, named after his Italian mother Lucia, was born and raised in Long Island NY. His film Credits Include: Cope, The Key, The Cleaner, Crossing The Line and Dead of Night. Luciano received great praise for the originated role of James Cashill in the play Twilight of the God’s, produced by the Blackbird Theatre Company. He also received great acclaim for his work on the musical Hairspray, where he starred as smarmy show host Corny Collins. Luciano has performed in plays such as Death of a Salesman, Taming of the Shrew, Barefoot in the Park and Much Ado About Nothing. He is also recognized as a Drummer and Entrepreneur. He is known for his good humored and exuberant personality; and his ability to connect/encourage others.