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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Accidental Jesus Freak by Amber Lea Starfire - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hey lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Amber Lea Starfire and her new book, “Accidental Jesus Freak”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Amber and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Accidental Jesus Freak
by Amber Lea Starfire


GENRE: Memoir



In 1973, Linda was a flute player and music major at a California community college, until she met and fell madly in love with a charismatic piano player, plunging into his world of music-making and drug-fueled parties. When, just three weeks after their wedding, he reveals that he's been "born again," Linda makes the spontaneous decision to follow him into his new religion and, unwittingly, into a life of communal living, male domination, and magical thinking.

With unflinching candor, Amber Starfire chronicles her journey as Linda Carr into the evangelical church culture, where she gives up everything for her husband and their music ministry. But in the process, she loses her most valuable assets: her identity and sense of self-worth. It is only when Linda returns to live with her birth family and faces her complicated relationship with her mother that she finds new purpose and the courage to begin to extricating herself from the limiting beliefs of her past.

Accidental Jesus Freak is the story of one woman, one marriage, and one kind of fundamentalism, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible when we are true to ourselves. Both a cautionary tale and celebration of personal empowerment, Accidental Jesus Freak is a powerful reminder for anyone who seeks to live a life authentic to who they truly are.



As it happened, our formal outreach period coincided with the coldest winter Amsterdam had experienced in twelve years. The canals were frozen, and the famous Elfstedentocht speed-skating race or “Eleven Cities Tour” was on that year. The tour occurs only when it is cold enough to form ice at least fifteen centimeters thick along the entire 200 kilometer course. 1985 was one of those rare years when the temperature plummeted to 13 degrees Fahrenheit and hovered there for six weeks. So, except for one or two memorable occasions, our outreach became a time of so called Inn-reach, because it was too cold to be out on the streets for long. We ended up going with YWAM’s night teams to proselytize in restaurants and nightclubs, as well as serve in the organization’s Christian coffee bar.

On one of the few outdoor occasions, we took all the children to the spacious plaza in front of Amsterdam’s Central Station and had them perform a dance while we played music and then preached. It was so cold that day, I wore my long wool coat and scarf and played flute with fingerless gloves. I worried that my lips would freeze to my flute. When it was time for the children to dance, we had them take off their coats, perform, and then bundled them back into their clothing and gave them steaming cups of hot chocolate.

Travelers and Amsterdam natives walked around us as if we were part of the structure of the plaza, pillars that stood in the way of their path, nothing more. Other than a few quick glances in our direction and eyebrows raised at the sight of the children during their dance, we were only another odd group of people on the streets.



How I've Grown as a Writer

I started writing when I was eight. When I was in fifth grade and my teacher, Mrs McCullough, said, “You could be a writer someday,” I took her words and tucked them into my heart. I scribbled childish fairytales about princesses and ogres in my notebooks and, later, through adolescence, lots and lots of poetry. But I didn’t believe in myself or that I could become a “real” writer.

Over the years, I kept journals and occasionally wrote short stories that I buried in a drawer because they were awful. Instead of developing my creative writing skills, I developed a career writing for business and educational purposes. Because I wasn’t writing stories, I didn’t consider myself “a writer.” Yet it was through these years that I learned how to write clear and concise (if dry) prose designed to communicate logical information. I learned how to distill a message into bullet points and write step-by-step directions for just about any process. And I learned how to ruthlessly edit my writing.

Then, when my children were nearly grown I finally gave myself permission to begin writing for self-expression. I started getting up extra early, during those precious pre-dawn hours before the children woke up. I wrote poetry and dabbled in fiction, but found that I was drawn to writing personal essay and memoir in an attempt to untangle and uncover meaning in life’s events.

In 2007, I began writing my first memoir, but it was a hot mess — boring. Too much telling, not enough showing. Too much “that happened, then this happened.” The problem was, I didn’t know how to write a scene. So I went back to school —  to earn an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction at the University of San Francisco (USF).

There, I read and examined and analyzed every form of creative non-fiction: memoir, personal essay, prose poetry, and experimental forms. I received feedback on my writing. I threw away what I had written of my memoir — one-hundred thousand lousy words — and started over.

In the process of re-writing that first memoir, Not the Mother I Remember, and then my second memoir (the subject of this post), Accidental Jesus Freak, here’s what I learned:

•       To get into my body when I write and to make a scene come alive by incorporating sensory details — sights and sounds and smells and physical sensations. These are what draw your readers into your story.

•       To read as much as possible, both for pleasure and to analyze others’ writing. You have to read to fill your own well of creativity and to trigger new ideas.

•       To schedule time to write and then show up and write — no matter what. It’s all about consistency and persistence.

•       To outline a sketch of my story before starting a book-length work. Having a plan helped me stay focused and on track and gave me continued purpose. I always knew what I was going to write next.

•       Not to worry about my first draft. First drafts are always hideous. I learned to just get that chapter or story or essay onto the page and craft it later. As my advisor used to tell me, “Just write the f#*k out of it.”

•       To share my writing with others and not take critique personally.

•       That the true craft of writing is all about revising and revising and revising. That’s where you get to choose your words, sculpt your sentences, and shape your story.

•       That everyone needs an editor. Hiring an editor is like hiring a fitness coach. My editor pointed out inconsistencies and gaps in my story, asked questions to help me write with more clarity, and just generally pushed me further than I would have pushed myself. She helped me strengthen my writing and give it “muscle.”

The biggest lesson? You don’t have to have an MFA to be a good writer, but you do have to believe in yourself and consistently show up to practice. Because that’s what writing is — like any art, it’s a practice, a constant process of learning and growing and developing your skills.

Do you write? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about writing over the years?



Amber Lea Starfire MA, MFA, is an author, editor, and creative writing coach whose passion is helping others tell their stories. She has published two memoirs: Accidental Jesus Freak: One Woman’s Journey from Fundamentalism to Freedom (2017) and Not the Mother I Remember: A Memoir — finalist for both the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the 2013-2014 Sarton Women’s Literary Awards. She has also published several books of non-fiction, including Journaling the Chakras: Eight Weeks to Self-Discovery, and Week by Week: A Year’s Worth of Journaling Prompts & Meditations. Amber is co-editor of the award-winning anthology, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the '60s & '70s. Her creative nonfiction and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals.












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Amber will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase made I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour, I hope it is a fun one for you, and thanks for the chance to win :)

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you good luck in the giveaway :)

    2. Thanks, Lisa. I hope you'll read it and stay in touch.

  2. Amber ~ It is great to have you here! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour :)

    1. Thank you, Ally, and thank you for hosting me!

  3. Replies
    1. Good morning Rita! I totally agree! I have added it to my Goodreads TBR List (hopefully you have too!) and I look forward to checking it out! Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you good luck in the giveaway :)

    2. Thank you, Rita. I hope you decide to read it and let me know what you think. Also, feel free to reach out with any questions.

  4. Really great post, I enjoyed reading it!

    1. Thank you, Victoria. I hope you'll take a chance and read the book. So many women have told me they can relate to the challenges I faced.

  5. Congrats on the tour and I appreciate the excerpt and the great giveaway as well. Love the tours, I get to find books and share with my sisters the ones I know they would enjoy reading and they both love to read. Thank you!

  6. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

  7. I loved your excerpt and I would love to read your book.