Monday, March 30, 2015

DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION!

By Ada Brownell

Resurrection! The dead are living again. Well, they appeared dead for at least three months. Our dogwood tree that became a skeleton last fall is stirring, attempting to blossom. Our huge bony Linden tree is pregnant with life.

The tulip bulbs that I buried in Missouri’s rocky soil last fall might as well have had a tombstone. Nothing moved in that corner of our yard since last November except dried dead leaves from our tree, snowflakes, raindrops, sleet and wind. But recently power stirred below the ground and a new body arose. Doesn’t look anything like the bulb I planted. Silky gorgeous green leaves glisten as they wait for the color that will burst soon. Life!

We passed a cemetery this morning and I thought of a daughter buried far away in San Jose, Calif. I know Carolyn’s spirit is with the Lord, but any day there will be a stirring of life below the ground and the headstone with her name. Her body will be changed and arise. Here’s how scripture describes it:


“In  a moment, in the twinkling of an eye .,. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed...and this mortal shall put on immortality; then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53).

Resurrection!

On April 5, we’ll celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, who gave His life for our sins. What a joy-filled day and humankind sings and rejoices because Jesus did something about the death sentence of every man and rose triumphant over the grave!. That’s redemption, if we accept Him as our Savior.

Interesting that Easter is so close to April Fools’ Day this year, April 1. The Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

As usual, I’ve been working on books. My newest one is Faith, Facts and Propaganda. Everything about who we are, why we are here, and how we got here is settled by faith.
This book supplies evidence for faith—and reveals forgeries designed to destroy belief in God such as the Piltdown man, missing links that DNA proved aren’t links, and a newer theory than Darwin’s, punctuated equilibrium.
The secular world attempts to destroy faith in God with propaganda (spinning the truth) and brainwashing.

Yet, the argument will never be settled. No one can prove whether or not God exists. We can look at the evidence, but faith is necessary for salvation and faith is required to receive the ultimate truth
.
I think you’ll find this book interesting. The introductory price is .99.

To celebrate Easter and the release of that book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal is free from Maundy Thursday (April 9) through Easter.

You’ll enjoy my other books, too. Encourage yourself! One reader said of The Lady Fugitive, “I read it in two days. It made me laugh. I couldn’t wait until the end. It was so much fun.”


Copyright © 2011 Ada B. Brownell








Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pleasures of Research, Often Unexpected


By

Donn Taylor

            Among the joys of fiction writing is the research one does to ensure accuracy. Some research reaches the reader through settings that seem realistic and through absence of anachronisms and other errors. But for any researcher, much of the pleasure comes from things that may not make their way into the completed manuscript, from discovery of some odd truth one would never have suspected beforehand. Sometimes such a discovery leads to an entirely new project.
            This happened to journalist Ronald Downing during the 1950s. His London newspaper had him researching the yeti, the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. His research led him to an obscure Polish refugee who was said to have a seen the yeti. The interviews revealed a story more remarkable than the yeti and resulted in an equally remarkable book.
            When the Soviets invaded Poland in 1939, they arrested a young Polish lieutenant named Slavomir Rawicz. They sent him to a Siberian labor camp 200 miles southwest of Yakutsk. He and six other prisoners escaped and walked—yes, walked—south past Lake Baikal, through the Gobi Desert and China, through Tibet into Nepal, and eventually into English hands. Several died along the way. And in the Himalayas the survivors did see creatures resembling the fabled yeti.
            Thus Ronald Downing's project became an entirely different one. He told Slavomir Ravicz’ story in a book titled The Long Walk (The Lyons Press, 1956, 1997). It is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read.
            My own research adventures have been less dramatic but also filled with unexpected discoveries. In researching my novel, Deadly Additive, I was surprised to learn that during the 1980s, then-communist Nicaragua’s airline was largely owned by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and that Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas were tutored by the Abu Nidal terrorist organization.
 Deadly Additive, I was surprised to learn that during the 1980s, then-communist Nicaragua’s airline was largely owned by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and that Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas were tutored by the Abu Nidal terrorist organization.
            Researching for Lightning on a Quiet Night, I read about the post-WW II Communist guerrilla
war in Greece. The Greek name for guerrillas was mosquitoes. The preferred spray to kill mosquitoes then was named Flit. The US general advising the Greek military was James van Fleet. So the Greeks made the pun "van Fleet for mosquitoes." Sadly, that verbal gem didn't find its way into the novel. But I still savor it privately.
            There is also satisfaction in preventing embarrassing errors. One novelist had his protagonist drive immediately west of Houston, Texas, into "the desert." Apparently, five hundred miles of prairie and Texas Hill Country had disappeared from the earth. A glance at any atlas would have prevented that error.
            Research does provide deep pleasure, but superficial research contains a danger voiced long ago by the poet Alexander Pope:

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

            In our researches, either for writing or for pleasure, let us all drink deeply and avoid the embarrassment caused by shallow draughts.


 Summary for Lightning on a Quiet Night:

In the years following World War II, a town too proud of its own virtues has to deal with its first murder. Despite the implications of this crime, the town of Beneficent, MS, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in town. While the sheriff tries to find the murderer, Jack and Lisa’s contentious courtship reveals the town’s strange combination of astute perceptions and surprising blind spots. Then they stumble onto shocking discoveries about the true nature of the town. But where will these discoveries lead? To repentance? Or to denial and continuation in vanity?

MEET DONN TAYLOR

              Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. He has published four novels and a book of poetry, and he is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

His books:
Lightning on a Quiet Night
Deadly Additive
Rhapsody in Red
The Lazarus File
Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MYSTERIES OF LIFE

Mysteries of Life

           By Ada Brownell

Ada Brownell’s book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal is available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com
Springfield, MO Christian Publisher's Outlet
The Greatest Gift and Scripture Supply in Pueblo, CO


In the morning, take a good look at your egg before you fry it. The mystery of life lies before you. If the egg was fertilized, before you broke it there was enough information there to boggle your mind.
God put DNA into the clear and golden slime of a chicken egg that blueprints the breed,  the ability to eat and digest food, the machinery to make more chickens, what color the feathers will be, how big the chicken will grow, the cluck and the crow, and beady little eyes that see—all sorts of wonderful things, just as he put amazing things in the eggs that became you and me.
Life. What a mysterious gift.
We see life everywhere, but we have difficulty grasping what it is. Scientists appear to have found ways to define death; they have more trouble with life.
The abortion rights and pro-life groups are at loggerheads over when life begins—whether it’s when the egg is fertilized with the sperm, when the egg attaches to the uterine wall, at a certain trimester, or at birth.
I interviewed the director of an agency that dispenses morning-after pills who said a woman isn’t pregnant until the fertilized egg attaches to the womb. The morning-after pill causes the woman’s uterus to shed its lining, preventing a fertilized egg from attaching and living.
 Other developments surround life. Human pregnancy was reported from artificial insemination in 1799. In 1952, frogs were cloned from tadpole cells. In 1970, mice embryos were cloned, then other cloned animals soon followed. Sheep embryos were cloned in 1979 and cattle in 1980. An adult sheep, Dolly, was cloned in 1997.
Cloning is the process of making an identical copy of something asexually with DNA fragments, cells, or organisms. In 1993, George Washington University researchers cloned human embryos, but there are no documented cases of a living human produced through cloning.
Test-tube babies, though, are somewhat common today. The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 in Britain. A frozen embryo from test-tube fertilization produced a girl named Zoe in Australia in 1984. In 1986, surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead, who agreed to have an embryo implanted in her uterus so that another couple could have a child, refused to relinquish the baby girl and sparked a landmark court case.
In vitro fertilization sometimes helps infertile couples have children if they can afford the expensive procedure, and often the births are multiple.
 All this work with living cells, yet humankind has not been able to adequately explain life or create it. We always have to start with something living, such as sperm and eggs, a seed, tissue, or a cell.
According to Pasteur’s law of biogenesis, if ‘life comes from life,’ then life’s information must come from its parent’s information.
“Biologists have long sought the laws that govern life, but it is only now that we see the molecular detail that these laws have appeared. What we discover is not a naturalistic phenomenon, but intelligent design,” says Alex Williams of Creation Ministries International in his article, “How Life Works.”
            The Bible says, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

According to the Stanford School of Regenerative Medicine, the human body is estimated to have about one hundred trillion cells, a living community, with each individual cell having an assigned place to occupy and a specific role to play. Eventually something happens, even with all those living cells, that causes a person to die. Without life, every cell in the body dies and decays.
Death came because of sin (Genesis 3), but God promised a Redeemer. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
That’s why I wrote the book, Swallowed by LIFE. “While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:3–5 NLT).
Jesus said, “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26).
Do you believe?
Ada Brownell’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

 




          

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Senior Love Story, Taboo No More




By Nike Chillemi



At one time, the thought of a senior citizen widower and a senior widow falling in love was taboo and scandalous. Seniors who had lost a spouse through death or divorce were supposed to visit their children, babysit their grandchildren, perhaps get a pet and be content with that.

Well today's 80 is the new 70 and 60, the new 50. Today's seniors are often active members of senior citizen centers where they socialize and participate in a wide variety of activities. They take classes such as CPR, knitting, sketching and drawing, and cake decorating. They participate in activities such as ping-pong, yoga, swimming, and movie night. They take trips in a group to the local library, museum, and theatre.

 Seniors travel within the United States and around the globe with others of their age through Elder Hostel. There are a host of opportunities to become attracted to a member of the opposite sex, fall in love, and get married in their golden years. If they can't find someone at their senior center or in their senior travel group, then there are senior dating groups and services springing up online to assist in that.

I've always wanted to see more senior love stories in fiction, specifically, in Christian fiction. I'm an advocate of fiction that reflects life. When I look around in today's world, I see vital, active seniors going out and enjoying life. So, in fiction, I want to see seniors getting out of ye olde wicker rocking chair and dancing the light fantastic. Perhaps that's why I wrote a senior love story into my detective novel, HARMFUL INTENT.


My senior characters Hoot Dagney and Bertha, are secondary characters and one of the main comic interests in what has been termed a zany, seat-of-the-pants detective story. Bertha is a widow and though Hoot's backstory is not delved into, at the opening of the story he is a bachelor. I strove to write two characters who would tickle the readers' funny bones and warm their heart's, while they have the utmost respect for the two characters' strong Christian beliefs. I can't tell you the number of readers who have said they were charmed and delighted by Bertha and Hoot's love story.

That said, I encourage writer's to create interesting and vital senior characters, who live full lives, and that would include romance in their lives. That could be married romance, but would certainly not exclude two single seniors falling head-over-heels in love, as Bertha and Hoot did in HARMFUL INTENT.

Author Bio


Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories.
 Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press finaled in the Grace Awards 2014.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers.
Amazon Author Page




Friday, March 20, 2015

Somebody Loves You

By Donna Stone

Originally posted at donnastone.me

You Are Beloved

It was getting close to bedtime and I prayed with my teen daughter. I asked God to bless her and thanked Him for her. Then I stopped talking and gave the presence of the Holy Spirit room.
When the word came it was fresh even though the words on my lips were as constant and familiar to her as breath.
I cupped her face with both my hands, looking her in the eye. I held her there for a heartbeat before I spoke.

You are His Beloved.

There are things we know to be true with our whole being, but over time we lose clarity. Like the view through a recently cleaned pane of glass on a sunny blue sky day, all of a sudden, we are made newly aware of what we knew to be there all the time. There are words, and then there are Words. Truth comes in a rush and we are once again amazed.

You are His Beloved.

All day, every day, feedback and half-truths tell us what we should be. It is a constant assault. This is not a thing only the young among us struggle against. Knowing we are less-than, we recognize our lack. Faced with this reality, we strive to escape our faulty standing, and forget the larger truth of who we are. Who He says we are.

You are worth everything He paid for you.
The messed up, less than, never to be perfect mess that you are. Even now, when you have failed, failed,failed. Even then, before you knew Him, you were worth everything He paid for you. You still are. Now and then, forever.

You are His Beloved.

My arm around her, I began to sing.
I am His and He is mine
A forever love outlasting time
Jesus loves me He’s my destiny
Jesus loves me He is my destiny

I stopped and asked her, “Do you remember this song?”

It was her baptism song. The song I wrote after she made her profession of faith. Then we sang the song together, she and I. Because it is my song, too.

And the song of all who choose to sing.

©Donna Stone 2014

Donna Stone currently is deep into edits of her first novella for young adults, a story to encourage young ladies to accept themselves and their families. Another YA, an adoption message of hope from tragic circumstance, is nearing completion. A third book, a contemporary women's still in the draft stage, travels a decades long love story marred by life and Alzheimer's.

Donna's work has appeared in various anthologies and publications. These days her writing time is primarily spent on novel length fiction rather than freelance or article writing. There are days when moments of seclusion to write bad poetry is required. The remaining hours of each and every day are given over to Donna's beautiful, inspiring, messy family.

She blogs at http://www.donnastone.me


.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Meet outstanding author Stephanie Landsem: Illuminating history--$100 Amazon giveaway

  1st Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card

3rd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card

10 more winners will receive an olive wood pocket

cross from the Holy Land



Enter the Giveaway below, then scroll down for a list of upcoming blogs, interviews, recipes, and drawings to win copies of The Tomb, A Novel of Martha.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The link for the Blog tour is: http://www.stephanielandsem.com/2015/03/blog-tour-giveaway/



Interview with outstanding Christian historical author Stephanie Landsem


 Has writing biblical fiction made a Bible student out of you, or were you one before?
Although I’ve always loved the Bible, I wouldn’t have called myself a Bible scholar. There is so much depth in the Bible, so many layers of meaning, that people far wiser than me could study it for a lifetime and never know it all. Still, I’ve found over the past few years of researching the historical events and settings of the New Testament, I’ve been able to look at stories I’ve heard hundreds of times with new understanding. I hope to bring a little of that to my readers.

What has it meant to you spiritually to bring biblical characters to life?
For me, it’s made me even more aware of how Jesus is seeking an intimate friendship with each one of us. I love to think of how he interacted with people of the New Testament, always with love, mercy, and compassion. I feel like my own personal encounter with Jesus is more real, more concrete and meaningful, than it’s ever been.

How do you fill in the unknown details?
I use both history and imagination. For example, there aren’t any cookbooks from 2,000 years ago. But I do know what food was available. And I can imagine that there were women like me—and Martha—who loved to cook beautiful and delicious dishes. So I used my imagination and did some recipe testing until I felt I had a good idea of what Martha may have cooked for her family and for Jesus.

How has your extensive research into biblical history made an impact on you?
When I read or listen to the Gospels now, I have a much clearer image in my mind of what is happening. I can see it. Especially as we approach Easter, the crucifixion and resurrection are much more real to me.

How about your travels? Where did you go and what did you do?

I’m lucky that I’ve been able to travel a great deal, and I hope to go many more places. I’ve been on 4 continents and visited over 25 countries. My favorite thing to do is wander in a new city. I love to soak up the culture, meet people who live there, and of course try all food!


Why did you decide on biblical fiction when just a few years ago most publishers weren’t interested in it?
To tell the truth, I had no idea that publishers weren’t interested in biblical fiction when I started. The Living Water series began with a question after hearing the John’s Gospel account of the woman at the well. Who was this woman that Jesus stopped to speak to on a lonely road in Samaria? I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I wondered not only why Jesus had spoken to her and what her story was, but what had happened to her after her encounter with Jesus. These wonderings turned into the story of The Well, the first book in the Living Water Series, and then went on with The Thief and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha.

Do your stories usually include romance?
I love a little romance in a story, so I always include it in my writing. Women of biblical times had a harsher life that we do and their ideas of marriage were significantly different. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t hoping for love in addition to the security that marriage offered.

What prepared you for this genre of writing?
I’d say that the only preparation I had was a love of history, a lifetime spent reading historical fiction, and a desire to bring my readers into the Bible with me.

What is your next project, and where is your writing ministry going in the future?
In between book clubs, conferences, and promoting The Tomb, I’ll be researching an idea for a new novel. Although I still love biblical fiction, I’d like to explore some new historical periods. I’m currently playing with an idea of the prodigal son—this time a daughter—set in depression-era Hollywood.


Thank you, Stephanie, for being our guest.

Here's the back cover copy for The Tomb:
Back cover copy:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.”

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love. 

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nine New Titles in 2015? Caryl McAdoo Talks Success



NINE NEW TITLES in 2015

By Caryl McAdoo

Well, first I should say I counted wrong. It’s really ten. While I waited for my first novel Vow Unbroken from a major house Simon and Schuster—seventeen months from contract to debut, March 2014—I wrote more books, five completed and three half finished, that I could not contractually sell until September 2014. I was so green when I signed that contract in 2012, didn’t even have an author’s Facebook page or know how to create one.

 My editor asked me to wait at least thirty days after Vow Unbroken to re-release an old title, renamed and a chapter added, so I Indie-pubbed Lady Luck’s a Loser 
 in April 2014. After much prayer, my husband and I decided to Indie publish again and released Book Two of the historical Texas Romance (hTR) series Hearts Stolen. It debuted September 5, 2014. Going back to a Biblical fiction story first written in 1994, I rewrote and released A Little Lower Than the Angels, The Generations (BfTG) series, in November 2014. Four new books in 2014.

This is my list to release in 2015: January, Hope Reborn, book three (hTR); February, The Preacher’s Faith, book one of new contemporary Red River Romance (cRRR); March, Then the Deluge Comes, volume two BfTG; April, Sing a New Song, book two cRRR; May, Sins of the Mothers, book four hTR; July, Token of the Covenant volume three BfTG; August, Acquiring a Wife, book three CRRR; September, Daughters of the Heart, book five hTR; October, Undecided, book four cRRR; and November, Promises of Blessings, volume four BfTG.


Through May, the stories are complete, some edited, some already proofed. I’m writing now on Token, Daughters, and Acquiring. I maintain a monthly newsletter The Caryler (click here to sign up! http://carylmcadoo.com/sign-up-to-the-caryler/ ) and decided to offer a free ebook every quarter as my thank-you to subscribers—that’s responsible for the contemporary Red River
Romances, two were already written.

I’m doing all my own formatting and plan to take over my covers, having the fabulous, God-gifted Kirk DouPonce to fall back on. He did Vow, Hearts, and Hope’s awesome covers. I keep a notebook to be organized and stay on tract. What has to be done on which title by what date from start writing, finished, edit, proof (God gave me a gift in my proofer),
send out to my eVALUaters—my amazing group who receive my stories before their debut, so they’re ready to review and help me spread the word sharing, tweeting, and telling their friends. (click here to sign up http://carylmcadoo.com/christian-evaluaters/ ) I also ask or accept guest blog appearances at every opportunity.
   
This journey has just begun! Hope Reborn’s debuted, Jan 9, The Preacher’s Faith in February, and Then the Deluge Comes this month. Guess you’ll have to ask have me back in November to see how it all went. As a hybrid author (traditionally and indie published), I’m very excited to see what God will do.