Wednesday, September 2, 2015

INTERVIEW WITH JOE BAKER, A DREAMER



BY ADA BROWNELL

Perhaps you would like to meet Joe Baker, age 14, from the book JOE THE DREAMER: THE CASTLE AND THE CATAPULT.

1. Please introduce yourself and tell us your problems.
My name is Joe Baker. I’m age 14, going on 15, tall for my age, but if things continue as they have the last few weeks I’ll pass for an old man any day now.
I’m the son of Darin and Rose Baker, and they disappeared. My little sis, Penny, and I waited and waited hours that night. They didn’t come home. Pop worked as a computer software designer. Mom was a buyer and fashion consultant at Vanby’s, a prestigious teen clothing store. They left work to visit a friend at the hospital and no one has seen them since.
2. What can you do? You’re still a kid.
My life is full of challenges. I want to believe God will bring my parents home. In the meantime, I should learn how to live with Uncle Faulkner and Aunt Anna. But Faulkner, a powerful newspaper editor, is so full of himself I don’t know who will explode first—him or me. Aunt Anna is tied to that little glass of alcohol and one little match could set her ablaze.
3. So you have a place to live, and you think God might help bring your parents home?
I thought my biggest fear was that my parents would be found dead. But now Pop has been accused of stealing priceless computer software believed to help control epilepsy. I think he designed it at home in his spare time. But I’ve had other problems. Then every time I read the Bible I dream I’m some great biblical hero and wake up shouting and screaming out, making Faulkner and his psychiatrist friend think I’m insane. They think I need medication and maybe hospitalized.
4. How about friends? A girl friend? Other friends?

I always wanted to be like Pop and someday marry someone with beauty and character like my mom, but they aren’t here now. So, I let Gertrude, a wonderful old crippled lady, love on me and pray for me. I also re-connected with my old neighborhood buddies and joined a gang. Not just any gang, dude. The East Side Gallant Guardians. Christian teens who solve and prevent crime without guns or blades, using things like a pet skunk, sand, rope, noise, marbles. Centipede—he’s the leader--and his group of homies aren’t afraid of anybody or anything because they believe God is with them. Patrick—that’s Faulkner’s son—says we’re going to get ourselves killed, but so far amazing things are happening and we have found evidence that prisoners are being held at Sir Henry’s Castle in the mountains. I think that might be where Mom and Pop are, and we are taking a catapult and invading the castle.
5. So you’re planning a rescue attempt?
Sure! Would you believe we’re even allowing Pete’s twin sister to go with us? I’ve known Petra for a long time and hadn’t noticed how pretty and talented she is until just a few weeks ago. I’m not spreading it around that I like her, you see, so don’t you go texting everyone you know. I hope when everything comes down she’ll hang tough with her karate moves and cut the timber out from under some of those guards. Almost would make me grab her and plant a kiss on her gorgeous face!
***

 If you want to know how all of this turns out, check out this link and the review where a teen said the book is “A tale of intrigue and faith; captures the reader from the opening page” JOE THE DREAMER: THE CASTLE AND THE CATAPULT http://www.buff.ly/XeqTvH

Saturday, August 29, 2015

HOW CAN I CONTROL MY ANGER?



By Ada Brownell

A crying infant suddenly is grasped by the ankles and hurled against the wall. A teenager kills his parents, then marches into a school and shoots several students and a teacher. A mother walks out on the most important thing in her life—her family.

Angry people are said to be mad. Perhaps that’s appropriate, because anger sometimes causes people to act insane.

Anger can consume your happiness, rob you of your job, affect your health, end relationships, mangle your faith, and may even lead to murder.

When I was a child, I’d get so angry at my older brother’s teasing I’d start swinging at him.  I was a scrawny freckle-faced redhead and two years younger, so no wonder he laughed hysterically as he held me at arm’s length with his hand on my forehead while I swung into the air.

After I married and had five children, I grew weary of going to bed feeling guilty about my angry outbursts that day.  I asked forgiveness from God, my husband and my children.  About that time I read Henry Drummond’s book, The greatest Thing in the World. In his comment on love “is not easily provoked” (2 Corinthians 13:5), he says, “No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to unchristianize society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in short, for sheer gratuitous misery producing power this influence stands alone.”

Here are 10 ways to help control inappropriate responses to anger, compiled from my experience, research, and interview with the late Derrald Vaughn, Ph.D, a former psychologist and professor at Bethany College of the Assemblies of God in Scotts Valley, California.

1.      Realize anger is one of the emotions God gave you and is not a sin in itself. We all have anger, but most of us don’t lose control.  If you have something to be upset about, you can communicate it and probably should before the problem gets worse.  For instance, this helps spouses with serious problems get into counseling (and usually at least one of them will be helped).

2.      Acknowledge that being hot-blooded, a redhead, or someone who needs to vent feelings are not plausible excuses for out-of-control outbursts.

3.      Realize actions are controlled by the will, so you can decide to control anger’s behavior. You can stop and pray for help.  Sometimes anger should be vented to God alone. Or you can write a letter and destroy it.  You can take anger out by doing housework or washing the car.

4.      Decide what is important to be angry about. Don’t bother with spilled milk, scratched furniture, dented cars or money.  With children, get upset with rebellion, disobedience, lying, breaking the Ten Commandments, or other things that will hurt the child or someone else. To find appropriate places for anger, study the Bible and pray for wisdom.

5.      Use anger constructively, but accept what can’t be changed. We must not take matters into our own hands, however, Bombing an abortion clinic is inappropriate use of anger because it breaks the same commandment abortionists are breaking.  It is not righteous indignation.

Anger at Satan’s work should take us to our knees to intercede for family, friends, neighbors and nations; cause us to volunteer to teach Sunday school, visit the sick, love the broken, feed the hungry: vote and speak out on moral matters, sometimes with our vote.

6.      Humble yourself and listen to other people. Much anger is caused by pride—you are always right; you know better than anyone.

7.      Ask forgiveness from those offended by your angry outbursts. Sometimes we use anger inappropriately because we are rewarded for it temporarily.  However, it doesn’t solve problems in the long run.  When we ask forgiveness, that’s punishment and becomes a deterrent.

8.      Forgive those that cause anger.

 9. Avoid substances that unleash anger.  Also investigate other causes.  Alcohol affects inhibitory pathways in the brain, sometimes causing angry outbursts, violence and even murder. Research has found drinking is the No.1 predictor of physical and sexual abuse. Grief also could be involved because anger is a state in the grieving process for any loss.

10.  Cultivate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). When you’re filled with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control, there’s little room for inappropriate use of anger.

When I decided I would no longer be ruled by anger, our house became a home filled with peace and laughter.

Note: This originally appeared in The Pentecostal Evangel ” Then it was reprinted in the book. 50 Tough Questions, youth Sunday school curriculum and other places.

Copyright © Ada B. Brownell



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TAKE A JOURNEY INTO SUSPENSE WITH NEW BOOK, DEADLY INTENT

REAL LIFE & FICTION

By Lillian Duncan

What do you get when you mix a retired speech pathologist with a suspense writer? DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS, of course! The series features Maven Morris, a speech pathologist (another word for speech therapist) who has a knack for getting into trouble—deadly trouble.

The second in the series, DEADLY INTENT, has just released. YAY!

After almost getting killed in Deadly Communications you would have thought Maven would have learned her lesson! But no—not her! This time trouble comes in the form of a small boy abandoned in a park—who can’t or won’t talk.

When her best friend begs her for help, Maven can’t say no. She ends up as the little boy’s foster mother… and that’s when all the trouble starts. Without giving away the plot, let me say Maven has a few surprises and shocks coming her way in Deadly Intent.

I often get asked if my stories are based on real life. And they aren’t but… sometimes real life seeps into the stories anyway. Deadly Intent is a perfect example.

As the story resolves, you’ll find an eerie similarity to a real-life event that happened in Ohio that made headlines around the world. What event you might be wondering?

Can’t tell you—it will ruin the story.

But let me tell you, I already had most of the story written before the headlines. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. It’s one of those times when real life is stranger than fiction!

To celebrate the release of Deadly Intent, I’m having a giveaway on my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. Grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift cards but that’s not all! Five more winners will get a $5 Amazon gift card. How’s that for a celebration?

All you have to do is hop over to www.lillian-duncan.com and leave a comment on the Deadly Intent announcement. The contest ends September 26. PS. When you leave a comment, be sure to tell me what blog you read about me on. Then check back to see if you’re a winner!


TAGLINE
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. In this case, it could be lethal!



Back Cover Blurb:

Everyone belongs somewhere. The key to happiness is recognizing that place when you get there.

Maven Morris can’t seem to find that place. A childless widow, she has no immediate family. Forced into a medical leave, she has no career. At loose ends, she hasn’t a clue what’s next for her.

Her neighbor, Paul Jordan knows what he wants—to move their friendship to a new level. Maven may not know what’s next, but she does know she has no interest in romance with anyone— not even her handsome neighbor.

When a young boy is abandoned in the city park, he touches her heart. In spite of his obvious special needs, she agrees to provide a temporary foster home for him. She has no idea the impact he will have on her life—or the danger he brings to her doorstep.

                                                                                                                          



BIO:

Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. She writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.








Sunday, August 23, 2015

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE PHARISEES’ RELIGION?

                                                       By Ada Nicholson Brownell

The woman’s lungs burned from the run. The painful grip of many hands now held her even though every muscle strained toward freedom.

“Teacher, we caught this woman in the act of adultery!” shouted the exquisitely dressed religious leader, huffing from the chase and trying to be heard above her hysterical weeping. “Shall we stone her?”

Jesus bent and wrote in the dirt while the Pharisees shouted accusations. When Jesus stood, revealing what he’d written, perhaps hidden sins of the accusers, talking ceased.  Rough hands clutching her dropped. Quietly, the Pharisees slipped away.

Jesus looked at the woman. “Go.  And sin no more.”

Not long afterward, shock jolted the Pharisees when Jesus healed a man blind from birth.
 Instead of rejoicing because of the miracle, the Pharisees said, “Get this man out of here! Don’t you know he’s a sinner? His blindness proved it.”

Then they verbally attacked Jesus. “You can’t be from from God, for you don’t keep the Sabbath.”

  Such actions are why Jesus called the Pharisees a bunch of poisonous snakes. The Pharisees accused Jesus of being demon possessed. They tried to stop Jesus from healing a man with a withered arm on the Sabbath. They condemned Jesus for forgiving the sins of a paralyzed man as the man jumped up, able to walk, before their eyes.

When Lazarus walked out of the tomb, the Pharisees didn’t think about a man dead four days living again. Instead, they feared people would believe Jesus was the Messiah, and the Romans would take away their temple and nation. That propelled the pharisees to the Sanhedrin with a more aggressive plot to kill Jesus.

The Pharisees tried to arrest Jesus long before the scene in the garden, and sought to kill Him. Pharisees killed some of the Messiah’s followers, such as Stephen, the evangelist.

People still practice religion similar to that of the Pharisees. They craft extreme rules and regulations--admittedly sometimes based on twisted scripture—showing compassion to few, and watching out for their own purses, welfare and self.

Sincere Christians have trouble understanding exactly what was wrong with the Pharisees, other than the way they paraded around acting holy all the time.  Few understand why Jesus’ teaching targeted the Pharisees’ wickedness, and their antics fill the gospels and go into the Book of Acts.

After being a panelist at a Christian university on how my generation viewed legalism and how that affects us today, I discovered even some theologians don't understand the real wickedness of the Pharisees and often laugh at people focused on following Jesus after being born again..  I knew there was more and went back and studied every word in the New Testament about the Pharisees.
This is what I found.
1. Although they claimed to be observers of God’s law, the Pharisees in essence broke all the commandments because they did not love God or others
When Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” He added, “This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[1]
That’s easy to understand. The first four commandments are about loving and respecting God; the last six about loving yourself and others because if you break a commandment, you hurt yourself or somebody else.
Jesus pointed out the Pharisees’ lack of love for God when he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”[2].
On another occasion Jesus said, “You pass over love. For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”[3]
He attacked their lack of love for others when he pointed to the grievous burdens they put on people, and yet wouldn’t lift a finger to share their burdens.[4]
2.  Even if the Pharisees would have obeyed the commandments, the law alone wasn’t a means of salvation.
This is today’s biggest argument against legalism, and it’s correct. It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit He saves us.[5]
 God demands righteousness and we only can attain it His way.
Yet, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them…Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the lest stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Then he added, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven
            The problem:  What is righteousness? Some say it’s “right standing with God.”  What does that mean?  How do we attain righteousness?

Isaiah tells us our own righteousness is like filthy rags.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Paul continues, “...No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin….  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all that believe...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”[6]

The law can make me aware of my sin, but the law can do nothing about it.
Because sin is so terrible, blood was required to atone for it from the beginning.  Old Testament sacrifices satisfied the need for blood only because of the promised Redeemer, Jesus Christ, once offered for the sins of many. [7]

Even in Old Testament days, the sacrifices and keeping the law were accepted because of people’s faith in God and the Promised Redeemer.  For instance, Abraham’s obedience and faith caused him to be declared righteous.[8] And without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Salvation is achieved only through admitting we are sinners and, with faith, accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. After that, to live righteously we have to do what Jesus told the rich young ruler to do: “Come.  Follow me.”

That’s when we have to live our lives loving God and others, which means we’re walking in obedience to Him.

3. The gospel has its legal aspects, but quite unlike the legalism of the Pharisees.
A legal system permeates the Bible: Crime (sin); defendant (every person); laws (written in the Word); Judge (God); Attorney (Jesus)[9]; conviction; punishment for the unrighteous; capital punishment for the Redeemer (already done and conquered at Calvary); justice; pardon and reward.
It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgment.[10]   
             Anyone who stands before a judge is fortunate that “guilty” is not the only verdict. “Not guilty” also is possible. The prophet told us of Jesus: “He was wounded for our transgressions.... All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”[11]
That makes those made righteous through His blood “Not Guilty.”
Yes, I read of punishment for the guilty: “The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death.”[12]
4. Judgment can be good news!
Nearly every judgment Bible passage also talks about reward for those whose sins are blotted out.  The list in 1 Corinthians 16:9 of sinners to be judged ends with, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  “The wages of sin is death” ends with “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Jesus’ warning to fear him that can cast the soul into hell ends with, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? For even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”[13]
The best part of God’s legal system is the “pardon.”  Romans 8:1 (KJ) tells us, “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
            By studying the Word, we understand the Pharisees didn’t actually keep the commandments because they put power and prestige over love for God, and they didn’t have a clue about the wonderful things God has reserved for those who love Him.[14]
            Lack of love for God and others was what was wrong with the Pharisees religion, and many of them died in their sins lost and without hope.
In contrast, genuine love for God with all our mind, soul and strength and loving others as ourselves carries the gospel around the world after more than 2,000 years–and will bring these individuals into eternal life.

Ada Nicholson Brownell is a retired journalist and author of more than 350 articles in Christian publications and six books.



[1] Matthew: 22:37-40 NIV
[2] Matthew 15:3
[3] Luke 11:42
[4] Luke 11:46
[5] Titus 3:4-6
[6] Romans 21-25
[7] Romans 9:28
[8] Hebrews 11: l1
[9] 1 John 2:1
[10] Hebrews 90:26:28
[11] Isaiah 53:5-6
[12] Revelation 1:8
[13] Luke 12:5-7
[14] 1 Corinthians 2:9

Friday, August 21, 2015

History: Are You a Patriot?



PATRIOT HEART

Back Cover 


DUTY            COURAGE               INTEGRITY
May 1865. All Dan Goodman wants is to marry an uncomplicated girl and have a family, but the war interfered and he became a POW who now believes he’s losing his mind and unfit for marriage. He dreams of Oregon to put the memories behind him. The problem is he owes a debt of gratitude to the beautiful songstress. In addition, Clara Barton wants him to be a witness for the prosecution in the first trial for war crimes in American history.

                        INDEPENDENT     ENTERPRISING    FEISTY
Letty Talbot is a world-weary steamboat songstress, and wants a new direction after sudden loss. Letty decides to run a supply depot for emigrants going out West, and talks Dan into a partnership where he builds the prairie schooners. Letty won’t admit she wants to keep Dan from leaving. Even though they butt heads a lot, no man ever interested Letty as this one did.

                                    TRUST          LOVE            PEACE
If Letty marries Dan she losses her depot, because married women have no property rights. Letty must learn to trust God with her future. Dan must forgive fellow Union inmates who killed for selfish reasons, and face the commandant of Andersonville Prison in a court of law. Allowing his Oregon dream to fade, he can then embrace the future God planned for him.


Ada Brownell’s interview with Diane Kalas


Patriot Heart covers some interesting events and subjects. How long did it take to do the research for the book?

The research was lengthy and the time span even more so. I started with Andersonville Prison and visited the site in 1993. Wrote the first draft and then I had to leave writing for 9 years. Picked it up again in 2004, when I was laid-off. Since then, I’ve balanced writing book 2 and 3 in the Journey Home series to get the ideas down on paper as they came. I also started book 1 of another series. I think God’s helping me get caught up on lost time!

To you, what was the most interesting part of the research and the things you discovered?
 
Author Diane Kalas
Without a doubt, I learned about the trial of the century. This was the court martial for war crimes, the first in our country, of the Commandant of Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers after the war. I bought an interesting reprinted book in my favorite used bookstore: This Was Andersonville for just $10. Didn’t actually read it for a year or more and when I did – what a treasure in the back! There was an official government transcript (reprinted) for the prosecution of Major Wirz, giving the questions asked of those men who volunteered to be a witness, who’d been captives of the Confederates, and their answers under oath. The format and titles were what I used for those scenes when my hero testifies against the Commandant. God really blessed me with that book.

We’d like to know about Dan Goodman’s POW captivity. Where? When? What did they do to make him think he was losing his mind?

I wanted to write about a strong Christian man, placed in brutal circumstances for a length of time, and hangs onto his faith. Dan was with a squad of his company when they engaged the enemy at Philadelphia, Tennessee on October 20, 1863, where upon the Rebels captured half of the 45th. They were among the first contingents sent to Virginia’s Libby Prison. From there, they were sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia, in February ‘64. The trauma of witnessing the brutality and death all around Dan made him feel helpless. He couldn’t help himself or his fellow POWs. Their own men attacked and killed fellow POWs. No safety anywhere. What made him think he was losing his mind were the vivid nightmares and hallucinations that he couldn’t control. He thought he was unfit for marriage, his heart’s desire.

Tell us about the first trial for war crimes in U.S. history.

The trial started August 23, 1865, and the verdict was guilty of war crimes against humanity. The Commandant was sentence was death. They hanged him in November 1865, in Washington, D.C. Another interesting aspect to the trial was Major General Lewis Wallace, US volunteers, served on the Commission of the Military Court Martial of the Commandant of Andersonville Prison, Major Henri Wirz. Wallace later became the distinguished author of the famous novel BEN HUR published in 1880. I love learning these kinds of things.

 How did Dan lead Letty to the Lord? Was she upset that he considered her a sinner?

Dan was straightforward with Letty and she rejected the idea that she could ask God to forgive her sins. She was puzzled that he cared enough about her to be concerned about where she spent eternity. Now, I don’t want to give everything away in the story, but . . . Dan just planted the seeds and disappeared from her life. Someone else closed the deal. Want to know how they got back together? I love a gutsy girl with class.

Where do you find material for your Pinterest page on 19th Century architecture, furniture and fashion? Interesting stuff!

I enjoy Pinterest – it’s great fun. I check out museums like Kent State in Ohio and the Metropolitan Museum for clothing. Colonial Williamsburg  and Greenfield Village, in my home state of Michigan, has architecture and furniture. Author’s of historical fiction have fashion boards that I pin. For my history boards, I checked out author’s of Civil War blogs, historical figures like President Lincoln, US Parks Service for Andersonville. The more you pin of a subject, the more come up for pinning when you open Pinterest.
  

Meet Diane Kalas


 Diane collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Published writers Pamela Griffin and Gina Welborn have been critique partners and mentors. Diane’s biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research.
  



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE-FICTION?

I Am a Donkey; Lord, Give Me the Words

By Yvonne Anderson

How does a person who avoids CBA novels and doesn’t care much for science fiction end up writing Christian sci-fi? Well, it’s like this…

There came a time that I felt a nudging of the Holy Spirit to write a book. I prayed and pleaded, because this was seriously not something I wanted to do. But, “not my will, but Thine be done,” and so, in February of 2002, I  set sail on the uncertain seas of the writing world.

If you’re a writer, you know about the swells, the troughs, and the periodic doldrums of that life, so I’ll spare you the details. But after a near drowning, the Lord allowed me to rest on the beach of non-writing for a time.

Of course I thought that part was my idea. “I’m finished,” I said as I built myself a shelter of driftwood. “I’ll never write fiction again.” And I busied myself with life on dry land, never planning to go to sea again.

In the course of establishing a “normal” life, I ran across an innocuous-looking little nonfiction book called The Gospel in the Stars by Joseph A. Seiss. Originally written in the mid-1800s and reprinted in the 1970s, it explained the theory that when God created the heavens and the earth, He portrayed the gospel message in constellation pictures for early man to “read.” What an intriguing concept! But I struggled with the archaic language as well as technical terms (vernal equinox, declination and ascension, etc.) the author apparently assumed the reader understood.
 
“This is fascinating,” I said, “But it needs to be simplified.” In an attempt to make it easier for the average dummy like me to grasp, I decided to write a story in which the characters discovered these things for themselves. Yes, yes, I know; I was never going to write fiction again. But this wasn’t really writing. It was just for fun; no one would ever read it but me. And it was just a short story, so I wouldn’t waste a lot of time on it.

That’s what I told myself as I waded in for a quick dip in the ocean… and was caught in a current that took me far out to sea.

Was it because I’d just been reading about stars and had stars on the brain? For whatever reason, I set the story in space, on a planet of my own creation. I named it Gannah, from the Hebrew word for “garden,” because when God created our world, that’s where human history began: in the Garden.

Giving it an outer-space setting meant I was now writing sci-fi. Writing blind in the genre, really, because I’d never read much of it, and my only brush with it on the screen was the original Star Trek show when I was a kid. Which I didn’t like.

Funny thing, though. Once I got wet, I realized this was the best swim I’d ever had, and the short story turned into a full-length novel. But even in 120,000 words, I couldn’t fit in everything I’d discovered about the planet Gannah. So I began a sequel, all the while laughing with delight at what a wonderful sense of humor our God has. Putting the likes of me to work writing Christian sci-fi? Only the God who made a donkey speak (Numbers 22:21-31) would do something like that.

Though at sea once again, I was never alone. God was with me, of course, but He also brought me into contact with other seafarers. At latitude January, longitude 2011, I connected with an independent publisher who liked Gannah and asked a provocative question: What’s your vision for the series?

Series? What series? I’m just having fun! But with a three-book contract in hand (what, me? a contracted author?), I had quickly found a long-range vision.

I published the third and fourth titles in the Gateway to Gannah series in 2014.  And, released from my contract, I republished the first two earlier this year with minor revisions and new cover art. The series is now complete, and all titles are available in both print and ebook at Amazon. Each book can stand alone, but when put together, they tell one lengthy tale.

After releasing the third title, I noticed from the reviews that people who had started with Book 1 enjoyed it more than readers who jumped in at Book 3. So when I published the fourth, I added an overview of the series up to that point to enable first-time visitors to Gannah to get their sea legs quickly.

Whichever starting place you choose, I invite you to fly through the Gateway to Gannah for some serious sci-fi adventure!


Dassa skates toward the palace in completion of her Third Quest, unaware the Karkar Plague has returned to ravage Gannah.

On a medical starship not far away, Dr. Pik is ordered to find a cure for the plague – an unlikely assignment, given his inbred hatred of the whole Gannahan race. Duty trumps prejudice, however, and he succeeds… but that’s just the beginning of the story.

Dassa and Pik survive attack by space pirates, food poisoning, savage Gannahan beasts, and a plane crash. The hardest part, though, is enduring one another’s company.

The Creator who wrote the story of redemption in the stars has commanded her to share it with her reluctant savior. That’s not all He requires of her, but the rest is unthinkable.



Book 2 – Words in the Wind

Dassa is back on Gannah, but things aren’t going the way she’d planned.

A shuttle crash leaves her marooned 10,000 kilometers from the settlement just as a blizzard sets in. Injured, she takes refuge in Ruwach Gorge. Seeking food and shelter, she stumbles across the ruins of a place she’d always thought was a myth. What she finds there casts doubt on some of her fundamental beliefs.

Her husband, Pik, reluctantly takes charge of the settlement in her absence and organizes a search for her. Rebellious settlers and a wayward daughter make things difficult enough. But when the planet’s animals threaten to break the ancient treaty and resume the old Wildlife Wars, Pik’s hard-pressed to hold things together. If he can manage to find Dassa, will she have a home to come back to?

Alone in the mysterious canyon where reality and fairytale are flipped, Dassa wonders the same thing.

Book 3 – Ransom in the Rock

How much is a life worth? And who will pay the price?
Fifteen-year-old Lileela returns from the planet Karkar, frothing with bitterness over what she perceives as abandonment by her parents. Why do they want her back now? And why does Karkar demand such a huge payment for delivering her?
Neither she nor her family suspects that Karkar’s true motive is revenge. The tiny New Gannahan settlement has no hope of repelling an invasion – no hope, that is, except for One the Karkar can’t see.


Book 4  - The Last Toqeph
While traveling through desolate terrain, Adam stumbles upon an impossibility: a village of Old Gannahan survivors. Hard to believe. Harder yet, it seems one of them is the true heir to the throne.
Will Adam right an ancient wrong and lose his inheritance? Or ignore the truth and lose his integrity?

-----------------------

Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.

The Story in the Stars, the first in the Gateway to Gannah series as well as her debut novel, was an ACFW Carol Award finalist in 2012. The adventure continues with Words in the Wind and Ransom in the Rock and concludes with The Last Toqeph.

She lives in Western Maryland with her husband of almost forty years and shares the occasional wise word on her personal site, YsWords. A member of ACFW, her name comes up now and then as having been with The Borrowed Book blog for a couple of years and coordinated Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest for unpublished novelists.

Oh, yeah: she also does freelance editing.

If you like good conversation, you may contact her through her blog, Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

PLEASE DON'T FAINT




PLEASE DON’T FAINT!
By Ada Nicholson Brownell


      Clara has always been a fainter. She passes out at the sight of blood. Once she fainted when she bumped her head on a door.
      Due to her habit of fainting, Clara is not much help in emergencies. When she was a teenager, she worked for her Uncle Matt and Aunt Marge. One day Matt broke his leg. Marge was away so Matt shouted for Clara to call a doctor. Clara, however, rushed to see what had happened. When she saw the broken leg, she fainted. Matt had to crawl to a phone and summon an ambulance himself—then try to help Clara!
      In the face of almost every crisis, Clara faints. After her marriage she and her family were camping on top of Grand Mesa near Grand Junction, Colo. Her son Dean had a heart murmur and in the middle of the night began breathing hard—gasping for breath.
Clara’s husband awakened her and said, “We’re going to have to take Dean down off this mountain. He can’t get his breath.”
She sat up, looked at Dean, and then lay back down. “I think I’m going to faint,” she said weakly.
Her husband laughed. “Don’t be silly; you can’t faint lying down.”
She did anyway.
Her fainting is the result of a depression in the action of the heart. This can be caused by cold, heat, hunger, mental shock, weakness, pain, or fright. As a consequence, the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted and temporary unconsciousness occurs.
Not many people suffer physical fainting as often as Clara--but in the church there are many “spiritual fainters.” The Bible reproves those who faint when the going gets a little rough. “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small,” it says (Proverbs 24:10).
When trouble comes into our lives, we don’t need to faint. If we wait on God in prayer, He will renew our strength so that we can “mount up with wings as eagles,” and “run and not be weary,” and “walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).
A preacher’s wife was ill and not expected to live. The minister became discouraged and seemed to have no more heart for his church work. Instead of helping, his flock deserted him. “I’m going to another church,” they said, and departed one by one.
Eventually the minister’s wife recovered and the preacher was able to throw himself into the work with his former zeal. But by that time the church was so depleted it could not meet the challenge of the community and that section of a metropolitan area was unreached. Victories were forfeited because the church members “fainted” when the going became hard.
But  “fainting” is not necessary. As long as God lives and answers prayer, there is a way to recover strength. Better still, there is a way to prevent “fainting.” For the Bible says, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
Please don’t faint. Pray instead—and let God give you supernatural strength.

This encouragement article appeared in The Pentecostal Evangel years ago. Clara, my sister, is in heaven now, but the message it still appropriate for today. No matter what our talent or ministry, we should not be weary in well doing because we will reap if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).
Incidentally, Clara laughed and loved that she starred in this article, but she didn't faint so much in the later part of her life.. -- Ada

You can connect with Ada Nicholson Brownell's Amazon book page Here