Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Musings--Lion and the Lamb My husband says March not only came in like a lion, but is going out like a lion, too, since we had temps of 27 this morning and a little snow/ice when we left for church yesterday on the last Sunday of the month. I thought today I would muse about Christ--the Lion and the Lamb. My husband and I DVR a TV program called "Christ in Prophecy" produced by Lamb and Lion Ministries which often speaks of the prophecies that have been/are being fulfilled about Jesus and the prophecies that remain to be fulfilled. Last night the main speaker David Reagan showed a video of himself speaking at a church in Texas where they had a lion cub and a lamb up on stage to emphasize the two faces of Christ. If you want to check out more on his great site, go to www.lamblion.com You can find many Scriptures that show these characteristics of Christ. A few for the Lamb are: Gen. 22:8, Ex. 12:21(I know these first two are concerning Abraham's sacrifice and the Passover lamb, but I believe they both point to Christ as the ultimate Lamb of God.) Also Isaiah 53:7, John 1:29, I Cor. 5:7, I Peter 1:19, and a bunch in Revelation! That's where you can also find this reference to Christ as the Lion of Judah. (Revelation 5:5) I hope this musing will turn your heart toward thinking more of the Lamb and Lion of God!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fridays with Friends-- by Donald James Parker

Can you picture John the Baptist as novelist? If so can you envision him wiping the residue of honey and locust intestines on his suede pants and grabbing a bone he scored from one of his frequent wild animal kills and scratching out a cozy little romance onto parchment? How about a head spinning mystery which takes more twists than a pretzel going down the toilet? Are you having equal trouble visualizing him sitting in the Goat’s Milk CafĂ© signing his autograph onto his newly printed comedy manuscript? You almost ROFL at the suggestion of the prophet of all prophets stepping out of character to indulge the world in make believe stories. John the B. had one purpose in life. His role was to prepare the way of the Lord. Some people probably consider him excessively fanatical. He just kind of lost his head with that repentance kick he was on.
Jesus spoke in parables. Those are not exactly novels, but they do embody the concept of telling make believe stories which contain an object lesson about real life. Let’s take for example a parable that most kids hear from those endowed with the privilege of teaching them how to live. There was a little boy who cried wolf, even when there was no wolf. And so when a real wolf came to dine on the boy’s flock, no one would believe him that he was under attack by El Lobo, leading to one sad little boy. He was sheepless in Seattle. The object of the story was to teach people not to lie, not by telling them to avoid lying but by graphically demonstrating the consequences of the deed. Human beings don’t typically learn not to do something because someone tells them not to do it. How many of us were told not to touch the iron or a toaster? How many actually refrained from reaching up their grimy little paws to find out why? My estimate is about 20 percent. I think they all watched a brother or sister squeal with pain and learned their lesson vicariously, but again by experience and not through a verbal command. God had already given us the Ten Commandments. Jesus motivated people to heed those commandments through the stories he told.

No doubt you’re wondering where I’m going with this. In 2006 I woke up at 2:00 AM with the distinct sensation that I had heard a voice saying "Write a book about evolution." I rolled over and went back to sleep. The next morning I went to the Lord in prayer asking, "Did you ask me to write a book about evolution last night?" As clear as a bell, I heard a still small voice in my head say, "And when you're done with that, I want you to go after Harry Potter and the sexual revolution." In an instant I was called from being a carefree Christian, or perhaps Sleeping Saint is a better term, to SuperAuthor, getting up at 4:00 AM to polish off a chapter of a parabolic novel before going off to work to earn my daily bread. The result of my frenzied activity was nine books over a three year period. The nature of my commission was similar to John the Baptist. I felt compelled to make a case for holiness and intimacy with God, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit through stories that I tapped onto my computer keyboard.

No doubt this has been the most bittersweet experience of my life. It has been wonderful to bring to life ideas that had simmered on the backburner of my brain since my youth and others that I’ve cultivated over the years of following the Lord. However trying to get this literary medicine to those patients who need it has been extremely frustrating. You read about the attitude of the people in the old days towards those poor souls who God shanghaied into service. They would have been the first one voted off the island in a game of survivor. When everyone else in the family was invited to a party, their invitation would conveniently be misplaced. You get the idea. So here I am, feeling like I’m trying to sell cod liver oil to chocolaholics. People want to escape from reality, not have it rubbed into their noses. Marketing books is a tenuous activity in this day and age when a million new books hit the street every year. That statistic staggers my imagination. The struggle to interest readers to put aside their fluffy entertainment to dive into my creations which exhort people to embrace Jesus and obey the commandments is truly mission impossible. At one point I was convinced that I might become the first person in history who wrote more books than he sold. That won’t happen now. I’ve got a few more in me, and then I’ll be done with the printed word. I’m going to make movies which nobody will want to watch instead. Of course, when the world slides into tribulation, my books and movies might shine through darkness and point the way to Jesus. And then, like John the Baptist, I’ll have fulfilled my commission. The trials of this life will pale in comparison with the eternity that hopefully some of my readers will enjoy because they did undertake the adventure of reading the message that God has placed within me.

In case any of you is looking for a meaty reading experience instead of chocolate milk, at least for a change of pace, check out my website at http://DonaldJamesParker.com There you will find my humble and unimpressive covers that house my attempts to fight against evolution, the occult, and sexual sin. If you’re a parent looking for something to entertain but also educate your children in the ways of the Lord, perhaps you’ll be motivated to check further.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Musings on Scrapbooking

I am posting later in the day than usual because a friend of mine came over and we scrapbooked until 4 PM. For those not familiar with scrapbooking, it is arranging your pictures into a book and writing about them. These books are mainly for family and friends and are fun to put together with different colored papers and decorations. As a retired teacher, I used to use my creativity to produce bulletin boards. Now I scrapbook, using some of the same principles of theme, colors and patterns. It is great fun, and my grandkids love to look at the pages I have created about them. I enjoy it even more when doing it with a friend to talk to like today. What about you--do any of you scrapbook or do something similar you would like to share?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fridays with Friends--Donna Winters

Welcome, Donna, and welcome to all my other blog readers. Donna has great advice for all of us about tackling new ways of doing things, and she has great insight into the changes in the publishing world, so read on to hear her wisdom and to see how you can win a copy of her book, Fayette--A Time to Love. I just love the cover, don't you? I think it gives a great feel of the time period.

Moving On by Donna Winters

Have you ever had to make a move to a place or new experience that you dreaded?

In my book, Fayette—A Time to Love (set in Upper Michigan in 1868), the new iron smelting town of Fayette, Michigan held no promise for sixteen-year-old Lavinia McAdams. The moment she arrived, she took an instant disliking to its muddy streets, acrid smoke, and dirty furnace men. The sooner she could return to her hometown in Canada, the better. Then Huck Harrigan came along to challenge her thinking and soften her iron will. Could she really find happiness in this raw, new town with a "pig iron" Irishman from across the bay?

This situation got me to thinking. In looking back on my life, I realized that I have been completely blessed. Every physical move I have made has been one that I desired, one that would be better, one that would bring blessings in abundance to me and my family. Wow! Isn’t God good?

On the other hand, as a writer and publisher, I have had to make many moves into new experiences that I feared and dreaded. I started writing in 1982 and publishing in 1989. The changes in writing and publishing have often been overwhelming.

In 1988, after my first three romances had been published by big Christian publishers, the inspirational romance market died. If I was going to continue writing, I had to also publish. My husband and I started our Great Lakes Romances® Series and took all the risks. That was so frightening to me that for a month, I froze in panic, wondering if we would ever be able to recover our investment. God blessed us, and we’re still moving forward with new releases.

After several years of traditional publishing (negatives, plates, and sizeable print runs), the digital age arrived. My book printer wanted digital cover and text files. I needed to learn how to operate a new computer system and many new software programs. I invested time and money in equipment, software, and classes on how to use them. God blessed us and we moved into the digital age.

My newest challenge has been the arrival of the ebook generation. This fall, my husband gave me a Kindle and I discovered that I love reading books on this device. That was just the motivation I needed to tackle the latest publishing move: convert my stories into ebook format to reach more readers than ever. I had to learn how to turn my books into files that a conversion company could transform into Kindle and epub formats. I have successfully moved into the ebook era with the first of my conversions, and I want you to help me celebrate!

I would like to give away a copy of Fayette—A Time to Love in your choice of formats: paperback, Kindle, or epub. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment telling me about a challenging move you have made in your life, either physical, technical, or in some other way that you define. Please include your email address in your comment, along with the book format you would prefer to receive if you win. The drawing will take place on Saturday morning.

Additional links for Donna Winters and Fayette—A Time to Love
Visit Donna’s website here: http://www.greatlakesromances.comVisit Donna’s blog here: http://greatlakesromances.blogspot.comSearch for Donna on Facebook by entering her email address in the “search for friends by email” search box: bigwaterpub [at] gmail [dot] com
Find an excerpt of Fayette—A Time to Love here:
http://www.greatlakesromances.com/Fayette%20Love%20Excerpt.htmlFind the Amazon paperback here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0923048898/ref=sr_1_olp_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262868115&sr=1-1&condition=newFind the Kindle version here:
http://www.amazon.com/Fayette-Great-Lakes-Romances-ebook/dp/B004IK8I1Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1295444722&sr=1-2Find the epub file at Barnes & Noble here:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Musings--March Madness

I know most people are referring to basketball when they use this phrase, but March has continued to come in like a mad lion! Harrison County schools missed this past Friday for snow again! The roads were covered with a thin layer of ice and snow which caused several accidents early on, but melted by 10 AM.

And I apologize for missing my Friday with Friends post. I was sick on Friday so didn't even think about it until Saturday morning, so the person scheduled will guestblog at a later date. Check in this Friday for a post by Donna Winters.

And go CATS!!! (UK--my Alma Mater)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday Musings--March...

..."comes in like a lion" has been true in KY so far this year. We have had rains and flooding. School here was delayed one hour last week for high water instead of snow.

So, this week, I want to share a painting my youngest granddaughter did of a lion's head.

This is the same 9 year old girl who writes stories, and I have pubbed 2 of them on this blog. As you can tell, she is a very talented and creative girl in many ways! Can you also tell I am a proud Mimi? I thank God for all my family and the gifts He has given them and pray they will always use them for His service and glory.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fridays with Friends guestblog by Ann Gabhart

Today I am pleased to welcome a good friend and fellow Kentucky writer, Ann Gabhart. I read her new book Angel Sister and blogged about it last month. Check out the blog for February 7th to read my review and see a copy of the cover. Ann has graciously consented to tell "the rest of the story" about how this book came to be. Read and enjoy and hurry on out to buy your copy of this book and any of Ann's great stories. Plus Ann has offered to mail a copy of Angel Sister to one reader who leaves a comment on this post sometime this month.
And I want to share a special honor Ann just received from Romantic Times magazine. Angel Sister was awarded a February Inspirational Fiction Top Picks by this widely-read magazine for all fiction lovers. Kudos to Ann for this well-deserved award.

Angel Sister – An Echo of My Mother’s Story
by Ann H. Gabhart

A few years ago I had a dry spell as an author. I was writing, but what I was writing wasn’t finding any appreciative editors. So I decided I should take that time honored writing advice – write what you know. What I knew was farm life, small town living and little country churches. I combined all that into a setting for my book, The Scent of Lilacs, and the Lord blessed me with a loving editor at an inspirational publisher and gave me a new direction for my writing. I wrote a couple more books about my little fictional town, Hollyhill, and enjoyed delving into my memories to make the background of the book as authentic as possible. So when I began to cast around for a new idea, I remembered the fun of using a familiar hometown setting for those books and thought maybe I could move back a little farther in time to my mom’s childhood days for a new story background. My Harmony Hill setting in my Shaker books comes from history books as I do my best to reconstruct a 19th century Shaker Village. Rosey Corner in Angel Sister comes from history too – family history.

Mom was born in 1920 and grew up during the years of the Great Depression. She was one of four sisters – no brothers. Her father was the community’s blacksmith at a time when automobiles were taking over the roads and there was less and less need for a blacksmith’s skills. Times were hard but you would have never guessed that from the way my mother and her sisters talked about their childhood years. They loved sharing stories about when they were kids and often ended up laughing until tears ran down their cheeks as they recalled some of the odd characters from their old neighborhood. I enjoyed their stories, but as I got older, I realized I was only getting the shine on top of the story. So I began to probe at my mother’s stories. I asked about the odd folks. I asked about my grandparents. I asked what they liked, what they did, how they lived. And I wrote it all down.

At that time I wasn’t thinking about a background for a story. I just wanted to keep a record of hers and my aunts’ memories. To know how they felt as kids. To somehow share their life journeys. They never tired of telling the stories about Phoebe cutting cedars for her cedar palaces or Brigham showing them his dead mother’s hats. They’d frown, still a little angry, when they told about the man who took pleasure in scaring their mother by letting little snakes peek up out of his shirt pocket when he stopped by to pass the time of day. But they always laughed as if it didn’t bother them a bit when they told how their primer teacher meted out extra punishments to them because their father married their mother instead of her. So many memories.

Deborah Moggach once said “You keep your past by having sisters. As you get older, they’re the only ones who don’t get bored if you talk about your memories.” I didn’t get bored either. I listened and then when I was trolling around for a new idea I decided to try writing my mom’s story. It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Writing never is. The first thing I had to do was forget Mom and her sisters. I had to turn the sisters in the book into my own characters with their own fictional story.

I did take my mother’s can-do and deal-with-it spirit and poured that into my character, Kate. Then I dropped in an abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong who needed an “angel sister.” That child became a sister of the heart to Kate and a catalyst of change for the Merritt family and the whole community.

“A sister is a gift of the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.” (Isadora James)

Angel Sister is a story not just from my heart but from my mother’s heart. And that of her sisters. Their memories were the seed of my idea. While I did completely make up the story – after all, I do write fiction – there is the occasional echo of their memories throughout the story. I think they would have enjoyed hearing that echo. And I’m hoping readers will hear it too and love my characters as much as I did.

To read an excerpt of Angel Sister or to find discussion questions, visit my website, www.annhgabhart.com. I enjoy hearing from reading friends. Thanks so much, Rose, for inviting me over for a chat on your Fridays with Friends.
Rose here again: Thank you for visiting and sharing with us such a special story, Ann.

Bio: Ann H. Gabhart has published over twenty novels for adults and children including her bestselling Shaker novels. Her first Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Fiction Book of 2009. Ann lives on a farm in Central Kentucky with her husband, Darrell who sings bass in a Southern Gospel group, the Patriot Quartet. They have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann’s a member of ACFW and her books, Summer of Joy and The Believer were finalists for a Carol Award.
You can keep up with Ann on her website, www.annhgabhart.com; her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com; Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-H-Gabhart/132862247566, or follow Ann on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

And the winners are...
Ane Mulligan wins a copy of I Shall Not Want by Debbie Viguie, and Mary L. my 7th grade English teacher wins the Valentine Candy for her lovely acrostic. These gifts will be in the mail as soon as I receive their mailing addresses.

Our drawing for this month will be for Long Time Coming by Vanessa Miller. Since I haven't had time to read this book due to writing deadlines (a very nice problem to have!), I will copy some of the back cover blurb so we both will know something about it.

"Faithful Christian Deidre Clark-Morris is a professional, career-minded woman with a loving husband, but no children. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty all her life. She has three children by three different men and has just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Although the meeting between these two women appears accidental, it becomes their catalyst of hope. Neither woman expects the blessing that God has in store for her..."

That makes me want to read it, and I hope you do, too. Leave a post anytime this month to be entered in the drawing to win it on April 1st. In fact, this month you will have a chance to win two books. Ann Gabhart will be my guest blogger this Friday, and she has graciously offered to give away one of her Angel Sister books that I blogged about on February 7, 2011. So, check that post out and come back on Friday and leave a post on her guest blog for that special drawing which will also take place on April 1st.