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Friday, March 13, 2015

Guest Devotional: Lillian Duncan

One Message....Many Stories

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  --Philippians 4: 8

Writing Stories of Faith...Mingled With Murder & Mayhem...


That’s the tagline for my website. I like it. It describes the stories I write perfectly. However, when I tell people I write murder mysteries and suspense that are Christian Fiction, I often get a blank stare or even one of disbelief.
Really? Christian Fiction and murder/suspense? On the surface the two don’t seem to go together. After all, how can a book where murders, mayhem, and bad guys abound promote Christian values?
Well…that’s a good question. I thought I had a pretty good answer until I came across Phillipians 4: 8. Oops! Now, I had a problem. I knew the verse before but never related it to my writing.
Suddenly, I had to wonder if God was pleased with the type of stories I write. My books definitely had a spiritual message, but I wouldn’t call them pure or lovely.
After prayer and meditation, I came to the conclusion my stories showed biblical truths and characters acting nobly and admirably even if the circumstances were not pure and lovely.
Just as the Bible shows godly truths by showing the worst of human nature and the best, so do my stories. As writers of Christian fiction, we write many stories with many characters in many locales with many problems, but there is only one true message—GOD is our hope and our salvation.
My latest story, BIRTHRIGHT, is no exception. In fact, it may have the strongest spiritual message of all my books up to this point. And the funny thing is, it’s not even classified under Christian Fiction. It’s a supernatural horror story.

I write suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense not supernatural horror stories. This book is definitely out of the box for me. I love to read a spooky book now and then, such as those by Frank Peretti or James L. Rubart. 

But I never thought I’d write one. Until I had a dream one night. That dream eventually became BIRTHRIGHT. Here’s the blurb:

Is evil real? Does it prowl around like a lion searching for its next victim?
Sam Langstrom knows the answer to those questions. He’s known since he was a child. Evil is not only real, but his birthright.
But can a man change his destiny?
With God’s help, Sam believes he’s put the ghosts of his childhood behind him. Now a preacher with a wife and a child of his own, life is good. Right up until that moment when his house explodes in front of his eyes—with his child inside.
The ghosts are back.
He has one chance to save his child, but to do so means to turn his back on God. Will he accept his birthright—bow down to the evil? Will he give the lion its final victory—his soul?

Jesus used stories to teach Biblical truths. He knew that people naturally respond to a story and are willing to learn from someone else’s problems rather than an in-your-face approach. We call them parables.
Here’s a definition for a parable that I love—an earthly story with a heavenly message. Wow! How about that—I write parables!
And so do you if you write Christian Fiction. My stories are different than yours, and that’s fine. There are many ways to get God’s message out. As long as our earthly stories share a heavenly message, God will be pleased.
 Many stories—one message.

               



Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.
Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. 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.  She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com  as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com 






Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Coming June 1

A great collection of inspiring stories, by your favorite Christian authors (including me!). Watch for details.

And writers, Kathy Ide is still accepting submissions for future books in this series!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guest Devotional Writer: Robin Johns Grant

                          Will My Readers *Get It*?

Since I’m in the middle of a blog tour for my new book, Jordan’s Shadow, I’ve been writing a lot of guest posts. Last week I wrote one asking readers (and writers) whether they prefer a story with everything thoroughly explained, or like to have some questions to puzzle over even after the end of the story. Do you want an author to tell you the spiritual point of a novel, or do you like figuring it out for yourself as you get to know the characters and follow the action?

I know a lot of us Christian writers want to make sure our readers “get it.” After all, we usually include a Gospel message, and it’s important for people to understand. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily enjoy being told the point of a story and I like giving my readers something to think about.

And you know…isn’t that what God quite often does when He’s guiding us? 

He gave us the Bible to guide us (as well as His Spirit), but it’s not a book of cut-and-dried rules covering every possible situation. He gave us lots of stories, of real people and parables, that we need to study and draw conclusions from, then apply the principles to our lives. And when we pray for guidance, we still sometimes have to do a lot of thinking and interpreting to make sure we understand His answer.

Here’s an example that happened to me recently. I was at my mom’s church, and I was already feeling a little tired by everything I had to do to get ready for Jordan’s Shadow’s release. I started wondering for about the millionth time whether being a writer is just a selfish desire of mine that I’m wheedling God to bless—or it’s a ministry He wants me to do. It’s an important distinction. If it’s for Him, I need to keep on even when it’s exhausting and tough. If it’s just a whim, is it the best use of my time and money and energy?

During one of the prayers in that church service, I prayed for God to speak to me and give me an answer to this question—my whim, or His calling?

Almost immediately, I felt an urge to look at the verse of the day on Bible Gateway. I’ve often felt God speaking to my heart through the verses they pick. But it’s an app on my phone and I hated to whip my phone out in the church service. Instead I picked up the pew Bible and opened it, and when I looked down I read Jesus’s words in Mark 12:30-31, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Very important thought. But that obviously had nothing to do with my writing. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I whipped out my phone and looked at the verse of the day from Bible Gateway. And would you believe, there I was, looking at the original verse from Deuteronomy 6 that Jesus had been quoting from: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” 

I was starting to get a little tingle along my spine. I’ve often noticed when I’m praying for guidance, God will send me the same Bible verse or story over and over in a short period of time, from all different directions. Still…it didn’t seem to be a very clear answer to my writing question. I prayed again—that if this verse was a message from Him, the pastor would also mention it in his sermon. 

Yep. You guessed it…the preacher quoted it.

I prayed. God answered me. But God is not like a Ouija board, where you ask a question and He pushes your hands around to spell out yes or no. He asks us to think, analyze, apply.

Last Friday was release day for Jordan’s Shadow. I had planned to do marketing for it all day long, because I was off from work. But then people started wanting things from me, drat them. My husband wanted to spend the evening with me, can you believe it? A non-Christian friend that I’ve prayed for many years needed my help with something. I felt myself getting stressed and then I remembered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.”

A light bulb seemed to go off. There isn’t one huge yes or no answer to whether I should write or do other things for God. At every moment of every day I have to make decisions about how best to serve Him. That Friday afternoon and evening, serving Him and loving my neighbor meant putting aside my writing and marketing pursuits and concentrating on people I love.

For a few hours earlier that day, I believe serving Him meant getting that book released. I hope it will touch lives for Him—and might also help readers learn to think and analyze and apply a story, or a verse, to their own questions.

                               
\
Robin Johns Grant published her first novel, Summer’s Winter, in 2014, and her second suspense novel, Jordan’s Shadow, has just been released. Summer's Winter won a bronze medal in the Romance - Suspense category of the International Readers' Favorite Book Awards, and Robin was named 2014 Author of the Year by the Georgia Association of College Stores.
Family and friends are happy that Robin’s imagination is finally paying off. She’s always had way too much of it. She started making up stories before she could write them down (dictating them to her mother) and always had her head in the clouds. She was obsessed with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars and did a lot of crazy fan stuff, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie’s story for Summer's Winter. It’s a romantic suspense novel, but as John Granger (author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures) said, it’s also “a romance-thriller about fandoms…and explores the important intersection of literature, spirituality, and imagination.” 

As a Christian, Robin can’t help but explore spirituality in her writing, but wants to do so in a way that reflects the awe and wonder of God and eternity.
With a degree in English, several non-fulfilling jobs under her belt, and a mid-life crisis coming on, Robin returned to school and earned a master's degree in library and information science. She now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.

With her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral felines Mini Pearl and Luna, Robin lives in Georgia.  She is also surprised to find herself part owner of a pit bull named Pete, who showed up as a starving stray puppy at her mother's house.

Keep up with Robin at these sites:
Amazon (read about and purchase her books): http://amazon.com/author/robinjohnsgrant
Website and blog:  http://robinjohnsgrant.com


See below for a sneak-peek at Robin's new book:
Jordan’s Shadow

Robin Johns Grant

The Crosby family has a frightening problem. Is it psychological? Supernatural? Or something entirely unexpected?

In 1984, seventeen-year-old Rose and her fiancĂ© discover an injured girl with no memory. The girl, Jordan, is in Rose’s life for a brief time but leaves her world shattered.

Twenty-five years later, Rose Crosby’s daughter Ginny can’t understand why her relationship with her mother has fallen apart. Ginny could swear that Rose is terrified of her lately. 

Then one awful day, Ginny overhears Rose confessing that she truly is terrified of Ginny—because to her, every day Ginny grows more and more and more like Jordan, the girl who's been dead many years. In fact, she swears that somehow, Ginny is turning into Jordan.

Is Ginny’s mom insane? Is there a ghost in their house, threatening to possess Ginny? Or is the demon in Rose's past, forcing her to confront what happened on that horrible day in 1984 when Jordan was killed?

As a new girl in a small town, Ginny doesn’t have much of a support system. Her old girlfriends from Atlanta have drifted away, and the only friends she’s made are, strangely enough, guys. Alec Matthews is gorgeous, but is he really interested in Ginny’s well-being? And then there’s Max Ferguson, the recently-born-again science nerd. He’s definitely on Ginny’s side, but is he a little too strange?

Strengthened by a deepening relationship with one of these two, Ginny undertakes a mind-bending journey of discovery—discovery about faith, eternity, and love beyond the boundaries of space and time. She will put to rest a mystery that has haunted her family for two generations—if she can survive.


Enter to win a free copy here!  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Free books!


Have you wanted to try an e-book from Pelican Book Group?  Good news! They are all free during Lent.  Try one of my titles or one by the many other authors. Share the word!

Start here!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!                                                                                       Be safe!

Monday, February 09, 2015


Lauralee Bliss-- "Boost" Your Writing

A Power-Packed Drink
By Lauralee Bliss

”I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”
Philippians 4: 13 (NIV)

This verse can be called the Boost of life, providing all the
nutrients one needs to succeed as a writer. Why? Because you
CAN do ALL things through Christ who provides our strength,
including walking the difficult road of writing. Writing is not for the
faint of heart. It’s not an easy journey. It’s difficult, confusing,
challenging, time consuming, full of rejection, with few rewards, and plenty of
steep climbs. But the grace of Christ flowing in our lives provides
the fuel needed to keep going. His grace and mercy is what gives
us that extra energy to overcome when met with form rejection
letters, procrastination, doubt, writer’s block, or any of the numerous trials that
inflict writers. Think of Him then as Boost for the soul, a power-packed
drink of Himself to infuse us with the determination to
succeed in all that He has for us. Spend that time with Him in
prayer, in meditation of His Word, in helping others. Drink deeply
of Him and then watch your writing take off with a new vitality
you never thought possible.


Lauralee Bliss is a published author of over twenty romance novels and novellas in both historical and contemporary with nearly 600,000 units sold. Her latest is a two book series set in at the lifesaving stations along the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina with Harlequin Heartsong Presents, including The Lady’s Rescuer and Love’s Daring Risk (June). Lauralee enjoys writing books that are reminiscent of a roller-coaster ride for the reader. Her desire is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that speaks to the heart and soul. Besides her love of writing, Lauralee’s other love is the great outdoors. She is a passionate adventurer, having completed the Appalachian Trail twice from Georgia to Maine and from Maine to Georgia, one of only 25 women to accomplish this feat. She chronicles her adventure in her first nonfiction title – Mountains, Madness, and Miracles – 4000 Miles Along the Appalachian Trail. Lauralee makes her home in Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 



Monday, January 26, 2015

Linda Yezak on The Effects of Fear


The Paralizing Effect of Fear


“For I am the Lord Your God Who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” (Is. 41:13, NIV).


In the ancient days, back when concrete swimming pools were newly invented and high diving boards provided the latest adrenaline rush to thrill seekers . . .


Okay, maybe not that long ago, but pretty close. I was nine. Swimming pools had been around for a while.


So, picture it: Scrawny, freckled redhead, mostly elbows, knees, and impulsiveness, climbs the steps of the highest diving board at the pool--an Olympic-sized pool, with an Olympic-regulation diving board. My mind is made up. All my friends have jumped off this board, and they're down below, squinting into the sun at me as I force my feet up another step. Others who want to take the dive are climbing behind me, so I don't dare stop. One more step. One more step.


Don't look down.


I feel triumphant as I hit the top. I survey the terrain around me. It's beautiful. And for a moment, I'm the world's princess.


Until someone complains behind me: "Hey! You gonna jump, or what?!"


The board is wider than it appears from the poolside, so walking it isn't nearly as frightening as I'd thought it would be. But going to the edge . . . looking over the edge . . . at that tee-tiny pool below, that I'm supposed to jump into . . . gulp!


I couldn't do it.


The groans, growls, and outright cussin' that went on while everyone climbed back down the steps so Chicken Little could go run to her mommy are still vaguely lodged in my memory.


Fear can stop you from experiencing a wide variety of thrills. It can paralyze you from being daring. It can glue your feet to the ground and leave you at a standstill. It can force you to back up, to retreat.


And it can stop you from writing what God wants you to write.


Writers face a wide variety of fears: What if I can't do this? What if I'm not good enough? What if my story isn't good enough? What if God didn't really call me for this? What if everyone hates it?


Lesson #1: Recognize where those doubts and fears come from. Whether God called you to write, or you dedicate everything you write to Him, chances are, He's going to bless it. So the idea the doubts and fears come from Him can quickly be ruled out. Whenever we're doing something for His glory, He's interested and engaged. It's not likely to be Him asking us to climb back down the steps.


Lesson #2: Whether God called you to write, or you dedicate everything you write to Him, He's going to bless it. Whenever we're doing something for His glory, He's interested and engaged. It is He who is first in line to be our help if we only accept the offer.


So, what are you afraid of? Give your fear to the One Who takes hold of your right hand, and dive in.






Over twenty years ago, after a decade of life as a "single-again," author Linda Yezak rediscovered God's love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God's gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda's novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.


Visit Linda's Amazon page here.