Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. (1 Sam 3:19 NKJ)

As I am preparing to launch my new novel, One Smooth Stone, I took great encouragement from this verse when it arrived in my inbox the other day. The calling of Samuel has always held a fascination for me. There are many things to be gleaned from that passage of scripture, many that pertain to being a writer.

Samuel responded to the call even though he was not sure what it was, where it was coming from or where it would lead. Sometimes the nudges we get from the Lord are like that. We’re not sure about them, but we move forward. Sometimes we feel God is telling us to write a certain article or poem or book. We have no way of knowing what God intends for that piece of writing but we move forward, show it to friends, have it critiqued, finally submit it and perhaps see it published. Then we stand back in awe at the amazing things God does with it.

Samuel sought out the wisdom of his mentor and it was Eli who directed him to turn to the Lord and to respond. Our mentors, our encouragers, our critique partners are all vital in our growth as writers. They have been put in our lives for good reason. We would be wise to seek their counsel and help often. We would be wise to listen to the critiques of our work, recognize others see weaknesses that we are blind to and be willing to make the changes necessary.

Samuel stayed close to the Lord throughout his life and became one of the great prophets of Israel. He learned obedience at Eli’s knee and never forgot it. Note the last phrase in the scripture above – “the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” All of what Samuel spoke to the people of Israel bore fruit for God. Nothing was wasted.

It is the Lord who directs and guards our words. It is the Lord who will take them to the right people at the right time and use them to His purposes. Note the word, “none.” I take great encouragement from that word alone. Nothing God pours through us is wasted. Each article, each poem, each novel, each devotional, each book will bear the fruit He has in mind. Even those things we write that may never appear in print are important as part of the process. They are doing things in us and the results will show in our work. We may not always see the results God has intended, but we can be assured that it will be accomplished.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Snitch by Rene Gutteridge

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing SNITCH(The Occupational Hazards)
(WaterBrook Press May 15, 2007) by Rene Gutteridge

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Rene Gutteridge is the author of several novels, including Ghost Writer (Bethany House Publishers) The Boo Series (WaterBrook Press) and the Storm Series, (Tyndale House Publishers. She will release three novels in 2006: Storm Surge (Tyndale) My Life as a Doormat (WestBow Press, Women of Faith)Occupational Hazards Book #1: Scoop (WaterBrook Press).

She has also been published over thirty times as a playwright, best known for her Christian comedy sketches. She studied screenwriting under a Mass Communications degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University, and earned the "Excellence in Mass Communication" award. She served as the full-time Director of Drama for First United Methodist Church for five years before leaving to stay home and write. She enjoys instructing at writer's conferences and in college classrooms. She lives with her husband, Sean, a musician, and their children in Oklahoma City.

ABOUT THE BOOK:Old School meets New School meets Homeschool

Just shy of retirement and a well-earned pension, Las Vegas Police Department Sergeant Ron Yeager's definition of "active duty" involves shifting his bad leg into a more comfortable position. But when he's requested from his mind-numbing desk job to head an undercover auto theft task force, the former narcotics officer determines to prove he's still got the right stuff.That is...until he meets his unlikely team of officers.As Yeager soon finds out, not all the crazies are on the street. An undercover rookie, the audaciously honest Mackenzie "Mack" Hazard sends Yeager's blood pressure skyrocketing by wearing her faith like an ever-present badge. Then there's Jesse Lunden, a maverick undercover officer who refuses to learn anything from an old guy with a cane. Can this tangle of egos and eccentrics be trained into a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine...even while they are being drawn into something much bigger and more dangerous than anyone imagined?

In her trademark style, Rene Gutteridge blends zany, original characters, sincere faith, and surprising plot twists into one hilariously addictive read.

"Snitch is an engaging crime novel, balanced between sheer whimsy and genuine human drama." ....CHRIS WELL, author of Tribulation House
"A wonderful, fully developed ensemble cast makes Snitch an entertaining, engaging read. Rene's flair for a comedic, well-turned phrase shines here. Snitch is worth snatching."
...SUSAN MEISSNER, author of Widows and Orphans

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Christian Fiction Review

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing RANSOMED DREAMS
(Multnomah April 16, 2007) by Amy Wallace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amy Wallace is a member of the CFBA and an avid Blogger. A self-confessed chocoholic, this freelance writer is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and serves as the liaison for the training division of the county police department. Amy is a contributing author of God Answers Moms' Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three daughters.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Drama. Tragedy. Thriller. Romance. Can these four actually go together? Amy Wallace's meaty first book of the Defenders of Hope Series, RANSOMED DREAMS, has successfully united these genres.

It is one of those books that after you read a little and put it down, the desire to see what will happen next is so strong that it will occupy your thoughts, compelling you to make the time to finish. But watch out! It is best consumed where no one will hear you cry because, if you have children, it will hit you like a stab in the gut and wrench you with a twist of the knife.
Although the subject at first depresses, the characters are so real and likable that you need to see what will become of them. This book will NOT bore you.

BACK COVER COPY: Chained To Yesterday
When tragedy struck and Gracie Lang lost everything, her faith crumbled, and nothing but the drive for justice propelled her forward. But after two years of dead-end searching, the truth Gracie seeks is the very thing her stalker will stop at nothing to hide.

Forgiveness Unlocks the Future
An FBI agent in the Crimes Against Children Unit, Steven Kessler spends his days rescuing other people’s children and nights caring for his son. He’s through with God, embittered by his ex-wife who abandoned them both, and definitely doesn’t expect what’s coming next.

The Past Is the Key
A plot to kidnap a British ambassador’s daughter dangerously intersects Steven and Gracie’s worlds–a collision that demands a decision. But are they willing to pay the high ransom required to redeem dreams and reignite hope?

ENDORSEMENTS:
Steeped in police intrigue and rich characters, Ransomed Dreams entertains, educates, and captivates. Amy Wallace is a fresh, vibrant voice in the Christian market ~Mark Mynheir, Homicide Detective and Author of The Void
Ransomed Dreams had me hooked from the start and didn't let go until the deeply satisfying ending. ~Kristin Billerbeck, Author of What a Girl Wants

Monday, May 07, 2007

Finding Joy in the Journey

The colour green has never seemed more beautiful.
Across from our house the freshness of new buds bursting delights the eyes. Perhaps it seems all the more wonderful because it has been a long time coming. We had a cool spring here this year. In fact, only three days ago we had big fluffy flakes piling up on our lawn. It was my birthday, and the first in my memory with snow. But even though the days of April and early May have been cool and the nights almost frosty, you could see the change happening in the trees and bushes all around us. I found myself delighting in it each day as the willows turned red and the grey poplars darkened, moving steadily toward maturity in spite of the weather. Though the days were grey, the sap was stirring. Now that the sun has finally arrived, the trees are bursting with new growth. Their time has arrived.

It makes me think of the long process toward maturity as a writer. The road can seem hard and the desired end result a long time coming. But like the trees around us, there is growth and progress even though the environment doesn’t seem to be cooperative. Rejections give us further resolve to work harder. Friends give us the encouragement that keeps us going when we are discouraged. And those wonderful moments of accomplishment give us a sense of awe and humility as we recognize the hand of God in it all.

God’s hand is moving us along the path toward becoming a mature writer as surely as he is directing the course of the seasons. The blossoming of the trees and flowers is never late, in God’s timing. Neither is the timing of our “arrival” as writers. He is in control. It’s for us to keep moving forward, persevering as we learn the craft, and rejoicing as He uses our gifts to His purposes. And delighting in the journey.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tribulation House by Chris Well

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing TRIBULATION HOUSE (Harvest House 2007) by Chris Well

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Chris Well is a fellow member of the CFBA and founder of its sister organization, FIRST. He is an acclaimed novelist and award–winning magazine editor and has previously written the “laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers” Deliver Us from Evelyn and Forgiving Solomon Long(one of Booklist’s Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005). He has also contributed to 7ball, Infuze, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Chris and his wife live in Tennessee, where he is hard at work on his next novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK:IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD—WHICH COULD BE A PROBLEM...Mark Hogan has it all. The job. The family. A position on the board at church. All he’s missing is a boat. Not just any boat—a 2008 Bayliner 192.When Reverend Daniel Glory announces that the Rapture is taking place on October 17 at 5:51am, Hogan realizes his boat–buying days are numbered. So he does what any man in his situation would do—he borrows a load of money from the mob.


Not that there’s any risk involved: After all, when the Rapture comes, Hogan will be long gone. The mob will never find him.But when Jesus fails to come back on schedule, Mark Hogan finds the mob is in no mood to discuss the finer points of end–times theology...Chris Well’s laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers appeal to the millions of readers who gobble up the rollicking crime fiction of Janet Evanovich and Elmore Leonard.


TRIBULATION HOUSE does not disappoint!