Monday, August 31, 2009
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty 1 Corinthians 1:27
God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. And I am a prime example of that. Do not ever think you're not important enough or smart enough or attractive enough or good enough to be used by God in a powerful way!
I'm copying excerpts below from a recent interview I did on a blog. The questions I was asked were so deep and important that as I read over my answers, I thought that maybe they would be able to help and encourage other people, as well as give you a glimpse into the awesome power of God to change the worst of sinners (That would be me!)
In my last answer, I share the message that I'm trying to get across in all of my books. This is what I wish I could shout from the rooftops until everyone in the world believed it!
Did you ever doubt your calling to write; ever feel like giving up?
At least once or twice a week! I know that may sound strange coming from someone who has 6 books published, but even after God preformed a miracle getting me published, even after receiving the Christy nomination, even after all the books I've written, in my darkest hour when I'm tired and I'm struggling with a scene or I've gotten a bad review, I wonder if I'm truly meant to do this. Surely someone with a better command of the language or a more vivid imagination, or a degree in creative writing should be doing this. Surely someone who's a better Christian or a more benevolent person should be writing these stories, not some overly-sensitive, stressed out, no English degree, worry-wort person like me. But, then God reassures me in some small way, a kind word from a friend, an encouragement from a fellow writer, a good review, and I keep on plugging on, until He tells me otherwise.
Tell us about your awareness of the Lord in your normal writing day.
Each morning before I do anything else, I spend 45 minutes to an hour in prayer and reading my Bible. This is where God gives me my marching orders for the day and where I receive His peace and encouragement. This is the most important part of my day, of anyone's day. If you want to have success in your life, if you want to become a better person and impact the world for God's glory, then model what Jesus did when He was here on earth. He spent time in prayer every morning. Then during the course of my day I practice the awareness of His presence. He sits beside me at my desk and when I need help with anything, whether it be a word or a plot point or a character reaction, I sit back in my chair and ask Him for guidance. Without His help, I doubt I'd be able to write even one book, let alone six. I know to some this may sound crazy, but God's Word says the Lord delights in the details of our lives, that He sticks closer than a brother. So whatever your tasks are during the day, I challenge you to invite the Lord along, talk to Him often, lean on Him for strength, ask His advice. You'll be surprised at how your life will change for the better!
How did you first come to believe in Christ and His promises for your future?
Long story. But the short version is that I spent many years wandering away from God. Although I knew about Him and had learned all the Bible stories in Sunday school, I had a difficult childhood and decided I wanted to pursue my own happiness. I tried all the things this world has to offer in order to find fulfillment, but by the time I was 35, nothing had worked. I was miserable. My second marriage was falling apart, my teenage children were in rebellion, I had a drinking problem and I hated my job. One night in desperation, I dusted off my old Bible and began to read it from cover to cover. Somewhere in Ezekiel in the prophecies about Israel, I realized that what God had spoken of thousands of years ago was coming true in my time. As I sat alone in my bed in the middle of the night, I remember saying out loud "You're real" and instantly I was enveloped by this tingling warmth and a joy that bubbled up from within me. I fell to my knees and gave my life to God. Things didn't improve overnight. My husband and kids were non-believers, but now, 15 years later, my husband (a staunch atheist) and half our kids are committed Christians!
Just briefly (I realize I told you this was the short version) But I need to say that at one point shortly after this, God spoke to me and told me He had something for me to do that would blow my socks off. A year later I got my first book published. God delights in blessing His children!
Would you be able to share with us your darkest hour, and how God brought you through it?
Some of my darkest moments have been dealing with the pain of past regrets and guilt. Because I spent so many years away from God, I did many things--things that make me cringe now when I think of them, things that hurt others and caused pain to people around me, even my own children. My darkest hours have been when those memories resurrect and I fall flat on my face on the floor in utter agony, assailed with the weight of my own guilt. Sometimes I just want to die and I feel so worthless and ashamed. Oddly enough it has been during those dark times that I have felt the Lord's presence even more powerfully than at any other time. It is as if He gently lifts me up, wipes away my tears, shoves away the enemy who accuses me, removes the chains around my heart, and cleanses me utterly and perfectly with His sacrifice and His love. And I am reminded that no matter what we've done, no matter how horrible it may have been, if we turn to Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed and justified (Just as if I never sinned)
What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?
My tag line is "Live in the awareness of your eternal destiny". All my novels are interwoven with a strong spiritual theme but if I had to pick an overall general theme that I hope my readers get, it would be that God loves you more than anything and He wants to be intimately involved in your life, that He is as powerful and miraculous as He has always been, and that the good news of the gospel is that this fallen world with all its suffering and pain and heartache is NOT the whole story. There is another world, more wonderful and real and incredible than this one where there will be no suffering and where you will live forever.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I picked this book up at ICRS so hoping to get a chance to read it, but alas, time does not permit. So, I'm giving it away so someone else can enjoy it. Here's the blurb from the back:
Claire Westin has spent her adult life being a wife, a mother, and college professor. The last thing she expects as she nears retirement is to have a whole new career open before her. But when it happens, how can she possibly turn it down?
Her husband Jim has spent his life growing his chain of grocery stores. He has a grand plan to restore an old Dodge Charger... someday when he retires. Someday soon, he hopes.
If his son, Drew, would only agree to take over the family business. Drew, however, has plans of his own. And Claire is busy climbing the ladder of her new career. She can't bear the thought she might have to say no to the exciting new opportunities she's pursuing and simply sit around and watch Jim tinker on an old car.
The decisions Jim, Claire, and Drew must make come far too quickly as an unexpected crisis forces them to choose their future...now.
On a Someday asks the big questions of life...and answers them with hope.
Just leave a comment about what you find interesting about the book description, and I'll choose a winner next Friday.
Have a blessed and wonderful weekend! Take some time and smell the roses and thank God for all His blessings in your life!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
As I mentioned before, I'm working on a new book series, entitled Surrender to Destiny. It's set in Baltimore during the War of 1812. The first book will be called Surrender the Sea. In each book, the hero and heroine get caught up in one of the famous battles of the war and discover that God has an important task for them to do in order to save their country. Just reading about the war has stirred my patriotism, and I hope these stories will too. The first one is set out on the Atlantic Ocean and involves a merchant ship, privateers, the British Navy and an important sea battle. More on this and the other titles later.
Anyway, this book is due in January and that doesn't give me much time to do the research and the writing, so I'm not going to be posting as much on this blog as before. I'm going to keep doing my Monday devotional post because that is the most important one. Then I plan on posting one more time during the week and have a book giveaway. I have a dozen or so books that I've picked up here and there that I'm never going to have time to read, so why not do the authors and you a favor and give them away to be enjoyed.
So, tune in on Friday for this weeks book giveaway!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Can I admit something? People bug me. People in front of me in line at the store who argue with the sales clerk about every price, people who cut me off in traffic, people who talk too much and listen too little, people who are selfish, people who are late, people who break promises, people who gossip behind my back. Sometimes I ask God how He can truly love mankind when we are all such wretched creatures. But the truth of the matter is He does love us all, from the homeless, smelly man sitting in front of the drug store to the rich woman haggling about the price of toothpaste. He sees something in us that we don't see. Like the pearl in the middle of the clam or the gold embedded in a dirty old rock.
C.S. Lewis put it this way:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, Or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations... There are no Ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
I love this! I want to remember this every minute of every day and every time I interact with another person. Everyone is immortal, everyone is priceless, everyone is an exquisite masterpiece of God's. So, I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm determined to treat every person I meet as if they were a celebrity, and I'm determined to love them 50% more than I would have.
Let's face it, most people have heard the Gospel in this country and if you mention Jesus, walls go up instantly. But I guarantee you that every person you meet is in desperate need of unconditional love. What would happen if every Christian determined to love every person 50% more? I believe we could transform the world for Christ.
Will you join me?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Recently God has been dealing with me on the issue of Love--His love. You see, I don't think any of us really truly understand the nature of God's love, nor the enormity of it. We look at it in terms of all we know, which is human love. (Flawed, fickle, and conditional). I've come to believe that understanding, believing in, and receiving God's love is the answer to all of our problems. It is what we were created for: to love God and receive His love. It is the answer to depression, loneliness, self-worth, insecurities, fears, worries, doubt and a host of other human problems.
But how do we get this knowing God's love from our heads into our hearts where it counts? That's the problem. Many people know about God's love, but they've never experienced it for themselves. So they still worry and fret and get lonely and think they are worthless. How that must break God's heart.
In my recent release, The Blue Enchantress, my heroine, Hope finds herself standing on an auction block on an island in the Caribbean about to be sold as a slave to a local farmer. She has gotten herself into this horrific predicament by her own bad behavior. In other words, she deserves her fate for the things she has done. Yet, along comes the hero, Nathaniel, who has loved Hope from afar for a long time even though she has constantly rejected him.
Sound familiar? It did to me. We are all Hope at one time in our lives. We have all done bad things and deserve our fate: to be sold into slavery. And God, who has loved us from afar since before we were born--a God who we have rejected constantly and turned away from, He sees our predicament and His heart breaks. Like Nathaniel, He runs up to the auction block in a panic and places a bid to free us. The mob haggles. Bets shoot through the air, but God will not give up. though we have turned away from Him, though we have ignored Him, though we have rejected Him, still He persists, until finally the bets are too high and He has only one thing left to give, the life of His one and only beloved Son. He hesitates. His eyes fill with tears at the thought. His heart crumbles in His chest, but then He looks up and sees you. Just you. There's no one else on that auction block. He's not bartering to free a group of people or a church, He bartering to free YOU.
And he shouts out his bid. "My only Son for this one. I'll give you my only Son!"
And you are set free, and you run into His arms.
This is God's love for you and you alone. May you grasp just a bit of it today and hold it near to you, and may it change your life.
And with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation Rev 5:6
Friday, August 14, 2009
As many of you may have noticed, my Legacy of the King's Pirates series is no longer in print. What that means is that you probably won't find any copies in stores anymore. There are a few copies for sale at some of the online stores like Amazon, where you can also pick up used copies as well. When those are gone, that's it. Since this was my very first series that got published and since I adore these stories, I'm saddened by their exit, but that is the way business goes.
Anyway, I want to announce that I'm in the process of putting these books in e-format for the Kindle on Amazon. If you don't know what a Kindle is, just go to Amazon and type it in the search bar. It's a small electronic device onto which you can download tons of books and read them from there. It's a bit pricey but worth it, I think, because you can carry hundreds of books in the palm of your hand.
So far I have The Redemption and The Restitution in Kindle format. To find them, just go to the book page for each book and right below the main description, it says something like 'Kindle Edition'. Then click on that and it will take you to the page where you can download the book. I believe you will need to have a Kindle in hand in order to do this. I'll be working on The Reliance this coming week and that should be available in a couple of weeks.
For all you pirate lovers out there, at some point in the distant future my plans are to have these books republished and to add more books to the series. But we shall see where God leads me.
Hey, it's Friday! Have a great weekend, everyone!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Phoebe! Thanks for entering, everyone! This is a fabulous book that you'll want to add to your To-Be-Read pile.!
On the personal front. We've had great weather here in Northern California. 80's in the day (sometimes it creeps in the 90's) and low 60's at night. The wide temperature swing is due to the lack of humidity in the air. I grew up in South Florida and the temperature rarely fluctuated from day to night. And it's a different kind of heat here without the humidity. It doesn't weigh down on you, it just seems to suck all the moisture out of your body! Anyway, it is a beautiful area and I thank God for allowing me to live in such a mild climate. Personally, however, I'd love to move back southeast closer to the Atlantic ocean. My husband and I are considering buying a condo for vacations in Florida someday.
I'm nearly done with The Raven Saint! I've been working furiously to polish it up to perfection this week and will turn it in Saturday. That's the last I'll see of it until I get the final galleys. Galleys are the final layout of the novel exactly how it will look when it is printed. At that point, I cannot change anything major, only minor things like a word here and there. I am very pleased with the story of Grace, and should you end up reading it, I hope you'll enjoy it too!
Monday, August 10, 2009
I think our world could use a little hope these days, don't you? With all the wars going on and threats of wars, the economic woes, the pandemics, and violence, people are looking for answers. We all need someone or something to rely on.
No matter how independent-minded someone is, deep down, they would have to admit that they are depending on something, whether it be their good looks, personality, financial portfolio, education, a special friend, spouse, parent, sibling, or even a government official. Look at all the people who believe Obama will fix all their problems. When that something or someone comes through for them, they feel happy and at peace. When it doesn't, they get depressed and feel anxious.
Hope is such an important thing to have. Have you ever met anyone without any hope? I mean completely without hope? These are the chronically depressed, the suicidal people, who believe they have no reason to live anymore. I've heard hope described as the Oxygen for the soul or the anchor for the soul. In order to function, we humans need to put our hope in something. But ultimately anything and anyone in this world WILL let you down. It is inevitable. When that happens, people either become seriously depressed or they find something or someone else to hope in.
God's word has much to say about hope. But for hope to be true hope and for it to serve it's purpose in our hearts, our hope must be in someone who will never let us down, someone who will come through for us 100% of the time, Forever. That means that this person must be incapable of lying or going back on a promise or forgetting about us. This must be a person who is completely Faithful! Guess what, we are in luck, because such a being exists, and it is God.
He can never tell a lie. (Numbers 23:19)
He cannot go back on a promise. (Isaiah 55:11)
He will never forget you or leave you. (Hebrews 13:5)
He wants only the best for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He loves you as a Father loves an only child. (1 John 3:1)
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame Psalm 25:3
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me Micah 7:7
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope Romans 15:4
God wants you to have Hope. He knows how important it is. So, whatever you're facing today, speak to God about it., ask Him to show His faithfulness through His word and to give you hope in your heart. God will come through for you. (It may not be in the time or the way you asked him to, but He will!) He can't do anything less. Did you hear that? He CANNOT do anything less because then He wouldn't be God. So, stop wallowing in the pond and start soaring with the eagles!
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Friday, August 7, 2009
Sugar and Grits! Thanks to everyone who entered. If you haven't read any of Mary Connealy's books, I encourage you to start. Her stories are very funny and heart-warming.
Next Wednesday, I'll draw a winner for Rita Gerlach's book, Surrender the Wind, so you can still enter that contest if you'd like.
And just a bit of news about my books. I've just been contracted for another 3 book series set in Baltimore during the War of 1812!!! I've very excited about this series and will be traveling to Baltimore sometime next month to do some research. More on this later.
Have a restful, blessed weekend, everyone!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Julie (sweetpea) !!! This has been a lot of fun for me. I hope you've enjoyed The Blue Enchantress month. Thank you all so much for your gracious comments and for entering my contests! I truly wish I could give all of you a sea-faring basket and a free book. And I mean that.
If you get a chance to pick up and read my new release, I'd love to know your thoughts.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
And win a free book too!
I have the privilege to introduce to you today, not only a good friend of mine, but an excellent new writer on the Christian Historical Romance scene, Rita Gerlach!
Here's a bit about the story to wet your appetites:
A patriot of the American Revolution struggles with his loyalty to his country when he inherits his grandfather's estate in faraway England. Upon his arrival in Devonshire, he meets and falls in love with Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Amid the joys of new love, Seth and Juleah face tragedy and trial. A nephew is believed dead. A woman is found murdered in the woods. And most heartbreaking of all, Seth is told Juleah has perished in a fire. What is the truth behind these tragedies? One man holds the answer --- one that despises his American enemy for gaining the two things he wanted most --- Ten Width Manor and the woman he desired.
And my review:
Your heart will soar from the shores of America to the lush green hills of England and then plunge into despair as the characters you’ve grown to love face a cruel and bitter enemy, kidnappings, murders, and deep sorrows. But do not despair, God’s justice and true love prevail in the end. Ms. Gerlach’s historical research is evident throughout the story, and her attention to detail and literary descriptions of scenes placed me right in the middle of the action, whether in England or on a ship crossing the Atlantic or in America. I could smell the flowers, the salt in the sea, feel the wind, and hear the sounds of birds, the clank of wagons, and the lap of waves. Though the story starts out a tad slow, your perseverance will be rewarded with an action-packed adventure that will keep you up in the late hours of the night. A thoroughly enjoyable story. I look forward to reading more from Rita Gerlach.
Now, take a moment to meet Rita!
Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. She has published three historical romance set in Virginia and England, is due to be released from Abingdon Press in August, and is editor of Stepping Stones Magazine, an online website focused on marketing, and the promotion of writers. Her fourth book Surrender the Wind, an inspirational 2009.
I asked Rita to tell us what she has learned or how she has grown through the process of publication.:
When everything is said and done, there is just me and my Lord. His love is the cohesive bond that helps us face adversity. I learned while writing Surrender the Wind that when we surrender all to our Creator the winds that shove and batter us may do so for a time, but He is there to take the brunt of it and bring us through the most difficult, heartbreaking moments of our lives. It caused me to ponder what are the most important things in life. Even having a book published fades in significance in light of eternity.
Amen, Rita. I couldn't have said it better!
You can find out more about Rita and her books at : Visit her website at http://ritagerlach.com
And please leave a comment and I'll enter your name in a drawing on the 14th for a free copy of Surrender the Wind!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Don't know what to do? Don't know which way to turn? And you've been praying and praying and so far, you haven't heard anything from God? I meet countless people in this predicament. They are confused, stressed, and burdened with the fear of making the wrong choice. What they need is wisdom. But not just any wisdom.
The Bible has much to say about wisdom. But what exactly is wisdom?
Here's what the dictionary says: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
In other words, wisdom is knowing what is the right choice to make! But how can we get this wisdom? Who has it? your friends? family? a trusted counselor, a pastor? If I were you, I would seek wisdom from the one Being in all the universe who knows all things actual and possible in the past, present, and future. Wouldn't someone with that kind of knowledge know exactly what to do? Why, then do we try to get advice from everyone around us before we end up asking God?
I believe it's because we aren't sure we will hear from Him. We aren't positive He will answer. We are afraid of the silence, afraid to find out maybe God doesn't care. In effect, it stems from unbelief. But the Bible is full of promises for those who seek direction. Here are a few:
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:23-24
We are told in Psalm 111 that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So how do we get wisdom? We must fear God (which essentially means put Him first in our life), we must trust Him, we must lean on Him, and finally, We must ask for wisdom!
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:4-6
I used to think this meant that if I asked for wisdom, but had just a tiny doubt that God would give it to me, then I wouldn't get it. This is lie from Satan. What this passage really means is that once we ask for God's wisdom, we must be willing to completely surrender to His wisdom when He gives it. In other words, we must obey God regardless of whether we like His answer. God knows your heart and He's not going to bother answering you if He knows already that you won't be obedient. So, make sure your heart is completely submitted to His will before you ask Him for wisdom!
And remember His will is always best in the long run!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
IS MEZ!! I put all your names in a large bucket last night and had my husband draw one. I'm so honored that all of you took the time to enter! And remember, I'm still going to draw a name for one last free copy of The Blue Enchantress next Wednesday.
It's been a fun month for me sharing with you my thoughts on The Blue Enchantress. Today is the official release date and my prayer is that the story will reach many people, men and women, and draw them closer to the only source of true beauty and joy, God Almighty.