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MUSIC THAT LIFTS THE SOUL

Posted by on Apr 14, 2019 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 1 comment

There is something about music that draws us closer to God. So many hymns, as well as more contemporary pieces, touch my heart and intensify times of worship.

To celebrate Holy Week last year, I gathered an eclectic selection of music to listen to throughout the week, picking out special selections for each day. I had such fun doing this that I shared the links on my Facebook page. I share it now hoping it will bring you joy and draw you closer to Jesus this week.

Palm Sunday ~ All Glory, Laud and Honour  ~  King’s College Cambridge

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHN8UAk6Yow

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

http://praiseandworshiplyricsandchords.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-redeemer-lives-mullen-music-and.html

Monday ~ In Heavens Eyes ~ Sandi Patti

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=389e0aLJJzU

Shine Jesus Shine by Hillsong (with Lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OIwSQmyCg4

Tuesday ~I Can Only Imagine  ~ Bart Millard Mercy Me

https://www.facebook.com/icanonlyimaginemovie/videos/10156154869184810/

The Prayer ~ Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb8Z_6HVutk

Wednesday ~ The Lord of sea and sky  ~ National Youth Choir of Scotland-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcL9S5a3weU

I’ve Just Seen Jesus  ~ Sandi Patti Larnell Harris

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yLgtd_kkxw

Thursday ~  For Zions Sake ~  Marty Goetz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtKBZRJcEVM

Mary Did You Know 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPsgIhlYQmM

Friday ~Via Dolorosa  ~ Sandi Patti

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7asEdmZsSPo

The Lords Prayer sung by Andrea Bocelli

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50dLkv7v2TQ

Saturday ~

Jesus through the Bible !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upyJ6smkv9g&feature=youtu.be

Messiah Hallelujah Choir ~Naval Academy Glee Club

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTWQnsYARm8

Sunday ~ Crown Him With Many Crowns  ~ Sandi Patti

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLXRU1Vdauw

He’s Alive  ~  Dolly Parton

https://www.facebook.com/DollyParton/videos/10153640169959755/

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15dmjnB8FZU

 

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“Therefore encourage one another …

Posted by on Jan 17, 2019 in Blog, Book Reviews, Books, Uncategorized | 6 comments

and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Fiction writers typically write in isolation. Well, except for the company they keep with their characters. We create, edit, and submit our stories to agents and publishers. We wait and hope someone else will see value in our work.

Authors are often filled with self-doubt.

If the story is published, then we spend time, effort, and money to publicize our work. We pursue a myriad of different ways to get the word out whether it’s through social media, advertising, contests, donations, articles, etc.

Sometimes … well, a lot of the time, it feels like self-promotion, which can be a real struggle for an introvert. So many authors are introverts.

Promoting our stories is essential, not only because we want to sell books, but others like agents and publishers have also invested time, effort, and capital in them.

 I’ll confess before I wrote books, I never submitted book reviews. I do now and I’m so thankful when a reader takes the time to write a review of one of my stories. It is a valuable and important way to bring attention to them.

            Did I mention that authors are often filled with self-doubt?

I’ve been finishing the third story in a series, one that has been a struggle but very close to my heart. I wonder—what if no one wants to publish it … or read it?  

 Often when I’m in the midst of wondering if this call to write is real, someone tells me how much they liked my stories. I think God prompts people to encourage others at just the right time in just the right way.

Yesterday, each of my books received unexpected words of praise from two different sources, and it meant the world to me.

In the morning, someone said they really enjoyed A Heart For Freedom and they were looking forward to reading the next book.

In the afternoon, I read this Amazon review about A Heart Set Free.

“If you enjoyed Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly, you will love A Heart Set Free. It is a story of desperation, hope, love, and forgiveness. I found myself totally enthralled by this story. The characters came to life off the pages and the descriptions had me visualizing each and every scene. This could totally be a movie. I can’t wait to begin reading book 2 in the series, A Heart for Freedom. I highly recommend this book.”

My husband makes beautiful musical instruments. I have friends and family who are amazing artists, fine writers, great bloggers, and others have exceptional gifts in the arts, academia, and even a beautiful ballerina. They all share their gifts with others.

Encouragement means so much. Perhaps someone you know needs cheering on. If you’re prompted, give them that gift. It might be just the moment they need it most.

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DISTRACTIONS AND OTHER NEWS

Posted by on Jul 27, 2018 in Blog, Books, Family, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Dictionary.com defines Distraction as that which distracts, divides the attention, or prevents concentration: that which amuses, entertains, or diverts; amusement; entertainment: and division or disorder caused by dissension; tumult.

I’ve been living with distractions for a few weeks.

~  Laddie, West Highland White Terrier joined our family at the end of June. He amuses, entertains, and definitely diverts our attention, making getting much-done very challenging. We love the wee pup, and we are all in the process of “being trained”.

~  A bad bout of lower back and leg pain has distracted and prevented my concentration, along with not being able to sit at my desk or anyplace else. Fortunately, it is finally diagnosed and I’m being treated with meds and the proper physical therapy so it should improve … soon, I hope.

~  My website was down for nearly three weeks causing some division and disorder by dissension and tumult. I’m grateful to now have an up-and-running website.

The answer to all of the above is patience and perseverance.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”  Romans 5:3-4

 

I’m eager to share some news: A Heart Set Free was beautifully narrated by Cecily White. Cecily did a wonderful job and didn’t let the challenge of some of the characters’ Scottish dialects slow her down. More on that in a future post.

 

In a little over three months – on October 1, 2018, A Heart For Freedom releases. This is the sequel to Selah Award Winner A Heart Set Free. It is is a stand-alone book that picks up the Stewarts’ five years later, in 1775 when the American Revolution begins. Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

He longs for freedom, but he won’t risk those he loves.

Matthew Stewart wants only to farm, manage his inn, and protect his family. But tension between the Loyalists and Patriots is mounting. When he’s asked to help the Patriots and assured his family will be safe, he agrees.

She’s seen the cost of fighting England, and she wants no part of it.

In Scotland, Heather Stewart witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. She wants only to avoid war and protect the family and peace she finally found in Virginia. But the war drums can be heard even from home in the countryside, and she has no power to stop the approaching danger.

The consequences are deadly.

When Matthew leaves for a short journey and doesn’t return, Heather faces the biggest trial of her life. Will she give up hope of seeing him again? Will he survive the trials and make his way home? What will be the consequences of his heart for freedom?

A Heart For Freedom is available for pre-order on Amazon. I hope you will enjoy this story and consider writing a review.

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A WRITER’S WOES

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Blog, Commentary, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Writing can be a very isolating and introspective pursuit.  Here are some thoughts that plague writers:

~ What if I can’t find an agent who wants to represent my work. If I do find one, will we be a good fit?

~ What if I can’t find a publisher who wants my manuscript?

~ With all the changes in the publishing industry and the decline in bookstores, it’s getting so much harder to get published.

~ There are so many other good writers out there, what makes me think my story will shine?

~ Facebook is a great place to connect with other writers and to applaud their successes. Some are getting contracts, others are elated about writing 2000 or 4000 words that day, all certainly praiseworthy. But some of us groan because it’s a struggle to get 300 words written in a day.

~ For those of us who rely heavily on research to write stories, we anguish in trying to get every detail right. But we love the research part of it, sometimes so much that we have a hard time getting back to writing the story. See how conflicted we are?

 ~ Okay, got the book published. What if the readers don’t like it? What if the publisher we prayed would say yes, is disappointed in sales and having second thoughts? What if they don’t want my next book?

~ And then there is the whole platform and marketing aspect. Many writers are introverts, so the prospect of self-promotion is daunting. Authors must be on all sorts of social media, have their own websites, hopefully, be featured on other’s websites or blogs, have book signings if possible, give talks; all which require a different skillset than making up stories. Marketing takes a lot of time.

~ Are we nuts?  Neurosis: a relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.

But then:

I’m reminded that in writing inspirational fiction we don’t just write for the readers who hopefully like our stories, we write primarily for an audience of One.

~ Some of us believe we are called to write as a means of sharing our faith. Inspirational authors want to encourage and edify the reader as much as entertain them.  

~ We ask the Lord to direct us in every aspect of our vocation from the creation of the stories and their themes to opening the doors that He wants us to go through. We ask for patience needed to wait on His timing, which is typically not our own.

~ We aren’t to compare ourselves to others, just do the work we’ve been given to do, and do it with a grateful heart. Now I need to get back to writing that story. 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1Peter 4:10   

 

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Interview with Cindy Huff, author of Secrets & Charades

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Please tell us something about yourself, Cindy. Secrets & Charades is your debut novel. Tell us a bit about your writing journey?

 Secrets & Charades took ten years to get published. I’ve been writing off and on since high school. Through those decades I’ve been published in a variety of periodicals and when my oldest was small I wrote scripts for Children’s Bible Hour and short stories for Bread for Children magazine. As they grew, and our life changed so did my writing projects. I was a guest columnist for our local paper while I was homeschooling my children. For several years I quit writing and when God impressed me to pick it up again novel writing became the focus. Secrets & Charades went through several rewrites as I learn the craft of novel writing. It was originally over 100,000 words. Many scenes were deleted never to see the light of day. When I was about to call it a great learning project and start something new I won the Editor’s Choice Award which entitled me professional edits that lead to a contract with LPC publishers. During the time I waited for my manuscript to find a home I did all I could to build a platform (even a small one) by attending conferences, creating a blog and joining Word Weavers. I subscribe to several writing blogs that have helped me grasp so many nuances of the fiction writing life. The people I’ve meant helped me get endorsements for S & C and opened doors for interviews.

Please share something about Secrets & Charades.

Dr. Evangeline Olson is the heroine of Secrets & Charades. But when she goes west as a mail order Bride she surprises her future husband with the truth that she is a doctor.  Jake thought he’d been writing Evangeline for a year only to discover her niece had been writing him as Evangeline. Throughout the course of the story, more secrets are revealed surrounding the Double M and the town of Charleton. Evangeline’s past influences her to become a doctor. Experiences in her life since the Civil War have made her a stronger less fragile woman than the average female of the 1800s. Jake’s Civil War service and the nightmares that accompanied him back home to Texas make him determined to make life easier for those he loves. I’ve come to know women who struggle with dark pasts and men with PTSD. I created my story to speak to their hearts. I wanted to remind them their past does not have to define them.  Placing their problems in a 1870s setting rather than modern day allows the reader to be distant but still relate.

Historical stories require extensive research. How do you go about researching your stories?

 I love the library. And I have a friend who is a history buff who lent me a pile of books. I purchased a few used books mostly diaries and memoirs that help me understand women’s mindsets during the mid-1800s and men dealing with what was then called soldier’s heart. Evangeline’s career and her need to go west as a mail-order bride came out of all that research. Some of the minor characters were based on information gleaned from all my research.

What drew you to the period and setting for the story?

 I love American History. After the Civil War, our country changed geographically, politically and scientifically. After the war there were fewer single men on the east coast and while the west lacked women. Mail order brides became the solution. Another change, women were seeking more education and the medical field was growing. Women’s suffrage was coming into its own. My setting is purely fictitious. But the storyline is peppered with real-life events from the time-period.

Is there a message or a spiritual theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

Ecclesiastes 3:7 He makes all things beautiful in His time. Rough times can lead to opportunities and self-discovery that bring peace and contentment we might never find without them.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Secrets & Charades?

Evangeline was fearless and determined. I find myself not giving up as easily after spending months in her head.  I found God’s promises are always faithful. He helped me craft the story and in His time, I received a contract and holding the book in my hand is a constant reminder that His time is always perfect.

Can you tell us anything about any other books being released and/or your current work in process?

 My contemporary Romance New Duet comes out May 2018, published by Clean Reads. I got the idea while standing on the podium as part of the worship team. A what-if moment took off from there. The setting is Aurora, Illinois where I’ve lived for over 40 years.  I’m excited and blessed to share Isabella and Dan’s story. She’s a widow from an abusive relationship and he’s a wounded warrior trying hard to be normal after losing a leg.

I’m also editing a sequel to Secrets & Charades and starting a third story in the same setting. My mind is full of several other stories both historical and contemporary. We will see which ones make it on paper and between book covers.

Thank you so much, Cindy, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy Secrets & Charades.

Janet, I am delighted to be here and look forward to making some new friends amongst your followers.

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Charades-Cindy-Ervin-Huff

 Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-charades-cindy-ervin-huff/1126086057?ean=9781946016140

LPC: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/secrets-charades/

What are your social media sites?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/author.huff11/about/?ref=page_internal and

         www.facebook.com/cindyehuff,

Twitter: @CindyErvinHuff,

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-huff

Blog: www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Huff/e/B01N9UAOZA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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A Visit With Carol Stratton, Author of Lake Surrender

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 6 comments

When I met Carol this past May at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference it was like meeting an old friend. We share the same publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Some years back I was intrigued when I found an advertisement for Changing-Zip-Codes, Carol’s devotional for folks who move often. Having moved many times myself, I thought her book would be an encouragement for my daughter-in-law, now living the life of a career Navy wife. As Carol and I visited at the conference, we discovered that we both lived in adjoining towns in the San Francisco Bay area during our teens in the sixties.  

Tell us a little about yourself, Carol.

Currently, I live in North Carolina with my husband and literary muse, John. We are the proud grandparents of eight grandkids.

I grew up in Palo Alto, in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three siblings where I learned how to sneak out of chores and fight to the death to see my favorite television program (only one television). I lived in Mexico City when I was thirteen as an exchange student and learned Spanish which now is very rusty but it taught me to be independent and to appreciate other cultures. In college, in Fresno, I majored in English until the head of the department suggested, on my papers, that I might want to find another major. (Never listen to the experts).

After college, I lived in New Zeeland for about four months while attending Capernwray Bible School in, Auckland. It truly is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

How and when did you begin to write? 

I had my first essay published in sixth grade in our town newspaper in a column called, Youth Said It, in the Palo Alto Times. Later, I got the bug and started sending things out to women’s magazines with no success. But it wasn’t until my four children were almost out of the house that I decided to revisit my desire to write. My first big article was published in a little paper in Zionsville, Indiana and described my view of 9/11. I’ve now written over five hundred articles.

Can you give our readers a short description of Lake Surrender?

My first novel is about a career editor who loses her marriage, house, and job. As a single parent of a precocious pre-teen and an autistic son, she’s forced to find a more inexpensive place to live instead of the San Francisco Bay Area. She ends up in Northern Michigan working as a cook at a dilapidated Christian camp. She can’t cook and right-wing religious types really irritate her. But God woes her as she discovers her journey ends where her life begins. I really put this girl through the wringer!

What led you to write Lake Surrender?

Of all random and curious things, I have a degree in Recreation Therapy. I found I love working with all kinds of disabled children. A few years ago I was a teacher’s aide in an autistic classroom and saw the rewards of being able to enter their private worlds. I also observed the difficulties these parents face every day.

What are you working on now?

I have just finished Dread of Winter, a sequel to Lake Surrender. It’s a darker story where my heroine, Ally, stumbles into a crime while working at her new job as a reporter.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I have found writing to be humbling. It took me twelve years to get my first book, a devotional, published, and I still have a novel with thirty-three rejections! But here’s what I learned along the way.

  • First, realize that you aren’t your best editor. Don’t think you’ve arrived after one or two drafts. Have a trusted, objective person (or two or three) give you feedback. Better still, have a paid edit of your book.

 

  • Second, share your ideas in a blog or newsletter. Yes, share them for FREE. All writing that points to truth is precious to God whether it be a best seller or an encouraging email to a friend. It’s exciting to have my novel out there but I’ve enjoyed the journey and especially the fellowship of other writers.

 

  • Third, support other writers. Write reviews of books you love, send encouraging emails and show up at FB book launch parties. Writing in the Christian realm is all about networking… just like the local church should be.

 

I found Lake Surrender to be a story of reality, resilience, renewal, and redemption. Carol has created a tender story that doesn’t ever disappoint. Thank you so much, Carol for being my guest.

How can readers find out more about you and your work?

I have a blog on my website, carolgstratton.com. My claim to fame is I’ve moved 22 times and lived to write about it. I have a devotional for movers: https://www.amazon.com/Changing-Zip-Codes-Christian-Community-ebook/dp/B01IFSFACG/

And of course, Lake Surrender: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Surrender-journey-where-begins-ebook/dp/B01DCJBFMM

I’m on Facebook: Carol Grace Stratton (Author page), Carol Stratton, and Changing Zip Codes. Or Twitter: @Carolgstratton. I’d love to hear from any of you.

Carol’s motto:

We are only a short link to eternity during our time on earth

but with Christ, it can be a strong link.

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