Monday, July 25, 2016

Writing on the Wall

Carol Slama is an acclaimed writer and speaker, and calls Alaska home even though she’s also lived in Hawaii. Every winter when Anchorage temps drop below zero, Carol questions her decision to leave the tropics.  Her first suspense novel, Shroud Of Silence, was published by Bethany House Publishers.

Carol shares a touching story:

Our five-year-old son Max hurried downstairs for breakfast still in his pyjamas. Max had just finished his first week of kindergarten and he was excited to learn to read.
“Mom,” Max said, his blond hair spiked in all directions as he slid into a chair in the kitchen nook, “God’s writing me something.”
“What do you mean?” I said, setting the waffles and syrup on the table.
“At night, sometimes, he writes on the wall.”
“There’s writing on your wall?” I was quick to ask.
“No. Not now. You can only see it at night and I can’t read the long words.”
The earnest look on his face told me he was serious. “If it happens again, do you want me to read it for you?” I asked.
Max nodded vigorously.
Three-year-old Grant climbed onto his chair and folded his hands, eager to eat. “Let’s pray,” he announced. He and Max shared a bedroom and they were best buddies.
Prayer said, and youngest son eating, I turned back to Max. “Okay, when you see more words, call for me and I’ll come to your room.”
Worry lines now gone from his face, Max hiked up the sleeves on his Batman pajamas, stabbed a waffle and grabbed the now sticky syrup bottle his brother had abandoned.
That evening I was on alert, but no little voice called out. The next morning I asked Max if any words had appeared. “No,” he yelled over the noise of Grant pushing his corn popper toy. “He didn’t write last night.”
I gave him a hopeful nod, not wanting to discourage.  After a difficult week of dealing with teen moms in the ministry I led, I was waiting on God, too. How was I to help these young unwed mothers understand that the love they looked for wasn’t in a physical relationship but in a relationship with their creator? If only God could “write on their wall” that life was found only in him.
Three nights later, just before I drifted off to sleep, I heard a loud whisper coming from the boys’ room. It was Max. “Mom! He’s writing.”
I woke my husband and we hurried down the hall. My heart raced.
Max pointed and there, in a long, bright four-inch wide line was what looked like letters being written on the textured wall. I tried to make out words, letters. Then, I breathed.
“Max, honey, you know what, that’s the moonlight coming in under the window blinds and see, the tree branches are moving so it looks like writing.”
“Oh,” he said, disappointed. “So God wasn’t writing to me.”
My heart went out to him and I held him tight. He’d been so excited to hear from God—a message just for him. “Max, who made the moon and the trees?”
“God.”
“Right. And what he created made you think of him. I can just see him smiling, thrilled that your first thought was of him.”
Max lifted his face and nodded.
“Let’s see, how long did we wait to see this on the wall?”
“A long time,” Max said.
“Yes, a few days. But we don’t have to wait to hear from God.” I picked up the children’s Bible on the floor next to his bed. “We can read what he wrote us and talk to him anytime.”
And right then and there, we did just that. Two blond-haired boys, my husband and I—all reading a message that God wrote… just for Max, just for us, just for you.

What a wonderful opportunity we have as writers. Writing stories that will touch hearts enough to cause readers to think of spiritual things. And we can do it through the lives of our characters.

Australian author, Rita Stella Galieh is now finalizing editing on  her new novel set in colonial Malaya & London in the Victorian Era.

Miss Kate's Great Expectations.  

www.ritastellapress.com 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week

Monday

Rita Galieh: Writing On The Wall

Tuesday

Kara Isaac

Wednesday

Patricia Beal: Christian Fiction and Foreign Locations: Is the Issue Behind Us?

Thursday

Janice Dick: Time Out...for Reading

Friday Devotion

Daniella Ojo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

News





Whispers of Love, a contemporary romance box set, debuted recently at #79 on the USA Today best-sellers list. ICFW blog members Marion Ueckermann and Valerie Comer, as well as frequent guest blogger Autumn Macarthur, are among the twelve authors who have worked hard for this honor. 

Congratulations, ladies! We're thrilled to see international Christian fiction on the USA Today best-seller list!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Secrets of Sunbeams, Book 1 in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in July 2016.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in Scotland, Glasglow Grace, in the Passport to Romance series, will be a July 2016 release from The Pelican Book Group. 

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in South Africa, The Other You, will release independently in July 2016.

The Other You by Marion Ueckermann and Secrets of Sunbeams by Valerie Comer will be available in the Whispers of Love contemporary romance box set, releasing independently in July 2016.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Butterflies on Breezes, Book 2 in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in August 2016.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, More Than a Tiara, Book 1 in the Christmas in Montana Romance series, releases independently in September 2016. More Than a Tiara was formerly part of Snowflake Tiara.

Book 2 in Sandra Orchard’s Serena Jones Mysteries series set in St. Louis, USA, Another Day, Another Dali, will be an October 2016 release from Revell Publishing.

Kara Isaac's contemporary romantic comedy set in England, Can't Help Falling, will be an October 2016 release from Howard Books.

Patricia Beal's debut contemporary woen’s fiction set in Germany and in the United States, A Season to Dance, will be a May 2017 release from Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

To find more International Christian Fiction books, please visit our 2013 - 2016 Book Releases page and Backlist Titles.

Friday, July 22, 2016

My Problem with Prayer

I’ve a problem with prayer Lord. 

Not with the fact of prayer. Rather it is with the way I tend to pray. Without wanting to be critical Lord, I also have a problem with the way many others express it too. I read such passages as Romans 15:30-32 and then see its outworking as being different to what was asked. ‘I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.

In that passage Paul asks his readers to join him in his struggles. They can do this through prayer. I’m assuming that such co-strugglers have him on their prayer list and know about his needs. He does go on to list a couple of the problems which he sees looming up. The Greek word for ‘struggle’ comes from a word describing a fight witnessed in the public games. It is an engagement in conflict. Paul wants his readers to join him in a fight. He invites them to contend with the forces opposing the Gospel and the glory of Jesus. In this case, it is centred in the ministry of Paul.

Would I sign up to that?

My prayers seem to belong to the lounge room, not the fighting arena.

My concern stems from the fact that Paul wasn’t saved from the Jewish authority’s entrapment. (Acts 21:27- 26:32) They got him on trumped up charges. He got out of these by appealing to Caesar. What went wrong with prayer?
    

I’ve prayed for a variety of matters. Some answered, quite a few not. I’ve heard some rather strong prayer requests, especially for healing, which go unresolved. (We are clever in explaining that away) What I do see in Paul’s journey to Jerusalem is that you were answering his and their prayers - but he wasn’t listening. Agabus told him what waited if he, Paul, went to Jerusalem. The apostle was adamant, willing to suffer and die for the cause. Commendable it may be but was it your first choice for him? You over ruled so as to fulfil your Word to him about talking the gospel to kings, including Caesar. On the matter of his specific request it was not answered. Why? It appears that his determination to be in Jerusalem made him deaf to the way you were answering his prayer requests.
        

I stand guilty Lord of doing the same thing. I confess however that in your mercy you over-ruled the ‘deafness’ and its consequences. You were able to fulfil your purposes another way. I am so grateful for your foreknowledge and faithfulness.
         

That’s my problem Lord. I pray and then proceed to do my interpretation of how you will answer the prayer. Forgive me is my plea. Make me more attentive and sensitive to your promptings

            Prayer is essential I know, otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked us to pray.

            Therefore Lord, teach me to pray.’

            Prayer is more than a lounge room activity. It’s made for the arena.

            Therefore Lord, train me in prayer.

            Prayer is on behalf of others, more than on myself.

            Therefore Lord, show me those for whom you want me to pray.

            Prayer is allowing me the privilege of participation in the ministry of another.

Therefore Lord, I thank you for prayer.



©Ray Hawkins 2016.
check Ray's blogsite for his bio and books etc. http://rayhawkinsauthor.blogspot.com.au



Thursday, July 21, 2016

When Good News Comes

Sometimes this writing gig is hard work, isn't it? It's hard work if you're a hobbyist, it's hard work if you're doing it around your regular day job, and it's hard work if it is your day job. There are no guarantees. Some days and weeks go by swimmingly, and other times sales tank, and you have no idea why.

I've had a season of lower sales and, I'll admit it, discouragement. Not discouragement to the point of giving up, but definitely to the point of wondering if it really was all going to pay off in the end. 2015 was a great year. I wrote and released seven titles (five of them novellas) and made a decent income.


But 2016 has been slow out of the gate for me. I released one book in February, wrapping up my Farm Fresh Romance series, and wrote the first two in my new Urban Farm Fresh Romance series. Due to putting the first into a multi-author box set — I've blogged about those here at ICFW before — that didn't release until the end of June, I had a long gap in my publishing schedule: four months! I know. It seems crazy. But in the current digital publishing realm, four months is a long time without a new release.

The timing of the box set, Whispers of Love, was such that I very nearly chose not to participate. I'd intended to release Secrets of Sunbeams in May, and all the files were ready to go. But something special just might happen, and I wanted to be on board, just in case.


Meanwhile, I discovered that Dandelions for Dinner, the fourth Farm Fresh Romance had finaled in the Word Awards (The Word Guild is a Canadian organization for Christian authors). On June 24 I got a text from Janet Sketchley from the Word Award Gala in Toronto saying my title was the winner in the contemporary category! And there was much rejoicing in the Comer household. (Thanks, Janet, for reading my acceptance speech!)

But as cool as that win was — and I'm not downplaying it at all — my eyes were nervously fixed on June 28 and the release of the Whispers of Love box set. We 12 authors had set an ambitious goal: the USA Today best-sellers list, which consists of the top 150 books per week, counted by number of sales across multiple platforms.

There were many unknowns. How many sales would it take this particular week to break into the top 150? As you can imagine, that number varies depending on what else is launching and which older titles are hot. There's nothing controllable about either! Still, we agreed that the more pre-orders we had going into release week, the better our chances would be.

The second question we had is one all authors have. How can we reach beyond our known readers to find new ones that would like us if they only were aware we and our books existed? We had a great start to our 90-day pre-order period. If only we could keep up that momentum, we'd surely land a good spot. But campaigns, like books and authors, tend toward saggy middles. Once our keen fans and followers had reserved their sets, reality set in and the hard work began.

We blogged and guest blogged. We bought Facebook ads. We tweeted. We shared memes in Facebook groups and on our pages. We bought ads on various promotional sites. We shared excerpts. We had a Facebook party.

Frankly, our author friends were beginning to think the set should be named Shouts of Annoyance instead of Whispers of Love.

At the end of the week, we gathered in our corner and waited, (almost) silently. No longer did we wonder what day the USA Today list updated. We knew. Now we wondered what hour. What minute. And we hoped against hope that we'd find ourselves there, somewhere above #150, hanging on by our fingertips.

Instead, God blessed us with a solid landing at #79. All those pre-orders? Enough. All that hustling? Enough. All those prayers? Enough.

Now that the fever pitch is wearing off two weeks later, our author friends are starting to speak to us again. They've forgiven us. They're even happy for us, because a win for twelve indie authors is a win for all authors and readers alike.

Thank you, Jesus. May this bring glory to your name.



Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily-ever-afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner. She has been called “a stellar storyteller” as she injects experience laced with humor into her green clean romances. Visit her at ValerieComer.com.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Writing About Mental Illness -- by Christine Lindsay

I'm not much interested in reading novels that weigh me down with the darkness of mental illness. Yet, it's an issue that's risen it's confusing head in my own family. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I steer away from stories that delve deeply into the shadows of depression.

I don't like going there. It's all just too dark.

I've had to live with the affects of emotional and mental illness in many of the people I love. My own precious daughter suffers with severe depression. If it weren't for heavy duty medications from her psychiatrist, she would be unable to function in our fast-as-lighting world today. 

My mother also struggled with depression and was even misdiagnosed by her doctor and prescribed medications that actually worsened her condition. One uncle died from an overdoes of medications, and a distant cousin committed suicide.

Horrible stuff. Horrible memories I don't wish to be reminded of.

Unless, it's to share a ray of hope.

Mental illness can be defeated. People can be set free.

My daughter modeling for the
front of one of my books.
I saw this in both my mother and my daughter. Today they are vibrant women living their lives and making a contribution to the world. 

So, I suppose it was inevitable that I would one day write a novel that touches on mental illness. In this case I put what we call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome into one of my secondary characters. Just because they didn't label it that back in 1913 doesn't mean they didn't experience it.

But my latest book also dealt with a woman who suffers from addiction to a drug prescribed by her doctor. In this case, laudanum. I understood this too well as I watched my own mother slowly weaned off the wrong medication prescribed by her over-worked doctor.

Sofi's Bridge deals with these dark and difficult subjects, but I think the secret is in keeping this topic in small doses for the reader. The last thing the reader needs is pages and pages of dark depression. 

My advice in writing dark subjects such as depression and mental illness is to keep it short. Only place your reader in the mind of that tortured character for short periods of time, then whisk the reader out as quickly as possible to the point of view of a character that is propelled by hope.

We can't and shouldn't avoid stories about depression and mental illness, but we can write these stories in such a way as to give the reader hope for the people they love who struggle with these issues. 
My mum on her way to a
friend's birthday party.

That's the whole purpose behind Sofi's Bridge. I saw healing in my family from this disease, and bright hope for my loved ones' tomorrows.  

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction with complex emotional and psychological truth, who always promises a happy ending. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.

Christine’s Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming and newest release Sofi’s Bridge.
A busy writer and speaker, Christine, and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. Coming August 2016 is the release of her non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.

Please drop by Christine’s website www.ChristineLindsay.org or follow her on Amazon on Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and  Goodreads



Monday, July 18, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway!


Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility Colouring & Activity Book featuring Illustrations from 1896

is published!




So yes, I am celebrating!!!

A New Book (pre-orders now, on sale August 1st),
my Birthday in a few days,
our Wedding Anniversary at the end of the month,
our Baby Girl's Second Birthday just after mine,
and all during a Beautiful Summer!

How about you?
What are you thankful for?
Are you celebrating anything special?

You could add being a Winner to your list
if you click on the following link and
Enter my Giveaway on Goodreads! :)
It starts today and ends on July 31st, 2016.



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility Colouring & Activity Book by Eva Maria Hamilton



Enter Giveaway



Best of Luck to everyone who enters!

And until I blog again, I hope you Enjoy many Special Moments to Cherish! 




Eva Maria Hamilton is the author of Highland Hearts, a Love Inspired Historical novel published by Harlequin. Her novel, Highland Hearts, won 2nd Place in the Historical Romance, as well as the Traditional/Inspirational Romance Categories in the Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Awards, and was an Inspirational Series Finalist in the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her short story, Disinherited Love, can be read in the anthology, A Kiss is Still A Kiss. Eva Maria Hamilton is also the owner of Lilac Lane Publishing, which has currently published, Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice Colouring & Activity Book featuring Illustrations from 1895, and Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility Colouring & Activity Book featuring Illustrations from 1896.

To connect with Eva Maria Hamilton online, please visit her at www.evamariahamilton.com

Sunday, July 17, 2016

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week

Monday

Eva Maria Hamilton: Goodreads Giveaway 

Tuesday

Grace Bridges

Wednesday

Christine Lindsay: Writing About Mental Illness

Thursday

Valerie Comer: When Good News Comes

Friday Devotion

Ray Hawkins: My Problem with Prayer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

News





Whispers of Love, a contemporary romance box set, debuted recently at #79 on the USA Today best-sellers list. ICFW blog members Marion Ueckermann and Valerie Comer, as well as frequent guest blogger Autumn Macarthur, are among the twelve authors who have worked hard for this honor. 

Congratulations, ladies! We're thrilled to see international Christian fiction on the USA Today best-seller list!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Secrets of Sunbeams, Book 1 in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in July 2016.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in Scotland, Glasglow Grace, in the Passport to Romance series, will be a July 2016 release from The Pelican Book Group. 

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in South Africa, The Other You, will release independently in July 2016.

The Other You by Marion Ueckermann and Secrets of Sunbeams by Valerie Comer will be available in the Whispers of Love contemporary romance box set, releasing independently in July 2016.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Butterflies on Breezes, Book 2 in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in August 2016.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, More Than a Tiara, Book 1 in the Christmas in Montana Romance series, releases independently in September 2016. More Than a Tiara was formerly part of Snowflake Tiara.

Book 2 in Sandra Orchard’s Serena Jones Mysteries series set in St. Louis, USA, Another Day, Another Dali, will be an October 2016 release from Revell Publishing.

Kara Isaac's contemporary romantic comedy set in England, Can't Help Falling, will be an October 2016 release from Howard Books.

Patricia Beal's debut contemporary woen’s fiction set in Germany and in the United States, A Season to Dance, will be a May 2017 release from Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

To find more International Christian Fiction books, please visit our 2013 - 2016 Book Releases page and Backlist Titles.