Monday, January 16, 2017

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

I am often a witness to this phenomenon with my five-year-old son at the dinner table. That moment when the child can hardly flex his jaw for all the food propping it open. How often have I told him "not so much", or "one bite at a time", or "swallow that before you stuff any more in there!" Slowly I am learning how easy it is to find yourself in that predicament.  

This post is perhaps a perfect example of that--one more bite that probably should have been passed to someone else. Yesterday was the deadline for the third book in my Hearts at War series and the release of my debut novel (the first book in that series) is in less than two weeks. 

That would have probably been enough for the month, but I also decided to gnaw on home renos and putting our house on the market. Add packing up half the house so it won't look cluttered when people come to view (two adults and three kids in a two bedroom home makes for tight on space). 

Change always fills up the mouth quite quick, so why not add some more? This week my responsibilities have changed with the children's program in our church. I am now in charge of music, which etails teaching the children new songs. Two twenty minute programs every Sunday. 

And I still have to do laundry and dishes and tidy up (and chase) after three kids under 6. Oh, and two birthday parties - one for the sweet girl who turns four today! :) 

Please don't think I just wrote my laundry list so you could feel overwhelmed with me.  On the contrary, I shared some of the craziness of this month so I can testify to the greatness of our God. For he is Great. He is my strength and in Him all things are possible! 

Somehow I have enough time. Somehow books get written and children get cared for and read to. Somehow I am carried through tasks when I'm too weary to do it on my own. 

There will always come those days, months, or even years that we realise we have bitten off more we can chew. We have writing deadlines and book promotion intermingled with real life. God is always near, ready and willing to bear our burdens and give us the strength we need as we move forward in faith!


A Woman Compelled by Christian Charity
Surrounded by the musket fire of the American Revolution, Rachel Garnet prays for her family to be safe.  When the British invade the Mohawk Valley, and her father and brother don’t return from the battle, she goes in pursuit of them. She finds her brother alive but her father has been killed at the hand of the enemy. Amidst the death, how can she ignore a cry for help…? Rachel reluctantly takes in a badly wounded British officer. But how long can her sense of Christian duty repress her hatred for his scarlet coat?
A Man Lost to the Devastation of War
Passages of Scripture and fleeting images of society are all Andrew Wyndham recalls after he awakens to the log walls of his gentle prison. Even his name eludes him. Rachel Garnet insists he is a captain in the British army. He mourns the loss of his memory, but how can he hope to remember war when his “enemy” is capturing his heart?

A Scarlet Uniform Holds the Power to Unite or Divide
Andrew’s injuries are severe, his memory slow to return, and the secret of his existence too perilous to ignore. As Rachel nurses him back to health, his hidden scarlet coat threatens to expose the deeds of her merciful heart, and Andrew is forced to face a harrowing decision—Stay hidden and risk losing the woman he loves or turn himself in and risk losing his life.
Available for Preorder at:       Barnes & Noble           Indigo/Chapters         Amazon

Sunday, January 15, 2017

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week

Monday

Angela Couch

Tuesday

Narelle Atkins

Wednesday

Lisa Harris

Thursday

Eva Maria Hamilton

Friday Devotion

Dianne Wilson

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New Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Sow in Love, the prequel novella to her new Garden Grown Romance series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series), releases independently as part of the collection Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley in January 2017.

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Upcoming Releases


Lisa Harris' romantic suspense, Desert Secrets, will be a February 2017 release from Love Inspired Suspense.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense, Pursued, will be an April 2017 release from Revell.

Patricia Beal's debut contemporary women’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.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Sprouts of Love, Book 1 in her new Garden Grown Romance series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series), releases independently in May 2017.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Promise of Peppermint, prequel to her Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in July 2017.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Memories of Mist, Book 3 in her Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in August 2017.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Better Than a Crown, Book 3 in her Christmas in Montana Romance series, releases independently in October 2017.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Rooted in Love, Book 2 in her new Garden Grown Romance series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series) releases independently in November 2017.

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Walking Around in A Fog By Marcia Lee Laycock

Walking in a Fog
Walking in a Fog
I was in a hurry and it didn’t help that I had to warm up the car and brush the snow off the windshield. Then I realized I’d forgotten something on my desk so I dashed back into the house. My glasses immediately fogged up but I just kept going. Wham! I whacked my knee on the bench in the hallway. Ooff! I bumped into the end of the couch in the family room. Finally I stopped long enough to take my glasses off and let them return to normal. It only took a few seconds for them to clear and I was on my way again.

We often walk around in a fog, bumping into obstacles that hurt. We get aggravated and anxious when there is a simple solution. Stop. Stand still. Wait until the fog clears, then proceed. Of course in real life we think there isn’t time to stop. There isn’t time to stand still and wait. There are deadlines to meet, important people to see, vital decisions to make. The world will whiz by without us if we don’t keep up. So we plow ahead, and usually end up in a mess.

Often we wander in a fog spiritually as well. Something happens that causes us to lose our faith or to challenge the goodness of God. Though we are confused, we plow ahead on our own, bumping into false philosophies and destructive ideas. Our logic becomes the fog of disbelief. The solution here is the same. Stop. Be still. Wait.

Waiting for the fog to clear is a biblical principle. David knew about it as he wrote, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14). He must have felt like he was living in a fog as he was chased into the wilderness. He’d been anointed king of the land but it didn’t look like he would ever rule. It didn’t look like God was going to come through and fulfill his promises. But David held on to what he knew about the character of God. He knew God’s faithfulness. He knew all he had to do was stop, be still, and let the Lord clear the fog away.

God has said it himself – “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). No matter what’s happening around us, we can have that single assurance. God is God and he will never leave us. No matter how confused we are, no matter how angry we become at him, he will never turn his back on us. He will clear the fog away, the fog of doubt, pain, anger or fear. Nothing is too thick for him. Nothing is too dense. He will blow it away like the thin smudge from a tiny candle. He will fulfill all his promises. All we have to do is take the time to be still, hold on to him, and wait. 

****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Is It Time, Yet?

I stopped writing last year.
It may have been longer than that, I don't remember.

Most of the year's writing has been comprised of homeschooling questions, work e-mails,  grocery lists and prayer requests.

I am comfortable with that. It isn't time. I have a twelve-year old who is unfortunately/fortunately really good at two extra-curricular activities and they take up a lot of time. I'm happy to encourage him and to make sure the house is warm and comfortable, and to make sure hubby is happy.

I'm good with that.

But a few weeks ago, I was flipping through Pintrest and a little caption caught my eye.

'Daily Journal Prompts'.

Hm.

So, I took a quick peek, began adding it to one of my 'pins' and moved on.
Well...a week ago, I ordered a gorgeous leather covered journal. Just for writing in. Not devos, not grocery lists, but for writing in.  And I began the daily prompts.

Some are very cool, like, if you could go anywhere this year, where would you go? And this requires a good paragraph.
Some don't get me writing at all, such as,  do your actions match your words? Mostly.

But it's a beginning.  And when you start at the beginning, it's a very good place to start.

You can check links here:   Because maybe you need a kickstart too.

If you aren't being called to write, right now, because of pressing life responsibilities, then please, don't feel guilty. If it's time to write, and it's pulling on your heart, then please, pick up a pen and a lovely journal and begin at the beginning.  God will tell you.

Happy Writing!!



Jenn Kelly is not trying to do it all. And neither should you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 vs 2017

by Marion Ueckermann

Almost two weeks of this new year have gone already. Can you believe it? Only 52 more weeks to go until we usher in the next new year. When put like that, doesn’t seem like that much time, does it? And when I look at my ‘to-do’ list for 2017…well, I feel a tad overwhelmed.

If I had to sum up 2016 in one word it would be ‘Busy.’ I’d need three words to sum up what 2017 holds for me—‘Just as busy.’

In 2016, I released nine books and one short story. Granted, three of those books I had written in 2014 and 2015, but only released in 2016. Nevertheless, marketing, covers, and editing had to be done on them, whilst still writing, editing, publishing, and marketing the other six books released.

On top of that, I was in six box sets during 2016, five of which I was the cover designer for the set. Those sets also needed marketing.


Too often this past year I thought I wouldn’t make a deadline. But, I always did because God is good. This year, I will once again cling to His faithfulness that He will never leave me or forsake me. I know I can trust Him to help me meet the crazy 2017 deadlines, as well.

In a nutshell, here’s what my 2017 holds. And while you’re reading, think about what 2017 holds for you (because I’m going to ask):

·         Four box sets:

And I can’t wait to show them off to the world. These will be published between March and June:

o   My stories are still to be written and edited. I do have one almost done, and rightly so...the deadline is looming
o   Covers done (or almost done) for three box sets—one more to go
o   For those following my Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters series, you’ll be glad to know that the last three stories in the series, are planned for three of the box sets—A Courtship for Clover will release on April 25th in Cherish; A Proposal for Poppy on June 20th in Forever; and A Love for Lily on July 4th (set still to be named)

·         Overseas holiday:

On April 20th, hubby and I will be on a Qatar flight headed from Johannesburg to Helsinki, Finland. Long haul flights booked—check. Internal flights still to be booked. We’re going on a six-week holiday overseas. Of course, my trusted laptop will be part of my baggage, and I’ll likely still be writing into the early hours of the mornings during that time. We’ll be in Finland for two weeks visiting my son and daughter-in-law, Kyle and Tiia, in Helsinki. Whilst there, I hope to visit the heart-shaped island on the outskirts of Helsinki where I set my first published book, Helsinki Sunrise (which hopefully will release in Norwegian this year).

After that we fly to the UK for three weeks to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and other friends. My plan is to get up to North Yorkshire while we’re there and visit Scarborough and Robin Hood’s Bay, the locations for A Hero for Heather, and A Husband for Holly. I hope we’ll also be able to go back to the Lake District, which is where the Blume sisters in my Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters series hail from. Kyle plans to join us in the UK for a while. 

The next stop is Italy for 7-10 days. On the itinerary are Cinque Terre, Pisa, Venice, Rome, Florence, and Tuscany (location for two stories). Kyle and Tiia will be joining us on the Italian leg of our journey. Part of the reason for this week is that Italy just looks like an awesome place to visit. The other part is research for the next point below.


·         Multi author series:

I need to write two and a bit novellas, plus design ten covers for a multi-author series due to release toward the end of 2017. The authors involved in this endeavor are super excited, and I’m glad I’ll have a holiday and research behind me before I need to tackle this.

·         IF I find the time in the next three months, I need to format six books for print, which includes designing back covers and that sneaky, fiddly spine. Because our postal system isn’t the most trustworthy in South Africa, I always try to order my print books if I’m travelling overseas and have them sent somewhere there to bring back with me. You can imagine my joy at learning Qatar airlines have increased their baggage allowance from 30kg to 45kg. And with six books to print and bring back (20-30 copies of each), I am going to need that extra allowance. But, because our internal flights do not have the 45kg luxury, I’ll need a delivery address in Italy (our last port of call before flying home), and am working on that.

Looking back eleven months, I totally get why God clearly told me it was time to give up the security and benefits of my day job, and follow my passion and what He had called me to do…write stories for Him.

As you can see, 2017 is set to be another crazy year, but with prayer, focus, and determination, I can do it. So keep a look out on my social media and Amazon author page—there are some fun and hopefully inspiring romances heading your way. Please remember to keep me in your prayers, too. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

And now, I did say I was going to ask you about your year… I would love to hear what exciting things you have planned or are happening in your life this coming year.


MARION UECKERMANN's passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest's no longer so empty.

Visit Marion at www.marionueckermann.net

If you’d like to receive information on new releases, cover reveals, and writing news, please sign up for my newsletterhttp://www.marionueckermann.net/subscribe/  
My short story, Dancing in the Rain, will be sent free to new subscribers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I'm Right and You're Wrong!

By Karen Rees

Our church holds worship services in the afternoon in a rented 6th floor YMCA room so we use Sunday mornings for other activities like practicing Christmas specials. Since our congregation is made up almost entirely of imported Filipina household servants and music flows in their veins, we have great specials.

While I was at the Y's 4th floor roof garden one Sunday for a Christmas practice, I chatted with a Hong Kong Chinese woman who had attended the first service of another church that meets on the 4th floor.

Once that church's second service finished, I expected to talk with a Sri Lankan Tamil former-Hindu asylum seeker family and a young African woman, originally from Rwanda but now a Canadian citizen, both of whom attend there. I also hoped to talk with another attender and friend, an American businessman.

When I went up to the 6th floor for our afternoon church services, I saw an Indonesian Muslim friend who, like the Filipina church members, is an imported household servant. On her Sundays off she teaches the Koran to fellow Indonesian Muslims in the morning and does volunteer work at the Y in the afternoon.

So what does this list of people I saw on Sunday have to do with being a novelist? They represent a wide variety of perspectives.


While point of view focuses on who is telling the story, perspective focuses on how a character views and processes events. At the most fundamental level perspective is about culture.

Here's a cultural question. In a conflict of interests, does the rights of the group or the rights of the individual take priority? A person with Asian values will answer one way; a person holding Western values will answer the opposite.

In a novel, will the heroine accept the less than desirable husband that her family wants her to marry? Or will she defy her family by running away with her true love? It all depends on her cultural perspective.

Ask someone to describe God. The answer will differ according to whether you ask a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian or someone who grew up following Chinese religion.

Since our perspective determines how we see the world, it affects the decisions we make and how we react to the decisions of others. This is equally true with fictional characters.

History has shown that clashing perspectives can even start wars. While none of us relish conflict in real life, it's a necessity for novels.

So, in our stories, give each character a different perspective. Conflict is guaranteed.



About Karen Rees

Karen Rees and her second-generation missionary husband, Benjamin, have served in Hong Kong since 1975. Besides her involvement in the mission work, Karen loves history, quilting and writing. They have two children, Matthew and Megan, and two grandchildren, Hadessah and Arthur.

THE RUBY RING won an Indie Excellence Finalist Award in Religious Fiction.


























Monday, January 9, 2017

Metaphors for Life



A quick Google search for metaphors for life brings many results—life is a journey, a bowl of cherries, a box of chocolates, a maze, a string of beads strung randomly, a chemistry set, a jigsaw puzzle, a roller coaster, a rodeo. . . and so the list goes on. No doubt you can add several more metaphors, or perhaps make up your own.

On Christmas day I found a well–known one with a new twist when I enjoyed a scrumptious lunch with my husband and friends at Anna's Kitchen, a restaurant which offers delicious food derived from Italian and French cuisine, all served with a South African flair. After the meal we took a walk outside. A statue of a young woman stood in the centre of the courtyard. She held a book in her hand, and at her feet was a plaque bearing a metaphor "Life is a book. . ."     Hmmm, nothing original about that. We've all heard about how we are the authors of our own stories with a blank page to write on every day. But then I realized that pages were spilling out of her book into a heap on the ground. The sentence on the plaque continued "and we drop pages as we go." That certainly put a new spin on the adage.



What does it mean?

Perhaps it's an illustration of the times when life gets too much for us and we lose control. We fall to pieces like the girl's book.

Perhaps the dropped pages are the memories we cast off with time. We cannot possibly remember each moment of our lives. Yes, it may well be true that all our memories are stored in our minds, but we cannot access all of them. We can only bring a small fraction of them to life.

Perhaps they mean that we have to let go of some things in life—leave them behind so that we can go forward and live positive happy lives. Cast off grudges, mistakes, failures, hurts and unforgiveness. It is important to learn from our life experiences and become better people with richer lives, but these things can also hold us back and make us unhappy, bitter, and twisted.

All of these ideas hold truth, but, for 2017, I choose to think these dropped pages represent my impact on the lives of those I come into contact with—the legacy I leave in the world. An act of kindness, a word of encouragement, an anonymous gift, a note of appreciation, a listening ear or a comforting presence are all pages that can make the world a better place. For me, as a writer, dropped pages are not just figurative, they are also real pages. Pages filled with words that I write—my letters, emails, blogs, articles, stories and books.

 It is my prayer that God will use my dropped pages to draw people closer to Him.

And now, over to you. What is your favorite metaphor for life? What does "Life is a book, we drop pages as we go" mean to you in 2017?