Monday, July 11, 2022

Book Club Pick and Two Days Left in the Tour Giveaway

I can't put it all in the newsletter, you know? So here are a couple of updates. 

First: SEASON OF MY ENEMY is the July book pick for the Christian WWII Readers' Book Club. There's still plenty of time to get on board with that if you enjoy reading along with others for discussion.

Second: To wind up the month, I'll be going live with the very same club on July 28th, 7:30 p.m. central time. We'll talk about the book, and we chat about whatever else is on our minds too. 

Third: It's not too late to get in on the Celebrate Lit tour for Season of My Enemy. There are still a couple of days to enter for a copy of the book and a $25 gift card!

Finally: I know how it is, wanting to read a new book, and just not being able to purchase another one right now. So don't forget--your local library LOVES recommendations! You can also recommend it to your favorite audio book acquisition source, such as Hoopla. Season of My Enemy comes in all formats, so let your library know!

Stay tuned . . . there's another Celebrate Lit tour coming next month with a huge prize. You won't want to miss it, and I'll be offering my other new title in that one: Song for the Hunter.

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Thursday, June 2, 2022

The JOY of the Lord is. . .LAVA!

I am SO thankful that the joy of the Lord runs down deep. Rather than trust my day-to-day changing feelings--the surface emotions--whether it be happiness or discouragement, the joy Christ offers is the molten lava that fills my core. The praise song that says, the joy of the LORD is my strength is right on. Amen!

Because we need that kind of real, inner core, strength and joy. The kind that holds us up when we pull an emotional muscle.

You and I live with constant peaks and valleys. This week, for me, has been mountaintop views, with my new novel Season of My Enemy birthing into the world, and it’s had lowdown
dips draped in foggy unknowns. I’m sure you know what I mean.

I truly believe that, any day now, the clouds are going to part, and we are going to hear the trumpet of God calling believers out. Some say, “It’s always been like this.” I don’t believe that’s the case. There have been terrible atrocities throughout history, and nations and societies have indeed collapsed. Preachers since Habakkuk have bemoaned the injustice of it all. But, as another song says, “Matthew twenty-four is knocking at the door”. I think we are nearing the end of the church age.

So, what are we to do? Here's my intention:

1. Present the Gospel to whomever will listen. Cast seed, cast seed, cast seed. I’m especially impressing truths on my grandchildren.

2. Live each day with the possibility that it could be the last. (Shouldn’t we be doing this all of the time?) Keep accounts short. Speak love. Confess sin. Endure wrong-doing by God’s grace. PRAY ALL THE TIME. Tell others of their need to repent and believe.

3. Write. Scripture says, “Occupy until I come.” For me, I'll continue penning stories and doing life, but with an eye on the sky and a spirit of urgency. Be busy with the work He’s given you to do. Spread seeds, fertilize your Gospel crops, grow in faith, harvest fruit!

That last one seems a little out of step, except that it’s not. Jesus said that when he comes back, the world will be operating much as it always has. People “will be buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage,” etc. We aren’t to go off to dwell in a secret place on a mountaintop somewhere awaiting Christ’s return. We are to press on. Keep going. Redeem the time. K
eep going in your work and be about God's business while you're at it. 

When I write, I spread seeds. Sometimes for salvation, sometimes for encouragement and thought. Sometimes to offer spiritual truth, sometimes to offer joy, sometimes to offer a reprieve from what the world has to offer.

But back to the beginning—joy doesn’t depend on daily happiness—on the good or bad things that happen. Real life presses us with difficulty and sorrow, but also with gladness and love. Through it all runs one great thing, the grace and love of Jesus. He alone can offer us true, deep, abiding joy and strength.

  • Soak in scripture. Memorize it. Copy it down. That copying process helps me experience the deep flowing joy and peace of God.
  • Sing songs. Listen to sermons by Godly, non-woke pastors.
  • Pull back from social media. Unfollow those voices that are pulling you into despair.
  • Read uplifting books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Here’s one that I am greatly enjoying right now:
 The One-Year Home and Garden Devotions by Sandra Byrd

All the ladies in my church received a copy for Mother's Day, and I started reading with the January 1st entry, even though it was May. I have to tell you, it's been a long time since a devotional book has so touched all the places I'm in like this one has. Sandra Byrd has a way with illustrating Bible truth using story and Scripture that speaks to the heart, and brings that lava joy of Jesus right up top. I give it a high recommendation. 

  • Lastly, to realize that inner joy that the world cannot give, remember this from James 4:8: "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you..." James explains much on developing such nearness. In my way of thinking, it's like standing on the crust of the earth without feeling the lava moving in the core. We might not sense the presence of God or experience his inner peace and joy if aren't actively drawing near to him. Prayer combined with reading and studying His Word is how we do that.

It's finally here! Grab your copy of Season of My Enemy wherever books are sold, or listen on audio. You can also read it free on Kindle Unlimited, and if you're a book reviewer, you can still grab it on Netgalley!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Review of "Obedient Unto Death" by Liisa Eyerly


Breath-taking intrigue abounds in this novel that takes place in ancient Ephesus during a time of Roman rule and persecution of the early Christian church. Debut author Liisa Eyerly weaves a mesmerizing tale of murder and treachery in a city that rises up vividly from history. As Sabina, the story’s heroine, wrestles with her own personal faith and longings, she also finds herself thrown into the mystery of who committed a terrible murder in which a man is poisoned and dies right before her eyes. There are reasons to become involved, and most definitely reasons not to. Compelled to try, Sabina is opposed by enemies lurking within and without her circle of family and friends, and sometimes it’s hard to know who can be trusted and who serves their own nefarious purpose. Meanwhile, the clock ticks against the execution of an innocent apostle as well as Sabina’s own future happiness.

I was astounded at the historical authenticity of the story, but never felt like information had been dumped over my head. Rather, the author deftly plucked me out of my 21st century comforts and plopped me deeply into the lifestyle, customs, and sometimes-frightening beliefs of those ancient times.

Layer upon layer is slowly peeled back, revealing friend from foe and sub-plots that made every character more alive. I kept turning the pages into the night even after my eyes were burning to find out who the killer was in this race against time and evil. Readers of such Biblical fiction like that of Connilyn Cossette, Lisa Tawn Berggren, and Barbara Britton will definitely want to take note.
Though no strings were left untied, I think Obedient Unto Death begs a sequel. I look forward to reading more by this new author.