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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Saving Eric: Author Chat with Joannie Deneve

Has winter’s onslaught left you shivering? Do you crave the warmth of a fireplace? Today’s chills–and sizzle–are brought to you by author Joannie Deneve. Here’s the declassified account of her new novel, Saving Eric.

QPQ: Welcome back, Joannie! What a thrilling start to 2015. You’re living an author’s dream—two book releases in two months. Cakewalk, right?

JD: Thank you, Jericha. I love chatting with you. Yes. Thrilling and a dream come true, for sure; but cake walk? Not so much. My daughter asked me the other day the classic question: “Mom, if you knew then, what you know now, would you have still pursued your dream of writing and publishing a novel?” And I’d have to say, “Yes. I would. But I’m so glad I didn’t know then.” Bottom line, Jericha, I’ve learned so much over the past three years. I’ve gained skills and met some of the most phenomenal people on the planet. Cakewalk, no. Worth it? Yes times a million.

QPQ: So your journey to publication was a process. Tell us about Saving Eric.

JD: Glad to! I’m a wounded-hero junkie, so it was inevitable that my book would have a larger-than-life hero who must overcome challenges to accomplish his goal. Saving Eric is a character-driven story of how God rescues and changes broken people and then uses those people to reach and effect change in others. It’s not an action spy thriller, though there are elements of suspense and intrigue. And while it’s also not a typical romance, there is definitely enough romance to satisfy that desire in a reader. Here’s the premise as found on the back cover:

Templetons don’t break down. Even when their worlds are falling apart.

Eric Templeton’s well-ordered life as a top CIA agent is shattered when a traitor within the agency plots to have him eliminated. Sent on a bogus mission to Africa, Eric is ambushed and critically wounded. A helicopter pilot flies him to a remote mission hospital where Dr. Brock Whitfield and his daughter Ellie work to save his life.

If Eric survives, his life may never be the same, and he still has to deal with the traitor who wants him dead. Eric wants justice, but Brock and Ellie know that Eric’s survival is the least of his worries. What he needs most is mercy and truth.

QPQ: I adore this premise. As capable as he is, Eric is wounded. Adrift. What’s his desire?

JD: Great question. His life has been turned upside down, and the people he trusted the most have proven to be untrustworthy. His main desire at first is to expose the traitor within the agency and somehow see justice served for the crimes committed against himself and many other innocent people.

QPQ: The theme of acceptance runs through Saving Eric. How does this shape Eric’s character?Saving_Eric_front_cover

JD: Eric has an unconscious and almost obsessive need to perform in order to obtain acceptance from his harsh and demanding father. Failure is never an option for a Templeton. One by one, God begins removing the props of perfectionism from Eric so that he has no place to look but to God. I love how our gracious God relentlessly removes all our props so that we have to fall into His arms.

QPQ: Lies, greed, and murder…. Eric has a vicious enemy who thrives in a lucrative position. What can Eric teach us about fighting enemies stronger than we are?

JD: A great question! At the beginning of his career, Eric Templeton is the agency’s golden boy. But when one of his superiors goes rogue, Eric becomes the poster boy for trying (and failing) to defeat enemies in his own strength. In fairness, his atheistic father had drilled into Eric the need to rely on himself and expect no help from others, much less God. That’s why God backs Eric into a corner until he has no choice but to cry out for God’s help.

QPQ: That’s powerful, Joannie. Tell us about Eric’s leading lady.

JD: I love Ellie Whitfield. She has her own wounds that the reader will discover as the story unfolds. Ellie is a great example of the transformation that occurs when one experiences unconditional love and the grace of God. A love affair gone wrong drove Ellie from the States to the remote medical mission in Angola, Africa, to work with her father. As a trained physician’s assistant, Ellie helps her father with the medical cases.

QPQ: Eric sustains a life-threatening injury that results in great loss. I suspect you left a piece of your heart in that wrenching scene.

JD: You’re so right, Jericha. I cried as I wrote many of the pages. As Eric’s creator, I hated to put him through such adversity. Saving Eric is a work of fiction, but think of what God must feel when we must go through hard things for our (or someone else’s) greater good.

QPQ: What an intense correlation. Where can we find Saving Eric?

JD: Depending on your preference, you may order a print copy, a digital copy, or visit my publisher.

QPQ: Last question–if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

JD: Another great question: My wonderful son, Jeremiah, the doctor who was my medical consultant for Saving Eric, took me to Israel and Rome last year. It was the trip of my dreams. Now since I’ve been to the “mountain top and have seen the Holy Land,” I’d really like to go again. I’d take time to absorb the beauty and significance of that blessed place where our Lord walked, taught, and ultimately died to obtain the salvation for mankind. What a savior!

QPQ: Amen. Thank you for joining us, Joannie! May God continue to bless your writing.

Joannie loves to hear from her readers. You will find her at her web site, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Joannie is giving away a copy of Saving Eric Monday, March 2, 2015. **For your chance to win, guess the following!** 

Joannie loves Disneyworld. If she could be any character at Disneyworld, who would she choose?

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Author Chat, Giveaway, Interview

 

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Top 10 things that make me (disproportionately) happy

TopA lot of things in the world annoy me. I could write a years’ worth of blog posts about the stuff that irritates and frustrates me. But today, I’m focusing on things that make me happy. Sometimes, it seems the wisest course of action to focus on the good things. So here we go, my top ten list of things that make me (disproportionately, inordinately, embarrassingly) happy.

10. Opening my kitchen cabinet to see it filled with clean cups. (Which means my kids’ rooms aren’t filled with dirty ones.)

9. Waking up to zero dishes in the sink. (So my family ate the dinner I fixed them and didn’t wait until I went to bed to cook a frozen pizza.)

8. A brand new novel by a favorite author. (It’s like visiting a new world!)

7. A brand new writing craft book. (There’s something wrong with me, I know.)

6. The cabinets filled with food. (Because if we have food, then I don’t have to go shopping. And I hate shopping.)

5. Going out to lunch. Or dinner. Or coffee. (Sure, I’ve never met you, but I’d love to have lunch with you. Just say when.)

4. A blizzard. (Apologizes to my New Hampshire family, who have seen enough snow to last a lifetime, but I still love a good blizzard. It helps that I live in Oklahoma, and we get one or two a year—if that.)

3. Any baked good. (Any. Baked. Good. Ever.)

2. The Patriots winning the Super Bowl. (This needs no explanation. We’re still flying high at my house.)

1. Watching my children worship God. (This one outshines the rest by about a thousand watts.)

What about you? What are some random things that make you happy? I’d love to compare lists.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Extra Bones

feet (1)I like to give Mother Nature every chance to heal my body without outside interference. But after four months of painful hobbling, I finally went to the podiatrist. He took an x-ray of my gimpy foot and discovered that I have an extra bone.

Running along beside my metatarsal bones is a wimpy, little, metatarsal-bone-wanna-be about the size and shape of a small cashew nut. In other words, I have a dew claw inside my foot! I was born with it. That little metatarsal-bone-wanna-be laid dormant for years before starting to irritate a rather major nerve in my foot. (In point of fact, it irritated the rest of me as well!)

Dr. Z. gave me a shot of cortisone and the, “We’ll see you in two weeks,” pep talk. Then he sent me lumbering back to work on a numb foot. Aside from my Frankenstein gait, I was feeling pretty good. However, once wasn’t enough. It took three trips – and three shots – to finally calm that irritated nerve.

Editing is a lot like this. Reading back through the pages and pages (or screens and screens) the writer finds all sorts of “extra bones.” Don’t assume these are bad bits of writing. They may be very good bits of writing. But for a host of reasons, in the context of the story, they are only wanna-be bits contributing nothing vital. The more the writer reads over these “extra bones” the more they begin to irritate. They don’t fit. They aren’t needed. They may slow down the pace or muddy the story.

What’s a writer to do?

Before doing major surgery to remove these “extra bones” the writer should see if a little shot of “literary cortisone” (Remember, once may not be enough! It may take a few re-writes.) can salvage them into workable scenes. If they are worthy to be salvaged. If they add no intrinsic value to the whole or part of the story, if they become a Frankenstein in your Amish romance … “Scalpel please!”

~ Pegg Thomas

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Humor, Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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Upcoming Writers Contests!

Old TypewriterThe literary publishing journal, Tethered By Letters have several new writing contests open to published and unpublished writers in the short story, flash fiction and poetry categories!

WINTER 2015 SHORT STORY CONTEST

Criteria: Any genre ranging from 1,000 to 7,500 words.

Deadline: February 28th, 2015

Awards: 1st prize receives $500.00 and publication as the featured short story in our Literary Journal. Five finalists will be considered for subsequent quarterly journal publications as well as our online Noteworthy publication. Each finalist will also receive free professional edits on their submission.

Submission fee: There is a $15.00 entry fee for each submission.

Judging: All submissions will be judged by the professional editing team at TBL and the winner will be announced publicly in May, 2015. All participants will be notified about the contest results by email from TBL judges by the end of April, 2015. Judges decisions are final.

WINTER 2015 FLASH FICTION CONTEST

Criteria: Any genre with a word limit of either 55, 250, or 500 words.

Deadline: February 28th, 2015

Awards: 1st prize receives $150.00 and publication as the featured flash fiction in our Literary Journal. Five finalists will be considered for subsequent quarterly journal publications and win free edits from one of our Senior Editors.

Submission fee: There is a $7.00 entry fee for each individual submission or a $15.00 entry fee for three flash fictions.

Judging: All submissions will be judged by the professional editing team at TBL and the winner will be announced publicly in May, 2015. All participants will be notified about the contest results by email from TBL judges by the end of April, 2015. Judges decisions are final.

WINTER 2015 POETRY CONTESTS

Criteria: Our editors ask that any submissions be previously unpublished, of original content, and be no more than two pages in length

Deadline: February 28th, 2015.

Awards: 1st prize receives $150.00 and publication as the featured poem in our Literary Journal. Five finalists will be considered for subsequent quarterly journal publications as well as our monthly short story selection. Each finalist will also receive free professional edits on their submission.

Submission fee: There is a $7.00 entry fee for each submission or $15.00 for three submissions.

Judging: All submissions will be judged by the professional editing team at TBL and the winner will be announced publicly in May 2015. All participants will be notified about the contest results by email from TBL judges by the end of April, 2015. Judges decisions are final.

Submission Guidelines: Please visit our guidelines page to properly format your work for submission. Staff members are not eligible for participation. Any work previously submitted to TBL for publication is not eligible. Click here to start the submission process.

* Tethered by Letters reserves the rights to NOT award a winner in any of the above categories if the submissions do not reach a publishable standard. In this case, reading fees will NOT be refunded and a winner will not be announced. Although this has never come to pass in our four-year-publishing history, our top priority must remain with the quality of work we publish.

2015 ACFW GENESIS CONTEST

The ACFW Genesis Contest is for unpublished Christian fiction writers. With ten categories to enter, Genesis provides the opportunity for unbiased feedback on writers’ work by published authors and experienced judges, and the chance for finalists to have their work read by Christian publishing house editors and literary agents.

ELIGIBILITY:

1. Any author whose work has not been previously published in novella or book-length fiction (in ANY print or online form) is eligible to enter Genesis.

2. Authors who are published in non-fiction, children’s, and short story are eligible to enter an unpublished fiction manuscript.

3. There is no limit to the number of entries AN AUTHOR may submit, however, a single manuscript may not be entered into multiple categories.

4. Contest is open to ACFW members and non-members.

5. Any author contracted for publication before March 15, 2015 is not eligible to enter Genesis. If an entrant receives a contract on a manuscript entered in the contest after March 15, 2015, that manuscript may remain in the contest.

6. Co-authored entries are allowed to enter. If one of the authors is a current ACFW member, then the entry can be submitted for the member entry fee. Both authors must be unpublished in fiction.

7. In any category, if fewer than seven (7) entries are received, the category shall be dissolved and the entrant’s alternate choice category on their submission will be used. The author is responsible for choosing the appropriate category for their entry.

8. Previous winning entries of the Genesis are not eligible to be entered in this year’s contest. Previous finalist (not winning) entries may be entered again. First Impressions entries are eligible as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements as stated.

9. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, gratuitous violence or other objectionable material, and must otherwise conform to generally accepted standards of the CBA. The ACFW Executive Board may order the disqualification of submissions not meeting this requirement.

10. Manuscripts must be complete in order to enter Genesis.

JUDGING:
FIRST ROUND: During the first round, three judges (published authors or experienced writers trained in judging the Genesis) will score each entry, up to a maximum of 100 points per entry. All three scores will be averaged.

SEMI-FINAL ROUND: The top 10 entries from each category will then move on to the semi-final round. The semi-final judges will be published authors who will use the same scoresheet as the first round. All three judges’ scores are averaged to determine the entry’s standing.

FINAL ROUND: The top three semi-final round entries in each category–category finalists–will continue to the final round. In the event of a tie, the previous round scores of the tied entries will be used to break the tie. Finalists will be allowed 48 HOURS ONLY to review the judge’s scores from the previous rounds and polish and resubmit their entries before the entries are sent to the final round judges. If you are unable to polish and resubmit, then your original entry will be sent to the final round judges.

During the final round, three final round judges will score each entry, and the three scores will be averaged. Discrepancy judges will NOT be used. In each category, the entry receiving the top final round score becomes the category winner. The final round scores alone determine the category winners. If any category winner is disqualified or withdraws for any reason, the next highest-scoring finalist will be moved up to become category winner.

For the final round, the final round judges (editors and agents) will not utilize the scoresheet used in the first and second rounds of judging. Instead, final round judges will simply give a numerical score of up to 100 points for each final round entry. Final round judges have the option of giving comments on the final round entries, but are not required to do so. All three scores will be averaged.

All judging is blind. Entrants’ names are only known by the coordinator.

PROJECTED CATEGORIES:

For all the stories, one or more characters’ Christian beliefs are blended with and form a part of the story. However, the presence of a Christian character or the use of Christian phrases and scripture are not the indicators of the spiritual content in the stories. For Speculative Fiction, the traditional Christian terms are often replaced by other words more suited to the fictional setting.

Contemporary: Novels or sagas set in any location, in contemporary setting. This category includes literary fiction, women’s fiction, and mainstream fiction. The stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic.

Historical (through Vietnam era): Novels or sagas set in any location, in which the time frame of the majority of the story is a historical context rather than a contemporary one. The time period can be up to and including the Vietnam era.

Historical Romance (through Vietnam era): Novels or sagas set in any location, but in which the time frame of the majority of the story is a historical context rather than a contemporary one. The time period can be up to and including the Vietnam era. The love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the story is emotionally satisfying. The stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic.

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: Novels set in any location in which the suspense or mystery is the primary plot. In suspense, “often the reader learns very early in the story who did what, and how, and even why, so that the tension results from the manner in which an expected conclusion is achieved” (Jessica Mann). In thrillers, “tough, resourceful . . . heroes are pitted against villains determined to destroy them, their country, or the stability of the free world” (Steve Bennett). “The detective novel, or mystery, is generally driven by a single protagonist and follows the process of detection, functioning like a puzzle” (Ginny Wiehardt).

Novella: Contemporary or historical stories in any of the genre categories in this contest. Word count is 15K – 45K.

Romance: The love story is set in any location in a contemporary setting, and is the main focus of the novel. The end of the book is emotionally satisfying. The stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic.

Romantic Suspense: A suspense plot is blended with a love story, which is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying. The story can be in any location, but the time frame should be a contemporary setting. Historical romantic suspense stories should be entered in the Historical Romance category.

Short Novel: Contemporary or historical shorter novels 45K-70K in length.

Speculative: Novels in which the science fiction, the future, other planets, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are a major element of the plot or setting. This category includes speculative, visionary, science fiction, paranormal, futuristic, allegory, and alternate history fiction. Stories targeted primarily at young adult readers should be entered in the Young Adult category.

Young Adult: Novels targeted toward young adult readers ages 12 through 18. The stories in this category can be dramatic, comedic, romantic, or non-romantic. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Allegory stories targeted primarily at young adult readers can be entered in this category. Stories targeted to Middle Readers are included in this category.

PRIZES:

Each category will have one first place winner. The first place entry in each category will receive a winner’s award and a gold Genesis lapel pin. The winners will be announced at the 2015 ACFW Annual Conference in September. The finalists in each category will receive a certificate and silver Genesis pin.

TIMELINE:

Contest opens: January 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM central time.

Contest closes: March 15, 2015 at 4:00 PM central time.

The top 10 semi-finalists in each category will be announced by May 5, 2015.

The three finalists in each category will be announced by June 15, 2015.

Winners will be announced at the Gala during ACFW’s national conference in September.

For contest fees, rules, further guidelines, and a sample scoresheet, click here for more information.

The Drue Heinz Literature Prize Call for Submissions 2016

The University of Pittsburgh Press announces the 2016 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for a collection of short fiction. The prize carries a cash award of $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press under its standard contract. The winner will be announced in December or January. No information about the winner will be released before the official announcement. The volume of manuscripts prevents the Press from offering critiques or entering into communication or correspondence about manuscripts. Please do not call or e-mail the Press.

Eligibility

1. The award is open to writers who have published a novel, a book-length collection of fiction, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals of national distribution. On-line publication and self-publication do not count toward this requirement.
2. The award is open to writers in English, whether or not they are citizens of the United States.
3. University of Pittsburgh employees, former employees, current students, and those who have been students within the last three years are not eligible for the award.
4. Translations are not eligible if the translation was not done by the author.
5. Eligible submissions include an unpublished manuscript of short stories; two or more novellas (a novella may comprise a maximum of 130 double-spaced typed pages); or a combination of one or more novellas and short stories. Novellas are only accepted as part of a larger collection. Manuscripts may be no fewer than 150 and no more than 300 typed pages. Prior publication of your manuscript as a whole in any format (including electronic) makes it ineligible.
6. Stories or novellas previously published in magazines or journals or in book form as part of an anthology are eligible.

Dates for Submission

Manuscripts must be received during May and June 2015. That is, they must be postmarked on or after May 1 and on or before June 30.

Send submissions to:
Drue Heinz Literature Prize
University of Pittsburgh Press
7500 Thomas Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please e-mail info@upress.pitt.edu

Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf will be awarded to the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by a writer not yet established in the genre.

The next prize will be awarded to a manuscript in progress. We request that authors send a long sample from their manuscript, as well as a description of the work, as detailed below. We expect that we will work with the winner of the prize and provide editorial guidance toward the completion of the project. The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize emphasizes innovation in form, and we want to see projects that test the boundaries of literary nonfiction. We are less interested in straightforward memoirs, and we turn down a large number of them every year. Before submitting your manuscript for the prize, please look at the books previously published as winners of the prize for examples of the type of work that we are seeking.

Brigid Hughes, founding editor of A Public Space, will judge the prize. The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize seeks to acknowledge—and honor—the great traditions of literary nonfiction. Whether grounded in observation, autobiography, or research, much of the most beautiful, daring, and original writing over the past few decades can be categorized as nonfiction. Submissions to the prize might span memoir, biography, or history.

Eligibility: Any writer who has published at least one previous book (in any genre) and resides in the United States is eligible. We will consider one submission per person. Graywolf’s editors and the prize judge reserve the right to invite submissions. Agented submissions are also welcome. Manuscripts submitted for previous years’ prizes will not be reconsidered unless resubmission has been specifically requested by Graywolf’s editors or the judge.

Timeline: Only electronic submissions will be considered. The online submission manager will be open for Nonfiction Prize submissions during the submission month only. The last submission month for the prize was May 2014. The next submission period will be posted once that announcement has been made.

DeadlineAnnually in May. Follow this blog and stay updated on the Graywolf Press 2015 submission period and further announcements on more upcoming writers contests.

BlogPhoto ResizedKara loves to read and write supernatural suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. But Kara also loves to share stories about God’s love, mercy and faithfulness. One of Kara’s favorite non-fiction quotes comes from noted author Corrie Ten Boom, “It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” He said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

Kara will share more on her thoughts about forgiveness, faith and God’s unending mercy in bi-monthly posts on this site. She will also keep you updated on the latest new releases in Christian fiction and upcoming contests. Grab a cup of hot tea and join Kara on this journey of fiction and faith every other Friday, right here on Quid Pro Quills.

To contact Kara, email her at fictionwithfaith@gmail.com or by choosing one or more of the below links:

To Email Kara – fictionwithfaith@gmail.com

@KaraHunt2015 on Twitter

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Kara Hunt, Writing, Writing Contests

 

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The Logical Order of Things

Trooper ears up 1-25-15

Trooper

It was a snowing, blowing kind of Northern Michigan day. Nothing out of the ordinary, just February being February. The mach force winds shifted at some point from east-northeast to north-northwest. When that happens, we get a substantial amount of drifting in the barnyard. Substantial meaning that 5′ 6″ me can barely see over the worse of them.

The logical progression of events should have been to fire up the tractor and remove the drifts before starting chores. But one can’t look into the soulful eyes of a hungry horse and tell him to wait, now can one? (See photo to the right.)

There were two large drifts blocking the gate to the horse paddock. With a scant half bale of hay weighing roughly 25 pounds balanced securely on my left shoulder, I cleared the first drift. The second drift rose well above my knees. Knowing I’d have to almost straddle it to get across, I thrust out my right leg …  landing on the icy slope of the back side.

My right knee twisted sideways and my right foot lodged under the wooden fence. Hospital bill dollar signs flashed before my eyes. I laid for several minutes, hay scattered around my head, heart pounding beneath my coveralls, gingerly testing each muscle and waiting for the pain to hit. Much to my surprise, everything still worked with a minimum of discomfort. I wiggled my foot free and climbed to my feet to finish chores.

Back in the house, I stripped out of my chaff-laden clothing and headed for the shower to get rid of the rest of the hay, including that which had taken up residence in my right ear. Now here I sit, leg elevated, knee iced and rethinking the whole issue of a hungry horse with soulful eyes.  You know … I think he could have waited after all.

God gave mankind a logical order of things, the Ten Commandments. When we follow them, and don’t get sidetracked by the equivalent of a set of soulful eyes, we do well. Very well. But when we decide to do things our way, we’re lucky if we don’t find ourselves sprawled and broken under a fence.

~Pegg Thomas

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in devotion, Pegg Thomas

 

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50 Shades of Confusion–Christian Grey vs. Christian Fiction

ID-10020721150 Shades of Grey is trending right now. Whether people are buying the book, purchasing tickets to the movie, or burning up social media, you’re seeing fifty shades of something everywhere you turn.

I’m a non-confrontational person. I love a good debate, though I’d rather watch one than be involved in it. So as all of this 50 Shades stuff has taken over my Facebook timeline, I’ve glanced through the comments to see how many are “for it” or “against it.” Like I said, I love watching a good debate. But, after reading one person’s comment posted beneath a fellow Christian romance author’s link against the book/film, I could no longer sit quietly. This person compared 50 Shades of Grey to Christian fiction. My heart lurched as I realized how confused people are over this issue. Therefore, I’m jumping in—heart first.

I’ll begin by sharing the book’s Amazon description for those unaware of what this book is about:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Next, I’ll share the person’s direct comment from Facebook (they will remain anonymous).

“I have read the books and I have to say it’s not abusive against women and I have found that people that say it’s abusive against women obviously haven’t read it. It’s a consensual relationship, with light BDSM and ultimately it’s a love story. It does have a ‘Christian’ theme of redemption, which is a theme found in many of the Christian books I’ve read and enjoyed. Besides the fact it’s fiction. I understand that we’re all entitled to our own opinion, but why do people feel the need to criticize those that enjoyed the books? Especially when so many say they’ve never read the books and really can’t comment on it factually.”

Since I had no idea what BDSM is, I (carefully) looked it up.

B= bondage

D= discipline, dominance, and submission.

S= sadism (*the condition in which sexual gratification depends on causing pain or degradation to others; the enjoyment of being cruel).

M= masochism (*the tendency to seek gratification from inflicting pain on others or oneself).

I trust I don’t have to explain how these terms are “played out,” and I’ll move on.

“I have found that people that say it’s abusive against women obviously haven’t read it. It’s a consensual relationship, with light BDSM.”

Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, there’s no such thing as light abuse. A man can slap a woman across the face, degrade her with his words, or beat her within an inch of her life, and it’s all still abuse.

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor…” Romans 13:10.

As for “consensual,” in some situations abuse is permitted even if it isn’t “agreed upon”. Either way, BDSM in a sexual relationship is completely unbiblical. Christ died to save us from bondage. Man and woman were created to help and complement each other, not to bind and dominate in a hurtful degrading way.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.

One flesh. Equals. Helpmeets. Enough said.

“…it’s a love story.”

“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth (boast) not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity (sin), but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, emphasis mine)

50 Shades of Grey is not a true love story.

“It does have a ‘Christian’ theme of redemption, which is a theme found in many of the Christian books I’ve read and enjoyed.”

**Redemption is the act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake. Okay, perhaps at the end, Christian Grey regrets his actions. That’s good, but in Christian fiction, our characters don’t stop at being sorry. Let’s dissect the second part of the definition—the state of being redeemed. To redeem is to buy or pay off; clear by payment. Could Christian Grey buy or pay off his past sins? No. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. That’s redemption!

Authors of Christian romance don’t just stop at happily ever after. We give you happily ever after for all eternity by showing our characters’ redemption through Christ. A love that lasts forever.

Tweet this: Christian Grey vs. Christian Fiction–black, white, and the areas in between.

“I understand that we’re all entitled to our own opinion, but why do people feel the need to criticize those that enjoyed the books?”

None of the posts encouraging people to boycott the 50 Shades of Grey book and film are criticizing the readers. They’re bringing light to the subject matter of the storyline and the sad fact that Hollywood promotes such behavior.

“Especially when so many say they’ve never read the books and really can’t comment on it factually.”

She’s right, I’ve never read the book or seen the movie, but let me put it this way: I’ve never dabbled in witchcraft or murder, but I don’t have to do those things in order to know they’re wrong.

When it comes to sin, there are no gray areas. Only black and white. Christian fiction encourages readers to connect to the characters and their journey through emotion—not lust and arousal. We strive to leave our readers with a message of hope that goes beyond human love. Does this mean Christian fiction is nothing but cardboard cut-out characters who’re perfect and don’t have sinful tendencies? Absolutely not! Those characters are as human as you and me and deal with tough issues. They’re just written in a way to point the reader to Christ.

If you’re not a reader of Christian fiction, I encourage you to give us a try. Entertaining reads that truly satisfy the longings of a woman’s heart.

*information obtained from http://www.sexuality.about.com

**reference from http://www.dictionary.com

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/free.digitalphotos.net

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DON’T MISS THIS!

Starting Wednesday, my publisher is offering readers an opportunity that has never been done in the history of publishing. For the next forty

Lent Promodays, all eBooks published by Pelican Book Group are FREE! That’s right. 300 eBooks — $0 — no strings attached. 2/18/15-4/2/15. Christian fiction in all genres. Please, take advantage of this opportunity to fill your eReader with wholesome, entertaining stories. www.pelicanbookgroup.com

~Candice Sue Patterson is the author of Silver White Winters and Bright Copper Kettles, both contemporary romances in a Christmas setting. She lives on a hobby farm in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she’s working on a new story. You can find Candice on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Find out more on her website.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Candice Sue Patterson, devotion

 

Interview with Author Tracie Peterson

Welcome, Friends! Each day is a blessing, but today we’re truly blessed to connect with Tracie Peterson.

Tracie is the best-selling, award winning author of over 100 books. Her work in historical romance garnered her the Best Western Romance Author of 2013 by True West Magazine. She was given the Life Time Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers in 2011 and the Career Achievement Award in 2007 from Romantic Times, as well as multiple best book awards.

Tracie has been married to Jim for over 35 years and enjoys working with him on historical research for each of her books. They make their home in the mountains of Montana. They have three grown children and three grandchildren, one collie dog and three cats.

QPQ: Thank you for joining us, Tracie. Congratulations on your latest release, Steadfast Heart!

TP: Thank you. I’m really excited about this new book which starts a brand new series.

QPQ: Tell us where you grew up. Do you feel your formative years shaped your writing?

TP: I grew up in Kansas. My mother used to give me a piece of paper and a pencil at church in order to keep me quiet. She urged me to write a story and then after church she would listen to my story. I believe this really helped my creative process. I knew I’d get my mother’s undivided attention if I had a story to tell. Then when I got to high school I wanted to take creative writing, but it was a class you had to apply for with a sample of your work. The teacher rejected me as not showing enough talent or creativity. That only served to make me more determined to write, so I started studying books about writing and paying close attention to what I loved or hated about a specific story. It served me well and helped me to hone my skills.

QPQ: We’re so thankful you persevered. Did you know you were an author, or did it surprise you?

TP: I knew I was a storyteller. I loved to tell stories to my friends, to write stories and to share them wherever I could. I really didn’t hold out a lot of hope that I could write full-time, but then God opened the doors for this to be a ministry. I still find myself amazed that I get to do something I love so much and serve God all at the same time.

QPQ: You could write any genre. Why do you write Christian Fiction?

TP: It’s a ministry, as I said. I want my books to do three things. My 3E’s. I want the story to entertain. I also want it to educate, so I do all sorts of research to make the historical aspect as accurate as possible. Third, I want the story to encourage the reader in God’s love and hope. I share the Gospel message in each book and try to offer Biblical application for daily living, all while weaving it into the lives of my characters. The letters I get from the readers have proven to me that the books are changing lives. I’ve received letters that talk about the reader finding God or finding their way back to their faith. I’ve even had readers tell me that the books have given them the courage to face life and their problems. It’s amazing to me how God has used this passion of mine to better the lives of others, as well as my own.

QPQ: What a powerful testimony of God’s grace. He’s faithful. Tell us about your latest release, Steadfast Heart.

STEADFAST_HEARTTP: Steadfast Heart is book one in the Brides of Seattle series. I wanted to create a story that dealt with a sort of mail-order bride, but with a twist. This series deals with three zany old ladies who run a bridal finishing school. The story focuses on Lenore who has a love at first sight experience with a man whose come looking for his sister. Kolbein Booth arrives in Seattle almost certain that the advertisement for young women to come to the bridal school is just a cover for a brothel. He ends up enlisting the help of Abrianna Cunningham, an on-going character in the series who happens to be the ward of the 3 old ladies. Through twists and turns Lenore and Kolbein manage to realize their love for each other, but not without great obstacles.

QPQ: What a predicament! Is Lenore an introvert or extrovert?

TP: She’s more of an introvert while her best friend Abrianna is definitely an extrovert and often drives her crazy. Lenore has been raised in a wealthy family and taught all the finer arts of being a woman of society. Being such she’s been talk to be quiet and obedient, but there’s a fire deep inside of her that won’t allow her to be passed over or taken for granted.

QPQ: Kolbein sounds impulsive. Is he?

TP: He’s not really impulsive. In fact, when he finds himself in love with Lenore, he doesn’t see the logic in it. He’s a lawyer so he likes the facts laid out and for everything to make sense. Falling in love at first sight is rather impulsive and doesn’t make any sense. It perplexes him to have come with one purpose to Seattle, only to find a entirely different situation to consider.

QPQ: Poor Kolbein! You’ve hooked us, Tracie. Where can we find Steadfast Heart?

TP: You can get this book from any local bookstore or online.

QPQ:  What else is up and coming in this series?

REFINING_FIRE

TP: Refining Fire is book two in the series and will be out next June. Book three, Love Everlasting, is slated to come out in October. The entire series is set in Seattle and will deal with the Great Fire that destroyed most of downtown Seattle in 1889, as well as follow the romances of three very special ladies.

QPQ: Where may readers find other books you’ve written?

TP: They can check out my website for information on all of my books and some of the upcoming titles as well. They may also find me on Facebook.

QPQ: One final question: Please tell us your favorite hobby.

TP: Reading is my favorite hobby and mainstay. I’ve always been a strong reader which I believe has definitely lent itself to stimulating my desire to write. I always appreciate a great story in both non-fiction and fiction. I hope heaven has a massive library and we get time to read.

QPQ: So do we, Tracie. Thank you for being our guest! We wish you continued success. God bless you!

 ***Tracie is giving away a copy of Steadfast Heart to one of our readers on Monday, February 16th, 2015! Leave a comment to be entered. We’ll contact the winner via email.

~ Jericha Kingston

 

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