Friday, April 24, 2015

Help me choose my hero and win a free book!

You all did such a fabulous job choosing the perfect picture for my heroine last week, that this week, I'm asking for help with my hero.

His name is Rowan Dutton. Some of you may know him from my book, The Ransom. He was Juliana's drunken gambling brother. Oh.. how I do enjoy redeeming the bad boy! 

ROWAN DUTTON
Rowan is 22 years old. He's a pirate by trade and has light brown/blonde hair that hangs to his shoulders and striking blue eyes. He is, of course, tall, muscular, and physically fit. He wears a gold earring in his right ear. He is a charmer who has a way with the ladies, but deep inside he feels like a failure.  (more on his personality, quirks, and background when I have my pre-release party in June!)

I actually think my cover designer did a great job picking a good likeness of Rowan on the cover. In case you haven't read the book blurb yet, here it is.



When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? 

Pirate Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.
 


So, have at it!!  Please leave a comment here or on my Facebook author page with links to pictures of your suggestions. You can suggest more than one actor/model.  I will gather all the pictures and choose my favorite next Friday. The winner will receive a paperback copy of The Reckoning when it releases. In addition, the winner, along with the two runners up will be mentioned in my Acknowledgements in the front of the book! 


Have a wonderful Weekend!! And thanks for your help!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Red Sky at Night!



Jesus answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.   

Matt 16:2-3



Monday, April 20, 2015

How to find God's call on your life!

I've had many believers come to me and ask me how they can know God's will for their lives. How can they know their calling ... what is it that God wants them to do with their lives?   They tell me how blessed I am to know my calling (which is writing novels that glorify God). They tell me they've asked God and begged God to lead them into whatever it is He wants them to do, but they never hear anything. They may head off in one direction, thinking that is what God wants, but then it ends or fizzles out and nothing comes of it. So they try something else, all the while begging God for revelation. I know people who, after years of this, have decided they aren't good enough for God to use so they spend their days wallowing in insecurity, feeling sorry for themselves. Others even lose faith that God exists.  Sadly, from what I've seen, most Christians never find their God-given purpose.

The truth is that if you are a believer in Jesus, if you've been called by God and saved by the blood of Christ, then there is something God wants you to do. It could be as simple as being a stay-at-home Mom and raising Godly children (which actually isn't simple at all in this culture and is one of the most important callings!)  to being a missionary to ISIS!  You could actually have multiple calls on your life for different seasons. Maybe you're supposed to witness to people at work and when that's done, God moves you to something else. However I do believe there is one primary call on each of us.  God didn't save you just so you could go to heaven. There's a battle raging around us for the souls of men, and He wants you to get engaged! He has something for you to do, that only you can do with your unique mixture of talents, desires, and skills. And whatever that is, when you find it and walk in it, it will fulfill you beyond what you thought possible. It will be a perfect fit for you and make you excited about your life!

So, how did I find my calling? How did I discover that God wanted me to write novels for Him?

And so, dear brothers and sisters I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.   Romans 12:1-2

Notice Paul is pleading with the Romans here. Plead is a very strong word. It means to beg, to entreat earnestly!  Why is he so adamant about this? I believe it's because so few believers, even in his day, were living to their fullest potential in Christ. And he knew what they were missing!!  
Here are the steps he lists

1. Give your entire body to God
2. Don't copy the behavior of the world
3. Allow God to transform your mind

Then you will know God's will for your life.  Simple eh?
Notice Paul says Body, not soul or spirit. But what does it mean to give our bodies to God? I believe it means to be willing to have God tell us what to eat, what to wear, what to watch on TV or read, where to go, what job to take...etc.   Basically it's becoming God's slave. Yet how many in our self-indulgent society are willing to do that?  

Yet the Scripture indicates that until we do that, God can't begin to transform our minds. We have to completely submit to Him first. Then He has access to change our minds.. the way we think and talk and how we look at things. THEN and only then will we know God's will for us.  (Note that it will be pleasing and perfect!)  

Here's some questions I had to ask myself (and you should too!)

  • If God told me to fast for a week from all food, would I do it? (I love to eat!)
  • If God told me to not watch my favorite TV show ever again, would I obey?
  • What about fasting from TV for a month?
  • How about if I had to give up chocolate?  (No! No! Anything but that!)
  • What if He asked me to stay up all night and pray? 
  • Would I obey if He told me to go witness to the muslins across the street?
  • What if He wanted me to go to Africa?
  • Give all my savings to the poor? 
  • Leave a high-paying easy job for one that is much harder for less pay?

I'm not saying God will ask for these sacrifices. And I'm not talking about doing works to earn His love. I'm simply giving you an illustration of what it means to truly submit our bodies to God. 

Out of time here.. I'll pick this up next Monday with my own story of God revealed to me His plan for my writing.


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Frenzy - Next Heroine's picture!

Happy Friday Everyone!  Last week I asked for your help in choosing a picture that best matched the description of the heroine in my next book. WOW did you all give me some great choices!!  THANK YOU! It was a huge help. I had a very hard time narrowing it down, but I got it down to 3 pictures, and finally to one. But first to remind you of the story line and who my heroine, Morgan Shaw, is.
 When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? 

Pirate Captain Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.
Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.


Morgan Shaw

Age 24
Long straight brown hair and green eyes. Morgan is medium height, thin, and not very curvy. She's always been self-conscious of her small chest.

Morgan has many good qualities. She's dependable, loyal, follows the rules, efficient, and kind-hearted. She likes a safe, controlled environment and doesn't like to take risks or chances.  Because she's a software engineer by trade, she's smart, serious, solitary, analytical, and detail-oriented. Unfortunately coming from a difficult childhood which involved the divorce of her parents, Morgan also suffers from OCD and Anxiety, so she's normally uptight, rigid, and repressed.

Here's the three finalists! 
Katie McGrath, nominated by Sarah Venable
    


Unknown girl, nominated by Diana Flowers



















Unknown by Jessica Pifer

All of the pictures were so great!  I'm not good at finding actresses or models to match my heroine, so this was a huge help.

The picture I chose was Number 3, The unknown girl nominated by Jessica Pifer!  My reason is she had the perfect combination of innocence, sorrow, and determination I was going for.  So, Congratulations Jessica!  You will receive a free paperback of the Reckoning and will also be mentioned in my Acknowledgements, along with the runners up!
Jessica, please contact me ASAP so I can get your address. Thanks!

Be sure to come back next Friday when I will have another contest to choose the Hero's picture!  Please help!


Friday's Writing Tip
Find a mentor:  Someone who has been in the business awhile and who's been traditionally published. I'm not talking about someone to critique your writing (although she or he may be willing to do that too). I'm talking about someone who can offer you advice, encouragement, and the truth. This is the toughest business I've ever been in, and we all need someone to lean on who understands. The best way to find that person is at conferences or retreats or through online writing groups. Don't be dismayed if you get turned down. Many writers don't have a lot of extra time. But pray about it and see who God brings you.
Did I have a mentor? Not really. But I did surround myself with like-minded Christian writers who are still my friends today. I also joined a number of critique groups, as well as ACFW where I met other authors online.


Don't forget to come back next week!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015



For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more.

 I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already kindled!

Luke 12:48-49 


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Intimacy with God

Is it possible to sit and chat with the Creator of the Universe?  Remember in Genesis where it describes God coming to walk and talk with Adam (before the fall) in the cool of the evening? I've always thought that was so cool. What would it be like to just take a stroll with God and share back and forth with Him?  What would it have been like to have been one of Jesus's disciples, living day in and day out with Him, chatting about everything!  Incredible.

If you're a believer, you no doubt pray often. You bring your petitions to God and beg for answers. So many of you are going through horrific times right now. It seems that everywhere I turn I hear horrible stories of cancer and accidents and diseases and broken marriages and abused children and lost jobs and poverty.  We come before God and we beg for His help. But wouldn't it be so incredible to just sit down with him in our living room and hear His response? To have a back and forth with Him?

Remember when Jesus said that it was better that He leave the earth for then God would send the Holy Spirit? I always sort of cringed at that. Frankly, I'd love to sit down and have a one-on-one with Jesus. I can't see the Holy Spirit or touch Him or hear Him. Wouldn't it be better for Jesus to have stayed after He rose from the dead?

But the truth of the matter is, the longer I am a Christian, the more I understand what Jesus meant. He died and rose again and ascended to the Father so that we, His followers, could have the same relationship with the Father that Adam and Eve had!  Not in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm (which is far more real!).  We can walk with God. We can talk with God. And we can hear from Him. In fact, that's the entire reason mankind was created. AND the entire reason the Father sent His Son to die on our behalf. He wants an intimate relationship with us!  He wanted to restore what was lost in Eden.

Yet I meet so many Christians who say they never hear from God. So many who cry out but receive no answer. So many who have this sort of pseudo one-sided relationship with God that is anything but close and personal.

A quick glance through the New Testament reveals that the followers of Jesus should expect to hear from God on a daily basis. The instructions should be clear and loving and directional. So, where have we gone wrong? Why do most of us feel we have to go to our pastor or some spiritual giant to get a word from God? Why aren't we hearing from Him all the time?

I believe the key is found in the following verse:
But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life. Deuteronomy 4:29 Amp

When was the last time you actually sought God as if you were dying of thirst in a desert? When was the last time you sought Him with every ounce of your being, with the passion that said if you didn't find Him, you would die?  So many of us set aside 15 or 20 minutes to pray here and there, dump our requests on God, thank Him for listening and then go about our busy lives, hoping He'll answer. But when was the last time you took one of your day's off and sat alone with your Bible spread before you, desperate to hear from the Father?  

Do you have a question you'd like to ask Him? Something burning on your heart you don't understand?  Ask! Seek! Knock!  Sit alone with God as you would a good friend and ask. Then open the Bible and read. Read and pray and read and pray and wait on the Lord. I know a pastor who used to spend 3 or 4 hours at night just worshiping God, just hanging out with the Father. And this man often heard from the Lord. 

I know we are all busy. My schedule is so crazy, sometimes I have no idea how I will finish everything. We have kids and grandkids and jobs, spouses, elderly parents, and homes to take care of, etc..  And sometimes we just can't find time alone.  I get it. I really do. Yet...  we make time to eat. We make time to watch TV. We make time for our hobbies.  What is really important to you?  Maybe we need to rearrange some of our priorities, and make God a priority. I believe that's what it means to Seek Him with all your heart. 

Recently, I scheduled some time alone. I turned off the cell phone, the computer, the TV. I sat in my writing room with Bible open and just spoke to my Father. I had no expectations, no time limit, no desire but to know Him more. And boy am I glad I did! Because in that hour, the Father spoke to me clearly through a psalm I read. He reinforced 2 things for me. One was a promise He'd made to me long ago that my prodigal children would be saved, and the other was that my faith would grow to a point that I would no longer live in fear.  The prodigal question was something I had asked Him to reinforce a while ago. Maybe He was trying all along to give me an answer but I was too busy to hear Him. Anyway, it was a special special time, and proved the Scripture above that if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him!


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Help me find the perfect picture for my next heroine!

Since it's only three months until the release of my next book, The Reckoning, I would love some help picking out the perfect representation of my heroine, Morgan Shaw.  I have a visual of her in my mind, but I can never find a good picture of an actress or model that fits!!  Since you all have done so well in the past, I'm putting out this call again!! 

Here's the deal. Below, I will give you a description of my heroine, both physically and in her personality. If you can think of someone, an actress, singer, model, etc and you can find a good picture of her online, post her name here and the link to her picture. I'll also put this on Facebook where you can also post a picture.  Then if I choose your picture, you will win a FREE paperback copy of the book when it comes out. In addition, your name will appear inside the front cover with the acknowledgements!  Sound good?? 

First, here's a tiny peek at the storyline. 


When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? 

Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.




Now, let's meet Morgan Shaw. 

Age 24
Long straight brown hair and green eyes. Morgan is medium height, thin, and not very curvy. She's always been self-conscious of her small chest.

Morgan has many good qualities. She's dependable, loyal, follows the rules, efficient, and kind-hearted. She likes a safe, controlled environment and doesn't like to take risks or chances.  Because she's a software engineer by trade, she's smart, serious, solitary, analytical, and detail-oriented. Unfortunately coming from a difficult childhood which involved the divorce of her parents, Morgan also suffers from OCD and Anxiety, so she's normally uptight, rigid, and repressed.


So, give it your best shot!! I'll pick a winner next Friday! 


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