Monday, May 20, 2019

I'm traveling out of the country and won't be blogging for about 10 days.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Elijah in Training

See 1 Kings 16:29 - 18:66. 

God often trains us for the tasks ahead and for the plans He has for us. Of course, at the time, we rarely realize that's what's happening. I can look back in my life and see how I was in training for years to be a Christian author. The prophet Elijah must have been able to do much the same because he went through some pretty serious training for what would come.

Elijah came from Tishbe, located in Gilead which contained hills and highlands to the east of the Jordan River. This wilderness area had only a few scattered, tough inhabitants. The forested hillsides were home to dangerous, wild animals. Gilead was a rough, lawless territory, and it took strength, stamina, and perseverance to survive there. Growing up here was the first part of Elijah's training.

Then, God sent him to King Ahab with a quick message. Because of their sins and idolatry, it wouldn't rain in the Northern Kingdom of Israel for three and a half years. Elijah didn’t mince words, he didn’t soften the blow, and he wouldn’t have made it in public relations today. He stood before the evilest, cruelest king the Jews had ever had and delivered this unwelcomed threat.

Next, God sent him to stay beside the brook of Cherith. Here, he would learn to depend totally on God for everything. God sent ravens to bring him food twice a day, but otherwise, Elijah was alone with God. It must have been hard for this tough, hardened man, who had learned to survive under difficult circumstances, now completely surrender, but he did. He also learned patience as he waited for his next marching orders.

When the stream totally died up due to the drought, God sent Elijah to Zarephath, a strange place to send his prophet since it was a town in Phoenicia, about thirteen miles north of Tyre. This was Jezebel's home, and Ethbaal, her father, still ruled there. It was deep in pagan territory where they worshipped Baal and other gods. And on top of that, he was to stay with a lowly, impoverished widow. At Zarephath, Elijah would continue his lesson on submission and reliance, but he'd also get an advanced course in humility.

Can you see how each step built on the previous one? All of this prepared him for the showdown on Mount Carmel where he would prove who was God. No matter what the Baal prophets did, their god did not light the wood on their altar. After hours of their trying, Elijah stepped forward and said one simple prayer. Not only did fire immediately descend from heaven and light the wood on the altar, but it was so hot and powerful that it consumed everything, even though it had been soaked in water. God's might was revealed through a prophet who had no doubt in his Lord.

What is God training you to do? Will you trust in Him, submit totally, and follow him in obedience step by step. That's what Elijah did.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

From Villain to Hero

It's very difficult to take the villain of previous books and make a hero out of him or her. It can be done with success, but it takes writing savvy. It can't happen suddenly, as so often attempted. The change must come gradually to be believable, and even then, readers don't usually like it. I've had plenty of secondary characters become the main characters in subsequent books, but I've never used a villain in this way.

Two books I've read recently attempted this and fell short in my opinion. They are both good books, otherwise, but the characters were just too despicable in the first books for me to accept them as a hero and heroine in later books in the series. One of the big problems was that the book where they became the hero started with them suddenly being kindhearted and caring when the previous books had ended with them being horrible. One tried to give a brief explanation in one paragraph, but it didn't work. The other had the change of heart with no explanation at all.

I've read many books where the main character was very flawed and made poor choices at the first of the book and then changed. This is not what I'm talking about. I'm referring to books that have vile characters causing problems for the main character(s) with no change of heart, and the author expects the reader to suddenly accept them as good-hearted, main characters. This rarely works.

Monday, May 13, 2019

National Apple Pie Day

"As American as apple pie" is a common saying, so I guess it's no wonder that May 13th has been named National Apple Pie Day. Yet, historically, the apple pie started much before America was discovered by Europeans. It at least goes back to England in the Middle Ages. We know this because Chaucer wrote down an apple pie recipe in 1381. A Dutch version of an apple pie was published in a 1514 cookbook, and France and Sweden also had their early takes on the desert.

In fact, the apple pie was brought to the American colonies by the English, Dutch, and Swedes in the 16 and 1700's. It wasn't available earlier, because colonists had to wait for European varieties of the apple tree to be transported, planted, and grow enough to fruit. The only apple native to America was the crabapple, which might be used for jelly but not for pies. Actually, colonists were more likely to use apples to make cider than pies at first. To them, a pie usually meant some kind of meat pie.

However, by the 18th century, the apple pie had become common as a year-round treat in most of the colonies (and then states). In the 19th and 20th centuries, the apple pie came to symbolize the American dream and prosperity. During World War II, "for Mom and apple pie" became a slogan to inspire the soldiers. Around 1950, a patriotic song became popular that had "We love our baseball and apple pie" as part of the lyrics. Advertisers jumped on the idea, and soon Chevrolet had a catchy jingle about "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet."

No matter how you slice it, Americans have long declared apple pie their favorite. So, for National Apple Pie Day, perhaps you'll want to buy or bake one. The internet is full of great recipes if you don't already have your favorite. Bon appetit!


Thursday, May 9, 2019

About Jesus

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

Sometimes we Christians get too caught up in theology, doctrine, committees, and programs and lose sight of Jesus. This is why churches have splits, new believers become so confused, our faith grows lukewarm, and we have trouble witnessing. Jesus is the answer to all these problems and more.

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men... (Acts 22:15).

Over and over I hear people saying they have a hard time witnessing because they don't know what to say, or they're afraid they'll say something wrong. They're focusing too much on themselves when they need to put their focus on Jesus. All they need to do is tell people about Jesus and show them His love and acceptance.

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).

When Jesus began to call his disciples, he didn't have training sessions, implement new programs, or set up committees. I'm not saying these things are bad, but they shouldn't detract from our focus -- Jesus. He should be the main part of everything we do. As we grow in our faith, He should be the main part of who we are. We should be Jesus followers, following Jesus.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mountain Storms

My newest release is the first of a western trilogy set in Wyoming and Texas. When her family situation worsens, Aileas Douglas runs away, but she’s unprepared for the Wyoming mountains. A friendly dog leads her to safety, but his master just might pose the most danger of all, especially to her heart.

Scarred in the Civil War and deserted by his betrothed, Ian MacGregor becomes a recluse in a remote cabin in Wyoming Territory. He thinks Aileas might be an angel when she appears beside his sickbed, but even later, he’s drawn to her in ways he doesn’t understand. However, no woman would ever be interested in him now, and he needs to protect himself from another heartbreak. But is this even possible where Aileas is concerned?

Book One, Mountain Storms, is Aileas's and Ian's story. Past Storms, the second book, will be about Jeannie, Ian's sister. And Book Three, Dust Storms features Brady, Aileas's stepbrother who goes to Texas for a while. Although each book has a definite ending, all the books build on the previous story and include some of the previous characters. 

The e-books are out now, but it will likely be about two weeks before the print version releases. There seems to be some glitch with the cover specs. However, I'm excited about this In from the Storms series and hope readers will find them exciting, too. So, mosey on over and check out Mountain Storms. You're apt to fall in love with Ian and Aileas the way I did.

Mountain Storms on Kindle -


Monday, May 6, 2019

National Have a Coke Day

March 29 is National Have a Coke Day. This day in 1886 is usually given as the date John Pemberton invented Coca Cola, although it wasn't introduced until May 8. He originally intended it as a patented medicine. Its name came from its original two key ingredients: kola nuts, which had caffeine, and cocaine leaves. However, Asa Griggs Chandler bought the company and marketed it as a soft drink. 

Pemberton had been a Confederate colonel in the Civil War. He was wounded and became addicted to morphine but wanted to find an alternative for the dangerous opiate. He developed the recipe for Coca Cola in his drugstore in Columbus, Georgia. To start with, he called it a coca wine. When Fulton County adopted prohibition laws, he took the alcoholic content out. Pemberton's first sale for the new drink took place at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta in May 1886. It cost five cents a glass at the soda fountain. His first ad ran in the Atlanta Journal on May 29.

Today Coca Cola is sold around the world. The current ingredients of the product remain a trade secret. The company markets over 500 brands in 200 countries. Shall we have a Coke to celebrate the day?