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Thanks to a member of one of my writing loops for pointing me to this video.

What is my Cardboard Testimony?

On one side:

“If I should die before I wake” used to scare me.

On the other side:

Now I know I’d wake up on streets of gold.

Please share with me your cardboard testimony.

I’ve had my cry for the month. I don’t cry often. I don’t like to cry, but sometimes crying is a release.

Sometimes you meet people and something about them makes you remember them, even though the meeting was brief. I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with Kristy Dykes at the 2005 American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Nashville. I don’t remember whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I remember thinking, what a classy woman who loves the Lord. She just had a spark that I admired. She almost glowed in the turquoise blazer she wore. I believe turquoise was her signature color.

I learned she had a malignant brain tumor and followed her last few months on her blog rightly called Christian Love Stories.

I’ve said in a previous post that story ideas are everywhere. The book I’m in the process of polishing came from research I did on epilepsy. You see, my son was diagnosed in 2002 with a rare form of the disease. One doctor believed it to be supplementory motor epilepsy which originates from deep inside the frontal lobe of the brain.

His seizures are not the normal kind. If I wrote about them, people wouldn’t believe me.

Here’s what happens:

His heart races, his pupils dilate, then his right hand comes up, he swipes his nose, then brings it behind his head. His other hand follows. If he is standing, he takes off running with his knees lifted high in the air. When it is over (when it was at its very worst–before medication) he would then grin this very strange grin. Very bizarre. Fortunately, medication controls all that.

But in my research, I found that in olden days women with seizures weren’t allowed to marry. I thought that would be a good conflict for a novel. That particular conflict, however, will not come until the 3rd book in my Secret Beauty Series.

Visit the Epilepsy Foundation for more information on the disease.

I couldn’t not write today on my thoughts on today’s Sunday School lesson.

I almost titled the Post, “How could this Jesus thing be a hoax?”

Because, you see, if this were a hoax, then…

–A crippled man lame since birth, couldn’t have jumped up and walked. Even today, when people begin to walk after some injury to their legs, they need physical therapy. They can’t just jump up and walk. JUMP. The man, lame since birth, jumped up! This was a complete healing and there were witnesses. And these witnesses believed it was a miracle because they thought Paul and Barnabas were Greek gods.

–Paul and Barnabas would have embraced their mistaken identity for Greek gods. We all want fame and they could have had it by just saying, “Yes, we are Zeus and Hermes. See the marvelous things we’ve done.” But they didn’t. Instead Paul and Barnabas told the people to turn from the worthless worship of these gods and instead worship the one true living God.

–Paul would not have allowed himself to be stoned. He would have said as the stones were poised to be hurled in his direction, “Whoa, whoa, wait. Before you throw that first rock at me, I want to say you’re right. What I’ve been saying all along is false. Jesus isn’t the Messiah. He can’t heal the sick, save people from hell. I admit I was doing it for the money and for fame. Please don’t kill me. I won’t say another word about this man named Jesus.” No, he didn’t do that. Instead, he watched as the stones pelted his body until he was knocked unconscious.

Here is the story from scripture:

Acts 14:8-20 (NIV)

8In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15“Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.

19Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

My favorite TV shows just started new episodes last night–Monk and Psych.

I love the dialog. They make me laugh.

I want to be able to write stories with unique characters that make people laugh.

I watch the shows as research for story structure and character development. (Well, no, actually, I watch them because they entertain me).

I think the writers are geniuses–whoever thought of a detective with OCD and many irrational fears and one that pretends to be a psychic has to be brilliant.

P. S. If you can sit through the ads on the links above, then you’ll see the new episodes for the season.

I have a confession to make.

I was listening to a writing conference CD on my way home today and the discussion was on the difference between literary fiction and commercial fiction.

Several of the editors (it was a question and answer session) recommended reading Leif Enger’s book Peace Like a River.

I read the book through Reader’s Digest Select Editions.

Is it a sin for writers to read condensed versions of books?

I wonder what I missed by not seeing all the words.

The truth is, I would have never gotten around to reading the full blown version because I have so many books on my “to read” shelves (yes, shelves).

I have enjoyed so many good books through Select Editions.

Anyway, Miss Snark says “When agents talk about commercial fiction they mean the stuff that sells well. When they talk about literary fiction they mean the stuff that gets reviewed well.”

In my opinion, literary fiction is about the art of the writing itself and commercial fiction is about entertainment.

One book that I recommend you read for literary fiction is The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers. She happens to be one of my favorite writers. Her book Redeeming Love is, in my opinion, a Christian Classic (the heroine is a prostitute. Warning: This book is very sensual)

P. S. I’m not smart enough to write literary works of art.

Tom Morrisey spoke at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference this past May. I was so impressed with his testimony that I purchased the audio of it and 3 copies of his book, In High Places(a Christy award finalist–I was disappointed he didn’t win on Saturday night). I gave those copies away and my sister gave me my own copy for my birthday(although it is not signed like the ones I gave away). I’m reading through it now.

Here is an excerpt from chapter one of his newly released book, Wind River.

What truly fascinated me about his testimony is that he was a self-professed atheist who knew the Bible so well he could use it against anyone who tried to convince him about his need for God. Now he convinces people about their need for God.

I like his mission statement: “To glorify an adventurous God.”

Check out the trailers of books coming out from B&H Publishing:

I pitched my story, Absalom’s Beauty, to David Webb in May at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. He read about eight pages of the novel and requested I send a proposal to have some others at B&H look at it.

I am flattered that my writing caught his attention enough to request the proposal. Nothing may come of it, in fact, he may have gotten the proposal and wondered what was he thinking in requesting it. But just the same, that he saw something in my writing gives me more hope.

I heard Karen Ball speak at the 2005 ACFW conference in Nashville. Her keynote speeches resonated with me, and I identify with her goldfish moments. I feel a certain kinship because of it. She is a great writer in her own right. I have read her novel, The Breaking Point, and even bought copies to give to friends who I felt were facing some of the same issues. I have other books of hers in my to be read pile. I wish I had time to get to them.

So, check out all the books at B&H and check out the books by Karen Ball. You will not be disappointed.

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