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On this, my last day of vacation, I finished reading Julie Klassen’s novel, The Tudor’s Daughter, and, I have to say, I enjoyed it immensely.

The novel contains several elements of a couple of my favorite stories — the gothic romantic suspense of Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte and the misguided infatuation toward a younger brother found in the movie, Sabrina (starring Harrison Ford).

The novel also had elements from a movie that starred Tom Cruise, though I will not say which one, because then you’d definitely know the secret the family at Ebbington Manor is trying to hide. Definitely.

When I read novels such as this I wonder why I even bother to write, because I’m not in the same league.

Did you catch the clue I left in one of the preceding paragraphs?

See the book trailer here:


I have book cases full of books I intend to read. Yes, book cases. Not shelves.

I’m a book nut, but I don’t have time to read all of them. I keep saying that one day I’ll be able to read a book a day, because that is what it will take to  read through my library.

This week I chose a book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time, but something else always seemed to get in the way.

This book does what some in the publishing world would avoid–a conversion scene smack dab at the beginning of the book.

And you know what?

I loved it.

I love conversion scenes–whether they are in a book or in real life. Because conversions are real. People realize that something is missing and that something is God.

Wolfe Boone (“Boo”), the best-selling author of horror novels, is saved.

But what does it mean for a town named Skary, Indiana whose livelihood depends on this celebrity to thrive? With establishments like the Haunted Mansion Restaurant and Sbooky’s Bookstore the entire town’s success hinges on the success of this writer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its Mitford feel. It made me laugh at some of the absurd things the town busy-body tried to do.

There was even a scene where a character passes out in a movie theater. If that sounds far-fetched to you, read about my sister’s true-life experience.

I wish I had read  BOO  by Rene Gutteridge years ago–yes, I’ve had it for years.  (Oh, and according to the author’s website, this might become a movie. I certainly hope so!)

I met Steven James at my first Blue Ridge Mountain Writers Conference back in 2006. By then he had written a ton of stuff and I purchased a couple of his books.

I admired him because he could tell the story of Cinderella in spoonerisms.  He made me laugh.

This year’s conference was no different.

He demonstrated how people/things steal our Joy. I laughed so hard I cried.

You would never suspect that someone that funny could be a master at serial killer novels. Nothing funny about that.

He has a lot of dead bodies in his book, The Pawn–A Patrick Bowers Thriller, and weaves a complicated plot using a brilliant FBI agent with a PhD in Environmental Criminology.

I meant to ask the author if there is such a discipline as Environmental Criminology.

I guess I’ll have to google it.(According to google, there is).

I’m excited to be heading to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference on Sunday. It is my most anticipated trip each year. Even above the family beach trip which I love.

As I made preparations to attend I  read some of the novels written by the conference staff members.

I’m an early morning person which means I go to sleep early. Anything that can keep me up past 10:00 pm must be good.

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren kept me up until 1:00 am and I hated myself for allowing a story to steal my  sleep(which I desperately need).

If you liked the movies Facing the Giants, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, you just might like this story.

Two broken people face their giants while they participate in a radio talk show and prepare for the big game.

Yes, there’s football action.

I believe in the power of story.

Jesus did too, because he told parables to illustrate spiritual concepts.

The prodigal son parable told of God’s love for us even when we’ve turned our back on him. He waits for us to return to Him and when we do, His arms are outstretched.

My ultimate goal in writing my fiction is to point people to the Bible.

While I am not yet published, I had a critique partner tell me she looked up a passage in the Bible after reading about something my character had referenced from the Bible

Besides someone telling me they became a Christ follower after reading my work, telling me they were compelled to read scripture is one of the highest honors(because there is power in the pages of the Bible–if you don’t believe, read it for yourself).

I am currently writing a little fluff fiction piece now that I hope illustrates Biblical teachings and influences my readers to open the Bible.

A minor character in my story has been called to be a missionary, and I needed to research missionaries in that time period in England.

And so, today I read this:

There should be such a full and varied supply of food for the craving mind, as to supersede, to banish from the community, at least from the church, every form and variety of that poisonous romance, that worthless fiction which has spread itself almost every where; has, even, with shameless impudence obtruded itself into the selected library of the Sabbath school.

Always, always choose the Bible over fiction.

Sadly, in today’s society, many will not open the Bible, even for curiosity’s sake.

Maybe, just maybe, someone will read one of my books (one day) and decide to pick up the Bible and see what is in its covers.

Click here if you wish to read the rest of the research piece written in 1844History of the English Baptist Missionary Society from A.D 1792 to A.D. 1842.

David Meigs says this in his article in this month’s Christian Fiction Online Magazine:

“As inspirational fiction authors, we write to the lost.”

Worth a read.

My first thought about the book was, “that’s a strange title. I wonder what it means.”

And you find out in the first few pages of The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy.

The book blends romance with the wild wild west where love is found on a cattle drive. I read it in one day and said to my husband, Scott, who doesn’t read westerns, “I think you’ll like this book.”

He read the back and said, “I’ll read it.”

He did. In one day. And said, “You’ll have to buy this book. This is one we’ll want to keep.” (I borrowed it from the Durham Public Library)

I think he loved the feisty females–a mother (Belle) and her 4 girls(one of them an infant) who are determined to run their ranch without the help of a husband. In fact, the oldest girls made their mother promise never to bring another man into their home, because in their minds, all men are worthless.

Likewise, Silas has sworn off conniving females, but he needs a job and agrees to go on a cattle drive with these five females. Yes, he is a glutton for punishment.

Worth your time reading if you enjoy romance.

Dave Ramsey says if you want to be a millionaire then spend time with millionaires. And likewise, if you want to be a billionaire, spend time with billionaires.

Interview them, shadow them to find out how they obtained success.

I want to become a published author, so following Dave Ramsey’s advice, I contacted a published author.

Alice J. Wisler is a Durham author published by Bethany House. I friended her on Facebook sometime ago and, knowing she lived in Durham, I asked if she would meet me sometime.

The Facebook App on my Android phone apparently wasn’t working properly. I sent other messages, but they weren’t going through. So, thinking she probably thought I was a kook anyway, I didn’t contact her anymore.

Then, recently, she posted on Facebook that she spent time at Bruegger’s within walking distance of my office building. I asked if she would meet me and, surprisingly, she agreed.

Her books are set in North Carolina giving an instant appeal for this NC girl.

Rain Song is set in the town of Mount Olive, NC

At my initial contact with her, I put the book in my car just in case she agreed to meet me. Unfortunately, that was during the hot months of the year. The glue holding the pages melted and fell out.

And being the crazy person that I am, I asked her to sign that copy. And she did!

From the book cover:

Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan. Something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone. Something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney.

Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart.

Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does! Will Nicole face her fears in order to discover her past and take a chance on love?

My thoughts:

I enjoyed the book and I’m not saying that just because the author agreed to meet me for lunch.

The questions we have throughout the novel, like why Nicole’s treasured doll has one sleeve shorter than the other, are all answered when she learns what happened the night her mother died–the one event that haunted her since age 2.

Being a romance reader, I longed to know what happened between Nicole and Harrison after they met. I’ll leave that to my imagination.

Enjoyable read.

The dream of every Janeite(Jane Austen fan) is to meet Mr. Darcy.

And not just any Mr. Darcy, but the Colin Firth Mr. Darcy.

He filmed a movie  with Orlando Bloom in Durham a while back  called Main Street(Mr. Darcy with a southern accent. Say it isn’t so!).

On my way in to work one day I saw the crew filming. I was so close to Mr. Darcy.  And yet, so far. (I was working on N. Main Street at the time).

Anyway, this post is not about the movie. I’m not endorsing it. I haven’t seen it actually, so I don’t know if it is objectionable or not.

My point in the blog is to talk about the book Austenland, a satisfying Jane Austen-inspired fantasy(aka romance)  by Shannon Hale. Loved it.

The author dedicated her book to Colin Firth.

Here is the dedication:

For Colin Firth

You’re a really great guy, but I’m married,

so I think we should just be friends.

Isn’t that great?

The character of the story, Jane, inherits a vacation to an English country house where she is required to leave all her fancy modern gadgets and pretend to live in the Regency time period (roughly 1810-1820).

Of course there’s romance with a few twists at the end. The girl gets the guy. But which one? The author had me guessing.

Great story.

Thanks, Val, for introducing me to the book and letting me borrow your copy.

Genesis 2: 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

It is not good for man to be alone.

Yesterday I finished reading two books. I read Havah by Tosca Lee the old-fashioned  way and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley I listened to by audio book in my car.

I couldn’t help seeing the similarities in subject matter.

Havah is the fictionalized story of Eve written in beautiful prose of a lyrical quality.

Beautiful, yet sad.

I could visualize the Garden of Eden and then, after the fall, feel the agony as weeds and sin and death crept in to take over the earth.

The close commune Adam and Eve had with the Creator was severed. And Havah longed for the fellowship to return.

From the Prologue:  I have seen paradise and ruin. I have known bliss and terror. I have walked with God.

And as she dies in the last chapter: Sleep–I can see the earth as it was, the green without the fire, the lightning, the river flooding it.

I once feared death but now consider it a grace not to be trapped in this life or this body forever, with its wrinkles and ravages and this searing pain, with its aging and heartbreak.

And while death was something  she could have avoided by not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, death became something in the end she longed for, because with death, she was able to once again be with her Creator.

The  monster created by Frankenstein wanted companionship. When no one befriended him, not even his creator, he began his reign of terror.

The monster says:

Once I falsely hoped to meet with beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfolding. I was nourished with high thoughts of honour and devotion. But now crime has degraded me beneath the meanest animal. No guilt, no mischief, no malignity, no misery, can be found comparable to mine. When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates  in his desolation; I am alone.

And Frankenstein regretted making this fiend.

And God regretted his creation:

Genesis 6:5-8

5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Mary Shelley, as she wrote Frankenstein,may have felt like her creature. Maybe she felt abandoned and alone by her creator. Maybe she felt her transgressions were so great that nothing could correct them.

Maybe you feel this way.

Here is hope:

Hebrews 2: 14-18

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

You see, Our Creator came to us–To heal our loneliness. I referenced it in a previous post:

Philippians 2

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

John 3:17

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

And he is still accessible to us today. We are not alone.

John 14

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

He promises not to leave us as orphans–not to leave us alone.

Note: This is not the first time I’ve read a book and at the same time listened to another that correlated in some way. Coincidence? I don’t know. But I know that I am grateful that I was able to “read” these two at the same time.

Why was I reading Frankenstein?

Because my current work-in-progress(novel) is set in 1819 and Frankenstein was published in 1818, so my characters may have read the book. I thought I’d read what they may have.

Update  to this post: I wrote this early in the morning before work. When I got to work I had an email in my inbox with this subject line: Lonely | Encouragement For Today | Proverbs 31 Ministries . Please click the link to read. Is this just another coincidence?

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