Monday, April 27, 2009

Climbing back onto the wagon

... of blogging.

I know, I know, I fell off again. I'm sorry! Deadline. This book goes to my fab editor in two weeks and I'm in the midst of rewriting and editing.

It's amazing how time and emotion consuming writing is, and when down time comes, blogging, even reading is far from my mind.

I got hooked on reruns of The Practice on Thank goodness not all the seasons are on the site. I'm almost done with the current postings.

Geez, we got rid of the Dish and find entertainment distractions on the web. ACK! It follows us, it follows us.

The first book with Sara Evans is pretty much ready to go! Save the first printing which probably comes soon. Look for the release this August! Wow, can't wait!! I'm so excited about this series.

Be blessed. Jesus loves you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tour De Force by Elizabeth White

Please welcome my friend and fab author, Elizabeth White!

TOUR DE FORCE: A Love Story releasing
May 2009, Zondervan

A Passion for Dance

Gilly Kincade is a rising star on the New York ballet scene. Dancing is her life's passion, second only to her love for Jesus, and she believes her faith sets her apart--but hasn't held her back. Chosen for a plum role in a new ballet choreographed for her, it seems the sky's the limit. Then she meets Jacob Ferrar. . .

A Passion for God

Jacob Ferrar has left behind the glittering temptations of stardom in New York ballet. He has established a reputation as a brilliant, innovative artistic director of a regional dance company in Alabama, with a vision for choreography that glorifies God and encourages the audience. In fact, he's certain nothing could make him go back. . .

Becomes Love's Tour de Force

When Jacob offers Gilly the lead in his original Easter ballet, she begins to reevaluate what she's willing to sacrifice for dance. And he sees exciting potential of shining light on the world's dark stage. But their brilliant first performance is destroyed by a terrible accident, and Gilly and Jacob find themselves facing an uncertain future. Together, they dance the fine line between personal vision and God's will, listening for the beat of the Father's heart.

Romantic Times BookClub says:

"White takes readers behind the scenes into the competitive dance world. It's refreshing that Gillian befriends and respects people living different lifestyles while still boldly living out her faith.” (4 stars)

Elizabeth White invites readers to meet her on the Web.

An interview with Beth about Tour de Force:

Q: What inspired you to write a novel about ballet dancers?

A: Too much cold medicine? JUST KIDDING! Actually, Gillian Kincade was a character in last year's Off the Record.. As the off-beat teenage sister of Judge Laurel Kincade, Gilly took on such a distinct personality (as characters often do) that she demanded a story of her own. Readers have written to ask if she follows through with her crush on musical heartthrob Tucker McGaughan. . .To be blunt, no. Too easy. But rest assured, Tucker makes his appearance in Tour de Force.

Q: So were you ever a dancer yourself?

A: If you could see the bruises on my knees just from trying to make it across the Wendy's parking lot, you wouldn't ask that question. But since you did. . .I once took tap, jazz and rudimentary ballet as a child. I learned just enough to pick up elements of the dance language. Everything I know about professional ballet has come from interviewing and observing real dancers, notably the exquisite Kathryn Morgan of New York City Ballet and Kathy Thibodeaux of Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, Mississippi.

Q: What spiritual take-away is involved in a story about dancers?

A: I was interested in exploring challenges to Christian artists in general. The Scripture I kept coming back to is Luke 12:48: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

Debates have gone one for decades (probably centuries, for all I know) regarding Christian art. For example, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, the story goes, discussed whether the world needs more "Christian writers" or "writers who are Christian." The only way I knew how to tackle the subject was to create characters who must face those questions, take a stand, and either live for God -- or not.

It's my belief that flawed people are more interesting than perfect ones. They're also more real. Though Gilly and Jacob aren't "real" in the obvious sense, they do struggle to cope with universal issues. How much overt "witnessing" should a Christian performer or teacher do? What's the line of grace between acceptance (tolerance) of the lifestyle choices of non-believing friends and sticking up for morality and truth? How should we respond when God seems to pull the rug out from under our dreams and desires? Are Christians allowed to feel disappointed?

My job as a novelist is not to preach the answers to those questions, but to draw pictures of possibilities and to point readers back to God’s Word -- the only place to find answers. If I succeed in making readers think and pray, then I'm happy.

Q: This book has a subtitle, "A Love Story." Is there significance to that?

A: Well, I've always considered myself a romance writer, but this one is truly focused on the development of relationships -- not just between the hero and heroine. Tour de Force explores friendship, family love, and God's love. It was a very satisfying book to write. I hope readers will like it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Believing based on truth

We live in a world where the truth is well... relative. Not like a cousin or an aunt "relative" but more like "if I choose to agree it's truth" relative.

Now I know there's some "relatives" we all have we'd like to believe are not "true" but that's another story. ;)

This morning I was talking to a friend and while she loves Jesus, she struggled over a certain situation she'd observed most of her life. A sin issue. Well, what the Bible calls sin.

"I just don't judge," she said.

While hearing her heart to love those who feel left out by the "church" I also heard a disagreement with God.

"Who am I to speak?"

She's the very person who should speak up. Because her heart is about love and compassion. Because she is not judging their eternal soul, only their actions.

We've watered down the Faith by judging God's Word according to our own circumstances and experiences.

Then we say God tells us not to judge. But He does tell us to judge according to His Word.

Zechariah 8:16 ". . . speak the truth to one another, judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates."

Look, I can want stealing to be a righteous act. I may have a solid reason for stealing - I lost my job and my kids are hungry - but it doesn't change God's Word. It's a sin.

I can have a sound basis to lie. If I tell the truth, people will be disappointed, or get hurt. More likely, I won't get what I want. So, I lie. What's a little, teensy lie?

God calls is sin. My circumstance, my experience doesn't change God's Word. I have to adjust my thinking, my value system to align with His.

I had a dream once where I plugged my curling iron in a kitchen socket and my blender into the bathroom.

They both functioned, but not efficiently and not well. The bathroom is not the place to blend food. In the midst of this, God spoke to me in the dream.

"You can't plug faith into your experience, or truth into your circumstances."

If you don't know about something, dialog with God. He's listening. He's waiting for you to come to Him. I ask Him a lot of questions starting out with, "God, I don't understand this. I see in Your Word this, but how does that line up with the testimony of others who disagree?"

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Seek Him, His righteousness, the rest will come.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander

Please welcome my friend, Tamera Alexander, as she tells us about her newest release, Beyond This Moment, a Timber Ridge Reflections novel.

Lives are made up of tiny steps. Some are chosen for us; some we choose.
All hold the power to change who we become - but only if we let them.

When Dr. Molly Whitcomb, Professor of Romance Languages, steps off the train in Colorado Territory, she makes a choice - one that goes against everything she stands for. Yet it’' the only choice that offers her a chance to regain a fraction of all she's lost.

Sheriff James McPherson's instincts about people rarely miss the mark. He senses Professor Whitcomb is hiding something. He just doesn't know what. When James learns Molly's secret, his own reputation is undermined. But when Molly Whitcomb's reinvented life begins to unravel, it threatens his job, the stability of Timber Ridge, and what he always knew to be true about himself.

What others are saying about Beyond This Moment:

"Pull up a comfy armchair! The main and secondary characters in Beyond This Moment instantly become people to care about, and the plot twists will keep you turning pages long into the night. The themes of racial tolerance and second chances are as timely today as they were back in the early days of Colorado's history." -Romantic Times, 4 1/2 star review

"Tamera Alexander paints scenery with the written word, and makes characters, stories, and insights linger long after the book is read." --Cindy Woodsmall, New York Times bestselling author

"The characters are charming, engaging, and very realistic . . . a great story that will have readers quickly turning pages . . ."--The Romance Readers Connection

Tamera Alexander is a best-selling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious--and precocious--silky terrier named Jack.

If you have a minute, you can visit Tamera's website ( and her blog. Or read an excerpt of Beyond This Moment. Click on "win" for a chance to win a copy of one of Tamera's books.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Changing World

Hubby and I were talking about communication in this Internet age and how easy it is for information to travel.

Do you know it used to take a decade for a book to cross a nation, a hundred years to cross a Continent?

In high school, a friend of mine traveled half way around the world to visit her dad in Australia. I remember thinking how incredible it was to travel so far. We had to communicate the old fashioned, snail mail way. I still have the stuff kola bear she brought me as a souvenir.

In the '80s, went to Australia twice. On the dawn of the information age, traveling to work on computers but only with my handy-dandy walkman to keep me company, I had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to call work and check in, get help with problems.

Now I chat instantaneously to one of my good friends, book reviewer, Rel, who lives Down Under.

What a glorious way to spread the Good News of Jesus. Information on Him is readily available in cyberspace. There's almost no excuse any more.

Even if you don't believe in Him, you owe it to yourself to investigate. How can you not when Jesus is a Google away?

Makes me wonder what God is up to in this hour of history.

Recently a bunch of my family members got on Facebook. It's been fun catching up with cousins I haven't seen in years.

What about you? How has cyberspace changed your world? Good or bad?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Michael Hyatt, Thomas Nelson's CEO

Through Mike's blog, I listened to his talking on blogging at a conference he attended. I was so jazzed and energized by his insight, thrilled I'd had some of the same experience and thoughts, motivated to keep my blog going.

I'm having a web site redesign and was actually thinking of backing off of blogging. But, I'd recently started rethinking my position and Mike pushed me back into line.

If you're a writer, it's such a great way to stay in touch with readers and help the public understand who you are.

One of the points Mike makes in his talk is how we are such a voyeuristic society. So true. We want to know what's going in with people, inside their hearts and minds, what makes them unique.

It's what makes great characters in our stories.

The other point Mike makes that I applaud is our uniqueness. No one has my unique life experiences, thoughts, feelings, desires, relationships. While we are all similar, we are all uniquely created by the Divine and there is no one on the earth like "you."

Let's hear from you.

So, check out Mike's blog. If nothing else, he's articulate and engaging.

What about you? Do you blog? Why? Has it worked for you? What are some of your favorite blogs?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The last of Fire Dweller

Tonight is our last Fire Dweller prayer and worship meeting. Six and a half years ago, four youth pastors gathered after an amazing summer conference and said, "We have to do what He's calling us to do."


The meetings began in our living room, stuffed with teens and young adults, the tangible and sensory presence of God filling our living room.

I remember being in tears within minutes of prayer starting, or inhaling the spicy fragrance of my King.

We moved to a down town church about a year later and met on Friday nights for over four years, hauling in sound equipment, setting up and tearing down. A lot of that falling on Hubby.

In the last year, we've been praying at a partner church and while we've matured to the point where one worship leader, alone, with three or four prayers, can hold a solid two hour meeting, prayers continuous with worship, God has not breathed on our venture as we first believed.

As the leaders, hubby, me and three others began to feel God shifting focus, and another leader in the area stepped forward with what he feels God is calling him to do.

Prayer is our aim, not ministry. We love Fire Dweller, but we are not tied to "it." We are only tied to the obedience of prayer in our city/county.

A dozen or more years ago, a handful of leaders sat around a rusty table at Teen Missions during our annual prayer retreat, talking about the Lord, what He's doing in this hour of history, and we said, "We're all in, we're going for Him, together."

We said it again a half dozen years ago. But as I looked around the table, my eyes watered. Only three remained from the first group of pledges. Some God moved on. Others only committed in the passion of the moment and were easily swayed off the path.

"I've been here before," I said, teary, "people pledging to follow Him to the end and only three remained. I'm on this mountain until the end. And many of you will say the same, here and now, but where will you be in a year, in two?"

Our good intentions to follow Him to the end often come up shallow despite our good intentions. It's the mundane, the day in and day out that prove our metal in Jesus.

Of those around the table the second time, there must have been a dozen plus, only four remain. Others not around the table have joined, but many who said, "Yes, we're on this mountain," couldn't endure.

The mountain isn't Fire Dweller. The mountain is prayer, gazing on the beauty of the Lord, beholding Him in His sanctuary.

So, we remain, waiting to see what God will doing next. I know in my heart of hearts that the six plus years of Fire Dweller were not in vain. I saw a picture in my mind's eye of all the fields we'd plowed. We labored to prepare for the planting. God will cause the rain and sun for growing.

Ministry, callings, paths we walk are often seasonal. If we never put away the plow, how will we plant? If we're always planting, how will we harvest?

Walking with God, partnering for His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven is labor, a joy, a partnership, but we must hold all things loosely. Our identity is not in ministry but in Him. Genesis 15:1.

Fire Dweller served the purpose of God. All those who came and prayed, who lead worship, who lit the candle and fanned the flame, even if for a moment, share in the reward. EVERYONE!

Well done.

I love this Odysseus quote from Troy. "If they ever tell my story, let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Hector, tamer of horses. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles."

As for me, if they ever tell my story, let them say I walked with giants. Let them say Iived in the time of Don Luszczewski, Javier LaBoy, Matt Collins, Ted Travers and Tony Hauck. Let them say we cried out for Jesus to visit our region and our nation. Let the say we broke up the fallow ground with plows and horses, and we believed for the planting and the rain. Let them say the harvest for the Lord was great."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

God in the market place

I was leaving an office building down town this morning and passed a woman reading a library book in a little alcove.

She kind of smiled. I kind of smiled. You know, the weak, "Hey. . ." and move on.

As I jogged down the stairs, I had a sense to go back up and talk to her. About what? To witness? To make sure she's having a nice day?

Maybe it's just me being weird because I didn't give her a big smile and loud hello.

Out the door and down the sidewalk, I still felt the tug. God? Then I knew, she was asking God for or about something and He wanted her to know He was going to do it.

I turned around.

"Hi, I'm Rachel." I offered my hand.
"I'm Teresa." She shook my hand before removing her glasses.
"Are you asking God for something?"
Smiling, she sat back. "Yes, I am."
"He says He's going to do it. Keep surrendering, keep asking."
"Thank you very much, I will."

Mission accomplished.

Look for God to use you in the market place today!