Daily Prompt: Renewal

Oh, no.

I didn’t finish in time.

This doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I have too many at once to finish them all. Then it’s always the same feeling of anxiousness, almost a panic. What happens if I have to give it up? How long will it be before I can finish it then? If I have to wait a long time, I might have to start all over at the beginning!

As I walk in, I vow to myself I will not get more than I can handle next time. One at a time, that’s good enough. I need to pace myself so this doesn’t happen again. Ever.

Now I am being given the best news ever. There are no holds! I can keep it! I get to finish it before I have to bring it back!

Barely able to contain my excitement, I keep my steps slow and steady as I walk away from the counter and breathe a sigh of relief. I look down at my receipt and see what might be the most beautiful word ever.

“Renewal.”

 

via Daily Prompt: Renewal

Daily Prompt: Treasure

via Daily Prompt: Treasure

“Arg, matey! X marks the spot and there be the X!”

“Where?”

“Right there in front of your eyes. Take your shovel. Let’s dig!”

“What will we find?”

“Treasure, of course. Buried treasure!”

“Like…gold?”

“Could be! We will find out when we get it.”

“But what if it’s boring?”

“It won’t be boring. Treasure isn’t boring!”

“But what if it is?”

“Mate, if you don’t want to dig for the treasure you can leave! ARG!”

“But what if it’s gold?”

“You won’t know until you find it! Dig, man, dig!”

“Why?”

“So we can get to the buried treasure! Stop asking silly questions!”

“But what if it’s yucky?”

“JUST DIG.”

“But what if–”

“If you don’t stop–”

 

“Boys! Time for dinner! Come inside and get washed up!”

The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen (Book Review)

A girl will go to any lengths to help her tutor father, but she might fight more mystery and drama than she had bargained for when they move to a cliff-top home of a baronet and his sons.

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Title: The Tutor’s Daughter
By: Julie Klassen

ISBN: 9780764210693 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781441261090 (E-book)

You can watch a video trailer or read an excerpt.

My Review: Four Stars
After leaving the boarding school and their only family behind for a live-in tutoring position, Emma and her father are dismayed at their less-than-warm welcome in their new cliff-top home. The Westons have their share of secrets and Emma still can’t bring herself to trust the oldest son Henry after his cruel pranks when he attended the boarding school. Still, she is glad to find a friend in Mrs. Weston’s ward, Lizzie. Philip Weston seems to be happy to resume their friendship where it left off when he left the boarding school years ago. But who mysteriously plays the piano and enters Emma’s room at night? Who is responsible for the theft of her journal and threatening picture left in her room? Why are members of the community and some of the Weston family not interested in Henry’s project to make it easier to save lives during shipwrecks? And how is it that Emma finds herself letting her guard down in Henry’s presence?

The Tutor’s Daughter has a distinct traditional gothic novel feel, with mystery and suspense woven through each chapter. It’s easy to empathize with Emma as she copes with the turn her life has taken and learns that God does indeed answer prayers – just not always in the way we might want or expect. Even when her circumstances are frightening and she doesn’t know what will happen, God is still in control and she needs to trust in Him. In the people around her she can see the dire consequences of not following God. While she is learning these important lessons, she is able to find love and happiness along the way in a place she didn’t expect to find it.

Julie Klassen’s stories are written in the spirit of Jane Austen. The issues are real, the characters are believable, and the settings are vividly described. She is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend all her books for anyone who enjoys historical romance and drama.

Visit JulieKlassen.com for more information. The book is available from Bethany House, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Be on the lookout for her new novel releasing July 2015, Lady Maybe.

 

Cover of The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Cover of The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Come in 50 Shades of Any Color

Many of my Facebook friends are boycotting a certain movie that’s coming out this weekend (and, presumably, the book that inspired it). They are, in turn, encouraging all of their Facebook friends to do the same thing. They don’t want to promote and support sexual assault/abuse, they say, and that is what they claim the story is all about. That’s why they have a problem with it.

I have also been boycotting the same book/movie, and will continue to do so. In fact, I have been boycotting it so much that I wasn’t even going to acknowledge its existence. But the things I’ve been seeing and hearing lately on the subject prompted me to address it.

Just as some of my friends plan not to, I of course will also not be supporting this book/movie. But my perception is slightly different from theirs. I’m not boycotting it because of whatever the story is all about. I’m not even entering that debate. My line of thinking didn’t even go that far when I was presented with the book/movie material. My line of thinking stopped immediately upon the realization that this work of fiction is nothing short of pornography. From what I can tell, the entire story line revolves around the intimate and explicit details of a couple’s physical relations – an unmarried couple, at that.

What a mark of where our society is. A book/movie is built entirely on lewd content and people don’t have a problem with that.

Wait, what? When did this type of material and behavior become okay – even welcomed in polite society?

What we see, hear, think about has an effect on us, one way or another. The more we give in to pornographic material, the more we compromise our character. We lessen the value of (real!) relationships, we entertain sinful thoughts which can lead very easily to sinful actions, we contemplate things that we should never be dwelling on, we accept certain behavior that should not be accepted. It’s disrespectful to ourselves and every human being around us. Why are relationships are in such sad shape and falling apart? Because if this is the kind of trash we consume, then we are not going to appreciate the true worth of something valuable when we are presented with it.

Christians, I’m speaking directly to you now – God has graciously provided instruction on what love is, how relationships should work, how to respect one another, how to bring glory to God. Too much of what we seek and too much of the way we live is exactly the opposite of this, and is harmful to us.

So forgive me, but I will not boycott this book-about-to-be-released-as-a-movie because of whatever assault or abuse you think is contained in it.

I will boycott it because it flies in the face of everything I should stand for as a Christian, because of the rank pornography and sinful lifestyle it promotes, because THAT is the real issue here, not my opinion of one fictional character’s intentions toward another fictional character.

Envy vs. Jealousy

Two things I enjoy studying are people and words. When I can study them in connection with each other, it’s even better. I like to think about how people use words – what they are actually saying and what they really mean. For example – in our language these days, people tend to use the words “envious” and “jealous” interchangeably.

This is one of my pet peeves.

Because, the truth is, these words are not the same. Sure, they have some similarities. But they are not identical. Language (and the proper use of it) is important to me, and I don’t want someone to say something he doesn’t mean simply because he doesn’t know what the true meaning of the word is. And I hate for that to happen to me, too.

(Sometimes people don’t understand my passion for words…but that’s a story for a different time.)

People who are jealous are concerned mainly with those things they have or perceive as belonging to them. A jealous person is careful to protect what he has and wary of anyone he believes to be a rival. In relationships, someone who is jealous will not tolerate any disloyalty.

Envy pertains more to the way we look at other people. If someone else has something I want, I can grow envious of that person. An individual who is envious perceives that someone else has something good and instead of being happy for that person, begrudges that he doesn’t have that same good thing (or something better).

Rarely do I hear anyone use the word “envy” – usually people are talking about envy but use the word “jealousy.” Over and over in the Bible, envy is portrayed as a bad thing, something Christians are to stay away from, something that causes major problems. We should not be focused so much on what other people have. God is looking out for us and giving us what is best for us. It isn’t necessarily wrong to wish for something, but envy is stronger than wishing – it is malice toward an person. This is never a healthy or good thing.

Jealousy usually carries a negative connotation when people talk about it today. However, as you can see from the definition, jealousy isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, the Bible says in many places God is a jealous God. God does not sin, so jealousy is not a sin.

BUT!!!!

Just as with anything else, how we deal with our thoughts and our emotions will reveal our hearts. If I am jealous of something (meaning I have it and don’t want to lose it), I must be careful not to let that become consuming. I can be protective of something I own without allowing it to take precedence in my life and become an idol, something I place above God in importance. That IS a sin.

I readily admit I am a jealous person when it comes to people. I am jealous of my friends – I don’t want them to leave and especially don’t want someone else to steal them away. There isn’t anything wrong with that. But when this jealousy affects my trust in God and causes me to become controlling and put my friends in a place of higher importance than God, that is a major problem and something I must guard against.

What are your thoughts? Are you a jealous person? An envious person?

(I used the definitions from Mirriam-Webster.com.)

Angie Brashear – Christian fantasy

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the beautiful cover of Never Let Go by Angie Brashear!

Never Let Go

Never Let Go

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In celebration of this cover reveal and in anticipation of the release of the novel on June 3, Angie is posting today with a little more information about the story, the reason she writes fantasy, and (of course!) how we can get our hands on our very own copies.

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Christian Fantasy: A Life-Saving Genre

Definitions of literary genres can be…well, complex. Even tricky. Attempts to define Christian fantasy vary, though I’ve spent little time fretting over an official definition. I mean, Christian fiction typically illustrates a Christian world view within its plot, characters, or both. And the fantasy genre commonly uses myths and legends as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. So, in my opinion, Christian fantasy embodies fantastical elements in an internally consistent setting all the while reflecting aspects of the Christian world view.

But the debate (at least for some) surrounds who writesChristian fantasy. Writers who are Christians, writers who claim to be Christians, or writers who believe Christianity is a fantasy to begin with? It’s not a debate I choose to enter, for the truth lies outside the discussion: the genre influences nonbelievers. My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world.

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher readThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis aloud to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves.And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.

And Never Let Go was born.

In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth.

Back Cover Blurb:

Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution.

Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the RendowClan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?

Pre-order Never Let Go here.

Angie Brashear

Angie Brashear

Author Bio:

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.

Coming tomorrow – cover reveal!

Through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) I have had, and continue to have, the opportunity to meet and connect with other writers. Everyone is in a different stage of their writing career, and it’s always exciting to hear how people have gotten where they are and where they plan to go next. One of my favorite things to talk to people about is their ideas – where they got the ideas they have already written and what ideas they have for future projects.

One author I have had the privilege of speaking with is Angie Brashear. She writes Christian fantasy (right up my alley!) and her debut novel Never Let Go is making it’s appearance in June. I’ve heard a little about her novel and I am already excited to read it!

I’m also excited to tell you that tomorrow is the cover reveal date! Wrong or right, I readily admit that I judge books by their covers, and the cover of Never Let Go is beautiful. Can’t wait for you to see it. It would entice me to pick the book up, even if I knew nothing about it.

The cover will be here on my blog tomorrow, February 18th, along with a guest post from Angie herself so you can get to know her a little more and get some more information about her new book. Please check back tomorrow!

And if you are like me and have a hard time being patient, you can browse her web site while you wait.