Posted on May 17, 2013 - by Kav
Yes, it’s been that kind of a week, month, year. My tizzy addled brain is chalk full of fluff and very little else. Luckily I received a God prompt as I sauntered into work this morning. That resulted in a full blown panic attack.
I’m sure you’ve all been there a time or two. No? Humour me and say you have! Puleeeeze. So since we’re highlighting Rose’s newest release I thought I’d include my review of it and then a little inspirational thought that stems from my having read it. Here’s the review:
First off — clever title. It suggests one thing but is actually tied to the hero’s profession. Love that twist and the surprise of delving into a story that wasn’t what I thought it was.
Zediker has a real gift for delivering a tight, emotionally packed story. I’m in awe of these authors who write such depth in such a short word count. That’s real talent!
I really connected with Jennifer’s journey. She’s making good choices in her life but finds herself at a a crossroads as she begins to realize good choices aren’t always God choices. That’s something I have to relearn over and over and over again.
Brett is a complicated mix of laid back confidence and endearing vulnerability. Jennifer has no idea of the power she holds over him and he is reluctant to reveal the depth of his feelings for her. Unrequited love is pretty potent stuff — especially when it is from the hero’s perspective.
A solid plot and captivating romance with plenty of emotional thrills kept me satisfied to the very end.
It’s the choices angle that captured me and got me thinking. Especially at this time in my life when so many things seem to be uncertain. The idea that it is possible to make really good choices that still aren’t God choices struck me to the core. I’m sure I am guilty of doing that pretty near all the time. I have such a struggle letting go and letting God and more importantly, trusting in myself to receive divine inspiration. I’m like Jennifer, looking for a dramatic sign from Heaven when the steady peace in the midst of my reality ought to be enough. Reading this book has prompted me to take a long hard look at my decision-making process. There’s no doubt in my mind that Rose was inspired when she wrote that spiritual thread into her story. God bless a loving Father and the authors who willingly reach out to readers on His behalf. Thank you, Rose!
WIN A COPY OF WEDDING ON THE ROCKS!
Rose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks and TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment during the next two weeks and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s four chances to win a book every time you post here at Inkspirational Messages in the next two weeks.
Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.
Posted on May 3, 2013 - by Kav
There’s something about literary sisters. They capture a reader’s heart and loyalty for life. If I
said Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy you would know right away that I was talking about the March sisters. And the astonishing thing is that they have made an impact on readers for over a hundred years! There’s just something about the complexities and loyalty of sisterly love when it’s magnified in a really good book. Like Lorna’s Gregory sisters.
I experienced the same ‘March rush’ as I became acquainted with Hannah, Charlotte and Tessa. Lorna has breathed life into these sisters – three unique individuals who don’t always agree, but are fiercely loyal when it counts. Lorna got the sisterly dynamics right — from the squabbles to the tears and laughter. She also did an amazing job of laying the groundwork for the next two books in the series. I’m already invested in Charlotte and Tessa’s stories and impatiently waiting for their releases. And, as a youngest child, I have to confess that I have particularly bonded with the youngest Gregory sister, Tessa. I think we might be kindred spirits. Brats of a kind.
So don’t miss out on the opportunity to share your sister stories so you’ll have a chance at winning your own copy of When Love Calls…as well as a spare for a sister. But hurry, today is the last day to get in draw. You have until midnight, central time. Offer open to those in the U.S. and Canada. Name chosen by random.org.
Good luck everyone!
Posted on April 19, 2013 - by Kav
I love a good romantic suspense and I’m thrilled about some new releases due to hit the bookstore shelves in the next few months. Take a look :
Investigative reporter Jillian Carter knows it’s time to put the past to rest. She’s tired of looking over her shoulder, letting a killer go free. She’s no longer the scared kid who changed her name and disappeared. Now, no matter what the cost, Jillian must do what she is trained to do–ferret out the truth and expose it. Senator Frank Hoffman committed murder ten years ago–and Jillian watched it happen.Didn’t she?Not even the enigmatic and attractive Colton Brady, her ex-boyfriend and nephew of the killer, will be able to make her leave this alone. Get ready for the spine-tingling, nail-biting conclusion to an explosive series.
Release date: May 2013
Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.
Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.
As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?
Release Date : June 2013
Don’t forget about the chance to win a copy of Lorna’ Seilstad’s new release, When Love Calls by commenting on any of the blog posts this past two weeks.
Posted on April 5, 2013 - by Kav
Do you recognize this face? If you are a fan of The Carol Burnett Show, you know that this is comedian Tim Conway in his Old Man getup. A legend in comedic pacing, Tim was known to crack up the whole cast on live TV. Especially Harvey Korman. His simple, slapstick style along with impeccable timing brought the house down night after night.
My favourite Conway character is the Old Man. He appears in many forms, ship captain, park bench warmer, shoe shop clerk…and doctor. Just the thought of his old man shuffle sends me into fits of giggles.
Now – hold that thought while I tell you about a recent doctor visit I had. I know being sick isn’t usually something to laugh about, but this scenario is priceless – and completely unbelievable, but it is true. I swear!
I’d been sick for weeks – January and February had turned into a blur. A flu turned into a cold which turned into pneumonia and though I’d finished a course of antibiotics, I still felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest so I headed to the walk-in clinic near my home.
Picture me huddled in a corner of the examination room waiting for the doctor to see me. I’m cold and feverish and feeling mighty sorry for myself and wishing the doctor would hurry up. Then the door opens and a little old lady shuffles in. Think Tim Conway with bosoms. And remember that shuffling walk that sent Harvey Korman into hysteria every time? Well this old lady had the same walk! I swear it took minutes for her to scoot across the tiny room giving me plenty of time to assess the situation. The stethoscope around her neck and the white lab coat many sizes too big confirm that she is indeed my doctor – even if she is over eighty.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Rothstein,” she says in a perfect old man Conway quaver.
As the examination gets under way I feel as if I’ve fallen through a youtube vacuum and landed in Carol Burnett Show skit. It starts as the doctor struggles to remember the symptom questions she wants to ask me. She counts them off on her fingers and frowns at her hand as she tries to remember what we’re talking about. It’s classic Conway and I take pity on her and rattle off my symptoms.
“Aaaaaaahhhh!” she croons just like the comedian and I start wondering if I’m being punked.
Now it’s time for the physical exam. I hop onto the examination table while Dr. Rothstein shuffles closer. She is so short she needs a step stool and nearly topples off as she climbs up. I grab her arm and hold her steady.
“Thanks,” she mumbles in a Conway falsetto. I begin searching the perimeters of the room for a hidden camera.
Dr. Rothstein needs my assistance to retrieve the ear exam instrument off the wall because even with the stool she isn’t tall enough to reach it. Then I have to tilt my head down and scrunch my shoulders while she totters on tippy-toes to check my ears. I feel like I’m now playing Harvey Korman’s straight man to Conway’s genius.
And then – the piece de resistance – I watch in amazement as the doctor painstakingly removes first one hearing aid and then the other so she can fit the ends of her stethoscope into her ears!
I did leave the clinic with a diagnosis – bronchitis – and another prescription, but honestly, I think participating in a real live comedy skit was the medicine that did the trick!
And just for laughs check out Tim Conway and Harvey Korman’s doctor skit here:
Posted on March 22, 2013 - by Kav
Seriously. What is a blogger to do when her writer’s block involves posting on her blog? I mean, we’ve covered everything already. From taking walks to communing with nature; taking care of your health to prayer; from inspiring music to stimulating your senses and a host of other block-breaking ideas. Let’s face it — two weeks of blogging about writer’s block has given me one!
So let me succinctly sum up our Writer’s Block Marathon by getting down to the heart of the matter.
And just to make sure you understand the importance of that one word, take a listen to this:
Feeling all fired up and raring to go now?
Good, then give your dreams the wings to fly and keep writing!
Posted on March 8, 2013 - by Kav
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How can you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never let them go.”
I’ve been carrying this poem around for years. The card is creased and worn from heavy use and copious tears because this has been the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn. Despite my firmest resolve I am all too often snatching back my broken dreams before God is finished mending them. Often, I’m completely oblivious to the incredible repairs already begun. I can witness hundreds of times about how He has answered prayers in spite of my interference but the time I want to tell you about happened a year ago. It was my epiphany moment on prayer.
Because this story is of a personal nature and involves other people I’m going to keep the details vague but I hope the message will still come through.
The impossible happened on Thursday March 15 2012. The bottom very literally fell out of my world. I staggered under the weight of the blow, incredulous at how this could be happening to me. Surely the Lord knew I’d suffered enough. Hadn’t I taken a beating on so many fronts over the years? And I’d born up under those trials – not always graciously, I’ll grant, but I’d endured.
I felt like I’d been sucker punched. Quite literally couldn’t catch my breath. Had a moment where I thought I might be having a heart attack. In my despair, I prayed as I have never prayed before and instantly felt the burden lifted from me. I was filled with an overwhelming calm and peace; a divine reassurance. Relieved, I fell into a blissfully dreamless sleep. When I awoke, that peace still lingered. When my mind wandered to that horrible trial, the Spirit pulled me back into that safe, calm place. I knew in my heart that all would be well.
Fast forward to the next day. My mind bludgeoned me with taunts of ‘what if’ scenarios that stirred fear and denial and confusion. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even try to cling on to that feeling of peace. I pushed it away and embraced the chaos of worry and fear. I started praying again, but this time my prayers were akin to accusations. Protests. Denials.
Reassurance dwindled the more I ranted. My prayers increased in intensity, but rather than comforting me, they seemed to whip me into a frenzy. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I didn’t need to pray about this issue any more. I had my answer. Sadly, I denied it the very next day.
Because I couldn’t fathom how God could work the miracle required, I snatched back the problem and it soon consumed me. For two months I tortured myself with worry. It was never far from my mind, even in sleep. My stomach was always in knots, my heart physically aching from the turmoil. After a month, my prayers turned into meaningless single word chants: “Why, why, why?” “Please, please, please!”
I was a wreck until May 11 2012 – a full two months later when I discovered that what I had been railing about for weeks would never come to pass because God answered my prayer that very first day. He set things in motion on March 15 so that the dreaded impossible would not happen. In effect, I had been praying hysterically in vain for two whole months! Praying for something that had already been resolved. Praying for something not to happen that God had already stopped from happening two months before!
It stopped me in my tracks. First, in wonder at how marvelous God’s ways are. Second at how incredibly foolish I was to not trust Him in the first place. I actually prayed myself out of comfort! That’s when I began to understand that while trusting the Lord is paramount, trusting in my ability to discern spiritual answers is just as important. My lack of faith in myself led me to doubt a clear communication from God.
I still struggle with letting go of my problems but now I acknowledge the flaw and hand things back over to God. Some days we’re passing worry back and forth constantly. I love that I catch myself though. We laugh about it together, my Father and I. And now, when something really troubles me I let Him know I don’t understand how on earth He can fix it but I trust that He can…and I trust me enough to let him.
Posted on February 22, 2013 - by Kav
Sigh. This blog has been preempted by illness…again!!! This has not been a healthy year for me. I’m home sick, loopy on antibiotics and just plain fuzzyheaded. Lucky for me I have my devoted hero right by my side. Isn’t he handsome? Every girl should be so lucky!
So instead of waxing poetic over heroes I’m going to direct you to a really neat (and unique) blog devoted to Christian fiction heroes. Nancy Kimball is the creator and she has done a great job of hero sharing. Check it out.
Shattered hero, Landon Grainger is featured right now and there’s a great prequel scene that author Dani Pettrey wrote just for the blog. How cool is that? And a link to a great author interview as well. So run on over there and enjoy the discussion. I’m going back to bed.
Posted on February 8, 2013 - by Kav
Something that bothers me (a lot) as a reader is a book without an ending. I like my story all wrapped up with a neat little bow. I need resolution and I think most readers do. That’s why I detest books that end in the middle. I have come across a few over the years and I always feel like the author and publisher are holding me hostage. Toying with my reader’s sensibilities and, in some cases, taking advantage of my sensitive reader’s heart. These are always part of a series and I guess the cliffhanger is supposed to keep readers salivating for more. It has the exact opposite effect on me.
Don’t get me wrong — I love series. Thrill at the opportunity to return to a beloved setting and characters, but I still expect to find some resolution for the main characters even if a few story threads are left dangling.
Using Setting As A Common Thread in a Series:
Our own Lorna Seilstad’s Lake Manawa series is a perfect example. Each of her three books. takes place at the same resort and while there are some character crossovers, each story revolves fully around a particular hero and heroine. When a reader comes to the end of one of these books she’s destined to heave a satisfied sigh of sheer pleasure because the story is complete, the hero and heroine are right where she wants them to be. But the reader is also left wondering who will play a role in the next book and eagerly anticipates its release. That’s series perfection.
It takes a special talent to weave one character’s story through several books and leave readers satisfied at the end of each story. Cindy Woodsmall immediately leaps to mind as an author who possesses such a talent. She tells Hannah Lapp’s story in her Sisters of the Quilt series. It takes all three books to reach a satisfactory final conclusion but each individual story has a sense of complication even though loose threads dangle enticingly out of reach.
Using Plot As A Common Thread in a Series:
This is a tricky one and it isn’t often done to my finicky reader’s standards. I read one a few years ago that ended on such a ridiculous cliffhanger that I felt insulted. (Yes, I take my reading seriously.) The Secrets of Crittenden County by Shelley Shepard Gray is a perfect example of a series with a continuous plot that works. The series explores a murder mystery and while each book brings us closer to the real killer, we don’t find out whodunnit until the end of the last book. But Missing, The Search and Found are complete stories in and of themselves told from the perspective of distinct hero and heroine. And one of the neatest techniques Gray used as an anchor in each book was replaying the same scene but from different character’s perspectives. Each time we read it, we gained more of an overall understanding of the dynamics at work in this compelling read. And the books were published within three months of each other. Now that’s the way to show your readers a little respect.
So that’s my two cents worth on series writing. What’s your opinion?
Posted on January 25, 2013 - by Kav
I have been thinking about prayer ever since my friend, Val returned home for a visit at Christmas. After living with her widowed mother all her adult life, 40 something Val shocked us all last year when she decided to quit her job and move across the country to live on her own. None of us understood why and many were certain that this whim wouldn’t last and Val would soon be clasped back to our congregational bosom once again.
Only a year passed and Val returned for a visit not for good. And in those twelve months Val had transformed. Where once she had been timid, hesitant and uneasy in large groups she was now solid, unmovable and at peace with herself and others. It was an astounding change and when pressed to answer the question “Why?” that was asked way too many times during her brief two week stay, Val would always answer, “I learned to pray.”
I was immediately convicted by her words. There was no denying the change, the growth the sheer positive difference in this woman.
A few weeks later, I heard an author interviewed on a Christian radio show. She was a passionate cook and had written a recipe book. What a vibrant, enthusiastic person! She stunned me when she confessed to praying over her food preparations at home. And then walking through her house praying for the guests who hadn’t yet arrived – dedicating the evening to the Lord.
Then I thought of my friend, Line who has a prayer fridge. She covers every square inch of its surface with little notes and scraps of paper about people she knows and some she doesn’t. Reminders to pray over them daily. And she does with a fierce, fervent dedication. When Line says, “I’ll put your name on my fridge,” you immediately feel lifted up. Closer to God. Bathed in His glory. Filled with His peace.
So, I’ve been thinking about my own haphazard prayer life. I have always prayed for friends and family — but not with Line’s eye-single-to-the-glory intensity. While I have tried to implement the notion of praying without ceasing, that sweet author showed me how I could bring much more depth to that conviction. And my friend Val, well she has me wondering if I ever really knew how to pray at all!
Wonderful food for thought at the beginning of a new year. It reminds me of that beautiful hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer, which begins:
Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer,
That calls me from a world of care.
I think I’ve been spending way too much time in that world of care when peace has been only a prayer away!
Posted on December 28, 2012 - by Kav
I am a Nativity jinx. It’s not something I’m proud of or that I particularly want to admit in a public forum but it is what it is. Nativity jinx, that’s me. Heaven help the production that asks for my help be it big or small. Think falling backdrops, backward walking donkeys, sheepherding shelties, costume mix-ups…well, if it can go wrong it will if I am in the vicinity.
The result — I have learned to hang back and let others handle this all important Christmas activity and believe me, anyone who knows me would never ask for my help no matter how desperate they are…until this year.
To set the stage — harried kindergarten teacher who has a classroom right off my library. It’s her first year teaching kindergarten and she wanted to make a good impression on the parents who were piled into the festively decorated library eager for a glimpse of their little darling in costume. She needed help with her lively crew while she set up the stage and…cue horror music here…she asked me!
I tried to get out of it. I warned her about the jinx. I vowed she would regret my involvement. For the love of Christmas I tried to say no, but have you ever tried to stand up to a kindergarten teacher? I found myself in meek compliance mode. All I had to do was contain the wee masses in the classroom (already costumed) for five minutes. How hard could that be?
The children were to act out the nativity while singing the song ‘Take a Walk to Christmas’ which I’d watched them rehearse upteen times to near perfection. What happened once I became involved?
It was my idea to use mini hockey sticks as shepherd’s crooks at the last minute. Who knew the temptation would be too great for pint-sized hockey players? They slap shot all the stuffed sheep scattered across the ‘stage’ into the audience.
The child who played Mary had a few issues with her costume while she waited for her cue. Obviously a fashion designer in the making, she made some minor alterations unbeknownst to me. I’m sure our little pageant is the only one to have Mary wearing a crown and angel wings which proved a bit confusing to the audience.
This left the crownless wiseman and wingless angel in tears. But really, what’s a children’s play without a bit of drama, right?
Little hands had been busily working on the baby Jesus as well. Only a nativity I was involved with could mess up a doll. But some little engineering type tyke had figured out how to pull off the limbs of all the dolls in the classroom. A hasty directive hissed by me “Put them back on now!” resulted in a mix and match baby Jesus with more legs then arms of varying skin tones.
And the two remaining crowned wisemen? Well one was a girl and we all know what happens when you crown a four year old. She thinks she’s a princess and goes all Disney and it aboslutely was not my fault that she insisted on waltzing on stage with the hapless wiseman who didn’t want to dance so he did what males have been doing for centuries when faced with a bossy female. He buckled, but sulked the whole time. It’s a miracle that he didn’t trip over that drooping lower lip.
And that was the only miracle in the pageant. Five minutes of disaster thanks to the jinx.