Peace Be With You

Less than a week ago I fell down the rabbit hole. Seriously. Somehow I woke up in a world turned upside down, and I’m sitting at the table with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. I stare at the goings on, trying to make heads or tails of the riddles, going from bemused to completely disgusted with it all.

We’re all quite mad here.

Lucky for us we serve a God who is in complete control. No matter who wins what contest, God knew it from the end to the beginning. The Bible tells us not to fear 365 times. That’s once a day for a year, and then we can start it all over again.

Our teacher this Sunday morning talked about if we’re fearful and don’t know what to pray, or how to pray. He said to start by praying the scriptures.

Is your heart heavy with the burdens this country is under right now?

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Do you have doubts about what’s going to happen?

Matthew 28:17-18…but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Is your heart troubled by the acts of people around you?

peaceJohn 14:27 Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Ah, sweet, glorious peace. And one last scripture to get you through all the negative thoughts that threaten to crowd your mind.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things.

Peace be with you all today, and every day.

Winter Reading LIst

If you’re looking for a few good Christian Sci Fi and Fantasy books to keep you warm this winter, here’s three to add to your list.

Sara Baysinger’s black tiger.          

Back cover blurb: Ember Carter is a sixteen-year-old farmer’s daughter who wants nothing more than to stay close to her family in the Community Garden when Career Day approaches. Unfortunately, all farming careers are given to boys, and besides, as of the past two years, all students have been drafted to the Line of Defenders to fight in a war no one seems to know about. When she meets Forest Turner, the mysterious stranger who seems to know a bit too much about city life and the way the government is run, she’s even less eager to leave the safe haven of the Garden.

On Career Day, the future couldn’t look brighter when Ember is the only student assigned the career of a Farmer. But all hopes come to end when Ember attacks a Defender to save her best friend. Suspected a rebel and sentenced to death, she’s transferred to Frankfort Prison where she will carry out her sentence.

But Frankfort is full of surprises and snotty Patricians. While in prison, Ember learns a dark secret about Forest that makes her question everything she thought she knew about him. And then there’s Rain,the carelessly handsome boy who enjoys instigating Ember just a bit too much. If THAT’S not enough, the world learns something about Ember even she doesn’t know. A secret that brings her character into question, enlightens her on her mother’s true identity, and ultimately, gives her the power to affect the rise or fall of Ky.

With the handsome Forest Turner tugging at her heart, and the rogue Rain whispering treasons into her ear, can Ember make the right decision that will redeem the corrupt government of Ky?

S.D. Grimm’s Scarlet Moon.s-d-grimm-scarlet-moon

Back cover blurb: Destiny can pick someone else.

Evil is slipping through the cracks of its prison, and all Soleden trembles in its wake. Yet some would harness that evil to their own ends, and first among them is Idla, the sorceress queen bent on destroying the world.

Only one can stand in their way: Jayden. Upon realizing her mark as the prophesied  Deliverer, Jayden conceals herself from her enemies and her Feravolk countrymen. But after the harm the Feravolk caused to her family, she’s loath to rescue the not-so-innocent.

Hiding her mark was never easy, but now that Jayden knows both Queen Idla and the Feravolk are after her, hiding her gift of the Blood Moon will be impossible.

            the-forgetting-sharon-cameronThe Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Back cover blurb: What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories — of parents, children, love, life, and self — are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence — before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

 

 

Dead Broke by Linda Fulkerson

Welcome to our very own Inksper Linda Fulkerson who has a new book out!!

Dawn, thanks so much for inviting me to be on Inkspiraional Message today to share about my new book!

Linda, you are the Inksper’s personal web guru as well as being an author. Which came first? Working on web design or writing?

For me, the writing came first. I wrote my first book in 2002. I had an agent who worked to sell it for nearly a year. Because it was a memoir, (The Prodigal Daughter: Hope for Runaway Christians and Those Who Await Their Return), and I was an unknown, he told me to get famous first and then work toward getting the book published.

I was naïve enough to ask him how one became famous. He suggested I start a speaking ministry and learn how to blog. Back in the early 2000s, blogging was in its infancy. I did some research and set up a blog. Within a few years, my author friends started asking me how to blog, because their agents and editors were telling them they needed to have a blog. That launched my blog coaching career and instructional blog (OnBloggingWell.com).

Today, my business has expanded to include all aspects of author platform building and book marketing, including graphic design. I have both traditionally published and self-published clients, and I love it.

(Just in case our audience doesn’t know, Linda designed my new website, and I love it. Go to dawnfordauthor.com to take a look!)

Besides writing, reading, and helping other people with their blogs and websites, what kind of hobbies do you have?

I enjoy travel and photography. I love going places I haven’t yet been. So far, I’ve visited 47 states, so seeing those final three states is on my bucket list. Use the comments to guess which states I haven’t been to, and I’ll give you a surprise gift. (Those who know me well are disqualified because they probably know the answer – sorry!)

What was the most favorite place you’ve traveled and why?

The Black Hills in South Dakota. In addition to the natural beauty of the area, the place is rich in history. The people are friendly, and we enjoy getting a break from heat and humidity, so that’s a favorite vacation spot for us.

If you could have one ability that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would love to be able to draw. Both of my brothers are artists. One has an art degree and has worked professionally in that field before. The art gene totally passed me by. But my daughter can draw. I’m a bit jealous.

What are you currently working on as far as writing?

dead-broke-front-coverI’ve started writing Book Two of the River Valley Mysteries series. Its title is DEAD WRONG. Plus, I’m working on a nonfiction book titled, Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Purpose: Life Lessons from the Book of Esther. And, I have another coloring book in the works – Coloring Books for Writers Volume III. I hope to publish all three of those by the end of 2016.

If you’re interested in any of those titles, be sure to join my notification list, and you’ll be the first to know when I’m releasing a new book. You can sign up here: http://lindafulkerson.com/notifications

What inspired you to write your current novel, Dead Broke (River Valley Mystery Book 1)?

I’ve always enjoyed a good mystery, especially the classic hard-boiled detective stories. Raymond Chandler is one of my favorite authors.

But, I also like contemporary mysteries. I ran across the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich years ago and have read several of those books. They are fun with a snarky heroine set in a quirky community who gets in all sorts of trouble while she’s working to solve whatever case she’s working. But, those books include a lot of foul language and some sexual content. I looked for something similar in the Christian market. While there are a lot of good, clean mysteries out there, I couldn’t find one similar to Evanovich’s series. That’s what prompted me to start working on a mystery series.

Tell us a little about Dead Broke.

Tagline:

From the Back Cover: Sports photographer Andrea “Andy” Warren, whose faith has dipped to the dead-broke-back-cover-finalsame depths as her checkbook balance, receives a phone call that forces her return to the Arkansas hometown she renounced, where she hopes to avoid her meddling mother, her ex-fiancé, and the local sheriff.

Upon her arrival, she soon discovers a series of changes in the “never-changing” community. A handsome stranger has arrived, a festival is in the works, and a person she desperately needs is dead.

When her estranged brother is charged with the crime, he begs Andy to find the true killer.

Will Andy amateur sleuth skills be adequate to find the murderer? Or will she become the next victim?

And, here’s the first paragraph:

The only force with sufficient power to propel my feet forward is the inescapable awareness of my checkbook balance. The figure pounds inside my head like the beat of a bad disco song, and I find myself moving in step with its cadence. Constance, you owe me for this one. In reality, I owe her. But who wants to muddle a perfectly good mope-fest with the facts?

Here is one of the many 5-star reviews DEAD BROKE has received:

This mystery has a touch of romance, a cast of interesting characters, and a Southern town where your business is not your own. The author writes a page-turner with a knack for humor that kept me chuckling as a murder investigation takes place. The story kept my interest through the last page. Good characterizations and settings descriptions.

Purchase links:

Kindle edition ($3.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited)

Paperback edition ($11.99 plus shipping)

linda-fulkerson-300x300Linda Fulkerson has nearly two decades of experience in small business management and marketing. She is the former director of digital services for the largest media group in central Texas and served five years as division training manager during her 9-year stint in the United States Marine Corps.

Linda’s writing career began as a freelance magazine features writer. She later moved into the exciting realm newspapers and has held the positions of copy-editor, sports writer, online editor, and online advertising coordinator.

In 2013, Linda left her day-job and launched DLF Digital Services LLC. Her company provides a variety of services, including a book marketing graphics segment that creates cover designs and video book trailers. She is a sought-after marketing consultant for authors, speakers, and small business owners, and specializes in website development for authors and speakers.

Linda is the author of several nonfiction books, including two coloring books for writers. She recently published her first mystery novel, DEAD BROKE.

To learn more about Linda Fulkerson, visit her website www.LindaFulkerson.com.

 

Pumpkin Doughnut Recipe

Fall is here with its warm days and cool nights. Football stadiums are lit up on Friday and Saturday nights across the country, and I’m digging out my jackets and thermal underwear.

And there’s just something about those cooler temperatures that make you long for soups, cider, and anything pumpkin. Yes, I’m one of THOSE people who never grows tired of pumpkin everything. So, in celebration of Pumpkin season, I’m sharing a recipe I found on Pinterest that I’m going to try, because doughnuts!!! YUM-OOOO!!

Pumpkin Doughnuts, taken from Cooking Classy’s website

Pumpkin Donuts

1 ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

1 ¼ tsp salt

¾ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ginger

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

3 large eggs

1 ½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Coating:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat 350 degrees. Butter the wells in a doughnut pan. One batch yields 18.

 

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, until well mixed. In a separate large bowl, sift granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined—breaking up the small lumps of brown sugar as needed. Add canola oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla using a hand mixer until well combined. Spoon or pipe batter into the doughnut forms, filling each up to ¾ full.

 

Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted comes out clean, 13-16 minutes. Cool doughnuts slightly. In a large resealable bag, shake together the coating sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Add one warm doughnut at a time and shake until evenly coated. Place on wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

 

Recipe source: adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Wholly Loved

Ten years ago I wrote a women’s study that challenged women to change the way they view their lives, and unlock the potential God has graced every woman with in life. I have tried to live that truth ever since, and have reached out to women around me with this message.

Now, I can say that journey has led me to a wider path. I’ve joined a group of other Christian women in the Omaha area who have that same vision for women. Led by Jennifer Slattery, we’re called Wholly Loved, and we will be holding coffees and conferences starting this December.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of such a uniquely-gifted group of women who independently have a heart for other women, and together have become a strong, purpose-filled voice calling out to women caught up in the storms of life. Our events will be filled with stories of our experiences and triumphs in Christ. But, be warned, odds are you’ll laugh and cry before Wholly Loved is done with you.

wholly-loved-logo

I DARE YOU TO ACT

Statistics show that two of every four children in school are bullied. Statistics also show that only a small portion of those who are bullied actually report the incidents. (Both statistics per the National Bullying Prevention Center)

That means that half of our children who go to school are bullied.

And if you ask my opinion on that, I’d say that statistic is low in reality.

We teach our children when they are toddlers and in that MINE mindset to share, be kind, let someone else have a turn. How do we get from that to where half of our kids are the victims of bullying? It’s incredible.

I’ve been guilty of telling my boys to ignore it, or ignore the person. Ignoring a bully in theory takes away their power (you don’t react to their words or actions which is the effect they are hoping for), but does it really? Does inACTion ever really cure an ACTion? In theory, maybe. In reality, not so much.

What it takes to overcome this kind of mindset is to change the mindset. Now, I realize nothing can reach everyone, as some bullies have come from a background of bullying, or inequality, or condemnation of some kind to make them use force to feel powerful. But taking the focus away from negative ACTs and giving the power to a positive ACT will erode their footing. But it takes ACTion.

I saw a video a while ago about a Canadian school that enACTed something called SAY MY NAME CANADA. It was a 30-minute challenge for kids to be kind for 30 days, and to keep track of their “kindness ACTs.” And I thought it was a really cool idea.

The students put post-it notes on lockers with words of encouragement. It made an impact with those students, and got them talking about the notes, instead of talking about less productive subjects. It also helped the students when they took exams by relieving some of the stress.

How simple can an ACT of kindness be? Write an encouragement on a post-it and stick it on a locker. It reinforces the positivity of being kind, and lifts up the person who receives the note.

So, this next week I dare you to ACT. Write someone a note to give them encouragement. Get your children in on the ACTion. Have them write notes to someone they know to spread the kindness.

Watch the video for SAY MY NAME CANADA here.

I Got This -God

A week and a half ago I headed to the ACFW Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I packed my suitcase to the brim with everything I’d need, got my sheets ready for appointments, and somewhere along the way ended up dragging along a gut full of nerves.

Several things of note happened on this trip.

The first happened during the landing into Nashville. I was using my One Sheets (essentially back cover blurb and elevator pitches) to memorize during my flight for my agent/editor appointments. I’m not sure if anyone else is like me, but it is hard to concentrate when there’s loads of action going on around me. Suffice to say my memorization wasn’t taking, and so I bowed my head in prayer. When I opened my eyes back up and looked out the plane window I saw a full-sized rainbow across the window.

RainbowEven if you don’t believe in signs, this was a goose-bump moment for me. It really sealed for me that God had this.

I got into the hotel and up to my room too late to check in to the conference that night, and so I had to miss out on the genre dinner. This dinner is where some of the conference goers dress up in clothes that match their genre, such as period dresses for historical romance writers. I was really sorry to miss it, but had a great dinner with two of my Splicketeer team, so I felt as if I was truly blessed to have friends around to talk to and share a meal.

The next day we got to choose which continuing education class we wanted to go to. I chose Allen Arnold’s The Two Realms, because, well Realms. Allen started the class by informing us he had purchased and prayed over one hundred thirty notebooks. When he felt moved by the Spirit, he wrote down what God was telling him. Then during class he passed the notebooks out at random to everyone attending.

It was another God moment for me.

In the notebook Allen gave me was written: “With Me, you have all the time in the world. You are not late but right on time. –God

Okay, God. It’s been ten long years of learning to write and getting my stories down. But You’ve got it. The timing is Yours. Okay, I’ve got it.

Well, I still had nerves the whole time I was at conference. There were a few times I had to withdraw from everyone and just go somewhere quiet. I had three appointments, only one of which ended up with a request. I did get to brainstorm my brand and platform with the wonderful Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. So I counted that as a win.

Kathy, Dawn, and Diane at the galaAt the gala, my nerves were really going crazy. I sat by two of my Iowa/Nebraska ACFW buddies, Diane Kenyon and Kathleen Anderson, who herself was up for a Genesis award. After Kathleen won and came back to the table it was my turn. When they called my name as the winner of the Speculative genre, I literally jumped. I vaguely remember going up to the stage and saying a few words. My inner concentration was on trying to keep my knees from buckling and collapsing to the floor.

I did get to watch the replay on You Tube, and realize I looked much more in control than I felt. It was an amazing night. And though I don’t have a contract yet for my fantasy novel, I’m making progress on building my platform. I actually have had a couple of people ask me where they can find my books.

Imagine that!

I can’t get there fast enough, but I know that God has this. He told me twice to make sure it got through my insecure brain. So, I’m taking that rainbow promise with a notebook message on the side to heart.

Yep. God’s got this. And what an amazing ride this last year has been!

I Dare You To…Encourage

ENCOURAGEMENT. We all need it, some days more than others. It’s something that everyone can do and it doesn’t cost a penny.

A couple of months back I read a Facebook post about my high school track coach and teacher who had been diagnosed with a DISEASE. This disease ROBS her of her mobility. She’s a fitness guru, she always has been. My heart BROKE for her.

A couple of weeks after that Facebook post I got to see her face to face at my son’s track meet. She was (still) helping coach my HS alma mater. I wanted to give her some ENCOURAGEMENT, because she was one of the few teachers I felt ever really CARED about me when I was going through some of my toughest moments in school. She made me feel like I BELONGED and that I had VALUE. This was my chance to give her some SUPPORT since she was going through a tough time.

What I found was that I wasn’t the encourager. She was. I was staggered by her FAITH, which had rekindled in her life. She was thankful for so many things, even the illness, which had brought her closer to GOD.

WOW.

Encouragement quoteShe said that my kind words to her were an encouragement. But I believe in my heart she encouraged me more than I did her. NO CONTEST.

But, what if there was a contest to encourage? What if society put such an emphasis on encouraging others as they do looking young or getting rich? How great would that be? How much pain could be eliminated by one small act? It’s IMMEASURABLE.

So, this week I DARE you to ENCOURAGE. Talk to people around you and find out what’s going on in their life. And then encourage them. If there’s nothing you can do to help them, LISTEN. Sometimes all we need is to be HEARD. It’s encouragement enough. If someone’s life is going great, REJOICE with them. I assure you it’s a form of encouragement, and you may be surprised to find it encourages you back.

It’s FREE. It’s an amazing GIFT you can GIVE others, that will eventually come back to you tenfold. You never know what you might find. I DARE you to try it.

I DARE YOU TO ENCOURAGE.

Summer News

Summer News

I’m taking a short break from my ‘I Dare You’ series to bring everyone my summer news. Many things have happened this year so far, and I’m bursting at the seams to share it all.

April 4th I received an email back from Splickety Publishing Group about a manuscript I had submitted to them last year. It’s my contemporary young adult novel about a girl dealing with alcoholic parents, and the fallout of the lies she tells to try to cover it up. Splickety’s acquiring editor fell in love with it (her words, not mine), and she offered to help me publish it in partnership with SPG. You can only imagine the elation I felt that 1.) someone loved my story, and 2.) they wanted to help me get it published. Since this novel was one I had planned on self-publishing anyway, this is a real coup to get a publishing company to help me navigate these indie waters. We are currently working on the edits for this story, and when something more newsworthy such as a publishing date, or front cover comes, Inkspirationalmessages will be among the first to know.

ACFW logoOn May 4th I received a call telling me I was a semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest for my fantasy submission. This isn’t the first time I’ve submitted, but the first time after a professional editor went through it first. I’d sent this in without any real intention of being a finalist, but God has a sense of humor. Maybe because I had given it fully over to Him this time, He blessed me. Later I received notice that my submission moved on to the finals rounds. The winner is going to be announced on August 27th at the ACFW gala in Nashville, TN. I quickly gathered the money needed and booked the conference, and later a flight, and hotel room. I’m beyond elated with this news, and a little queasy at the thought of having to have a speech ready, just in case. Talk about jitters!!

This past month I went to one of the most fulfilling conferences for Christian Sci Fi and Fantasy writers Davis Bunn RMever: Realm Makers. There I got to meet up with my Splickety editor, Sarah Grimm, and meet all of the SPG staff who came to the conference face to face. They are all amazing in so many ways. As are Becky and Scott Minor, who along with Ben Wolf, spearhead the conference. This year it was an honor to sit through a class with Davis Bunn, aka Thomas Locke. I almost envisioned gold coming out of his mouth as he spoke. Next year will be bigger and better. It’ll be held in Reno, NV and it boasts Ted Dekker as our feature speaker. This group is one of the most accepting and helpful I’ve ever met. It’s almost as if you assimilate when you sign up. (Dr. Who reference for those other nerds out there.)

And two days ago I received notice that one of my short stories has been accepted to a magazine. Because I don’t have anything signed yet, and I’m using a pen name, I can’t give you any details on that, save to say that my smile is breaking the sides of my face at this point. It feels like all of my hard work is finally coming together in fast succession. I don’t know what to do except praise God for giving me the stories of my heart that I can turn around and share with others.

It’s been an eventful year, and it promises to keep getting better. Normally I would knock on wood, or toss some salt behind my shoulder, but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt this has all transpired due to God’s great and powerful favor. When people told me it would take ten years to get published, I used to scoff. It’s close to ten years for me now, and I’m not scoffing any longer.

So, how has your summer been?

I Dare you to…LOVE

Two weeks ago I dared everyone to BEGIN. In the wake of all of the violence in the news lately, I thought it was fitting that the next thing I dare everyone to do is LOVE.

LOVE

It is the power by which we can overcome adversity, break down walls, and rise above to become more than ourselves. We can become like Jesus.

John 13:34-35 LOVE one another. As I (Jesus) have LOVED you, so you must LOVE one another. It is the very essence by which we will be known as His.

LOVE is patient, LOVE is kind. LOVE does not envy or boast, LOVE is not arrogant or rude. LOVE does not insist on its own way. LOVE is not irritable or resentful. LOVE does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

LOVE endures all things. It endures. All. Things.

This is the kind of LOVE that has gone missing from our world, it seems. That we can endure someone else’s opinions without insisting our opinion is correct. LOVE is not rude nor does it insist on its own way. Where we can agree to disagree without despising the other person, or striking out against them. LOVE is not irritable or resentful. And we can mourn for those who do us wrong when something wrong happens to them. LOVE does not rejoice over wrongdoing.

Give LoeWe don’t have to have a platform or a high position in life to make LOVE matter. We can be a custodian and make those around us happier from having felt our presence today. We can be the overworked waitress who joyfully serves even the touchiest customer. It may not be that customer that the waitress makes a difference for, it could be the one sitting a couple of tables away.

Like light, our LOVE only shines when we share it with others. In the small kindnesses. In the smiles we give to others. In the hope we leave in our wake. And those are just small ways we can show our LOVE. They don’t cost a thing.

I leave you with a video courtesy of Chewbacca Mom, who I think is hysterical.  And I leave you with this thought: I DARE YOU TO LOVE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTlYjF2gJmQ