CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Jenny LM who won Susanne Dietze's My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho Prize pack!



Monday, December 31, 2012

Serial Story 101


"In literature, a serial is a publishing format by which a single large work, most often a work of narrative fiction, is presented in contiguous (typically chronological) installments." ~Wikipedia

Due to the cost of printing and the desire to expand readership, magazine and newspaper publishers in the 1700s began experimenting with serial stories. This type of fiction surged in popularity during the Victorian-era. Some of our most popular authors published in serial format: Charles Dickens, Henry James, Arthur Conan Doyle, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Tom Wolfe, Steven King, and Orson Scott Card. Until I looked into the history of serial stories, I didn't know Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was "published over a 40-week period by National Era, an abolitionist periodical, starting with the June 5, 1851 issue."

Several years ago, the Inkies wrote a serial story, which you can re-read here.

Next month at Inkwell, we will participate in a serial story blog tour featuring several CBA authors.

Jan 11--Colonial Quills hosts MaryLu Tyndall
Jan 14--Laurie Alice Eakes hosts Rosanna White
Jan 15--Marylu Tyndall hosts Debby Lynne Costello
Jan 16--Patty Smith Hall hosts Gina Welborn
Jan 17--Roseanna White hosts Carrie Fancett Pagels
Jan 18--Inkwell Inspirations hosts Patty Smith Hall
Jan 19--Debbie Lynne Costello hosts Laurie Alice Eakes


In honor of the serial story, I thought I'd share one the ladies at Colonial Quills have written as a Christmas gift for their readers. Our own Inky author, Dina Sleiman, will be wrapping up the series with "Epiphany!"

A Forted Frontier Holiday: A Colonial American Fiction Anthology

While harvesting, the German settlement near New Market, Virginia receives warning of an impending attack by French and Indians war parties. They flee to a quickly cobbled refuge, Fort Providence—for they will surely need to rely on God’s Provision. The forted colonials long to celebrate the holidays and await the arrival of visitors.
Part 1 - Inside Fort Providence by Carrie Fancett Pagels (Nov. 5)
Part 2 - A Providential Proposal by Susan Craft (Nov. 12)
Part 3 - Landlocked by Carla Olson Gade (Nov. 19)
Part 4 - Preserve my Life From Fear by Elaine Marie Cooper (Nov. 26)
Part 5 - A Gift from Buckskin Samson by Kathy Maher (Dec. 3)
Part 6 - Narrow Passage by Pat Iacuzzi (Dec. 10)
Part 7 - Untitled by Lynn Squire (Dec. 17)
Part 8 - Christmastide by Carrie Fancett Pagels (Dec. 24)
Part 9 - Amish Snow by Kelly Long (Dec. 31)
Part 10 - Epiphany! by our Inky Dina Sleiman (Jan. 7)
Question of the Day: Do you enjoy serial stories? If so, what would you like to see one written about? Setting? Lead characters?

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Putting on a Live Nativity 2012

by Anita Mae Draper

For the past couple of years Pastor Lorne Bonk has talked of putting on a live Nativity using real animals and the local auction mart as the venue. Having it at the auction mart would solve 2 of the biggest problems of holding it in a church... the mess caused by live animals, and how to bring the message to people who don't normally attend church. In plain English, we wanted to bring a mess to the masses.

Since I had enough writing on my plate and no animals to contribute, I stayed out of the discussions... until the day Pastor Lorne showed up at my door asking for my ideas. By the time he drove away, he had a handful of my suggestions, and I'd agreed to write the script - with all of 4 weeks to showtime.


Candiac Auction Mart, Candiac, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Auction Mart sits at a crossroads near a small hamlet - kind of in the middle of nowhere. In the photo above, the lunch room is the left half of the green building, the auction ring and seating is on the right half, and the red building is the barn where the animals are kept before and after they appear in the show ring.

Yet even with this obscure location, people from towns away were asking when the big event would happen. A few days before the date, a trucker out in the oil patch asked my hubby what time the show would start. The same was happening wherever church members appeared in December. Pastor Lorne's wife, Dianne Bonk, said the event was taking on a life of its own. Hallelujah! Dianne held a sewing bee at her farm and three women from our church showed up. By the end of the day, all the costumes were sewn, and/or assembled. Thank you, Dianne Bonk, Anne Pelletier, Karen Hoffart, and Shirley Johnson.

Meanwhile, although a different denomination, the Kevin Czerwonka family waived the fee and offered the free use of the auction building for the Nativity portrayal. This event could not have gone on if not for the generous support of the Czerwonka family.

As well as helping with the sewing and being our narrator, author Shirley Johnson volunteered to create the backdrops. I requested a backdrop for The Jericho Road through the Valley of Jordan, a second one showing The Inn, and a third one showing the starry sky for when the angel appears to the shepherds. But how to hang the backdrops? We decided on transporting an office divider from the church to the auction mart with a backdrop on each side. As one scene finished, the divider would be turned to the next backdrop. However, that all changed when we finally had access to the venue on the day of the performance and realized the safety fence would serve adequately.


Candiac Auction Mart interior with backdrops for the 'What's Happening in the Barn?' Live Nativity,  Dec 2012.

The safety fence is a heavy iron set of panels designed to block the animals from entering the back room which is also the entrance to the auctioneer's booth, situated beneath the clock in the above photo. The backdrops were painted on heavy craft paper, then a portion hung over the top bar and pinned in place. The backdrops were then covered by heavy brown fabric and my hubby was detailed to stand behind them and at the appropriate time, cover or uncover what was needed.


The beginning set showing the Jericho Road through the Jordan Valley.

A big 'Bethlehem Inn' sign also helped set the scene in case the crowd didn't recognize the inn.

Wayne Delschneider and family built the awesome stable.
Thanks go out to Wayne Delschneider and family who built this fantastic stable for the presentation. Since most of our church family are farmers, there were more than a few people interested in checking it out. Wayne and his son also worked the huge spotlight Pastor Lorne brought out from Regina for this production.

Pastor Lorne, Wayne and Mason Delschneider checking the spotlight.
The light was kind of big for our small production, but it did what it was supposed to do which was to highlight specific parts to the exclusion of all else. For example, when Joseph walks in leading Mary on a donkey, all eyes were attuned to this single event.

Covering the auctioneer's booth with the starry sky backdrop. 

A final touch to set the stage was the hanging of the starry sky with the bright star which was accomplished by using a navy sheet and mini-lights. If we do this next year, though, we'll try to use more sheets as we really liked the effect. Hanging it was kind of scary though as one of the guys balanced on the top rail of the safety fence while doing it.

And the bleachers filled with people.



One of my ideas had been to use the high bleachers Stage Left for the Heavenly Host. This really make them appear to be 'in the sky' when the spotlight shone on them.

The Heavenly Host appears to the shepherds.  Dec 2012

As it turned out, the building was packed and the audience began to fill in behind the angels, but they weren't noticeable until the house lights came on during the Finale.

Lights up to reveal the Heavenly Host enjoying the final song.

The Shepherds waiting their turn. Dec 2012

The waiting Wisemen, Dec 2012

Mary holding Baby Jesus, with Joseph in the stable. Shepherds and sheep nearby. Dec 2012

Although this project was hectic and stressful during its creation process, like all Christmas pageants, it worked out in the end and showed God's glory as a babe in a manger. More people saw our paltry rendition of this inspiring tale at the Auction mart than could have fit into our small church.

'What's Happening in the Barn?' Dec 2012

Yes, my cameras focused on the white bars instead of the characters behind it, but in real life, the bars were soon forgotten as we watched the age-old story unfold. I never get tired of watching a Nativity play, and from the people attending this performance and the accolades afterward, the bars didn't seem to matter, either.

When it was over and the adults and older kids had gone to the lunch room where Dennis and Doris Borowski gave out coffee and hot chocolate, the little ones were allowed into the ring to get to know the animals. Wrangler Pauline Long-Wright and Youth Leader Noelle Bonk showed the little ones how to feed the critters and in some cases, sat the kids on the gentle animals. This impromptu petting zoo was very well received by kids and adults alike.



Will our church do it again next year? I hope so because I'm already thinking of ways to improve it. More information  can be found on our Glenavon church website Live Nativity page  as well as our blog on the same website, hopefully with video if I can figure out how to transfer the recorded program from my camcorder to my PC.

Have you ever been to a live Nativity? Where was it held? What did you think?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at http://www.anitamaedraper.com/

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tidings of Comfort

 
by Barb Early

It’s the time of the year when often we at Inkwell share some of our family Christmas traditions--and that’s what I originally intended to do with this post. But recent events--national, local, and even among my acquaintances have me rethinking that.

It’s been a tough Christmas for many.

Those impacted by hurricane Sandy are trying to rebuild their lives. A community in Connecticut struggles with an inconceivable loss. Families in Webster NY are mourning their firefighters while others who lost their homes to fire scramble to find shelter. And the world reels with the questions of why.

Meanwhile, countless others are spending Christmas in hospitals and at gravesides. Many more passed it in the shadow of intense storms, tornadoes and power outages.

Tragedy, loss, sickness, death, evil in this world. Those things kind of take the Merry out of Christmas. We think of presents stacked in a closet awaiting children who will never get them. And tables that should be stacked with Christmas dinner, now empty.

I kind of have to kick myself into proper perspective. As much as I tend to aim for the world’s ideal Christmas, Jesus wasn’t born so that we might have the perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas--large twinkling Christmas tree laden with gifts, turkey roasting in the oven, a fire in the hearth, and family gathered around the table. Jesus was born because without Him, this world is sick and dark and painful and needs a Savior.

I’m not saying we can’t have and enjoy those traditional Christmas trappings. And if Christmas found you healthy and happy, gathered with family and friends rejoicing--what blessings. But it most likely has not always been so, nor will it always be so.

Even as we sang Christmas carols this year, I was reminded of this fact. Have you ever noticed we don’t tend to sing all the verses of even the most famous of Christmas carols? Some are omitted--often considered the “downer verses.” Yet these have the most power to minister to hurting hearts by reminding us why the Savior was born. While we were yet in our sins--He loved us enough to come and die in our place.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
 
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Where children pure and happy pray to the bless├Ęd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

Who is He in Yonder Stall?

Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?

Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?

Who is He that from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne
Rules through all the world alone?


Thou Didst Leave thy Throne

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.


What Child is This

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

We Three Kings

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

It’s this view of Christmas that lets us see past the current woes to the eternal. 

We don’t see the darkness, but the light shining through the darkness. 

We don’t see slain children in a classroom, but little ones nestled in the arms of a loving Savior. 

We don’t see our loved ones lying in a coffin, but “see” them walking on streets of gold. And we see a future free from strife, war, pain, and sin.

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.

O tidings of comfort and joy.


Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and Scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy and sometimes a splash of romance. Her holiday novella, Gold, Frankincense, and Murder was released in e-book format from White Rose Publishing in December 2011. You can learn more about her writing at www.barbaraearly.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A World Without Writers



I know my life has been improved because of writers. Has your life been changed through the written word? If yes, how is your life different? Are you different as a person because of something you read? What book aside from the Bible has had the greatest impact on you?


Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early books were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now that she’s (mostly) all grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure and excitement in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her next novel, The Magistrate’s Folly, is coming February 5th from Barbour Publishing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Inkies!!!



Enjoy this fun but inspirational video for your Christmas morning.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Christmas Pyramid

 
by Susanne Dietze

As you can tell by my surname, I married a guy with a bit o’ German in him.

My hubby's paternal grandfather emigrated from Dresden Saxony to the U.S. through Ellis Island, and although he embraced his new country, he kept many of his homeland’s customs—including the Christmas Pyramid, or Weihnachtspyramide.

The Dietze Pyramid
Maybe you’ve seen smaller versions: they are shaped like wedding-cakes or towers with one or more tiers, small enough to sit on a table-top or large enough to light up the town square. Figures resting on each platform depict a scene from Christmas or everyday life: angels, a nativity, toys or something from the workplace. The tiers rotate around a central drive shaft like horses on a carousel, driven by the rising heat of candles placed on or around the body of the pyramid, which spins a propeller at the top of the pyramid.

A few offerings from The German Christmas Shop

Originating in the mountain region of Erzgebirge, Pyramids have been in use since the Middle Ages--although not necessarily as Christmas decorations. It's possible that the first Pyramids were modeled after the horse-powered gins in the local mines. Pyramids with movable mining scenes were displayed for the wedding of the Saxon prince in 1719.

Sometime around 1800, they became primarily a Christmas item (possibly predating the tradition of the Christmas tree), although the name “Pyramid” didn’t come about until after the Napoleonic campaign saw soldiers return from Egypt in the late eighteenth century. It became a traditional for the head of the household to create one for his firstborn's first Christmas.

That's what happened in my husband's family. The Dietze pyramid pictured above, which sits in the front window of my father-in-law’s house, was carved by my husband’s grandfather in the late 1920’s from linden wood, using a coping saw. He used figures imported from Germany to decorate the four tiers.

It is no longer driven by candle heat, which made the platforms spin too fast. As you can see from the photo, it is electric now, wired in 1934 to be lit by electric bulbs (which are now vintage and tricky to find). In 1939, a new adjustment was made when my husband's grandfather installed a record turntable to rotate the platforms.


Ready for a tour? Let's start at the bottom, which displays the Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (this tier does not rotate). One half features Joseph, the Magi, and Mary with Baby Jesus on her lap.


The other half of the lowest platform depicts a shepherd and his sheep, lingering just outside the stable where Jesus was born. You can see one of the Magi behind the central blue light, and in the upper left quadrant, an angel hovers over the shepherd.


Up a level from the nativity scene, a traditional German hunting scene is shown. The hunter rests his rifle (and his dogs) while the forest animals go about their business. Some of the animals are quite perky--especially the fox, who has a squirrel in his mouth.


The third level from the bottom depicts farm animals: goats, cows, and “lucky” chickens—also a traditional scene.

On the top platform, gnomes (not elves) are busy getting ready to help Sinter Klaus prepare for Christmas Eve. I like how the gnome in orange is propped on the edge with a clarinet-type instrument.


The pyramid is crowned with the message, Ehre sei Gott in der Hohe, or honor to God in the highest. Housed within, just under the propeller, are three tiny bells. Their tones echoed through the house while my husband drifted off to sleep as a boy, and their notes still signify Christmas to him.


Remember what I said about huge outdoor pyramids? Below, I’ve included a you tube video of one in Fredericksburg, Texas. This one features Nutcrackers, a nativity, and some nice Christmas music.



Every family has precious heirlooms, and treasures or traditions that mean Christmas to them. With each marriage and birth, new traditions arise. Christmas morning, my favorite cranberry bread is served alongside my husband's traditional stollen, and alas, we have no Pyramid of our own. But the tradition of the Pyramid holds a special place in our hearts and memories of Christmas past.

What about you? What are traditions you’ve inherited from your family? What traditions have you invented for your children?

I'll share a few of our foodie traditions in the comments, but here's one of my favorite new family traditions that's come with my kids: The Toys Visiting Baby Jesus. This picture is a few years old, but "friends" still have a way of creeping into the stable to pay homage to the Newborn King.

Even Jedi and Polly Pockets need Jesus.
Merry Christmas!

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. She won first place in the Historical category of the 2011-2012 Phoenix Rattler, and her work has finaled in the Genesis, Gotcha!, and Touched By Love Contests. Susanne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Life-Impacting Christian Fiction

 
 
We survived the End of the World! Now what do we do?
by Gina Welborn
 
After a day of dancing, celebrating, and waiting for the world to end (SPOILER: It didn't!), I figured we ought to celebrate with another day of dancing and celebrating because life here on earth continues. I hope you don't mind if we turn off the music.
 
In fact, I've changed out of my daring little black dress and into comfy yoga pants and my favorite black Aeropostle t-shirt. What make-up I have on is remains from yesterday. Don't forget Gina's Beauty Tip #1: Don't wash your face every day; doing so stretches facial muscles. and Beauty Tip #2: Don't smile, grimace, frown; keeping your face motionless decreases opportunity for wrinkles to develop. Show emotion through tone of voice. Of course, never underestimate the importance of a good moisturizer.
 
Love your skin.
Love the skin you're in.
  
Which is why I’m drinking lots of water, eating fruit today, and resisting whatever tempting foods and drinks our baristas are serving.

Eons of days ago (aka, a couple weeks) one of my writing groups had a discussion on “How Christian Should Christian Fiction Be?” Depends on publisher. Depends on author. Depends on target audience. Depends on story. Yada yada yada.

So I got to wondering if CBA fiction is life-impacting or mostly just there for entertainment. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction. Not that I don’t love fiction. I do!!! Yet has any work of fiction impacted my life like an A. W. Tozer, John Eldredge, or Beth Moore book has?

A few years go Dina practically shoved a copy of THE PASSION OF MARY-MARGARET by Lisa Samson in my hands and said, “You will read this and like it.” Probably an exact quote. On the surface I couldn’t think of one thing that interested me about the novel. Then I read it.
 
Somewhere along journey I realized how much I yearned to have a passion for Jesus like Mary-Margaret had. Ever heard Jars of Clay’s “Love Song for a Savior”?
 
It seems too easy to call you Savior, not close enough to call you God. So as I sit and think of the words I can mention to show my devotion, I want to fall in love with you.
 
That’s what I wanted—to fall in love with Jesus. Thus I began pursuing Jesus. I began praying, “Jesus, scripture says we love you because you first loved us, so show me how much you love me because I want to love you as passionately as Mary-Margaret did.” The more I pray, the more Jesus reveals his love. While I still don’t think I have a passion like Mary-Margaret, I’m getting closer. Yes, a work of fiction has changed my life.
 
The following is a list of testimonies of authors whose lives have been impacted—changed—by Christian fiction.

“I wish I could give you a short list of authors and books that have changed my life, but I can't. What I can give you is a very, very long list of Christian authors who have encouraged my faith, strengthened me in small ways in my faith, acknowledged my faith and my worldview through the medium of entertainment.” ~Christine Lindsey, author of SHADOWED IN SILK
 
IN THE HALL OF THE DRAGON KING by Stephen Lawhead
"What really hit me when I read this (I was 10, I think) is that God even chooses to use young people. Though I'd been told this for all of my life, it took watching this boy go out in faith, against his better judgment, up against things that seemed insurmountable and battle his unwillingness (at times) and fear in order to be used for God's glory. I don't know, really, why this book hit me so dramatically when there are certainly others out there with a similar message, but it's stuck with me for the last almost-30-years. Quinton, and his quest, come back to me as a reminder at odd moments - usually when I'm in the throes of self-doubt - and I remember that God uses whom He chooses, even when it doesn't make sense. All I have to do is be obedient." ~Elizabeth Maddrey, author of WISDOM TO KNOW
 
 A VOICE IN THE WIND by Francine Rivers
“This was the first Christian book that my mom read and said, ‘No. Not until you're older.’ I'd been reading adult Christian fiction since I was about 11, so this made me really curious. And after she finally let me read it at 14, I both understood why she had made me wait and was
forever changed. This book was the first one that brought biblical times alive for me. It was the first that made me ask, ‘What would I do if I was faced with the choice of denying Christ or being killed?’ And it was the first book whose ending made me cry...yet was RIGHT.” ~Roseanna M. White, author of RING OF SECRETS and JEWEL OF PERSIA
 
THE DEBT by Angela Hunt
“The Debt inspired me to reach out to those who may otherwise be overlooked in our society. To go where the people are, not merely expect them to walk through the church doors and gobble up our witness. After reading the novel, my family and I took hot cocoa along with a package of treats and tracts and talked with the homeless milling about the downtown area. What a powerful day! One woman received the Lord as a result of our venture outside the norm. My husband and I serve at an inner city ministry once a month on Saturday nights. Service longevity is a matter of every day choice. We must wake up with the decision to follow through today what the Holy Spirit laid on our hearts yesterday.” ~Eileen Rife, author of SECOND CHANCE
THIS PRESENT DARKNESS by Frank Peretti
“This book encouraged me that PRAYER is just as active as doing other, more applauded Christian activities. Plus, it brought supernatural warfare to the forefront in a fairly believable way. The supernatural realm is real, no matter how we try to ignore it. But the main impetus of the books struck me as twofold: 1) prayer is important for eternity, and 2) not everyone is as good as they seem (and I have found that to be true--Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light).” ~Heather Day Gilbert

THE HEAVENLY DAZE by Lori Copeland
“For the longest time, I feared the end times. Silly, I know. But I did. After reading this series and getting an angel's perspective on life on earth, my fear dissolved, seriously. I began to see what truly matters. I've been a believer for over 20 years and I know deep in my heart what is important. I just let fear overtake me, and these books helped me put in all back in perspective.” ~Joi Copeland, author of HOPE FOR THE JOURNEY

THE DEBT by Angela Hunt
“One line in the book said this, ‘Why are we surprised when sinners sin?’ Why, indeed? An amazing book about one woman's discovery of what Christianity really looks like outside the walls of the church. Truly amazing! And thought provoking, too!” ~Joi Copeland
 
MARK OF THE LYON SERIES by Francine Rivers
“I read some Christian fiction (this was in the late 80’s, early 90’s) but nothing had tempted me overly much. Then someone loaned me the first book in this series. It definitely changed me. First, I learned a TON. I mean the research and history was more than I had any idea about before. That it was done as fiction and kept me spellbound really surprised me. From then on, I wanted to know the historical importance that went along with whatever Scripture I read. I didn’t really know any Scripture by heart, but the theme that ran through the series was, ‘Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him,’ from Job. I began to think about the seriousness of that kind of faith and I knew I didn’t have it. And, it turned me on to Christian fiction, big time.” ~Mary Moore, author of BEAUTY IN DISGUISE

LISTEN by Rene Gutteridge
“There have been many books but the most recent was [this one]. It made me think about the power of words, and about how I sometimes say things in private that I'd never want to say publically. It made me do a lot of thinking about my sometimes undisciplined tongue.” ~Larry W. Timm

SAFELY HOME by Randy Alcorn
“Of course I think that anything written by Randy Alcorn is powerful. That book hit on one of my passions, which is remembering the persecuted church around the world. ~Larry W. Timm

THE SCARLET THREAD by Francine Rivers
“Many books have touched my heart over the years, but The Scarlet Thread stands out as a favorite. It was written so honestly that it touched my heart at a crucial time in my life. It's a contemporary novel about a woman dealing with marital issues and as she struggles through the still-relevant journey, she comes to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. The story really is faith in action.” ~Andrea Boeshaar, author FABRIC OF TIME SERIES

HEARTSONG PRESENTS
“It wasn’t just one book, but a line of books—Heartsongs. I learned that Loree Lough sold nine to the line, so was curious and bought a few. Those little, sweet romances got my feet back onto the path of seeking after the Lord in my life. I think (what impacted me most was) their lack of preachiness, just people learning about God’s love and forgiveness in their everyday lives.” ~Laurie Alice Eakes, author CHOICES OF THE HEART
 
Author MaryLu Tyndall
“Just after I'd been saved, I grabbed my first Christian fiction book (MaryLu Tyndall's THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS) It spoke to me on several levels. Some of the moral issues I'd faced similar to the heroine who had made some bad choices. In July 2010, I needed to have my eye removed because of cancerous melanoma. During my quiet times, I read my Bible, or MaryLu's THE RELIANCE (had to laugh when I discovered the heroine, Charlisse wore a pirate's eye patch for a disguise!) After the surgery, the doctor told me I'd have a lot of pain--gave me meds. Not only did I not have any pain, the bottle remains sealed as a souvenir of God's gracious touch. I continue to do my writing, art work and teaching; just finished pt. 6--("Narrow Passage") of our Colonial Quills Christmas Antholgy, and coincidentally, MaryLu's book VEIL OF PEARLS was offered as a giveaway that day.” ~Pat Iacuzzi

ONE TUESDAY MORNING by Karen Kingsbury
“After 9/11, watching on TV the horrific tragedy of the twin towers coming down, knowing how many first responders were killed trying valiantly to evacuate those buildings, I had a very difficult time praying for first responders. I’d try, and often feel like my prayers were going nowhere. Other times, I’d burst into tears without really understanding why, sometimes just because I saw emergency lights flashing. It got to the point I quit trying to pray for first responders even though I knew I shouldn’t stop. When I read ONE TUESDAY MORNING, it finally clicked. Seeing what happened, recognizing the tremendous impact it had on the lives of so many people, left me traumatized in a way that blocked my ability to pray. That was one of the hardest fiction books I think I have ever read because walking through the trauma with those characters walked me through my own trauma and deeply suppressed grief. Ever since then, I’ve been able to pray again for our first responders without a problem.” ~Dawn M. Turner, author BEYOND HOPE

THIS PRESENT DARKNESS and PIERCING THE DARKNESS by Frank Peretti
"These novels opened my eyes to spiritual warfare. I realize Mr. Peretti’s books are works of fiction and the spiritual battles may not truly look the way he described them. However, his stories brought home the reality of angels and demons fighting in the heavenlies in response to the prayers of the saints. In response to my prayers.” ~Lora Young
 
THE DOG THAT TALKED TO GOD by Jim Kraus
Quirky and yet anyone who's ever experienced suffering and loss will find themselves unexpectedly moved in this bittersweet, honest examination of one character's raw grief, doubts and anger coupled with God's unending love for each soul. This caused me to reflect on the losses in my own life and the various ways—good and bad—I've reacted toward them. ~Lisa Carter, author CAROLINA RECKONING

RECLAIMING LILY by Patti Lacy
Exquisite rendering of all sides of international adoption and the emotional scars many people carry regardless of nationality. Beautiful picture of God's grace and sufficiency. This struck me that no matter the scars of your past, God has a perfect plan for my life. And my life will be at its best and safest in His hands. ~Lisa Carter

BENEATH A SOUTHERN SKY by Deborah Raney
Thought-provoking, Deborah Raney's story will remain etched in your heart and mind forever.
Bittersweet, almost haunting, ending. One of my favorite examples of the truest kind of love. This one helped me to internalize Christ's sacrificial love for me in a whole new dimension. ~Lisa Carter

CROSSING OCEAN by Gina Holmes
Powerful. A journey that takes the reader—heart, mind and body—into one person's dark night of the soul and beyond. This reminded me how though we don't always understand His plans, He desires our ultimate good and through faith, we believe that He will bring His best for us to pass. ~Lisa Carter

LOST AND FOUND by Ginny Yttrup
Ginny has a knack of making you draw closer to God, increasing faith and knowledge about Him. Her characters are believable and easy to relate to and/or identify with. They become friends that, if you aren't careful, you begin praying for.” ~Anne Baxter Campbell

UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS HERO by Kathi Macias
“Kathi writes books that draw attention to a need, in this case homeless people. One is a Viet Nam Vet and the other a widow with two small children. Too many of us tend to turn a blind eye to homeless folks, relegating them to lost causes not worth our time; or perhaps we think the problem is too big for one person to make a difference. Kathi demonstrates in this book that perhaps one person being helped is significant. If each of us who could helped one person, we might be able to get the homeless off the streets and in the process of either becoming productive citizens or at least getting help for their disabilities.” ~Anne Baxter Campbell

THE O’MALLEY FAMILY SERIES by Dee Henderson
“Life can change in small increments - and those changes can last longer. For instance, every romance novel I read reminds me to love my husband! This series showed female characters in non-traditional careers. These women had a focus beyond catching a man and having children. The importance of their work took them out of their homes and often put them in danger. The stories were well written, braiding suspense, romance, and a spiritual thread. They expanded the boundaries of Christian fiction.” ~Cathy Richmond, SPRING FOR SUSANNA
 
Dina Sleiman’s List of Novels that Impacted Her Life
HAVAH by Tosca Lee
Gave me a whole fresh perspective on God's design for marriage and sex and how we mess it up.
BOOK OF DAYS by James Rubart
Gave me a very strong understanding on how important every decision we make is.
ARENA by Karen Hancock
Helped me to understand spiritual warfare on a new level.
A TIME TO DANCE by Karen Kingsbury
Encouraged me to keep trying with my marriage.
EMBRACE ME by Lisa Samson
Helped me to refine what sort of Christian I wanted to be.
PASSION OF MARY-MARGARET by Lisa Samson
Challenged me to give more and sacrifice more.
A STRAY DROP OF BLOOD by Roseanna White
Gave me a new and clearer vision of Christ's sacrifice and the power of his blood.
THE OPPOSITE OF ART by Athol Dickson
Caused me to seek God's face with more passion than before.
DELIVER ME FROM EVIL by Kathy Macias
Awakened me to the plight of sex trafficking on a new level. 



QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:: Have you ever read a Christian novel that impacted your life? How have you been changed by the book? What book(s) are on your 2013 To Read List?