He Killed a Chicken

by Carole Brown

dog i'm sorry free

  • He didn’t mean to.
  • He’s only a dog.
  • He won’t do it again.
  • It couldn’t be him; he’s too nice.

dog-shepherd running free

Our grandson’s adopted dog from the pound IS a great dog. Friendly, playful, patient when Jonathan gets a little too rough, he seems the perfect dog for a child. But he has one flaw. Anytime he gets lose, he takes off. He knows you’re calling him, can offer treats, and knows his best friend (as Jonathan tells him) is calling, but looks at you and moves on to explore some more. It’s only when he’s tired of his “exploits” that he returns home.

chicken hen free

The problem with his last escapade–which wasn’t only in exploring the local area–he killed a neighbor’s chicken.

Now I could say “He didn’t mean to,” or “He’s just a dog.” I could even deceive myself into believing “He won’t do it again.” And lying to myself in thinking he’ll never do such a thing again won’t work, because I’m pretty sure he will–if he gets the chance.

Are we any better than the disobedient, wanting-to-be-free pet dog that has a mind of its own?

How often do we push the boundaries in our personal lives? Especially knowing that God’s Word instructs us to “flee” from evil, to avoid the appearance of it. How often are we tempted to do what everyone else is doing when we know God doesn’t want us to do it?

evil smiley face free

  • Is gossiping okay when the other person is in the wrong?
  • Is it okay to cheat a little, specially when it’s an important test we need to pass for that advance we’ve been seeking?
  • Is it okay to “give that rude person who crowded the checkout lane, a piece of our mind? After all, they need to learn, that’s NOT the right way to act.
  • Is it okay to lie to when put on the spot?

Or should we “hoe the line,” be the example, set the stage–for goodness and right and God’s way?

Given, none of us are above mistakes. Given that the Bible encourages us to strive for the right, the just, the good, to be obedient and choose holiness, then shouldn’t we avoid the excuses that are conveniently there for us?

  • I didn’t mean to
  • I’m just human
  • I won’t do it again
  • I really didn’t want to; but it was necessarysmiley happy free

 

 

Don’t get caught in the easy way. Be strong for the right, for God and for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Themed Christian Fiction Lovers Facebook Parties

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

If you are a published Christian author, I have a marketing opportunity for you.

FaceBook Book Lovers Themed Parties

Themed Facebook Parties for readers take place every other month. She invites other authors to join her in these themed parties. There is a limit of 8 authors per party on a first come, first serve basis. If too many authors sign up for any one party, we may have an additional party with the same theme on another day.

Upcoming Parties:

August 25: Crafts Christian Fiction Lovers Party: Includes novels with a craft such as sewing, quilting, knitting, baking, etc. as an element

October 6: Progressive Era Christian Fiction Lovers Party: Includes fiction set between 1900 and 1929

December 1: Christmas Christian Fiction Lovers Party. Includes only Christmas fiction

Sign up at this link if you are interested in being included in one of these parties, and I will send you more information. Please read the requirements below before submitting.

Advantages:

Authors network to gain exposure for their published novels.

Authors will be able to promote their books during the FB party and on the Themed Christian Book Lovers Parties FB Group.

Authors will gain a larger audience by networking with other authors with similar books.

All the pre-planning work for the party is done for you.

Requirements:

Each author must meet the requirement of having a published book with a Christian world theme that meets the guidelines of the theme.

Each author must have an active FaceBook account.

Each author must participate in the party to promote his or her book for his or her half hour time slot.

Each author must be willing to give away one book (ebook or print)

Each author must contribute $15 for the $50 grand prize and cost of promotion.

FB Prizes:

During these Facebook parties, a drawing will be held.

Giveaways include a grand prize of a $50 Amazon Card or a runner up prize of every participating author’s book.

Authors will also have opportunities to give away other prizes during their time slot.

10 Things to Do When Life Overwhelms You

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Everyone is busy these days, but there are times in our lives a major event happens that completely overwhelms and swallows our lives for a season. Whether it be an injury or illness, a major family event, a emotional crisis, a move or major life change, or a crisis at work, these changes can swallow up our lives and leave us feeling drained.

I am currently going through one of these seasons. My elderly mom has moved to another state, and I’m helping with the move. At the same time, my husband and I are building a new house in that state. My daughter is going through a major life event. If that’s not enough, I also have a summer children’s revival schedule going on and have a deadline with my publisher. My next book is due October 1st. So, I understand what you are going through.

Here are ten things to help you, and me, when life becomes overwhelming.

Remember this is a season. Sometimes taking a breath and regaining our perspective can help immensely. This major crisis is not the new normal for your life. You will get through it.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Peter was walking on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he focused on the waves and the storm, he sank. The larger the waves, the greater our focus needs to be on the One who commands the wind and the waves. One way to do this is to print out copies of a verse you’re holding onto and put in visible places everywhere.

Exercise: Before you say you don’t have time, I’m not telling you to spend hours at the gym, but even some exercise, like a brisk walk around the block, is beneficial. Exercise has been proven to defeat depression, offer mental clarity, and increase your energy. These are benefits you need during overwhelming times in your life.

Make a To Do List. Write down EVERYTHING you need to do. Then decide what you have to do now and what can wait. You are in crisis mode right now. You can’t do the things that can wait. You’ll get to those things after the crisis is over. For now, do only what you have to do.

Ask for help. This is hard to do, but it is essential to survive this season of your life. Friends, adult children, and your church may be able to help you with certain tasks. Also, if you can hire some temporary extra help to do daily tasks, do so. Housekeeping, laundry services, and delivery services are well worth the cost during overwhelming seasons.

Don’t take on any new projects. Even if its a project you want to do, say no. You’re no doesn’t have to be permanent, but for now, you can’t agree to do anything.

Take time for Self Care. Self care is what you do to make yourself feel better. You might enjoy reading a book, watching a movies, or doing a fun event. Whatever makes you feel good inside is something you need to take time to do. If you don’t have self care no matter how busy you are, you will end up burning out.

Get away from the situation. Sometimes getting away from a situation, even for a couple of hours, can help you feel refreshed.

Talk to a Friend. Venting to someone who will listen is vital during these overwhelming times. A good friend will let you vent when you need to, but when you are going into self-pity, she will encourage you out of it.

Be filled with the Spirit of God. The joy of the Lord is your strength, so go to the source of your strength to help you through this. Pray constantly asking God for strength, peace, and joy and allowing Him to fill you with His Spirit. Put you hand on your head and pray for yourself. This is last on the list, but it is the most important step to take.

100 Must Read Works of Fiction

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I’ve seen a lot of lists of books everyone should read before they died. Many times I was disappointed certain books weren’t on the list or that other books were. I decided to make my own fiction list everyone should read. It is in alphabetical order according to title. Comment how many of these you’ve read and if you think I should have added any.

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  3. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  5. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
  6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  7. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  8. Anne of Green Gables Series by LM Montgomery
  9. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  10. Atonement by Ean McEwan
  11. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  12. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Willhelm Grimm
  13. And Then There were None by Agatha Christie
  14. Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand
  15. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  16. Christie by Catherine Marshall
  17. Circle Series by Ted Dekker
  18. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  19. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  20. Emma by Jane Austin
  21. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  22. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  23. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  24. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  25. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  26. Hind’s Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  27. His Brother’s Keeper by Charles M. Sheldon
  28. Hondo by Louis L’Amour
  29. Hounds of the Baskervilles by Sir Author Conan Doyle
  30. In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
  31. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  32. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  33. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  34. Left Behind Series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye
  35. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  36. Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  37. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  38. Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke
  39. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  40. Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C Douglas
  41. Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers
  42. Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare
  43. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  44. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  45. Persuasion by Jane Austin
  46. Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti
  47. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  48. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  49. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  50. Riven by Jerry Jenkins
  51. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  52. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  53. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
  54. Shane by Jack Schaefer
  55. Silas Marner by George Elliot
  56. South Pacific by James A. Michener
  57. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  58. Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
  59. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  60. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  61. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  62. The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett
  63. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  64. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  65. The Cantebury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  66. The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  67. The Chronicles of Narnia Series by CS Lewis
  68. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  69. The Covenant by Beverly Lewis
  70. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
  71. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  72. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  73. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
  74. The Lord of the Rings Series by  J. R. R. Tolkien
  75. The Hobbit by  J. R. R. Tolkien
  76. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  77. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  78. The Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka
  79. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
  80. The Outsiders by SE Hinton
  81. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  82. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
  83. The Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flannigan
  84. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  85. The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
  86. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  87. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  88. The Time Machine by HG Wells
  89. The Virginian: The Horseman on the Plains by Owen Wister
  90. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
  91. To Build a Fire by Jack London
  92. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  93. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Sevenson
  94. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  95. Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  96. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Tubman
  97. War of the Worlds by HG Wells
  98. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  99. When the Heart Calls by Cindy Woodsmall
  100. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

100 Steps to Freedom

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Before the Civil War, Ohio had the largest Underground Railroad of any state in the Union. It is believed that every county in Ohio had a route. Many slaves would escape over the Ohio River and through Ohio on their way to Canada. This was a dangerous undertaking because, even though Ohio was a free state, the Fugitive Slave Law made it so anyone helping escaped slaves could be fined and jailed.

John Parker’s Foundry

One small town, Ripley, Ohio, is believed to have helped more slaves escape than any town in Ohio. Ripley is located on the banks of the Ohio River across from Mason County, Kentucky.

One man who helped slaves escape was a freed black man named John Parker. Parker was educated by his master in Virginia and eventually bought his freedom. He traveled to Ohio and opened a foundry on Front Street facing the Ohio River. He was the first black man to earn a patent for one of the inventions he used in his foundry. At night, he would search the Ohio River looking for escaped slaves and helping them find their way to an Underground Railroad Station.

John Rankin’s House in Ripley, Ohio

Rev. John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister, owned a house on top of a hill in Ripley. He built one hundred steps to the house that could be seen on the other side of the river. At night, he would light a lantern and hang it from the porch to signal slaves that it was safe to cross. It is estimated that over 2,000 slaves escaped through the Rankin House. None of them were ever recaptured.

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her famous novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, about the escape of the slave, Eliza, after hearing the story from Rev. Rankin.

The Hated Reviews

by Carole Brownbooks on shelf free

 

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories,

just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD

 

Reviews:

  • Eh. It was alright. At the low low price of free I can’t complain but it was just interesting enough that I had to finish but I certainly won’t recommend it to anyone.

Lol. Free. Interesting. Had to finish. ‘Nuff said. 

  • I just really wish I’d known this was a “Christian” book before purchasing it – I’ll be more attentive to descriptions in the future.

What? You bought it and didn’t read the description?                                                        At least she read it, and just maybe learned her lesson! 

  • This book was very well written. Kept me in suspense the whole time. Felt compassion, anger, disbelief, relief, so many emotions. Felt like I was reading about real life.

Very well written, huh? Great review. I’ll take it, even though, whoever, gave it a “3-star.”

How do “bad” reviews make YOU feel? How should “we” feel when receiving them? Angry? Hurt? Disappointed? Discouraged?

We can let it hurt us to the place where we’re ready to give up writing, or…

We can buckle down, take what good (if any) we can get from the review and improve our ability, determined to grow instead of withering. Ignoring the negative, unprofitable only benefits us. 

 

We can only grow as writers, if we learn…and that means realizing that this business is not all roses and acceptance. We must:   forest path free

  • Find our path. By that I mean, what are we called/what have we chosen as our writing call? 
  • Be true to that path. Don’t waver. If you’re called to write nonfiction, then stick to that. If you know Sci-fi is your thing, then plow straight ahead. I KNOW rocky hillside path freeI’m called to write suspense/mystery. I might toss in a little humor and romance, but suspense/mystery is my core calling.

 

(This is not to say people can’t write in more than one genre. Not at all. Many writers spread their writing wings to cover more than one, and that’s okay. That’s their calling, their ability, their interest.)

  • Accept that not everyone is going to like your writing. I was heartbroken at my first “bad” review of three stars, but as I expanded my writing, gained more experience, published more books, I’ve accepted that I can NOT please everyone. 
  • Grow. Use the negative to your advantage, by turning it around and helping you to gain insight into improving your craft.
  • Finally, relax and be at peace. If you’ve found your path, staying true, accepting the dislikes and growing, then you’re doing what you should. Know that God is leading you on the path you should be on, the one that is the best for you, and proceed straight ahead with peace in your heart that you’re doing

    hand freeall you can do. 

Be glad that another person has read your book. Who knows what may stick in their mind down the road and lead them to pick up another book of yours. And if not, then it’s their problem/decision. Leave it in God’s hands.

Rebel in My House by Sandra M. Hart: Welcome!

by Carole Brown

It’s with real pleasure that I welcome Author Sandy Hart to the blog today. First, here’s her YouTube video for a taste of her book:

 

Enjoy reading her interview!

Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?

SandraMervilleHart_Headshot2

I wanted to become a writer as a little girl, but I received no encouragement. The dream died. I remained silent about it even as friends dreamed of writing for a career. I simply encouraged them.

My church choir director invited members to share devotional thoughts about weekly songs. I finally gathered my courage, wrote a devotion, and shared it. Among the many encouraging comments I received was one from a dear lady who has since died from cancer. She asked me to submit it for publication. I only knew of one place who published devotions. I didn’t hear back from them, but the writing dream blossomed again.

I was a bit like Moses. I argued with God that someone else could do a better job. He asked for my obedience. Conversations with friends, life events, and sermons solidified my belief that God called me to write.

However, the road has been difficult, winding, and narrow. Each obstacle and struggle usually strengthened my resolve to keep going.

And I’m so glad you obeyed that call! What is the message(s) in the book you’re promoting today? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? Can you give us a very brief scene (paragraph) as an example?

There are definite spiritual themes in this story, including a character’s reliance on God through prayer. Here’s a short paragraph from the novel:

The battle unfolded before her eyes. Five men in gray fell but didn’t rise. She’d just witnessed multiple deaths. She wrung her hands in agony and implored God to save their souls. The cost of Southern lives in the horrible war had been something she shielded her heart from. Now the truth unfolded in terrible clarity right before her.

Very touching! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

Oh, yes, please read it! 😊

This novel revolves around the Battle of Gettysburg. It shows not only how the soldiers suffered, but also the townspeople. Most of the men fled Gettysburg when the Confederated Army crossed into Pennsylvania. This left the women and children to deal with the horror of the Confederates seizing the town and the battle surrounding them. Many called on strength they didn’t know they possessed and rose to the challenge.

Like Sarah, a Gettysburg seamstress who meets Jesse, a Confederate soldier caught behind enemy lines, on the first day. She makes a compassionate decision that leads to more hardships than she ever imagined.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg in particular. I traveled to Gettysburg to find this story.

Writing this novel changed me. I’m not the same person who began the journey.

As I’ve read a tidbit of this book, I’m hoping to acquire it soon! Share a fun or weird habit.

Most folks drink coffee in the morning. I drink chocolate milk. I know—most of us outgrow this stage by the teen years. Not me!

Lol. I love people who do interesting and different things. Lastly, share an incident when you’ve been very happy/excited or very disappointed/depressed because of your writing career? How were you able to get past the bad and move on to the good?

This writing journey is a difficult one. Instead of a tree-lined road, it is a rejection-lined road. I remember a period of 4-5 months when rejections came with brutal regularity. Three came in one week. I was devastated and ready to quit.

I had planned to attend a writers’ conference. It seemed pointless now, but I had already paid. I drove there, planning a final goodbye to writer friends who meant so much to me.

The second evening found me alone in the lobby with another writer. I told him that I had done a terrible thing—I quit my job to write full-time. He had a different spin on that. He believed that trusting God this way was a courageous act.

Somehow, that conversation renewed my spirit. I set to work again. If not for that chance meeting, this novel would have remained unwritten.

That would be encouraging: talking with the person you were meant to talk with and having him give you such encouragement. Thanks for joining us today, Sandy!

A Rebel in My House Book Blurb

ARebelinMyHouse 500x750When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

Amazon buy link:   https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-House-Sandra-Merville-Hart/dp/1941103383/

Connect with Sandy here:

Website: https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3JI-wECyY&feature=youtu.be

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart