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Posts Tagged ‘Christian fiction’

From The Smolder:

<[53] Seth and Terresa were leaving amusement and joy in their wake, walking as they were, hand in hand, too oblivious of other people to be sheepish about walking hand in hand. If they’d been tuned in to other people, they would have heard comments like “Finally” and “I thought so” and “Won’t James be disappointed?” But they were happily lost in the bubble of first commitment and didn’t hear any of it. That they weren’t hearing a bit of it only added to the amusement they left in their wake.

Only half content to wander aimlessly, they got a notion to visit Oleevaba and see how she and the kitten were getting on. When they knocked, Solomon answered. He was looking a bit wrung out.

“I should warn you,” he said, “Oleevaba’s not feeling at all well. The medicines are starting to help, but it’s not pleasant around here. If you’d like to come back later, I understand.”

Terresa, reacting to the reluctance in Solomon’s manner, struggled with what she should say. “I’d be glad to help if there’s something I can do,” she finally managed.

“Me, too,” Seth said, manfully.

Solomon invited them in. He said, “Now, if by any chance you thought that I didn’t particularly want your help because you’re Neesay, you just let go of that thought. I just don’t like asking anybody to help around illness. I hate imposing it on people.”

Terresa was relieved. “I can’t say I’m thrilled with the job,” she said, the twinkle coming back into her eye. “But I was sick more often than not the first weeks I was here. People helped me then. I haven’t taken my turn yet. Besides, Oleevaba trusts me, I think.”

Solomon smiled. “With your permission, Terresa, and your consent, Seth, I’m going to give you a grateful hug.”

“I’m not sure I have any right to give consent for Terresa,” Seth said, blushing to the top of his head.

Terresa smiled, thrilled to have an older man (and one well thought of in the community, too) notice that she had a protector, and equally thrilled at how nervous and unsure Seth was about how far his protection properly extended.

Oleevaba walked into the room. “I am feeling stronger,” she said, bravely, right before her knees buckled.

Terresa, beside herself with newfound love, gave Solomon a hug and Seth a hug, and then, impulsively, gave Seth a kiss, before swooping to give aid and comfort to Oleevaba.

Seth, equally proud and ashamed to have been kissed in public by the woman of his heart, wasn’t sure what to do next.

“We’ve been ignoring the kitten shamefully while Oleevaba’s been sick,” Solomon said.

Seth, seeing that another man was offering him an honorable and speedy way out of the present embarrassment, took the opening and darted off on shaky legs to find the kitten.

Solomon debated with himself whether he should tell the young man that a man got steadier the longer he was truly loved. He decided he’d take a walk instead.

As he walked, he kept running into others who were grinning in much the same way as himself. “Oh, you’ve seen Seth and Terresa this morning, have you?” the others tended to say, in one variation or another, hoping to swap notes or, better yet, hand off the news to someone who hadn’t heard it yet.

To please an old lady, Solomon feigned ignorance and let her fill him in. He bet himself that long before nightfall she would have forgotten about Seth and Terresa, and about chatting with him. He hoped, though, that she’d carry a sense of having been connected in a loving way with her neighbors.

Soon after his encounter with the old lady, Solomon stepped into an exquisite little public chapel – a prayer closet, really – that had been lovingly cut into the resident rock, the finishing work done by rock carvers and polishers who had as their motto: “Do everything as unto the Lord.” It had taken twenty years to bring it to excellence. Over the door was a sign: Chapel of the Transformation of Well-Disposed Souls. Beside the door was a plaque: “As from a chunk of rock to this, thus, on a higher plane, a soul as it moves to holiness. Beloved, let God carve you into what He knows you can be.”

Solomon closed the door and knelt, leaning on the altar, feeling grateful, and sad, and weary, as well as refreshed by the beauty of the prayer closet, all at once. He offered up prayers of thanksgiving and of intercession and of woes and confusions. Life had so many swirls to it, so many neighbors, so many hurts and joys, all happening simultaneously. There’d been too many funerals lately, and the forgetful old lady’s funeral could not be far off. His generation was disappearing from the face of the Earth. How fast one’s allotted time flew by…

He got up and went in search of Lt. Westpoint, a promising young man who sometimes needed a nudge or two, but was man enough to respectfully stand up to oldsters like himself. Like steel on steel, they kept each other sharp, Solomon liked to think.

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As of 8:30 a.m. this morning, Why We Raise Belgian Horses: A Novel was

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The Kindle edition of my novel Why We Raise Belgian Horses is scheduled to be free this Thursday, one day only.

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From Not Exactly Dead (MI5 1/2 Series, Book One), available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and through your favorite bricks and mortar store:

8 – FIVE IN THE MORNING, PART 1

He was glad the woman had called ahead. These days it was hard to be coherent before eleven in the morning without at least a half hour’s head start to clear the cobwebs away. And here it was only 5 a.m. Not that an old man could sleep for more than a few hours at a time anyway, so what did it matter, really, what time he got up?

According to his sources, the woman had more than usual on her plate these days. Big, bad stuff, too. He hoped he could help. Living to be ancient ought to count for something, after all.

“And how’s my best protégé this morning?” the gnarled old man asked, over his second cup of coffee, as Zanna Wyatt stepped into the room.

“In need of a cup of coffee,” she said, with a mischievous grin.

The man adjusted his trifocals, and looked more carefully at her. As a matter of fact, she did look in need of some sort of pick me up, despite her flawless dressing and nearly perfect grooming. He waved his hand at the coffeepot. She helped herself.

Zanna sat and looked quietly around the room.

“It’s swept,” the old man assured her, meaning the room had been checked for electronic bugs and other unwelcome presences. Considering her security clearance and the sorts of things they usually discussed, it had to be done before each visit.

“I don’t know if you can help me, but I’m at sea on something,” Zanna said. She slouched in her chair, and ran her hand through her hair. She shook her head as if shaking loose stray thoughts. “Are you on your first cup or your second?” she asked, looking at his coffee.

“Don’t want to waste your time, eh? Good girl.” He laughed. “Second cup. Ask away. I’m as awake as you’ll get me.”

“Do you know Richard Hugh?”

“Name’s familiar,” he fudged.

“Triple-O Five,” she prompted.

“I’ve met him once or twice. Never talked with him, to speak of. What-ever his record is, not much is coming to mind, other than it’s generally favorable.”

“All right. How’s this? You do know the Prime Minister?”

“Yes, fairly well.”

“He comes from the same part of the country as you, doesn’t he?”

“Yes. We’re distant cousins, if that’s of any use.”

“He and Richard Hugh went to school together.”

“Some sort of years-old trouble coming to the surface?”

“No. I’m not heading in that direction. Well, not exactly. Here’s the situation: I think I’ve run into some sort of folklore that’s peculiar to that part of the world, and I don’t understand it.”

The old man grinned. He was rather proud of the things that were peculiar to his shire. The thought of a homogenous world depressed him, for one thing. For another, his birthplace was only one step higher than dirt poor. About all it had to call its own was its unique way of life and its legends. He could brag on those ‘til doomsday, if he could keep an audience.

Zanna started to ask about the grin, but thought better of it. “What’s this about twins being bad luck?” she asked. (more…)

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(Shameless self-promotion warning)

Trouble Pug is currently at #41 in Kindle Children’s ebooks > Animals > Dogs, at Amazon. It was a little higher than that earlier today. I expect it to drop through the day, unless there are fresh sales. (I’m not sure, but I think rankings get updated hourly.)

But, at any rate, as long as it is currently my bestselling book (that’s not saying much at this point, but it is my bestselling book), I thought I’d mention that it is less of a dog book, than a Christianity confronts feminism story. I don’t know about you, but my heart breaks for kids raised by feminists. For that matter, my heart breaks for feminists.

One of my “advance reader copy” readers got angry with me for not being harder on Sunshine Smith (the lead feminist character), but he missed the point. If you believe that God can and does remake people from the inside out, hatred can give way to a wish for God to reach into someone’s life and convert them. Like He reached into mine, and converted me. (The younger me had more in common with Sunshine Smith than I sometimes like to admit.)

The book takes two girls from wildly different family situations, and throws them into time travel adventures. I want kids to get a taste for learning history (not the PC twaddle that gets shoved at them, but real history). I want them to have a good time, reading the book. But I also want to plant seeds that encourage kids to question propaganda. I want them to realize that sometimes people lie and cheat. I want to give them examples of people they don’t want to emulate.

There is a scene in the book in which activists lie to news reporters. It happens. I can’t remember how long I was a newspaper reporter before I got roped into helping perpetrate a fraud. They got me but good, at first. It was a horrible experience, not only to have been duped, but to have naively passed the disinformation along. In the book, the reporters discover the unreliability of their source in time. I wish that happened more often in real life, by the way, but I’m afraid that reporters get duped a lot. Sometimes some of them do their own duping, too. Sad to say.

Parents, please note: This book deals with the sinking of the Lusitania, and other subjects you may not think your child is old enough for yet. I recommend vetting it, before letting your kids read it.

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Today, I finished work on a slightly revised version of Not Exactly Dead. Most changes were small, primarily cleaning up little things that popped out at me as I read the original Kindle edition. Chapter 48 probably got the most changes, and the biggest ones, but even it remains much the same.

The new edition – which shows as a 2nd edition – got uploaded today. It shows a publication date of yesterday (I likely hit something I shouldn’t have when I was updating book info). I’m going to leave it like that, I guess. It’s close, and it gets the main job done: it shows that it’s not the same edition as the March release.

I’ve dropped the price to $2.99 for now.

So far, it (and my other books) are only available in Kindle editions. I’m wrestling with Word, trying to get an interior design that I like, so that I can put out trade paperbacks, but so far Word and I still don’t understand one another well enough for the task at hand. (Besides, I’m still trying to get The Smolder finished. Once I do that, I’m through putting out for public review the books I’ve been working on for the past several years. Then we’ll take it from there, I guess. Right now I could use about three of me…)

I’m not quite sure how to describe Not Exactly Dead. It started out as a spoof of spy novels, one that I was writing simply for the fun of it. But it morphed. And it it spawned a sequel. And then another. When I was working on the fourth book in the series, I decided I needed to back up and get the first three in order before I went any further. Somewhere along the way, I converted to Christianity, and that called for more revisions. What I’m left with is a book, and a series, that doesn’t seem to neatly fall into a genre. They aren’t Christian fiction per se, but they have Christians and Christianity in them. They’re romance novels, but that’s only part of it. They’re pro-marriage and pro-life, but not as the main thrust. They’re humorous in places, but aren’t comic novels. Like Chesterton, I sneak in social commentary, but I’m certainly no Chesterton. Help me out here, if you read them. There are good reasons that publishers have marketing people. Marketing’s an art. And I’m not that kind of artist. And I don’t have a publisher, at least not now.

Well, actually, if you could help me out at Amazon, in a review, that would be better yet. I’m looking at modest (very modest) advertising down the road, but for now I’m completely dependent on word of mouth. Thanks.

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Whisper on the Wind was offered free on Kindle, and the blurb mentioned it featured a storyline with an underground newspaper in Belgium in World War I, and I’m a history geek with a weak spot for Resistance stories, so I bit. It was also put forward as a Christian romance so I braced for fluffy twaddle. Fluffy twaddle is isn’t, I’m happy to say (unless you tend to put Charles Dickens in that category). Good historical fiction, it is.

It made me think a bit of A Tale of Two Cities, actually. It’s been a while since I’ve read a Helen MacInnes novel, but it reminded me of those, too.

This is listed as the second book in a Great War series. Lang seems to have done her homework on World War I, and I’m hoping to read others in the series. This read as a stand alone book, by the way, if you’re wondering if you’ll miss anything by jumping in ‘mid-series’. Answer: not in this case.

The leading lady in the book is a teen-aged socialite (almost 18, which makes her think she’s all grown up) who sneaks back into now-German-occupied Belgium after having been taken to safe lands by her parents before the German invasion. Her primary goal is to smuggle out the young man she loves, and his family. But things do not go according to plan. I had to smile at the heroine’s background, because in recent years I’ve found that a surprising number of the Salvation Army lasses who risked everything by voluntarily going into Europe during the height of hostilities were young socialites, who had hit their knees and asked God what they could do to serve Him. The Salvation Army, in fact, actively recruited pretty girls with great training in manners and grooming for war work. See The War Romance of the Salvation Army by Grace Livingston Hill for more on that. (A nice excerpt from the writer’s preface here.)

Gentlemen, here’s a nice surprise: despite the cover art (definitely feminine, that), I think this is a book that men would appreciate, as well as us ladies. There’s lots of danger and action, not to mention inside tricks on espionage, and men get fair play.

Recommended.

Parents: I think this would be a great book for introducing teens to World War I, and to tyranny and oppression and other life lessons – it grapples with tough questions – but I recommend that you read it first.

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