Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I have recently stepped into the twilight zone. I know change is a part of life, but when you have a lot at once, it can be overwhelming. But, regardless of what happens here, Jesus is on His throne and no one or nothing is strong enough to move Him from that position. He will always be watching over us. That alone should be enough to give us comfort.
“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; Psalm 121:3-5 (NIV)”
Saturday, August 2, 2014
I am honored to have Mary Hamilton on my blog today. She is discussing her new Middle Grade Novel, "Speak No Evil."
You’ve recently seen the publication of your second Middle Grade novel, Speak No Evil. Tell us about the book and the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series.
Each of the books in the series can be read as stand alone books. The major characters are introduced in the first book but each story follows a different character as they come to camp for the first time or return in following years. Hear No Evil, Book 1 is the story of Brady, whose mother leaves him at camp with the news she doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Besides trying to figure out what he did to earn her rejection, Brady becomes the target of the camp bully, a boy named Taylor.
Taylor is the hero of Speak No Evil. His dream is to get his driver’s license and eventually become a racecar driver. His younger sister is the only one who believes in his dreams, but her thirst for adventure always gets Taylor in trouble. When she goes to camp with him, he figures she’ll be a pain, but he never expects the pain to go so deep.
Your connection with youth camps is obvious from the vividness of your setting. Are these stories autobiographical?
A lot of my background plays into them, but the stories themselves come from my observations of other children. My childhood at the camp where my dad was director was pretty idyllic, but as I’ve raised my children and watched the tragedy of dysfunctional and broken families in the lives of their friends, it made me want to write stories of hope for these kids. They carry so much pain within them, and most of the time, we never have a clue what they’re dealing with.
What was it like to write about a bully as the main character?
It was a challenge! Taking a character I didn’t really like and making him likeable was not easy. I went back to my school days and remembered a boy who was considered a goof-off. He always had an attitude and acted like he didn’t care about anyone or anything. When a teacher assigned us to small groups to work on a project and made him the leader of my small group, I thought for sure we’d get a poor grade. But to my surprise, this boy was the best leader I’d ever had. He assigned different parts of the project to each of us and made sure we did the work. I gained a lot of respect for him in that small group. So when I fashioned Taylor’s character, I found what he was good at, and gave him a dream. And I ended up falling in love with his character.
What do you want readers to take away from Speak No Evil?
I hope it will encourage them to look past the outward behavior and appearance of people who seem difficult to get along with. Many times with kids especially, their behavior is a defense against deep hurt. A kind word or deed, a willingness to extend grace to them and to show yourself on their side will often break through that tough façade. Kids really need to know that someone cares about them.
Any more books planned for this series?
I’m working on one more book, titled See No Evil, that’s due out next year. This book will feature Steven, a blind camper who befriends Brady in the first book and plays a small part in Taylor’s story.
How can readers interact with you?
Hear No Evil: http://tinyurl.com/kl5bovo
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
How many of you are thinking, “I thought toothpicks were made of wood?” Or how about, “Are they sold at Bass Pro? I want some.” I did have a pair of antler toothpicks courtesy of my husband Tim and he didn’t get them at Bass Pro.
Tim does taxidermy and one day he was mounting a buck. He asked me to come out to his shop and hold the deer down while he bolted it on to the plaque. Being the sweet and wonderful wife that I am (LOL) I be-bopped out to help him. Before we go any further, I have to let it be known that Tim was used to working by himself. Anyway, I was holding the deer steady at the top of the head. Apparently the deer wasn’t lying on the plaque the way Tim wanted it to and he gave the deer a big shove.
“The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;” Psalm 121:7 (NIV)
The buck’s antlers went in my mouth-under my top lip and above my teeth! And I didn’t get a scratch. I got to thinking about all the possible injuries I could have sustained from that. Some of them could have been severe. God so had his hand on me. How else could I have walked away from that completely uninjured? Needless to say, Tim has never asked me to help again.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Today is my daughter's 22 birthday! Seems like she should still be a little girl. This is a big year for her. She graduated from the University of the Cumberlands and she is getting married and moving out. Tim and I are very proud the young woman she has become. What a blessing she is!
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Yes I still stick my fingers in my ears during fireworks. Always have and I always will. Why? I hate sudden loud noises. If I see somebody getting ready to pop a balloon, I put my fingers in my ears and run the other direction. I don’t know why I’m like that. Guess I’m just a little too high strung. Ironically, I play my car radio so loud my husband can hear it in the house when I pull in the driveway.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)
You may be like me and try to avoid the sounds of exploding fireworks, but you can never avoid God. There is no escaping Him. He is everywhere. For those who don’t know Him, that can be a frightening thing, but if you are His, then it is a comfort beyond understanding. Why would you not want that?
Oh and by the way, on the 4th, I’ll be watching fireworks with my fingers in my ears. So if you see me and wave, don’t expect me to wave back until the fireworks are over.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Before Sara started college, we used to go to the beach once a year. On one trip, my husband Tim decided he just had to have a pair of beach shoes. So we went from shop to shop along A1A (main beach road) to find him the perfect pair. It took a few stops, but he finally found what he wanted.
I have to admit I did think that was a strange request on his part. He’s has always said if a shark was going to get him, it would have to be an ankle biter. So when he wore his new shoes to the beach, I stood back and watched. Would he actually get in the water with them?
As soon as the wave came in; he went the other way as fast as he could. I laughed at him and asked why he wanted the beach shoes if he wasn’t going to get them wet. He wasn’t using them for their purpose.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
God knew our purpose before we were even born and He made us accordingly. Are you letting God use you for that purpose or are you running from it? Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. It may have been what you were designed for.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
I have never been able to paint or color within the lines. No matter how hard I try, I always stray. Even when I go slow and take my time, I still go outside of the lines. To be honest, I have been frustrated and embarrassed at times. Then one day I realized that I wasn’t meant to stay within the lines.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
It’s okay to stray out of the lines as long as you’re following Jesus. He alone has the perfect path-not the world for its patterns are imperfect and self-serving.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Did you do a double take at the title? My daughter Sara bought a goldfish for her aquarium. Over the last few months it has tripled in size and it’s huge! I don’t know why, but it will jump out of the water and hit the lid over the tank. It hits so hard sometimes that we hear it over the TV. And it will do it over and over. Tim and I joke about it giving itself a concussion.
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)
There’s nothing wrong with listening to advice. It doesn’t make you weak or less intelligent. In fact not heeding good advice puts you on the same level as Sara’s goldfish. It didn’t have the mental capacity to fully understand what it was doing. And I would dare the hits to its head didn’t help.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
I remember when they first started putting airbags into cars. I watched a commercial where a car was driven straight into a brick wall at a speed of 55 mph. After the crash, the driver (a stuntman) opened the car door and walked away.
Afterwards the driver was asked in an interview if he was worried about driving into the wall. He said the engineers personally guaranteed him the airbags would work. He obviously trusted them or he wouldn’t have done it. I don’t remember which car company the engineers worked for, but I’m amazed at the fact that the stuntman had enough faith to drive into a brick wall just based on their word. This brings me to a simple question. Do you have the faith of that stuntman?
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
No, I don’t have the faith of the stuntman. If I had been him, I would have said, “No way!” or “Are you nuts?” You see my faith isn’t in man or his promises, but in my Savior. A Savior who has never broken a promise, who knows all, and who died to give me eternal life. Where does your faith lie?
Thursday, May 8, 2014
You know how God is. When He thinks you need to get something, He’ll repeat himself. I recently experienced this. Within 12 hours, I saw Genesis 5:20 referenced twice.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
In this verse, Joseph is talking to his brothers about them selling him to an Egyptian slave trader when he was young. While their deed was evil, God used it to put Joseph in a position of power during a famine; there by saving the lives of his family.
I was discussing this with one of my coworkers and she said, “Something is going to happen.” Then I had another thought. For those of you who are not very familiar with me, I have a math/science brain. Don’t laugh and don’t call me Sheldon.
Anyway, when I was in college, I took Discrete Structures. When the professor put the programming specs on the board, we had to flowchart out our answer, which became the program. We had to determine the questions and each possibility and the possible outcome for each answer. We had to determine dead ends. I even had my own flowchart template. I think that’s how I look at life now. Every time a situation comes up; I flowchart the possible outcomes out in my brain.
That in itself isn’t a bad thing. I totally believe in being responsible, but at the same time it is an issue of trust with God. Do I trust Him to lead me through something without flowcharting out all the possibilities? Do I limit my thinking and potential since I only see certain possibilities whereas God’s are limitless? God may be talking and working on something out of left field that I haven’t even imagined.
Guess I’ll be retraining my way of thinking. Instead of using my trusty old template, I’ll take my directional cues from God. After all, only God can take something bad and make it good.
Friday, April 25, 2014
One of my favorite movies is “The Princess Bride.” My husband Tim and my father took me to see it for my 22nd birthday. Sorry, but you’ll have to guess what year that was.
Anyway, do you remember the first scene where the grandfather (Peter Falk) wants to read the book, “The Princess Bride,” to his little grandson (Fred Savage?) The grandson asks if it was a “kissing book” because he didn’t like “kissing books.” That is Tim!!! I could see the same thing going through his eyes every time I bugged (not nagged) him to take me to see the movie. “But I don’t like kissing movies!!!!”
Needless to say, Tim loved the movie. It wasn’t what he thought it would be. Why did he go? Because he loves me. To be honest, I don’t know why he loves me like he does.
May 8th will be the 32nd anniversary of our first date. So, I’m going to wish Tim a happy first date anniversary now since our daughter Sara will be graduating from college on May 10th. By the way, kissing movies are good if you get kisses too.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. Song of Solomon 8:7 (NIV)
Thursday, March 20, 2014
I am honored to have Katt Anderson on my blog. I have known her for years and she is an awesome lady and writer.
** Katt Anderson is drawing for a free copy of "Susannah's Hope." Please leave your address in the comments by this Saturday March 29th.I
Do you remember the first story you ever created? And do you mind to tell us about it?
The first story, I don’t remember. I told a lot of stories, both to my parents and family. I can remember telling a story to my grandfather about “Poor Tom.” Tom was a cat that had no home, poor Tom. I was probably in the first grade. When my children were small, I told them all kinds of stories about my pet dinosaur that lived in the cave with me. My daughter even insisted that her mom lived in a cave with a dinosaur when she was in the first grade. It must have been a good story. I never put anything on paper until much later.
Do you have a favorite story that you have written?
Since I only have two books out, I’d have to say Callie’s Mountain is my favorite. I do love Susannah’s Hope, but Callie is special being the first.
How does your family feel about your writing?
We decided early on that I would use a pen name. After all, with my last name being Cretsinger, no one could say or spell it. My husband and children seem to enjoy the fact that I write. My grandchildren think it’s neat. My husband’s siblings and my sister think it’s unbelievable that I could write a book. They have enjoyed the first book and I think they will enjoy the second.
Now, I want to discuss Susannah’s Hope. What inspired you to write it?
Susannah was a wild child in the first book. I wanted to bring her down to earth and teach her about life. I wanted to be true to the time and have a Melungeon marry a white person. I loved Val Minor when I introduced him in the first book, but he was a mixed-race, not Melungeon. They were both attracted to each other, but Susannah was a snob and a brat. He had to see her change into a caring person. Isn’t that the way life is? We are all changing every day of our lives. That’s what I wanted to show.
Writers usually put a little of their selves into the main character. What of you is in Susannah?
I guess I’m a little like Susannah, but more like Callie. I care about people, as Susannah finally learned to do. I can also be a snob, but I was never a brat like she was. I want people to realize God loves us no matter what the color of our skin is. There is always good in all people, even those we think could never change.
Susannah’s Hope takes place in the 1800s. Most people don’t realize how difficult life could be at that time. Are there any examples of this in your book?
Oh, yes, there are plenty of examples. Cooking was a major chore for women with only a fireplace to cook in. Think of the strained backs. I saw a chair in Scotland that was low to the ground and it was in front of a fireplace in Robert Burns home. That would have made cooking easier. Then if you owned a store, you had to go miles to get supplies. Sleeping arrangements were different at that time, also. Susannah and Val had to go by stage to get married in the North. They were a mixed couple, marriage was not allowed in Tennessee or the South at that time.
I know you have an interest in the Melungeon people. Do you mind to expand on them and the role they play in your books?
From what I have learned in research, the Melungeon race was a lost race. No one knows how they came to the mountains of Tennessee. They lived in an area called Newman’s Ridge in what is now Hancock County. I’ve read a lot of things about them and have come to my own conclusion. DNA shows a Mediterranean heritage. There are other races that show up in DNA, Negro and Indian are also prominent. In the 1790 census there were 900 “free people of color” in the area. I know there could not have been that many free slaves and probably not that many Indians. I believe part of the number were Melungeons. Since their coloring is a mixture of Spanish, black and red, it’s a strange color. Their skin is not real dark, but lighter than a black person’s and with an olive tint. They were so hated by white people, and isn’t that the way we are? We fear something we can’t understand.
I became interested when my family began doing research on the family tree on the McGinnis side. My great-great grandmother was Barbra McGinnis. She never married but had five children. We found out they were fathered by a Melungeon man. So, I have Melungeon blood in my veins.
What is the one thing you want readers to get out of Susannah’s Hope?
Prejudice is not good. We should love and accept every race of people. It’s hard sometimes, but if we are a Christian, we have to.
Fun Question: If you could have superpowers, what would they be?
That’s hard because I’m happy as I am. I would like to have the energy to get everything done that I need to do. To whiz through the housework, cook and write would be wonderful. I’d like to be able to remember more of the research I do and write better. Really, I’m happy as I am with all my not superpowers.
Thanks, Brooke, for having me on your blog. You can find my book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble stores and other book stores. You may also visit me at www.kattanderson.com and www.kattscrabbles.blogspot.com. My publishing company is Mantle Rock Publishing. We are looking for Christian authors who want to make a difference with clean Christian books. You may visit our website at www.mantlerockpublishing.com. I’ve enjoyed being with all of you. Have a wonderful day.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Hey everybody, I’m so excited to be a guest on Patti’s Porch.
She is an awesome lady and fellow writer.
Please feel free to stop by and check out my interview at the link below.
‘This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Dream Dress
Let’s face it, what girl or woman doesn’t want to be a princess for a day? That’s the way I felt the day I got married back in good old 1985. And what one thing helps her feel that way: her wedding dress! One of the biggest questions of Prince William and Katie’s wedding was: “What will Katie be wearing!” The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson captures this essence for me.
Gabi Delgado is my wedding dress superhero. By day she is an unappreciated seamstress, but at night she is an awesome wedding gown designer. She works hard at Haute Couture Bridal to help support her mother and grandmother, Mimi Carmen. Her boss Demetri Markowitz has her stuck doing alterations in small closet. He is blind to her real talent and potential.
One day everything changes. Her prince charming Jordan Singer, a reporter from Texas Bride Magazine, walks into the bridal shop. But the initial change is not what most people expect. Gabi gets fired, rehired, and fired again. Along the way she accepts Christ, she and Jordan fall in love, and so does her Mimi Carmen with Daniel. And Gabi begins to believe in herself. She finds the self-confidence to start designing and making wedding dresses of her own.
The Dream Dress is humorous and fun. It’s encouraging without being too heavy handed. I enjoyed taking this journey with Gabi. She learned that when things seem the darkest, there is always hope. And God can work things out in ways we can’t imagine.On a personal note: I love how Janice writes. She takes a certain setting and writes a book on each character in that setting. Each character becomes an old friend and each community setting a home. Each book is comforting familiar and yet brand new every time.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Below is a speech I wrote as a creative challenge. It is written to upcoming Christian Writers. I hope you enjoy it!
Being a science geek, I have always been interested in the space race. I wonder how many of you know it is a byproduct of the cold war. On September 12, 1962 JFK made his famous speech about reaching for the moon. He basically said, “We don’t do it because it’s easy. We do it because it is hard!” Regardless of how you feel about JFK, I love that last statement. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
Writing is far from easy. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge and/or talent you have, it is a rough road with more rejections than acceptances. To be able to handle it, you have to develop a tough skin and be “made of the right stuff.” You must always be willing to try something new, take criticisms, learn what you can, and be willing to expand your horizons.
JFK’s challenge especially rings true for us Christians who are also called to write. We are to spread God’s kingdom through our words. Rejections don’t just come from publishers, but from the world around us, but we must persevere as Jesus and the disciples did. To me, I see writing God’s word as a privilege that He entrusts to us. And if He is with us, then who can be against us?
Remember, always stay the course. Don’t let the struggles and disappointments get you down. There will also be times of wonderful fulfillment and a peace that can only come from our Lord. And our rewards are literally out of this world.
-Brooke (Brooksie) Cox
It is designed to not only to stir up your creative juices as it did mine, but to do it through the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend you all check it out.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
First, I want to say, that I’m honored to be a part of Paula Mowery’s blog hop. She has started up an awesome website to help us Christian writers. And I do like to think God made us a “little special.”
Below is one of assignments that, so far, has been my favorite.Sunday, January 5, 2014
Creative GodGenesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
Circle one word in each group of words.
Dawn Mountains SunDusk Prairie Moon
Night Ocean Stars
Now describe the scene that your three words create. Only one catch – you can’t use the words you circled in your description. Show the scene. Concentrate more on showing than naming.
God created out of nothing. Writers are charged to do the same with the blank page. God is creative, and you were made in His image. Writers are gifted to create a picture with words.
A cool evening breeze lifts her hair. She peers up from the T-Rex bones she is dusting to see Venus twinkling in the red western sky. Did the dinosaur she uncovered ever happen to glance up and appreciate the beauty of the Heavens even though it couldn’t comprehend what it was seeing?
Grabbing a jacket, she knocks a rock down the embankment to the valley below. Yes, this place has its own rugged and rocky beauty, but she misses the green lush landscape back home in Tennessee. The majority of trees here are variety pine. And the trees back home are so thick, that she can’t see all the way down like she can now.
Please check out the blogs below and join us in our writing adventures!
Paula Mowery on Creative Christian Writers Crank Up http://ccwcu.blogspot.com/
Delia Latham on Write Right! http://www.
Clare Revell on The World Can Wait http://telscha.blogspot.
Jayna Morrow on JaynaMorrow.com http://www.
Brooksie on Groovie Brooksie www.grooviebrooksie.
Lilly Maytree at http://www.lillymaytree.
Linda Yezak at 777 Peppermint Place http://lindayezak.com/