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The May Brilliant Blog Award

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This blog award thing has proven harder than I thought!

Mainly because there are so many brilliant blogs out there. It truly is difficult to chose.

However it is with great joy I present to you the Brilliant Blog for the month of May. It is already an award-winning blog but I can’t overlook it and refuse to give it this award because of their popularity. They’ve truly earned it because they’ve encouraged me more than once on my writing journey.

Congratulations to Books & Such Literary Management!

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In my book, this blog is a definite must for Christian Writers, whether they’re just starting out or in the trenches. I’m regularly inspired by this great group of women.

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As I said, the last thing they need is another reward from me. But I hope by pointing them out, someone who hasn’t met them yet, will check them out and glean from their valuable info.

What’s your favorite blog? Do you have one I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

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Tweet this: Congratulations to Books & Such for winning May’s Brilliant Blog Award! 

 

Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

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I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

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Click to tweet please!

Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

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Since I’ve been overbooked, I asked a friend of mine, Joe Fausnight, to read and review this book for me. Here’s his take:

Captain Greene was an American Pilot from Indiana who was flying missions over Germany in 1943 when he was shot down.  As his plane fell he cried out to God.  He landed in a woods between to giant oak trees destroying his plane but leaving him and the cabin of the plane intact.

He was picked up by the Nazis and a civilian car was following the truck he was in.  Taken to a secret underground lab he was number 7 guinea pig for a Nazi science project for long life and quick wound repair.

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Author Rick Barry

After they had gassed and worked on the men the place was bombed by the Allies. The scientist who had come up with the project was killed as well as number 1 through 6 men.  He survived as did the assistant scientist and he was kept in a cage for many years after the war was over as they experimented on him and tried to duplicate his success.  He looked and acted like a 30 year old even as decades passed.  He knew nothing of the outside world except what he was told that the war was still going on decades later.

They gave him lots of books to read to pass his time and after reading many classics he asked for a Bible.  He got a lot of comfort from it over the years.  He exercised daily as well as taking flying trips in his mind including all the safety checks so he didn’t forget how to fly.

Did he ever get free?  Did he ever find anyone who cared about him other than as a lab rat?  Did he ever discover the changes in the world since his capture?  You will find out and enjoy this book when you read it.  A very good read and worth the time to read.

I give this books five stars.

Star Review!

Kindly tweet this: Methuselah Project by Rick Barry gets a 5-star review!

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Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

It's never too early to plan for

Okay, so I’m early (a proper lady is never late). But it’s never too early to plan for Christmas, right?

I simply must share this little treasure with you. It’s a book called Watch for the Light and it includes readings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L’Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth,  Síren Kierkegaard. Thomas Aquinas, C. S. Lewis and more.

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Click to buy

Madeleine L’Engle, people!

I love her. Do you know her books? (Go ahead. Click on the link. I’ll wait.)

Impressed, aren’t ya? Oh. Yeah. She’s one of my favorites.

But then again, who doesn’t also love Yancy, Luther and C.S. Lewis?

I have a confession. I dread Christmas every year. It wears me out more and more. As a pastor’s wife and musician, mother and grandmother, director of the Christmas program and all the social events at the church, there is just too much to get done in a short time (pastor’s wives of small rural churches are overworked, but that’s another post).

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I’m going to make the effort this year to enjoy this book beginning four weeks before Christmas and try to capture the real essence of the holiday. There are fifty devotions that will take me from the end of November to after the Day of Ephiphany. Isn’t that marvelous?

I’ll also use it as a devotional at all our Christmas parties — the women’s ministry, the choir, the elder’s and deacons–you get the picture.

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It’s really a great book for ministers to have on their shelves. Actually, every Christian who loves the holiday will enjoy this book and I hope everyone who enjoys reading will check this one out because this is not only a great book to read but also a unique, beautiful book to give as a gift. If you have friends who are into well-written literature, this is perfect. And its charming 5″ x 7″ size just adds to its appeal. In this day of digital books, I can’t wait to gift this book to my friends next year.

This book earned a hefty five out of five stars from me. I can hardly wait until Christmas!

Star Review!

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 Tweet this: It’s never to early to plan for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

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Emissary by Thomas Locke — 4 out of 5 stars

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I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but really, what’s not to like about this gorgeous work of art? It’s the perfect marquee for this new fantasy series by Thomas Locke. It depicts the flavor and mood of this story perfectly.

I don’t read fantasy as a rule, but because it’s such a popular genre for the younger set, including Millennials, I wanted to read it as a way get to know why they love this type of story. Walk into any bookstore these days and the shelves overflow with novels featuring wizardry and witchcraft. These books appeal to those who cut their teeth on Harry Potter and fantasy role-playing and video games.  They crave more stories that take them into the land of fairy tales and magic.

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Map of The Realm

I am one of the few who hasn’t read Harry Potter due to my own personal convictions. And I will admit being wary of this book. However, I do believe Locke has tapped into a market that desires a less dark fantasy experience. There is no overt Christian message, but there is definitely a main character to admire and a quest to be fought for. The thing to remember when reading fiction, Dear Reader, is that it is Fantasy.

Locke himself stated on his blog that he wants to take his readers on a story journey similar to what he loved reading while growing up:

“During our formative years – up until around age 30 – we are reinforcing our world view when we read for entertainment. But much of the fantasy that’s being published today doesn’t offer that sense of courage and inspiration that used to be prevalent in fantasy and science fiction novels.

Of course, not all of the “classic” authors wrote uplifting work. Ray Bradbury is one example. But even Bradbury’s writing gave me a sense of mind-bending escape and the opportunity to dream and envision more than what was available in world around me.

The books I loved most offered hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for growing into someone who could have these sorts of adventures. I want to infuse that hopefulness into my characters, and not give in to the temptation of creating characters who are only bitter and cynical.

In Emissary, key themes include courage in the face of fear, travel to unknown destinations, and new personal avenues of growth and development. I’ve tried to bring each of these into a story structure that’s applicable to today’s culture.”

I was quite surprised how quickly I was drawn into the story. Usually I read historical or political suspense, but I found myself smiling and turning page after page, eager to learn what Hyam, the main character, would face next.

Since I cut my  own teeth on Catherine Marshall and Janette Oke novels (as well as classics such as Little Women and The Yearling), it was a stretch for me to keep track of the visible and invisible in this story. It was also a stretch to “believe” the fantasy (which is a very strange oxymoronic thing to experience and explain). But Locke does a brilliant job of clarifying and describing his made-up world. His writing is seamless, and I found myself actually lost in the story instead of paying attention to his craft. Only good writing can do that. Occasionally there was a word or two I’d need to Google, but not often, and I only Googled them because I’m the curious sort, and I don’t mind learning new turns of phrase and words. Again, had I cut my teeth on such books, perhaps I’d have known what they meant.

This story is about a young man named Hyam who is able to speak several languages. He has the gift of magic which is forbidden in the realm. As a young child he was trained by wizards at a Long Hall, a place which he hated.

Due to a series of unexpected events, he is called to turn away from everything he has ever known in order to save those who may not even have his best interest at heart.

I kept looking for an allegorical message since it is classified as Christian Fiction, and I didn’t really find a consistent one. However, the protagonist is noble, and the values are clearly upright. Loyalty, courage and honesty are visible in the protagonist’s imperfect character.
Here’s the trailer for the book:

For other personal reasons, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not because it’s not beautifully written because it is. And if you like fantasy, and you’d like to find something uplifting and heroic to read without all the gory darkness, this book is definitely for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

BirdbooksTweet this: Thomas Locke’s new book, Emissary, gets 4 out of 5 stars!

Rejected best-sellers

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Today I’m the blogger over at Hoosier Ink, so please visit and leave me a shout out!

To go along with that post, If You Never Try You’ll Never Know, I thought I’d highlight a few best-sellers that started out as rejects. Hopefully this will encourage you to keep writing no matter the rejection.

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Of course, there are many others I could list, but I’m busy writing the next best-seller. (Hey, you gotta have dreams!)

What’s a favorite book of yours that started out as a reject?

BirdbooksTweet this: 12 best-selling books that started out as rejects!

E is for Erasmus, Education and Einstein


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s Blog is brought to you by the Letter “E”

When I get a little money I buy books; (2)

I think Erasmus and I would have gotten along swimmingly. In fact, my husband, Mr. Himself, says (and he’s right): “If I give Karla $10 to spend on anything at all, she’ll buy a book.” He’s mystified by this phenomenon because he’s not a reader. He wasn’t taught to read phonetically and he also has ADD and dyslexia. These issues have hampered his reading ability his entire life. That’s not to say he isn’t intelligent. Trust me, he’s brilliant. But his inability to decode words is one of the reasons I’m passionate about literacy and learning.

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I think it’s a crime for someone to get an education and graduate without being taught properly how to read. Mr. Himself has a bachelor’s degree. And it was hard-earned. He had to work at least twice as hard as someone else to get that piece of paper, all because schools in his day taught English reading as if it were Chinese.

Chinese%20logosIronically, in Erasmus’s day, very few books were available to people of my economic demographic. Only the very wealthy could afford books and only the very elite of society were able to read. This is how people were kept under the government’s thumb for so long. It’s one reason the Middle Ages is called The Dark Ages. And it’s also the reason Erasmus had very little money left for clothes and food (although, he does look nicely dressed in the picture below, don’t you think?).

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I can’t imagine not reading books. Reading has gotten me through many painful periods of my life. It allowed me to escape as a child into worlds I’d never otherwise go. Some of my fondest memories are summers of endless reading, especially at my grandmother’s. She would take me to a local church “basement sale” where I’d paw through boxes of books and pick out a few to take home. It’s where I found my first copy of The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. Once I learned to read, I don’t think there’s been a single day when I didn’t read something from a book. Books comfort me. I surround myself with them.

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E is also for Education and I’m an Education fanatic. I love learning, and I’m fascinated with how people learn. I love breaking things down into manageable steps. I’m intrigued by how the mind words. I especially enjoy teaching people who find learning difficult. I find it a personal challenge to figure out how to make things click for a struggling student. That’s why I’m pursuing another degree in Special Education. And I’m proud to inform you that my teacher’s college is #1!

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Did you know that Einstein (E is for Einstein!) was bad at algebra? I am, too. And it’s not that I couldn’t learn it. I did learn it. But I had to learn it a lot slower than other folks. Classes move so fast sometimes that those of us who need more time to grasp and practice a concept get left behind. This shouldn’t be. Everyone should be given the chance to learn at their own pace. It’s not a race.

_Everyone should be allowed to learn at-1 (2)

In the next few weeks I’m going to write about a fairly new and exciting educational concept I’m involved in. I’m eager to share it with you. Education is changing for the better. I can’t wait to be a part of a movement changing the way the world learns and perceives how learning should take place.

But all this education is for naught if we don’t acknowledge our need for wisdom. I always believed this and spouted this to my kids and friends so often they got sick of hearing it:

_You can have a Harvard law degree and (2)

Now, that doesn’t mean I’d turn down one of those law degrees myself. But it does mean that as Christians, the most important knowledge and education we must have is that which is found in the only book that truly matters, God’s Word.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a-3 (2)

Only God’s Word can teach me what is most important to know. Yesterday (Wednesday, November 5, 2014) I finished reading the Bible cover to cover for only the second time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve studied different parts of the Bible in depth. I’ve taught classes on the Old Testament and the Life of Christ in Seminary. I’ve read the New Testament probably many times. But I’ve only read the entire Bible as a book, beginning to end, twice. I’m ashamed of that. One of my goals is to read it many more times before I die. I begin again tomorrow.

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Yes, I love books, and I own hundreds of them and I can’t imagine a life without them. But out of the millions of books and gazillion words written, there is only one book that is TRUTH. And I’m grateful, so grateful, that I can read it.

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Tweet this: You can have a Harvard Law degree and still flunk heaven.

 

 

 

 



Beautiful voice, 5-star book–you gotta read this one!

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I’m extremely excited today because one of my favorite author’s debut novel, Like There’s No Tomorrow, comes out today! I discovered this beautiful writing voice some years ago and I’m thrilled it’s finally hitting bookstore shelves!

Camille Eide writes heart-tugging tales of love, faith, and family. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is a mom, grammy, church office manager, bass guitarist, and a fan of muscle cars, tender romance, and Peanut M&Ms.

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Award-winning author, Camille Eide

I have always loved this story. Eide’s soothing voice is like a soft cashmere sweater. You’ll want to wrap yourself up in this story and get lost in it.

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Like There’s No Tomorrow is about a Scottish widower named Ian MacLean. He lives with a mischievous grannie, bitter regrets, and an ache for something he’ll never have again. To ease the burden of caring for his ornery grandmother, he decides to bring his grannie’s sister home from America. But he soon learns he’ll have to convince her sister’s lovely neice, Emily, to let her go.

Emily Chapman devotes herself to foster youth and her beloved Aunt Grace. Caring for others quiets a secret fear she holds close to her heart. When Ian walks into her life, asking to whisk Grace off to Scotland, everything Emily needs to protect—including her heart—is at risk.

Like There’s No Tomorrow is an amusing yet tender love story about two kind, single caretakers, two quirky, old Scottish sisters,  and too many agendas. It’s a tale of family, fiery furnaces, falling in love, faith, and the gift of each new day.

I give this book a glowing 5/5 stars.

5-out-of-5-starsTweet This:  Did you like “You’ve Got Mail?” You’ll love #LikeTheresNoTomorrow!  @CamilleEide   ow.ly/BKbm9  #books

See what I did there?

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Punny Guy: Author Tom Threadgill

I have a writing buddy who loves puns.

He’s super hilarious and you’d never know by his sense of humor that he writes bloody suspense novels.

You can follow his blog here: Tom Threadgill.

Do you like puns? Write some of them for me in the comments below!

And don’t forget to head over to my contest where I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enjoy these punny pics! Which one’s your favorite?

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My kindle does the work of 400 camels

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It is said that a Persian Grand Vizier named Abdul Nassam Ismael took his entire 117,000 volume library with him everywhere he went on the backs of 400 camels. And get this–this is the best part–he trained the camels to carry the books in alphabetical order. Can you believe it?

Makes me thankful for my kindle.

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I can’t imagine having that many books or that many camels! Imagine how much it cost to provide food and shelter not only for the camels but the camel handlers, too. Now that’s what I call an investment in knowledge.

I used to have a thousand books (I’ve never owned a camel but I’m certainly open to the idea) and I gave about half of those away. 117,000 books would fill several large rooms from floor to ceiling. Clearly, this was a man of importance and wealth. Books were a lot more expensive in those days than they are now.

I just ordered about seven cookbooks for free last night via my Kindle unlimited plan. Information is so much more available now it’s almost scary.

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One thing’s for certain. There are a lot of camels happy about the invention of the Kindle.

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Oh, and hump day, of course.

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Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a $25 Gift Card! Contest ends Monday!

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Click to enter!

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Tweet this: How do you tote your books ? Camel, Kindle or something else?

 

 

 

Leave me a comment and let me know how you transport your books! For me it’s a Kindle and books on CD in a pink tote bag!