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Monday, June 29, 2015

Want to Get Published? Enter to Win this Book that Tells You How to Write Creative Fiction that Sells

     Love to write? Ever wanted to work on your story-telling skills? Enter to win this book by author Caryl McAdoo that explains how to write better creative fiction. Enter the book giveaway by commenting below. Ends July 15th.

Precept upon precept, line upon line…  Isaiah 28:10
Storytelling is a gift, but the craft of writing creative fiction can be learned. It’s a matter of knowing the tools and how to use them. In Story & Style, all the basics of the craft are discussed in a friendly, conversational manner and layman’s terms. Indexed for easy reference with wide outside margins for personal notes, this handy book is a virtual toolbox for writers, filled with a smorgasbord of writing elements like hook, point of view, dialogue, characterization, active vs. passive, and more!
Can you hook an agent or editor or reader? Do you head-hop or stay in point of view?  What about those character arcs? Is your dialogue smooth and natural, or grammatically perfect, but stilted? Why aren’t you packing in those five-star reviews—when you can get one?
Whether you’ve written and published multiple novels or just starting your first one, Story & Style serves to improve your craft.  

This is a wonderful book for those wanting to learn more about writing. I know from experience. The content helped me tremendously!! Thank you, Caryl, your continued helping hands are a blessing to many of us rookie writers!!
     --Andy Skrzynski, author of The New World, a Step Backwards   

I once heard a senior editor at Berkley Publishing in New York claim he could almost reject a submission by how the envelope was addressed, though he admitted reading the first sentence—most of the time.
If it peaked any interest, he’d read that first paragraph. If not hooked by then, he set it aside and went on to the next.
A writer must make a great first impression. I’m not a fisherwoman, but, hook the reader then reel him/her all the way into the net with that first sentence, the first paragraph, and the perfect, exciting first page.
It may be your only opportunity to sell that book. Where you choose to start your story is paramount.
Think drama.
Friends and family might sit still for hearing about baby Sally’s first steps (uninteresting, everyday information) or even hearing the details of the baby’s birth and her childhood (back-story), but the words on page one are being read by total strangers here.
Start with a hook, it’s imperative! Choose words that make the reader want to keep going, turn the page.
Think of a personal trip to the bookstore. What do you do? Find the genre you like then peruse the spines. If a title stands out, you pull it off the shelf. Then what? Turn it over to read the jacket copy, right?
If you’re still interested, if the story sounds appealing, you open to that first page. Am I right?
The time allotted to entice the readers can be measured in seconds.
All total, maybe the writer has thirty precious tics, half a minute, with that prospective fan. Again, think drama. I’ve found a good place to raise the curtain is with a crisis that leads to a decision (most always a bad one) or a decision that leads to a crisis (told you it was a bad one).
Bad decisions are precursors to drama.
Crises—difficult or dangerous situations that require immediate attention—and bad decisions are proven good openings for stories.

Enter to WIN by commenting below. Ends July 15th.

A Christian author and professional editor since 2001, Caryl McAdoo currently writes three series from a perspective of faith: her historical Texas Romances; the contemporary Red River Romances; and The Generations, her Biblical fiction. With twenty titles fetching hundreds of five star reviews, the hybrid (Published both traditionally—Simon and Schuster and four others—and Indie) author lives with her high-school-sweetheart husband Ron in the woods of Red River County south of Clarksville in the far northeast corner of Texas.
Praying to give God glory, she desires that all her endeavors minister His love, mercy, and grace.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

10 Things You WILL Have in Heaven

         Do you believe in heaven? If so, what do you believe is up there? I was having that conversation with a friend just this week and it was fascinating.

         Everybody in history has had their piece to say on what heaven is about.

        Muhammad described Jannah, the Islamic heaven, as a desert dweller's paradise. Unlike the dusty, thirst-inducing desert Muhammad lived in, Jannah would be filled with water and lush fruits. Seventy-two gorgeous and sweet-smelling, (not dirty and sweaty like a desert woman), perpetual virgins would grace the good Islamic man's harem.

Someone asked, “O Prophet! Are there dates in the Garden? Because I love dates.” And the Prophet replied: “Yes, there are dates… the dates of the Garden have golden branches. They have golden shoots. They have leaves as beautiful as the finest clothing anyone has ever seen. There are golden bunches of dates. Even the stalks of these bunches of dates are of gold. At the base of each golden date are sticky scales. They have fruits like giant jars, softer than foam, sweeter than honey.” (Mukhtasar Tadhkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 315/522)

Hozrot Ali (r.a) narrated that the Apostle of Allah said, "There is in paradise an open market wherein there will be no buying or selling, but will consist of men and women. When a man desires a beauty, at once he will have intercourse with them as desired.”

      Gandhi had his opinions on heaven as well. I'm not entirely clear on the Buddhist idea of heaven, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this earth is basically their heaven. If you do good and please karma, then you can come back as someone richer, handsomer, healthier, and smarter than yourself. So if you do well, then perhaps you'll become Brad Pitt or Steve Jobs in your next life.

       And, of course, Christian writers talk about heaven too. The Bible itself spends a lot more time speaking of how to get to heaven (believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved), then what's going on up there. The apostle Paul described the Christian heaven this way. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Cor 2:9 NLT. So amazing beyond imagination basically.
        The Bible also talks about this earth we're on, the six continents etc., being recreated as a new earth. Rev 21:1. And people who make it there having new perfected physical bodies. (2 Cor 5:1).

         So now that we've talked about what others are saying, what about you? Do you believe in heaven? If so, what do you believe it will be like? Per the blogpost title, extra points if you can list TEN things you believe about heaven. :)
         Comment below. I want to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What is Christian Forgiveness?: Duggar Confusion

       Ever since the Duggar sex scandal aired (short version: when Josh Duggar was 14 & 15 he groped the breasts and genitals of five girls including his 5-year-old sister), there's been a lot of talk of Christian forgiveness. Judging by news articles, even a lot of people who have been reading the Bible for years don't seem to grasp that concept. And so no wonder people who don't read the Bible are completely lost about what "Christian forgiveness" actually is.
         Rather than lay out all the fallacies that have been floating around this week, here's my quick checklist of what Christian forgiveness is and is not.

Forgiveness for the Hereafter  
       The Bible talks about an afterlife: rewards in heaven for the good people, punishments in hell for the bad people. There's only one little catch. According to the Bible, no one is good (Rom 3:10). Wait a second, you say. What about great philanthropists, Mother Theresa, Gandi? The Biblical idea is that God's looking for a 100% test score to get into heaven i.e. if you yell at your kids once, or are jealous that your neighbor lost 50lbs and you didn't, you just went down to 99.9% and you are out. But before you get too depressed, according to the Bible, God sent His Son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross for you (Jn 3:16).
       So if you believe in Jesus, when you get to the pearly gates and get your "oops, only 85% test score," instead of getting barred from heaven, you can say "I plead the blood of Christ." Then you get Jesus' 100% test score applied to you.
      Now according to the Bible, asking God to use Jesus' test score instead of yours is final. So if you are Mother Theresa and got a 95% test score and you know Jesus, you get a 100% test score. And if you're the scum of the earth and have a 10% test score and you know Jesus, you also get a 100% test score. So according to Christian forgiveness, no matter how many girls Josh Duggar molested and how awful he was, if he truly repented he can still ask for Jesus' 100% test score to apply to him and get into heaven.
        So that's Christian forgiveness. And we who are Christians are also called to apply that forgiveness to others (Mk 11:26). In a couple of internet forums, I saw some atheists posting, "If I believed in hell, I sure hope Josh Duggar rots there." According to the Christian principle of forgiveness, a Christian should never, ever feel like that about ANYBODY. God said He wants all people to repent and ask for Jesus' 100% test score (2 Pet 3:9). And we as Christians should want the same thing.

     So enough about the hereafter. What does Christian forgiveness mean right now while Josh Duggar is still alive?

Forgiveness in This World

Government Consequences
       Some Christians are saying that because Josh repented, he shouldn't face any consequences in this world. That's against everything the Bible teaches. The Bible very clearly advocates for justice being served by government authorities (Rom 13:4). The Bible rarely makes a distinction between how a Christian versus a non-Christian is punished by the government. But when a distinction is made, the punishment for the Christian is harsher since they should have known better. In particular, God says that on top of any punishment the government may hand out, He also hands out earthly consequences for Christians (Heb 12:6). In the Bible, God compares this to how parents discipline their kids to make them act better. So too, God disciplines Christians on earth when they do bad things like, er . . . molest their sisters. One could argue that the fluke InTouch find that led to Josh having his sins aired so publicly is part of God's discipline of him.

The Persecution Argument
       The Duggars have repeatedly said they are being persecuted for being Christians and many of their followers have agreed with them. Now many Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith. Even as you read this, an American citizen and philanthropist to orphans, Saeed Abedini, is being held in an Iran prison for years merely because he believes in Jesus. (May I suggest you sign the petition to free him?:
     But the Bible is clear that just because you are a Christian, doesn't mean you can claim the persecution argument for everything (1 Pet 4:15). If your sins find you out as Josh Duggar's did, then the Bible says you are suffering for your sin not for the cause of Christ. So the Duggars' need to lay off the being persecuted for Christ line. They are receiving negative press because of their son's misdeeds and their failure to report it to the proper authorities. End of story.

Trust as Part of Christian Forgiveness
       The Bible commands Christians to be as "wise as serpents" (Matt 10:16). The Bible also talks about not trusting everyone and says that even people you know well can ruin your life (Micah 7:5, Prov 18:24). Christian forgiveness mandates that the sisters Josh molested hope that he changes and repents. Christian forgiveness does NOT mandate that any of his sisters ever talk to him again or allow him access to them or their children. If they want to stay in contact that's fine. But Christian forgiveness does not mandate that.

       So that's what I read in my Bible about Christian forgiveness. Anything you would add? What fallacies about Christian forgiveness have you seen in the news this week?

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