Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye to 2012

The Mayans were wrong. The world didn’t end, but 2012 will end shortly. I am excited for all the new things in my future even though I haven’t got a clue as to what they may be. Something I always do this time of year is to look back and name all the surprises, good and bad, that have happened in the past twelve months: births, deaths, books published, successes, failures, prizes and presents, unexpected changes, wonders and amazing things.

I have much to be thankful for in 2012. The top five are:

1) My soul-mate survived a heart attack.
2) A granddaughter was born beautiful and healthy.
3) My first YA book, EDGE OF ESCAPE, was published in Germany.
4) My scare with breast cancer was a false alarm.
5) My last YA book, SHELTERED, was featured on 70 websites.

What are YOU thankful for in 2012?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Most Popular Post of 2012: Soul-mate questionaire

According to my stats my post on the subject of the perfect match was viewed so often throughout the year that I think it ranks a second posting. Here it is:

My husband read to me a statistic on the internet that the chances of meeting your “soul-mate” were one in ten million. And if you do . . . he/she is probably already married. (Reminds me of the song lyrics “sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along”.) Of course this statistic reveals that you may have as many as 600 perfect matches out there since there are 6 billion people on the planet.

Doesn’t everybody think they’re marrying their soul-mate? How did the researchers determine soul-mate status? I’d love to see their questionnaire. I can’t possibly imagine how they could verify soul-mate-ness when the people involved don’t really know. Because, after all, Suzy thought Bob was her one-and-only until it ended in divorce and Jim was shocked when his supposed soul-mate left him for someone else.

Here’s what I THINK the “experts” might ask in a soul-mate questionnaire:
1. Does he/she laugh at all your jokes?
2. Does he/she have the same religious beliefs?
3. Does he/she have the same political beliefs?
4. Does he/she have the same child-rearing strategies?
5. Does he/she have the same taste in movies/books/music?
6. Does he/she have the same interests?
7. Does he/she know what you want without asking?
8. Does he/she understand you?
9. Does he/she keep your secrets faithfully?
10. Do you feel the need to be with him/her above all other needs?
11. Do you have far more similarities than differences in your life experiences?
12. Are your goals, values and priorities the same?
13. Is there a 6th sense of perception between you?
14. Do you rarely disagree? (Arguing may even become a “laughing matter” because of its infrequency.)
15. Do you appreciate each other exactly as you are without desiring or expecting change?

Answer yes to all the questions and you have found your soul-mate . . . maybe. What other questions would you put on the list?

Friday, December 21, 2012


Merry Christmas, everyone. I'm taking a week off from this blog to celebrate Jesus' birthday. I know some of you are having a hard time this Christmas, saddened by the tragic event in Newtown or enduring your own personal loss. Just remember whose birthday we're celebrating and how much He loved you to die for you. Focus on the happy thought that we are always in God's hands. Enjoy your family. Eat chocolates and cookies, open presents, sing carols, go to church, give to the poor, and smile a lot. Hey, the Mayans were wrong and the world didn't end.

Here's a picture of how my table will look before the mess begins. Anticipation . . .


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Even More Additions to the "Wonderful Book Blogger" List

Special Thanks to these Awesome Bloggers for recently promoting and reviewing SHELTERED:
Michele at Insane About Books  (4 star review)
Gina at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers   (book promotion)
Jenna at Coffee, Books and Me   (interview)
Celine at I Blog You Read (great review)
Taneesha (Tee) at Diary of a Book Addict  (5 star review)
Star at Bibliophilic Book Blog   (4 star review)
Ashley at Wholly Books  (3 stars review)
Michelle at Michelle Chew Writes Michelle Chew Writes  (3.5 star review)
Vy at Vy's Blog (excerpt)
Jennivie at My Home Away From Home (4 star review)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Paul's Letter - Take 2

2nd Thessalonians is the second letter that Paul, Silas and Timothy together wrote to the Thessalonians. Paul and his friends had received some feedback after their first letter had reached the church in Thessalonica. It seemed that the Thessalonians still needed someone to teach them about certain things and had not understood some of what was in the first letter. This second letter clears up some stuff.

Because they now trust in the Lord Jesus, the Thessalonians must expect some persecution. However, God has a purpose and a plan in allowing them to suffer. He will reward them.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy have written to give them strength and encouragement. The Thessalonians must have had some weird ideas about the return of Christ, though. In fact, it seems that some said that the Lord had already come. Not so. Let’s look at 2nd Thessalonians 2: 1-2:

 1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.

Looks like some thought that the Lord would come at any moment. The return of the Lord will be sudden, but there are things that must happen preceding His return. Here’s 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-12:

3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?
6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie,
10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Some of these Thessalonian Christians were, apparently, lazy. They had given up their jobs. They thought that Jesus’ return was eminent and now they depended on their friends to keep them housed and fed. Paul had mentioned this in the first letter (1st Thessalonians 5:14) and now he tells them what they should do to these people who refuse to work: (2nd Thess. 3:10) No work, no food. That’s quite a warning against idleness! But at least it ends on a pleasant note (vs. 13): never tire of doing what is good.
(taken in part from CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pictured Short Stories, #3

Someday, my sweet one, your mother will tell you the facts of life. Oh, I don’t mean those facts. I mean things like Pay attention to expiration dates. Don’t tie the dog’s leash to your bicycle. Always send a thank-you note. And of course, never cross your eyes or they might stay like that.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

99 Cent Nook Books for Kids

Nook is matching Kindle on my kids' chapter books.
These are just 99 cents:

A Tick in Time
Bigfoot Day, Ninja Night
and all 6 books in The Tunnels Series

or find all my books on Barnes & Noble if you have a Nook: Debra Chapoton

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Paul's Letter - Short and Sweet

St. Paul wrote this little letter, the 'book' of 1st Thessalonians, shortly after he preached in the Thessalonian church.

The young disciples in this church needed additional confirmation in the foundational truths. He also exhorts them to go on to holiness and he comforts them regarding those who had died.

All of the great and wonderful doctrines of the Christian faith can be found in this little letter. In chapter 1 alone we find the subjects of election, the Holy Spirit and assurance, the Trinity, conversion and also the second coming.

In the chapters following he covers the believer’s walk, sanctification, and hope.
Paul packs a lot into his final instructions - some do’s and a couple of don’t’s:

1. Warn people who are idle or disruptive.
2. Encourage those who need it.
3. Help the weak.
4. Be patient with everyone.
5. Remember the Golden Rule.
6. Rejoice always.
7. Pray continually.
8. Always give thanks
9. Don’t ignore the Holy Spirit’s proddings. (Listen to that still, soft voice in your conscience.)
10. Do not treat prophecies with contempt.
11. Test the prophecies.
12. Reject evil.
(Taken in part from CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

99 Cent Kindle Chapter Books for Kids

Amazon is offering each book in the Tunnels series for only 99 cents.

Start with book one, Nick Bazebahl and the Forbidden Tunnels, and meet Nick and Samantha. These 12 year olds slide from one adventure to the next through mysterious time and space tunnels.

There are six books in the series and they can be read out of order if a child prefers.
Book two: Nick Bazebahl and the Red Tunnels
Book three: Nick Bazebahl and Wormhole Tunnels
Book four: Nick Bazebahl and Mining Tunnels
Book five: Nick Bazebahl and the Cartoon Tunnels
Book six: Nick Bazebahl and the Fake Witch Tunnels

Friday, November 30, 2012

Awesome Young Adult Book Blogs

These YA book bloggers deserve more attention. I am thankful for bloggers and reviewers like these gals.
Stephanie at  Reviewing What I'm Reading
Maria at Fantasy's Ink
Yvette at Me, My Shelf and I
Jodie at Uniquely Moi Books
Pragya at Reviewing Shelf
Elizabeth on Izzy's Book Blog
Ashley at Wholly Books
Michelle at Michelle Shouts Random
Sarah at Bookish Sarah
Ashley at Fire Star Books
Sophia at YA Between the Lines
Tiffany at Book Cover Justice (she posted an honest review of Sheltered this past week)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pictured Short Stories, #2

Svetlana’s secret was out: she had been a lazy sunbather, skipping afternoon practices not to study, as she had claimed, but to join the Americans at the hotel pool. Her mother sat behind her at the trials, stopwatch in hand, both well aware of the nasty fight ahead. If Svetty didn’t place at least third she’d have to go back to the little town of Rudinska where a diet of blinis, caviar, and borscht would stretch those tan lines to their limit.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pictured Short Stories, #1

Pepe’s patience had reached the bursting point. Master Jim had promised, yes he had, not one but two nose watering steaks as a reward. Hadn’t Pepe been a good boy? Hadn’t he suffered three interminably long days and nights in this bug-infested camp ground? Ay, Chihuahua, he wasn’t even allowed near the best spots: the fish-cleaning shack and the scent-heavy latrine.
Sí, sí, Pepe was going to get his reward. Swimming in that cold lake, enduring the maulings of several child campers, and now, waiting here sweater-less, shivering . . . he almost wet himself . . . but it would be worth it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not the Usual Thanksgiving Psalm

Psalm 113 is the first of six psalms (113-118) called “the Egyptian Hallel” (Hallel means praise).The Jews sang the first two psalms before the Passover meal and the other four afterwards. I’m going to go out on that limb and say that Jesus and his disciples probably sang these psalms in the upper room on the night of the Last Supper.

Here it is:
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.

The psalm falls into two main sections: the call to praise the Lord (1-3) and the causes for praising the Lord (4-9).

Vs. 1 – 3 Hallelujah = Praise the LORD. The phrase “praise his name” is in these verses three times. Why three? Praise to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Who should praise Him? His servants. When? Always. Where? Everywhere.

Vs. 4 – 5 God is great – examine verses “Praise God because He is great!” But if God were only great, we would cringe in fear and hesitate to approach Him. So the psalmist also affirms - Praise God because He is gracious – see vs. 6.

Vs. 6 – 9 God is gracious How? Look at verbs: raises, lifts, seats, settles. Look at people: poor, needy, princes, barren woman. Notice how the psalm goes from the needy (many people) to the single barren woman.
This would be a good Psalm to read on Thankgiving Day. Let us praise the Lord.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today is Brought to You by the Hebrew letter VAV

Vav means nail or hook and by itself it appears 13 times in Exodus to describe the hooks holding each curtain to its pillar in the Tabernacle. Grammatically it serves to hook words together and link them in a sentence as a conjunction meaning “and”, “so” or “but”.

In the alphabetic verses in Psalms 119: 41 -48, every verse, of course, starts with the letter vav working as a connector, but some translations have lost some or all of the meaning. Let’s read Young’s Literal Translation of these verses to detect all of the ands:

41 And meet me doth Thy kindness, O Jehovah, Thy salvation according to Thy saying.
42 And I answer him who is reproaching me a word, For I have trusted in Thy word.
43 And Thou takest not utterly away From my mouth the word of truth, Because for Thy judgment I have hoped.
44 And I keep Thy law continually, To the age and for ever.
45 And I walk habitually in a broad place, For Thy precepts I have sought.
46 And I speak of Thy testimonies before kings, And I am not ashamed.
47 And I delight myself in Thy commands, That I have loved,
48 And I lift up my hands unto Thy commands, That I have loved, And I do meditate on Thy statutes!

Another interesting thing is that there are only 10 words that start with vav. Its primary use therefore is as a hook, a connector.
For a startling look at how this letter is used in God’s Holy name check out this post.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Top 9 Writing Tips

There are hundreds of blogs with tips for authors. I've been copying and pasting their words of wisdom into a word document which I review periodically. I also reread my highlighted sections of Dwight V. Swain's book on writing before I start writing a new novel.
My 9 favorite writing tips (condensed) are as follows.

1)       Know your characters (and give each one a dominant first impression and a flaw)

2)      Have conflict on every page (excitement, danger, passion)

3)      Keep dialogue natural

4)      Edit, edit, edit (and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite)

5)      Show, don’t tell

6)      Study point of view theory and use it wisely

7)      Give every opening scene a hook and every closing paragraph a cliff hanger

8)      Weave your themes and motifs throughout your novel

9)      Forget all the rules – just write.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Author Talk, part 3

Random questions I’ve been asked and my answers. Part 3:

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in fewer than 20 words what would you say?

SHELTERED: Five troubled teens confront demonic forces and deal with their problems in different ways; paranormal meets psycho meets budding love.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

I’ve written most of my books in three months time, but then it takes many more months to edit, work on the dialogue, shape the plot, flesh out the characters, etc.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? and why are they your favorite?

My favorite character in SHELTERED is Megan because she has made a life-changing mistake but is strong enough to reverse the consequences.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Author Talk, part 2

Random questions I’ve been asked and my answers. Part 2:

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?

Yes, almost ten years. EDGE OF ESCAPE went from concept to novel to contest to total rewrite to self-published to discovered. Whew! Then it was bought, translated into German, retitled and was a debut success on another continent this past spring. I retain the rights to the English version for now.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?

Every book should have a message if not a moral. SHELTERED has a number of messages since it hits on the subjects of teen suicide, self-mutilation, depression, homelessness, and the occult. There’s definitely a moral to the story, but different readers will interpret it in opposing ways based on their own beliefs. That won’t make everyone happy, but it will make everyone think about some pretty deep stuff.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Author Talk, part 1

Random questions I’ve been asked and my answers. Part 1
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?

For SHELTERED I started with a desire to write a paranormal novel about demon-possession and concentrate on the manifestations of demons as portrayed by historians of two thousand years ago. What the ancients saw as demon possession then science and medicine today would call epilepsy, schizophrenia, mental disorders, and so on. But what if that’s not true? What if demons exist (and I believe they do) and what if they mimic those problems? Next I wrote out my characters’ names, relationships, habits, appearances, quirks, and individual problems and then put them in an unsupervised living condition. I wrote scene one and then let the characters take it from there. As they interacted with one another, stuff happened (and stuff I planned didn’t happen) and the plot took off. I chased behind waving my notes and clicking on the keyboard from time to time. It was fun.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

Absolutely. Every character has a little bit of me to start with – I just can’t help it. As I write out little character sketches I often add a note that this person will have an attitude like [name of former student] or looks like [a certain relative], or has the same habits as [that jerk down the street]. I even use first and last names of people I know or former students, but mix them up.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What is the Most Important Commandment?

When asked by a scribe which was the greatest or most important commandment, Jesus answered with quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.” He condensed all the hundreds of laws and the ten commandments down into a simple truth that, if practiced, would keep a person from sinning against God and man.

Let’s examine how we should love God. First, we should love Him with all our heart. With all our heart means that we should love Him without pretense, deception, affectation, or fraud. Our love needs to be genuine, sincere, and complete. You can’t just say you love Him and then not show it with your words and actions. Many of us say we love God and then act as if He doesn’t exist. We are, every one of us, hypocrites.
We should love God with all our soul. We really need to get intimate, up close, and personal with our Creator.  Let your emotions rule. There is joy and happiness and pleasure and delight when you love with your soul.
Now love Him with all your mind. Use your brain, see what He has done for you. Learn who He is. Study His word. Make a conscious decision to pray, meditate, and discover all you can about God.
Now that we’ve used our heart and soul and mind what’s left? Our strength. Love the Lord with all your strength. This is physical. This love shows forth in our actions. What have we done for Him?
Loving God is the greatest commandment and the second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments, if obeyed, would eliminate the need for the hundreds of other laws. What do you think?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Dreaded One-Star Review

I was shocked to see that J. K. Rowling’s latest book has more “1 star” reviews than “5 star” reviews. Yet it sits sky high in the rankings and is selling like crazy. Curiosity made me read a few of those reviews. They reveal much about the reviewer and nothing about the book. Here are a few:

1) I would love to buy this book but it is too expensive!
2) I have no official review for this book as I have yet to read it. However, I just downloaded it to my kindle and the font is tiny.
3) Have not read and will not read

Boy, I’d like to ban these people from reviewing since they do not know what a review is. In fact, I’d like to suggest that if you don’t like a book, didn’t finish it, it wasn’t a genre you appreciate, you skimmed it, or you didn’t read it in your native language, then DO NOT REVIEW IT.

I have asked dozens of people to review my books and I really appreciate the honest ones who say “No, thanks, it’s not in a genre I like” or “Sorry, I started reading it but it wasn’t to my taste so I won’t be reviewing it.” Obviously their moms taught them that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

On the flip side, some books receive false “5 star” reviews written by friends and family of the author. These well-wishers usually do not know how to analyze the writing, plot, characters, etc., of a novel and are not doing the author any favors by writing inflated praise.

What do you think? How influenced are you by reviews?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Tricks, Just Treats from these Awesome Bloggers

October has been very busy for me with the release of SHELTERED. I've been listing the wonderful book bloggers and reviewers who have helped me spread the word.
Here's the fourth list - the latest bunch. They have wonderful blogs, please check them out.

Daniela at  YA Book Season (great review of Sheltered - she even wrote a better synopsis than I did)
Ashley at  Book Labyrinth
Stacy at  Book Broads
Amelia at  The Authoress
Cindy at  Author Cindy Bennett
Kayla at  Bibliophilia
Gretchen at   My Life is a Notebook
Megan at  Reading Away the Days
Becky at  Book Bite Reviews
Heather at It's All About Me
Mandy at The Reading Diaries
The Mysterious Gal at  What's Beyond Forks
Mary Grace at  The Solitary Bookworm

P.S. I'll be posting the winner of the Spooktacular Hop when I get back in town tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Today's Additions to the "Wonderful Book Blogger List"

These wonderful book bloggers have helped me this past week spread the news of SHELTERED's release. Please stop by their blogs and help me thank them with a like or tweet or share. Some are hosting giveaways, too, so be sure to enter.

Amy at Kissed by Ink
J.A. Beard at J.A. Beard's Unnecessary Musings
Hannah at Book Haven Extraordinaire
Marcie at 2readornot2read
Michelle at Michele's Paranormal Vault of Books
Aimee at Getting Your Read On (She's having an ebook giveaway until Halloween)
Leanna at Daisy Chain Book Review
Lisa at Lost in Literature (She's having a giveaway of one paperback and one ebook until 31st)
Laurie at Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (She's having an ebook giveaway now until Nov. 10)
Emily at Mrs. Mommy Booknerd's Book Reviews 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Simple Verse

In Mark 10: 15 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

So how should we receive the kingdom of God? With unquestioning faith and belief just like a little child. Children are totally dependent on adults. Adults, on the other hand, are self-reliant. But to receive the kingdom of God we need to be totally dependent on God. Totally dependent and totally trusting, like children. It’s a beautiful picture and easy to understand.

According to a Gallup survey 95% of people who became Christians did so before the age of 25. At age 25, one in 10,000 will become a believer. At 35 it’s one in 50,000 and the trend continues until at age 75 the odds are just one in 700,000.

Parents, get your precious little ones to Sunday School.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Divorce in the 1st Century, part 2

The Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce with the malicious intent of tripping him up. After all, John the Baptist had spoken out against Herod Antipas’ marriage/divorce situation (he had married his brother’s wife who was also his niece) and John was thrown in prison and eventually beheaded at Herod’s command. I’m sure the Pharisees were hoping for a similar fate for Jesus.

Jesus parries their question and thrusts the truth at them with crushing finality. The Pharisees’ views are unscriptural and Jesus very quickly sets the record straight on marriage and divorce: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Wow, Jesus went clear back to the beginning to give an understanding of God’s will. Also quite clear in his explanation is the fact that God made one man and one woman to be united in this union. The two becoming one flesh is beautifully fulfilled in procreation as a sperm and an egg become one flesh.

But divorce happens and Jesus’ disciples wanted to know more (Mark 10: 10 – 12) and Jesus says: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

How does God feel about divorce? In Malachi (the last book in the Old Testament) 2:16 it states: “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel.

So . . . um, I’m divorced and remarried, does God hate me? Nope, God loves me, so much, in fact, that He sent His son to die for every one of my sins. I am forgiven. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Additions to the "Wonderful Book Blogger" List

Here are more of the fabulous book bloggers who are helping me get the word out about Sheltered. Please check them out and leave a comment, tweet, or share to help me thank them.

Shanise  at Camisadomind
Patricia at It's Time to Read Mamaw   and It's About Time Mamaw
Stephanie at Reviewing What I'm Reading
Lisa at Paranormal Urban Fantasies Reviews  (She's hosting a giveaway of 2 ebooks of Sheltered, enter before Oct. 17)
Jesse at Pretty in Fiction
Sandy at Magical Manuscripts (She posted a thorough review of Sheltered, too)
Sharon at My Views on Review
Leigh Ann at  Flying On Silver Wings
Sarah Elizabeth at Sarah Elizabeth's Bookshelf (She's hosting a giveaway of 1 ecopy of Sheltered, enter by Oct. 31)

Thanks YA book bloggers!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Divorce in the 1st Century, part 1

That’s right, I said 1st century instead of 21st. You think we have high divorce rates? I discovered that some historians believe that Roman men averaged 15 to 20 wives in a lifetime (attrition through dying in childbirth and divorce for any reason).  Divorce rates were not that high for Jewish people at that time, but divorce was a serious problem.

In Mark 10 some Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question they hoped he would not be able to answer without offending half of the crowd: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

There were two famous rabbis at that time, 2000 years ago, who held widely separate views on divorce. Rabbi Shammai taught that divorce was only lawful in the case of adultery. That makes sense because the Torah gave absolutely no circumstance for divorce and the penalty for adultery was stoning to death. By Jesus’ time stoning had been outlawed so divorce seemed a plausible replacement.

Rabbi Hillel, on the other hand, held a belief similar to our “no fault” divorce laws in this century. He taught that a man could divorce his wife for any reason: if she burned supper, if she looked at another man, if she was rude to his mother, if she was barren, if he displeased her in any way. You can imagine that this was a popular view. But was it scriptural? Not exactly. It was based on Deuteronomy 24: 1 -4a which states: “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled.”

So the Pharisees ask Jesus if it is lawful to divorce. A simple yes or no will do, right? But Jesus answers with a question: “What did Moses command you?”

And their argument and their question just melt away with their own words in response: “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

Moses permitted . . . You see the problem already existed and men were casting away wives left and right. Jesus explains: “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote this law.” And that law is the part of Deuteronomy 24:4 above that says she can’t go back to a previous husband.

Jesus says more on the subject and I’ll address it in a future post.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today is Brought to You by the Letter Dalet

Dalet is the fourth Hebrew letter and it means door.  It kind of looks like a doorway, perhaps into a tent. It represents the two universal doors by which we all enter and exit this world, birth and death.  In the alphabetic verses in the Bible some dalet words (among others) are derech (way), dam (blood) and damam (rest). Think about those: way – blood – rest.

Let’s look at Psalm 119. It is the longest psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" ("happy are those whose way is perfect"). It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law. There are 176 verses, 8 verses for each of the 22 Hebrew letters. The first 8 verses each start with the Hebrew letter Aleph ,the next 8 with Bet and so on through the alphabet (alephbet). We have lost the amazing beauty of the psalm in translation. However, one thing is very obvious: there is a repetition of the following words throughout all of the verses: law, statutes, ways, precepts, decrees, commands, and word.

For example in the fourth stanza there are several words that start with Dalet, the fourth letter, among them the word “derech" which is translated “way”, “commands” and “precepts” in the NIV Bible or “way”, “testimonies”, and “commandments” in the King James Bible. If you go through all 176 verses and note how often these words are used, it seems pretty obvious that the Lord is telling us to know his WORD.
(Parts taken from Crossing the Scriptures)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thank You Wonderful Book Bloggers

THANK YOU, THANK YOU. So far this month these are some of the wonderful bloggers who have helped me get the word out about SHELTERED:

Tricia Kristufek  at MUSINGS OF A READER

Please check out these gals' sites and give them a share, like, tweet . . .
Thank you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sheltered - Excerpt from chapter 1

Smoke curled past the woman’s eyes; she squinted at Ben. He held out the money and repeated his offer. “It’ll only take five minutes. Just say ‘nice to meet you, you’re welcome to stay as long as you need’ and then ask me to drive you to the store or a meeting or something.” He wiggled the money in the crone’s face. “I’ll bring you right back to this bar,” he promised.

The woman kept her eye on the wad of bills, figuring out the extra number of drinks she could buy tonight. Ben could tell she was reaching the decision he hoped for. He raised the money to eye level and smiled his honest, dimpled grin, the grin that all the females in high school fell for, even the teachers.

Her hand shot out, but Ben was quicker. He held the money back, peeled off the top bill, and handed it to her. “I’ll give you the rest after you convince her that you’re Mrs. Kremer. Agreed?”

He half expected her to tuck the bill down her blouse, but she opened her purse, dropped it in and closed it. She took a final puff, crushed the cigarette butt under foot and grabbed the passenger door handle to yank it open. This wasn’t the first time she had gone home with a stranger, but it was the first time she had entered a teenaged boy’s littered sedan. And such a handsome boy, too, with that dark blond hair and clear blue eyes. She hadn’t always been the best judge of character, but this kid was easy to read – he was innocent.
(excerpt from chapter 1 of SHELTERED by Debra Chapoton copyright 2012)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tough Themes in Teen Novel

This new novel touches on the following themes: homelessness, self-mutilation, schizophrenia, suicide, and the occult.

In America more than 1.3 million children are homeless at some time each year.(1) This is a sad statistic and one that needs a bit more publicity. 1 in 8 youth under the age of 18 will leave home and become homeless and in need of services.(2) 12-17 year olds are at more risk of homelessness than are adults.(3) Nearly 20,000 youth are emancipated from foster care each year.(4)

According to it is estimated that in the U.S. one out of every 200 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 cuts herself regularly. This number is rising.

Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric illness. It often first appears in males during their late teens and early twenties, a little later for females. Symptoms include distorted reality, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, delusions, anxiety, and odd behaviors. Worldwide as many as 50 million people suffer from schizophrenia.

The Centers for Disease control report that suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24. There are several different factors that may cause a teenager to take his or her life, but the most common is depression. Hopelessness, anxiety, and feelings of being trapped in a life that one can't handle are also contributors to teen suicide. In many cases teenagers believe that suicide is their only option.

The occult, including witchcraft, mysticism, astrology, and even the current fad of vampires and werewolves, feeds a craze that has flourished for thousands of years. Demon possession and exorcism are Biblical and historical.

Take all five of these themes, stir well, add a few American teens, and the paranormal will seem normal. SHELTERED is now out and available on AMAZON and Barnes & Noble.

(1) Ellen L. Bassuk, M.D. and Steven M. Friedman, Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children (Durham, NC and Los Angeles, CA: National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2005): 1.
(2) C. Raleigh-DuRoff, "Factors that influence adolescents to leave or stay living on the street," Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 21(6) (2004): 561-?572.
(3) J. Ensign and M. Bell, "Illness experiences of homeless youth," Qualitative Health Research 14(9) (2004): 1239-1254.
(4) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. AFCARS Reports #6-10 (Washington DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Driving Out Demons

John interrupted Jesus in Mark 9: 38. I imagine this to be one of the reasons the disciples had to be told stuff over and over. All of the disciples seemed excited and enthusiastic and talkative. But John’s statement here revealed his opinion and maybe a little about his indignation toward an outsider. This outsider was driving out demons in Jesus’ name. Hmm. Earlier in this chapter (vs. 18) the other disciples had been unable to cast out a demon; Jesus stepped in and solved the problem (see previous post). The disciples couldn’t do it and now they were complaining about this other person who IS successful. Why? Because “he’s not one of us”, said John. “We told him to stop.”

John seemed to conclude that they had done right by telling someone who wasn't a disciple to quit using the name of Jesus to cast out demons.

There were exorcists casting out demons before Jesus came on the scene and for centuries after. But they weren't always successful. Justin Martyr, a 2nd century Christian apologist, recorded that Jewish exorcisms failed when the exorcist tried to cast out a demon by commanding it in the name of "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." However, they were very successful when they commanded it under "the name of the Son of God, who was born of a virgin, and crucified under Pontius Pilate."

In verse 39 Jesus told John that it was wrong to stop the outsider. “For whoever is not against us is for us.” We need to keep that in mind and not bicker among ourselves. No particular Christian denomination has exclusive rights to Christianity. We may differ in points of doctrine, but we belief in the same Savior.
Clearly, Jesus' words here convey a rebuke against sectarianism and vanity. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Demon or Epilepsy?

That poor father. He must have been beside himself with grief and worry and frustration. Imagine having a son who is unable to speak and then, from time to time, the boy falls down, foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. Sounds like epilepsy, doesn’t it?
This man brought his son for healing, thoroughly convinced that it was a demon that possessed his son. Nine men, disciples of Christ, could not cast out the demon. Finally, Jesus himself arrives, having come from the mount where he was transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John. The father recounts how the disciples failed and Jesus asks the father to bring the boy to him.
The same episode of falling and having a seizure occurs right at Jesus’ feet and the distraught father relates how this has been happening since childhood and that sometimes the demon casts the boy into the fire or the water intent on destroying him. “If you are able, have pity on us and help us,” the father pleads to Jesus.

IF, he said.


And Jesus is perhaps somewhat scornful of that word in his reply: “If you are able! – All things can be done for the one who believes.”

The father answers in a heart-wrenching cry, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Isn’t that where most of us are?)

Now, if it was epilepsy (as skeptics like to say), then Jesus would have just healed the boy as he did with the blind, the lame, and the sick. But that’s not the case here. Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit and speaks to it: “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!”

That’s an exorcism, folks. What do you think?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who Is The Greatest? An Embarrassing Debate

Mark 9: 33-34: They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

Peter, James, and John had just been at the Transfiguration. The other disciples hadn’t been able to cast out a demon while they were gone. Now they’re on the road traveling by foot and Jesus is out of  earshot. Among themselves they argue about who is the greatest. What was that argument like?

Peter, James, and John have a secret to keep. Jesus told them not to reveal the marvel they saw yet, but it was so incredible that they must have been brimming with excitement. Perhaps James said something like, “Man, we are so much more in the loop than you guys. You couldn’t even cast out that demon. We’re better than you guys.”

And then maybe Peter said, “Right, and of the three of us I am the leader. After all, I was the first to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.”

Maybe Judas says, “No way, I’m the most important one. He trusts me to take care of the money.”

And then Simon the Zealot might have said, “Yeah, well, money’s not as important as politics and I understand this whole political situation better than you all.”

 Maybe Nathaniel (Bartholomew) says, “Hey, hey, wait a minute, let’s not get political. If you want to name names then I’m the greatest. After all I’m the only one of us who is descended from royal blood as my name indicates: Bar-talmei, son of Talmei, king of Geshur.”

Then perhaps John says, “Hold it right there! We were among the first to follow Him. We have been with Him longer than the rest.”

And Peter agrees, “Right, and he got in my boat first.”

Then Andrew interrupts with, “Uh, hold on, brother! I introduced you to Jesus. If it weren’t for me, you’d still be fishing.”

“Yeah, well,” Peter says, “why didn’t he give you a new name? I’m obviously his favorite.”

And so the argument may have gone with Philip and Matthew and Thomas and the others joining in, too, but later, when Jesus asked them what they had been arguing about they got very quiet. Embarrassed, no doubt.

Mark 9: 35: Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Wow! He did not rebuke them for their desire to be first. Success is a good thing, but to be first you must be last and the servant of all. What does that mean to you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

1 Man vs. 2000 Demons, the rest of the story

In the last post we left the demon possessed man exorcised, free, and sane. The townsfolk should have been happy about that, but they lost a whole herd of swine which drowned because Jesus sent the 2000 demons into them. They pleaded for Jesus to leave their region. Boy, did they miss out on healings and miracles. But wait, they’re going to get a second chance.

The man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus wouldn’t let him. He told him to go home and tell his family how much the Lord had done for him and how he had had mercy on him. The man did more than that – he went to ten cities and told everyone how much Jesus had done for him. The people were amazed. The man was a marvelous evangelist because months later, when Jesus and his disciples returned to the area, the people were ready to receive him (Mark 7: 31 – 37).

I’m not obsessed with demon-possession, but I’ll be posting more about it for a while. It’s the basis for my latest novel after all, so I’m sure you’ll understand. I’ve studied the scriptures for all it says on the subject and kept my novel within those parameters as much as possible. It is fiction nevertheless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

1 Man vs. 2000 Demons

The man lived in the tombs. The townsfolk couldn’t control him; their chains no longer would hold him. Yup, that’s right, they often bound him hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. The strength he had was supernatural. Really. No one was able to subdue him and his tormented cries could be heard all day and all night as he roamed among the tombs. He would take sharp rocks and mutilate himself. Can you imagine?

The document I’m reading (Mark 5) says he was demon-possessed. And there was not just one demon, but two thousand!

One day he saw Jesus from a distance and ran to him, falling on his knees. The demons spoke through the man, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” Aha! Right there you can see that it is the lying, deceitful demon who speaks. As if Jesus would torture the man.

Jesus calls out the demon whose name was “Legion” because there were actually many demons, so many that when Jesus agreed to send them into a herd of pigs, the 2000 pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Do you think the town’s people were happy to see the man dressed and in his right mind? Nope, they were angry and afraid and they begged Jesus to leave their region. Do you know what happened to the man? The next post will reveal an even greater miracle about his life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In Harm's Way

I bent down to take a closer look at the strange plastic-like caterpillar or beetle or whatever it was that was in the middle of my path. I’m not fond of creepy crawlies, but I’d never seen anything like this before. I took a stick and gently (I thought) coaxed him to the side of the road. He curled up in defense, didn’t want to move, but hey, I was doing this for his own good. He resisted; I insisted. By getting him off the driveway he was no longer in danger of getting run over by a bike or a car or stomped under my foot on my return trek.
I thought how much he was like us: unwilling to accept God’s prodding, guiding, coaxing which is ALWAYS for our own good. Sometimes we wonder why bad things happen in our lives, why something is blocking our path, or why our plans are thwarted. Maybe God is just keeping us out of harm’s way. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sheltered: The Prologue

Next Wednesday

Emily knew the precise moment that Ben returned, she felt him in her scars. She watched him carry some things to the house, heard the door close; she smiled when she heard him call out that Santa was here. He did that once before, in early December, insisting that she accept the gift he held out, not wanting her to wait until Christmas to use the mittens he knew she needed.

She went toward her door now, wondered what he had brought, and then heard Megan’s voice below. Oh no, he probably brought something for her. She scuttled back to her nest by the window and stared outside, was still staring fifteen minutes later when she saw them walk down the street, Ben shouldering a shovel, his other hand knotted with Megan’s.

She touched the skin on her arms, lightly at first, making it tingle. The image of Ben with Megan multiplied across her mind in broken mirrors, a repugnant picture that reflected her own self-loathing. She scratched at her scabs, felt the pricks of pain force away the ticklish sensations. She closed her eyes.

When she opened them she saw a figure standing at her door.

“Who–?” she started, but the figment waned to less than a shadow. Still, though, there was something at her door.

She rose slowly and held her hand out.

Its face was more womanly now, friendly, motherly. Yes, she knew this face. Its pearly white skin so shocking against the ruby lips, the stringy hair a match to her own. Her mother.

She stretched her fingers toward the face. The hallucination faded then sharpened. The eyes began to blaze. She drew her hands back to her own face. What’s wrong with me?  The delusion grieved Emily; all around her fluttered a longing.

And a deadly fear.
(SHELTERED will be released in October. The NOOK and KINDLE versions are out now.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Coming Soon: Sheltered

It's not the prettiest cover, but it fits the story.
Living together unsupervised, five troubled teens confront demonic forces and are compelled to deal with their problems in distinctly different ways. Paranormal meets psycho meets Goth in this story of a supernatural haunting and budding love. 
High school junior, Ben, hacks into his step-father's real estate holdings and provides rooms in an old two-story house to various outcasts: the schizophrenic kid, the angry Goth girl, and the homeless girl who worships him. When Megan needs a place to live she comes to the rooming house with a different set of problems and the ability to confuse and attract Ben.
One by one strange and mysterious occurrences stretch the teens’ beliefs in the supernatural. How they deal with demons, real and imagined, has tragic as well as redeeming consequences.

The paperback of SHELTERED will be out in less than a month, but the Kindle and Nook versions are available now for $3.99.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Cover Reveal

It was time for a new "edgier" and creepier cover for EDGE OF ESCAPE.

Emotionally impaired yet clever, Eddie obsesses over the most popular girl. He drugs her, abducts her and locks her away. She escapes, but that is part of his plan as he pretends to be her knight in shining armor. Will she accept his special devotion or reject his fragile love? Stalking gets a sympathetic twist in this story of fixation and fear.
A young adult psychological thriller: PAPERBACK $11.99 and KINDLE or NOOK just $3.50.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Building a Log Home, Final Pictures

Whew, what a wonderful time we had building our dream home. We are so happy here and contented that we can’t imagine living in a house with flat, painted walls ever again. The logs are more than comforting – they exude life and warmth and calmness. It seems as if we are on a never-ending vacation, too.

Some final pictures:

Big Pine Lodge - ta da

A view from the back in the winter- which no one ever sees because we're in the middle of the woods.

This was taken in the winter with no flash. South facing windows are important.

Having glass front doors allows the light to stream through, too, even though that's north.

Looking down from the loft you can appreciate the 6 tons of rocks we gathered from the property.

I scrunched down on the floor to try to capture the high-ceiling lofty feel of the kitchen.

See how closely the logs fit together.
I'm standing in the sunroom looking through the kitchen and into the great room through that archway. For some reason blogger won't upload the pictures of the sunroom or the bedroom, but there are more pictures in the little slideshow bar on the left margin.
Thanks for coming along on the journey with me. It was fun to organize a few of the hundreds of pictures we took of the year-long building process into these 30 or so blog posts (which allowed me to schedule all these posts and free me up for the summer).