Monday, January 30, 2012

Plan B

My German publisher asked me to write some extra scenes that could be used in marketing their translation of EDGE OF ESCAPE. Here's part 1:

Plan B
It had been more than two years since Eddie had discovered the abandoned stone cottage. He paused to listen before he turned off the well traveled path. It would not be good to have some spring hiker spot him today. He couldn’t take the chance that someone would stumble upon his hide-out now that he was so close . . . so close to implementing a plan that wasn’t the least bit evil, at least not to Eddie.

The scent of fresh dirt drifted up to his nose from the newly pawed earth at his feet. A deer or perhaps a squirrel had uprooted some buried acorns.

Something rustled behind him and he held his breath. His biggest fear was to have to make conversation with a stranger. The rustling continued and he moved forward, away from the tree with the big clump of pine branches, needles and even sticks and oak leaves that were jumbled into some kind of nest. The pine tree was his marker. The scenery along the winding trail was monotonously similar and if it hadn’t been for the nest he probably wouldn’t have found his way back to the stone cottage after that first time.

He remembered that awful yet lucky day. His cousins had turned against him. They had made a simple game of cards become a mean game of hitting and punching. Even their dog had seemed to enjoy the torture, barking and barking.

He had made his escape, leaving his cousins to tell more lies to his aunt and his mother, as they always did. Was there ever a time when he hadn’t been blamed for the least little thing? He had run and run that day until he was exhausted. Finally he had reached the two mile marker on the wooded path and realized it would be best to turn around. He was half-way back when he surprised a deer and her fawn. On impulse he left the trail and followed the bobbing white tails.

And that was when he found it. The stone shelter was small, smaller than his own bedroom. Except for a bare clearing everything around the hut was overgrown with weeds. On that lonely summer day two and a half years ago, a few weeks before he started tenth grade, he claimed the cottage for himself. And for Rebecca.

(Excerpt from Extra Scenes for EDGE OF ESCAPE)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Disecting One Little Sentence

Psalm 111:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

Fearing the LORD means respecting His law, His will, everything about Him. The word fear in the original Hebrew is “yir’ah” which can mean respect, reverence, or piety. The fear we should have is the fear that we would disrespect or offend Him. This is not a fear as in “terror” or “dread”. This is reverence which should go hand in glove with love, worship, and adoration.

The name of the LORD, “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”, is rendered in the translation with the use of small capital letters. Most people don’t even notice this in their Bibles. There is Lord (master) and there is LORD (Yahweh). There is no doubt here that the psalmist is referring to the one true God.

Fear (reverence), therefore, is the beginning, or foundation, of wisdom. If we do not recognize that God is God then we cannot know or honor Him. So, once we have the beginning of wisdom how do we get the rest of it? What does it say in the second half of the verse? We get that “good understanding” by following his precepts, that is, by studying the Bible, learning the Word, and putting it into practice.

Wise words, huh? Eternal praise to God.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today is Brought to You by the Letter Pey

The letter pey is one of the five Hebrew letters which have a different form if they come at the end of a word. (See the smaller letter ? It's actually the supposed to be the same size. The curled tail just straightens out.) Pey means mouth.

In the Bible there are several chapters in Psalms, Proverbs and Lamentations that were written as acrostics, that is, each verse (or series of verses) begins with the next consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 letters so it’s easy to see the pattern when a chapter has 22 (or 66) verses. Of course the Bible wasn’t written with the verse numbers, but you can see the poetry of verses in the original.

Now here’s the really cool thing: in the original Hebrew these acrostic verses start with the word pey (mouth). See?

Psalm 119: 131 - I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.
Psalm 135: 16, 17 - They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.
Psalm 66: 17 - I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Lamentations 3:46 - All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.

The Bible is full of so many amazing intricacies. How can anyone dispute its divine inspiration?

(Above taken in part from CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES, copyright 2011.)
(Other posts on Hebrew letters: TET , ZAYIN, KAPH )

Monday, January 23, 2012

On Starting a New Novel

A week ago today I woke up with a story idea. Finally! I’ve written 6 fun kids’ stories this fall while waiting for that special young adult plot to reveal itself to my conscious thought. Before I could even start an outline life interrupted with a family emergency and now, seven days later, I can begin to flesh out my characters.

Here’s what I’m reminding myself to think of as I begin:
1. I need a complete physical description of each character (I’m starting with 5 teens)
2. Jot down how each character will react to conflict
3. List their personal quirks, speech, attitude, habits, mannerisms, what they wear, etc.
4. Think up a dominant impression – how the reader will perceive each one
5. What's each character’s point of view? That is, I need to make sure his background evokes the correct response to others and to himself or his plight
6. I need to plan for how I can keep each character interesting, how he will attempt the impossible or unattainable or forbidden or disastrous
7. The hardest part: How will I first introduce each character? The situation must show him in an act that will characterize him – first impressions are just as important in books as in life

In the past I’ve created my characters gradually through the course of writing the action. I’ve gotten to know them and let them grow on their own. This time I thought it would be more fun to create them first and then throw them into a situation.

Do you have any other tips for me?

Friday, January 20, 2012


NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE FAKE WITCH TUNNELS is FREE for Kindle downloads today and tomorrow, Saturday.

If you have kids between the ages of 8 and 12 they can jump right into the series and enjoy Nick's unusual adventure. In this chapter book Nick and Samantha find themselves in an ancient land full of superstitions. Once again they have strange things in their bags. An antfarm, a hairbrush and a sparkly wand help them complete their first mission. But what will they do with a package of jello when they tunnel to the 1600’s and stand trial for witchcraft?

DRAGONFOOT is also FREE this weekend through Sunday.
Seventeen-year-old Jedidiah was born with a gruesome deformity that causes him to drag his foot. He searches for acceptance through drugs and skateboarding. He sets his sights on becoming a champion skateboarder, but amputation, a mission trip and two girls challenge his dream.
As he recovers from surgery, Jedidiah opens his heart to both girls. Can he rescue the one who needs him without losing the one he needs? And, faced with a second amputation, can he open his spirit to supernatural help?
DRAGONFOOT taps on the door of the paranormal while addressing adolescent issues and pushing against the world’s view of right and wrong.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Giveaway Winner Announced + Gift for Everyone Else

The winner is . . . keep reading. For everyone else my latest novel, DRAGONFOOT, is free on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so look for it on Kindle. I have also arranged for book 6 of the TUNNELS series for kids ages 8 - 12 to be downloadable for free from Amazon Kindle books this today, tomorrow and Saturday. It's titled NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE FAKE WITCH TUNNELS.

Thanks to all who entered and to our blog hop hosts Iamareadernotawriter and Marthasbookshelf. Okay, and now the winner is . . . "Michelle Scott" who has been notified by email.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Psalm 139

Psalm 139 gives us a wonderful depiction of God’s omniscience and omnipresence. It’s amazing how thorough the psalmist, King David, was in his word picture of these attributes.

To make it more personal for you I tried listing what he says as if he were speaking to you:
1. God knows YOU. (verse 1 and 3)
2. God knows YOUR every action and thought. (verse 2 and 3)
3. God knows YOUR every word. (verse 4)
4. God created YOU in your mother’s womb. (verse 13)
5. YOU are wonderfully made by God. (verse 14)
6. God knew all of YOUR days before even one of them came to be. (verse 16)
7. God is all around YOU and touches YOU. (verse 5)
8. God is everywhere. (verses 7-10)
Now go back and read the list again and really ponder (love that word) the ramifications and corollaries of each statement. You might want to change back the word YOU to ME and be sure to take a look at the whole psalm in your Bible.

Monday, January 9, 2012

99 Cents Until the End of January

Three of my kids’ books are on sale on Smashwords for the rest of January. They are downloadable to Kindles, Nooks and other ebook formats. All are available for just 99 cents when you use the following codes (not case sensitive) at check-out.

The Secret in the Hidden Cave Click Here: Coupon code XJ36C

A Tick in Time Click here Coupon code: TJ57S

Nick Bazebahl and the Forbidden Tunnels Click here Coupon code:HM89Q

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Read My Blog

1. I’m obsessive about punctuation and spelling and if you find an error I may feel obligated to send you a free book.
2. My posts are random and cover things you may not be interested in like my books, the Hebrew alphabet, love, Down Syndrome . . . see what I mean?
3. I occasionally offer free books when I link up to giveaway bog hops but I don’t really want to give stuff away. (I always do, though.)
4. I post personal stuff about our life and our home (see slide show) and I’m nervous about letting the world in.
5. You have better things to do. (But in case you don’t, subscribe with your email address. I promise that my next post will be more interesting.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Soul-Mate Questionnaire

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?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Most Read Book

The most read, mis-read, misunderstood and incredibly interesting book is one that’s been around for centuries and has been translated into hundreds of languages and dialects. There are even dozens of translations into English so if you’re put off by the old King James version of the BIBLE with its thee's and thou's then you can find one that is written in up-to-date modern English.

Here’s a simple Bible 101 course: There are 66 books in the Bible; the Bible is comprised of 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Old Testament books tell of mankind vacillating between worshiping and obeying God and then turning away from Him and being idolatrous and immoral. Man’s behavior requires judgment. Throughout these books God’s plan unfolds. First we have the covenants He made with Adam and Noah and Abraham. We watch the Israelites follow God, turn to idols, turn back to God, fall away again, over and over. The miracles and love are abundant and yet they keep being “adulterous” so to speak. From the perspective of the Jews there are two kinds of people: Jews and Gentiles. And I think that this is also God’s perspective. It’s like you have two children, your firstborn and your second born. The Jews are God’s firstborn, but the Gentiles are in the family, too, and the promises and inheritance are for the Gentiles as well.

There are hundreds of prophecies throughout that tell of a coming Messiah. Hundreds of prophecies were fulfilled with Jesus’ first coming and the rest will be fulfilled at His second coming. Some prophecies are so precise that they are impossible to ignore. If you study carefully you can find references to Christ in every single book. My favorites are the Psalms where there are countless prophecies concerning Christ.

The New Testament books declare a message of hope: Christ has taken on our punishment (death) and paid for our sins. If we accept that he has done this, then hooray, we get out of the punishment, but if we don’t accept it then we’re on our own and the judgment is eternal separation from God, or more bluntly, hell.

Many times I’ve heard people (who probably haven’t studied the Bible) say that the Bible is full of contradictions or the Bible is full of bloodshed. I have yet to encounter a supposed contradiction that couldn’t be resolved by a careful look at the original language, culture or context. As for the bloodshed: check today’s news. Man has not progressed.