THE REASON: An amazing novel now being made into a movie! Want to get inspired today, check out our author interview @ www.indiascrown.com
Here’s the official book trailer!
THE REASON: An amazing novel now being made into a movie! Want to get inspired today, check out our author interview @ www.indiascrown.com
Here’s the official book trailer!
Author Caryl McAdoo, Author Holly Michael, Blog, Caryl McAdoo, Christian books, Christian Novel, Christianity, Crooked Lines, Holly Michael, ICICLE, India, Indias crown, Indias crown in Christian Literature Excellence, indiascrown.com, Inspirational Books, Novel, www.writingstraight.com
To all of my regular followers,
I’d be very pleased and grateful if you would hop over to a new blog that my friend Caryl McAdoo and I just launched: www.indiascrown.com
INDIA’S CROWN’S (India’s Crown in Christian Literature Excellence) objective is to join Christian American authors with Christian readers from India. The premier resource for Christian Fiction across India, India’s Crown in Christian Literature Excellence (ICICLE), offers book reviews, author interviews, and free giveaways. It provides the opportunity for discriminating readers to not only read the best in Christian Fiction/clean reads, but also to chat with the authors they love to read, with Christ being the common denominator.
We will have a new post each week to introduce Christian or “clean” reads to this fast growing market of Christian readers in India.
I will continue to blog here on http://www.writingstraight.com as regular as possible. Thanks for supporting Caryl and me in this endeavor. And while you’re at http://www.indiascrown.com, please like our facebook page and connect with us on twitter.
PS: CROOKED LINES, my first novel, is going to be released in about thirty days!!!!! More news to come!
Our first blog post at Indiascrown.com:
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More Christians in India than ever before have their heads bowed low these days. Praying? Maybe, but also reading on their smart phones and tablets. The popularity of E-readers and apps for enjoying books on smart phones and tablets has increased readership in India, especially in larger cities and among college students.
After researching and speaking with Christian pastors in India, authors, and a barrage of voracious book lovers, it became clear that excellent Christian literature and clean fiction is in huge demand in the East.
“People from India want to read and learn about the Western world,” says Shilpa Joshi, a Christian from Bangalore. “We want to explore places like Texas and reading about these places in novels takes us there, but I rarely come across such books.”
During a visit to India last year, browsing large Christian bookstores, I found mostly self-help and spiritual non-fiction books written mainly by Indian authors. I did come across a few nonfiction titles by big names such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Olsteen, but found almost zero Christian novels.
Renjit Varghese, a Christian from Kerala, South India lives in Kansas City now. He says that readership is growing among Indians due to the lower cost of ebooks. “But Christian books are difficult to find in India,” says Varghese. “Even more rare is fiction written by American authors. “When I go back home to Kerala, I take books back with me for my family.”
Seeing the need to connect Christian authors in the West with readers in the East, Authors Caryl McAdoo and I (Both members of American Christian Fiction Writers – AFCW) began a website: www.indiascrown.com. The full name of this premier site is India’s Crown in Christian Literature Excellence (ICICLE).
The website will feature American Christian authors with books marketed in India through Amazon and other sources. Each author featured will also give away a copy of their book to a reader from India.
“ICICLE is a place where authors and readers can also connect,” Caryl Mcadoo, Author of Vow Unbroken, reiterated. “It surprised me to discover a few years ago that people all over the world love Texas. My historical Christian romance—reviewers have told me I should add western adventure to my genre—Vow Unbroken is set in 1832 Texas, so I am excited about the untapped market in India. And while it’s nice to sell more books, I’m more excited with the aspect of meeting Indian Christians and making friends across the ocean. With Christ in common, we can minister to one another and see that God is doing wonderful things in other places.”
So….Caryl and I are off and running on a well-thought out and massive campaign to bring awareness of www.indiascrown.com to India to fill this niche with literary minded Christians working on both sides of the ocean. It is time now to welcome authors to contact us about promoting their book. We are filling our calendars now. We are thrilled to be wide open to Indy titles, but do want to read them ahead of time to ensure the excellence in Christian Literature we advertise.
It is this assurance that will catapult India’s Crown into the organization we believe God wants it to be. Visit the site and contact us with any questions.
Get ready Christian authors in the US! Indian readers want your books! And what a platform God has given us to spread the Gospel through our Christian Fiction.
Author Caryl McAdoo, Author Holly Michael, Blog, Book Reveal Party, Caryl McAdoo, Christian, Christian Historical Fiction, Christian Literary Fiction, Crooked Lines, Facebook, Hearts Stolen, Holly Michael, India Christianity, Novel, Texas, Vow Unbroken, www.writingstraight.com
My novel, CROOKED LINES, will be launched August 3rd! Just a little more than thirty days from today. Woohoo! I’ll try to post something pithy every day about CROOKED LINES. Got lots going on to get ready for the launch, have another book due to my editor soon, a couple of book proposals to write, too.
Gifts, prizes and loads of fun! Join us! Caryl’s novel, HEARTS STOLEN follows her first historical Christian romance novel, VOW UNBROKEN. My first novel, CROOKED LINES, is literary fiction. (More to come about it later). Come to the party for some fun, prizes, and to see our book covers. (I haven’t even seen mine yet…can’t wait!)!
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I grew up reading Newberry winner Betsy Byars‘ books (the mom of these beautiful ladies on the left). Read them to my children, too. (I always liked the name Betsy. It’s my sweet daughters name!)
Imagine my excitement to discover the daughters of Betsy Byars-Betsy Duffey and sister Laurie Myers-had teamed up with their mother to write more children’s books and the two continued on as the “Writing Sisters.” They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels.
Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers (above left) have teamed up with Howard Books and have published their first book for adults, “THE SHEPHERD’s SONG,” an inspirational novel about second chances. LOVED IT! (See my review below).
The Shepherd’s Song: Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper–a copy of Psalm 23–as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.” Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational marathon, this humble message forever changes the lives of twelve very different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures. With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.
WRITING SISTERS AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Holly: What inspired you to come up with this fantastic book idea?
Betsy & Laurie: The idea for The Shepherd’s Song began in a small coffee shop in Madison, Georgia, where we meet every week to write. That morning we prayed for God to reveal our next writing project. Up till that time we had written children’s books individually and together and we thought we had come to the coffee shop to plan our next children’s book. Betsy had read the 23rd Psalm that morning in her quiet time that day. We had both committed our writing to God and began to think the Psalm would be a good subject for a book. The problem was we couldn’t see it as a children’s book. As children’s writers it was hard to imagine writing a book that was longer than 64 pages! We knew that we could only do it with God leading us. The more we talked about the idea the more excited we became and we finished drafts of the first two stories that day.
Holly: The characters and places seem so real. Tell me about your research?
Betsy & Laurie: The physical traits of the characters come from people that we see, a stranger on the street or people that we know. The emotions of the character come from our own feelings. Since we were writing about people in different cultures we used readers from each culture to guide us and help to stay true. The locations were fun to research. We used some familiar locations in the book, Laurie had recently visited Italy and Betsy lived several years in Turkey. The others we explored through video and pictures.
Holly: What is your writing strategy, working together as sisters?
Betsy & Laurie: We discovered early on that we had to have spiritual agreement to have unity on the page. In collaboration there will be differences of opinion, which are good and bring growth and depth to the work. It is in the resolution of the disagreements that our faith is exercised. We decided that we would never go forward in any area of writing or publishing without agreement. We begin each writing session with prayer and are constantly submitting the work to God. Staying in harmony with God keeps us in harmony with each other. We can do more together. As we constantly try to align our work with God’s will, we align ourselves with each other.
Holly: Besides your mom, which writers inspire the two of you?
Betsy & Laurie: We have been readers all our lives from our first book mobile! During the writing of The Shepherd’s Song two books stand out as significant. First, Andy Stanley’s Visioneering. We read and worked through this book together as we defined our vision for writing and learned how to work together. The second book was Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge. We used this devotion together for forty days to develop spiritual unity in our work. We also love to read for fun and are constantly sharing books as we meet each week. Christian classics and contemporary fiction are our favorites.
Holly: Next projects?
Betsy & Laurie: When we decided to write for God we chose a verse to be a mission statement for us: We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. Psalm 78:4 We love using fiction to show how God works in the world and we are continuing to write using Scripture as a catalyst for change in our stories. Our next book focuses on the Lord’s Prayer and we are learning so much as we study and research this great prayer.
My review: Get ready for an inspirational journey across the world with The Shepherd’s Song, a well-crafted novel that uses the 23rd Psalm, written on a slip of paper, to bring well-developed characters and readers close to the heart of God. Like me, you’ll want to keep this captivating book on your nightstand with your Bible. After you read it, you’ll pick it up again and again.
The prose is exceptional. The characters, believable. The plot, inspiring.
My blog’s theme is based on connections. I love how Duffey and Meyers used the 23rd Psalm to masterfully connect the characters across the globe.
Though the twelve stories are short, the writing sisters creatively and ingenuously draw the reader into the lives of seemingly real people. Their emotional journey becomes yours as you feel for them in their struggles and cheer them on when they grasp the love God expresses to them through the lines of the psalms.
The Shepherds Song is a great book to give as a gift or to use for a Bible study or book club discussion group. I can’t give it less than five stars!
So happy to share this blog about The Shepherd’s Song after Good Shepherd Sunday!
The word Lent stems from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “lengthening of days.” www.Biblegateway.com says:
Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and temptation in the desert, and Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.
Lent, then, is generally observed as a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter. It is commonly observed by many Christian denominations–Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and others–although not every Christian church or denomination does so.
Even though it’s cold and snow still covers the ground (at least here in Kansas City), the lengthening of days is happening. Daylight savings time begins this Sunday. Days should get warmer and longer, even though winter seems like it will never go away.
Even if we can’t see it now, there are stirrings in nature, small buds appearing, seeds preparing to burst into beautiful flowers.
Like Spring, Lent should be a time of stirring, growth, a time to lengthen ourselves, to stretch ourselves to be better, more Christ-like.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
During our Ash Wednesday service, Bishop Leo Michael, our pastor at St. James Anglican Church (who’s also my husband) said we shouldn’t boast about what we are going to give up for Lent because then we already get our reward. He advised to do these things in secret.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
So, I’m not saying anything about my small sacrifices, but I will announce that I’m welcoming the season of Lent in order to strive toward becoming a better me.
Like seeds and tiny buds are stirring and growing, I hope, by Easter, to be strengthened, lengthened, and bloomed into someone a little more Christ like.
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10
Have a blessed Lent Season!
Very happy for Christina, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. I’m thrilled to have this up-and-coming author on my blog today. Christina will share a little bit about her faith walk and also about her soon to be best-selling novel: The Guardian’s Promise. Take it away Christina Rich:
There was a time when being a Christian meant I had to go to church every Sunday and Wednesday and every other day church was open. It meant I wore skirts. It meant I bowed my head and closed my eyes when I prayed. It meant reciting the sinner’s prayer every time I heard it and asking for forgiveness for all the things I had already repented.
To me, being a Christian was a bunch of rules and regulations. It was filled with the how tos and the how not tos.
Remember the Samaritan woman at the well? She came to draw water from the well and met Jesus. We all know how the story goes. Jesus asks her for a drink of water, which was akin to him asking for water from a leper. It just wasn’t done. And then, if that wasn’t enough, Jesus tells her that she should be asking him for a drink of water. Whoa! This poor woman, no doubt, about fell over. But it gets better. Jesus informs her of her indiscretions, as if she didn’t know. Surely this women is in awe. Who wouldn’t be?
But she realizes Jesus is a prophet, and maybe if she allowed herself to hope a little, he was the Messiah. But she couldn’t hope, because if he was then that meant she could never drink from the cup he offered. Not only is she a Samaritan, but…
Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
In essence, your rules, your laws will not allow me to worship you, Lord because I must worship here, while you are in Zion.
No, she didn’t say that, but I quite imagine her line of thought followed in a similar vein. I can also imagine:
Jesus dipped his chin to hide a smile. My dear, dear woman, do you not understand? “Believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you know not,: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.”
Her cheeks turned rosy with shame. Disappointment burdened her heart.
“But an hour will come, even now, when true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Gathering courage to speak, she inhaled a shuddering breath. “I know that Messiah will come, who is called Christ: when he comes, he will tell us all things.”
Jesus squeezed the tassels of his tallit in his hand. Father, thank you for times such as this. “I am he.” (Based off John 4)
Ari, the hero in The Guardian’s Promise, was raised a Levite. Much of his life was dedicated to studying the law. It was filled with rituals and rules, but then Athaliah came into power and destroyed the temple. Altars all over Judah were destroyed. His way of life changed. The loss of the temple represented losing God. Ari struggles with the loss and often wonders if God forgot about him.
A soft breeze rustled his garments, bringing with it the sweet smell of the henna blossoms hedged around the vineyards. He saw Mira, pure and innocent, in his mind’s eye, leaning over one of the small flowers inhaling the scent just as she had earlier in the day. His life’s blood quickened with the need to touch her fingertips. To press his lips to her brow. If only for a second.
Ari gripped the neck of his tunic in anguish and threatened to rend the garment in two. Even when Jehoiada sent word of his imminent freedom, Ari knew he could never return to the temple and the duties he’d held before Athaliah’s murderous rampage. Life as he had known it had ceased to exist when he had left the gates of Jerusalem. And as hard as it had been to abandon his beloved city with all haste in her time of trouble, it would be even more difficult to leave this village and the friends he’d made.
Blowing out a breath of air, Ari released the fabric and prayed for peace to settle his anxious heart. Although he had not forgotten even one day to meditate on the Lord’s law, at times he doubted whether God had remembered him. Had the Lord abandoned him altogether? Had the Lord forgotten Joash? Had the Lord forgotten His covenant with King David?
“Do you remember your promise to David, Lord? ‘Your house and your kingship shall ever be secure before you, your throne shall be established for evermore.’” He shook his fist at the heavens before bowing his head in remorse.
Questioning God’s faithfulness did not set well in his soul. He knew once the questioning began, it would soon fester and eat away at his heart. Ari fought the urge to bury his face into his hands. Instead, he stared into the great void and waited for some sort of reprimand from God Himself.
The quiet was only interrupted by the bleating of a goat. Still, he waited, for God’s peace to cloak him. Just as he was about to give up and seek his sleep, a star streaked across his vision and faded into the dark night. He recalled a psalm memorized from childhood.
If the Most High, in all of His greatness, cared to name even the stars and knew their number, would He not remember Ari?
“Forgive me. The unknown is like torment.” He paused. “If You hear me, O Lord,” his voice a mere whisper to his own ears, “grant me Thy guidance. Thy wisdom. Courage. I am Your servant, Most High, humbled before You.” Whether bound to another man’s house or in freedom. He inhaled the warm, henna-scented night air. An ache throbbed in his chest at the fragrance so much a part of Mira. Could he love her? Could she love him? Of course, it did not matter if God did not will it. Closing his eyes, he bowed his head. “I will go where You lead.”
God spoke to Ari in such a clear, yet gentle manner. How like God. In what seemed liked Ari’s most trying time, when God seemed so far away, He was showing Ari that worship wasn’t about burnt offerings and sacrifice, it about a relationship in truth and in spirit.
Thank you Christina,
For a great historical, inspirational read, I highly recommend: The Guardian’s Promise by this very talented author, Christina Rich.
Rich Maffeo is one of my favorite Christian authors. He blogs over at The Contemplative Catholic Convert. I found a lot of spiritual wisdom in his well-written, inspiring blog post today and asked his permission to reprint it here.
Here’s the blog in its entirety:
I published this essay in my book, Lessons Along the Journey. I re-posted it to my blog about a year ago. The incident below occurred decades ago, but from time to time I talk with people who, like Robert, cannot (or choose not to) believe God’s great love and forgiveness could be directed toward them. To everyone else, yes. But not to and for them. After a more recent conversation along these lines, I thought to re-post this again. There are still many Christians who need the reminder.
I think that if God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as higher tribunal than Him. — C. S. Lewis
MY VERY OWN FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER
The shadowy figure darted behind a tombstone and peered steadily into the darkness. When he was satisfied no one had spotted him, he thrust his shovel into the fresh grave — again and again. Soon, his spade thudded against the casket. A few minutes later, he lifted the corpse onto his shoulders and grunted.
Dr. Frankenstein would be pleased.
I’m surprised I still remember the 1950s horror film. Dr. Frankenstein zapped the cadaver with a bolt of electricity and brought the dead back to life. Unfortunately, the monster ended up terrorizing the countryside.
Have you noticed how our culture seems preoccupied with death? Surf the TV most evenings or browse the sci-fi section in online streaming sites. The titles may surprise you. Even some Christians seem preoccupied with restoring life to things that ought to stay dead.
Robert is a good example. He has a bad habit of digging around in graveyards — mostly his. He called me some time ago in a state of depression, “How can God forgive me?” he pleaded. “You don’t know what I’ve done.”
That was not the first conversation I’d had with him over the same theme. I’ve lost count of the times Robert has called for assurance of God’s forgiveness. And each time I remind him of Scripture’s promises, he responds with his characteristic, “Yes, but.”
As he spoke, a mental image of the Frankenstein monster formed as Robert again dug up his past — a past covered by Christ’s blood. I watched him piece together one old sin after another, assembling them into a monster that terrorized him and his family.
This time, though, I could not find fault only with my friend’s needless despair. With seamless precision, my thoughts propelled me toward my own graveyard where “Yes, but” is etched on several tombstones.
Like Robert, I know Scriptures that assure me of God’s forgiveness. So why do I dig around in my past, piecing together my own monster? Why do I permit the creature that Christ put to death be resurrected and wreak havoc on my life and hurt my relationship with God and with others?
I know why. Sometimes I doubt our Father’s trustworthiness. I am skeptical that Christ’s sacrificial death could cover my despicable sins. So, I revive my past, lifting each sin onto my shoulders as if to say, “Lord, if you really knew what I’ve done, you would never forgive me.”
On the other end of the line, Robert’s litany of reasons why God was angry with him gained momentum. With each passing thought, he dug himself deeper into the Yes, but pit until I couldn’t take anymore.
“Robert,” I interrupted.
He stopped talking and I reminded him again — myself as well — of the promises which stand more sure than Earth itself, of promises more secure than any anchor, of promises that transcend all of our “Yes, buts”:
“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “[Therefore], now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Scripture after Scripture, promise after promise swirled though my mind and slipped across my tongue. I don’t know if they helped Robert, but I know they helped me to once again place my monster back into the crypt. By God’s grace, I will leave it there. Life is too short, and the laborers too few, to waste time and energy carrying a dead man around on my shoulders.
God says to the penitent: Forgiven. Satan whispers: Guilty.
Whom will we believe?
I’ve been hinting at it, but didn’t want to share the news too soon. Now I can because I finally got the signed book contract in the mail! Doing a happy dance! YAY!!! My first book contract!!! And with a major publisher! Thank you Harvest House Publishers! Thank you editor, Kim Moore, who listened to my pitch at the ACFW Writer’s Conference last fall and had faith and confidence in me and in this project!
So why is Jake holding the contract with me?
We are co-authoring this devotional book! So excited to be working on this project with my son.
And, I’m still working on my novels. Finishing up final edits on #2 and working on #3. Thankful to God for this gift and hope for more book contracts in 2014!
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