Welcome

IMG_3863 copyThank you for stopping by. The cry of my heart is to honor King Jesus. I pray that the words that flow from my heart, through the key board, and to your eyes lift your spirit to worship Him.

This life adventure is full of new twists, and I’m excited to share some of them with you. Please stop by thefreeslavesdevotion.com to visit with me and my wonderful writing partner, Susan Roach, as we explore who we are in Christ.

Don’t skip the Grace Revealing page. Stories that shout the praises of our King should not be overlooked, and I’d love for you to share yours.

If you’re interested in the fiction projects I am currently working on, please check out the WIP (that’s Work In Progress) page.

I’m certainly no miracle worker, but prayer is a gift from our Heavenly Father. If I can pray for you in any way, I’d love for you to contact me. Just fill out the form and I’ll be in touch.

Thanks again for stopping by. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

What will you do with what you believe?

This is the question God has me wrestling with right now. The theme of the final book in The Uncloaked trilogy, which I am finishing this week.

I’m not sure of the answer. It seems like it should be easy to nail down… but it’s not. Perhaps that’s because I live a pretty cozy-comfy life. Or maybe I want a better definition of the question. “What do you mean, what will I do? Do I need to do something different?”

Hmm… what do you think?

We’re discussing this in our home. What does Kingdom work look like? How can I better be the loving hands and heart of Christ to my community?

“We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love.”

Like I said, we’re wrestling with this. Recently, I sent this question out on my newsletter, and I loved some of the responses. One precious woman suggested I share them, and I thought that was a fantastic idea… so here we go:

I strongly believe that as Christians, we need to be there, listening and sharing Gods love for us and for those around us, and I truly believe that most of that comes through our actions, not words, but just that simple sign of caring for those who are struggling, alone, giving a smile as we walk by, saying bless you if someone sneezes, these little things though small seem huge to those people that feel small, lost and alone. –Julie

The simplicity of this… living and doing, with kindness, in Jesus’s name. Amen!

We should show by actions how we treat others, this, I think is easiest–when we are kind and caring helping to others. We could take time to serve others at soup kitchens, help at nursing homes reading, or talking to, or playing cards or games with residents have no one left or family to far away to visit and would love to have a family to spend time with. Teach someone to read, help children in foster care, donate our clothes, or raise funds, or goods when schools starts for them to have basics book bags, pencils and paper etc. –Debbie

So many tangible, boots-on-the-ground suggestions in that!

In my life, it has to do with everything.  When I drive in traffic, I’m a Christian.  When I’m at the grocery store, I’m a Christian.  When I’m talking or waving at my neighbors, I’m a Christian. –Sydna

Living Christ while living life. It is the same. I love this. 🙂

Our pastor says to begin each day asking God “what are you inviting me into today?” –Earlene

What a perfect question to begin each day.

We do our best to help people & in helping we pray that Christ shines through. And we leave the results with God. –Julie

Amen and amen!

What do you think? I’d love to know you thoughts about what you do with what you believe. Go head, hit me with them. Challenge me. Share with me. Make me grow.

storm

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord oh my soul, and forget none of His benefits.” ~Psalm 103:1-2

The storm gathers. I feel the winds sweeping, growing in strength and chill. The gray clouds cluster, swirling, churning, warning. It has been for a while now.

Not the first time. Won’t be tSo, in the midst of the descending darkness, when the sun hides its warmth and light, what do we do-he last. You’ve been there too.

We want to name the storm. Identify the source. Sometimes, though, it’s name is simply life. It rises and falls, there are days of sunshine and days of rain. It is appointed to be so.

So, in the midst of the descending darkness, when the sun hides its warmth and light, what do we do?

I am reminded that it was in the midst of the worst storms he’d even known–a real one, on the ocean–that John Newton finally bowed before God, and his life began a new, redeemed direction. And, in the darkest place of human depravity, Corrie and Betsy ten Boom found the hungriest souls with whom to share the good news of Christ. And the disciples… in the midst of wind and waves, they fell to their knees in a fresh level of awe.

Light breaks through the darkness. Purpose birthed into the storm. That is the power of the Redeemer, the awe and beauty of redemption.

So, come. Blow, winds. Toss, waves. Rumble, thunder. We for light to break through.

Because in the end, darkness will not defeat Light.

 

Cover Reveal! The Uncloaked

There’s something about getting the finalized version of a book cover.

Makes all of the work seem like it’s been wrapped up, that awesome cover the final bow on the package. To be honest, I was nervous about this cover. This genre can be tough, but getting the first impression right is essential. I’ve seen some fairly meh covers for this genre (please note, I’ve seen some outstanding covers for YA spec/dystopian too. That’s where I wanted the cover for The Uncloaked to fall).

I have to say, Roseanna White exceeded my expectations for this one! So, without anymore waxing and waning…

 

The Uncloaked

Need more? How about a back cover copy teaser?

No one stirred in the area—people stayed in their little hovels. Hiding, most likely. From the cold, the helplessness. Maybe from the Party. Staying out of sight, like cockroaches.

I am not a cockroach. 

***

“Apathy is the illness of the overprivileged…” Words laced with fear—and maybe a hint of prophecy. His father’s words. Words Braxton would prefer to ignore.

Braxton Luther is sixteen when the Progressive Reform Party takes over the government. It can’t be that bad. So they don’t want religion in government—that’s constitutional. He can’t understand his church’s hypersensitive reaction or his father’s cryptic warning to stand against the Party’s ultimatums.

But after living under the new government for a year, Braxton faces a choice—conform to the demands of the ungodded in order to protect his best friend, Eliza, or defy the system and go into hiding, ensuring a life of misery. Still certain that life will settle back into normalcy in the near future, Braxton chooses compliance.

Then the killings begin, and Eliza is captured and sent to Reformation Camp for her defiance. Reality finally sinks in.

And finally, just so we all know that, yes, this is really, really happening…

A preorder link. 😉

Enter the upturned world of Braxton and Eliza. Ask yourself…

Will you stand?

Changes on the Horizon

the Uncloaked FB header

It’s time.

That makes me pretty nervous, but it’s time. I hope you’ll jump in with me.

I love Women’s Fiction. I love true-to-life, shift-your-thinking fiction that transforms. Maybe even redeems. I love writing those kinds of books, and I’m not done with them yet.

But almost four years ago, I had a vision for a different kind of book. Young Adult. Dystopian–(read darker, heavier, more challenging). When I outlined the idea and showed it to Superman, he got that concerned line in the between the eyebrows thing on his face. Yikes.

“Why this? It’s not really what you’ve been doing.”

I wasn’t sure how to answer him at the moment, other than I saw the story pretty clearly, and it challenged me–how I approach who I am and what I believe–and maybe more importantly, what I do with what I believe. Not one to say, don’t try it, you’ll fall on your face, Superman nodded and said, “I can’t see it, but I’m sure you can do it.”

And so The Uncloaked began.

TU Back copy for blog

Finally, now it’s ready to face the world. Book one will release April 28th, and I’m biting my nails nervous about it. It’s not Women’s Fiction–not my brand. But it is a story that digs in deep, provokes thought, introspection, and maybe even a little change. That is me, that’s what I look for, because I don’t want to tread water in the pool of life. I want to move. To be challenged and changed and better for it.

I hope there are some Kindred Spirits out there looking for the same. But, if The Uncloaked just isn’t your cup of tea, I get it. We can still be friends. Right?

Giant Giveaway!!!

Y’all! I’m super excited…

Guess who’s participating in this promo? (Me!) Enter to win over 45 Inspirational Contemporary Romances, including books from authors like Susan May Warren, Melissa Tagg, Sarah Monzon, and Janet Ferguson.

Talk about a BIG giveaway! Pretty sure you don’t want to miss it (I might just enter myself…except, can’t). 🙂

feb-17-general-inspirational-contemporary-romance-1200graphic

This giveaway ends soon, so make sure you hurry and enter! Good luck!

 

GO HERE TO ENTER > bit.ly/inspy-contemp

Why Kale?

So….Kale.

Yeah, the character in Ordinary Snowflakes. That girl. I’m getting some interesting responses to her. Her name, actually. Some of the reviews are actually quite hilarious as they rant about this “hipster” name I’ve pegged this otherwise lovable character with. Super funny, because, well, they’re just funny. And also because if you know me at all, I’m the last woman you’d peg as a “hipster.” No kidding.

remember-dreams-ben-well-this-one-is-calesSo, for the sake of clarification, (and hey, something fun to talk about!) I thought I’d just share why I chose Kale for Ordinary Snowflakes.

I wasn’t trying to be trendy (I’ve actually never met a person named Kale (or Cale), so I didn’t know it was a trend). Or original (I’m seriously not that clever). I named her after the little girl in the movie Dreamer. (Yes, I realize in the movie her name is spelled with a C. The Anne with an E in my head told me that C always looked so smug. Arguing with Anne is silly.) That movie (Dreamer) has a couple of lines which God used to spur me forward in writing, in embracing courage and in trying for my dreams. I knew Kale was an “off” name, but because of what was pressed into my heart from that little girl’s spunk and courage, I used it in this book–for another character who’s life was full of spunk and in need of some courage.

Pretty simple, really. Honestly, I never imagined her name would stir up such strong reactions!remember-dreams-ben-well-this-one-is-cales

Oh, and yes, it’s pronounced just like that leafy green veggie you either love or hate (my daughter thinks that stuff is only good for her chickens. Just thought you’d like to know 🙂 ).

So, now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.

🙂

Guilt

Thinking about…

guilt.

I once asked a friend how to weed through the feelings of guilt that I was wresting with. Balancing being a wife, motherhood, writing, and volunteering in ministry is an ever-present concern in my world. At that moment (when I talked to  my friend) I couldn’t shake the guilt I felt every time my kids found me working on something not-them related.

She told me two things that really stuck.

First, our culture, especially the church sub-culture, tends to bombard us with the idea that our kids need our undying attention every second of every day, no matter what age they are (mine are 9-15. They don’t need my undivided attention ALL THE TIME. Seriously.). when-god-brings-conviction-into-our-lives-he-makes-it-loud-and-clear

Second, when God brings conviction into our lives, He makes it loud and clear. Sometimes we’re super good at shoving that clear conviction to a back corner of our minds, but it doesn’t make the conviction less clear. Maybe just less loud. Nagging, ambiguous guilt, though? That’s not from God. Especially when, through prayer, there’s not any clear confirmation of conviction. It’s just nagging, discouraging guilt. You know things like,

You’re not enough.

You failed again.

You’re not what your kids need.

Still not good enough.

It’s a tool of our enemy to keep us on the ground. Distracted. Defeated.

Doesn’t sound like God-work, does it?

Honestly, I still wrestle with this kind of guilt. Often. But I’m learning to come to Jesus, to ask Him to either make the conviction clear, or give me the courage to step under the shield of faith and believe Him when He says that voice of defeat is not His.

What about you? Do you wrestle with hazy, debilitating guilt? Do you think it’s God, or is there something else at work? How can you tell the difference?