A Fun Convention!

Image result for the kingdom series by chuck black  Image result for the kingdom series by chuck black

I have instilled a love of reading in all three of our boys as I spent hours reading aloud to them, complete with different voices for each character, while homeschooling. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing one of our boys excited about a book series and meeting an author.

Therefore, when our youngest son and I attended our local homeschool convention the first Friday and Saturday of  this month, one of the first booths we visited in the vendor hall was the booth of one of our youngest son’s favorite author, Chuck Black — author of “The Kingdom Series” and “The Knights of Arrethtrae Series”. Our son had already read the entire “Kingdom Series”, although he didn’t own all of the books.

He had taken the four books, two from each series, that he does own along to the conference with him to ask Mr. Black to sign them. Well, as a mom who loves to feed our sons’ love of reading, I love to buy them books. Therefore, we bought ALL of the books in both series that our son didn’t have, as well as the “Wars of the Realm” trilogy also written by Chuck Black (in other words, every book Chuck Black has written that our son didn’t have). I also purchased several other items related to the books, including the Arrethtrae Game.

It’s a lot of fun to take our son along to the homeschool conventions now that he’s old enough to take a real interest in what he likes to learn. I took him to hear one of the speakers talk about a history curriculum that she created; that I want our youngest son to do, and before she was finished speaking, he leaned over and whispered to me, “I can’t wait to study this stuff!”

We also went to a couple of talks by Mike Snavely of Mission Imperative. These talks captured and held our attention from start to finish. Mike is very personable and includes some humor and personal stories in his talks. We had visited his booth in the vendor hall and I had purchased five DVDs and a book about Dragons for our son. Then after hearing another of Mike’s talks, I returned to his booth and purchased his curriculum on Creation for our youngest, who LOVES Creation science.

We also saw a booth in the vendor hall that was selling a physical science curriculum that had some really cool projects for the student to build and supply a type of power to. Our youngest LOVES to build things — he’s obsessed with Legos, so we stopped to check out this stand. It turned out to be a great science curriculum that allows him to build some fun things and also, fill out paperwork and learn the scientific method. So, yes, we bought this too!

Now we can’t wait to start our new school year!

The Connection Between Stories and Real Life

As a writer and avid reader, I’m always interested in learning about the lives of other writers, both those who have already passed on, and those still living and writing today. I love to meet writers who are currently living and writing as well.

That’s why I love books and movies like “The Man Who Invented Christmas” which is about the life of Charles Dickens. I have seen the movie and it will always be one of my all-time favorites. I have the book but haven’t had the time to read it yet, but plan to in the near future.

I have also seen the movie entitled “Good-bye Christopher Robin”, which is about the life of A.A. Milne, and what a heart-breaking story that is. A.A. Milne led a very difficult and sad life. I also have the book the movie was based upon, but have not have the time to read it, but, again, plan to read it in the near future.

I usually prefer reading books to seeing movies, because books can give you a much more detailed story, not to mention that often movies change or leave out some of the important facts. Movies even sometimes fictionalize something that they really shouldn’t, especially when they deem the movie “based on a true story”.

I also enjoy visiting places that we read about in books. A few years ago, I planned a family vacation for us and we went to Chincoteague, Virginia because our youngest son and I had just finished reading all of the “Misty of Chicoteague” stories and wanted to see where Misty and the Beebe family lived. While on the island, we visited a museum where we learned that Paul Beebe had passed away, when he was young, in a car accident, but his sister, Maureen was still living on the island, but was older and had health issues and so wasn’t receiving visitors any longer. However, we did get to see some precious items that had belonged to the Beebe family because they were displayed in the museum. One of the items was the family Bible.

It’s so interesting to find and/or visit places we read about or places we know authors live or have lived. It helps to give you a better picture of the writer and their stories. Because even fiction stories are written by real live people, every story has a connection to real life, and that is fascinating.

How about you? Do you like to know more about the people who write the books you read or are you simply satisfied to enjoy their stories?

The Joy of Sharing

As a writer, editor, and reader, I love a good story. A good story excites me and I want to share it with my friends — those who also love a good story. When you have a friend who completely understands that love and excitement of a good story, it just brings so much joy and fun when you can share, with that person, the treasure of a good story.

I have a few friends who fit the above description, but the one who is most fun to talk to about good story, is my dear friend, Sarah. We just love to talk about books we’ve read that we have found to be really good; characters that make us laugh, make us angry, that we can relate to; and movies that have good story and relatable characters. The excitement and joy of a good story just bubbles out of Sarah as she shares, and I catch her excitement and joy, and it works the same way when I share with her.

I treasure this connection with Sarah because she is much younger than I am, and I have found some young people who struggle to relate to older folks, as well as some younger folks who are difficult to relate to, so my relationship with Sarah brings me joy, not just because we relate about good stories, but because she actually enjoys talking to me.

Last Sunday, when Sarah came into church and saw me, she said, “I saw the best movie I have ever seen last night.” When I asked what the movie was, she said, “It’s called The Man Who Invented Christmas.” To which I responded, “Oh, I love that movie!” The woman, whom I had been chatting with before Sarah came in, chuckled at our excitement and enthusiasm and left us to share our joy and excitement over the movie.

But our conversation didn’t stop with that movie. After talking about the movie, we began talking about books we were reading or had recently finished. It’s just such a joy to share something you love with a friend who totally “gets it”.

Do you have a friend you love to share your favorite books and movies with? Does it bring joy to your heart to share with that friend? Good books and movies are worth sharing.

A Book Launch and an Author Interview

I’m sorry this post is late today. I’ve been really busy and, honestly, I didn’t know what to post about until I received some exciting information that I just had to share.

Did you see my book review a couple of weeks ago on Twiceborn by J. P. Robinson? If not, you can read it here.

Would you like to get your very own, autographed copy of Twiceborn? Well, if you live in the Lancaster, PA area, you can do just that by attending J. P. Robinson’s Book Launch of Twiceborn at Rachel’s Creperie in Lancaster this coming Saturday, October 14, 2017 from noon until 2 p.m. J.P. will be there selling and signing copies of Twiceborn for your reading pleasure.

If you would like to know more about J.P. Robinson, you can check out an author interview he did with the “Fiction Aficionado” here. I found it very interesting and educational, and if you haven’t read Twiceborn yet, the information in this interview should capture your interest.

Happy Reading!

Do We Have a Responsibility in Regard to Our Entertainment?

Entertainment surrounds us — social media, movies, music, books, DVDs. It invades our sight, our hearing, our minds, and our hearts. Therefore, don’t we have a responsibility to be careful about what entertainment we allow to invade us?

The book of Proverbs in the Bible is a book of wisdom and in that book it says, “Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  (Proverbs 4:20-27)

Also, in the book of Philippians we read, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore, it is my understanding that we are responsible for whatever we fill our senses, our minds and our hearts with.

So, why am I talking about this? Because of a brief conversation I had with some friends recently. These friends are also believers, and we were talking about writing and one mentioned the writings of Diana Gabaldon, especially her “Outlander” series, to which I commented, “that’s garbage”. Two of my friends responded with, “No, it’s not. Her writing is fantastic.”

Now, I will admit that I have not actually read any of Diana Gabaldon’s works. So maybe she is a very skilled writer. However, I do know that her Outlander series has a lot of explicit sex in it, and a lot of it is rape, which she romanticizes.

In my opinion, that is wrong, and it certainly isn’t something I want to read and invade my mind and heart with.

Whenever I’ve made these comments about Ms. Gabaldon’s writing, I’ve heard the same thing from both Christian and non-Christian women who read these books, “That was the way it was in that place and time period.”

To which I must say, “I’m sure that NOT EVERY male/female relationship in that place and time period involved rape, just as I’m sure that EVERY woman who has ever been raped has experienced a violent, invasive, traumatic event and would not find it in the least bit romantic. Therefore, I find it irresponsible that a writer would have women romanticizing and fantasizing about their rapist(s) and the act of rape.

I find it disappointing and disheartening that Christian women are reading such things and finding them great entertainment. I refuse to read that type of so-called entertainment.

I am also very careful with what I write because I do not want to be responsible for leading someone down a crooked path. I don’t write preachy stories or stories that will have a strictly “Christian” label, but I do write with the same responsibility with which I read, and though my characters face temptation and sometimes yield to it just as any human, they will also grow and learn and find redemption.