Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: A to Z Devotions for Writers

Click to see at CrossLink Publishing
"A to Z Devotions for Writers" is a must have for Christian writers! Pam's new book shares Scripture, personal stories, prayer, and writing prompts to encourage writers to WRITE! Whether you're a new writer or you've been writing for thirty years, each devotion will touch you and encourage you on your writing journey.

Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars!

Overview: Do the ugly twins of Fear and Self-Doubt roar at you when you write? A to Z Devotions for Writers tames these snarling beasts! Armed with the sword of God’s Word, encouraging meditations, applicable prayers and “block” busting writing prompts, writers will move ideas from fleeting thoughts to grounded manuscripts. (from book cover)

What I liked: The author's down-to-earth style. She uses relevant personal stories for each writing point and backs it with Scripture. Many devotions also include writing tips and questions that make you think.

I love that writing prompts were included with the devotions! They encourage readers to take the lesson farther. Two of my favorites were write your testimony (T is for Testimony) and write out your writing goals (Y is for Yearn).

The Table of Contents was a nice addition to the book. I could quickly scan to see what each day's alphabet topic would be.

I found the opening "Gleaning the most from A to Z Devotions for Writers" to be very helpful. It focuses readers by telling them what to expect and gives recommendations for the best way to do the devotions.

What I didn't like: It is a little hard to read the back cover. I wish the font was bigger, especially for the paragraph about what the book is about. 

I would love to see more devotions for Christian writers (there isn't that much out there). This is a fantastic book of encouragement. Maybe Pam will do a sequel someday (I can hope).

Pam's book is available at the following locations:
Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: I am a part of Pam William's writing group ( I helped edit the book. I tried to make my review as unbiased and as honest as possible. Pam did not ask me to do this review.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Song for Sunday - Worn

Do you feel worn today? You can be reborn. 

Jesus, mend our hearts. Amen.

Tenth Avenue North - Worn

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Devotion To Be Published!

I just got a check in the mail! 

The Secret Place by Judson Press is publishing one of my devotions (The Reluctant Servant)!  It will come out around Christmas time!  

Woo Hoo! Happy Dance....

Come on, dance with me!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Whatcha Workin' On?

I haven’t blogged about my writing lately, so I’ll give a little update.

Fiction – Stalled. :0(

Non-fiction – Working! :0) In April, I felt God’s call to write a Bible Study for writers, so that’s what I’m working on! The title is “Writing On Your Knees: A Bible Study for Writers”.  The study is designed to help Christian writers grow closer to God and therefore be inspired to use their writing for God to reach others. I have an outline for 12 lessons. Three are done. Another three are almost done and the rest I have jotted notes.

This project has been a really neat process in trusting and waiting on God. Before I write anything, I go to God for guidance. Not once has he failed to show me how he wants the study to go. I’ve gotten feedback from a few in my writing group and they want me to do the study with our whole writing group in the Fall, which is really exciting. 1. That gives me a deadline, which I need! 2. That will give me much needed feedback before I seek publication.

What are your thoughts on a Bible Study like this?

What are you working on this summer?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: The Help

Click to see on Amazon
Loved "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett! I saw the movie awhile back and wanted to read the book 
(I know backwards, right?!). The movie was pretty close to the book. Only a few things were changed. 

Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars

What I liked: The characters (all of them) are awesome -- some of the best I've ever read! You'll love most of them and you'll love to hate a few of them. 

I loved the "realness" of the book even though it is fiction. You can feel the racial tension of the time period. I also like the references to certain things from the period that make it feel real (color TV, air conditioning, Shinalator, Shake N Bake, certain song titles, Kennedy being shot, Rosa Parks, etc.).

What I didn't like: Nothing. Well, that's not true...I'd love to read a prologue to find out what happens to the characters, say 10 years down the road. The ending is fine, but I'd like a little more.

If you haven't read this book or watched the movie, you are really missing out!  Go get them.  Yes, right now!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

A to Z Devotions for Writers

Click to see at Crosslink
OK, I'm about to burst! My writing friend and mentor, Pam Williams just got her book published! I was going to wait and feature it when it goes on sale at Amazon in ten or so days, but I can't wait!

It is currently on sale at Crosslink Publishing.

I was privileged to be one of the ones that helped edit this fantastic book! I love every part of the book from the insightful devotions to the awesome writing prompts! And don't you just love the book cover?!

A to Z Devotions for Writers by Pamela D. Williams
Do the ugly twins of Fear and Self-Doubt roar at you when you write? A to Z Devotions for Writers tames these snarling beasts! Armed with the sword of God’s Word, encouraging meditations, applicable prayers and “block” busting writing prompts, writers will move ideas from fleeting thoughts to grounded manuscripts.

You can visit Pam at her blog, 2 Encourage.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Song for Sunday - I Saw the Light

Hope this isn't too exciting for Sunday (LOL)! This should get the juices flowing. Feel free to do a HoeDown right in your living room -- for Jesus! 
I saw David Crowder sing this last month at Creation Fest (and yes, we were square dancing in the isles!).
David Crowder (Hoedown) I Saw The Light / I'll Fly Away (Passion 2013)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sky Jumpers MG fiction - coming soon!

I just got an advanced reader copy (ARC) for Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman! I'm so excited!

I've been following Peggy Eddleman's blog "Will Write for Cookies" for a long time now and I'm so happy to announce that her debut book comes out in September!

I'll be posting my review on September 22, right before her book is released.

How exciting! Go Peggy! 

P.S. Peggy, you definitely deserve a cookie, girl!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: Clear Winter Nights

Just read "Clear Winter Nights" [Theology in Story] by Trevin Wax, which does deliver on theology, but not so much on story. (This is an Advance Reading Copy - the book comes out September 17, 2013)

Click here to see it at Amazon
Dawn's Recommendation: 2 of 5 Stars

Overview: What happens when a young Christian dealing with disillusionment and doubt spends a weekend with an elderly, retired pastor? They talk. And no subject is off limits. Clear Winter Nights is a stirring story about faith, forgiveness, and the distinctiveness of Christianity. Through a powerful narrative and engaging dialogue, Trevin Wax shows the relevance of unchanging truth in an ever-changing world. (from Amazon)

About the Author: Trevin Wax is an editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources. He also has written Christian non-fiction books, magazine articles and has his own blog called Kingdom People.

What I liked: It was a short read --only 147 pages, 11 chapters. 

I liked that the story included a wise grandfather who shared Jesus' love with his grandson (the MC), taking time to talk through all the grandson's doubts and questions. This character was nicely developed.

The Conversation Guide has wonderful questions, broken out by chapter, for the reader. The questions are like a self-study and refer to what the MC is going through and asks the reader related questions. Ex. "Have you ever been through a dark night of the soul when you felt separated from God? If so, what was it like?"

What I didn't like (contains spoilers!): The entire book was dialog on theology. The author on his website mentioned "The Shack" and that he wanted to try to write fiction (his normal is non-fiction), so I thought I'd give "Clear Winter Nights" a try, but the story is not very interesting. It mostly contains theological dialog between the MC, his fiance, and his grandfather. There's not much to hold the reader's attention. The MC has internal struggle about his beliefs and he talks about them. And talks. And talks.  No action. No resolution -- not even at the ending.

I didn't really like the MC. He breaks up with his fiance. His constant banter back and forth with his grandfather sometimes seemed disrespectful. He drinks, sometimes looks at porn, and is very negative about Christianity, but claims he's been a Christian since childhood. Basically, he is a confused just-out-of-college student, who cynically questions everything. (This got old for me.)

The story was so everyday, like a dialog between me and my family. In fiction, I want some action. I also want to be shown things, not told. I like to learn things about the character as the story progresses, not be told right up front. Ex. "Chris was a gentleman." Show me how by his actions, don't tell me.

The gem of the book, The Conversation Guide, is at the back. Had I known it was there, I might have enjoyed the book more (using it as I read), but the front of the book never mentions it. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Unveiling Grace

Click to see it on Amazon
"Unveiling Grace" by Lynn K. Wilder not only opens the eyes of Christians to what Mormonism is all about, but it helps Mormons find the truth in the Bible and in Jesus!

Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars

Overview: From a rare insider's point of view, Unveiling Grace looks at how Latter-day Saints are "wooing our country" with their religion, lifestyle, and culture. It is also a gripping story of how an entire family, deeply enmeshed in Mormonism, found their way out and what they can tell others about their lives as faithful Mormons. (from book's back cover)

What I liked: The story is Ms. Wilder's own family story. She shares personal experiences in wonderful detail from her entire life, to include thirty years as a Mormon. I didn't want to put the book down. I loved hearing about her life, her religion, her choices, and how Jesus worked through her family.

I learned so much about The Mormon Church (aka Church of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS). I knew before reading that LDS strayed from the Bible, but I had no idea that most of the religion is based on Joseph Smith's teachings and therefore conflicts with many things in the Bible. Our family was once approached by LDS missionaries who asked us if we had a church, which we replied we did, but then they said, "but family is most important" and they wanted to tell us more. We declined and thought, "So, they don't think other churches find family important?".  Well, after reading, "Unveiling Grace", I understand why they said that (to find out why -- read the book!).

Throughout, Ms. Wilder shares Mormon terms and wording from The Book of Mormon and other Mormon publication and compares it to what is in the Bible (there is also a comparison chart at the back of the book). I found it very interesting.

I love Ms. Wilder's courage in writing this book, standing up for Jesus, and sharing her story with Mormons, Ex-Mormons, and Christians. Her story does unveil the grace God has shown to her and it gives hope to all who are seeking (or have found) the truth in Jesus.

To view Unveiling Grace product page at BookSneeze, click HERE.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Question for the Day - Why did God make us?

My daughter asked this hard question a few week's ago in youth group.

If God knew we would sin and keep on sinning why did he make us anyway?


My response:
Even though God is not happy with sin, he loves us like a father loves his children. Even though I am not always happy with how my daughter behaves and acts, I would never choose not to have had her. Just as we delight in our children, God delights in us.

What would your answer be?