Friday, December 21, 2012

"His Love Endures Forever"



 Holiday Blessings




My card to you, dear Reader, is a nostalgic offering from Katharin Fiscaletti, reminding us of a childhood pastime we've most likely shared. Simple folds of white paper, snipped with snub-tipped scissors to form snowflakes in honor of the coming winter.

But look again at this design. Do you see them?
Hearts. Cast over an endless universe of deep violets and blues, sprinkled with distant suns. Symbols of love, particularly framing the Messiah's star.

Why?

One reason. One thought to hold in our hearts as we look up at the stars this week.

His love endures forever.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."

Blessings, dear everyone!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Adversity


 

Today, with help from Kien, Scythe/Pet, and Ela, (in an imagined scene from PROPHET, courtesy of awesome artist, Katharin Fiscaletti) we are contemplating adversity.

We’ve already discussed villains and antiheroes—those characters who drive the plot and add tension by keeping our heroes and readers in suspense.  But what about pure, simple adversity--the trials and travails that force us out of our comfort zones?

What is adversity’s role in our stories and our lives?

From a literary perspective, adversity provides the means to explore our protagonist’s views of life, and tests his or her reactions to life’s slingstones of misfortune.

Adversity, be it spiritual testing, physical ordeals that wear upon us over time, or personal battles with emotions, force us to become stronger, better people (or creatures, as in Pet’s case) and hopefully compel us to become fascinating characters who delight others.

What do we cherish as we journey through life? What makes us whole spiritually? What gives us strength?

True adversity, dear readers, compels us to choose our values. Knowing this, what will Kien decide?

Is love worth destroyer-style pain?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Unexpected Christmas Hero

The moment I saw the cover for this book, Unexpected Christmas Hero, I fell in love with its charming, wistful "greeting card" mood. But there's a real-life mystery behind this Unexpected Christmas Hero cover--offering us a chance to reunite a family for the holidays. Read on!
Unexpected Christmas Hero is an inspiring and compelling story of friendship and survival. Forced by unexpected circumstances to live on the streets and in homeless shelters, Josie Meyers and her two small children share in the lives and struggles of other homeless people. Eventually, Josie meets Rick, a homeless, disabled vet who becomes their hero and friend. While living in the shelters she continually hears the gospel, reigniting memories of the words she heard and believed as a child. Will these events lead her and her children home to the ultimate shelter?



Read "the story behind the story" and help reunite a family: http://kathimacias.com/help-reunite-a-family/

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SCAVENGER HUNT STOP # 15!


R. J. Larson

Home of Biblical Fantasy author R. J. Larson's Blog.


First *R.J. steps aside* The official guidelines!

Follow the clues to win the grand prize: a Kindle Fire and 31 free books, each autographed by the authors!

WELCOME, to the Fall Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt~~we hope you're enjoying the stories as you search!

·         This hunt begins 10/25 at noon MDT

·         The fun finish falls on 10/28 at midnight MDT—plenty of time; no need to rush!

·         Enjoy 31 stops, each with a different author and fresh, new-to-you content!

·         Discover authors with new or soon-to-be-released novels

·         Collect the clues in red on each post, beginning from Stop #1 and at Stop#32, fill out the Rafflecopter form. Be ready to provide the completed clue quote, gathered from all 31 stops, within 24 hours of email notification or another winner will be randomly drawn. No need to email/submit it, unless you are notified on 10/29/12.
 
  • Grand Prize: A new Kindle Fire, plus 31 new novels! 
UPDATE!!! The winners have been chosen!
The GRAND PRIZE winner is: Jennifer Friedley
The second and third prize $50 gift certificates went to: Laura McEwen and Gretchen Michels Garrison!!!

Congratulations, to the winners!!!

·         2nd & 3rd Prizes: $50 Amazon, B&N, CBD or BookDepository.com gift certificate

·         (Contest is open to international entrants. If the winner lives outside the United States, they shall win the equivalent in gift certificate funds to the prize in US dollars.)

[R. J. returns!]

Welcome, Hunters! I'm pleased to introduce our delightful guest at this stop, one of my fellow Shakespeare-fan friends, Leslie Gould!

 Leslie Gould is the Christy award-winning and bestselling author of fifteen novels. Her latest, Courting Cate, is inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Leslie enjoys traveling, watching soccer games, and binge reading. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and four children. Visit her at
Her Website    
FaceBook! 
 and
Twitter!
 
Courting Cate:

In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!

But the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor--until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.

Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate's hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?

 

Now, dear Hunter, here is an exclusive sneak-peek at Leslie's recent journey to Lancaster county, the setting for Courting Cate, narrated by Leslie!

 

Snapshots of Lancaster County

Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” influenced the plot of Courting Cate, while the pastoral beauty of Lancaster County inspired the setting.




Courting Cate is set in the picturesque landscape around Paradise, Pennsylvania. I drew on this photo of green rolling hills and Amish barns as I described the “farmette” where Cate lives and the surrounding countryside.
Don’t be fooled by the beauty of the laundry on the line. It took a lot of hard work to get it there. I’d much rather write about the work of an Amish woman than actually do it. Cate, in my story, avoids doing laundry at all costs, leaving it to her sister, Betsy.

I love this photograph for a couple of reasons. First, someone who lives in an Amish home is selling a motorbike. Is he (I’m assuming it’s a young man) finished with his Rumschpringe (running around time)? Or upgrading to a bigger bike? Cate, in my story, is a bit prickly (okay, a lot prickly), but she’s not wild. The whole Rumschpringe never appealed to her, and she joined the church while still in her teens. Still, she has some growing up to do.


My husband, daughter, and I just happened to drive by this church wagon while tooling around Lancaster County. “Stop!” I shouted. (My poor hubby.) I have lots of church wagons in my stories, but this is the only one I’ve seen in real life. A wagon like this one would be filled with tables, benches, and other items and transported to the family hosting church services that Sunday in their home.















Cate is a bit of a speed demon when it comes to driving her buggy. In a pivotal scene in the story she and Pete, the man she loves to hate, go for a drive and race over a covered bridge. Even though covered bridges have a romantic quality, this particular scene doesn’t. The romance comes later.
 
 
Speaking of romance, this image inspired me to incorporate a sunset into Courting Cate as the backdrop for these lines:
And where two raging fires meet together,
They do consume the thing that feeds their fury.
“The Taming of the Shrew,” II.1.125-126, William Shakespeare

R. J. here: Leslie, thank you!  I'm a fantasy/history/Biblical "swords and cloaks" author and reader, but Courting Cate is now on my reading list~~I cannot resist Shakespeare, and Cate's feisty, "I dare you" image on the cover!

Hunters, if you are equally tempted by Courting Cate, here are a few handy "Buy Now" links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD! Or purchase a copy at your favorite bookstore! 

THE SCAVENGER HUNT BASICS: 

Before you go, write down this STOP #15 clue: And
 
WAIT! Speaking of and: Enter to win a signed copy of PROPHET, plus the audio cd of Volume #1 in the acclaimed Books of the Infinite series! *Easy*
Just click on the Rafflecopter form below to "like"
R. J. Larson's Facebook page! 
 
<a Rafflecopter giveaway>

Now, blessings and onward to stop #16, Leslie Gould's own site!



Monday, September 24, 2012

While I'm pondering my next blog post, Dear Reader, it occurred to me that I haven't fulfilled a pledge to post a vocab list for my series. As promised, here it is...the Character List for JUDGE. Enjoy!


In order of name’s appearance:

Kien Lantec \Kee-en Lan-tek\ Military judge-advocate for the Tracelands.
ToronSea \Tor-on-Sea, or, Tor-on-Sea\ Southern coastal town in the Tracelands.
Ela Roeh \El-ah Roe-eh\ Prophet of Parne.
Ara Lantec \Are-ah Lan-tek\ Rade Lantec’s wife. Kien’s mother.
Scythe \ Sīth\Long 'I'\ A destroyer. Kien and Ela’s monster-warhorse.
General Rol \Rawl\ The Traceland’s General of the Army.
Tamri Het \Tam-ree Het\ Citizen of Munra, Siphra.
Tzana Roeh \Tsaw-nah Roe-eh\ Ela’s sister.
Beka Thel \Bek-ah Thell\ Jon Thel’s wife. Kien’s sister.
Belaal \Bell-A-el\ Kingdom south of Siphra.
Agocii \Ah-goss-ee\ Mountain tribes bordering Belaal.
Eosyths \E-o-siths\ Mountain tribes south of Parne.
Jon Thel \Jon Thell\ A Tracelands military commander. Beka’s husband.
Rade Lantec \Raid Lan-tek\ Kien’s father. The Tracelands preeminent statesman.
Ruestock \Roo-stock\ Exiled former Siphran ambassador to the Tracelands.
Tsir Aun \Sir Awn\ Istgard’s prime minister. Tek Lara’s husband.
Tek Lara \Tek Lar-ah\ A cousin to the deceased king of Istgard.
Bel-Tygeon \Bell-Ty-jee-on\ King of Belaal.
Akabe Garric \Ah-cabe Gair-rick\ Former Siphran rebel. The Infinite’s chosen king of Siphra.
Adar-iyr \Ad-are-eer\ Island kingdom off the coast of Siphra.
Sius Chacen \See-es Chase-en\ Eldest son of Parne’s deposed chief priest, Zade Chacen.
Zade Chacen \Zaid Chase-en\ Parne’s deposed chief priest.
Dan Roeh \Dan Roe-eh\ Ela’s father.
Kalme Roeh \Call-may Roe-eh\ Ela’s mother.
Ninus \Nine-es\ King of the island-city, Adar-iyr.
Za’af Chacen \Zay-aff Chase-en\ Second son of Parne’s deposed chief priest Zade Chacen.
Ishvah Nesac \Ish-vaw Ness-ak\ The Infinite’s chosen chief priest of Parne.
Siyrsun \Seer-sun\ Belaal’s General of the Army.






Now.... Don your cloaks, say a prayer, and follow Kien....

Thursday, August 23, 2012



 

Batman. Dirty Harry. Scarlett O’Hara. Hamlet. Gollum. Bad Master. Sydney Carton.

 Often described as a literary or cultural trope, the antihero is probably older than Odysseus. Older, even, than most classically accepted hero-types.

Today, in order to illustrate a few points, I’ve joined forces with YA wonder-artist, fifteen-year-old Kristina Fiscaletti, (of the amazing Fiscaletti clan) who has graciously shared her own sketches of the tragic antihero, Bad Master. *Bows to Kristina.*

Dark, brooding, or simply willing to defy cultural norms to achieve a goal, a true antihero reflects humanity’s bleaker, almost repulsive traits. Yet we love our not-quite-heroes and heroines.

Why?

Simple. Antiheroes are closer to true human nature than classic heroes. Antiheroes embody our secret weaknesses and often act out our defiant hidden impulses, which are usually—with good reason—frowned upon by civilized societies. Most antiheroes don’t accept oppression meekly. (But neither do strong classic heroes!) And a true antihero often reveals noble characteristics, usually with a courage most of us mere mortals only wish we possessed.

Often, antiheroes are called upon to save heroes—to brave harm or death for the sake of good. Remember the alcoholic Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities? As he is facing death for the sake of his beloved and her hero-husband, he concludes, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known!" *R. J. searches for tissue. Blows nose.*

By contrast, Antiheroes are often resentful if they’re rescued, particularly if the rescuer is—through some cruel twist of the author’s scheming imagination—an erstwhile foe, or *worse* the hero! (For pity’s sake, doesn’t the hero draw enough accolades?)

Most important to the author, however, is that an antihero’s tempestuous nature presents opportunities for redemption, usually at a pivotal moment in the plot, or even at the story’s epic climax. Better yet, the antihero might be allowed to remain an unresolved mystery to readers.
 
See those tears? Are they real? Dare we allow ourselves to hope for our beloved antihero’s redemption?
Stay tuned, Dear Reader!
Stay tuned....

Monday, August 06, 2012

It's true. I've posted nothing new since March.
"Why not?" you ask.
Becaauuuuse I've been sick since May, which is about the time guilt would have driven me to post new content. (Yes, I'm partial to my lifelong guilt-complex. Deserved or not, guilt is a great self-motivator.)

Now, before you start tapping your foot or offering the name of a wise and trusted mental health counselor, I DO have a bit of news!

PROPHET will be free on all e-readers (Nook, Kindle, Sony, all those lovely e-formats!) on August 14th, 2012. Yes, dear everyone, for 24-hours--one full day--Bethany House Publishers is allowing me to whoop it up and tell all my friends that they can read Ela's story for FREEEEEE!!!!!

WOOO-HOOO!!!!!
*Cough-cough-cough.*
Okay, that was enough excitement for one day. And, yes, I'm still sick. My traditional bout of springtime allergies has chosen to stay with me through the summer and blossom into sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.

I had no idea I was such wonderful company. *Sniffs.*

But fear not! I AM following doctors' orders and recovery is in sight.

Which means I'll be pestering you more often!
Now, however, I must return to proof-reading the final galley of JUDGE, which is due to hit stores on November 1, 2012.

Cough or no cough, energy or no energy, the work continues!!!

Blessings, dear everyone.
And if you have any sore throat remedies, I'll be taking notes.
Right now, I'm certain that hot chocolate with whipped cream does work as a soothing remedy. :)

Cheers!


Monday, March 12, 2012

R. J.’s turn.

What? How could Kacy blog about villains—my villains included—without mentioning, “That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain”???  Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 105-109

All right. Fine. Because Kacy has dealt with the villains in the previous post—which is contrary to her retiring nature, but appreciated due to my lack of time in October and since then—I will consider heroes. All heroes, excluding antiheroes, who deserve their own blog, and hero sandwiches. (Though sandwiches are always welcomed during writing deadlines!)

What are we looking for when we study our heroes? Courage, of course. And, if they’re not necessarily handsome, they must at least be charming. Or possess some beguiling aspect that entices us as readers/movie-goers/hero-followers-in-general, to become fans of this hero.

Honor. Resourcefulness. Humor. Strength. A willingness to defend others who are vulnerable. The desire to defend certain ideals. A sacrifice of self. A champion!

Heroes, whether male or female, model characteristics that the rest of us ought to imitate or admire. Furthermore, every hero must reveal a few weaknesses, evoking our empathy, love, compassion and devotion! Our heroes make us long to follow them.

After spending almost two years with one of my current fiction heroes, I’ve concluded that Kien Lantec’s greatest mortal weakness—apart from his overwhelming love for Ela—is his tendency to rush to judgment. Not always, but just enough to land Kien in a sea of trouble.

Fortunately, Kien manages to greet trouble with humor and resilience. And an epic Azurnite sword.

Now that I've inflicted my idea of a hero on you, tell me...what qualities do you expect in your heroes?