Tuesday, August 14, 2007

As an avid reader rapidly approaching the bifocal age, I’m delighted to announce book 1 in The Genesis Trilogy, THE HEAVENS BEFORE, is now available in large-print, hardcover. Thorndike Press has given my “baby” a makeover and I’m enjoying the new look. Let me know what you think! Blessings, Kacy Barnett-Gramckow

P.S. Interested in a sample read? Here’s the Prologue:

The Heavens Before

The ancient tree of Havah stood in solitary splendor in a vast field, its pale green-leafed branches drooping softly, curtainlike, inviting passersby to come rest in the shade. It was said that Havah, Mother of All, had planted the tree after the untimely death of her favorite son, Hebel. The tree was not meant as a memorial to Hebel, but as a tranquil place where Havah might sit with her surviving children and nurture them through the remaining ages of her life.
If Havah had planted the tree herself or if she had not, it no longer mattered. For Havah and her children had passed into legend. Most people now doubted that Havah had ever lived. But the doubters were the ones who did not sit beneath the tree or climb its massive branches and listen to its leaves sighing in the quiet breeze beneath the rose-colored sky.
The doubters were also the ones who failed to recognize the countless signs about them, the marks of a young planet still resounding with the echoes of its creation. But the echoes themselves were becoming more discordant with each passing day. For the doubters were consuming the world with their own restlessness and destroying it with the violence of their desires.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

by Mary E. DeMuth

Harvest House, July 1, 2007

If you've read my previous post, you know I'm a fan of Mary E. DeMuth's fiction. This week, Mary's new book, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, hits the shelves. I'm celebrating the release by featuring Mary's work and her interview as part of a Blog Tour. It's a new experience for me to join a blog tour, but it's the least I can do as a fan and as a parent who believes in Absolute Truth. Cheers and enjoy!



Why did you write this book? Aren’t there already a bazillion parenting books out there?

Yes, I do believe there are a bazillion. I always struggle when I write a parenting book because I feel so darned small and weak. I don’t parent perfectly. But, we did live through two and half years in France, the hotbed of hyper-postmodernity. We had to learn how to parent our kids in that culture. It occurred to me that the things we learned would be helpful to American parents too. What does postmodern mean? And why should it matter to parents?Postmodernism is the waiting room between what used to be a modern worldview and what will be. According to several postmodern scholars, we’re in a shift right now, leaving modern ideas behind, but what we are shifting to is not yet fully defined. Postmoderns believe that rationalism and/or more education doesn’t necessarily create a better society. They typically don’t embrace the notion of absolute truth, though they reach for the transcendent. They are skeptical, and often question whether science is something to be embraced or feared. The question for parents is how will we mine the current worldview, even as it shifts? What in it can we embrace as biblical? What is not biblical? What I’ve seen in the church is a fearful adherence to what is familiar. So we cling to modern ideas, even though they may not be biblical and shun postmodern ideas even when they might be biblical. Our children will meet this shifting worldview no matter what our opinion of it is.

How can a parent help their children prepare for the world outside their door?

Become a conversational parent. Talk to your kids. Listen. Share your story.Dare to believe that God has much to teach you through your kids. Be humble enough to learn from them.Create a haven for your kids, an oasis in your home that protects, supports, and gives kids space to be themselves. Take seriously the mandate that you are responsible for the soul-nurturing of your children.Teach your children to joyfully engage their world, while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. Teaching this comes primarily from modeling it in your own life. Do you engage your neighbors? Are you more interested in God’s kingdom than your own? Admit your failures openly with your children, showing how much you need Jesus to live your daily life.

You are the first to admit that being authentic might require a parent to apologize after an angry outburst. Are you saying that authentic parents don’t always have it all together as some would like to think?

Yep! We are all frail, needy humans. If we present ourselves as perfect parents, never failing, always doing this correctly, we show our children we have no need of Jesus. We also set up a standard of perfection—that to be a Christian, one has to be perfect. This can lead to our children creating elaborate facades or hiding behind masks. I’d rather have my children see that even mommies make mistakes. Even mommies need Jesus every single day.

You talk about the twin values of engagement and purity. What does that mean?

Many parents subconsciously believe that true parenting means protection at any cost. We received a lot of flak for putting our children in French schools because the atmosphere there wasn’t exactly nurturing. Believe me, the decision was excruciating. But through it all, I realized that Jesus calls us all to be engaged in the culture we live in, yet not to be stained by it. That’s the beauty of engagement and purity. Abraham understood this. After God told him to leave everything and venture to a new place, he obeyed: “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8). Oswald Chambers elaborates: “Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two.” As parents journeying alongside our children through a postmodern world, this concept of pitching our tent between communion with God and engagement in the world should encourage us.

What bugs you about postmodernism?

I happen to believe in absolute truth, so that’s a problem! But more than that, I worry that all our rambling about it, trying to discern what it is, has caused us to rely more heavily on our own intellectual pursuit of God than our heart. When I get caught up in that, I remind myself of my friend Jeanne’s son Jacob, whose heart after Jesus takes my breath away. Living with a brain injury, Jacob throws off pretense as he worships God, arms vaulted to the sky in unashamed heart worship. That’s the kind of believer I want to be. That’s the kind of heart I want. I love this verse: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). For me, for my children, that’s my prayer, that we’d be simply and purely devoted to Jesus no matter what worldview we find ourselves in.

Thanks, Mary!

Read an excerpt from the book! click here.

And don't forget to visit Mary's site: crazy blog here.

To purchase, click here.

Other links:

5 Minutes for Mom - http://www.5minutesformom.com/Be a Barnabas - http://beabarnabas.blogspot.com/Cheaper by the Half Dozen - http://www.marybethwhalen.com/Christian Preschool Printables - http://www.christianpreschoolprintables.com/blog1Christian Work at Home Moms - http://blog.cwahm.com/Dawn Morton Nelson - http://www.shoutlife.com/dawnmortonnelsonGetting Real - http://roofcrasher.blogspot.com/Good Word Editing - http://www.goodwordediting.com/Illuminating the Word Through Fiction - http://illuminatingthewordthroughfiction.blogspot.com/Radiant Lit - http://radiantlit.com/Simplifying Motherhood - http://simplifyingmotherhood.blogspot.com/Snapshot - http://www.jennifersnapshot.blogspot.com/Spaghettipie - http://spaghettipie.blogspot.com/Spoiled for the Ordinary - http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/The Journey of Writer Danica Favorite - http://www.danicafavorite.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Watching Tree Limbs
Nine-year-old Mara loves playing Nancy Drew with her best friend Camilla. With an attic chock-full of treasures, including a telescope, and a whole summer ahead of them, they’re set to find the home of the mysterious and controversial radio disc jockey Denim. But then there are mysteries that Mara’s afraid to share: Who is her mother? Her father? And how can she stop the biggest criminal of all, General?

Caught in a maelstrom of lies and deceit, Mara carefully picks her way through the wreckage of her lost childhood, until the day something magical happens under the pecan tree.

Kacy's comments:
I love kids and wasn't sure I could handle a book about child abuse. Mara's story, however, is compelling and impossible to ignore. Mary E. DeMuth deftly balances this painful topic with loving--often humorous--descriptions of young Mara's determination to rebuild her shattered childhood in a small Texas town.
Mara is an admirable young heroine; you'll be thinking about her long after you turn that final page!
Thanks, Mary, for sharing this story.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Okay, if you really-REALLY want to know . . . .

I've been tagged. First, here are the rules, which I shall soon defy:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
Here's my list--and it's true. (I also added two extras because I was tagged twice.)

1. I was born two months early. Doctors expected me to die, but didn’t tell me, so here I am.
2. My parents are cousins by marriage. Am I my own cousin?
3. Speaking of cousins . . . I’m a distant cousin to Richard Petty. And no, I’ve never met him.
4. I’m legally blind without my contact lenses, which doesn’t do my sons any good; I can read their minds.
5. My husband can instantly calculate all the letters in any given sentence as you’re talking to him. Yes, I know that’s not about me, but I still find it fun.
6. More than ten percent of my total net worth (in household goods) is invested in books. Better than diamonds.
7. I was caught in a mudstorm after the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption in the spring of 1980. Thought the first splat was a bird-dropping. Wow . . . that was a big bird!8. While pregnant with my beloved sons, I was allergic to them. Hives lasted for five months. Did you really want to know this?
9. I’ve been within mere feet of nuclear weapons. Can’t say any more.
10. I dislike tag and never tag anyone. Camy Tang, Susan Marlowe, and all those who won’t get notes from me, I hope you’re glad. If not, please let me know and I’ll tag you anyway.



Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pat Janssen Hall’s up-to-date take on Frida Kahlo’s famous Self Portrait enchanted me instantly with its swirling mocha background, Frida’s beautifully elusive expression, her elegant neck, and the shock of that white “I am not obsessive!” tee-shirt.

“So what’s with this tee-shirt logo?” I asked, turning to Pat, who was leafing through one of her many albums of artwork.

“Oh, that,” Pat murmured, turning several more pages in her album before handing the collection to me. “Well . . . look what this reviewer wrote.”

I scanned the newspaper clipping, which featured several of Pat’s eye-catching designs augmented by the reviewer’s own highly enthusiastic opinion of Pat’s work, praising her “maniacally obsessive attention to detail.”

“He made me sound a bit crazy,” Pat grumbled. Then she chuckled, re-reading the glowing article. “I guess I am.”

Sounds familiar, I thought, shifting uncomfortably as I considered my own writing obsession. Why do rational people willingly pour out their souls for years, earning insecure livings, the ever-present threat of rejections and the rotten-raspberry peltings of critics? (Okay, I admit the critics have been very kind to me; I shouldn’t list them as a downside. But there’s always one, isn’t there?)

Life would be so much easier without these torments. Unless you’re filled with a God-granted passion that makes life unbearable without your art.

To reassure myself (and Pat) that our obsession is not TOO uncommon, I’ve gathered quotes from other writers of all genres and ages. Enjoy!


“When I wanted to get pulled over for speeding so I would have first-hand material for a scene I was working on. (I didn't get pulled over.)” Jenness Walker

“When I missed a meal.” Donita K. Paul

“When even my dreams weren't a safe place to hide! My writing muse follows wherever I go, asleep or awake, braindead or not.”
Delia Latham

"I first knew I was obsessed with writing when I first understood what a word was. Seriously! I can't remember a time in my life when I wanted to do anything other than write. Period. I believe writing is my calling and has been since before the foundation of the world. (Can anyone say "one-dimensional"?) Actually, that's not completely true. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, so doesn't that make me two-dimensional? Sigh. Probably not.” Kathi Macias

“I followed so many rabbit trails I constantly craved carrots.”
Sylvia Tucker, Ph.D.

“When I stopped suffering from ‘Writing Cramps’ and started suffering from ‘Lactic Acid build up associated with Acute Eric Mosher's Disorder.’” Eric Mosher

“When my home fire evacuation plan includes risking life and limb to save my laptop!” Jill Elizabeth Nelson

"I knew I was obsessed with writing when . . . . turned everything I read and heard into a story idea.” Gail Gaymer Martin

“I started having full blown arguments with my characters! In the
middle of the night no less!” Rachel Smith

“Hmm. That's a hard one because I was "obsessed" with my fantasy world long before I began writing. From the time I was about ten years old, I always had one story or another churning through my brain. Other than writing short stories in high school English classes, I didn't write until I was in my forties. I've been writing for twenty years now.” Louise M. Gouge

“. . . when I was riding out a terrific storm at sea on a 48 ft boat and fought my way from the bridge down into the cabin to discover if a thought I had would work in my WIP. Actually it did, and showed up in my first novel.” Polly Bolack

"I knew I was obsessed with writing when I cried over a positive pregnancy test--not because I was overcome with joy, but because I feared what a baby would do to my writing career. By the way, Nathan is now almost 5 and I thank God for upsetting my plans by sending him.” Jeanette Hanscome

“... I spent all my Christmas and birthday money on books about craft instead of clothes or a purse!” Leigh DeLozier :-)

“...I spent FIVE hours last night trying to get the layout just right on my writing blog. Ugh.” Angie Farnworth

“I stopped watching Robotech, Voltron, and other afternoon cartoons and started writing my own story episodes starring the brave loud Asian chick heroine who vanquished monsters with her mighty sword and cute shoes.” Camy Tang

Note: Pat Janssen-Hall's remake of a self-portrait by the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is available as a signed and numbered giclee!

Monday, February 19, 2007

While the focus of my blog is—and will continue to be—crafting and reading fiction that illuminates the Word, from time to time I will feature books that have inspired me during my daily journey. One such book is Debbie Adebayo’s Becoming Marriage Material. Debbie Adebayo is the founder and radio voice of The Ministry of Singles Pleasing The Lord. Check out her site: http://www.singlespleasingthelord.com

Becoming Marriage Material asks readers to confront themselves honestly and to reform their lives from the inside out until they become a partner pleasing to the Lord and to that special future spouse. Debbie Adebayo also illustrates her chapters with revelations of her own heartbreaking mistakes that are painful and ultimately moving as she refines herself with a fierce determination to learn from her past.

Though I am definitely a married believer (we’re talking 26+ years here) I found Becoming Marriage Material to be an uplifting narrative that will surely inspire singles, from adolescence on up, to face their life-situations with hope.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

While we're waiting for Pat's new masterpiece, I'm keeping busy with . . . (humor me now, and be amazed) . . . reading!
The latest addition to my book collection? Chocolate Beach, by Julie Carobini.

Chocolate. Beach. Two of my favorite earthly delights mentioned in one book title: Dear reader, how could I resist?

Bri Stone's blissful fourteen-year marriage to Mr. Incredibly Handsome Douglas has suddenly drifted into murky waters. Friends are dropping hints that Douglas is looking rather "too single" lately while zipping around Ventura in his new sports car. Bri longs to ignore her friends' concerns, but Douglas has been missing their dinner dates and keeping unusually long work hours at the law office. To further muddy the marital waters, Bri has found evidence that Douglas is shopping for a new home, without discussing the matter with her.

Is Douglas becoming bored with Bri's carefree ways and with their beach-kitsch-deco oceanside home? When Bri is unable to confront Douglas about the state of their marriage, due to schedule conflicts and illness, she decides to polish her casual image and her beloved house to regain her husband's interest.

As friends, relatives, and a new boss advise, patronize, and sympathize with her efforts, Bri frequently consoles herself by eating delectably described brownies on the beach—leaving this winter-bound reader happily soaking up the sunny descriptions, while being tempted to wake the family by baking brownies at midnight. Bri, where is the recipe?

Author Julie Carobini's characters are lovingly described and the well-paced plot balances humor, lessons in faith, and some gently explored sorrows, making Chocolate Beach a delightful read. Enjoy!