Thursday, January 31, 2008
Rachel Levin knows at an early age that she’s different – she’s a German-born Jewish girl growing up in France during the 1700s, where Jews and Huguenots (French Protestants) were especially despised. She spends years hiding her ancestry as a means of survival, even when she meets the love of her life, a Huguenot named Louis Dupre.
Two weeks before her wedding, French soldiers murder Rachel’s parents and Louis. She escapes with Louis’ brother Pierre and a group of Huguenots, but is far from being safe. Their goal is to reach Scotland and reunite with Pierre’s mother and younger brother, but obstacles crop up all along the way. A forced marriage during her period of mourning, a French military captain who wants Rachel as his mistress – or dead – and spies at every turn keep Rachel and Pierre on the run for months. By the time this first book in the Faith of Our Fathers series ends, Rachel and Pierre have each learned new ways to trust God and each other even when nothing seems trustworthy.
Spiritual messages: Rachel has spent years trying to fit in with French Catholics so no one suspects her Jewish background, but she doesn’t really understand who God is or the purpose of Jesus Christ and His ministry. Through every situation, Pierre nurtures the kernel of faith in Rachel, embodies Christ’s love for her, teaches her about Christ and helps her see that we’re always safe in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).
Molly helps the long-ago days of France, England and Scotland come alive with her details about everyday life. I’m so glad I live a much more pampered life than Rachel (something about water basins that freeze overnight, slogging through mud and snow to another country and feeling lucky to get a bath every couple of weeks just doesn’t sit well with me LOL)! Years ago, I got pulled into another series of Scottish books from the same timeframe and really enjoyed the return trip with Molly. If you like historicals with a bit of romance and intrigue, Sanctuary just might be the book for you.
Leigh: What has been your favorite writing-related gift over the years?
Molly: My computer and printer, given by my husband, Charlie. What would I do without them? What would I do with Charlie? Or our three sons and four grandchildren? What would I do without the Lord?
Leigh: We all need families and friends to support us and our writing, and it sounds like you’ve been extra blessed in that category. When you’re not busy with them or working on your latest book, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
Molly: I am interested in genealogy and Christian causes. I’m very pro-life. I love to watch the Science Channel and Foxnews Channel.
Leigh: Science, genealogy and news – sounds like you’re a woman who always wants to learn something new. What can we expect from you in the near future?
Molly: I’m contracted to write more books, and I would like to tell you about them.
First, Runaway Romance will be published in trade paperback in 2008 or 2009. Runaway is two short contemporary novels under one cover, and I wrote the first one. My novel, Alyson, is set on a Texas cattle ranch, and yes, I said contemporary. :-) The other novel is written by Teresa Slack.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a dyslexic, and I am writing a non-fiction book titled The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered L.D. The other authors are Margaret Daley, Ginny Aiken, Jane Meyers Perrine, and Ruth Scofield. We all suffer from learning problems and are multi-published. The Overcomers should be out in 2009.
I have to write two more long historical novels in the Faith of Our Fathers series (following Sanctuary), and I am contracted to write another non-fiction book. Also, Tsaba House plans to reprint The Rouge’s Daughter. And my Steeple Hill long historical, The Winter Pearl, is still available in mass-market paperback.
Leigh: Wow! That’s a lot of projects to keep up with. It’s great to see that you’re working on a non-fiction project that’s close to your heart, because people sometimes say it’s hard to work on fiction and non-fiction. You’re an inspiration to the rest of us.
Where can we find your books when we’re ready for a great read?
Molly: Sanctuary and The Winter Pearl can be ordered from Amazon, christianbook.com, Borders, Target, Books A Million, and Barnes and Noble. The easiest way to find them is to visit my website, http://www.mollynoblebull.com/. Just scroll down the main page and click Molly’s Books.
From there, you can read about my books, see my covers and read excerpts from Sanctuary and The Winter Pearl. You can click over to Amazon, etc. from there.
So as Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.” But I am delighted to be here and want to help new writers in any way I can.
Leigh: We’re glad to have you as part of the Writers’ Rest family, Molly. I know I’ll learn a lot from your experiences and am sure others will, too. You’re a real blessing to us!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Leigh: How and when did you know God was calling you to write for Him?
Molly: I learned as a young child in church that we are to use our talents or God will taken them away. He might have been talking about money, but at the time, I thought He meant “talents”—as in creative writing. I was good a singing and story writing and knew I should use the gifts He gave me for His glory.
Leigh: What kinds of connections do you see between your writing and your faith, or your relationship with God?
Molly: My fiction novels and non-fiction books are a ministry, and I write for the Lord only. My books are more spiritual than some inspirational novels. When you read one of my books, you will know I am a Christian. I won’t have to tell you. But I try not to be preachy.
Leigh: Your first books were published in 1986, and you’ve published regularly ever since. How have you seen yourself grow as a writer between your first release and your latest book Sanctuary?
Molly: Good question. Before I started writing to sell, I took a course in novel writing by correspondence and knew a lot about writing by the time the course ended. One of the things I knew was not to use a lot of adjectives and adverbs. However, at that point in time, writers who sold romance novels used them. So I ignored what I knew to be right and used adjectives and adverbs whenever possible. Thankfully, that trend died. So now I don’t do that anymore. My books are better for it.
Leigh: Because this blog is called Writers’ Rest, we like to encourage fellow writers to step away and find time to refresh themselves and their relationship with God so they can bring that perspective to their writing. What’s your favorite way to rest as a writer, and how does it rejuvenate you?
Molly: I feel very close to the Lord when I sing and praise Him will walking on the treadmill, and I always sing, praise and pray in the name of Jesus whether I am walking on the treadmill or not. Once I sang and prayed mentally, and I still do if I’m singing in the middle of the night while my husband is sleeping. But I think the Lord wants me to sing, praise and pray aloud whenever possible.
Leigh: Final question for the day: Can you share any Scriptures that encourage you to continue writing?
Molly: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Leigh: That’s a great verse for all of us, whether we’re writing or just trying to get through another day. We’ll hold on to that thought until Friday, when Molly will tell us about her upcoming books and I’ll have a review of her latest novel, Sanctuary. In the meantime, add a comment to let Molly know we’re glad she’s here, or visit her website at www.mollynoblebull.com to learn more about her projects.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
And without further delay, let me introduce Tosca Lee, a talented novelist, runner-up for Mrs. United States, and Leadership Consultant.
JW: Tosca, I have never met anyone with that name. How did your parents choose it?
TL: Well, my Dad is a Korean man who came from Seoul to do his master’s and PhD in business management here. But his first love was opera. He wanted to be an opera tenor once, and Tosca is his favorite opera.
JW: I love that. It’s so special that he named you after something he loves so much…but I’m glad my own father did not. I’d probably end up as “Cashew”. Speaking of which…what’s your favorite food? And other favorites: verse, color, whatever.
TL: Favorite food: splendidly cooked vegetables. And comfort food. And donuts. And pot pies. Sushi. Enchiladas in corn tortillas with some green sauce on them and not too much cheese. I’m suddenly starving. Color: dark red. Zech. 4:6 (“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord) is my favorite verse, because it is the theme that comes to me again and again in my life—that all the striving in the world cannot do what God’s spirit can. I have amnesia when it comes to remembering this. Hobby: catalog shopping. Guilty pleasure: watching the Contender series and picking my cuticles.
JW: Hm…well, in between the eating and picking your cuticles, what’s your writing routine?
TL: Routine? Uhm. Yeah. So, you see…. Did I tell you I have a really cool desk? It’s got claw feet and black stone top. Most of the time I’m writing in airports and on the sofa, sometimes in bookstores.
JW: I admit, the desk sounds awesome. If you ever want to sell it…But really, the sofa’s the way to go, in my opinion. Although I’ll probably be a hunchback by age 30. Word of advice to myself: get an ergonomic chair. Tosca, what are some your words of wisdom—one writing-related and one not?
TL: Writing advice: be honest. That means showing the ugly and embarrassing parts, too. Non-writing advice: hemorrhoid crème works great on under-eye puffiness. You laugh, but I tell you truth. Just make sure that you have, you know, a designated tube and others in your household aren’t using it as directed.
JW: Wow. Okay. Guess I’ll have to keep that in mind…:-) One last question for you. Since you’re working on a story about Eve, what do you really think was hanging on the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden? I’m not seeing Eve being attempted to disobey God to bite into an apple. I think it must have been some sort of chocolate. You?
TL: It was definitely chocolate. Something of the Ghirardelli, dark variety, maybe with that creamy mint middle. That’s definitely condemnation-category confection.
JW: Ha! Thanks so much, Tosca. I’m looking forward to reading Havah: The Story of Eve when it hits the shelves. If you want to learn more about Tosca and her books, check out http://www.toscalee.com/.
Don’t forget to leave a comment!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting some fellow Christian writers at a local restaurant – seven writers, to be exact. A couple of these ladies I had met before but several, I had not. I have to say, it was so cool!
The one thing I learned right off the bat was that I’m normal! I mean, let’s face it. Writers sometimes come across as a little, um, different. People don’t “get” us. They don’t understand our love of words and imagery. Our passion for making up stuff. Our talk about POV, character development, subplots or The Snowflake Method. They look at us funny when we pull that notebook from our purse because we have to write down that idea before we forget it. And they especially don’t excuse us for not hearing something they say because those darn voices in our head are too loud!
Even my husband gets that glazed, I’m-trying-to-listen-but-have-no-clue-what-you’re-saying look in his eye when I talk about my writing or my current work in progress.
But on Saturday, in the midst of others just like me, I felt understood! Accepted!
As the eight of us chatted over coffee, I learned the following: two ladies have non-fiction books published. Five of us write fiction. Two have completed novels. Two have been published only online. Two have never been published, anywhere. Three are just beginning their writing careers. Four have been writing forever. One writes curriculum. Two are editors. One journals obsessively. The oldest writer represented on Saturday is over fifty. The youngest is only seventeen. Five have children. Three are grandmothers.
It struck me that even though we are all at completely different stages of not only our writing careers, but life in general, we have two ties that bind us together. 1. We feel called to write! Our passion for prose immediately connected us in a special way. 2. We love God and desire to glorify Him. And each of us expressed specific ways that God, through our writing, has used us to glorify Him and touch others.
Isn’t it a wonder that no matter what point of the path we’re on in our walk – whether as Christians or writers, no matter how young or old, or how many notches we have in our accomplishment belts, God will meet us right where we are. He uses each one of us in a unique way to make a difference and accomplish His purpose.
And He may even send a few “normal” friends to encourage us along the way.
Pretty cool, indeed.
Friday, January 18, 2008
These are just some of the books sitting on my desk right now. For the past year and a half, I've been pretty much immersed in the history of The Vietnam War. You might even think I'm writing a non-fiction book! I probably could, but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun as writing my women's fiction novel has been.
My point here? Do the work.
Anybody can come up with a great idea and write about it. But unless you've really stepped into the world you want to create for your readers, you won't be able to take them there. Of course I can't go back in time to Vietnam and tag along behind a couple of journalists going in to the field. I can't hop a Heuy and pray we don't get shot down. I can't see first hand what it's like to watch your buddy die in front of you...but I can educate myself. I can research, read, watch movies, even talk to people who where there if possible.
Even though I don't need to know the inner workings of an M16, there's no harm in finding out, right? Hey, you never know when...
Writing is like acting. You must become a part of the world you are trying to create.
If you're writing a hospital scene, go to a hospital. Talk to doctors and nurses. Get the facts straight before you write them down! My hubby is a pediatrician, and I simply cannot watch medical shows with him. He points out every single flaw, mistake or complete fabrication. Within ten minutes the entire show is ripped apart. All because the writers didn't do their homework.
If you weren't in the medical profession a lot of those things would slip past you and you wouldn't know the difference. That's why shows like Greys Anatomy and House stay on the air.
You never know who is going to be reading your work. You don't want something to come back to haunt you one day just because you didn't put the time in to get it right.
Details, details, details.
So often we writers just want to plunge in and write the story - we have to get it out of our system! And that's fine. Do that.
But then go back and make sure you haven't left anything to chance.
Sure I want to hurry up and get this book out there, but I tell you what, while I've still got it on my computer, I've still got every chance to check and double check my facts. Yes, it's a work of fiction. But it's also a fictional account of a real war. Real men and women lived and died there. I don't treat that lightly. I can't.
Your work of fiction may be a simple romance that takes place in Nebraska. Good enough. But if someone from Nebraska reads your book one day, you want to be sure that any references you make to the place are accurate.
We've talked a lot here lately about time, the value of it, and how we spend it.
Time is your gift. Use it wisely. Don't rush ahead and think you have the authority to write about something because your great great Aunt Clarisse experienced it fifty years ago. YOU need to experience it as best you can. Use every available resource given to you, and use it well.
At the end of the day you'll have created a realistic story world that readers will step in to and become a part of until they reach the final page, and, with a sigh of satisfaction and a smile on their face, close the book and say, "Now that was a great story!"
Do your homework. Your editors, and readers, will thank you for it.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
It’s hard for me to choose a favorite song, but one of my top picks from their first CD is “Who Am I?” The lyrics ask about how and why God should care about and know every detail of our lives – who are we to deserve that? The answer, of course, is that we’re nobody – but then that’s also the point of the song. As part of the chorus says, “Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done … Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.”
One day as I really pondered the words instead of belting them out, a different perspective struck me. Who am I, that God would call me to write and speak for Him? Who am I, that He would choose to plant seeds in my heart that will only grow when I share the message with others? Who am I, to be sent when there are so many other, much more qualified ones for the job?
I’m a nobody. A person who enjoys writing, speaking and teaching but who knows she’s leagues below other writers, speakers and teachers. But I’m also a person who knows she must write, speak and teach – even if no one else ever sees or hears the words. The things He tells me must come out or I’ll implode (and that would not be a pretty sight)!
Each time I prepare to write (or teach or speak) I’m awestruck and humbled by the One who has called me to this task. Why does He call me to this work? Why does He call you? I don’t know, but He does. And, thankfully, it’s not because of who I am or what I’ve done … it’s all because of who He is and what He has done.
That’s one of the biggest wonders of my life. How about you?
Monday, January 14, 2008
Yet, as Christians, we are to live a victorious life. So how do we handle these behaviors that have ingrained themselves in our lives?
We come against it with natural solutions and spiritual fortitude.
In the natural we learn how to fight with tickler files, planners, even timers. We may take a class like the one I'm currently enrolled in (Margie Lawson's Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors). We fight by putting a system in place.
This is all great (and has an important place), but I believe the real power lies in taking our struggle to the cross. Daily. Sometimes moment by moment on those especially tough days. As soon as that ugly behavior rears up, we need to give it to God and ask Him to give us the victory. In essence, we choose to deal it a swift blow.
We also need to strengthen ourselves by meditating on scriptures to counteract our weak areas. Fight fear with scriptures on fear:
I Corinthians 15:57
What self-defeating behaviors have you allowed to take hold in your life? Do you have tools in the natural and a spiritual arsenal at the ready?
I challenge you to find a scripture or two that speak to your area of defeat and meditate on them. Put them where you will see them and then stand strong in faith that God will help you overcome. Choose only one or two self-defeating behaviors to focus on at a time.
If you do this, by the time 2008 is over, you will have memorized scripture, found victory over your weaknesses and strengthened your faith. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
I'd love for you to share your self-defeating behaviors, and whether or not you're up to my challenge.
I'll go first:
Self-defeating behaviors: procrastination, laziness, fear of failure and success, poor time management, lack of focus/direction - but enough about me lol. Yes, I am most definitely going to take myself up on my own challenge.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Every Sunday we have a family dinner. Sometimes we have up to 14 people. Our six kids bring their girlfriends, wife, or boyfriends and some long time family friends. Tonight, we had all sorts of familiar foods, just not to everyone.
Our Japanese exchange son made rice cakes on the grill. So interesting! They puff as they heat. Then you wrap sushi seaweed around it and dip it in soy sauce. It's a traditional food in Japan to celebrate the New Year.
I made Scotch Eggs, lefsa, ambrosia, and my hubby made grilled potatoes. So actually, we had an international menu from Japan, Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland, and America.
I think it was just for fun and to share the feeling of comfort. The foods take you to a place of memories and joy. A place where you rest in the comfort of the familiar.
Scents, flavors, songs--they all have a way of taking you somewhere in your memory.
What strikes a happy memory for you?
Do you realize that is a way of resting your emotions and refueling?
Happy memories to you.
PS Please visit me over at my daily blog too!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The biggest reason for doing this is to convince yourself you're not insane. There are others out there with
weirder ideas than you. And yes, we all talk to our characters. Scarier than that, they talk back.
Seriously, belonging to a writing community is essential to your growth as a writer.
Networking, as they call it, will open up a whole new world for you. You will find new friends, receive feedback, valuable advice and a ton of encouragement. And you never know when one of those new friends may turn into a valuable asset to your career.
Writing is a solitary craft. Unless you have a writing partner, you're on your own. If it's the only thing you're doing, you're going to be spending a lot of time on the computer, alone. Well, not really alone, but we've already covered that.
One thing I always struggled with in my early days of trying to write was making those connections. I live on a 24 square mile island. There aren't a lot of writers groups here, and none that I'd want to join. I've thought about starting one, but then that's just another project I probably don't have time for.
If you're like me and live in a rural area or on an island, you can stand up and praise God for the Internet!
Since I joined American Christian Fiction Writers a few years ago, my writing has improved by leaps and bounds. I've learned so much from these people, made so many wonderful friends, and I wouldn't miss a conference now if my life depended on it!
And that's just one group. If you're writing Christian fiction, you have no reason not to join. In fact, if you don't you're doing yourself a great disservice.
Lately, other writing communities have started popping up over at something called Ning. You can create your own social network here, and many writers are doing so. Here's the link:
I know there are a ton of writing groups there, but for Christian writers you might want to check out Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers, or Women's Fiction, Intrigued by Mystery, Love Inspired Authors and Readers...and many more. Head on over and check it.
As in all things, we must be good stewards of our time. It's easy to get caught up in online communities. I'm trying to be good about this in 2008, and value my writing time. But it's great to have a place to call home where I can kick back and hang out with my fellow writers when I need a break.
See you on the Net!
Monday, January 7, 2008
Ugh! I caught a cold. And you know, it isn't so bad. Okay, the cold is miserable, but I actually laid down for 2 1/2 hours today. My body needed time to replenish and heal.
I don't often let myself rest when I'm sick. Silly me. I felt much more refreshed (still icky) than before. It blew me away that it really helped clear my foggy brain amidst the stuffiness and stinging eyes.
Sometimes I think we go, go, go so fast that our bodies can't fight all those bugs out there. Then we find out that we should have rested earlier. sigh. So here I sit, resting. I'm letting my body recover.
What will it take for you to allow yourself a little rest? Do you have to get sick? Maybe you could preempt illness with a little bit of self-care. The Bible even says to love others AS yourself. If we keep pushing ourselves to the limit, is that really how you want to treat others? How loved would they feel?
So as I sniffle, I'm working out in my mind a schedule that will allow me to do what I need to do and take time to love myself AS I love others too.
PS Come visit over at God Uses Broken Vessels.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
If you are perusing the web and happen upon our site, say hi.
Share your reflections of the past year, and your hopes and dreams for the new one.
We'd be honored to stand with you in prayer for whatever you are asking God for at this time.
My reflections are posted on my blog. It's been a crazy year in many ways, and a long one.
I'm really actually thrilled to be embarking on 2008 for a lot of reasons.
I'm grateful to be excited about a new year. I'm grateful for the blessings God has given me, and continues to.
I am in pretty good health. I have a wonderful husband and two amazing children. I have so many things
to be thankful for this morning. So many wonderful friends and a great family who stand by me and cheer me on.
Most of all, I'm forever thankful for my salvation. For the assurance that this life is not the eternal one, that we have so much more to look forward to in heaven.
Let's agree together in spirit that all we say and do here this year will be to the glory of our Father, who loves us beyond comprehension.
I pray that in the coming year He continues to bless you all and that you are reminded daily of His great love for you.