Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Careers In Crime: An Applicant's Guide (Book Review)

Someone on my gift list is getting my favorite gag gift next year, a CD of the Christmas Chicks singing various Christmas carols, because said person, obviously worried about my job prospects during the current recession, gave me a book designed to help in choosing a new career for these hard times.

In case you might be interested, Careers In Crime: An Applicant's Guide, rates 50 criminal careers in terms of duties, compensation and rewards, enforcement and penalties, stresses and hazards, and work environment. The book appears to do a good job of reporting on the careers it covers, because the top-rated job in this book is that of “Drug Counterfeiter,” and the bottom-rated job is that of “Prison Wife,” one of those guys in prison who serves a meaner, stronger guy in the prison in return for “protection.” This occupation rates an “F” for hazards and compensations and deserves its bottom listing.

“Currency Counterfeiter,” which is Number 10 on the list, sounds like a nice way to make a living. Very rewarding in terms of $$$$, but in order to really make a go of this one, you’d best have access to a large, commercial press. Using your home computer and inkjet printer doesn’t quite achieve that “real money” look.

“Rustler” doesn’t look half bad. It’s Number 6 on the list, still in the top 10 criminal careers. And you don’t even have to rustle live cattle or emus. Dinosaur parts are big ticket items these days, and if you can manage a good intact T-Rex, or even a good triceratops skull, you can make good money. However, if the landowner or rancher catches you and happens to have his rifle on him, your career could come to an abrupt halt.

Believe it or not, “Scalper,” one who resells tickets to concerts, sporting events, etc., only rates a 24 out of 50. Sounds like a sweet deal, until you read the hazards, which include angry fans and the possibility of getting “scalped” yourself.

In case you’re wondering, “Identity Thief” is Number 4 on the list and is one of the fastest growing criminal careers. Apparently you can work almost anywhere, as there are always identities lying around waiting to be stolen, and the chief danger to success in the field appears to be your own tendency to boast.

Frankly, I think I’ll keep my current job and pass this book on to somebody on my gag-gift list. It’s a great read if you’re looking for entertainment, but there are undertones of seriousness when penalties and hazards are discussed. In fact, I suspect the negative aspects of these “jobs” may be a tad downplayed.

In the meantime, if you’ve never heard a group of chickens “sing” Christmas carols, you can’t go wrong on the Christmas Chicks’ CD. It never fails to put me in the mood for egg nog and fruitcake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Polar Express - on DVD

When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

This movie is incredible! The scenery is vivid and moving and the music is great! We watch this movie every year and we never grow tired of seeing it.

A young boy finds himself doubting the existence of Santa. A train pops up in his front yard on Christmas Eve - a train to the North Pole. On the train, he meets an interesting cast of characters, including a young girl and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. A series of mishaps and life-threatening moments occur, giving this story an edge over the sweeter Christmas movies. This is a nice, enjoyable story and if you haven't seen it, you should give it a try!

Have you seen The Polar Exress? If you have what did you like about it?
Merry Christmas, everybody!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Friday, December 17, 2010


by Molly Noble Bull 

Yesterday my husband and I listened to John Stossel’s new TV show on Fox Business Channel, and John had two guests on his show—one was an atheist and the other was a Catholic priest. John asked provocative questions on his show. Is God real? Does He really exist? Then John went on to say that he was an agnostic—which means he isn’t sure whether God is real or not.
His entire program challenged me to write John a letter; so I did. Read on to see what I wrote. When you have finished, continue reading all about Cecelia’s new book.
Dear John Stossel,
You seem like one of the nicest men on TV, and we have been watching your new show. I praise your honesty, but I was disturbed to hear that you don’t believe in God. Your lack of faith shows a serious lack of judgment on your part, John, and I don’t think the priest on your TV show gave very good answers to your faith problem.
The Bible calls those who refused to accept the truth found in the Bible fools. You and the atheist-guy you had on your program are gambling away your rights to true happiness for all eternity on a whim. Poor me, you say, I just don’t know if God is really real.
So I say to you. Is John Stossel really real? Is the atheist on your show real? Or are you merely shadows of the men God made you to be?
Science is constantly changing. What they prove to be a fact one day is disproved the next, but the Holy Bible never changes. The Bible is truth. Therefore, you will have no excuse on Judgment Day. Unless you repent and accept the pardon Jesus paid for you by dying on the cross to pay for your sins with his own blood, you and your atheist friend will burn in hell for all eternity. It’s just as simple as that. No exceptions.
Why, you say? I’m a nice person and lead a pretty good life. Why must I burn in hell for all eternity merely because I am unwilling to put my faith in God? 
Think of a men’s swimming club. You can’t enter the club’s swimming race unless you are a member of the club. You might be a better swimmer than any member of that team, but again, you can’t enter the race unless you are a member of the club. Club rules.
God has rules, too. I suggest you learn them and put them into practice. Otherwise, you will spend all eternity in hell whether you personally believe that hell exists or not. God knows it exists, and He makes the rules. Not you. 
There really is a heaven and there really is a hell. There really is a God and there really is a devil. God loved you so much, John, that he gave his only begotten son, Jesus, to die on a cross to pay for your sins, and if you were the only person who ever lived, He would have done it—just for you. God loves you that much. Can you not find it in that heart of yours to love God in return? And can you not show your love for God by getting down on your knees right now, humbly repenting of all your sins and promising to follow Him forever and in the name of Jesus? What do you have to lose except hellfire? 
That fire is real, John, whether you believe it or whether you don’t. 
May you seek and find the truth in Jesus Christ and find it today.
Tomorrow might be too late.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheap Stocking Stuffer Idea - Only 99 cents

I wanted to mention that my novel collection, Chesapeake Weddings, is on sale at Christianbook.com for only 99 cents! It's a three-book deal all under one beautiful paperback cover and it's less than one dollar! If you're looking for cheap deals to use as stocking stuffers this year, then you should consider my book! It'd make a great gift for friends and church members!

Relax along Maryland's Chesapeake Bay as you read about three strong African American women who suddenly face upheaval in life. Monica is caring for her abandoned nephew and trying to pick the proper tutor for him. Emily is struggling to save the family farm when a CPA turns up to do an audit. Karen has been deceived by her fianci, and now she's expected to trust a neighbor who knows too much of her business. Can God rebuild their tattered lives with new loves?

Merry Christmas!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hell Hawks! The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler’s Wehrmacht

Robert F. Dorr and Thomas D. Jones are veteran writers and former military men who collected information and memoirs from the men of the Ninth Air Force, 365th Fighter Group, who flew P-47 Thunderbolt planes.

The 365th was composed of three squadrons of fighter-bomber pilots fresh out of flight training, who flew in close support of the ground forces as the Allied forces entered France on D-Day and advanced across France, Belgium, and on into Germany. They had one mission, and that was to harass and destroy anything that looked Nazi.

The P-47 Thunderbolt was a big, stable plane that held up remarkably well, no matter how much flak was thrown at it. They flew on D-Day, providing air support and dropping 385 tons of bombs on anything that looked like a target and strafing anything that moved. Every day of the European campaign, the Hell Hawks flew their missions, and kept flying them until the war ended. This book tells the story of those fighter pilots and what it took to keep them in the air.

My father, a “civilian pilot” and a Hell Hawk in the 388th Fighter Squadron, found himself captain of one of the ground crews whose responsibility it was to keep the planes in repair, the runways ready, the and the pilots ready to fly. One of his favorite tales was the day the pilots ate a rice pudding dessert the night before and fled the mess hall during breakfast the next morning. He spent his day carrying soup to the pilots as they lay ill in bed, in a vain attempt to get them ready to fly the day’s mission. (My father rarely ate much and had given the rice pudding a pass.) The pilots could not fly the mission, the “Brass” descended on the outfit, and the cook was busted and reassigned.

This book is extremely readable and tells the tale of these ordinary men who found themselves in an extraordinary situation, and in true American fashion, they made the best of it. Mr. Dorr & Mr. Thomas interviewed many of them, including my dad, for as Mr. Dorr says, these men are fading away rapidly now, and their biannual reunions are much more sparse. This is the story of hometown heroes, who did extraordinary things during their youth, then returned home and reared families and lived ordinary lives.

I recommend Hell Hawks! to all who enjoy World War II history.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions should be kept fun and simple.

To celebrate Christmas with my family each year, we bake several kinds of cookies. Every weekend, I make a different type. Last weekend it was chocolate chip. This coming weekend with be peanut butter. The weekend after that will probably be oatmeal raisin and rolled sugar cookies. I've always loved baking and I have a major sweet tooth, so doing these activities with my son is fun, relaxing, soothing, and delicious!

As the years go by, we'll probably add more to our Christmas traditions. For example, my son is now five, and this is the first year he's asked for a Christmas tree. I was raised in a religion that didn't allow Christmas celebrations, and as an adult, I've never felt compelled to purchase a tree for my home. My husband never really wanted a tree either. When we went shopping for a fake tree at Kmart last Saturday, I suddenly felt overwhelmed from the crowds, long lines, and tall trees - trees that I did not want to bring into my home. The trees just seemed so big to me! So, we rushed home and I ordered a small 4 1/2 foot tree online. The tree even comes with lights! The tree arrived in the mail yesterday, and we'll assemble it within the next few days. I'm sure this will become another yearly Christmas tradition in our home - putting up the tree!

What are your favorite family Christmas traditions? Do you add traditions as the years go by? As you get older, do you stop certain Christmas traditions?

Merry Christmas! :-)

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Friday, December 3, 2010

What I learned During NaNoWriMo

During the month of November, I was involved with NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I’m one of those people who perform better if I’m accountable to other writers who actually expect me to stay in my chair and write.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a book in 30 days. 50K words isn’t really that much if you break it down. It’s less than 2 thousand words a day. But there are a lot of days in your average month that make writing anything coherent downright impossible. Take Thanksgiving for example, not to mention the days of shopping, cleaning, and preparing that lead up to it. Many of us have kids and spouses and full time jobs and appointments and pets that want walked.

Sundays are hard for me. I attend church twice on that day, and spend the few hours between services watching the Bengals lose, spending time with family and napping…not necessarily in that order. There were several NaNoWriMo days in which my word count was 0. That meant on the other days I really needed to produce. No procrastinating. No waiting for inspiration. No distractions. I had to fasten my rear to the chair and write even when I’d rather watch TV or take another nap.

The best thing about NaNoWriMo is the sense of urgency to put words on the page. On the NaNo page you can become writing buddies with your fellow scribes. As I mentioned earlier, when I am accountable to someone I don’t want to let them down. Nor did I want to let my book down, or even myself.

November flew by while I jammed away on my keyboard. I even learned a thing or two along the way. 50K words don’t get written by thinking about it. You wont’ put the words on the page by talking about it or discussing your project or telling everyone where you’re going to spend your advance once a publisher offers you a contract.

I’m happy to announce I reached my 50K words by the 22nd. At the end of the month I had logged over 70K words onto my NaNo profile. If you’re not ready to think about publication NaNo is a great exercise to learn discipline and tenacity. The best way to master anything is to do it. If you are already published or seeking that elusive book contract, you might still need the discipline NaNo brings.

Best of all, you might end up with a pretty decent novel or at least something to build on. You never know. This might be the one to land you on the New York Times bestseller list. Or at least teach you that writing a novel is hard work but worth the effort.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID --- A Book Review

By Molly Noble Bull


I hadn’t visited the children’s book section of Barnes and Noble for a long time when I went there, searching for a gift for my grandson’s birthday, but I knew that finding an age appropriate book for this seven-year-old wouldn’t be a problem. The little boy is an excellent reader, and either my son or my daughter-in-law would read the book to the child if he couldn’t read it for himself. What I was concerned about was finding a book that was morally appropriate for a child of any age—that it didn’t contain offensive language or content my family might consider objectionable.

I don’t know why I bought Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Maybe it was the appealing book cover.

Unlike most Americans, I’d never heard of the book or the movie by the same name. Therefore, I decided to read the book for myself before giving it as a gift.

I’d planned only to read the first chapter. But after reading only a few pages, I was hooked. I kept reading until I’d finished the entire book, laughing all the way.

And did I find anything in the book that a Christian parent might find distasteful?


I saw the movie, and it was okay, too. I certainly found nothing wrong with it. It just wasn’t as good as the book.

I give the novel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, five stars.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Great Hymns Remain Forever

One of the benefits of growing up in a Baptist church is that you learn hymns, lots of hymns. When I was nine, I even won a Baptist Hymnal with my name engraved on it in gold letters, because I sang all three to five verses of fifty hymns. The memorization process was effortless because I already knew all the songs. No work required.

Modern church music is nothing like the old hymns. The new songs are catchy and simplistic, fun to sing and often melodious. But those old hymns combined both doctrine and melody, and once you’ve sung them for a few years, they are cemented in your heart and mind forever, along with the great thoughts they contain.

When I was shanghaied into taking piano lessons as a child, hymns were the only thing I would play, because I could understand them. As an extremely non-musical person, I had to know how it was supposed to sound before I could try and get there. I knew how the hymns were supposed to sound, and that was half the battle.

In fact, the old hymns are so much a part of so many lives, researchers are discovering that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may remember and sing the hymns when almost all else is gone, perhaps because music activates a different area of the brain.

In 1996, a local pastor named Shelton Simmons, who wrote a weekly column for his local newspaper, addressed this very subject and reported on the results of his personal research. In an article from The Hometown Press, “The Church’s Great Hymns Will Never Leave You . . .” he wrote:

“There is bliss in knowing that no matter what the future brings, there are vast, stored up resources within to remind us of God’s immeasurable love and grace.

“Even if the Bible itself should be forever taken from you, perhaps due to loss of sight, or partial loss of mind, what you already know about God’s love can never be lost.

“I sat alone in the sick room of my mother who died the death of ‘The Long Goodbye,’ Alzheimer’s disease. There in a Baton Rouge nursing home near the end, I asked her if it would be OK to read a few verses from the Bible. She responded slightly.

“To my amazement as I started reading the familiar Beatitudes from Matthew 5, that old faithful Sunday School teacher of yesteryear started quoting them from memory!

“Then I asked if I could sing. She responded by sitting up a little, and joining me in, ‘On a hill far away, Stood an old rugged cross . . .’ Then I believe we sang together ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus.’

“Blessed Bible. Blessed hymnbook. Blessed Lord. Blessed Mother. We shall meet again.”

We have heard more than one report of similar events in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. The sick person may not know how to dress or recognize family members, but he or she can sing those old hymns.

Now, I intend to recall all the verses of all those fifty hymns I knew when I was nine years old and re-cement them in my heart and mind, just in case, because "what you already know of God's love can never be lost," especially if the knowledge is preserved in music.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Knew I Wanted To Be A Writer When....

Photo courtesy of Vintage Little People.

When I was a kid, I used to play with the Fisher Price Little People with my sister. I'd think up a whole plot (kind of like a synopsis) and then I'd act the story out with the people. My sister loved playing with the Little People with me because she loved my stories!

When I was about ten years old, I wrote a book entitled Candyland. It was about a set of twins named Fred and Susan and they find this magical land where everything was made of big, yummy candy! I made my own book cover - a piece of paper colored with purple crayon and the words Candyland were colored with red crayon.

I used to tell people that I didn't realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was twenty-eight. However, as I look back on my life, there are certain things that I've done that indicate that I really should've discovered my writing passion way before my late twenties. I've always been an avid reader, too, which can sometimes indicate that one is a writer.

Are you a writer? If so, are there writer-type things that you've done throughout your life? Share your answers with us at Writers' Rest!

All of us at Writers' Rest would like to wish everybody a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Friday, November 19, 2010

What If...

Introducing What if…, a Pure Flix and Jenkins Entertainment film. Starring, Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, Debby Ryan, and John Ratzenberger.

What if…, from Jerry Jenkins, tells the story of Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo), who fifteen years ago left his college sweetheart Wendy (Kristy Swanson), and his calling to be a preacher, in order to pursue a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying executive gig, a trophy fiancĂ©, and a new Mercedes, he hasn’t considered a family nor felt the need to set foot in a church in fifteen years.

But God has other plans. While on a thrill ride outside the city, his new car mysteriously breaks down, and he’s visited by a tow truck driver named Mike (John Ratzenberger) who claims to be an angel sent to show Ben what his life would look like had he followed his true calling. Suddenly Ben wakes up in the middle of domestic chaos as his wife Wendy and daughters (including Disney Channel’s Debby Ryan) are getting ready for church, where Ben is the new pastor.

Before he can get back to his old life, Ben must first embrace this reality and discover the value of faith and family, and perhaps restore his love for those who were heartbroken fifteen years ago: Wendy and God. In the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Family Man, What if… is a story of finding your true purpose in life.

View the trailer and spread the word about this powerful, inspiring movie.

It isn't likely I will see What if... in the small theaters here is southern Ohio. But the movie is currently playing in select cities. Follow the link on the What if... site to see if the movie is playing in your area or if you can be an integral part in bringing the movie to your city. Get your friends and church involved in spreading the word. This is a beautiful, warm, funny family movie that needs to get in front of as many audiences as possible.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


by Molly Noble Bull

Do you like science fiction movies? Maybe you like westerns better. How about both? Yep, Hollywood is coming out with a movie titled Cowboys and Aliens starring Harrison Ford that should please just about everybody.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS is coming to a theater near you this summer. Frankly, I can hardly wait to see it.
Click below to see a preview of the movie.
Read on to read about a really exciting book.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

666 And FAMILY

Molly Noble Bull 

JR Church certainly isn't number 666, but he knows a lot about him. Church has a Bible prophecy ministry, Prophecy in the News, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and he has written an exciting new book titled Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist. I not only purchased the book, I have subscribed to the magazine for many years.
Until now, I have reported on mostly Christian novels that inspire. But J. R’s non-fiction books on Bible prophecy are inspiring as well as interesting. He will tell you about all his books, but first, I want to comment on my two favorites—Guardians of the Grail and his new book, Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist. I’m reading a copy of Bloodline now, but I read Guardians many times.
Guardians of the Grail and Dan Brown’s bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, cover the same topic but with a huge difference. Brown seems to hope readers will believe that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. JR reports the myth while proving via the Bible that the myth is untrue.
Welcome, JR. Tell us a little about yourself and all your books.
Over the years, I have written several books, including Hidden Prophecies in the Song of Moses; The Mystery of the Menorah and the Hebrew Alphabet; They Pierced the Veil and Saw the Future; On the Eve of Adam; Guardians of the Grail; and my latest book: Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist.
There are 12 chapters in the book of Daniel that set forth prophecies about the “times of the Gentiles” — Gentile world powers controlling Jerusalem. All of this will culminate some day in the rise of the Antichrist; the development of a world government and a single world currency. Also, in the book, I have included a 64-page chart of 6,000 years of human history showing Israel’s Sabbatical Years and Jubilees; the 243 years missing in the Jewish calendar; and the timing of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel’s ninth chapter.
Until recently, the Jews did not know how to calculate a Jubilee. But, in the 1960s Israeli archeologists discovered some letters in a cave overlooking the Dead Sea. One letter explained that Bar Kokhba rented his land to a Gentile for two years, so that he could reap the benefit of the crops, even though he, as a Jew, was not allowed to plant crops during the Sabbatical Year, or the Jubilee that follows the 49th year of the cycle. The Bar Kokhba letters are dated around AD 132/33, making it easy to determine all previous Jubilee dates, going back to Joshua and extending forward to the present generation.
My book entitled Guardians of the Grail, gives the story of European royalty and how they could provide the family roots of the coming Antichrist. Along with our study in Daniel’s prophecies, Guardians of the Grail helps to explain why European royalty descended from the same family tree; and why they relish the idea that one of their own could establish world government and rule from Jerusalem.
As I laid out the chart of 6,000 years, I noticed that the first day of Creation was on a Sunday. So, each day of Creation occurred in the very day of the week that followed the event. The second day would be Monday; the third day was on Tuesday; etc. When Adam was created on the sixth day, that day was on Friday. And the day in which God rested was on Saturday. The events of Creation Week fit the biblical scenario perfectly. By the way, you can order Guardians of the Grail and Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist from our website at http://www.pitn.tv/. The book on Daniel is a must-read, especially the chart. If you’ve ever wanted to calculate when in history certain events occurred, this is the book that will lay it out for you in an easy-to-understand format.
Thanks for stopping by, JR.
To find JR’s books in bookstores and online, write J.R. Church in the search slot. Or click onto his web address listed above.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Confession: A Book Review

John Grisham has written another best seller in The Confession. It is exactly the kind of taut, suspense-filled legal thriller we expect from him.

The Confession begins when Kansas Lutheran minister Keith Schroeder counsels newly released prisoner, Travis Boyette, in his church office and learns that Boyette is very likely the killer of a young cheerleader who vanished some 15 years ago. Worse, Donte Drumm, a young black man, is due to be excuted by the state of Texas within a couple of days for the crime.

Boyette has a brain tumor which he says will kill him within a year, and he sort of, maybe, might like to clear his conscience and confess to the crime. Moreover, he can prove what he says because he knows where the body is buried, and he is wearing the dead girl’s high school ring on a chain around his neck.

In the meantime, we meet all the various players in the drama: The driven defense lawyer who is fighting a losing battle to get a stay of execution for Donte Drumm, Donte’s strong mother and siblings, the former friend of Donte’s who lied on the witness stand, the drama-queen mother of the dead girl who is milking the media circus for all it’s worth, and assorted other people representing the state of Texas who are convinced Donte is guilty and don’t want another stay of execution.

Reverend Shroeder decides his duty in the matter is to break the law by driving Travis Boyette out of state to Slone, Texas, to confess to the crime and hopefully stop the execution of an innocent man. But Boyette disappears, the clock is ticking down for Donte Drumm, and the State of Texas manifests a deep dislike of being proven wrong in the conviction of Donte Drumm, especially when the town of Slone explodes with racial violence.

The novel is tense and suspenseful, with several nice twists, and Grisham does an excellent job of pointing out the dilemma inherent in the death penalty. What is really frightening is the possibility that a scenario similar to the one depicted by Grisham could happen, or may have already happened.

Assessment: John Grisham’s The Confession is an excellent way to spend a couple of evenings.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Are Your Issues?

Photo courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz

Do you have issues that you’re dealing with in your life? Do you want to dig deeper, giving your stories more intense plots and emotional conflicts? If you want to give your stories more steam, propelling them forward, giving you the momentum to actually finish writing your book, then you need to bring those issues into your novel!

I often meet people online and at writers’ conferences who tell me that they’ve started writing a project, but can’t finish it. What’s usually helped me to finish a story is to write about something that sparks my interest, and that usually involves writing about issues and concerns that have affected my life and the lives of my loved ones.

Alcoholism is something that has been a part of a lot of my friends and family members’ lives, and, I noticed, that it was an issue that kept popping up in my books. When you place your issues into your own novels, you might find the steam and the gumption to keep going, to keep writing, until you type those magical words: THE END.

Another issue that I’ve included in my novels is financial dishonesty. I’ve noticed that due to my personal experiences, I get emotional when dealing with my finances and the finances of others. I dig as deep as I can and try to bring those emotions into the pages of my novel.

It’s good to start with emotional issues and then you can add more things that you enjoy while creating your story. I’ve always had a fondness for good-tasting food, and I’ve had a number of people tell me that reading my books makes them hungry!

So think about your life, your issues, and your interests. Layer them throughout your book and I can almost guarantee that you’ll want to finish that tale – and you’ll be passionate about your story, too!

What makes you happy, sad, angry, or upset? Figure it out, and throw those emotions into your writing!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Ask almost anyone if they've ever dreamed of writing a novel. Chances are they'll say yes. Since my first book was released in 2004, I lost count of the would-be writers who tell me they always wanted to write a novel. They either don't know where to start, haven't made the time, or just haven't gotten around to it. Yet their story burns within them.

A man once told me he had a story idea rattling around in his head for twenty years. After he explained his idea in a sentence or two I asked how much more he had. He looked a little sheepish and said, "That's all I got."

NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--is designed to get those ideas out of your head and onto the page. Best part; it only takes 30 days.

Every November writers around the world sign up for the challenge to write the story on their hearts in 30 days. No editing, no second guessing, no whining to your mother that no one understands your genius. Just sitting in a chair and pounding out the words.

Word count is key at NaNoWriMo. Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting past one's own doubts in one's abilities. NaNoWriMo takes the pressure off. It doesn't matter if you never took a creative writing course, don't have a third grader's grasp of basic grammar, or have never written as much as an email. All that matters is getting that story from your head to the page. The exercise is quite freeing, whether newbie or multi-published, award winning author.

Last summer my husband gave me an idea for a romance novel. I immediately recognized the novel potential in his idea, but was too busy with other projects to do anything with it. I wrote a quick 8 page synopsis and quickly forgot about it. But every now and then, the idea would come back to haunt me. As November crept closer with no other projects clogging my roster I thought I'd give his idea the attention it deserved. Three days into November and I have written about 10,000 words. I don't know if it's any good yet. That's not the point. I can worry about that in December. All that matters for one beautiful Autumn month is getting the words into my hard drive.

It isn't too late to sign up. Check out the website. Or do the challenge on your own, though I gotta tell you there's something to be said about accountability. How can you go wrong with a million other writers nagging and prodding and cheering you on?

Happy writing. I'll be back later in the month with an update on my progress. If you're part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, look me up and become my writing buddy. My username is teresaslack. If not, post your word count here. We can celebrate NaNoWriMo together.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Vampires: A Love Affair

You can’t enter a bookstore or even look at the book offerings in a grocery store these days without encountering dozens of “paranormal” stories involving zombies, demons, fallen angels, and werewolves, although by far the most popular of these is the vampire.

Since Halloween is coming up, you can bet many a young girl is planning to dress up as “Alice,” “Rosalie,” or “Bella” from Twilight, and any young guy hoping to impress a girl would be wise to dress as “Vampire Bill” from True Blood, or “Jacob” or “Edward” from Twilight.

One cannot help but wonder what the attraction is for some of these characters, although the Twilight series is easy enough to explain: It is a fantasy romance involving the perfect lover, Edward, who just happens to be a vampire and very conscious of the fact that he’s a monster, and Bella Swan, an ordinary young girl. Edward has everything, perfect manners, super strength, plenty of money, immortality, and most of all, unconditional love for Bella. Who wouldn’t be smitten?

True Blood, however, must involve every kind of supernatural creature ever dreamed up, and even the heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, is no ordinary woman. She possesses a super-power of her own, the ability to read minds.

Besides the two above extremely popular vampire series, there are numerous others that are making inroads in the young adult ranks, series such as The Vampire Diaries and The Vampire Academy series, and numerous others which have yet to become as popular as the Twilight and True Blood series.

The fellows from Spiritual Counterfeits Project (http://www.scp-inc.org/) addressed this issue in the SCP Journal, Volume 33.2-33.3 2009, addressing the theme, “Vampires Rising.”

According to SCP founder Tal Brooke, “Vampires and the supernatural are entering through a vacuum left by the retreating Christian presence, now almost culturally irrelevant. The Postmodern church is filled with those who prefer to blend in as chameleons than face ostracism and it is a church without backbone that cannot possibly resist the coming invasion of darkness.”

Frightening thoughts, these, and one wonders how much longer we have left before the Lord comes to straighten all this out.

Brooke’s colleague, Steve Wohlberg, adds that, “Most fiction is not just fiction, and this is certainly true of Twilight,” as “fiction still communicates ideas, values, and messages.” The lead characters in Twilight all live “absolutely awesome, exciting lives,” as they all have special powers far beyond normal people, so is it any wonder that some people buy into this fantasy so much, they identify themselves as “vampires” and seek to drink blood so they can claim the powers of their heroes?

Wohlberg points out that this fascination with blood often leads to a loss of morality and unspeakable crimes, and that the Bible warns against ingesting blood. For this reason, the powers of darkness foster this fascination, because, as Wohlberg puts it, “Satan hates the blood of Christ,” and seeks to mesmerize our minds with “the wrong blood.”

In short, it’s the old bait-and-switch technique. The “Power in the Blood” of Jesus Christ is traded off for the cool powers exhibited by Edward and his coven of vampire relatives, and another soul is lost to darkness.

Read all about it in SCP’s “Vampires Rising” issue of the award-winning SCP Journal. As the powers of darkness seem to be on the rise all around us, the guys at Spiritual Counterfeits Project seek to give us the truth about these things. I can’t recommend it enough.

Note: NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month.

Read more at http://www.nanowrimo.org/

The goal is to write a novel in a month--November. Participants are encouraged to just go crazy. Write without censure, without editing, just put the words on the page and prove you can do it. Write 50,000 words in one month. The web page has forums and all types of encouragements to produce the word count. Word count is key. Check it out and sign up to participate.

And please don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 2!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inception – A Movie Review

Inception - A Movie Review by Cecelia Dowdy

I saw this movie last summer with my husband and all I can say about it is you have to pay attention.

One thing I didn't like was that they used the Lord's name in vain a lot and that didn't set too well with me.

I did find the story intriguing, especially since they had the dreams in four layers, a dream within a dream within a dream...

Cobb just wants to see his kids again, and he can't go home because he's WANTED. He’s a professional dreamer and he can get information about others via their subconscious – in their dreams. A project comes along, a very intriguing and difficult project involving the subconscious and if he's able to complete this project successfully, he'll be able to go home to his kids, whom he hasn't seen in a long time. In this project, instead of stealing secrets imbedded in the subconscious mind, he’s supposed to plant an idea into someone’s mind – Cobb needs to cause the breakup of a huge conglomerate if he wants to abandon his fugitive lifestyle and go home.

It's kind of cool to see people dreaming and how they see their longings in their subconscious mind. It's also kind of weird to see the dream and then to see others "interrupt" your dream since they're not supposed to be in that private part of your mind.

This is definitely a guy flick. I could imagine that a lot of females wouldn't care for this movie. I enjoyed the action in the movie, but, I must warn you, there is a lot of violence in this flick. The special effects were amazing and I really got caught up in the story.

Can you imagine being caught in a dream for fifty+ years? Frightening! Dreams and reality become muddled and then it messes with your mind.

This movie was very deep and, like I said, you need to pay attention to every word or you might miss something.

Seeing this movie reminded me about the fascination I’ve always had with dreams. When I was in high school, I wrote a paper about dreams and the subconscious mind. In the book of Daniel, God speaks to others through their dreams and He provided vivid messages while Pharoah was asleep.

It's hard for me to talk about this movie further without giving spoilers. If you've seen this movie, I'd like to know what you thought about it. I'd like to see it again to make sure I didn't miss anything. I think I got the whole story, but I’ll admit that this was one of the most intense movies that I’ve seen in recent years.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Secretariat--the Movie

Based on the remarkable true story, "Secretariat" chronicles the spectacular journey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Housewife and mother Penny Chenery Tweedy agrees to take over her ailing father's Virginia based Meadow Stables, despite her lack of horse-racing experience. Against all odds, with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin, she manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and what may be the greatest racehorse of all time.

Secretariat is not a documentary so purists need not balk at the creative liberties taken by the film. Still those who remember this great horse will not find many factual discrepancies in the film that ruin the story.

The movie is toughing, moving, inspirational, and a whole lot of fun. Diane Lane and John Malkovich are excellent in their roles. The acting was superb and the storyline suspenseful even though we know how the whole thing turns out. I highly recommend Secretariat to anyone who is tired of the usual fare of sophomoric humor, sexual innuendo, or car chases to get you into the theater.

Rated PG for mild brief language this movie I give it 5 stars for family friendliness. Can't say that about many of them out there. Go and enjoy. If you're already seen it, let me know what you thought.

Monday, October 18, 2010


by Molly Noble Bull

Four DVD Movies:
Are you a Jane Austen fan? I am. In fact, I have two movie versions of Pride and Prejudice and watched them every chance I get. I’ve also read Pride and Prejudice.
The movie version starring Colin Firth first came out as a mini series from A&E, and in my opinion, Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy. Still, the short version of Pride and Prejudice is worth seeing and stars Keira Knightley. Both are available on DVD.
The Bennet home in the A&E version is far grander than the Bennet house depicted in the Keira Knightley version, and since I never lived in that time period, I cannot say which of the two would be more authentic. In the Knightley version, the Bennets are somewhat messy and less prosperous, and the differences in these two DVD movies is especially interesting because it allows the viewer to see two completely different lifestyles during that point in British history.
Apparently, there are two other movie versions of Pride and Prejudice available on DVD that I have yet to see. The black and white version came out in 1940 and stars Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier, and the BBC version came out in 1980 starring Elizabeth Garvie.
Jane Austen died in 1817. Obviously, the novel was written before that date.
So what attracts others and me to Pride and Prejudice—a story written two hundred years ago? What keeps us reading that particular book and seeing movies based on it? Was I born in the wrong century? Or do I merely enjoy looking back at bygone days? If I knew the answer to those questions, maybe my books would be as popular as Jane’s.
I love movies that include the interiors of grand English mansions and country homes of that period as well as colorful pictures of the English countryside. All these movies have that, and three of them are in color.
So what am I planning to do this evening?
Order the 1980 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and watch it as soon as I can. If you want to do the same, go to Amazon dot com, click on the pull-down, scroll to Movies and Tv and write Pride and Prejudice in the search slot. All the movies mention above should also be listed, and I can promise that the two I’ve seen are wonderful.
Please leave a comment at the end of this article, and join our Followers group to the right on the screen.

I would like to introduce three published novelists who will also be writing articles for Writers Rest.

. Cecelia Dowdy:
Cecelia Dowdy is a Christian fiction author who enjoys reading wonderful Christian books. She's been writing for fifteen years and she's had five Christian romance novels published. She is married and has a five-year-old son and currently resides in Maryland, not far from Washington D.C. She loves reading the Word and also enjoys discussing the Bible and asking others questions about certain Bible verses. Baking delicious desserts is another one of her passions and she also enjoys listening to old tunes with my husband.
She runs a book blog where she mostly reviews Christian fiction titles. She occasionally discusses Biblical topics and shares recipes, too. Her blog is entitled My Christian Fiction Blog and the address is:
Her website address is:

. Katy King:
Katy King is a romance writer who trained as a scientist, which makes for some really weird viewpoints. She grew up in the Baptist church and consequently spent a lot of time arguing with Sunday School teachers about whether or not Jesus drank wine (the old-style Baptists swear it was grape juice!) and wondering why God didn't send a little lava down on Lot when he and his two daughters got together up in those caves after God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
When Katy entered college, she decided New Age religion was the way to go. By the time she left college, she met Molly Noble Bull and came to realize that, since her Baptist childhood had taught her what sin was, she was doomed never to develop the "Christ-consciousness" or become "One with the Universe," because she hated meditation and was obviously a "very young soul" who would never succeed in "elevating her consciousness" alone. In short, she was doomed to reincarnate until the universe pretty much ended, because that's about how long it would take.
Consequently, she decided she had better repent and get back with the Old Program, namely Bible-based Christianity. Though devout Christians, she and her husband keep up a constant study of New Age spirituality and other strange beliefs in order to warn others about the dangers of them.
Katy is published in magazines like Black Belt and Guideposts. Her first romance novel was a secular romance from Meteor Publishing called Storm Warning. Her second was The Cartwright Heritage from White Rose Press.

. Teresa Slack:
Teresa Slack quit work in 1999 to pursue her writing career full time. Since then she has written ten novels, five of which were published by Tsaba House. Her first novel, STREAMS OF MERCY, received the Bay Area Independent Publishers' Assn. award for "Best First Fiction". Her latest book, EVIDENCE OF GRACE, debuted nationwide at number 18, according to Christian Retailing Magazine.
Teresa loves to speak and teach to reading and writing groups alike about any writing related topic. She is currently working on the first installment of a new series, entitled UNLEASHED. Teresa lives in Ohio with her husband and two rescue dogs, all three of whom have been great inspiration for her novels. Learn more about Teresa and her writing at http://www.teresaslack.com or http://www.teresaslack.blogspot.com You can also keep up with her writing and personal life on Facebook and Twitter.

. Molly Noble Bull
Molly Noble Bull is married, the mother of three grown sons and a grandmother, and she was born in Kingsville, Texas, home of the famous King Ranch. Molly has published with Zondervan, Love Inspired-Steeple Hill and Tsaba House, and her two Zondervan novels also came out from Guideposts, the Book Division.
Molly entered three national contests for published authors, and her long historical, Sanctuary, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Inspiration category and tied for first place in the 2008 Winter Rose contest in the inspirational category.
All Molly’s novels are available at Amazon and Christianbook dot com, and her Steeple Hill historical, The Winter Pearl, is also available as a Kindle selection.

Monday, October 11, 2010

SKYLINE, the movie -- Plus Four New Writers

by Molly Noble Bull

I've been reading how the new age movement explains the Rapture of the church. Spooky. According to some in that group, there are three types of people in the world.
. The first group will accept the New Age World Order gladly.
. The second group won't accept it at first but will later.
. But the third group will NEVER accept it. Therefore, the third group must be sent to another dimension for training.
The concept just mentioned is spelled out in a new upcoming science fiction movie titled SKYLINE. Hal Lindsey discussed "Skyline" on his program recently, and I think you can listen to that broadcast at his website.
Anyway, remember in the Bible when we are told to keep looking up because Jesus is coming soon. Well apparently in the movie, those that look up will be sucked up into the sky and thus doomed. In Skyline, the movie, people are told NOT to look up.
If you don't believe me, click onto the video below and see for yourself.
I have not seen this movie yet. I think I read that it comes out on
November 12, 2010.
Not sure.
Check the Internet for dates and times it will be shown.
Is Satan preparing his people for something big?
I think so.
Because Jesus is coming soon.

I would like to welcome four new published authors who will also be writing articles for Writers Rest. They are
Cecelia Dowdy
Katy King
Lorena McCourney
Teresa Slack
They will be introducing themselves to our readers soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm Backkkkkkkk

by Molly Noble Bull

I’ve been involved with family matters for over a month—sickness, babysitting a grandchild, writing, etc. Now that I’m back, I would like to give this blog a new focus.
As writers, we still need rest. Christians do too. I hope you will always find rest while remembering that only Jesus can give us true rest. I will still write book interviews and book and movie reviews, but I will also include articles that I hope will be of interest to you in these end-times.
So, let us begin.
Before I was saved, I didn’t read the Bible at all, but afterward, I read those scriptures of interest to me. I am very interested in Bible prophecy; so I read mostly the first five books of the Bible, the Major and Minor Prophets, the Psalms and the Book of Revelation. Later, the Lord reminded me that the Children of Israel were told to eat the whole Passover Lamb—all of it—and not merely those cuts of the meat they particularly liked. Suddenly, I realized that I hadn’t read the New Testament is much as a Christian should.
Since then, I read the entire Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—including all the dots and tittles.
Yes, I even read all those begets and begets. I might not be able to pronounce all the names mentioned in those scriptures, but I always try to do my best.
Normally, I only read one chapter a night. Yep, just one.
Therefore, I don’t read the Bible in one year. You are probably wondering why.
For me, only reading one chapter a night gives me time to meditate on what I’ve read—think about what I read—listen to see if the Lord has insights he wants me to learn regarding that chapter.
And how long does it take me to read the entire Bible that way? Years.
But once I complete the entire Bible, I start reading it again the next night or as soon after that as I can. When I miss a night, I try to catch up later by reading several chapters per night.
Idolatry is a sin that most Christians know little about. Yet if I could mention two things that I have discovered from all my readings it is that God hates Idolatry, and He also hates it when we put other gods before Him.
To learn more, read the Ten Commandments, especially commandments one and two.
(See Exodus 20 1-17) I will have more to say on this topic in later blogs.
Currently, I am reading in the Book of Ezekiel. If you haven’t read the first chapter of Ezekiel, you should. It’s super interesting, describing a chariot that the Lord rides around in.
Tonight, I will be reading Chapter 16. It would be great if you decided to read one chapter a night with me, and if you do, please leave a comment to let me know.
Here is my schedule until the end of the month. Jump in any time.
Book of Ezekiel
Tuesday (June 15, 2010) -- Ezekiel, Chapter 16
Wednesday (June 16, 2010) -- Ezekiel, Chapter 17
Thursday (June 17, 2010) -- Chapter 18
Friday (June 18th) -- Chapter 19
Saturday (June 19th) -- Chapter 20
Sunday (June 20th) -- Chapter 21
Monday ( June 21st) -- Chapter 22
Tuesday (June 22nd) -- Chapter 23
Wednesday (June 23rd) -- Chapter 24
Thursday (June 24th) -- Chapter 25
Friday ( June 25th) -- Chapter 26
Saturday (June 26th) -- Chapter 27
Sunday (June 27th) -- Chapter 28
Monday (June 28th) -- Chapter 29
Tuesday (June 29th) -- Chapter 30
Wednesday (June 30th) -- Chapter 31
*Thursday (July 1, 2010) -- Chapter 32

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Book and a Very Funny Movie

Molly Noble Bull

Last night, we saw the funniest movie we have seen since My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Today, I am going to tell you about the movie first, and then my friend, Cecelia Dowdy, is going to tell you about her newest book.
First, the movie.
The title is Date Night, and the premise of this movie is that married couples need a date night out once in a while without the kids. I laughed almost constantly. The movie is PG 13; so be prepared. There will be some elements of the movie you won't like. But if you need a really big laugh, this is the movie to see.
I give this movie Five Stars for the humor alone.
And now for the book. Take it away, Cecelia.

Hi, Molly. Thanks for hosting me on your blog today. I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I happened to write the stories for Chesapeake Weddings, my new 3-in-1 collection from Barbour Publishing.
I got the idea to write John’s Quest from working at my day job. I work at a place where there are a lot of scientists and learned men who hold doctorate degrees. One day during lunch, I looked at the scientists sitting at their table, conversing, and thought: I wonder if they believe in God? I imagined that there were some scientists out there who doubted God’s existence, so the idea for John’s Quest was born.
The story idea for Milk Money came to me since I was raised in a rural farming community and I recall visiting the farms of friends while I was growing up. I just thought it would be a neat idea to set a book on a dairy farm. Since I’ve known several people who’ve suffered from alcoholism, I thought I’d show how an alcoholic could accept Jesus to help overcome his addiction. Both Frank and Emily learn that having faith in God will help get you through life’s troubles.
For my novel, Bittersweet Memories, I tapped into my interest in identical twins, and I also wanted to show how money can ruin familial and personal relationships. My story gives an example about how we can learn to forgive others over monetary matters. I enjoyed writing Karen and Keith’s story since the subjects of money and having faith in God became dominant factors in their lives, affecting their personal relationships.
These stories were a joy to write, and I hope you’ll leave a comment to enter the book giveaway! If you have any questions about me, my writing, or Chesapeake Weddings, feel free to leave them in the comments section, too! If you want to know what others think of my book, you can visit Amazon.com and see the book reviews there. So far, I've gotten a lot of positive feedback, which is a blessing!
~Cecelia Dowdy~
Thanks, Cecilia.
You can buy Cecilia's books at any online bookstore by writing Cecelia Dowdy in the search slot. Or ask for Cecilia Dowdy at walk-in bookstores.
And don't forget about the movie.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Fiction Novels by Kathi Macias

To kick off her new fiction series, Kathi Macias would like to give a copy of No Greater Love and also one of More than Conquerors.
To win a copy of one of these books, leave a comment below by April 1, 2010 and leave your contact info at bull.mollynoble@gmail.com.
Molly Noble Bull

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kathi Macias, author of No Greater Love

by Molly Noble Bull

Today my guest is Kathi Macias, a friend and an extreme talent. My questions are going to be a little different because Kathi has so many books coming out. She has a series of contemporary novels as well as a stand-alone historical novel. Wow!
The first book in the series is titled No Greater Love, and it is set in South Africa. But all the books in the series are set in exotic places. Kathi, start by telling a little about yourself, and then tell us about all those far away places and about each of the books set in those locations. Finally, we want to know about your historical and the person who is writing that book with you. So Kathi, take us away.


Thanks for the great introduction, Molly. It’s a pleasure to be here.

As a personal introduction, I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother who rides with my husband on his Harley (hence my road name of “Easy Writer”). I have published 30 books over the last couple of decades, plus edited/ghostwritten about 100 others.

As for current releases, it’s going to be quite a year! First (March 2010) is the release of the Spanish edition of Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today, one of three nonfiction books that released in English in 2009. Next, on April 5, 2010, is the simultaneous release of books 1 and 2 of The Extreme Devotion Series from New Hope Publishers (their first-ever venture into fiction). Here is a brief run-down on the four books in the series:

No Greater Love (April 2010) is set in South Africa in 1989, during the violence and upheaval just prior to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the fall of Apartheid. The main character is a 16-year-old black girl, the orphaned daughter of ANC members, who has found live-in work on an Afrikaner farm. When she and the white son of her employers find themselves attracted to one another, they are forced to choose between the dictates of an Apartheid government/society and sacrificial love.

More than Conquerors (April 2010) takes place in two settings: the San Diego/Tijuana area and the Mayan culture of San Juan Chamula in Southern Mexico, where outsiders, particularly “Evangelicos,” are unwelcome and sometimes disappear. When the pastor of a small church in Tijuana ventures into the area to deliver Bibles, he ends up making more of a personal investment than he could ever have imagined. The price is so great that it causes him to question if should return.

Red Ink (October 2010) is set in China, where a young wife and mother is arrested for distributing Christian materials to children, a twofold violation of the law. Separated from her husband and child, she struggles in the most adverse of situations to maintain her faith and to continue to evangelize the others God brings across her path.

People of the Book (January 1, 2011) takes place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where two cousins—teenaged girls—are exposed in different ways to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Saudi Kingdom, where women have no rights and conversion from Islam to another religion can mean death, the girls must make some life-changing decisions, compounded by the fact that one of the girls has a brother who is determined to discover their secret and subject them to the worst possible punishment.

Valeria’s Cross (September 2010) is a stand-alone historical novel (third-century Rome) based on true events. It is a story of war and sacrifice, and even love in the midst of the worst circumstances. This book is published by Abingdon Press and co-authored with Susan Wales, wife of movie producer (Amazing Grace, Pink Panther, etc.) Ken Wales.

I look forward to hearing from your readers. I can be contacted at ezyrtr@ca.rr.com, www.kathimacias.com, and http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com.

Thank you, Kathi, for telling us about all those exciting books. To find books by Kathi Macias, write Kathi Macias in the search slot at online books stores and ask for books by Kathi Macias at walk-in bookstores.
Until next time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Introducing: author Michelle Griep

And E-Books—the Wave of the Future

by Molly Noble Bull

Michelle Griep has written what sounds like a fantastic novel titled Gallimore. I can hardly wait to read it because it combines a modern story, time travel and a historical romance all at the same time. Yet there is another element that makes Gallimore hard to resist. It’s an e-book, and I have a special interest in e-books.

My novel, The Winter Pearl, was first published in trade paperback in 2004, and it is also available now as an e-book.

So Michelle, tell us in a sentence or two about Michelle Griep, including your web and/or blog address, and then tell us about your exciting first novel, Gallimore.

When my superhero cape is at the cleaners, I'm a garden-variety stay-at-home mom who teaches Creative Writing and Civics at a local homeschool co-op. You can read more about me at www.mmgriep.com

My debut novel, put out by Black Lyon Publishing, is a Wizard of Oz tale with a medieval twist. Seriously, who wouldn't want to escape the ol' laundry pile and take a trip back to the chivalrous times of big, beefy knights and mysterious castles?

Interesting. Would it be possible for you to give us a taste of your actual book?

Sure. Here's a clip...
"The gates are shut for the night. They'll not be opened 'til cockcrow."
"I'm not staying here that long." She turned on her heel in a perfect military pivot and marched off.
Colwyn sighed, tiring of the game. Where could she possibly go? He trudged after her as she entered a stairway leading to the top of the walls.
An unseasonably cool breeze met them on the narrow walkway. He let her stop and peer over the edge. "What are you doing?"
She glared at him but kept up her silly probing along the length of the battlement. As they came to the end at a tower door, he decided to save them both from having to walk the whole of Gallimore. "The western wall bears a more treacherous drop than what you've already seen. There's no point in continuing."
The look in her eye made him glad she was but a woman. He'd not want to face that kind of hostility from a man.
"You enjoy seeing me squirm, don't you?"
The acidity of her voice, or maybe the desperation, gave him an unexpected twinge in his gut. "Nay. Not so. As much as you've been an irritant to me, I bear you no ill will. I do not possess my brother's penchant for evildoing. Truth be told, when his focus is on you, it is off of me."

Excellent. Now, explain how e-books work. Must we have special equipment to read your novel? Besides novels, what else can we read via this equipment?

E-books are the wave of the future. Okay, so that's cheesy, but truly...they are currently the trend. You don't need 'special' equipment to download an e-book. Any PC or Mac can run them. The bonus is that it's cheaper than a paperback and available at the snap of a finger - or click of a key, as the case may be.
That being said, there are several techie toys on the market that are pretty sweet to use and incredibly easy to come by. You can pick up a Sony Reader at Target, Amazon has the Kindle, Barnes & Noble has the Nook, and even Apple is coming out with a new iPad, which will be on sale next month. Depending on what piece of equipment you buy, applications vary from simply reading a book to full-blown internet capabilities.

Wow! Thanks, Michelle, for visiting with us today and for telling about your book and e-books in general. To find Gallimore and my novel, The Winter Pearl, at online bookstores, write our names in the search slot or mention our names at walk-in bookstores.
Michelle Griep
Molly Noble Bull

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Are We Living In The End-Times?

By Molly Noble Bull

Wars, Rumors of Wars. Earthquakes, Waves Rolling:
Today there was an 8.8 earthquake in Chili and a 6.2 aftershock, so far. A giant wave could be headed for Hawaii.
Are we in the end-times? The last days?
If yes, what should we do to prepare?
The Bible isn't clear as to when the Rapture will take place. We have all heard about a pre-trib rapture, and I sure hope it will happen that way. But there are other possibilities.
Whenever the rapture takes place, the Lord will protect His saints. And those who truly follow Jesus ARE His saints.
As Christian Believers, we can rest in the blessed hope.
So, today I would like to leave you with a question. How can we best follow Jesus during these last days? Please leave a comment, telling how you follow Jesus.
I have some thoughts that I will share later. But for now, I would like to hear what following Jesus means to you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Maid of Honor -- a DVD movie review

by Molly Noble Bull

My huband and I have gone to so many awful movies, we had almost stopped going to movies. But I wanted to give Maid of Honor a try. My sweet husband was kind enough to take me to see it when it first came out, and since it is still available on DVD, I decided to discuss it.
And yes, there were some things in the movie I didn't like. (We won't go into that.) But there were a lot of things I liked.
Here a few.
Women, like me, want to know what a guy in thinking, and Maid of Honor was almost completely from the male POV.
It was romantic with characters I wanted to root for.
It was cute and funny. (Humor is important to me.)
Part of the movie was set in Scotland. If you like everything European, as I do, you will love the settings.
I give it four and a half stars. The first scene and a scene near the end of the movie didn't inspire me. But if the first scene had been left out, it wouldn't have made the last scene "full circle" and therefore not as funny.
Now that I have told you what to expect, I recommend this movie.
If you have read my other reivews, you know that I dislike cursing in books and movies. I also dislike bedroom scenes. But I would like to hear what you thought about Maid of Honor or movies today in general.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Giants of the Ancient World: For Mystery and Science Fiction fans

by Molly Noble Bull

King David killed a giant named Goliath.
Did you know that the giants mentioned in literature as well as the Bible are also called the Nephilim?
I didn’t until I read a book titled The Omega Conspiracy by I.D.E Thomas. If you like mysteries, science fiction or Bible prophecy all neatly packaged under one cover, perhaps this book will interest you and change your thinking about giants as it changed mine.
The Bible says—
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Genesis 6: 4 KJV
God's word is absolutely true. The giants were real.
But who were these sons of God?
Who were the daughters of men?
Were they from different species? If not, why were the men called “sons of God” while the women were called the “daughters of men?” If they were the same, wouldn’t they have been called the sons of men and the daughters of men?
And where did the giants come from?
To learn the author's answers to these and other questions, buy and read The Omega Conspiracy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Miralee Ferrell, author of Finding Jeena

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing my good friend, Miralee Farrell, who as a blockbuster novel coming out in April, 2010, titled Finding Jeena. Welcome to South Texas Living magazine, Miralee, and to my column, Books That Inspire. Let’s start by talking about you.
Where were you born, where did you go to school, and where do you live now? And tell us as much or as little about your family as you feel comfortable telling.

I was born in Hood River, Oregon, across the Columbia River from Lyle, WA., where my parents lived. Most of my life was spent in that small town (pop. 500). My husband and I have a married daughter who lives near us and a married son in Portland.

Thanks. Now tell us about each of your published novels.

My debut novel was a women’s contemporary, The Other Daughter.
In Daughter, Susanne Carson knows that she can trust her husband, David—until she discovers a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David’s daughter. Not that their marriage has ever been perfect—David’s decision to embrace the Christian faith has strained their relationship. If David hid this not-so-little secret from his past, what else could her husband be hiding?

In Love Finds You in Last Chance, CA, a historical romance set in the old west, Alexia Travers father has died, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Marrying would offer an easy solution, but Alex has no interest in marriage. Instead, she dons men’s clothing and rides the range, determined to make the ranch a success. Despite Alex's efforts, everything goes wrong. Alex is at her wit's end when Justin Phillips arrives with his young son, looking for a job. But there seems to be more to Justin's story than he's willing to share. Will Alex ever be able to trust him?
In Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, OR, also a historical romance, Margaret Garvey risks everything by taking in two young runaways—only to learn that they may be involved in murder and sabotage at the local sawmill. The arrival of two men who love her complicates things even further. Can Margaret clear her head and heart to make the most important decisions of her life?
Sounds great. Now tell about each of your future published novels and when we can expect to see them at bookstores and at Amazon.
Finding Jeena—the sequel to The Other Daughter releases in April. Here’s a brief summary:
Jeena Gregory's life is unraveling. Her shady boss has disappeared and missing money has attracted the attention of the federal authorities. As she experiences financial ruin and alcoholic relapse, she lands in a homeless shelter—where she's confronted with a God she's long forgotten.
I’m working on a three book series set in the old west with a romance thread, but are more ‘old time western.’ They aren’t under contract yet, but I do have a publisher interested.
You are a busy lady. How has your Christian faith colored your fiction writing?

My Christian faith is what drives me to write. I’ve been involved in ministry to women for over 25 yrs and felt that the Lord wanted me to use writing to reach women on a broader scale than I could ministering one-on-one. My prayer is that the words I write will touch every woman who reads them.

Good for you. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Yes. My web addy is: www.miraleeferrell.com And my blog is: www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com
I also have a readers group on Facebook and am very active there, as well as Plaxo, Goodreads and Shelfari if anyone wants to send me a friend request.

It was great having you today; Miralee, and I hope you will come back real soon.
Miralee writes under the name of Miralee Ferrell. To find her books at online bookstores, write Miralee Ferrell in the search slot.
Next month, my guest will be Michelle Griep.
See you then,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BRIGHT STAR, a DVD Movie Review

by Molly Noble Bull

I was eager to rent Bright Star on DVD starring Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw. What could be better than a movie about the life of Keats and set in England in a time period I loved? Not only that, it was PG. Bright Star was the historical romance movie I had been waiting months to see. Yes, I knew Keats had to die since this was a true story. However, I hoped the story of his first love would balance out the sad ending.
If only I could report that this “first love” movie lived up to my expectations.
Unfortunately, neither the movie nor my wishes for it ended as I’d hoped, and it didn’t take a genius to figure what was never stated openly. Fanny loved John Keats, all right, but so did Mr. Brown.
I give Bright Star two stars for the beautiful English settings.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movies On DVD You Might Like

By Molly Noble Bull

I thought I would give you a list of movies you might like that you can rent on DVD. At least, I liked them. Some of these movies take place in modern times, and some are historical. I haven't listed them in the order I liked best because I liked all of them. However, I do love movies taken from Jane Austen's books. I put an H in front of the historical movies.
So, let’s get started.

H. The Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth. (From a novel by Jane Austen, this version was a mini series; so it is very long but worth watching.)

H. The Pride and Prejudice (short version -- 2 hours and nine minutes) starring Keira Knightley.
I have both versions and watch them again and again fairly often. You will see the difference when you view them.

H. Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow (Jane Austen)

. While You Were Sleeping starring Sandra Bullock (Loved this movie.)

. Miss Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock

H. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

H. The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

. Kate and Leopold starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman

H. Middlemarch by George Eliot (I liked this movie least of all the movies listed, but it was okay.)

. Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore

H. The Scarlet Pimpernel starring Jane Seymour

If you would like to read all my articles on ranch life, including old photographs, go to Bustles and Spurs and scroll down—down—down until you see Molly Noble Bull (10) Click there. If you don’t see the (10), you haven’t scrolled down enough. Here is the blog address.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Day I Got My First "Two Star" Book Review

by Molly Noble Bull

Book Reviews are very important to authors. As a published novelist, I am no exception. To me, a Five Stars ranking at Amazon is super encouraging. A Four Star ranking is all right, too. But when my overall rankings go below that magic "Four," I start to worry.
And when I got my first “two star” review? Well, I was crushed.
What was I doing wrong? I must be the worse published author in the entire world. Should I trade my computer for a shovel and begin digging ditches? Or was I shovel-ready enough to even do that?
After successfully removing the knife now penetrating my heart, I made a discovery. There was a place near the review to click-on—making it possible for me to read "the two star bandit's" OTHER reviews.
I clicked immediately—with shaky fingers I might add.
You won't believe what I found.
The "two star bandit" was actually "the one star bandit." And there were authors far more famous that I getting "one starred" right and left.
At first, I felt a lot better. But in the end, I was slightly disappointed.
Why wasn't my writing good/bad enough to rate "one star?"
A sense of humor is vital in this business. Otherwise, how can we hope to yank the knife from our hearts?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thicker Than Blood, an author interview

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing C.J Darlington about her new book, Thicker Than Blood. Welcome to Writers Rest. What would some people be surprised to know about you, C.J.?

I started writing the story that would become my first published novel Thicker than Blood (Tyndale House) when I was fifteen-years-old. I was homeschooled Grades 1-12, and I’m really thankful for the gift my parents gave us in home schooling my twin sister and me. In many ways I don’t think I’d be where I am today if they hadn’t.

Tell us about the Operation First Novel contest.

The Christian Writers Guild, which is owned by New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins (of Left Behind series fame), runs an annual contest called Operation First Novel. CWG staff evaluate submissions, and the top four are sent to the acquistions team at Tyndale House. The winner receives a publishing contract with Tyndale, as well as $20,000. My novel Thicker than Blood won the contest in 2008.

Fantastic! What was that like?

It was a “dream come true.” I’d almost given up on Thicker than Blood. But I decided to give it one last chance by entering Operation First Novel, and I was shocked when they announced it as the winner.

Wow! What’s the novel about?

Thicker than Blood tells the story of two estranged sisters, Christy and May Williams. Christy works at the renowned used and rare bookstore Dawson’s Book Barn as a clerk and aspiring book buyer. May owns and operates a cattle ranch in southern Colorado. Here’s the back cover blurb: Christy Williams never imagined that a stolen Hemingway first edition would lead her back to the sister she left fifteen years ago. But when things begin to unravel, she finds herself on May’s doorstep, fearing for her life. After a bittersweet reunion, will the two discover that some hurts can’t be healed, or is there a tie that’s thicker than blood?

Sounds great. What makes your book unique?

I’ve been involved in the antiquarian book world for over thirteen years, and I’ve seen many crazy things in this industry. I wanted to incorporate some of what I’ve experienced in this novel. One of the rare books I learned about was a first edition of Ernest Hemingways For Whom the Bell Tolls. I loved being able to incorporate that book, as well as many others, into this story.

How does your book reflect your religious views?

I’m a Christian, and my faith is very important to me. There are several ways this plays out in my writing. First, I’m careful about how far I will go in telling a story. You can give my novels to your teen daughter without worry. There’s no swearing, sex scenes, or gratuitous violence. I do deal with some tough issues like alcoholism and abuse, but I’m always careful how much to show readers. I don’t like reading novels that make me feel dirty after I read them, and I think I’m not alone in this.

Also, an important aspect of Thicker than Blood is the spiritual journey of my main character, Christy. She has a hard time believing God would ever give her the time of day. She doesn’t believe she’s redeemable. But over the course of the novel she changes. I love being able to share her spiritual journey as well as her physical journey, which gets quite harrowing at times!

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

Reading! I love to crack open a novel with a cup of tea by my side. I really enjoy going to the movie theater and catching a good flick. Also, I’m the co-founder of Christian entertainment website www.TitleTrakk.com.

Wow, you are a busy person. I hope you come back and visit us again.
Until next time,
Molly Noble Bull

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Recent Visit to the Twilight Zone

by Molly Noble Bull

I was sending an email to a friend, and if you know me, you know that I always sign my messages “Love Molly” unless I am writing to a man who is not a member of my family. But yesterday, instead of writing the word Molly, I wrote the word Nikkt. And I immediately thought of my friend Nikki.
I thought, this must be a message from God. Nikki must be sick or in need of prayer. I hadn’t thought of Nikki in weeks, but I knew I needed to write to her and pray for her. At once.
So I wrote the message below.
Dear Nikki,
Your name just came to my mind in a very strange way. I think God wants me to contact you today. Are you all right?
Nikki wrote back and said she was fine but had been having some problems.
Then I wrote her a second message, but this time, I included a little white lie. I told her that when I wrote a message to a friend earlier that morning, I signed the message Love Nikki.
Actually, I wrote –
I am not in the habit of signing someone else’s name to my messages, and I knew in my heart that Nikkt meant Nikki. But I was in a hurry. I simply didn’t want to take the time to explain why I thought Nikkt meant Nikki. So I lied to save time.
I told her that I had signed a message Love Nikki.
Today, the truth dawned on me.
If you check your computer, the letter M is next to the N. The letter i is next to the O, and the letter L is next to the K. The letter Y is next to the T, not the i. Thus, I wrote Nikkt.
What I did was set my hands one space over, and it could happen to anyone. Nikki might one day write—Love Mollu instead of Love Nikki.
But is there a point to all this?
The Lord constantly tests His people, and perhaps He was testing to see if I would tell the truth—the whole truth and nothing but.
I failed the test.
There is no such thing as a little white lie. Lies are neither little nor white.
I knew I needed to repent, and I have.
And what did I learn from all this?
Though I never entered the twilight zone, I sinned. And look at all the time and effort it took for me to explain it.

UPDATE: January 14, 2010
Read the comments at the end of this message, and you will learn the identity of my friend, Nikki. Or should I say Nikkt?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Time Is The Ally of Deceit -- A Book Review

by Molly Noble Bull

According to the Bible, God hates idols and false gods. Since I didn’t really know a lot about that topic, I decided to do some research and bought a book titled Time Is The Ally of Deceit by Richard Rives. On the cover of the book was a photo of a statue of the ancient sun god—Sol Invictus.
Apparently, many once worshipped Sol Invictus. Perhaps some still worship that false god today.
On the head of this Idol, Sol Invictus, was a crown with seven spikes—three on one side—three on the other side—and one in the middle.
Yesterday a friend gave me an article with a photo of the Statue of Liberty on the cover. And guess what?
Lady Liberty was wearing a crown with seven spikes on it. I think the crown looked exactly like the one on the head of the statue of the sun god, Sol Invictus.
Was the similarity merely a coincidence? Or were Americans deceived all these years? Is Lady Liberty a he rather than a she? And is that he the sun god?
The United States is a Christian nation, and a majority of Americans still claim to worship the God of the Bible. So what is an image of Sol Invictus doing in New York Harbor?
The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York in June of 1885 and was designed as a joint venture between the United States and France—a symbol of friendship between the two nations. Later, its purpose grew to include freedom and democracy.
Until yesterday, I had never bothered to count the spikes on Lady Liberty's crown, but there are exactly seven—just like the crown on the head of the ancient statue of the sun god.
The Statue of Liberty was erected over a hundred years ago, and when I think about the words written on the tablet—“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” a lump often forms in my throat.
Or it did.
But I feel a little dirty right now.
And deceived.
Time really is the ally of deceit.
I gave this book five stars for content alone.

UPDATE: January 8,2009
A friend with knowledge of this topic suggested that the Statue of Liberty was probably not an image of the sun god. More likely, it was an image of a female goddess.
But whether false god or false goddess, the statue would not be pleasing to God.