Saturday, April 27, 2013


by Molly Noble Bull

My friend, Murray Pura, is an ordain Baptist minister who lives in Canada, and he is also a multi-published author. Blessed with success writing for publishing houses like Zondervan, Harper One, Barbour, Harvest House, Trestle Press/Helping Hands, and Baker, he puts his writing miracle this way.
“I enjoy doing different kinds of writing, fiction as well as nonfiction, so a diversity of labels helps me to do that.”  

The year 2012 was his first year in the American fiction market. Up till then Murray’s novels and stories were published in the UK and in Canada and even “down under” but not in the USA – devotionals, Bible commentaries, yes – fiction, no. That all changed with opportunities from Barbour in Ohio, Harvest House in Oregon, and Trestle Press/Helping Hands Press in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Barbour published A Bride’s Flight From Virginia City, Montana, where Old Amish meets Old West; Harvest House published The Wings of Morning, a story about flying set in 1917, and The Face of Heaven, a story that takes place during the Civil War; and Trestle Press/Helping Hands Press began to release a story set in 1728 in Colonial America in a serialized eBook format. It was called The Rose of Lancaster County.
Murray is happy to say that more books are being launched in 2013: Ashton Park, Under the Dover Sky, Whispers of a New Dawn, and An Amish Family Christmas by Harvest House; Majestic and Wild by Baker; A Road Called Love, Seven Oaks, The Name of the Hawk, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and The Last Man in Texas by Trestle Press/Helping Hands Press. Quite a variety of genres, and he enjoys the diversity and challenge of that – Ashton Park and Under the Dover Sky are set in England in the early 20th century; Whispers of a New Dawn takes place during the outbreak of World War 2; An Amish Family Christmas is modern day as is A Road Called Love; Seven Oaks takes place on a Virginia plantation during the Civil War; The Name of the Hawk is a medieval romance and adventure; and Go Tell It On The Mountain and The Last Man in Texas are westerns set in the 1800s. Some of them are finished and some are still being written.

“It’s special to be able to share my stories with my readers,” he says, “and I hope they enjoy what I have penned for them this year. Thank you, Molly Noble Bull, a great writer and a great colleague, for letting all your friends know about me.
God bless you all.”
Murray is truly a writing miracle, and he isn’t finished yet.
To find all Murray’s books, write Murray Pura in the search slot at online stores like Amazon and walk-in bookstores. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When A Christian Music Artist Loses His Voice

God Direction

In my last post, I mentioned how God deepened Mark Hall’s understanding of ministry at a time when he was unable to sing. It was years before Mr. Hall became the lead singer of Casting Crowns. Still, when a person is faced with losing the thing he compassthought God called him to use, I asked, “What do you say to your Creator when that happens?” It seems Mark Stuart, the former lead singer of Audio Adrenaline, would have the answer to that question.

A few weeks ago I read an article about the remade Audio Adrenaline and its new purpose to enlarge a ministry for orphans in Haiti, in Audio Adrenaline is a Christian rock band formed in the late 1980s. Mark Stuart was not only one of its founding members, but in its previous life, the lead singer. In 2006, the band disbanded largely due to Mark’s “on-going vocal challenges.” He could no longer sing.

Wow! Again, I ask, “What do you say to your Creator when that happens?”

He wasn’t just preparing for a career in music, that was his career. But, no more.

In the article in CCM Magazine, Mark mentions how the struggle to write music had become only a reminder of his broken voice. What once was his ministry became a badge of defeat.

So what did he do? He immersed himself in a new passion for Christ—The Hands and Feet Project—a ministry he, and fellow band-mate, Will McGinnis founded in 2004, to help orphaned children in Haiti.

That’s what he did.

Why am I telling you about this? Not just because no matter how complete or incomplete we think we are on our own, God is not done with us. He sometimes has bigger and better plans ahead, and we need to submit to that plan. It’s also a reminder of how God can bring us back to that thing we love, so we can use it again. At present, Mark Stuart is still not able to sing on long tours with the band. But he and many of his former band-mates have re-united to form a NEW Audio Adrenaline in order to promote the Hands and Feet Project, and encourage others to do likewise. This new mix includes Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk, as lead singer in place of Stuart. But Stuart is very much a part.

He now writes songs for Audio Adrenaline, with a renewed purpose and understanding of his place in God’s world. I pray he has all the success that can be bestowed on an empty vessel of the Lord.

If you’d like to see the beginnings of this new ministry, click the link for the video of Kings and Queens or try the imbed below:

Also, check out the complete interview about the new Audio Adrenaline in the March 2013 issue of CCM Magazine.

headshot1Connie is a 2012 Genesis semi-finalist for Women’s Fiction. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest for her entry, Why Not to Kiss on a Park Bench (aka. Harold and Violet). Come visit her on one of her other blogs:

Living the Body of Christ

Sunday, April 21, 2013


by Teresa Slack, 

Have you ever taken a vacation or browsed a travel brochure or even looked at a postcard without imagining a story of your own in that setting?

Me neither.
We’re writers. That’s what we do. Choosing settings are nearly as much fun as creating characters that will live on with readers long after they finish the book. In fact many readers—and yes, publishers—consider setting as another character to be examined and explored throughout the story.

Tomorrow I’m on my way to Charleston, SC for a week long vacation. Ah, Charleston—the history, the romance, the mystery. Of course I’m looking forward to it as a tourist. But as a writer, I’m more excited about the opportunity for research for future writing projects.

I can’t be the only one. What location has always appealed to you as a possible setting for your next book? Is it a small town you drove through once on vacation? A foreign city full of mystique and excitement? A historic town that doesn’t exist anymore, or a futuristic location of your own making?

Share your dream setting here and a little about why it appeals to you. I’ll send the one with the most intriguing setting a postcard from beautiful, historic Charleston. Then you can send me one from your setting when you sign your next contract.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Here is an interesting short video via Richard Rives. Watch it. When you have finished, scroll down and listen to his son's interesting video, David Rives. Both these short videos are worth a believer's time. Then scroll down a little more and read my article, London Bridge.
Molly Noble Bull


This video by David Rives is so inspiring,  I had to share it. Click, delete the ad and listen. You will be inspired, too.
Molly Noble Bull

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


By Molly Noble Bull

Children are told not to play with matches. Yet many people today are playing with fire—hellfire. Sin has consequences, and according to the Bible, hell is a real place whether people chose to believe it or not. 
At one time young children played another kind of game, and it didn’t require matches. The game was called “London Bridge is Falling Down.” Maybe you’ve heard of it.
Two children joined hands to form a bridge. Let’s call them Bobby and Sally. The other children walked one-by-one under the bridge until the London Bridge song ended. Then the child caught under the bridge was captured, meaning he or she must answer a question.
Did the captured child want to be a golden apple or a golden pear? If a golden apple, line up behind Bobby. If the child chose to be a golden pear, line behind Sally. When all the children were captured and on one side or the other, a tug-o-war began.
Life is much like that childhood game. We must make choices. However, these choices are not often between good and just-as-good. They are between good and evil.
Rather than a choice between a wonderful this or a wonderful that, the choice is between heaven or hell. Would you like to go to heaven when you die where everything is perfect and the streets are paved with gold? Or would you like to sin now and spend eternity in hell where everyone burns in the lake of fire forever?
If you chose the sin now and burn in hell later plan, go stand behind Satan. But if you would like to spend eternity in heaven with the Lord and walk down golden streets, repent of all your sins and really mean it. Then ask the Lord to come into your heart and life, and line up behind Jesus.
It's as simple as that.
Sin has consequences, but God’s Word is true.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Basic Fiction Writing 101: Scenes

by Molly Noble Bull

The book cover above came from my long historical novel, Sanctuary, set in France in the seventeen hundreds. We will discuss this novel later in this article.   
Now for the lesson. 

(Part of this lesson came from Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.)   


We have all heard the story of the three little pigs, and “once upon a time” stories are told in the narrative. Narratives tell.
Example: Once upon a time there were three little pigs.
Scenes show, and they are not written in the narrative. Read on to learn the difference.

A: A scene is that part of a chapter, book or story that takes place as it happens, second by second, and gives the reader the feeling of actually being there. While narrative writing “tells,” a scene must “show.”  
One way a scene shows rather than tells is by the use of dialogue. Example of dialogue:
[Three small pigs sat huddled together under a bridge, shivering and squealing from the rain and cold.
   “I don’t know about you guys,” the first one said. “But I’m building me a house. I’ve had enough of being cold all the time.”
   “What will you build it out of?” the second pig asked.
  “Sticks. What else?”]

Dialogue is always enclosed in quotation marks.
How are you would look like this when written in dialogue.
   “How are you?” 
How are you, he asked, would look like this. 
   “How are you?” he asked. 
I am fine, she replied—would look like this. 
   “I am fine,” she replied.

A: Goal

A: A sequel or a transition should follow a scene.

A: A sequel comes immediately after a scene, giving the main character the opportunity to reflect on what just happened in the story. A sequel also gives the reader the opportunity to rest before going on to another scene.

A: Reaction

A: There are no strict answers, but I think a well-developed scene for an adult novel should contain from three to five typed, double-spaced pages. Scenes written for children and young people are shorter.

A: It depends on the type of book, but about three or less is about average.

A: A scene should begin with a hook to capture reader interest. It should also begin with a setting to let the reader know where the action is taking place.
First settings should be fairly detailed whether introducing the reader to a new story or a new scene or the main character. After a particular setting has been well established, transitional phrases like the ones mentioned below can be substituted for more detailed settings. The purpose for both settings and transitions are to inform the reader as to where the action is taking place and to move the action to another location.

Q: Name some transitional phrases.
A: Three hours later---
     When they arrived at  ---
     At the fair grounds, -- 
     One year later ---

A: You will know you are reading or writing a scene if it contains a second by second account of an event and contains all three elements all scenes must have. 
and ends in DISASTER for the main character. 

ASSIGNMENT: Buy some index cards and a black marker. Prepare to write information on those cards and tack that information above your keyboard. It will really help.
What to write on the cards.

CARD ONE:  Elements of a Scene

CARD TWO: Elements of a Sequel
Not all scenes contain dialogue. We will discuss that in future lessons. We will also talk more about the elements of a scene and the elements of a sequel. 

Below is a scene from my long historical novel, Sanctuary. Who is the point of view character in this scene?
This scene begins with a goal for the main character, contains conflict and ends in disaster for the main character.
Tell in one sentence what the goal of this scene is.In your second sentence, describe the conflict in the scene. Finally, write a third sentences and tell how the scene ended in disaster for the main character. Then click comment and post your answers.    


                            First in the Faith of our Fathers series

                                           Molly Noble Bull

                                 Chapter One

Benoit, France

“You do as you wish, Louis,” Pierre Dupre said to his brother.  “But after the long walk from Paris, I want to stop and rest before going home. Mama and Henri will want to hear all about our journey, and I would like to get some sleep before I start telling our little brother tales of our adventures.”
“Could it be that my big brother is tired?” Louis asked with a twinkle in his eye. 
“Yes.”  Pierre yawned.  “I admit it.”   He stretched his tired muscles and yawned again. 
Louis threw back his head and laughed.  “Sleep if you want.  I intend to pay Rachel’s parents a visit before going home.  I plan to ask their permission to marry her.”
“Is it not a bit late to be making such a request?  We sail in two weeks and you said you would marry Rachel aboard ship, yet you barely know her parents.  They might resent the fact that you failed to step forward with your proposal sooner.”
“I will ask their forgiveness for the delay, of course.  And I will also encourage them to sail to England with us.  I fear Rachel will refuse to go at the last minute if we leave her mother and father behind.”
“Rachel is strong-willed and unpredictable,” Pierre said.  “And she is always jumping to conclusions.  However, she is also a good and faithful daughter.  Were I wearing your shoes, Louis, I would have fears as well.” 
They stood in front of the small stone cottage where Rachel and her parents lived. They hadn’t slept much since heading home.  On the previous night, they seldom stopped to rest.  Pierre doubted that Rachel’s parents would welcome his brother into their home after they discovered why he came, and he had no desire to hear her mother and father scold Louis for his tardiness.
Pierre noticed a large tree surrounded by bushes a short distance away.  “I will wait for you under that tree.  It will be cool and shady there.”
“As you wish.”  Louis smiled.  “And sleep well, brother.  I will not be long.” 
Pierre watched Louis walk up to the front door of the cottage and knock.  He found a grassy spot under the tree.  With his brown jacket as a pillow, he stretched out and went to sleep.

Pierre awoke to the rumble of horses’ hooves and men shouting.  He crawled on his belly to a bushy area near the edge of the tall grass.  A young captain in the king’s army kicked down the door of Rachel’s house.  Soldiers swarmed inside.
He’d defended his younger brother for as long as he could remember and often fought his battles for him.  But he saw at least thirty armed men and he with no weapons.  Pierre wanted to hang his head in shame because he couldn’t do anything to help.
“Please, we are innocent!” he heard Louis shout out from inside the house. 
Shattered, Pierre covered his mouth with his hands to keep from calling out in anger and despair.
“No!” he heard Rachel’s mother say. “Have mercy! Please!” 
Tears filled the corners of his eyes as Pierre heard more shouting, screams, and then silence. 
“No. No!”
“Take the trunk outside!” the captain shouted to his men.
As they dragged a trunk out the front door of the house, the captain stood on the lawn outside.  Sunlight glinted on the metal buckle of his jacket.  The shiny object mesmerized a shocked Pierre as the other soldiers brought out furniture, clothes, and other items.
A thin soldier came out wearing a blue dress that must have belonged to Rachel’s mother.  He paraded around in it, swinging his hips and making distasteful gestures.  Laughter echoed all around the soldier in the dress. 
Pierre fought nausea.
The captain opened the trunk, spilling its contents on the ground.  Letters and papers blew here and there.  The captain picked up a candlestick.  The metal caught the afternoon sun, sparkling brighter than the buckle.  From a distance, Pierre could not tell for sure but thought it might have been made of gold. 
The expensive-looking object would hold half a dozen candles or more. He’d never seen a design quite like it.
The captain waved the candlestick in the air for all to see. 
“This is a Menorah and can only belong to a Jew.  It proves the people who lived in that house were Jews!” 
The rest of the men gathered around the captain, looking at the candlestick.  When they tried to touch it, the captain jerked it out of their reach. 
“Two Huguenots from this village conspired against the government of France.  We only found one.  We must find the other man and the rest of the Jews and kill them.” 
The captain raised the Menorah in the air as though it were a kind of battle flag.  “I shall not rest until the deed is done!  Now, gather up all the papers and anything else you think I might want later.” 
As the soldiers began doing as they were told, the captain leaned over and picked up something from the ground.  Pierre thought it looked about the size and shape of a small wooden frame.  The captain pulled a white cloth from his pocket, wiped off the object, gazed at it for a long moment and tucked it inside his jacket.
“Burn this house to the ground,” the captain demanded, “as a warning to all Jews and Huguenots!”  

Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull won two national contests in 2008 in the inspirational category--the Gayle Wilson and the Winter Rose contest. To buy Sanctuary or any of Molly's books and e-books, write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot at online and walk-in bookstores.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Failed God’s Test

I recently read a great book by Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, called, “The Well: Why Are So Many Still Thirsty?”The Well and it convicted me. Conviction is no new experience here, but this one hit hard. I knew of this sin before, but suddenly, after reading Mark’s words, I felt the wound I’d caused more deeply.

Allow me to confess.

In his book, Mark recounts a time in his life, when he wasn’t able to sing. Imagine being faced with losing the thing you felt God called you to use. What do you say to your Creator when that happens? During this time, Mark had to look at his life and his ministry differently. Then one day a man with no vocal training asked to sing at his church. Mark shook his head warily at the idea, given he knew the amount of work required to be good in music ministry. But this man stood before the congregation and belted out the song the Lord had given him to sing, and Mark was moved—not by the man’s voice, but by his heart. A heart for God. Something that sometimes gets lost in the acquiring of talent. Mark says, after that experience, he’d learned his lesson and resumed singing shortly afterward.

I wish I could say the same. Guess I’m more pigheaded than Mr. Hall.

Way back when, I planned to make singing my career. This was before Christian music was what it is today. I knew I wanted to use this “talent” for God, but I had no idea how, and never asked Him what He thought about it. I didn’t receive a lot of support for the idea—family and friends felt the field was littered with wanna-bes who never made it past skid-row. It was hard to get people to even come to my high school choir concerts.

Then one day I had the chance to try out for a solo as part of a choir piece. I was a new tenth-grader at the school and no one knew anything about my voice except that I wanted to use it. I competed against a very sweet senior who’d been classically trained with a stunning voice. Oh well, at least it would be good experience.

I knew something was up when the choir director’s eyes bulged at my audition. However, they quickly dimmed as he struggled not to give too much away. He said nothing after I was done and moved on to the next student. Finally, the senior sang and I was certain she’d be picked.

The day of the announcement came, and I prepared myself for the first of many rejections. It’s part of the process, I better get used to it. Instead, the director said he was going to do something different. He was going to let the choir decide. What?! Why’d we audition if the choir was going to judge? He didn’t explain why—just asked each of us to take our turns before the group. I took mine and the room went silent. I had no idea what that meant, but it gave me the willies just the same.

We were ushered out for the voting. As we stood in the hall, the classically-trained senior faced me and proclaimed, “You got it. I know you did.” The look in her eyes held a mix of excited encouragement for me, yet a note of disappointment, too. I knew she was crazy, but the butterflies kicked up a notch.

choirI don’t think I realized the gravity of the situation at the time, but this solo was that senior’s last opportunity in high school. Everyone knew it, and everyone wanted her to have that chance. But the song didn’t call for an operatic voice—like she had. It called for a simpler one—mine. Other than a few devoted friends of the senior, the rest of the room voted for me. I was told one of the things that worked in my favor was the little crack in my voice at the songs emotional peaks. However, in order to allow for the senior to have a chance, she was made my understudy. Given we had two opportunities to perform this song—the choir concert for the school, and the adjudication for the state—it increased the likelihood she’d be able to sing.

If it weren’t for my pride.

Exactly one week before the concert I lost my voice. That’s okay, I had time … I thought. But the voice (or maybe God) had other ideas, and I began to panic. You see, all my family and friends planned to be at this concert to hear me sing and I did not want to lose the opportunity to have them there. So I sang—Very badly!!!

And the senior did not.

The best compliment I received from that concert was from a friend who said, “You sounded like you might have been good if you weren’t sick.”

Great :o/!

The second opportunity—the adjudication—went well, so judges and fellow choir students got to hear my “talent.” However, nothing will eradicate the fact that I clung to something that wasn’t mine because I was too prideful to give it to the other singer. She deserved it. She’d worked for it. It was her time and I stole it. Not because I took the opportunity when it was given me, but because I didn’t let go when God told me to give it back.

I failed the test.

As you’ve probably figured out, I did not make singing my career. I continued on in music for a few years, but quickly realized I lacked a few things that one needs to pursue it. One being “style.” The style I’d had when the choir heard that crack of emotion during the solo. But that disappeared as I received training and became haughty about my craft. The other thing I lacked was strength. The above scenario was not the last time I’d lose my voice. It became a regular occurrence as I worked hard to hone my skill.

It is clear to me now God did not want me to pursue this career. Not because He was punishing me for my greed, but because He loves me. He knows had I done well in it, I would have made it about me and not about Him. Where would our relationship have been had that happened? Not where it is today. Not even close.

God needed to humble me many times—even after I changed majors—before I finally had any clue how to follow Him. I hope I have it now, but being as pig-headed and self-centered as I’ve shown myself to be, I am never sure. So I will continually check in with the Big-Guy now and again to be certain the voice I do use is the one He has planned for me.

To Him be the Glory!

How has He called YOU to use your voice?

headshot1Connie is a 2012 Genesis semi-finalist for Women’s Fiction. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest for her entry, Why Not to Kiss on a Park Bench (aka. Harold and Violet). Come visit her on one of her other blogs:

Living the Body of Christ