Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks for a Godly Heritage

I am taking a moment to give thanks to God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. In the midst of difficult times, we still can claim the joy of the hope that is within us. We have the peace that passes all understanding because we have given everything in our care, custody and control back to Him who gave it to us. We'll try to be good stewards with them in the mean time.

I also am thankful that Rachel Eaton came to the colonies from Britain on the Mayflower, where she met and married my ancestor, James Ramsdell. They had one child, Daniel, from whom my family clan has come. Tragically, she died in childbirth. Maybe she is smiling down from Heaven, knowing that through her only son an outstanding line of Ramsdells have gone forward.

And may we remember at this time of the year - and always - the only begotten Son of God, through whom we sinners, because we believe in Him, are able to enter the family of God.

Thank you, Almighty God, the Father of all,
for my godly heritage.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mincing Words

The word I want to mince today is: Discrimination.

Webster’s Dictionary defines discrimination as the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently; or the quality or power of finely distinguishing. My computer thesaurus lists good taste, insight, perception, and refinement as some of the meanings.

Morris the Cat was applauded for his discriminating taste in 9 Lives cat food commercials. (Or was that the Persian cat in the Sheba commercials?) So in cat language, discrimination means "finicky."

This is one of many words the news media or other public factions have vilified or corrupted. Its definition changed from finely differentiating to bigotry or racism.

And someone created the term Reverse Discrimination to describe an act of segregation against Caucasian people.

Talk show host Janet Parshall used that term on her radio program, In the Market, to describe an incident in which a college rejected a student’s application, not because of low grades, but because of her white ethnicity.  

The reverse of any action means that action occurs in the opposite direction; or reverses course, or inverts. If that’s correct, then reverse discrimination would actually mean acceptance. Did the college admissions board members disallow the student based on their bias or bigotry against a specific race? That isn’t acceptance. That’s bigotry.

My aim here is not to throw a rock at Janet Parshall. She’s a wonderful emcee and well-informed speaker. I enjoy her Moody Radio program on my way home from work. But it’s a bit disappointing to hear our friends and favorite broadcasters fall into the trap set by the enemy who wants to confuse and confound our language. As a Christian writer, I feel a duty to protect our form of communication and use words in their proper function.

Now, I’ll use my discriminating taste to decide where to have supper tonight.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Spy vs. Spy

In THE ONE, my current work in progress novel, I have 4 or 5 spies or agents working against each other.

I'm looking for input on technology a spy/agent would use, like: mini-cams and bugging devices. Or anything else that you think a spy/agent would need.

The characters live in a small, fictional town in Virginia outside of The District. I need a route they would take to work in a Dept. of Defense contractor office. Also, looking at a map makes me wonder if there's room in that densely populated area for a small, fictional town.

Since the story takes place in Washington, DC, I'm also looking for details of The District, like: high-end restaurants and their addresses or specific areas.

I briefly met a sweet woman who lives in DC. She told me about "slugging" to work. I have that detail in the story to add authenticity.

My friend, Karen Andrews, gave me the e-mail address for one of her friends who works at a DoD contractor. I sent an e-mail, but received no reply. Maybe I appeared too eager or asked too many questions. Maybe that's why black helicopters are hovering over my house now. (Just kidding.)

They tell us to "write what we know." If I stuck with only what I know, my stories would be about a legal secretary who struggles to keep up with three teams of attorneys & investigators. Or about a Realtor who gnashes her teeth when the prospective buyer she's been showing homes to buys a For Sale By Owner house, undercutting her commission. That might be a good murder mystery, but where's the mystery? The prospective buyer needed killin'. Not that I'm confessing to anything.

Please... help me with these pesky little details. The One is a romantic suspense about a wealthy young man who wants to find a woman who will love him and not his money.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lessons Learned

I learned a valuable lesson…the hard way. Well, if we learned our lessons the easy way, we’d soon forget the lesson plan, right? I made the mistake of telling the Lord I’m ready to go to a higher level as a writer. The next day, my bosses tripled my workload, sending my fatigue level six feet under.

Lesson learned: Don’t tell God when you’re ready for the next step. He’ll let you know when He’s ready for you to take that next step.
Maybe it’s a test to see how devoted I am to writing. That makes sense. If I can still hammer out a chapter here, or a page there, or even scribble an idea down on scrap paper while trying to keep up with the demands of six attorneys, three investigators, a conscientious supervisor, household chores, a husband, and two cats, then am I dedicated to this calling?
I almost missed the Florida Christian Writers Conference in Lake Yale earlier this month. Between financial challenges and my busy workload, I thought I’d have to pass. But the Lord paved the way for me to attend. Imagine the joy of taking classes with best-selling suspense thriller author Steven James (http://www.stevenjames.net/). The Pawn, The Rook, The Queen are only a few of his novels,  and Dan Walsh, (http://danwalshbooks.com/, who wrote Deepest Waters, The Unfinished Gift, and The Homecoming, among others). And the thrill of pitching my work-in-progress novel (The One) to an editor who showed so much enthusiasm, she suggested an idea for the sequel (which will be The Two).

I shared room with a delightful young woman from the east coast whose amazing story may make her the next Lisa Beamer.

And our Tampa Chapter took most of the awards at the Conference Banquet! I’m proud to be part of this outstanding group.

The conference was a cornucopia of valuable information. But the best lesson I learned was from author/speaker Rachel Hauck (http://rachelhauck.com/). She related a dream in which Jesus came to her carrying a large burlap bag filled with books. He offered them to her, saying, “These are the stories I wanted someone to write, but they never got around to it.”

When tempted to drift away from the task of writing, I remind myself, “Don’t be one of those writers who never got around to writing one of His stories.”
Instead of telling the Lord I’m ready, I’ll ask Him, “Lord, have You prepared me for the next step of Your calling?”

Many thanks to Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock for this amazing conference!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Harvest of Rubies
2011 New Author of the Year
 I received this novel as a prize through a friend's blog. What a wonderful prize to win, too!

The opening line - On my twelfth birthday, my father discovered that I could read - drew me into the story and didn't let go of me until the last line. I normally don't read first person novels (with the exception of Mark Mynheir's work), because they usually have a whiney or self-centered voice. But Sarah, the main point of view character, splays her heart open for the reader. She begins the story as a young girl with low self worth and, through her rediscovery of  the love of the Lord, grows to a mature woman of authority and substance, earning the respect of her father and her husband.

Author Tessa Afshar is a champion of deep, riveting point of view writing.

Harvest of Rubies is on my "should be a best seller"  list.

Get your copy today!!