Thursday, June 28, 2012

Writing and Marketing

The latest metaphor picture the Lord gave me is this: to stop the marketing and only write would be like cooking a gourmet meal and leaving it sit on the stove. Marketing is the serving dishes by which I bring the food to hungry people. The Lord is really serious about this. Groan. My emotions have yet to catch up with my spirit’s enthusiastic “Yes!” I can tell that I am going to be here for a while.
Today I listened to a webinar on writing blogs. Not just any blog--successful blogs that convert readers to loyal, satisfied customers. Dereck Halpern, the speaker, agreed with the idea that the greater percentage of one's time should be spent on promotion and the lesser on creating content.  
How do I reconcile the fact that my assignment is to stay one step behind Jesus…close enough to hear what He says and write it down, the fact that He has given me a flaming pen that can also be a sword…writing as spiritual warfare, as gourmet food…how can I be called to make plain the mysteries of God and spend 75% of my time in marketing. Only 25% of my time relating to God and writing what I hear?

I sat and contemplated that for a while, thinking about prophets of old…and then of Jesus who spent 75% of His time with the people and 25% alone with Father. Okay, I see it. Marketing IS ministry. Help me Jesus!
How do you other writers do it? Is it 75/25, 80/20 or 90/10? And is the larger percentage on creation or promotion (ministry)? We writers tend to go off alone, but this is something we all struggle with.
Let's talk to each other and see if we can isolate common elements that help us get a successful balance. I anticipate two or three difference sets of elements--one for parents with children at home, one for empty-nesters, and one for those with physical limitations (illness, disabilities, etc.).
Let me hear from you. How do you balance your equation?
Blessings, Carol

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Lord gave me a download about writing and marketing that I need to write out to fully grasp. My spirit understands and agrees with the Lord, but it is a struggle for the soul. The mind needs to have it laid out logically/sequentially to comprehend. So far I have been distracted with many things and been unable to have the writing time. So, today I would like to introduce Lynn Dove, a fellow author and I will try to sneak away and write!

To celebrate the completion of the final book in Lynn's "Wounded Trilogy" she is celebrating with a special promotion! You can find her celebration promotion here: June 24th through June 27th.

Woo hoo! Congratulations Lynn. I am praising God with you \o/\o/ that His words are now able to reach the ones He knows will read these novels.

When I asked Lynn how she would describe herself she had this to say:  "I am a Christfollower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order).  I wear so many different “hats” that I find prioritizing them tends to focus me better.  I have been married to my best friend, Charles for over 33 years and we have three wonderful children: daughter, Laurelle (husband, Matt) grandbaby, Jaxon, and we have two live-at-home teenagers, Brett and Carmen.   I have been a teacher most of my adult life, and I still substitute from time to time at the private Christian school my youngest daughter attends.  I love volunteering and working closely with the youth in our church.  I love to blog, camp and read."

In a nutshell, tell us about your “Wounded Trilogy.”

"Shoot the Wounded, the first book of the Wounded Trilogy, is written for youth and young adults. It addresses how lies and gossip destroy a person's spirit and speaks to the heart of relevant themes such as bullying, teen pregnancy and family violence.  The story points the characters, and ultimately the reader, to hope in Jesus Christ.  STW was a finalist in the 2010 Readers Favorite Book Awards.

"Heal the Wounded, is the sequel to STW and the second book of the Wounded Trilogy.  HTW won a Bronze Medal in the 2011 Readers Favorite Book Awards in the Young Adult- Coming of Age category.  HTW delves even deeper into the real world of teenagers trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle.   Heal the Wounded, continues to follow the characters, Jake, Leigh, Mike (Jake's best friend), and Tim (Ronnie's brother) each of them dealing with the aftermath of their friend’s death in the first book. Jake is especially dealing with a variety of disappointments (“Job” experiences I call them) that cause him to question why God allows bad things to happen to good people. A new character is introduced into the story, Cassidy, a young cancer patient whose unquenchable spirit and faith impacts Jake, Leigh, Mike and Tim in a way that allows them all to experience God's grace and the power of His healing in each one of their lives."

"Love the Wounded is the final and dramatic conclusion to the Wounded Trilogy series that has followed the lives of teenagers Jake, Leigh, Mike, Dylan and Tim as they come to terms with a series of tragedies and events that have made each of them question why God allows “bad things to happen to good people”.  Released May 30, 2012, the book has already received a five star review from Readers Favorite."     

"My books deal with a variety of social issues: family violence, bullying, teen pregnancy, gossip and are listed as resources on the largest anti-bullying website in the world:"
This whole "peer pressure" thing is so hard for young people to deal with--well, maybe for all of us! I taught my girls that "just because everyone else jumps off a cliff doesn't mean you have to!" They would roll their eyes and say it with me when I would start it--but they heard me and the lesson landed. They could not always resist but it was a solid truth they could stand on sometimes.
If you don't mind Lynn, I'd like to pick your brain about writing! (insert smiley face)
Why did you become a writer?

"I know this is a cliché answer, but I have always wanted to write.  I have written poetry and short stories since I was in elementary school.  I was always writing.  In fact my biology teacher in high school signed my Gr. 12 year book: “To the only literary biologist I know”.  My teachers could always count on me to give a lengthy treatise on any subject.  I did not have aspirations to be a novelist.  My debut novel, Shoot the Wounded, actually started out as a short story but 100 pages later, I realized I couldn’t call it a “short story” any longer.  Then it sat for ten years taking up valuable computer memory space until one day as I was deleting files I came across the story again.  It was my husband who encouraged me to finish it and then get it published."
I've often wondered how it would feel to have always wanted to be a writer. Becoming one was a surprise for me. On the other hand, I always "knew" I'd be a I guess I do know how it feels!
Do you tend to base your characters on real people?

"I have three children and because two of them are teenagers and I write novels for teenagers, I have been very purposeful not basing my characters on any one of them.  It would mortify them!  Instead I try to draw on my experience with working with teenagers in general as a high school teacher and as a youth leader, so I kind of create characters that have a smattering of many individuals I know personally all rolled up into one cohesive characterization.  My kids still say that they see themselves in the characters.  I suppose that’s to be expected, but I pray that when they recognize themselves they see the character as positively portrayed and not otherwise."
Do you have any new book or writing projects now that the Wounded Trilogy is done?

"I am working on a more autobiographical account of my journey with breast cancer in 2001 called “Life Lived”.  I have a few projects I am working on, a devotional for one, as well as a few more articles set to be published in compilation book works. "
Do you have any advice for beginning writers (authors)?

"I am asked this question a lot and my advice is always:  WRITE!  If you feel called by God to write, just write.  Decide in advance what your goals are for writing.  Is it for pure enjoyment that you write?  Is it something you do that is private or is it something you want to share?  Decide to whom you are writing.  Knowing your audience will also determine how you will write and what your focus will be when you write.  Also determine your “success” goals before you embark on the publishing journey.  Do you want to have a small, intimate audience or a world-wide audience?  That will help you set realistic expectations when it comes to selling and promoting your work." 

"I had no idea when I embarked on this writing adventure that there would be so much work involved in promoting yourself and your work.  As a Christian we revere humbleness, however for you to be noticed in the industry and to get your books into the hands of readers, you have to create a “buzz” about your work.  It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of effort and purposeful networking.  I spend a lot of time building online relationships with hundreds of authors and industry professionals.  I read and review books and I have blogs that showcase new and “seasoned” authors.  I have learned so much for those who have been in the industry a long time, and I have been blessed with incredible mentors along the way."
Who are your greatest encouragers?

"I have a hugely supportive family, extended family and friends.  My biggest fan is my husband, Charles.  He has been the one who encouraged me to publish in the first place (and he had never even read the book at that time).  My church family hosts my book launches and prays for me on a regular basis.  They realize that this is a ministry for me, and they have bought my books and sent them all around the world!  I am more than blessed!" 
I would have to concurr! Husband and family are vitally important encouragers--or discouragers! I cannot imagine being able to write at all in anything but a positive environment. I wonder if the writing takes up so much emotional energy that we really need those closest to us to be for us.

Lynn’s books are available on,, on Lynn’s website.
Readers may also connect with Lynn on Twitter, Facebook,  on her blogs: “Journey Thoughts”, “Word Salt” and on her website:

So once again, here is the landing page for Lynn's celebration:  I would encourage you to visit, join in her celebration and find some good reading! I will be back here with the latest download as soon as I can!

Blessings, Carol

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How is the experience of a book launch for someone highly sensitive? Does "post book launch meltdown" bring a picture to mind? The day after I didn't write anything except thank you notes to all those who helped. Second day out I did laundry that had backed up as I prepared for the launch. And today, the third day away, I finally wrote about the experience--this from my journal.
My book launch of Sassy Pants Makes Amends has come and gone. I need to “report” on how it went. In a word, it was a roller-coaster emotionally.

As the morning progressed the ranking became worse and worse. It had started at the bottom of the pile, well, not all the way to the bottom #1,253,900 in Books out of 10,000,000 I believe. Each time I looked at the Amazon ranking it was worse, #1,286,408, and then #1,288,127. I thought, "Oh no! I am going to be the only one whose launch went backwards!" Then the thought hit me, “Maybe it is slipping back to push off and just go through the roof!” I held that thought and determined not to look at the ranking for 2-3 hours. That seemed to do it. Next time I looked it, it at least had a rank. Before it was just a number, but now it was ranking #23, then #16 and finally, the last rank I saw before falling into bed was #14 in the children’s category!

The next day I looked at the sales graph and it went up at a steep angle from that low point to within spitting distance of #1! That was a respectable climb for a little pig! But then, Sassy Pants knew how to push and shove to get off the bottom!  : )

Now it was time to discover who the winner of the drawing was. In the process of entering my password and user name a pop up dialogue box inserted itself too fast for my MS challenged vision. I am not sure what transpired but the result was that I have somehow lost access to my editorial page. I can’t get in to find the winner! I have contacted tech support and am waiting. What a bummer. See? It’s the roller coaster again. Or, is the Lord creating another opportunity for me to practice patience?

Was it a success? I’m calling it that from the rise in rank, but whether it will result in more of a royalty check (hard filthy lucre) or not we will have to wait to see. Would I do it again? I am not sure. I can see that in the long run having a large platform and loyal fan base is what will create sustainable growth. A dedicated base of fans who love your work is essential for an author’s longevity. Without that an author is just a flash in the night and is gone. I want my light to shine, consistently.

The Lord had me in Matthew 5—the part about being a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. I felt that was far too grand for me. I couldn’t imagine myself as that city. I asked for a more appropriate image, appropriate for me. He said, “How about you be my porch light that I leave on so people can find their way Home.” I liked that!  I would gladly be His porch light. Then one day as I was working He showed up in my living room. He sat there grinning at me. I looked up and spoke to the “empty” room: “I’m glad You are happy!” I kept on working. Finally He said, “Would you mind if I change the bulb in my porch light?” I laughed out loud. “Lord, You can change the bulb in Your porch any time you like!” “Well, how about I change it to be a floodlight?” God’s delight and grin were so engaging that I grinned right back and said, “Father, be my guest; You can use whatever wattage pleases You!”

I think that Sassy Pants and her message of forgiveness and reconciliation, of rebuilding broken trust, has gone to places I would never have reached on my own because of this book launch and the assistance of so many who helped by sharing the word about the book and its message within their individual spheres. I am thinking the floodlight the Lord spoke of may have been this launch. The light is “out there” and “He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Phil. 1:6. He will watch over the light and make sure it does what He sent it to do!
So that is how I experienced the launch. Now I need to write more to see what else He downloaded. There is something that has to do with vision but I need to write to fully see it!

And then...I almost forgot to announce that Jeanette Levellie won the drawing for The Magic Word, a multiple award winning book by Sherrill Cannon!

Blessings, Carol

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Puzzling Out What God is Saying

It's interesting, I was on a roll with the "God Thoughts" and now several other things have intruded. BUT, I am on assignment to write what I hear, and I keep hearing "Hot Rocks!" At first I dismissed it having just read and reviewed a novel titled, Hot Rock Dreaming by Australian author Martin Roth. But then I started having images in my head of Ezekiel and the Lord touching his lips with coals. Hello! Are we having "Glowing Embers Panini" or "Lava Fondue" for lunch?! Whoever this is for, it is not going away!

Even though I am a language nut figuring out "God Speak" is a puzzle! Let's puzzle this out. Hot rocks. Another thing I have learned over the years is to say out loud (or write) what He says even if it does not make sense to me because it may make all kinds of sense to the one who needs to hear (or read) it. Are the hot rocks for me or for you?

God speaks and draws on many different images and scriptures and our experiences. Let's put down what we know.
  • In the novel I read, the hot rocks are sacred
  • Sacred things are not to be "used" commercially
  • God sanctified (made holy)  Ezekiel's communication by touching holy glowing embers to his lips
  • God has already given me a pen, the ink of which is holy fire
  • In the recessess of my mind I am aware of some kind of container to carry the hot rocks--just a humble bag with the top cinced shut with a string kind of the sort kids carry their marbles in
  • The hot rocks were where the aboriginal elder received revelation. Perhaps I need my personal place to go to receive revelation. But if God is giving me hot rocks to carry with me, what then? Does it mean that He has given me portable revelation that I carry with me or perhaps in me?
Further questions to ask...
  • Why do I need hot rocks?
  • What are they used for?
  • When, where and how are they to be used?
Ooooh, He wants me to start fires! The rocks are sacred things (holy words) that I carry with me and am to leave wherever I go! Whether it is the written word or spoken by lips made holy, all communication is to cause a spark; it is to burn into those who hear. "Did not our hearts burn within us...Luke 24:32." Those who embrace His holy fire will be made holy and those who resist will be scorched. Ouch! So that answers the "why" question.

As I looked at the remaining questions He impressed on my mind that I am to listen to Holy Spirit and do that instant obedience thing. I see more opportunities to practice instant obedience coming. Hmm, then He also reminded me about "don't commercialize it," and right after it the scripture pops into my head, "freely you have received, freely give." Matt. 10:8. Well, warnings are given for a reason...guess we will see what that reason is. These are some of the things the Lord is saying to me in this, He may also be speaking these or other things to your heart.

Before I go I want to invite one and all to join me on Tuesday, the 19th over at for my book launch of the latest in the Sassy Pants series. I've had a couple reviews say that it immediately reminded them of The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter! I was thrilled! Guess that gives away my age!

I would love to hear from you how you go about your process of putting together what God says when He speaks!

Blessings, Carol

Sunday, June 17, 2012

You are invited to participate in my book launch of Sassy Pants Makes Amends

Tuesday June 19.

This book is for the whole family. It’s a wonderful gift idea and a great book to have on hand for guests age 8 to 108. Breaking someone's trust is easy to do. Once lost, it can be a long, bumpy road to earning that broken trust back. Sassy Pants shares examples of how it can be done.

Recovery support groups find the simple, understandable explanation of amends helpful.

For more information and a listing of FREE egifts—check out my landing page:

Invite your friends and we will see you Tuesday!

Blessings, Carol

Monday, June 11, 2012

Difficult People

Today I would like to continue with the subject of difficult people. High sensitivity is one of the weapons the Lord uses in His ongoing battle and He wants us to learn how to use it also. Yes, He could stop evil "right now." However, since evil is here and man had a hand in it being here; He is using evil in the formation of the "sons of God." I have been learning that the giants we face are not there to defeat us, but for us to learn how to defeat them. In our resisting satan, who is energizing the giant, we are formed more and more like Jesus. Difficult people can be formidable, especially when in a supervisory or leadership role. We must keep looking to Jesus for the next step, the next strategy.
You may have noticed a pattern of people finding you and divulging far more personal information than they should and/or far more than you want. Or, hurt birds just find you! Or angry people arrive in front of you as unerringly as a heat seeking missile? And they drop a payload of insult or venomous, hurtful words? You don't go looking for these people--they come! What is with that? Why can't you have some healthy friends who encourage rather than tear down?
Weeeell, this is one of those left handed compliments of high sensitivity! Their spirits sense that you are “safe” and so they will unerringly seek you out, just like a heat seeking missile. Abusive language may be their mother tongue. Even if they manage to say something nice it would probably have a barb in it somewhere. The interesting thing is that they feel better for a time when they have been with you. A spiritual exchange takes place when they interact with you. You absorb some of their pain; you draw down the pain level and they absorb some of Jesus life that is in you. That is why they seek you out! They are drawn to the life in you. A possible strategy when you see the hurt bird, or the angry bird coming your way is to send up one of those flash prayers, “Help!” Ask the Lord to stand between you and them to absorb the toxicity; then you will be able to sense the real message of their heart, what in particular you can ask the Lord to tend to/mend in them! You will feel yucky because some of their pain, even contamination, is on you/in you so you need to have that spiritual shower prayer handy!Ask the Holy Spirit to find every bit of it in you and lift it up and out of you, put it on the Cross for Jesus to deal with and then ask Him refill you with His cleansing and healing presence. And don't forget to "pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:44-45).  
The Lord may allow you to “see” the pain in their spirits and how it contorts them. If He does, He’s letting you see what He sees. Ask Him to also let you feel His heart for this person. Ya, you really need His heart so you can speak His words and not a snarky comment to silence them. Maybe ask to hear what He hears. He can hear between the lines and hear the spirit's cry. When people are apparantly hurtful and venomous, that is an expression of the pressure of an infection within their spirit. Their hurtful attack releases the pressure of that infection!

When such a pattern exists, ask the Lord if this because of sowing and reaping and you have your own repentance to do, or if it is an assignment from Him. Is He asking you to bring Jesus into an impossible situation to do the miraculous. This is definitely about Jesus versus the adversary, it’s not you against Goliath. If the enemy can get you to concentrate on how you are hurt he has a chance to influence you to hate being sensitive; he puts a wedge between you and your design. He turns you just a little bit away from God. He is very patient and will keep doing another little bit and another until your face is turned away from God.

God's plan is for your sensitivity to be a weapon in His hand with which He can free captives and heal the broken. If you are also a magnet for difficult people how do you handle it?

Blessings, Carol

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nice Guy?

A reader asked a question that I think should become a blog post because so many highly sensitive people struggle with this one.  I have asked permission to post this blog and have italicized my responses.

The question was whether "highly sensitive people are meant to be Nature's 'Nice Guys?'" Just reading the question made me break out in a rash! Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is pull the one we love up by the shorts. Or deliver a little shock therapy! Nice guy, to me, equates to being a door mat, not responding with anything other than a smile, and NO ONE should be a door mat other than the actual mat!

She went on to say, "When we are insulted by people, out of the blue, it throws us off completely. Oh, yes and then you freeze up with shock  like a deer in the headlights and don’t respond! Only later to think of what you “should” have said. Arrrgh, I hate that one!

Based on Christ's example in scripture of not replying when rudely insulted, how do we recover quickly from the insult? The Lord has shown me that what people are most often insulting is Him in us—it’s like satan in them snarling at Jesus in me. Realizing it is more about Him than me helps with that deer in the headlights freeze reaction. So I ask Him what He thinks about what so-and-so said. Then I ask Him what if anything He wants to do about it. If He would like me to respond to it, what does He want me to say? Of course, you then need to say what He tells you to say...

Then, I think you need to look in the larger context of Christ’s years on earth—sometimes He did have things to say. When the Pharisees came at Him,  He didn't always "just take it."  He didn’t do it rudely, but He silenced them with truth. Sometimes the truth wrapped in grace will silence the Pharisee!
My husband taught us as a family to “find your truth and stand on it.” This is a defense against door to door salesmen but it also works for social bullies, Christian or otherwise—find your (biblical) truth and just repeat it. When they come at you a different way, repeat your truth. They finally realize you are going to only speak your truth; they are not going to get anywhere and they break off and leave you alone. In the case of the salesman, it might be “I have decided not to buy today.” When they come at it from another angle, repeat “I have decided not to buy today.” Just keep doing that no matter what they say and they will finally stop.
 Another thing you could do is ask Jesus to help you think through a few truth statements that you could memorize and tuck away to pull out in emergency situations. Truth spoken with grace, not rudely for that would be to respond in kind and you want to respond in the opposite spirit, will often silence the rudeness. Additionally, it will protect you from feeling stupid or like a door mat because you will have made a response—and truthfully so, whereas insults are often untruth or half truth wrapped in innuendo!

If you use any of these ideas I'd appreciate hearing what happened!
Blessings, Carol

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Camel Hair Shirt

           I don’t know about you, but camel hair shirts really give me a rash!  Maybe I’m allergic to camel hair. I hadn’t even realised I was wearing one until one day my writing partner suggested several radical measures to take on the piece I was writing. She was absolutely right, but after the call I carried on like the camel from which my shirt was made! I bellowed my objections that the load was too heavy. The way was too long. I moaned and groaned. I whined and carried on!

Just as my lament was reaching its crescendo, the Lord stood before me. He didn’t raise His voice. There was no sarcasm in His tone. He just stood there as Commander in Chief, as Lord. And He said, “You said you wanted to learn everything I have to teach you.” The truth of His words took my breath away. In the spirit I saw myself fall to my knees. I was undone by my own words. He was right. Absolutely right!   

When I first awakened after the initial long sleep of MS many people wanted to pray for my healing. I let them. When I was not healed right away, another round of caring folk suggested first this healer and then another. I went to hear some of them, but always had to leave before much of anything happened. I don’t know why healing can’t happen in the church before 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. 

There was always this hesitancy in me . . . a kind of knowing that the Lord was going to use the MS somehow for His glory and my benefit. That doesn’t make sense, I know, but God’s logic is quite different from ours and His values turn ours on end. I didn’t understand either—still don’t. But I told someone that I wanted to “milk” this experience of the disease for all it was worth. I was not in a hurry to receive my healing because I wanted to learn everything God had to teach me during this time. I did not want to do another lap around Sinai.

As the Lord repeated my own words to me, they hit with such a force I stopped mid-whine. The way He brought my own words back to me did something inside me. The whine was gone. All I could say was, “Yes, Lord.” I felt complaining was over and done—that I could rub on liniment when arduous work made me sore, but not complain? Never again!.

That was when I realised that underneath the robe of righteousness the Lord had given me was a camel hair shirt. I asked the Him “Why the shirt? I can’t get it off.” He explained that He provided the resources I would need when I accepted His calling. I was incredulous! “I need this hot, smelly, irritating undershirt!?” He didn’t respond to the question, just kept talking. “Every calling has its task(s). You are to engage the tasks, but as you do, the tasks will work on you, building and shaping you into the fullness of the character of Christ. The work and disciplines of your calling are the camel hair shirt. The things in and about that calling which poke and irritate the flesh, these are my gift to you.

I stood there with my mouth hanging open. If I understood Him correctly, writing and the rigours of MS are my “shirt” and if I am to learn all the Lord has to teach me, I will submit to those disciplines. I guess once a camel, always a camel. Sad to say, once the initial shock wore off, I have since then skated quite close to the edge of complaining. Like Rudyard Kipling”s camel, I have “humphed”.

I find I move into the flesh in ways I was unaware of. The work, or the people with whom I live and work, poke and jab and my flesh is irritatingly brought to light—sometimes raw from the chaffing, like an untended saddle sore. I am thinking,  probably all flesh is allergic to camel hair.

I am aware that I have a choice at this point. I can choose to forgive and heal, bring flesh to death in relationship to others and the Lord. I can submit to the disciplines of my calling, or I can moan and groan and carry on like a camel. I am finding that as I do the nasty work of bringing flesh to death, the camel hairs irritate less. The disciplines, the parameters of my calling—even the people with whom I work struggle against or struggle because they are not available—all become the banks through which my spirit flows. They define my limits and boundaries; but they are not barriers to restrict or hem me in. Rather, they give direction and purpose to my life. They become the avenues through which others are blessed—to God’s glory and my benefit.

I am finding that when I begin to overheat it usually is not the camel hair shirt causing the problem. I tend to overheat when I move too quickly. I can’t seem to sprint down the lane set before me like an Olympic athlete—too much friction from my shirt. The hairs poke my flesh reminding me to not move that way. They encourage me to proceed at His pace, to stand straighter and walk taller, more like our Lord. That irritating gift keeps me on task—it helps me remember what it is I am doing and why.When I tire and collapse in a heap; when my shoulders melt down into my hips, my body doesn’t fit the shirt properly and the goofy thing starts poking.  When I lean into the flesh the camel hairs encourage me to straighten up, to move and walk in the ways of the Lord. But until I learn to submit to it, this darned camel hair shirt is going to keep on giving me a rash!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Knowing, a series of gifts

I am really happy to introduce Tammy Hill and her book, Knowing, a series of gifts. This would be an excellent book to give as a gift to a highly sensitive young person. Here is the review I wrote.

I was intrigued by Hill's book from the cover picture and the title. Since I have been an "Ember," (the main character) my whole life, I wanted to see what a novel would be about and how this phenomenon would be portrayed. I've thought of writing about experiences that actually happened and passing it off as science fiction because it was so strange no one would believe that it was true. So, I asked the author if the story was autobiographical! And, no, it is not--it is strictly fiction.

About the book: Page turner! I was hooked from the first page. This is a story of a teenager finding who she is in Christ and learning to live according to her God-given design. Ember, 16 going on 17, is suddenly pitched from a life of financial ease and of living on the surface into the restrictions of the single-parent, working middle class, much to her relief. Because of the move she has distance from the artificial, "plastic" life-style that left her empty and with a recurring nightmare. She remembers that she gave her life to Jesus; she begins to attend church and "things" begin to happen. She "knows" information about people they did not tell her. Through her mistakes she learns how to share such information in a way that is appropriate to the individual.

Hill accurately portrays the various reactions that people have to such a "gift." Some will sever relationships; some ponder, others dialogue. Some are open to explore and others are not. Some are grateful that someone else knows/understands their pain. The characters are real, sometimes painfully so. Anyone who has had to move and start over as a teenager will relate to Ember's experiences of being "the new kid" and from going from big city to small town, of not knowing what is expected or appropriate. Anyone who has ever wondered how to address unexpressed questions; who wondered "who" they are, what they are to do and be, will also relate. This was definitely a story that validates the truth of Romans 8:28, that "all things do work together for those who love God." Teens in the throes of "finding self" especially need to hear this truth.

My Reaction: There are a few voices validating what life is like with a "gift." I welcomed another voice to our small chorus; a voice a teen can understand and respond to. It is good to learn these things when a person is a teenager--much better than learning them as a middle-ager! When I finished the book I was emotionally drained. It is not often that I read a work of fiction that so accurately captures reality! I felt somewhat like Ember in the final nightmare...(chuckle) and you will have to read the book to find out what that is!

This book is well done on all fronts. I highly recommend it to the general audience, but especially for teens. It is a clarion call to BE YOURSELF!!

To see a book trailer: GodTube Link:
To leave  comments or to see more of Tammy you can find her in all the usual places!

Official Website:



God always gives us good gifts but when we don't understand them or realize that is what we have life can become confusing and painful. I would encourage
any reader struggling with such issues to find someone safe to talk to and pray with to shed some light on what is happening with you.

Blessings, Carol