Tag Archives: God

Author Spotlight: Erynn Newman

 

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Erynn Newman is a new writer friend of mine—and local too—I met her at church! Erynn is the author of two fascinating books—First Light, where the compelling story of Drew and Elisabeth begins, and Out of Darkness, Erynn’s new release, which continues their story. Here’s an intro to First Light:

Drew and Elisabeth meet as teenagers, and they fall in love. Sounds like a perfect recipe for happily ever after. But when Drew’s father is killed at the Pentagon on September 11th, he finds himself spiraling into an abyss of rage. To avoid dragging the woman he loves down with him, he has to walk away, even if it means losing her forever. He joins the CIA and eventually makes things right with God, but is it too late to make things right with Elisabeth?

First Light is available on Amazon at: http://smarturl.it/FirstLight

And then the newly released sequel, Out of Darkness:

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A bride and a widow in the same day, Elisabeth’s prayers are about to be answered . . . if the CIA, international arms dealers, and her best friend don’t stand in the way.

Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life—until a car bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare. Three years later, she’s beginning to figure out life without Drew—with the help of his best friend and CIA partner Gabe. But then something unexpected happens . . .

Out of Darkness is available on Amazon at: http://smarturl.it/OutOfDarkness

Erynn graciously answered some interview questions for me:

Who are your favorite characters in First Light and Out of Darkness, and why?

W​ow! No easy first pitch, eh? Of course, I love them all, but I’ll focus on my two main heroes. When I started writing Out of Darkness, I thought I had created the perfect character in Drew. I was hopelessly in love with him, and Gabe was just a blip, just a side character, good for a few laughs and maybe a little bit of an “awww!” moment, but then he started to really come alive, and take over a bit, and the story became just as much his as anyone’s. A LOT of readers have come back to say that they’re Team Gabe. And I’m so glad that others see in him what I do, but I have this little fear that the “bigness” of his personality overshadows Drew’s steady loyalty, his relentless love, and his quiet poetic soul. And even though he’s a bit broken and not so perfect anymore, he’s still Drew. I don’t want to choose anymore than Elisabeth did. I definitely love them both (and I think it’s okay to), but in the end, Drew is still “the one.”​​

 

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What do you think readers will find compelling about the stories?

I hope it’s the emotional realism. From the highs of falling in love and having long held dreams come true to the lows of having everything they’ve ever wanted stripped away in a single moment, I’ve tried to paint a realistic picture of what it looks like to be led through the full landscape of human emotion, to trust when you have no idea what God is doing. ​​​
I think Drew and Elisabeth and Gabe bring all those emotions to life. In all their brokenness and grief, they’re still funny and hopeful and real. And they’re asking the same questions we are. I think readers will find a little of themselves in each of them.

Why do you write the kinds of stories you do?

​I love​ stories. I’ve been creating them in my head since I was a kid, and love stories in particular have always resonated with me. I wanted to write the kinds of stories I love to read. But I also want my stories to point to the Gospel . . . the ultimate love story. That’s where my tag line came from: The Gospel in truth and fiction. 

​I think fiction is one of the best ways to reveal truth and speak directly to hearts. I write what I write because I want to show the world the beauty of ​real love.

How do you hope your readers will be inspired or changed by reading your stories?

​ I think we can all relate to the emotions that accompany loss. Maybe we haven’t lost a spouse, or been held captive and tortured for three years, or had our dream come true ripped from our hands just as soon as it was realized, but we’ve all lost things we longed for, and we’ve all been broke​n by that loss​. I hope we can see ourselves in these characters in the midst of their grief, and I hope that, like them, we’ll find that when we have nothing else, God is still good, and He is enough​.​

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Out of Darkness isn’t your typical “Boy meets Girl” romance or even your typical ​suspense where the hero has to protect the heroine from the bad guy and save the day. The story begins with Happily Ever After, and the hero is the one who needs saving. So it takes several popular tropes and turns them on their head.

What was your publication process like?

​Long and winding.​ I started writing this story almost ten years ago. I learned that I was doing everything wrong. I stopped and wrote other things. I got better. I finished a first draft. I rewrote it a thousand times. I sent it off to agents. I got rejected.

I waited. And then my dream agent, the one I’d submitted to fully believing it could never happen, offered me representation.

​Then we submitted to publishers. And waited. And got rejected. Many responded that they loved the characters, loved my writing, but they just didn’t know how to market the story. They asked me to change things that felt like ripping out the heart of the story. And I couldn’t do it. So I was left with the choice to shelve it and write something new or to indie publish.

And then I had a baby, and my husband got really sick, and I focused on taking care of them. I started editing for income, and I helped many authors launch their books into the world. And I wondered when it would be my turn A few of my clients are indie authors, and they encouraged me to take a leap of faith and so, because I believed Drew and Elisabeth and Gabe deserved to have their story told, I chose to send them off into the world on my own . . . or with the help of some wonderful friends.​

What are you planning to work on next?

​​I’ve started another stand alone romantic suspense—about an ex-Army Ranger who has to protect his younger brothers when the youngest witnesses their parents’ murder—but I also have these voices in my head that are saying maybe someone else from Out of Darkness deserves to have their story told. I just don’t know what that story is yet.

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-Erynn Newman

NovelistEditorDreamer.

Follow me on Twitter & Facebook

Represented by: Books & Such Literary

Newsletter (where subscribers can get First Light for free): http://smarturl.it/GetMail
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErynnNewman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorErynnNewman/

Website: https://erynnnewman.com/

 

 

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Who has been forgiven much…

IMG_8916Do not be overly concerned about your defects. Instead concentrate on having an unceasing love for Jesus, and you shall be much forgiven, because you have loved much. (Luke 7:47). However, we need to be aware of the tendency to seek the good feelings and selfish thrills of love (which are the by-products of love) instead of love itself. We can so easily deceive ourselves on this matter.

– François Fénelon, 17th century Archbishop and spiritual advisor to courtiers of Louis XIV.

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I Will Give Thanks!

Lord, let me never forget to give thanks for all Your kindness! I don’t deserve it, yet You’ve blessed me with fabulous family and friends, a wonderful church, and especially the gift of salvation through Your Son’s sacrifice on my behalf. Let me never forget to honor You!

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“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever!” – 1 Chronicles 16:34

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 “In everything give thanks!” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
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 “Give thanks to the God of heaven.” – Psalm 136:26
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“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, His love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:3

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“Enter hHs gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to
 Him and praise His name!” – Psalm 100:4IMG_8095

“Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains.” – Genesis 49:26 IMG_8089

 “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:23IMG_8049“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2

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Blog Tour

Hi, everyone! I’ve been invited to join a terrific blog tour by my dear friend and wonderful critique partner Selena Fulton , author of Never Let Go. Click on her name to visit her blog and check out her fabulous books! I’ll tell you more about Selena in a few days. Don’t forget to stop back and check it out!

The purpose of the blog tour is to introduce authors to readers & writers and have them answer a few questions about they like to write. Here are my answers:

1) What are you working on?

I’m working on a sequel to AmberlyFINAL Cover Image  300dpia thrilling, historical/fantasy Christian romance with touches of humor. In this second installment to the Crestmere Series, several new characters will be introduced while the plot takes some interesting, hair-raising turns! The Crestmere story has been gripping my imagination since I was twelve years old. It was my own private little story that I worked on for decades, polishing up bits here and there, day by day, entirely in my mind. But once I started writing it out, the characters grabbed the reins and made the story even better—starting me on an unforgettable journey that I don’t want to ever end!

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

The genre is rather unique in that the story takes place in “a world that might have been,” where history has played out a little differently than the way we know it. A world where marauders still sail in from the north to wreak havoc upon an island kingdom that looks and feels a lot like Eighteenth Century England—except that this island is ruled by God-fearing kings who strive to honor the Almighty while struggling to quench imperialistic outbreaks among the nation-states around them. So, although the story has the epic feel of a sweeping historical series, the fact that its history is a little different than our own places it in the realm of fantasy. But there isn’t any magic, other than the sparkling magic of irresistible, heartrending romance.

Readers who love the epic writings of Tolkien along with the dramatic romance of Austen and the Brontë sisters will relish being swept away to another time and place in a thrilling love story filled with adventure, intrigue, and heartfelt longing.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I delight in writing the kinds of stories I love to read! I love well-written, thought-provoking tales that carry me away to other lands—my favorite ones being those where wonder fires the imagination and chivalry still rules—and I especially adore novels that warm my heart and bolster my faith. My greatest desire in writing is to inspire my readers to love God with blazing passion and serve Him with every bit of strength they possess.

4) How does your writing process work?

I’m chuckling because I usually think of myself as a consummate planner and organizer, but I’ve found in writing that my characters and their stories rise up take on a life of their own, often leading me down unexpected paths. I recently came across an interview with Ray Bradbury and learned that he found the same thing very early on in his writing career. One of his stories kept changing on him, eventually taking him more than 40 years to complete!

I don’t intend to take anywhere near that long to write this sequel 🙂

 

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Don’t Tell Me Your Kid’s Sins – by Megan Hill

Reblogged from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/11/13/dont-tell-me-your-kids-sins/

This is a great post from Megan Hill at The Gospel Coalition – how easily we do this! – MEH

My husband and I have three sons. They love Risk, backyard baseball, anything with a screen, and their daddy. They aren’t crazy about lima beans or black-eyed peas. They’re bursting with energy. (Why, yes, we do have a trampoline in our living room.) And, as you might imagine, my boys also regularly sin. I won’t pretend they don’t. But I’m not going to tell you about it, either.

huff-shutterstock_57014537-231x300I do talk about my kids. I often tell other parents stories about the day they made a cage out of bricks, in case they ever catch a bird, and the time they all ate jalapeños at the dinner table just to prove they could. I can remember the childhood pleasure of hearing my parents tell stories about me, and I hope that by telling stories about my kids, my children know that I love them and find them fascinating.

And when my child is ensnared in a sin, I sometimes get counsel. Several times, I lacked wisdom about how to address a sin pattern in my child’s life, and I privately sought wisdom from another godly person. When I quietly tell my child’s sins for the purpose of his rescue, I do well.

Not Public Property

But I want to caution fellow parents against telling us your children’s sins as if those stories are community property. The prevalence of this kind of sharing may have lulled us to believe it’s not a big deal. But it is.

Perhaps one of the most popular examples of telling children’s sin is the viral Tumblr “Reasons My Son Is Crying.” The site was launched by Greg Pembroke, who posted photos of his children in distress because of seemingly insignificant events. The captions describe tantrum-inducing moments like “I broke his cheese in half” and “the neighbor’s dog wasn’t outside.” Parents from all over the world resonated with the scenarios, and they began submitting photos of their own complaining children. Six months since its launch, the site has become so popular that Pembroke has included his favorite submissions in a book, recently released in the UK—with a U.S. edition scheduled for publication in the spring.

Christian parents might feel above this kind of crass oversharing, but, often, we are not. From blogs to Bible studies—wherever parents gather—stories of children’s misbehavior flow freely. It’s not unusual for a mother to walk in to a gathering of Christian women, sullen child in tow, and proceed to tell everyone about her young child’s last hour of disobedience. Frequently, the women of the group will listen, roll their eyes, and groan in sympathy. Most parents have been in a similar situation, and perhaps we have told some of the stories ourselves.

Parents announce their children’s sins for a variety of reasons. Being a parent is a lonely job, and we can wrongly use our children’s sinful antics to build camaraderie with other parents. We can also be personally frustrated by our children’s actions and leverage the telling of their sins to justify our own impatience and anger. And, particularly online, we sometimes tell our children’s sins as a way to establish our family’s authentic credentials as “real” and “broken” people.

None of these is a good reason to forget that our children are also our biblical neighbors. I may have authority over my children, but I don’t own them or their stories. My children are neither my possessions nor extensions of myself. They are image-bearing individuals with souls that will last forever. And one of my first obligations to my children is to treat them with kindness and dignity as my neighbors. I am obligated to look out for their interests (Phil. 2:4), and I must treat my children as I desire to be treated (Matt. 7:12). Even when it comes to their sin.

Gospel Distortions

But my silence is about more than merely kindness. It’s about my children’s perception of the gospel. This is serious. Telling my children’s sins publicly can misrepresent the gospel I otherwise work so hard to communicate to them.

When parents retell our children’s sins, we often leave the impression that we are the ones who have been wronged. This is not the attitude of Scripture. David’s confession in Psalm 51 makes it clear that sin is primarily rebellion against God himself. We parents may have been disrespected or disobeyed by our children, but we are not the chief offended party. We distract our children from the real significance of their sin—and the real sweetness of their Savior—when we make it sound like their sin is about us rather than about God.

In broadcasting our children’s sins, they may begin to think that sin is not so serious. The wry chuckles and eye-rolling of parents can make children believe their sin is funny, or at least something expected. This attitude only serves to make Christ and his sacrifice seem unnecessary. If sin is not so bad, our Savior is not so important either.

Finally, and perhaps worst, is the possibility that our children will believe their sinful condition is hopeless. Parental exasperation—throwing up our hands at one more instance of misbehavior—can communicate to our children that their sin is so far gone as to be beyond hope. Retelling and broadcasting our children’s sin can magnify it to an unsolvable proportion and thus push Jesus and his sin-covering blood out of the grasp of tiny fingers.

God dealt with our sins individually and personally, and, likewise, parents do best when they whisper the gospel into the ears of the little rebels on our laps—whose cookie-snatching, wall-decorating, and tantrum-throwing was specifically and lovingly atoned for on the cross.

So, no, I won’t tell you why my son is crying. That’s between him and the Savior of small sinners.

Megan Hill lives in Mississippi. She is a member of St. Paul Presbyterian Church (PCA) and writes about ministry life at Sunday Women.

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A Verse for Today – Perseverance

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Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” – James 1:12

Remaining steadfast is all about perseverance – through trying situations and especially in relationships. Marriage, it’s been said, is meant to make us holy, not happy. Grrr. This rubs against all my idealistic romance-writer sensibilities. If you’re like me, you carry around lovely little snow-globe images of what relationships should look like, whether they be with our spouses, children, friends, co-workers, or whoever. And if you’re like me, you nurture and polish those images all the time, worshiping and perfecting them.

Right?

But if I’m honest with myself I have to recognize that all of life is meant to make me holy, not happy. All I have to do is peruse a few flannel-board Bible stories to see that. No snow-globes there. Amy Carmichael once wrote this to someone who had prayed for her healing:

“No good thing will He withhold from them that live a godly life.”

Amy wondered whether He’d prefer that the emphasis were on making sure we didn’t miss any good thing that might come from the illness, instead of: ‘Health is a good thing. Lord, give it.’” – Quoted from Candles in the Dark

Father God, let me respond to the stresses of life and relationship in ways that make me more holy.

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A Verse for Today – Slovenliness

25th-anniversary-1161.jpg“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:4, ESV

Oswald Chambers says the remnants of the earthly life are apt to make us slovenly. “Slovenliness is an insult to the Holy Ghost,” he says in My Utmost for His Highest.

“There should be nothing slovenly, whether it be in the way we eat and drink, or in the way we worship God.”

 Ouch! When I study historical Christian writings while homeschooling my daughters, I come across many more warnings against idleness and slovenliness than I do in modern writings and teachings. Hmm . . . By nature, I’m a pretty lazy person. Gluttonous, too, if I’m fully honest. While I’m praying for Christians facing horrifying persecution around the globe, I can actually be distracted by anything that causes the slightest discomfort while I pray.

 Can you?

 Lord God, forgive my slovenly focus on comfort and worldly things. Give me a heart that’s devoted to heaven.

 More later . . .

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