Thursday, October 24, 2013

Embarrassing Moments


Those of you who’ve been following me for a while may feel like I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon.  Unfortunately, my carpal tunnel is still giving me a decent amount of trouble.  I wish I could say that these weeks off typing have made a huge difference, but it looks like I may just need to wait a little bit longer before I can get back into the full swing of things.
In the meantime, I’ve been working on The Beloved Daughter audiobook launch party.  Most of you probably know about my novel, The Beloved Daughter, the story of a young girl sent to a North Korean prison camp for her father's faith.  Well, in preparation for the release of The Beloved Daughter audiobook, I planned a huge blog tour with over 40 stops, weakly prizes and giveaways, and a month-long Facebook party.  Pretty impressive, right?

The humbling news is that when the audiobook was released, I found out almost right away from a listener that the chapters were entirely out of order.  I am now two weeks into the blog tour, and as far as I know, Audible has not yet been able to correct the problem.  Talk about embarrassing!

This isn’t the first time I’ve been embarrassed, and I’m sure it won’t be my last.  With Halloween just a few days away (and with a fun finish the sentence Friday writing prompt), I’m reminded of another embarrassing story that happened to me about 15 years ago.

When I was in high school, my friend invited me to her birthday party, which happened to fall on Halloween night.  My dad was convinced we were in the right area the area, and as we drove around in the dark I also pretended to know exactly where we were going.  We got to the house that I thought was it, and my dad pulled into the driveway.  By this time, we were both a little overwhelmed from being stuck in the car alone together for more than 5 minutes.  When I reached to open the car door, my dad asked me if I was positive we wereat the right place.  I assured him I recognized it and headed to the porch with my birthday present in hand.

Unfortunately, when I knocked at the house, the person who answered was a complete stranger.  I could tell by the ghoulish decorations that I was at the wrong house.  That’s the kind of things that teens get embarrassed by, right? So what did I do?  I very seriously thought about saying, “Trick or treat!” but then I remembered that I was the teenage girl holding a frilly birthday present and not even wearing a costume.

That’s certainly not my most embarrassing story from high school, but it is the funniest Halloween story I can remember.  Since I don’t know when my wrists will allow me to get around to the finish the sentence Friday blog hop again, I would also like to invite you to enter my giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Finish the Sentence Friday Hosts: Kate of Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine…, Janine of Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Stephanie of Mommy, for Real and Kristi of Finding Ninee.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Author of "Secrets Kept" Talks Music Inspiration Today a writing friend of mine, Jennette, Mbewe, is here to talk about the music that inspired her new release, Secrets Kept. 

Welcome, Jennette!

Music Inspiration by Jennette Mbewe

     When I first wrote the story that would become Secrets Kept, my theme song at that time was Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew. I listened to it over and over, and it compelled me to the end. Writing the final battle scene in what is now book three, that song played in my head and heart. (A video of the song if you want)

     Before I knew anything about writing and the industry, I had a dream to create a sort of Pilgrim’s Progress meets Lord of the Rings, but with the intent on the journey of faith, the overcoming of the wrongs and the hurt of our past, being set free from thought processes that keep a person in bondage to choices that hurt themselves and others repeatedly. Reflective of my own spiritual journey without realizing it. And for the struggle—grace. And I didn’t want the elements of allegory to be obvious. Oh, look, there goes Worldly Wisely. Although, nothing wrong with that either. I love Pilgrim’s Progress and Hinds’ Feet on High Places, but this was my dream, my story.

     And then, I realized I had done it all wrong. Ha!

     So the allegory was scrapped. After ten years of rewrites and edits, and two kids later, my memory is a little blurred on how many times I’ve reworked the story. Ha! Although, I still have the first original print out of the story in one little folder which now has become three novels.

     Ayianna’s story is her own, and I hope readers will enjoy the adventure for what it is, but you will undoubtedly find fragments of the existing allegory within the book, and hopefully it will lead to a richer reading experience. 

     Thank you, Alana, for allowing me to share a little bit about the music inspiration behind my writing. My time is up, and I haven’t even gotten to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks. Ha! Another time. Until then, go have an adventure, read a book!

Welcome to the World of Nälu!
The Tales.

Can a desert princess find love with a foreign king?
Johari lives in the shadow of her beautiful sister until a foreign king notices her, but in her haste to prove herself worthy of affection she finds herself compromised and on a difficult journey to make things right.

What if all you knew had been a lie?
The teaching of the Guardians has guided Semine's footsteps since her infancy. When her mentor shows up with information contrary to what she's been taught, she doubts her decision to follow in their footsteps. She must decide if there is life beyond what she has always known or embrace a new, mysterious path and reject the Guardians' legacy.
          Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

To what lengths would you go to save the world?
Elothryn keeps the darkest secret of Nälu: The cursed dagger of Raemoja. A weapon powerful enough to release the greatest evil from the underworld. For generations, his family has lived without incident until now. The hunters have his scent and will stop at nothing to reclaim the dagger. Elothryn and his son flee, seeking help, but will they find it?
        Find it on Amazon and Smashwords
The Novel

With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.
Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.
Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.
Find it at Amazon and Goodsreads.
Author Picture & Bio
Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She has two short stories published in The Clockwork Dragon anthology, and is busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. Her debut novel Secrets Kept and her short stories set in the world of Nälu: Desert Rose, Dragon Thief, and Indestructible are now available. She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and books, among other things. For more information about her journey as a writer mama and all things creative please visit her at
Social Media
Connect with Jennette!
Google+ (But I’m still learning the ropes here!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ten Great Insults: Bible Style

     If you watch TV today, you might have noticed that many characters have gotten a little lax when it comes to insults. With the plethora of vulgar language now in vogue, it's as if the art of insults has been degrading to two or three choice (and very overused) phrases.

     Would that we could go back to Bible times, when insults were wide and varied! So if you're tired of the same old vulgarities, here are the top ten biblical insults I've found in the pages of my own Word of God. I was going to use the King James version, but seeing as how some of the verses had to deal with donkeys, well, I didn't want to really offend anybody...

10) You are a flat cake not turned over (Hosea 7:8). It's uniqueness as an insult notwithstanding, you're probably not going to convey the original intent of this verse to a modern-day audience. Perhaps the contemporary equivalent would translate better as "You're a Subway sandwich with the bread over-toasted."

9) A quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof (Proverbs 19:13). Its biting intent perhaps overshadowed by its overuse, this insult still definitely manages to convey the annoying tendencies of a nagging wife. Spouses ... be warned!

8) Brood of vipers! (various NT verses) Again, this insult isn't quite as effective anymore, simply because we've all heard it so often. But if anyone has a significant fear of snakes, I imagine you can still see its charming impact (no pun intended). 

7) Their tongue is an open grave (Romans 3:13). I've heard some biting insults about bad breath, but none quite like this.

 6) You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! (1 Samuel 20:30) Spoken in a fit of anger by King Saul to his own son, Jonathan, this insult is a little more creative than its (very overused) contemporary counterpart. (And it would get by television censors to boot!)
5) My little finger is thicker than my father's waist (1 Kings 12:10). Speaking of censorship, the NIV tones down their translation quite a bit. The King James says, my little finger is thicker than my father's loins. In other words, Rehoboam is saying that his pinky is "thicker" than his father's ... um ... maybe we should just stick with waist...
4) Go castrate yourself. Ok, this isn't a direct biblical quote. The exact translation is "As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!" (Galatians 5:12). Let's hope for these "agitators'" sake that Paul never got his wish.

3) You were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment (Ezekiel 16:38). Not the kind of comment I'm guessing you want to hear spoken to your mother or sister.

2)  There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses (Ezekiel 23:20). No. Commentary. Needed.

1) You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean (Matthew 23:17). It shouldn't be surprising that the award for best insult goes to Jesus himself. Let's just hope none of us hear him say those words about ourselves!


Blog Love: This post was included in Christian Home Magazine via Laura O from Day by Day. Check it out!

Your Chance to Win: If you haven't seen it yet, there's a contest up on my blog. Winner gets to name two characters in my next novel! 


Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Boy Named Silas: Heavenly Sights

This post was originally published in April, 2011 on my special needs blog, A Boy Named Silas, which has since been retired.


In the radio drama we listened to today, one of the characters flat-lined in the hospital. Silas started sobbing uncontrollably. He wasn't shaken up because the character might be dead (Mr. Whittaker survived, by the way). I think Silas' response was much more subconscious.

"It's beeping," he cried over and over.

This wasn't the first time I've suspected Silas of having some latent memories of his neonatal crash. For an entire year, whenever Silas watched a certain Veggie Tales movie, he would go into sobbing hysterics during one particular scene in which three angels (all dressed in white and looking suspiciously like doctors) cornered one of the veggies.

Do I believe Silas accurately remembers each event leading up to his NICU stay as it happened in real time? Of course not. But every once in a while, Silas will say something that simply blows my mind and makes me wonder if my son's earliest memories include not only medical trauma but a decent amount of the supernatural.

One Sunday while leading Silas' kids' church class, I was teaching a lesson about angels. After explaining that in the Christmas story God sent angels to deliver messages, I asked my students, "What else do angels do?''

     Without skipping a beat, my three year-old answered, "They play with babies."

Up until that point, I had never talked to Silas about the angels that might have helped him at his birth. Actually, up until that point, I was pretty skeptical about such matters myself.

Over the next weeks, I wondered if Silas would mention the angels again. I didn't want to ask him too many leading questions about them, but I wanted to be open if he actually did have more supernatural recollections. Finally, after waiting a month or so, I asked Silas again to tell me some jobs that angels do. One of the ones he mentioned was to help babies. I jumped on it.

"Who helped you when you were born?" I asked.

"Angels," he said.

"What did they do to help you?"

"Put me to bed," he answered.

Silas said the angels were big and colorful and looked like stars. He even sang me a song that he said the angels sang to him the morning he was born.

I knew I was starting to tread a fine line. The more questions I asked, the more I risked planting false memories into Silas' head. But I had to know one more thing, so I risked it and asked.

"Did the angels say anything to you?"


Immensely thankful that by this time I was recording our conversation on my video camera, I asked Silas what the angels said.

According to Silas, the angels told him, "Would you wake up, please?"

I suppose we will never be one hundred percent certain if Silas' memories are true or not. There will certainly always be skeptics, and I included myself in that category for quite some time. But, although this was certainly the most coherent conversation about angels Silas and I have had, it is not the only one.

Silas also has talked on multiple occasions about a large playroom he was taken to after he was born. Wondering if it was a vision of heaven, I asked him once what was in it. Silas said it was filled with things like Thomas the Train, Elmo, bouncing balls ...  in other words, the toys that Silas likes to play with today. Real memory or not? I'm dubious. But then again, when the Apostle John experienced his glimpse of heaven, he had to find a way to put his vision of the infinite into human language. Is a playroom filled with wonderful toys the best way a three year-old can describe heaven? Who knows?

Another time Silas told me about a huge crash, after which he was placed by angels in a hospital bed. Could Silas actually be remembering doctors taking him to the nursery and trying to resuscitate him? Who's to say yes?

But, then again, who's to say no?

 (An edited version of my conversation with Silas about angels)

You can read the full story of Silas' first five years in the touching memoir, A Boy Named Silas.