Catch the Fire!

wood-fire-1241199__180It was a time of great spiritual awakening. If you lived during this time period, you would have felt the fire of evangelism sparking in the hearts of so many around you. You might have been caught up in the fire yourself.

The historical time period I refer to gives a different perspective from the others mentioned to date. I’m not talking about time periods as usually examined by historians. Rather, I’m looking at time periods of evangelism. Looking through those lenses, by far my favorite period is the evangelism awakening that occurred from about eighteen hundred through approximately the nineteen-sixties. During this time, tens of thousands of men and women left the comforts of life in Europe or America and traveled to the remotest parts of the earth to take the light of salvation to those who lived in spiritual darkness.

Many of those brave individuals died at sea, or in the jungles of Africa and South America, or at the hands of the very people they had abandoned everything to help. Still, they went. Their fire was contagious, their sacrifices not in vain, and thousands upon thousands heard the gospel and came to salvation because of them. Some of missions’ great heroes come to my mind: Adoniram Judson of Burma, Hudson Taylor, and Lottie Mon of China, David Livingstone of Africa, Jim Elliott and his brave coworkers in Ecuador … just to name a few. african boat

I was a child of this great evangelical movement. My parents were among the courageous men and women who left everything, crossed a vast ocean to an unknown land because of their passion for the souls of people they had never met. I owe my wonderful childhood memories of growing up in Africa to this movement. But more than that, I owe my own passion for missions to the brave men and women who belonged to the generations before me.

BiblestudyIn Revelation 3:8, God tells the church in Philadelphia, “… I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut…” The generations before me had an open door too. Theirs was a great calling and many heeded it. It was a calling filled with adventure, challenge, love for their fellow man, and the joy of seeing God move and lost souls saved.

This historical time period is the setting of my first novel—a fiction based on fact. It is the fictionalized story of my parents’ lives and their call to missions.

Today, our door to missions and evangelism is not as open any longer. In fact, new doors close to missions seemingly every day. I stood at the feet of the last generation that have an open door to foreign missions. I saw the zest for the Lord they had and the courage it required in the face of difficulties. The Nigerian mission where I grew up faced the Biafran War. My parents and missionary aunts and uncles witnessed the genocide of the Igbo people, the constant presence of armed soldiers, sudden evacuations, and the fear that the war could be in their front yard at any time. Yet, they kept their course, loving the hurting people around them and leading many to Christ.

There is a song that says, “May those who come behind us find us faithful.” The generations of missionaries that came before me were faithful to their Lord and to their calling. My prayer is that the generation that comes behind ours will find us faithful, too, in whatever tasks God gives us. For writers like me, our task is to write stories and pieces that glorify Him.

So, come away with me now. Climb aboard a boat bound for a foreign land that you have only known from books and lectures. You don’t know how to speak the language, you have only a sketchy understanding of the culture, and no idea of what lies ahead. You have said goodbye to the family you love and will not see them again for several years.

You look back and see the coastline fading from view behind you. You turn your face forward. A salty mist hits your face as the breeze blows through your hair. A grand adventure beckons you. There are places to go, people to meet, souls in need of a savior …

seagull

Writing Prompt: The picture above is the view from your boat, where you have been for weeks. The sun is setting, tomorrow will be a new day. Tomorrow, you should finally reach the coast of …

In the comment section below, write a short piece about where you’re going and what you will do when you finally arrive tomorrow.

3 Questions Wednesday with Kelly Liberto

Liberto 8Today’s guest is my friend, Kelly Liberto:  Biblical counselor, speaker, and writer of Christian suspense.

Hi, Kelly! So glad you dropped by. First question:

 

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Kelly: The first book, my mainstay which comes to mind, is the Bible of course. Written by the Designer himself, if I have any needs for my writing journey, I go here first for encouragement, direction and even healing.

You may ask, what kind of healing? I was diagnosed with cancer in April 2001. In the bible I found promises from God which kept me going through some serious chemotherapy and leaned on this book for the inspiration, strength and wisdom to know how to deal with that particular bump in the road.

My next choices may not sound so “obvious.” I found Ronie Kendig’s novel Dead Reckoning to be the jump starter in my love of writing suspense. When I was told to add a romantic thread to my current manuscript by a well known expert in the field, I balked. How could I add “romance” to a book that deals with such difficult subjects as trafficking and political corruption?

The answer to my questions came in the form of Beth Vogt’s romance novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. She had just the right balance of realism dipped with a touch of young love and I thought, “wow, I could write that!”

The Bible is a main stay for many of us. And I find novels an interesting choice. Now about you…

What secret talents do you have?

Kelly: Hmmm…that’s a rough one. A fairly recent experience revealed a talent I had when a recruiter offered me a job as a life coach.  Apparently, this job entails encouraging and advising others on how to overcome personal and business challenges.

Though the offer was attractive, I turned it down. It appeared I made the right decision as shortly after, I was offered a contract with Hartline Literary agency.

Sounds like a win-win situation.:) Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Kelly: It depends. What do you like to eat? My specialties would probably include traditional fare like pasta, Mexican or meat and potato dishes. We’re not too fancy around here.

But, I can guarantee some laughs and a good time for sure!

I like all of the above. Thanks again for participating in 3 Questions Wednesday!

Kelly is offering to giveaway  a print copy of Sweet Freedom With A Slice of Peach Cobbler to one blessed person who leaves a comment. So make sure and tell Kelly “hi.”

sweet freedom 1Kelly Liberto is a communicator with a capital “C.”

From speaking in a Fortune 500 board room to appearing on several local television shows including a taped interview “Kelly’s Miracle.” Public Access television program, The Total Picture, produced the account of how God miraculously healed her from stage 4 cancer after only three months in 2001.

You can read more about how God rescued her from fear resulting from sexual abuse and healed her from cancer in the anthology Sweet Freedom With A Slice Of Peach Cobbler. Sweet Freedom hit number 7 out of 100 free kindle downloads on July 4, 2013.

Her current manuscript was a semifinalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Contest in April 2014. Her novel also won a bronze medal in the Frasier Contest in 2015. This December, Kelly signed with agent Jim Hart from Hartline Literary Agency.

When she’s not busy as a wife or a mom or jet-skiing the shark infested waters off South Carolina, she spends her time writing Christian suspense.

A Time of Rebirth

By Betty Boyd

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One of the most intriguing periods in history is The Renaissance. The term means “rebirth” and it is the development of Western civilization that marked a transition from medieval to modern times.  It profoundly affected Europe specifically in Italy in the 14th century.  According to Wikipedia the Renaissance, “Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature, philosophy, art, music, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry”.

There were many great achievements during the Renaissance in science, art and music.  In science, Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish astronomer, who was responsible for the formulation of a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center. Galileo, an Italian scientist and scholar who is responsible for modern day physics and astronomy.

The most famous artists during the Renaissance were Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci. Michelangelo, an Italian sculptor, is famous for his sculptor of the Pieta and fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Leonardo DaVinci, another Italian painter is most famous for the Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper.

I can relate to this period in history, because I too have gone through various renaissance periods in my life. I have never been a prolific painter, or even in my writing. I find that change or rebirth at different times in my life have helped me to be more centered and to grow as a person.

Complete the prompt below for an entry in our blog-a-versary drawing! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

So what do you find most interesting about the Renaissance period in history?

Can you write a story with these words?

  • Sculptor
  • Civilianization
  • Renaissance
  • Transition

The Medieval Era

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I love history. All of it. Choosing a favorite era was, well, akin to choosing a favorite child. Impossible to do.

But for the sake of this post, and in tandem with my love of all things Irish, I chose the Medieval Era, which roughly correlates with the history of the land of my ancestors.

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The medieval period is also known as the  Middle Ages and the Dark Ages. According to Wikipedia, historians don’t know much about this period of time; records of the history of this era have not survived; we are “in the dark” so to speak. Also lending to this particular moniker was the free reign of barbarians, and widespread disease, namely the plague.

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Social class was clearly delineated. Called the Three Estates, they were nobles who governed, clergy who tended the religious needs, and the common folk. The Roman Catholic Church was rigid in their standard. Not only were invading barbarians brutal in their actions, but the Europeans themselves thrived on bloodthirst. This, and the seeming disparate passion for their religion fed The Crusades.

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Of particular interest to me are the great cathedrals of this era. Gothic architecture that took decades to complete. They, too, point to the emphasis on piety and religion.

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And as mentioned at the beginning of this post, all things Ireland. There is much written of Saint Patrick, legend and lore. Most widely accepted is that he arrived in Ireland in the year 432 A.D.  Most notable of his writings was the Hymn, or Breastplate.  Called the Lorica in Latin, a small excerpt states:

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Ah! But this is a writing blog. And oh! the literature of this era. Oft romanticized, knights in shining armor fending off knaves who would carry fair maidens off. Sagas, epics, ballads, spoken tales passed amongst the common folk who could neither read nor write. As to written literature of the era, Dante and Chaucer were among the most prominent writers of the middle ages.

Slide8 Classics by Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell, Morgan Llywelyn and Mark Twain, Phillippa Gregory and Sharon Kay Penman, and titles such as The White Queen and The Red Queen, When Christ and His Saints Slept and Lionheart, The Last Kingdom and The Mists of Avalon.

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But what better than titles by current day author and friend, Melanie Dickerson. I was first introduced to Melanie’s story telling when I read The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest and I was hooked. I’ve read three others and am in line to read an advance copy of The Beautiful Pretender. And I know I won’t be disappointed.

 

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As any era, there is much rich history that could be told. I could write an entire post on the Book of Kells alone. Or the life of Saint Patrick. Or the great cathedrals. Or… You get the picture.

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WRITING PROMPT:

“But Father!” I cried. “The Crusades are so dangerous.”
Father’s arms embraced me in a gentle yet firm hug.
“My daughter, it is the call of God.” He kissed me on the forehead and mounted his horse.
Watching him ride off, we didn’t see the approaching…


ME - 041115“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. Besides Tessa, she has Clara Bess, book two in her unsavory heritage series. She is currently working on Cissy, the third and final book in the series. It will be released in June of this year.

Come visit me at:

http://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S

https://twitter.com/amythyst212

3 Questions Wednesday with Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes

Please welcome Writing Prompts crew member, Carlton Hughes, to 3 Questions Wednesday. Carlton is multi-talented–a writer, professor, children’s pastor, actor–the list goes on. So how did he answer our 3 Questions? Read on–

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Carlton: Writing for the Soul by Jerry Jenkins was a great reminder/primer of how to balance life as a writer with all of the other responsibilities of life. Truly an inspiring memoir of a writing life.

Glorious Intruder by Joni Eareckson-Tada literally changed my life, and I’ve reread it many times (something I don’t normally do). It’s a devotional book that God has used mightily in my life, and it has encouraged me to find God in the ordinary moments, whether good or bad. I hope to be half the writer she is someday.

Those are both wonderful books. I love when God uses a book to change lives, because that keeps me moving forward to be a better writer. Next question–

What secret talents do you have?

Carlton: I’m a children’s pastor, so I can do puppet voices. My signature one is for a puppet named Granny. Once we did a program for the entire church, and afterwards someone came up and said, “I loved Granny! Who did her voice?” I answered, “Me.” The look of shock on the person’s face was priceless.

People are often surprised that I love to cook, especially desserts. It won’t surprise many people that I also love to act (I’m quite a ham) and have been featured in a nationally-known community play series called Higher Ground, in which locally-gathered stories are combined with music and weaved into a play format.

I’m laughing out loud here, because I’ve heard your puppet voices. That’s so fun, and I know the children enjoy it. All this talent, but can you cook? That’s my segue into the final question, even though you’ve already confessed a love of cooking–

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Carlton: Baked breaded chicken tenders, onion-roasted potatoes, fried corn, salad, garlic cheese biscuits, and loaded brownies for dessert. Y’all come!

I’m on my way.:) Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our 3 Questions and I look forward to hearing more from you here on Writing Prompts.


Carlton Hughes is a communications professor at Southeast Kentucky Community College and coordinates the Dual Credit Program at Harlan County High School, where he also teaches part-time. He is children’s pastor at Lynch Church of God and won the 2013 Shepherd’s Cup Award, the highest honor for children’s pastors in the Church of God denomination. Hughes is also a year-round volunteer and Relay Center Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child.

As a writer, his works have been featured in numerous publications, including the books Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, Simple Little Words, and a Christmas play anthology from Carpenter’s Son Publishing. He has also served as an ancillary writer for textbooks and standardized test materials for both Oxford Publishing and McGraw-Hill. Hughes is a two-time first-place winner in the “Dramas/Plays/Scripts” category in the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Writers Contest. He resides in Cumberland, Kentucky, and he and his wife Kathy have two sons, Noah and Ethan. He is a fan of chocolate, good books, basketball, and classic television shows like “I Love Lucy.” Someone out there please publish his book:).

 

Historian by Accident

by Patricia Fay Reece

ship-40209_1280A few years ago, I feverishly began searching for my family’s genealogical roots, which started me down the path to an unexpected love for history that, previously, I had not known. My first family had arrived on ship in Virginia, in 1619. All the other roots of my family tree were established in the North American colonies prior to the start of the Revolutionary War.

Names, dates, locations and events had mostly filled my history books as a student. Learning those didn’t give me any pleasure, not to mention it was hard work. Somehow, it was different when I had to research history in order to write in the America of the 1700s. I enjoyed applying what I learned to each of the scenes in my story.

As a child, sketching was a favorite pastime. I leaned toward expressing emotion through artistic venues. Those things didn’t seem hard. I didn’t grow tense or get a headache using my creativity, like I usually did when learning about history.

mill-196609_1280Now, though, the desire to track and uncover my distant kinsmen had lit a passion to commit my ancestral line to paper. I began a multi-generational Christian historical book. The story begins in the middle of the eighteenth century in the Colony of Maryland.

After my first trek into historical America, I found that I didn’t know much about the world that had birthed our rights to live and worship freely. Men and women had bled and died to wrest our freedom from the British Empire.

Writing about the eighteenth century turned out to be a bucket of hard work. A small detail person, I struggled with each and every element of the times, as I uncovered interesting little facts that helped bring the story to life.

I started out writing my story first, before researching the history to validate the time period. I’m not exactly sure when that changed. It came so subtly. One day I realized that, now, I plotted my book for research to show the period, as much as to write the novel.

old-333339_1280America’s past—our beginning—could not truly be told without deep research. I read many sources in my quest to unearth the day-to-day activities of the 1700s. The details lurked in history books, in centuries-old books, and in snatches of information scattered through the annals of the time. All were rewarding discoveries for me.

I wanted to know about the lives of my forbearers, what they wore and ate, where they lived and how they managed to do so much with little more than ambition and hard work.

My head ached as I read through Edwin Tunis’s “Colonial Living” and his other books, painstakingly put together with sketches of the period. I poured over his works, and then concluded I needed more information for a more thorough picture. I acquired William Chauncy Langdon’s “Everyday Things in American Life, 1607-1776,” then his “1776-1876” book. Now, that was a pair of books I didn’t readily jump into and swiftly read my way out of.

Tunis’s and Langdon’s books laid a foundation for my historical connections. I built on that with various other sources.

fox-terrier-153493_1280I found young America and experienced it for myself. Interesting to me was that everyone in the family worked, including their dog. A good natured, short-legged terrier of that period, was used to walk in a cylindrical cage, or on a treadmill, to rotate the spit that held a roast, the family’s supper.

The essentials needed to survive and thrive were subjects that I eagerly absorbed (with my aspirin bottle close by), to a point where I could almost have lived as my ancestors did.

The 1700s spoke to me of women who wore long, graceful dresses that gently swirled at their feet. The men they loved didn’t need a directory to call the builder, gardener, or even the mechanic. They, or someone in the family, were likely qualified to do these things..

philadelphia-166208_1280They lived their lives with the Lord holding a prominent position in their home. If not, that person at least acknowledged that God should be the center of his household, even if He wasn’t. Childbirth was difficult and an important event, as babes were birthed with help from the women, while the men comforted the proud father-to-be. The birth of a living being was a miracle they never took for granted.

Finally, the ‘old folks’ that had raised their family, and now had grandchildren, were not pushed out of the way like they were useless. They still contributed to the training and raising of the future generations in the family’s home, or close by.

Writing prompt: In 1774, a man stumbled down the street, jacket and breeches dusty, waving a parchment in the air. He stumbled and fell. People reached his side, hearing him say before he died, “I…I was told give this only to…”


Pat ReecePatricia Fay Reece lives in Washington state, along the Columbia River. A native of Tennessee, she enjoys researching the past history of her ancestors and the times in which they lived. The historical novels she writes have been inspired by that history.


Tweet: Historian by Accident – Patricia Fay Reece & 18th century America http://ctt.ec/Qmvkb+

Thanks, Pat for your contribution to our blog. For information about contributing to the Writing Prompts blog, read “Guest Post Guidelines” above or click here. And don’t forget to enter our Blogaversary Celebration by leaving an answer to the writing prompt. You’ll be eligible to win a $100 gift card–just complete the prompt and submit it via comments.

Golden Age of Detective Fiction

Sherlock By Jennifer HallmarkThis month, in honor of the topic, Favorite Historical Time Period, I’m writing to you as a reader. Reading is like breathing to me. I always have three or four books going at the same time; both fiction and non-fiction.  Though I enjoy reading and writing Southern fiction and fantasy, my personal favorite novels to unwind with are British mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [Sherlock Holmes], Margery Allingham [Albert Campion], Agatha Christie [Poirot, Miss Marple], Ngaio Marsh [Inspector Alleyn], and Dorothy Sayers [Lord Peter Wimsey] enjoyed great success predominantly during the 1920’s and 1930’s. With the exception of Doyle, most of their novels take place after World War I through the early 1950s.

Blue_plaque_re_Dorothy_L_Sayers_on_23_and_24_Gt__James_Street,_WC1_-_geograph_org_uk_-_1237429I love reading about the detectives during these years and the way their work intermingled with the war. Albert Campion, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Inspector Alleyn all worked in the war effort as spies, ambassadors, or agents. The characters are imperfect, real, honest, and wonderfully created. I could go on and on about them all but for lack of space, I’ll just mention Lord Peter Death Brendon Wimsey.

“Lord Peter” as he is referred to by most of the other characters in the book, is described as being of average height, with straw-colored hair, a beaked nose, and a vaguely foolish face. Behind the foolish face, however, lie keen analytical skill, athletic prowess, and unmatched persistence. He uses his royal stature, the son of the Duke and Dowager Duchess of Denver, as an aid to gathering information and gaining access to help him solve cases that puzzle the local police and Scotland Yard.

This character is endearing to me, a real hero, for several reasons. He has weaknesses, but keeps moving forward in spite of them. During his time as a young man in service during World War I, he suffers shell shock or what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder. When Lord Peter is overworked or tired, he struggles with relapses from the war in the form of nightmares and physical ailments. This only makes me want to cheer for him more.

Another reason is his love for Harriet Vane. After taking up her case where she’s been falsely accused, he proves her innocent of the crime of murdering her ex-boyfriend. Lord Peter saves her from the gallows, but she believes that gratitude is not a good foundation for marriage, and politely but firmly declines his frequent proposals. After solving several cases together over a period of several years, they finally reach the point where she must make a decision in the novel, Gaudy Night, a personal favorite.

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My Sayers and Allingham novels

I’ve bought and read the majority of the books by Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham. I’m now in the process of collecting Ngaio Marsh’s well-written mysteries with Inspector Roderick Alleyn. I’ve just finished book 15.

 

If you find yourself in need of something different to read, I’d highly recommend the mysteries of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
Tweet: #Reading is like breathing to me. http://ctt.ec/JcmU1+ #fiction

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My newest detective books

Writing Prompt: I glanced at my bookcase, brimming over with detective stories. Which one should I read tonight? Suddenly…