Thursday, November 30, 2006

He's home!

I left Tuesday for Joburg with no internet connection (it's been down lately more than it's been up, and even today it's sooooo slow) Arrived back home to no water, but. . .Scott is home!

I want to thank everyone Stateside who helped him during his trip-- through a place to sleep, meals, borrowed cars, financial support, and encouragement.

His trip was a blessing in a number of ways, so we can't say enough to those who blessed him along the way.

Thank you!

We plan to leave on Monday (as a family!) for Mozambique for two weeks of ministry and a bit of the sea. I'll plan to post a few pictures before we go, but will have limited access to the internet while we are gone. Will try to update as often as possible, but please do pray for us as this will be a remote area filled with its own unique challenges and joys.



Friday, November 24, 2006

SOLD! An interview with Beth Goddard

I can’t tell you how excited it is for me to chat a bit with my long time friend, Beth Goddard. Beth and I began critiquing each others manuscripts. . .wow. . .I’m not even sure how many years ago. At least five or six. Today, I get to announce Beth’s first sale to Heartsong Presents! Beth happens to be a huge history buff, and spins a fantastic medieval tale as well, but her first sale happens to be a contemporary and will be released December of next year. What is really cool about this is the fact that her story, A Season for Love, is a part of a three book contemporary series set in Massachusetts. Lena Dooley and I will be writing the first two books in the series that combines romance and mystery.

Okay, enough from me. Let’s chat with Beth.

LISA: What was your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book? In other words, tell me about. . .THE CALL

BETH: Well, as you know, with Heartsong, “the call” is actually an email. I’ve received so many rejections that when I first saw the email, I figured it was yet another rejection. I opened it and scanned the first line, quickly realizing that it wasn’t a rejection but congratulations!

I gasped in utter surprise, then ran up the stairs to tell my daughter. Before I reached the top of the staircase, I remembered that I hadn’t read the entire email. So, I ran back down the stairs to read the rest!

My daughter was on the phone with my mom so I told her too. She was thrilled to share the excitement with me since she, as well as the rest of my family, have supported my dream through the years.

LISA: Tell us some of the background behind the idea for your stories and about the story itself.

BETH: When I first began writing novels I trained my mind to stay tuned to those little nuggets of inspiration that could generate an idea for a novel. I saw a short news clip on cranberry farming. The bright red berries floating on top a bog as they were harvested completely intrigued me. I decided I’d love to set a story on a cranberry farm.

Several years passed before that opportunity came. I needed a story set in Massachusetts, the perfect opportunity to write my cranberry story. The other aspect comes from my background and education in computer software and technology.

In Seasons of Love, Riley O’Hare trades in her stressful corporate job for a season of peace. She leaves California and heads to a place closer to home and closer to her heart—her grandfather’s farm nestled in the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts. She’ll also be closer to her brother, but before she leaves for the New England state, he dies. Once Riley moves to the farm, her brother’s business partner at a forensics technology company offers to help Riley through the harvest season. She has no clue what Zane Baldwyn is really after and guards her heart.

Zane wants answers. The police believe the car accident that killed John, Riley’s brother, was nothing more. Zane has doubts. Before his death, John—a brilliant programmer—left a cryptic clue with Riley without her knowledge. Zane must discover what John believed was so important and if he was killed for it. On the verge of losing his heart to Riley, Zane learns that John’s alleged killer is searching for the same thing, and no one is safe.

LISA: Readers are going to LOVE this story! (I can say that, because I’ve read it!) On to the next question. I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Is there a character who you relate to and who made an input on your life?

BETH: There’s no doubt that writing causes you to slow down and look deeper into your own motivations as you explore those of your characters. In Seasons of Love, both the hero and heroine’s discoveries about their lives are based on my own experiences. Riley realizes that she doesn’t make enough time to spend with God because her life is consumed with work. Zane learns that maintaining control over his life and achieving worldly success is not going to make him happy. These are things I learned during my own stint at climbing the corporate ladder. I started out knowing these things about my characters, but what I learned from both of them was that I could have a deeper sense of trust in God’s plan for my life.

We spend our lives going to school, getting educated to have a career. I think it can be difficult, especially for women who choose to stay home with their family, to let go of your career. I thought I’d left behind that desire and drive to succeed in corporate America. The characters in Seasons of Love allowed me to release that remaining portion, though small.

LISA: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

BETH: Well, I have to say that content, craft and connections must take a backseat to the spiritual side of things. Writing forces you to dig down deep and discover things inside you’ve ignored for years. It forces you to cry out to God and ask him why he called you to write. And because of that, the writing journey is more a spiritual journey. The desire to become published can be overwhelming. I’ve learned that the writing really has to be about God, for Him and to Him, and content in writing for Him alone.

LISA: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

BETH: I do think it’s funny that after working on historicals for so many years, the one and only contemporary that I wrote is what is getting published first. I have to say that I loved writing this story and it’s sparked a desire to write others along the same vein—suspense stories that include technology. But the main thing I’d love to accomplish is to write something that affects someone in a powerful spiritual way. Of course, author Francine Rivers comes to mind. I think the spiritual depth she achieves in her novels is something we all aspire to achieve as writers.

LISA: Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published, especially from someone who has just broken in?

BETH: I’m sure there is no new advice that I can offer. We all know that persistence pays off. To work hard. Read, read, read, and write, write, write. I think something that has really kept me going is the fact that I haven’t been bowled over by rejection. I’ve received plenty of rejections, yes. Coming from a sales background, I know that it’s all about the numbers. The more you write, the better you’ll become. The more manuscripts you complete and have circulating with agents and editors, the better your chances. I think it’s important to keep yourself thinking positive and when you receive a rejection, go back to the numbers. Look up one of those sites that lists all of the rejections received by famous writers. Because even the big guys have gotten them, and still do! That always encourages me to keep moving forward.

One more thing is to cultivate those relationships that God places you in because God will use those. We really do need connections to help us along the way. God has blessed me with some wonderful writing friends, people that I can say are really my best friends because who else can understand me better than another writer. The writing journey is truly about your relationship with God and with others.

LISA: Wonderful words of encouragement, Beth. Thanks! Can’t wait to see your story in print next year! Beth also spent time chatting with me on my books recently and that interview will be posted at two of her blogs, so please take a moment to check out and

For those of you dropping by to check out my interview with Beth, I’m running a contest this month for TWO free books. (TWO people will win TWO free books!) Leave a comment, and I’ll enter you for a chance to win book three in my historical Massachusetts series, Adam’s Bride AND a copy of the light hearted comical novella collection, Sweet Home Alabama that I’m a part of.

Have a great Holiday Weekend!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Fellowship and bittersweet good-byes

Okay, I have to admit that I’m tired. The past week has been crazy with company, sick children, and life in general that is always busy at the end of the school year. Gabriel spent a week in bed with tonsillitis. You know Gabe is sick when he doesn’t want to get out of bed. Thankfully, he’s back in school now and doing fine.

Friday night, I had our English cell group over for sloppy Joes and enjoyed a night of fellowship, singing, and prayer for each other. It’s been a blessing to be invited into this group where we can fill ourselves up spiritually every week and enjoy the fellowship of other Christians.

Sunday after church, our Wednesday night Bible study came over for a traditional meal of pap (This is the staple food of South Africa, a porridge made from corn meal then cooked with water and salt to a fairly stiff consistency) rice and sauce. They also enjoyed the German chocolate cake I made. Darlington asked for prayers because his employer is forcing him to work on Sundays, and he hasn’t been able to attend church the past two weeks. I challenged them to continue encouraging each other, praying for each other, and persevering. Life is not always easy for these workers, especially for those who are away from their families trying to earn enough money to feed their families. Please continue to pray for these new Christians.

As for bittersweet good-byes, November marks the end of the school year for us, and with it comes many activities. Last Friday we celebrated the graduation of Jayden’s pre-school with a number songs and a Christmas party. I became the class photographer, and enjoyed spending time with Jayden and his classmates.

While the school Jayden and Mariah attend has been a blessing to us, we knew that we were going to need to move them at some point to Gabriel’s school for a number of reasons. Financially, though, we were not able to do it, so I prayed that if it was God’s will he would provide a miracle and felt content, in the meantime, to keep them where they were. Last week, the miracle came as our board told us to go ahead and move all the children to Gabriel’s school next year and the finances would be taken care of. That left me with last minute testing for Mariah, while Jayden filled the last spot for kindergarten. They have both been accepted, and it will be a blessing to have them all at the same school.

Despite the move, though, we are really going to miss the King’s Court, the teachers, and the blessing this school has been to our kids.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soard on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Soar with HIM today!

Jayden at his end of the year celebration

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The price of forgiveness

Have you ever thought about the cost of forgiveness?

I think I often learn as much or more from the studies we are going through with some of our new Christians. As we work through the steps of freedom from sin, I’ve been struck by what it really means to forgive. I can forgive the driver of a car for pulling out in front of me, or my kids for leaving out their shoes, but what about when the stakes run a whole lot higher? It’s something I’ve been pondering all week.

I mentioned a few weeks ago how one of our new Christians was beaten severely while crossing the boarder into Zimbabwe. The issue of forgiveness became real to him--and all of us--as we discussed the importance of choosing to forgive. He asked me what he should do if he ever encountered these men again. The study we were going through was correct when it said that forgiveness was most likely the most difficult step.

We live in a world full of pain, violence, and hatred. Almost everyone I know here in South Africa has been affected by crime. One close friend of ours lost his father when he was shot and killed for his cell phone. Later his uncle was murdered in his home for barely more than $100. Stories like these happen far more often than anyone wants to admit.

And yet Christ calls us to forgiveness.

Difficult? Yes.

Impossible? No

Lord, teach us to forgive the way you’ve forgave us.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Win two of my new books!

To celebrate two of my books being released in the next few weeks, I’d like to offer a contest! Leave a comment and I will include you in the drawing. Two people will win a copy of both Sweet Home Alabama and Adam’s Bride. I will draw both names on November 30th. Remember, you can't win if you don't sign up, and be sure and leave a way for me to contact you.

An anonymous, old-fashioned love note-a literature student's homework assignment-has been misplaced by its author. Jason finds the love note and mistakenly believes his new employee, Nicole, is hopelessly infatuated with him. When Zak finds the note on his tool cart at the garage, he's convinced Ellen's snobby friends and wealthy parents no longer pose an obstacle and plots an all-out strategy to win her heart. A matchmaking sister uses the note to ignite romance between Samantha and friend Garrett. And the note causes a collision of mistaken identity for Callie and Darryl and results in true love for two lonely souls.

From book three of my historical Massachusetts series:
Adam Johnson’s brother was killed by a Polish man, and he judges an entire people based on one man’s actions. But when he falls sick and is forced to rely on the kindness of two Polish immigrants, will Adam realize his prejudice is wrong?

Lidia Kowalski knows the New World is filled with prejudice. She’s done her best to hide her Polish heritage, and yet she knows she can not change who God made her to be. After finding Adam half-dead in the snow outside his door, she helps harvest his maple syrup. Once he recovers and they share a stolen kiss under the stars, she realizes that she’s losing her heart.

When Adam leans that his brother’s killer and Lidia’s brother are the same, will intolerance and loathing steal away Adam and Lidia’s future?

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Last night, in the midst of hosting a Peace Corps friend for the evening, we had another baptism from our Bible study group. Jumbalonni accepted Christ and was baptized by David in our pool last night amidst songs of rejoicing from the rest of us. I challenged each of them to continue striving to know more about God and to encourage each other in their Christian walk.

Darlington, who was baptized three weeks ago, shared with me his excitement over reading about how God created the world for the first time from the Bible study book I gave him.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Light in the darkness

We just finished our Bible study, week one on freedom from sin, and confronted freedom from false religions with some serious issues like witchcraft, charms, and ancestors. During the study, I was struck by God’s great mercy and power. Tonight we had all seven of our group here, including Darlington, one of the new Christians, who just returned back from two weeks in Zimbabwe. Darlington shared how his way there, he and at least one other man was attacked, beaten by a group of men, and robbed of everything he had. The other man was stabbed in the chest and killed.

While Darlington is still having trouble with his ears, we praised God for saving his life. But more importantly, for knowing that he doesn’t have to fear death anymore because he is a child of God.

Toward the end of the study, two Elizabeth and Jombalani expressed a desire to learn more about accepting Christ and baptism, so David is continuing the study with them right now.

In a continent so full of darkness, please continue to pray that many will see the light of God and accept His love for them.