Gail's Book Nook

Friday, March 19, 2010

Looking in the Window: Changed Forever


Several years ago the youngsters at our church wore bracelets that read “What Would Jesus do?” They were to remind them of Jesus’ teachings, when they went to school, sports arenas or their friends’ homes. For instance, if one of the young men found himself in a situation where he grew angry and wanted to punch someone in the nose, the bracelet reminded him that Christians should be “…quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1: 19 - 20).

Perhaps one of the young ladies heard gossip about a friend. The bracelet would make her think of Scripture from James 1:26: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

It’s possible that either of them could easily have fallen prey to an argumentative student at school, but before the young man or young lady joined a disagreement he or she would look at the bracelet and recall II Timothy 2:24: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”

It’s not likely that the youngsters thought about those verses word for word. Instead, I imagine they committed the essence of them to memory. Jesus was a great teacher. And the prompt “What would Jesus do?” encourages Christians to learn his guidelines for a fulfilled life in a world so often lacking in spiritual and moral values.

However, the question on our minds this time of year is, “How could Jesus love me so much?” For Christians the days leading up to Easter are reflective, because of Jesus’ great sacrifice for all of us. During this time we give up something for lent. I recently received an email suggesting that rather than fasting, Christians could consider giving up anger and hatred, judging others, discouragement, complaining, resentment and bitterness and spending too much money. Whatever we decide to give up, we realize we are in the season, when Jesus endured humiliation and suffered horrible physical pain for no reason other than to save us from our sins. And, we know we never can repay him. We only can accept his gift.

Finally, on Easter morning churches all over the country resound with the happy sound of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” And ministers shout, “He is risen,” and the congregations proclaim, “He Is Risen Indeed.” Christ lives. We not only have his teachings, and his gift of everlasting life, but he is with us every day from now until forever.

Matthew 28: 7, “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead…’”

Monday, March 8, 2010

Looking Out the Window: An Interview with Danielle Thorne


DANIELLE THORNE


WRITES BOOKS

WITH


SWEET
ROMANCE


AND ADVENTURE



First, tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Gail! Thank you so much for having me today. A little snippet? I’m an author of historical and romantic fiction. Writing from south of Atlanta, I’m also a full time mom to four boys, and wife to a devoted air traffic controller. My life is very suburban, but we all relish travel, the arts, and outdoors.

In three words describe your style of writing.

Sweet Romantic Adventure!

What themes do you write about?

Besides overcoming personal demons, I strive to incorporate unique settings that make the reader want to visit there. I am also a bit of a tree hugger, so working environmental encouragement into my themes is a challenge I like toying with. I care about people, and the planet. I guess you could say I try to share the love.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

I work 4 to 6 hours a day while my children are at school. Usually when I’m in the midst of a manuscript that can turn into 7 to 10 hours, breaking only to see to my family.

Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?

Balancing any part to full-time job as a parent is a challenge. I’ve learned to put my family first and make sacrifices to get the writing done. This means housework and other duties take a third row seat, but prioritizing what’s really important on a weekly basis helps me keep things in perspective. Sometimes the oven has to be cleaned before the computer can be turned on. I’m a list maker.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

I’m definitely a plotter. Even before I grasped the concept, I was thinking ahead and writing down notes where my stories should go. Usually I write the first three chapters by the seat of my pants, so inspiration can set direction then I take it to paper and work out a plot map for the overall picture.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

Although I am a very religious person, I haven’t felt drawn to writing true Inspirationals. I am deeply romantic, and so writing romances full of adventure is what satisfies me. My faith requires me to keep certain standards and I write my romantic elements knowing that I am setting an example, and free speech or not, I answer to God for my moral conduct, here and in the next life.

Do you put yourself in your books?

No (laughs). I have struggled with shyness and social anxieties since I was a teenager--I don’t think I would make an interesting romantic heroine. However, many of my life experiences and empathies are written into characters. Because I understand the challenges I give out, I’m able to help my heroes resolve them because I’ve been there before.

What are you working on right now?

I am finishing up final edits for my July 1st release, BY HEART AND COMPASS (Desert Breeze Publishing). It’s a sea romance set off the coast of Antigua. Research is like candy--I love exercising the brain cells, so this underwater archeology adventure was “sweet” to write. Here’s the blurb:

When Lacey Whitman buys a restored Victorian home, she never dreams discovering an antique diary will lead her back to sea and into the arms of the dive bum she’d rather forget. Her habit of living in the past comes to a screeching halt as diver Max Bertrand and the diary of his ancestor take Lacey on the quest of a lifetime: To discover and raise the privateer ship, Specter, and bring the treasure and legacy of a true hero home again.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The answers are very simple: Believe, Study, Write, and Never, Never Quit.

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

A few years ago my husband talked me into taking a scuba diving class. At first, I thought he was crazy then I realized that it would open new doors for me as I continued to learn and experience life at sea. I’m still pretty green, but I’ve had a couple great experiences I will never forget. This April we are planning to dive off Costa Maya, so I’m trying to prepare myself for that.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Yes, there is! Readers can find out about my current novel, Turtle Soup, and one of my favorite reader and author groups, The Sweetest Romance Authors, by visiting my site: http://www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com/

They can also check out my blog, The Balanced Writer, at http://www.thebalancedwriter.blogspot.com/ or sign up for my newsletter which is chock full of news, reviews, recipes, and corny jokes: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ThePrivateerNewsletter/

Also, for more information about my faith, visit http://www.lds.org/.