Tag Archive | prayer

Writer Wednesday: Peter Lundell

I met Peter Lundell at the Denver International Airport on a trip to Colorado a few years back. We had to find each other, having never met before, and then, in the midst of construction, somehow try to figure out which level we were to find our ride on. It could have been a scene from a sit-com and is a fond memory. We reconnected this past spring in Colorado without the airport adventure. I invited him to be on my blog because that’s what you do to great authors who have come into your life, and with whom you’ve shared an adventure and some laughs. So please meet my friend, Peter Lundell, a great guy, a fabulous author, and an inspiring preacher.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

When I was in junior high I grew enamored with Ernest Hemingway’s short stories and wanted to write like him.

What’s your pet peeve?

Lack of clarity. When people are vague in communication; when people circumvent a point at hand, whether out of evasiveness or dull-wittedness.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My first attempt at ghostwriting with a mega-millionaire and my old crappy laptop would hardly work. I felt like a fool and an amateur. And I lost him.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Selling the books I write. A.K.A. building a platform and marketing effectively.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I get momentarily depressed and go for a walk. I may do some work around my home or church property. Then I go back to writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My highest-selling book has been Prayer Power. Probably my most consistent success has been in ghostwriting, rewriting, coaching, and substantive editing. I help others communicate their story or message well to influence audiences I would otherwise not reach.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up-and-coming authors?

  1. Learn and work hard to write well. You’re not as good as you think you are. And if you are good, then work even harder to be the best. Do not neglect this. The world is awash with crappy writing by authors who refuse to acknowledge their crappiness.
  2. Learn and work hard to be professional. This includes the mechanics of your writing, your interaction with others in the publishing world, the way you present yourself and conduct yourself in all interactions.
  3. Read and always continue to grow. If you think you’ve arrived, you begin to stagnate.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I want there to be thousands of people whose lives have been eternally changed because of something I’ve written or written for someone else with an important message.

What is your current work in process?

The Sailboat and the Sea, a conversation between a sailboat and the ocean. LittleBoat’s journey with BigSea is a representation of the reader’s own life as it relates to God and the big issues we all face.

Wind, a novel, the story of pursuing a dream, the conflict of dreams that collide, and the price a person is willing to pay.

Links to social media:

www.PeterLundell.com

www.Facebook.com/pnlundell

Latest book release:

Reprint of Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God

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Talking Love

Photo frame or gift card with valentines heart shaped ribbonYou would think the author of countless romance stories would find it easy to write one out of her own life. But it’s not.

Growing up, I would walk home and look up to heaven, spin around, and wonder if God was taking my picture. Did He care for my overly-sensitive, hurting and lonely heart? All a teacher had to do was look at me wrong and I’d burst into tears until sixth grade when I learned to hide my pain.

The sweetest love story is when, after years of sensing God’s call to me, I finally understood that I could respond. That he was waiting for me to do so! James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (NASB)” Really? He wasn’t some distant King high on a thrown beyond my reach. I first came to understand this at a Campus Life/Youth for Christ meeting.

For weeks I had begged some friends to let me come to a meeting. They seemed happy. They had something I didn’t. And they would go to concerts for groups like . . . Petra, who I had never heard of. Finally, I was invited and we had a conversation about misconceptions people had about Christianity. I was raised knowing about God and taught to fear Him, so I was fully engaged in the conversation. Then the biggest misconception hit me—that people didn’t understand that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Whoa. Really?

I prayed right then and there and my entire world shifted.

I went out and bought a Bible and started devouring it. Opposition came but I clung to Christ. To a hurting, lonely fifteen-year-old, the fact that the God of the universe wanted me—Me?—was a huge revelation. When depression plagued me, I was told I was trying to manipulate people. The only reason I never attempted to take my life was because of the love of God.

Thirty-five years have brought me through many trials and triumphs, deep pains and sweet moments. God has been there by my side through all of it. I wish I could say that I’ve been as faithful to Him as He has been to me. It’s hard when people have wounded me deeply to trust the God who allowed it to happen. Yet I wouldn’t be here without Him. He’s led me, grown me, matured me . . . and I’ve learned that in Him I have more strength than I could ever have on my own. Some trials I look back on in wonder at how I was able to respond the way I did. That couldn’t have been me, could it?

Only God.

Through abuses, betrayals, heartache, He has been my constant. My one true love. When I write my romances my hope and prayer is that at some level the reader will understand the love of God that underlies the journey’s my characters take.

God is faithful. He has never abandoned me. The fact that He gives me the opportunity to put some of those experiences into my stories to bless others is just another example of His love for me.

Check out my contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…

THE Baron's Blunder

The Baron’s Blunder
“Love does not delight in evil …” 1 Corinthians: 13:6

Fighting evil has been a hobby, but fending off marriage-minded debutantes—a chore.

Lord Charles Percy fends off a land pirate robbing a carriage in broad daylight. Noting he has rescued a beautiful debutante, he lies about his title claiming to be a mere mister.

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale isn’t convinced Mr. Percy is who he claims to be. But after he admits to one blunder can she ever truly trust what he says? Especially about the evil threatening her? Who is the Black Diamond anyway and why would he be after either of them?

One intrepid debutante and one bumbling Baron soon join forces to defeat evil. But to do so might mean they have to sacrifice the one thing they’ve each held as most important—their single status.

Can the truth set them free to love?

The “God Answered my Prayer” Conundrum

Lots of things stew in my crazy brain. Much of it I’m sure you’d not want to read about. Complexities and backstory would bog down the fact that emotionally turmoil is festering underneath what many perceive to be a cheerful exterior.

One recent thing though has been cooking. I have a friend who has a book doing extremely well. She’s breaking all the “rules” for promotion and marketing. I love her to bits and I’m thrilled at her success.

No. Really. I am. She’s a dear sweet friend.

I asked her what she thinks is the secret to her success. Her response: “We’ve been praying.” She does. She prays. She has people who have prayed as she’s worked on her novel for over 10 years. Yes. You heard me. Ten years.

Here’s where the conundrum comes in. I pray too. I’ve had people pray for me as I write and struggle with life. My books haven’t sold as well although they get great reviews and I’ve done so many things to promote them. I’ve had people who I respect as authors, promise to read and promote my books who have failed to do so. I’ve done so for their great novels. Grrr. Frustrating to say the least. But God can take care of them.

God is doing 10000 thingsWhich leads to a variety of thoughts.

  • Does God not love me or my book as much as He loves my friend’s?
  • Success isn’t really about how many books I sell.
  • But I could really use the money sales could net for me due to challenging life circumstances (duh, like we all don’t face those?)

And then I scold myself.

  • It should be enough that I worked hard and my books are well-received and people have found their faith encouraged or challenged by reading them.
  • It should be enough that God has brought people into my life to minister to and encourage because I have written and published my novels.
  • It should be enough that God knows my heart and my needs. All of them. He’s got my future in the palm of His hands.

So why isn’t it enough? Why do I struggle?

The issue isn’t God.

It’s me.

I’m a fallible human who struggles with insecurities on so many levels.

I struggle with depression and anxiety.

I lack support from people who should be there for me but who had sought to sabotage me every step on my journey.

They failed.

Because: God.

God has gotten me to where I am. He has brought me through so many struggles and pain beyond what I could ever dare to share here.

And my writing isn’t a job. It’s a calling. I need to own that and realize that a calling doesn’t come with a windfall. It comes with a cost.

And a blessing.

But sometimes I fail to see that amidst the pain and struggle that sometimes visits my life.

So I’m grateful for my friend, her faith and our beautiful relationship. She is also called and God’s blessing on her work has no bearing on the way He is at work in my life.

Because we are all unique and God’s work in and through us is also unique.

How often I forget that when the “should’s” come knocking on my door.

How about you? Where have you struggled with the “should’s” in your own life?

Who’s Your Sam?

A few weeks back, I did a talk at our local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) chapter and challenged my fellow writers with this final question: Who is your Sam?

Let me give you some background.

Life is tough. Duh. You already knew that, didn’t you?

Being a Christian can be a challenging road to walk. Oh, you knew that too? Sorry. Just wanting to establish the facts first.

We need to be immersed in God’s truth, studying His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides us. This communication however, can be disconnected because of sin. The remedy is simple. We repent, accept Christ’s forgiveness purchased for us at the cross and walk forward His power to accomplish the tasks He has given.

You with me so far?

Life is hard. We need God.

But that’s not all. We need others around us. Let me show you an example:

Now, if you are not familiar with J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, let me give you an overview. Frodo has a ring of power that needs to be destroyed in Mordor. He leaves home, the shire, with three other Hobbits. One is Sam. They end up in Rivendale and become a fellowship of nine all bent on completing this task of destroying the ring. Four hobbits, a wizard, two men, an elf and a dwarf. By the end of that first movie, the wizard is presumed killed and another man is dead and the fellowship is broken up. In spite of that, as the trilogy moves on, Sam is Frodo’s constant companion, protector and in many ways, his salvation. While there are many heroes in the story, it is Sam, a secondary character, who truly gives his all to his friend.

In the hard journey of life and the calling that God can place on our lives, we all need a few Sam’s around us. Some might be a little more distant and still helping us fight on toward our goal, with words of encouragement, a listening ear and prayer. And others will walk more closely, willing to tackle us when we are going to venture into sin and challenge us when we are lost in lies.

We also need to endeavor to be this for other people as well.

So . . . in the story God is writing in your life . . . who is your Sam? You really should have more than one. Frodo had eight who supported him on the journey and one died to protect him. The rest risked death time and again to see the goal accomplished and save Middle Earth.

On the flip side. Who are you a Sam for? Whose life are you speaking truth into, praying for, encouraging. For instance, how about our pastors? They are on the forefront of spiritual battle and need a fellowship of warriors behind them as much as we do if not more.

Let us not forget that God is writing a great story in your life and it is the gospel many people may read before they ever pick up the Bible. And we have some input into the journey by our choices, good or bad. Our mistakes, our failures as well as our successes and how we respond say a lot to others about our relationship wtih God. And much of that can depend on the strength and support of the Sam’s around us.

Tell me about a Sam in your life. 

Legacy and Love (Book Review)

LegacyandLove_ebook2 copy (1)The book, Legacy and Love by Paula Mowery is not just a book. In reality it is two romance novellas put together because they have similar themes of which the title represents.

The first story in the book is The Prayer Shawl. Sean Holland has dismissed the Christian faith and is living his life as a magazine reporter. Challenged by his editor to find a new story, he stumbles across Hope, a nurse at the hospital who makes prayer shawls for people who are sick.

Hope learned to make the shawls from the grandmother who has since died. With a strong faith in God she knits them together with love and a lot of prayer. Sean sees a story, but when multiple crisis hit Sean’s life, he turns to Hope for help. She has to decide how much to provide given the lack of his faith in God.

Inheritance is the second story in the book. Alex Lyndon has lost her job, is divorced and with little money in the bank. She discovers, on top of all that, her Granny Olivia, her only family left, is dying. She rushes to her side but is too late to talk much to her one last time. Instead her Granny has set her on a search with a cryptic message.

A mysterious check shows up along with a handsome man. Chase Carson is a book editor who ended up taking over the reigns of his family’s publishing company. His one get-away is to go see Granny Olivia only this time he arrives to find she has died. He’s heard about Alex but Alex has not heard about him nor had any clue of the secret Chase kept for Granny. Together they search for clues to the inheritance left, the missing document he needs and the purpose Alex has been desitined for all along. But can love survive the miles and the secrets still held? 

Two grandmothers with amazing legacies that impact far more than the people they leave them to. The butterfly effect is how one action can have a ripple throught time and impact, potentially, millions. This book tells two stories of such impacts in a beautiful way.

Contaminated Love

Sometimes our wounds are more significant than we realize.

Let me explain. I’ve struggled with some spiritual inertia lately. Difficult chronic issues contribute, as well as some health stuff, but it dawned on me today that the real issue is that I have come to feel defeated in my walk with God.

But this is not from God.

It started with another person I looked up to and trusted. A person who repeatedly wounded me and I prayerfully confronted with much fear and trembling. A person who turned on me and lashed out in even more deeply painful ways.

It was not so much the fact that this happened but the fact that the things I had been devalued for by this person involved prayer.

Prayer. An intimate conversation with the Most High God.

And this individual left me feeling like a failure in this area.

*Sigh.*

So there’s a double whammy for me.

1)      I tried to confront in love because God asked me to – and came away feeling beaten and bruised at the core of my being. My attempts to get help to confront again were not successful and I gave up because too much time passed for it to seem meaningful. This made it hard for me to go back to God because didn’t it all start with Him anyway?

2)      I still feel inept.

Now this is all entirely ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean, who else should care about how well I communicate with God – except for – God!

And He knows my heart and my hurt and it was never His intention to open me up to such soul-searing pain as what I experienced at the words of this woman.

So I go back and try again – to sit at the feet of my Savior recognizing that it was not this individual, but Satan Himself using that person to derail my relationship with God.

Amazingly enough, God has continued to speak to me and lead me even when I’ve not been as faithful as I think I should be in coming to Him. Another dear friend has told me that she thinks I’m praying more than I realize. Pray without ceasing? In some ways I do that. Simple prayers from a simple servant heard by a gracious and abundant God.

And I’m grateful because He has never wasted any pain that I’ve endured from others who have sought to wound me. Ultimately He has taken what they meant for evil and used it for good.

So I will hold on and I will persevere because He is faithful and loving even if some people have not lived that out in the ways I expect. Chances are I’ve wounded a few on my path as well. I only hope and pray I can be humble when confronted and not hurt in return like I’ve been hurt.

How about you? What derails your relationship with God?

 

Book Review: Driven by Shellie Neumeier

     Driven is a debut novel by Shellie Neumeier. Writing to teens, she captures the drama and angst of the age group as well as the durability of friendships and faith.  Robyn becomes a leader of her prayer group simply due to courage shown under fire. Courage that eventually gets tested as well as her faith when two boys vying for her affections, a vicious reporter and difficult life circumstances would threaten to throw her off course. This book however does not only deal with the human side of life, but does an incredible job of highlighting the spiritual battle that goes on behind the scenes when someone steps up to obey God, and pray.  With hints of C.S.Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, Ms. Neumeier captures the intensity of spiritual battle that even the most mature of Christians often overlook.

            I found the book dynamic and suspenseful and the characters realistic.  I would long for more Robyn’s in the world to stand in the gap and this character, while human, is a good role model in her honesty and struggle. Even as an adult, I find this teen and her story a good reminder of my own need to be praying and aware of the spiritual battle around me.

DRIVEN releases its Kindle version in time for the Holiday Season. Beginning December 1, you can join the fun by downloading it to your ereader, kindle, ipod, computer or phone.

Or you can pre-order it on paperback through Barnes and Noble (paperbacks are scheduled to print March 1, 2011).