This and that

We have an official title for book 3 in the Wives of the Patriarchs series: Rachel, A Novel. I can't wait to see what kind of cover they come up with! In another week or so I will be getting first round edits on Rachel. I'm anxious to see what my editor thinks of her story. Naamah, first novella in the Loves of King Solomon series is due to my editor March 1, 2013. I received comments back from one of my critique partners tonight, so I plan to get started making whatever changes are needed this weekend and early next week.

Rahab, book one in the Brides of the Promised Land series, is next up on my to-be-written list. This week I created her Idea Board and "cast" my characters. I really like the people I picked. And I pulled out the proposal and discovered I had already written the first four chapters, so I reacquainted myself with her story. The only problem I see is that I really prefer to "have written". First drafts can be fun torture, and yes, I mean both! I'm hoping for more fun than frustration this time. At least I know where the story is going as the synopsis is also already done! Yay!

Rebekah is still showing up as "Available for Pre-Order" on most websites, but I know copies have gone out to reviewers and influencers, and the book can be picked up in person at Woodside Bible Church in Troy, Michigan. (They had copies for the booksigning I did last week, and I am pretty sure they had some left.) Revell is giving away five copies on Goodreads, so if you want to enter the contest, click here.

Abigail, book two in the Wives of King David series was #1 in three categories in Amazon's Kindle store today - Christian, Romance, and Historical! Amazon's numbers are like the stock market though, so I don't expect it to stay there. But it was very fun to see!

To answer a recently asked question: Book Club Questions, Bible Study Questions, First Chapters, and Bonus Features of various types are available on each book's page of this website.

In other thoughts, I've been reading several books at once. In non-fiction: Nearing Home by Billy Graham, and I'm still planning to finish Heaven by Randy Alcorn, which I started before our California trip in the fall. In fiction: Love in Disguise by Carol Cox and To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander. And two devotionals: 31 Days of Encouragement by Ruth Myers and Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous to read so many books at once...and of course, I don't actually read them at the same time. But each one either fills a need or hits a nerve or is just plain enjoyable! My to-be-read pile is never ending.

Life is busy and always challenging. I'm enjoying the new season of Downton Abbey! What I love best about stories, wherever they are found, are the characters and what makes them who they are. That's the biggest challenge in writing about the people in Scripture - trying to figure out what shaped them without seeing things with a judgmental spirit. Sometimes we see someone and make a quick judgment about them, but we don't really know them.

That truth came to life as I talked to my mom today about one of my grandfathers. He was not a man I really knew as I only saw him a few times during his life. (He lived in another state.) If I had to describe him in one word from the stories I've heard of him, I would say he struggled with anger. But why? I also happen to know from some research that his mom died when he was young, and though his dad was still living, he ended up being adopted by another couple. And the writer in me again asks, why? What happened that his father couldn't keep his son? There are so many things that make up our character - family histories, traditions, experiences, genetics, and our understanding of God and His love for us. Perhaps my grandpa struggled with anger and bitterness for a reason. Perhaps no one had ever shown him true forgiveness.

As we study the Bible or read stories about the people in Scripture, let's remember that there are always reasons behind actions. Understanding people in our real life can help writers create better characters in our fictional ones.