This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Abingdon Author Retreat

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

As usual, my blogging got off schedule this summer. In May I went to Columbia, SC for some research on--Yes, another book! In June we went on vacation at Myrtle Beach, and the following week I flew to Pennsylvania for a fabulous author retreat with my editor and other Abingdon Press authors. For those of you who have been faithfully stopping by and commenting, thank you for being patient and not giving up on me.

1st Photo: Downstairs with authors Kay Strom, and Gail Sattler all bundled up by the window. The rain outside made it a little cooler.

2nd Photo: Upstairs in the Chuck Room, authors Christa Allan and Joyce Magnin in deep discussion.

The Abingdon Retreat

We were nestled in a log cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania with no cell phone or Internet service. We were about an hour away from the airport so it was a real retreat in every way. I rented a car and drove to the cabin and this gave me time to reflect on the scenery, of course it rained the whole time we were there. However, the landscape did remind me of the NC mountains. I was surprised by this. I kept thinking of my Quaker ancestors who came through Pennsylvania to NC.

3rd Photo: Myself on the left and Kay Strom on the right in our rockers by the window. This was my favorite place the whole time I was there, rocking by the window upstairs, with a slight breeze blowing in so I could bundle under my blanket. I'm an avid rocker if a rocking chair was around. I almost rocked myself off the lovely carpet a few times. One of my fellow friends had to remind me to watch out for my laptop below me.

Those who were able to make it was Barbara Scott, our editor from Abingdon Press. She is so full of wisdom and is really seeking the heart of God for His will and purpose in Abingdon's new fiction line. I learned that I am so blessed to know you, Barbara. The authors were, Cynthia Rutchi, ACFW's President, and author of They Almost Always Come Home, Christa Allan, author of Walking on Broken Glass, Joyce Magnin, who officially organized our retreat and author of Agnes Sparrow, Kay Strom author of The Call of Zulina, Gail Sattler, author of The Narrow Path, and myself, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, author of Highland Blessings.

4th Photo: Our editor, Barbara Scott, Chuck is beside her, Gail Sattler is bundled up again, and Cynthia Rutchi looks like she is deep in thought. Joyce also blogged on our retreat at her blog on the Sisters of Chuck, you'll have to read her blog to discover more about Chuck.

We had some awesome devotions. We were prayer warriors, and we learned from a couple of workshops and through a critique session. The bonding we experienced will forever be a part of me. I'm a richer person in Christ for the fellowship we shared.

5th Photo: Our cabin on Sunday morning as we were about to split up and go our separate ways. I was kind of sad that it was over, but once I left this place, my 10-hour journey in three different airports began.

My first flight was delayed, which made me miss my connecting flight in Newark. Then they informed me that I could fly into a different city into NC. I knew if I could just get to my home state, someone would pick me up. My hubby ended up driving 1 1/2 hours to get me (one-way). Then my luggage didn't arrive with me. It was lost for the next two days. When they finally delivered it to my house, my suitcase was damaged. I still oved the retreat!!!

I can't wait until next year!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weaving Faith Into Fiction

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Christian fiction plants seeds of hope and inspiration in readers. It does not always bring salvation and evangelize people, although it can. We must remember that salvation and evangelism isn't the purpose of Christian fiction. While there is a place and a time for sermons, fiction is neither the place nor the time to preach to your readers. Save that part of your ministry for the pulpit and your nonfiction. The purpose of Christian fiction is to entertain with a Christian worldview faith message woven throughout the theme of a story.

Some people are called to plant these seeds of inspiration through stories just like Jesus did through parables. If you feel led to write Christian fiction, then you need to know a few rules of how to weave a faith theme throughout your story that are accepted in the publishing market and understood by all.

Faith Message
Most Christian fiction can be labeled or centered around a universal scripture that becomes the theme or moral of the spiritual aspect of the story. As the author, you need to sit down and determine where your two main characters are in their spiritual walk with God at the beginning of the story, and where you want them to be and what you want them to have learned by the end of the story. No human being outside of Jesus Christ is perfect, and neither should your characters be. They need to have a few spiritual and physical flaws that can grow and develop or that can somehow eventually be accepted.

Once you do this, pick out a few words that identify what they are struggling with such as unforgiveness, lack of faith, holding a grudge, pride in a certain area, feeling unloved and lonely, etc. Then pick out a few words that bring a solution to the problem such as love, hope, faith, forgiveness, humbleness, etc. If a scripture doesn't come to mind, I suggest using Bible Gateway as a source for looking up scriptures that are applicable to your theme. You can choose the Bible version that you like best and search those key words you've picked out. If you are writing historical Christian fiction, I suggest sticking with the King James Version as many of the other versions were not available until after the turn of the 20th Century.

Developing Characters of Faith
Your characters do not all have to be Christians, but by the end of the story, the two main characters need to be Christians. Also, just because a character changes and becomes a Christian doesn't mean he/she has to change their profession to be a pastor or an evangelist. They don't necessarily need to go into ministry. In fact, it would be best if they are regular folks working to make a living out in the real world just like the rest of us in real life. They do need to have a desire to go to church and learn more about Christ. Few Christians do not have this desire unless they are backsliding or wrestling with an issue of some sort.

Your characters' spiritual flaws need to be evident in the first couple of chapters of the book, and then you need to show scenes in gradual succession of how their thinking begins to change. It could be due to a new situation that occurs in their lives or new people who come into their lives. People don't change over night, it's a gradual process and you need to show this. Don't have a preacher preach endlessly to them with multiple scenes of sermons. If you choose to show a sermon, keep it to a paragraph or two at a minimum, no more than a page. Your character will need to hear a couple of sentences and then think on what he/she has heard. Show how his/her thoughts are applying the message to his/her life. Once this thought process begins to change for a few chapters, then you will need to show it in their speech and actions. Again, this is a gradual process. Show them doing well a few scenes and then slipping and having a bit of guilt.

I recommend Gail Gaymer Martin's book, Writing the Christian Romance. Even if you aren't writing a romance novel, she does such a wonderful job of teaching writers how to weave in the faith element into a novel through the growth development process, characterization, and how much sensuality to use in a relationship. She explains in detail, using examples, the difference between sexuality and sensuality.

A Few Rules to Remember
1) Sensuality is permissible in Christian fiction, sex isn't.

2) Using curse words isn't necessary and won't be allowed. Show a character's anger in other ways. Read Christian fiction novels and study how characters' behave when angry or when they simply don't know any better.

3) Christian characters should behave and speak in a way that shows they are Christians without making them look perfect.

4) Christians are real people and becoming a Christian doesn't mean that God is going to keep us from experiencing pain, hardship or death. We still have to live in a fallen world and experience these things, but we have the faith and hope that we are not alone and that there is a better future beyond our life here on earth.