The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

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.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Truth of a World Christian View


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This week God has shown me more than I really want to know, and yet, I can't keep hiding from the truth, and yes, it affects ALL of us--me--YOU--my child--YOUR children.

First, I started feeling a stirring in my spirit about a new focus in my life and some things that God is revealing. Then I saw a moving video on Facebook. After that, I attended a writing conference  where a morning devotion was given by Author & Columnist Dr. Dennis Hensley. His speech finally pulled it all into perspective. Dr. Hensley spoke on what is A Christian World View? Think about that. What does it REALLY mean? I'll do the best I can with the notes I took in paraphrasing his speech and adding my thoughts. (Photo on left is of my editor, Ramona Richards, and me at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference in Anderson, SC.)

For a while I've been feeling displaced, overwhelmed, and out of sorts with the BIG picture of what is happening in our world, our country, our society, our upcoming generations, and my roll in it. Afterall, what can we as individuals do? We have our jobs, our families, our personal relationship to keep alive with Christ--all that takes energy and focus--we can't get bogged down with the worries of the world and what we have no control over. Too much bad news is depressing and it keeps us down. We need to think positively--look at the bright side.

True--all of this is true--but with everything there is a level of balance--and risk. Nor can we continue to sink our heads in the sand, pretend that our world is all right as long as these things don't personally affect us and our family. We think, oh that's so sad. I'll pray for them and off we go back to our regularly scheduled life. It reminds me of Matthew West's song, My Own Little World.


Difference Between Where We've Come & Where We Are
We've entered into an Age of Enlightenment where humanism and relativism collide.

Pluralism - Truth is now a matter of cultural and indivdual expression.
  • Positive Impact - Acceptance of man's diversity. It's a rejection of the previous generations' belief that our society and culture are superior to others.
  • Negative Impact - No universal truth. Everyone's truth is based on what they believe.

Holism - Personal happiness and fulfillment is based upon integration with the world around us, particularly nature and Eucology.
  • Positive Impact - Awareness of taking better care of earth and creation such as animals, plants, the environment, and recycling.
  • Negative Impact - People go too far in worshiping the earth and creation. A perfect and seemingly innocent example is Disney's Pocahontas. How many people focus more on animal rights than those of unborn babies?

The Enlightenment Mind-Set Rejection - This is the first generation where people don't believe their children will have it better than their children. The American Dream is gone. 
  • Positive Impact - People are finally accepting responsibility for their actions - poor fiscal management, starting to live within their means. Greed has caused the housing market to collapse. Greed is causing the health care system to collapse for the poor and middle-class.
  • Negative Impact - People don't believe they can rise beyond their situation in their lifetime. Example: Students graduating college with a lifetime of debt before they can even get started on their lives, making it impossible for 20 and 30-somethings to buy homes as their parents did at their age.

Divergence - Variety and Multiplicity
  • Positive Impact - More acceptance of other cultures.
  • Negative Impact - People lack a standard to measure values and morals - anything goes. 

Power of Enlightenment
  • Positive Impact - Created new avenues of communication through so many different technologies (iphones, ipad, e-readers, social media, etc.)
  • Negative Impact - Because new generations don't accept divine law nor universal truth as previous generations, new generations accept a celluloid reflection as its true world and as its reality.

Imbalance comes into play when the negative begins to out-weigh the positives on every level. That is where we are. Secular authors and Hollywood are now producing stories mixed with bits of historical records, some that authors know to be incorrect, but write them as if they are real. Young generations are so impressionable that it becomes their ideal reality. This produces dangerous results:  
  1. Truth and fiction start to blur. People don't want to believe harsh realities, only what feels good 
  2. Pessimism is the reality of the future so decisions don't matter--live for the moment 
  3. Problems can't be solved, because people are looking for temporary solutions to their immediate symptoms and not getting to the root of what is causing the problems. 
"Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 24:11-13)

Writers are like heroes that need to stand up and say what is right and tell how it is supposed to be. Show them a better way of life--the truth. Great writing is: 
  1. Multi-generational (think of the timeless classics) 
  2. Great deeds extend a challenge 
  3. Heroes show there is real hope 
  4. Heroes establish a standard and sets it in motion
You may think, but if I don't write wild things I may not get published or make the sales I want. True.

Remember the risk part? Jesus was killed for giving his message, but they couldn't kill the message! The same could be said of his disciples, and other great leaders--who are real heroes. 

Heroes RISK it all, to GAIN it all.

Christian World View
  1. Re-ignites the candles of hope
  2. Prompts people to take risks for the right reasons
  3. Encourages others to break free of negative bondage
  4. Shows today's ways are not set in stone--there is a BETTER way
"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Romans 11:29)

Have YOU been called to write for God? If so, take up your mantle and WRITE!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Is the Internet a Distraction to Your Writing?

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

I've heard lots of people complaining how email, blogging, Facebook, and other necessary evils are keeping them from getting their writing done. This isn't about the Internet. It's about your self-discipline.

If checking your email and Facebook page first thing in the morning is a habit you've gotten into, you need to break this habit. It makes you feel obligated to answer people and respond to them right then and there. Before you know it, a couple of hours have gone by and no writing has been accomplished. Instead, use these things as a reward after you've reached a small writing milestone. 

Put Yourself on a Schedule
Discipline yourself to write 1,000 or 2,000 words in the morning before you allow yourself to check email or Facebook. Once you reach this writing goal, don't stop just because you've reached it--especially if you're on a roll with your story. 

Don't use the excuse that you need to do research on the Internet before you go on with your story. Throw in a sentence or word as a place holder. Highlight it in a different color, make a notation of the page number and move on. Research is a necessity, but it can also be another excuse to play on the Internet.

Allow one hour for Facebook and email--no more. Do you really need to answer every email? Some emails definitely require a response because people are asking for information or your input on something. Say what needs to be said. Writing a novel in an email isn't necessary. Read over it, make necessary changes and corrections, and move on. If you feel the need to acknowledge an email because you may have had issues with spam filters in the past, type something simple and quick such as "I appreciate it. Thanks." Move on. 

Block Facebook games. They are time wasters. If you enjoy them, limit yourself to only play them on weekends or late at night after you've finished your work and too tired to work. Respond to comments and posts on your page first. Then scroll through the newswire and hit the "like" button more than leaving comments, except for the ones you really want to comment on. Take similar action steps for Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Shelfari, and Shoutlife. You can also link these accounts and do things from one place to save time, but that is another blog post.

Shut off noise distractions. You know, the little nifty sounds that your iphone or Droid might use to alert you that you've just received a new email, or FB or Twitter comment. Same thing with your computer. Turn off the sound alerts. They only serve as distractions while you're trying to write. 

Research on the Internet
Make yourself write another 1,000 to 2,000 words before you begin your Internet Research. Once you complete this goal, write down several search terms before you begin your search. This will help you remember what terms you've already used and you can scratch them off. It keeps you from wasting more time and typing in phrases you've already used. 

These are just a few discipline techniques that will help you not waste time. What other ideas have you used or what other suggestions do you have?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Book Review - "Love on a Dime" by Cara Lynn James


Newport, Rhode Island, 1899, is a place of shimmering waves, sleek yachts, and ladies of leisure. Of opulent mansions that serve as summer cottages for the rich and famous. Home of railroad magnates and banking tycoons--dashing young men and the women who aspire to marry them.

But it's not the place for lady novelists. Especially not those who pen disreputable dime novels. This poses a problem for Lilly Westbrook, because that's exactly what she does.

No one in Lilly's social set knows she pens fiction under the nom de plume Fannie Cole. Not her family or the wealthy young man about to propose to her. And especially not Jackson Grail, the long-lost beau who just bought her publishing company...and who stirs her heart more than she cares to admit.

But Lilly must put aside her feelings and follow the path that will maintain her family's social stature and provide the financial security that everyone is depending on.

Now Lilly faces a double dilemma. Can she continue to protect her secret identity? And will she have the courage to choose the man who will risk it all just to win her heart?

My Review
This is a charming and elegant novel with an air of romance and intrigue on the brink of secrets about to be revealed. Lily Westbrook turned to writing dime novels when Jackson Grail broke her heart six years ago, so it's understandable why she wouldn't want to turn to him for help when she's being blackmailed--even if he is her new publisher and the one person who could help. While the rest of her family seems to be playing Christian to the tune of Society's standards, Lily is really living out her biblical beliefs with the one exception of deceiving her family of her writing. This one spiritual flaw helped her character be more believable and real. 

As a young man, Jackson Grail knew her parents wouldn't approve of him as a poor boy, so he left Lily to go to college, build a business, and make himself worthy of her. Six years later he returns to find her practically engaged to a wealthy college chum he never much liked. His goal is to win her back and build his business, but Lily fears that she can't trust him after what happened. In her eyes, he puts money and success above people and love. 

The characters' actions, background, and goals are believable. The conflict is appropriate and faith plays an integral part of the storyline. This is the kind of story where the plot builds and builds to one climatic point toward the end. There isn't much mystery as the reader knows where everyone stands on the issues, but there is the anticipation of how it will all play out. As a reader I was satisfied with the ending and would definitely recommend this book.

Learn more about the author, Cara Lynn James

Buy the book on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Pendulum of Mood Swings

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

I'll be honest, I try my best to be good, but it's those wretched mood swings that get me. My moods can swing from one end of the pendulum to the other in a matter of seconds. 

Anyone else ever have to deal with mood swings? 

If I catch my behavior, I can excuse myself to visit the restroom, go to my bedroom, or somewhere that affords a bit of privacy so I can pray for help, refocus my thoughts, and adjust my attitude before going back out and trying again. I may have to swallow my pride and apologize to others if I've allowed my mood to affect others.

While we may not be able to control other people's behavior, we can affect their moods. How often have you tried to say something positive to encourage a friend who may be depressed, sad or grieving. You are trying to influence their mood. How many times have you been in a great mood, whistling or singing, enjoying the sunrise, and someone with a rotten mood say something sarcastic or rude to you? You try not to let it bother you, but they manage to dampen your spirits just the same. They've affected your mood. 

People's mood swings whether good or bad influence others. Ever had someone ask, "How are you this morning?" Were you tempted to tell them the truth? I have. But we hold back because deep down we know they don't want to hear the details, they're just trying to be polite and make small talk. 

Sometimes it's tempting to try and justify our behavior if we've had to deal with a difficult person. Perhaps we've let their snide comments go for days and one day they just happen to catch us in the wrong mood and we explode. It would be so easy to move on telling ourselves that they deserved it--brought it on themselves. But if we are trying to live a Godly life and walk in the commandments that Jesus gives us, does it make it right to resort to the same level of behavior?

Jesus would tell us, "No". 

Satan loves to attack us where and when we're weak. It seems as soon as we wake up on the wrong side of the bed with a headache or some other body ache, or we've just received bad news, or an allergy attack hits, or we've had a bad circumstance occur, the devil brings along someone he has access to--and BAAM we're being harassed and annoyed by some idiot who wants to be difficult. 

Um, go ahead and wave your hand with me. I think we've all been there. 

Now let's share some scripture or advice that helps us get out of those mood swings or gives us an attitude adjustment. What has worked for you in the past?