ReadersMagnet created a virtual booth platform from which 150 or so of their authors could have on-line booths. Now keep in mind that for the most part these writers are raw recruits. These authors may be experienced in writing, research, and editing; but computer-savvy?, not so much. Workshops were held on line to educate those of us participating in this new venture. It was successful only to the degree of the attendee’s understanding. The endeavor was dubbed Festival of Storytellers, and I think it is a great, ground-breaking idea.
After several failed attempts (on my part I hasten to add), I think I’ve got it! My author relations officer, Jam Comoyong, is most patient and knowledgeable. I went live from my Let’s Talk About Fairytales booth and had a blast. I had missed interacting with other readers and writers, and I got the opportunity to respond to those “chatting” with me during my live time. I must admit to nervousness at first; but as I talked about a subject that I like, the thoughts and words bubbled out. I can’t wait to do it again.
GUEST BLOGGER REVIEW FROM THE GOLDMAN AGENCY, NEW YORK, NY
Historical fiction novels may be best consumed in large gulps by me. There is no question that C. S. Arnold is a brilliant writer, and her plots are peppered with surprise spirals throughout the novel.
Dangerous Legacy, the Second Son is a book that depicts life as reality, crafting multiple stories of major and minor characters, molding them all together into a story that holds a reader’s interest with mild tension, and a desire to see what happens to the people who inhabit the book’s pages. It is also where the references should end because there is no doubt that Ms. Arnold can stand on her own. Dangerous Legacy is a compelling story, one worth the time to read slowly.
Bottom line: Excellent writing with a plot based on WWll, with characters that leap off the pages and allow you to get to know them.
Historical fiction authors of this caliber are rare. C. S. Arnold has earned her kudos and honors for our good fortune. Highly Recommended.
GADZOOKS! THE SKYLIGHT SHINETH
In the Middle Ages of 1226, Jupiter and Saturn came remarkably close together. The Traveling Troubadour Trilogy was set in the Middle Ages. Perhaps, just perhaps now mind you, Ra-me, the Traveling Troubadour was looking at the sky at night and witnessed the two round balls coming close together. You can meet Ra-me at conniesarnold.com. Our hero would have looked at the glowing orbs and felt compelled to compose a ballad. Maybe he called it “Ode to Skylight.” He wouldn’t have known that it should have been entitled “Ode to Dome Shine.”
A Middle Ages Troubadour: Minstrel Singer
Then we move on. Galileo made his first telescope in 1609, but when Jupiter and Saturn passed close again 14 years later, they hardly made a ghost of a showing this time. Don’t know if Galileo saw them or not. It might have been a dark and stormy night.
Now we’re told that Jupiter and Saturn will once more be passing close by each other like they did in the Middle Ages. The figure given us is 0.1 degree apart. The astronomers went on to explain that’s just 1/5 of a full moon diameter. I’m sure that these dimensions mean about as much to most of us in this Modern Age as it would’ve to those in the Middle Ages.
It seems that we are in for a new sky show. The next great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be December 21, 2020, but you can watch them as they are coming together now, near the starry band of the Milky Way.
This is a depiction of a conjunction.
The 21st of this year is also the date of the December solstice.
VIKINGS: THE FIRST PIRATES
In the Middle Ages the Viking sailors were a force to be reckoned with on the waters and by those towns hugging the coastlines. Sailing from Scandinavia, these fierce warriors of the seas were the first known pirates and raiders to plague the Middle Ages. While some set out only to fish or trade, others boarded any ship within their reach, looting and raiding freely from the 8th through the 12th century.
Many Viking warships sported animal figureheads at their bow, and Viking warriors could be seen in helmets adorned by animal horns. Some figureheads are those of women. These figureheads may relate to the role of the ship and were carved on both ends of the boat.
Pirate longships were double-ended, the symmetrical bow and stern allowing the ship to reverse direction quickly without having to turn around. This trait was particularly useful in northern latitudes where icebergs and sea ice made sailing hazardous. The warships were long, narrow, and shallow.
Without maps and compasses, the sailors in these open, wooden boats braved the North Sea and the Baltic. Using landmarks on the coastlines and the sun, they discovered Iceland and North America. They explored rivers flowing through Europe. It can only be left to the imagination as to the number of souls lost in their treacherous travels.
Pirates were free to roam and attack at will. No central power existed in the Middle Ages, and often countries or even landowners hired pirates to add to their own possessions. Rulers and warlords often sent out their own ships for the purpose of piracy.
The threat of walking the plank was one way the captains used to keep control of their crew. If an enemy ship overtook them, that enemy ship confiscated all treasure aboard and hung the offending captain from the yardarm. There were no ‘peacekeepers’ of the sea in the Middle Ages.
In our book, Mudcat the Pirate, we find our hero, Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour, sailing through stormy waters to rescue the maiden kidnapped by Mudcat the Pirate. This pirate, too, has been sailing the coastal towns, stealing their treasures. The book, Mudcat the Pirate, Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour the third book in the Ra-me trilogy, can be seen at conniesarnold.com
Arnold’s book Blaze the Dragon is the second book from the Traveling Troubadour trilogy.
The Adventures of Ra-Me the Traveling Troubadour is a series of children’s books written by Connie S. Arnold. It begins with The Patchwork Princess, followed by Blaze the Dragon. The latest installment in the trilogy is the book Mudcat the Pirate. The main protagonist of these stories is a young musician named Ra-Me who roams from place to place searching for adventures. His only weapons are his musical instruments. Since working on these books in 2018, Connie Arnold and her works have come a long way. Her works have gained critical success and positive reviews from a number of children’s books literary circles. Today, ReadersMagnet takes a closer look at Arnold’s book Blaze the Dragon, the second book from the series.
Blaze the Dragon, the Adventures of Ra-Me the Traveling Troubadour
Following the events in the first book (The Patchwork Princess), Ra-Me heads on to another great adventure. After successfully saving the life of the princess from the fierce dragon and the black knight using his songs and musical instruments, Ra-Me gains popularity. In this second book, Ra-me is invited to sing and play in a dragon village. They are celebrating the coming-of-age of Blaze the Dragon. Each dragon in the village goes through a rite of passage when they turn twelve years old. However, the celebration goes awry when Blaze losses his ability to breathe fire. For dragons, breathing fire is the one thing that they must be able to do. Panic sets in the village as each dragon takes turns in making Blaze breathe fire. Their efforts were all in vain. The dragon leader turns to Ra-Me and asks him to play a song that will ease Blaze’s anxiety and make him breathe fire. The chief of dragons, Inferno is pushing Ra-me to do whatever he can so that Blaze can pass the rite of passage and become a true dragon. With the help of his instruments, Ra-Me begins to compose a song with magic and help Blaze breathe fire.
Just like the first and the third book, Connie Arnold’s Blaze the Dragon is filled with adventures and surprises. Blaze the Dragon introduces a whole new set of characters as Ra-Me finds himself in the middle of a dragon village and a looming disaster. Published in 2019, Blaze the Dragon takes young readers into another unforgettable adventure filled with songs and magic.
BEHOLD THE GLASS GLOBE, or keep your eye on the ball
The technical term for gazing into a shiny reflective surface to obtain new information or predicting the future is called “scrying.”
Medieval Times was a period when omens and superstitions abounded. A time when people endeavored to learn their futures by studying the world around them and by divination or looking into the mystical. A leader might seek, through magic, to know if his enemies were within or without. Would his own brother fight to depose him from his throne? Would he be successful conquering a neighboring kingdom? He believed that magic might tell him many things if they could tap into it. Fortune telling was an occupation looked down upon in the Middle Ages, but it was available. Some fortune tellers ‘guessed’ right more than they were wrong and became rich. Others were not so good at guessing and were poor. You could tell them apart by the clothing they wore. The rich wore costly robes of purple and red, the poor costumed like other villagers.
Religious leaders throughout the world considered crystal gazing and scrying a forbidden occult. The Old Testament in the Holy Bible forbids divination, saying “for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this. (Deuteronomy 18:14).
The Koran forbids the pagan practice of El-Meysar, a method of magic and divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria. The Catechism of the Catholic Church warns against Spiritualism, using divination or magical practices. In the book “The City of God,” St. Augustine said scrying was “entangled in the deceptive rites of demons who masquerade under the names of angels.” DON’T BE FOOLED.
Being forbidden may have given them a definite allure and certain practices became popular. The balls could be quite beautiful made of quartz crystal. The largest-known true crystal ball is now in the Smithsonian Institution. It weighs 106.75 lbs. Most globes are the size of grapefruits.
One of the most famous crystal balls is the Wicked Witch’s crystal ball from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” which is made of handblown glass. It sold at auction for $129,000.
The above picture is entitled The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse dated 1902. This crystal gazer must have been a successful one since she seems to be very well dressed. Or, perhaps, she was attached to the house of someone important. The Victorian Era ended in 1901, but this picture is reminiscent of that period.
Since the 13th Century, gazing globes have been a very important part of gardens, both spiritually and aesthetically. Many felt that the globe could ward off bad things like disease, evil spirits, attackers and even ghosts. It is known in some legends to keep the witches away.
In our time, we are most familiar with mediums who supposedly connect with the spirit world, calling upon those who have passed from this life to the next to send back information to the living relatives.
Or, there are fortune tellers available in their tents in any carnival, gazing into their “fake” crystal balls. Good news can be yours for a price.
Modern globes in modern gardens no longer have superstitions attached to them, but they continue to grace the landscapes. Gardens now have gazing balls, mostly made of glass and placed on a pedestal. Deep blue and brilliant green seem to be the favorite colors; however, some are made with a mirror-like finish to mimic the original quartz crystal.
In the book, The Patchwork Princess, the Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour Book 1, by Connie S. Arnold, King Lister would have had a gazing ball in the garden in the castle’s courtyard. Perhaps, he used it to divine where his kidnapped daughter had been taken.
Trapped in a snow-globe world where the snow has turned black; a volcano of fear erupting within, spewing ashes that block out the light. Those around you can’t see the battle raging within. Comments like “snap out of it” or “get out of your funk” reveal the lack of understanding of the depths to which your spirit has fallen. In essence, you’re hearing “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”.
Then comes the light of understanding. This is a new weapon from the enemy that he’s trying out on you. And for a while until you realize it for what it is, you cower under its power. But then we hear, “No weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17 KJV).
A dark night of the soul is somewhat similar to dying—the ego must die before we accept the whole armor of God, the spiritual uniform that signifies we are letting him fight our battles and defeat our enemies.
The snow in your globe will turn white again; and when it settles, Christ will be the figure clearly evident in the center.
APRIL 12, 2021
I RECOGNIZE YOUR FACE
A visitor at our church sitting in front of me turned, looked at me, and said, “Yes, I remember your face.”
I wondered what else she remembered about me. Had I been pleasant? Had I been kind? She didn’t elaborate, but she did smile. Maybe I passed the test
As I did finally remember the lady and the surrounding circumstances, I realized I might have had opportunities to show the spirit of Christ. We had interacted in a restaurant several times many years ago. I hoped that I had been gracious if the meal wasn’t to my liking or if the order was wrong. I wanted to think that I would have noticed if she was having a bad day and would have offered a word of encouragement. I hoped that I had left a good tip!
We never know what darkness is surrounding those we meet during our daily activities, so maybe the little flicker of light we do offer will be enough to illuminate their next step. Matthew 4:16 says, “Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” CEV
My father-in-law’s motto was ‘be careful how you treat people, you might want to invite them to Sunday School later.”
April 5, 2021
LET’S LOOK AT SPEECH
We’ve all heard these phrases: ‘Children should be seen, not heard’ or ‘Don’t speak until you’re spoken to’.
I’m not sure why children shouldn’t speak before being spoken to, but it has been a favorite saying among parents for generations. Perhaps, they have good reason after hearing what comes out of the mouths of their children. They may have heard their own words echoed innocently, reaching the ears of unintended hearers.
God’s children may need to heed the admonition of not speaking until being spoken to by Him. Some well-intended children of God ‘preach’ his word to unbelievers not yet ready to hear or to believers doing something of which they don’t approve. In either case, the words fall on rocky soil.(Matthew 13:5-6 KJV)
Gabriel talked to Elizabeth, and she had a story to tell; Gabriel talked to Mary, and we know her story; angels spoke to shepherds, and they ran to share what they’d heard. Prophets in the Old Testament were given messages to deliver which fulfilled their purposes; New Testament writers had messages from which we still reap benefits.
While we may not find ourselves with such earth-shattering announcements, we may have a word to share. When we spend time alone with God, He will guide our thoughts to things worth sharing.
“The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver,” Proverbs 25:11, CEV.
MARCH 30, 2021
Ask, Search, Knock
I was reading Matthew 7:7-9 from the Contemporary English version, and I especially liked the “door will be opened for everyone” which I changed in my thoughts to the “door will be opened for me.”
We do have to knock, but I don’t think we have to pound on the door until our knuckles are bruised nor do we have to rattle the door knob. We may have come to the door too weak to rap loudly. I think a light tap will do. The door will be opened for us, an open invitation to walk into what God has for us in the next room.
February 13, 2021
In my morning devotions, I started reading Matthew 4, but I couldn’t get past the first part of the sentence in verse 1: “The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, …”
I’ve read this many times over the years, but I saw something different this time—Jesus was there for the purpose explained at the end of verse 1, “so that the devil could tempt him.” Or we might say “seduce” him.
This was not a random journey into the desert. The Holy Trinity orchestrated it. The FATHER sent the SON who was led by the HOLY SPIRIT. This was a fierce temptation. It was to be a battle that Jesus couldn’t conquer alone. Jesus was armed for victory with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, enabling him to refuse every offering from Satan.
When we experience ‘the dark night of the soul’ or spiritual depression for ourselves, consider that we might be there for the purpose of overcoming a temptation from the devil to dethrone Christ as first in our lives.
“Nothing would be more catastrophic than God allowing us to go our own way with no hope of turning back to Him.” Waiting on God by Cherie Hill
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’m going to post a ‘love’ quote each day for the next month.
February 14, 2020
“Oh, if it be to chose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my valentine.” Thomas Hood
February 13, 2020
“Love just doesn’t sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven
February 12, 2020
Love means nothing in tennis, but it’s everything in life.” Unknown
February 11, 2020
“A heart that loves is always young.” Greek Proverb
February 10, 2020
“Paradise is always where love dwells.” Jean Paul Richter
February 9, 2020
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
February 8, 2020
“This is the true measure of love: When we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will ever love in the same way after us.” Johann von Wolfgang Goethe
February 7, 2020
“It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than lose that someone you love with your useless pride.” John Ruskin
February 6, 2020
“Colpo di Fulmine.The thunderbolt, as the Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy, cracking their chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once a thunderbolt hits, your life is irrevocably changed.” J. M. Darhower, Sempre
February 5, 2020
“Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.” Henry Kissinger
February 4, 2020
“What barrier is there that love cannot break?” Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth
February 3, 2020
“Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.” Jorge Luis Borges
February 2, 2020
“I‘m not here because I’m supposed to be here, or because I’m trapped here, but because I’d rather be with you than anywhere else in the world.” Richard Back, A Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story
February 1, 2020
“Love is an illness without a remedy.” Unknown
January 31, 2020
“Know love. Know happiness. No love. No happiness.” Unknown
January 30, 2020
“I think we should live happily ever after.” Diana Wynn Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle
January 29, 2020
“What barrier is there that love cannot break?” Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experience with Truth
January 28, 2020
“Love cannot be forced, love cannot be coaxed or teased. It comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought.” Pearl S. Buck
January 27, 2020
It’s not being in love that makes me happy. It’s being in love with YOU. Unknown
January 26, 2020
“How do you spell ‘love’?” “You don’t spell it…you feel it.” A. A. Milne
January 25, 2020
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Song of Solomon
January 24, 2020
“In love, one and one are one.” John-Paul Sartre
January 23, 2020
“He felt that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know when he ended and she began.” Leo Tolstoy
January 22, 2020
“I know from experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.” E. M. Forrester, A Room With a View
January 21, 2020
“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Henry David Thoreau
January 20, 2020
“My love has no strings attached. I love you for free.” Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker
January 19, 2020
“Never love someone who treats you like you’re ordinary.” Oscar Wilde
January 18, 2020
“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature when words become superfluous.” Ingrid Bergman
January 17, 2020
“A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night, a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.” Ana Alas
January 16, 2020
“I cannot tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.” Cassandra Claire, Clockwork Prince
January 15, 2020
“If I had a flower every time I thought of you. . .I could walk through my garden forever.” Alfred Lord Tennyson
January 14, 2020
“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars
* * * * * * * * * * * *
December 3, 2019
“I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122 KJV).
I received a phone call from an official in our church who said he had a surprise for me when I got to church Sunday. So, the next couple of days I thought and wondered what it could be. It added an excitement when I thought of attending church on that day.
Before the time came to actually get into my car and head out, our opening verse came to my mind. The psalmist said he was glad when someone invited him to church. He went with an air of expectancy. Not a blessing from an individual, but he looked forward to an enrichment from the Lord. We should be aware that the Lord has special encouragement for us when we go into his house. Let’s go to the Lord’s house with hearts and ears wide open to receive what he’s prepared for us.
November 10, 2019
“As Jesus and his disciples were going into Bethesda, some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch the man. Jesus took him by the hand and led him out of the village, where he spit into the man’s eyes. He placed his hands on the blind man and asked him if he could see anything. The man looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees walking around. Once again Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes, and this time the man stared. His eyes were healed, and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:22-25 CEV).
Jesus met this blind man. He, naturally, wanted to see and asked for help that Jesus gladly gave. But it wasn’t quite that simple, and I have always wondered why. The first time Jesus touched the man’s eyes his vision wasn’t perfect, but the change was significant. He was no longer in darkness. The first touch let in the light. It may have given him the same effect that we get when we look at our Christmas tree lights through squinted eyes. If so, it would be beautiful. Great for special effects, but not very good for day-to-day living. “I see men as trees walking,” he told Jesus. The blind man wanted more.
As we wander through the woods of this world, do we see men as trees walking? Do we dareask Jesus for another touch? He will touch us again. Then we will see faces: young faces etched too early with guilt and pain; eyes crying out for answers; mouths hardened by bitter experiences; hands reaching out for someone to lead them to solid ground. If we blunder through our own woods in a happy haze, we will bump into these ‘men as trees walking.’ But without another touch from Jesus, we cannot see their needs. And we many never pass this way again.
October 15, 2019
OUT OF CONTROL
Did you wake up wondering what the next doctor’s appointment was going to reveal? how you’d meet the next large, looming expense? how your loved ones would overcome obstacles in their lives? if your loved ones would look to prayer and the Word for their answers? Is your backbone no longer holding you up!!
C. S. Lewis penned the following:
“If you wake up feeling fragile remember that God is not, and then trust Him to be everything you need for that day.”
June 28, 2019
The disciples knew how to fish; they made their living doing it. Jesus gave them a higher calling. I read in the Contemporary English version of Mark 1:17, “…I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Jesus knew that they would need instructions, so he gave them a three-year course. He doesn’t expect us to “know how”, so he tells us “I will teach you.” If we open our minds, we can expect to be taught throughout our lifetime; we can’t point others to God on our own. We need to be shown the way, daily, by his Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It’s too big a task to accept on our own.
May 3, 2019
Ask, Search, Knock
I was reading Matthew 7:7-9 from the Contemporary English version, and I especially liked the “door will be opened for everyone” which I changed in my thoughts to the “door will be opened for me.” We do have to knock, but I don’t think we have to pound on the door until our knuckles are bruised nor do we have to rattle the door knob. We may have come to the door too weak to rap loudly. I think a light tap will do. The door will be opened for us, an open invitation to walk into what God has for us in the next room.
April 11, 2019
Is our Good Friday an ‘X-Rated Presentation?
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 KJV).
So now the entertainment industry is forced to rate their programs. We must not envision this as a step toward God; Man again attempts to save himself and his children by his own abilities. By association, they expect to produce a ‘G-rated’ generation.
Let’s check our rating:
On Explicit Sexual Content. Are we graphic enough in depicting Satan’s rape of this world? Do we water down the picture of lives left empty by sin: families plundered; purity ravaged; minds burned out from alcohol and drugs?
On Violence. Is our scene at the cross rendered bloodless? Do we present a hatred with enough vengeance to cause Jesus such a cruel death on the cross? Is flesh being torn by whips and thorns, hands and feet nailed through; side ripped open after death? Do we present enough of the true storyline to stir up sincere repentance for the ultimate abuse of aninnocent for our guilt?
That is an ‘X-rated’ Good Friday. But Sunday is coming, and it is ‘G-rated.’ But our ‘G’ stands for glory!
March 25, 2019 (Guest contributor, Rev. H. Wayne Hunter)
For all Christian churches, Easter Week is a reminder of our identity. More than anything else, the events and nature of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus define who we are. It is our call to know and to serve Jesus.
But Good Friday and Easter bring us back to the simple truth that we are His. Jesus Christ defines, describes, and decrees who we are, what we do, where we go, what we become. Great comfort and great anticipation pour forth in us as we remember and claim this heritage.
The cross and the resurrection: our foundations. Fancy methods or complex theology tempt us off center. Our society courts the sophisticated, coos over the powerful, and compliments the impressive. Christ, an empty tomb and a nail-scarred Lord. Maybe it’s not very sophisticated by society’s standard; maybe it’s not very impressive, but nothing comes close to it for a message of hope. We have nothing to apologize for, no excuses are necessary. This Easter message says all we need, all we believe, all we hope. Like Paul, may we determine to know and to preach Christ only and Him crucified.
March 11, 2019
March is upon us. Let’s think about Easter coming.
Peck! Peck! Who’s There?
During the Easter Season when my boys were little, we loved to go to Shillito’s Department Store in downtown Cincinnati. New clothes held no interest for them, but the display of live bunnies and baby chicks tinted pastel pink, green, or blue captivated them. The decorated glass incubator held their attention for as long as they were allowed to stay. Eggs in various stages of hatching celebrated new birth at Easter time.
Tiny chicks grew inside their bubble homes that provided for their every need. But, eventually, they became hampered inside the restrictive oval. Little wings couldn’t flap and tiny legs couldn’t stretch. And what was that? Were there noises that they should investigate? Was there another world outside to explore? Curiously, they pecked. When the light seeped through the cracks, there was no turning back.
Outside the shell for the first time, they wobbled just a bit. The light was bright, but it illuminated many new things. Little balls of yellow fluff soon darted here and there, black-eyed and alert. New things to taste. New chick relations.
This Easter Season let’s come out of our darkened shells. God’s new light on our pathways may be blinding at first but think of the new things it will enable us to see. We may have to hunt for our sustenance, but somewhere out there are mustard seeds of faith, grains of truth, and hidden pearls. Buried? Yes, but if we scratch gravel, we can uncover them.
February 25, 2019
We Saw Lots of Water, and We Shouted, “I Wanna be a Duck”
Our pastor likened building a church in a new community to the children of Israel coming up to cross the Red Sea. God WILL make a way: He may ask us to wade across through murky water; He may prepare a dry path from bank to bank; or He could make us all ducks.
Wading through water, even if it never gets over shoulder high, could require great care. We could step on something! A muddy bottom would pull at our feet. A rocky bottom could cause us to stumble.
A dry path is a possibility. But that presupposed the water to be over my head. And the walls of water on either side would have to be held back as I rushed over.
Ducks go from dry land to water without a moment’s hesitation. God must have told them that the water would buoy them up as they paddled forward. It is just another surface on which to travel.
No one would build a moat around a flock of ducks!
February 14, 2019
I’m Their Leader—Which Way Did They Go
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24 NIV).
We have all seen the baseball-type caps with two bills: Often they have printed on them: “I’m their leader, which way did they go?” Leaders don’t stray ever from the path; unfortunately, it’s the pack that scatters to follow trails that seem right to them, chasing the tantalizing aroma of self-interest.
Listen to a line from a song that rings out loudly from the CD player in our van as we go along. “Find out what God is doing and get in the middle of it.” What an exciting concept!
God is always leading on the right path. It’s up to us to recognize His way. Then we jump in. What a formula for success.
Perhaps only a few will experience the burning bush, but we can all follow the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, reaching the same goal together.
He doesn’t ask everyone to withstand parched deserts, stand up to kings, receive tablets of stone, or shape a loose-traveling band into a force with which to be reckoned. But we can all escape Egypt, gather manna, take down tents, dine of quail, herd animals, and hold up the hands of our leaders.
Sing out with us, “Find out what God is doing and get in the middle of it!”
January 17, 2019
God Does Not Redline Plans!
It is our best: thoroughly researched, neatly presented, on-time, mistake-free, and to the best of our ability. We’re on a roll for 2019.
Oops. The work comes back to us severely marked up. It was our best, but our plan was full of errors. Why? Perhaps because we couldn’t peek around the veil of tomorrow where the real solution lay. God’s vantage point.
The more that I read on prayer, one thing is becoming clear: God does not help us. He does it for us. Asking the Lord to help us may mean that we have a plan for which we need an assistant. He is not an assistant: God is in charge. We don’t submit a proposal which He redlines and returns. We can throw away our bumper stickers that read, “The Lord helps those who help themselves!”
Ask, and ye shall receive–not suggest, and I’ll concur.
Seek, and ye shall find–not fumble around until I tell you that you are warm.
Knock, and it shall be opened–not ring the doorbell and leave before it can be answered.
God loves us too much to play games with us. He has a plan for each of our lives, from childhood through old age. We are unable to dream high enough to envision what He can see for us. Our ideas aren’t lofty enough. If it’s you and God, the most exciting place to be is in second place.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…’” (Isaiah 30:15a NIV).
January 1, 2019
The 9 in 2019
When I was a young child, a favorite activity was to do “numbers” with my aunt. She would give me little arithmetic problems to solve, and then I would give her my hardest ones. My problems to her were always filled with 9’s—strings of 9’s to add up, rows of 9’s to multiply or divide. She always smiled and did them with ease.
Since then, I have discovered that some of the problems in my life contain too many 9’s. Often I have rubbed a hole in my paper with my eraser, and I have broken lots of pencil lead.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally…, and it will be given to him” (NKJ).
This works. Solomon asked God for wisdom. The Queen of Sheba “came to test him with hard questions” 1 Kings 10:1b NKJ). The story continues by saying, “…Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain to her” (1 Kings 10:3 NKJ).
We don’t rule over all that Solomon did, but the number-9 decisions in our 2019 will need God’s wisdom just the same.
However, we can be assured that if we put our problems containing number 9’s in our year 2019 before God, He will solve them with His wisdom. Who knows, he might even carry the burdens numbered 1 through 8 for us.
December 22. 2018
Away in a Manager, no crib for a bed
This Christmas Season how many times did you sing, “Away in a Manager?” “Away in a Manager” is probably the first song we teach to our children.
What? Did I spell ‘manger’ wrong? Well, I have a friend who says it isn’t a very smart person who can’t spell a word at least two ways.
Okay. Baby Jesus was born in a m-a-n-g-e-r. He didn’t stay there, although many try to keep him there. Manger to manager—just put an ‘a’ in the middle. ‘A’ is for Almighty, Alpha; A is for I Am.
With an ‘a’ in the center of the manger, we can see the Christ Child sent as the Heavenly Manager. God sent His Son to earth to start at the bottom, learning firsthand the business of redeeming fallen humanity.
He will mingle with them. He must mix with them. He must explain the Father’s Plan to them, a benefit package without equal: vast expanses of white harvest fields offering job security, a chance to invest in incorruptible treasure in Heaven, and by His stripes, we are healed.
The retirement plan provides mansions beside streets of gold, glorified bodies, renewed strength, and exciting activities tailored for the individual.
He walked on earth day by day, making notes to share when He returned to the right hand of His Father. He grew the earthly kingdom successfully, then integrated it with the Heavenly One.
Look at his resume. He is experience and qualified. Read the Kingdom Prospectus: it is everlasting to everlasting. But he wants to be our manager. He wants to lead us to a successful merger into His Eternal Enterprise.
‘A’ is for Amen. “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22.20b KJV).
December 16, 2018
The Joy of Being a Teenager
Mary was a very young girl when the angel told her that she was to be the mother of our Lord. We shouldn’t wonder that such responsibility would be put on the shoulders of a young person.
Besides the fact that it was the custom of the day for girls to marry very young, there seems to be another reason. She was pure of body, but she was also pure of mind. Her mind had not had time to be filled with the doubts of adulthood. Adult brains seem to have the ability to grow a hearty crop of uncertainties, whether or not they get harvested.
Remember Sarah? She wasn’t a virgin, but it was equally as impossible by the laws of nature that she should have a child. She had served God for at least three times longer than little Mary had lived. She should have had a more developed faith. Right? But what did she do when she was told that she was to have a child? She laughed.
And there was Zechariah. When he was told that he and his wife were to have a son, he disbelieved. And he was a priest even! Again, he was much older than little Mary.
Mary’s receptive mind was still throbbing from the lesson that a young woman of Israel would be the mother of the Messiah. To Mary, it was not a “once upon a time,” but it was “in the fullness of time.” She could believe that it was to be as the angel had said. And she could believe that it could be now. She felt no disbelief, just a curiosity as to how it could be.
And Mary said” “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty one has done great things for me—holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49 NIV).
God, the Father, just held out His arms to His child and said, “jump.” And, without hesitation, Mary jumped.
November 23, 2019
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. . ..” Psalms 1:3 NIV).
Have You Seen the Leaves?
Leaves in our valley have been especially colorful this year. A friend told me that his mother said it was because of all the rain that we’ve had. I don’t know how this works, but it must. Maybe all the dirt is washed off! Maybe the rain loosens the watercolors hardened at the roots. Whatever happens, it is beautiful to behold. You pick the colors.
And these trees don’t care where they are. They stand with their limbs lifted heavenward, each little leaf like a banner fluttering to God’s Glory. It doesn’t matter if they are in a magnificent row marching up a curved drive or clustered artistically around a public building. They stand firm with purpose.
One lingers most in my mind. A hard maple, well-shaped, electrically charged, vibrant against its background. It had denied its green to take on new colors.. Its location was not a public or well-kept site. It stood in front of an old, weathered shack, glowing like heaven’s porchlight.
Let’s glow where we are. God has planted each of us where He knew we would thrive. Let’s absorb the rain of His Spirit and witness to all around us.
GO DOWN A LITTLE BIT FURTHER
This week as I was reading a devotional book, Jeremiah 33:3 was pointed out. I guess I was ready for it, because it came alive: “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
The exciting part was “ . . .things you do not know.” God has so much to show us that we do not know. Why are we willing to continue to leave tracks in familiar territory? Are we only comfortable when the ground shows signs where others have walked? We read, “Call to Me, and I will answer. . .”. Then we stop. Is it because we only want what we ask for? Are we willing to risk finding out things we have never known before? Will this put too much responsibility on us?
Jeremiah 33 starts out with a wonderful promise. If we continue to read on through the chapter, God gives an example that we can use to strengthen our faith.
Verses 25 and 26b, “This is what the Lord says: If I have not established my covenant with day and night, and the fixed laws of heaven and earth then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant. . .”
When was the last time you witnessed God not keeping His promise to bring light to the day? Darkness to the night? We are now experiencing fall emerging from summer just as it did last year. If God unwaveringly keeps His covenant with the creation of His hand, how much more will He attend to the covenants He makes with the creation of His heart.
Spent three hours at the Book Inn on the square in Fayetteville, TN, during the annual Host of Christmas Past. Sold and signed some books, and I began to get the Christmas spirit. Thanks to Pam Howell, owner of the Book Inn, for allowing my display. All my books are available in her store.
November 4, 2019
A grateful ‘thank you’ to Sandy Williams, News Editor at the Elk Valley Times, for the article announcing my attendance at the book signing at The Book Inn in Fayetteville, Tn. Thanks, Sandy.
LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS!
October 29, 2019
I’ve had several compliments on the looks of my website. First, let me say that I did not do it! The credit goes to Julie May at Anything Creative. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s preparing a Facebook business page for me, and I’m excited to see it. Will post when it’s available.
October 25, 2019
Just finished thank-you letters to those who signed that they viewed the exhibit where my book, The Patchwork Princess, the Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour Book 1, was exhibited. This show was the NABE Book Showcase Exhibit at the 2019 Pacific NW Booksellers Showin Portland, OR. I also sent complimentary copies of the Ra-me Trilogy to two children’s book houses and one email in addition to the other letters.I like working with NABE (National Association of Book Entrepreneurs) because of their personal follow through.This is the third time I’ve exhibited with them, and I’ve signed up for one more in Pasadena, CA.
October 24 2019
Had a booth in Bell Buckle, Tn, along with 760 other vendors. Attendance was over 150K for the two days. (Which probably isn’t bad since it was the Tennessee/Alabama game weekend). Sold some books. More importantly, I made some contacts. Scheduled a bazaar and a book signing. My novel was purchased for review and possible tap for a book club study. Fun experience.
OCTOBER16 – I’ve lowered the price of my books to begin the Christmas Season. (I know it’s early–forgive me.) Ra-me’s adventure books will be $10 each, signed hardcover, free shipping. The novel is $15.99, signed paperback, free shipping. The Ra-me Trilogy Coloring book is $5.00, paperback, signed, free shipping. See my Bookstore.Thanks
LATEST REVIEW FOR DANGEROUS LEGACY, THE SECOND SON. “I AM FASCINATED BY ANYTHING WWII AND THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT BOOK SET IN THIS ERA. i’LL BE ADDING THIS ONE TO MY LIST RIGHT AWAY! THANKS FOR THE GREAT REVIEW.” NICOLE BOYD. POSTED 08 OCT 2019, 11:39
DANGEROUS LEGACY. VIEW ON BOOKSHELVES – ON AMAZON
Been busy, but that’s no excuse for not entering something. Truthfully, I’m wondering what has been stimulating enough to pass on. I’ve written thank-yous to the attendees where my books have been exhibited in a couple shows in the Northeast, Burlingame, CA, written introductory letters to bookstores in the Miami area where my two of my books are to be exhibited November 22-24.Am preparing to attend the Webb Arts & Craft Fair in Bell Buckle, TN, along with about 160 other vendors, October 19-20. Usually expect 100,000 to 150,000 attendees. Should be fun!
Mudcat the Pirate, Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour Book 3 has also received the Pinnacle Achievement Award: Congrats, Mudcat.
Dangerous Legacy, the Second Son was reviewed and awarded a 4 out of 4 rating from the OnLineBookClub.org. It also has 5-star ratings on Amazon.
On the Home front: Flew with my family to Fort Sill to attend my grandson’s Boot Camp Graduation. I’m very patriotic, and this was a moving experienced. I had experienced it before with our son.
July 18, 2019
I listened to a webinar yesterday. Usually, I do learn something from each one I schedule. However, this presenter wanted too much from me. I was supposed to come up with what I want my readers to learn from my writing, why I write the way I do, and what causes me to write on the subjects that I do: stress what I might be an expert in. It was too complicated for me. I write what I enjoy, and I hope that my readers will enjoy it, too. My children’s books do have life-lessons, but I didn’t set out to preach lessons to them. It is just how the characters in my stories act and react. I’m telling a story.My novels have conflict, bad people and good people, but happy endings prevail after the dust settles. If I say something that points to good behavior, I’ve exceeded beyond my expectations.
July 12, 2019
Yesterday my offset printed copies of Blaze the Dragon, Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour arrived. I was pleased with the books, especially the way the colors popped! You can purchase one from me at my Bookstore.
June 28, 201
Been a while since I added anything. Busy time of the year. Our two oldest (and only) grandsons graduated from high school, and we wondered where the time went. Although identical twins, they have chosen different paths. We’re so proud of them both. One is now at Fort Sill, OK, in basic training. He will pursue medical training in the Army. The other is enrolled in the University of Alabama to become an English professor or an editor. For graduation gifts one wanted a trip to Atlanta to watch the Atlanta Braves play; one wanted a trip to New York to see the Broadway play, Dear Evan Hanson. I bet you can guess who wanted what. Our granddaughter completes her nursing degree in July, and she is giving a sigh of relief. She’s done so well in the past four years, and she wants to start her career in the ER. Love our family!
May 6, 2019
My book, The Patchwork Princess, Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour has been chosen one of the NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners in the Children’s Fairytale Category for Winter 2019. I am happy about this.
May 3, 2019
I was upset that the publisher priced the hardcopy and softcopy of Mudcat the Pirate so high. I want people to buy it! They wouldn’t come down, so I “rebranded” it. Another publisher offered to put out this same book for a lower price, so I hired them to do this. Old Mudcat will live a long time, hopefully, and I want him to get out and entertain folks! I own the complete copyrights to the manuscript, so I could do this. It’s just another marketing tool.
April 17, 2019
I’ve had an idea of putting together some of the illustrations from my Trilogy, the Adventures of Ra-me, the Traveling Troubadour, into a coloring book. (Hey, Disney does it!) It’s been work, but fun. When it’s finished, it will only be available from my website.
April 15, 2019
You think taxes are complicated! You should try sorting through all the material that comes from publishers for marketing. They all , more or less, offer the same things at the same prices, but who can be trusted to have your back. All I wanted to do was write. This may be enough to make me close up my computer! But before I throw in the towel, I’m going to try some things during 2019.
Besides being advertised on line with several outlets, including Amazon, ingram, Barnes and Nobel, I will send my books to the list below, except for the ones with an asterisk. Those I will attend and do book signings.
April 1-4 The Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Bologna, Italy April 13-14 LA Times Book Fair at USC April 17-19 Oregon-Washington Library Assn. Show, Vancouver, WA August 3* Back to School Bash Lincoln County H.S., Fayetteville, TN September 20-21 California Book Trade Show, Burlingame, CA September 21-22 Toronto Children’s Book Festival, Toronto, Canada October 5* Swiss Pantry Festival and Open House, Belvedere, TN October 6-8 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Show, Portland, OR October 19-20* Webb Arts & Craft Show, Bell Buckle, TN October 24-26 California Library Association Show, Pasadena, CA November 21 Miami Book Fair, Miami, FL
March 12, 2019 – Added a new page called ‘Bookstore’ which I hope you will visit.
March 11, 2019
Stepping out into new territory. Went to the printer today to get some flyers and posters done to be sent for four upcoming book shows in the northwest. Dragged in a talented family member to do the designing. (Nameless at his request!) Work looks super good. He’s designing a banner to use at our booths for the shows that we’ll be attending this summer and fall.
February 25, 2019
Have you seen the Wild Canaries? They’re back, playing hide-and-seek in the golden dandelions and lemon buttercups.
February 21, 2019
Rain, rain, everywhere. The picture below is how 3 ponds turned into 1 at our farm! Our house is on a hill, so it won’t get this far.
February 18, 2019
Well, they slipped it in on me! Blaze the Dragon, the Adventures of Ra-me, the Traveling Troubadour-Book 2 is now available online at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and other on-line outlets. Just search for Blaze the Dragon by Connie S. Arnold. (That’s how I found it!) I won’t have my offset copies to sell until June, when they will then be available directly from my website. Pictures are now on the Book page.
If you haven’t yet bought The Patchwork Princess-Book 1, I do have my supply of offset hardcopies now. They look great! Just write to me on my Contact page. I can accept payment through PayPal at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to all!
February 14, 2019
Blaze the Dragon is in the hands of the designers, and it should go live next week.
January 17, 2019
So now Ra-me is happy. I sent his third story, Mudcat the Pirate, off to the publisher yesterday. What he doesn’t know is that this may be the last tale he gets to tell. I don’t have the color illustrations yet from Blaze the Dragon, but the illustration department said it would be about two weeks. I get anxious, but it takes time.
December 30, 2018
Ra-me finally got the story of Mudcat the Pirate told to me in a way that I can wrap it up. He’s anxious for me to send it to the publisher, but I’m afraid it will have to wait until the illustrations from his Blaze the Dragon story are finalized. He’s getting ahead of himself.
December 22, 2018
Worked on Mudcat the Pirate yesterday and finished the first draft. And, is it rough! Ideas are good, but the writing is certainly awkward. Lots of work to do.
December 16, 2018
I continue to get good response from The Patchwork Princess. This book will be included in a Canadian Children’s Book Trade Show the second quarter of 2019. Exact date yet to be set. We still plan to do the Party/Book Launch and signing early in 2019. Will tell you when. We were disappointed that we had to postpone, but still excited to do it.
I’m reviewing the initial illustrations for Blaze the Dragon, and they look exciting. Ra-me has made this a different kind of love story.
Ra-me continues to tell us good stories. He has nearly finished telling us the story of Mudcat the Pirate.
November 23, 2018
Day after Thanksgiving, and I have lots for which to be thankful. My family is healthy and happy which is one of the greatest blessings. The Lord has been so good to us.
My first book, The Patchwork Princess, has been loads of fun, despite the hard work. I find that I’m actually enjoying some of the marketing. Marketing wasn’t a task I was ready to tackle. I guess it remains to be seen if it pays off, but there’s a lot of competition at this time of the year. An event is planned for December 8, which the planner is calling “Children’s Holiday Fairytale Party” and should be a lot of fun. It is also a book signing, so I’ll be there with books and pen! But this book is alive, and hopefully will live on for years to come.
I’ve had great support from family and friends. Posters have gone up announcing the party. Characters from the book have been tapped and should appear ‘live’ at the event. A troubadour song has been written for the occasion, and hopefully, will be performed. I had a fun interview with the local Elk Valley Times newspaper with reporter, Laurie Caruso, and the article will be out before the event.
A competing publisher, not mine, invited me to include my book at their booth in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair April 1-4, 2019. Their scouting professionals had seen/read my book on Amazon, and they thought it might do well. The Fair is an annual event for new books. I certainly was amazed, and I’ve given them my permission. I sent off a copy of the book to them today. You can Google them at Bologna Book Fair 2019. Forgot to say that this is Bologna, Italy.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the signing party had to be postponed. The tentative date will be set sometime in February. It’s a little disappointing, but the good side is that the second book of the trilogy, Blaze the Dragon, should be available to be included in the book signing event. I’m learning more about marketing that I ever imagined. But along the way, I am meeting some new, wonderful people. And, the people I do know, have really supported my efforts.
I am in new territory, and you would never recognize me if you saw me here. So, I will need to explain why I’m doing a website. My bucket list included ‘write a book’. So I did. You can see the info under BOOKS. If you stick with it, anyone can do it even if you only write a page a day.
I have enjoyed the journey thus far. The children’s book, The Patchwork Princess, didn’t require much research. I just reached back into the memories that I’ve carried with me from childhood of my reading about medieval knight days. But I did create Ra-me, the traveling troubadour, to carry the story. His message to us is that everyone is beautiful regardless of what they look like.