Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

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  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

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Final Frodo Farewell

Posted by elainemcooper on December 21, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

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With so many farewells this last week at Reflections In Hindsight, it’s beginning to feel like the ending of The Lord of the Rings trilogy movie.

Remember the multiple finales? I’ll recap for you:

• Frodo recovers and is reunited with his friends.

• Arwen comes back from the brink of death and is reunited with Aragorn just as he is crowned king.

• Sam is reunited with Rosie and—voila!—they have a family!

• Frodo finishes his book (a HUGE accomplishment as any writer knows!).

• And just when you think you couldn’t go through one more tissue…Frodo and Bilbo both sail away into eternity.

Oh my word, I couldn’t take any more sadness! I looked like I’d been to a funeral when that third movie ended.

Well, I am also saddened by this, the last post, at Reflections. It has been an amazing journey for several writers as we’ve come together from various backgrounds to reflect on so many aspects of writing and life. It has been a joy.

But, alas, it is time to move on as our writing paths have been drawn into numerous lanes of opportunity at other blogs and in other ventures. It is time to bid a final farewell to Reflections In Hindsight. Just as Frodo finally sailed into the Havens, we are doing our last journey together today.

Unlike Frodo, however, you can still find us in other venues to follow our writing. Please keep in touch.

You can reach me at several group blogs:

http://authorculture.blogspot.com

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

http://www.novelpastimes.com

I’ll be there at least once a month at each blog.

You can also follow me on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/elainemariecooper

http://www.facebook.com/ElaineMarieCooperAuthor

At the end of the book The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein, Frodo prepares to leave with Gandalf into eternity (the “Havens”). Gandalf speaks to the three friends left behind: “Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

Posted in Authors | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

On a Final Note

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 20, 2012

Good news, everybody! My friend in Romania (she lives 7 hours ahead of us, so it’s after midnight for her) is STILL ALIVE! :gasp: That means the world will be fine.

No, seriously, if I hear another end-of-the-world prediction, I’m going to drive to wherever this person is and I will throw an angry kitten at him/her.

In other news, this is my last post here at Reflections. :cue weeping: “I’d like to thank the academy…”

Though my time here has been short (somewhere around a year), it’s been fun and quite the learning experience. If I’ve learned anything more about being a writer, whether writing blogs or stories or bad jokes, it’s that, writing is now and always will be a self-motivating job. (My keyboard stammered and missed the ‘s’ on ‘self-motivating’ for a second, so it said ‘elf-motivating.’ I could have left it and made a dumb Christmas joke, but I didn’t…) No amount of encouragement, inspiration or watching scary movies is going to get a book written. It’s all about sitting down and WRITING SOMETHING. This applies to me during my Christmas Break now more than it did during the semester, because now I don’t have homework to distract me.

Haha…yes, I think of homework as a distraction from my writings. I’m a terrible student.

This really has been nice, though. I’m not the best at coming up with topics on the spot, but either way, writing is writing, and I always learn more about myself and others when I take the time to speak my mind in public. Public…Internet…same thing.

I’m definitely going to try keeping in touch with the Reflections crew, and I’m thinking of starting my own blog eventually. I’ll get around to it. I have too many thoughts and ideas to confine them to a personal journal; I’d rather bounce ideas off other readers and hear what they have to say about this and that. I’d post a link to my ‘new blog’ if I had one at the moment, so for now I’ll just say, keep an eye out for me here on WordPress. Of course, this isn’t about me. It’s about Jesus, and I happen to be passionate about spreading the Good News, so if you like hearing it from me, then come find my other blog when I make it. We’ll spread the Good News together!

With that, I bid readers a fond farewell, happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah and winter solstice for whomever celebrates whatever. Happy Birthday Jesus! Thanks again for reading all my rantings, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Off Into the Sunset

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 19, 2012

It’s my last post here at Reflections in Hindsight…a good time to Reflect.

Since we started this blog back in May of 2010  we’ve had roughly 850-some posts, 65+ thousand page views, fourteen contributors that have come and gone and lots of guests. The most popular contributor still is Ben Ehrlichman, who left a while back. Shows you what great headlines do for posts…and fun, thoughtful posts. The obituary of Mr. Squirrel is still a favorite of mine.

Our most popular post was one this past fall; an author visit by Carmen Peone outswamped all our former stats for a visit. Elaine’s insightful shares on her colonial research have been very popular and helpful.

The top search words this morning at 8 am:

Search Views
james bond 2
colonial school 2
books pen 2
lutherd samson 1
sorcerer’s apprentice mickey mouse 1
moving animations someone on the phone 1
elisha bible 1
ingredient card 1
kleenex 1
Other search terms 4

We offered hundreds of book reviews, a lot of marketing advice gleaned mostly from the best of the ‘net; enjoyed a lot of promotions with new friends and old.

Most of all, we’ve tried to encourage you, the readers and authors out there who want to see something positive on the Internet. It’s been fun and a challenge for me, but it’s time to move on. Thank you! Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Friendship | Comments Off

Promotion in Motion: Davalyn Spencer in time for Christmas

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 18, 2012

As You Are at Christmas

—a novella by Davalynn Spencer

About the author:

Davalynn Spencer is an award-winning journalist whose writing has taken her from the city crime beat and national rodeo circuit to adjunct professorship and inspirational publication. Her work has appeared in The Upper Room, Power for Living, The Quiet Hour, Chicken Soup for the Soul, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, and Prorodeo Sports News.

Davalynn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and The Christian PEN. She writes inspirational romance represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, speaks and leads worship at women’s retreats, and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her husband, Mike, and their Queensland heeler, Blue.

Connect: Follow Davalynn’s inspirational blog at www.davalynnspencer.blogspot.com, visit her website at www.davalynnspencer.com, and connect with her via http://www.facebook.com/davalynn.spencer and https://twitter.com/davalynnspencer.

Endorsement: Dreams of family, finding love right under your nose, and rekindled faith make As You Are at Christmas a charming romance for any season.  — Lisa J. Lickel, author of Meander Scar

About the Book:

Devastated by her cheating boyfriend, an elementary school teacher heads home for Christmas only to be surprised by the handsome stranger waiting there.

Angela Murphy’s plans for a cozy Colorado Christmas shatter when she finds her fellow-teacher boyfriend entangled with another woman. But she goes home anyway—to her grandmother Mollie’s Berthoud Boarding House where she’s forced into tasks with Mollie’s handsome new boarder, Matt Dawson. While temporarily rooming at the boarding house until his new furnace arrives, Matt sees through Mollie’s manipulations to pair him with her granddaughter, but he can’t complain about spending time with the beautiful gray-eyed school teacher and the mangy stray they pick up on their way home from cutting a Christmas tree. In the company of both a beauty and a beast, Matt understands more clearly the words of a long-forgotten youth leader. Will those words draw him back to a long-forgotten God? And will Angela find that home lies not in the Victorian house of her childhood, but in the arms of the man she’s grown to love?

As You Are at Christmas is available December 1, 2012 from White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group) in e-book format and will be featured there December 15. Throughout the month of December, all Extravaganza titles will be on sale for $0.99 at PBG, CBD and Amazon.

ISBN: 978-1-61116-206-6

Electronic

 

Buy the book from the publisher or

Christianbook.com
Amazon

Davalyn, what do you love about this book?

I love the way God’s redemption makes the ugly into something beautiful, much like Mollie Murphy transforms onions into a desert-like relish with her Sweet Onion Jam. You can find the recipe on my website—and don’t forget to also sample Mollie’s homemade pumpkin bread!

Beyond that, I love the way brokenness can bring two people together who may otherwise never have crossed paths. In this case, it’s a broken furnace and a broken heart. And I love the way long-forgotten words came back to Matt, the hero. A comment by his church youth leader years earlier stays buried deep in Matt’s subconscious and comes to the surface at just the right time. That’s exactly what happened to me as I wrote this story. A theme that was hovering in the back of my mind inserted itself in the plot when I wasn’t looking.

What’s the main thing you learned during the process of writing and publishing this book?

As I wrote this story, I learned to listen to my characters. I know that sounds strange to people who don’t write, but I’m a seat-of-the-pantser, and tend to “watch” the movie in my head as I’m writing. Okay – don’t call the men in white coats! Creativity comes in many forms.

What should your readers discover and want to share with their family and friends after reading this book?

I hope readers will open their hearts at Christmas to more than just family, and experience what Matt does when he recognizes the Lord’s redemptive love—that we don’t have to get cleaned up to come to God.

Author comments:

“My favorite story is Beauty and the Beast—not the popular animated version, but a televised play I enjoyed with my children years ago when they were little. As we watched Beauty kneel beside the dying Beast and offer him her love, I saw the power of Christ’s love for us. “While we were yet sinners” he loved us. What would have happened if God had waited until we were lovely or lovable? We would have been forever lost under a curse, just as Beast would have been lost without Beauty’s love to break the evil spell.

This theme worked its way into the fabric of As You Are at Christmas. When my protagonists Angela and Matt were forced into a tree-cutting expedition by Angela’s manipulative grandmother, they stopped to rescue a woeful stray from the roadside. I had to give in to my characters’ demands that transforming love be a part of the story. And they were right!

I shouldn’t be surprised that my first fiction contract was for a Christmas novella because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Come to think of it, a lot of my favorites popped up in this story—Christmas, Colorado, pumpkin bread, Beauty and the Beast, and of course, romance.

God’s grace undergirds the stories I love best, and serves as the motivation behind my fiction as well as my devotional book (Always Before Me). The Lord’s love letter to us echoes through His creation and through our circumstances—good and bad. My characters discover this and it changes their lives. Hopefully it will change readers’ lives as well. What better reason to write!”

Posted in Author Marketing | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

The Sunday Book Review: It Really IS a Wonderful Life, Linda Rondeau

Posted by elainemcooper on December 16, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Dorie Fitzgerald’s life is a whirlwind of grief, and there seems to be no end to the downpour of discouragement. Widowed a year ago when her husband was killed at war, Dorie not only has to cope with his loss, but has moved back to small town Midville where the only thing deeper than the snow is her troubles. Raising two youngsters on her own is the frosting on her fear of failure.

The young widow is determined to stay in this Adirondack community where her parents live. But after four months of living in the frozen small town without finding work, she is feeling hopeless.

A small blurb in the local paper, however, draws her attention: The Midville players are putting out a casting call for their upcoming production of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Perhaps circulating with new townsfolk would open up opportunities for employment, Dorie hopes. Little does she know the real drama that will ensue.

It Really IS a Wonderful Life is so rich with believable dialogue, family dynamics, and interesting characters, that I was quickly drawn into this appealing tale of the woman in mourning who struggles to survive in a new life not of her choosing. Dorie is such a sympathetic and appealing character who, more than once, brought me to tears.

Author Linda Rondeau’s prose was so descriptive and pleasant: “…pretense fouling the air like over-sprayed perfume;” “the frigid air biting like a hundred mosquitoes:” and my favorite line of all, “Perhaps that’s where trust was born, in the belly of the storm.” Rondeau’s words draw you in like the smell of cider on a chilly afternoon. Lovely.

I highly recommend this romantic novel at Christmastime, or any time of year.

I give this book, 5 out of 5 Reflections

Author Bio:
Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel (The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight), LINDA RONDEAU, writes stories of redemption and God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community. Readers may visit her web site at http://www.lindarondeau.com.

Her second book, written under L.W. Rondeau, America II: The Reformation, Trestle Press, the first in a dystopian trilogy, is a futuristic political now available in ebook on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Also with Trestle Press is her serial story, Rains of Terror which can be found on Amazon.Com. A Christmas Adirondack romance , It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is now available through Amazon.com, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Available at Amazon here.

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

Joy In The Mourning

Posted by elainemcooper on December 14, 2012

(I wrote this for our church’s Advent book of Devotions, with the focus on “Joy”)

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Christmas Joy - Christmas Wallpaper

There is a section of Psalm 30, verse 5 that reads, “… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (KJV)

Well, the morning of October 20, 2003, there was much weeping as I sat by my dying daughter’s bedside, but there was little joy in my heart. And as she took her last breath, the weeping continued despite that fact that it was dawn.

So where was my joy? Our family had endured the heartache of her illness for nearly two years, praying for healing, hoping against hope that the brain tumor would leave my daughter’s body. Instead, it took her life. I doubted that I would ever feel joy again.

Following her death, I mostly felt numb. There were times when I was angry, times when I shouted at God or others. I understood in my head that my daughter’s life was in His hands—after all, He was her Creator—but my heart rebelled against the loss.

On my drive home from work months later, crying the whole way, I yelled at God. “This is just too hard!” I did not hear an audible voice, but it might as well have been. The voice of the Holy Spirit enveloped my heart and soul with His message to me: “My grace is sufficient for you.”

I felt as if a spiritual two-by-four had hit me between the eyes. It was not painful, but powerful in its impact. I suddenly knew that God’s promise was true: His grace was sufficient for me. I never questioned Him again.

Was I suddenly giddy and happy, bursting into “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart…” like my children sang when they were little? Hardly. Forgive my bluntness, but I find that song so annoying! Mostly because it equates God’s joy into a sort of fake, upbeat happiness with a smile plastered on one’s face. Is that what joy is?

When I read God’s Word, joy takes on a whole new meaning. It is not the absence of heartache and difficulty but the assurance of God’s love and grace. Surprisingly, it is often connected with grief, mourning, and trials.

King David wrote these words right after pleading for deliverance from the enemies who were seeking to kill him:

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.” (Psalm 5:11 NIV)

Salvation through Jesus Christ brings true joy, as was experienced by Paul’s jailer after he had accepted Christ:

“The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them. He was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.” (Acts 16: 34 NIV)

Trusting in God’s strength and comfort brings joy:

“That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)

The Lord’s presence fills us with His eternal view:

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11 NIV)

The most difficult of circumstances can lead to greater joy:

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126: 5-6 NIV)

Terrible trials can lead to an outpouring of compassion for others:

“Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:2 NIV)

And finally, His Word promises renewed laughter, filled with the joy of the Lord.

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (Job 8:21 NIV)

So did my daughter’s death bring a giddy happiness to my heart? No. But despite the pain, the trials, the loss, I have learned that there is joy in the mourning.

May your Christmas be Blessed with HIS JOY!

Posted in Encouragment, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

God The Holy Fetus

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 13, 2012

Weird title, huh? It’s a bizarre thought, it might even make some people uncomfortable, but I feel that it’s a point that many Christians allow to slip their minds. I personally hadn’t thought of it until recently, in the middle of a Bible study/Christmas dinner with friends.

To Christ followers, when you think of Christmas, what comes to mind first? The birth of Jesus? Bright stars, wise men and gifts? Decorated trees? Snow? Santa and reindeer? Krampus, even??? Well, if you think of baby Jesus in a manger out in the middle of nowhere, that’s definitely a good thing to realize. In other words, it’s good to grasp the knowledge of God’s humbleness and peace in entering the world He created. He didn’t explode from the sky with guns blazing, screaming, “ALL RIGHT. You guys messed up, and I’m here to fix it, so LISTEN UP.” Rather, He was born as one of us, grew with us and walked with us, to say, “I’m your friend and I love you, so let me tell you how this really works.” Still, I doubt people often consider the fact that, before God was baby Jesus, God was a Holy Fetus.

HOLY FETUS!!!

Think about it! Not only did God come to Earth in a barn filled with dirty animals and put Himself through natural childbirth. This also means God –the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, was and ever will be; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Alpha and Omega; the BIG CHEESE- sat in the womb of a human being for nine months, becoming that which He usually created from His throne in Heaven. He created and embodied at the same time. He patiently formed Himself inside one of the flawed creatures He was coming to the world to save! The Eternal Father took nourishment from a mortal and entrusted her with the task of carrying Him in her body until the night He would be born from her into an animal’s FEEDING TROUGH.

In the words of my local church pastor (you’re awesome, Pastor Kevin!), “GOD. BECAME. MEAT.”

I didn’t have a whole lot to say about this topic just because, it is what it is. I have a hard enough time just wrapping my head around it, much more coming up with a lot to say about it! I just wanted to share these thoughts with you readers as the holiday approaches. And with that, I say cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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Farewell

Posted by April W Gardner on December 12, 2012

Today marks the end of my journey at Reflections on Hindsight. It’s been a fun ride, and I’ve been blessed to be on board from the site’s birth well over two years ago.

There are many benefits to blogging, but the friendships alone that I’ve been privileged to cultivate have made every post worthwhile.

Thank you, Lisa for taking me on, for your everlasting patience, and for being the dear woman you are. I love you!

To the rest of my Reflections blogging buddies and to all my Reflections readers a fond hug and a massive Thank You! Without you, my time here would have been meaningless.

The blogging world isn’t such a big place, so I’m sure I’ll see you around…

Merry Christmas to all!

–April Gardner

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

Posted by Sophie Dawson on December 10, 2012

I know it’s late in the afternoon on the day I’m to post here. I haven’t written anything and actually have no idea what to write. As the blog is shutting down after this month and I have only been part of it for a few months it’s not as if I can reflect on my reflections.

Instead I think I’ll simply tell you about my titles. I have three Christian Historical Novels released in 2012. They take place in the fictional town of Cottonwood, Iowa in the 1870′s. Healing Love is the first of the series and is the story of Lydia and Sterling. She runs from her abusive brother and ends up in a forced marriage to Dr. Sterling Graham. With his selfish pride but tender care and her fear and lack of trust how do they make this marriage of strangers succeed?

Lord’s Love, second in the Cottonwood series, is Maggie and Sinjon’s story of her commitment to her faith and his arrogance. He’s a Lord from England sent to Iowa because of his debts. She simply wants to enjoy her new life away from her mother’s meddling.  Sinjon wants her but will he understand what keeps her from accepting his proposal?

Grief and need bring Katie and Drew together in Giving Love. Katie is the answer to Drew’s infant daughter’s survival as well as a caregiver and housekeeper for him and his 3 year old son. Will they be able to give what each of the family members need to overcome their grief? And what of the future when baby Annie no longer is dependent on Katie to live?

All three books are available on amazon.com and smashwords.com. Beginning chapters are available to read at http://www.sophie-dawson.com

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Final Market Monday, Best of MM: Influencers

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 10, 2012

I’m grateful for the support of our various teams and supporters through the years. We’ve all learned things about blogging, expectations, a little of who we are, promtions that work and don’t work, and scheduling our time. For our final Market Monday piece, I’ll share this popular post from June 2011, with a few updates.

Thank you again, and look for Elaine, Sophie, and me over at Author Culture.

What An Influencer Does

By Lisa J Lickel

 

There are book reviewers, there are promotion team members, there are posse and tribe members and cheerleaders for authors…but how does it work? What should they do for and with you to help you promote your work? Here are some examples; few of which you need to be a writer to do.

 

AN INFLUENCER WILL do many or all of these activities:

 

Recommend the book as club selection to your book club; visit the author’s interviews and leave comments.

 

Mention the book when you visit online book club or chat sites. I like to quote a passage or make a comment on Facebook while I’m reading the book.

 

Offer the author a guest spot on your blog or web site. Add the book to a sidebar on your blog, at least for a while.

 

Regularly contribute to an online book review site, and online retailers to post a review. If you’re in a chat room, an online forum, wherever, and the topic comes up, talk about this relevant book you read.

 

Offer to write a book review for your local newspaper. Offer to write (or use one from the author) an article or press release.

 

Add the book to your list of favorites on social networking sites such as Facebook, Shoutlife, Author’s Den, and Goodreads, and post about the book to your friends.

 

Ask your public library to order a copy of the book for their shelves. If your church has a library, ask the librarian to add it to the acquisitions list or offer to donate a copy.

 

When you shop at a bookstore see if they are carrying the book. If not, ask if they’ll order a few copies.

 

If you belong to a writer’s group with a newsletter, ask if you can contribute a book review or give some other plug.

 

Help create a buzz about the book by mentioning it in any groups you might belong to: small group studies, women’s ministry groups, health club, MOPS, civic organizations, Scouts, PTA, etc.

 

Tell friends, family, other people in your social circles about the book and the author. Talk about it when you’re in a waiting room, in line at a store, or at the coffee shop.

 

Make book gifts at holidays and birthdays a regular habit.

 

Hand out author cards, bookmarks, or other promotional materials. Leave a copy in a waiting room (ask), the book shelf at the retirement/assisted living center near you, at that lodge or campground you visit that has a share shelf, at the little neighborhood library.

 

Always remember: Word-of-mouth recommendation is still the number one reason book buyers buy specific books.

 

Posted in Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment | Comments Off

 
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