The Next Big Blog Hop

HopscotchBy Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

This is The Next Big Blog Hop.

This provides an opportunity for authors to show off their craft and share a little something about what they are writing. I was tagged by @vickivlucas

Thank you, Vicki, it has been a pleasure getting to know you, and I am so excited to venture into the self-publishing world alongside you!

I am tagging William Rameriz. ( AND )

I met Will two years ago at a writer’s conference and have valued his work ever since. I know you will too! So, hop on over to his blogs and enjoy.

Now, let the questions begin:

Q-What is the title of your book?

If One Falls

Q-Where did the idea for the book come from?

My daughter, now 26, loves to read. When she was in high school and college she struggled to find Christian fiction that appealed to her singleness and lack of sweethearts. It seemed everything was about falling in love with Mr. Perfect and riding off to sunset filled happy endings.

This was so far removed from her experience, she quit reading Christian fiction. These types of books made her depressed and she wondered what was wrong with her. I discovered there were many in her generation looking for more realistic fiction; a paradox to be sure, but I believed it was doable.

I decided to write a story for my daughter and her single friends; a story of courage, faith and friendship in the midst of singleness. Don’t worry, there’s a little romance in the book and even some heartbreak! But, it’s not the central theme. Loving one another even when we don’t feel like it is the main theme I weave throughout the book.

My goal in writing this book/series is to take the reader to a world filled with struggle, conflict and pain, yet rich with determination, hope and love. I want them to see the correlation between the fantasy world of Terrah and our world today and choose to make a difference right where reality has them, especially as single women of faith.

Q-What genre does your book fall under?

If One Falls is Christian Fantasy; specifically New Adult Christian Fantasy. This is a newer subgenre and I am so excited it is gaining ground. A definition from good ‘ole Wikipedia explains it better than I can.

This category is intended to be marketed to post-adolescents and young-adults ages 18 to 30. This age group is considered to be the lucrative ‘cross-over’ category of young-adult titles that appeal to both the young-adult market and to an adult audience. Publishers of young-adult fiction now favor this category as it encompasses a far broader audience. The chief features that distinguish this category from YA Fiction are the perspective of the young antagonist and the scope of the antagonist’s life experience. Perspective is gained as childhood innocence fades and life experience is gained, which brings insight. It is this insight which is lacking in traditional young-adult fiction.

Q-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

If One Falls will be self-published and release April 2013!

Q-How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Too Long!

Q-Give a one-sentence synopsis of your novel:

Two maidens escaping a marriage auction house are bound together by a prophecy they know nothing about and the secrets they know too well.

Q-What other works would compare to your story?

I’ve always loved C. S. Lewis and aspire to have about 1/8 of his ability

If you love his Chronicles of Narnia, I hope you will enjoy If One Falls. It is the first book from the series; The Books of Allelon.

Q-Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve already mentioned my daughter’s inspiration, but the genre of the book came from one of my sons, age 30. He is a huge Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan and reads everything in that genre he can get his hands on. I really enjoy these as well and thought it would make an interesting combo with the loving one another theme.

Q-What else might pique the reader’s interest?

It is fifteen centuries After the End in the land of Terrah. Generations of Allelon, One Anothers, suffer persecution from Emperor Poros since the exile of good King Ransom so long ago. Tyranny keeps these illegal religious zealots scattered and in disarray. But they are never fully silenced. Only the promise of their king to restore his realm keeps their fragile hope alive.

Wynn knows first-hand the atrocities of her world. Her strong work ethic and sharp mind drive the search for her family. Esa is of royal blood, but she has no desire to return to the father-king who refused to pay her ransom. She’s learned to use charm and beauty to her advantage.

Each has been abandoned. Each is bound to a life of indenture. And each has a secret to hide. When one falls, all they will have is each other. Will it be enough?

Photo Credit:

A Letter-Live!

LetterBy Elaine Baldwin | elainehbaldwin

Along with millions in our country and even around the world, I’ve paused and contemplated the evil brought upon the community of Sandy Hook, CT. The images and accounts from that day and in these ensuing days of pain have been part of conversations and integral in prayers…as they should be. This truly is a time to weep with those who weep. But I live half a country away and know no one personally or even remotely connected with this greatest of heartaches.

I am only one and the complexity and depth of the need is great, but it is my heart’s desire to do something…not just anything…but something…profoundly meaningful.

But, what will last? What will have the greatest impact; not just for those in Sandy Hook, but for our nation?

I struggled with a suitable answer until I was reminded of a letter received long ago that I had  pulled out from my stash a few months ago. I’ve poured over its words several times since its rediscovery and I believe it is most appropriate for the times we abide in.

The letter was written by a man, a leader, facing great struggles. In fact his life could be characterized as one big tragedy. I think that is what makes his letter so credible and practical. He didn’t write it as one who’d been spared hardship. No! He lived in hardship every day and yet he believed and lived with great hope and strength. I guess you could say he practiced what he preached. I like that.

I don’t like being told how to get along in life by people surrounded by comfort and ease. But, not this man. He’s seen and lived among wickedness and evil. He wrote this letter to several of us who have lived in captivity. (I guess I’ve never told you about my captivity. I will some day.) Captivity is awful and can hardly be described in words. And I must say that when I first read his letter I thought him crazy, at the least, and, at worst, callous.

Did he not understand what we captives were going through? Had he forgotten our cries as we were carried away  and dragged from the arms of our loved ones? Did he not realize our deepest desire to be free from the unbearable pain and anguish? Of course, he did. Though it took me several reads to understand the wisdom of his words and his plan for not just surviving our captivity, but thriving even while in captivity. Because even though we may be captive, we are free and no one can separate us from the One who gives this freedom.

It seems impossible, but I share his letter with you now as a testament to its truth and power.

Oh, I almost forgot. I think you have this letter as well. You remember. It’s the letter from Jeremiah. I know you have it. It’s probably just stashed away like mine was. Jeremiah 29: 1 and 4-13

Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon…

…Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD. For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Here’s the bottom line according to Jeremiah.The very best thing we can do for our hurting nation.

Live life While Seeking Our Nations Welfare!

The saying goes, “The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I think that is true. But according to God, evil also needs God’s people to stop living and to only exist. There is a huge difference! It would have been easy for these captives to simply give up. To stop living and just survive. But God commanded them to thrive and live fully. As the New Testament puts it, “to be salt and light.” We can’t do that if we allow our weeping to become more than consoling and instead turn into worry, fear and despair.

Do you want to help those in Sandy Hook? I do!

Do whatever tangible, specific thing God instructs you personally to do and then…Live!

Live wholeheartedly with reckless abandon for God and His Son, Jesus Christ!

Seek the welfare of our nation; however God shows you to do so.

This is this week’s One Another Living Challenge, and, I would dare say, the never ending challenge for all of us!

(I was re-introduced to this passage in the Fall of 2012 by Janet Parshall at the True Woman conference in Indianapolis, IN. It has made a huge impact on my outlook on life and drilled my focus to why God leaves me here, a captive in a sin cursed world. I pray my small, condensed, and inadequate version of Janet’s insights compel you to thrive as we wait for our complete deliverance to Glory! You can hear Janet on Moody Radio and you can also purchase her book, “Buyer Beware”. This is not a book about economics…it is about living life fully in a hostile world. I highly recommend it.)

photo credit: athena. via photopin cc

The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “U”

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

Understand the will of the Lord. Ephesians 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Recently I had an enlightening conversation with a friend. The topic is irrelevant to this post, but the theme is most applicable. The gest of our conversation was the hurdles and struggles of understanding people and trying to figure out our relationships with them.

My friend quoted a section of a prayer attributed to Saint Francis.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love.”

I think this prayer is in the will of the Lord as stated in Ephesians five and is a fine objective for anyone to attain. It is basically asking God to help us put others above ourselves. Jesus taught this principle throughout His earthly ministry. We are exhorted that it is better to serve than to be served. We are commanded that if someone asks us to walk a mile with their burden, to actually go two miles.

But I have to ask if any human being is truly capable of accomplishing the feat of putting someone else’s welfare above their own. The young ruler in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 was “almost complete.” He had kept “all these” commandments but lacked one thing. He could not put others welfare above his own; at least not to the extent Jesus asked of him. Jesus asked him to sell all he had and give to the poor.

The Bible tells us he couldn’t do it and went away grieving. Jesus then tells His disciples who had been eavesdropping that it is very hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:23-24)

This passage is not about the evils of money and of being rich, though some teach it is. If it is about the evils of being rich, why do the disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25) This question is inclusive. They were worried. Why? They weren’t rich.

Could it be that Peter understood that he also had trouble putting others first even though he had little? Did the disciples understand that they too were basically selfish and wanted their own needs met before worrying about others even though they had left all? There are numerous examples of the disciples displaying attitudes of, “Me first.” Were they truly saved?

But, Jesus answers their sincere question in verse 26.

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible,

but with God all things are possible.”

What exactly is impossible with people…Salvation!

And what exactly is possible with God…All Things; Including Salvation!

The problem for the young ruler wasn’t his riches. It was his lack of faith…faith that if he put others’ welfare above his own, Jesus would take care of him. He didn’t understand that Jesus could and was very willing to take care of all his needs and more. The young ruler didn’t understand that Jesus could take much better care of him than he could take care of himself. He didn’t understand that true abundance was found only in Jesus.

This is the difference between the disciples and the rich young ruler. It wasn’t the money. It was the lack of a faith understanding. The disciples put their faith in Jesus. They believed He was the Messiah; the Lamb of God. And Jesus commends them for this in verse 28

Did the Twelve always understand what the will of the Lord was? Not always in the specifics.  Just like us they often allowed their selfish desires to override their daily faith. But, except for one (Judas), they always kept the understanding faith of their First Love and through His power they were able to love others even unto death.

Jesus finished this lesson on faith with the admonition in verse 30.

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Photo By: Margaret Richards |