I've said it before, but I don't mind saying it again. The thing I love most about Kennedy Stern from my Kennedy Stern Christian suspense series is that she is always growing. She's being constantly stretched, her worldview is constantly expanding, and she's slowly gaining that maturity she lacked in chapter 1 of Unplanned when she made her way to Pastor Carl's pregnancy center for the very first time.
It's not just her view of the world that's expanding either. Kennedy's faith is slowly growing, slowly gaining momentum. Included in that is her prayer life. This conversation from book 4 in the Kennedy Stern series really stands out to me because it speaks so much about our own prayers and quiet times. I actually heard a pastor preach the same thing the camp speaker told Kennedy so many years earlier, and I think a lot of us have fallen into the same trap she did.
Kennedy knew she should pray but lacked the spiritual stamina to do so. As a little girl, she’d once gone to a Christian summer camp where the speaker shared a story about what happened when he told his atheist friend, “I’ll be praying for you.”
“Why?” the atheist wanted to know.
It's no secret that I've got a heart for the people in the closed nation of North Korea. My first three novels were set in North Korea, and my Kennedy Stern series is about the daughter of missionaries who have devoted their lives to supporting North Korean refugees.
In case you're wondering, I'm not Korean. In fact, my Japanese ancestry means that my great-great-grandparents would have been considered the wicked oppressors of the Korean peninsula. Today, it's no longer the Japanese but the ruling Kim regime that is holding God's children of North Korea in bondage.
So how did a half-Japanese woman who's never set foot in Asia decide to write about North Korea? It all began with a prayer burden.
I once knew a woman I really looked up to who told me, "Prayer is like sex. Everybody assumes everybody else is doing it better." Although as a very young newlywed, I was (more than) slightly scandalized at her choice in metaphor, I've come to at least appreciate the sentiment behind her words.
Four years ago, I published my very first novel, a Christian suspense story highlighting religious persecution in North Korea. Little did I know that book would begin a partnership between me and Liberty in North Korea, aka LiNK, aka the best charity in the world.
What makes LiNK the bomb? First of all, I love the fact that LiNK is on the ground in East Asia helping North Korean refugees find freedom. We're talking underground railroads. We're talking brave men and women risking fines, imprisonment, and sometimes even torture for the sake of freedom.
Is it any wonder that a suspense novelist like myself would fall in love with folks like that?
It’s time for another scene straight from the morgue file! Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as macabre as it sounds. The morgue file is where I keep deleted scenes that didn’t make it from the first draft to the finished product.
This scene is from the story that is currently kicking me in the pants. I mean ... the story that I'm currently working on.
My husband recently got back from a week-long trip out of state to attend a pastors' conference. Thankfully, everything here went as smoothly as could be expected. The car battery died once when temperatures dropped to twenty below, our hot water heater went out the same day, and our toilet malfunctioned and was out of commission for a day and a half, but at the very least we all stayed healthy and (relatively) happy.
I'm so happy to have Scott back home and just as glad for the time he received of spiritual refreshing. Seeing how blessed he was reminded me how important it is to cover our pastors in prayer. Their jobs are tiring, demanding, and take more spiritual stamina than most of us realize.
You probably agree that it's important to pray for your pastor, but sometimes it's hard to know exactly what to focus on. Here are a few quick areas where I'm sure your pastor would appreciate prayers.
It’s Friday, and I don’t think I’ve been more ready for the weekend all year! My husband took off for a week for some much-appreciated (and needed!) encouragement at a pastor’s conference. I’m grateful to say the boys and I survived the ordeal but were thrilled to have Dad back home.
Writing’s been a little strange this week. The boys are on spring break, which means we’re cutting back on homeschool stuff and the kids aren’t involved in electives at the public school. I’m also taking some time off my current project to take care of some edits and behind-the-scenes sorts of things.
The good news is I have the next Kennedy book off for its first round of edits!
Before he died, George Meuller was estimated to be responsible for the salvation of thousands of souls through his orphanages and other ministries in 19th century England.
George Meuller, nicknamed the Man of Faith, had far humbler beginnings. In his early adult life, he began to fervently pray for the salvation of five friends of his.
I've been working on a project that's pretty drastically different from my normal Christian suspense titles, and even though I'm a little gun-shy about releasing full details, I do want to tell you I've got something new I'm trying and I really hope you enjoy it when it comes out!
Since this is a new feel for me, it's a little more slow going. In fact, last week I realized about twenty chapters in that I needed to do a complete revamp. I used about 15% of what I'd already written and the rest landed in my morgue file - that little file in my computer where deleted scenes go to die.
I'm feeling excited about my newest project. It was giving me problems for several weeks, but I think I've finally found a groove that (Lord-willing) will carry me through to the finish line with this one!
Today I'm including a short snippet from my very first novel, The Beloved Daughter. If you haven't read it yet, you can grab it (and other religious/inspirational fiction titles) off of Instafreebie. It's totally free.
No, come on seriously. Go grab it. And find a few other favorite authors while you're at it! Need the link again? Click here to see what free Christian fiction titles authors are offering.
And now, the excerpt. The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha, a twelve-year-old girl thrown into a North Korean prison camp. This scene may give you a hint as to why she was sent there.
I think most of us can admit we'd like a little help growing in our prayer life, right? Busy schedules, small faith, and wandering thoughts keep nearly all of us from praying the way we should.
Several months ago, my friend Jaime (who's also a Christian author) and I were talking about how there aren't that many online resources out there that are specifically designed to help you pray. We both like listening to podcasts, but there weren't any we could find that focused only on prayer.
We launched The Prevailing Prayer Podcast to give people like us -- ordinary people who want to grow in their prayers lives -- encouragement and practical support.
I don't know about where you are, but we're finally starting to feel like spring may come at some point. The days are getting longer, and we haven't seen negative temperatures in about five days!
It's the little things, right?
In honor of today's Christian Fiction Friday post, here's a snippet from Identity Theft, which is available along with four other Christian suspense books in the Road to Danger Bundle (only 99 cents!).
Are you an Alana Terry superfan? Take this quiz to find out and for a chance to win a paperback copy of one of my novels!
Enter to receive a 5-novel bundle!
In case you didn't know, we've got a Facebook party going on RIGHT NOW, with all kinds of great prizes. Speaking of prizes, enter here to win a 5-book Christian suspense bundle! Winner will be chosen by noon Friday, February 17. Good luck!
Writing Christian fiction is an intensely fierce calling, but so many readers never see the fight that goes into their favorite books. Many people think of writing as a very relaxing sort of job. Long, quiet hours to yourself. Getting paid to daydream. Communing with your favorite characters all day long.
Even if novel writing was 0.000002% as peaceful as that sounds, it's even less for the Christian author.
Happy Friday! This week has been a tad crazy here, but I hope you are all doing well. Today's excerpt comes from Torn Asunder, which goes on sale today for 99 cents!
Readthe love story of two missionaries sneaking the gospel into North Korea.
“Is that why you’re mad?” she pressed. “Did you think I told them where you were?” Simon couldn’t even imagine what torture she had already endured the past two weeks while he roamed freely across the countryside.
My son should be dead. There is no medical reason to explain why he is alive today, practicing yoga in his room after a long day of homeschool lessons, spelling practice, and running around screaming because he’s a nine-year-old boy and that’s what he likes to do.
Thanks so much for letting me wrap up the next Kennedy book last week. God, you really helped me with that one. So I'm at it again, fresh start Monday afternoon, a blank document staring me in the face.
I confess that I'm scared.
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you're staying healthy, peaceful, and WARM!
It's time for a Christian Fiction Friday post! Today's snippet comes form the most recent Kennedy Stern novel, Turbulence. Kennedy and her roommate Willow are about to hop on a plane to spend Christmas break in rural Alaska.
What makes a song special? How can you define or quantify that quality of a piece of music that makes it so evocative? For today's Fifteen Factoids post, I'm sharing a few of the songs that make me melt into a puddle of nostalgia for one reason or another. You'll probably find my musical tastes are a little more eclectic than you might have expected.
Have you ever been on mulitask overload? Sometimes I get so bogged down with so many different projects on my to-do list that I sort of freak out and go into stress paralysis mode.
Can you relate?
It's time for a little game! If you haven't yet, hop on over to the Book Chat Facebook event going on all day today (Thursday, Jan. 5) for a chance to win some awesome prizes. And speaking of prizes, how would you like to win an amazon gift card? All you have to do is take the quiz to see how well you know Kennedy Stern from the Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense series. Good luck!
What are you doing this Thursday? How about popping over to Facebook for an author party! We're talking games, giveaways, and a kindle/gift card giveaway! Join the fun right now to reserve your spot.
And speaking of fun, let's kick things off a day or two early with a quiz. How well do YOU know me? Try the quiz below for a chance to win a paperback! Good luck!