Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Book Release from Lillian Duncan




Tell us about REDEMPTION.
It’s the third and final book in my Sisters by Choice series. Well, probably last. I do have an idea for a fourth book rattling around in my brain, but it’s only an idea at the moment. Who knows if it will actually grow into a book?
Redemption brings the series full circle and gives closure for those who’ve read all three books. Jamie is the missing twin in the first book-DECEPTION. And in REDEMPTION, we come to learn more about Jamie and her spiritual struggles. But the main story is about a missing child who Jamie is determined to find—no matter the danger to herself.

What’s the setting for REDEMPTION?
This story is all over the place. It starts in Florida, then Jamie goes to Ohio and on to Wyoming and New Mexico—and not all of her own doing!

How did you come up with the title for REDEMPTION?
The story begins with Patti not understanding why her twin, Jamie, continues to place herself in serious jeopardy time and time again. Jamie doesn’t understand either. Only that she needs to help others if and when she can no matter the danger to herself.
As the writer I know why, and I’ll share the secret with you. Jamie is ashamed of things she’s done in her past. As a result she feels God can’t love her the way she is. So she seeks redemption by putting herself in dangerous situations to help other people.
But then I checked out the definition of redemption. Dictionary.com defines redemption as an act of atoning for a fault or a mistake; deliverance or rescue; deliverance from sin; salvation; atonement for guilt.
Wow! As I look at those definitions, I realize REDEMPTION is full of all sorts of redemption for many of the characters in the story—not just Jamie’s. No wonder that’s the title I chose.

Why did you write REDEMPTION?
We only catch a brief glimpse of Jamie in DECEPTION and BETRAYED. REDEMPTION is Jamie’s story.

What do you want readers to take away from REDEMPTION?
God loves us no matter what we’ve done in the past or what we do in the present or will do in the future. His love is the one constant we can always count on!

Does REDEMPTION have a theme?
God loves us just the way we are and He is always there waiting for us to come to him.

What’s the SISTERS BY CHOICE series about?
This series definitely has romance in it, but I also wanted to explore the strong bonds that form between women—through blood or through the choices we make. Each story focuses on a relationship between two women that becomes as important to the story as the romantic plot.

Why did you become a writer?
I always had stories in my head waiting to be told. Unfortunately for many years those stories were only being enjoyed by me. One day a light bulb went off—hey, maybe I should be writing these stories down for other people!
That was the day a writer was born, but it took many long years until I could say, “I’m a writer!” Now, I love saying that.

What is your writing process?
I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.
When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.

Do you know who the bad guy is when you begin your story?
Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be. As the story comes to a conclusion, I am surprised right along with my readers. REDEMPTION was no exception. I thought I knew who the bad guy was but as usual there were a few surprises!

Most people don’t think of murder mysteries and suspense novels as Christian Fiction. What do you say to them?
I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s all right. I understand that. I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.
As mysteries and suspense, there is, of course, some violence in the stories. However; I don’t promote or glorify violence. I make sure to show characters experiencing the natural consequences of bad choices and bad actions.

Then what makes your stories Christian Fiction?

My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.
My stories show characters in crisis. I use the crisis to illustrate how real Christians react to real problems in their life. We all react in different ways when bad things happen and the same is true in my stories. I show characters having doubt but also resolving that doubt and becoming stronger in their faith as a result of the crisis.
One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.

If REDEMPTION becomes a movie who would you like to see play your main characters?
I’d love to have the Oslin twins play Jamie and Patti. As for Enrique—a dark, handsome actor with a bit of a Hispanic accent. Mmm, who could that be?

What are you working on now?
In July, I had a new mystery novella series released--DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS. It features a crime-fighting speech pathologist. Having been a speech pathologist for almost 35 years, this story was so much fun for me to write.
The second in the series—NOWHERE TO BELONG—will be released sometime next year and I still have some work to do on the third in the series. Along with that I have a few other projects I’m working on. Busy, busy, busy!

HOW CAN READERS FIND YOU ON THE INTERNET?
My website is www.lillianduncan.net. My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com. I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan I also contribute to Putting On The New at www.puttingonthenew.com.

REDEMPTION PROMO:
To celebrate the release of REDEMPTION, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. But wait…there’s more! I always feel bad for the people who enter the contest but don’t win. So I’m also going to pick FIVE more lucky names to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Just the right amount to buy REDEMPTION! Just kidding, the winners can use it to buy whatever they wish.
So hop on over to TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com  to enter. Leave a comment on the post REDEMPTION and you’ll be entered to win. Easy Peasy!!


BLURB:
Others may think Jamie Jakowski is a hero, but she knows differently.
Haunted by her past, she seeks redemption by helping others in spite of the danger to herself. However, after almost orphaning her daughter, Jamie opts to retire. When a friend needs her, Jamie agrees to one last undercover operation.
She is determined to reunite a heartbroken mother with her kidnapped son. Used to working alone, Jamie’s not happy when she’s assigned a partner. And after a failed operation and their failed romance, Enrique Rodriguez is the last person she wants to work with—ever.
To succeed, Jamie must confront her past as well as the people who want her dead.


BIO:
Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Are We Holy?

We've come to our last post about our worth in Christ and what that really means. The last letter is H and must stand for holy.

Holy can be defined as worthy of absolute devotion; having a divine quality; devoted to the deity or the work of the deity; sacred; godlike; untouchable; devout, faithful, godly. You might also hear holy meaning set apart, other, and like God.

God says to be holy as He is holy. A lofty goal? Yes! But, as Christians we are called to be holy by God Himself.

So, let's break down the definition above and see how we are doing with this goal of becoming holy.

Worthy of absolute devotion - because God is holy, He is worthy of your absolute devotion. This means there is not a person or a thing to whom or to which you are more faithful or loyal. Is God number one on your priority list? Don't speak too soon. Look at what your schedule and finances prove about your devotion.

Having a divine quality - Christians are called to be imitators of Christ. This would mean that we would have divine or godlike qualities. This doesn't mean we become a god or take on supernatural characteristics. We behave following the example of Jesus. Do lost people notice something different about you?

Devoted to the deity or the work of the deity - Christians are to be busy about the Father's business. We should pray that God would put on our hearts what is on His heart. We should follow His guidance in the plan He has for our lives. Are you busy with your own business or God's?

Sacred - This means set apart for the service or worship of the deity. Christians have been specifically called out to be different from the world in serving and worshiping God. The world encourages serving and worshiping self. Is your service and worship focused upon God or yourself?

Godlike - See the above, having a divine quality.

Untouchable, devout, faithful - These three words suggest being serious and earnest in our goal to become holy. Do you truly want to become holy?

Godly, set apart, other, and like God - Again, these words hint at the fact that being holy means we are nothing like the world. Do you look too much like the world?

Our worth on this earth is so often measured by the money we have, the things we possess, and the status we have achieved.

Remember, worth is defined as the value of something measured by its qualities. Christians' have worth through Christ. Do you have the qualities of Jesus?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don't just get 'em saved; Teach them!

On with our study of Titus Two using the word worth. We look at the very important letter, T. This letter stands for teach.

In the Titus Two passage, Christians are instructed to teach, specifically the older are to teach the younger. This teaching position means that the teacher or mentor must make sure he or she is in right standing and continuing to learn from God's Word first. You can't impart what you don't have, right?

We are told to teach what is good. This always makes me think of Philippians 4:8-9. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Paul clearly encourages Christians to keep their minds focused upon what is good. We are not to focus upon opinion but be grounded in the teaching from God's Word. Because Paul tried his best to follow in God's way, he says that others could take whatever they learned from him and put it into practice. He was an example of what he taught.

Can that be said of us? Have we learned and followed God's Word to the point that others could copy us? Do we make a point of teaching others about what it means to be a Christian and live for God?

I'm afraid we often fail in this area. We get 'em saved and then we leave them to flounder on their own. Jesus didn't say, "Get 'em saved." He said, "Go and make disciples." That command carries with it a responsibility to teach and mentor others.

We should prefer to teach and impart a Christian foundation as opposed to allowing someone else to teach a philosophy that doesn't measure up to God's standards. We shouldn't shirk the responsibility to teach and mentor those younger people in the faith.

I have said before and will reiterate now. If Christians don't teach their own about God and what He expects, there are those in the world that will gladly lead our loved ones astray. There are college professors out there who want nothing more than to have your precious student come into their classes so they can pull those kids from their Christian upbringing.

Let's not shirk this important responsibility of teaching and mentoring new Christians and those around us who need guidance. Study God's Word and think on those good things then don't keep it to yourself. Teach it and model it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Do not be addicted to much wine

That title will catch your attention, right?

We're back to our Worth study and we've made it to the letter R in the word which stands for restraint. The Titus Two passage talks about not being addicted to much wine.

Now, for many people, myself included, I might quickly skip over this point because I don't indulge in any alcoholic beverage. But, when I read this statement, I tend to see it in a broader sense. To not be addicted to much wine to me means to not allow something to control you or steal your testimony.

Drinking alcohol is a touchy subject. Some people use the argument that in the time of the Bible the people drank wine. And, even this statement from Titus Two says not to be addicted to much wine. As a Christian I have personally decided to abstain. My first reason is because it is such a touchy subject. Christians have very strong and differing opinions on the matter. Thus, for fear of causing another to stumble or to think ill of me, I choose just to not drink at all. Secondly, I don't care to use a substance that could alter my control. Since I am to practice self-control as a Christian, I will refrain from consuming alcohol since it can dull reaction times and impair my abilities.

As those out in the world look at us who profess to be Christians, we must be careful how we represent Christ. We must be leery of anything that could cause us to lose control or might steal our testimony.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blogs by Christian Women

We pause for a word from our sponsor. Just kidding. I wanted to share a post that I wrote for Blogs by Christian Women.

I'm talking about specific ways to leave an intentional Christian legacy.

Ladies, you might want to put this blog on your Favorites list.

blogsbychristianwomen.blogspot.com

Friday, August 1, 2014

RESTRAINT

Wow, I've been MIA! Actually, I've been bailing. Bailing water from the basement after the bad storms that blew through last Sunday evening. We've been keeping the fans on it and almost have it dried up and readied to spray for mold. So, now you know.

Now it's time to return to our Worth study. We get to move along to the R which stands for restraint - things we are warned to stay away from or not to do.

The first warning we are given in Titus 2 is not to be slanderers. Slander is a false report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of a person.

We can see this in different ways. One form of slander is gossip. People want to say that they are just telling facts and not spreading gossip, but the gossiper has some information they just must share. This information isn't about herself or himself but about someone else. Most of the time it is an interesting tidbit and the gossiper has the upper hand when getting the opportunity to share it first.

Here's a good test: Would I still share this information if the person I was speaking of was standing here beside me? If the answer is no, it might just be gossip. Because if you wouldn't share in front of the subject of your gossip then there must be some reason your news would hurt them or embarrass you. Thus, "tending to injure the reputation of a person" from our definition.

Of course, we often just boldly speak to others in rude and degrading ways. As Christians we are to use our words to build others up, not tear them down. How often in the Word are we told to love one another? Jesus Himself in John 15 gives the command: "Love each other as I have loved you."

Jesus set the example of how to love others. He said loving and encouraging words and showed love through His actions. He went as far as to give His very life out of love for us. We are to love in this same manner.

We must show restraint over the words we utter about others. I can remember growing up and hearing my mother say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." This usually came when my brother and I were in a yelling spree. But, isn't there truth there that we could heed?

If what you're going to say isn't loving or doesn't build up the other person, just bite your tongue. We could all use a little more tongue-biting and a lot less back-biting!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Subject to their Husbands

Well, we're back to our study of worth in God's eyes. We still haven't made it past the letter O in worth, but this post is the last obey directive.

Titus Two may lose quite a few popularity points when it speaks of women being subject to their husbands. In fact, in our day and time, women roll their eyes and declare the Bible old-fashioned and out of date on this issue.

But, my dear fellow sisters in Christ, the Bible is still relevant and never does a message within it expire. Even though the words submit or subject may hit us the wrong way, we are still called to obey in this area.

Can I admit to you that I am happy and willing to submit because my husband follows the directives for the husband here? Yes, I don't mind being subject to my husband when he loves me like Christ loves the church. I trust his spiritual leadership in my home because he adheres to the very hard standards set forth in the Bible for a Christian husband.

Ephesians 5:22 also tells wives to submit but then it goes into a lengthy discussion of how that man is to deserve that submission because of the way he conducts himself.

Do not misunderstand me here. Submission does not mean become a doormat. You are God's creation endowed with unique gifts to use in His service.

I've seen this truth about the husband being the spiritual leader not work in many homes. Why? I think men have fallen down on their responsibility to teach those younger than themselves what it means to follow God and what that looks like. There are many women who have had to become the spiritual leaders of their homes, taking the children to church and leading them to Christ. The roles have become blurred.

However old-fashioned the world may find it, we must return to the teachings of the Bible on the roles God established. We wonder why things just don't work in our families. We aren't following the directives of Titus Two which includes instructing those younger than us in what it means to be a wife and a husband.

God created marriage and He knows how He created it to work.