Monday, 26 December 2011

E-book now giveable as a gift introduced an e-book gift feature on Christmas Day. This means you can give Blackbirch Woods (and other Smashwords e-books) as a gift by clicking on the "Give as a gift" button at checkout... it will be sent to their e-mail address. The recipient need not have a Smashwords account.

I know, some of you are thinking, why not sell e-books through Amazon? While my book is available on Amazon as a paperback, they maintain propriety over their Kindle format and charge authors to make the book available as an e-book... whereas Smashwords provides the conversion service at no charge (I pay only a small service fee when the book is purchased) AND they provide the book in formats for ALL e-readers-- not just Kindle.

Friday, 9 December 2011

How more of what you spend can go to orphans....

I had forgotten to post that considerably more of what you pay for the book will go to orphans when you order through CreateSpace's e-Store rather than Amazon. For the CreateSpace e-Store link, scroll down slightly and the link is on the right sidebar, below the e-book version link.

A side note- today our Elementary School completed its Christmas Project, collecting enough cloth to clothe nearly 300 children, and flip-flops for children as well (I missed the number). Two agencies who serve orphans were represented and they brought several children who were introduced. Some had been in the orphanage more than half of their lives, yet you could see how well cared-for they were and how loved they felt receiving new clothing for Christmas in the name of Jesus. It was a really wonderful moment!!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Your Gift Can Give Twice!

For the month of December, all royalties from paperback and e-book versions of Blackbirch Woods will be donated to support AIDS orphans and widows through Mashiah Foundation. Give Blackbirch Woods as a gift, and know that it will also give to the "least of these" in Nigeria. Merry Christmas!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Your reading friends have read everything else...

Your avid reader friends have read everything else, so why not give Blackbirch Woods as a gift? I noticed that several sellers on Amazon have reduced the price, too.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Another recommended Free e-book

Thomas A Kempis's The Imitation of Christ was written so long ago, it reminds me of the Charlie Brown comic where Linus asks, "Were there people then?"

The Imitation of Christ is not a light read, and the Moody Classics version I own says very honestly that while it is one of those books we know we "should" read, it is not as accessible as we wish. For myself, I have been reading one chapter each day for a devotional (together with the Word of Life Quiet Time Diary, which I have done for over ten years).

It continues to amaze me how honest and insightful the book is. While the book was primarily aimed at fellow scholastic monks and therefore perhaps too often advises the shunning of human company and fellowship, A Kempis's spiritual insights are still fresh and compelling. I guess people haven't changed all that much since the 1400s!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Free Download of the #2 Bestseller of all time!!

John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress remains a spiritual classic. Yes, the antiquated English usages require a measure of patience for many readers. But trust me, this book is so worth the effort. It can change your worldview. Download it here:

There is a small window at the right side with a drop-down list to choose from any format you can possibly want.

I got one of my "life quotes" from this book:

To go back is certain death; to go forward is indeed attended with the fear of death; but eternal life is beyond, and I must venture.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Free e-book!

ArdinĂ©a is a novel I wrote over ten years ago. I decided to haul it out and put it out there... and let the chips fall as they may! Somewhere between the Middle Ages and Middle Earth I imagined an island realm in which to retell the Tam Lin myth... and the story grew from there.

Hard core Tolkien fans will easily recognize his mytharc as far as my depiction of the Faerie Realm, but this was years before the films made Middle Earth popular... and the book is somewhat overly sentimental in places. Still, it is a long and satisfying story, if you can get through the teary-eyed reunions.

Still with me? Then click here: ArdinĂ©a and happy reading!!

Friday, 29 July 2011

E-book Price Reduced!

The e-book version of Blackbirch Woods is now just $0.99 at Smashwords.

Follow the e-book link in the right-hand column, or click here. You can also download a preview of the e-book for free at Smashwords-- or you can read about the same amount here (see the chapter tabs above).

(Psst... if you order before July 31 you can use the sitewide promotional code and get it for free!)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

E-Book Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords!

Blackbirch Woods is on sale for the month of July as part of's "Summer/Winter Sale". (Summer in the northern hemisphere, Winter in the southern!) 

Follow the e-book link to the right and use coupon code SSW50 at checkout to pay just $1.50 to download any e-book reader format.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Book Signing July 9 at Arrowhead Books

On Saturday, July 9 from 12-2, I will be signing books at Arrowhead Parable Christian Bookstore. I will also be giving away some very cool keepsake bookmarks. I still haven't decided what kind of candy to have in a dish on my table. I would like to find some birch candy, but such a specialty may be very expensive! It may end up being Kisses. The chocolate kind.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

"Magic" in the woods

Africa, which is where I make my home, is so very different from the Northeastern United States where I grew up and spent most of my life. I was really blessed to live in a very pretty, safe, middle-class town with a sandy beach where I spent summer days making sandcastles and playing Marco Polo. In college I discovered the magic and beauty of the woods, something that has been a part of me ever since. When I think of a happy, peaceful, lovely place, I invariably picture the sun flickering through maple leaves and water trickling over smooth pebbles, a wood thrush piping high above.

When we moved to Nigeria it took me a long time to find the beauty there.

Surprisingly, I found it at the worst possible time-- in dry season, when all vegetation but the hardiest trees are brown and dead, and the land was mostly burned over by bush fires (yes, not "brush" but "bush"). The air was choked with Harmattan dust that blows from the Sahara and forms a pall over West Africa (and sometimes blows as far as Europe and America's eastern seaboard). I realized that the dryer and more lifeless the country became, the greener the mango trees appeared. Their lush branches actually became fuller; they bloomed with insignificant reddish panicles, and then produced thousands of tiny fruits that await the rains to swell and ripen into the sensuous, aromatic fruit.

And the sky in Nigeria-- during rainy season it towers with fantastic cloud castles and mountainous pillars, illuminated at night by an almost constant, silent show of distant lightning bolts.

But most of all, the people; souls blooming like gems from the sere grasses and mud huts; West Africa is awash with the happiest people living under the hardest circumstances.

Still, I missed the woods of the northeast.

That played into my motivation in writing Blackbirch Woods. As long as I was writing and editing and changing the story, I could envision that flickering sunlight, and feel the cool of the woods, and hear the murmur of a brook. They are as much a part of my soul as my children's faces and hearts.

Not to say that Africa doesn't have a "magic" of its own; and that will feature strongly in my next story (if I ever get that one written! People have asked me often, when did I find time to write a book, and my honest answer is that I have absolutely no idea), which is in its bare beginnings...

I named this blog partly from my desire to share that "magic"-- not the showy kind associated with movies and Disney and the fashion world, something quieter and stiller. A place where one can hear oneself think, feel oneself feel. A place with no demands, no agenda. I hope to add more of that to the world before I'm done here. "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." James 3:18 (NKJV)

Monday, 6 June 2011

"I could swear I was really *in* those woods!"

I received this message on Facebook from a friend of a friend, who is becoming a good cyberfriend. When I read this, I feel that I accomplished exactly what I set out to do in writing Blackbirch Woods. Thank you, Bridget, for "getting it"!!
Meredith, I wanted you to know that I read "Blackbirch Woods" and really, truly loved it! I'm a pretty chronic insomniac and, especially lately, have fallen into a bad sleep cycle, so I've been reading a lot. I've been kind of plodding through a really interesting but sometimes, well, plodding, book, "In Pursuit of Silence." I hate starting a book and not finishing it (or reading more than one at a time), so I told myself that, as a reward, if I finished that one, I'd get to read your novel. Perhaps because I have never been good with the concept of delayed gratification, this last Tuesday night, I went ahead and took a peek at your book.
Several hours later, with the sun starting to make its appearance, I finished the story-- and a little sadly, too. I didn't want it to end. That, my friend, is a sure sign (to me at least) that a story is very, very good.
I loved your characters, your immensely inventive plot and the beautiful poetic prose, especially when you wrote about the natural world. Your richly worded passages gave me a very immediate sense of things like wet leaves or rain hanging in the sky and about to pour. The way you led me through page after page was mesmerizing as was the kind of suspension of time I felt whenever I was in the woods with Violet. You made that forest so lush and powerful and enchanting. I was really impressed, too, by your ability so skillfully to weave a lot of different elements into a wonderful whole.
Nothing about your story seemed contrived or far-fetched. I enjoyed it immensely. And the cover art is fabulous. After I finished the book and looked at it again, I thought about how well it captures what I thought was a really meaningful "essence" (That's not the right word. Language can be so wonderfully precise and wholly lacking at the same time.) of the book, the thickness of those trees and the light cast through them, holding up a promise: literal light, enlightenment, redemption, peace.
There were lots of great themes and metaphors.. It seems from what I know about you that your faith is very central to your life. Among other things, my father is an Espicopal priest. He baptized me and my sister, though none of my immediate family practices any particular religion. I guess I'm not quite sure how to say that I liked the Christian elements in your story and I liked that, even if I don't worship the way you do or others do, I could still take away a lot that I thought was very moving from your story, things about love, faith, fear (Your night people/ghosts/demons were very powerful images, a fantastic and fanstastical element.) patience, and the exquisite beauty of those woods. (I could swear I was really *in* those woods!) It felt very accessible, if that makes sense.
I hope it doesn't seem patronizing of me to say how delighted I was by your book. I'm afraid that might sound if I'm surprised you had it in you. You are a really wonderful writer and I thank you for sharing this lovely tale.
Thank you for sharing your lovely praise. I am highly gratified and very grateful.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Chapters 1-5 are now readable here!

I added pages to this blog and you can see the links above. You can now read the first several chapters by clicking on those links. Enjoy... and I hope it makes you wish to read more...

Do take advantage of the $.99 download from Smashwords until July 4. Click on the e-book link at right and use the coupon code KM62S on checkout.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Nightmares and Truth

At 4:30 this morning, I awoke from a nightmare. I don’t have them often. In it, my stunningly beautiful daughter had disfigured her lovely face with a knife, because that was the fad among teens in my nightmare. Now, my daughter is neither so rebellious nor so stupid, thank God! But I awoke with a prayer for her on my lips and I realized that it had been some time since I had fervently prayed for her soul like that; I had got complacent about it. But the enemy of our souls never gets complacent. He is always prowling, “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV).
As I lay there, God reminded me of strong truths I have learned. A lot has been written about spiritual warfare, and it can be a minefield of misconceptions. But these are simple truths from Scripture.
1.       We have an enemy. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.(Ephesians 6:12, NIV)
2.       We can resist him. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9 NKJV) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
3.       We have weapons for resistance. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4, NIV) Take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17) The word of God, Scripture, has power on the lips and in the hearts of believers.
4.       We have protection from our enemy. Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
5.       We can win over our enemy—because Christ won for us. Romans 8:37 tells us, Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Hallelujah! Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV) Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14) Luke 4:36 says Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."
A word of caution: Jude 1:9, 10 says But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals-- these are the very things that destroy them.
If even an archangel declines to personally rebuke Satan, we certainly ought to be careful. The only reference to “rebuking Satan” I can find in the Bible is in  Zechariah 3:2: And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! We are never told to rebuke Satan. It is Christ’s authority alone that gives us power to resist our spiritual enemies. They must submit absolutely to His word. Remember the story of the demon-possessed man (who was also a cutter, like my daughter in my bad dream)?
 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me."
For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" Then He asked him, "What is your name?"
And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. (Mark 5:1-15)
Jesus has absolute authority over fallen spirits, and they know this. Like the archangel Michael, we can leave the casting out and rebuking to Jesus. There is no need of memorizing formulaic prayers or rituals or litanizing exhaustive rebukes, although there may be a time and place for this. Deliverance can be accomplished by many or by few, but without Christ we can end up like the men Jude describes who go outside their spiritual authority and end up destroyed by what they do not understand (see also the story of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts19:13-17).
We have an enemy. We can resist him. We have divine weapons for resistance. We have divine protection from our enemy. We can win over our enemy—because Christ won for us. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV) AMEN!!!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Wars against the soul

There is a war going on.
In Blackbirch Woods, Willis has already surrendered and lost a battle with the night people. Will Violet be able to stand before them herself? Violet undergoes a different struggle—against the temptation to give in to the darkness and forgetfulness that seems to be drawing her in. Where will she find strength to withstand the inner and outer battles?
In our daily walk, we also face inner enemies—shame, selfishness, envy, self-pity, worry—and outer enemies, both worldly and supernatural. I wanted to write about how we can fight and win the wars against our soul. That is the implicit message in Blackbirch Woods. This article addresses the inner warfare, which takes place on the battleground of the heart.
“He shut his eyes and struggled for a while; but resistance became unbearable, and at last he slowly drew out the chain, and slipped the Ring on the forefinger of his left hand.
“Immediately, though everything else remained as before, dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. He was able to see beneath their black wrappings. There were five tall figures: two standing at the lip of the dell, three advancing. In their white faces burned keen and merciless eyes; under their mantles were long grey robes; upon their grey hairs were helms of silver; in their haggard hands were swords of steel. Their eyes fell on him and pierced him, as they rushed towards him. Desperate, he drew his own sword, and it seemed to him that it flickered red, as if it was a firebrand. Two of the figures halted. The third was taller than the others: his hair was long and gleaming and on his helm was a crown. In one hand he held a long sword, and in the other a knife; both the knife and the hand that held it glowed with a pale light. He sprang forward and bore down on Frodo.
“At that moment Frodo threw himself forward on the ground, and he heard himself crying aloud: O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! At the same time he struck at the feet of his enemy. A shrill cry rang out in the night; and he felt a pain like a dart of poisoned ice pierce his left shoulder. Even as he swooned he caught, as through a swirling mist, a glimpse of Strider leaping out of the darkness with a flaming brand of wood in either hand. With a last effort Frodo, dropping his sword, slipped the Ring from his finger and closed his right hand tight upon it.”The Fellowship of the Ring
Like Frodo, we too are on a purposeful journey through this world. We are vulnerable on this journey to strong desires within us that would cause us to stumble on our way, just as Frodo had always to fight the desire to use the Ring of Power. Like Frodo we are hounded by enemies, spiritual beings under the control of The Enemy; but the real war is won or lost in our soul. 
On our travels through this world sometimes resistance will be unbearable, we will need to pull ourselves away from some things which we will desire to the point of heartbreak, but which are destructive to our spiritual condition. In Blackbirch Woods, Violet resists the night people, although their  beauty and power were almost irresistible. Peter, irrepressible disciple of Jesus, warns of this in his first epistle when he pleads with us: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2.11)
Peter begins his plea by appealing to the relationship that believers have with Christ: “Beloved”, he says. It is to be a pure relationship. In 2 Cor. 11.2,3 Paul says: “ I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. For I promised you as a pure bride to one husband, Christ. But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ.” A bride has no business getting involved with other men. Jesus wants a relationship with us in which He comes before other loyalties. It was the strength of Violet’s commitment to Willis that helped her hang on when she no longer wanted to refuse.
Then the Holy Spirit through Peter says, “I urge you.” The original Greek word indicates, “I exhort, beseech, beg you, please;” when the God of all creation begs us, we better listen up!
I urge you as sojourners and pilgrims”- pilgrim means literally “to settle down among pagans.” Peter here describes our journey through this world as a journey of outsiders, just passing through, for we do not belong here. It is an unfriendly country to our souls, and our enemy lives here.
But we belong to Christ, who urges us on as we sojourn in this world, that we may win the war within.
Abstain from fleshly lustsAbstain” means to pull ourselves away from, to hold ourselves constantly back from. Sin has a pull on us, whether it be the desire for power, possessions, pleasure.
Whatever the fleshly lust is that has a hold on us, that hold is vividly described in erotic terms:
 James 1.14,15- “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed, then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father…”
We must tear ourselves away from the seduction of sin, or the outcome may be spiritual death.
In Proverbs 9.16b-18- “…she says to him, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” Sinful pleasures are sweet poison. We often think of sin in terms of, how far can I go before it’s sin? How much spit can be in a bottle of spring water before we consider it to be impure? What is the very first, tiny step down the road to giving in? Eve didn’t bite, at first; she looked at the fruit, listened to the serpent, thought about it, then bit. We need to stay away from that first sip of stolen water.
Fleshly lusts” implies strong cravings or desires. Again, Peter, and the Holy Spirit who inspired him, understands how strong the pull of pleasure is. “Stolen water is sweet.” But “fleshly lusts” are strong desires that originate from our sin nature, our old man. We may think that relief will be found by giving in, but sin has a way of biting back- just as Frodo gave in and slipped on the Ring of Power, only to feel the bite of an icy Mordor blade. “Sin when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved [sistren].”
We have to be able to resist the seductive sweetness of sin, recognizing that its end is bitter regret and spiritual death. We must resist that which wars against our soul.
 Which war against the soul” could be paraphrased, “hurls itself down on our soul,” an act of military aggression. James 4:1 warns us “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure, that war in your members?.” Like the Witch-King who bore down on Frodo, lust crouches in wait to hurl itself down on our soul, and we cannot afford to be unaware of it.
How will we fight this war?
  •  If you love chocolate, artificial chocolate just doesn’t cut it. If you know the real thing, it is harder to fall for a counterfeit. You and I are the Beloved of God.  If we strengthen our relationship with Him at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore, then we will be less drawn into fleeting, sinful pleasures. Purity will have a sweeter taste to us than stolen waters. (The problem with stolen waters is that usually, someone else has already tasted it.) In 1 Thess. 4.13, Paul says “that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” Jesus desires to have a pure and intimate fellowship with us. He says, (Song 2.10) “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” He desires to give His Beloved pleasures that do not end in bitterness. In the end it was the strength of Frodo’s relationship with Sam that got him up the slopes of Mount Doom, where his own strength finally gave out. We need a friendship with God that will get us up the dark mountains when our own strength fails.
  • Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26.41) Recognizing that we are weak and vulnerable and in need of prayer for divine assistance is the first step. We have not, because we ask not. Are we asking God for the wisdom and the strength not to enter into temptation? Or the courage to turn back if we have fallen into sin? Psalm 34.4 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” He is our Refuge and our Deliverer. Even Frodo did not make his grueling journey on his own. He relied on those stronger than himself. He cried out for supernatural help when he was in trouble. Jesus urges us on our way, because He knows we are weak.
  • A pilgrim is never at ease, but is always on his or her guard. Prov. 4.23- “Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life.” Guarding my heart might mean finding accountability with a trusted friend or mentor, memorizing appropriate Scripture. Likewise Frodo did not go it alone, and he recognized early on the peril of attempting to use the Ring, and reminded himself when he was tempted.
  •  If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29,30) We may find it necessary for our souls, to get rid of things in our life that we really like, that seem very important, that we can’t live without! Am I staying away from places or situations where, or even people with whom, I am tempted? Am I taking every thought captive, so that there are places I don’t go in my mind, things I don’t let myself talk about? Am I spiritually sensitive to things that would lead me off the path into danger, as Gollum led Frodo into the spider’s lair?
To pull ourselves away from sinful pleasures can be a hard choice. C. S. Lewis wrote that “every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself.” It is our secret choices that win or lose this war against the soul.
Let me give you Wuest’s expanded translation of this verse: “Divinely loved ones, I beg of you, please, as those who are sojourning alongside of a foreign population, be constantly holding yourselves back from the fleshly cravings, cravings of such a nature that, like an army carrying on a military campaign, they are waging war, hurling themselves down upon your soul.”
We do not belong to ourselves, and we do not really belong here. We are passing through enemy territory on our way to an eternity with Christ. On our journey through, we need to be strong and resist strong temptations. Giving in will only make us weaker and completing the journey harder. We need to pray, to guard our hearts, to stay off the paths that lead to Sheol, and to strengthen our relationship with the true and living God. Just as the fate of many hung on Frodo’s completing his quest, Peter says that because of what they see in us, Gentiles will become the people of God (vs. 10), and glorify Him. Then our quest will also be accomplished.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982
Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament For the
English Reader. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973. 58-61.
Tolkien, J. R. R.  The Fellowship of the Ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954. 208. 
The Ultimate Bible Reference Library. Nashville: Nelson, 2002.
Alcorn, Randy. The Purity Principle. Sisters: Multnomah, 2003.
Lewis, C. S. The Joyful Christian. New York: MacMillan, 1977.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Black Birch

I found this interesting link about black birch on Wikipedia: Betula lenta

Back in summer camp, we used to strip the sweet, inner bark of the twigs with our teeth and savor the root beerish flavor. In the absence of candy, even adolescent girls can get creative. Along with wintergreen and sorrel, it was one of the flavors of summer... more memorable than the Pepsi and Doritos that took their place in later years.

A Connecticut Indian told me many years ago that his family used to make syrup from the black birch tree sap, like maple syrup. This article is the only other reference to that I have ever heard of.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Kindle, other e-book formats COMING!!

Through Smashwords, Blackbirch Woods will soon be a downloadable e-book for Kindle and just about every e-reader currently available.

The price will be A LOT lower-- just $2.99 for download, as compared with $8.99 for the paperback (most of which I never see, by the way. :) )

The e-book version requires complete re-formatting and therefore should be a few days in the works.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Now Available!!

Blackbirch Woods can now be purchased here: at the CreateSpace e-Store!

The book will soon be available on as well.

Thanks so much to Susan Breckenridge and William Townsend for proofing the final version. Living overseas presents unique challenges and this project took folks on two continents!! I love you guys!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Proof ordered

I thought I might mention that there are NO VAMPIRES in Blackbirch Woods. :) And who or what is Tam Lin? Find out here:

I ordered a proof copy of the book yesterday to make sure everything is the way it should be. I am hoping to finalize publication by May 1, 2011!

Monday, 7 March 2011

What is Blackbirch Woods?

I began writing this story late in 2009. I was intrigued with the idea of someone sharing a deep bond of love with a person whom they could not remember. The first scenes I sketched out were from the middle of the final book. I had no idea where they were going, but the whole story quickly formed.

Several months later, I e-mailed the story to Sylvia Courtright, a friend in New York, because she so kindly offered to proofread. She offered invaluable suggestions which ended up changing the structure and flow of the story, and making for stronger storytelling overall.

The result is something like Tam Lin meets Twilight, but from the perspective of a believer in Jesus Christ.

Because I reside in Nigeria, I decided after much prayer that self-publishing was the only way to go. Book publishers expect the author to work hard in country to promote their work and I was not available for that. Also the work of researching who accepts manuscript submissions from unpublished authors showed me that it could quickly become a full-time job; I already have one of those!

I expect to publish the book and have it available for purchase through CreateSpaceDirect and by May-- just in time for the woods to really be springing and for Willis to emerge again into the black birch wood night...

Welcome to the woods!