Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Murphy's BLAWg

Wednesdays are always my busiest day, so I dread them anyway. But today, I had planned to print my Genesis proposal so that it has a chance to be delivered by the deadline. Of course, all writers know that when you must print something, Murphy's Law kicks in. I'm sure you're heard of that, right? A slice of buttered bread, when dropped, will always land butter-side down. When you need an item that is in a heap, it will always be the one at the bottom. (for me it's the dryer)_Sound familiar?

I did some planning ahead and actually bought the good paper just in case the kids had used my supply up on art projects.

I woke up this morning, considering what it would be today. Would the print cartridge run out of ink in the middle of printing? Or would the printer jam beyond repare? It was something entirely different. The printer was not aligned well so the letters came out fuzzy instead of crisp and clear. My husband offered to print it off his laptop (I'm on a Mac) so I emailed my proposal to him. He printed it all right. The formatting was all wrong, plus all of my review comments were included. LOL. I won't go on, but you get the picture.

In the meantime, my family had to endure as I succumed to Murphy's Law. This topic led me to research on the subject and I find it quite interesting. I've included on variation of the origins of this "law."

Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base.

It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, (a project) designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.

One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it."

The contractor's project manager kept a list of "laws" and added this one, which he called Murphy's Law.

Actually, what he did was take an old law that had been around for years in a more basic form and give it a name.

Shortly afterwards, the Air Force doctor (Dr. John Paul Stapp) who rode a sled on the deceleration track to a stop, pulling 40 Gs, gave a press conference. He said that their good safety record on the project was due to a firm belief in Murphy's Law and in the necessity to try and circumvent it.
Aerospace manufacturers picked it up and used it widely in their ads during the next few months, and soon it was being quoted in many news and magazine articles. Murphy's Law was born.

The Northrop project manager, George E. Nichols, had a few laws of his own. Nichols' Fourth Law says, "Avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome."

The doctor, well-known Col. John P. Stapp, had a paradox: Stapp's Ironical Paradox, which says, "The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle."

Nichols is still around. At NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, he's the quality control manager for the Viking project to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars.


Apparently I am free from sin and death, but haven't made my way clear of Murphy's law.

Blessings!
Beth.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Writing to the Lost

The last few days have been interesting just in terms of my own personal revelation, which has left me with a strong sense of purpose—a desire to take my writing to a new level. I’m not talking about the craft, but rather in terms of the spiritual message.

The message I heard on Sunday spoke volumes to me about how we aren’t to thump the Bible at people and argue them to Jesus, but rather be so in tune with God’s heart, his voice, that we can speak into a person’s life just as Jesus did to the woman at the well when he told her everything she had done. There were others, too, that Jesus spoke to in that manner. If Jesus is the Word, He is the Vine, we are the branches. . then in a sense, we are to be the walking, living Word for people.

During prayer meeting last night, my heart cried out for all of the lost and lonely people who live in my small town, not to mention the world. Of course, one person can’t reach them all. . .but I can have an intimate relationship with God so that when he wants me to speak into someone’s life, or feed them or clothe them, I will hear His voice and do His work.

What does all of this have to do with writing? Well, writing is the thing He has called me to do outside of loving my family. It’s my prayer that God will work through my writing, and other’s writing, in such a way that we can touch the deepest part of the lost and lonely hearts—and not just in the Christian market. I’m not exactly sure how this is to be accomplished. Only God knows. But as for me, my heart burns with the desire to take things much deeper, hence, the change in my blog name.

God bless you!
Beth.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fantasy Blog tour ends for May. . .Stay tuned. . .

. . .For June. That's right, we're done for this month, but we will start again in June. So stay tuned for announcements. In addition to focusing on websites, we'll have book reviews and author interviews.

I think the recent topics that arose out of fantasy discussions are quite intriguing, and I'd love to continue discussing them. For now, I have to take care of the business of announcing the book winner for posting comments on my blog. Of course, it was a simple matter of pulling names out of a hat . .drum roll please. . .E-Mom--You are the blessed winner of OUTRIDERS. If you haven't before read any Christian fantasy, I know you will enjoy this one. Plus, it was written with teenagers in mind, so if you have them, share it.

I apologize for the delay in announcing this, I'm diligently working on the proposal to send for the Genesis contest--I'm afraid I'm running out of time.

On another note, I'd like to take the opportunity to draw your attention to my awesome new website, put together by my wonderful husband, Dan Goddard. It's in flash, so if you don't have high speed connection, it might take a while to download--the first time. After that it's no problem. Dan is interested in offering his skills to others with interest. We're still working to add content, so be patient. I'm also considering moving my blog to the website.

I look forward to getting back "on topic" tomorrow.

Blessings!
Beth

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fear of Fantasy Magic



As part of the blog tour, Becky Miller (her link is on the sidebar) has an interesting topic on her sight regarding magic. One of the reasons that many Christians shy away from fantasy, in general, is due to its use of magic. She has raised an interesting question: What exactly is magic?

In the Literal Translation of 1st Cor. 12:10 the scripture references that through the Spirit some will have "workings of power." Other versions might call this miracles or completely disregard the term as in the case of the KJV.

If we look at the Greek word used for magic in the Biblc, it is dunamis, a word which means power.

I have two thoughts on this: First, there are two sources from which "workings of power" may be derived--the Holy Spirit, and a spiritual source not of God. It is the source of magic that is not of God, that Christians shy away from when reading fantasy.

Another consideration is that Christians--at least in this country--shy away from any power, whether it be from God or not.

I find it also interesting that many Christians novels that are not fantasy by definition are lumped into the fantasy genre if they hold anything referencing supernatural power. This is not the case for all novels such as Dekker's or Peretti's works. But this sort of labeling would lead you to think that we as a whole believe that any supernatural power--good or bad, is completely fictitious. And we wonder why we are a powerless Church. Don't mind me, I just read Dekker's Blessed Child!

I've listed the blog tour participants including some additional sites here. Below that, you can read more definitions regarding power.

Mirtika Schultz's Mirathon
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Spoiled for the Ordinary-Jayson Joyner
Marci's Writer-lee Blog
All About Children's Books-Sally Apokedak
Steve Trower's Old Testament Space Opera
LaShaunda's See You On The Net
Shenandoah's Eclectic Musings-Shannon McNear
Meg Moseley's Megawriter
Stuart Stockton's The Jerkrenak's Den
Jim Black's Bedford Review of Christian Fiction
Karen Hancock's Blog-Writing From The Edge

More reading on works of power:

1Co 12:10 and to another, workings of powers, and to another, prophecy, and to another, discerning of spirits, and to another, kinds of languages, and to another, interpretation of languages.
LITV

Strongs Definition:
dunamis
doo'-nam-is
From G1410; force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself): - ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

Thayer Definition:
dunamis
1) strength power, ability
1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
1b) power for performing miracles
1c) moral power and excellence of soul
1d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
1e) power and resources arising from numbers
1f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1410
Citing in TDNT: 2:284, 186

Webster Definition:
Miracle
MIR'ACLE, n. [L. miraculum, from miror, to wonder.]

1. Literally, a wonder or wonderful thing; but appropriately,

2. In theology, an event or effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things, or a deviation from the known laws of nature; a supernatural event. Miracles can be wrought only by Almighty power, as when Christ healed lepers, saying, "I will, be thou clean," or calmed the tempest, "Peace, be still."

Miraculous
MIRAC'ULOUS, a. Performed supernaturally, or by a power beyond the ordinary agency of natural laws; effected by the direct agency of Almighty power, and not by natural causes; as the miraculous healing of the sick or raising the dead by Christ.

1. Supernatural; furnished supernaturally, or competent to perform miracles; as the miraculous powers of the Apostles. Miraculous, applied to the extraordinary powers of the Apostles, may mean conferred by supernatural agency, or competent to work miracles. I believe it is generally used in the latter sense.

2. In a less definite sense, wonderful; extra-ordinary.


Blessings!
Beth

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fantasy Blog Tour: Christian Fiction Review




Today Becky Miller's blog focuses on some of the books that Tim has not included in his focus on fantasy section, including Kathy Mackel's Outriders. I want to discuss a series that I have greatly enjoyed, though there has been some disagreement about the standard of writing in these books. Still, I agree with Tim's comments regarding The Binding of the Blade series by L.B. Graham:
L.B. Graham has taken on a monumental task: a five-volume Christian fantasy epic, a story that will probably stretch over 2500 pages. Based on the first two books, I think he can do it.

The style (and at least one plot point) borrows liberally from J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen Lawhead. This is definitely aimed at older readers (primarily visitors to Middle Earth and perhaps other secular fantasy worlds) and not children who have just come from Narnia.

The world and its history are sweeping and vast. Graham does an excellent job of setting up events and foreshadowing things yet to come without being blatant about it. There is surely much more of interest to come in this series.
I would encourage you to read these books. I received the third book, Shadow in the Deep this week and can’t wait to get to it. It goes at the top of my TBR pile. I also encourage you to read more about this series at
Tim's site.

For a list of other blog tour links, go to my sidebar. I've listed some of them there, so I won't have to continue to add them to my posts. There are others that I need to add as well.

Blessings!
Beth.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Spotlight on Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy



Today begins the first day of the blog tour aimed at promoting science fiction and fantasy (henceforth called SFF) within the CBA--SFF written for and by Christians. Walk into any Barnes and Nobles and you'll see that by far the biggest section belongs to SFF--in the secular world. In Christian bookstores, it's a different "story." There are many theories about why this is the case, but the bottom line is that a large number of Christians love SFF and we want this genre to be available to us. We want to read something with a Christian worldview whether the message is blatant or subtle. Add to that, the hordes of non-Christians that can be reached by such a book. (for more thoughts on the importance of fantasy, read my earlier post: Fantasy: Shining the Light into Darkness with the sword of a ready writer)

But for this to happen we have to stir up awareness. Awareness for the genre. Awareness for our plight. Somehow we have to work to find a way to help SFF explode within the Christian marketplace, enabling it to find its place on the shelves among the many romances, historicals, and thrillers.

Help us. Go to your nearest Christian bookstore TODAY and ASK for a science fiction or a fantasy. A few authors you may ask for by name: Kathy Tyers, Karen Hancock, or Kathryn Mackel.

Tim Frankovich's Christian Fiction Review is a site where you can find information about some of the Christian SFF offerings. While I have read most of the offerings he presents, there are a few I'm unfamiliar with and some that I love --he makes no reference to at all like Kathryn Mackel's OUTRIDERS.

Others participating in the blog tour are:

Becky Miller'sA Christian Worldview of Fiction
Mirtika Schultz Mirathon
Cheryl Russel Unseen Worlds
Sally Apokedak All About Children's Books
Shannon McNear Shannon's Eclectic Musings
Stuart Vaughn The Jerkrenak Den

Now, if you will leave a comment to this post (and you're not one of the bloggers on the tour LOL), some time this week you will be eligible to win a free copy of OUTIDERS!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Deep in the slough of despond or is it procrastination?

Do you know that fear can totally paralyze you? That is where I am at this moment. I’m not sure if fear is the precise word, but as I attempt to write a synopsis for the proposal that I must send out since finaling in the Genesis Contest, I just freeze up. Suddenly I can’t stand to look at my own writing—it has turned into a painful experience, which makes me cringe at every word. No matter that I finaled in a contest—my writing stinks!

All of the distractions that are at my disposal amazing me. Blogging for one. IMing other writers, email, skimming the forums, reading other blogs, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes it gets to the point where I actually do laundry and clean house as a form of procastination.

Why do we writers continue down the road of insecurity, always berating ourselves for our horrid creativity? I don’t know the answer to this, and I often wonder if we closely examine other aspects of our lives will we see these same fears and insecurities.

Fear is an ugly word and I’ve heard it said that it is the opposite side of the same coin—Faith residing on the other side. So, if I can only flip this heavy coin then I can walk in faith and heed my own words in a previous post to do this for Him, as worship. There’s certainly nothing to fear there. Or perhaps try a different tactic. Worship Him, and then the coin will flip and I will find myself walking in His Kingdom, in faith.
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