Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WHAT'S THE POINT ... OF CHRISTIAN FICTION?

Julie, here ... and what's the point, you ask? And no, Ruthy, it's not on my head. The point is Christian fiction not only matters, but it changes lives for the better! 

Just like today's guest changed my life for the better when I met her over three years ago. Dr. Carrie Fancett Pagels is not only one of the smartest people I know, but one of the kindest too. Of course, as a psychologist, she struck gold with this CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), stumbling upon a virtual Disneyland of neuroses, not the least of which are my addictions to lip gloss and hazelnut coffee. Over and above her amazing analytical abilities, however, I am blessed to call Carrie a dear friend as well -- my E. F. Hutton, if you will -- because I never miss a chance to listen when she speaks. Without further ado, I give you my very dear friend and counselor/author extraordinaire, Dr. Carrie Fancett Pagels.

WHAT'S THE POINT OF CHRISTIAN FICTION?
By Dr. Carrie Fancett Pagels

I thought I might address the question of why do Christian authors write?  Why do I write Christian fiction? I was a psychologist for 25 years and worked mostly with young people.  But as my rheumatoid arthritis a worsened, my ability to work diminished to the point of nonexistence. But God called me to write for Him and to use what experiences He has given me.  On the days I am feeling “good” (which for another person might be considered awful) I miss working with people and helping them solve their problems.  And in a way, as I write my stories, I hope I’m building in a scaffolding of problem solving that the hero and heroine do in each manuscript.

Writing Christian fiction, I’ve read many books in this genre. And each person who writes Christian fiction has their own accountability to God as to why they write within this market and for this audience. For me, it is all about Christ and His impact on the characters in the story. I want to ask a meaningful question that will be answered in the story, using Christian tenets of faith.

Recently I got convicted that my core story, at the very heart of my heroine and my hero, had to be a significant faith issue that people struggle with. I’ve always looked at spiritual arcs, but I’ve come to believe it must be in the framework for the story.  So in “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance,” for my heroine, Angelina Rose, the crux of her spiritual journey is that of radical obedience that is counter to anything one would think to do in her situation.  She was a slave, is now a free woman with skills as a seamstress and could have left Virginia to start a new life in Ohio.  Furthermore, with her light skin (she’s of one-eighth African descent) she could even choose to “pass” and become absorbed into the white community there.  Take away Angelina’s choice to obey God, and you’ve taken away the pillar posts that support the story and the structure would cave in on itself.  For the hero, his spiritual arc was about his struggle to deal with God’s timing in his life.  A song that spoke to this, for me, was the popular Mumford and Sons’ song “I Will Wait for You.”  Matthew would wait for Angelina and for his situation (conscripted against his will into the Confederate army and then injured.)

In my short story (originally titled) “Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas” in Guidepost Books “A Cup of Christmas Cheer,” I have the theme of a Father’s provision—both God and earthly father. And I have the spiritual arc for the hero of having prayed to be spared in the war and to be given a family as a blessing.  He’s a wounded veteran who held onto his hope that God would bless him. So in this story, we see how God provides a way in even terribly difficult situations.  In this case, three young girls are left with their older sister (the hero’s beau). Her boyfriend’s grandmother and great uncle give the young girls a welcome respite from the loss of their mother and from the rough lumber camp in which they’ve grown up.  They enjoy the first really lovely Christmas they’ve had. God’s provision through the hands of other Christians.  The heroine’s question is whether God has abandoned her and left her bereft without  mother, father, nor family to assist her. Yet God had another family already prepared for her, including a sweet and slightly eccentric grandmother.

How? Julie asked me how my background might affect my writing. Early on when I began blogging, I asked myself how could I use my experience as a psychologist to impact my  blog and writing. When I began my blog “Overcoming With God,” I was by myself. I did some reviews, did some posts about things that interested me, but I wanted to identify myself as a writer not as a psychologist. However, I think like a psychologist regardless of whether I am practicing or not! And I like to know why people do what they are doing and how they get through things. But much more than this, when I interview people about what they’ve overcome, is their testimonies.

In our testimonies of overcoming, we bring glory to God.  In our characters’ stories, we show how someone might overcome with Christ’s help.

As a psychologist, I heard of the deep struggles people experienced yet, praise God, I was also able to see how He brought about healing and overcoming. Similarly in a story, we writers can build a model of how God can help someone overcome something and how certain tenets of our faith factor into that growth.  For instance, in Julie’s Boston series, every character had an issue to be dealt with and each had a spiritual arc and growth in a particular area of faith.

To sum up, I don’t write merely because at 2:00 in the morning, if I am awake from pain, I can write, but because I can’t do therapy with someone.  Nor do I write Christian fiction simply to entertain, as I have read others comment. I write because God has led me to do so and because I hope and pray that my readers will benefit from reading how fictional characters have dealt with life’s issues by growing in their Christian faith.  And I hope they will be entertained, too!

GIVEAWAY:
Giveaway: Guidepost Books “A Cup of Christmas Cheer” in which my short story “Snowed In” appears.  This two volume set is now in its second printing after and intial print run of 30,000 copies!  PTL!  I have loved reading the other authors’ stories in this collection. The two book hard cover set is small enough that you can fit a volume in your purse and read a story during lunch time even.  TO ENTER, PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION: Why do you write (or read) Christian fiction?

ABOUT CARRIE:
Carrie Fancett Pagels (www.carriefancettpagels.com) is author of Amazon top-rated Civil War novella Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance. Carrie also contributed to God’s Provision in Tough Times, Lighthouse of the Carolinas (July, 2013). Her short story, Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas, will appear in Guidepost Books “A Cup of Christmas Cheer” (October, 2013). With a Ph.D. in School Psychology, Carrie served as a psychologist for twenty-five years. She has two popular group blogs: Overcoming With God (www.overcomingwithGod.com) and Colonial Quills (www.ColonialQuills.org).

Carrie is the former ACFW Zone Mid-Atlantic Zone Director and Virginia/West Virginia Area Coordinator and continues to serve as co-hostess of the Tidewater Area Christian Writers group. Married for over 25 years to the love of her life, she resides in Virginia’s historic triangle. She has an 11-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter. 

Contact info
Carrie Fancett Pagels



Links to purchase Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance 

God’s Provision in Tough Times

147 comments :

  1. Hey Carrie, Welcome (I am so glad we meet this year). Why do I read Christian fiction because I want to read wholesome stories that I know will be clean reads. I don't want the sex or language in them but want books that would be pleasing to God. I also like the inspirational side to them. So many times a verse mentioned or some struggle the hero or heroine is facing I have faced or am facing and it gives HOPE (my word for next year).
    At one time books in the secular market were clean reads but very few are now days and you have to know which author writes that way to know you what you will get. I love books putting God back into the centre and really appreciate that authors write for readers like me.

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  2. In the years since I started reviewing books, I have found that I just don't like the secular books. Not that they can't be entertaining, so much as that they hold little or no appeal for me. I do read for entertainment,but often a lesson sneaks up on me when I least expect it!and I love your novels, Carrie...they inspire me to think!

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  3. Hi Carrie!

    I loved your post. We should all ask ourselves why we do what we do, whether we're writers or not. And as Christians, all we do should bring glory to God.

    So why do I write Christian fiction? For many of my characters, it's nothing more than a matter of showing an example of how a Christian can live (not should live), and respond to the situations life hands them.

    And I'm looking forward to reading your story in "A Cup of Christmas Cheer"!

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  4. Hi Carrie:

    I write Christian fiction to provide practical examples of the benefits of living by Christian values. I want to make readers thirsty for the way, the truth, and the life. A thirsty soul will seek out and gladly partake of the waters of life everlasting.

    Vince

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  5. Thank you Carrie and Thanks Vince.

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  6. Hi Carrie,

    Thank you for a wonderful post! I hope today is one of your good days.

    Why do I write/read Christian fiction? I read it because I like to follow a heroine and hero facing spiritual issues. And reading these stories always helps me in my Christian walk as well.

    Happy Wednesday, Seekerville! Stay warm!

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  7. Good morning Ladies,
    I have missed this little corner of the world, I see Carrie on FB and have read some of her work. For sure Julie, she is a smart woman.
    I am happy that we have so many great christian authors that will keep good reads out there for us readers. todays world is becoming worse as each day goes by in what is accepted and I cringe when I read of sonething new that has happened.
    Thank you seekerville for your wonderful corner of the world that we can visit and feel good about it.
    Carrie I hope there are more good days then bad ones for you as you finish your journey on this ole earth.
    Merry Christmas to all...

    Paula O

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  8. Hi Carrie,

    I just discovered another thing we have in common is our children. My boys are twelve years apart in age, and yours are eleven. I hope your children are as close to each other as mine are.

    Because I write Christian fiction, I always grow closer to God as I deal with the character's spiritual growth.
    Many stories I read bring me closer to God, and that's what I hope my stories will do for readers one day.

    It's good to see you on Seekerville. Thanks for sharing today!

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  9. Good morning and I'm about to put on Green Tea with Peppermint and I have plenty of Bittersweet Chocolate Hazlenut Gluten Free Brownies to go around!

    Thank you, Julie, for inviting me on the blog!

    JENNY--SO glad to meet you last year, too. My most memorable moment was shopping at the Williamsburg shop where they had all this Americana paraphernalia. That was fun!!! I agree--at one time, like when I was very young, most of the reads WERE clean!!! Now what is pornography is sold as "romantic erotica." Huh? Our world sure has changed.

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  10. MARIANNE, Thanks for coming by. Tea should be ready shortly. I recently read a wonderfully written and very clean secular novel. But at the heart of the story there was no Christian faith. And so underlying the story was this mindset of no hope for help from God--only the gritty determination to fix one's problems all by oneself with maybe some random chance helping you. I found that depressing!

    I am so glad you enjoyed my novella, Marianne. Radical obedience is a concept I love!

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  11. Great to see you here, JAN! I am SO glad you enjoyed my post. I remember one I read by Rachel Hauck that really touched me. I am pretty sure it was here on Seekerville, and it was similar to what I wrote. I know many people have written on this topic but I recently felt led to have my main story question be faith-based one.

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  12. JULIE, You are so funny!!! I think my brownies will go good with hazelnut coffee. In fact, I'm going to make you a special cup of hazelnut coffee and I'd be happy to make a pot for your guests, too. Lots of cream and sugar? Um, about the lipgloss--I feel pretty sure that everyone is "secretly" addicted to it but won't confess, so don't feel too bad about that, okay? And if my husband heard that someone actually listens to what I say he might be pretty frightened. The 11-year-old does (sometimes) but I figure that will disappear for a few years once he turns thirteen!!! Hugs!!!

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  13. VINCE n MARY, thanks for coming by!

    BLESS you ANNE for hoping I'll have a good day with my RA today, that means a lot! In fact, your comment reminded me that I wanted to PRAY for everyone who leaves a comment today. So, I am going to start by praying for all of these first commenters. God bless you and have a wonderful day!

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  14. Thanks SO much, Paula! I pray your wish is granted and I'll get better days. I already have, compared to where I was last year and where I was three years ago--much better! Praying for you, too! Thank you for your kind words! Stay warm.

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  15. Beautiful post, Carrie! As a reader I like to read how characters experience the love of God for them. It's also something I'd like to write about.
    Hugs!

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  16. GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE, AND A WARM WELCOME BACK TO MY DEAR FRIEND, CARRIE!!

    Well, I have my remote-controlled fire on, twinkle lights on the hearth, and hazelnut coffee by my side, so it looks to be another cozy day in San Francisco (editing my final book in the Heart of San Fran series)!

    So pull up a chair and pour yourself a steaming cup of Christmas cheer with cinnamon hazelnut coffee OR the dee-lish green peppermint tea Carrie brought. And, WHOA, BABY ... Carrie is serving up Bittersweet Chocolate Hazlenut Gluten-Free brownies, and I've got my very own award-winning (okay, okay, only 3rd place in the Maritz recipe contest, but still!) recipe of Cranberry-Pecan Apple Crisp Cheesecake Pie for anyone craving a few more calories (and who isn't this time of year???). So settle in and enjoy ... both the servings of sweets and the wisdom of Doc Pagels!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. Waving at you JACKIE!!! That is neat! Yes, Cassandra (who BTW is in Julie's Christmas book with me!!!) is almost 13 years older than her bro. He's been overcoming ASD, PTL he is doing so well! What progress we've seen.

    I love what you said about it BLESSES YOU to write Christian fiction. That is SO true for me, too!!!

    Consider yourself prayed for. Would you like some tea or coffee with your brownies (morning health food lol!)

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  18. JENNY!! Boy, you're an earlybird this morning, girlfriend ... of course it does help being halfway across the planet, I suppose ... :) And I SO agree about books in the secular market today. It's like anything else today, it seems -- TV, movies, music -- the river has been polluted, but Christian fiction offers a freshwater stream from which to drink.

    Oh, MARIANNE, I SO agree. No matter how "sweet" a secular novel may be, I find myself craving more hope and truth, which as we all know, is only in God!!

    JAN, excellent point, my friend -- we "SHOULD all ask ourselves why we do what we do, whether we're writers or not." Because not only is HE the Reason for the Season, but He's the Reason we live at all.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  19. No need to enter me, I am already reading it and loving it. Snowed In was magical--just a lovely, heartwarming story of God's goodness for four orphan sisters, and His redemptive plan to set the solitary into families--for both the girls and their new family. Wonderful happily ever after. Go Carrie!

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  20. Hi Carrie,
    Your post today was very interesting. I love the reasons you write Christian fiction. As a reader it is important to know that the books I choose to read will not be offensive. that they will have realistic characters and the story line will make me examine my spiritual life and observe how that works in the story and maybe how I can learn from it. All in all I just walk away a little more Blessed than before I read it
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail)dot)com

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  21. So ... why do I write and read Christian Fiction??

    Because essentially I'm a bottom-liner who thrives on the truth. Yes, I like my "Calgon, take me away" moments reading romance, but as a truth-seeker, I absolutely HAVE to have truth and substance in whatever I read or write, and for me, that can only be found in God.

    VINCE SAID: "I write Christian fiction to provide practical examples of the benefits of living by Christian values. I want to make readers thirsty for the way, the truth, and the life. A thirsty soul will seek out and gladly partake of the waters of life everlasting."

    YEAH ... what he said!! :) And quite well, I might add, as always! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  22. Awesome article Carrie my friend. I guess when I first started reading CF, it was to escape to another time and place different from my own reality ! (Bad Marriage) But today I read and review CF and CNF for my blog. I use to read only Prairie or Amish Fiction as it was peaceful to me and still is. But today I read many different types of Christian books and as I read to review , I find in each one something that speaks to me about life and living and I try to share that with my audience. Not just what the story says but how I felt about the authors abilities to write and how it touched my heart in some way. Yes, everything I read must in some way bring glory to God and be from a author/believer. Without some form of praise or glory to God, there is no point really. I hope someday when I write, I can do as good a job as you and Jules do today !
    Blessings and Much Love,
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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  23. Thanks, MARY, for starting your day with us!

    ANNIE SAID: "I read (Christian fiction)because I like to follow a heroine and hero facing spiritual issues. And reading these stories always helps me in my Christian walk as well."

    AMEN to that, Annie, and we sure need all the help we can get, eh?

    Oh, PAULA ... me too!! So much so that I limit my intake of news because in today's world, so much of it is not very uplifting.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  24. MARIAN, When I wrote this post I was going to add in about how BLESSED I am to not be ALONE in blogging anymore! God brought you, Diana, Noela, and Teresa to the blog, too. I am SO glad to be surrounded by the wonderful Overcoming With God angels!!!

    And I loved the spiritual message in your recently-published short story, MARIAN!!!
    HUGS!!!

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  25. Hi Carrie,

    This topic is so important. When reading secular fiction, I've always thought there was something missing. When I started writing Christian fiction, I realized what was missing--the soul. Every person feels a need for more than the physical world, a connection to God. They may not think about it except in the still, quiet moments of the night, but it's there.

    That's what had been missing from my characters when I wrote secular. Now I'm happy with my novels, and am ready to put them before the public instead of hiding them.

    There are a few secular writers who can reach into the character's soul even though they don't overtly mention God and there are a few Christian writers who never touch the soul, but Christian fiction is more likely to explore the issues of life, death and eternity.

    Christian writing puts the soul into characters.

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  26. KATHY, you are such a blessing to me and a wonderful CPer!!!

    You have such a beautiful way you turn a phrase. Even in your comment, your words are so beautiful. You leave me in awe. Praying for you and John every day (and often in the middle of the night!) Hugs!!!

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  27. I enjoyed your post, Carrie! And I enjoyed meeting you briefly at ACFW this year. :)

    Why do I read Christian fiction? For a number of reasons. I read it because the stories are clean and won't leave unpleasant images in my head (I visualize what's happening as I read :)). I read because I love to see a character grow in his/her understanding of God. I also believe having a spiritual dimension in the character arc takes the characters and the stories that much deeper for the reader.

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  28. JACKIE SAID: "Because I write Christian fiction, I always grow closer to God as I deal with the character's spiritual growth."

    Oh, WELL SAID, Jackie!! This is probably the greatest fringe benefit for Christian authors today -- that drawing closer to our God through the very words and books He has given us!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  29. CARRIE SAID: "And if my husband heard that someone actually listens to what I say he might be pretty frightened."

    LOL ... ditto here, my friend ... about my hubby being "frightened" as well, only he's afraid just what's going to come out of my mouth next ...

    I agree, MARIAN, it IS a beautiful post, but I expected nothing less from Carrie, for sure!

    Hey, KATHLEEN ... you just reminded me I need to purchase a copy of A Cup of Christmas Cheer ... so, Carrie, can you give us a link to the book (I couldn't find it on Deeper Calling Bookstore or Amazon), plus can you order the volumes separately?

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  30. Off the top of my head I'd say I read christian fiction because I like to read good stories without bad language. This is true.

    I don't like books where the guys and gals meet on page one, hop into bed on page two, hate each other on page four and in bed with some new person on page six... with CF I don't have to wade through that stuff. :-)

    In christian fiction, I can enjoy following along in the quest to solve problems and form relationships that are guided by God's principles.
    Thank you, CARRIE for a thought provoking post!

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  31. LINDA FINN SAID: "I use to read only Prairie or Amish Fiction ..."

    OH, THANK GOD that has changed, or I would have missed out on one of my FAVORITE reader friends and supporters. Oh ... cold chills at the thought!! ;)

    Hey, ELAINE ... I SO agree ... this topic is VERY important, and I am so glad Carrie broached it, especially at this beautiful time of year. :)

    JEANNE T SAID: "I also believe having a spiritual dimension in the character arc takes the characters and the stories that much deeper for the reader."

    YES, YES, YES!!! There's a bonus in Christian fiction that no other fiction can claim! That spiritual dimension that not only deepens the story itself, but the reader. Like I say on my website intro, "I have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together." That's what I am looking for in my romance, and I'm SO very glad others are too!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  32. DITTO, MARY!! I would SO much rather feed my mind and my spirit with God's truth than the world's, which is why this post today IS, as you say, very "thought provoking."

    Okay, Carrie ... I'm diving into final edits now and will pop back later, but it's a WONDERFUL feeling knowing I'm leaving Seekerville in such capable hands, my friend. See you later!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. Good morning, Carrie! Thanks for coming by Seekerville today, although I'm staying away from the psychological elements because being analyzed by a smart person is not on my bucket list... :)

    Living with my head tucked into the sand is so much better than dealing with the reality of how crazy I am!

    I read across a wide range of genres and releases. I like spreading my wings and reading across the board. I think that deepens my take on why folks do what they do and in doing that I can then layer and deepen the difference faith and love can make in daily life.

    I'm in NYC and sipping a Red Velvet Latte right now! Just lit a candle for all of our villagers at Our Lady of Victory Church in the financial district... What a blessing to be in NYC at Christmas!





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  34. hi Carrie
    thanks for the great post. I won your Return to Shirley Plantation which I LOVED. You made the people so real and I could relate to their inner struggles so well. It's a great read, folks! Check it out.

    I'm excited to learn that you have a story in the Cup of Christmas Cheer books. I don't need to be in the draw for your giveaway, because another author in the books has gifted it to me already (oh happy, happy, joy, joy). I'm excited that the books are already in a second printing. Must be the great authors and messages presented there.

    As for read/writing Christian fiction: what Vince wrote. He presented my thoughts much better than I could.

    Thanks for sharing at Seekerville!!!

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  35. Ooh, I like this post :) I completely agree with you. I write Christian fiction because I believe God placed the desire in my heart to create stories that can help someone know Him better.
    Secular fiction holds no interest for me anymore (I used to read Nicholas Sparks, etc.) because those stories have no meat, no value, in my opinion.
    We're made to glorify God, so I'm hoping I can do that.

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  36. Carrie, what a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing the heart of Christian fiction writers. I must say, when I first read Karen Kingsbury's series several years ago, I was blown away by her ability to present real life with a Godly solution. I came away feeling like my own walk with the Lord was strengthened. I pray that my own readers experience similar spiritual growth when they read my fiction. I can't wait to read your Christmas story in the Guideposts anthology!! Congratulations on its success!

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  37. Hi CARRIE and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you JULIE for bringing her along to share with us.

    I too hope you are enjoying a "good day" with us. Thanks for the brownies. They are yummy with my coffee this morning. smile

    Most of my romances are "sweet" and not overtly "Christian" They are faith based and hint at God except for Love's Refuge. That one is overt. I write these for the reasons I'm hearing people read Christian fiction. They want a clean read without sex violence, bad language, etc. There are many out there who want the clean read but are also reluctant to read "religion" These are people who maybe have strayed from their religion or belong to other religions. I think of myself as a planter of seeds. Because if a reader likes my books and looks me up, they will discover I'm Christian and maybe they will start searching. But who am I to presume how God uses me. He just does in so many ways that totally amaze me so I really am not going to limit myself into a reason. I just pray I stay close to Him so He can use me in whatever way. smile

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  38. Awesome, Carrie! You are wonderful. And you know if you start missing being a psychologist, you can analyze and counsel me! Even more so than Julie, I need a lot of help! But you know that already. ;-)

    You are right on, Carrie, about making the spiritual arc a central part of your stories. It's so important to ask yourself "What is this story REALLY about?" Great job! And congrats on your published stories! :-)

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  39. RUTHY get your head out of the sand. We could have so much fun psychoanalyzing you. chuckle.

    Okay okay, I'll behave.

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  41. Welcome to Seekerville, Carrie. Thanks for the uplifting post! I admire the courage it must take to handle rheumatoid arthritis. Have you written a character with the disease?

    Love your point that the faith journey must be integral to the plot and the character's growth. Those called to write for God's glory don't just toss in a few prayes and call our stories Christian fiction. I like to think God has a particular reader in mind for my book.

    Thanks for the gluten free brownies! Chocolate is always a favorite.

    Janet

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  42. Hey, CARRIE and JULIE! Julie, the last time I spoke with Carrie on the phone, I laughingly told her I wonder sometimes if she is analyzing me when we talk. We shared a giggle on that one! I have lots of problems so she can continue to practice on me whenever she misses being a psychologist. And she does help me a lot! I'm addicted to lip gloss like Julie...that's kind of scary.

    I love your post, Carrie, and one of the things I love MOST about you is your willingness to obey, like Angelina. I read Christian fiction because of authors such as you and Julie, who write inspiring stories with characters who finally get it! Maybe not right away, but they eventually find out the hard way that God is their answer in every situation.

    The things I have gleaned from reading Christian books has helped me in my own walk with God so many times! Love you, Carrie and Julie...keep up the good work!

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  43. I read almost exclusively Christian fiction at this point in my life. Partly because there are so many wonderful Christian fiction books available that will uplift me and send my thoughts in a positive direction. The most important reason is that it brings me closer to my Lord - makes me consider what I would do in the situation and appreciate how the author guided the characters - allowing them to pursue the will of God in their lives.
    Thanks for sharing, Carrie. ♥

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  44. JACKIE, I love that way of looking at it! I think every Christian Fiction writer wants to bless their reader!

    LINDA, you are so sweet! TY for that encouragement!

    ELAINE M--that is profound! And bless you for now writing for the Christian fiction market.

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  45. Y read Christian Fiction to be inspired by it. To have a glimpse of Gods world in when the World around me is rejecting him
    God bless you Have a terrific God-filled Christmas
    Chris Granville

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  46. JEANNE T SO great chatting with you at conf, too! Thanks for coming by! Tea or coffee? I can't eat JULIE's yummy desert because it has milk in it, sigh…


    MARY H, I have a Mary and a Hicks family member so the Mary Hicks threw me for a second lol! Yes, you won't find that happening in a Christian fiction book! well, as soon as I write this you have to wonder if you will in a super edgy off-label published book that calls itself a Christian fiction pub, ya just never know!

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  47. RUTH. That sounds HEAVENLY!!!! Oh, I got to got to NYC 30 years ago and heard the boys choir sing at a famous church there--and it was one of the events that DREW me back to CHRIST!!! I pray your trip will be a blessed one. And oh, if u feel crazed while you are there they have a ton of psychoanalists there lol. I think the most per capita than anywhere. And as for seeming kookie--I mean how many people go out to lunch with their (writer) friends and talk about how many people they had to kill off before they began their current project. lol! Blessings!

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  48. DEB H, The blessing of these comments, like yours, is also when I hear how people loved my stories. It is like getting an encouraging HUG from God and a pat on the back that says "Keep on going--I've anointed you!" Thanks so much!!!

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  49. COURTNEY, keep on writing--it sounds like God is using you in His kingdom. TY for commenting! Want a brownie? I've got candy canes, too, btw!

    ELAINE--you are such a blessing to me, GF! I love all you ladies from CACW/CQ. It has been like having this amazingly cool online club/research center/encouragement group etc. GOD bless and keep you!!! I love Karen's books too and they were some of the more recent ones that pointed me toward Christian fiction.

    SANDRA L, I feel pretty sure we are in FHL chapter together and I've heard you share these sentiments. God anoints us each for the area where we are to serve. Had my friends (pastor and wife) not planted seeds with this backslider some 30 years ago I dk where I'd be now. I didn't need religion--I wasn't ready for it. I needed love and seeds and my shoulders turned in the direction of Christ. Blessings!

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  50. MELANIE, I cannot tell you what a blessing you have been to me. So glad you and Sarah joined me and Julie K. in our accountability group. I've been more productive and have been encouraged by all of your journeys and your support. Hugs!

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  51. Hey, Larry Craig, Mr. Book Look, for those who know him, tried to leave a comment and Blogger wouldn't let him so he found me on Facebook and sent it to me there and I'm posting it for him.

    Larry Craig You hit a hot button with me on this topic! How many times have I read a Christian fiction book only to find it had nothing, nada, nil Christian in it. (my blood boils even as I write this) Since I sell Christian fiction for a living, I receive catalogs containing these types of books from publishers and promoters on a regular basis. When I call them and ask why they waste their time (and perfectly good trees) to print books that could be sold by secular publishers, they tell me they're trying to reach the "crossover" crowd -- that's lost people who accidentally happen upon an author's non-Christian gentle read, like it, then come back later to read his/her books with real Christian stuff in them. Duh. Even my secular customers will tell you that rarely works. Anyway, thanks for putting a professional voice to something that I've been harping (like an angel) on for years: Christian fiction ought to have something Christian in it. Just sayin'

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  52. JANET D. I will confess that I've had a MS or two that when I've looked back over them it felt like the spiritual element was more of an afterthought than integral to the plot. But I don't want to write like that. And when I read those kinds of books now I kinda pull back from them and wonder.

    YES, I do have a story that includes a FAMOUS man who had JRA yet served in a mighty way. I dk if he'll get more than a cameo appearance in the next MS I write or if he'll ever get a story of his own. He DOES already appear in a MS that JULIE has read and endorsed (he's friends with the family) but I'm planning on including him more, and his RA, in this next MS. Thanks for asking! And consider yourself prayed for!

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  53. DIANA, another of the OWG angels who has blessed me by joining in on my blog--now it has become our blog. I was lonely there for a while! We don't want Paul and Jeff listening in on our conversations or we'd be in big trouble wouldn't we, haha! Love u Diana!!! Praying for you, too!!!

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  54. Reading this, Carrie, makes me second guess myself.

    I really hope the faith message is there in my books. I know it is in some of them. I think in Fired Up the message ends up being powerful, forgiveness.

    But is it there in all of them. I am just determined to entertain readers. I want my books to be fun, clean reads and that's a huge focus for me. And my characters are people of faith.

    But is the faith message always foundational? Is it the tent post that hold up the story?

    I'm not sure it is.

    This is a challenging post and an important one.

    And I hope no reader comes away from my books, hoping for a message of faith and feeling like they couldn't find it.

    I plan to take this post very much to heart.

    God bless you for writing it.

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  55. BETTI n CHRIS, so great to see you lovely ladies here! Lord, thank you for Betti and Chris, and bless them abundantly in this Christmas season and in the year ahead, In Jesus's precious name, Amen!

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  56. Hi Carrie, I am so happy to learn more about you! Have admired your faith on OCWG blog.
    I love to read Christian fiction (155 this year)because I like good, clean reading..also I like to be inspired, have hope and my faith in HIM grow.
    Thanks for your giveaway! Hope you are having a "good" day!!
    Merry Christmas!

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  57. MARY, thanks for posting LARRY's comment and I sure hope I am not bashing anyone over the head with my thoughts.

    MARY, I recently got convicted that this was how I needed to write. When I previously read something similar by Rachel Hauck, I will admit I couldn't totally relate to it. I mean I had my threads, I had an arc, but it wasn't foundational, fundamentally written in as part of the story. My mom was a quilter. I think a better analogy is this--you must have a backing on a quilt to use it. If you don't you may have a GORGEOUS quilt topper but it is NOT a quilt until you have the batting in between and the backing stitched onto it so it is USEFUL (BTW I LOVE USEFUL haha!) Anyway, pray about it (and I am praying for you) and ask yourself, is that batting and backing there and ready and very much part of your story because otherwise it wouldn't be of much use in the Kingdom? Every quilt is different. But they all need a backing. And some quilts are for summer and others for winter. Hmmm, I might need to write another post on this haha! Blessings!

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  58. Good morning, Carrie and welcome back to Seekerville.

    I'll tell you a secret about me not many know.

    I had RA. I was unable to roll up the manual window of my Honda. I couldn't lift my hand some days to brush my hair. Yet, I was working as a nurse so once the meds kicked in, I had to go out there and do my job.

    I was healed of RA in 1993 and I've been totally symptom free since.

    I pray that same complete and total healing for you.

    Congratulations on your release.

    I write whatever God leads me to write. As long as I am talking to the big guy, everything is ok.

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  59. I understand this. I once read a 'Christian' author's book that was very clearly a makeover from her secular writing days. In this book, she described the hero as a 'delectable hunk of man flesh'. Her words, not mind. NOT Christian fiction material, either, in my book. I actually emailed her and took her to task for it, too. Understandably, I did not receive a reply. There are some authors who clearly love the Lord and seek to glorify Him in their books, but some are just adding a bit of Christ to reach a larger audience. I once read a Christian ficition book without one mention of God in it and a story line that was iffy. Since then, she has written better ones, though.

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  60. I totally agree with the author of this article, that she writes Christian fiction to minister to people. I was going through a horrendous time spiritually last year as a result of a devastating situation with my only child. I was reading Katie Ganshert's book, Wishing on Willows and one day I picked the book up to begin reading again and right there on the page I left off at the night before was God speaking to me!! Of course, the character was hearing God's voice to her, but it amazed me that the God of this entire universe knew I'd be experiencing this time and then had Katie write what I needed to be ministered to. So awesome. This is why I READ Christian fiction. I want to read a good book but I don't want profanity and vulgarity and stories that are not consistent with a Christian lifestyle. I want to read good writing but I want ministry, too. A good Christian fiction book leaves the reader pondering after closing the book and trying to make their walk with the Lord better. Incidentally, Mary Connealy's book, writing under Mary Nealy, "Ten Plagues' was a terrific novel, both gritty and spiritual and truthful to the Word.

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  61. One more thing I feel like saying. Larry's comment about the publsihers saying they're trying to reach the 'crossover' crowd smacks of the word I absolutely hate: 'tolerance'. Jesus never tolerated s. Why should we? Tolerance is just another word for compromise. Rant over.

    2 minutes ago · Like · 1

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  62. JACKIE, So glad you are enjoying OWG and we always pray our faith, despite our circumstances, will be an encouragement to others. Wow, that is a lot of books!!! Good for you!!! I still prefer my audiobooks when I can get them. Listening to a great one right now by Lauraine Snelling.

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  63. TINA, what a blessing! I dk why I haven't had healing, much less remission, but I trust God. He didn't remove Paul's thorn either. For some of us, I believe He has to show that when we are weak then He is strong in us. I'll tell you a not-so-secret, too--three years ago I was so ill I was sure God was taking me home to be with him. And I believe He gave me a choice as I was departing. And here I yet am. I give Him all the glory in everything I do. Praying for you and your writing!

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  64. Rachel Hauck is one writer, among others, whose books move me greatly. Her Songbird Series was one of the most powerful series I have ever read. You could feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit all over those books. And the Lowcountry books, too! I love to read a CF book that is full of God.

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  65. SUSAN I really get this and I remember very early in the days when Christian fiction was just catching fire, I'd read a book and think, "This is just a secular book where they stop every once in while to pray."
    That's it.

    There was no real faith thread.

    I hope most Christian fiction is better than that now. I agree you can tell when it's not really written as Christian fiction or by Christians.

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  66. And when you think about it, how deeply cynical for a writer who's not a Christian to write a book for the Christian market.

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  67. SUSAN S, Wow! I've had that happen, too, and shook my head. Being on the "inside" for the past eight years or so I've heard of many stories like this--simply trying to reach a broader market but not really writing a Christian fiction just a somewhat cleaner version of a secular novel. I figure they have to answer to God eventually.

    I hope MARY C read what you wrote about her novel speaking to you!!!

    Praying God blesses you and thank you for your kind words about the post.

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  68. Welcome Carrie! Glad to see you here! I love Christian fiction because it is clean, no bad language and it tells of God's love.

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  69. Thank you for coming by and sharing your message with Seekerville today. I see that your column has triggered a great deal of thought amongst us, and with me as well.

    Why do I write Christian fiction?

    Well, for a long time, I believed that God had some other plan for my writing, but now I can see that He's been preparing me my life long to take on a seemingly simplistic task: to write stories to show that we are all His children.

    This may seem an obvious part of Christian fiction, or at least it seemed that way to me when I started out a few years ago, but the struggles I've had over the past few years belie that notion. I've discovered that the clearest things are the most difficult to express.

    I've had desperate times when I've have felt it necessary to shift course, or change direction. When I feel this way, I know I must be still about it and pray. I have no doubt that God will let me know what move I should make next.

    Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on this important question.

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  70. MORE FROM LARRY CRAIG 'MR. BOOK LOOK' and furthermore...... just kidding, I won't add any furthermore. Mary, there's no question your books give a message as well as entertain: I'm still getting a kick out of HUSBAND TREE

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  71. MORE FROM LARRY CRAIG 'MR. BOOK LOOK you wouldn't believe what the publishers will tell you...with a strait face even. I listened to a big shot from a "fundamental" publisher go on and on about the standards of their house; then I asked why they carried such and such an author and the big shot said "I don't know". Well I do, can anybody say $$$$$$$$$$$$$ Now a lot of the big secular publishing houses have their "Christian" division; who's doing the editing there? hmmm? Ok that's a lot more info than anybody asked for.

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  72. Christmas greetings, Carrie, & Julie!

    CARRIE, I loved your post - your reasons for WRITING Christian fiction, are among the very reasons I READ Christian fiction! I want to be entertained by the books I read, I want to read books in which I am NOT bombarded by sex and bad language, I want to spiritually benefit in reading how fictional characters have dealt with life's issues by growing in their Christian faith, and I read because I feel God leads me to do so - as one of the many ways to help me continue, and grow, in a close relationship with Him.

    I was a "backslider" (as you say) years ago, also, and realize the importance of surrounding myself with spiritual things/people as often as possible - I would LOVE to read "A Cup of Christmas Cheer"! And speaking of "seeds" - I definitely think God uses Christian fiction as "seeds" to draw people closer to Himself.

    JULIE - thanks for hosting, you know how much I love you, and cherish EVERY written/spoken words of yours!





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  73. Thank you so much for sharing your pain and reminding us of God's promise to bless those who are obedient. May He continue to be your comfort and strength as you minister to others through your writing. Merry Christmas!

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  74. PIPER, I feel the same way. When I first started writing Christian fiction I had a story about a time traveler (I still may work on this!) and that was the main theme--we are all God's children. In my novella, I have that as one of the threads. We have too much division in our world. Thanks for coming by. Brownie and coffee?

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  75. CARRIE - I wanted to, also, tell you that I admire you, for the many things you accomplish - while enduring pain. I can identify with your good days being bad days, for other people; and understand how hard it, often, is to push yourself to do the things you need/have to, and not be physically able to do many of the things you would love to do. I pray for your healing, and continued strength from God!

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  76. BONNIE, you are such a blessing! Am praying for you and I thank you for faithfully praying for me. Right now I feel like what little "get up and go" I had has "got up and went" but God will enable me to do what needs doing--like he did for the Snowed In story and for the other work He's given me to do. Hugs!!!

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  77. Hi Carrie! Hi Julie!
    Loved your post, Carrie. I also enjoyed your article, in case I forgot to tell you in one of the recent copies of Christian Counseling Today. Excellent!

    I enjoy all kinds of books in the Christian and secular markets. I read a lot like most of us probably do. However, I write Christian fiction because I love exploring my characters faith issues which sometimes can be my own. Therefore, I explore and grow in my Christian journey as I keep writing.

    Any hot chocolate around here?
    Smiles,
    Jill

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  78. Susan and Mary, I think that's very true in some cases... the gratuitous "prayer" or "deliverance" without being embedded or organic to the story is irksome.

    I always wonder did the author just miss the mark or is it just not my cup of tea? I hesitate to criticize because I love light inspirational fiction that shows reality without preaching.

    That's a tough row to hoe, so I wonder if personal preference is part of the question?

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  79. And yeah, NYC is wonderful! We walked along the river/seaport/South Street this morning where there are still sections out of electricity (fouled grid) from Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy. And Sandy and I have sharp feelings for one another because I spent the night on the floor of the Omaha Airport because they closed La Guardia (understandingly!) an hour before my plane from annoying Mary Connealy was scheduled to land in NYC.

    But the nice thing is I wrote nearly 20K that week and the airport coffee shop opened at 3:00 AM!!!! I LOVE THE AIRPORT COFFEE SHOP!

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  80. Thank you, Carrie, for a post that, according to these comments, struck some hearts today, including mine.

    Reading affects my mood, my attitude, my behavior, and my thought life, and I've found that the majority of the secular fiction I've read affects all those areas of my life in a negative way, and I don't like the results. Christian fiction, however, affects me in positive ways and helps point my attention to my Heavenly Father

    And that's the reason I write Christian fiction. My personal relationship to God through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the very foundation of who I am, so it's going to be in what I write. And I want to point others to, as Vince so aptly put it, The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

    Interestingly enough, when I've allowed secular things to distract me, not only do I flounder in my walk with God, but my stories flounder, too.
    Thank you for this reminder today to remember where my focus should be. On Him!

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  81. I read Christian fiction because I have always understood and grasped spiritual truths best in story. God's Story captivates me, and I am most touched when I read the stories authors have written that share a portion of His.

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  82. First off, loved Julie's intro of Carrie on this wonderful post! Love the friendships here between you ladies, utterly precious to me :)

    Carrie, wow to your comments here today. You are SUCH an inspiration and I always learn so much from you, both from your heart and from your wisdom. What a treasure you are to your readers and to God's kingdom.

    I read Christian fiction because it speaks to me; I relate to the characters in many situations as they learn, grow, and overcome; that radical obedience you spoke of with Angelina Rose is something I relate to or desire more of; I'm inspired by Christian fiction in my own faith; and it's a clean read that I'm usually encouraged by. I need all of these factors when reading fiction, but Christian fiction does that the most for my preferences.

    You're such a blessing, Carrie, to your fellow writers and readers, thanks for following the calling God placed on your heart! Hugs to you my friend!
    Kara

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  83. Hi Carrie, I'm grateful that you write christian fiction because it gives something healthy to read and I'm not worried if my kids read them. Plus it's uplifting to read about people overcoming horrible events in their lives through God's love!
    jennydtipton at gmail dot com

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  84. Carrie, welcome! What a great post. You know, I think it's important to think about why we write. And it might be different for everyone.

    Thanks for making me think, today!

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  85. Welcome, Carrie! Thanks for a very inspiring and thought-provoking post!

    One thought that has upheld and encouraged me through this journey of writing Christian fiction is that Jesus so often told a story to make his point. So I feel like I'm in really good company!

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  86. JULIA T, I love your headshot btw! TY and I pray you will have blessing upon blessing during this Christmas season! Hey, I do have more tea and brownies but I've consumed three myself so far, lol!

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  87. JILLIAN, would u like mocha, coconut milk hot cocoa, rice milk version, or with milk? Lotsa options at the Pagels' household and here on Seekerville!

    TY, hey my old boss, Eric Scalise asked me to write that article and then he had me add a little stronger language at the beginning that I thought might get me grief because of the controversial subject, but I heard nary a word!

    Praying for you Jillian, that God will bless your writing in the year ahead!!! Oh--hey are you going to BR this year?

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  88. KARA, this is the reason why I BUG you about connecting up in FL with other writers (would love for u to get to some conferences down there) because of the friendships you will forge and cement. You will be so blessed. And the cool thing about actually meeting up with other authors, whose work you read yourself, is meeting the real life personality behind the writing. And one truth I have learned (ahem, putting on the psych hat here, please forgive me, or maybe it is discernment speaking) those people I've met who are really nice godly people are the ones whose books I enjoy most. So it is really easy to become friends with someone whose books you love because in most cases the person behind the books is lovable, too (like Julie!!!) I have always been encouraged by the friends here on Seekerville. They started this blog about a year or two after I'd joined ACFW and I was not yet connected anywhere. I thought "I want that" I want that friendly support. And now I have it, PTL!!! He is SO good. Praying you have the same and next year you can come back here and share with the Seekervillians!!!

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  89. JENNY T, I LOVE stories about overcoming, hence my tagline Hearts Overcoming Thought Time and the blog, Overcoming With God. We used to not have God as part of our title. My senior contributor, Diana Flowers, and I thought it was intrinsic and inferred but we didn't want to leave any chances. Praying God blesses your life in amazing ways this next year!

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  90. CLARI (love ur name!) you said about how story reading affects your mood and I have that happen too. Even with some claiming to be "Christian" fiction but with an undergirding of despair, which makes me wonder… So I don't stick with those. Praying God will continue to bless your walk with Him and with your writing for Him!

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  91. One reason I write fiction is because I am doing what God tells me to, and I don't always have to understand why. That's not intended to be smug, just an admission that there is an element of mystery in the writing process --- you put it out there, and God makes of it what He chooses.

    But one could also ask why Jesus wrote fiction (if the parables are not fiction, then what are they?). It is a way to tell the truth.

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  92. BONNIE ROSE, Thanks for coming by.

    MISSY and MYRA, Thanks for the warm welcome to Seekerville. Yes, I strain my own brain thinking about this stuff, ACK! But I'm just trying to please my Savior.

    Praying for all three of you this sunny day (in VA!) and that your Christmases will be merry!

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  93. Carrie,
    Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today and sharing your reason for writing! Go God!!! :)

    I know you've touched many in both careers. Continued success and abundant blessings.

    Merry Christmas!

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  94. Thanks so much Debbie! I do miss working with kids and helping families. I miss that a lot, especially on days when I feel really good. I mean I studied hard and long to become a psychologist. But I trust God and I was no longer able to continue to serve Him in that capacity. I still do advise people but don't practice any more. One of my favorite consultations is as to whether hazelnut latte and hazelnut bittersweet brownies REALLY should be consumed together and if so--should one wipe off one's lipgloss first. ;)

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  95. Ruthy, stuck in the Omaha Airport. And I just DROVE AWAY AND LEFT HER.

    I have a daughter who lives TEN MINUTES AWAY. You could have slept there. And arranged a marriage between her and your son while you were staying with her.

    Of course she's perky....so is Ruthy.

    Ruthy would have gotten NO WORK DONE.

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  96. "...you said about how story reading affects your mood and I have that happen too. Even with some claiming to be "Christian" fiction but with an undergirding of despair, which makes me wonder… So I don't stick with those."
    I've had the same thing happen, Carrie. Those authors tend not to get picked up by me again. I can all-too-easily put myself in a bad mood, I don't need any extra help. :-)

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  97. TINA! That is awesome! I praise God for your healing!

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  98. Hi Carrie & Julie,

    What a wonderful post! I write Christian fiction because I love showing flawed characters who learn they are worthy of God's unconditional love. That journey is so much fun to write, and with it, I want to bring readers hope for their lives. That whatever they may be going through, God is with them.

    It was so nice to meet you, Carrie, even for a few seconds at the conference. Hope next time we'll get the opportunity to chat!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  99. DAVE, I completely agree! A parable (aka fiction) is a way to put the truth into a form hearers are more likely to identify with and understand.

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  100. I like to read Christian fiction because I enjoy reading and enjoy reading heartwarming stories without dirty words ect. in them. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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  101. Ohhhh -- a topic after me own heart! For years I didn't know Christian fiction existed but once I read my first inspirational book there was no going back. I pretty much read nothing but Christian fiction. Why? Because there's more depth to the story. Because the books make me think, re-evaluate and yes, sometimes squirm.

    I read somewhere that when we become emotionally engaged in a book our brain actually accepts the story as happening to us and our memory stores it as actual experience. That gives us more empathy and expands our ability to relate to others. How cool is that? So, obviously, I want to store the best books in my memory banks -- and that would be Christian fiction! God bless all authors for answering the call and sharing their faith.

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  102. SUE great seeing you, too! It was a busy conference! Praying your writing is blessed!

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  103. I wonder how a Christian writer could write secular fiction yes I know some write warm cozy books and that I understand but I wonder how they can write books that have a lot of cussing or swearing and I dont mean light stuff I mean the really strong language and heavy sex scenes. It just doesn't seem right to me.
    I know each has there own reasons for what they right and its not up to me to judge.

    Carrie books I am thinking of that I loved were books by people like Agatha Christies Loved her books.

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  104. Hi, Carrie!

    I read Christian fiction to enjoy a clean read, an adventure to places I can't travel, or to learn something about life, history, and the experiences/lessons other people share through their writing.

    I write to encourage and strengthen readers in their relationship with God and instill the truth of God's word through real-to-life situations. And if I can create characters readers relate to, thereby helping them laugh or cry or feel a little less alone, then that's good too.

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  105. I read secular genres in addition to Christian fiction, and am able to find fiction that I enjoy. Usually word-of-mouth leads me to those books because you certainly can't judge a book by its cover.

    Mary Connealy! It was accidentally bumping into westerns by Sigmund Brouwer (his Sam Keaton series for Bethany House) and you that convinced me to give Christian fiction another try. Then I read Tamara Alexander's Colorado series, and then Lynn Austin and then I found the Seekers, and now I have a Seeker to-be-read stack that keeps growing. It's all your fault ;-)

    Nancy C

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  106. NANCY!!! We got you! HAH!

    There is so much fun in Christian fiction these days. There's just something for everybody.

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  107. I like to write Christian fiction because it's a great way for me to grow and learn about God. It's amazing how I can plot and 'think' I know the inspirational arc but it grows out of the story as I get deeper into it and the characters' heads. So that Christian message?? I think it has always been for me first and hopefully for someone else as well.

    Thanks Carrie and Julie!
    (By the way, Carrie is the photo in the dictionary next to EXTROVERT and completely amazes me with all she pulls together and does to promote Christian fiction.

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  108. DAVE, ANGIE, and KAV I am praying for all of you and I'm glad God has put in your hearts the desire to read and write for Him.

    Kav, once I found the Thoenes and Janette Oke about 25 years ago (haha, yeah I "found" them) there's been no going back for me either. I "blame" my friend Libbie Cornett for steering me in that direction. I was a young enthusiastic psychologist with my own practice and then a new baby and NO notion whatsoever that I would be writing historical Christian fiction like them!!!
    Blessings to you!

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  109. JENNY B, you bring up a great point--God leads us all in the way we need to write. There are many secular books written by Christian people and they are very enjoyable and clean. There are books you can tell the author is a believer. There's really a place for those as mentioned earlier. My point for ME is the WHY of MY writing. there are many people who write to the unsaved market with the hopes of drawing them to Christ via a book that is not in the Christian market. That isn't what I do but I think that is admirable to cast out the net or to plant those early seeds or prepare the ground. We all do different things to reach readers as God directs us. Thanks, Jenny!

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  110. Natalie, Sounds like u r anointed to write! Congrats on your finalist status in the ACFW contest! Praying for God's blessings on your writing for Him!

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  111. Hi Carrie! Enjoyed your post! I'm an avid reader and I love Christian fiction. The book is clean: no cursing and sex, but it's wonderful storylines that take me away from my pain and the trials I'm going through. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this giveaway and please enter my name.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  112. Hi Carrie! I enjoyed your post so much. You have been a blessing to me whether you realize it or not. Kindness is a virtue!

    I read Christian fiction because I simply need to. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have been lifted up, been made to smile, and believe it or not have been convicted by the Holy Spirit for something I should be doing and have not been! God can has has used Christian author's to spread the Gospel. Perhaps some people would differ with me, but that is o.k. because I truly believe this. When we live in a world that says as a woman we can never measure up because we aren't pretty enough, thin enough, or sexy enough, that is enough to depress anyone! I have read quite a few books that spoke to my heart that this way of thinking isn't of God. So Christian authors please keep on writing for the Lord because readers like me are listening!

    Blessings!
    Judy B

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  113. Hi Carrie! The character with JRA that serves in a mighty way will bless your readers! Love that you're giving him life in your story.

    Thanks for the prayers!

    Janet

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  114. DEB, No, I am not extroverted lol but I wish I was--it is supposed to be so good for your health! Anything getting accomplished by Tired Old Mommy is simply evidence of the Holy Spirit in me! Well, and me being obedient as He enables me to do. So great seeing you at ACFW conf and I love having you on CACW/CQ, Deb!!! Wish you could make another road trip back to Colonial Williamsburg soon! Blessings!

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  115. BARB and JUDY, so great seeing you both over here! I know you two are both avid Christian fiction readers and are prayer warriors, too. We all struggle over at OWG and reading has ministered to all of us, too. Am very privileged to now be published in fiction (as is Marian, now, too!)

    JUDY, that is very sweet of you to say--you always make me smile when I see your comments on OWG and on FB.

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  116. JANET, I was somewhat shocked when I discovered that this historic figure suffered from JRA. And I'd love to write something that includes his manservant because I don't think he could have accomplished all he did without this man beside him. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  117. Oh wow. I'm late to this party. I actually read the post in the middle of the night (because I was up sick). :-( And then I totally forgot to comment. Carrie, I think you summarize an excellent reason for writers to write Christian fiction. Even though the characters are "make believe," they can embody and exemplify truths from God's Word. I've endeavored to do this with every one of my novels, though I won't claim to always succeed.

    Thank you so much!

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  118. NAOMI, praying for your healing, esp. with little ones to care for! As a minister's wife I imagine you are super mindful of the impact of your writing for the Kingdom. Many blessings to you.

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  119. Okay,Tired Old Arthritic Mommy is getting ready to head to bed. But I will be back tomorrow to reply to any comments. Also, I have set out the bittersweet chocolate hazelnut brownies, hot peppermint green tea (mine is from Trader Joes), coffee for the brave (with hazelnut creamer for JULIE) and some Starbucks cocoa and marshmallows.

    Thanks so much for having me on and many blessings to all the readers and writers of Christian fiction.

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  120. I am a reader. Christian Fiction gives me an all round satisfying read.

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  121. I have a friend who is a writer and she helped me more than she knows in my walk with the Lord. Would love to read more of Carrie's writings. We should all be in God's will for our lives. Even knowing we will fall, He is there to help us up and to praise, worship and give Him the glory. Without Him we are nothing.

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  122. WHOA, BABY ... I come back late in the day to 121 comments??? YOWZA, Carrie, we need to have you on a LOT more!! :)

    MELANIE SAID: "Even more so than Julie, I need a lot of help!"

    More than moi??? There are people on this blog who would argue that, my friend ... ;)

    YAY, DIANA ... another lip-gloss queen!! LOVE IT!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  123. BONNIE ... yes, I do know, and the feeling is MORE than reciprocated, my friend!! LOVE YOU!!

    JILL ... one steaming hot chocolate coming up with real spray whipped cream and marshmallows!!

    CARRIE ... you did an absolutely FABULOUS job here today, my friend, as I knew you would. Thank you SO much for giving me this much-needed editing time and for blessing the folks of Seekerville so much!!

    LOVE YOU!!
    Julie

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  124. A great post, Carrie, and speaks for so many of us who feel compelled to share our faith through writing,

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  125. Hi Carrie! I love the message in your post. We are all accountable to God when we write, but especially when we write in His name. You broke down the components of a character's core values to the most element point, what makes the character tick. If an element of God's will isn't at the core of a character's conflict, will the conflict be sustainable?

    I'm so glad Julie invited you to share your insights. Julie's characters are quite complex, aren't they? They make you think as they grow, always a memorable combination.

    I'm eager to read your Christmas story!

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  126. Hi CARRIE, it was wonderful reading your interesting post here on Seekerville! How great to hear of your reasons for writing Christian Fiction. And your answer - IS the point of all Christian Fiction I believe. We're here for a purpose, and to spend so much time doing anything other than being in God's will and doing His work on earth, is not being good stewards of His time.
    I read Christian Fiction for many reasons - It's a love of mine that God has sought to bless me with by having me on OWG enabling me to, in various ways, minister to others; it teaches me untold things in character development and spiritual maturity; it blesses and helps my marriage and friendships; and yes it also entertains me and has helped me through many times of pain and sickness by providing a sufficient distraction! :) And being a clean, healthy read, there are only good things going into my mind. Thanks again for your post Carrie, and your friendship, support, and your writing!! God bless.

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  127. Hello Carrie,
    We met at the airport giftshop in Indianapolis going home from ACFW.
    Loved reading your post above and so agree that Christian Fiction should be all about bringing readers closer to the heart of God.

    I love writing Christian fiction to share God's awesome attributes on the pages of my novels. I pray His mercy, grace, forgiveness, never-ending love, peace and joy will come more alive to my readers and minister to them.

    I enjoy letting my characters go though regular hard times--like my readers might be experiencing--to reiterate God will never leave you or forsake you. He is always trustworthy. (And isn't it fun that they're the smae troubles and trials in 1800s as today? SO my historicals work just as well in the 21st century.

    And, too, I find in the beginning, sometimes in the middle or at the end of the book, I myself come a little closer to His heart. And that's exactly where I want to stay!

    I'm so excited since ACFW to know and meet SO MANY Christian writers! God is doing something great in His Kingdom through His daughters and their writing. Hugs and Blessings from Texas!

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  128. Carrie what a wonderful post. I write Christian fiction for several reasons:

    1. It is what I love to read
    2. I want to please the Lord with my writing
    3. I want people to realize God should be in every part of our lives
    4. To give readers an alternative to secular writing

    I'm so sorry about your arthritis. My mom and sister both suffered from that disease and I know it is very painful.

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  129. I Like to read ChristianFiction because they good clean books that usually also have Romance involved. And, because they are going to bring some message of faith in the story. I don't worry about bad language of sex acts . As a Christian I believe this is the way to go for us. I enjoyed reading this Carrie. I have liked you on FB. Love the OWG blog. And I find Seekerville to be fun to listen to all of the authors chat.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  130. Carrie, I am a OWG follower too, as you know.
    Maxie Anderson mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  131. Hi Carrie, As you know I am an OWG follower and so enjoy your blog. I've read both of your stories and have really enjoyed them, Return to Shirley Plantation, could picture everything and just about hear all goings on !!! Now the picture on the cover of A Cup of Christmas Cheer just makes me want to be there with my feet up with a good book, A Cup of Christmas Cheer !!! I read Christian fiction for the comfort I think, it is so easy to read and a feel good after.. wonderful prize ..thanks for the chance to win.. Thanks.. Rosemary rfoley at salemstate dot edu

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  132. MARY P n Janet G you really boiled it down to what it is all about from a reader/writer POV! Thanks!

    LEANN, I loved what you said and "Without Him we are nothing." BRRRR, I don't even want to think of not having Him. BTW, I have some free short fiction online at Colonial Quills--go to the Anthology page and click on those links! It's called A Forted Frontier Christmas.

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  133. AUDRA, One of the things I have in common with JULIE is "the bottom line" perspective like you pointed out. As much as I ramble in my speech and writing, I'm big on bottom line faith and principles. Don't you love it when you are asked, "What is this about?" If you know your core story and the principles of faith in the story it sure makes it easier to answer! Praying you are blessed this Christmas with abundant joy!

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  134. NOELA, We were praying for you before you came on at OWG and I am still praying for you (and thank you for your prayers, too!) SO very glad you've been blessed by participating and you've blessed others. We've had a lot of discussion about what kinds of books we are willing to review on the blog and we've all agreed--they have to include the elements I discussed in this post. Big hugs Angel Noela!!!

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  135. Caryl, thanks for coming by! Nice meeting you too and congrats on your new book. Glad u got to connect with others at ACFW. This is why I served as VA/WVA coordinator and MidAtlantic Zone Director--I felt compelled to help people connect with others and give support. I love my small Tidewater group--and we just had an awesome Christmas luncheon. Praying for God to bless your writing and connections, Caryl!

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  136. Oh, TERRI, I LOVE lists!!! Seriously, I do. And I suspect our Martha Stewart-in-recovery-Julie does too! But since I was on Seekerville I thought I'd best not boil it down to just a few talking points but get expansive haha. Praying God brings you big visions for your writing this year!

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  137. MAXIE!!!!! One of my fave people, so great to see you here!!! How could I ever forget you are OWG Follower (our 200th!) You will always be special! LOVE your HEART!!! I am specifically praying for you to have a Kindle in 2014. HUGS!!!

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  138. CHICKI, good things come to him (her!) who waits (and waits and waits lol!) THANKS so much for agreeing to be a Beta reader for my current MS. There will be a box going out to you early in the coming week, dear CHICKI!!! Praying that God will bless your life with abundance in 2014!

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  139. JULIE, God bless you for having me on Seekerville, again, and it was so much fun. Very grateful we had so many people come by and leave comments!

    http://www.shopguideposts.org/a-cup-of-christmas-cheer.html

    This is the link for purchase. Currently shows as Out of Stock but I think people can order it and wait on the delivery. They had to do a second print run after the first 30000 sold out. But the new copies should be in soon.

    LOVE YOU, JULIE!!!!

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  140. Hi Carrie! What an excellent and thought provoking post. Praying for your healing.

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  141. Carrie - What an encouragement you were to me! I can relate to you so much, as I have Young Onset Parkinson's disease and the body doesn't often want cooperate. I write because I believe God has called me to and because I LOVE it. My motto: Living to write. Living to write - for Him.

    God bless you!

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  142. Wonderful things to consider, Carrie! Have been thinking about my WIP and need to give this more consideration. Thank you!

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  143. I read Christian fiction because I like good clean fun.

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  144. PAT, KAREN and MICHELLE, Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts about CF. Praying God keeps blessing you with CF!

    SHERRI, PRaying God will bring you healing of a miraculous nature. If He does not, I know He'll give you grace and mercy and His provision will shine through your writing.

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  145. I read Christian fiction because I don't like reading books with bad words and junk like that.I love a good clean story.

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  146. I read Christian fiction because it is God honoring. Every once in awhile i will come across one that says it is and get into it to find actually sexual stuff or foul language. So still have to be careful. The stories are stories the family can read. You can put them on your books shelf and not be worried someone sees them. Because you know they stand for good. I am thankful for authors like Carrie who let God direct them. He will reward you for being a Christian writer. Thanks Carrie I so enjoy your writings.

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  147. Julie Lessman said " Cold chills at that thought " !!! I know Jules, your so lucky I didn't go PLAIN !!! We lived arround and near the plain folks for 6 years. Simple life is very relaxing.
    Linda Finn
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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