In this three-book novella collection, each story is based during a different calendar season, as well as, a different season of life, which makes this collection entertaining and something for every reader.

In An Apple a Day (1st Novella), a summertime romance kindles when Doctor Brian Coridan spends time away from his practice at Blossom Lake, Wisconsin, and he meets Talia Fountain, a health food store owner with her own non-medical license remedies.  At first the two don’t see eye-to-eye, but the charm of small town living, “mom’s apple pie”, and church-goer get togethers bring them together for an unforgettable romance.  I found this story fun and entertaining.  The summertime experiences living in a small town felt real.  I especially liked the banter between the main characters.

September Sonata (2nd Novella) tells the story of newly empty-nesters Krissy and Blaine finding love again.  After a work-related injury, firefighter, Blaine is in pain and frustrated with his homebound recovery.  He has no idea that his marriage has lost its spark.  Krissy is a school teacher who is struggling with her new season in life.  Her daughters are away at college and she’s suddenly aware she’s been taken for granted too many years.   When a new principal at school shows interest in getting to know her, she struggles with what ifs.  I found these character’s struggles realistic in every way and was drawn into this story from the first page.  This story was well-written and touched on a topic that isn’t seen in many Christian books.

Let It Snow (3rd Novella) takes place on a snowy Christmas Eve.  Widow Shari Flannering plans to spend her first Christmas without her deceased husband in her hometown of Forest Ridge, Wisconsin, but a blizzard changes those plans.  She finds herself stranded at the bed-and breakfast inn of her ex-fiancée’s mother.  Doctor Brenan Sheppard never got over Shari ending their engagement in a letter and running off to marry someone she’d just met.  Now a missionary in Brazil and home for the holidays, he’s ready to take the plunge and propose to a woman he met on the mission field.  Seeing Shari again stirs old feelings, but can he get past her betrayal and trust his feelings again?

Andrea Boeshaar is a great story teller.  Her characters are well developed and relatable.  Although I eagerly turned the page with each story – totally captivated- my favorite was Let It Snow.  I liked Shari’s determined cheerfulness despite the painful loss of her husband.  And of course, Christmas themed stories are always fun to read anytime of the year.  If you like sweet inspirational romances, you’ll fall in love with this novella collection!  I look forward to reading more of Andrea Boeshaar’s books in the future.

Seasons Of Love, Published by Prism Book Group (Dec., 2015); 200 pages

Reviewer:  Ruth Reid

 

 

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In every premise, it is conflict that drives the communication forward. To prove your premise you must disprove the negation of your premise. The disproving of the negation of your premise is what actually propels your communication. If there is no negation and no conflict possible in your premise, then your communication will be stillborn, with no direction or goal. Many Christian movies fail from a lack of conflict. They should keep in mind that the world is caught in a spiritual battle; thus, conflict is both necessary and inevitable.

Drama means, “to do” or “to perform.” In performance, for every action, there must be a reaction. To illustrate this, have two friends stand five feet apart, facing each other, and ask them to tell each other in as many ways as they so desire, “ I love you” for no less than two minutes. After a very short period of time, this dialogue without conflict will become very boring. However, if you ask one to convince the other of his or her love for the other, and you ask the other to resist this advance, the dialogue will be very entertaining, and one, or the other, will have to relent, thereby establishing the premise for that brief scene as either “love triumphs over rejection” or “resistance destroys love.”

Some Christian radio and television interview programs are boring to all but a few loyal supporters, because the host avoids conflict or loses sight of the value of loving conflict. In these boring programs, the host and the guest spend all their time affirming each other so that the program remains static and uninteresting. If the host defines what he wants to discover in the interview, which is his premise, in such a way as to probe who his guest is and why the guest is there by asking the tough questions which the audience needs and wants to know, then there will be real dialogue. The interview will be interesting because there is conflict built into the program, even if only on the level of a premise such as “curiosity discovers important information.”

This conflict does not have to be mean, petty, or angry, as so much conflict is on non–religious television. The conflict can and will be loving if the tough questions which prove the host’s premise are asked in love. A thoughtful, loving host can ask tough questions in a loving way to reveal the interesting story that every guest has to tell. The conflict in the interview is merely the vehicle by which the guest proves his or her story to the host and the audience. Without a clear –cut premise, there will be no conflict, and neither the host nor the audience will have any idea what the host is trying to communicate.

There are four basic plots that categorize the primary types of conflict inherent dramatic stories: 1) Man against man, 2) Man against nature, 3) Man against himself, and 4) Man against the supernatural or sub–natural, including aliens.

These categories help us to evaluate the premise or main proposition in a story, but they may not help us determine whether the story fits the Christian worldview. Another traditional literary approach proposed by Northrop Frye[1] divides stories into five different kinds:

Mythic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by an act of God or god(s).

Heroic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by his or her own means.

High Ironic: The triumph of the hero/protagonist(s) by a quirk of fate.

Low Ironic: The failure of the hero/protagonist(s) by a quirk of fate.

Demonic: The defeat of the hero/protagonist(s) by evil, demons, et cetera.

A story that fits the Christian version of the traditional mythic story, where the God of the Bible or Jesus Christ helps the hero or protagonist overcome his or her antagonist, is a story that fits the Christian worldview. A story, however, where the hero or protagonist—especially a Christian one—is defeated by demons is probably not a story that Christians should want to see because it contradicts the biblical worldview.

Beyond the basic story types, there are various themes.
The eight basic themes are: Survival, Redemption, Revenge, Betrayal, Coming of Age, Love and Romance, Mistaken Identity, and “Fish Out of Water.”

To be continued…

Please read HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL) for a complete guide to filmmaking.

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by Judith Couchman

Rock-House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I write the first sentence and trust in God for the next.—Laurence Sterne

Jesus told a poignant parable about a man who built his house on a rock. The rains descended, streams rose, and winds battered the house, but it didn’t fall. The foundation held firm.

He compared this to a man who built his house on the sand. Again, rains pummeled the earth, streams overflowed, and winds toppled the house with a crash.

The great teacher then warned about metaphorically building a life on solid ground versus shifting sands. He admonished his listeners to build their lives on spiritual principles that won’t fail or crumble during hardship (Matt. 7:24-27). And we’re to participate in His kingdom, not build our own (Jn. 18:36). Sometimes as writers, we can forget this.

A writing life compares to the proverbial two houses. If you construct a career expecting money, recognition, promotion, and outstanding sales, you’re standing on shifting sands. Although none of these aspects are inherently bad, depending on them to prove your worth as a writer will fail. The industry changes, manuscripts get rejected, social networking fails, and critics look for flaws. On the other hand, if you’re called by God and offer your work as a sweet-smelling offering to Him, publishing’s winds won’t demolish you.

Build your writing life on a dependable spiritual foundation that weathers personal storms. You’ll keep writing, no matter the outcome.

Judith 1

Judith Couchman is currently writing the book, 365 Ways to Keep Writing & Loving It, available in time for Christmas through Elk Lake Publishing. She is an author, speaker, writing coach, and adjunct professor. Judith has traditionally published more than 42 works.  Learn more about her at www.judithcouchman.com. Write to her at judith@judithcouchman.com.

 

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This is a hard to swallow quote for those of us who write and sell words. But it was someone just like us who, allegedly,  first uttered this

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now timeless catchy phrase. In 1927, newspaper journalist Fred R. Barnard, shared this quote to express the need for a photo to accompany important articles and ads. And the principle has never been more vital than in today’s digitally cluttered cyberspace.

I asked one friend of mine, author, Linda Goldfarb, if I could share a few of her personality-packed photos to give all of us authors, speakers, bookstore owners, a fresh way to reframe our mission, our platform, our brand and perhaps even the way we present the gospel.

As you plan your own photo shoot, ask three simple questions:

Who is my audience? Be as specific as you can, then go in search of examples of images that this audience has responded to. What has gone viral? Whose Instagram images are the most followed?  Linda is popular with those who vlinda goldfarb profile series pixalue a balance of the Biblical wisdom mixed with authentic transparency, humor and the hope of overcoming whatever obstacle life
might send their way. This series of photos capture all these priorities .  (On her website these images rotate automatically!)

 

Who am I? What do I want conveyed to my audience? Do my images match who I am in person? Do they match my personality? Do Linda goldfarb and hubby Samthey represent my calling?  Am I approachable  and easy to relate to in this image?  This image of Linda and her husband captures the wide variety of who they are as a couple.  Linda explains, “// // <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=/photo.php?fbid=10154635213594505&set=pb.636924504.-2207520000.1471478617.&type=3&size=960%2C960&_fb_noscript=1″ /> Sam and I are known as the Trans-Parent-Farbs!”

In our ministry, this image of Bill kissing me has had huge emotional impact, especially when linked to our Red Hot Monogamy or Red Hot Romance Tips for Women books. This photo captures that more than success in writing or speaking, it is success in our marriage that really matters to us. (And is is what we hope and pray our Love-Wise ministry helps as many couples as possible achieve.[am bill beach kiss rebecca

What is my mission? Ask yourself, “How can I get others to feel about my calling, passion and mission, the same way I feel about it?” Or “List images you have seen that helped you feel called into the ministry you have today. For example, Bill and I are “marriage missionaries”, much in part to the chaotic, and anger-filled homes we grew up in. So images of couples in conflict will always catch my eye—and cause me to want to take action to give those in the photo a better, happier life!That is why when I saw this photo of Linda and her husband, it caught my heart, and my eye, and inspired this blog!

Linda goldfarb gender wars

Take some time and think through then talk through your ideas for images that will best represent you, your mission and reach your audience. It will be worth the time to create the image that will be “picture perfect!”

(photo of Pam and Bill  and signature photo of the Farrels are by Rebecca Friedlander)

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Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship experts, authors of 45 books, including Men Are Like Waffle, Women Are Like Spaghetti , and co-directors of Love-Wise.com

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DianneBarkerDianne Barker here confessing that I sometimes struggle with discouragement. One day while talking with the Lord, I caught myself pouring out my heart about my miserable condition—plagued with a multitude of flaws. I stopped with a jolt. Read More →

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