Categories
Encouragement

Living in the Kingdom of Heaven

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Have you ever stared into space with nothing but your very own eyes and been in awe? Have you ever witnessed firsthand such a phenomenon as the Aurora Borealis? Or seen a shooting star?

Have you ever stood on a beach and marveled at the beauty of the ocean? Have you ever been astonished by power of the waves? The curiosity of its depths?

Have you ever stood on a mountainside and had your breath taken away by the valley below? To be high above the winding river and myriad of trees, knowing your view is nothing compared to vision of our Creator?

If you’re a follower of Jesus, then you must admit that God has quite the imagination. To think He spoke all this into existence and made all of it work harmoniously together, like an intricately exquisite timepiece, is beyond anything our finite minds can fully fathom.

When you view God and His Creation in the right light, with the right heart, and the right spirit, you soon realize just how poor in spirit you are. The Greek word poor in Matthew 5:3 means “one who crouches and cowers,” “beggarly,” “poor,” “deeply destitute.” The scene in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah gets commissioned by God, gives us a picture of how a person who is “poor in spirit” responds when faced with the majesty of the King of the Kingdom of Heaven.

You see, the first step to entering the kingdom of heaven is having a right understanding about ourselves by knowing and honoring the King of that kingdom (Isaiah 45:22-25). When we do that properly, then we can feel nothing but poor in spirit, which is not the final resting place of believers in Jesus, but the first step toward “kingdom living.” However, it is not a step that can be skipped. It is the crucial foundation.

The rest of the Beatitudes mark the progression of the believer’s life and faith when he or she does things God’s way, so that by the time the believer is living out each and every Beatitude, he or she will have become a true follower of Jesus. Jesus, in response to such heavenly living, says in verse 12, “Rejoice, and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The life of a believer. To stand in awe of the Almighty and follow Him unswervingly. When you are poor in spirit, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That is when the kingdom of heaven gets real. Here and now. And for all eternity.

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson
The Letters

Kevin Thompson is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, the first in a continuing series. His latest novel, The Letters, released in February 2020.

www.ckevinthompson.com/; blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/; Facebook C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page; Twitter @CKevinThompson; Instagram ckevinthompson; Pinterest ckevinthompsonauthor; Goodreads C. Kevin Thompson; BookBub C. Kevin Thompson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Hope Springs Eternal…So They Say

 

 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).

Who reading this today has been “justified through faith”? If so, the Bible says you should have peace with God through our Lord Jesus.

Who reading this today “boasts in the glory of our sufferings”? Today, we could say “boasts in the glory of losing our job,” or “boast in the glory of contracting COVID-19.”

Who reading this knows “suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character?” Yet, we pray often for our lives to be suffering-free and chaff at the thought of enduring suffering time after time.

Who reading this knows “character produces hope”? The kind of hope that defies human understanding…the kind that seems other-worldly because it is not of this world, but of the kingdom of heaven…

You see, to have hope in days like these, you must have already been through the fire. You must have suffered on more than one occasion.

To have hope in days like these, you must be able to outlast viruses and government shutdowns and rely on the living God with a “crazy” determination.

To have hope in days like these, your character should be forged of God’s heavenly dominion, not earthly whims, filled with fear and regret.

To have hope in days like these, your hope—built through the fires of suffering—will be the thing that shines brightest before men and women in your sphere of influence.

To have hope, Biblical hope, isn’t easy. But when attained and maintained, it is by far the most peaceful. For our God is bigger than any virus.

Kevin Thompson photo
Kevin Thompson, author
The Letters

Kevin Thompson is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, the first in a continuing series. His latest novel, The Letters, was released in Feb. 2020. For more, visit Kevin’s website www.ckevinthompson.com/ or his Writer’s Blog www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/. Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page; Twitter: @CKevinThompson; Instagram: ckevinthompson; Pinterest: ckevinthompsonauthor; Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson; BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

When Your Pity Party Gets Shut Down

 

This Christmas season, my wife and I went to the beach, a post-Christmas, Merry-Christmas-to-us present. We arrived on Friday afternoon and talked about what we could do and where we could go for our fortieth anniversary in 2021. We continued the discussion the next morning until we received a series of text messages. They came from our middle daughter, whose family was staying with us. A tree had fallen and wiped out our power line.

Pictures depicted how the line had bent the mast pole, yanked the lines out of the meter box, and fried the inside to the point the metal leads had burned all the way through and separated. I called our daughter, and she said somehow there was still partial power to the back of the house. I then instructed her on how to shut down the main breaker. And hurry!

We spent the majority of Saturday—from our hotel room—calling the power company, calling electricians, calling family members who could help get all the food out of our two fridges and find a home for the stuff, and make sure nothing else needed to be done (Hurricane prep in action!). Needless to say, it wasn’t how we planned our weekend, and it did put a damper on things.

However, we were thankful the house did not burn down. Had our daughter not been there, it probably would have.

Later that Saturday evening, feeling bummed, I watched the LSU/Oklahoma game from our hotel room. When I heard the heartbreaking news about Steve Ensminger’s daughter-in-law and the plane crash, I felt horrible for them and a little ashamed that I thought our circumstances were so bad.

God has a way of crashing your pity party and allowing life to reorient your perspective, doesn’t He (cf. Matt. 6:25-34)?

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, the first in a continuing series. His latest novel, The Letters, will be released Feb. 18, 2020.

Website:                                  www.ckevinthompson.com/

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:            www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/

Facebook:                                C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page

Twitter:                                   @CKevinThompson

Instagram:                               ckevinthompson

Pinterest:                                 ckevinthompsonauthor

Goodreads:                             C. Kevin Thompson

BookBub:                                C. Kevin Thompson

 

 

Categories
Author Interviews

A Chat with Author C. Kevin Thompson

Marti Pieper
Marti Pieper

Greetings from Marti Pieper! It’s May, and that means we’re already having temperatures in the 80s where I live in Mount Dora, Florida. My friend and fellow author C. Kevin Thompson knows that, because he’s basically my neighbor and fellow Lake County resident. Kevin is also an ordained minister whose background no doubt assists him in his present position as an assistant high school principal. As you may know, Kevin has posted many of our author interviews, but this time, we get to turn the questions around and point them at him instead.

Welcome back to the CAN blog, Kevin! Tell us about your book, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen (a Blake Meyer Thriller – Book 4).

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

At this stage of the story, Blake laments his past, how it is infiltrating his present, and how the future may irreparably harm his family. He has a lead on his family’s whereabouts, but they are still captives. Pawns in a deadly game of vengeance. And the plan to release the contagion that threatens to infect America with its own version of the Black Death is being modified by those responsible, making it harder to defend.

Categories
Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Bonnie Leon

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

Greetings from Kevin Thompson in The Swamp, better known as Florida. Where the gators and the mosquitoes play… We’re sitting here on the front porch, waiting to see which way Hurricane Irma goes. Pray she turns north and plays harmlessly in the Atlantic! Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview with my friend and fellow author Bonnie Leon.

Welcome, Bonnie, and congratulations on the release of your most recent book! Please tell us about it.

Bonnie Leon
Bonnie Leon

In the spring of 1885, Luba Engstrom meets Nicholas Matroona, a strong, brooding Native from the island of Unalaska. The two elope, believing love is enough to bridge the gap between the civilized world of Juneau and the primitive culture of Nicholas’s small village. Luba struggles to adapt and the conflict between her husband’s belief in ancient gods and her faith in Jesus Christ threatens to destroy Luba and Nicholas’s relationship. 

Categories
Writing Business

Tips from the Pros: C. Kevin Thompson

Pieper1
Marti Pieper

Greetings from beautiful Mount Dora, Florida, where we’re starting to chill out.

Of course, for us, “chill out” means temperatures that dip into the fifties at night and still climb into the seventies during the day. Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to novelist C. Kevin Thompson, who is also celebrating the season in comfort because he lives in a town just down the road from my own.

Welcome, Kevin! How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?                                                             

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

That’s an interesting question. It’s something I’ve written about on my blog and is too long a story to get into here. Suffice it to say I’ve had two books published, and they will be published again as second editions. My first book, The Serpent’s Grasp, originally came out in 2012 and won the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award in 2013 for First Fiction. It will be out again in 2017.

Categories
Book reviews New Releases

NEW RELEASE: 30 DAYS HATH REVENGE BY C. KEVIN THOMPSON

 

30 Days Hath Revenge by C. Kevin Thompson
30 Days Hath Revenge by C. Kevin Thompson

30 Days Hath Revenge

by C. Kevin Thompson

November 9, 2016

ISBN-10: 1539145670

ISBN-13: 978-1539145677

A Clandestine Mission. A Cryptic Message. A Chaste Promise. 

Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy family life.

Categories
Writing Business

Tips From The Pros – Dianne Neal Matthews

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

Greetings from Kevin Thompson in the fastest growing, snowbird production facility in the union.

I want to introduce you to our Tips From The Pros Spotlight Author, Dianne Neal Matthews! I met Dianne at the Florida Christian Writers Conference a couple of years ago. She was having connectivity issues right before a scheduled workshop, and I was able to help her (although, if memory serves, I wasn’t much help). Nevertheless, Dianne gave me a signed copy of her most recent devotional. Such a kind gesture.

Welcome, Dianne! So, tell us about your books. How many books do you have published, and what are a few of your latest titles?

Dianne Neal Matthews
Dianne Neal Matthews

I have four one-year devotional books published including The One Year Women of the Bible (Tyndale), Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation (Baker Books). I recently revised my first book that Tyndale published in 2005 and made it available as On This Day: 365 Meditations on Holidays & Historical Events. I’ve also contributed to several compilation books including Mornings with Jesus (Guideposts), which I’ve been a part of since the 2012 edition.

You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

I’ve learned how hard it is for me to write when I feel unsettled. Since the end of 2010, my husband and I have lived in four different states due to his job changes. (If I include temporary housing, we’ve had seven different zip codes over the past six years.) I’ve found it extremely difficult to develop book projects while getting used to a new location. At the same time, I’ve become more aware of the meaning and fulfillment that writing brings into my life. So I’ve renewed my commitment to developing a consistent, disciplined writing routine.

The One Year Women of the Bible by Dianne Neal Matthews
The One Year Women of the Bible by Dianne Neal Matthews

What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?

Each time I’ve moved, I’ve lost my local connections and contacts. So that has brought home the importance of online opportunities and social media.

What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?

One thing that has worked well has been a book signing “with a cause.” With my second book, I set up a signing at my local library in the small village in Illinois where I lived, announcing that a percentage of the profits would go to the library. After I moved to Salt Lake City, I signed books at my church and shared the profits with the youth group. These type of events catch more people’s attention, the author gets more exposure, and the recipient benefits as well. A win-win situation.

What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?

My blog has been totally ineffective, but there’s a reason for that. About a year and a half ago, I switched my static website to a WordPress site, bought Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed theme, and also purchased another man’s video training/membership designed to help people get the most out of the Get Noticed theme. I still didn’t know what to do. So I paid someone to design and set up the blog/website. She’s been finished for several months now, but it only has one post: an “Under Construction” message. Hmmm, I’m beginning to think I need to post fresh content on a regular basis in order to be effective—ya think?

What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?

I love it when readers seek me out on my personal Facebook page. Once I accept their friend request, we start getting glimpses of each other’s personal life, “liking” and commenting, sharing prayer requests. What a great opportunity to get to know readers even though it’s not possible to meet them in person. Some readers send a private message or email, sharing intensely personal issues and struggles. These connections remind me what a privilege it is to write devotions that share God’s Word.

What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?

Several years ago a friend in another part of the country invited me to be the featured author at a Christian school’s Book Fair. Joyce and the principal went all out with promotion for this event, plastering my picture all over the place; they treated me like a rock star once I arrived. Action was slow at my table the first day, but the next day Joyce assured me that Election Day would bring in more traffic since the school served as a polling place. That morning I saw a woman striding towards me, and I got ready to greet her. Would she be thrilled to meet an author and buy an autographed book? Or would she tell me how impressed she’d been with the one she’d purchased the day before? I leaned my ear toward her to drown out the noise in the hallway and—she asked me where the restroom was. I’ve never felt like a rock star since that day, which is probably a good thing.

Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?

I’m always amazed at the emails I get from readers in other countries who have found my books. A young mom of two girls in Australia who had been feeling spiritually burned out. A woman in South Africa whose parents had given her one of my books. A man in India training himself to become a pastor by reading Christian books, including one of my devotionals. Emails from missionaries and people of all walks of life and all ages. I always think back to growing up on my family’s little cotton farm out in the sticks in west Tennessee, and I think, “Only you, God.”

What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?

  • Make prayer your first priority. Ask God to guide your efforts and get your book in the hands of the people He wants to read it.
  • Check out any new marketing tools, techniques, and outlets that you hear about. But don’t feel that you’re obligated to use them all. Just figure out what you most enjoy, because that’s what will probably be most effective.
  • Don’t feel like a failure when you pour energy and resources into a marketing activity and it only seems to reach a few people. Those people have friends who have friends who have friends… Besides, if God can multiply a few fish and loaves to feed thousands, He can certainly multiply those few friends into thousands if He so desires.

Dianne, I love those words, “Besides, if God can multiply a few fish and loaves to feed thousands, He can certainly multiply those few friends into thousands if He so desires.” Thank you for stopping by the old front porch!

Friends, if you wish to learn more about Dianne and her writing ministry, you can visit her @ www.DianneNealMatthews.com.

 

Until next time,

Enjoy the holidays, or in the spirit of our fore fathers, the Holy Days (don’t you live how we cheapen the meaning of the words, even in how we sell them?).

Kevin

Categories
Marketing Writing Business

Getting Heard Above the Noise

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

Take it from me. When researching the topic of marketing for fiction, it seems there are about as many “experts” out in cyberspace and our local bookstore as there are writers of fiction. Each one believes they have the formula for success. Yet, when you check their sales numbers on Amazon or CBD (if they are Christian-based), their sales are often not very good. What does that say to you and me?

What it tells me is that selling books is a lot like creating a product. Some become household names, like Kleenex and Ford. Some were mistakes that found a purpose in another realm, like sticky notes and Rogaine.

Others never get past the cutting room floor.

In just about every case, marketeers abound. You’ve got your Ronco people, who appear in your face every Saturday afternoon and at night between the hours of 2:00-4:00 AM, offering their wares to the “Next 20 callers.” This has become so popular, a spin off crowd of QVC mavens have taken this concept to 24 hours a day! I wonder how many of these folks actually read books…

Then there’s the Guru group who put out ads in the next city on the tour, inviting you to a convention center setting for an evening. Their promise is to hand you their million-dollar fiction marketing makeover kit, regularly $599.00 for only $149.99. Others create companies that do the same thing and are primarily cyberspace cadets.

Lastly, there’s the “local experts” I spoke of earlier. They’ve written a book. Usually, it’s self-published. And they desire to sell it to you. They promise 10,000 followers on Twitter when their own personal account has only 702. Hmm….

What I do find amidst the noise is they all end up in the same stomping grounds. Arenas of expertise that seem to ebb and flow based on a variety of factors.

For example, authors must have social media accounts, they say. What I’m finding is that most people on social media like me are doing the same thing. We all “like” and “follow” each other, but how many of us actually purchase and read each other’s works? Not get it for free in exchange for a review. Not wait until the eBook goes on sale for 99 cents. But actually buy it when it first comes out in all of its $17.99 per paperback glory?

Authors, they say, should hold promotional gimmicks like giveaways and swaps. Again, what many people are finding is these folks get the free copy, read it, give a review, and then sell it online…some of them making more money than the authors. Sigh.

Another thing is, authors need a website. I’d be interested to know how many fans actually go to their favorite author’s website.

What’s the point of all this?

Perspective.

Finding what works for you amidst all the noise is so critical. It’s really one big roll of the dice. Sometimes, we come up snake eyes. Other times, we hit it big. Some love social media and find that it works for them very well. Others see social media as the spawn of Satan. Some love book signings. Others would rather go to the dentist for a week of days before sitting behind a table, pen in hand.

So, find what works for you. Get good at it. Then, expand to the next trial and error method.

Build your platform.

One thing at a time.

One day at a time.

So that, in the end, it’s something you can live with.

_____________________________________

The Serpent's Grasp by C. Kevin Thompson
The Serpent’s Grasp by C. Kevin Thompson

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1.

 

Website:           www.ckevinthompson.com

Blogs:               www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com

http://www.thehelpfuleducator.blogspot.com

Facebook:          C. Kevin Thompson – Author Page

Twitter:            @CKevinThompson

Goodreads:        C. Kevin Thompson

 

Categories
Author Interviews Marketing

Tips From the Pros: Rebecca Ondov

C. Kevin Thompson
C. Kevin Thompson

So, summer is officially over for me. I’m a school administrator by day. When I peel back my shirt and run to the nearest phone booth after work (who has those anymore?), that’s when the big “W” on my chest appears. Super Writer! (There’s got to be a superhero story there somewhere…)

As the kiddos languish over the dwindling days of summer and “look forward” to hitting the books again, in whatever form that may take – public, private, or at home – there’s a writer to whom you may wish to introduce them. Particularly if you have girls in your midst.

Welcome to the big, Florida front porch, Rebecca Ondov!

Rebecca, you were last featured on the CAN blog in 2010. That was years ago. Just think of how much has happened in the world since then. How many books do you have published now?

Rebecca Ondov
Rebecca Ondov

Six.

What are a few of your latest titles?

Great Horse Stories: Wisdom and Humor from Our Majestic Friends

Great Horse Stories for Girls: Inspiring Tales of Friendship and Fun

Since your last visit to the CAN blog, what are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

Great Horse Stories for Girls by Rebecca Ondov
Great Horse Stories for Girls by Rebecca Ondov

That the friendships I’ve made with my readers are some of the most precious ones I have. I love being a part of their lives through letters and social media platforms like Facebook.

What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?

I make an effort to personally connect with my readers as much as possible and to share, as a friend, God’s love and encouragement with them.

What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?

I love doing radio interviews, but I feel my most effective is reaching out through social media.

What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?

Book signings

What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?

Facebook and Email

What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?

For a couple of my books, my publisher has paired up with me to target specific audiences where I’d send an email offering a free book and the first 50 to respond would win. It worked well.

Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?

Yes, a crazy thing happened, one that only God could have done. I took a day off from work and a friend and I drove a couple hours to a Montana hot springs for lunch and to soak in the mineral pool. The location is in the middle of nowhere Montana.

On the way we stopped by a tiny mom and pop grocery store to grab some snacks. While chatting with the owner, she mentioned that she was a Christian. I shared that I was a Christian author. We exchanged some testimonies of how awesome God is. Then she asked, “Have you ever been interviewed on the radio show, ‘A Woman’s Special Touch’? It airs throughout California and into 26 different countries.”

I shook my head and told her I’d never heard of it.

She leaned sideways, looked into the back room, and yelled, “Hey, Norma, there’s a Christian author out here you need to meet!”

The host of the show was a friend of hers and “just happened” to be visiting her in podunk Montana.

Since then Norma and I have become good friends, and she’s interviewed me on her show several times.

What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?

Pray for wisdom, do what God suggests even if it seems silly, and don’t get discouraged.

 

Thank you, Rebecca, for taking time out of your busy day to visit with us. And if you’re willing to share the address of that mineral bath place with our readers, I’m sure if they’re up that way, they may decide to stop by and take a dip.

You can visit Rebecca online @ http://rebeccaondov.com/

Kevin Thompson