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The Corn Plant Saga by Julie B. Cosgrove

People have asked me to tell this true story. It’s long, but here goes….

Back in 1974, I bought a small corn plant at a local nursery because, well in the 70’s, everyone had a jungle in their apartment. But it didn’t thrive, so I put it in the bathroom to get more moisture. Every time my to-be-hubby came over, he’d been down, waggle his finger and tell the scrawny four-leafed heap, “You better grow, little guy, or I’ll make her pitch you out.” Yes, we talked to our plants back then. It was a 1970’s thing.

Fast forward through the years. We moved twenty-two times in thirty-three of them, and the corn plant was always last on the truck and first off. Then in 2005, we had to leave because of Katrina. All of our salvageable items were put in a storage pod and sent to San Antonio. Only some of our clothes, the “very breakables” and our prized possessions (well, and the cats) would travel with us. People from our church gathered to help us pack and bid us farewell. Corn plant by then was over seven feet tall…a scrawny-trunk thing we tied to the wall with string and thumb tacks.  No way would it survive months in a storage unit. Six men stood in our garage constructing a container to house the plant, which would travel in the bed of my husband’s truck. Using cardboard and plywood they encased it as if it was Michelangelo’s David.

As I followed in my car, I watched through the windshield wipers as the the wet winds whacked the carefully plotted-out tower. When we crossed the border into Texas, I gasped as it bent into a jack-knife. Tears welled. For three hundred more miles it bounced and bowed toward the bed of the truck. About 1 a.m. we arrived at my family cabin in the Texas Hill Country, which would be home until he found a new job. That’s when my husband analyzed the damage. I blubbered as he dismantled what remained of the tower and confirmed my worst fears. All the angst over the past few days following the hurricane poured down my cheeks. I took the top of the plant and jammed it into a gallon jug, filled it with  water, and set it by the window. My husband, instinctively knowing not to question my futility, carried in the pot with the bare trunk and plopped it next to the same window. Somehow, we just couldn’t toss it down into the ravine gully.

The snippet grew roots inside the plastic jug. Hubby found a job in Florida, so we moved – this time with plant-jug steadied on the floor board of my car. We left the scraggly trunk behind. Later my cousin opened the cabin for the spring and found it had sprouted! She kept watering it and the next summer we snipped it off the trunk, jugged it, and took it back to Florida. Now we had two corn plants, side by side in the same pot.

My son no longer lives with me, but often when he comes over, he bends down, looks at the corn plant and says, “Well, I guess God wants us both to live a bit longer. Lookin’ good, plant.”

On the “bad days” when my chronic pain gets to me, I see the lush green plant and it helps me put things in perspective. It is as if God is telling me He still wants me to “bloom where I am planted.”

In 2008, we moved back to Texas. For reasons I will not go into, my husband developed medical problems and grew more and more ill. During this time, one of the corn plants wouldn’t thrive. It’s leaves were lighter in color, the other was lush and green. As he diminished, so did the plant. One by one the leaves yellowed and withered. I planted it in it’s own pot but no amount of soil, food or horticultural care would stop it’s decline. Eventually, two years later, the scraggly one died. The last leaf dropped off. It left me with an eerie feeling, to be realized forty-eight hours later when my husband died in the shower getting ready for work.

I moved with the healthy one to an apartment, and my son later moved in with me to ease my widowhood. Lo and behold, a “shoot” began to grow off the surviving corn plant. An offspring. Here is the plant today, June 2017.

More About the Author:

Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an Internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here. The interview with author Julie B. Cosgrove can be found here.

To Love a Weed by Deborah Dee Harper

I don’t have purple hair, nor do I style it the way this pretty little thistle head has, but if I did, this is what I’d like to look like. And yes, I know that’s weird.

We’re living in a new house which we love, but it’s at the end of a road in a rather new sub-division which is still undergoing aggressive construction. We’re the last house on the road at the moment, so the land past our house (to the left as you’re looking at the house) and behind it is vacant. I like to tell people we live on the edge of a nature preserve because the rabbits, geese, and who-knows-what-else make their homes there, but in truth, it’s just vacant land piled high with dirt, chunks of trees, and other rubble the construction equipment has shoved aside to clean up another day.

The little beauty above is a thistle weed and it’s growing on the piles of dirt and rock surrounding our house. I can’t get to it without risking life and limb (thank goodness for zoom lenses), but if I could, I’d gather a few for a colorful bouquet.

It’s amazing to me how something as lowly as a common weed can be so beautiful, yet have such little value when compared to the more acceptable flowers we slave over (and pay good money for) in our gardens. If God had never given us anything but the “no maintenance, grow anywhere” weeds to satisfy our desire to beautify our surroundings, we would be hard-pressed to complain. Take a few thistle heads, some Queen Anne’s lace, dandelions, and the wild variations of asters, daisies, and a host of other flowering “weeds,” and you’ve got a luscious, colorful bouquet of God’s love for us displayed in even His most modest of creations.

I wonder how often we overlook an individual because they seem common. If God can love the weeds on this earth, how much more does He love all of His children–young, old, pretty, homely, rich, poor, in good health or bad, black, white, brown, red, yellow, pink, or orange–who cares?

He cares. For all of us. For the hybrids, the old standards, the lush, the wild, the rare, the plentiful, the run-of-the-mill, the powerful, and the weak. Which one are you?

See you along the trail…

We’re living in a new house which we love, but it’s at the end of a road in a rather new sub-division which is still undergoing aggressive construction. We’re the last house on the road at the moment, so the land past our house (to the left as you’re looking at the house) and behind it is vacant. I like to tell people we live on the edge of a nature preserve because the rabbits, geese, and who-knows-what-else make their homes there, but in truth, it’s just vacant land piled high with dirt, chunks of trees, and other rubble the construction equipment has shoved aside to clean up another day.

The little beauty above is a thistle weed and it’s growing on the piles of dirt and rock surrounding our house. I can’t get to it without risking life and limb (thank goodness for zoom lenses), but if I could, I’d gather a few for a colorful bouquet.

It’s amazing to me how something as lowly as a common weed can be so beautiful, yet have such little value when compared to the more acceptable flowers we slave over (and pay good money for) in our gardens. If God had never given us anything but the “no maintenance, grow anywhere” weeds to satisfy our desire to beautify our surroundings, we would be hard-pressed to complain. Take a few thistle heads, some Queen Anne’s lace, dandelions, and the wild variations of asters, daisies, and a host of other flowering “weeds,” and you’ve got a luscious, colorful bouquet of God’s love for us displayed in even His most modest of creations.

I wonder how often we overlook an individual because they seem common. If God can love the weeds on this earth, how much more does He love all of His children–young, old, pretty, homely, rich, poor, in good health or bad, black, white, brown, red, yellow, pink, or orange–who cares?

He cares. For all of us. For the hybrids, the old standards, the lush, the wild, the rare, the plentiful, the run-of-the-mill, the powerful, and the weak. Which one are you?

See you along the trail…

More about the Author:

Deborah Dee Harper currently resides in Alaska where she writes inspirational and humorous books for both children and adults and takes thousands of photographs. When she isn’t writing or taking photos, she stalks moose and other wildlife, survives earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, endures the long, dark, frigid winters, revels in the endless summer days, and is awestruck by the rippling northern lights of the Alaskan night skies. She also leaps mountains in a single bound and wrestles grizzly bears along hiking trails. (Not really. Just making sure you were paying attention.) Whenever she can, she loves being with her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons in Kentucky, and her son, daughter-in-law, and two more grandsons in Michigan. (For real.)

She can be reached at deborahdeetales@gmail.com, at her website www.deborahdeeharper.com, and her three blogs: www.deborahdeetales.blogspot.com, www.deetrails.blogspot.com and www.laramieonthelam.blogspot.com.

More about Misstep:

Winnie and Sadie are still fighting, and I’m still living in the strangest town on earth.
It’s December in Road’s End, Virginia, a tiny town long forgotten by anyone but its residents, where Colonel Hugh Foster and his wife, Melanie, have chosen to live—for better or worse. The jury’s still out on that one!
Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that’s not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road’s End residents, are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.
Poor drug dealers.

Deborah has an upcoming sequel to Misstep entitled Faux Pas. Here’s more of the hilarity you’ll find in Road’s End, Virginia.

What would you do if the President of the United States was attending your daughter’s wedding?

Panic. You’d panic. Add in a severe storm, crazy senior citizens who believe the POTUS lied his way into office, a crumbling, but historic church you happen to pastor, a cranky Secret Service agent, a four-year-old grandchild-to-be you know nothing about, and a son-in-law-to-be whose faith in the Lord has waned, and you’ve got yourself a humdinger of a wedding. Not to mention that same future son-in-law is a University of Michigan Wolverines fan (not a Michigan State Spartans fan) and prefers sweet tea to unsweetened. My gosh, what is the world coming to? Talk about a faux pas! Well, good luck with all that, Pastor Foster.

And Heaven help the president.

Stepping out of her humorous genre, Deborah also has another upcoming release entitled The Sin Seeker.

Sin Seeker, is the first book in my Sin Seeker series. The story deals with sin and the very real battle we’re in every day of our lives with the forces of darkness. Graves (Gray to his friends) Hollister is a discouraged social services employee tasked with the thankless job of keeping children safe from parents who don’t deserve them in the first place and who neglect and abuse them regularly. He starts hearing demonic voices shortly before a hideous tragedy occurs, after which he quits his job and sinks to the bottom of a bottle of anything he can find that’ll put him in an alcoholic stupor. He spends two months trying to obliterate his memories. Finally, he realizes he can’t; he must face them, so he enrolls in seminary and becomes a pastor. With his new role as pastor and his newfound ability to actually see the sin on the people God has tasked him with helping, Gray finds himself thrown head-first into a world of evil and demons, angels and miracles.

If you missed our interview with Hugh Foster, you can read it here, and Deborah’s interview can be found here.

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

Years ago, as an elementary teacher, I attended a reading conference in Toronto, Ontario. I enjoyed the privilege of hearing keynote speaker, John Corcoran. At the conference, I bought his book, The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read and today treasure my autographed copy. It has graced my bookshelf for quite awhile, but when the idea for my novel Misty Hollow came about, I ran to my shelf, grabbed the book, and gave a victory cheer. His book was the perfect reference in creating my illiterate Appalachian hero, Joel Greenfield.

Corcoran describes an unbelievable story about how he graduated high school and college and actually taught history for seventeen years. At around fourth grade, he began to fall behind and compensated for his handicap by acting out. In high school, he excelled in athletics and was admired by faculty and friends. So how did he get by as a functional illiterate?

He devised clever ways of deception including cheating and lying. With his charismatic personality, he charmed others into reading books and documents to him. Once in college, he actually passed his test out the window to another student who took the exam for him. A favorite deception was claiming he forgot his glasses at home.

While teaching high school, he utilized discussions and debates where texts were never used. He even asked a student to read the morning bulletin to the class, though at the bottom it read “Please don’t let a student read this bulletin.”

He eventually married and had a daughter. He would “read” her bedtime stories by looking at the pictures and making up his own version.

Corcoran doesn’t place blame on the educational system but on his circumstances. Since he went to school in the 50s, educators have discovered more ways to help students with reading disorders. In his thirties, Corcoran finally found the courage to sign up for an adult literacy class and learned to read. He now supports literacy through the John Corcoran Foundation.

In writing Joel’s character, I borrowed some of Corcoran’s methods of compensation. Joel uses the glasses excuse, asks others to read for him, and employs deception such as taking his Bible to church and pretending he’s following along. Most valuable in writing his character were Corcoran’s descriptions of his emotional journey—the shame, frustration, and fear of being exposed.

For all readers with a heart for literacy, Corcoran’s book is a must read. In any case, it’s a fascinating tale. Thanks, Mr. Corcoran, for sharing your story with American. Like my fictional character, Joel Greenfield, many have profited by the telling of your journey.

About the Author:

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart. Visit June at junefoster.com.

About Misty Hollow:

When two people are cultures apart, only God can bridge the gap.

Molly Cambridge arrives in the tiny Appalachian town of Misty Hollow intent upon bringing literacy to the area’s uneducated women, only to be met by opposition at every turn by the headstrong, unbending mayor. When she asks for use of Town Hall, he refuses her offer to teach without pay and turns her down flat saying he only allows village business conducted there.

Joel Greenfield, son of a poor dirt farmer, is illiterate. When he admits to his passion to turn the family farm into a dairy business, the obstacles are insurmountable. He couldn’t even read the manual on how to use farming machinery, much less generate the necessary capital. His father’s objections further frustrate his desires.

When Joel offers Molly use of the old barn on the Greenfield property, they discover an irresistible attraction for each other. But the mayor has plans of his own to break them up, send Molly back to Nashville, and seize the Greenfield farm for himself. Can Molly and Joel overcome the hurdles to fulfilling their dreams and find their way to each other? Only God has the answers.

BLIND HATRED: A DEFINITION AND A CONFESSION by Kathleen E. Friesen

My mother would never allow her children to say, “I hate you!” No matter how heated the argument (and with five kids, there were plenty of quarrels), she would remind us that hatred means a desire for death. “Do you really want (brother/sister) to die?” No, of course not. Our heads would hang, and we’d (eventually) make up.

Mom’s definition wasn’t far off the one The Advanced English Dictionary gives for hatred: The emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action.

Trevor Hiebert, the hero in Redemption’s Whisper, harbors hatred toward a former foster father and has vowed to exact revenge. His hatred is understandable, but it blinds him and hurts those close to him.

The Bible tells us in 1 John 2:11, “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” That describes Trevor so well.

It also describes me.

I know what it feels like to hate, to wish death upon someone I knew. When I discovered that the father of a two-year-old girl I loved dearly had sexually traumatized her and her equally cherished siblings, my vision went dark and my heart turned to hatred. I wanted this “pillar of the church” to pay. I wished all the evil he’d committed would turn on him and destroy him.

Like Trevor, I could not forgive the culprit on my own. In fact, the only way I could forgive was to step back, admit my inability, and release him—and my anger—to the God who knows. Only He can move a heart to repentance.

Only He could change my heart to the point where I can pray for that man, not for punishment but for healing of the wounds that provoked him to harm innocents. It’s a prayer I have to repeat each time I think of him. May God have mercy on us both.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Your redeeming grace.

About the Author:

Kathleen Friesen writes contemporary stories of faith that overcomes tough trials and deep heartaches. Her desire is for her readers to see themselves in the characters of her stories, and to realize that Jesus Christ is the true hero. Kathleen spent her childhood in the Pacific Northwest and, after marrying the man of her dreams, survived the first thirty years of married life on the Canadian prairies, where they raised three fantastic children. Now she and her patient husband, Ron, live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

More About Redemption’s Whisper:

Desperate to escape her past, Hayley Blankenship flies from Toronto to the Saskatoon home of Pastor Dave and Lydia Harris, the only people who may be able to help her. If she doesn’t find a reason to hope, she may give in to the temptation to end it all. If only someone could love her, in spite of what she’s done.

Trevor Hiebert aces the interview for his dream job in Toronto, but he’s torn. His beloved parents need him, and while he doesn’t want to let them down, he craves the affirmation he hopes to find in the big city. But on the flight home to Saskatoon, he meets an intriguing, gorgeous redhead with dark secrets of her own. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love?

About Nila’s Hope:

Just when her career as a carpenter and a relationship with handsome co-worker Will Jamison are within reach, Nila Black’s abusive ex-boyfriend is released from prison. He’s out of jail, out for revenge, and making promises she knows he’ll keep. Nila will do whatever it takes to save her friends from the evil that will come their way if she doesn’t put distance between them-even if it means abandoning her new-found faith. It will take a miracle and an angelic messenger to show Nila that God is her greatest protector. He has never left her side, and He wants only the best for her and for the man she loves.

Did you miss the Inner Source interview with Hayley Blankenship, the heroine from Redemption’s WhisperIf so, you can read it here, and Monday’s interview with Kathleen can be found here.

Inner Source also previously interviewed Nila and Kathleen regarding Nila’s Hope.

Top Ten Things Christians Should Know About Transhumanism by Victoria Buck

Human like faces covered in text Text is from HG Wells The TIme1) It’s a science.

Maybe you were absent the day your high school science teacher addressed transhumanism. More likely, your teacher never heard of it. Where does it fit? Biology? Physics? Yes. As well as computer science—it takes a computer to make a transhuman. And social sciences—it will, if permitted, change the core of culture and society. Scientific study includes:

Cryonics: Preserving the body, or simply the brain, after death with the hope of reawakening in the future.

Gene therapy: Manipulating genetic code for the purpose of improved health and function, longevity, eliminating birth defects, and creating designer babies.

Cybernetics: Technology enhances life in positive ways. No one can deny improved function for a disabled person is a wonderful achievement of modern medicine. A deaf child hearing for the first time brings tears of gratitude to all who witness the amazement on the little one’s face. But how far will a healthy human go in obtaining super hearing, vision, strength, speed, and knowledge? The transhumanist will answer that question.

Mind uploading and AI: Non-biological intelligence may seem impossible. The computer, after all, only puts more information in one place than a person could possibly remember. A computer in a man’s brain might not make him smarter, but it would give him unparalleled recall. But consider this: if a man is enhanced to take on the characteristics of a computer, might the computer take on the characteristics of a man and begin to reason?

2) It’s a social movement.

Social science records and interprets societal movements in the past and the present. Transhumanism, or H+ (humanity plus), is a movement in society past, present, and future. It will affect the interrelational categories of social science: anthropology, economics, politics, psychology, and sociology.

Anthropology: The human being as the subject of varied studies—biology, humanities, and history—will no doubt take on new meaning with the transcendence of the human.

Economics: Cost-effective transhumanism will surely struggle to find validity. Perhaps only the super-wealthy will experience the bounty of the movement. Or maybe the government will choose those worthy, and leave the rest of the human race unenhanced. Imagine the monetary implications of transhuman corporations.

Politics: Already, bioethics is a force governing the present and preparing to govern future technological and medical advancements, and how those advancements can and cannot be used in reaching goals nonexistent twenty years ago. Government funding now pays to research a transhuman future.

The National Institutes of Health has allocated $46 million “to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.” *1

Professor Thomas Sugar and Jason Kerestes, designer robotic engineers with the iProject: 4MM (4 minute mile) from Arizona State University (ASU) has been granted monies from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create a “jetpack to increase a soldier’s speed and boost a PT record to that of a four minute a mile.” *2

Psychology: A massive shift in the perception of humanness will come as cognitive ability increases, motivation and capability for extending life becomes reality, and relationships once required for the continuance of the race are deemed unnecessary. The resulting emotional struggle and moral reckoning will likely be met not with therapy for the mind, but with a tweak to the brain.

Sociology: Social class, law, religion, sexuality will take on new roles, or no role at all.

Government and family structure will be challenged. Belief systems will adjust, or else become channels of open rebellion against the transhuman emergence.

3) Its aim is the Singularity.

If you’re unfamiliar with transhumanism, you’ve probably never heard of the singularity. This is the point in time when the human race can no longer understand or predict the outcome of its own technological advancements. As science fiction would say, the machines take over. In the words of transhumanist frontrunner and author, Ray Kurzweil,

“Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.” *3

4) It has prophetic significance.

This is not too hard to fathom. Some interpret transhumanism will bring posthumans into a position of waging actual war against God. Not in the spiritual sense, but the physical. From end-times-bible-prophecy.com:

… it seems reasonable to assume that humanity will have to undergo some sort of radical transformation in order to plot a war against God Almighty. The arrogant impulse already exists. All that remains is the need for an exponential increase in human power which deludes humanity into believing it can overcome the Lord of lords. And make no mistake about it, the Bible is clear that this is where humanity is ultimately headed – physical conflict with God: “Then I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19 (NLT)

Do not confuse the “war” with a spiritual struggle. According to Strong’s Concordance, the key word here is translated “polemos,” and means:”warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or a series) – battle, fight, war.” The word “polemos” appears at least 16 times in the New Testament, and in each case, it refers to physical conflict, not a spiritual one… *4

5) It has historical significance.

Again, it’s easy to see that transhumanism is yet another attempt at building a tower to the heavens in order to become like God. As addressed by author Britt Gillette:

“Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies, a monument to our greatness!” (Genesis 11:4, NLT).

The human race set out to build a monument to its own greatness, exalting mankind above God and extending its tower far into Heaven with the sole intent of usurping God’s glory and authority. This innate human desire did not end with the Tower of Babel. It continues to this day, and soon it will result in one final attempt to usurp the authority of God. *5

6) It assumes both creation and evolution are failures.

The argument that God’s creative power is not good enough is an obvious one. Yet, from a transhuman mindset, it doesn’t exist at all. The transhumanist will deny creation and embrace evolution, but then insist that even the natural process of improving the species isn’t good enough. For all its altering of the fabric of society, the theory of evolution is just as much a lost cause as creation. The transhumanist can do it better. Evolution needs a techno-boost. Humanity will become more than Darwin ever imagined.

7) Intermingling of faith and transhumanism is on the rise.

If considering a future of human life enhanced by technology isn’t quite relevant in your thinking, consider that a growing number of pseudo-Christian organizations believe transhumanism is the actualization of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind.

What it means to be human will change soon and you will probably experience it. So read carefully. In the coming years computer-human interfaces will become so intimate that users may be considered superhumanly intelligent transcendent humans, or “transhumans”. We will have a choice in how to use vast new power. Use it for material gain? Or, aim this power at spiritual growth. In this new era of understanding, most will see the dead end of material gain, and see a better outcome in a life dedicated to spiritual growth. For individuals taking the spiritual path, the lower hierarchy of material needs will fall away and so naturally the transhuman will become a benevolent and self-actualized spiritual being.  Ultimately, life as represented by mankind will shift from consuming material for sustenance to a flow of information. This means that we shift to a wholly spiritual life where truth is the way. As material needs diminish, transhumans will increasingly be sustained by a powerful flow of Word that can be called the Glory of God. In giving up competition and control strategies and turning to God, we grow to be all that we can be; Christ-like.

Essential to Christian Transhumanism is the notion that love is a cognitive process and God expects us to participate in our salvation by learning how to love perfectly. In this way we access the Glory of God, becoming Christ-like (Christian). *6

Other sects and religions embrace the transhuman future as a responsible continuation of faith, and quite possibly the only way organized religion will survive. There exists a Mormon Transhumanist Association. Proponents cross religious boundaries, as might be expected in an increasingly secularized society. As with Christians, people of other faiths also oppose the movement. Atheists and agnostics support or reject. From all walks and factions, it appears there is not one group that stands united. But many in the Christian community who truly understand the ramifications of transhumanism consider it to be the great delusion spoken of in the Bible.

8) It is anti-Christian

Even so, it’s not to say Christians won’t participate, to some degree, in the rise of H+. If you can’t put down your iPhone or if you’re lost without your Bluetooth, then you know dependence on technology is an ever-increasing part of modern life. If your child is the one who can now hear you call his name, you are blessed by God. Technology is not bad. But don’t be misled by the message that our technological transcendence to being God-like is our salvation. The transhumanist goals of ending disease and poverty, of attaining eternal life, of saving the planet from the humans won’t happen. God already set a plan in motion to take care of His creation in the way of His choosing. Any other plan devised in the mind of a created being is doomed. Consider this proclamation in an article by Zoltan Ivstan, author of best-selling novel, The Transhumanist Wager.

One thing is for sure, to the human species, the birth of an advanced artificial intelligence will become far more important than the birth of Christ. Christmas, if it survives at all, will be relegated to just another commercial and cultural holiday that superstores and big business thrive on. Meanwhile, reasonable people will celebrate AI Day, the real moment in history the savior of civilization was born. *7

In response, Gonz Shimura, in his article “The Trials of Transhumanism: An Assault on Christianity,” writes:

First off, it is clear that Mr. Istvan has a tremendous amount of “faith” in not only our own human management abilities pertaining to these developments, but also that any establishment of such a thing as AI would share in its consciousness, the same moral and ethical framework as humans. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, as most know, Antichrist doesn’t mean “against Christ”; it means, “instead of Christ.” It is the replacement of Christ. Therefore, what Mr. Istvan is promoting here is quite literally the Antichrist. My particular views are that AI itself will not be the Antichrist figure as described in Bible Prophecy, but play a role in the establishment of the Image of the Beast. *8

9) You may be helped by it.

Again, technological advancements aren’t necessarily evil. They may be inspired and brought to fruition by the grace of God, whether or not the person who brings about the newest innovation recognizes that fact or not. Christian or otherwise, you may be the one whose paralysis is soon overcome. You may benefit from the use of techno-medical breakthroughs to end dementia. Your grandchild may be the product of reproductive science unheard of when your children were born. Go ahead and love that child, who is no less a creation of God. A human who becomes a transhuman will need the same thing every human needs—the grace of God that leads to salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ. Whether or not your life is improved by whatever God allows, for however long He allows it, there is no other way to eternal life.

10) It is not fiction.

Transhumanism is certainly the subject of fiction. Many novels have been written in recent years from a secular worldview, both pro H+ and con. At least one transhuman work of fiction written from a Christian worldview exists. (Yes, I wrote it.) Some authors believe it will happen. Some simply use H+ to carry their stories. Movies have been bringing us cyborgs and AI stories for years, most without ever referencing transhumanism. There is an H+ TV series (fiction) and an H+ magazine (non-fiction). Some say the thought and goal of transhumanism is ancient, but the word came from Julian Huxley in 1957. He did not intend to describe a fictitious world, but a very real one. Behind each made-up story, and hundreds of non-fiction books and articles, is an ever-progressing scientific and cultural movement intending to redefine the meaning of life. To recreate the human being. To realize God in self. Not a wilder theme exists for a novel. But in the real world, the transhumanist plans to take us far beyond imagination.

Sources:

1  Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent, October 1, 2014
2  Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent September 13,   2014
3 The Law of Accelerating Returns, Ray Kersweil, March 7, 2001
4  http://www.end-times-bible-prophecy.com/transhumanism.html
5  Transhumanism and the Great Rebellion, Britt Gillette
6  Prepare for HyperEvolution with Christian Transhumanism, James McLean Ledford
7  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoltan-istvan/ai-day-will-replace-     christmas_b_4496550.html
8  http://www.facelikethesun.com/trials-transhumanism-assault-christianity/

 

 

photo (7)About the Author:

Victoria Buck is a lifelong resident of Central Florida. She clings to the Gospel, serves in her local church, relishes time spent writing, and curiously contemplates the future, and she brings that future to life in her novels.

You can connect with Victoria at her website, at her author page, on Twitter, and at her publisher, Pelican Book Group.

 

 

perf5.000x8.000.inddMore About Killswitch:

In the near future, fugitive Chase Sterling evades the transhuman life his creators intended him to lead. He connects with the Underground Church, confident his enhanced strength and intelligence make him the perfect guardian for those forced into a strange and secret existence. What could possibly go wrong? His unimpressed bodyguard is out to get him, his affection for a certain young woman may not be mutual, and a deceitful recruit accompanies Chase on a rescue mission . . . with plans to kidnap him. The leader of the underground is dying and the government is closing in. The super powers Chase relies on are switched off by an enemy he thought he had escaped. It’s enough to make a transhuman give up. Will he find the courage to keep going before all humanity is lost? You can see the trailer for Killswitch here.

WakeTheDead_h11557_300About Wake the Dead:

What if the first man reborn of an evolutionary leap doesn’t like his new life? Is escape even possible? The time is right for introducing the world to the marvels of techno-medical advancements. An influential man, one loved and adored, is needed for the job, and who better than celebrity Chase Sterling? After suffering injuries no one could survive Chase is rebuilt like no one has ever seen before. In the not-too-distant future a man–if he can still be called a man–breaks away from the forces taking over his life and finds new purpose in the secret world of hiding believers.

Playing My Part by Kay Dew Shostak

Doing My Part by KDSWhen I moved to Northern Illinois from the South were I was born and raised, one of the biggest surprises (besides the snow not melting for weeks at a time) was that so many people preferred the colder weather. They had snow mobiles, ski lift tickets, and ice skates. One friend even had snow shoes like the old mountain trappers wear in the movies! Then when things finally began to thaw in June, we had friends who fled north to Michigan to escape the “hot” summer months. I was completely shocked. Some folks like cold weather.

Wasn’t that awfully nice of God to provide so many different ways of living so we could each discover where we fit best? In the desert, beside a mountain stream, toes in the sand or layered in wool socks on a snowy hike, God puts it all out there before us. He understands we don’t all like the same things and even when we do like the same things, we like them in different ways. A snowy hill might be perfect to ski or just watch from beside the fire with a mug of hot chocolate.

And I believe he uses all these differences to pull us each to him. To fill our hearts and senses with a wonder that draws us to search for him. That longing can only be filled by him, but it seems to be expressed in so many different ways. As I grew up and raised my kids, my heart turned time and time again to the ones who had no experience of God. Who hadn’t turned away from him, but had no idea there was anything to turn towards. They’d never entertained the idea of there actually being anyone, or anything, bigger than what they see around them. People who basked in nature’s beauty and explored the heights and depths of this magnificent world. Who loved and enjoyed being human, with all the emotions and physical abilities. Yet they credited it all to, well, to nothing really. Until… And when I would see the awakening in a person’s eyes that there might possibly be a God behind all this? Well, that sparked a flame in my heart.

As a believer, I know there is so much to God’s story. So many parts of it to tell and share. I believe at this time my part is aid in the awakening of the many who aren’t looking. To help them form those first questions: What if there really is a God? What would that look like? What would it mean to me and my life?

So, that’s where my story in Chancey finds a bit of its grounding. Along with the differences between suburb and small town, and north and south, there’s believing in something more than what my characters see and not believing what they can’t touch.

Carolina is very much a here and now person. She’s a person who likes to maintain things at a steady pace and keep it all under control. She’s managed to do this in her life up to this point, then one slip and it’s all out of whack. But not completely out of whack. Just enough out of whack that she has to readjust her thinking. Can I live with a ghost? What happens in my marriage if I’m tempted? If I let people in a little bit, can I keep them out when I want to? Why are things changing? How did I let things change? And how do I change things back?

God loves every person. God wants every person to love him. God made us all different and created so many ways in which we express those differences. Many are raised to see God from the very beginning and never look elsewhere, although often we decide the God of our childhood isn’t all he’s cracked up to be and we search elsewhere. But for others, their first glimpse of him comes in the eyes of their child or in a sunset. Some only find him in the midst of darkness and despair.

Then there are those that find the beginnings of belief in the words of a story, even if they don’t realize it because they are busy enjoying the words on the page.

I’m grateful God has a use for each of our experiences. To be able to tell my funny stories of a little town in the Georgia Mountains is a grand blessing. For God to let me use them to possibly introduce him, is even better!

photo shoot pic blue croppedAbout the Author:

“A new voice in Southern Fiction” is how a recent reviewer labels Kay Dew Shostak’s debut novel, Next Stop, Chancey. Kay grew up in the South and graduated from the University of Tennessee. She then joined her husband moving around the country as they raised their three children. Always a reader, being a writer was a dream she cultivated as a journalist and editor at a small town newspaper in northern Illinois. After moving to Marietta, Georgia, Kay submitted several true life stories which appeared in a number of compilation books over the next ten years. In 2011, she and her husband, Mike, moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida for Mike’s job.

Seeing the familiar and loved from new perspectives led Kay to write about the absurd, the beautiful, and the funny in her South in both her fiction and non-fiction. While Next Stop, Chancey is her debut novel, she has completed two more in the series and is working on the fourth book. Chancey Book number 2: Chancey Family Lies is now available.

Visit Kay’s website  to sign up for her newsletter and to read more about her journey. Kay is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Next Stop, Chancey CoverAbout Next Stop, Chancey:

Looking in your teenage daughter’s purse is never a good idea. When Carolina does, she ends up accidentally selling their home in her beloved Atlanta suburbs to move into her husbands dream home. It’s a big, old house beside a railroad bridge in a small Georgia town. And now he dreams of her opening a B&B for Railroad buffs while he’s off doing his day job. Carolina’s dislike of actually saying “No” leaves an opening for the town bully who wears a lavender skirt and white gloves. Soon, of course, Carolina is opening the B&B with the aid of the entire town of Chancey, Georgia, and it all makes her hate small towns even more than when she was growing up in one. And did I mention there’s a ghost? Yeah, teenagers, trains, and a ghost. This stuff didn’t happen in the suburbs.

Chancey Family Lies frontAnother Great Read by Kay Dew Shostak: Chancey Family Lies:

Carolina is determined her first holiday season as a stay-at-home mom will be perfect. However …

Twelve kids from college (and one nobody seems to know)

Eleven chili dinners (Why do we always need to feed a crowd?)

Ten dozen fake birds (cardinals, no less)

Nine hours without power (but lots of stranded guests)

Eight angry council members (Wait, where’s the town’s money?)

Seven trains a-blowin’ (all the time. All. The. Time).

Six weeks with relatives (six weeks!!)

Five plotting teens (Again, who is that girl?)

Four in-laws staying (and staying, and staying …)

Three dogs a-barking (Who brought the dogs?)

Two big ol’ secrets (and they ain’t wrapped in ribbons under the three, either)

And the perfect season gone with the wind.

 

 

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Betty Thomason Owens

BettyThomasonOwensToday, we meet the author who brought us our last hero in Mercy’s adventure, Betty Thomason Owens. Betty writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the soon-to-be launched online magazine, Imaginate.

Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Coming soon, a 1950’s historical novel inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth, book 1 of the Kinsman Redeemer Series (Write Integrity Press).

You can connect with Betty on her personal webpage, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and at Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!

Here’s insight from Betty on how she came to write her character, Daniel Knight.

One of my favorite things about writing is creating characters. I don’t usually find pictures of actors and pattern my characters after them. I create characteristics then decide on the character’s outward appearance.

I built Daniel Knight out of good, sturdy stock. He’s not drop-dead gorgeous, just good-ole-boy handsome, with a great personality. He’s much more comfortable in jeans, t-shirt, and a cowboy hat than a suit, but he looks good all dressed up, too. He’s tall and well-muscled, but doesn’t work out with weights to maintain it. It’s the natural byproduct of youth and the fact that he loves to stay active. Which is why he took so well to Colorado, with their annual average of three-hundred-some days of sunshine.

He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, as we see when he meets Mercy for the first time.

Daniel is smart—almost brilliant—in the creative realm. I’ve worked with engineers and I know they can be analytical and egotistical, or swing toward the artistic side, as Daniel does. If he can dream it, he can do it. His love for animals, especially equine, leads him to a fulfilling career designing high-end stables and exercise areas.

I used Mercy’s characteristics as a starting point when deciding on Daniel’s character. Some couples seem to be polar-opposites and live very happily together. Others work well together because they have a lot in common. They would be great friends, even if they weren’t romantically involved. Mercy and Daniel both love the outdoors. Personality-wise, he’s mostly sanquine with a dose of phlegmatic. Both Mercy and Daniel have a good work ethic and seek to do their best when given a task. And of course, they both love the Lord and seek His guidance for their life, though neither one is particularly outspoken about it.

There are a lot of “Daniels” in my life and I’ve drawn from them to build what I hope will be the perfect love interest for Mercy Lacewell. Even if they don’t end up together, I know they’ll be great friends. I hope to visit Daniel one day on his ranch near Boulder, Colorado. He promises I can ride his favorite horse if I’ll bake him one of my famous apple pies. I think that’s a fair trade.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Amelia's Legacy FRONT Cover

Betty is the author of  Amelia’s Legacy:

It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …

Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.

Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.

As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?

Her latest book, Annabelle’s Ruth will release soon. I’ve been fortunate enough to read it pre-release. Inspired by the Book of Ruth, I can tell you, it is one of the best historical novels I’ve read.

Annabelle's RuthAnnabelle’s Ruth, book 1 in the Kinsman Redeemer series, is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in the area of Trenton, Tennessee. After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Constance “Connie” Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, to Tennessee. After Southern California, 1950’s West Tennessee gives Connie culture shock. How will she adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, rank with prejudice?

 

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Phee Paradise

Phee ParadiseToday, our guest is Phee Paradise, who was blessed to be a missionary kid and loves to share that experience in her writing.  In Miracles at Midnight, she edited her father’s stories about his years on the mission field where he saw God change lives for the Kingdom. Phee has also contributed to several books, including A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies and her latest, Unlikely Merger. She prays that her work will be used by God to His glory.  You can read some of Phee’s stories at FaithWriters.com.

Phee shares how she came to write hero, Steve LeClerc for Unlikely Merger:

When I was asked to create a business, I immediately thought of my hero, my husband of forty years. He’s driven a truck most of our lives, so it kind of rubbed off on me. Trucks were his first love, although God and I have pushed them down the priority list. Since we lived in Western Massachusetts, it was natural to set the business in the beautiful Berkshires. But, like most writers, my characters emerge while I write, and they are sometimes uncooperative. I was very surprised to learn that Steve LeClerc is a farmer at heart, but not surprised by his compassion and desire to serve God with all he has. I like him, but my heart still belongs to my trucking hero. Maybe Mercy will fall in love with him.

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

Miracles at Midnight CoverPhee is the editor who assisted missionary, John Shackelford in writing about his missionary journey in Miracles at Midnight:

“Had God provided a miracle just for us?” In thirty years as missionaries in Columbia and Guatemala, John and Esther Shackelford saw God work in big and small ways. Read about the Mayan men who knocked on the door asking to accept Jesus Christ. Smile at the enthusiastic bandit who encouraged others to come to Christ  – at gunpoint. See how God provided protection when Esther was robbed, and escape from an isolated town during a revolution, and help during a major earthquake. John’s primary work was youth leadership development at his camp, Monte Sión, and you’ll be moved as you see how God changed lives for the Kingdom. John delights in praising God in these stories of the people he loved and served with joy and hopes his readers will too.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Suzy Moore

HeadshotSuzy Moore loves to get lost in a good story. She has a passion for the written word and for the many ways it can touch and uplift through the sharing of lives, stories, and most importantly the Gospel. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband and five children where she is a homeschooling mom, free-lance editor, and wanna-be farmer of all things natural and delicious. Find her on Facebook at Suzy Moore-Wellspring Editing or at wellspringediting.com.

The character of Levi Shepherd came to my mind while thinking of the kind of smart, strong, outdoor-loving men I know in my own family, church family, and that seem to populate the wonderful Midwest in general.

Here, in what much of our nation considers “fly-over” country, reside some pretty wonderful, steady, spirit-filled men that make great husbands!  I wanted to honor those guys.

As I got to know Mercy, I felt she would have the best chemistry with someone that shared her interests, especially fishing and the like. Even though she is still trying to get her footing and build confidence as a business woman, I felt like she would soon discover that she has great instincts for business and that she would be happiest with someone she could work side by side with professionally every day, building their future together.

Levi is also loosely based on the character of Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband in “Sweet Home Alabama”, who, in her mind he was a backwoods nobody, but in reality was a smart businessman with a good heart. I presented Levi in the opposite order. Mercy first gets know him as a competent professional; an IT officer that is good at his job and well-respected by his peers. She quickly learns he has a great love for the outdoors and an ambitious plan to combine his business skills with that love.

First, though, I prayed over these characters and asked God to show me how He would have me present a budding relationship that honors Him. It is a privilege to write about characters that love and seek the Lord.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Levi!

Unlikely Merger CoverMore About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Other great multi-author collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press: A Dozen Apologies and The Love Boat Bachelorand great Christmas reads: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt and A Ruby ChristmasHeart Bouquets, romantic short stories is also available.

Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Fay Lamb

Fay LambToday’s guest on Inner Source is me: Fay Lamb. I bet that until you learned Pat Dyer created Gabe Miller, the alligator farmer, that you might have wondered if it was me–unless you know both of us. That’s because Pat and I are both crazy Titusvillians who aren’t too afraid of gators, and we even attend the same church. How’s that for small town?

Here’s a little about me. It’s from my bio, so please excuse the self-promotion.

I’m an editor, writing coach, and author, and it is my desire that my emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. I’ve contracted two series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in my The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. I have also collaborated on five romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor. and this our latest, Unlikely Merger. I am also the author of The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

I truly love to meet readers, and you can find me on my personal Facebook page, my Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. Yes, I’m the Tactical Editor. I’m also active on Twitter. Then there are my blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

I wrote Digger Grant’s portion of the story, and here’s how he came to life for me:

The creation of Digger Grant is an unusual story. He started out as one of the older kids in the Fourteen Quarters Repertory Company, whom I sent to the airport to provide a ride back to the hotel. The entire concept of the story was much different when I began. You see, I wanted Mercy to think horribly of the hero at first without understanding why she felt that way. After all, she’d never met him. He was a stranger. Digger was to be the one innocently giving Mercy that vibe–since the repertory company was putting on an actual Broadway play based upon Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. The hero was to play the villain, and Digger was in character as one of the kids in the play, practicing for the performance, unable to shake off the persona of an innocent kid mistreated by the villain’s ilk.

That was the plan.

Then Digger spotted Mercy, and he began to act older than his nearly eighteen years. He began to take up Mercy’s time. They had unforgettable moments that made me laugh, and based upon my relationship with my husband, if a  man can make you laugh at yourself and with him, he’s a keeper. For me, the original hero couldn’t follow up Digger’s act, and the story just didn’t hold up without putting Digger in the hero’s spot. Old hero was written out. Digger was made an adult, put in the lead, and he pretty much became one of my favorite characters that I’ve written in any of the Write Integrity novellas in which I’ve been blessed to take part.

Well, Digger and Jonathan, my surfing cowboy from A Ruby Christmas.

Unlikely Merger Cover

More About Unlikely Merger:

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Our authors at Write Integrity Press love collaborating on novellas. Here are a few of our other works:

A Dozen Apologies:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT COVER (282x425)coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job than she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

LOVE BOAT BACHELOR CoverThe Love Boat Bachelor:

Romance is a joke.After the love of Brent Teague’s life came back into his world only to marry someone else, Brent is through with women. He might be through with being a pastor, too. Brent was so sure that God brought Mara Adkins home to him so they could marry and live happily ever after. Six months after her wedding to another man, that theory is obviously a dud. If Brent could be so wrong about that, who’s to say he’s not mistaken about God calling him to pastoral ministry? Tired of watching Brent flounder for direction, Brent’s feisty older sister boots him out of Spartanburg and onto a cruise ship. Brent’s old college buddy manages the ship’s staff, and he’s thrilled to finagle Brent into the role of chaplain for the two-week cruise. As the ship sets sail, Brent starts to relax. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But there’s just one little thing no one told him. He’s not on any ordinary cruise. He’s on The Love Boat.What’s a sworn bachelor to do on a Caribbean cruise full of romance and love? He’ll either have to jump ship or embrace the unforgettable romantic comedy headed his way.

Be sure to check out Jennifer Hallmark’s blog today where I write about Collaborative Projects.