A Review of Stephen Lawhead’s Skin Map

 

The Skin Map

The Skin Map

 

When I got The Skin Map from Booksneeze (at no charge, no obligations, very awesome), I really had no idea what to expect. I had already read a few of Stephen Lawhead‘s books, and I knew that he had a diverse range of style. So I dug in with no preconceived notions about what it would be like.

And I loved it.

His mastery of the art of description is beyond belief (I had to stop several times to jump up and down because I loved his style so much, seriously). His level of attention to details like period mindset and speech is a delight to behold (especially for die-hard background-first novelists like me).

My only quibble was that he doesn’t end the first book as a stand-alone. He makes you need to read the next one to continue the story arc properly. And that isn’t out yet, which is maddening.

And for those of you who are worried about inappropriate content (I was a bit, since his Song of Albion trilogy had some), don’t be. It is completely clean. Utterly. I couldn’t have been more pleased on that score (and promptly gave it to my little siblings to share).

5 out of 5 stars, very recommended.

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Everyone Communicates…

…But Few Connect.

Well I just finished Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell. I am almost ashamed for getting such a good book for free from BookSneeze, and even though I wasn’t required to give a positive review, that is the only kind I can give it.

Out of the hundreds of books that I have read that are really good, this one is definitely in the top ten. John Maxwell brings Biblical, Christian, practical, applicable, powerful, and profound principles, tactics, illustrations, and humor together in this book with a vital message: how to connect with everyone you come into contact with.

Connecting is the most important thing you can do in any relationship (family, spouse, parents, boss, co-workers, subordinates, clients, everyone). And every single step that John Maxwell gives you here will by itself revolutionize the way you connect. Integrating them all is hard work, but it is worth it. Five stars isn’t enough: this book is crucial for your life.

Typography and Lexicology

Greetings,

I could not resist sharing this on my blog with y’all when I saw it. Watch it and heed it!

How to change your world for the better (and someone else’s)

Greetings and salubrious salutations!

There are very few things that I get excited about, but when I do, I get really excited. Things like Radiant Sunsets, Glowing Nature, Powerful Messages, Intriguing Movies, Infinite Truths, Absolute Statements, Good Books, and Book Bombs.

I want to give you an opportunity to make a difference in this world. Imagine that you could read a book that is fun, easy to understand, and powerful enough to get you moving in a direction that will change the world for the better, and for God’s glory. Imagine that by getting that book, you are getting that book also for someone who cannot afford it.

That is what you will get if you get Alex and Brett Harris’ new book, Start Here. Watch the short video below to find out about it.

Excited yet?

Now listen to this:

When Alex and Brett Harris published their last revolutionary book, Do Hard Things, they drove it to #5 on Amazon.com with the help of rebelutionaries all around the world. Amazing for a bunch of teens and a little hardback non-fiction book.

They are going to do it again, and not just to #5 this time: they aim for #1.

And I believe that they can do it.

With your help.

They want you to get your copy on February 23rd – at the same time as thousands of other teens, parents, teachers, and pastors. This will drive the ratings on Amazon sky high, and get the message out that will change lives forever.

And for every copy sold, they will give away, free, one copy to someone who can’t afford it.

That is why I want you to not only buy one (or two) for yourself, but also one for your friend, your pastor, your teacher, for your library, or even for your distant relatives.

And why I also want you to tell everyone you know about this amazing opportunity

To

Change

Your

World

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

Marcher Lord Press Select

Greetings,

This is really late, but I need to get it out so y’all can hear about this!

Marcher Lord Press is a publishing company of Christian speculative fiction. They like to do things differently, which I like. 🙂 Here is a press release talking about what they are doing now:

 

October 19, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)–Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

“Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions,” says publisher Jeff Gerke. “We’re presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting ‘the people’ decide which one should be published.”

The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.

The first phase will consist of no more than the book’s title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.

“We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel,” Gerke says. “There are marketing skills to be developed–and you’ve got to hook the reader with a good premise.”

Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book.

The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.

No portion of any contestant’s mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.

Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.

“We’re also running a secondary contest,” Gerke says. “The ‘premise contest’ is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009.”

The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book.

The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.

“It’s a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn’t receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest.”

The premise contest is open to anyone with a completed Christian speculative fiction manuscript that meets MLP guidelines for length, content, genre, worldview, audience, etc. To enter, authors must complete the acquisitions form found at the Marcher Lord Press site and supply all the components listed below on or before October 29, 2009.

Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.

“In order for this to work as we’re envisioning,” Gerke says, “we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you’re not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I’m sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!”

The voting ends on the 15th, so get over there and vote soon! I am excited about this, because if this trial works, it might be there next year, and I might be able to try my hand at getting a novel published…

While I am here, I would like to also put in a good word for a friend of mine who has a novel in the competition. I love her blog, her writing is good, and she is a homeschooling mother, so I would really like to see her win. From what I have seen, her novel stands a good chance. It is called The Sword of the Patron.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

Affliction

Greetings,

In our study on the Rebelution Forums of John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life, the following question came up:

Is it obvious that all men seek happiness (even those who commit suicide)? Is the pursuit of happiness inevitable? How do you think the Bible regards the pursuit of Happiness? Cite Scripture verses in your answer.

The following is my answer.

In each man there is the deep requirement to seek his own happiness, or what appears to him to be happiness. This last qualifier is important because we are very often wrong. We are in fact very rarely right, and even then it is only because we relinquished our understanding in favor of God’s wisdom. Understanding what true happiness is and where its source is one of the most important things that we can do in life (of you look at it right, it is the most important thing). To put a definition of happiness that is different from God’s, and then to seek after that happiness is to commit idolatry: for the true definition of true happiness is God’s presence and the source of true happiness is God.

But God’s definition of happiness (or joy, as some people have distinguished it as) is very different from our definitions, and may seem to be the exact opposite from what we want. But God’s definition is always true and best, for God always knows best.

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you,] and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

God considers pain, affliction, and suffering to be in His plans for our joy! This is all across the Bible. There is deprivation of immediate pleasures (Hebrews 11:25), pain and torture (Hebrews 11:36-39). but God sees all these things as blessings, and desires that we should also (Acts 5:40-41).

Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

This is because God’s blessings include joy, peace, and great love in the midst of our circumstances. These are not dependent upon our material and physical well-being, but transcends them. And by us being tormented and attacked by the world, we are being assured that we are on Christ’s side! The problem is when you are not being persecuted! This does not mean that God will never give us success and safety on earth, nor that it is never in God’s will for us to own a Cadillac, but that we ought not to be surprised, worried, confused, or downhearted when hard times come because of our faith. Rejoice instead that God saw fit to bless you in that way.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye;] for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Homeschooler Survey

Greetings,

A friend had this in her notes on Facebook, and so I thought I should try it, albeit edited slightly since I am not a girl…

Growing up/now
[X] You were at least 13 when you got your first “trendy” haircut (I never had one)
[X] Everything in your closet at some time was referred to as modest (always)
[X] You have tucked things in that shouldn’t be tucked in
[] You have been a member of at least 3 co-ops
[X] You were a 16 and never been kissed (still never have unless you count my family)
[] Your mom drives a van of some sort (my mom doesn’t, my dad does)
[X] You have at least one childhood picture where you, your parents, and all your siblings matched (several)
[x] You are/were/will be a PSEO student (online courses with AIG are great!)
[X] At some point in your life you were more comfortable with adults than kids your own age (always)
[X] Have studied ways to defend your beliefs, debate, and/or create laws (starting my own nation right now, and have spent most of my life studying apologetics)
[] Used uber conservative eg. A Beka curriculum– one subject one semester
Total: 8

[X] You use big words that most adults could not use in conversation
[X] You can use the words sublime, epiphany, and cognizant correctly
[X] You have a favorite word
[x] You have an understanding of Latin root words and how to use them
[X] People from the outside world were referred to as “public schoolers”
[x] At least one of your sisters knits
[X] You laugh at the decline in literacy in America
[X] You score constantly higher than “public schoolers” on standardized tests
[X] You have no concept of cafeteria food
[X] Family vacations are/ can be referred to as “field trips”
[X] Traveling on said vacations have included stopping at historical site markers along the way
[X] You have never been in a public elementary school, middle school, or high school during regular school hours (Only when I went with my family for voting or for a bazaar)
[] You have gone to or been involved in a homeschool convention
Total so far: 20

[X] You read books on a regular basis
[] You have taken part in a political protest
[X] You were a Lord of the Rings fan prior to the movie
[X] You were a Chronicles of Narnia fan before the movie
[x] You speak a language other than English (does partial ASL and making your own count?)
[x] You dream of dating characters from books instead of celebrities (well…not date)
Total so far: 25

It has been assumed that you:
[x] Have won many spelling bees
[X] Have no social life
[X] Have no friends of the opposite gender
[x]Are extremely inept
[X] Only listen to classical music
[X] Play piano or the violin
[X] Do not own a pair of trendy jeans
[X] Have no knowledge of drugs or alcohol
[X] Don’t date, only court
[X] Have never been to a “party”
[] Know no other beliefs other than what your family believes
Total so far: 35

You have been asked more than 10 times in your life:
[] If you wear pajamas to school
[x] If you get perfect grades because your mom grades you
[x] If your mom teaches you or if somebody else’s mom does
[X] How do you meet people
[X] Why you aren’t in school
[X] If you get days off whenever you want
[X] If you’re going to be homeschooled through college
[X] If you have a big family
[X] What your parents are protecting you from
[X] To quote something famous
[X] For the answer, because supposedly homeschoolers always have all the answers
Total so far 45

You have “rebelled” by:
[] Listening to “worldly music”
[] Wearing black fingernail polish
[] Wearing fashionably immodest clothing
[X] Watching a *gasp* PG-13 movie
[] Breaking dress code
[X] Listening to music with a beat (Christian or otherwise)
[] Dancing. Especially dances that involve contact for longer than 2 seconds. With somebody of the opposite gender. Scandalous!!!
Subtract this from total: -3

GRAND TOTAL: 39

1-10 You’re not really a homeschooler…you just do school at home
11-21 You’re a homeschooler, but not what the world expects
22-32 You’re a homeschooler
33-? You probably wouldn’t have Facebook to begin with…but congrats you’re the stereotypical homeschooler

Pretty good.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser