The idea for The Gospel According to George came to me at a Messiah sing-along at Yale University several years ago. The beautiful hall was crowded with enthusiastic music lovers who brought their own scores or bought one at the door. The soloists were exquisite, the music powerful.
The Chinese graduate student sitting next to me had never heard the oratorio before; she only knew that it was famous. She didn’t sing, but as a Christian, she came along to find out what all the excitement was about. At the intermission she turned to me. “Do all these people believe what they are singing?” she asked in an awed voice. Sadly, I had to confess that most loved the music but had no idea what it was about. After that I couldn’t shake the idea of a book to take Messiah-lovers beyond the music to grasp the depth and breadth of the story Handel told.
Yesterday I took a long walk in the woods, stopping to pray attributes of God at various benches, stumps and logs along the way like the one at the site of this photo. This entry on "God, our Generous Provider," from Honey from the Comb seemed especially appropriate for this week after Thanksgiving. After all our gratitude should be greater than what one day a year can contain. With no one to see me there by the lake, I threw back my head and opened my mouth like a baby bird as I prayed, ready to receive from God all the blessings he has for me.
As great as God is, he reaches out to us generously and meets our needs beyond our imagining. As you meditate on these verses, thank him for his generosity to you and open your mouth like an infant to be filled.
I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12
How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6: 33
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11
What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived--
the things God has prepared
for those who love him--
these are the things God has revealed to us
by his Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9 -10a
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Fighting in the streets.
Not to mention personal struggles with relationships,
and feelings of failure and inadequacy.
In the days since Black Mountain was released, I have been eagerly watching for reviews. I asked some people ahead of time and lined up several blogs. I have been mentioning them on Facebook, but didn't want to stuff your mailbox every time one went up. So here is a summary. I'd love it if you added your review to those on Amazon.
June 4 Rani's Simple Living Rani thinks I need to write a book about Nicholas. I'll have to think about that!
June 8. Book Reviews from an Avid Reader. Joan likes the research (which I enjoyed very much.) She also says, "What I liked most in this novel is the idea of God redeeming and restoring the life of a repentant person. What a great representation of the life transforming nature of the gospel. I also liked the suspense at the end."
June 9 International Christian Fiction Writers. Donna Fletcher Crow, author of Glastonbury; A Novel of Christian Britain, interviews me about Black Mountain. She says in her review, "Black Mountain concludes Leanne Hardy’s Glastonbury Grail series with a powerful pilgrimage, both physical and spiritual. Magic and faith, myth and eternal truth intermingle in this novel of the Holy Grail. With the beauty of an epic poem, it presents an allegory of the grace of God."
June 11 History Thru the Ages. This historical Christian fiction site features an article by me on how my Glastonbury Grail series came to be written. It's not too late to comment and enter a drawing for a free copy of Black Mountain.
June 12 History Thru the Ages. An article about how writing was viewed in the 16th century and the "new" 1536 translation of the Bible into English by William Tyndale. Comment again and enter your name in the drawing a second time.
I blogged about place in fiction at International Christian Fiction writers.
December 1 is World AIDS Day, a time to remember the 34 million people in the world today living with HIV. Half a million have died in the US alone. More than two thirds of those living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa where I have lived for many years. For every one person with the virus in the blood steam, weakening the immune system, countless others are affected—parents, children, friends, employers, employees, whole communities loosing economic power as wage earners become too ill to work. Anti-retroviral drugs have greatly extended the lives and health of people living with HIV, but the virus still presents huge challenges.
It's here! The beautiful cover designed by Katy Popa with a painting by Kathy Haasdyk, illustrator of Our Gran. Keeping Secrets will be released December 1, World AIDS Day.
Keeping Secrets is not a book for pre-teens. Because of content involved with HIV, parents will want to read it themselves before giving it to readers under thirteen or fourteen. But then I always try to make my books for young people interesting to adults as well. Discussion questions at the end can help you talk about issues raised.
Read a sample chapter here. Then tell your friends by clicking on the buttons above and get ready for the December 1 release!
When we moved to England in 1997, my dear friend Liz gave me lots of cuttings to start houseplants that brightened our new home. A bit of this and a snip of that. She loved the excuse to “play plants,” as she called it. Well, I love to “play photos,” and a new book is the perfect excuse.
My slide show of the setting of Honddu Vale went over well at the book launch in September so I have turned it into a movie for YouTube. It only takes eight and a half minutes, and I think you will enjoy it. If you have already read the book, you will recognize the places. If you haven’t, then what are you waiting for? Hopefully the video will make you eager to get your copy.
Last summer when I tried on the 1970s bride’s maid’s dress I have used for years for Renaissance Festival, I . . . ahem . . . couldn’t get it zipped. Sigh. My age is catching up with me. The last time I attended the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference, a number of the historical and fantasy writers came to the banquet in costume. Hmm. I’m promoting a book set in the sixteenth century. A new dress could do double duty for Ren Fair and ACFW. Life is always more fun when you dress the part.
This self-publishing thing is quite a challenge. Although Glastonbury Tor was a finalist for a major award, it was not a big seller, and my publisher was not interested in a sequel. After shopping the manuscript for Honddu Vale around, an agent advised me to self-publish. She loved my writing, but my diversity of interests would not appeal to commercial publishers. So here I am—my own editor, book designer, and marketer.
I’ve had lots of help. My critique group offered plenty of suggestions along the way. My daughter is a fabulous proofreader, catching commas and hyphens and even, “Mom, this word doesn’t work. It wasn’t used until the nineteenth century.” (I’m writing about the sixteenth.)
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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