Friday, December 8, 2017

Writing with Spiritual Impact - Part 2 Jacob's Stone Legend

By Elva Cobb Martin

In Part 1 we defined "Thin Places" as where heaven and earth seem closer due to the prayer and worship that has taken place in that area. Click here for Part 1 http://bit.ly/2i7YP13  

In my research into "thin places" I found myself studying again the story of Jacob in Genesis 28:11-12. If there ever was a thin place, surely where he slept on a stone as his pillow and dreamed of the ladder between heaven and earth with angels descending, this place would be one.

Remember when Jacob awoke, he was afraid and declared, "How dreadful is this place! It is none other than the house of God,and this is the gate to heaven."

Then he set up the stone and poured oil on it and called the name of that place Bethel, meaning house of God.

Now this is where the "rest of the story" related to that stone gets interesting. 

Did you know there is an unfounded tradition related to it? The legend says this stone was finally brought to Jerusalem, later taken to Spain, then to Ireland and finally, to Scotland. On what is supposed to be that very stone, the kings of Scotland were crowned. Later, Edward I of England had it brought to Westminster and placed under the chair on which kings of England have been crowned for centuries.

Along with this stone tradition is the Anglo-Saxon theory that the British and American people are the ten lost tribes of Israel.

For much more information and research about this topic and where the stone is today, click here: http://bit.ly/2izOpLB

Whether the stone legend or ten lost tribes theory are true or not, thin places we started out discussing continue to intrigue me, especially my own thin place of daily prayer and worship. It is from time spent there that I can write with greater spiritual impact. How about you?

Do you have a "thin place" where you feel closer to God and heaven?

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment and share this on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva 


Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin

Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI





Friday, December 1, 2017

Thin Places - Writing with Spiritual Impact Part 1

by Elva Cobb Martin


Iona, Scotland, place of early Christian prayer
My favorite legal thriller author, Robert Whitlow, really snagged my interest in a new term to me, "thin places," in his book Water's Edge. He brought this spiritual principle in by having the heroine describe the hero's deceased, godly, father's law office. The hero Tom had just told the heroine Rose that even though he came to clean out his father's office, he'd actually found himself reading the Bible at his father's old desk more than doing the clean up. 

The heroine glanced around the room,then up at the ceiling and said, "That's because this is a thin place. It's what the ancients called a place where there's less separation between heaven and earth. It allows easier communion between the Lord and His people."

Then she went on to ask if he had heard of Iona or Lindisfarne which are known as thin places in Scotland and northern England where the early Christians established places of prayer and worship.

That prompted me to do some research not only Googling those two famous places people visit every year, but looking in the Bible as well.

Two "thin places" in the Bible that came quickly to my mind were Jacob's dream of the ladder between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:11-22) and New Testament Lydia's place in Philippi Paul discovered down by the river where "prayer was wont to be made." (Acts 16:13)

As Christian writers I believe the best spiritual arcs we can hope to create in our novels will be inspired by time spent in our personal spiritual thin place, our prayer closets. Do you have a "thin place" of your own where you've prayed and worshiped God so regularly, there's less separation between heaven and earth?

In Part 2 I will share something astounding I uncovered in this research into "thin places" that has to do with Jacob's experience and the stone he slept on and anointed with oil.

Thanks for stopping by. Do you know of a special thin place where you feel closer to heaven and inspiration? Please leave a comment, if so, and share this on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin


Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin

Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI




Friday, November 24, 2017

Blackbeard the Pirate - Part 2 Charles Town's Revenge

by Elva Cobb Martin


If you missed Part 1 "Charleston Held Hostage" you can find it in my archive.

After holding Charles Town hostage until his demands were met, Blackbeard sailed away. He had to be gloating over the fact that not only had he taken the most valuable loot of his career, he had, as one writer put it, “reduced to total submission the proud and militant people of South Carolina without firing a single shot.”

What Blackbeard and his cohorts did not count on was that in the South, revenge rides hard on the heels of humiliation.

Once the pirate squadron sailed out of Charleston Harbor and Samuel Wragg and the other hostages had replaced their clothing, if not their dignity, white-hot Southern dander rose to the surface in the Charleston waters.

It was just the stimulus needed for the difficult task of subduing the hitherto fashionable vice known as piracy.

History records the results.

The courts of Charleston, in November of that same year of 1718, tried, convicted and caused to be hanged in the period of one month a total of 49 pirates.

The pride of South Carolina was certainly restored in great measure by these successes against piracy. Blackbeard, however, was not among those executed in Charleston.

He died on November 22, 1718, at the hand of Lt. Robert Maynard. Maynard and his crew, sent by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood of Virginia, challenged Blackbeard near his Ocracoke, North Carolina, hideout. After being wounded an astounding 25 times, 20 cutlass wounds and five gunshot wounds, Blackbeard succumbed.

Maynard reportedly chopped off Blackbeard’s head and attached it to his mast and sailed home. Legend has it that when they threw the body over board, it swam around the boat seven times before sinking.

So goes the story of Blackbeard, Colonial terrorist.

In England the last pirate of this era was strung up in 1840, and in America the last one was hung in 1862.

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a favorite pirate story? Please share in the comments and share this on our social media by clicking on the below small icons.

Blessings,
Elva 


Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to her romance novels, Summer of Deception and In a Pirate's Debt, and a Bible study, Power Over Satan on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI




Friday, November 17, 2017

Blackbeard the Pirate Part 1 - Charleston Held Hostage

by Elva Cobb Martin

November 22, 1718, is the anniversary of Blackbeard's death at the hands of Lt. Robert Maynard. So I decided we'd take another look at this most famous pirate of all.

Pirates had their greatest days in our Atlantic waters in the 1600-1700’s. The success of piracy and its particular form of terrorism in the colonial period were due in part to the laissez-faire attitude of heads of state and some colonial governors. Unpardoned acts of piracy were often condoned by officials as long as the acts were perpetuated against one’s enemies or the loot was shared. England and other nations issued “letters of marque” which gave their own “privateers” as they called these type captains, permission to attack and plunder ships of their enemies.

But piracy became so prevalent at times that honest sea trade almost ground to a halt. Then governments withdrew letters of marque, tracked down the pirates, and hanged them in public.

The history of Charleston, South Carolina, records such a story involving Blackbeard, one the most notorious pirates of all who roamed the Eastern seaboard and the Caribbean.
Blackbeard was more than an adroit leader of men, swashbuckling and fearsome; he was also a skillful navigator and a competent naval tactician. According to Rod Gragg, a University of South Carolina professor of history, Blackbeard once fought and won a naval battle with a 30-gun British man-of-war, becoming perhaps the only pirate in the western hemisphere to defeat the British Royal Navy.

His method of attack was similar to that of terrorists today. He struck quickly, raided, then ran. His favorite place to run was Ocracoke Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. His attacks, of course, were always at sea.

In May of 1718, Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard, sailed into Charleston with his fleet of pirate ships. He blockaded the harbor, captured and plundered nine ships and took several hostages including Samuel Wragg, a member of the South Carolina legislature. After interrogating the hostages about the remaining ships in the harbor—their cargoes and destinations—the victims were then thrown half-naked into the dark hold.

In exchange for the prisoners, Blackbeard demanded of Governor Johnson something the pirate did not find on the plundered ships, mainly a large supply of meds used to relieve a pirate’s recurring nightmare—syphilis. Blackbeard warned that if his demands were not met, he would execute all the hostages and raid and sack Charleston. And Charlestonians knew he could do just that.

The Charles Town legislature complied. It seemed that shame, indignation, and revenge were outranked by fear. Actually, it was wisdom that outranked the lot, with revenge simply being reserved.

Thanks for stopping by. Don't miss the Revenge of Charles Town next week! Please leave a comment and share on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva 


Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to her romance novels, Summer of Deception and In a Pirate's Debt, and a Bible study, Power Over Satan on Amazon http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI








Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tips for Creating A Villain

by Elva Cobb Martin

Villains are important in most  genres, and I've studied quite a lot about how to write about these bad guys (or gals). 

A writer friend, Katherine McDermott, wrote:"In creating romantic suspense the "bad guy" is just as important, if not more important, than the hero and heroine. He must be a "real" person with legitimate motives and his own back story; otherwise, you end up writing a melodrama with stock characters like Dudley Do-right and Snidely Whiplash."

I created a powerful villain by the name of Byron Pitt in my novel, In a Pirate's Debt available at http://amzn.to/2i61Z5P . I gave him a terrible scar on his face that occurred in a sword fight with the hero captain. He was also jealous of the captain and wanted revenge for the scar. I gave him motive and opportunity to seek revenge, increasing the conflict in the story.

In my contemporary romantic suspense novel, Summer of Deception, available at  http://amzn.to/2f0y2SB I wrote in a mercenary, immoral, cowboy villain, Dakota, who had it in for the hero Luke, but I gave this bad guy a piece of a heart. He dropped his girlfriend when she refused to get an abortion, but he also sent money to her regularly and had an account set up to pay for the hospital and doctor for the baby's birth.

In my study I found a great description for a villain written in the Bible. Check out Proverbs 6:12-14, here in the Amplified Bible version. Do you see the body language described?

A worthless person, a wicked man, is he who goes about with a perverse (contrary, wayward) mouth. He winks with his eyes, he speaks by shuffling or tapping with his feet, he makes signs (to mislead and deceive) and teaches with his fingers. Willful and contrary in his heart, he devises trouble, vexation, and evil continually; he lets loose discord and sows it.

Do you have a tip for creating a good villain? Leave a comment.
Thanks for stopping by and please do share this on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva 



Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to my romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI







Friday, October 27, 2017

Writing the Cozy Mystery - Part 3 the Main Components

by Elva Cobb Martin

You can review Part 1 and Part 2  of this series by clicking on my archives. We covered the differences between Mystery, Suspense and Horror novels in Part 1.
In Part 2 we defined what a Cozy Mystery is.

Today let's talk about the Main Components of a cozy we will need to plan.

The Amateur Sleuth
Unlike regular mysteries (detective stories, police procedures) a cozy has an amateur sleuth protagonist working to solve the mystery, although there may be trained law officers also working on the case. Think of Father Brown on Netflix, who solves the case right under the angry inspector's nose who tries to keep Father Brown out of the picture. Think of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Poirot. I love these amateur sleuths. And I love Sherlock Holmes, but can't class him as amateur. He's too much a brain.

Location/Setting
One reason I like Father Brown and Agatha Christies' series is the English village setting. Don't you love the stately old manors, churches, modes of travel, and the dress? I'm probably going to need to consider writing an historical cozy since I love historical stuff.

The Murder Victim and Crime
Eddie Jones, CEO of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, says in his Cozy Mystery Workshop that the body must appear very soon in the story, definitely by the end of Chapter one or sooner. The crime must capture the reader's imagination and give enough information about the victim to make the reader care that justice will prevail.

Great Plotting
Like any other type story, we have to have a well-thought out plot. Plot usually has three main stages:

1) Beginning - getting to know the protagonist and set up for the conflict/crime
2) Conflict/Problem/Journey
3) Resolution

These are broken down into many parts. For a mystery it must also include clues, red herrings, and many twists until the very end. The end does not have to be happy but it must be satisfying.

Are you thinking about writing a mystery? Do you have a question? I look forward to your comments and please do share this on your social media by clicking on the below small icons.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin
Link to all my books on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI











Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Launch of The Emotional Wound Thesaurus & Five Steps to Overcome Writing Rejection


By Elva Cobb Martin
Hi everyone! Today I have a special post as part of the Writers Persevere event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward. I love their books!


You can find out more about this book and all the links to purchase it and others here: http://writershelpingwriters.net/bookstore/

To help them celebrate this release, many of us are posting stories about some of the obstacles we’ve overcome as writers. As we all know, this isn’t an easy path. Writing is hard and as writers we tend to struggle with doubt. Sometimes too, we don’t always get the support we need to follow our passion, or we have added challenges that make writing more difficult. Because people are sharing their stories this week about how they worked through these challenges to keep writing, I wanted to post about it too. Here's my story!

I wrote the first draft of my first novel, Summer of Deception, a romantic suspense, thirty years ago. It was rejected 26 times before I finally landed a contract. Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas released Summer of Deception in May, 2017, and it's spent time on Amazon's 100 Best Sellers List for Women's Religious Fiction. Earlier, I've written a 9-part blog series on "My Long Journey to a Book Contract - Five Vital Steps"  Click here to start Part 1   http://bit.ly/2yLohlW

However, here are the Five Vital Steps in brief. I know you will love me for giving them here! To get much more detail and craft information check out the series in my archives. Maybe what was holding my contract up is holding yours.

Step 1) NEVER GIVE UP! Check out Philippians 1:6 and be confident God will complete a good work in you.

Step 2) Keep Honing Your Craft -with every rejection I learned something. I     studied plotting, deep POV, and Goals, Motivation and Conflict, and                      most important, how to show/not tell. Study craft books and writer blogs.

Step 3) Attend Writing Conferences. Join a writing group and look for critique                      partners. Good critique partners are a blessing.

Step 4) Help Other Writers. Four years ago I helped found the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers and have served as president. This great group has been instrumental in helping my writing craft and perseverance keep moving forward. I enjoy helping other writers on their way. Sowing good seed helping others, brings needed help to you. That's a Bible principle. Here's a link to our S.C. ACFW Chapter's latest blog by Edie Melson, our VP:   http://bit.ly/2gzFQLV  Check out the top list of pages for more info. We meet the 4th Saturdays at 2:00 PM in Anderson, SC. Oct. 28 our speaker is a law officer who will share investigative procedures and weapons info for writers.

Step 5) Learn How to Submit to Agents and Editors - How critical it is to READ and FOLLOW Guidelines posted on their sites! 

Do you have a story to share, or some advice for others? You can join Becca and Angela at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell them about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, write a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere.  Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!
There’s a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost at  http://writershelpingwriters.net/2017/10/help-us-celebrate-the-incredible-strength-of-writers-and-a-new-book/
I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!
The giveaway is only from October 25-27th, so enter asap. And don’t forget to share this using the #writerspersevere hashtag so more prizes will be awarded!

So glad you stopped by. Do leave a comment and share this post on your social media by clicking on the small icons
below.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin
Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to my romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI