Monday, April 6, 2020

John Adams' Faith in Time of Crisis -Guest Blog By William Federer

by William Federer

John Adams wrote to his cousin, Rev. Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776:

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.

The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure, than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."
On July 1, 1776, John Adams wrote to Archibald Bullock:

"The object is great which we have in view, and we must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it.

But we should always remember that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate as there is nothing, on this side (of) the New Jerusalem, of equal importance to Mankind."
On July 1, 1776, John Adams spoke to the delegates of the Thirteen Colonies at the Continental Congress:

"Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it.

All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration.

It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence forever!"
The Continental Congress selected John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman and Thomas Jefferson to be on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams personally urged Thomas Jefferson to write the draft.

In contemplating the effect that separation from England would mean to him personally, John Adams wrote:

"If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may.

But while I do live, let me have a country, and that a free country!"
On July 3, 1776, the day following Congress' approval of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail Adams:

"It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever.

It may be the will of heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful ... The furnace of affliction produces refinements, in states as well as individuals ...

You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the causes, which have impelled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man ...

The new governments we are assuming ... will require a purification from our vices and an augmentation of our virtues or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power.

And the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great. I am not without apprehensions from this quarter, but I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe."
As the 2nd President, John Adams wrote, April 26, 1777:

"Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!

I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it."
John Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, was the 6th U.S. President.

He stated, March 4, 1825:

"'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain,' with fervent supplications for His favor, to His overruling Providence I commit with humble but fearless confidence my own fate and the future destinies of my country."

                                           ***

Hope the above article inspired you during this crisis time in America battling the Covid-19 virus. My family is choosing to live in Psalm 91 and defeat fear in all its forms.  Psalm 23 is a great blessing, too! We are praying for America to come back to God and His word. This is our way to mercy and victory.

May the Lord bless and keep you is my prayer today!

Elva Martin

Saturday, February 29, 2020

How I Write a Novel - Part 3 Second Draft

by Elva Cobb Martin

To recap this series, in Part 1 we shared how important prayer and faith are in writing Christian Fiction. I shared a special prayer I pray over my writing and some strong Christian Writer's Faith Confessions. Find that blog here: http://bit.ly/2I4PPqA


In Part 2 I shared how I plot storm, then write that difficult first draft to get the main plot points down without much editing. I describe documents I open up and save on my computer that I'll keep adding to as I write the first draft.  To read that blog, click here: http://bit.ly/386UnXX


Now we begin Part 3 - The Second Draft. This draft seems easier than the first draft when I was working hard to get the main points of the story down. So I now have my story, the beginning, middle and end, in about 40,000 words. My goal is 60,000 for this second draft, so I must keep writing. 

In the second draft, I do some fine tuning:



  • Add more details, descriptions, research, I skipped or skimped on to finish the first draft.
  • Check for staying in deep point of view (DPOV) with each main character's voice.
  • Add the five senses more
  • Double check the book's opening hook and make sure each chapter ends with a CLIFFHANGER hook to keep readers reading.
  • Evaluate/strengthen the three main parts of my story: the romance, the adventure (outside happenings that affect the H/H), and the spiritual arc or how my H/H will grow in their faith, or be tested or learn to overcome.
Next time I'll share how important I've found it to be, to print out that second draft and what I check for.

Thanks for stopping by. Would love your comments about how you write a novel. Please share on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva

Elva Cobb Martin is 2020 President of the SC Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College.  She has three inspirational novels published, Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and two historical romances, In a Pirate’s Debt, and Marisol, Book 1 in a new Charleston Brides series for  Wild Heart Books. All three novels have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction.













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Friday, February 21, 2020

How I Write a Novel - Part 2 First Draft

by Elva Cobb Martin


The first draft is actually the most difficult to finish and you should celebrate when you finish! It means you've got the main parts of your story down.

So how DO I get that first draft down? I have another series of blogs on "Planning Your Novel" in more detail. This series is on our ACFW-SC Chapter blog. Start the first one at http://bit.ly/2tHM32L.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I was praying last week and asking the Lord to help me get started what I  call plotstorming for Book 3, Anna Grace, in the Charleston Brides Series, and right in the middle of my praying a simple outline, my novel in  a nutshell, came into mind. In about ten minutes I was able to jot down an opening/hooking scene idea, and what the first third of the book would probably need to  cover, basic ideas the middle would need to cover, and then the final third and ending main scene idea. I had my initial story line in a few minutes!

All this was jotted down in a few sentences, one page, but I breathed a sigh of relief. I now knew where I was going, some of the things that would happen in the middle and how the story should end. OF COURSE, any or all of this can change or be modified, but it felt so good to get this much down.

Now I must admit, I had already been doing a lot of reading and research in my time period and genre. That's so important to help the ideas flow. (See more on that in the "Planning Your Novel" series mentioned above).

So after I left my prayer time, I later came to the computer and opened up a new document to begin serious plotstorming of Anna Grace. I saved it as
01 Anna Grace Plotstorming Book 3 Charleston Brides series.  The 01 designation means it will be at the top beginning of my documents and easy to find fast.

This Plotstorming Document will include :

1) The opening, middle and ending scene ideas expanded to a page or more each, as various scenes come to mind.




2) Three Plot Outlines I will work out from #1: 


  • The Romance Plot - how will the romance begin, hit conflict, end happily?

  • The Adventure Plot - what exciting things will be happening to my H/H? (Shipwreck, kidnapping, surprises?)

  • Spiritual Plot - the main spiritual theme of the book shown in the spiritual arcs of the main characters as they face conflict and life. How will this progress?

3) A list of characters' names, descriptions and some photos from the net.

4) Research segments will be saved in separate files, but under the main name of Anna Grace.  ( Ex. Anna Grace - Charleston Under Siege

Next, I will begin the actual writing of the first draft. I will save that document as 01 Anna Grace ms in progress in Times New Roman, double spaced, etc.

I will also open up a new document and save it as:
01 Anna Grace Chapter Outline
Here I will do a scene by scene list as I write scenes in each chapter and with page numbers of the start and ending of each chapter. (Yes, page numbers WILL change in the 2nd draft and I'll note the changes then).

My best plan is to write the FIRST draft as fast as I can, with little editing, and not stopping to describe a gown or place in detail. I aim to get down the main plot points and twists. I usually end up with about 45,000 words of a projected 60,000 word novel. But I celebrate that I've FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT. 

Next Time: Writing the Second Draft

Thanks for stopping by. Would love your comments of how you write a novel. And please do share this blog on your social media.

Happy Valentines,
Elva Martin


Elva Cobb Martin is 2020 President of the SC Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has three inspirational novels published, Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and two historical romances, In a Pirate’s Debt, and Marisol, Book 1 in a new Charleston Brides series for  Wild Heart Books. All three novels have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. She has indie published a Bible study on Amazon, Power Over Satan, on the  believer's authority in Christ. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. She and her husband Dwayne are retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, 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, February 14, 2020

Guest Post: The Origin of St. Valentine's Day by Bill Federer

American Minute with Bill Federer
Origin of Saint Valentine's Day
The origin of Saint Valentine's Day goes back to the 3rd century.

At that time, the Roman Empire was being invaded by Goths.
At the same time, the Plague of Cyprian, probably smallpox, broke out killing at its height 5,000 people a day.
So many died that the Roman army was depleted of soldiers.
Roman Emperor Claudius II needed more soldiers to fight the invading Goths.

He believed that men fought better if they were not married, so he banned traditional marriage in the military.
Rome was also torn from internal rivalries which continued since the assassination of the previous Emperor, Gallienus.

Emperor Claudius II quelled these tensions by requesting the Roman Senate deify Emperor Gallienus, so as to be worshiped along with the other Roman gods.
Citizens were forced to worship the Roman gods, and "deified" emperors, by placing a pinch of incense on a fire before their statues.

Those who refused worship of the Roman gods were considered "politically incorrect" or "unpatriotic" enemies of the state and killed.
Emperor Decian's persecution specifically targeted Christians with legislation forcing them to deny their consciences or die.
During the first three centuries of Christianity, there were ten major persecutions in which the government threw Christians to the lions, boiled them alive, had their tongues cut out, and worse.
Roman soldiers would break into church meetings, catacombs, and homes, confiscating and destroying Christian writings, scriptures and church records.

Because so many records were destroyed, details of Saint Valentine's life are scant.
What little is known is from the works of Eusebius of Caesarea, compiled around 362 AD and the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (Martyrology of Jerome), compiled around A.D. 460-544.
Saint Valentine is mentioned in Legenda Sanctorum by Jacobus de Voragine in 1260 and in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493.
Though several individuals may have had that name, it appears Saint Valentine was either a priest in Rome or a bishop in Terni, central Italy.
He risked the Emperor's wrath by standing up for traditional marriage, secretly marrying soldiers to their young brides.
When Emperor Claudius demanded that Christians deny their consciences and worship pagan idols, Saint Valentine refused.
He was arrested, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, and condemned him to die.
While awaiting execution, his jailer, Asterius, asked Saint Valentine to pray for his blind daughter.
When she miraculously regained her sight, the jailer converted and was baptized, along with many others.
Right before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "from your Valentine."

Saint Valentine was beaten with clubs and stones, and when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate on FEBRUARY 14, 269AD.
In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius designated FEBRUARY 14th as "Saint Valentine's Day."
In the High Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer, called the father of English literature, wrote a poem called Parliament of Foules (Assembly of Fowls) (c.1393).

It it he described how fowls, birds, chose their mates in mid-February:

"For this was Saint Valentine's day, when every bird of every kind that men can imagine comes to this place to choose his mate."

He made another mention in the final chapter of The Cantebury Tales:

"The book of the Duchesse; the book of Seint Valentynes day of the Parlement of Briddes (Birds)."
The association of birds with fidelity in marital love came about because 90 percent of bird species are monogamous.
Many bird species mate for life, such as varieties of:

Swans,
Canada Geese,
Ravens, Cranes,
Blue Jays,
Barn Owls,
Red-Tailed Hawks,
Woodpeckers,
Ospreys,
Raptors,
Penquins, and
Bald Eagles,
After elaborate courtships, depending on their species, these birds remain together until one partner dies.
Birds that mate for life have offspring that require more extensive care and instruction from parents.
They are able to mate earlier in the season which allows their young more time to develop before the fall and winter seasons of long migrations or harsh winter weather.
                                                  ***** Hope you've found the origin of Valentine's Day as interesting as I did! And I love the list of birds that mate for life and their relation to Valentine's Day.Enjoy the cards, candy, and flowers, and send some. Valentine's Day marks a bright spot like the sun rising in an otherwise cold, darker winter season. It is a great opportunity to show our love to others.Google American Minute by Bill Federer if you'd like to sign up for his newsletter. He sends out great historical information.            Happy Valentine's Day!Elva Martin
Elva Cobb Martin is 2020 President of the SC Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has three inspirational novels published, Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and two historical romances, In a Pirate’s Debt, and Marisol, Book 1 in a new Charleston Brides series for  Wild Heart Books. All three novels have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. She has indie published a Bible study on Amazon, Power Over Satan, on the  believer's authority in Christ. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. She and her husband Dwayne are retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, 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