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Monthly Archives: May 2016


Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Psalm 145:9 says that God is good to all, and his mercies are over all of his works. God does not make anything or anyone for that matter that he destined to be bad. There is redemption available for anyone. God always wants the best for everyone.

What Must I do To Be Saved?

In the Bible a young man exactly this question of Jesus.

Mark 10:17-18 says:

As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up and knelt before Him. “Good Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.

Good can only come from God. If we decide that we don’t want to follow God, we doom ourselves to less than God’s best for us. We might have a decent life here, but we have more than just our lifetime here to consider. We have an eternity.

Jesus went on in Mark 10:19 to say to the man, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, and honor your father and mother.”

In Mark 10:20 came the man’s reply “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

Mark 10:21-Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said to him, “There is one thing you lack: Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

Mark 10:22-But the man was saddened by these words and went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth.

Mark 10:23-Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

Mark 10:24-And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

Do you noticed that the disciples were shocked by what Jesus had said. He said that it was hard for a rich man to get into heaven and then he said that it was hard for anyone to get into heaven.

Mark 10:25-It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Some have suggested that needle’s eye, or the eye of the needle, was a small gate at the entrance of Jerusalem and other cities. They say that when the city-keepers locked the main gates for the night, camels and their owners who arrived after the lock-out could squeeze through this gate. However, there is no ancient evidence to this idea that these gates were called “the eye of the needle”

Another theory is that camel is a mistranslation of the Aramaic word which also means rope. What they say that the passage means is that it is hard difficult to pass a rope through the eye of a needle. This a weak interpretation of this word.

These examples try to downplay the difficulty that Jesus is trying to show his disciples. Camels always got into the city gate. Anyone could untwist a piece of rope to thread it through the eye of a sewing needle. He was saying that money can easily get in the way of salvation. Too often we look to money or doctors, rather than God as our source. The rich young ruler was said because Jesus said his riches got between him and God.

 

Mark 10:26-27-

They (the disciplies) were even more astonished and said to one another, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Notice that it says that it is impossible for man, but then it says but not with God. This is saying that man can’t be saved by himself, but it takes man with God to be saved. It doesn’t say that only God can do it. It takes man too. It takes our cooperation with God to be saved.

The eye of the needle was not a little gate nor was the camel a rope. What these verses are saying is that man cannot put his possessions before his love of God, and only with God could he be saved, However, it doesn’t say that you have to be poor to be saved either. Anyone who lines himself up with what God wants for his life will be saved. God doesn’t have favorites.

What Exactly Do I Need to Do to Be Saved?

Notice too how Jesus said, “sell all that you have and follow me. He didn’t say follow God, he said follow Jesus. In Acts 4:12 it says, “There is no other name (authority other than Jesus) under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”

I John 4:1-2 says that if we do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah (translated in Greek as Christ) come in the flesh, we did not know the truth and it is the spirit of the anti-Christ.

We are to believe the Jesus is our salvation come in the flesh to the point that we are willing to give up all that we have and follow him. Abraham did it. He offered Isaac, but God didn’t require it of him. That’s not to say that he wouldn’t require you give up everything you think you have, however. The disciples offered their lives and God kept them.

I have listened lately to some popular preachers on the television who never once mentioned the name of Jesus in their prosperity or positive thinking speeches. They talk about God, but never Jesus. I will not judge them, but for me, a salvation message is no salvation message without Jesus as the center of that message. If God wants you rich, I have no problem with it. Like Jesus told Peter at the end of the gospel of John, if he wants that person to live forever in his wealth, what does it matter to me? I however, would be an unfit minister of the Gospel if I didn’t tell you that Jesus is the only way to Eternal life.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


If you’ve been a writer for any length of time, someone who wants to write will, without a doubt, ask you this question, “Where do you get your ideas to write the things you write.”

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I often face the idea of “new ideas” when writing this blog every week. First I have learned to divide the blog up by topics. What do I think my audience wants to read about the subject of writing and writing two posts on that subject every week? First, since I have divided my own personal writing day into morning productivity and afternoon book marketing, I have determined to write a productivity blog for Tuesday and a marketing blog on Thursday. In between the two, on Wednesdays, I write my pastoral blog post that usually recaps the sermon that I produced for the previous Sunday. On Fridays, I post a video about gardening. I am thinking about changing that though, because I haven’t had much of a response from those videos.

How Do I Get New Ideas?

What do I write about that stands out? How do I find new ideas? The truth is, there are no new ideas. There never have been. As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes almost 3000 years ago,, there is nothing new under the sun.

How can that be true?” You ask. “We have all kinds of new things. Why look in the past 200 years we’ve gone from steam engine to the moon! Every home went from candle light to LED lighting. We went from hand set type to Kindle. We have machines now that can reproduce anything from a prototype. How can you say that there is nothing new under the sun?”

Just as matter and energy cannot be destroyed, only changed, the same is true with ideas. Every idea has always existed in one form or another. Think about a computer chip for a moment. The materials used in the computer chip have always existed in one form or another. The same is true with ideas. Over the millennia, ideas have not been created, but have been discovered. The natural laws that are used to create the computer chip have always existed.  The binary system has always existed from the time man could determine zero from one. Other technologies related to the computer chip which is used to run computers also are ideas based on natural laws that have been discovered and utilized in numerous, creative ways.

What is creative, is not the actual physical material, energy, natural laws or ideas, but the way that those physical materials, energy, natural laws and ideas are put together. The creative energy is energy that has flowed through a human mind, re-examined and that human reframes these physical materials, energy, natural laws and ideas in different ways.

When an author writes a book, that author does the same thing. The author takes the ideas and reframes those ideas. No new idea exists, ideas are simply reframed.

Different Points of View in Historical Fiction

The other day, one of my acquaintances asked me what I wrote and I showed her my books. She saw that it was historical fiction and she said that I took an easy route to creating fiction. I research historical events, and then include characters that I have developed over a series of books. I take something that was real and make it real again through my characters. I don’t see that its all that easy. In some ways its harder than writing contemporary fiction or science fiction or fantasy for that matter. There’s always going to be someone who studies history who takes one person’s viewpoint over another person’s and say that my point of view of that incident was not accurate.

There is no single accurate point of view in historical fiction because history is all about the point of view. There’s a saying that says he who wins the war writes the history books. I know that’s true. I was born in Northwestern Pennsylvania, but I have lived most of my adult life here in Missouri. During the American War, Missouri was border state, but I have come in contact with numerous “white” people whose families were from the South and of the Confederacy. They don’t see the war the same way I was brought up to see that war. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Neither its just differences in point of view.

You can say the same thing about religion or politics. The drama comes when those ideas clash. That drama of those ideas is what makes historical fiction so enticing. Its why so many great books could be written about the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the American Civil War (among others). Each book is different because it draws on different points of view. In other words, the ideas are processed through different people creating different scenarios.

How Is Your Idea Different?

So whether you’re writing historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary fiction, any kind of fiction, or nonfiction for that matter, what makes your idea different from the next person’s idea? What makes your idea different is that ITS YOUR IDEA! It’s your spin on the subject matter. The question shouldn’t be what new idea can I come up with, but rather how do I make this idea uniquely mine. How is my perception of this subject different from anything that I have ever read? How is it the same? What can I add based on my own observations?

Theory of Developing New Ideas

We know that ideas have always existed in some form, that what makes the difference in developing ideas is in point of view or how we as the author sees that idea, but the question remains, “How do we learn new ideas that work?”

First of all, we have to know the original ideas. If what we write is to be believable, we must have a working knowledge of known facts. If we don’t have these facts, we have to find them. In other words, we have to research those facts. Next we have to question those facts and relate them to our point of view. Can I fudge these facts and if I do, what else has to change in the process? For your idea to be believable, you have to ground it in facts otherwise you’ll lose your reader.

If all this sounds very scientific, it is. Look at the facts, create a hypothesis, experiment and test, that’s how new ideas are developed whether in test tube or in a plot arc.

Creativity does not mean that you have to start from a clean slate. New ideas really don’t exist. Understanding that no new ideas exist and that all I had to do was take existing facts and make them my own was very freeing. For me this knowledge means that there is never a blank page.  My idea already exists.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Just how safe are the chemicals used in American Agriculture? Here’s a video discussing a study out of the UK in regards to neonicotinoids and Treated Soybeans. A world like the one described in Silent Spring by Rachel Carson might be that far from reality soon.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


What is An Indie Author?

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An independent author also known as an Indie author writes books without services of a traditional publishing company and will often use the tactics of guerilla marketing as part of their marketing plan. Before we go into discussing what guerilla marketing is however, we need to discuss who constitutes an indie author. A few years ago, if an author could not sell a manuscript to a traditional publishing company, wannabe authors’ only recourse was to have their books published themselves or resort to vanity presses. These authors would buy an entire printing of 5000 books and often were not able to sell them. Now however, since the creation of print-on-demand and the e-book, an author has numerous choices other than vanity or traditional publishing.

An indie author is an author who has decided that taking control of every writing, editing, publishing and marketing aspect of his or her books is best for that book. This person has decided that for whatever reason, traditional publishing is not best for them. Yes, some so-called indie authors are independent because they do not have what it takes to get into traditional publishing, but that often not the case with many indie authors. Going indie is  lucrative for many authors. Goodreads includes over 2000 indie authors, the three most popular are Tammara Webber, Karina Halle, and  J.A. Redmerski.  Indie authors can bypass the gatekeepers thereby allowing them to write more books more quickly. Also, undie writers may have stories that traditional won’t take because they are not of mainstream genres and have a limited audience that traditional publishers cannot afford to publish them. Many of these indie authors make a living wage on what they write.   An indie author has more control over the creative process than a traditionally published author. The author gets to choose what goes into their books. The novelist decides the amount of sex to include in her book, not industry trends.  Finally, an indie author gets to keep a higher percentage of their books’ profits. Indie authors keep 35, 70, and even 100 percent of the income that they make from the books that they write.

My Reasons for Being an Indie Author

I decided to become an indie author for all the above reasons. My husband and I had both lost our jobs at the same time and we needed a fast income. I didn’t feel that I had two years to wait to for a publishing company to sell my book so I decided to self-publish. To tell you the truth, when I originally started writing as an indie author, I had no idea what I was doing. I had read that the book The Shack had been self-published and that it was a success. I thought that indie meant that the writer did it all herself. I didn’t have an editor.  I had no idea how to market my work.  I thought that like the movie Field of Dreams, if I put it out there, people would come and I would sell a lot of books.  I look back on it now, and I realize that it is fortunate that didn’t happen.  In the condition my first book was in when I first put it out, I had no right to sell it. The story line was good, but the formatting and the editing needed a lot of work. I needed time to learn the tricks of the trade. Fortunately now, the book When God Turned His Head  and the subsequent books in the series are well edited and formatted.  I went from being a hack to a professional writer. The first steps In book marketing for an indie author is to produce the best books possible.  Now that I have the publishing aspects of book-writing down, I am devoting more time to learning the weapons of book marketing.

A Lesson from the American Revolution

battle of lexington and concord

The Americans did not win the Battles of Lexington and Concord in the traditional sense using traditional tactics. Indie Writers also cannot use traditional tactics when marketing their books.

What does the American Revolution have to do with book marketing, you ask? Well, because I am writing the Locket Saga and three of the books in the series have been set in the American Revolution, I know a little bit about that war. The first battle at Lexington was a failure for the Americans. They were forced off the battlefield. Also in Concord, the Redcoats tried to take possession of weapons stores there. They probably would have got them too if someone had not informed the Americans that the British would come searching.  It wasn’t until the Redcoats were on their way back that the Americans did most of their damage to the British Army because from every rock and tree, American militia took potshots at the soldiers.

This type of warfare that the Americans used against the British was taught to them by the Indians. The idea was to attack in a small way numerous times and thereby producing big results. This strategy has been used numerous times over the years. The North Vietnam war was lost by the Americans because of this same type of warfare. Needless to say, it is a powerful strategy which today is known as guerrilla warfare. From this phrase, Jay Conrad Levinson coined the phrase “guerrilla marketing” and wrote the book with Rick Frishman and Michael Larsen Guerrilla Marketing for Writers now in its second, expanded edition. The idea behind this book is to teach us how to think more like an entrepreneur as well as authors. Although this book was not written specifically with the indie author in mind, this book is good to read and use to help the indie author get started with the marketing process.

As an indie Author, we are like those American colonists who decided that they wanted to go it alone without traditional publishing companies telling us what we can an cannot do. We can begin by using the cache of weapons stored in Guerrilla Marketing For Writers.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


The Darkness of Wickedness

light in the darkness

In Proverbs 4:14, it says not to follow the way of the wicked nor the path of evildoers. This doesn’t only mean that we should not literally follow the path of a wicked or evil person. It also means that we should not do as an evil person doe, and it also means that also should not even try to think like an evil person thinks.  It is too easy to believe that doing things in the way that the world does it is okay because they got away with it, but did they really?

 

Proverbs 4:15 goes on to say that we should turn away and go somewhere else.  There are always other choices than to do wrong. Sometimes doing right might not be the easiest thing to do in the short term. You might lose friends, but are they the friends you really want to be with? You might think that you’re missing out on an opportunity that is “once in a lifetime”. Believe me when I say, that is almost never the case. If the opportunity is something that God wants for you (and he always wants the best for you), then the opportunity will come around again. This time without evil attached to it. When evil is attached to an opportunity, it is often a premature manifestation of something that God wants for you.

Don’t Do As They Do

Look at the life of Abraham. God promised Abraham a son even in his old age. Sarah came to him with a suggestion for making that happen. She offered her handmaiden Hagar to give him a child. This was the way of the world at that time. A wife could give her servant to her husband and then claim the child as her own. This was not God’s plan and there were negative consequences. God later gave Abraham Isaac, but Isaac still has to face Ishmael every day.

 

Proverbs 4:16 says for evil people cannot sleep until they have done their evil deed for the day. They cannot rest unless they have caused someone to stumble.

 

It is not the people that we need to avoid so much as it is that we should not get caught up with their schemes. An evil person is always gossiping or scheming and usually we get hurt and they leave smelling like a rose. Verse 17 goes on to say that evil people eat wickedness and drink violence. These people seem to live and breathe this lifestyle. These people take our energy like a black hole sucks up matter and energy from the universe. I am certain there is someone in your life like this. These people are the negative Nellies or the gossipy Gerts or the schemer who tries to conning Connies. You might have to do business with them, but you don’t have to get chummy with them. Best not to get into social situations with them.

Be As the Dawn

 

“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18 tells us how we should be. We should be the light.  We should be the one who shines ever brighter.

Matthew 5:14 says that you are the light of the world. Our goal as light bearers for Christ is that we are to show our differences by not behaving like the wicked. We are to as it says in verse 16 to let our light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Does your light glorify the Father?

Cygnet Brown Photograph

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Fiction is my Ultimate Creative Outlet

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I write historical Christian fiction because that is what I personally want to read. The Locket Saga allows me to discover what happened to the family who carried the locket through history. It is a much a discovery for me the writer as it is for my readers to discover what happens. Fiction is my ultimate creative outlet.

But Nonfiction is My Means to Explore

While I am working on my fiction, I am also doing a lot of research and in the process of my research, I find nonfiction topics that I would like to write about. When I write nonfiction, however, I see a need that I believe I have some idea of what needs to be said on the subject that has not already been said. Often I know a good idea when someone tells me that they wish a book was written about a specific subject or say that they would buy if that book existed.  I have several ideas for nonfiction books that people have told me that they would love to read or that they said needed to be written.  I have always tried to look at things differently than the average person.

I think a lot of that stems from the fact that when I was a kid, my Dad would always have me questioning what was being said, particularly on television commercials. Never take things at face value, he always said. Look for the underlying motive. Look at how things might be different than what the average person sees. Be curious. Question everything, When I look at all the misinformation that is offered on Facebook, I realize that what I have to share has value.

Nonfiction Book Template

Although I like to explore ideas and subjects, when it comes to actually writing my nonfiction (and fiction for that matter), I find that working within a structure or outline helps me stay on track.  If you notice most nonfiction books, most nonfiction books follow this basic format.

A Table of contents

(Hopefully) endorsement by experts

An opening chapter

A number of main body chapters

Each chapter includes:

A few sentences or paragraphs to hook a person in

The main points of the chapter

A chapter summary

In addition, it is important to determine how long other similar published books are as well as the cost of those books therefore it is important to closely estimate your book to be of a similar length.   Another consideration is in deciding how long each chapter must be. If one chapter ends up longer than the rest, you probably should figure a way shorten the chapter or divide it into two separate chapters.

Writing nonfiction can be easy to write especially with topics that you are well versed in. I have a lot of experience in gardening so writing books, particularly short books regarding gardening is easy for me. A few years ago i wrote my first gardening book: Simply Vegetable Gardening based on a number of articles I wrote for Hubpages.  December 2015 I wrote two short booklets about two substances that I use all the time. My book kelp and my book about diatomaceous earth only took me one month to write both books and get them edited. I had them available for sale at the Sustainable Living University in January 2016. I am certain that I could do that again when I am ready to write my next nonfiction book.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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