Lynne Gentry's Blog
March 18, 2015
Ever just jumped in and really bungled something? Well, sometimes it’s better come in hot and crash than to let fear keep you from trying at all.
Dr. Lisbeth Hastings “comes in hot” in RETURN TO EXILE. Things get broken. But in the end, she doesn’t regret casting aside her fears and courageously taking a leap.
Tell me about a time you “came in hot” and had the TIME OF YOUR LIFE.
March 2, 2015
A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting this fabulous writer. I soon discovered that Varina Denman is a quiet river. A deep well. A calming presence in a storm. I can’t wait for you to meet her and jump into the depth of her writing.
Have you ever gone to worship on a Sunday morning, only to have someone snub you? Have you ever overheard a snarky conversation about you? Have you ever carried a huge burden, expecting your Christian brothers and sisters to support you…and they didn’t?
If you’ve been part of a congregation for more than two weeks, you’ve probably noticed some negative behavior that isn’t typically associated with Christians. Things that might surprise, embarrass, or anger you.
Like gossip. Or rudeness. Or pride. Or the big kahuna: judging others.
I hate that.
It absolutely breaks my heart to see Christians hurting Christians, but good grief, I can hardly point the finger. There have been times I’m just as guilty as the worst of them. Er, I mean…the worst of us. Because we all do it. Granted, some of us seem to have a greater knack for causing damage, but God’s measuring stick is the same. We’re all human.
The church deservedly gets a lot of flack over this, but it’s not only in the church. It’s universal. It’s people. Consider any group anywhere and you’ll realize they have to work on getting along. Believing in God doesn’t somehow make us superhuman. We still have the same sinful nature and the same struggles.
Then again, have you ever had a fellow Christian really come through for you? Have you ever been blessed by a friend in a way so great, you never imagined it possible? Have you ever been surrounded, supported, and loved when you walked through the doors of the church?
I love that.
It does my heart good to see Christians helping Christians, and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling deep down. But I’ve got to point out… a lot of nonChristians do the same good deeds. So why aren’t we better? Higher? Superior? Shouldn’t we be? I don’t think so.
If we love God, we’ll do our best to live righteous lives, but that doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily be better than everybody else. Not better than nonBelievers and not better than that guy who sits on the back pew and doesn’t sing.
Being a believer means we love God. It means we have a reason to do good deeds. It means we have our sins washed away when we mess things up. It means we’re surrounded by a group of faulty humans, just like ourselves, trying hard to be better, and learning to forgive each other in the process.
Because the church is an icky, sticky, beautiful mess.
Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. She has five children, teaches creative writing and literature, volunteers in her local homeschool cooperative, and boasts sixteen years as a home educator. She resides with her family in North Texas. Her first novel, Jaded, won the 2013 ACFW Genesis Award.
As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Now, thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed, and a string of secrets are unearthed that threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside down.
Jaded is the rare novel that is a love story between both a woman and a man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness, and restoration, this book will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.
You can find Varina here:
For a chance to win a FREE copy of JADED tell me one of the kindest things you’ve ever seen happen at church. I’ll pick a winner FRIDAY, March 13.
January 22, 2015
Kellie: Morning, Lynne! How many years have we been talking every morning? Four? I don’t know about you, but grabbing a cup of coffee and dialing your number is the highlight of my day!
Lynne: Ditto, friend. It’s always so good to start the day talking to a real person because it seems the rest of my day is spent having conversations with the imaginary people in my head. Besides, if you didn’t call me, how would I ever know the latest industry scoop? So, what is new in publishing?
Kellie: I saw this morning that bookstore sales were up considerably from last year. That is good news for authors AND readers. We want those brick and mortar retailers to remain open. I don’t know about you, but even though ordering online is convenient, I love to enter a real bookstore. I still love to browse the aisles and run my fingers across the spines of all those books. Now that I’m a published author, I know the many hours of work those books represent. What is your favorite aisle to hang out in?
Lynne: I love the smell of a bookstore. It’s as if all of those words wrap me up and take me to another world. I’m hopeful paper books never go away. I know this, we don’t hang out in the same aisle, girlfriend. I love adventure, time travel, and anything closely resembling Hunger Games. Don’t make that face at me, Kellie Gilbert. I can get as lost as any woman in a good women’s fiction story. Relationships matter to me. But I think it’s through talking with you that I’ve really come to understand the impact of these relationships upon us. I’m like really, who digs into the lie the character believes better than you? Tell me again about Juliette and the lie she believes. It is fascinating.
Kellie: I get what you’re saying, Lynne. I love going on a great adventure via the pages of a great book, and you craft some of the most surprising adventures! When I read your Carthage Chronicles series, I feel like I’ve been dropped into third century Rome right along with Lisbeth. Not afraid to tell you and our readers, I would NOT have liked to have lived back then. Yes, the togas were pretty, but that was a dog-eat-dog world. And we take our medical care for granted. My heart broke as I experienced with your characters the devastation of a measles outbreak.
As far as relationships in fiction, yes I definitely lean toward the complexities of how people react in life-changing circumstances. How highly emotional those events can be. What is most surprising is how inauthentic characters can be when they have personal agendas. Thankfully, my characters often come face-to-face with how ineffective their efforts really are, and they change. My stories always end with a beacon of light shining brightly. Juliette is no different in WHERE RIVERS PART. She finds she must link arms with the one man who has hurt her most to expose a far reaching corporate conspiracy that threatens to take down not only her career, but the well-being of the entire San Antonio area.
I’m always impressed with the level of research you do to create your story worlds. Tell our readers more about that process and all you discovered about ancient Rome.
Lynne: Don’t underestimate the comfort of a silk stola or the pleasure of having someone wash your feet. But you’re right, there’s plenty about the third century that I would never want to experience personally. No phone. No Facebook. No Keurig. But readers don’t have to go to the third century for a nail-biting experience. I’ve seen you throw your characters into some pretty tough spots in the contemporary world. Untangling a corporate conspiracy before it tanks your career is almost as scary as facing an angry bull in the arena. Like you, I spend hours researching. I love it when I stumble across something that lifts the hair on the back of my neck. Of course, anything that delicious has to go into the story. That’s the beauty of reading fiction. You can experience all sorts of things from the comfort and safety of your favorite reading chair. To me, it’s always inspiring to see broken characters discover the path to healing.
Hey, let’s watch your video one more time, okay?
Kellie: Sure! I never tire of watching the great book video my publisher put together.
Now, show our readers yours! I love it.
Lynne: Here’s the book trailer for my CARTHAGE CHRONICLES series.
Lynne: So readers, do you wonder how two very different writers became such good friends? That’s a story for another day.
Kellie: Well, I hate to be the one to cut the discussion short, but my deadline is looming and I have a daily word count to meet. Thank you everyone, for joining us this morning. Be sure to check out our books, and I hope you’ll visit our blogs often. We truly treasure you . . . our readers!
Lynne: Dear readers, feel free to eavesdrop on us on a regular basis. Back to piles of books I’m digging through for my next project. Catch you later, Kellie.
January 21, 2015
For example, in RETURN TO EXILE, there’s a scene where Maggie and Barek are running from the soldiers and they duck inside the Tophet. What was the Tophet?
Well, archaeologists aren’t sure. Historians have argued about it for years. Some believed this mound was a place of religious sacrifice. Some believe thousands of babies were slaughtered here to appease pagan gods. Others believe the Tophet was the sacred burial site of children lost to a massive epidemic.
This is one of those times I’d like to be able to slip back in time and investigate the mystery for myself.
A facebook friend who visited the site has graciously granted me the use of his pictures.
Aren’t they fascinating? What do you think happened in this place?
Tophet stela or gravestones
January 12, 2015
This week I wish God would give me a little peek into the future.
Here’s my dilemma:
Our grandson is celebrating his first birthday… eight hours away.
Our daughter is due to deliver our second grandchild. She lives twenty minutes away.
Do we drive to the birthday party and risk missing out on the birth of our second grandchild?
Or do we stay home in hopes of having a baby born this weekend and miss out on our grandson’s celebration?
If God would only give me a hint, then I wouldn’t have to worry.
Or would I?
While knowing when something good is coming, how would I feel if I knew all the tragic things headed my way? You see, that’s the danger of knowing the future. Knowing the good means you also know the bad.
I thank God that he has spared me knowing the rough patches I’m sure to face. But that means I’m operating in the dark here.
Or am I?
This story, RETURN TO EXILE, really forced me to exam my fear of the future and cast it aside.
What would you do this weekend if you were me?
January 9, 2015
Our FACEBOOK toga party was sooooooo FUN!!!!! Thanks to all of you for playing the Roman trivia games and sending those fabulous toga pics. Most of all I can’t thank you enough for your enthusiastic response to the entire Carthage Chronicles series. Word of mouth is still a book’s best friend. Thanks for spreading the word. Here’s some fun party pics for your enjoyment.
My launch team. Couldn’t have done it without them.
Reader Toga Submission
Reader Toga Submission
Reader Toga Submissions
Reader Toga Submissions
Reader Toga Submissions
Reader Toga Submissions
Reader Toga submissions
January 5, 2015
You’ve waited several months but now it’s finally here. RETURN TO EXILE has received a 4.5 Star review from RT Book Reviews and a 5-Star Near Perfect review from Christian Manifesto. I hope you’ll BUY your copy today.
December 29, 2014
Everyone loves a sale. Spread the word, dear readers, HEALER OF CARTHAGE is on SALE for $1.99 for only a few days. Get one for your new Kindle and gift one to a friend.
And if you haven’t signed up for the Facebook ROMAN HOLIDAY SPA party, Jan. 8, 7-8 pm CST, CLICK HERE.
December 17, 2014
I think launching your second book is a lot like giving birth to your second child. You’re no longer naïve. You know the process will be painful, but the labor is not what scares you. It’s a feeling that nags your head. Can you can love this second incarnation of yourself as much as you loved your first? You fret, sweat, and labor. Then the day comes when your second child is pushed into the world. And to your relief, when this new life is placed in your hands, you wonder how you ever lived without it.
It is with great pleasure I give you, my faithful readers, Book #2 in The Carthage Chronicles series.
RETURN TO EXILE picks up six years after Dr. Lisbeth Hasting’s return from the ancient world of third-century Carthage. To keep from dwelling on the past she left behind, Lisbeth focuses on her future. She’s completed an infectious disease fellowship while raising her beautiful daughter. But the moment she learns what will become of Cyprian, Lisbeth decides to risk everything to save him.
I’m so excited about sharing this next leg of the adventure with you that I’m inviting you to a FACEBOOK ROMAN HOLIDAY Launch Party, Thursday, January 8, 2015, 7-8 pm CST. It’s only an hour long, but it will be so fun, you don’t want to miss it. Slip into your comfortable robe, pour a cup of coffee, and JOIN the party at Author Lynne Gentry .
Watch this video and you’ll rock the Roman Trivia Games:
Sign up today. Mark Jan. 8, 7-8 pm on your calendar. Invite your friends. Snap toga photos this holiday. Then join Carthage Chronicles fans for a Roman style celebration.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on RETURN TO EXILE, you can pre-order today.
December 16, 2014
In preparation for the arrival of my daughter’s first child, my husband crawled around in the attic to retrieve her rocking chair. My mother gave this chair to my daughter on her first Christmas. Mom made a cute little pad for the seat. I couldn’t wait to pass the chair on to the next generation.
The chair was covered in dust, the seat cushion had rotted, and there were tiny teeth marks here and there. But the imperfections were not what I saw when my husband sat the chair before me. I saw my mother at her sewing machine working far into the night to make a little cushion that would fit the little seat perfectly. I saw my mother’s face as she presented her gift of love. And I saw my mother’s joy as she watched her granddaughter climb aboard and rock her baby doll to sleep.
When I undid the ties to wash the cushion, they fell apart in my hands. I cried at the loss. The woman who’d made this cushion has been dead for seven years. I would have to make the new cushion in my mother’s place. So, I carefully undid the stitching and used my mother’s work as a pattern for the new seat. And in that process, I felt my mother’s love transcend time.
My mom at the wedding of one of her grandchildren.
That’s how legacies work. The ones who go before us leave a pattern we can follow.
My mother’s life is a pattern I use for my own. She left an admirable legacy of faith and courage.
In my book series, The Carthage Chronicles, legacy is on the line.
Who would have thought it possible that a scruffy band of misfits could muster the courage required to leave a legacy of faith, but the Christians in the third century did just that. When they joined hands and faced down plague and persecution, they changed the world.
It’s with great joy I offer you the second installment of their epic tale. May this story encourage you to consider the legacy you are leaving behind.
January 6 RETURN TO EXILE releases. You can pre-order your copy now wherever good books are sold.
Tell me about someone who left a legacy in your life.