Feedback for “The Artist”

So one of my old friends recently bought a book (Yaayyyy!!) and emailed me the other day with this:

“We have been really enjoying reading it at bedtime and any other time momma’s hands are dry!  I love the art and the note to your readers at the end especially,  it made us feel like you, as the author, actually cared and you weren’t just some distant random person out to make a buck! God bless you on your adventures.”

Thanks so much, Gwyn!!

Why I Wrote the Book

Before and during college, I struggled a lot with what I was supposed to do, career-wise. Though prayer and Bible reading, I came to this conclusion: God creates people different from each other, with unique gifts and talents. He did that for a reason, and it’s a good thing. Throughout the Bible, God talks about forming us like a Potter forms clay, and compares us to a body, with different parts with different purposes.

So I thought this idea was worth sharing. But how would I explain this concept to my little niece or nephew? Ergo, the story was born. I was (and still am) exploring my artistic talent, so I started drawing pictures to go with the story, just for the joy of creating beautiful spaces. Matt encouraged me, and I came up with something decent.

I’ve gotten some amazing encouragement from people who read the story, and now the book is printed and available on Amazon.com or from me personally. All proceeds will go towards my next book and a new project called the Genesis! game that my husband and I are working on.

The-Artist_looking-around_stained-glass

If Only, If Only (From “Holes” by Louis Sachar)

This is the poem from “Holes,” by Louis Sachar. I LOVE this poem. So I found a second verse (not sure if it’s actually in the book or if another fan wrote it. Then I wrote the third verse.

“If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs,
“the bark on the trees was as soft as the skies.”
And the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely.
He cries to the moon, “if only if only.”

If only, if only, the moon speaks no reply;
Reflecting the sun and all that’s gone by.
Be strong my weary wolf, turn around boldly.
Fly high, my baby bird, my angel, my only.

If only, if only, the river sighs her good-bye
If only all time were a knot to un-tie.
There would be no such lie, no reason to cry,
If one life is gone, give it another try.

Tired of Meaningless Phone Games? Try This One

Genesis-Start-ScreenDANA POINT, CA – Matt Hass, a professional programmer, is raising money to finish off a mobile RPG based in Biblical post-flood earth. Genesis! is a Minecraft-style, open-world, first-person RPG that boasts features that rival any popular secular game, including the ability to build your own house any way you want, anywhere you want, and in a realistic setting.

Hass, the head programmer, says he’s “done his time,” working and developing mindless games, and has found his passion in combining his two loves: quality games and God. While developing professionally, he noticed that many games lacked creativity. Many were re-skinned versions of each other, simply created to make money. They lacked the passion and inspiration that goes into a good, unique game. Even in the Christian realm, most games lacked the funds or creativity to actually create a quality product. Hass aims to make a creative, revolutionary game that anyone, Christian or not, can become addicted to.

Set in post-Flood earth, Genesis! players will be able to witness events like the Tower of Babel, meet Biblical figures like Abraham, build on the ruins of Sodom, gather clay from the banks of the Nile, and learn all about what life was like in a time few of us understand now.

Oh, but watch out! A key aspect of this game is the “sin meter.” Players will have the ability to steal or cheat, but at the expense of their sin meter. If, after being warned, a player continues to break laws, their sin meter will go up, bringing on plagues, bad weather, bandits, and, if they don’t take care of it, death. Just like in the OT, players will sacrifice animals to make up for wrong-doing. This will help show why we needed Jesus as our Savior.

“As a kid, I loved playing videogames, and I wanted to make one that I would have loved to play, but that also has real value, that isn’t a waste of time,” says Hass. To support this effort, you can head over to their Kickstarter campaign and help by funding or sharing!

Genesis-Characters Genesis_Mockup3 Genesis-Map_Final_Final

Genesis! Mobile RPG

WE JUST LAUNCHED OUR KICKSTARTER FOR THE GAME!!! The Genesis! game is a brand-new RPG where you can build cities, explore new lands, and learn all about the newly-formed planet called Earth! If you’re a parent who cares about what your child plays, as far as video games, this is a great investment for you!! Not only is it clean and incorporates moral standards, it also helps kids learn about life after Noah’s flood, around the time Abram was alive.

Genesis-Map_Final_Final

For more information, here’s the Kickstarter page. Here’s the basic information page on our website, and below is the video! Please consider helping fund the game so we can get it launched!

What is Love?

Blog post in video format!! First try!!! 😀

What is love? It took me awhile to figure this out. But, with the help of Jesus and my husband, I think I know. We were headed to Goa and I was thinking about it, because of a lot of misconceptions people have about love. So I started writing. And then I asked my husband if he could help me shoot some footage for a possible video. And we did. 🙂 This is our first real attempt at this, but looking forward to doing more.

Good Enough

I collapsed on the grey cold earth and cried, “I’m not good enough! I’m not good enough!” And quietly He said, “But I am.” 
I want to be perfect. I want to be everything people need me to be. But I’m not strong enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not caring enough. But that’s why we all still need God. We really aren’t good enough. Not by perfection’s standards. But God doesn’t demand perfection. He just wants our devotion. 
When He has that, He can take what we’ve given Him and do what needs done. He gives us all we need to accomplish the mountains He sets before us.

What is it About? The Artist and “Pitching” to random strangers

The Artist is a children’s picture book about a young clay figure who decides he doesn’t like how the Artist is forming him. It reminds us that God creates each of us uniquely and we can trust Him.

Then the Artist,

Turned and looked at the clay.

“Why do you cry?

I’ve formed you this way.”

One of the first things you’ll learn if you’re trying to publish a book is this: be ready to pitch at all times, in season and out of season, in sickness or in health. But it’s hard! Especially since I’m a shy girl with some sense of pride. This is hard for most authors, though. We’re artists, not businessmen.

But when I decided to self-publish, I made a disastrous, self-contradicting commitment to “pitch” my book to everyone I knew and strangers they knew, as well. Most of my “selling” (pre-selling the book to raise money for the printing) has been on a personal basis. FaceBook status updates don’t generate much interest. And it has stretched what I thought I could do.

ONGL0185Now, as we travel down this road, I’m preparing to go far out of my comfort zone. I know this is a good message. I know it may help. So I will keep going.

Pitching advice: read a lot of pitches, the first line off the back of every book, or the subtitle or sometimes the tag line on the front of the book. What catches your attention? What makes you want to read the book?

Also: What made you want to write this book? What pushes you?

ONGL0255Also: PRACTICE. Pitch it to your husband, your uncle, your college roommates. Ask if they would read the book after hearing your few words. A pitch is one, sometimes two sentences that intrigue a potential book-buyer into looking at your full pitch summary on the back of the book. It’s also what you’re going to be repeating a lot when people ask “What is it about?” It’s the single bit of writing that will sell the most books. I know a lady who had a really good pitch and sold thousands, despite the book being a mumble of typos and rough writing. It’s important. Figure it out. Spend time on it.

The Story Behind The Artist

So everyone kind of asks when they hear about my soon-to-be-born book, The Artist. And, in some stumbling, run-on sentences, I answer. But what really inspires a book? Why would anyone give years of their life to a project that no one may ever see?

I’ve written this like 10 times, because in the process of making The Artist, so many stories have come to be connected with it. But I only have to read the dedication to remember why I really first wrote it.

“To Matthew, who was made for a purpose. You’re very different from everyone. Your God made you that way for a reason. Remember your highest calling.”

Matthew was, and is, one of my best friends. At that point, I didn’t know if he would ever be anything more. I was trying to figure out if someone could be a dedicated Christian and have a career in something besides ministry. Matthew was a genius in tech and math and programming. Literally. MIT accepted him on the basis of an algorithm he invented. He had a freelance career in programming and web before he graduated high school.

Why did God make him that way? Shouldn’t he be, like, a brilliant speaker if he was supposed to be a dedicated Christian? But he wasn’t. Should he abandon his talents and pursue more “holy” tasks?

This question went along with my own. If I love God, shouldn’t I be a traditional missionary or nun or something? But I LOVE design and art and writing, and generally, if you love something, you can get pretty good at it. (I’m not saying I am, but I have the potential, ha ha).

So that added up in one bigger question.

Why does God make people with different passions and talents? Shouldn’t we all be traditional evangelists or preachers?

Does God not control how we’re made? Or does He give these things to us to tempt us away from our “true calling?”

Then, one day I remembered the analogies God makes about His people. He compares us to a body, with different parts and different functions. He also compares us to clay pots. He’s the Potter, he creates each of the pots for different uses. But that doesn’t mean one is better than the other, or that one loves the Potter more than the other. Their love is measured by their willingness to let the Potter form them as He wishes.

A lot of this has to do with a trunkful of trust. In order to let God make you into who He wants, you have to love Him, let Him work on you (even when it hurts), and give Him your fears and desires. This is HARD. But it also brings peace.

So, in conclusion. God makes people for certain purposes. The overarching reason is to be in relationship with God. I can’t begin to express the importance of this. In your relationship with God, important things become important, and trivial things become trivial. It’s a struggle sometimes, don’t get me wrong. We’re still sitting on a muddy messy earth. But you have somewhere to turn, you have a goal besides yourself, besides this earth. You treat others the way they should be treated.

But when you are in relationship with God, you still have a specific part to play. For some, that may be preaching, or loving and teaching children, or being the brain behind revolutionary new ways to spread the Gospel, or making the building a clean place to be. Or making it possible for evangelists to evangelize. Or worshiping God and helping lead others to do the same. There are SO many different jobs for people who love God.

And this whole concept is what I’m trying to show in The Artist. In simple story form, I hope I can pass this idea on to someone who was struggling like I was. I hope it encourages them to trust and turn to God. If it does it for even one person, it was all worth it.