Eubeltic Descent Release Day!

The famed domain of her ancestors may now be in crucial need of her…

It’s officially Release Day for Eubeltic Descent, first in the Eubeltic Realm series.

The Kindle Edition is available for a special new release price at Amazon, or read it free with Kindle Unlimited. It’s also available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

While Eubeltic Descent can stand alone, its background comes further to light in The Movement of Crowns Series, which is great to read before or after this novel. The ebook edition of the combined, three-book volume of the Crowns series is also available at a special price for a limited time!

There are a few ways you can stay updated on Nadine’s books. Find them here!

 

Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain, and Christian Books

I should start off by saying this post isn’t meant to stir up a theological debate or to prove which belief is the “right” one on this topic. Rather, this post is a call for Christian Fiction readers to consider how we regard and talk about an author when their thinking may differ from ours.

It seems many Christian readers frown if, in Christian Fiction or in fiction written by Christians, they see characters use “Oh my G…” or “Oh L…” as casual interjections. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for Christians to frown or cringe at that when they’ve been taught not to take the Lord’s name in vain.

However, it does concern me when ChristFic readers begin to criticize an author’s Christian standards or speculate on the author’s spiritual condition because their fictional characters use those interjections.

It’s no secret that Christians the world over interpret biblical teachings differently and have different doctrinal views. That’s nothing new. So it’s important to realize that not every Christian has the same belief about what “taking the Lord’s name in vain” actually means.

Consider this fact about me: I am my mother’s daughter. She’ll often identify me as such to people who don’t know me (“This is my daughter”), or she’ll sometimes address me as such as a term of endearment. “Hello, daughter!”

Even so, though I am her daughter, “daughter” isn’t my name. Not even if you were to spell it with a capital D. My name is Nadine.

Some Christians don’t consider saying “Oh my G…” to be taking the Lord’s name in vain because they don’t consider His name to be “God.” We commonly use that more generic word as a reference to Him or as an alternative to His name, whether out of habit, for convenience, by tradition, out of respect, or whatever the case.

But when Moses inquired after the Lord’s name in the book of Exodus, did the Lord answer, “My name is God, with a capital G”?

Not exactly.

He answered Moses by saying, “I AM THAT [or WHO] I AM. Tell the Israelites, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.” The “I AM” phrase there relates to the name Yahweh, sometimes shortened as Yah or Jah. The name is where we get the phrase “praise Jah,” or as we better know it, “Hallelujah.” (Hallelu-Jah! Not so much “halleu-god.”)

Moreover, to the Hebrews who received that commandment about the Lord’s name (and to many people today, especially in certain cultures), one’s name isn’t merely a sound you make or letters or symbols you write down to refer to someone, like “Joe” or “Jane.” Rather, one’s name is a declaration about who a person is, their character and reputation.

It’s where we get an expression like “So-and-So has a good name in the community.” The point isn’t that So-and-So is called Joe or Jane, or to say “Joe” or “Jane” is a nice name to have. What the person is literally called, for practical language/communication purposes, is beside the point. The point of the expression is to refer to that person’s character and reputation.

Even if Joe were called Bill, and if Jane were called Beth, it wouldn’t change who they are as people. And there may be other Joes and Janes out there, called by those same literal names, but that’s not the point, either. It’s the speaker’s meaning and intent behind the word “Joe” or “Jane” that gives significance to the expression, “Joe/Jane has a good name in the community.”

Taking on the name of the Lord is to take on His character, His reputation. Not just what we verbally call Him for the sake of limited, earthly communication, but Who He is. And no matter what limited, earthly language we speak, it’s the meaning and intent behind what we call Him that’s of paramount significance, not the earthly word itself. Earthly words can only go so far to represent or explain what is not of this earth.

There are Christians who believe the commandment about not taking the Lord’s name in vain doesn’t have to do with saying, “Oh my G…” or what have you. It’s about claiming the name—the character, the reputation—of the Lord in vain, to no avail. Claiming Him, saying you’re a believer in Him, but then not behaving like it.

In that sense, the commandment not to take the Lord’s name in vain isn’t a rule about cussing. It’s a commandment about how you live. As if to say, “Thou shalt not claim connection to the LORD thy God while living a lie.”

It’s like if you get married to someone, you claim connection to their name or take their name as your own, but then you go around having romantic flings with other people. You’re living a lie, behaving as if you aren’t married to your spouse, whose name you now share. That would mean you’ve taken your spouse’s name in vain.

When people have a different belief concerning the Lord’s name, “Oh my G…” may just be a colloquial phrase to them, an interjection having nothing to do with the meaning and intent behind the name Yahweh. Having nothing to do with the sacredness of declaring or taking on Yahweh’s character and reputation.

Now, in case you’re wondering about this particular author’s writing: if a character in one of my books says, “Oh, God,” it’s not a mere interjection. It’s a prayer. Still, I’m well aware that not every Christian has the same beliefs about what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain.

And whatever your belief is on the matter, or any number of other matters, I trust it’s best not to jump to conclusions about an author’s Christianity or personal standards because of something one of their fictional characters did or said.

On a related note, we live in an era of author websites, social media, email, and such. Though it isn’t possible to do so in every case, the best way to get a clearer understanding of an author’s heart or intent on a matter may be to go ahead and contact them about your concerns regarding their book. To ask the author questions and to consider their answers. Not to merely prejudge or speculate about the author. 🙂

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) from Blueprint Pictures
Rated TV-14. Drama, Historical, Romance, War

My thoughts: “You have to write about them… This is your story to tell, as sure as I’m sitting here. And you will not be right until you do.”

Every writer needs to be inspired. In the aftermath of World War II, Juliet, a writer in London, follows the tug of inspiration to visit a hodgepodge of book club members on the island of Guernsey.

And here we have a lovely and compelling story about the blessing of books in the midst of horror, and finding people with whom one belongs. Though it didn’t captivate me at every moment, this is one of those rare instances when I like a film better than the novel it’s based on.

Granted, for me, a story told entirely through characters’ written correspondence does not work in a novel’s favor. While it has its creative points, that type of (rather choppy) storytelling tends to make me feel removed from a story, as if I’m reading bits “about” what’s happening and never get to step into the story itself and experience it right along with the characters.

The screen brings these people to life in a different way, making them more accessible. I couldn’t be so indifferent to Juliet here as I was when I read about her. This story truly benefits from giving its audience a chance to look into The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society members’ eyes, and having the music there to enhance certain images is a notable advantage.

I enjoyed seeing the vitality of book discussions, the illustration of what literature, and the sharing of literature, does for us. Plus, being a writer myself, I’m partial to books and movies about writers. I’ll admit I cried while watching Juliet truly go to work toward the end (well, maybe I cried through most of the last fifth of the film or so), and the opening of the closing credits is just brilliant.

I also got a kick out of seeing the nice handful of actors from Downton Abbey, but that’s beside the point.

My corresponding reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

_____________

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Everyone was sickly from so little nourishment and bleak from wondering if it would ever end. We clung to books and to our friends; they reminded us that we had another part to us.

World War II has passed. Juliet, a writer in London, is in need of an idea for her next book. Perhaps the key to what she needs can be found with a hodgepodge of book club members on the island of Guernsey in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by authors Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

So. Did I read this book on account of the recent release of its corresponding film? Yes. And no.

It wasn’t the film that brought the novel’s existence to my attention. A copy of the novel had been sitting on my bookshelf for years. Once the film released, I was intrigued enough by the looks of it to want to watch it. But not before I read the book.

First things first, you know.

Having also read The Book Thief earlier this year, this is the second novel I’ve recently read with the intertwined themes of the blessing of literature and the horror of WWII. Also, being a writer myself, I love running across novels and movies about writers.

Now, I didn’t fall in love with this book. Admittedly, stories told by way of characters’ written correspondence isn’t the easiest sell for me. Though it allows for some nifty plot development, it does make me feel as if I’m reading bits “about” a story instead of reading the story itself, and my interest flowed in and out during the mishmash of bits here. While I admired Juliet during a moment involving a gift of wood, I didn’t exactly come to feel more than calm indifference for her altogether. I tend not to love a story if I’m not all that into the main character.

Even so, some of the cleverness, irony, and quirky characterizations in the novel reminded me of reading L.M. Montgomery’s writing, with which I’ve had an…interesting relationship, over the years. And the bibliophile in me could still recognize why many others do love this book.

__________
Note to my blog readers: this novel contains a minimal amount of profanity.