Terrorist attacks. Eleven earthquakes in one day. Strange sounds coming from above. Large groups of animals mysteriously dying. Are these all signs of the end times, you may ask? In a word, YES.
Now I know you've probably heard this before, and probably for quite some time. Various people have been claiming that the world is coming to an end for years, at times even giving an exact date. If they paid attention to their Bibles though, they would have known that absolutely no one is going to know the exact time that this is going to take place. Consider Mark 13:32: "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." We are told to look for signs though that the time is getting close, not only in the skies, but also how people are. See 2 Timothy 3:1-5: "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power." This is definitely happening all around today. For example, more than ever, as soon as something bad takes place, the first thought that comes to everyone's mind is "lawsuit".
The signs of the end times are here and happening at an ever increasing rate, and let me tell you why.
First of all, we have been living in the end times since Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Once He ascended to His throne in Heaven, then I believe the clock to the end times started counting down. How do we know that we're getting ever closer to the end of this world as we know it and Christ's return to make a new world where He will rule?
The key thing to watch for is ever increasing demonic activity. The devil knows that his time is short (yes, 1000 years is a short time when you're comparing it to eternity). As the time gets closer though, his activity will increase. That is happening more and more every day. As you may know, when satan was thrown out of Heaven, God, in His infinite grace, allowed him to have dominion over all the earth until his time here was over and he would be locked away in hell. This is why bad things continue to happen here on Earth- satan causes them to happen. You can follow the devil all you want by believing his lies, but he is still going to get you in the end. More on that later in this post. Anyway, here are some examples of demonic activity:
1. A pull away from Christianity and increased opposition to all that it stands for. For starters, you can see that right here in America- from opposition to the 10 Commandments being displayed in America's courts, to the re-description of the Bible's definition of marriage, to the public outcry against Christians standing for their beliefs, and on and on. People are more easily offended at every turn at the mention of what is right in God's eyes. I know, I used to feel that way too. I would always get mad when confronted about my evil ways. You know why? Because deep in my heart I knew I was totally wrong. Jesus said this was going to happen. He said himself that he did not come to bring unity, but division. See Luke 12:49-51: "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." This is all happening now, but there will be a high cost to pay. This country was founded on Biblical principles and truths. We cannot continue to spit in God's face and get away with it nor expect to continue to have His protection. If we proceed with always asking God to butt out of our lives when it's convenient for us, He being as gracious as He is, will grant our wishes. We need Him more than ever, especially since our enemy, satan, is ramping up his defenses and using more and more people and things to accomplish his plans. What are his plans, you may ask? Our destruction, plain and simple. It's interesting to note that one of his methods is division. Enough said.
2. The increasing persecution of Christians, all around the world. This is definitely the work of satan. He hates God and all who are united with God more than anything else. Of course he is going to try to destroy as many Christians as possible. He thinks by doing so, that it will end the work of the Lord on earth. We all know though if we've read our Bibles how this will end. That doesn't stop him from trying. There is persecution every day in not only the Middle East but also in other areas like Kenya. al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, is responsible for the latest round of attacks against Christians in Kenya. If you want further evidence that the devil is alive and well, you need look no further than those groups, especially ISIS. I pray that the followers of these groups wake up and realize who it is they are really serving before it is too late. The devil has their eyes blinded and their souls controlled. Once they are dead it is too late. I don't want to see anyone in hell for an eternity and neither should you.
3. The increased opposition to Israel. During the end times, more and more action will be taking place in the Middle East, particularly Israel. As Iranian paramilitary leader Mohammed Reza Naqdi said on March 31: "Erasing Israel off the map...Non-negotiable." Why the increased persecution of Israel? Well, again, it's satan at work and he's using his puppets to help accomplish what he wants. The devil knows that Israel is God's chosen land so he therefore wants to try to obliterate it. Why do we need to be worried about this? First of all, not only are we receiving God's protection because of how we founded this country, but also in how we have treated Israel. We are perching on a slippery slope these days, however. Our current White House administration has proceeded to try to alienate Israel by attacking its leader publicly and incessantly. They have said that they will "reassess" America's relationship with Israel and has also threatened to withdraw the support of Israel in the UN. Not only that, they have proceeded to discuss nuclear deals with a huge enemy of Israel- Iran. That is like making a deal with the devil himself. What makes them think that Iran can be trusted and they won't turn those nukes on us? Nothing, that's what. Nothing, that is, but the veil of the devil's deception. If we proceed to cut ties with Israel, then we will be bringing the wrath of God upon us, swiftly and surely. Watch what happens. As God has said in Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
4. Related to the increased opposition of Christianity, are the ways that people are behaving nowadays. Popular is an anything goes mentality and if it makes you happy do it. Again and again I have heard "What is going on?" "What are people thinking?" "No one has any regard for human life anymore." "What is this world coming to?" You hear it over and over again in the news. People killing their entire families. Children killing their parents. Parents killing their children. You don't have to look any further than Baltimore to see a lack of respect for persons and personal property. The increasing number of people affected by gender confusion. Don't think that's the devil? Guess again. He likes to take everything God has created and twist it all up. He likes to make everyone believe that God makes mistakes; i.e., placing someone in the wrong body. People affected are isolated, confused, lonely, angry and unhappy. They feel alienated and often alienate themselves from the very ones who love them. I have folks who are extremely close to me affected by this so I know what I'm talking about. They used to believe in the Lord too, and now have done a complete 180. Again, it has caused division- something the devil likes to do.
More ways of behavior are the obsession with money to include trying to get something for nothing and the feelings of entitlement. You can look at what happened in Baltimore to see the entitlement mentality. The world does not owe you anything. Some folks will stop at nothing to try to get things and money, even if it means at the expense of others. That's why the love of money is the root of all evil. Like I said earlier, every time something bad happens, you can expect "lawsuit" to be coming out of someone's mouth. That's the easy path to riches, isn't it? When I was involved in a bad car accident a while back, I can't tell you how many of my friends mentioned that very thing and that's what I should do. My thoughts on the matter was "what for?" I was OK (to a degree)- I was able to walk away and didn't have any life-threatening injuries or monster medical bills thank the good Lord! I was not angry or upset about it and was not going to try to get what was not mine. You will not prosper by doing that. Lo and behold, the Lord blessed me with an even better car than I had before and I received a great deal on it. Related to this all-out money-grubbing mentality is the increasing cases of identity theft and people constantly being tricked out of their hard-earned cash. This is all stated in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 like I said above. Also see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
5. There seems to be an increase in natural disasters and weird things going on throughout the world. Earthquakes happening at an alarming rate and with increasing intensity. Sinkholes appearing out of nowhere are becoming a common occurrence. Tornados and hurricanes all the time. Animals dying out in masses. The "blood moons" back to back (and by the way occurring on Jewish feast days). Increases in UFO sightings. And the thing which really got me- the odd noises being heard in the skies throughout the world. I had never heard of these before until I saw a video on it. The noises remind me of the trumpet which will be announcing the Lord's arrival (could it be a precursor?). By the way, you can do a search on "end times strange noises in the sky" and you will see a number of videos pop up. All of these things are spoken about in the Bible; see Luke 21:11: "There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven." Also Luke 21:25: "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves."
6. Lastly, let's talk about the Mark of the Beast. I believe that has already started. There has been a long debate in the Christian community about what it actually is going to be. I believe it's a microchip. Have you heard about the one that came out some time ago which contains your medical records and that some folks got implanted under their skin? Well, that's only the beginning. Guess which comes next and it's already happening. See the following three articles:
Is it any surprise that these people are getting this in their hands???
This I am quite sure is the Mark of the Beast, folks. I implore you, DO NOT take it!!! If you do that, you are surely damned. Myself, I don't care what people think of me or what they can do to me. I don't care if without that mark I will not be able to buy or sell or I will be killed if I don't take it. I will then go to Heaven so I will win. I do care, however, what Jesus thinks of me and what He can do to me. He has the power to condemn my body and soul to hell- man does not. See Revelations 13:15-18: "And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666."
So, there you are. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any insights? I'd love to hear them. Likewise, if you need prayer or deliverance, I'd like to hear that too. PLEASE don't hesitate to contact me if you need help!! May God richly bless you.
Crimes against anyone (including animals) are despicable, hate crimes being one of the most horrific and disgusting. It just pains me to my heart to hear anything about that kind of thing happening. I don’t even like to see a movie about a specific incident- it makes me so disgusted and feel so helpless and wish I could have been there to stop it.
I have put my money where my mouth is. Thankfully, none of my family or friends have been victims of hate crimes, but I have friends who when we were younger have certainly been bullied which could have escalated into hate crimes. I however, being the fiercely protective friend, stood by them which even included making sure they were never alone when out and confronting the bully or bullies. Back then, I was much less interested in talking things out then acting out, so my confronting was pretty aggressive. After this, my friends were never bothered again and some of the bullies even became friendly with me!
I know this kind of thing has been going on since the time of Cain and Abel, but that doesn’t make it any better.
And for what? Does it make the perpetrator feel better about themselves? It definitely should not. In fact, it should make them feel quite the opposite. Do they feel they have to “give” that person a lesson? If anything, they need to look at themselves and give their own self a lesson! Leave any correction needed to the Lord, who will do it in His own way. You are crossing a dangerous line when you put yourself in the role of the Lord! Make no mistake, God will not be mocked!
We are not to impose our beliefs on others (and that means us Christians as well- we can tell people what the Bible says and then let the Holy Spirit open up the individual’s heart- until that time, we just should continue showing that person the embodiment of what Jesus taught, and that is simply to love your neighbor as yourself). Who is your neighbor, you may ask? It's more than just the person who lives next door. When Jesus talked about neighbor, he meant everyone who touches your life!
Who are we to judge? We are all sinners and we all would be condemned to a life in hell if it wasn’t for Jesus’ saving grace. All sin is deplorable in God’s eyes, but all is forgivable as well, save one- the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (more about that in a future post).
So yes, who are we to judge someone just because they are different? When you look at it, judgment in that sense is just a form of cowardice. It’s putting the spotlight on what someone else is doing to take it off of yourself and what YOU are doing. People are always scared of what they don’t understand and what is “different”. By no means does that give anyone the excuse to lash out about it. Animals don’t even do that. Does that mean that they may be more intelligent than us after all? Leave any judgment to God, where it belongs. You don’t want to find yourself being harshly judged by the same measure you’ve put out. Remember, what you do ALWAYS comes back to you, two and three times worse!! I see it happen all of the time with my own eyes.
The bottom line is that we were created by God to worship Him, fellowship with Him and continue His work on Earth until He returns by spreading His word and ministering to others. It’s as simple as that.
What does ministering to others mean? It means that you are to help and reach out to others in love, with no question. It means that as human beings, we are to show each other kindness, respect, compassion and love. Anything contrary to that is of satan. Let’s not forget that he is the real enemy, and therefore, the only one who we should direct our hatred toward.
For all of us, we know the story of Jesus- how he came to Earth, ministered here, was crucified and resurrected. If you are a Christian, you know He is very much alive today.
What you may not know or realize is just how much.
I came across a book sometime last year by G. Scott Sparrow called I Am With You Always. (I have not posted a review about this on Amazon or GoodReads- yet). What caught my eye about this book was that it detailed people’s real encounters with Jesus.
I remember thinking how interesting this book sounded, so I decided to buy it.
I’d heard plenty of stories about angels appearing to people, believers and non-believers alike, during difficult periods in their lives, when a crisis arose, etc. In fact, angels have
appeared twice to a very close family member of mine and she does not entertain making up stories like that so I know it is true.
I also know 100% without a doubt that demons will definitely appear in your life- whether you can see them or not.
What I didn’t know was that Jesus still makes personal appearances today- until I read this book. And, until I’d had a personal experience myself (see my paranormal stories/testimonials page).
Anyway, if you get the chance, you should try to read this book, or at least a sample. Maybe you could even try to find it at the library. I don’t think you’d be disappointed.
Some people in this book have very personal encounters with Jesus- one even so much as to reach out and touch His hair. A lot of people in this book talk about seeing His nail-scarred hands and feet. A good many of them were initially afraid, and even ashamed in His presence. Most of them did talk about His sense of humor and the twinkle that they saw in His eyes. There was one particular story that I found amusing- where the person had a dream that Jesus was coming up the stairs, and they were so scared that they slammed the door in His face!
I don’t discount this last encounter just because it was a dream. Haven’t you had dreams that were so vivid you had to wonder if they didn’t really happen? I know I have.
This book illustrates many things that we all need to be reminded of sometimes about Him. It doesn’t matter what our station is in life, or who or what we believe in- or what we don't. It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past or even what we are doing now. None of that matters. He loves us anyway. And, he is ready to come into our hearts and live through us, if we can manage to have time for Him.
He comes to comfort us and be with us when we really need Him, and sometimes when we don’t think we do.
In the book, he showed everyone just that- comfort and reassurance. He appeared to believers and non-believers alike; to people that were distraught, hopeless, helpless and needing a boost to their faith, or someone, anyone to believe in at all. When the encounter was over, everyone had an overwhelming feeling of acceptance, love, and forgiveness. They also agreed that this experience was one that they would never forget and that it forever changed their lives.
His message today remains the same as it was after he was resurrected: “…I Am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Next posts: Just what do you write about, anyway?? and Are we in the End Times?
You have written a book and have now summoned the courage to show it to the world. Good for you!
Your book is your baby, your pride and joy. You’ve spent countless hours writing, re-writing, editing, and proofreading and then editing and proofreading again which sometimes results in your reading your work two or three times through. It’s no easy feat and can sometimes take a year (or two or three or more) just to publish one book and that’s with the many self-publishing options we have today.
Then, someone comes along and knocks the wind out of your sails by posting a negative review. No fair, right? Well, it depends. More on that in a few.
I am going to keep this post (kind of) short and sweet and to the point (similar to how I like to write- if you don’t know, I don’t like to spend too much time on a lot of unnecessary detail- I like to let the reader use their own imagination, which surprise! is how I like to read). Also, I hope that I don't come across as whining, raving or anything like that, because I am not trying to be. I have a habit of just getting to the point and coming out and saying what I think. I am just stating what I have seen out there and my opinions.
Anyway…as authors we all know how we should behave, but do all of us follow that unwritten code of ethics? If you have scrolled through various forums on Amazon over the past few months (I like to read them to keep up on what people are talking about, reading, etc., but I do NOT participate), no doubt you will have noticed postings about authors who have exhibited bad behavior. That unfortunately makes all of us look bad.
Here are the top bad behaviors by authors that I have seen on the forums:
1. Posting negative reviews on other author’s works without having read the book. Not good. From what I have read, these authors view the authors whose work they have posted negative reviews on as competition. The best way to deal with competition is to try to stand out, or even pair up with them, not undermine them. You won’t get far by doing that, and it always comes back on you!!
That is why you will NOT see ANY negative book reviews by me. First of all, as an author, I just don’t think it would look good. In fact, it would probably look like I was trying to do the above; undermine my competition. Secondly, I can usually find something about a book that I like, and I read almost all genres. If there is a book that I just don’t like (haven’t come across one lately, but I have in the past- I will tell you that I am not a fan at all of a lot of the “classics”) I just won’t write a review on it. Also, if there is a problem or question that I have with the book that can’t or shouldn’t be addressed publicly by constructive criticism (misspellings, grammar, etc.), I contact the author directly just to make them aware of what I found and that they might want to take another look at their book.
2. Contacting readers who have left you a negative review and responding in a nasty manner or asking them or the website to remove their review. Really? That’s just bad practice. Negative reviews will come with the territory. Everyone has differing opinions on what makes a great book, so a bonafide negative review should be the reader’s personal opinion. You can’t or shouldn’t tell someone else what it is that they should like. Now, if the review wasn’t a bonafide review but you aren’t able to prove it, then you still shouldn’t say anything. Learn from it, move on and concentrate on your writing. It doesn’t fare well for your reputation by acting in that manner; in fact, you could probably kiss your writing career good-bye before it even got off the ground.
I had an instance where I left a negative (one of two in my whole life) review of a product (that is what I will leave a bad review on- a product). The customer service was excellent, but the product was lacking in quality. I had paid a lot of money for this and it only lasted me about six months. I was very objective in my review, I just stated the facts of what happened to me but that the customer service and warranty was excellent. Needless to say, it was either the website or the distributor who didn’t like what I had to say about the product and my review was removed! I wasn’t asked, either.
As an aside, it is interesting to note that Amazon will sometimes remove positive reviews from your book on their own initiative. I have not been able to figure this one out. I don’t know if the readers closed their accounts or what happened, but I did happen to notice good reviews that got deleted. I think they should have stayed. If this has ever happened to you, you can always add them (or a synopsis if you can’t remember the whole thing) in your editorial reviews section. For us authors, every good review counts! Now I have heard that Amazon polices bogus good reviews. I wonder why they don’t do that to the bad ones?
3. Paying for bogus reviews/forcing people to give you a review. This is not all bad. Kirkus is a review service. Even though you pay for the review, they are supposed to be objective in their analysis. I would not really get one for myself, but I can understand an author wanting some kind of review if no one has left one. What I don’t understand is how authors get tons of reviews (and likes) on their books. I know I have had hundreds of people so far read mine, but only a few have left feedback. Now, if you are paying people for 5 star reviews or forcing people to leave a review in exchange for your book, that is bad behavior. I have given my book away plenty of times to family and friends, and you know what? Not one of them has given me a review! I tell everyone it is nice if they want to review it, and be honest- it will not hurt my feelings- (because there are times when even I have thought what I wrote sucked!) but not necessary.
The above are the bad behaviors by authors that have stood out. Now, for the readers…
What brought this to the forefront (besides the Amazon posts) is that recently I was contacted by a company who I had bought something from. They asked me to leave a direct review on their product (I had already sent them good seller feedback) as they had discovered that a rival company was having people go in and trash their product on their website!! I promptly went out on the web and left my (5-star) review. I can’t say this enough. If you don’t treat people how you would like to be treated, regardless if it’s over the web or not, it will come back to you!!
These are the top bad behaviors I’ve noticed by readers:
1. Trashing a book you haven’t even read. Bad, bad, bad. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one. Please don’t do that. Never leave a review based only on a sample chapter, or even worse, the cover and synopsis! Give the author a fair shake by reading the book. If you don’t want to, then don’t leave a review. Period.
2. Looking for books that only have 5-star reviews and then promptly writing a negative one. C’mon now, really? I think this one disturbed me the worst. I saw where this was commented on in a forum, so I did not make this one up. An author said that they were actually contacted by a reader who does this on a routine basis. I wish I could talk to this reader to see what their rationale is. Do they know the authors personally and have a grudge against them? Even so, a review is not the place to handle it. How would they like it if someone went to their boss and trashed them with no rhyme or reason? Because that is what this is equivalent to. Again, it will come back!! You are potentially destroying someone’s livelihood! Even if these readers felt the authors bought their reviews, it is not for them to be the “police”. You don’t know that for sure. Maybe everyone really liked the book! Another author stated you can pretty much tell what negative reviews are bogus by looking at what that reviewer has read. If a reader has read only horror and then has one negative review for a romance novel, then you can pretty much figure that one out.
3. Leaving a negative review based on grammar, misspellings, etc. I consider this bad behavior. First of all, I will say that I am definitely not the grammar police. If I have a concern about what I consider bad grammar or form, I will contact that author directly and give them a heads up that they may want to re-review their book. I also do not like to use a lot of big words or flowery prose. That is just not me. I write how I talk, and that is not always the best. Anyway, I can’t tell you how many reviews I have seen that have been based on spelling and grammar, and how many reviews have had the same comments in them about spelling errors, etc. It kind of makes me think that they may be written by the same group of people, but I can’t say for sure. It also makes me think that those readers are not paying attention to the content of the book, just counting the number of “errors”. For those, I wish they would write a book so we could review it. Oh, and FYI- please make sure you don't have any spelling errors in your review if you are pinging an author for theirs. It doesn't make your review look very credible!
This concludes my summary of bad behavior by authors and readers. You may have seen some, none or all of these. In any case, this should help you be aware of what is going on. I’d be glad to hear about your experiences and thoughts!
Next post- in time for Easter- “I AM With You Always”
I thought I would take a break from all the “dark” blog entries I’ve been writing about lately and lighten up the mood (well, maybe). I thought we’d forget about the supernatural for a short while and talk about a subject that is a hot topic of conversation- the price of e-books. First off, let me say that I hope this doesn’t come across as me complaining, rambling or sounding awful, because I am really not trying to be that way- honest!!
As an author, I am not in this for the money. That is obvious by the price of my books. If you don’t know, my e-books are just 99 cents. I write for the love of writing, and because that is what I believe the good Lord put me here to do, although it took me many, many years to finally go public with it. (There’s a story to that as well, it will appear on my “Paranormal stories/Testimonials” page in the near future). I am in this for the long haul.
As authors, 99 cents is not a good price point, as far as profitability. After Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. get their share of the 99 cents, an author is left with about 35 cents per book. Definitely not earth-shattering. You’d need to sell a WHOLE lot of books to be able to quit your full-time job and write full-time, which is what I am sure all of us authors are striving for. Take into account those who buy your book and then send it back for a refund probably after reading it (why someone does that I have no clue, especially at the 99 cent price point or lower- I myself wouldn’t dream of sending it back for a refund, no matter what the price- I have always read them through and then gave them away if I didn’t want them, and that is at a whole lot more than 99 cents- OK, enough of the self-justification), and you end up with even less of a royalty check, if you get one at all. Also, there are the many hours spent writing the book, (and hiding out from the world while you pour your heart and soul into it), hiring a graphic artist, either hiring a marketer or doing that part yourself, creating book trailer(s), etc. etc. etc. and an author is extremely- let me stress this- extremely- fortunate to break even or come close. Not for the faint-hearted or those with little patience. As for the royalties I’ve received thus far? I finally got checks from Lulu and Amazon. The grand total? Almost a whopping $30. Yes, less than $30. As of this date, I have spent well over $2000 (not that I had room in my budget to do so, but hey, sometimes you have to invest in yourself) and that was just on my first book, Diary of a Demonologist.
As far as the paperback versions go, the profit is about the same, depending on which price you’ve set your book. For my paperback, I’ve kept the price as low as possible (it costs my print company over $7.00 to print the book, plus their cut, and after that, I am left with about 35 cents profit per book as well). Hardbacks don’t fare much better, depending on what the cost to print is.
Then, there’s the stigma of the 99 cent price. Readers, we can’t judge a book by the price. I myself look at books in that price point as well as others. I can buy more books though, if they are priced cheaply. Sure, there are some bad covers out there (as well as bad titles), and also books filled with grammar and spelling errors as well as just plain bad writing and that is where I feel the 99 cent price is justified, but there are a whole lot of good books out there at 99 cents too. Just because a book is priced at 99 cents does not mean that it is junk! To date, I have supported almost 100 Indie authors, and not all of those books I have bought have been at 99 cents. Being on a budget, however, I find that I can buy more and not feel bad if I never read them if I only spend 99 cents. Which brings me to another thing.
Looking at discussions out there (I like to read them, but I do not participate) I notice that a lot of readers balk at spending 99 cents on an e-book and some will even send it back for a refund! (Yes, I said it- I am not guilty of this nor do I ever plan on being guilty of it.) I don’t care if I never read the books that are currently on my electronic shelves- I will NEVER send them back for a refund. Why? Well, first of all, I can lend them to friends and family if they want something to read. Secondly, I know that the author does not get credit for the book if I send it back. That’s why. Hey, I’ve even downloaded plenty of songs and decided almost immediately that I didn’t like them anymore. I still have them on my iPod, however. FYI- I have recently broken out of my shell and started taking things back to the store that broke, etc., and I HATED taking things back. But then again, those things cost a whole lot more than 99 cents and it was getting expensive…
And yes, I’ve seen readers balk at paying 99 cents for a book. Really?? We need to get our priorities straight. We spend all this outlandish money for professional sports gear, movie tickets, etc. to support and advertise our favorite teams, celebrities, etc., all the while adding to their multi-million dollar a year salaries. Why should we complain about supporting Indie authors who are only asking a paltry sum for a book? At least we are all helping each other out. By the way, it usually costs at least .99 to 1.29 for just ONE song on iTunes…
OK, before I start sounding like “Ms. Perfect”, let me get to: So why price your book at 99 cents?
Well, for me, I decided to price mine because of two main things: 1. The economy. As a reader, books are a luxury for me. So many bills of mine have went up in price lately, so I don’t really have a ton of money to spend on books. One of the things I like to do whenever I have spare time is read. I have proof of that all over the house as well as on my Kindle app, Nook app, and iPod. So, I try not to spend too much money on books if at all possible, as I like to try to support as many authors as possible, and yes, I do read many different genres even though I love horror the most. I also do look at books which are over 99 cents. If I decide I want to read it, I’ll buy it. I will not and have not, however, paid more than $5.00 for an e-book. I don’t care if it’s by my favorite author in the whole wide world. I’ve seen plenty of e-books out there for $10 and up, and I know it’s set by their publishers, but I just won’t spend it. I like to hold books, and if I am going to pay that much, I will get a paperback or shell out more cash and get my favorites- hardbacks. As far as the books I have authored and will author, I don’t ever plan on having the e-books cost more than $5, as long as I am publishing myself. You can take that to the bank.
2. The competition. We all know that the competition in the writing world is more fierce these days than ever. It seems like everyone has a story to tell and a book to publish about it. Most are very good. Some probably should not see the light of day. All are subjective, as everyone’s tastes are different. Which is why I never go by the ratings. With all the readers out there with many different tastes, all authors can and should get a piece of the pie and be on the bestseller list at one point in time. That is what I believe. Pricing my book at 99 cents gives me a chance for someone to check me out. I’ve bought plenty of books at that price of which some I may never read. However, I don’t feel like I’ve lost that much because hey, it was only 99 cents. I mean, I spend more than that on a soda that I drink in about an hour. I also pay that much or more on just ONE song from iTunes. So really, I don’t give it much thought about downloading a 99 cent e-book which allows me to escape to another world for a while. As I’ve said before, I can also lend it to a friend if I don’t want to read it and let them enjoy it.
Which brings me to how I pick a book. I know that there are lots of discussions out there about ratings: bought ratings, bad ratings for other authors, whatever. I myself do not participate in any of that, but we can leave that for our next post. Personally, I don’t pay much attention to a book’s rating. The only ratings I do pay a lot of attention to are those for products, especially expensive ones, and then I look for a pattern in those ratings (something breaking, etc.). I know that everyone has different tastes and is not going to like all the same things. I only read the ratings out of interest; I do not let them dictate what book I buy. They are very nice to have from an author’s standpoint, but as a reader, I don’t give them much weight.
The first thing that attracts me to a book is the cover. If I like that, I will look at the title. Then, I look at the synopsis. A lot of times, I’ve just bought a book based on the cover and title and that’s all.
Well, all, I think I’ve covered enough in this post for now. What are your thoughts as an author or reader or both? I am very interested in hearing your opinions, your experiences and what has worked (or hasn’t) for you!
In two weeks: Bad Behavior by Authors... and Readers??
Earthquakes. Tornados. Floods. Famine. Pestilence. Food recalls. Terrorist Attacks. The list goes on and on.
Is it “Mother Nature” and evil people doing these things?
Or something else? Do you notice how these things are happening more often and at a quicker pace these days? I have noticed that a lot lately, things are happening almost every day now- a whole lot more than when I was a kid, and the news was on all the time in our house.
My “secular” friends are starting to notice this too.
You see, I have a lot of friends who are not saved; some do not believe in God or anything else at all. What has made me stand up and take notice, however, is not only are they noticing things, but a few have even made comments to me such as, “Wow, things are happening more than ever these days. The world might be coming to an end soon.” “I don’t think we have much time left. I think I need to start getting my kids in church.”
Are they saying these things to appease me? Absolutely not. They debate with me about religion whenever the subject comes up. And that's fine. They are making these comments because they're noticing how quickly things are happening too.
To keep it short, I believe we're in for it, folks, and soon. The only reason America has been as great as it is for as long as it has is because of God's grace and provision. As Ronald Reagan has said, "If we forget we are One Nation Under God, we will be a nation gone under." I truly believe that. Take a look at other nations who don't put God first and see what they're like.
If you remember in my last post, I talked about how God granted Satan dominion over the entire earth. The Bible talks about how he walks back and forth throughout the earth, seeking those who he may devour. Well, that’s what he’s doing. In the Bible it says that “all good things come from God”. God gives us everything that’s good. He does not want to see us suffer: be hurt, sick, or have bad things happen to us. But, because we were separated from God because of our sin condition, bad things do happen to us. Satan makes sure of that.
But, Satan has a habit of making us think it’s all God’s fault. Every time a tragedy occurs, that’s one of the questions on most everyone’s mind: “How could God let this happen?” There isn’t really an easy answer, as we don’t know God’s mind completely, but there is a short answer. We are separated from God because of our sin condition. Satan has dominion over the earth, until the end of the earth. While he does have dominion over the earth, he and his minions will continue to attack it and us. He will use whatever means that are at his disposal: the weather, other people, etc. He does this because he hates us completely and wants to destroy us and this includes tormenting us in hell forever and ever. He also still wants to try to imitate God (and that’s what got him kicked out of Heaven- trying to be God, and thinking he was better than God). Do you ever notice that whatever God has done and created Satan tries to twist it all around? Satan loves it when we blame God and turn our backs on Him. That’s all part of his plan. In the meantime, he makes us think that it’s OK to live how we want- how anything goes and we can forget about what God has to say. He makes us think we’re having a good time while we’re here on earth and we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Well, we do, especially if Satan has our tomorrow planned out. Do you hear him laughing?
Now, about more demonic attacks. The devil has plenty of ways to attack us- he uses spirits of confusion, of sexual deviation (and yes this includes extramarital sex, etc.), of gluttony, greed, pride, etc. Now, if you are a Christian, he may not be able to attack you in those ways (although I do see a lot of evidence of gluttony out there, but I am not one to judge! Remember- hate the sin but love the sinner), but don't be fooled- you ARE definitely on his radar for these attacks, probably more so than non-Christians- and he will find other ways- namely, he will attack your health. The more that you are trying to do the work of the Lord, the more he will attack you too. I know Christians who devote most of their time to the work of the Lord, and the devil attacks them all the time. He attacks their finances, theirs and their family members’ health, family lives, etc. He wants to try to wear the Christian down and get them to denounce their faith in God and even to blame God. He would love nothing more for them to say, “You know, forget God. I’ve followed Him all this time and look all that’s happened to me. Why is He doing this to me?” I know Christians who have had their health attacked in serious ways and have been healed (it was God’s will- they still had work here to do). The devil, however, would love for us to be down for the count, denounce our faith in God and turn our backs on God. Then, he will have won.
Now, before I go, I will talk about attacks that happened to me personally. You may have seen one or both on my website (on my News page, and my Paranormal stories page). While I was writing Diary of a Demonologist, I was under attack quite often. First, it took me almost six months to a year longer to get this book out as it disappeared twice. The first time, I had a brand new thumb drive and the story was wiped out off of it. I tried two card recovery programs and even had the memory chip swapped out. The tech that swapped the chip out said that it was like nothing was ever on the drive at all. Likewise with the card recovery program. Nothing showed up. Thank God I usually write everything out long hand first. So, I go ahead and re-type everything and save it to a CD. In the middle of re-creating the book, however, everything gets wiped off of the CD. I then had to re-write the book for the third and thankfully the final time.
Also, during the process of writing this book, I was attacked often during the middle of the night (or morning, however you look at it). Most of the time the attacks happened at 3 a.m. (the devil loves to use that time- most theologians believe it’s an attack on the trinity). Anyway, I would be awakened about that time at least 2-3 times a week feeling a panic that I could not explain. I do not have panic attacks nor am I a nervous person. I also do not scare easily.
The last time (thank God) that I was attacked like that, it was the worst. I was awakened about 3 a.m. with my heart beating out of my chest. I never had my heart beat like that, and I don’t want to again. It was beating extremely fast, like it was going to run right out of my chest. I did not know what to think, but I did know that I did not want to wake my family. I then got up and walked around, and went downstairs. I walked around some more, still with my heart beating crazily and then I started getting a little scared. I remember thinking, “Lord, I am not ready to die yet. I have a lot of work to do.” I thought about leaving my family behind and what they would do. Then, I called out to the Lord. Deep down, to be honest, I really wasn’t expecting anything to happen, but I called out, “Jesus, I need you!” Right away, a white glow came into the room right in front of me and I immediately was overcome with a feeling of warmth and peace. My heart slowed to normal then as well, and I was able to go back to sleep.
To this day, I have hardly had any attacks take place against me, thank the Good Lord!!
There are many people who think that demons are the same as fallen angels. I myself believe in that theory as that is what the Bible says. I have never questioned what the Bible says, myself. We all know about the story of Lucifer being kicked out of Heaven and taking a third of Heaven's host with him, which then turned into what is known as the fallen angels. We also know about the "principalities" or demons, who live in the "high places", i.e., the heavens in the air, not Heaven itself. Satan was granted dominion over the earth, so that is why all sorts of horrible things happen on the earth, and of course, his demons are allowed to roam the earth. We also know about the stories of Jesus expelling the demons from the possessed and the demons asking Him when they saw Him: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29) "Before the time" is referring to the time of judgement. What is interesting to me are the accounts of those who have been to hell and survived to tell about it.
Three very good sources of reference are the book "A Land Unknown: Hell's Dominion" by B.W. Melvin and the websites Bibleprobe.org and testimoniesofheavenandhell.com. You should take the time and read that book and visit the websites, if you are interested in those kinds of accounts.
In his book, Bryan Melvin states that he saw beings chained up in a cavelike structure as well as demonic creatures going up and down between the earth and hell. Who are those creatures that are chained up? Are they demons? Why are they chained? Is it maybe because they are the worst of the worst? I believe those that are chained are the fallen angels who have sinned- the ones who, when cast out of heaven, had sexual relations with women and as a result, giants were born. In 2 Peter Chapter 2 Verse 4 it says: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." About the sinning of the fallen angels, in Genesis 6:2 it says: "That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." The sons of God are believed to be the fallen angels. Now, in Genesis 6:4 it says: "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." The giants, or Nephilim, are believed to be the offspring of the fallen angels and human women.
Now speaking of the Nephilim, there are theories that they are the ones who are the demons. It is believed by most who embrace this theory that after the flood, God allowed the Nephilim's spirits to remain on this earth. It is a good theory, but myself, I am not sure if I believe it. Human beings will never become demons, and since the Nephilim were part human, I don't really believe that they became demons either. Again, it's a good theory, but not one that I subscribe to.
In short, I believe along with most believers (smile) that demons are the result of fallen angels. There are some who roam the earth, and some that are confined to hell. The ones confined to hell are the ones who had sinned, or defiled themselves with human women.
To know 100% without a doubt though, well, I'll just have to ask Jesus when I meet Him face to face. Then again, I won't have to ask. He'll already know that this is something I am wondering about.
What is your theory about where demons come from? Let us know!
WEEK OF JULY 23: The conclusion of the series (for now)-Demonic Attacks.
When I published my first book, "Diary of a Demonologist", I knew I was going to get a lot of flak, just for the title. I secretly cringed whenever I was asked what the title was. I'm getting over that now, slowly but surely. What I wasn't expecting was that most of the questions would be coming from Christians.
I wanted this to be my first book because even though it is a work of fiction, I felt that it would call attention to this little known part of theology as well as entertain those who were looking for a good read. You don't need to be a Christian to enjoy my stories; you just need to want to be entertained, and maybe just a little bit scared.
Anyway, for those who were wondering, I had to explain that demonology "is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology relating to superhuman beings who are not gods.[ (from Wikipedia). That's exactly what it is- a branch of theology, but not one that's widely talked about, even among Christian circles. What's interesting to me is that the Catholic church uses the branding of "religious demonologist".
To me, that's sort of a misnomer. You can't be a demonologist without being religious, or at least go beyond studying demonology. Period. That's right- I said it. I will explain further.
Not only is demonology a theology study, but one to be taken very seriously. This is a matter of life or death in most cases. I will talk more about some of these such cases in a future post.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus talked about demons and hell more than any other subject. There's a reason for that. He wanted us to know the seriousness and reality of both.
Demons hate us. Really. With a passion. Why? Because we were created by God. They hate God, and everything about Him, including His creations. Their mission? To find the "weakest link", wear it (the person) down, and eventually take over and/or kill the individual with the person's soul as the prize. This does not always happen quickly, either. They need a body to inhabit, and that is what they crave- a body. When they are finished with one, they will look for the next one. And so on.
As to why you really should be religious to be a demonologist? Well, a practicing demonologist, anyway- it's OK to just study about it and not be. You need to have the authority and protection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are going to be a practicing demonologist, one of the things that you are more than likely going to be doing at some point in time is assisting ministers who perform exorcisms or deliverances. This is going to put you at war with some of the most vile creatures ever- demons. You are fighting to gain someone's soul back and this is going to make you an enemy in their eyes. You will be on their radar as a target and make no mistake; you will be attacked. This is why you need to be a person of faith, and your walk with the Lord needs to be a very strong one. To go up against even one demon without the authority and protection of the Lord Jesus Christ is a very foolish mistake, and it could cost you your life. Not only yours, but the very person who you are trying to rescue from the clutches of satan himself. Only because of the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth are we able to expel demons from the possessed or from a place anyway. We cannot ever do this on our own merit.
So, now that we know what demonology is, we will now talk about what it isn't.
It isn't witchcraft. When people hear demons or demonology, they immediately associate that with the dark arts. Not so. We know that demonology is a theology study. Theology is the study of religion and of religious influences, to include religious truths. Where do you study theology? A university, school of divinity, or seminary.
It also isn't to be taken lightly. If you are called by the Lord to be a demonologist, it's an honor and one to be taken very seriously. This is what I feel that I am being called to do, eventually, as well as my writing. I have been studying this for a very long time. This is how the Lord has been preparing me, and when He feels I am ready, he will place me in a position to be mentored by someone who is experienced in this.
Keep in mind that one of the charges that Jesus gave his disciples was that of casting out demons. You need to be sure that you have a close walk with Jesus all the time. As I said earlier, attacks will come, and the more that you are involved in the Lord's work, the more often they will happen. How you're able to defend against them depends on how close you are to the Lord and also your knowledge of how to use His armor in the battle.
Next week: Where did demons come from and are they the same as fallen angels?
This has been a long time coming and is way overdue- my first blog! Today was just as good a day as any to start one- it's raining here in the Northeast, so I can't go outside and play with the dog, husband or son. :)
First, I'd like to say that I really hadn't had much time to devote to a blog- with writing and all- then I thought, I didn't have time not to devote to one.
You see, I am a fiction author. And not just any fiction author. An unknown author, trying to break out in the real literary world. A Christian fiction author. I like to write about the supernatural. With demons. Well, that's three strikes against me!
Yes, I'm one of those weirdos who believe in that stuff. And that's a good thing. Hey, even most of my Christian friends look at me like I've got five heads when I start talking about "spiritual warfare", "deliverance" and things of that nature. So I shut up. And put it in a story. They know I'm not normal, anyway!
I've always believed in things "not of this world" ever since I was a little kid. I remember interviewing my classmates about Bigfoot and ghosts in elementary school. Devouring all kinds of books on the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, Bigfoot (I even had the Bigfoot board game- see above), and ghosts (Daniel Cohen was one of my favorite authors). Looking for "Black Aggie" in a mirror as I got older. And the list goes on...
I've had quite a few paranormal experiences and know plenty of people who have, good and bad. And the bad is out there. A lot. It's just not talked about that often. That's why I was so glad to see shows like "A Haunting" come out, where they actually featured people who experienced the dark side of the supernatural. More about that later, in another entry.
I am glad to see that believing in ghosts is pretty much mainstream now, paranormal shows are popular and they even have a series about Bigfoot. Maybe now, people won't think I'm so weird anymore. Maybe.
Which brings me to my writing. I wanted to write about that which I am interested in, what nightmares are made of and what piqued a lot of people's interests. I like for the reader to use their own imagination in my stories. I am not a big fan of too much detail. In giving it, or reading it. My mind just tends to shut off if I have too much detail- I like to use my own imagination as I have a lot of it! That's just me. So, forgive me if I don't go overboard with the details in my books.
My stories won't always be about demons, or even about the supernatural (I've got lots and lots of ideas in the works). And, you don't have to be a Christian to like my stories. Sure, there are some Christian overtones, but I don't believe in getting "preachy" with my books. These are stories to be entertained by- you don't have to believe in anything at all.
You just have to like to be entertained, to read, and to be scared, even just a little.
Darla Broadwater. We will of course discuss the supernatural but also other subjects of interest from time to time- nature, gardening, even cars!