To Court a Queen

Guys, I always buy what H.L. Burke writes.

They’re clean, pretty family-friendly, and tons of original fun.  Heidi comes up with amazing plots and characters every time.  There are no H.L. Burke dud books.  Each one is pretty fantastic stuff.

Check out her latest, and pre-orders are up!

 

He doesn’t want to get married, but he wants to be a frog even less.

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Knight errant, Devin, takes a shortcut through the woods, only to be captured by fairy forces. The fairy queen has run out of breathing males to fight for her hand, and Devin, while not ideal fairy stock, is breathing–for now.

Telling a vain fairy queen you’d rather not be her one true love is a ticket to life on a lilypad, so the knight agrees to face three challenges to win Queen Agalea’s hand. When a clever servant girl offers to help him navigate the trials in order to stop the constant bloodshed of the courtship ritual, Devin jumps at the chance. However, as he balances “flirting” with his “beloved” and overcoming tasks specifically designed to kill him, he finds his heart drawn to his new partner in survival.

 

H.L. Burke is the author of multiple fantasy novels including the Dragon and the ScholarHeidi-107 saga and The Nyssa Glass YA Steampunk series and Coiled. She is an admirer of the whimsical, a follower of the Light, and a believer in happily ever after.

H.L.’s social media links:
twitter.com/hlburkewriter (for random snarkiness and occasional book snippets)
facebook.com/hlburkewriter (for longer form random snarkiness, occasional book snippets, and #dailydragon posts where she shares her favorite dragon related finds)
Her website (and mailing list) for news and deals www.hlburkeauthor.com
my instagram for #TheodoretheDragon awesomness instagram.com/burkesdragons
and her reader group if you want to be the first to hear about beta and ARC reading opportunities as well as her day to day struggles and weekly live videos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hlburkereaders/

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When You Feel Like a Drop in the Bucket – Helping Fight Abortion

I spent three days of last week in an angry, emotional fog.
The abortion news hit me really, really hard, and I cried and panicked my way through 72 hours. If you didn’t know, that’s okay. I didn’t even want to talk about it. I posted a lot on Facebook, but mostly stayed at home and sobbed my way through some emotional prayer times.
 
I just felt this deep, angry, panic that there was nothing I could do to rescue all of these children. Nothing I could do to stop evil. And it felt like God Himself had no answers for me when I begged Him.
 
But then at some point, I did quiet down a bit and turned a corner in my thinking. I still don’t know God’s plan for these babies, and why so many die before they step foot on earth. I still don’t know if God’s populating heaven with them – and the reverse idea feels like insanity and I can’t handle the thought, so I don’t go there. In faith I trust that God is protecting these babies. “For such is the kingdom of heaven.” 
 
And I realized what I CAN do is give money – donate to your crisis pregnancy centers, even if, like me, you’re far too over-committed to take on donating time. Donate money. They need it badly for supplies, brochures, medical equipment, and more.
 
I realized I had some tracts through 180movie.com that not only are pro-life and talk about the unborn’s right to life, but also share the gospel. I plan on handing those out and putting them in bathroom stalls and leaving them where they can be found.
 
AND I want to just be a better evangelist. The best way to save lives is to try to save the people with power over those lives. The only way to truly stop people from being murderous and selfish in their choices is to change their hearts to love Jesus and others more than themselves. So bringing people in my city the gospel is the best thing I can do for the unborn.
 
Therefore, using my own mom as an example – who can get any human being to talk at any time 😛 – I started to look for ways to talk to people. When I picked up Cinnabon for my husband, I noticed the cashier’s nametag, which was unusual, and told her I loved names because I wrote Christian fiction. She actually wrote down my name and wants to look up my Christian books. ❤
 
In the grocery store – which is the place my husband and I get the worst comments about having three daughters – when a woman started to remark on our extreme case of estrogen in our home and to rant about her own daughter, including cursing, I latched onto the fact that she mentioned church and engaged her about her denomination and told her where our church was located. She ended our conversation by saying I gave her hope for a relationship with her daughter and little girl she nannies in the future.
 
This is NOT normally the way I engage strangers. As chipper and extroverted as I am, I’m also a busy mom who likes to get in, shop, and get out. I have enough to do worrying about my crazy toddler and naptime and homeschooling and our schedule. Usually I ignore the strangers around me unless they approach me first, and then I only spare them a big smile, and then run off to “get stuff done.” But now I’m trying to take the time to find ways to engage the people around me and get in something about my faith, my writing ministry, or my church.
 
I still feel horrified about the infant holocaust we’ve got going on, and I’m still going to ask God a ton of questions when I get to heaven, and I’m very honest with Him how I feel because He knows my heart through and through anyway, but at least now I have action.
 
And we can pray. Always, first and foremost, pray. It’s the best thing we have. ❤
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Love Thy Transgender Neighbor

This is a blog article for those who believe that the Word of God is completely true and that we are to obey what God says in it.  If you are not a Bible-believing Christian, this article isn’t for you.  I have not written it to have transgender debates.  Thank you.

 

I live in the pacific northwest.

I love it here.  It’s gorgeous, the trees are more numerous than the stars that can be seen in the cloudy sky, and the summers are to die for – light up until 10 pm at night and most days a perfect 75 degrees.  I love the lakes, the hiking, and the views.  I also love my church, Bible study community, and neighborhood.  I love that the Christians are who they say they are, and homeschooling and attending a mega church isn’t cool just because you live in the Bible belt and everyone else is doing it.  It’s what you actually believe. Even the Christian youth seem different.

But living in the pacific northwest means that homosexuality is acceptable and rampant.  I’ll never forget going on a date with my husband into downtown Seattle, and seeing a homeless woman on the ground with all of her belongings strewn about her, being ignored by a pair of sharply-dressed men holding hands, waiting to cross the street.  I wish I had snapped a picture of it.  If that doesn’t say Seattle, I don’t know what else does.

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This is not my picture, but it almost could have been

In our teeny community a drive from Seattle, we mostly avoid running into this kind of thing, and for a mom of three girls, two in elementary school and one a toddler, that makes me feel relieved, which in turn makes me feel a little bit guilty.

Better to just not look and pretend it’s not happening, right?

But yesterday I was out shopping with the oldest daughter, who is almost eight years old, and we ran into a Taco Bell up north of us in a slightly more urban area.  After placing our order and asking for the code for the bathroom – proof you’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto – I was flirted with by the cashier.

Who was very obviously a woman.

Now I can’t tell whether or not she was actually a lesbian, but a lot of the signs were there, and nothing about the exchange left me feeling at all comfortable.  I laughed, motioning to my daughter at my side, making a point of saying, “I’m a mom of three, so it’s nice to hear such a compliment.  Thank you.”  But the serious stare on her face and her insistence on commenting on my physical appearance went a long way to making me want to hightail it out of the restaurant.  Still, I wished her a wonderful day, and smiled at her as if she were any other woman, thanking her for her high praise. 

My daughter had no idea anything was up, only knowing that someone kept calling her mom “really, really pretty” a couple of times, as well as other chatter that meant nothing to her.  We moved on.

But what if she had realized the woman just might be flirtatious with other women? What if something made her vaguely uncomfortable too?

It’s not going to take very long for her to figure this kind of thing out.  Because that’s where we live.

I don’t think Christians are supposed to move out of every liberal area and create mini conservative heavens-on-earth in the Bible belt or podunk hick towns out in the middle of nowhere.  I don’t think that’s being salt and light. (John 17:14-16) Now, obviously, things can get so bad that it’s just time to protect your own and leave.  And that decision – that things have hit So Bad Level – is totally up to you and what God’s telling you. But how are we supposed to evangelize these Christ-apathetic or even Christ-hostile places if we don’t actually live there once in a while?

I actually do homeschool my kids, and I look for lots of ways to protect them, but not when it comes to who she runs into in daily life, and learning to love no matter what.

I see a lot of absolute, throwdown, hogwash nonsense (my years in the south are showing) coming out of the media and the liberal left these days.  They have been bullies, pushing their homosexual crazytalk down Christians’ throats, badgering them, twisting them into corners, taking away their businesses and their rights to free speechEspecially here in the pacific northwest.

I, along with many Christians, often press the “angry” button as a Facebook response to these posts.  I very often shake my head in total shock and horror and call it “insanity.”

And it is insanity.

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But it’s just so not the first time the church has been up against outright insanity.  Back in the time of Nero – who actually was insane – Christians were thrown to lions to be torn to shreds in front of a cheering crowd.  Real live people got a rush watching real live people’s limbs ripped apart, blood everywhere, while the beasts gorged on their flesh.  All because those people believed in Jesus.  Yeah, that’s insanity.

(And I’ve got to stop right here, people, and be real with you.  When you exclaim your love for Game of Thrones… you look like a crazed Colosseum-goer.  There’s sick stuff on that show.  Maybe no one’s really dying, but those are real naked bodies, and they’re being exploited on national television every day.  And you’re putting that kind of poisonous lion-eating adrenaline into your bloodstream and created-in-God’s-image soul, desensitizing yourself to that kind of exploitation of women.  And if you can get a kick out of a show that glorifies abuse of men, women, and children in that way, then you’re not safe for my kids.  Please let me know if you love Game of Thrones so I can never, ever ask you to babysit. We Contes will love the heck out of you, but you’re not going to be left unattended with my daughters.)

In the time of Hitler, Jewish people were gassed en masse, and children tortured in horrendous medical experiments, and many left in prison camps to starve to death all because they weren’t of Caucasian European descent.  That’s insanity too.

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Wedding bands taken from Holocaust victims

Even now, across the globe from you in your comfy pjs and your Diet Pepper and your takeout hamburger, people in other countries are raped, burned to death, kidnapped, and tortured for converting away from Islam or Hinduism.  That’s also insanity.

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Or how about the fact that we are murdering our unborn infants by the millions, and that abortion was the leading cause of death WORLDWIDE last year at 41 MILLION infants slaughtered? Utter, utter, depraved insanity.

So why are we surprised and wrathful and icked out by transgenderism?  It’s abuse our fellow Americans are doing personally to themselves this time – personally torturing their own bodies in ways that are truly biologically impossible – in yet another attempt to stick up their middle finger at God.   They’re not really hurting you, are they, Christian?  They’re surgically knifing themselves.

And they suffer and pay for it.

A recent study showed that 41% of all transgender people have attempted suicide. And many, many go through with it. That’s compared to 4.6% of all of the rest of the general population who tries to kill themselves.  A documentary I watched tells the graphic details about the sex change operations and how rarely they succeed, how they mess with you in horrific ways, and how so many regret such drastic changes that stunt their future marriages and bodies’ capabilities permanently.  There’s even an entire “underground railroad”-like ministry online helping people who are miserable and want to “detransition.”  Youtube is full of anonymous people talking about how miserable they were trying to live life as the opposite gender.

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These are deeply confused, deeply hurting people.  People who don’t feel right in their own skin, people who don’t feel like they even have an identity (which is a horrifying thought), people who notice when the look in your eye changes from, “Have a nice day!” to “Oh no.  That’s a man.” And suddenly you can’t keep eye contact and you want to get away as fast as possible.

Many who were abused before puberty by the same sex, resulting in feeling lost and confused when hormones kick in and they know they’ve only ever felt pleasure doing stuff with a man.  People who have had abusive parents of both genders, people who are told their emotions and interest in art isn’t “manly enough.” Or their less feely personalities, leadership skills, and faces and bodies aren’t “attractive” or “feminine enough.”  People who look at the older generation or the way society treats them, and decide, “I’d rather be the opposite gender than be anything like you.”

When women think that the only way they can succeed in life and protect themselves is to be male.

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Almost half of all transgenders in the U.S. are Hispanic or black, and often state it’s because they felt prejudiced against all their lives

 

And a host of other reasons, countless reasons, that, frankly, you and I will never guess.

Also, regardless of what Gillette has or hasn’t done in the past, an ad like that is aired, and most men are in uproar.  When, in reality, if you look closely, the ad’s simply telling men to be decent human beings who try to love and care for others.  That maybe “manhood” isn’t about always barbecuing and wrestling in the grass and watching porn on the TV with your friends because boys will be boys.  Maybe manhood means being affectionate like John once in a while, writing Psalms like David, caring for small children like Jesus, or weeping with the women when your best friend dies like when he lost Lazarus.  It also means slaying your Goliaths like David and averting your eyes so you do not lust like Job and being a wise ruler in your household like Solomon and running a profitable business that protects the poor like Boaz.  Let’s not forget the balance here. Masculinity is open to all types and gifts God gives men.  Femininity is open to all personalities and love languages God gives women.

Your son writes poetry and cries at other people’s funerals and is diplomatic without feeling the need to fight it out with his fists?  It’s not because he was meant to be a woman.  It might mean he has a heart like Christ.  Your daughter grows up to be a judge and her “serious voice” can make grown men under her shake in their boots and she slays all her own personal dragons in a no-nonsense way?  Probably means you were blessed with some amazing biblical Deborah, not that she’s too “butch” to be a lady.

Transgenders can be broken, abused, misunderstood, confused, and lonely people who have assumed they were created wrong because they’ve been told so by a society that has one pigeon-holed way of defining human beings.

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Jesus said “Love thy neighbor.”  (Mark 12:31)

Did He mean, “Be all for thy neighbor’s sex change and tell them you’re all approve their gay marriage?”  Absolutely not. Let’s not throw out God’s Word here.  (Romans 1) That’s sending unbelievers to damnation just the same as if we ran scared and never talked to them in the first place.  But He also sat with the woman at the well and told her all about the rich, lifegiving water she was thirsty for before calling out her sexual promiscuity in a kind, subtle, and no-frills way. (John 4)

Be aware that the people you run into in your grocery store probably aren’t the leftist media, ready to bully your kids at the checkout line, wanting to expose your children to weirdness at Taco Bell, and looking for a bomb they can toss into your neighborhood.  A lot of them are deeply emotional, sensitive people. They’re just folks who need to hear the gospel and repent of their sin – fear of man, discontentment, ingratitude, bitterness, thinking God is wrong, lack of love, and unbelief – all sins you and I commit daily.

Can you imagine raising children to know clear Scripture truth and to see instantly how to lovingly apply it to our transgender neighbors?

When I see a transgender person, I now see someone with a big “I’m going to try to commit suicide” label plastered on their forehead, because odds are, almost 1 in 2 will.  And others admit, in anonymous studies, that they at least think about it daily.  How shocking would it be for the adults in our churches to go up to them instead and ask them what they think about Christ?  Like, hey, we care about you and your pain and we think you’re worth sharing the gospel with just as much as the people in Timbuktu where we’ve sent missionaries.

If you saw your neighbor standing in his house while it was on fire, even if he wasn’t calling for help, wouldn’t you care enough to either yank him out, or at least call to him from the outside?  Wouldn’t you dial 911 and shout for help, doing all you could to protect him?  These people are lost, and have no idea the flames are licking so close.  If we run scared and angry from the insanity, who do they have left?  Your transgender neighbors are dying – by society’s twisted brainwashing, and ultimately their own.

Let’s love and save them, okay?

 

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Robots, Cowboys, and New Books!

THE DAY the marauders came for us started with an ominous gray horizon. Dust flew in on the heavy winds that stirred up the dirt and grime stuck to every inch of our farmhouse, silt and debris like tears gathering in the corners of the old building’s eyes.

It had been eleven months since our father had passed, struck down by the roving gangs of rebels that plagued our country from the bottom up, the battles for power that had been fought, without end, for an entire generation.  No end to this war in sight.  No side willing to give in.

Papa had been a peaceful man, as sturdy as the strong oak that made up the sides of his enormous barn.  Not interested in politics or feuds, he wanted to raise animals and crops in peace until the end of his days, and then pass on the land to his two unmarried daughters – me, the old maid in her late twenties, and eighteen-year-old mousy Ruth, too timid to leave my side.  Mama had died of the influenza back when Ruth was two, and the loss had left her child heart as skittish as a tiny rabbit’s. She never left the property.

Thus bound, I had given up all hope of my own future, and had thrown all of my dreams and affection into the grand old farmhouse, the barns overflowing with happy animals, and the little plants straining to reach the expansive prairie skies.

It was a good life.

We had multiple artificial farmhands, bland male robot models that Papa had bought with his savings. They did the work of ten men, never tiring except for the six hours of battery recharging they required at night.

But then Papa was killed.

 

— Artificial Love, coming out February 2019

 

Happy New Year, friends and readers!!! So thankful for all of you and your motivation to keep me writing for Christ! 

This month I’m going to be focusing on getting you all excited for my new sci-fi cattlepunk short story, “Artificial Love,” coming out in February! It’s around 7k words, so the size of Lucent Sylph and Gem, both of my award-winning stories.   

The first piece of news I have to share is that I’m getting Seedlings Designs to make the cover!!  So stay tuned for that – cover reveal at the end of the month!  🙂

 

What She Wants You to Give Her for Christmas – Based on Myers-Briggs Type

A general, stereotypical guide to giving that special woman in your life just what she wants for Christmas.  You still have time!  Christmas isn’t for five more days, men!  😉

 

ESFJ – A super personal and unique piece of Etsy jewelry with her loved ones’ names engraved on it.

INFJ – High quality art

ENFJ – Donate to her favorite charity in her name, and then plan a future outing where you’ll volunteer at the charity with her

ISFJ – Chocolate and a maid for a week

ESTJ – That Pottery Barn formal chair she’s been eyeing.  It has to be THE color she picked out though.  Don’t try to guess.  It has to be perfect.

ISTJ – Is a bit horrified that you’re spending money on her.  Wants you to save it for a rainy day and clean the house for her instead

INTJ – For the glamorous INTJ woman: expensive perfume.  For the nerdy INTJ woman: books.  For the balanced INTJ woman: books that smell like perfume.

ENTP – Memorabilia from the last geek convention you both attended together

INTP – Tickets to a lecture given by her academic hero, or a comedian, or a book written by her hero/comedian that’s sat in her Amazon shopping cart forever and she forgot to buy

ENTJ – An antique or memorabilia from her favorite time in history.

ISTP – Has no interest in “gift-giving” on the whole.  Doesn’t mean a lot to her.  She’ll take  cash.

ESTP – A board game that guarantees she’d be able to cream the whole family next game night

INFP – A new kitten

ISFP – Fancy cooking oils and culinary delicacies

ENFP – A scavenger hunt to find clues to discover that you’re mysteriously taking her on a date

ESFP – Tickets to a theme park

 

Or, if all else fails, probably every type wants an ISFJ or ISTJ to come clean their house for them, while the ISJs are getting their own maid.  Can’t go wrong there…  😉