Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Finding Angel" with Guest Author Kat Heckenbach

When last I clued my readers in to the writing of Kat Heckenbach, here at the Author's Corner, her fantasy for middle graders Finding Angel wasn't published yet. Now it's out! After having the privilege of proofreading several chapters, I couldn't wait for it to be in print, and it's everything I expected.

Finding Angel is a terrific flight of imagination into the world of a group of young people who find themselves with powers and traits they didn't know they had. But I can assure you, adults will find it just as fascinating. A discerning eye may see hints of the faith that the author carries in her life.

I invited Kat to tell 20-20 readers how the book came about:

"Sheryl, thanks so much for letting me be a guest on your blog, and sharing about my book release. I chose to write for this particular age group because middle grade is when I first fell in love with fantasy writing. All things magical captivated me, including mythical/magical animals like dragons. I can’t imagine starting with any other concept. At its core, fantasy *is* fiction to me.

It took about three months to finish the first draft of Finding Angel, and then another four years of learning about writing craft, editing, rewriting, etc., to get where it is today. All the while, I searched for a publisher and/or agent. My break finally came when I answered a call-out for artwork from a small New Zealand press called Splashdown Books.

The owner, Grace Bridges, knew I was a writer when she took me on for the artwork, and soon asked to see my manuscript. It was a bit of a risk for her, though. Until accepting Finding Angel, all of Splashdown’s books were for adults. It’s new territory, but it hasn’t been an obstacle—Finding Angel has been one of Splashdown’s top sellers so far."

This novel isn’t the extent of Kat's writing, though...

"While searching for a publisher and working on improving the manuscript, I fell in love with short story writing, both fiction and nonfiction."

She now has over forty short story publishing credits. They've been seen in a wide array of online magazines and in print anthologies from fantasy, sci-fi, and horror to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A complete listing of her publications can be found at

Finding Angel is available at Splashdowns Books, at in both print and Kindle versions, Barnes & Noble in print and Nook, and Smashwords for all ebook formats.

Thanks for joining me, Kat!
read more ""Finding Angel" with Guest Author Kat Heckenbach"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Max Lucado says, "Come be a part of God's story"

My Author's Corner page here at this blogsite is usually reserved for giving exposure to self-published and small press-published Christian authors. But I recently had the wonderful opportunity to personally interview well-known author/pastor Max Lucado for my freelance newsbeat at Yahoo Contributor Network News. He's written a new book, God's story, your story (Zondervan, released Sept. 20), about how God has a plan for each person in the world.

See the Yahoo interview with Max Lucado here. But there's more! Not included in that interview, due to a limit on my word count, was a part of the discussion we had on "end times" - the arrival of that time when Jesus may return to take believers home, and the world will be changed forever.

Here is that additional interview piece: 

Q: Do you believe we’re seeing signs of the “end times?”

A: There’ve been whole generations who thought they were in the end times. But I truly believe that many of the signs Christ told about have already come true. Matthew 24:14 says the Gospel will be preached to the whole world right before the end comes. Of the nations that have not yet heard the hope of Christ in some way, there are groups currently dedicated to translating into remaining languages. Modern broadcasting and the internet have reached many avenues. It's evident, the signs of end times are already here.
Looking for spiritual fulfillment? Take Max up on his invitation to look heavenward and become part of God's story. Here's the book link: God's story, your story.
If you're a Christian, you can go to Max's site, specially connected with this new book - - and leave the story of your spiritual discovery, to encourage other people. Some great stories are already there.

Photos used with permission: Courtesy of Lucado press kit, Zondervan Publishing and DeMoss Public Relations. Photo of Max Lucado by Karen James. 
read more "Max Lucado says, "Come be a part of God's story""

Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Average Joe' Candidate Matthew Gerwitz - More of our exclusive interview

Matthew Gerwitz, the 2012 Presidential candidate calling himself the "average joe" contender, continued our Q&A sessions with me in the past two weeks, over at Yahoo News. He is still unaffiliated from any party, and believes our political system needs a lot of change.

In Part 2, he reveals he's a Christian pastor working three jobs to support his family. We discuss what led to his decision to enter the race, and controversial issues like politicians who manipulate the system, "homophobia" and "hate." Of the latter two, he explains why this perception of Christians is a mistaken generalization. See Part 2 here.

In Part 3, Gerwitz continues discussing his campaign. He gives his thoughts on what's right or wrong with pulling troops out of Afghanistan, and the misinterpretations of "separation of church and state." See Part 3 here.

And, if you never saw Part 1, find it here. Readers can also follow Gerwitz's campaign at his website, on Facebook, or connect with him at Twitter.  
read more "'Average Joe' Candidate Matthew Gerwitz - More of our exclusive interview"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

'Average Joe' enters 2012 U.S. Presidential Race

He's not a politician. He's not a billionaire businessman. Yet, he's decided to run for U.S. President in 2012. See an exclusive first interview with new, independent candidate Matthew Gerwitz here at Yahoo News. 

Gerwitz is running because he feels the government is leading us down the wrong path. This link goes to Part 1 of the interview. Re-visit me here to find the link to Part 2, or keep watching the Yahoo News Contributor Network.
read more "'Average Joe' enters 2012 U.S. Presidential Race"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How Much should Kids know about Osama bin Laden?

In the days immediately following Osama bin Laden’s death, a Yahoo press release showed that internet search engines were flooded by teens asking, “Who was Osama bin Laden?” and related questions like what happened on 9/11 or why did he have to die.

How much should we protect our children from the negativities and realities they will face out in the world? Did schools have the responsibility to discuss bin Laden? And how can Christian parents explain why the man had to die, when the Bible appears to condemn murder and tells us to love our enemies?

See Sheryl’s full article here at The Christian Post.

But before leaving this site, ask yourself: In these days of strife around the world, and especially concerning Israel, the U.S. and terrorism, why should Christians and Jewish people have a better relationship? Check out the book at the right hand column.
read more "How Much should Kids know about Osama bin Laden?"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is There a Next Billy Graham...or should there be?

As our esteemed world evangelist Billy Graham has aged, there's been lots of speculation as to who, if anyone, could take his place. Or should they? Not every pastor is called to be a traveling evangelist, but every Christian is called to be a witness for Jesus until the whole world hears (Matthew 28:19-20). Can we all do it with Graham's perspective that opened so many doors and hearts, or will we shout things that only insult people and turn them away from God's amazing grace?

See my article "Is there a next Billy Graham" as published at The Christian Post.

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" Colossians 4:5-6 NIV.
read more "Is There a Next Billy Graham...or should there be?"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Male-Bashing, Domestic violence Against Men on the Increase - Part 2

(Please see Part 1 here).

Disclaimer: This writer is not a psychologist and cannot delve into all the problems surrounding male or female rape or abuse. If you are a man or a woman involved in domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:1-800-799-SAFE. If you're in immediate danger, call 911.

The emasculation of the male on television and the Hollywood big-screen may have originally been caused by women becoming more vocal in real-life over male-on-female abuse. Also, with the Feminist Movement, we became more conscious (and rightfully so) of dead-beat dads walking out on responsibilities.

However, can this have contributed to growing problems of domestic violence by women abusing their men, verbally or physically?

Whether or not disrespect for men on TV can roll over into women and children doing it in real life, we have a growing problem of domestic abuse perpetrated on men.

Due to hard economic times and American people having a skewered vision of always expecting the other person to make them “happy” all the time, both men and women are becoming more abusive.

According to Oregon, of every 100 incidents of domestic violence, 40 cases are now violence by females against male partners. Men are even less likely to come forward than women because of their pride.

The website states that women are increasingly becoming verbally and physically violent due to the same reasons as men: Alcohol abuse and psychological disorders. But the one probably affected most by our economic times – and responsible for the increase – is unrealistic expectations of both themselves and their partner.

Because of our desire for material comforts and all of our American freedoms, we’ve grown to expect “happiness.” Many times we think “this is the person that’s going to make me happy” – while the other person is depending on you to make them happy.  

Women Against Domestic Violence lists these reasons why a certain type of woman may become violent toward her man:
-She has internal insecurities, emotional problems, faced trauma during childhood, has addictions, or has attempted to withdraw from addiction.  
-She blames the man rather than examining her own problems and taking responsibility for how she lives.
-She refuses to admit needing treatment, and instead insists the man needs treatment.
-She believes her man is responsible for making her feel worse or better.
-When the man can't make her feel better, she becomes frustrated and assumes he is doing it on purpose.

There is another source of help. He is God. I truly believe if couples would turn themselves back over to Jesus as Lord - never mind the awful things being said about "religion" and specifically Christianity - we could find indescribable joy instead of momentary happiness. And everyone would be treated better.

Ephesians 5, excerpts:
1-2: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…
3 … among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people…
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—
30 for we are members of his body.
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."  

Scriptures are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

read more "Male-Bashing, Domestic violence Against Men on the Increase - Part 2"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Male-Bashing, Domestic Violence Against Men on the Increase - Part 1

In April of 2010, I did a post on the drastic increase of TV Violence Against Women. Subsequently, I received some anonymous comments about the increase in violence against men committed by women. The comments conveyed a general feeling that nobody is covering the issue of male-bashing.

Although there is a lot of male-bashing on TV – we’ll get to that in a moment -- I got the impression that the real concerns were about real-life domestic violence against men which may be an extension and result of the violence we see on TV. Real-life domestic violence wasn’t the issue addressed in my earlier post. But we’ll briefly explore it in Part 2 of this entry.

Regarding violence acted-out on TV
I’ve spent the last few months watching both movies and TV shows closely to compare the type and amount of violence shown against men versus that depicted against women. Men are generally represented to have been killed in murders, yes, including murders by women. The Oxygen show Snapped is a good example of this. But acted-out depictions of rape and spousal abuse against men are not increasingly appearing on's usually just the dead body we see. And that's getting more gruesome in detail.

Now, verbal and situational “male-bashing” is a different story! It’s everywhere on TV!

From early 1950s TV through the 1990s, we had family sitcoms where the TV dads were often funny, but nevertheless had the respect of their kids and wives. Male stars portrayed men who, in the end, dispensed moral duty and leadership along with tenderness. Many shows come to mind from Leave it to Beaver (1957-63) to Happy Days (1974-84), The Bill Cosby Show and Growing Pains (1984/85-92), and Prince of Bel-Air (1990-96). About the last of these was Home Improvement (1991-99). Granted, "Tim" was pretty nutty when he was around his gadgets. Yet, his morals were high and his family yielded to him and respected him.

But, centered in those forty years, the Feminist Movement turned from job equality issues to rampant male-bashing. Crops of single female stars boasted about having babies “without needing a father.” Respect for men decreased greatly. Television in the 2000’s has reflected the long-brewing result of this.

It probably started with “Married, with Children” which became so popular it ran ten years (1987-97). Since then, we’ve had a whole crop of sitcoms where the men look like total buffoons next to the women:
-No common sense;
-Cowering like wallflowers at the words of their bossy wives;
-Kids talking back at them with no consequences;
-Men sheepishly giving in to their family’s every whim and fancy except when they’re able to sneak out and do what they want.
-Being pushed and shoved, and of course it would be wrong to show men pushing back against women or children.

This isn’t only in recent situation comedies about married households like My Wife and Kids, Still Standing, and According to Jim. Men in roommate situations, like Two and a Half Men, haven’t fared much better.

These men are represented as fools with little intellect who drool after every skirt, care only for ballgames and booze, and are wrapped around their girlfriend’s or even their mother’s little finger.

Not only that, but it seems even on the TV dramas there’s a woman at the helm. Every police station now has a female lieutenant, every hospital a female chief administrator ordering the men around. We get it. Women can be in command.

Can this lead to verbal abuse and physical violence against men in real life? Please see Part 2.
read more "Male-Bashing, Domestic Violence Against Men on the Increase - Part 1"

20-20 Faith Sight © 2009-2011 Sheryl Young. Template by, Optimized by, Concept and design by April Lorier.