• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

Magic & Fantasy: Part 2 – Good vs. Evil

art by Alan Lee

art by Alan Lee

One thing I love about fantasy is the ability to show the battle between Good and Evil in a more vivid and clear way.  In fantasy there are shinning heroes vs. great monsters, hobbits vs. dark lords, light vs. darkness, etc.  Fantasy allows you to show Good and Evil in a form everyone can easily recognize.  As a Christian, I want to tell stories that show the stark contrast between light and dark, freedom and slavery, death and salvation, fantasy allows me to do this as no other genre does.

A Light in the Dark

One problem I’ve seen in a lot of modern Christian fiction is their stories are “light on light”.  The writer’s are trying to show the light of Christ in an already light environment.  When you light a candle in an already bright room it makes no difference.  (This is true for more than just Christian fiction.)  In order to show the beautiful light of God’s grace and love, you have to show the ugly blackness of men’s hearts and the consequence of sin.  (Tolkien did this beautifully in The Lord of the Rings.  He understood the corruption of men’s hearts and show’s it with their desire to possess the One Ring, the very symbol of evil.)  Christ died a very ugly, brutal death for us on the cross, without such a sacrifice salvation for the world would be impossible.  In fiction, if there isn’t darkness, the light will have no impact.  Without the destruction caused by the Dark Lord, the beauty of the Shire and Rivendelle wouldn’t seem as peaceful and bright or worth protecting.

We Can’t Ignore Evil

There is evil in this world, and we are fighting a war with it.  Fantasy is perfect for showing us that war.  It shows us our enemies and, The One who is the ultimate victor.  I believe it’s important, especially in Christian fiction, to show people the darkness so they can better understand and appreciate the light.  You can’t tell someone they need salvation, without telling them why.  You have to reveal the sin, evil and lies in order for grace, good and truth to become relevant and important.  You can’t ignore evil in fiction, just like you can’t ignore it in real life.  It’s there, it “stalks around like a lion seeking whom it may devour.”  As Christians we have spiritual armor for a reason.  We’re in a war with evil, and fantasy is the genre that can depict that war in every detail.

Exaggerated Illusions

Fiction is the illusion of reality and with illusions you can exaggerate.  We can better understand reality through these illusions because they are meant to teach us.  I love this quote by Flannery O’Conner;

“Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”

Those “large and startling figures” get people’s attention, and once you have their attention and have shown them the darkness, you can slowly turn on the lights and chase the shadows away.  In fantasy, not only can you show the exaggerated illusion of reality to better understand reality, you can show the illusion of the spiritual, to better understand the spiritual.  That’s another reason why I like fantasy, because of the higher level of spiritual.  That’s why you have magic and unearthly creatures.  Fantasy is a spiritual genre (more on that to come), hence, the battle between good and evil is so clear and vivid.

In a nut shell… a light in a bright room makes no difference.  A light in a dark room changes everything.

Missed part 1?  Just click the title! Magic and Fantasy: Part 1 – Overview 

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Magic & Fantasy: Part 1 – Overview

art by John Howe

art by John Howe

As fantasy grows in popularity and people become enthralled with stories such as Harry Potter and Twilight, Christians become more and more suspicious of the fantasy genre as a whole.  Stories with wizards, witches, dragons and magic have been labeled as secular and evil.  I understand why a lot of Christians are cautious about fantasy and letting their kids read/watch it, but I don’t agree with the modern stereotype that’s been applied to it.

Fantasy is not evil no more than rap or pop music is evil, the problem is how it is used.  Most Christians dismiss fantasy because it has magic, but (and here’s a bomb shell for you) magic is not the issue.  Now don’t freak out, just stay with me.

NOTE:  Every section will be expanded on in it’s own post.

Spirit-ism and Fantasy/Blurred Lines

Fantasy is not real life, the rules are different, the way the world works is different.   One big difference is the boundaries of the spiritual realm.  In fantasy the lines between the physical and spiritual are blurred or none existent (hence, there is magic or “miraculous” powers in said world).  Because of this you can show the battle between good and evil more clearly, through a bigger picture.

Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures. ~Flannery O’Connor

I’ve noticed a lot of Christians are uncomfortable talking about or getting into the spiritual.  Sure we talk about being spiritual and the good spiritual creatures (angels), but when it comes down to the spiritual, that’s a different topic all together.  There is a good and bad side to the spirit realm and most of the time we only remember the bad.

The Rules are Different

Fantasy doesn’t really work without magic. Magic is to fantasy what science is to science fiction. The magic is what makes it a fantasy, just like futuristic science is what makes a science fiction. I tried writing my first fantasy without magic because it bothered me, but it didn’t work. It was incomplete and nothing fit together properly. Now, eight years later I’m rewriting it with magic. Finally the puzzle of the story is fitting together because I have the missing pieces.
Magic in a fantasy world IS NOT the magic in the real world. It may be modeled after it, (another reason why we are so leery of it) but it is not the same. The point of a fantasy is that it is not real. It’s in a different world with different rules. Usually this other world magic is a power that flows through every living thing. Magic is that worlds science. In science when you mix baking soda and vinegar together it creates a chemical reaction, in other world magic, when you combine words with elements, you get a “magical chemical reaction”. (A cheesy example, but you get the idea.)
When you put magic in the real world, that’s when the rules change. It is no longer other worlds magic that doesn’t actually exist, it’s real world magic. There is an evil power in this world, there are real witches and wizards and they are not good. Real world magic is a force, as Christians we should avoid. (There are exceptions when it is stated that the “magical abilities” of the character comes from God.)

Context is Important

Context is what makes all that difference when dealing with magic in fantasy. Real world or other world, good guy or bad guy. Context matters. Even the context of where the magic comes from. For example, in The Lord of the Rings wizards are beings known as Istari or Maia spirits in human form, sent from Valinor (the Undying Lands) to protect the children of Middle-Earth (or the Children of Eru aka God) from the Dark Lord Melkor. Symbolically, they are angels in mortal form there to protect God’s creation from great evil. For those of you who are familiar with The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is an Istari, but one that chose to follow the fallen Melkor, what does that sound like?

Magic and Spiritual Power

God’s power is “magic”. At least magic as we might interpret. His power described often as “supernatural” or “miraculous”, could be properly labeled as magic.
Magic in fantasy is in basic terms the ability to harness spiritual energy to complete a task. Magic is a spiritual power and because there is both good and evil in the spiritual there is good and evil magic users.

NOTE: I just want to say that I am not supporting or advocating for the practice of magic. I AM NOT. This blog series is about magic in Christian Fantasy (literature), a Other World setting, NOT about magic in the real world or it’s use.

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Click here for part 2 —>  Good vs. Evil

The Beginning

Twelve likes and one comment… I guess I can go ahead and post that sneak peek. 😉

 

*     *     *

Ephraim

 

Still born.  Ephraim stared at the maid who held his son.  His dead son.

“My Lord…” She didn’t look Ephraim in the eye, but stood holding the still bundle of blood stained swaddling clothes concealing the boy.

“Kathryn.”

The maid looked up.

“What’s wrong with Kathryn?”

A woman’s scream broke out from behind the drapes leading to the bed chamber.  The maid, still holding the lifeless child, hurried back into the room.  More cries and screams filled the chamber, then… the cry of a babe.  Ephraim pushed back the drapes and stepped into the room.  Kathryn, his wife, lay on the massive canopy bed, her face slick with sweat and her eyes closed.  The physician turned to Ephraim, holding a live baby girl.  He gave Ephraim a faint smile.

“Twins my Lord.  Your wife has given you twins.”

The child was covered in blood, her face contorted in an aching cry.

Ephraim didn’t acknowledge, but rushed to his wife’s side.  He knelt by the bedside and took her hand.

“Kathryn.”

She didn’t respond.

“Hector,” Ephraim spoke to the physician.  “Hector!”

In an instant, Hector was at his side.

“What is wrong?”

It was a moment before he answered.  “I am sorry my Lord.  We were not prepared for the second child, it was too much.  Something was torn, she is bleeding and I cannot stop it.”

Ephraim gripped his wife’s hand.  No.  God, You cannot take her from me.

He rose to his feet and leaned over her.  Reaching out, he gently stroked her wet forehead then kissed it, breathing in her scent.  She still smelled of mint, like the day they first met.

“Kathryn,” he whispered.  “My Kathryn.”

There was a flutter of movement under her eyelid.  Slowly, she opened them.

“My Ephraim,” she whispered back, a small smile on her lips.  Ephraim tried to smile back.

“The children,” she continued in a faint voice. “Our children… Ephraim?”

Ephraim glanced at Hector.  The physician nodded, “She, the child lives me Lady.”

“She…” Kathryn breathed out. “Our daughter….the other?”

“A son,” Ephraim responded before Hector could say a word.

“A son… Ephraim,” she took a shaky breath.  “What shall we call them?”

“Whatever you want my love.”  Ephraim stroked her forehead with his thumb.

“Wrenna and Aaron.” she whispered after a moment.  “You…you choose the rest.”

“Kristine and… Walter.  Kristine for her mother and, Walter for my father.  How is that my love?”

“Wrenna Kristine and Aaron Walter Fulton.”  Kathryn smiled.  “Fine names.”

He nodded.

“Ephraim?”

“Yes?”

She whispered something, so softly, he couldn’t hear her.   He leaned in closer.

“I love you.”

A tear slid down his face.  He laid his hand on her cheek and kissed her.

“I love you too.”

(Copyright L.E.R. Jenkins 2013)

The Novel is Done! Can I Sleep Now?

CHOICES draft I was completed last night at 9:40-ish. (Yes, I took note of the time. 😉 ) It all comes to a grand total of 173 (8×11) pages and 52,488 words. Why does that seem small? Just wait ‘till draft II. It’s going to grow. 🙂

Thank you God for this amazing story I love so much, and the wonderful characters I love even more. I pray it will touch the hearts of those who read it.

I had mixed feelings as I typed the last sentence. I felt like grinning my face off; I just finished my second novel! But I also felt like crying. (I’m so weird…) I’m very thankful I have two more books to write with these characters, plus editing to do, else I probably would have cried. 😛

As far as the title of this post goes… It would seem that when I’m in the midst of writing a novel, sleep tends to evade me late into the night. Plus, the closer I get to the end, the more insomnia plagues me. Guess what? I actually had a descend nights sleep last night. 🙂 Woot!

Well, here is to Kate, Terren, Connor, Sara and the rest of the gang. They made it through all the terrible, heart breaking, emotional, painful, physically difficult, confusing and hard situations I put them through. Hooray for my cast! Until the next adventure guys, you can relax now. 😉

A little scene from CHOICES — Chapter 6

I love this little scene, it’s one of my top favorites in the whole book.  Just thought I’d share it.  Let me know what you think.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Understanding

After the evening meal I sat outside the pavilion with Terren, star gazing.

“That one there,” Terren said pointing at a cluster of stars off to the right.  “Is Valiant, the warrior.  Those stars there make up his helmet, and three there are his hand, and the four aligning with those, make up his sword.”

“We have one that’s similar in my world,” I said.  “He’s called Orion the Hunter.  He has two stars for his shoulders, two for his feet, three for his belt and three for his sword.”  I drew Orion in the air as I spoke.

“I would like to see that someday,” Terren commented.

“I don’t even know if I’ll see it again someday.  It was my favorite constellation, though it’s only out in the winter time.  I always looked forward to seeing it up there in the sky.  Then I’d always be sad when it was gone again.”

“Stars can seem like close friends sometimes.  My father loved the stars.  He always told me they were all set in a special place by a divine hand for a season and it was up to us to discover their secrets.  That one there,” Terren pointed to a group of stars that looked like a crooked ‘S’ with two sets of four stars giving it wings.  “That one is called The Dragon; it was my father’s favorite.” 

 “It’s beautiful,” I played with my hair.  “What… what do you believe about divinity Terren?”  The question had been burning in my mind since we had come outside and I finally mustered up the guts to say it.

“Well, for one, there is no such thing as luck.  Everything is set in motion, nothing happens by accident, He causes it all.”

“Who is ‘He’?”

Terren looked at me, “Abir, the Mighty One.”

I looked away.

“Do you know Him?”  Terren asked, placing his hand over mine.

“I… I think I do, but not by that name.”

“My father told me Abir as many names.”

I nodded.

“But weren’t you… weren’t you angry at Him, when your parents were killed?  I mean, why would He do that?”

“I don’t know,” Terren sighed, “Perhaps I will never know or understand until the day I stand before Him.  To answer your question, yes, I was angry at Him, very angry.  To the point where I was a completely different man, but He held on to me and brought me Connor.  Connor helped me to understand that Abir had not abandoned me.  He has been the truest of friends.”

“I still don’t understand,” I mumbled.

“Understand what?”

“What I’m doing here?!  It contradicts everything Terren!  Places like this are not suppose to exists where I come from.  But here I am!  What is He doing?!”  I rung my hands in front of me.  It felt so good to finally say that out load to another human being.

Terren took my hands in his, “Kate, I am not going to pretend I have an answer for you, because I don’t, but I do know that somehow you were meant to be here.”

I looked into his face, he was sincere, so sincere.

“Thank you Terren, I hope you’re right.” 

He smiled, “It’s getting late, we have an early start tomorrow.”  He stood and helped me to my feet.  “Good night Kate, sweet dreams.” 

“You too,” I said.

He pulled me into an embrace, “Hold on Kate.”

My heart swelled and tears formed in my eyes and rolled down my checks.  I pulled away, hiding my tear streaked face.

“Thank you, good night.”  I ran to my room, shut the door, flung myself on the bed and cried.

Welcome 2011! Books, Movies, and the Best of 2010.

Here we are in a new year!  2011, can you believe it?  I remember New Years Eve 1999, the year 2000 just sounded so futuristic and strange, we thought we would never get use to it.  Now it’s 2011, eleven years later and well, we’re use to it. 🙂  This year, for me, has been one giant rollercoaster, but a good rollercoaster, (and that’s saying something since I don’t like rollercoasters. 😛 )

 Recap:  

I had the second sugary on my foot; I finished draft II of HEART OF HOPE; I got to go to Kansas and meet, in person, some amazing people; my little sister turned sixteen; my little brother turned thirteen; my niece celebrated her first birthday; I had some amazing times with close friends and family; I started writing CHOICES; I bought a car; my oldest brother asked his super awesome girlfriend to marry him (she said yes, 🙂 ); and I turned twenty.  Not to mention all the little things that happened in between.  (Not to mention Doctor Who. 😉 )

As for the books I read and the movies I saw in theaters, (I’m adding movies this year.):

Movies:

  • Extraordinary Measures (rating – **** Great story, ruined with language.)
  • Robin Hood (rating – ** Interesting story, content, not so good.)
  • Toy Story 3 (rating – ***** Great family movie.)
  • Megamind (rating – **** Hilarious and very entertaining.  I think I remember some rude comments, hence only four starts.)
  • Tangled (rating – **********  Awesome!  Perfect family movie!  One of my favorites.)
  • Voyage of the Dawn Treader (rating – ***** Fantastic!  See it.)
  • Tron (rating – **** Awesome action and adventure story set in a super cool digital world.)

 Books:   (!=good !!=great !!!=favorite/must read)

  • The Candlestone – by Bryan Davis (!!!)
  • The Circles of Seven – by Bryan Davis (!!!)
  • Tears of a Dragon – by Bryan Davis (!!!)
  • A Prisoner of Versaillies – by Golden Keyes Person(!)
  • Swords – by Ben Boos (!!)
  • Favorite Medieval Tales – by Mary Pope Osborne and Troy Howell(!)
  • The First Four Years – by Laura Ingals Wilder (!)
  • Just Friends: Guarding you heart for a wonderful someday – by Mike Ray and Cary Schmidt (!!!)
  • I know why the angels Dance – by Bryan Davis (!!)
  • By Darkness Hid – by Jill Williamson (!!!)
  • Fable Weaver – by Carlie Gernhart (!!!)
  • The Sword of Shannara – by Terry Brooks (!)
  • The Hobbit – by J.R.R. Tolkien (!!!)
  • Vienna Prelude – by Bodie and Brock Thoene (!!)
  • The Eagle of the Ninth – by Rosemary Sutcliff (!!)
  • Starlighter – by Bryan Davis (!!)
  • Comma Sense — by Richard Lederer and John Shore (!!!)
  • So Long Insecurity – by Beth Moore (!!!)

Unpublished Books: (All of which were awesome. 🙂 )

  • Night of Shadows — by Daniel Beals
  • Becoming Human — by Jared Schmitz
  • Messenger — by Sarah Ulrich

 There were lots of good books this past year, and a few good movies too. 🙂

What’s up for this year?  Tons!
I start college; my brother’s wedding; another Kansas trip; my other brother and his wife will welcome to the family another baby and much more! 

I’m super excited about this year.  God was so good and faithful through 2010, I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me in 2011.  My hopes for this year is that I will get HEART OF HOPE to a point where I can send it to publishers, finished CHOICES and do the same and just keep writing and becoming the person God wants me to be.  🙂 

May God bless you all in this new year!

-Laura

One thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining foward what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 3:13-14

Novel Update: A Look at Chapter Seven

Chapter seven is what you might call a “breather chapter”. Six was cram packed with mysterious hints, “Ah oh”, moments and ended with the characters first battle. Now, the battle over, the characters have to pick themselves up and move on. In this chapter they find a shelter of trees hidden in the forest where they shelter to tend their wounds. That place was a lot of fun to describe and I really like how it turned out. Take a look.

The horses’ hooves shuffled through the thick bed of leaves, turning some over to reveal their wet undersides. In a few places water dripped from moss cover tree limbs, letting loose the heavy moister. The place Joel led them to was just as he described it, “a living tent”. The skeletal branches of dozens of slender trees intertwined over head and nearly all around. A thick blanket of moss enveloped each branch from where it sprang out of a trunk, to the thinnest tip. Small pin pricks of sunlight filtered through the woven branches, speckling the ground with sunrays. Ava expected the ground to be damp, but when she dismounted and placed her hand on the layers of leaves, grass, and moss, found it as dry as if it were on a wide open plane. The air seemed warmer and friendlier in the forest made shelter. With plenty of room for themselves and the two horses, the three companions set about constructing a small sick camp.

Can you see it? Feel it? One thing I noticed about how I describe the inside of a forest I found interesting was; I always mention the moss. I guess that’s because where I live you go to the woods and nearly every trunk, branch and stump is either covered or just speckled with fuzzy wet moss. Even the trees in my back yard have a few inches of their trunks covered. It’s funny how little things like running around my friends woods, climbing trees, sparing with my brothers and catching snakes can help accurately describing something for a story. (Okay, they don’t catch snakes in this book, but hey, I’m still revising. 😉 ) In fact, there’s a part in yesterdays Stephen of Scarborough post that I wrote using emotions and sensations from a personal experience. Can you guess which part?

So far chapter seven is untitled and my shortest chapter, hopefully that will change by the end of either this week or next. It’s amazing how a process like this can change you. From what God has shown me, to everything I’ve learned about writing I can honestly say writing this book has changed my life. I don’t know where’d I’d be or what I’d be doing if it wasn’t for this amazing task God has given me. I only hope that this story will change as many lives for the better as it has changed mine.

God bless,
~Laura

The Prophecy

Straight from the pages of my novel, here is The Prochecy. 🙂  Enjoy.

There comes a day drawing near,
When Darkness over Light will tread
An Evil once concealed will roam
A shadow ‘oer the land shall spread.

A people, blind, cry out for peace,
For day is night and hope is lost
They’ve bound themselves in heavy chains
Surrendering despite the cost.

Death will reign with iron fist,
Life will shutter and look for aid
Who can conquer such a foe?
And change the fate that men have made?

Two souls will rise to fight for hope,
And one will come from purest light
A sacrifice, to save the two
Defeating Death, reversing Night.

The Darkness shall be swept away,
Through the sacrifice of love
New life is given, new hope is found
By spotless blood spilled from above.

Copy right-Laura Jenkins-2009

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