Christmas Kindle Countdown

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Over the course of this week, both of my books are available at reduced prices thanks to a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon (no Kindle required, as there’s a free app for any and every device imaginable).

The UK link is here

The dot com link is here

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Angels and Shepherds

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Countless people around the world are preparing for Christmas, the time of year where believers celebrate the essence of God, His word, His light, His hope, come to earth to live the life of a man. They remember that the Creator of the universe, who conducts the music of the stars and cups the oceans in his hand, chose to send His son, not as a mighty king, but in the form of the weakest and most vulnerable of humanity, a baby born to impoverished parents who quickly became refugees as they fled persecution to a foreign place, the very country that had imprisoned their ancestors as slaves for generations before.

For those brought up in the Christian tradition, we know the stories so well, how angels burst the skies apart, jostling with each other to wonder at what God was doing, how their unstoppable delight spilled out as praises that filled the heavens and caught the attention of field workers. We have so often seen tea-towel-wearing children in Nativity plays that we forget the first worshippers were rough and ready men, uneducated, grappling with the elements, sleeping under the skies to scratch a living from the flocks in their care. Perhaps, with their lifetimes of intimate knowledge of the natural world, it’s not surprising that they were the first to recognise that something supernatural, something astonishing, was afoot as they witnessed heaven breaking open.

And later, the Magi, mysterious men educated in the ways of the stars, were so mystified by what they saw as they studied the heavens that each one packed up their life to try and discover just what had happened to the natural order they’d spent their lives observing.

At the weekend, I sang Christmas carols with other believers and was once again left breathless, amazed at the words that threaten to become ordinary in their familiarity. If I truly believe the message of Christmas, that God sent His son to be His light in a world that so often seems consumed by darkness, that His Son held His arms wide to welcome the weakest, the poorest, the most despised, that His Son’s hands touched the untouchable, fed the hungry and brought healing to the sick, then the hope and compassion he brought must impact on the way I live.

If the Spirit of God, brought to man by the Christ Child who gave up the riches of heaven for the life of a man living in a time of freedom-curtailing occupation amongst religious bigots and corrupt politicians, is alive in the hearts of those who choose to give their lives to Him, then I have no other path to tread in 2016 than the one that follows the pattern for life Jesus set. I will fall. I will fail. But I trust the love of an extraordinary God who breathes light and hope and life into ordinary people like me.

Whatever you believe, amidst the circumstances you face, I pray you will know hope this Christmas and in the year to come.

 

BBCP: Hogwarts School of Blogcraft and Bookistry: Care of Magical Creatures! ~ Red Team!

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Magical blogging tips that mere Muggles can perform …

Readwritelove28

Why hello there everyone! I know it’s been a while, but I finally have a new Book Blogger Creativity Project post for you!

Welcome to the Hogwarts School of Blogcraft and Bookistry feature hosted by the Red Team! It’s finally my time to be the professor and share some tips on taking Care of Magical Creatures!

I am focusing on two types of magical creatures: bloggers and books!

First up…Tips on how to socialize with your fellow bloggers or readers!

HUFFLEPUFF
Professor Nori:

By now you all probably know that I love lists, so here’s a list for you!

  1. Use social media (especially Twitter). I have found 99% of the blogs that I follow through Twitter, so I highly recommend you use it!
  2. Participate in some weekly memes like Top Ten Tuesday, and go blog hopping! As a lot of my fellow professors mentioned, commenting on new blogs is a great way…

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The Worst of times, the best of times …

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At the northern tip of the stunning Lake District National Park, just west of the designated Area of Outstanding National Beauty that is the Solway Coast and less than ten miles from the gateway to magnificent Scotland, stands the beautiful and ancient border City of Carlisle. It’s my birthplace, it’s my home. Its streets and buildings echo with memories of those who over the centuries have built this community. Though it sits in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, it’s a part where life has often been brutal and harsh, where the words blackmail and bereaved were born. It has withstood siege and curse, prosperity and poverty.

I love my hometown.  It’s the setting for my first novel,  Strong as Death, and my current Work in Progress is set in the countryside in and around the city. But the words I write today have nothing to do with fiction.

This weekend, the North of England and Southern Scotland saw their heaviest ever recorded rainfall. Communities all over the region are witnessing the devastation of their infrastructures, homes and livelihoods, as they are swallowed by floods for the second, and in some cases third time in a decade.

BBC news footage of the Cumbrian floods in the wake of Storm Desmond

I wept when, aged eighteen, I moved away from Carlisle and, throughout the almost three decades I was away, I yearned to return. When I finally did, however, my homecoming was not a joyful one (a tale for another time). Nevertheless, I found arms strong enough to hold me when I was too weak to stand, hands to steady mine when they shook from fear and hearts quick to embrace my broken one. Here in my hometown, I rediscovered the strength and faith I needed to rebuild. To restore.

Long after the news reports, Facebook posts and Tweets have grown quiet on the subject of the #CumbriaFloods, I am in no doubt that strong arms, steady hands and full hearts will be giving time and resources with unstinting generosity in these ruined communities that overflow with the resilience needed for rebuilding and restoration.