Who Doesn’t Love Books and Bargains?

Greetings from Faith Songs!

I almost feel as if I should introduce myself, after my two-month absence from Faith Songs. As many of you know, my parents’ health needs take me away from home (and away from my high-speed Internet) for weeks at a time, and that was the case for most of December and part of January. When I got home, my first priority (okay, second—after smooching my husband) was the farm bookkeeping. Besides the usual accounts payable/receivable and payroll, January is prime time for annual business reports, employer reports, tax reports, lender reports, Workers Comp audit reports—you get the idea. Squeezed in writing and submitting a few new hymns and devotions. No time for blogging.

New release: Transformed

Book cover TRANSFORMED: 5 Resurrection Dramas by Linda Bonney OlinWhen the bookkeeping finally hit a lull between deadlines, the Holy Spirit shifted me into high gear to get my latest drama book published. I polished the content, cover, and interior design to a high gloss with the help of my wonderful beta readers. The paperback edition of Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas rolled onto the cyber-shelves at  Amazon and CreateSpace the last week of January, and the Kindle version went up on Amazon shortly afterwards. Stay tuned for information about a Book Launch Party (exclusive giveaways, discounts, fun trivia, and who knows what-all) on Facebook. Hopefully I can get that scheduled before the book and I both curl up and yellow with age.

But, first!

My Holy Ghostwriter poked me to share some thoughts about the Bible characters in Transformed. I say “characters” because that’s what you call people in a play, but these were real people, even though the premises of the dramas are fictional (at least, I’m pretty sure none of the apostles ever appeared on a TV talk show!). In fact, the five lead characters were among Jesus Christ’s closest family and friends: his mother, Mary, and his brother James; the apostles Simon Peter and John; and his devoted disciple Mary Magdalene.

The five dramas portray how they were transformed by Jesus’ resurrection. But what about the soul-wrenching days that led up to it? What was each of those individuals doing, and thinking, and feeling after Jesus died, before news came that he’d risen from the tomb, alive? We tend to treat Holy Saturday like a blank page between Good Friday and Easter. That page deserves to be examined more closely before we turn it. That will be the focus of an upcoming series of posts here at Faith Songs.

Book Resources for Lent

In the meantime, I invite you to check out Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas on Amazon or CreateSpace. It offers drama, comedy, music—and best of all, life-changing truth.

Book cover of Giving It Up for Lent: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion by Linda Bonney OlinAnd don’t forget my other Lent resources: The Sacrifice Support Group: A Dramatic Comedy for Lent and Giving It Up for Lent: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion. ’Tis the season! Ash Wednesday is March 5, 2014.

Chances are, you’re not one of the few people who shop for church play scripts and Bible study materials for a church group. But my tribe (that’s you!) can pass the message to the people in your church who do buy them—pastors, worship leaders, drama teams, small group leaders, adult Sunday School teachers. Please do whatever you can to help me get the word to those folks. If you’re not a church person yourself, you probably know one or two you can mention it to.

Yes, the post title said “Bargains”

Trumpet fanfare! My Book Launch Party for Transformed will unveil a discount code of 50% on all my Christian drama books and Bible study workbooks. The code will be valid only on paperback editions, only at CreateSpace.com, and only on the Launch Party dates.

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Book Launch: Lenten Bible Studies and Drama

Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)

Book cover of Giving It Up for Lent by Linda Bonney OlinThat Bible verse serves as the epigram in the three books exploring Lenten sacrifice I launched this week:

Giving It Up for Lent—Leader Guide: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion

Giving It Up for Lent—Workbook: Bible Study, Drama, Discussion

The Sacrifice Support Group: A Dramatic Comedy for Lent

It might seem strange to talk about Lent in December. After all, Ash Wednesday won’t roll around again until March 5, 2014. But I hope my helpful readers will pass the information about my new books to whoever organizes Bible studies, dramas, and supper programs for their churches. They may be preparing next year’s programs now.

Speaking of preparation, today is the first Sunday of Advent, and Advent and Lent are sister seasons of spiritual preparation.

During the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, Christians around the world remember the time when God’s people waited—not weeks, but centuries!—for the Savior God had promised. We traditionally read Bible passages from Old Testament prophets including Isaiah, Samuel, Jeremiah, and Micah, and gospel accounts, especially Luke, that shed light on that promise and its fulfillment in the coming (“advent”) of Jesus. His arrival as a baby in Bethlehem is a joyful occasion, so Advent meditations carry a hopeful note.

During the forty days of Lent, Christians prepare to mark the final fulfillment of the salvation promise, in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Although Lent ends with a victory celebration on Easter Sunday, the horrific circumstances of Jesus’s suffering and death give Lenten meditations a solemn tone. As we read the Bible accounts, we wonder, how can we make ourselves worthy of Jesus’ willing sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins? We can’t, of course. But we can reflect on it, with gratitude. And try, in our own small way, to emulate his spirit of self-sacrifice for the good of others and the glory of God.

Giving It Up for Lent and The Sacrifice Support Group might just help folks do that. So please, pass the word!

No matter what your faith, may you find peace, renewal, and true joy during this holiday season!



Want to Put Poems to Music? See Guest Blog on Random Writing Rants

Random Writing Rants banner

Ever had the desire to write hymn texts or put your poems to music? Think it’s impossible because you have little or no music training?

Check out my 10 tips for putting poetry to existing music, on my guest blog at Random Writing Rants, which is a terrific source of information, advice, and encouragement for adult and teen writers.

If you haven’t already read my posts here on Faith Songs about my adventures in writing original music, take a look at them, too:
Writing Songs for the Lord
To the Ends of the Earth

By way of an update, I’m happy to say that, thanks to my musically inclined collaborator, Phyllis Neff Lake, the project of adding piano accompaniments to the hymns and faith songs in Songs for the Lord is well underway. Yay, Phyllis! Yay, God!

Meanwhile, I’m adding material slowly but surely to a second songbook. This one will feature original hymn texts set to some of my favorite classic hymn tunes. Just this morning, the Holy Spirit showed up with a new hymn idea in the wee hours. I grabbed a newspaper lying next to my bed and scribbled a draft of the verses before they floated out of my memory. Next step will be to—well, you can read all about the process on my guest blog at RWR. 🙂

Let me know if you’re inspired to give it a try!


P.S. 9/28/2013

I just added new links to my Resources page that will interest poets who want to write new words to set to old hymns.  Hymnary.org offers XML and midi files of public domain hymns. MuseScore, a free music notation program, opens those files and lets you edit them. Replacing the old lyrics with your own words is easy! You can modify the notes, too. Then you can save and print professional-looking sheet music. Have fun!


A New Twist of Fate ~ and Faith

Photo of Twist of Fate book featuring poem The Wind and The Spirit by Linda Bonney Olin

Today’s mail brought my paperback copies of Twist of Fate, a charity anthology produced by Indies in Action. If you have sharp eyes, you can sneak a peek at “The Wind and The Spirit” in the photo. I wrote this faith poem specifically for Twist of Fate, which was edited by Stephen L. Wilson and published by Navigator Books. All contributions were donated by the participants, and all proceeds will benefit the May Tornadoes Relief Fund, managed by the United Way. (Yes, that’s why I used tornado imagery in the theme and visual layout of “The Wind and The Spirit.”)

Indies in Action is a group of independent writers and artists who banded together to tangibly express our compassion for victims of tragedies. Our first anthology project, Angels Cried, benefits the survivors of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Twist of Fate was released early in July, and quickly shot to the Number One spot on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list. Its success is well deserved. The Indies aren’t just caring people, they’re also good writers! I particularly liked W. F. Lantry’s poem “Storm,” Dave Fessenden’s poem “Holy Vine,” and Lori Dillon’s short story “Ruby Slippers.”

Even though Connecticut and Oklahoma are American locales, Indies from around the world pitched in on both anthologies. Dr. Kiriti Sengupta of India, for example, not only donated two pieces of writing to Twist of Fate but also delved further with interviews of several contributors. Check out his interview “Linda Bonney Olin, a God-Centered Writer from the U.S.” and jump from there to other fascinating entries on Kiriti’s blog.

Of course, Indies in Action can’t succeed in our charitable quest without folks who contribute by purchasing copies of the anthologies! To get in on that action, click on the links below. Don’t forget to leave a comment here and a review on Amazon. Thanks!

~ Linda

Twist of Fate paperback
Twist of Fate ebook
Angels Cried paperback
Angels Cried ebook


Eddie Jones ~ Author & Publisher


Photo of Eddie Jones
Author/Publisher Eddie Jones

Today’s Faith Song is a duet with guest Eddie Jones. Eddie claims he can’t carry a tune, so we’ll settle for hand-clapping and foot-stomping in the “joyful noise” pew. 🙂

I met Eddie at the 2011 Montrose Christian Writers Conference. Couldn’t help but love the humor-filled, down-to-earth way he lives out his passion for the Lord and for the written word.

Eddie is the author of eleven books and over 100 articles. He also serves as Acquisition Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is a three-time winner of the Delaware Christian Writers’ Conference, and his YA novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult Fiction. He is also a writing instructor and cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries. His “He Said, She Said” devotional column appears on ChristianDevotions.US (not “dot com”). His humorous romantic suspense, Bahama Breeze, remains a “blessed seller.” When he’s not writing or teaching at writers’ conferences, Eddie can be found surfing in Costa Rica or some other tropical locale.

Now, try to imagine Eddie answering the following questions with a grin and a charming slightly-southern accent:

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Writing Songs for the Lord

Yearning for the Gift of Music

Photo of a monarch butterfly on pink weed blossoms

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
– Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

How does a person who can barely tell a quarter note from a Quarter Pounder write a book full of original hymns and faith songs?

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