Live Like a King

Archive for September 2009

Well I almost missed the tour…For some reason, I did not see the e-mails reminding me about the tour in my inbox and they got deleted. I saw someone else’s blog, which thankfully, triggered my memory. So now I have to put three days’ worth of blog tour stuff into one.

Donita K. Paul is one of my favorite authors. The characters in the Dragonkeeper Chronicles were so lifelike I swore they were standing in my living room having conversations. She always manages to make each character have some strange, but believable quirk.  That gift continues in The Vanishing Sculptor, Donita’s new book.

It’s been a while since I read one of Donita’s books (they were all destroyed in the fire), but I believe I enjoyed The Vanishing Sculptor the most. The story is full of depth, more great characters, and tons of laugh out loud moments.

Tipper, the main character The Vanishing Scupltor, is a young emerlindian woman who is running ragged trying to hold it all together. Her father disappear some 15 years ago, her mother is not quite right and has a weak grasp of reality, and financially things are falling apart. She is slowly, with great reluctance, selling off her famous sculptor father’s artwork to support herself and her mother. Unbeknownst to Tipper, doing so has set off a chain of events that may be the death of her father and the unraveling of their world.

In Paul’s previous Dragonkeeper Chronicles books, I had come to think of Paladin as a unique Jesus-like person. He seemed almost invincible (except when he was ill because of unbelief in the land). In fact, in a few of the books, Paladin came in and saved the day with little effort against the bad guys. But in The Vanishing Sculptor, the role of a Paladin take on an entirely different context and there can be more than one Paladin. That was quite confusing to me, but my confusion did not get in the way of enjoying the story.

All of Donita’s books are suitable for children and adults alike. There’s enough whimsy in them to keep children fascinated and a great story, lifelike characters, and rich description to keep adults coming back for more.

Below are other participants. I’ll include notes for some of my favorite posts:

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Rachel Briard
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson Excerpt of book showing humor/wordplay. Hysterical!
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher Good interesting post. More info on Donita K. Paul
Dawn King That would be me!
Rebecca LuElla Miller Our Tour Leader…Didn’t know that Donita K. Paul was the author of the first book the CSFF ever featured.
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Crista Richey
Cheryl Russell
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson Rachel always has great blog posts
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren Nice post with food for thought
Dona Watson Deeper look at the characters
Phyllis Wheeler Good summary
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher First post by a new CSFFer


Last night, while humping myself and books back to my car after a night class, it hit me. I’ve probably been in contact with more unsaved people in the past couple weeks since school started than I have for the past 15 years. That’s scary.

I’ve been quite sheltered since I started having children. Besides family members, for the longest time, I didn’t know anyone personally who was unsaved. I had church friends, joined homeschool co-ops and joined into online communities with Christians.

It is so simple, when you are surrounded by Christians, to feel that everyone believes as you do and that those things going on in the world are just anomalies. Everyone in my social circle believed, at the minimum, that Jesus died for our sins and that we are accountable for our actions. All my friends (irl & online) were moving in the direction of being formed into the image of Jesus. During this time that my passion for evangelism was almost nonexistant. How passionate could I be if I didn’t have relationships with lost people (except my family, but that’s a whole other issue)?

There were several times in those 15 years that God told me to get out of my ivory tower. I really didn’t understand what He was talking about. I do now.

Imagine my rude awakening when I started delivering newspapers a couple years ago and had to run into non-Christian people. I was shocked by the details of some of their lives. My heart started to ache and I longed to tell them about Jesus (and some I actually did!).

Last night on the way home from school, the topic of discussion on the radio station I listen to (Star 99.1) was “How did you reinvent yourself?” They were talking about voluntarily changing your life direction, reinventing yourself. I certainly did not change my life direction voluntarily.

Instead I feel like I was thrown out of the Ivory Tower by the seat of my pants. I didn’t have one of those cool landings where you roll out the force and into a stand gracefully. Nope, I hit the ground face first, body crashing into the ground leaving a crater. I’m slowly getting up amidst much pain, checking for injuries.

Over the past year,  a big part of my identity was ripped away, leaving me kind of confused and wondering who I am and what life has in store for me. Since Ariella was a newborn, when I first held her in my arms, I made the decision to homeschool her and shelter her from all the yuck out there in the world. As each child came along, I’d think, add another couple years of homeschooling to my life because I planned on homeschooling each through high school. I was a homeschooling mom and proud of it. I relished my role and even the admiring exclamations that came when I mentioned I was the homeschooling mother of 7. My whole identity was built around it.

Until the fire, the chaos and finally, putting the kids in school last year. I felt like a failure, but secretly inside, I hoped this was a mere bobble on my life plan. This summer, I knew that decision was not just a bobble, but a new way of life and it broke my heart. All my talk about how sending a Christian kid to public school is sin crashed in on me. My disgusting judgmental and critical self was humiliated. Pride comes before the fall and I ate crow in huge helpings.

God had to strip me of who I thought I was to not only to change my character, but also to get me out of the ivory tower into the world. I have to learn to interact with unsaved people and not let my shock show on my face. I’m also learning that who I am and my worth does not depend on what cool thing I do. I belong to Him and that is enough. I am learning (slowly) who Dawn King is and who God made her to be. I’m learning to seek Him, listen for His instruction, and obey so I don’t end up in another mess. I am not reinventing myself, God is reinventing me into the person He created for me to be. Out of my ivory tower, trying to reach others for Christ, hoping that my experiences will bring someone else hope.

Familiar_Stranger_Cover (2)

I usually do not read contemporary fiction. Honestly, if I am going to escape from life, I want something that will take me completely away from my culture and lifestyle. That said, ocassionally I do jump the shark and read some contemporary books that intrigue me. The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry is one of those books I would make the exception for.

Imagine getting a call during church that your husband comatose after a car accident. You rush to his side and as he awakens, he can’t remember his life. As you work together to recover memories, you find that the life you thought you had, you really didn’t have. How do you both put the pieces of your life and marriage back together?

Single mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author’s life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, releases from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently–Forgive Extravagantly!

I had the opportunity to ask Christina a few questions…

How did you come up with such a fascinating plot?

In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.

What do you want people to ponder after reading your novel?

What takeaway value do you hope readers receive after reading your novel?

The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

What part does God play in your writing?

I believe He guides the story, adding layers I’m not even capable of comprehending while I write it. I’m not great at starting my writing time with prayer, but I try to stay open to where He might lead me.

I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image—a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of my life is falling apart.

Thanks for sharing with me Christina!

For a chance to win a free book, post a comment on this post. Make sure you include some contact info!

If you can’t wait to read the book, you can order at

Check out tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour.


September 2009
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