Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Thoughts on Hebrews Study Questions from 1/28


THOUGHTS ON HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  


These questions were discussed in my Life Group Monday. This post presents thoughts from the class discussion.


Chapter 10
Vv 19-39

Vv32-34 reminds the Hebrews of what specific acts, actions, and/or circumstances?
Also refers to Hebrew converts to Christianity who returned to Judaism.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 
1 Corinthians 4:9

Why are we encouraged to persevere?
To receive God's promise. 
We know the God who said, “I am the God who judges people. I will pay them back.” (Deuteronomy 32:35) Scripture also says, “The Lord will judge his people.” (Deuteronomy 32:36Psalm 135:14)
Also heard was "Vengeance is God's --> Smack 'em!

V38 is a tough read. What does it refer to? What is it describing?
This is a quote from Habakkuk 2:3-4. You have to keep on keeping on. 
The root cause is lack of faith.
We would rather that God "wink at what we've done" than face His displeasure.
The things God delivers us from are AMAZING!
We wonder "what does God do?" That's because we don't have the correct [Divine] perspective.

V39. To what group are we to belong? What group to avoid?
Belong: Believers. It takes faith to preserve our souls.
Avoid: Shrink-backers. Often times our children pick our worse traits to emulate.


We Got This Far This Week


If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at 

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback as a comment on Blogger!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Authors. Closing the Cover - UPDATED


In my last blog, described the process I followed for the cover evolution for three books I' had published. In this blog we’ll look at three elements of book cover selection: 
1) Book under contract; 
2) All books in a series;
3) The cover is just plain wrong.

If you are looking for a contract with an established publisher, you probably won’t have the option of auditioning an artist or an idea for your cover. You might, but the odds are not in favor of those options. My second book with Koehlerbooks, The Observers – A Science Fiction Odyssey, will be released December 2014. Koehlerbooks has a unique approach to many of their covers—they offer two options and visitors to their website can vote on the option they like the best.


Books Under Contract
Left Cover. Very sci-fi. Use of sun illuminating planet and eyeball is dramatic. Eyecatching. Right Cover. Eerie/Ominus. Iris of the eye contains or is reflecting a solar system. Very dark. Still has solar flash on iris.

I liked the one on the right a lot, but the original had eyelashes--see photo above, something the characters did not have. Who knows if a bit more contrast and no eyelashes from the get-go and . . . 

Here’s the result of the vote for The Observers. And the winner is…


I think potential readers did a fine job. The cover captures the essence of the book without giving away anything significant in the plot. It also includes the visual drama of the faded alien eye (observing!) with the flash of an unknown sun as it rises over the horizon of an unnamed planet.

To close this part of the discussion, a New York Times Best Selling friend of mine under contract with a large publishing house was shown two version of the same cover art for each of her books. She was asked for her opinion, but it was worth only one vote.


All Books in a Series

Chances are good that if you don't already have an idea for a series of stories, you will have a series in mind at some point. What do you do about the covers for books in a series?

Since I've already set up the idea of a triad in this post, here are three options for book covers in a series. There is always the option of a different cover for each book in the series. I'm not going to spend time on that option because individual book covers are discussed in part 1.
A common cover for each book in the series--only the title is different.
While this isn't common, some authors use this choice. There is no doubt in a reader's mind if a given book is part of a series.

A theme--similar layout and "feel"--for all covers in the series.
This choice may be the most common marketing ploy. 

A common element only for all books in the series. This can be overt.
This is the cover for the boxed set of this series. The common elements in each of the four separate titles are obvious.
Other authors choose subtle, almost subliminal commonalities.
The author's name is prominent and consistently placed. There is a single symbol separating the author's name and the title in each. The most dramatic difference is the formatting of the "art" on the cover. These examples are less obvious, but there is a tagline on each noting its inclusion in the series.
In both cases, the idea of a book series is evident.

I have two series in some level of production. Mamba Mysteries are the stories featuring my private detective, Phil Mamba. My original thought for series integrity in the covers was to go black and white with the same detective silhouette in each. The books are set in the 1980s-90s, and Phil considers himself old-school in my ways.
Okay, but hardly compelling. So, I tried logos.
The MM logo was more of a publisher's imprint. When I get around to it, I'll add the silhouette logo to the Mixer Murder cover. It's already on Betrayal in Blue's current cover version.

My signature series is Traveler's HOT L. Below are the covers of the first four books in the series.


My intent was to have some version of the retro sign on each cover. I even made a logo. Dumb idea.


I decided to hybridize series cover ideas. Look closely at each Traveler's HOT L book cover. What's the common element?
(Answer at the end of this post.)

The cover is just plain wrong
I doubt if anyone wants to admit to making a major error on the cover of their book. I suspect it happens more often than you think. 

Here's an idea for a book cover that's just bad. It's one of mine that will never be seen outside this blog. 
Four pages of names and one page with California DMV information. Five pages total. Never even got the name of the book on this idea.
Thank goodness!
When a cover idea is bad, kill it!

I stumbled upon this blog 8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books. It gives excellent hints and examples of strong cover design.


Traveler's HOT L series common cover item.
Original Traveler's HOT L title fonts and the volume number are on all volumes subsequent to the original.
Next Blog: It Takes a Strong Back and Spine To Be a Winning Cover - UPDATED - Final blog in this series on book covers
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Monday, January 29, 2018

Questions on Hebrews Ch 10 from 1/28

HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  


These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. Take time to reflect on them. I'll post thoughts from the class discussion on Wednesday.


Chapter 10
Vv 19-39
Vv32-34 reminds the Hebrews of what specific acts, actions, and/or circumstances?

Why are we encouraged to persevere?

V38 is a tough read. What does it refer to? What is it describing?

V39. To what group are we to belong? What group to avoid?

We Got This Far This Week

If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at 
Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback as a comment on Blogger!


Here's a preview of things to come...

Chapter 11
Hebrews 11 is a series of commentaries on various Biblical characters. Each is commended for the significant faith shown in their life. As we go along, we’ll read each Old Testament passage and you can fill in the chart below along with the answers to the questions. Yep. More work! The fill-in starts with verse 3.
PERSON
DESCRIPTION
ACT(S) OF FAITH
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES
Abel



Enoch



Noah



Gen 6.1--9.17
Abraham



Gen 12.1-917.1-8; see also Rom 4
Sarah



Isaac



Jacob



Joseph



Gen 37~50; focus 50.22-25.
Moses



Exod 1~15; 19~34
Rahab



Gideon & Barak


Samson, & Jephthah


David


1 Sam 16.1--1 Kgs 2.11; especially, 1 Sam 17
Samuel






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