Why I Wrote The Christmas Baby

Sometimes we find love. And sometimes like an unexpected gift, love finds us.

I have always been struck by the great faith shown by Joseph of Nazareth. At how far his love was willing to go in obedience to God and in love for the Child who was not his own.

The story of Bethlehem cannot be properly appreciated without also understanding Calvary. Bethlehem and Calvary are not two different stories—but one story with intertwining threads. And this is God’s story of love for you and for me.

In writing this novel I was forced to ask myself, how far was I willing to go for love? What would I sacrifice? What would I risk?

To risk much for love, like Anna, I have to be willing to come to the end of my pride and self-sufficiency if I am to discover God’s best, often unexpected, gifts for me. Like Ryan, I, too, have grappled with what this kind of love will cost me.

Sometimes I lacked the courage to love this way. The price of obedience too hard. The cost of laying down my plans too high. The death of self too painful.

But love is a choice. An unconditional love with no expectation of return demands courage. My prayer—like Ryan’s—is for God’s love to be born in me so that I might love the way God loves us. And to persevere in loving, despite knowing the outcome may never be what I long for most—but trusting God anyway.

How far is your love willing to go? How far was God’s love willing to go for us? All the way from heaven to the manger to the cross.

Why? Because God is a good father. His Son sees you and I as worth the pain, worth the grief and worth the cross. In His ultimate heroic sacrifice of love, we find our Bethlehem. It is not a something we have earned, but a gift of unfathomable grace.

Bethlehem and Calvary — the greatest love story. God’s love story for all mankind when He chose to make our heart His home. Love is calling, and I pray you will answer love’s call.

I hope you will enjoy The Christmas Baby.

For more behind-the-scenes inspiration from The Christmas Baby, visit Pinterest.

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Why I Wrote The Deputy’s Perfect Match

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When I was in the 6th grade, I had a friend named Tina. After the death of her parents, she lived with her grandmother. When Tina’s grandmother died, she and her brother were sent to separate foster homes. I will never forget the aching sadness and fear on Tina’s face their last day together at school. I never saw or heard from Tina again. I’ve always hoped that one day she and her brother would find each other again. And so, was born The Deputy’s Perfect Match.

The theme of this book is about wounded hearts. Is there a balm that can soothe hurting souls? There is—and His name is Jesus. It is the love of God and the blood of Christ that makes the wounded whole.

I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me, Charlie and Evy.

Happy reading,

Lisa

#Architectural Inspiration in the #Southwest

Here are a few of the dwellings which inspired me in the creation of The Stronghold

adobehome

Adobe

hacienda

Mexican hacienda

hideout-ranch

Abuela’s Arizona ranch

inn

The inn in Xoacatyl

wickiup

Traditional Apache wickiup

For more information and behind-the-scenes photos of The Stronghold visit https://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/the-stronghold/.

Why I Wrote Beyond the Cherokee Trail

I’m going to be honest with you—I’m not sure how this story came to be on the printed page. Sure, I’m the one who typed the words. Sure, I’m the little girl who refused to leave the Cherokee exhibit at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. Every single year . . .

And sure, my first encounter involved coming face to face with fake Cherokee Indians on board the Tweetsie Railroad when I wandered too close to the staged Indian attack as a 3-year-old. Raised tomahawks leave an impression—fake or not. How in my preschool terror I vaulted over a fenced partition twice my height to get to my daddy is still the stuff of legends in my family.Beyond-hi

But hence, my fascination—to the best of my recollection—with the Cherokee and with the larger Native American population began. That’s it in a nutshell. Thank you very much, Tweetsie.

I am not and have never been Native American. Nor am I a wannabe. Just fascinated and intrigued by their persistence and perseverance to survive despite overwhelming odds.

For those of you who know me well, sounds like a page out of my own personal history.

So I studied about them in school. Took college classes. Read everything I could get my hands on. And become sort of an unofficial expert. When my family traveled to Alaska, I insisted we visit the Native Cultural Center. When my in-laws settled in Colorado near Four Corners, guess where I wanted to go?

Out of that was born Beneath a Navajo Moon and Under a Turquoise Sky.

But my thoughts drifted back home eventually to North Carolina, which has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi. I knew a lot of Lumbee as a teenager at summer camp so I wrote Vines of Entanglement next.

And I kind of knew my next one had to be about the Cherokee. I started with my preliminary research and I kid you not, I got cold shivers when I read about the Snowbird Cherokee and how they’d escaped the mass roundup during the Trail of Tears. I realized the 180th commemoration of the Trail was on the horizon, and I intended as always to write about what fascinates me most—the modern-day Indian and their juxtaposition into the larger American culture.

But somehow in the process of creating Linden and Walker, Sarah Jane and Pierce, Touch the Clouds and Leila were born. They just came to me. Whole and complete.

14_07_29_3865One of the best things about writing is that often I get to visit the actual places where I’ve set my stories. I hope this special place in the mountains of North Carolina and the Snowbird people will capture your imagination and grip your heart as they do mine. Though the characters in this story are fictional, the historic events recounted are not.

Another great thing about writing stories is the people I meet along the way. Like T.J. Holland, Cultural Resources Manager for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina and curator of the tribally-owned Junaluska Museum. A renown Snowbird Cherokee artist, he patiently answered my many questions and helped me to locate what remains of the Tatham Gap Road where the gouged wagon ruts made on the Trail can still be seen. Deep in the woods outside Robbinsville, it is a painfully beautiful yet slightly haunted place. As if the earth itself remembers the suffering of those who once trod this path.

One more great thing about writing is what I learn about Jesus and what He does 6a00e54ef8375388330120a7b1fca9970bin me through the writing of the story. This story became—for me—about how far God’s mercy reaches. And so at the cross, here I raise my Ebenezer. By Your help I’ve come. You are the beginning and the end of my journey. For truly, the farther we’ve traveled together, the sweeter will come the end.

All this to say, this story is not mine, but one of those things which you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is God’s story. An eternal story of His mercy and grace, not just to Linden, Sarah, Walker, Pierce, Touch the Clouds or Leila, but to all who’ve been broken and felt abandoned by the guilt of their transgressions or the pain of loss.

If you’ve ever felt unwanted or unloved or weary, God invites you to come. Because in Christ, there are no outcasts.

My prayer for you, today, if you’ve fallen or if you grieve, is that you would discover for yourself the God of all peace and all comfort. That you would lay hold of the God who offers grace in the hour of your greatest need.

And Beyond.

 

For behind-the-scenes photos of Beyond the Cherokee Trail, visit https://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/beyond-the-cherokee-trail/.

Why I Wrote Vines of Entanglement

Hebrews 12:1-2

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.

VofThi-resI wrote Vines of Entanglement for those who’ve found themselves ensnared in entangling sins and encumbrances. For all who’ve struggled to overcome fear, loss, and guilt. You and I both—if we’re honest—have our own entangling sins and encumbrances to overcome with God’s help. I wrote this book for myself and for all who need to hear that no one is beyond God’s grace and mercy.

Here’s what I’ve learned—the Christian life is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

Each of us have our own, individual race to run. My race will be different than your race. But each race will be full of peaks, valleys, bends, and pitfalls in the road. And there are no shortcuts in life’s amazing journey of faith. Detours will only derail and delay us from reaching the stadium of faith’s crowning hope.

I’m so thankful for the cloud of witnesses who’ve lined my path, cheering and encouraging me along life’s journey. I’m thankful for Jesus, beside me every step of the way.

I want to thank all of you for reading my books and being a blessing to me along this stretch of my race. When we cross life’s finish line I pray we will each hear Jesus say, “Well done.”

Until then . . .

Because of the joy that lies ahead if we—if I—endure: let’s throw off what weighs us down; run the race; and fix our eyes on Jesus.

I hope you will enjoy Vines of Entanglement—one woman’s journey from lies to truth.

For more photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

Why I Wrote Under a Turquoise Sky

Turq SkyShi-res

Writing each novel is as varied as each relationship in your life. Some are heart-wrenching; others are sheer joy. Under a Turquoise Sky was a little of both.

Oftentimes, the words poured out of my imagination so fast I could barely type fast enough. From the opening line of “As soon as the elevator doors closed behind her, Kailyn knew she’d made a mistake . . .”—the characters just took my initial premise and charted their own destiny.

Every day was a joyous discovery as I, the supposed author, waited to see where Aaron & Kailyn’s romance-a-thon from Charlotte to Shiprock would take me and readers next. They were such fun to watch and write. (I realize that statement might make me appear psychotic. For the record, characters do not talk to me. They talk to each other and I just take notes. Which makes me only slightly psychotic.)

From outright hostility to take-your-breath-away love, the outrageous things they would say to each made me LOL. Or, sometimes cry.

I had no idea at the beginning the emotionally wrenching issues that lay in both characters’ past. But as Kailyn early on describes Aaron to her best friend, CeCe, it was like peeling back layer after layer of an onion. And in the end, discovering a pearl of great value. (And yes, I realize I just mixed metaphors here.)

Truthfully, Aaron’s story haunted me. Because unfortunately his story is all too real. During the intense 3 month period of writing and editing this book, I often awoke in the middle of the night crying and praying for children caught in abusive situations. As one police officer told me, “One of the two largest issues facing America right now is human trafficking.” And sadly, domestic violence and sexual trafficking is endemic on Native American reservations. I am appalled—and gutted—by the statistic that one in three Native American women will be sexually victimized at some point in their lives. And usually, it begins in childhood. Honestly, I was a bit traumatized by this story God gave me. It took me months to pull out of it emotionally. I wondered for a time if I ever would.

Yet despite the harsh realities, this is a story of mercy and grace. How out of the tangled skeins of our life, Jesus can weave mercy and grace. How in spite of our weakness, Jesus is stronger. How deeply Jesus loves the least of us. My gratitude for Jesus calling me His—and never letting me go.

Looking back, I wrote Under a Turquoise Sky for the broken, wounded, and scarred—You who’ve struggled to just survive. It became my prayer that despite the lies you’ve been told and maybe still believe—that like the fictional characters of this book, you would discover no one is too broken that God cannot mend.

And when I came across the Navajo legend of the turquoise—everything in Aaron’s past came full circle to this moment in the fictional present. It was one of those divinely inspired encounters that happens at least once during the writing of each novel. The great Aha moment God is so gracious to provide. One of those moments that still gives me holy goosebumps when I recall it.

Always remember—You were worth the price He paid. Whatever your past, whatever you’ve done or has been done to you, I pray you will find in Jesus the bridge from brokenness to wholeness and go forward in God’s strength.

May you walk in beautiful obedience to the Shepherd of your soul. I pray you will discover the name by which He calls you—beloved—and fully embrace its significance.

And, I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had writing it.

For behind-the-scene photos of Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

 

 

 

 

The Inspiration behind Carolina Reckoning

CarolinaReckoningCoverAlison wrestles with issues of forgiveness and faith in a world where everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned or betrayed her. Like many, she longs to find Someone, anyone, she can rely upon.

Carolina Reckoning is a novel for those who’ve felt alone and faced an unknown future. For those who’ve felt abandoned and betrayed by a friend, spouse or family member.

But in the midst of pain and disillusionment, there is a Savior and Father God who is always faithful and true. Enough for every need.

I am excited about proclaiming that message to readers.

It is the story, in a small way, of my life. My own journey, like Alison, toward faith.

Carolina Reckoning is ultimately a novel about hope and that true hope, forgiveness and love will be found in Jesus Christ.

I hope you enjoy Carolina Reckoning—a little sweet tea and a whole lot of southern magnolia.