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Christianity

The Story Behind St Valentine

The Story Behind St Valentine … By Leena Patel

 

Valentine’s Day approaches with much excitement in our contemporary celebratory approaches; planning flowers, chocolates and romantic gestures with unique gifts. A fabulous opportunity to take advantage of such a well known day; to express the reflection of a deep love from within and wanting, needing to bestow it upon the one.

Whatever occurs in one’s relationship both good or bad, manipulating a day everyone knows it to be related to the circulatory system of love – in terms of modernity, this day has become a much loved occasion to look forward to no matter what the root of the reason is.

 

Question: Have you ever considered exactly how Valentine’s Day tripped into our lives and entices us each year?

 

The most alluring reality is the true journey supporting the fascination of St Valentine’s Day which effectively originates from a tribute to a Catholic Bishop, St Valentine. To enrich a fuller understanding we are required to step back to as early as 4th Century B.C. history. The earliest origin of Romans fully celebrating the festival of Lupercalia, known as Young Man’s Rite of Passage to the God Lupercus fell on the 15th February; claiming Lupercalia celebrated on the Roman calendar ‘the coming of Spring’ season. The annual festival is said to be intended for assurance of gaining fertility for the people, fields and their flocks.

 

A box would be created for young, adult women to place their names into it, in turn; names were randomly to be drawn by adolescent men. The objective of this was simply to assign a woman companion, as a sexual partner for the year’s duration, which would follow the staging of another lottery draw. Early Church Fathers eventually sought to end such a crude practice however it took eight hundred years before this took effect.

 

The Church searched for an appropriate patron saint of love to replace the pagan God Lupercus. Conclusively, they found St Valentine to be the most suitable choice, who sadly had been beheaded by Emperor Claudius in the year 270 A.D. In reference to the Church tradition, St Valentine was a priest not far from Rome. It was a time when the Roman Emperor – Claudius II released an official decree which forbade marriage. Claudius concluded soldiers that married resulted in poor workers, being emotionally attached to their families, and thus, his empire was completely banned from marriage.

 

Bishop Valentine witnessed the tragic trauma of young lovers; he persuaded them to meet with him in secrecy, kindly helping them by joining the couples in the sacrament of matrimony. Inevitably, Claudius discovered this ‘friend of lovers’, seeing it as a betrayal, and had Valentine thrown into jail and condemned him to death.

 

The time Valentine spent in the prison was not easy; however, as he awaited his much dreaded condemned fate, he managed to befriend the jailer. The jailer, Asterius, who had a blind daughter found no difficulty in befriending the kind priest; he would bring messages and food to him without fail. Eventually, Valentine met Asterius’ daughter through the jailer’s request of healing her. Valentine’s faith was immovable and his strength of devotion miraculously restored Asterius’ daughter’s eyesight. Furthermore, he became responsible for converting the two to Christianity. What resulted from this moving event – Valentine fell deeply in love with his friend’s daughter.

 

Some time past and Claudius ordered an appearance with the priest. There was admiration towards the priest’s display of dignity and his immovable commitment to Christianity. Somehow, the Emperor wished to save this impressive young man before him; he tried persuading him to convert to paganism so that the execution could be forfeited. Instead, Valentine turned the tables around and effectively tried manipulating Claudius into converting, all to no avail. Since neither party succumbed to any conversion of their religion, the execution day finally arrived.

On this dark impending occasion, the priest requested a pen and paper from his jailor. With a heavy heart, signing a farewell message to Asterius’ daughter, he completed the letter with “From Your Valentine”. . . On the 24th February, 270 Anno Domini, he was cruelly stoned and beheaded.

 

As an outcome of the Church Father’s search of a suitable replacement of the Pagan festival, Lupercalia – Valentine became a Patron Saint, the spiritual overseer of the annual festival. Whilst this lottery for women was banned by the church, it transformed the mid-February holiday to commemorating St Valentine; instead young Romans offered women of their admiration handwritten words of affection and greetings on the 14th February. Eventually, any greetings were completed with signing of St Valentine’s name. One of the earliest founded letters sent to his wife was sent in year 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. At the time, Charles had been imprisoned in the Tower of London. This very card is held in preservation at the British Museum.

 

Another symbol recognised on Valentine’s Day is that of Cupid, who irresistibly became associated since he was the known son of Venus, the Roman God of Love and beauty. There are clear visual interpretations of Cupid appearing on Valentine cards. The story of Cupid is another journey, however it is clear to now visualise the supportive facts of St Valentine in contemporary perspectives. The story behind St Valentine is indeed a mesmerising one. . . Happy Valentine’s Day . . . God Bless.

The Basics cover

Effective Communication Between Religion & Authors

Effective Communication Between Religion and Authors … By Leena Patel

 

There are two categories people fall into: 1) Writing for an audience, and, or, 2) Writing for yourself.

Who says being an author is easy? It is not. There is a criteria by which all potential authors should consider. It is easy to get carried away as a potential author, simply because people think it is simple due to being isolated and comfortable in their home environment.  Again, anybody can self publish since contemporary publishing has opened up so many avenues. However, what is the essence of having a book published and eventually it just sits sadly on the shelf, only accompanied by it’s identical siblings?

Question: What criteria should Authors be aware of?

 

Who is your audience?

For instance, if you were writing a Christian children’s book, would you write using simple words, or, would you write using adult words?

The establishing perspective of who the audience is you are writing for, will determine the way you write and how you write it with the added consideration of whether images are required, and, what type of images.

As an author you are offering a credit which has a huge impact of important factors, such as: being responsible and accountable for published works in the perspectives of – social, academic and financial implications. Therefore, it is vital to have an insurance of self agenda to follow accurately; any contributions of the concept of any artwork, acquiring the such, interpretation and analysis of data work appropriately; any works drafted should be revised critically; the final draft should be approved for this version to be published;, and, finally, taking responsibility to being accountable in making sure of the contents accuracy.

There is also the further added complication once the book is complete. What comes next and how do I work towards the tasks of putting the whole book together ready for publishing. Already it is clear this road to publishing is far from straight and narrow; in fact, there are bends and side roads appearing.

This is the reason why most authors choose publishing companies. It is then ensured with an agreement between the publishers and the authors the complete manuscript will be professionally analysed with editing and proofing the context. The worse humiliation would be to be confronted with public who have read the book and criticize the author for huge grammatical errors, sentences that don’t connect in the correct context, and even, if I am to be mean, ridicule artwork that is totally inappropriate for the audience and genre of the book.

The final horns of a dilemma will come when considering who will buy the book, how will the public become aware of it, and, what exactly do I need to do? Well. If you came this far and reflected on this last but least of all important hill, you did well. Since, many seem to be simply content that they hold a published, final masterpiece in their hands and they deservedly can now be addressed as successful authors. In reality, this is absolutely not the case.

The completed publishing is required to be registered, which allows bookstores to search for potential authors of diverse genres to be considered. Of course, at this stage, the process is still not as simple, simply because a barcode and ISBN needs to be allocated. Furthermore, an appropriate and successful marketing and advertising task needs to be executed.

Question: As a potential author, have you considered all of this and much more? Instead of gruelling yourself and putting so much unnecessary stress on your shoulders – go to the experts and let them take away the headache and give you the deserved support to write at ease.

 

We all lead lives with twists and turns. Our religious experiences and journey accumulate and recorded. However, the effective communication between our Godly experiences written, deserve to be read and recognised widely for what the author intended.

 

 

The Thin Line of Influence for Christian Publishing

As a Christian writer or publisher, you wield a lot of power over the lives of many people who really take Christian books very seriously. Unlike secular and fictional novels, where readers already know that what is contained is fictional and strictly for entertainment purposes, readers take Christian books very seriously. This is where the thin line of Christian publishing appears, and all writers and publishers must walk this line with a lot of care.

The negative

There are some Christian publishers who do not put much thought into outputting Christian books that have a negative impact on their readers. The use of fear is one of the tactics that many authors have used to get increase readership. “If you do this, then something bad will happen to you.” This approach has been used by many writers in an effort to scare sinners out of their ways and into Christianity, and also to keep those within from straying. Although there has been some success in some cases, there are cases where people view themselves as being unworthy, when they read about some of the issues written by an influential Christian writer.

The positive

On the other hand, there are Christian writers who have a knack of showing the greatness of living a Christian life within a positive context. The issues spelt out in the book show the positive results that one gets from being a good Christian. This approach is said to work wonderfully, but in some cases it has brought about a feeling of being too good. “I am a good Christian and deserving to go to Heaven, while these sinners will go to Hell”.  The individual disassociates from people who are not Christians and will not even have a simple conversation with non-believers.

Walking the thin line

A good Christian writer knows how to balance between these two extremes when writing books. He should be able to show the result of living a non-Christian life and that of living a Christian life. Weaving through these two extremes and coming to a wonderful conclusion at the end of the book will bring about a positive and lasting effect on the reader. Actually, most of the writers who have a long-lasting relationship with their readers carefully toe this line.

The role of the Christian publishers

The Christian publishers should engage the writer right from the start. The writer may have a great idea, but the way it is fleshed out in the book may be on the extreme. Publishers need to know how to work with the writers to come up with books that are well balanced and will influence readers in a manner that is long-lasting.

Christian publishers and writers have a huge responsibility in ensuring their readers get books that will have a positive effect on their lives.  They must always keep the thin line in focus. With this in mind, writers and publishers will not only win large readerships, but also ensure that their influence is Godly in nature.

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Christianity

Steps towards Self Publishing

When most people think about self publishing, their hearts are filled with fear. This is an uncertain terrain for many aspiring Christian writers. They do not know which platform to use, which agent or publisher to use, and a lot more. We endeavor to put down some steps that one can use to make it as a self published Christian Writer.

Find the right Publisher

Always search for a publisher who shares your views. It is important that you pray before you go out and get a publisher. You need a publisher who publishes books which have Christian themes and morals. If you decide to publish where secular books are also being published, then your message may become diluted in the process. So always make sure that you really know the kind of publisher that you want before you start your grand self publishing journey.

A publisher who walks with you

You need to find a publisher who will walk with you through every step of this new literary journey. For a first time writer, this journey can be confusing and the publisher should be sensitive and patient with your requirements.  Every contact that you make within the organization should be ready to answer your questions and allay your fears and concerns.

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You want a publisher who will understand your vision right from the submission of your manuscript, all the way to viewing your cover image and design. They should have a deep understanding of what your objectives are in publishing the book. They should be willing to go out of their way to accommodate your vision for the book. The service should be exceptional and all-inclusive.

Get proper recommendations

You need to find people who will recommend you to certain Christian publishers. You should do your due diligence and find out which publisher is the best when it comes to publishing and marketing the book. Some publishers have a wide array of channels that they use to market your book. They should be enthusiastic in their efforts. Reading through some forums will help you get a clear picture of the publishers that are available for you.

Pray Always

The power of prayer is clear to every devout Christian. When you reach the point of writing your own book, you need to pray a lot for the vision of the book and also getting the right publisher. This may seem like a small matter to many, but it is not. Take time to pray before you even start structuring the book and let the Holy Spirit guide you on what you should do.

In conclusion

There are many other aspects that you should consider when you are staring off into self publishing. Not all Christian publishers may share your vision, and this could result in a frustrating process, and a bad result in the long run. The message of your book will not get to the people in the proper manner, and your vision will be diluted.

Have Faith When Writing Your First Book

Every writer has one through an initial phase when they thought that they would not finish their first book. At such times, you need encouragement from people within your circles and also from your publisher.  Christian publishers play a great role in fostering new writers so they can fulfill their dreams of writing their first book. There are many obstacles, both real and perceived, that you will go through when writing your first book, but you can overcome them by having faith in your ability.

Reach deep within you for the faith and courage

Most new writers are driven to write from a deep conviction that they have something to share with other Christians. In some cases, a person has had a bad life growing up, and this changed upon getting salvation. This may drive the person to want to share this experience with others who may be going through the same.

In such a case, reaching deep within to embrace what has happened to you may overcome some of the initial jitters that you may be having. Know that the message that you have is important to millions who are going through the same rough path that you went through- and conquered! This faith that the message must get out will give you the impetus that you need to overcome whatever fears and doubts that you may have.

Have faith in your publisher

After looking for a great Christian publisher, you must have unwavering faith in their ability to get you through this initial stage. You should take them into your confidence and let them know exactly what you are feeling and any challenges that you may be having. Publishers have worked with aspiring writers from all walks of life so you can believe that they probably have come across another writer with similar challenges.

Create faith through prayer and communion

Always pray for your book before you sit down to write. Let the Holy Spirit guide you on what you have to write. The power of prayer is something that every Christian knows and you should have faith in it too. You should also commune with the people in your church and also other members of your family. The encouragement you get will push you beyond any obstacles that you may be facing. They will support you spiritually and in other ways to ensure that you attain your dream of publishing your first book

Take the leap

Talk about taking a leap of faith. When you decide to write your first book, then take a leap of faith and start writing. When your book is finally published, you will be glad. You will be overwhelmed with emails and other messages from people whose lives you have touched. This is one of the best results of publishing a book – when you know that you have changed somebody’s life for the better. This thought should always stay in your mind, even if you will be expecting some financial recompense for your effort.

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Christian Publishing and the Church

Not many people consider this question, especially because the decision to buy any sort of Christian publication is a personal one for many people – Where would the church be without Christian publishing companies?

There stands your preacher, teaching his sermons every time. Armed with only the Bible, but not having Bible references, periodicals and journals that enhance his understanding of the Bible. Imagine that you do not have any hymnals, choir music and only a few Bibles on each pew. The big question is whether the teachings would reach people without all of these publications.

Of course, the word would get out. In several parts of underdeveloped countries, Christianity is taught under such tough conditions. So how does Christian publishing impact the church?

Christian Publishers, especially those owned by secular publishing conglomerates, seek to expand their profits by appealing to the market, rather than truly meeting the spiritual needs of the readers. There are small publishers who seek to enhance the spiritual lives of their readers. Publishers tend to concentrate on the personal link between the reader and God, rather than the link between the reader and the Church.

Unfortunately, many readers have embraced this kind of thinking, and look more towards their own personal relationship with God, rather than their relationship with the Church. The Bible warns that appealing too much to the market may lead to publishing untrue or outright heretic material. The Apostle Timothy warns of this when he says that people will have itching ears to accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and turn away from listening to the truth, (2 Tim 4:3-4).

Well, Christian publishing on one hand may seem to be a detriment to the Church, but let nobody forget just how much it has done for the Church in the past and will continue to do so. In the last Century, Christian publishing has energized the Church. There was a true reform of theology and the churches resurged, thanks to Christian publishing.

There is a large number of youth who are turning to the church at an early age thanks to publications that they read. This will give rise to a largely Christian adult generation in the future. Christian publishing is playing a greater role now, more than it did in the past.

In the second half of the 20th Century, Evangelism has been the major publisher as compared to any other denomination. Christian publishers played a great role in the proliferation of the Bible, and hence the Church. One can see the large number of translations that were put forth, and also the reference material, which enhanced the understanding of the Bible. Christian publishing did make a great impact on the Church in the past, and is set to make an even greater one in the future. The answer to the question above is that Christian publishing, when done properly, has a great impact on the growth of the Church and should be lauded.

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Becoming a Christian Author or Publisher

It is really great and encouraging that you are considering becoming a Christian writer or publisher. Getting the word of God to people is a truly noble and admirable venture. However, you need to know the proper way of becoming a Christian writer or publisher.

The first thing that you need to do is read all about the Christian publishing industry.  There are certain tenets that govern the industry, which are quite different from those of the secular publishing industry. For example, in the secular publishing industry, many people will use unethical marketing practices in order to drive traffic to their websites to maximize sales; in the Christian publishing industry, such methods are discouraged.

The next thing you need to do is think about your book as a business. You need to study the business like any other business, which means that you should know what your prospective readers want, and how you will put the message across to them.  This will require you to do some research of your own, and also talk to people about what kind of books they would like to read.

You need to look for a literary agent, and you may start off by following some of the best literary agents on social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Attend some writer conferences and introduce yourself to fellow writers and agents, and then connect with them on social media. You should also start reading their blogs. You may wonder why you need to read their blogs, but they have a lot of helpful information that you can use to build yourself as a writer or publisher. These blogs will carry information on what is going on in the world of Christian Publishing

In order to grow your knowledge and understanding of this industry, you should start commenting and also interacting with people online. Try to start up tops on forums and be a major contributor.

When you are preparing to take the next step and write a book, you should read the submission guidelines properly. If you want to be a publisher, you need to understand how you are going to launch your business and get writers to stock their books with you.

You should also avoid being the writer who is too aggressive in a negative manner. When you have your first manuscript, do not send pitches to literary agents on their social media, or hound them at conferences. They have very clear guidelines on how to submit your manuscript, and you should follow them.

As a Christian writer, you have prayed a lot about the kind of message you want to put across and also how it will perform in the market. Keep on praying even after you have submitted your manuscript. You may have just handed in the next best seller.

Keep strong in the belief that you will be a great writer. Becoming a Christian Author or Publisher has its challenges just as any other business, but with prayer, you can become successful in your endeavor.

Beating Writer’s Block

Now every Christian writer has struggled with this at one point or another, whether experienced or novice. It is a very crippling experience and affects your writing in a major way. There are ways in which you can manage your writer’s block so it does not become a challenge to your writing efforts. Here are some tips on how to handle this issue.

Understand what writer’s block is

For some people, the word brings about some form of paralysis and they panic and even start doubting whether they will finish the book. However, this is not some way or mountain that cannot be scaled. To better understand writer’s block, think about it as a crossroad. You simply do not have a clear idea about the direction you should take next. It does not mean that you do not have ideas, but you simply do not know which one you should follow next.

This is not unique to you

If you look at any famous Christian writer, be sure that he or she has experienced writer’s block at one time in their career. If they have at one time looked at a sheet of paper or computer monitor and failed to decide on what to write, and later went on to produce classics, then you can too. When you realize that other writers have faced the same challenge and overcome it, you will know that you will overcome it too.

Keep your standards reasonable

At times, new writers tend to set their standards too high. They start off with a wonderful idea, but it gets to a point where they cannot flesh out the full story and maintain the same standards. Always make sure that your standards are manageable. Manageable does not mean you produce poor quality, but you produce the best that you can maintain from start to finish.

Shelve it for now

You have written chapters 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, but do not know what to write in chapter four in order to bridge these chapters. Leave it alone for now. Keep on writing and when you finish the book, you will have found a way of writing that elusive chapter 4. This method of filling in the gas is used by many writers. The stable parts of the story simply lend themselves to the gaps after a while.

Don’t wait for inspiration

If you were an accountant or a waiter, you would go to work every single day. If you are a writer, you should do the same. Write every day, even if it seems like gibberish. In this process, the inspiration will come along and the writer’s block will be gone. If you sit there for days, doing nothing and waiting for the donkey to lead you to the water, then you may be wasting your time.

These are some tips that you can use to beat writer’s block when you are looking to get published. This is a common occurrence and every Christian publisher will tell you not to worry.

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All about Christian Fiction Publishing

Christian Fiction Publishing is a lucrative business and it can really pay off, but it also comes with a lot of challenges. There are some companies that have completely abandoned Christian Fiction publishing while others have reduced the number of titles that they send out every year. This may give the notion that the market for Christian fiction books is shrinking, but when you look at industry statistics, you see a different picture.

The estimates show that the mass market format, is the one favored by most publishers. This is a format where the books are produced in huge amounts, and then prized at what you would use to buy a snack. Harlequin has produced a Christian fiction romance line called “Love Inspired” with each book being sold at $5.99. This has made the books very popular, and one can see the appeal of the mass market format.

The challenges of Christian Fiction stave from this ability by some publishes to drive prices to such a level that the smaller publishers cannot break even. Industry insiders say that only 3 or 4 publishing houses take the lion’s share of this market. They have mastered what their readers want and keep on producing hit after hit. There are those that have specialized in Romantic suspense, which is what most readers are looking for.

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There are other Christian Fiction publishers who have partnered and pooled their resources to produce best sellers. This is another strategy that is being used in order to beat the mass make strategy that is employed by the bigger publishing houses. Another strategy that has made a great impact is reinventing the publishing house.

When talking about reinventing the publishing house, it does not mean that the overall strategy of printing and marketing should be changed; it means that there should be a change in the topics that are being output.

Christian Romance has really been saturated. This subgenre is dominated by a few major publishing houses and it would be very difficult to publish a new romance book if you are a small publisher. That is the reason why some publishing houses are looking for less common Christian publishing subgenres. One of the most popular is Amish fiction because there is so much that can be written about these people. Again, the Amish are avid readers and are a huge pool of potential customers.

For a small Christian publishing house to truly make it, it should consider entering into a new subgenre and then producing a best seller. It would be prudent to take time to find such a subgenre and then properly create and publish a formidable book, which would take the Christian publishing world by storm.

When considering entering into the world of Christian Fiction publishing, one must be ready to take a different approach and then market it with a lot of gusto. A new method that has become popular is “time slipping”, where the reader is taken to different time periods throughout the book. Do you have any new ideas?

The Future of Christian Publishing

All forms of Christian Literature, especially fiction books are really having a hard time selling to the public. The market for Christian Publishing is very large, but most publishers are having a hard time competing in the technological world of the Internet. There are still very many publishers that are still active in this market, but most of these are the ones that have been established for a long time and have a great history with their customers. We look at some of the challenges that Christian Publishers are facing today, and what they can do to make it better.

The pricing of books
The main issue affecting Christian publishers is the pricing structure today. When the time came for eBooks and the many self-published books available on the Internet, Christian publishing took a serious hit. There has been a lot of pressure to lower prices in order to keep prices at levels that would attract customers. There are customers who would not mind paying premium prices for a good book, but these are a very small portion of the total readership base.

There has been a definite race for the bottom when it comes to pricing and this makes it very hard to sell new books at the usual prices. This pricing structure has brought about complete restructuring of the Christian publishing industry over the years.

Following reader tastes
Readers of Christian books have varying tastes in the material they read. Just like the wide range of preachers in the world, each with his or her way of preaching, readers tend to follow publishers and authors who are well known. This has forced new publishers and authors to try and follow the readers, instead of the other way round. People are making the mistake of writing according to the style of yet another writer, and this dilutes the content of the book. Ideally, each author and publisher should stick to their style, market the books well, and let the readers come to them.

Expanding to mass markets
This is the situation where a Christian publisher has to go to great lengths to get a book out, pay out a lot of money for printing, and marketing of the book, and also pay out advances to the authors, and only find that the book cannot be sold at break even prices. The mass markets have been liquid when it comes to new Christian books. Some of the larger publishers enjoy a full list of customers, but others end up struggling.

These are the major factors affecting Christian publishing and they should be addressed. There is a need for a concerted effort to get Christian publishing back on the map once more. People who love owning a book, will not hesitate to buy one from the store, but others who prefer digital editions will still be a challenge for these publishers.

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