Good News: When Mountains Move Wins 2014 Carol Award!

AmandaBostic_JulieCantrell_2014ACFWThis weekend, I traveled to St. Louis, Mo. to join nearly a thousand folks for the 2014 Carol Awards Gala.

When Mountains Move had been shortlisted as one of three finalists in the Historical Fiction category, alongside two extraordinarily talented authors: Liz Tolsma for Snow on the Tulips (a stunning WWII tale), and Diana Wallis Taylor for Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate (a fresh look at this historical icon).

I was stunned (to say the least) when Millie’s story was selected. The Carol Award was formerly known as “ACFW’s Book-of-the-Year Contest” before being renamed in honor of editor-extraordinaire, Carol Johnson.

What an honor it was to join so many talented authors who were being recognized for the LONG hours and HARD work they have put into building works of fiction.

Because I never expected to win (and because I’m a complete ditz and usually make a total fool of myself in public), I stuttered and stumbled my way through the acceptance speech, huffing and puffing in a flawed effort NOT to cry. My hands were shaking and I was trying to talk super-fast so I wouldn’t bore everyone in the room.

Needless to say, the entire event is a blur to me, but when I viewed the video — I realized I had failed to mention so many people who deserved recognition, including my sweet friend and brilliant critique partner Lisa Wingate, my devoted and dear publicist, Jeane Wynn, and my incredible tribe of author pals, especially the ones who blog with me daily at Southern Belle View.

If my head had not been spinning, I would also have thanked my faithful friends who have saved me this year, again and again, in ways too large to measure: Chris Greissinger, Kerri Greene, Gina Beltz, Ken and Teresa Murray, Larry Wells, Christa Allan, Carol Langendoen, and others (in no particular order).

Because I’ve had a few requests from folks who wanted to see the acceptance speech, I’ll post it here — for those who are curious, or who need a good laugh, or who simply want to make fun of me to break up the workday. (I’m game. It’s all in good fun.)

But before you begin, let’s add a little lagniappe to this “good news” report. (I’m a Louisiana girl after all and we always like to add a “little something extra.”)

I’m THRILLED to introduce y’all to my new editor, Amanda Bostic (see her celebrating with me in the photo above), who will be working with me to produce a third novel with Harper Collins Christian under the direction of publisher Daisy Hutton and her BRILLIANT team.

We are hoping the book will be released November 2015, and it will be a contemporary work of women’s fiction set in my home state of Louisiana. Please stay tuned for more information to follow in the months ahead, and thank you all for your tremendous support.

 

Duck Dynasty: Is This the Face of Christianity?

love one anotherIt has happened again. A celebrity has made a controversial statement and the world has reacted. This time, the loose tongue belongs to Phil Robertson, whose conservative Louisiana lifestyle has drawn millions of fans through his A&E reality series, Duck Dynasty.

As Christians, we should examine this situation and ask: What does this say about Christianity today?

First, let’s examine the facts.

  1. Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ. During the interview, Robertson said (brace yourself): “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
  2. When asked to elaborate on what he considers to be sinful behavior, Robertson replied: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.”
  3. Robertson continued to make inconsiderate comments throughout the interview including his opinion about race relations and other controversial topics.
  4. In reaction to Robertson’s quotes, sponsors reacted and A&E made a public announcement distancing themselves from Robertson’s beliefs.
  5. Robertson issued the following statement to E! News: “I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Now, let’s consider how Robertson’s quotes may have impacted the Christian faith, for both believers and non-believers across the world.

  1. CNN reports that A&E aired the Duck Dynasty show’s fourth season premiere in August, drawing nearly 12 million viewers to become the No. 1 nonfiction series telecast in cable history.
  2. It is logical to assume that at least some of these 12 million viewers look to the Robertson clan as examples of how Christians believe and behave.
  3. Some commenters online have posted: “He is just saying what every Christian believes.”

Is that true? Has Robertson simply voiced what “EVERY” Christian believes?

I do not aim to crucify Robertson for his comments. But because of his platform, many assume he represents the Christian faith as a whole, and as a Christian, that worries me.

Robertson says he strives to bring people to Christ. Unfortunately, I do not believe his current behavior will encourage anyone to discover the power of Christ’s love.

Some may call me a crazed, left-wing liberal who has lost all sight of what is right and wrong. A radical New Age spiritualist who has no understanding of Biblical truths.

Well, to them I say, don’t take it from me. Take it from Jesus of Nazareth, a radical, liberal, Jewish extremist who challenged the hypocrites of His day by reaching out to those the rest of the world had deemed unworthy of kindness and love.

It was this madman, this healer, this teacher, this giver, this Jesus who said: 34A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. — John 13:34-35 (NIV)

This holy season, I pray for the world to know a more compassionate Christianity and for everyone to find comfort and peace in God’s love.

Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, the Christy Award winning Book of the Year 2013 and recipient of the 2013 Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, released in September and was chosen as one of LifeWay Christian Stores Best of 2013.

Website: www.juliecantrell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliecantrellauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieCantrell

Meet My Publisher: David C Cook

It’s been a long time coming, but now we’re in the final stretch of seeing my first novel, Into the Free, hit shelves (02.01.2012). I’ll be blogging about my journey as a debut novelist, providing behind-the-scenes research information, interviews, photographs, and more. PLUS…we’ll be offering fabulous PRIZES for those who want to play along. So be sure to subscribe to Julie’s Journal, follow JulieCantrell on Twitter, and Like the JulieCantrellAuthor page on facebook to make sure you don’t miss any of the fun.

First, I thought you might like to know more about David C Cook. Since signing this book contract, I’ve been asked countless times, “Who is your publisher?” Well, I couldn’t be more proud or grateful to have landed with an incredibly talented and generous team – David C Cook.

Want to know more about this wonderful company? Visit their website and check out this inspirational clip.

Meaningful Easter Gifts

Looking for a last-minute Easter gift that will send a positive, inspirational message about faith?

God is with Me through the Day and God is with Me through the Night are ideal for kids birth through third grade.

 Order signed/personalized copies from Square Books, Jr. in Oxford, MS. by calling 1.662.236.2207, or order from your favorite online book retailer.

Happy Easter!

Halloween – Pagan or Just Plain Fun?

Happy Halloween

Since my last two posts about Halloween, I’ve received quite a few emails — many expressing their own family’s fun plans for the holiday, and a few asking how in the world a Christian writer can support the “pagan” traditions of Halloween.

I’ll respond with photos because I don’t see any evil children here, do you? These kids don’t even know what the word “pagan” means, much less are they out to scar any souls.

boys trick-or-treat

I certainly don’t claim to be the voice of Christians — not by any means — but I will say that I think anything we can do to foster creativity and imagination is a good thing. If Halloween gives kids a reason to pretend and have fun, then I’m all for it. Trick-or-Treat in our neighborhood is a fabulous, family-friendly event that we look forward to each year.

 

girls trick-or-treat

I always appreciate hearing from you. It is tricky sometimes, however, to respond to all the emails. I’d love to see your comments posted on the blog — and then you can converse with each other about all your fabulous thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

Happy Imagining!

julie

Summer Hiatus

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I hope you’re all enjoying a fabulous summer in the sun. Like most of you, I am trying to soak up every single second with my family this summer. I will resume author visits in August.

Please contact me  to schedule a visit to your school, church, mothers’ group, library, or store: juliepcantrell@bellsouth.net

Thanks kindly for your continued support. I hope the books are bringing tons of smiles and snuggles to you and your kiddos this season.

Thanks Barnes & Noble, Germantown!

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On Saturday, May 30, I was treated to a sweet and stress-free storytime signing at the Germantown Barnes & Noble in Memphis, Tennessee. The kids were fabulously well-behaved and they loved talking about animals of every shape and size. This was a great way to end the book launch and start a fun-filled summer with my family.

Thanks especially to Melinda, the superiorly talented storytime lady who welcomed me whole-heartedly into her terrain with unmatched kindness. Thanks also to the professional and personable staff members, as well as the community relations manager, Valerie Schranz. I greatly enjoyed my visit to your store.