Friday, October 24, 2008

Unnecessary Death

We got an interesting bit of anonymous feedback a few weeks ago through our website. This reader wrote: “I read all of the novella books when they come out, and have for several years. This past year it seems like in all the stories, the young people's parents have died in a tragic accident. How about having your writers let the parents live to a ‘ripe old age’ for a change?”

I kind of laughed at first, but this reader has a good point if he or she is tiring of themes repeating themselves in our books. I especially have to watch for this type of thing with Heartsongs that release four at a time every four weeks. If all four books in a shipment have too similar a theme or situation, members will likely get bored with the stories.

So, I’m paying closer attention to how people get “killed off” in our books—or if it’s even necessary that they do. If a character’s grief over the loss of a loved one is essential to his/her development, motivation, etc, that’s fine. But if, for example, you just don’t want a heroine’s parents to be a big part—or any part—of her life, you don’t have to make them die. I know this isn’t very profound, but apparently at least one reader has noticed unnecessary death in our fiction, so we writers and editors need to watch out for it, too. :)

Speaking of unnecessary death, how much do you know about it in real life? Do you know much about the Freedom of Choice Act that could very well be passed in our country in the near future, depending on the results of the November 4th election? My conscience won’t let me not speak out about this for a moment on our blog. But I don’t need to go into much detail myself because respected Christian author and teacher Randy Alcorn already has. Please read this blog entry of his and this one, too. Please prayerfully consider how you’re voting on November 4th. Forget political parties and popularity and a desire for “change.” This election is not just about the economy and jobs and the war on terrorism. There are much more important and fundamental issues at stake.

On a lighter note, I'll end with a photo of a little girl who is full of life, and the scripture I'll teach her to cling to in serious times like this.


Cathy S. said...


Thank you for having the courage to step into the political fray with such eloquence. I agree with you.

Cathy S.

linda ford said...

Jodi is getting so big and so cute. I think she's adorable.


Susan Page Davis said...

Good point, JoAnne. Another thing I find myself repeating is to make my hero and heroine "only" children. I'm starting to give them more siblings.

CatMom said...

You are so right about what's at stake in this election, JoAnne. And as Christians we not only need to vote but keep praying for our nation's future. ~ ~ LOVE the picture of precious Jodi !! :)
What a little DOLL !
Patti Jo

Debby Mayne said...

Jodi is a sweetie pie! She always makes me smile!

You're right about the election and all that we have at stake. Our country will always be on the attack from outsiders, so the last thing we need is for our leaders to turn against what's right. We can never let down our guard. We must continue to pray.

Janet Lee Barton said...

Thanks for bringing up the most important issue of this election and for the link to Randy's blog for those who may not understand how really important this election is. We all need to be in prayer over it and make sure we vote in the way our Lord will approve of.

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi JoAnne,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I read Randy's blog yesterday and posted the link on my facebook wall and encouraged my friends to read it too. He is an excellent spokesman for issues that are close to my heart.
I love that photo of Jody! Wow, she is really growing up!

Rachel Overton said...

I'm telling you, JoAnne, she looks just like a little doll! Those eyes!! She is sooo adorable.

Thank you for standing tall on your convictions. My heart hurts every time I think about all those babies...and all those women who have been exploited and lied to, who now know the pain of abortion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for speaking out on an issue that so many people seem to be ignoring in this election year! Let's fast and pray from now until the election! Perhaps the Lord will yet have mercy on us.

(A fellow Cedarville alumna from many years ago)

inthenickeroftime said...

Very well put with so much at stake!!

The pro-life movement could suffer greatly if we all don't get out there and vote....!! 50 million and counting.

Darling little angel~~<3 U R blessed.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


Thanks for your post and the link to Mr. Alcorn's blog. My husband and I watched the video on his blog and I wept with remorse for what has happened in our country. I had never seen an abortion in action, and although it was hard to watch, I forced myself to watch what those babies endured. The images will be hard to forget and will stay strong in my mind as I oppose this abomination. I do believe we must fast and pray.

Rachel Overton said...

Speaking of trends in our stories, it is funny how this happens. A couple of months ago, I had two or three stories in a row with heroines who owned farms birthing breach cattle (well, the cows were birthing; the girls were pulling 'em out!)--and the clueless heroes were trying to help. This last month, I've seen two separate titles dealing with seamstresses--of a sort. The historical was about a "seamstress" but the contemporary was about a fashion designer. They both sewed their way through their stories though, so I figure it's the same thing. The 1880s girl just didn't have the fancy title!

I wonder how that happens--I know you ladies don't get together and conspire about this, so how do these things end up in cycles? Very interesting...!

Mary Connealy said...

I read a series of books by a very famous author (not a Barbour author) a while back and they had these really wonderful, rock solid Christian parents. Each book was about the adult children's lives. Every one of those children just went through awful things, mainly based on their sinful choices, before they came to God.

And it was okay for a while, we can all have children who struggle and we all know of children who turn from the faith they've been raised with. But at some point in this series I just got sick of it. I mean, c'mon, doesn't being a Christian parent have any advantages? Do all our children have to go through complete rejection of God and have dreadful things happen before they return-as they all did in the series?
I just got fed up with it.

And remember when two movies came out about a astroid hitting the earth? And two movies came out about volcanos the same year? I think we get influenced, even possibly subconsciously, by news events or pop culture events and that works it's way into our books.
Which might explain the seamstress and the calf birth.

By the way, one of the calf birth scenes was mine and I read the other one too, but right now I'm drawing a blank as to whose it was.

I promise I didn't hold a conspiracy meeting to bring 'calf-birth' out of the closet.

Mary Connealy said...

PS, I can't believe how big Jodi is getting, what a doll.

And now, Susan's got a baby to compete with yours, so let the games begin. :)

Rachel Overton said...

The other was Cecelia Dowdy, and between the two of you, you definitely did bring it out of the closet. LOL. YUCK!! I am a country girl, but I am not a farm girl! :-)

And I know the series you're talking about. I stuck with her through the original series, but she lost me on the spin-offs.

Anybody know what happened to Dee Henderson? She wrote some really great stories and then kind of disappeared. Hmmm.

Mary Connealy said...

that's right. I think Cecilia maybe sent me her calf birth scene to see if it was authentic.

I of course told her a pack of lies so her calf would be born...for example, inside an egg.

Poor Cecilia, she really fell for that one. We hatched that baby calf in front of the whole Barbour editors board.

I just did it to make my own calf-birth scene seem better. (joke)