Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stretching the Benefits of Our God-Given Gifts by Zoe M. McCarthy

I gathered my checkbook and pre-stamped envelopes and opened up my worksheet for my quarterly giving. I hate diseases, the effects of wars, and anything that hurts people. I want to use the monetary gifts God has given me to help people, but I’m convinced that help without the Gospel is sadly only temporary assistance. So my quarterly checks travel to organizations I trust, are committed to helping people in their current circumstances, and offer Christ to benefit their eternal situations.
Zoe M. McCarthy

One of my spiritual gifts is teaching. Besides teaching the Community Bible Study, I write stories. Many people who love to read are hurting. They often read to lose themselves in a story. If I write to simply entertain them, my help is temporary. But if I write from a Christian worldview and offer Christ in a way I hope piques interest instead of anger, I believe I may potentially plant seeds that God will use to save some beyond their current pain.

Recently, a woman clicked on an ad for my book and sent me a message. She said: “Sadly, as much as I read, I tend to shy away from "Christian" romance. I read for the story. In Christian romances, the Christianity often overwhelms the story.”

I wrote back: “I hear you, XXXX. In American Christian Fiction Writers, we often talk about what you brought up. Story is important, and we don't need to hammer readers over the head with the Gospel. We can write from a Christian worldview, but if it's fiction, then the story has to delight and satisfy the reader. Thanks for taking the time to write, XXXX.

She responded: “It is always about the story in any writing. Thank you for your response.”

I praise God for this woman. She didn’t read my book, but she took the time to write what was on her mind. And she could have been rude. Instead, this woman, who loves to read, shared what bothers her about Christian romance stories.

On the other side, my book received a review from a woman who doesn’t read Christian romances. She admitted she liked to read racier stories. She read my book before she realized it was Christian, but said she was glad she did. And why was that? Story. And she recommended the book.

I will still depict heroines and heroes overcoming life’s hurts. I will still write with humor and tenderness. I will still share Christ, but I will work hard to write stories readers, Christian or not, will enjoy and remember.

How about you? What are your thoughts about using your gifts to help people bearing life’s hurts—now and eternally?

About the Author

Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little-known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is: Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John.
Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com.

Calculated Risk

What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…
Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books