Christian Author Lorilyn Roberts' Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Captioning for the Deaf - Creation Station Contest Winner for the Jan/Feb 2013 Christian Women’s Voice Magazine



I’d Rather be Writing Books but Captioning is What I do for a Living
By Lorilyn Roberts



I fire up the computer, turn on the modem, punch the TV remote control, hit the on-button on my other computer, flip the button on my stenograph machine, open the file—wait, I remember this is on Icap. I don’t need the modem for this show. I turn off the modem.

I am captioning golf tonight, 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., from Melbourne, Australia—the Talisker Masters. I’d better pull up the leaderboard on Google and check the spelling of those Asian names. I glance at Spark, the National Captioning Institute Messaging System – 37 captioners online captioning television shows all over the world. Only a handful will still be online when I finish my assigned show in the early morning.



I sit in my office chair in cotton pajamas alongside my bed, a candle burning on my dresser. A bag of Cheez-its and mug of coffee is close by—but not so close to my equipment that if I knocked it, it would be a disaster. I swallow a quick gulp in between strokes on my stenograph machine.

I have a long night ahead, but golf is easy to caption compared to hockey. I can see my captions on the Golf Channel without having to rely only on an audio feed (more commonly known as a telephone).



Such is the life of a closed captioner. I have been providing closed captioning for television for the last fifteen years. I work from my home—that has allowed me to stay at home and raise my two daughters—a good thing since I am a single mother by choice. I adopted my two daughters, 14 and 21, from Nepal and Vietnam. I also homeschooled them (my ninth grader is in a private school-home school program in high school now, which is nice).

I feel blessed to have the job I have, which pays well, but I hope to launch a new career as an author. I just finished my Masters in Creative Writing and published my fourth book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, A Young Adult Christian Fantasy. Writing books is my passion, but closed captioning pays the bills. At fifty-seven, I continue to follow my dreams, knowing God will lead me and show me His perfect will, and for that, I am grateful.



To learn more about Lorilyn Roberts, visit http://lorilynroberts.com or contact her via email at llwroberts@cox.net

Be sure to check out my newest book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, a YA Christian Fantasy.



Seventh Dimension – The Door at Amazon:  http://amzn.to/UBE1Mr
Seventh Dimension – The Door as an audiobook:  http://bit.ly/11YrzMI
Seventh Dimension – The Door at Barnes & Noble (Print):  http://bit.ly/WRkUha


REMEMBER: There is no pit so deep, no hurt so painful, no secret so horrid that God can’t cover it through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Open up your heart to the infinite possibilities of living a life of love, no longer warped by bullying or scarred by deceitful words. Where there is life, there is hope—and healing! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Critical Analysis of Seventh Dimension – the Door, Based on a Critical Reader’s Favorite Review




The Reviewer is Stefan Vucak (3 stars). Here is her unedited review:

“With her mother divorced, foster father away and after a series of troubled experiences at school, Shale Snyder encounters a strange white dog who leads her through a portal into another dimension. In a strange kaleidoscopic world, she meets a talking donkey and a rabbit. Descending into a village, Shale is told that her real father is a powerful Roman official and she is transported 2000 years into the past. Always busy, her father doesn’t have much time for her, working to suppress an uprising in Jerusalem. Her foster mother is jealous of her, banishing a boy Shale was friends with, but ends up getting her comeuppance. Shale joins with the king, discovers God and returns to her own reality.

I liked the start to "Seventh Dimension". Lorilyn Roberts portrays Shale as a real person with real problems, and I was waiting to see how her life would develop. When she slips into another dimension and encounters talking animals with which she can converse, the story loses much of its appeal as the discourse with them often doesn’t have much relevance to anything. Shale is searching for something and I thought it was family and fatherly love. When she observes the ‘king’ being tempted by the devil with its allegorical reference to Christ’s life, the book turns into a twisted bible story and everything becomes predictable. Lorilyn Roberts has allowed her imagination to soar with the "Seventh Dimension", invoking haunting images of magic and childish delight. Her writing is evocative and the dialogue crisp, making it a pleasure to read. As a religious fairytale with magic thrown in, the book will have a big audience, especially young readers.”

Here are my comments from Ms. Vucak’s review which I hope readers will find evocative. I welcome the opportunity to expound on some of the issues this reviewer raises. Be aware, if you have not read Seventh Dimension – The Door, you might find this a spoiler.


Thank you for reviewing my book Seventh Dimension - The Door.

First, there are some important factual errors that are important in understanding the theme of Seventh Dimension – The Door.

Shale's foster father was not away. In fact, there was no foster father at all. Shale was “abandoned” by her birth father when she was young. He left Shale’s mother penniless. Shale and her mother were forced to live with strangers for years and the young girl Shale lived with in the beginning was a bully and hated her.

Two years later, after the "accident," Shale's mother remarried. The man she married became her stepfather, though he had not adopted her.

This is important, absolutely crucial to the story, because the theme of the book is: You are a daughter of the king.

I bring this up also because Shale's family was not "fixable" until something significant happened -- mainly until Shale changed. This happened when she went back in time into the Seventh Dimension -- where she was forced to confront her own demons, her dysfunctional family, the father who left her, the boy who molested her, her wicked stepmother, her brother who needed healing, as well as meeting a young man from her future and a powerful king.

You missed another very important point. Here is a quote from your review: “When she slips into another dimension and encounters talking animals with which she can converse, the story loses much of its appeal as the discourse with them often doesn’t have much relevance to anything.”

The animals are important. First, they represent parts of Shale’s personality – fearful, insecure, bossy, and yet pristine with a kind heart. Can you identify which animals these were? Worldly Crow was the betrayer – how you could think the animals have no relevance is strange to me.

The animals move the plot forward: The dog in the beginning, spelled backwards is symbolic of God reaching down and drawing her into His world. When we have a spiritual encounter, we enter into another world. I called it the seventh dimension. The animals introduced her to the King – her eternal heavenly father. The animals accepted her unconditionally and had faith in her. Shale gained strength from them and grew in maturity as she cared for them. She learned to put their needs ahead of her own. In the beginning Shale was really very selfish and self-absorbed, as are all young adults who have been abused. It’s a matter of self-preservation.

I could say more about this. There is a lot of symbolism – the bird in the garden was the first to tell her she was a daughter of the king – like a prophetic foreshadowing. In the end, the king set the bird free, allegorical of Shale being set free.

Shale learned obedience through suffering, through imprisonment in her private quarters. You will remember toward the end, she locked herself in the room willingly. Obedience is part of the Christian life.

You made this statement in your review: “Shale is searching for something and I thought it was family and fatherly love. When she observes the ‘king’ being tempted by the devil with its allegorical reference to Christ’s life, the book turns into a twisted bible story and everything becomes predictable.”

Sadly, many kids will never receive love from their family. They will receive judgment and conditional love. Conditional love comes in many forms.

To be honest, I would be hard pressed to believe you could have known what would happen from the temptation in the wilderness until the end of the book. If you did know, you are a genius and you should be able to make some big bucks with that kind of intelligence. My utmost respect for you if that is true.

The biggest issue for Shale was she had to learn forgiveness to be able to receive the king’s unconditional love. When she returned home, she brought the rock into the house and took it up to her room, even though her mother didn’t understand. Shale at that point had enough self-worth to overcome her mother’s lack of understanding and begin anew. She was no longer bound by other people’s opinion of her. The word Ebenezer means “new beginnings.”

I get the impression, though I may be wrong, that you are not a Christian and do not understand the power of this story in Biblical terms. The message here for kids is one of hope – that you can rise above your circumstances and your difficult family situation and succeed in life, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. In fact, you can’t humanly-speaking do it all on your own. The king of kings will help you. Shale entered into a search for answers and she found a Savior. She realized who her father was—a king who would never leave her or forsake her.

I hope my extensive comments here will help you to see this is more than just a story – it’s my life told in fable and allegory. I was Shale Snyder, and this is my testimony with lots of creative storytelling. And I will leave it to the reader to wonder which is true and which is fiction.

If I receive more than six comments, one person will be selected to receive a free print copy of my book.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My New Book Cover for Seventh Dimension - The Door -- Meet Great Book Cover Designer Lisa Hainline






Meet professional book cover designer Lisa Hainline. 



I was having difficulty uploading my book cover for Seventh Dimension - the Door to Create Space. I had recently "met" Lisa on another book project she did for me and so I asked her if she could help me. 

Lisa had originally been recommended to me by Jerry Jenkins for How to Launch a Best-Selling Christian Book, and I was extremely pleased. My cover had recently been finished on Seventh Dimension - The Door  by someone else, but I had some technical issues. The lettering was too close to the edge and Create Space kept rejecting my book. I had spent several hours ineptly trying to  make it work and realized I couldn't, so to speak, put a round screw in a square hole. So I asked her if she could help me with it. 

Lisa took my book and performed magic on the cover. I know I am partial, but I believe it's the best cover I have ever seen!  

Making a good book cover is not easy. It takes skill and talent. Anyone who has some Photo Shop knowledge can make a simple cover cheaply, but it takes more than that to make a great one--and great artists in any creative field don't come cheap. I guarantee, however, at least when it comes to book covers, you get what you pay for. 


What did Lisa do with my original photograph?  

She put clothes on Shale Snyder, my protagonist (I didn't realize when I bought the licensing agreement that she wasn't wearing clothes. Someone pointed this out to me and that it might be problematic for observant Christian buyers. It really is a good thing I don't do my own book covers).  

She made Shale's hair shorter. 

She added the waterfall in the background. The original photograph had a white blurry background. 

Lisa added the golden nuggets in the water (which is important to the story). 

She added detail to the bird and made it more visible. 

She added the sparkle. 

She added plants. 

She darkened the front of the photograph so your eye is drawn to Shale. 

She made the color deeper in tone, more soothing. 

She centered the cover so everything in the photograph is balanced. 

And, of course, she chose the font for the title and my name, as well as the layout. She even added the little stars inside the word "door." 

She sized the cover perfectly. I uploaded the book seamlessly to Create Space. 

She also added extra touch-up work around Shale's face so if I ever wanted to blow up the cover for a banner, the girl wouldn't be blurry. 

I know Lisa did even more than this, but hopefully I have helped you to see how someone can make a beautiful book cover that will stand out above the rest. 

In this case, I had already picked out the photo I wanted to use, but normally, Lisa will search the web and send samples to you and make suggestions. This is very helpful if you have no idea what you want or you haven't come up with any creative book cover ideas. 

With my other book, Lisa took several photos from a website and merged them into a composite cover. I can't imagine how complicated that might get.

Lisa also designed the back cover of Seventh Dimension - The Door using a photo I found on the web (you must buy the license fee for the photograph or reimburse her for it), added some additional layers, and then edited my picture to make me look better (which was really nice). 




I enjoyed working with Lisa on my book and now have a real appreciation for what's involved in making a great book cover. Lisa sent me sample covers for my second and third books in the Seventh Dimension Series. I immediately wanted to sit at my computer and start writing the second book

God works in amazing ways, connecting us with people we need and otherwise probably would never meet. I always appreciate it when people take the time to help me make my books better.

If you would like to visit Lisa Hainline's website and see more of her book covers, go to http://lionsgatebookdesign.com/. You will find lots of other products she sells for authors like bookmarks and banners 

I tell members of the John 3:16 Marketing Network: There are two things you shouldn't skimp on: Hire a professional editor and a good book cover designer. 

Buyers are attracted to beautiful covers, and once they grab your book and open it, you want to make an impression in those precious few seconds you have. Whether you need a book cover today or in the future, bookmark Lisa's page for future reference. 

If you like my cover, let me know. If I get at least six comments, someone will be chosen to receive a free print copy of Seventh Dimension - The Door.

Friday, January 4, 2013

For the Love of a Child: An Ode to Will



For the Love of a Child: An Ode to Will

By Pam Hillman



Will Woods was our milk man when I was a little bitty squirt. And by milk man, I don’t mean he picked up those small 5 gallon milk cans. He drove a milk tanker and transported a gazillion gallons of milk every day.

We lived down a long dead-end country road, and I could hear a car coming from a mile away. So it was no wonder that I could hear Will comin’ long, long before he got there.

Will gave me my first tricycle. Mama said Will didn’t have kids at that time, so I don’t know where he got the tricycle, but I distinctly remember that he brought it to me in the cab of his tractor-trailer for my birthday. I loved Will with all the passion of a pre-schooler who didn’t see anybody other than my parents and older brothers all week. Since my parents both worked on the farm, I didn’t go to pre-school or daycare: the dairy was my daycare; my brother, the dogs, cats, and newborn calves my playmates.

Will picked up our milk every other day, but I was too young to process how often “tomorrow” really meant, so I’m sure I drove Mama crazy asking when Will would be there. But I was old enough to know that if Mama and Daddy were done with the milking, it wouldn’t be long before Will showed up.

I have a good imagination (I’m a writer, after all), and this is kind of hazy, but I seem to recall sitting on the cement steps at the barn many a morning on those off days, and then trudging to the house when I realized Will wasn’t going to show up that day.

One Sunday morning, Mama was getting us all ready for church, rushing around as only a farm mother can do after getting up at five am to milk a herd of Holstein cows, and next thing she knew, I came flying out of the back room like a wild cat. She made a grab for me, but I tore out of the house toward the barn, yelling “Will’s comin’! Will’s comin’!”

She hadn’t heard a thing. But I had.

I’d heard that big motor, and those big wheels bringing my friend to me. And it didn’t matter that on some days all he brought was a tootsie roll or a piece of gum. He’d remembered me, and I was happy.

While I had a loving, Christian family with roots deep in the red clay hills of Mississippi, my friendship with Will reminds me of Jimmy Denton’s relationship with Slade and Buck Donovan in Claiming Mariah.

Jimmy’s home situation isn’t the best: His pa is a drunkard, and they live in a shack that is falling down around their ears. Slade and Buck Donovan see a bit of themselves in the little boy, and they befriend Jim. Eventually, the caring and acceptance of the Donovans touch the entire Denton family, allowing healing and family to mend. Jimmy’s story is not the main thread in Claiming Mariah, but it is an important part. Jimmy weaves himself into Slade and Mariah’s story and finds a home there. Right where he belongs.

Back to my friend, Will Woods. In my young mind, I assumed Will lived far, far away. As I wrote this blog post, I couldn’t remember his last name, so I called my mother. Mama told me she’d recently seen Will at a Wildlife Jamboree in our community. Over forty years after he ran the route as our milk man, some little nugget prompts me to write an article to honor the attention a man showed a little girl who lived on the back side of nowhere, only to find out he lives right here in my community, and not far, far away as I’d always thought.

That God. He’s amazing, isn’t he?

And so are the men and women who take time for a child.

~



Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel.

Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,

Claiming Mariah


To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch) to
Two Winners.

Two ways to win: Like Pam Hillman’s Author page on facebook and/or sign up for Pam’s newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’

Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly during the tour. The best way to keep up with these is to check in regularly on the facebook page.


Like Pam’s facebook author page and click on Events to find out about current giveaways.

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All readers who enter a comment and follow my blog (on the upper right side) will be entered into a drawing for a free print copy of my new YA fantasy book Seventh Dimension - The Door.  Winner will be announced Wednesday, June 9, 2013.