Friday, November 6, 2009

What Do You Believe?

I've been wondering a lot lately how some people can talk about God, faith and spirituality as if they're okay with it all but then have a problem with Scripture. How can a person truly believe in God, but not believe His Word?
Today I had to thank God so much after I read the daily devotion in Dr. Charles Stanley's In Touch magazine:

(Read - 2 Timothy 1:12-14)

All people have a belief system, whether they realize it or not. Even those who claim there is no God have faith that He does not exist. What we believe affects every area of our lives and shapes every decision we make, yet few of us take the time to really think about what we accept as true. All belief systems have a foundation. Some people base their convictions on what fits their lifestyle, reasoning and desires. However, Jesus calls His followers to adapt life to their faith in Him and the authority of His Word.
Anytime we add other philosophies or ideas to Scripture or pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe, we create our own version of faith based on personal reasoning. God's Word is the only true and reliable foundation for belief, because it contains the recorded thoughts of an eternal, all-knowing God. All other concepts must be measured against it to determine their validity.
Knowing what the Bible says is essential for developing a sound system of beliefs founded on the truth and wisdom of God. This world will offer you a variety of philosophies which sound good but are laced with lies. A faith anchored in the Scriptures is your protection against deception.

Each time you face a problem or decision, search for the answer in Scripture. Begin your day by reading the Word and asking God to help you understand what He is saying. He loves communicating with you, and as you spend time with Him, He'll open your mind to know His thoughts.

Okay, so if you made it to this point I thank you so much for reading the entire devotion. Satan is roaming around like a roaring lion, seeing who he can devour so we really need to be careful what we believe. Please don't allow yourselves to be deceived!

Romans 10:9 (New Living Translation) For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

If you haven't received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and you'd like to become one of His followers, you can invite Him into your heart in your own words or use these:

Father, I confess that I have sinned. I repent of my sins and ask Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He died on the cross for my sins and that He was resurrected. By faith I accept Him as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiving me and for making me Your child. Amen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Black Expo '09

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, I put myself out there for the first time. I was nervous at first because I didn't know what to expect but everything went well. A lot of people who were genuinely interested in Choices stopped by my table. Twenty copies were sold. I was hoping for more, of course, but I do thank God for each and every sale. Some who didn't buy a copy on Saturday did say they might go oline to buy a copy later. I hope they do because I really believe they'll enjoy the story. And there were people who stopped by my table to see what they could get for free, but that was okay. Who doesn't like free stuff? I know I do. I came prepared. I had plenty promotional pens, promotional mini flashlights, business cards and flyers and there were only a few of each left by the end of the Expo, so now many more people know about Choices.

The teenage girls who attended, well, I waved most of them over to the table. I wrote Choices for them so I just couldn't watch them walk right by. Some stopped without me having to wave them over, though. I remember one woman who brought her teenage daughter to the table. This young lady didn't seem to care a whole lot about reading and I really don't think she wanted her mother to get a book, but her mother wanted her to read more so she did buy a copy. I really believe this girl will enjoy the story and, hopefully, Choices will be the book to ignite a love of reading.

Then there was an author who said, "We have to support each other." He didn't just say the words, he backed them up and bought a copy of Choices. (I really appreciated that) He also gave me a nicely done promotional postcard. Vincent Taylor is a kind man who has a heart for young people, so I'd like to ask you to please take a moment to visit his site. You can even vote for the new book cover. I love the artwork on all of his books. And, oh yeah, Mr. Taylor was voted 2006 Teacher of the Year!

I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by booth #192, particularly the ones who showed an interest in my book (please don't forget to buy your copy :) and especially the ones who bought Choices that day. Your support is so greatly appreciated!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Teenagers

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so I'd like to share this article I came across today... I was the extremely introverted child and I was also very shy. I always thought introvert and shy were the same until I read another article. Anyway, the shyness is still there but I'm not as painfully shy as I used to be and I am still an introvert.
I'm not real good in social settings, never have been. Back in the day when I hung out with other girls, going to parties or whatever, I did my best to fit in but I was never comfortable on the inside. I am trying to work on my social skills. I have to admit that Choices (my way of reaching out to young people) has helped me with this because I'm being forced to talk to people so someone else will know about my book. Each time I leave the house I put promotional pens and business cards in my pocketbook and then whenever I see a woman or teenage girl who looks approachable (friendly face) I ask if I can give her a pen and/or a card. Oh, if the teenage girl is with her parent(s) I ask their permission.
So, I'm learning to open my mouth more even if I'm nervous about speaking up. My hairdresser told me once that God's trying to get me out of my comfort zone. Well, I can't say the zone I've had myself in for so many years is all that comfortable, but change would be good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Choices: Young Adult Fiction for Mature Readers. Haven't read it?

Choices is an intense, emotional read - mostly because of the domestic violence scenes. I didn't like writing them but that's the world Shauntice lives in; the world I lived in growing up. I didn't like writing the acquaintance rape scene either, but there is a lesson there. So, if you like intense, emotional, oh, and fast-paced... if you like stories that evoke just about every emotion (I laughed, got angry and even cried at times as I wrote it), Choices will satisfy.
If you're a parent who isn't quite sure how to talk to your teen about sex, Choices could spark that much needed conversation. And if you're a teen looking for a book with believable characters you can relate to or you'd just like to see how Shauntice, Angel, LaKeeta, Bridgette and Hope deal with the whole 'boyfriend/sex thing', then Choices is a good book to read. I do believe you will be entertained, even uplifted at times, and you will also learn something. In fact, there are messages for both parents and teens, however, the most important message I wanted to send to teenage girls is this: When you mess up (and we all do) it's never too late to begin again.
As a Christian, I could not write a story that did not include the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Shauntice, LaKeeta, Bridgette & Hope are Christians), but with some of the content in Choices I didn't think I should label it Christian Fiction. Still, others have tagged it Christian Fiction. (Feel free to check out the APOOO BookClub review on Amazon) So if you are a reader who enjoys Christian Fiction (the genre I most prefer, by the way) and you don't have a problem reading a book that steps 'outside the box' of what some people believe Christian Fiction should be, then I believe you will enjoy my book. Just so you know, if you haven't figured it out already: This is not a goody-goody story, it is in no way preachy, and, yes, some of the teen characters engage in sex just like teenagers do in the real world; whether non-Christian or Christian. I leave the consensual sex to the reader's imagination but, sadly, the acquaintance rape is vivid because I figured teenage girls who read this book wouldn't get the particular message I wanted to send unless they felt this character's pain.
This is young adult fiction for mature readers. I received an email from an adult reader a while back who described it something like this: It's not a teen book, it's an adult book about teens. I'm thinking it was a pretty deep read for her. So if you like 'deep' teen fiction, then this is a book you should read .
Choices has also been tagged as Urban Fiction (I'm thinking because the story takes place in the city of York, PA) so if you enjoy that genre you may want to give my debut novel a try.
If you've read Choices, thanks very much. And if you'd like to email me to let me know what you thought of the story -what you liked or didn't like, who you liked or didn't like, who you could identify with, which part of the story you liked best, what you learned from it, your favorite character -I'd be glad to hear from you.
If you haven't read my book, I'd like to invite you to stop by my website where you can learn a bit more about the story and even enjoy a few music videos - If you decide to purchase a copy of Choices once you have more information, your support will be greatly appreciated!

Friday, August 28, 2009

High School Student's Blog

Please take a moment to visit this young lady's YA book blog. Ari is supporting me and I'd like to do what I can to support her:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pleasantly Surprised

Choices was featured on Thea's BC Book Review Talk Show on Sunday, August 23, on Live 365! I didn't even know until I checked my email today and, let me tell you, it was a nice surprise. Thanks so very much, Thea. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I've Been Encouraged!

Every now and then I google Choices by Katrina L. Burchett to see what shows up. This evening I was pleasantly surprised when I found my debut novel listed as a 2009 Summer Read in the August/September issue of a digital magazine. Thanks so much for the support Goddess Magazine!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Character, Randy

I had a dream that someone told a guy I used to have feelings for waaaaay back in the day that the character, Randy, in Choices was him. Now, I believe that some dreams are just dreams - a subconscious, images in the mind thing. But I also believe that some of my dreams come from God. I've had dreams where I thought God was trying to tell me something, and then something happened and I thought, "That's what that meant!" I really need to work on how to interpret the visions God gives me in my sleep... Anyway, I have no clue what's up with the dream I mentioned, but just in case someone out there does believe I was thinking of a particular guy when I created Randy, please get that thought out of your mind because it is not true. Just like it states on the copyright page of Choices, any resemblence to actual persons is entirely coincidental.
Randy... well, he's an insensitive, selfish, conceited guy who doesn't know how to treat a female. Yes, I've dealt with guys like that, but not one of them crossed my mind when I wrote my debut novel. There are so many guys like Randy out there that it wasn't difficult at all to make the character believable. Here's the thing, though. I know Randy's story and I kinda feel bad for him and his brother, Roscoe. I don't excuse their actions in Choices - they had me angry as I wrote the scenes - but I understand why they act the way they do. Readers will learn more about these guys in the next book. But, in the meantime, if you haven't read Choices yet, it'd be great if you'd give serious thought to purchasing a copy. I'd really appreciate your support!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Goodbye Michael

On the day Michael Jackson died the text messages on my phone just kept coming. I cried a bit; yes, I did. This man was so gifted, so unique, so special. And the way he was attacked by so many people when he was alive, that was so sad to me. And now I turn on the television and I see the media talking about his will and his debt and his skin color; whatever they can think of to keep the controversy going. The man is gone, people. He is dead. His family will never see him on this earth again. The world will never see him on stage again, moving in his unique way and singing the songs he wrote. Although there are a lot of good music artists out there, I don't believe anyone will ever be able to take the place of the King of Pop. I am so sorry he's gone and my prayers go out to his family.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Novel Is Also For Parents, Not Just Teens

Just the other day I read Kendra by Coe Booth. This book taught me something I didn't know about the choices some young people are making when it comes to sex. As I read this painfully honest story, I was reminded of how my novel doesn't even touch on half of what teenagers are doing today. (Feel free to read the review I posted on But mostly I thought about how important it is to make sure novels like mine - those that tackle the issue of teen sex - are available not just for teens to read but for their parents, because they really should be aware of the level of sexual activity among young people today.
So okay, I've said this before, but I feel the need to say it again. I wrote the first draft of Choices quite a while back. I was regretting choices I had made, so I wanted to write a story that would not only entertain young people but, hopefully, would motivate them to make better choices when it comes to sex. Like Angel, there are teenage girls allowing themselves to be used because they're so desperate for affection. Like LaKeeta, there are girls getting pregnant on purpose to have someone to love. Like Shauntice, there are girls who are sure they will not have sex until the wedding day, but stuff happens and... well, sometimes things are easier said than done. Like Hope, there are girls who are hurting and then there's a momentary lapse of reason and things get all messed up. If you're a teenage girl who can identify with one of these character's, then Choices was written especially for you.
Now Bridgette, she kinda gets on everybody's nerves with her judgmental self and I'd never want any girl to treat her friends the way Bridgette treats hers. But she does feel very strongly about abstaining from sex. She loves herself, knows what she wants and she is not going to let anyone compromise what she believes. So, honestly, if you don't identify with Bridgette's beliefs when you open the book, it is my deepest wish that you will at least be thinking more about abstaining from premarital sex by the time you finish the story. What can I say? I'm a child of God and He wants me to use my talents for His glory. If I can bring positive change to the lives of the Angels, LaKeetas, Hopes, and even the Shauntices of this world, then my writing has not been in vain.
To everyone who has purchased a copy of my young adult novel, thanks so very much for your support. I haven't heard many thoughts about the story, though, and I'd really like to. So whether you're a teen or a parent, whether it's positive feedback or constructive criticism, if you've read Choices please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Are You A Child of God?

It's been quite a while since I stepped into the vestibule of my home church, Shiloh Baptist in York, PA, took the stairs to the balcony and sat where I knew I'd be able to see the Pastor clearly. But in all of the years I've been away there is one memory that keeps coming back to me. Not every single Sunday but on occasion there was a song the choir sang as they made their way into the sanctuary. I don't remember all of the lyrics. In fact, the only words I do remember are the ones that are the most important - "To be God's children you must be born again!"
So many times I have heard people say that we're all God's children, referring to each and every human being, and every time I hear it I am so saddened that these people really believe they're speaking the truth. What's more disappointing is that there are Christians who seem to believe we are all God's children and not too long ago I was reading "Christian fiction" and a Christian character said those very words. This statement is not the truth.

Holy Bible (New Living Translation)
John 1:6-13 God sent John the Baptist to tell everyone about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was only a witness to the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was going to come into the world. But although the world was made through Him, the world didn't recognize Him when He came. Even in His own land and among His own people, He was not accepted. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan- this rebirth comes from God.
John 11:52 It was a prediction that Jesus' death would be not for Israel only, but for the gathering together of all the children of God scattered around the world.
1 John 3:1 See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don't know God, so they don't understand that we are His children.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 10:9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
Romans 3:22 We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
Romans 8:16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children.

Every human being was created by God (Colossians 1:16) and He loves all of us (John 3:16) but the only way to be a child of God, to be adopted into His eternal family (Romans 8:15), to have the Spirit of God (also known as the third person of the Trinity or the Holy Spirit) live in you - God does not live in everybody, so please don't believe that lie - is to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. This is what's called being saved or being reborn or born again; it's a spiritual rebirth. So, are you a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, a true believer? Are you a child of God? If so, praise the Lord! If not, please take to heart all that you have read and consider surrendering your life to Jesus, who died on the cross for your sins and mine.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Visited Atlanta, GA For One Specific Reason

I was in Atlanta for the first time this past weekend. I've heard a lot about how nice it is there, how there's plenty to do, but that wasn't my reason for going. I have been feeling pretty strongly about not taking things for granted ever since August 2007 when I was in the hospital. My husband drove 6 hrs so I could be seated in Dr. Charles Stanley's church on Mother's Day. I have the upmost respect for this man of God. I have listened to his teachings for years and I always wanted to hear him teach in person, walk inside his church, sit in his sanctuary. And, let me tell you, it was so cool to see him in the flesh instead of on my television screen. Kinda sounds like I'm idolizing, I know, but I'm really not. I idolize no man or thing. But there are people I do admire and Dr. Charles Stanley tops that list.

Since it was Mother's Day, the message was about training up a child. I took notes as I always do when I attend church, and I'd like to share them. Dr. Stanley spoke and I kept on writing even if he didn't say to write this down. I'm sure I missed a few things, but this is what I have in my notebook:

Every child is a gift from God
We're raising children in a warfare. The enemy (Satan) has them targeted and if they're not raised well they will be destroyed by the wicked
Do not let anyone undermine your faith
Proverbs 22:6 - Train (dedicate yourself to that child) up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it
If you don't train your child someone else will - deal with your children with purpose and a sense of direction
Doesn't say train them all the same way (referring to those who have more than one child) - each child is different; can't pull them all into the same mold
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (verse 7 is especially important)
Continually talk to your children about Jesus, teach them diligently - our relationship to God should dominate every aspect of our lives
Christians are to live by the Word of God - demonstrate the life of Christ
It's our spirit, our desire; not how much we know as far as quoting Bible verses
Have a heart for your children
Generation of technically minded children, but a lot of them need Jesus
Don't give your kids everything they want, but what they need - love & attention. Parents have an awesome responsiblity; a kid who feels unloved never knows where he/she is going. Love is a powerful thing. When children don't feel it they will find some way to fill that void.
Don't just pass on information, give of yourself
Teach children to love and obey, discipline them because you love them
The Bible is God's authority, not just another book - it is the Word of God Christians should live by
A Godly mother wants the best for her child and she will sacrifice not even seeing it as a sacrifice.
Do not be careless with the most precious thing God has put in your hands.

Training Up Children

1. Spend quality (wisely invested) time with your child
2. Listen carefully to what they say
3. Admit when you're wrong - it will not lessen or degrade you; we're all wrong at some point
4. Love them unconditionally (because they know the difference)
5. Discipline them motivated by a desire to protect, not because you're angry -
do not allow Satan to take you down
6. Motivate them (so that they desire to do their best, be their best)
7. Carefully lead them to accept the truth that they are accountable to God -
do not give them any reason to rebel against you.
8. A personal relationship with Jesus is the most important thing - make sure they know this
9. Spending time with God every day on their knees (honoring God) is necessary
10.God has a plan for their lives
11. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him

Lord willing, this won't be the last time I visit Atlanta. I went with my husband and youngest son this time. Next time I hope my oldest will be able to join us. We plan to stay longer than just the weekend. We may visit the aquarium and whatever else I really don't know (if you have any suggestons feel free to leave a comment), but we certainly will visit First Baptist Atlanta again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time To Get Serious About the Next Book

When I published Choices I hoped to get a lot of emails from readers telling me what they thought of the story. I've read reviews and I've heard from a few people, but I haven't recieved many emails. I've gotten some, though. The one I found in spam this week did my heart good, so I'm glad I always take the time to check that folder. This person loved my book and wants me to let her know when I'm finished with the next one. My nephew, who loves to read, is my biggest supporter and he has asked this question many times.
I have bits and pieces of the next book here and there. There are typewritten pages in a binder and handwritten chapters in two different composition books. I started the story some time last year. I was on a roll for a while there, but then it got to where I worked on it when the mood hit me. Well, now that I think of it, I did get out paper and pen at times when I wasn't really in the mood to write. Characters got to having discussions and scenerios just popped up, so I had to write what was in my head before I forgot what was going on. These are the chapters in the composition books, and let me tell you, my girl, Angel, is still a handful. Choices is so intense at times - domestic violence, an angry teen with a bat he does not plan to use on the baseball field, girls fightin' over a guy and, sadly, an acquaintance rape - that I really don't want a whole lot of drama in the next book, but Angel and Randy still have their issues so I just don't know what she might do. I responded to a reader's email a while back and told her that Angel might have to beat down Randy, and she probably could, but we'll see.
Okay, so back to the writing. One thing about publishing my own work is that I don't have to answer to anyone. Having someone else deal with the whole publishing process while I focus on writing would be nice, and gettin' paid would be great, but that's just not where I'm at right now. And to not have anyone telling me when to get what done - rushing the whole creative process - or having me make changes to my story that may not be in my heart to make, that's what I do like about publishing my own work. So, I'm free to move at my own pace. I've been thinking for a while now that it'd be nice to have the next book published this year, and I even mentioned to some that it might be, but I must confess I haven't been doing much to make that happen. Then last week I had to sit down for a moment and remind myself why I published Choices in the first place. God gave me a talent to write and I wanted to use it for His glory by putting a story out there that wouldn't only entertain but one He could use to bless young people, parents and whoever else reads my book. So since this is not about me at all, I guess I really need to stop messing around. Who knows what God will have me write in the next book that will help someone? All I know is that if I don't write it, they can't be blessed by it.
So I decided to get serious about this second book in the trilogy and give myself a deadline. I'm not a person to sit at the computer for hours and hours at a time, so a couple days ago I bought myself three composition books. I'm going to sit in my favorite spot in my living room or I might sit out on the porch when it's not too hot or maybe even go to the beach (don't do that much but I might) and I'm going to finish what I started. I know I'm going to have to go back to Choices to make sure there are no contradictions, because I seriously do not remember everything I wrote in my debut novel. I'll write the rest of the chapters long hand, then take myself to the computer, type it all and save it on a USB flash drive. I plan to let it sit for a few days, maybe even a week or two, and then I'll print it out and read it from page one to the end, making necessary changes.
Like I said before, I haven't heard from many readers, but for anyone who's interested, I really would like to have the next book released by December. That's another good thing about publishing my own work; it is possible to have a finished product by the end of the year.

Friday, March 13, 2009

True Love Waits

Moments ago while visiting an online community I replied to a statement about adults being afraid to talk about sex. It's been a good while since I posted anything here, so I decided to share my answer with anyone who takes the time to stop by my blog. Thanks for that, by the way. You are so kind ;)

An expression of love between a man and a woman who are married, an act that helps them to develop intimacy with one another – this is why God created sex. It’s called “making love” and that is nothing to be ashamed of. But through the years mankind took it and twisted it every whichaway, calling it everything but the intimate connection it is meant to be. What God created has been distorted because the flesh (human nature) wants to live by its own standards; sometimes selfish, sometimes ignorant. Now sex seems to be something people are embarrassed about when it’s supposed to be a perfectly natural part of “married life”. This is not good. A person is a virgin by choice and there must be something wrong? This is not good. There are men who use sex to control women; degrade and hurt them, even. This is not good. There are women who use it to get what they want from a man, even in marriage. There is another word for that – prostitution. This is not good. Some parents don’t talk to their kids because they just don’t know how to go about it. Their parents didn’t talk to them, afterall. Or they may think it’s best to just avoid the subject so they won’t put ideas in their kids heads, not realizing that this one important conversation could help that son or daughter decide to wait until marriage the way God intended. True love is patient and kind and it does not seek to please itself (1 Corinthians 13) – in other words, true love waits. If someone would had explained that to me years ago I don’t believe I would have made choices I immediately regretted. Parents, please talk to your preteens and teens about sex. And if you don’t know what to say find someone who does. There are a lot of “True Love Waits” programs these days.