Friday, February 06, 2009

M. L. Tyndall's THE RED SIREN

Worlds collide when a pirate lady meets a godly naval captain.

Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself and her sisters from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the-manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. How long can she maintain this dual identity before she’s caught red-handed?

The God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates and smugglers, is a more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he’s headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith?

Sir Wilhelm Carteret has always gotten everything he desired, but Faith seems to be unaffected by his charms. When he devises a plot to rid himself of his competition, more than Captain Waite’s reputation is at stake as alarming secrets are revealed.

Will Faith regain her trust in God only to find herself headed for the gallows? Will Dajon scuttle his good name—and neck—to save her?

Best-selling author of The Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, MaryLu Tyndall writes full time and makes her home with her husband, six children, and four cats on California’s coast. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ. For more information on MaryLu and her upcoming releases, please visit her website at

Lady Pirate. I like that. Actually, after reading about Faith's adventures, being a pirate sounds kinda fun right now... okay, so maybe breaking the law isn't such a good idea.

High seas adventure is what I enjoyed most about this book. Rich settings and historical characters transport readers into a fresh kind of adventure.

If you like romance, then you'll love this book. Romance isn't my thing, but Tyndall balances it well with enough action and suspense to satisfy my need for an intense plot.

So how in the world did the author come up with the idea of a female pirate? Check out her answers to interview questions below (Q & A provided by Tyndall's publisher, Barbour )

Q: Pirates and adventures on the high seas are topics you love to write about. What draws you to craft stories about these topics?
A: Tall ships in the Age of Sail have always been a passion of mine-- one that I gained early on as i grew up on the beaches of South Florida. I used to lie on the sand, listen to the waves lapping onshore, and dream of grand adventures on the sea. There is something romantic, yet dangerous, about the sea, and I admire the men and women who ventured upon it seeking new lands, fortune, and adventure. No matter what story I formulate in my mind, it always tends to include at least one of those magnificent ships sailing on the ocean blue.

Q: In The Red Siren, the story of Faith Westcott is taken from the parable of Matthew 13 in which the farmer sowed a seed on rocky soil. When the plant came up, it was withered and scorched because it had no root. What are the foundations that are so important in order for us to develop a faith with roots?

A: Great question! I believe the biggest and most important foundation for a victorious Christian life is to know God. By knowing God, i mean to really know Who He is. To know His character, His desires, His sorrows, and most of all His love. And like any relationship, you cannot get to know someone unless you spend time with Him. To know God should be our greatest desire. And we do this by reading His Word often, by praying without ceasing and by abiding in His presence. When we do these things, despite our enemies' continual attempts to stop us, we will come to see how wonderful, how faithful, how glorious and how powerful our God is. But most of all, we will get a glimpse into how much He truly loves each one of us. Then when bad things happen as they did to Faith in The Red Siren we won't fall away or become scorched by our trials. Why? Because we know that God loves us, and no matter how bleak things appear, He is working all things out for our good.

Q: Of the three sisters in The Red Siren who do you relate to most and why?

A: I'd like to say that I relate to Faith the most. She's independent, strong, confident, and courageous: everything I've wanted to be most of my life! Plus, who wouldn't want to try their hand at being a pirate? But, in all honesty, Hope is the sister I relate to the most. She's had a tough go of things. She's insecure, wounded and she's seeking more than anything to be valued and loved. She longs to be strong like Faith and to be pious like Grace, but she finds she can be neither. Though she knows about God, she doesn't value herself enough to think that God would give her a passing glance. So, she is easily drawn away from Him by the things of this world. This was my life before I came back to the Lord, so Hope's story (The Blue Enchantress, summer 2009) is very dear to my heart.

Q: What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

A: What I enjoy most in any book is a great adventure, heartfelt romance, lots of conflict, edge of your seat tension, and deep interesting characters who I can root for, cry for, and rejoice with. As long as a book has those elements, I'm not particular about the genre, although if I find these qualities in an Historical Romance, I'm in heaven!

So, if you enjoy intrigue, adventure and romance rolled up into one package, pick this book up today. Oh, and don't forget Valentine's Day is coming - pick up a few for some friends and drop hints to the men in your lives!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Truth about depression

My Sunday school class is going through a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free.

The author does disclaim that some of her opinions are controversial and not everyone will agree with her. That's cool. How boring this world would be if we all agreed!

Sometimes opinions can be dangerous and even deadly.

Miss DeMoss says this of depression: "The Lie: the answer to depression must first be sought in medication and/or psychotherapy."

In her opinion, depression is born of a sinful attitude or belief in untruth. She believes it first must be treated with Scripture and prayer and Godly counsel. My conclusion is that she's not too keen on medication.

I'm assuming the author has not battled with true depression.

At the risk of my reputation (again) and personal relationships, I'm gonna share my experience with depression and what God showed me.

During my first period at the age of twelve, something was terribly wrong. Exploding pain shooting up my side sent me to the emergency room. Doctors thought my appendix burst.

This scenario repeated itself over and over again until I was 18. Not only did I have horrific pain, I bled heavily and out of control for up to 12 days. That's not normal. For six years, I lost at least one to one and a half weeks of my life each month.

Relief came after I turned 18. Everything stopped. No period, no pain. Specialist after specialist could not figure out what happened. It wasn't until seven or eight years ago that finally doctors discovered I was in full-blown menopause. My hormones were whacked at best.

In addition, my thyroid went hypo (not enough hormone) and my other adrenal glands were depressed.

Balancing my female hormones became a priority because honestly, it's very hard to function without them. In the middle of that years long flurry of pharmaceutical roulette, the chemistry in my brain was affected. I was depressed, but no one including myself, diagnosed it. My symptoms were attributed to hormones and thyroid problems.

Add is life stresses and this biological cocktail grew deadly.

DeMoss argues that depression can be controlled, cured and prevented via prayer and bible study. She insinuates claiming depression is out of our control is a cop-out.

I love control. Who doesn't? While life spun out of control around me, I figured if anything, I could control my emotions and be that strong Darcie everyone expected.

The more I tried to pray it away and beg God to pull me out of the pit, the deeper I fell in. At the urging of one of my spiritual mothers who is a nurse, I went to my doctor.

Antidepressants are not magic pills. They are all different and work in different ways in different people. Psychiatrists look at a patient's medical charts and take a good guess at what kind of medicine may work best.

It may take several months of toying with drugs and doses to achieve some sort of balance.

Doctors warn that suicidal ideation and even attempts may occur during that investigational period.

My doctor prescribed one drug that wasn't working too well. So, we had to make a change. During that transition all hell broke loose. My brain didn't like letting go of drug #1 and fought back. I went bezerko. The teeny-tiniest things of life set me off into a spiral. Insensitivity toward my depression and a very condemning attitude from a few Christian peers was the match thrown in a kerosene soaked pile of kindling.

My brain was abducted. Honestly, that's what it felt like. There was a piece of me that watched in horror as the rest of me exploded into a suicidal fury. I could not stop it. Physically something was going on.

God stepped in through my husband. John had to physically wrestle me to the ground and peel pills from my hands as I raged and fought and screamed. Within 30 minutes he had me in the ER.

Psych consult attributed my suicide attempt as related to the medication transition. That mixed with the meds for my ADHD...

After I was released from the ER, I had to go every day to depression management classes and talk to a psychologist. Not to plant secular hooey in my head, but to help both John and I understand physiologically what was going on in my brain. My psychologist and psychiatrist gave us coping techniques to get us through that 6-8 week period of waiting for the meds to kick in.

Coming out of that episode, I was soaked in guilt. What had I done? What did I almost do to my family? I beat myself up mercilessly for my lack of control.

God whispered in my ear, "Darcie, you never have been in control. You never will be either. Only I am in control. Trust me."

What a hard way to learn such a seemingly simple lesson.

I don't advise it.

Here's the other assumption made by some Christian leaders who have never experienced depression for themselves. Antidepressants are just happy pills to avoid the real spiritual issues and sinful attitudes.

Oh how I wish my meds were happy pills! Medication only takes you to the point where you feel like your normal self again. They don't alter your temperament or attitude. They just create a balance in your brain so you can function.

In fact, anti-depressant meds won't work for long if you don't deal with some of the root causes or fuses to the depression. You must treat your whole person. Mind, spirit, body.

Christians have an advantage here, because we do have Christ dwelling in us. When we are weak, he is strong. His power is made perfect in our weakness. No one can have victory of this horrid illness without seeking and pulling out the toxic weeds.

When Christian leaders and authors advise heading to the church first when dealing with depression, they are putting lives at risk.

Depression MUST first be treated as what it is: an illness. Like any other illness. You don't tell a cancer patient to spend hours praying with the pastor or in counselling before trying chemo.

Depression is a cancer to the soul. You have to get the body in order and balanced so then you can get the mind and heart in order.

Severely depressed people, if pushed to repent, recite Bible verses or pray without medical help, may engage in self-destructive behavior. The energy and cognitive power to deal with issues beyond breathing and eating is not there.

Nancy Rue along with Stephen Arterburn are writing a series of novels that delve into this very issue. Healing Stones and Healing Waters (review) are of the transformative fiction genre. Through the lives of psychologist Sullivan Crisp and others, the authors go so deep into the heart of depression no one can emerge from the stories without empathy and hope.

These books both, have had an impact on my life. For the first time ever, I was reading my life on a page written by some very high-profile authors.

In the series character's backstory (Sullivan Crisp), Rue and Arterburn carve out how Crisp's wife ended up committing suicide and murder because well-meaning, yet ignorant believers told her depression was spiritual. The Biblical counselor she saw looked down on medication and psychotherapy. Prayer and scripture. Prayer and scripture.

The danger of discounting depression as an actual illness can't be played out in a more dramatic way.

In both books, depression is treated with such care and understanding infused with unflappable hope. A balance of medical help and spiritual growth is illustrated in a way readers can replicate.

I've blathered on for a looooong time.

If you know someone struggling with depression, encourage them to see a doctor first. Don't push the churchy stuff until they are stabilized on meds. In the mean time, buy and read these books mentioned above. Give them to the person to read once they can handle it.

God calls us to be Christ-like. Jesus Christ is grace and mercy. Draw upon him to flood you with the grace and mercy you need to show to a friend or even yourself when dealing with depression.