Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Bill Barber
Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours! It's shaping up to be a glorious Fall here in the pacific Northwest.  I'm happy that my husband is spending thanksgiving home with me, instead of in Iraq with the US Army. I'm also thankful for those who are still over there, defending our freedom. What are you most thankful for today?


A Pleasing Proposal

Photo by quattrostagioni

I've been busy these past few weeks, working on proposals to send out to agents and a handful of publishers. As those of you who have gone through this process well know, every agent has a different list of things they want you to include in your proposal, as well as New and Exciting ideas as to formatting. Some want a three-page double-spaced synopsis, some allow only one page, strictly single-spaced, while still other allow a vague “2-4 pages” without bothering to specify spacing at all.

I understand why. It's part of a process to separate out the authors who are willing to go the extra mile from those who aren't. And bit by bit, it's building me a toolbox full of everything a publisher might want to know about my manuscript. I have a bio, a query letter, a cover letter, a write up of “comparable titles,” a market analysis, synopses of every size, back cover copies, tag lines and one-sentence “blurbs”...and the list goes on.

It's hard work, but it's satisfying to know that as time goes on I'm learning more about the business of publishing. And it really is a business, one in which, (like every other business), you must excel to succeed.

So how about you? Have you ever written a fiction proposal? What's the hardest part of proposal writing for you?


Short Answers to Good Questions: Why did peopel live so long before the flood?

Photo by Justin Vidamo

We read in the Bible of people living 900 years or more before the flood. After the flood, the average lifespan slowly decreased, from 450, to 250, and at last to 80. Why?

First of all, it wasn't because of God's words in Genesis 6:3; “his days shall be 120 years.” That verse was actually speaking of the allowance of time God had given man in which to repent before the flood came to destroy them. But if it wasn't that, what was it?

Some people have suggested it was a change in diet. Before the flood, meat eating was not allowed. However vegetarians today live no longer than other folks, so we know that can't be true.

What about environmental changes? Some hypothesize that the pre-flood world could have been very different in terms of atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels, but neither of these is likely to have been the culprit. Noah stepped off the ark at 600 years old, and yet the post-flood environment had no negative effect on the rest of his life. In fact, he lived to become the third oldest person in human history!

The most likely cause for shorter life-spans after the flood is genetics. Shem only lived to be 600 (we don't know how long Ham and Japheth lived), despite having been born in the same environment as Noah, and whatever it was that caused his “early” aging was passed down to his descendants, none of whom lived longer than he did.

Lamech, Noah's father, only lived to be 777, which was quite young. He could have well passed down the genetic marker for premature aging to his grandsons, and with the bottleneck of the flood, there would have been no infusion of fresh DNA in the post-flood bloodline to prevent all of Noah's decedents from being affected. One little mutation, and we lost 300 years. The dispersion at the Tower of Babel provided yet another bottleneck, paring down the pool of genetic information available to each people group—and mutations multiplied, and with them, apparently, came yet another drop in the average lifespan.
I know, I know. That wasn't really a short answer. But I tried!
To learn more, see:


Short Answers to Good Questions: What Role did Nimrod Play in the Tower of Babel?

Photo by Noffsinger
If you've read Alexander Hislop's book The Two Babylons, you'll have heard that Nimrod was the driving force behind the Tower of Babel. According to Hislop's account (which is partially based on Josephus, a more reputable source by far), Nimrod's goal at Babel was to set himself up as a god, or failing that, as a world leader. Some people he convinced into following him in his rebellion, some he forced, and some resisted and were killed by him.

There's only one problem with Hislop's theory: Nimrod is conspicuously absent from the Bible's account of the Tower of Babel. In fact, the wording seems to suggest something altogether different.

Genesis 11 (emphasis mine)

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

The Biblical account seems to point to a rebellion in which nearly every human on earth participated, a united front of arrogance toward God. No Nimrod tricking, coercing, threatening. Just humankind swollen with pride in his own accomplishments.

But wasn't Nimrod King of Babel? Yes, Nimrod is mentioned as King in chapter 10, before the Babel account, but the Hebrew Bible was not written in strict chronological order. The same genealogy mentions that the people spread “each with their own language,” so it is obviously referring to a point in time after dispersion at Babel. Nimrod must have become King of Babel after the confusion, and from the legends that abound, he likely set himself up as a god near the end of his life. But not before the fall at the Tower of Babel.

For a full refutation of Hislop's book, see:  The Babylon Connection? by Ralph Woodrow

For more information on the historic facts behind the Tower of Babel I highly recommend this book: Tower of Babel by Bodie Hodge


It's a boy!

Thanks to the arrival of this little guy, I'll be taking a two-week vacation from blogging.

See you on the 29th of October! The next question we'll be addressing in our series will be What role did Nimrod play in the Tower of Babel?
Until then!


Short Answers to Good Questions: Will there be another Ice Age?

Will we ever have another Ice Age?

  Photo by ansilta grizas
Will the earth ever get cooler than it is right now? Yes, most likely. The earth's temperature is still affected by sun cycles, volcanic activity and the like. But we won't have another Ice Age. The term ice age implies the presence of extensive ice sheets in the northern and southern hemispheres, a phenomenon triggered by the warm oceans that resulted from the global flood of Noah's day. Since God promised in Gen. 9:8-17 that he would never again send a global flood upon the earth, we can be certain that there will never be another Ice Age.


Short Answers to Good Questions: How would a warm ocean cause an Ice Age?

Photo by Infomastern
During the 150 days of the flood, Pangaea split. This involved violent volcanic and seismic activity, and huge amounts of lava being dumped into the oceans, which warmed the earth's oceans. Warm oceans produce increased levels of precipitation, which creates a thick cloud cover and results in cool land masses. The temperature difference between the ocean and land masses would have made for intense weather patterns, super-storms that raged for weeks across half a continent. The nearly non-stop precipitation (plus high amounts of volcanic ash in the atmosphere), would bring about the Ice Age, slowly at first, and then snowballing towards the end. Then the frozen land masses of the Ice Age would in turn cool the oceans. At that point the oceans were likely cooler than they are today, with ice caps creeping far southward, and the level of precipitation for most of the globe would drop to drought level. In addition to the drought, it would be a time of intense wind and dust storms, and large amounts of "dirty snow" would be heaped up in moving drifts by the wind. (Which accounts for the mammoth buried with buttercups in his stomach, and the loess deposits covering huge areas of the northern latitudes.) This period is called the “glacial maximum.” After a pause, the glaciers, now exposed to the sun without proper cloud cover, would melt in a catastrophically short period, perhaps less than a hundred years.

Want to learn more?
The Snowbliz, by Michael Oard
What Started the Ice Age? By Dr. Larry Vardiman
A Dark and Stormy World By Dr. Larry Vardiman