Looking for Christmas Gifts? Look No Further!

For anyone looking for Christmas gifts for their families, please check out my publisher’s website! They’re having some amazing sales right now on lots of different toys (including rubber band guns, wooden swords, and more!), books that will build up and encourage your whole family, and audio books that are inspiring and help make long car trips more enjoyable. :-) My books are also on sale now, too! You can even buy a combo pack of my first book, “A Cry From Egypt,” my second book, “A Stand At Sinai,” and my radio theater production of “A Cry From Egypt” for $10 off it’s usual price! And the books and the radio theater are on sale if you buy them individually, as well.

Click on the link to find my books and other links to their products! And have a very Merry Christmas! :-)
https://www.raisingrealmen.com/product/the-promised-land-collection/

The Radio Theater Production is Done!!!

Hello Friends!

And now…. The announcement that you all have been waiting for for almost two years!!! “A Cry From Egypt,” book 1 in The Promised Land Series, is now in Radio Theatre form!! As of yesterday, the radio theater production, featuring a cast of over 50 people, narration by the author (me!!), over 250 sound effects and original music composed by Nathan Nasby, and the story that you all have grown to love, has been released to the world!! With the mastering done by Great Waters Press, it sounds phenomenal!! Do you like Jonathan Park, Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family or Lamplight Theater? Then you will LOVE this radio theater adaption of “A Cry From Egypt”!

And for your listening pleasure…. :-) The first chapter of the radio theater production to show you just how amazing it sounds!

I can’t thank my many actors enough for all of their hard work! Or my publishers for mastering and for contacting our amazing composer! You won’t believe how amazing it sounds! I hope you all enjoy it! :-)

A Cry From Egypt Radio Theater Chapter 1

Buy the radio theater production HERE!

Radio Drama Update!

For those who have been waiting on the radio drama…. We’re making progress!! I plan to have another preview chapter or two available on the website by the beginning of next week! Yay! I can’t wait to hear what you all think! :-) Stay tuned for more updates!

We also figured out how many people can fit in a recording closet this past weekend! The answer is….. Nine!! :-) I had so much fun recording with these extras (from left to right), Sarina, James, Becky, Rachel, Zach, Stephanie, Will, Dion, and Wilson! You’ll get to hear their amazing acting voices in the voices of the maids, Jewish girls, Egyptians soldiers, and magicians!

Having fun with our extras! :-)

New Behind the Scenes Sneak-Peaks! :-)

Hello Everyone!

We’ve finally uploaded a bunch of behind the scenes pictures and an audio clip from the radio drama! It’s so exciting! :-) Go over to the page labeled “Radio Drama,” and you can click on either “Behind the Scenes!” or “Radio Drama News!” to see and hear new things! Subscribe to the pages so that you know when I add more pictures or new audio clips. Please continue to pray that we’ll get everything in place for final recording here in just a few weeks! I can’t wait for you all to be able to hear the whole thing!

 

Meet “Paki”!!

Hi Everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to Jamey Meeker, who is playing the role of “Paki” in the radio drama! I’ve known Jamey for six or seven years now. He’s a great actor, as well as a great singer, songwriter, and baseball player. I needed a ton of guys for this radio drama, and since I was already planning on recruiting Lindy (our “Acenith”) and their little brother, Zach, to help out, I wanted to ask him to do it, as well. But we had two problems. First, I couldn’t figure out what role he should be. And second, Jamey just graduated from high school and is heading off to Appalachian State University in the Fall. So if I’m able to do a radio drama of the 2nd book, it would be incredibly difficult for him to be in it. His sister asked, “Why not have him try out as Paki?” I thought about it, and tried Jamey out as some of the soldiers and then as Paki. When I read the scene with him where Ada is witnessing to him, he nailed it! It was awesome! And from then on, I knew I had the right guy in that role.

Jamey is 19 years old, and he’ll be heading to college this year and studying business at Appalachian State University. He loves to play guitar, write music, and play sports, baseball in particular. He spent 5 years acting with us at Christian Youth Theatre before helping out with the radio drama.

Jamey enjoyed playing Paki because he got to be a “manly man” and get in a fight. He told me that he also learned from seeing the Egyptian perspective and the Israelite perspective of the plagues in this book. He said that he can relate to Paki in the sense that, “I feel like Paki is who I would be if I didn’t have Christ in my life.”

Jamey and Megan played really well off of each other. There were many funny moments as they worked on the fight scene with Patrick, who was playing “Heru.” Jamey and Patrick practiced going at each other with butter knives, a very memorable experience. :-) I can’t wait for you all to hear it! We’ll be uploading small clips to the website soon!

Thank you so much, Jamey, for doing such a great job! You nailed the role, and it was fun working with you!

Meet “Lemuel”!!

Hello All!

I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite fifteen-year-olds in the world, Brandon Hall. Brandon is playing the role of “Lemuel” in the radio drama. There is a very interesting story for how he got cast as that role.

Brandon is in my acting group, and I soon found out that he lived very close to Tori, who’s playing our “Jarah.” I was already bringing  Tori back and forth to CYT, and so I eagerly offered to bring Brandon along for the ride, as well. I had noticed his love for the Lord and how he was a true servant-leader in the class and really cared about people. He was also fun to be around, and liked writing. It would also make two boys and two girls in our carpool (Brandon and my brother, Caleb, Tori, and myself). We love our awesome carpool, and it’s never complete without all four of us there. We have so much fun! :-)

Brandon Hall as “Lemuel”

But anyways, back to the casting story. I was impressed with Brandon’s audition and saw that he was really diligent and dedicated to his work. As I was thinking through which guys I knew could play which roles, Brandon came to mind as Lemuel. For the very first cold-read I did for the radio drama, I asked Tori and Brandon to read one of the scenes together (chapter 2, as a matter of fact). While I didn’t show this to Brandon and Tori at the time, I was literally jumping up and down inside. As I heard them both speak, I could hear my characters. It was one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever experienced!

Several guys tried out for the role of Lemuel. And while they all did a great job, I kept coming back to Brandon because of how his voice sounded in the role. We talked it over, and while Brandon was worried that he wouldn’t do a good job for me, everyone was impressed by how well he pulled off the part. There are some intense, and some very serious things that he has to act out! And he nailed it! :-)

Brandon is a also fellow writer. He’s got a great story idea going right now. Hopefully he’ll get it published in just a few years! :-) But instead of doing the traditional “introducing you to the character,” I actually interviewed Brandon and had him write up almost everything himself. Here’s what Brandon says about himself and his portrayal of “Lemuel”:

Brandon: “I am a 15 year old sophomore attending my homeschool, Royal Oaks Academy. My favorite subject is English. My favorite hobbies include running, video games, and creative writing. Ideas for college and beyond are hopefully to write novels, or to use the talents God has given me that are related to English; be it teaching, publishing, editing, or writing, I’m planning on spending my life around words a lot. They can be very powerful.

“Probably the coolest thing about Lemuel is that he was around my age. However, he had the mindset of an adult and wisdom beyond his years. It was very cool to explore and portray a character who had been forced into adulthood so early, due to his slavery. Experiencing a sliver of his life led me to wonder how a modern 15-year-old would cope nowadays under that kind of pressure. Lemuel’s life has been an encouragement to me to stay strong and trust God in the hardest of times.

“The entire recording process was incredible. Being surrounded by friends and siblings in Christ, while making a novel come to life, was an experience I won’t forget. It may have included many crazy late nights, and copious amounts of whipping and screaming, but it was a very positive and amazing experience.

“I for one have always struggled with the Old Testament. Some chapters and books have always been tedious for me. Growing up, I heard the story of Moses over and over. I had the “John 3:16 syndrome”; while I could rattle off a verse or story from memory, some things had become stale and bland in my eyes. The process of reenacting the lives of Hebrew slaves really made Exodus come alive for me. In turn, it’s helped me appreciate and better understand the lives of many more Old Testament characters.

“A recurring theme that I noticed throughout this process was how well History and Fiction were blended. For example, when all of the plagues struck Egypt, it was interesting to see the Hebrew point of view and how they reacted. I especially liked the character of Mariel, Jarah’s mother. Viewing the plagues from the lens of a Hebrew who believed in the Egyptian Gods was something I had never considered. I suppose the diversity of beliefs in general was what stuck out in the story; it would have been easy to simply make everyone a devout follower of Yahweh, or a rebellious Hebrew.

“One of my favorite experiences was when Hope was recording the beating scene. The script said that I was supposed to be thrown into a wall, and then beaten. So, we started recording, and I threw myself against the mattress and fell to the floor. Patrick, the overseer, started whipping the pillow next to me, and I began to scream bloody murder. Apparently I was very convincing, because everyone outside of the recording closet was freaking out, thinking that Patrick was actually beating me up!” (Note from Hope: That was probably the scariest moment of the whole recording process! When Brandon hit the wall and cried out, I almost screamed. It sounded so convincing! I really thought he was hurt!)

“I sincerely believe that God brought this specific group of people together, under Hope’s direction, to do something awesome for his Kingdom. The Bible says that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” He has brought us this far, and I am looking forward to how he will use it in the future.”

Meet Shayna!!

Hello All!

Naomi Koch as “Shayna”

I would like to introduce you to Naomi Koch who is playing the role of “Shayna” in our radio drama! Naomi is one of my very best friends and accountability partners. I met her just over a year ago in our local Christian acting group. She’s incredibly talented! And really, she’s not bossy at all. Well…. Let’s rephrase that. She’s only bossy if she’s got a camera in her hand and is working on a photoshoot, or teaching one of her art classes. But in both cases, she’s entitled to be bossy because she knows her stuff! :-) Her artwork and photography skills are incredible! But even more so is her devotion to God, her family, her friends, and her work. She is so diligent, and loves to study the things of God and point others to Him. When I first met Naomi, she asked if we could go out for lunch. As we ate, she questioned me on exactly where I stood in my faith with Christ. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that she was so bold and so passionate for the Lord. Many of my close friends at the time wouldn’t come out and ask me deep questions like that! She’s truly one of the best young ladies I know. This is what Naomi says about herself and her portrayal of “Shayna”:

“I like to think of myself as a passionate artist and follower of Christ! That pretty sums up who I am. I try to live and surrender my life and walk to Him every day. Apart from my Savior I have no purpose or true meaning in life. He is my All and All. He paid the price for my sinful nature and I live continually in awe of His overwhelming mercy to save me from eternal death!

“I am secondly an artist and art teacher. I have many students who I have the blessed opportunity of being able to inspire and be inspired by. I am growing as I watch them grow. It is so amazing to see the many talents God has given them being put to good use!

“Acting and singing are also hobbies of mine! I got started in drama about two years back when I joined a theater group called Spiritual Twist Productions/Christian Youth Theatre. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my entire life and stretched me in so many ways! God has really used it to teach me a lot about dedication, hard work, patience, and acceptance of His will.

“Being a part of the radio drama was such a great experience on so many levels! There were so many great moments that created lasting memories I will never forget! For starters, portraying my character Shayna was a real adventure to say the least! I am not sassy or flirty, and I’d like to think I’m not very bossy either. (My family might say differently.) Rather than learning a good lesson of what to do from my character, as many of my fellow actors did, I learned many lessons of what not to do. I am very happy to be able to say that I don’t think I really relate to her in any way. She was fun to act though. I mean, where else can you get away with bossing your friends around?

“I certainly will never forget the many retakes and attempts made at Shayna’s “flirty giggle.” That had to be the most awkward and embarrassing moment of my life. But I think one of my fondest memories was getting to ad lib in the background with all the “siblings” in one scene where “the mom” was shouting around the house. What was simply supposed to be chatter in the background between the kids turned into hilarious banter and bursts of laughter!
“I am so excited to see how God will work in the lives of young ones through this book and audio drama. I am blessed to be a part of it, and I cannot wait for book two!”

Meet “The Queen”!!

Hello Everyone!

I would like to introduce you to “Her Majesty.” :-) Julia Johnson has been in our church for over eight years now and is one of my very good friends. We were practically neighbors for several years, and we’ve had so much fun growing up together and doing ministry work and acting together. Julia is an amazing actress. From the roles she’s played in Christian Youth Theatre plays with me, some evangelism skits that we did, and her roles in short movies such as “California Johnson and the Second to Last Crusade,” I knew that I would have so much fun trying her out for a part in my radio drama. She nailed her cold-reading as The Queen, and did such an amazing job in the recording room. Her crying and screaming scenes were amazing! I was shocked by how well she did and how realistic it sounded.

Julia is a 2012 home school graduate. She is a professional actress whose work so far includes background acting in film and TV. Her favorite subject in high school was science. Julia loves traveling and linguistics. She has a passion for acting, dancing, singing, playing piano, and all things musical. If she were stuck on a desert island with one food of choice, it would be “Curried Beef a la Tim.”  Julia hopes to one day go wingsuit flying. This is what Julia says about the whole recording experience:

“When I first read ‘A Cry From Egypt,’ I was able to see the story of Exodus in a light I never had before. Hope’s writing style is so engaging and vivid that it was easy to imagine the characters and places in the book. When she asked if I would be interested in being a part of the Radio Drama, I was ecstatic. At first, I was a little unsure about how I would portray the screaming scenes. One night I told God that I knew I was nothing on my own, but that with His strength I could do anything. After giving it over to Him, He gave me such a wonderful peace about the process. As Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”   I pray that those who listen to ‘A Cry From Egypt’ will be as blessed by hearing it as I was by being a part of it.”

Meet “Acenith”!!

Hello All!

Meet one of my closest friends and accountability partners, Lindy Meeker! Lindy Meeker is playing “Acenith” in the radio drama, Jarah’s Egyptian friend who lives in Rameses.

Lindy is an amazing and beautiful young lady. Her heart is devoted wholly to seeking God and His plan for her life. Lindy is a constant source of encouragement and support to me. She always points me back towards Christ and His word. Lindy helped me edit my first book, and has provided great insight for what I have of book 2! She is also an amazing actress. I met Lindy briefly at a homeschool conference almost six years ago, and then got to know her that Winter when we were in a play together. Our paths crossed for years, but we began to get closer after we both graduated high school and found out how much we had in common! She is such a blessing to me, and I know you’ll be blessed by listening to her in the role of “Acenith”!

Lindy Meeker as our “Acenith”!

Lindy was homeschooled all through school, and graduated in 2010. She attended Ellerslie Leadership Training, an intensive discipleship program in Colorado, during the Fall of 2011. Now she is working as a part time nanny for a precious two year old girl, and loves being “Miss Lindy”! She has been a part of Christian Youth Theatre for 7 years, as an actor, class assistant, stage director, and is now assistant directing. Lindy enjoys singing, acting, playing piano, laughing, being with family, and Christ-centered conversations with wonderful friends! Although she has a few ideas, she doesn’t know right now what her near future holds. She is trusting that God will make the next steps clear in His perfect timing! This is what Lindy says about playing her character:

“I learned a lot from playing Acenith, not necessarily from the character herself, but certainly through the process of bringing her to life! God faithfully helped me see that I could never do it in my own strength. I’ve never even tried to scream like that before! As I prayed, God enabled me to trust Him to do it through me. He always gives us grace for what He calls us to do. If something is challenging, it gives me an even greater opportunity to rely on Him, and to know in the end that is was only by His grace that it happened! “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Meet “Jarah”!!

Hello All! I would like to introduce you to Tori MacDonald! Tori is playing “Jarah” in our radio drama, and she is an amazing actress! Her personality is sweet and caring, just like Jarah, and when she auditioned for the role I heard her voice and knew that she was the one to play the part. :-)

I met Tori about three or four years ago. She was in a Summer acting camp where I was a helper and an acting coach. I was immediately impressed by her beautiful smile, her serving spirit, how respectful she was, her love for others, and her passion for the Lord. I’ve gotten to know her pretty well over the past year as I was one of her acting coaches in another class in CYT (Christian Youth Theatre), and then we’re in the same CYT class together again this year! I’ve been able to bring her back and forth to CYT almost every week, and I value and treasure her friendship. She also started a Bible study for some of our friends, and it’s been so beneficial to so many of us!

Tori is fifteen-years-old and a homeschooled Junior. Her first passion is God and her second passion is the theatre! :-) She has two younger siblings, a thirteen-year-old brother and a sister who is almost two! She wants to go to college for musical theatre and be a missionary. Her favorite subjects are literature, Chemistry, philosophy, and logic. Her favorite foods are salad, tacos, and peppermint ice cream. She loves musicals and Broadway sound tracks. One thing people find weird about her is that she doesn’t like bacon! 😉 Tori loves working and playing with kids and teaching them. Tori’s prayer (and mine, too!) is that by reading “A Cry From Egypt” or listening to the radio drama, each and every person will come to know God and how amazing He is. This is what Tori says about her character:

Tori MacDonald as our “Jarah”!

 

“My character, Jarah, is very much like me, especially when it comes to our struggles. I have often struggled with knowing God was there, especially when things seem to be going the wrong way. But God has shown His character and truth to me! I want you to know that God loves you and He is always with you. Even if you can’t feel Him working in your life, He is. One of my very favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11-13b which says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you!’ declares the Lord.” He’s there with arms wide open; All we have to do is run into them!”

Photo Credit: Elisha Brooke Photography