Friday, May 30, 2008

Ruby Among Us by Tina Forkner

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ruby Among Us

(WaterBrook Press May 20, 2008)


Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. Originally from Oklahoma, she graduated with honors in English from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming where she now resides with her husband and their three children. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors with her family, and works as a full-time writer.


Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past...

In Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty, can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

“What an incredible story. As both mothers and daughters, Ruby Among Us struck a special cord in each of the four of us. Tina writes in a way that makes us feel like we’re there; from the first line, we were captivated and drawn into an intricate weaving of the precious and fragile relationships that define us.”
~Point of Grace~

“Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.”
~Jordin Sparks~, 2007 winner of American Idol

“Highly recommended. If you’re a mother or daughter, you’re going to love Ruby Among Us. Forkner does an extraordinary job…. I look forward to more from this author.”
~Ane Mulligan~, Novel Journey

“Don’t miss this one! Tina Ann Forkner is a strong new voice in fiction and Ruby Among Us is an amazing story of trials, regrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Lucy and her family history in the historic wine country of Sonoma bring to life the Scriptures about the Vine and His branches.”
~Kristin Billerbeck~, author of The Trophy Wives Club

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

Margie's comments: I met Tina two years ago in a women's bathroom at Denver International Airport. *smile* I was with a group of four or five other ladies, all writers and members of the American Christian Fiction Writers. We were on our way to Dallas for the annual conference. Tina was alone, but she quickly identified us as going to the same conference she was headed to . . . and we quickly determined we were all on the same flight. She'd just received her contract with WaterBrook for Ruby Among Us, and I've been waiting this long to read it! I've gotten a good start on it . . . but the review will have to wait until next week. I saw Tina most recently two weeks ago at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. It was good to renew our friendship and to see how excited she was at the release of her long-awaited debut novel. So . . . stay tuned!

Daily Bible reading (a few days late):
Tuesday, May 27—2 Kings 15–16; Matthew 14:22–36
Wednesday, May 28—2 Kings 17–18; Matthew 15:1–20
Thursday, May 29—2 Kings 19–21; Matthew 15:21–39
Friday, May 30—2 Kings 22–23; Matthew 16
Saturday, May 31—2 Kings 24–25; Matthew 17
Sunday, June 1—Hosea 1–4; Matthew 18:1–20
Monday, June 2—Hosea 5–8; Matthew 18:21–35

Today I'm headed for Sargent, Georgia, where Roger is working now. (It's about 20 minutes southwest of Atlanta, or so I'm told. *smile*) It has been a hectic two weeks preparing to be gone for the next almost four weeks. Anyway . . . I'll catch up with everyone on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Broken Angel

(WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)


Sigmund Brouwer


Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen best-selling novels for children and adults. His newest book is Fuse of Armageddon and his novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America. A champion of literacy, he teaches writing workshops for students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.


Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy.
Her destiny is beyond comprehension.
Her pursuers long to see her broken.
She fights to soar.

A father's love for his daughter…a decision that would change both their lives forever. But who is she really─and why must she now run for her life?

Caitlin's body has made her an outcast, a freak, and the target of vicious bounty hunters. As she begins a perilous journey, she is forced to seek answers for her father's betrayal in the only things she can carry with her─a letter he passes her before forcing her to run, and their shared memories together.

Being hunted forces Caitlyn to partner with two equally lonely companions, one longing to escape the horror of factory life in Appalachia and the others, an unexpected fugitive. Together the three will fight to reach a mysterious group that might be friend or foe, where Caitlyn hopes to uncover the secrets of her past...and the destiny she must fulfill.

In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.

Prepare yourself to experience a chilling America of the very near future, as you discover the unforgettable secret of the Broken Angel.

In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: I've started reading the book, but will have to postpone the review for later.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Embrace Me by Lisa Samson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Embrace Me

(Thomas Nelson March 4, 2008)


Lisa Samson


Lisa Samson is a Christy Award-winning author of 19 books, including the Women of the Faith Novel of the Year, Quaker Summer. Lisa has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks."

In Embrace Me, the latest novel by acclaimed author Lisa Samson, readers are privy to the realization that regardless of outward appearances…hideous, attractive, or even ordinary…persons are all looking for the same things: love, forgiveness, and redemption.

This story explores a world that is neither comfortable nor safe, a world that people like Valentine know all too well. Masterfully crafted by Samson and populated by her most compelling cast of characters yet. It is a tale of forgiveness that extends into all spheres of life: forgiving others, forgiving oneself, forgiving the past.

She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids.


Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful...a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.

When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattooed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster...and improbably close to grace.

Valentine, due to her own drastic self-disfigurement, has very few friends in this world and, it appears as if she may be destined to spend the rest of her life practically alone. But life gives her one good friend, Lella, whose own handicap puts her in the same freakish category as Valentine. As part of Roland's Wayfaring Marvel and Oddities Show, a traveling band of misfits, they seem to have found their niches in an often curiously cruel world.

Residing in a world where masks are mandatory, Valentine has a hard time removing hers, because of her disfigured face but more so because of her damaged soul. It is much easier for her to listen endlessly to different versions of a favorite song, "Embraceable You," and escape reality. Yet, life has more in store for her when she meets Augustine, replete with the tattoos, dreadlocks, and his own secrets. With his arrival, Valentine's soul takes a turn.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Margie's comments/review: I'm often amazed at how God works. I shouldn't be, but I am. And so many times He brings us full circle to face past failures so He can show us how He works good in all things. In Embrace Me, Lisa has captured this concept beautifully. I ached along with Valentine as she strove to find her place in a cruel world, as she worked to accept her disfigured face, and as she sought to understand the strange "monk" who seemed familiar yet was so different from anyone else she knew. Lisa has written a wonderful book on how God works, how He loves us even in our disfigured, sinful humanity, and how God is at work bringing beauty out of the ugliest circumstances. I highly recommend this book, but be warned: it's not an easy, fell-good read. It will challenge the way you choose to live out the principles of God's Word on loving your neighbor as yourself.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Godly Mother—Ruth Myrant

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking of my godly mother, Ruth Myrant, in the morning service as part of the Mother’s Day message. I’m sharing what I said to our church family with you today.

The picture is one we took at church one month before she went to be with the Lord. Mom’s children and their families were all together for Christmas. Mom is in the middle, seated. Around her from left to right are: Tara, Richard, and Rebecca Geary; Kathy and Randy; Bob Myrant; Roger and me; Kurt, Kathy, Jared, and Megan Anderson.

Mom’s primary goal and desire in life was to honor God in every detail and to continually be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Three things stick out when I think of the godly life she lived: she was a woman of the Word, she was a woman of prayer, and she was a woman of service. Since they are all interconnected, it’s hard to separate one from the other.

For as long as I can remember, the first thing Mom did when she woke in the morning was to take her Bible and devotional book, The Daily Light, and a cup of coffee with her to her special chair either in her bedroom or in the living room. She never, ever started a day without that time in the Word. She not only read it, she memorized it, meditated on it, and used it throughout the day to sustain her and us through whatever circumstance or trial we were walking through. We all knew Mom did this, and we thought it was everyone’s usual practice.

Richard, my brother, says he doesn’t remember Mom ever sleeping. She was the first one up every morning, many times before 4:00—especially when she worked the 7 a.m.–3 p.m. shift at the hospital—and she was always the last one to bed at night. Richard likens her to the Proverbs 31 woman who rose while it was still night to provide food for her family and whose lamp did not go out at night. God came first in her life, then her family. Because she had a difficult marriage due to my dad’s mental illness, she knew she couldn’t do anything without God’s strength. Even when she was legally blind because of multiple eye problems, she spent time in the Word—either with her large-print edition or the Bible on tape. Richard also noted that she entered into Jesus’ presence at the time we knew was her early morning time with Him—6:00 a.m.

Mom even used the Word when she disciplined us. One specific time I remember—I was eleven or twelve—was when I lost my temper and threw my doll across my bedroom. Well, the doll hit the wall: I was left with her plastic foot and lower leg in my hand, facing certain punishment. Mom sent me to her room and made me wait. From my perspective now, I know she spent that time I waited praying for direction on how to deal with me. My temper, and the resulting words and actions, was a major problem that was growing worse, not improving. Finally Mom came into the room, but instead of giving me the spanking I expected, she sat down and opened her Bible to Psalm 45:13 where the psalmist gives a description of the bride coming to her royal bridegroom. The one sentence that she focused on is “The King’s daughter is all glorious within.” She used my fascination with all things pertaining to royalty to explain to me that as a child of God I was a princess. But I wasn’t acting like one, nor did the beauty that God saw in me shine forth because of the anger, bitterness, and wrong thinking that fueled my temper.

That one conversation with Mom was the beginning of my allowing God to tame my tongue and my temper. A few years ago, discouraged that I still fight that particular battle, I asked Mom if she remembered that incident. She didn’t, and she was amazed that something so seemingly insignificant had made such an impact on me. But I knew as a child, maybe for the first time, the effect God’s Word had on Mom’s life and on mine as a result.

Very closely related to being a woman of the Word, Mom was also a woman of prayer. Prayer was integral to her. She truly lived “pray without ceasing.” This was more and more apparent toward the end of her life, as she had to give up active service little by little. She set aside time each day for specific and directed prayer, not just for herself and her family, but for everyone who crossed paths with her. If she told someone she would be praying, you could count on it. Mom compiled a prayer journal that at the time of her death was a notebook about three inches thick. A few weeks after she died, I went through it and was amazed and humbled by the details the book contains. I learned that while she prayed for me, and my family, every day, she specifically prayed for us on Sunday. I’d wondered why Sundays had been so difficult after she died. That’s why. My prayer warrior had gone to be with the Lord, sitting at His feet, and I’m sure she’s still interceding for us. My brother’s day was Monday. My sister’s was Tuesday. Through prayer, she was our encourager to pursue godliness in our own lives, our cheerleader when she saw us living out the purposes God had called us to, and our defender against the enemy of our souls.

Each of our pastors had a page in the notebook devoted to them and their families. She had specific days she prayed for each one as well. As she did with many missionaries she came into contact with over the years. Many of you, her brothers and sisters in the Lord, were in her journal. This week my daughter Kathy said this about her grandmother: Grandma always had a way about her that you could tell she was in constant contact with her Savior. In the way she talked . . . and carried herself and lived, it was always very evident to me, even from a young age. If someone ever asks me who my hero is, I say Grandma because she was the godliest person I know.

Finally, Mom was a woman of Christ-centered service. She willingly served God from the time she was old enough to learn of the miracles God worked on her behalf even at her birth. When she was three days old she had surgery for a life-threatening genetic condition she was born with. Very few doctors would perform this surgery on one so small. The problem was considered a fatal one in the 1930s. In fact, she was the first baby that young to ever survive the surgery. My grandparents, and later Mom, knew God had a special purpose for her.

Over her lifetime, she willingly served God as a daughter, sister, pastor’s wife, missionary, nurse, mother to three children, stepmother to many more, grandmother, and friend to many. She was widowed twice, and then left her third husband a widower.

She taught Sunday school, ran children’s ministry, played the piano or organ in many ministries, sang in many church choirs, and was a soloist. She assisted my father in planting two churches in Peru and one in Nebraska and continued to have an active role in missions, even after she was no longer serving full-time on the mission field. She knew that everywhere she went she was a witness for the Lord. My sister Kathy pointed out that the biggest frustration she had in her later years was when her health would no longer allow her to actively serve the Lord. Everywhere Mom went, whether to the store or out to eat, she constantly spoke of the Lord to others. Bob has told me that after she died, several of the waitresses and waiters in the restaurants they frequented missed being able to share their problems and concerns with her. They knew she cared, even though she didn’t know them well.

Mom’s life wasn’t easy. Yet in every situation she saw God’s faithfulness, His goodness, and His love. And even though she feared at times to go through difficult circumstances as it seemed God was leading, she found her strength once again in His Word and in prayer. For Mom’s 70th birthday, Randy wrote a letter to her in which he summarized her godliness in service to Christ and others: “Thank you for allowing God to work in you. I know you would take credit for none of the things I’ve mentioned; you would quietly thank me for my kind words and praise God for the lives He’s impacted through you. Your humility and desire to glorify God in all things is evidence of your surrender to him.”

There’s so much more I could say about Mom’s godly life, but there isn’t time. Her godly influence in the lives of her children, grandchildren, other family members—in every life she touched—continues to live on. I am blessed and challenged because of her goal in life, the one we had engraved on her gravestone as a continued witness: Philippians 1:21—For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Daily Bible reading (two weeks because of CCWC this week):
Tuesday, May 13—1 Kings 3–5; Matthew 6:19–34
Wednesday, May 14—1 Kings 6–7; Matthew 7
Thursday, May 15—1 Kings 8-–9; Matthew 8:1–17
Friday, May 16—1 Kings 10–11; Matthew 8:18–34
Saturday, May 17—1 Kings 12-–13; Matthew 9:1–17
Sunday, May 18—1 Kings 14–15; Matthew 9:18–38
Monday, May 19—1 Kings 16–18; Matthew 10:1–20

Tuesday, May 20—1 Kings 19–20; Matthew 10:21–42
Wednesday, May 21—1 Kings 21–22; Matthew 11
Thursday, May 22—2 Kings 1–3; Matthew 12:1–23
Friday, May 23—2 Kings 4–6; Matthew 12:24–50
Saturday, May 24—2 Kings 7–9; Matthew 13:1–30
Sunday, May 25—2 Kings 10-–12; Matthew 13:31–58
Monday, May 26—2 Kings 13–14; Matthew 14:1–21

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Warriors by Mark Andrew Olsen

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Warriors

(Bethany House April 1, 2008)


Mark Andrew Olsen


MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. His last novel was the supernatural thriller The Watchers.

The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.


A failed recon mission deep in the tunnels of Afghanistan has provoked a demonic onslaught that had been brewing for centuries. The mission's sole survivor is reformed black ops assassin Dylan Hatfield, and he once again teams up with Abby Sherman, now at the helm of the Watchers, an ancient spiritual force. Uncovering and preventing a secret wave of death whispered across cyberspace and threatening to be unleash against civilization will require another level of spiritual power and expertise--the Warriors.

Journeying across the Alps of Europe through the multilayered history of warfare in the unseen world, Dylan and Abby uncover an age-old stone engraving that rouses the church's Warriors to action, placing them dead center in one of the fiercest spiritual battles of their time!

And once again they are reminded: This is all part of a vast and perpetual war, a war beyond all human conflicts, one that has engulfed heaven and earth since before the dawn of history....

Abby Sherman is headed back to Israel, where a Watcher, the Sentinel of Jerusalem, lies dying. In her last breaths the old woman tells Abby of an ancient document prophesying humanity's full-scale entry into the ongoing conflict between armies of heaven and fallen angels.

Dylan Hatfield has decided to answer a summons from his old boss and join a secret operation, its mission to reconnoiter the Afghani tunnel complex from which Osama bin Laden escaped in 2001. What he discovers sears his very soul and likely will end his life.

Abby learns of the peril facing Dylan, and she sends out a call for intercession on his behalf. Her frantic email message sets in motion a series of harrowing events, propelling the two on a new mission and quest--one where the stakes are the lives of millions!

The Warriors is packed with high-octane action, featuring exotic international locales, with characters in a clash against spiritual "principalities and powers" with eternal consequences, The Warriors is a story that will enthrall, enlighten, and engage its readers.

If that piques your interest, you can read the first chapter HERE

"Olsen, one of the better writers in this subgenre, delivers powerful, action-packed plots that delve into mystical paranormal worlds."
~Library Journal, Feb. 2008

"Olsen delivers an entertaining thriller likely to be enjoyed especially by fans of the spiritual warfare genre."

Margie's comments: I'm very behind on my review reading, but The Warriors is at the top of that list. So I hope to have a review on this soon. Since I finished reading The Watchers not too long ago, I'm looking forward to reading more about Abby Sherman and Dylan Hatfield.

Now to return to conference work in preparation for CCWC next week. *smile* This is one book that is going with me to Estes Park next week. I'm looking forward to the week I'll be spending at the Y.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Conference Preparation

Next week is the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. And it's already affecting me big-time. *smile* Comes with being the assistant to the director. As I spent four days on something that I expected (from past years) to take me two, I had to wonder why I had scheduled three proofreading projects that really needed to be done by today. Going from past experience, I purposely didn't schedule any proofreading projects to be due one week before, during, or after the conference. But hindsight says I should have planned two.

I've asked the Lord often in the last week why He allowed this, and the only answer I got was Ecclesiastes 11:6 (NLT): Be sure to stay busy and plant a variety of crops, for you never know which will grow – perhaps they all will.

Then, too, yesterday at church the Lord reminded me over and over that loving others as Christ loves them, having a heart for people, is an aspect of serving Him. And I certainly have had my share of dealing with people in love this past week. Somehow I don't think it will end. But that's okay. I'm learning that when I pray over a reply, I no longer want to lash out. I have more patience (something I learned a long time ago not to pray for, but . . . I think the Lord delights in answering those long ago prayers now *grin*).

So . . . thankfully I finished one project Friday night (late), the second last night (late). Today I'm devoting to the third project. THEN I can focus on CCWC. This week's major project is arranging for drivers for the faculty who fly in to DIA and need rides up to Estes Park where the conference is held. The fun starts next week on Tuesday.

Daily Bible reading: Tuesday, May 6—Numbers 23–25; Matthew 1
Wednesday, May 7—Numbers 26–28; Matthew 2
Thursday, May 8—Numbers 29–31; Matthew 3
Friday, May 9—Numbers 32–34; Matthew 4
Saturday, May 10—Numbers 35–36; Matthew 5:1–26
Sunday, May 11—Jonah; Matthew 5:27–48
Monday, May 12—1 Kings 1–2; Matthew 6:1–18

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Christy Awards 2008 Finalists


Ann Arbor, Mich.-The Christy Advisory Board is pleased to announce nominees in nine categories for the 2008 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction. The Christy Awards dinner will be held Saturday evening, July 12, 2008, at The Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida. Visit the Christy Awards online at for more information about the dinner and to make reservations.

The Christy Awards 2008 Nominees


Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)
In High Places by Tom Morrisey (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (Viking Penguin)
A Time to Mend by Sally John and Gary Smalley (Thomas Nelson)
What Lies Within by Karen Ball (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Tendering in the Storm by Jane Kirkpatrick (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

LITS (four nominees due to a tie)
Doesn't She Look Natural by Angela Elwell Hunt (Tyndale House Publishers)
Hallie's Heart by Shelly Beach (Kregel Publications)
Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
" Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck (Avon Inspire, a division of HarperCollins Publishers)

Lightning and Lace by DiAnn Mills (Barbour Publishing)
Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney (Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster)
Remembered by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Cure by Athol Dickson (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay (Moody Publishers)
The Pawn by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress Publishing Group)
Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee (NavPress Publishing Group)
The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (NavPress Publishing Group)
In Between by Jenny B. Jones (NavPress Publishing Group)
Maggie Come Lately by Michelle Buckman (NavPress Publishing Group)