Thursday, April 30, 2009

Verse of the Day

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. (Psalm 103:1–5 NASB)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Vote of Confidence

Zondervan (April 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote of Confidence, go HERE

Verse of the Day

“Consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24 ESV)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Verse of the Day

It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night. . . . For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. (Psalm 92:1–2, 4)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Elisha's Bones by Don Hoesel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)


Don Hoesel


Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, but calls Spring Hill, TN, home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.


Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are—bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life . . . but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

Margie's comments: A full review will come later, but I have to tell you . . . I'm hooked. Even though I needed to turn off the light much sooner than I eventually did, I kept reading. *smile* I'll probably finish it this weekend and get a review to you then.

Have a great weekend!

Verse of the Day

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Verse of the Day

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 NLT)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Reluctant Cowgirl by Christine Lynxwiler

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Reluctant Cowgirl

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)


Christine Lynxwiler


Christine lives with her husband and two precious daughters in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in her home state of Arkansas. Her greatest earthly joy is her family and, aside from doing God’s will, spending time with them is her top priority.

She recently took a break from writing romance to pen a Christmas story with a twist. Her Mom Lit novella, My True Love Gave to Me, is part of a 2 in 1 anthology from Barbour entitled All Jingled Out. It’s also included in Simply Christmas, a 4 in 1 Barbour anthology. One of her holiday highlights was seeing Simply Christmas at Sam’s Club a few weeks before Christmas.

She has written two other novellas, both romance, which are included in Barbour anthologies, City Dreams, and Prairie County Fair and a serial for the Heartsong Presents book club newsletter – The Carousel Horse. The Carousel Horse can be read in its entirety on the Heartsong website, and you can read excerpts from all of her other books on her website, HERE

In 2003, Christine was honored by being voted #2 Favorite New Author by the Heartsong Presents Book Club members!


Actress Crystal McCord gave up the closeness of her big family in order to make a name for herself on the New York City stage. But when life in the Big Apple turns sour, she follows a country road back to her parents Arkansas ranch.

The last thing she expects to find in cowboy country is a new leading man. Still, she can't help but imagine handsome rancher Jeremy Buchanan in the role.

Unfortunately, Jeremy's been burned by Crystal's type before. Or has he? Every time he thinks he knows her, the multifaceted woman surprises him. Will the reluctant pair allow their hearts to guide them, or will their common stubborn pride keep them miles apart?

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

Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion; Declare among the peoples His deeds. (Psalm 9:9–11)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Silent Listening, Yielded Following

"Anxiety and misgiving proceed solely from love of self. The love of God accomplishes all things quietly and completely; it is not anxious or uncertain. The Spirit of God rests continually in quietness. Perfect love casteth out fear. It is in forgetfulness of self that we find peace. Happy is he who yields himself completely, unconsciously, and finally to God. Listen to the inward whisper of His Spirit and follow it—that is enough; but to listen one must be silent, and to follow one must yield." ~Fenelon

This is at least the 7th or 8th reminder (could be more, I've lost count!) in the last two days of the necessity of being still and quiet before the Lord if I want to know how He's continually directing my way. I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I don't take the time to sit quietly at Jesus' feet so I can hear Him speak.

My Martha-being sees all that needs to be done and plunges right in (after making a to-do list, of course, even if it is a mental one). I make time for a quiet time first thing in the morning, but much of the time my mind is on other things, instead of focused on Him. I long to have Mary's heart, one that doesn't begrudge the time it take to quiet myself.

Yesterday as I walked at the park a few blocks from my house, the audio book I was listening to came to the end of the tape . . . and I'd forgotten to bring the next one. And even though this book is so familiar to me that I can almost quote passages from it, I experienced a momentary irritation with myself. Then the thought came that maybe, just maybe, I could use the rest of the time in prayer, focused on why the Lord kept bringing in His not-so-subtle reminders that I needed to be quiet. Hmmmm . . .

While I didn't "hear" a whole lot, I came home in a much more peaceful frame of mind. And this morning in my quiet time, I actually spent a good portion of it quietly waiting on Him. And I came out of that time refreshed and energized for today's agenda. Still waiting for clear direction in several areas, so I'm yielding my anxiety and care to Him . . . again.

Verse of the Day

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! . . . "Be silent, and know that I am God!" (Psalm 46:1–3, 10)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Boneman's Daughters

Center Street (April 14, 2009)


Ted Dekker


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multicultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

If you're an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Boneman's Daughters, go HERE

Review to come later

Verse of the Day

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God . . . your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:2–3 ESV)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Verse of the Day

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (Psalm 63:1–4)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Secret by Beverly Lewis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret

(Bethany House May 1, 2009)


Beverly Lewis


Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible college student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County-- the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

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

Verse of the Day

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17 ESV)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Tamera's deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards. These awards include the 2008 Christy Award for Best Romance, the 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

Tamera’s June 2008 release, From a Distance, is part of a second historical trilogy (Timber Ridge Reflections) with Bethany House and is a 2009 Christy Awards finalist for Best Historical Romance. This three-part series focuses on “women firsts,” women who were first in their fields and who helped pave the way for their modern-day contemporaries. It's a story close to Tamera's heart that captures the essence of what it means to give God your dreams and then hold on for the journey ahead!

Tamera's recent release, The Inheritance, debuted on the April 2009 CBA Bestseller List and is the first historical for the WOMEN OF FAITH fiction line (Thomas Nelson). The Inheritance, a stand alone novel, is set in Colorado 1877. Beyond This Moment, the second Timber Ridge Reflections novel is also now available. And in the fall, Within My Heart, the last book in the Timber Ridge Reflections series, will release. Tamera is currently working on a brand new six-book series that debuts in 2010.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in a small town just south of Nashville with a rich history dating back to 1799. There they enjoy life with their two college-age children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.

Desperate for a fresh start, McKenna Ashford accepts her cousin's invitation and moves west with her rebellious younger brother to the not-so-quaint mountain town of Copper Creek, Colorado. She arrives only to find that life there is far from what she expects. Having practically raised Robert on her own, McKenna is burdened both with her failure as a parent and her deep conviction to not let her brother throw his life away. Trusting has never come easily for her--especially in issues of the heart--and that inability to trust is put to test when she meets U.S. Marshal Wyatt Caradon.

After years on the trail, Marshal Wyatt Caradon finds himself at a crossroads. He's brought countless men to justice, but he questions what lasting good his life has accomplished. When his path intersects that of young Robert Ashford, Wyatt glimpses himself, years ago, in the boy's pride and arrogance. He also sees a boy without a firm hand in his life. His well-meant attempt to help Robert brings him face-to-face with the one situation he never wanted to encounter--and the one woman who holds the key to helping him find his future.

Set against the rich, untamed backdrop of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, The Inheritance is the first historical from WOMEN OF FAITH FICTION, and is a journey that explores the depth and breadth of a parent's love, the inherent risk in learning to trust, and the cost of laying down your life for one you love.

Margie's comments: Rarely am I touched as deeply by the underlying message of a book as I am with Tamera Alexander's The Inheritance. Privileged to read this several months before it came out in print, I'm still daily affected by the impact of the heroine's journey—one I've been on for several years now. As I read about McKenna's struggle to learn the balance in her relationship with her wayward brother, I was reminded over and over that as much as I love my children, God loves them even more. And because of His overwhelming, unfathomable love, I can trust Him to do what's best for them. But as McKenna learns, that kind of trust doesn't come easily or without sacrifice. It affects her growing feelings for the U.S. Marshal who shows up on her doorstep, offering his help on the farm she's recently inherited. He challenges her faith and that makes her take another look at what it means to be totally surrendered to God. The setting lends itself well to the story, the romance is well written, but the message and the daily prayer that has become Wyatt and McKenna's lifeline is powerful. I highly recommend this book, but be prepared to be challenged in your relationship with Jesus Christ. It will change you.

To buy the book go here.

Verse of the Day

For my eyes are toward You, O GOD, the Lord; In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless. (Psalm 141:8)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Deadlock by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (April 2009)


Robert Liparulo


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. Readers of his action-thrillers were not surprised when his visual storytelling style caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes a Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers released in January, and number four, Timescape, comes out in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series Goosebumps creator R. L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

He is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects a bit of the supernatural into his gun-blazing stories. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on the critically acclaimed short story he contributed to James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.


John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. He's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page—and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

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

Margie's comments: Full review to come later.

Verse of the Day

I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13–14)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Lever Long Enough by Amy Deardon

Amy Deardon is a skeptic who came to faith through study of the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I met Amy last summer at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. When she spoke of her upcoming debut novel in the clinic we took, the premise intrigued me. Then the next morning we had a long visit in the foyer of the main building at PBU. What a blessing she was and still is to me. I offered then to review her book, and she generously handed me an ARC. I actually read this back in January. (Told you I was catching up this week!) She can be reached through her Web site.

Here's a brief description of A Lever Long Enough:

In the near future, the Israeli military has developed a prototypic time machine. When believers in Yeshua (Jesus) create a politically explosive situation that threatens the balance of peace between Israel and nearby countries, the Israelis must send a team of four elite soldiers back to film the theft of Jesusʼ body from the tomb and thus disprove Christianity. The team, consisting of a Special Forces soldier as leader, an ex-American astronaut as engineering specialist, an archaeologist, and a linguist, has exactly seventy-two hours to collect the video evidence. Drawn into a web of first century deception and death, the only way to escape is for the team to change the past. In the present, a traitor attempts to sabotage the mission and seize control of the military complex. The Special Forces leader operating in the past is the only one who can reveal him, but he is trapped two thousand years away. Even with a time machine, time is running out...

If you are a fan of speculative fiction, you'll love this book. I was hooked by the book's description, but I definitely couldn't put the book down after the first few pages. As a debut author, Amy has done a very good job incorporating her research into a fictional world. The book not only creates a world peopled with skeptics. But the prospect of filming the theft of Christ's body draws several of the characters to ask more questions than what's good for them. I loved the intrigue that was a part of this story, and it was skillfully woven throughout the span of two thousand years. The ending was a little abrupt and left me wanting to read more. Now. Hopefully there is a sequel in the works! There's definitely room for one. It's a book worth reading.

You can order a copy of A Lever Long Enough here.

Verse of the Day

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. (James 1:17)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Allie Fortune Mystery Series by Sara Mills

This week I'm catching up on book reviews. I'm still behind, but . . .

First up, last Tuesday I learned that one of my ACFW writer friends lost her husband to a massive heart attack. He was only 40. She is now a young widow with three young children. Other ACFW writer friends, Cara Putnam among them, came up with this idea to help support Sara Mills in a small way. Read the interview that Cara posted to her blog last Monday. At the end is in the information you need to buy one or more of her books. (Mine should arrive today, and I'm looking forward to a couple of wonderful reads.) Please do as you feel led. But definitely hold up Sara and her family in the coming weeks and months.

This interview ran on Monday—and I just learned that Sara's husband died of a heart attack on Tuesday. He was young—40—and I am so grieved for Sara and her children. If you've considered buying one of these books, please follow the links at the end of this post to buy one or both books. I thoroughly enjoyed both, and may go buy them again they were that good.

Miss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in NYC in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...

I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me:
One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?

I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.

One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.

Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?

Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.

Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.

One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?

If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.

469260: Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.

Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fianci was still alive.

469270: Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.

A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

Verse of the Day

I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness. (Psalm 59:16–17)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chasing Charity by Marcia Gruver

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Chasing Charity

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)


Marcia Gruver


Marcia Gruver is a full-time writer who hails from Southeast Texas. Inordinately enamored by the past, Marcia delights in writing historical fiction. Her deep south-central roots lend a Southern-comfortable style and a touch of humor to her writing.

Awarded a three book contract by Barbour Publishing for full-length historical fiction, Marcia is busy these days pounding on the keyboard and watching the deadline clock. Diamond Duo, the first installment in the trilogy entitled Texas Fortunes, was released in October 2008.

Marcia won third place in the 2007 ACFW Genesis contest and third in the 2004 ACFW Noble Theme contest. Another entry in 2004 finished in the top ten. She placed second in the 2002 Colorado Christian Writer’s contest for new authors, securing a spot in an upcoming compilation book. “I Will Never Leave Thee,” in For Better, For Worse—Devotional Thoughts for Married Couples, was released by Christian Publications in January 2004.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Fellowship of Christian Writers, and The Writers View—and a longstanding member of ACFW Crit3 and Seared Hearts, her brilliant and insightful critique groups.

Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband, Lee, have one daughter and four sons. Collectively, this motley crew has graced them with ten grandchildren and one great-granddaughter—so far.


When, in full view of family and friends, Charity Bloom's fiance leaves her stranded at the altar and takes off with her best friend, Charity is humiliated. How will this raven-haired beauty ever recover from losing both her betrothed and best friend on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life?

When tall, handsome roughneck Buddy Pierce finds oil on Charity's mama's land, he hopes to free the Blooms from their poverty-stricken state. But will Buddy find the real treasure lies above ground—in Charity herself?

Ruing the day he left his fiancée for Emily Dane, Daniel Clark is determined to recapture Charity's affection. But can he remove the three things that stand in his way—a manipulative mama, a spurned lover, and the stranger at his ex-fiancée's side?

When Daniel re-stakes his claim on Charity's heart, tongues wag and minds speculate amid schemes and scandals in Humble, Texas. Whom will she choose—the handsome roughneck or the deceitful rouge?

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

Margie's comments: Chasing Charity is Marcia Gruver's second book in the Texas Fortunes series. Readers met Charity in Diamond Duo, and they won't be disappointed in this fun romance. I laughed out loud several times at Charity's antics as she tries to decide which man in her life to believe. If you like good historical romance, I highly recommend Chasing Charity. Looking forward to book 3 in this series.

Good Friday Meditation

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:3–12)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Verse of the Day

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us. (Isaiah 63:7)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Son, John by Kathi Macias

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Son, John

(Sheaf House Publishers April 2009)


Kathi Macias


Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. She has also ghostwritten and collaborated on books for a number of well-known individuals. She is a staff member for The Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and a member of The Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Authors Network, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Fellowship International, Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, for whom she serves as membership chair, and Orange County Christian Writers Fellowship. She is the 2008 winner of AWSA’s Golden Scroll Award.

A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Macias is a credentialed minister and served as an associate pastor at a large church in Southern California, where she did biblical counseling, trained small group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.


Murder. Could there be a more chilling word?

Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive?

When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.

And then a second blow—more devastating, if possible, than the first—rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother's murder. As what's left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons' longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?

Watch the chilling trailer!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of My Son, John, go HERE

Margie's comments: Wow! When I first received this book in the mail and I refreshed my memory of the back cover copy, I wasn't sure I could read it. But I'm glad I did. (Not without a lot of tears and lots of Puffs tissues.) Kathi Macias has taken an unthinkable situation for any parent to face and woven a story of love that transcends our human ability to love—unconditionally, with God's help. She compassionately takes us through the journey of one family as they choose to stand united in love in spite of the betrayal of one of their members. What an awesome picture of God's incomprehensible love lived out in the lives of these characters! And what a reminder that true love is an act of the will. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time. It is not a read for the faint of heart.

Verse of the Day

"My heart exults in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. "There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:1–2)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Verse of the Day

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:29–31)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Surrender and Sacrifice

Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, is my favorite holiday (originated from holy day). This week, as I am reflecting on the events that led up to His resurrection, I’m once again reminded of Christ’s complete sacrifice of love when He gave His life as a ransom for my sin.

What absolute, amazing love! God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . . . Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father (Philippians 2:5–11), and only did what the Father asked of Him, even submitting to death to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

Surrender has come up often in the last few months, and I’ve written about it. As I continue to pray that God would mold me into the image of His Son, He keeps showing me areas that I haven’t surrendered to Him. Or maybe at one time I had, but I’ve taken it back and am trying to be the one in control. Again.

This week my Sunday school class started studying James 4.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1–3 ESV)

In this passage James directs his statements and admonitions to believers. As I studied these three verses in preparing to teach, I realized that once again God is saying true self-control comes when we yield total control to Him. In reality, while we may think we’re in control, we aren’t. God lets us have our way, and we think that because He does we’re in control and we can orchestrate our own happiness and peace.

Not so according to James. Striving to gain what we do not have, thinking that the next promotion, the next recognition of our talents and abilities, the next paycheck, a new home, car, the latest and greatest technology—whatever we’re striving for . . . whatever we think is going to bring us happiness, contentment—will bring us our heart’s desires and the realization of our dreams is false. Instead it is the root of our lack of patience with other people, our critical and argumentative thoughts or comments, and our failure to hear from God when we finally take these problems to Him.

Prayer should never be a last resort. Yet too many times I’m guilty of that. But praying in order to manipulate God into giving me what I want is wrong, too. All it does is increase my frustration at my inability to truly control anything!

Jesus tells us in Mark 8:35 that if we want to save (read control) our lives we will lose or fail in our efforts. But if we choose to follow Him and “lose” our lives to His control, then we will save them.

One of my favorite devotional books is Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts. It is a series of “chats” from God’s viewpoint. In the midst of my thoughts about this topic of surrender and sacrifice, I read this:

“O My children, you behave not as sons and daughters but as strangers. You boast that you serve Me, but in truth you serve your own ego.

“You would make Christianity pleasant and acceptable. Your Savior did not find it so. You would make comfortable and accommodating to your own schedule. He knew nothing of such a false religion.

“Do you truly desire to follow Me? Look for the bloodstained prints of My feet.”

Wow! That convicts me. Especially in the light of what we Christians are remembering this week. What makes me expect life to be “easy”? To be “fun”? To be lived on my own terms? That’s never been God’s plan for me. He put me on this earth to glorify Him, to bring honor to His name, to point others to Him. And it’s not the path to popularity and pleasing people!

One quick look at Jesus’ life and death will tell us that. Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday when Christ entered Jerusalem seated on a donkey, a symbol of royalty in those days. He proclaimed His Kingdom, fulfilling prophecy. But by the end of the week, He was arrested, went through several unjust trials, and was put on the cross to die. I could focus on His physical suffering, but that’s been covered well in sermons, teachings, and even in the movie The Passion of Christ.

But what Christ dreaded the most was not the pain of His physical suffering. That was nothing compared to the mental, emotional, and spiritual suffering of becoming sin for us on the cross, of experiencing God the Father’s abandonment because He could not look at that sin that Jesus bore. What little I can understand of the anguish Christ suffered, what little I can understand of the sacrifice Christ willingly went through for me, what little I can understand of the magnitude of the love that kept Him there and completed the payment overwhelms me. He did this for me! For you!

Jesus put aside the privileges of His deity—His glory, His riches, His due—in order to die for me. When I begin to grasp even a smidgeon of the enormity of His sacrifice, how can I withhold anything from His control? Why do I consider anything this world has to offer as better and more desirable than following God whole-heartedly? Why do I fall for the lie of anything in this world bringing me happiness and contentment and peace?

Father, forgive my unbelief. May I look only to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. May I always remember that only in surrendering my life to You, sacrificing my selfish desires and dreams and attempts at control, will I find truth. The truth that brings lasting peace, contentment, and joy in the midst of life’s ups and downs.

Just two choices on the shelf—pleasing God or pleasing self. (Ken Collier) Which will it be for you?

“What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” (Psalm 116:12)

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
—Isaac Watts

Verse of the Day

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15–16 ESV)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Angel of Wrath by Bill Myers

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Angel of Wrath

FaithWords (April 8, 2009)


Bill Myers


Well, one thing led to another and even though I got Cs in my one writing class in college (and told God I could do anything for Him but write), I got my first writing job for a TV series. And then another and then some directing jobs and finally some books. (I think I've written and/or directed a few dozen films and about 60 books). The projects have won about 40 awards, I get to travel all over the world, and I'm having the time of my life. I often think that none of this would have happened if I lived my life my way. I would have never chosen writing and directing for a living. Instead, I might be in somebody's mouth this very minute drilling away as a dentist. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being a dentist, it's just not what I was designed for. So, everywhere I go, I encourage people to say yes to God, no matter how foolish it may feel, because by doing that, they'll be in the center of His will and living a cooler life than they'd ever dreamed possible. It's not always easy and it can be a little scary … but it's anything but boring!

Today I live in California, not too far from Hollyweird (where I'm still trying to make a difference) with two cats, two kids, one dog, and one wife.

Another Faithword book by Bill Myers is The Voice.


Thirteen-year-old Jazmin, her ex-Special Ops uncle Charlie, and former FBI agent Lisa are reunited in the second of the Voice of God series to stop a an assassin driven to murder members of a megachurch led by Lisa's brother. This assassin has drawn in a coven of teens toying with satanic practices to support his efforts. The naive youth engage in ceremonies that appear to usher in the death of each of his victims. When their rituals open a portal into the spiritual realm, a terrifying and mysterious entity crosses over to our world.

The battle culminates with the capture of Lisa's father as the next target and a Black Mass requiring both their deaths as a sacrifice. The team will, once again, have to rely on all their wits, strength, and faith to survive in this action-packed, unearthly warfare.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Angel of Wrath, go HERE

Review to come later. Still reading. *Smile*

Verse of the Day

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. (Psalm 34:1–3)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Verse of the Day

“Serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Real Enemy

David C. Cook (March 2009)


Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added thirteen more titles to her credit, including another bestseller, All Things Hidden.

Kathy's husband Paul is her best friend and most ardent supporter and manages the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five adorable grandkids, a cat named Samantha—and an ongoing fascination with hummingbirds. They also enjoy world travel, deep sea fishing, stargazing, and bird watching and sometimes incorporate all these hobbies into one big adventure.


Brill Jessup just became the first female police chief in Sophie Trace, Tennessee, and is riding on the credentials of a stellar eighteen-year career on the Memphis police force. She may be a pro at finding clues, but she tends to ignore the obvious in her personal life. And she would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt's infidelity. Kurt is weighed down by her unrelenting anger as he struggles to let God redeem the stupidest mistake he ever made. He is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. But she hides behind her badge and her bitterness, deciding that moving her family away from Memphis is the only change she needs to make. So why can't Brill get over this anger?

Before she ever has time to unpack her boxes, people start disappearing. Lots of them. Seven people in seven days. To complicate matters, a local legend has many residents believing that the cause is unearthly─tied to the “red shadows,” or spirits of the departed Cherokee who once inhabited the land.

While Brill draws on all of her experience and instinct to solve the case, she must confront an enemy that threatens everything she holds dear─one that cannot be stopped with a badge and a gun. She is forced to confront the real enemy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Real Enemy, go HERE

Margie's comments: Last week I got started reading The Real Enemy and got through several chapters before life and work sidelined my reading for a few days. I've read several chapters, enough to know that this book will deliver another satisfying read. But beyond that, I'll have to wait to post a full review. Having read a couple other Kathy Herman books, I can recommend her books to anyone who loves suspense.

Verse of the Day

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. (Hebrews 12:1–2)