Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Verse of the Day

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Verse of the Day

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. (Psalm 130:5, 7)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Company by Chuck Graham



About Chuck:

Chuck Graham's legal career as an attorney in private practice spanned more than thirty-one years. He represented many local, national, and international clients, acquiring intricate knowledge about the often-overlapping structures of the corporate world. He also worked against those seeking to create racial division, including the Ku Klux Klan. He has served as a member of the state bar of Georgia since 1979 and an instructor to attorneys and judges through the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). He received the Medallion of Appreciation from ICLE.

Chuck is also a speaker and the author of Take the Stand (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996) and the compilations, A Year of Encouragement (Xulon Press).

In 1997 he founded Ciloa (Christ Is Lord Of All), a ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement with the world and teaching those who follow Him how to encourage others. Today Chuck serves as executive director and principal author of A Note of Encouragement, a weekly e-zine reaching 175 countries.

He and Beverly, his wife of thirty-four years, have lived in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta, for fourteen years. God has blessed them with three children. In his free time, Chuck enjoys backpacking and hiking (especially on the Appalachian Trail), playing the guitar, dabbling in photography, and reading extensively about the Christian faith. 


 About the Book:

A meteor strike plunges the world into darkness. A stranger to the village of Brigos Glen restores power and light, supplied by three businesses, known as “The Company,” located beyond the forbidden mountains. The stranger reveals a plan so the Brigons can maintain the power and share the light with outlying territories, which remain shrouded in darkness.

Now, seventy years later, The Company summons six Brigons, including the young engineer Sam Mitchell, to attend a conference in the mountains of the forbidden Outlands.

Responsible for compiling a report about Brigos Glen from his five companions, Sam learns how managers and villagers largely ignored the plan or compromised it to self-interest, forsaking their duty to share the light. They also took for granted The Company responsible for generating and transmitting the power.

In an ordeal fraught with failure, revelations, and judgment, Sam discovers the true identity behind The Company and learns the fate that may befall Brigos Glen . . . that is, unless he can stop it.

Link to buy the book:
http://ow.ly/ceAOt

Margie's Comments: I had a hard time getting into the story, since the first almost fifty pages were almost all narrative—the backstory, which I would have preferred to have given to me in smaller snippets throughout the story. However, I stuck it out for the sake of reviewing the book, and I'm glad I did. This allegory is done well with characters' names and the setting, the world after the meteor hits the planet. The characters grew as they search for the truth and significance to their lives. A very satisfying read, for those who like fantasy and allegory, except for those unfortunate first pages. The ending may disappoint some, but it's the perfect setup for a sequel. I look forward to reading more by this author.



Blog Tour Schedule

To check out what others are saying about this book, check out the entire blog tour:
http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13517061/chuckgraham

Verse of the Day

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). (1 John 3:18 AMP)

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Kingdom by Bryan M. Litfin





This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
The Kingdom
 
Crossway Books (June 30, 2012)
 
by
 
Bryan M. Litfin
   



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee as well as a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is currently professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he has been since 2002. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays. Bryan has always enjoyed epic adventure stories as well as historical fiction, but most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He and his wife Carolyn are parents to two children. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains. The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.    



ABOUT THE BOOK
Book Three in the Chiveis Trilogy

War and disease have destroyed the modern world. Centuries later, feudal societies have arisen across Europe. No one can remember the ancient religion of Christianity—until an army captain and a farmer’s daughter discover the Sacred Writing of the one true God.

As Teo and Ana encounter the forgotten words of the holy book, they realize its message is just what their kingdom needs. Though exiled from their homeland, they join their hearts in a quest to return. But now an ancient pact has united the enemies of the Christian faith into a dark alliance that threatens to consume the known world. Racing to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Teo and Ana must battle heinous villains, stormy seas, and the powers of the underworld itself. As armies begin to mass for a final battle, the odds favor the forces of evil. Can Teo and Ana bring divine truth to Chiveis—or will the Word of God fade from the earth forever?


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

Review to come later. I'm really looking forward to reading the conclusion to the Chiveis Trilogy. 





Verse of the Day

"O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you." (2 Chronicles 14:11 ESV) 

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. (Ephesians 6:12–13 AMP)
 
This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. (Ephesians 6:12–13 The Message)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Verse of the Day

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Wedded to War
 
• River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
Jocelyn Green
   



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife, and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed website and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement, and resources for military wives worldwide.


ABOUT THE BOOK
When war erupted, she gave up a life of privilege for a life of significance.

Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combatting more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series "Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War," a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.



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

Review later.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Verse of the Day

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). (Ephesians 6:18 AMP)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rare Earth by Davis Bunn



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Rare Earth
 
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
Davis Bunn



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in North Carolina, Davis left for Europe at age twenty. There he first completed graduate studies in economics and finance, then began a business career that took him to over forty countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Davis came to faith at age 28, while living in Germany and running an international business advisory group. He started writing two weeks later. Since that moment, writing has remained both a passion and a calling.

Davis wrote for nine years and completed seven books before his first was accepted for publication. During that time, he continued to work full-time in his business career, travelling to two and sometimes three countries every week. His first published book, The Presence, was released in 1990 and became a national bestseller.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include The Great Divide, Winner Take All, The Meeting Place, The Warning, The Book of Hours, and The Quilt.

A sought-after speaker in the art of writing, Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.  


ABOUT THE BOOK
Marc Royce stares out of the helicopter, a sense of foreboding rising with the volcanic cloud. Below, the Rift Valley slashes across Africa like a scar. Decades of conflicts, droughts, and natural disasters have left their mark.

Dispatched to audit a relief organization, Royce is thrust into the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps. But his true mission focuses on the area's reserves of once-obscure minerals now indispensable to high-tech industries. These strategic elements--called rare earth--have inflamed tensions on the world's stage and stoked tribal rivalries. As Royce prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes on a bold and risky venture for restoring justice to this troubled land.

But this time, Royce may have gone too far.



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

Review later.

Verse of the Day

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! (Philippians 2:5–7 The Message)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hidden in Dreams by Davis Bunn



ISBN (Trade Paperback): 978-1-4165-5672-5
$14.99; 256 pp
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-4516-6381-5
Release: July 3, 2012 from Howard Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster





About Hidden in Dreams           
Just when the world’s foremost expert on dream analysis, Dr. Elena Burroughs, thinks she is getting her life back under control after losing her position at Oxford University and the man she hoped to fall in love with, she is approached by Rachel Lamprey, the product manager of an innovative new ADHD treatment about to hit the market.
Rachel asks for Elena’s help with a clinical trial participant who has had a disturbing dream foretelling a cataclysmic global financial collapse. But even more alarming is the fact that fifteen people scattered across the globe—including Elena herself—begin to experience the same repetitive, devastating dreams of economic ruin just as one bank crisis follows another, suggesting that these aren’t merely dreams.

As Elena searches for answers in her professional networks, she is forced to form an unlikely alliance with her most vehement critic and is drawn back into the spotlight as the public face of the so-called dreamers. As Elena and her collaborators attempt to discover the dreams’ source, the clock ticks down to devastation. Suddenly, it’s no longer just about the dreams. It’s about survival.

Margie's comments: When I pick up a Davis Bunn book to read, I expect a great story, excellent characterization, and an intriguing, sometimes heart-pounding, adventure. Hidden in Dreams did not disappoint. This book is the sequel to Book of Dreams, where Dr. Elena Burroughs is challenged on every side over her emphasis on dream analysis and its effect on the human mind. The emphasis on the economy and unscrupulous people who exploit the circumstances in order to benefit themselves is very real and a topic that affects all of us. Although the clues were there, I didn't see the twist coming—at least not in the form that it took. For those who enjoy a fast-paced suspense, Hidden in Dreams is a must-read.

Read Chapter 1 of Hidden in Dreams for free

Reading Group Guide for Hidden in Dreams

Video Book Trailer for Hidden in Dreams






About Davis Bunn                 
Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write. Visit Davis at www.davisbunn.com.

A Conversation with Davis Bunn                             
 Q: How much research did you have to conduct to write this intriguing story?
 A: In a way, I suppose you could say I’ve been researching this story all my adult life. I did my studies in international economics and finance. Observing the difficulties our nation and economy has faced over the past three years, as well as what we personally have endured, has been tough. It really was great to have this chance to give voice to what we increasingly hear, that the people at fault need to be brought to justice, and the risk of another economic collapse needs to be halted. 

Q: Why is it important for you to write about such timely themes?
A: Economic uncertainty defines the world we live in. I feel it is important to show how the timeless and eternal messages are applicable to every aspect of our world and our lives. And how the gift of peace and wisdom can be used in every circumstance we face.

Q: When you wrote Book of Dreams, did you have plans for this sequel, Hidden in Dreams?
A: Two months after Book of Dreams was released, I had the call every author dreams about and yearns for—a vice president of NBC/Universal suggested we discuss the possibility of turning it into a television series. I was put in touch with one of their producers and over the next six months began working up the basic structure of what this program might look like. One of the ideas I found most appealing became the basis for Hidden in Dreams. There is as yet no firm decision about the television project. But it has been a blast to even be considered.

Q: In writing a sequel it’s always a challenge to include enough back story to satisfy those who haven’t read the first book while still making sure the book stands alone. How do you approach this dilemma?
A: You’re right, it can indeed be troublesome, but this time it all fell together very easily. The structure just flowed. That sometimes happens, where the story seems to create itself. I wish it was true all the time. I can’t even say why it was such a smooth process with Hidden in Dreams. But there was a sense of impatience about the back story, as though I needed to fit in just a few paragraphs, but I couldn’t allow myself or the reader to be drawn too far from this new story’s flow.

Q: Why did you choose to end Elena's relationship with Antonio? They seemed like a good couple.
A: For this story to work, Elena needed to enter into the dilemma as vulnerable as all the other people who shared the recurring dreams. She was isolated in a new place and forced to be dependent upon her faith and newfound friends.
Antonio (from Book of Dreams) belonged to a different universe, far from what was happening here. I had to make a choice at the outset. Would she remain with Antonio, and the two of them experience this together? Or would she be isolated?
Writing a new story is all about two things: facing the empty page and choices. It is kind of fun to go back and revisit decisions I made eighteen months ago, when first outlining this concept.
Q: You’re writing about two women in this novel. Is it ever a challenge to write from the female point of view?
A: Learning to write from a woman’s point of view is very difficult for a male writer, as it usually is for a woman author writing a man’s story. Before I was published, I became friends with a husband and wife team who were both opera stars. The woman often sang a male role in a Mozart opera that was originally designed for a young boy, but which nowadays is usually sung by a woman with a slightly lower range, called a coloratura

I discussed my difficulty with her, of trying to make my women sound real. She told me that my trouble stemmed from working on a woman character from the outside. It wasn’t about making women ’sound’ anything. It was all about making the character live from the inside-out. 

As I worked on the point of view issue, trying to put my friend’s challenge into practice, I also began going into any meeting with a woman carrying a secret tape recorder, and taping everything that was said. I then went back and wrote out every word. It was perhaps the most boring month of my entire writing career. 

But gradually I found that I could ‘hear’ the speech patterns of these women, and reshape them into structures that fitted around what was happening in my stories. And through this exercise, the emotional content that lay behind the dialogue, the person who was expressing herself, became more real, more solid.

And then I met my wife, Isabella. And the process of instruction at the intimate level of a God-centered marriage began to unfold.

Q: In Hidden, Elena and her colleagues are attacked in Miami. After the attack, why did Elena not take more precautions? 
A: Elena had a choice to make, and so did I. Either she could play the delicate flower – fearing everything and going nowhere – or she could go on the hunt. I liked the balance between her internal fears and uncertainties, and her quest as a professional psychologist. She is, in effect, trained to look for clues – to go on the quest of drawing out the hidden. I felt the actions she took, despite the dangers, to be her natural response.
Q: Is there another Elena Burroughs book planned?
A: I have another idea. The question is, what do the readers want, and how positive is the reaction to this story?
Q: Why do you write fiction?
 A: I became a believer at age 28. Up to that time, ever since graduating, I had been working in international business. I came to faith while working as a consultant in Germany. I started writing two weeks later. Up to that point, I had never picked up a pen in my life to write anything longer than a business report. But I had always been an avid reader. And the moment I started, that very first instant, I had the sense of invitation. It was the first time I had ever experienced that incredible sense of being drawn in a new, divinely inspired direction. 

I wrote for nine years and finished seven novels before my first was accepted for publication. Simply because I had received a sense of calling did not mean I was ready to serve. First the diamond had to be polished. Hard and painful as that was.

Q: While you are a prolific writer, you also get out there and live too! What’s been your most exciting real life adventure?
A: It would probably be better to ask, what has been the most exciting real-life event so far this year. Undoubtedly that would be working on the set of a film being shot from a screenplay I wrote last year. 

Unlimited has now ‘wrapped’, that is, filming has been completed. The producer and director are now deep into the editing process. The film is due for release in September, 2013. I am currently working on the novel, which comes out a couple of months before then.

I had the whole thing backwards here, doing the script first, but it has been a lot of fun, and the concept remains very fresh. So hopefully Unlimited will come alive on the page as well as the screen.
Q: What is your goal as a novelist?
A: I want to combine a truly entertaining read with a powerful after-effect. My dream is that long after the book is set down with a satisfied sigh, there are still images that surface, lessons that can be drawn, genuine hope and healing and challenges and inspirations. I want my writing to be worthy of the gift. 

Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website and blog are at www.davisbunn.com
Subscribe to my blog’s feed (to get my latest posts via e-mail or through your feed reader) at http://feeds.feedburner.com/DavisBunn
Sign up for my e-newsletter (for subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of my upcoming novels): http://www.davisbunn.com/news.htm
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/davisbunnauthor
Twitter: @davisbunn - http://twitter.com/davisbunn

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Verse of the Day

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10–11)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Almost Amish
 
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
Kathryn Cushman



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy, but all her life she knew that she wanted to write a novel “some day”. For her, “some day” came in 2003, when she started writing and never looked back.

Her first two manuscripts remain firmly ensconced in the back of her closet (the dust bunnies tell her they really are terrific!). Her third attempt became her first published novel.

A Promise to Remember and Leaving Yesterday were both finalists for the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

On the homefront, she has been married to the wonderful and handsome Lee for nearly twenty-five years now, and their two daughters are currently braving the worlds of high school and college.

They’ve lived in Santa Barbara for over twenty years. It’s a beautiful place and Kathryn feel blessed to be there (although a seventy degree Christmas still leaves her dreaming of a white one—or at least a colder one!)

When she's not writing or reading or braving seventy degree holidays, you’ll find her trying her best to keep up with her daughters in their various theater, softball, dance, and filled-with-activity lives.   



ABOUT THE BOOK
Proving the Simple Life Isn't So Simple After All

Overcommitted and overwhelmed, Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She knows she should feel blessed as a mother and wife--but she just feels exhausted. And then, the miraculous happens. Her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series about trying to live like the Amish and needs another family to join her. It's just the break Julie needs.

But the summer adventure in simple living soon proves anything but simple. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. Whether it's cooking, cleaning, or dressing differently, each new Amish challenge raises new complications...and soon each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.



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

Review later.

Verse of the Day

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies. . . . Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways. Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You. (Psalm 119:31–38 NASB)

This paraphrase is good, too:
I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner. I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; GOD, don't let me down! I'll run the course you lay out for me if you'll just show me how. GOD, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me--my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom. . . . Affirm your promises to me-- promises made to all who fear you. (Psalm 119:30–38 The Message)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Christy Awards

The 2012 Christy Awards were given out last night at the 13th annual gala. It was fun to "listen in" via liveblog.

Here's a copy of the press release:

ORLANDO—The 2012 Christy Awards were presented at a banquet Monday evening, July 16, 2012, at Orlando’s Rosen Centre Hotel during the International Christian Retail Show. The event featured a keynote address entitled “Captured by Story: Unpublished Thoughts on Finding True North in a Changing Landscape” by publishing industry icon Allen Arnold, late of Thomas Nelson. New York Times best-selling and Christy Award-winning author, Liz Curtis Higgs, emceed. Christian fiction fans not able to attend the event in person were able to participate via a liveblog on the Christy Awards website. An archive of the event can be accessed online at www.ChristyAwards.com.

The Christy Awards are proud to honor both Catherine Marshall and her novel through the annual presentation of the Christy Awards, which recognize novels of excellence. The Christy Awards Advisory Board is pleased to announce the following winners of the 2012 Christy Awards in nine categories.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig • Barbour Publishing
Demolitions expert Danielle Roark has been left behind in hostile territory during a
mission with Nightshade. Former Green Beret and medic, Canyon Metcalfe, beset
with memories of another mission gone bad, vows to rescue her, sacrificing
everything. As secrets unravel, will Canyon and Dani find healing, closure, and
each other?

Ronie Kendig, www.roniekendig.com, grew up in an Army household and married
a veteran. They now have four children and a Golden Retriever. She has a B.S. in
psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with American Christian Fiction
Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers.


CONTEMPORARY SERIES
The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould • Harvest
House Publishers
Adopted as a child, nurse midwife Lexie Jaeger learns the true meaning of the
Pennsylvania Dutch word demut—“to let be”—as she reaches out to her birth
family and is transformed from a woman who wants to control everything to a
woman who depends on God.

Mindy Starns Clark, www.mindystarnsclark.com, is the author of many books
(more than 450,000 copies sold), which include A Pocket Guide to Amish Life,
Shadows of Lancaster County, and Whispers of the Bayou. In addition, Mindy is a
popular inspirational speaker and playwright.

Leslie Gould, www.lesliegould.com, a former magazine editor, is the author of
numerous novels, including Beyond the Blue and Garden of Dreams. She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon
with her husband, Peter, and their four children.


CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE
Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock • Bethany House, a division of Baker
Publishing Group
Eleven-year-old Roz Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Ill., to
escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they
discover that the elderly former resident, Tillie, is determined to keep living there.
Out of sympathy, they agree to let her stay. When danger stalks the Anthonys, it’s
Tillie who exhibits unimaginable courage and selfless love in her determination to
protect the family she has adopted as her own.

Ann Tatlock, www.anntatlock.com, is the author of the Christy Award-winning
novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers
Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch
the Moon
. Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, N.C.


FIRST NOVEL
Words by Ginny Yttrup • B&H Publishing Group
Ten-year old Kaylee Wren hasn’t spoken since her drug-addled mother walked
away, leaving her in a remote cabin with a dangerous and evil man. With silence
her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only
memento her mother left behind: a dictionary. Sierra Dawn is a thirty-four-year-old
artist allowing the shame of her past to silence her present hopes. Together,
Kaylee and Sierra will discover the healing mercy of the Word—Jesus Christ.

Ginny Yttrup, www.ginnyyttrup.com, dreamt of becoming a writer most of
her adult life and pursued her dream by learning the craft and honing her
skills. Her debut novel, Words, is the fulfillment of that dream. Ginny is a
mother, friend, writer, life and writing coach, and dog lover.


HISTORICAL
Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin • Bethany House, a division of Baker
Publishing Group
Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. Amid the
Great Depression, the happily-ever-after life she's planned suddenly falls apart
when her boyfriend breaks up with her and she loses her beloved job as a
librarian. Longing to run from small-town gossip, Alice flees to the mountains of
eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the tiny and backwards
coal-mining town of Acorn where she discovers that real-life adventure, mystery—
and especially romance—may be far better than her humble dreams could have
imagined.

Lynn Austin, www.lynnaustin.org, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full
time, has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels,
Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her
husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Ill.


HISTORICAL ROMANCE
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen • Bethany House, a division of
Baker Publishing Group
To avoid marriage to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised
as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive
an inheritance and, with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on
actually working as a servant. And certainly not at Fairbourne Hall—the home of
two former suitors. As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret
struggles to keep her identity secret. When a trap is set to force her from hiding,
will love or danger find her first?

Julie Klassen, www.julieklassen.com, loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane
Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for
sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award for The
Silent Governess
(2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011), which also won
the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two
sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn.


SUSPENSE
The Queen by Steven James • Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing
Group
While investigating a mysterious double homicide in an isolated northern
Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech
conspiracy that ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with present-day
tensions in the Middle East.

Critically acclaimed author Steven James, www.stevenjames.net, has
written more than thirty books, including Story, A Heart Exposed, and the
bestselling Patrick Bowers thriller series. He is considered one of the
nation's most innovative storytellers and versatile authors and is a
contributing editor to Writer's Digest.


VISIONARY
Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl • Bethany House, a division of Baker
Publishing Group
Rose Red has a secret that keeps her lonely and hidden away in a forest, wearing
a veil of rags, until a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the
mountains befriends her and together they begin searching for the monster
rumored to be stalking the land. But the hunt, which began as a game, holds
greater risk than either imagines. Soon both are forced to test their trust in each
other as a far more terrifying scourge puts their entire land at risk.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl, anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com, makes her home in
Raleigh, N.C., where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private
lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning
Center. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at
Campbell University.


YOUNG ADULT
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren • David C Cook
Many American teens would consider an Italian vacation a treat, but the Bentarrini
sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archeologist parents,
and the novelty is gone. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of
their minds until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and
find themselves in the fourteenth century—and in the middle of a fierce battle
between knights of two opposing forces.

Lisa T. Bergren, www.lisatawnbergren.com, is the award-winning author of more
than thirty-five books, with more than two million copies sold. A former publishing
executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three
children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in
Colorado Springs, Colo.


The Christy Awards are online at: www.ChristyAwards.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChristyAward
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ChristyAward



Verse of the Day

"As for you, . . . know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts." (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Monday, July 16, 2012

2012 ACFW Carol Award Finalists Announced

This was announced this morning at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, Florida. And then posted on the ACFW e-loops and website (www.acfw.com).

Please join me in congratulating the finalists of the 2012 Carol Awards.

Winners will be announced Saturday, September 22, 2012, at the ACFW Awards
Gala.



Debut Novel:
Fairer Than Morning  by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell,
Editor)
The Loom by Shella Gillus (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)
Give the Lady a Ride by Linda W. Yezak (Sky Sail [Port Yonder Press] –
Chila Woychik, Editor)


Long Contemporary:
Lost Melody by Lori Copeland/Virginia Smith (Zondervan – Sue Brower,
Editor)
The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House Publishers – Sarah Long/Dave
Long, Editors)


Long Contemporary Romance:
Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Jamie Chavez/Natalie
Hanemann, Editors)
Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly M. Long (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann,
Editor)
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale – Karen Watson, Editor)


Long Historical:
Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis (Moody Publishers/River North – Deborah
Keiser, Editor)
Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell,
Editor)
Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press – Laura Barker,
Editor)


Long Historical Romance:
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers –
Karen Schurrer, Editor)
Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman (Multnomah Publishers – Alice
Crider, Editor)
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers – Karen
Schurrer, Editor)


Mystery:
Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewana Amish Mystery by Vannetta Chapman
(Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
Died in the Wool by Elizabeth Ludwig/Janelle Mowery (Barbour Publishing –
Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Yesterday's Secrets by Kelly Ann Riley (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)


Novellas:
An Accidental Christmas from A Biltmore Christmas by Diane T.
Ashley/Aaron McCarver (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Reese: All Along  from Smitten by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson – Ami
McConnell/LR Norton, Editors)
A Star in the Night from A Log Cabin Christmas by Liz Johnson (Barbour
Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)


Romantic Suspense:
Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon (Revell – Jennifer Leep, Editor)
Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Julee
Schwarzburg, Editor)


Short Contemporary:The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray (Avon Inspire/Harper Collins –
Cindy DiTiberio)
Lakeside Reunion by Lisa Jordan (Love Inspired – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
Oklahoma Reunion by Tina Radcliffe (Love Inspired – Melissa Endlich,
Editor)


Short Contemporary Suspense:
Double Identity by Diane Burke (Love Inspired Suspense – Sarah
McDaniel-Dyer, Editor)
Nightwatch by Valerie Hansen (Love Inspired Suspense – Melissa Endlich,
Editor)
A Deadly Game by Virginia Smith (Love Inspired Suspense – Tina James,
Editor)


Short Historical (four finalists due to a tie):
Promise of Time by S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons,
Editor)
Revealing Fire by Connie Stevens (Heartsong Presents – Rebecca Germany,
Editor)
Light to My Path by Erica Vetsch (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons,
Editor)
The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)


Speculative Fiction:
The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson (Risen Books – Reagan Reed,
Editor)
The Chair by James L. Rubart (B & H Fiction – Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)
Broken Sight by Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press – Jeff Gerke, Editor)


Suspense/Thriller:
Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins (B & H Fiction – Karen Ball, Editor)
Fallen Angel by Major Jeff Struecker/Alton Gansky (B & H Fiction – Julie
Gwinn, Editor)
Freedom's Stand by Jeanette (J.M.) Windle (Tyndale – Jan Stob, Editor)


Women’s Fiction:
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press – Shannon
Marchese, Editor)
When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley (Multnomah Publishers – Jessica
Barnes/Shannon Marchese, Editors)
Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate (Penguin Praise/Berkley – Ellen Edwards,
Editor)


Young Adult:
Wreath by Judy Christie (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Jamie
Chavez, Editors)
The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan – Jacque Alberta,
Editor)
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Natalie
Hanemann/Becky Monds/Jamie Chavez, Editors)

Verse of the Day

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith. (1 Peter 5:6–9)

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Deposit Slip by Todd M. Johnson



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
The Deposit Slip
 
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
Todd M. Johnson
   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years,
specializing as a trial lawyer.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota
Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of
International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip is his debut novel. He lives outside Minneapolis,
Minnesota, with his wife Cathy, and children Ian and Libby.




ABOUT THE BOOK
$10,000,000 Is Missing.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable amount on it. Only the bank claims they have no record of the money, and trying to hire a lawyer has brought only intimidation and threats. Erin's last chance is Jared Neaton.

How Far Will One Lawyer Go to Find the Money?

When Jared wearied of the shady ethics of his big law firm and started his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big loss has pushed him to the brink, and it's all he can do to scrape by.

And How Far Will Someone Go to Stop Him?

He's not sure if Erin's case is worth the risk, but if the money is real, all his problems could vanish. When digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats, both Jared and Erin must decide the cost they're willing to pay to discover the truth.


If you would like to read the first chapter of The Deposit Slip, go HERE.

Review later.

Verse of the Day

Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. I command you – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:8–9 NLT)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Verse of the Day

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Inescapable
 
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
Nancy Mehl
   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, Kingdom, Kansas, with plans never to return.

But five years later, the new life she built is falling apart. Lizzie knows she's being followed, and she's certain the same mysterious stranger is behind the threatening letters she's received. Realizing she'll have to run again, the only escape Lizzie can manage is a return to the last place she wants to go.

Once she arrives in Kingdom, Lizzie is confident she'll be safe until she comes up with a new plan. In reacquainting herself with the town and its people--especially her old friend, Noah Housler--she wonders if she judged her hometown and her Mennonite faith too harshly. However, just as she begins to come to terms with her roots, Lizzie is horrified to discover the danger she ran from is closer than ever.

No longer sure who to trust and fearful for her life and the lives of those around her, Lizzie finds she has only one place left to run--to the Father whose love is inescapable.


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

Review later.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Verse of the Day

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Verse of the Day

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (Hebrews 12:2 The Message)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Serpent of Moses by Don Hoesel



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Serpent of Moses
 
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
Don Hoesel
   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Don Hoesel 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 was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. The Serpent of Moses is his fourth novel.







ABOUT THE BOOK

Moses built and lifted up the brass serpent, healing the afflicted Israelites of snakebites.

King Hezekiah called the serpent Nehushtan. Long thought destroyed, it's been buried for millennia, secreted under the region's shifting sands.

Now the Israeli government wants it back and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Yet they're not the only ones who covet the Nehushtan.

Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne travels to Libya intent on recovering the sacred object, but one does not cross the Mossad and expect to walk away without a fight. Jack and his friends must find the priceless "snake of brass upon a pole" before those who are also hunting it find them...and silence them forever.


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

Review Later.
 


Verse of the Day

Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivers them out of their distresses. He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing! (Psalm 107:19–22 AMP)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nothing to Hide by J. Mark Bertrand



This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Nothing to Hide
 
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
 
by
 
J. Mark Bertrand
   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   

J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he left for South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.







ABOUT THE BOOK

A grisly homicide. An international threat.

The stakes have never been higher for Detective Roland March.



The victim's head is missing, but what intrigues Detective Roland March is the hand. The pointing finger must be a clue--but to what? According to the FBI, the dead man was an undercover asset tracking the flow of illegal arms to the Mexican cartels. To protect the operation, they want March to play along with the cover story. With a little digging, though, he discovers the Feds are lying. And they're not the only ones.

In an upside-down world of paranoia and conspiracy, March finds himself dogged by injury and haunted by a tragic failure. Forced to take justice into his own hands, his twisting investigation leads him into the very heart of darkness, leaving March with nothing to lose--and nothing to hide.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing to Hide, go HERE.

Review later.