Friday, March 29, 2013

Threads of Hope

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Threads of Hope

Abingdon Press (March 1, 2013)


Christa Allan


 A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa is a writer of not your usual Christian Fiction. She weaves stories of unscripted grace and redemption with threads of hope, humor, and heart. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a brand new retired teacher. She and her husband Ken live in New Orleans with their three cats and do their best to dodge hurricanes.

And, since she is not fond of writing about herself in third person, she asked her oldest daughter to contribute. Like her mother, Erin is not at a loss for words…


Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O’Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the “soft” stories she despises—covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God’s plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.

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

Margie's Comments: Another great book from Abingdon in their Quilts of Love series. Christa Allen writes with humor and joy, and creates characters that are both lovable and flawed. She weaves in the spiritual thread of faith in God expertly. I love that not only is Greg Nina's nemesis from high school, but also that he's her boss's brother. Two strikes against him from the get-go. And yet his faith and his love for his daughter draws Nina like a flame to a moth. And then Nina has to make a choice. Christa's style of writing is upbeat and full of twists guaranteed to keep you reading to the end. I highly recommend this latest offering in the Quilts of Love series.

Verse of the Day

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. (Isaiah 53:4–6)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Be strong and courageous." . . . The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Joshua 1:18, Psalm 27:1 ESV)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Verse of the Day

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)

Survivor by DiAnn Mills

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Survivor

Zondervan (March 5, 2013)


DiAnn Mills


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at


Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?

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

Margie's Comments: It's no secret that DiAnn Mills is one of my favorite authors . . . and a friend as well. So I always look forward to a new DiAnn Mills book to read. Survivor fulfills DiAnn's promise to "expect an adventure." The main characters we met in The Chase are back to solve a cold case. I find it difficult to read about any crime perpetrated against women and children especially, and Survivor is an intense read because of the nature of the crime. However, it is worth sticking with the story to see how Kariss and Tigo work together to solve this case. I will continue to highly recommend any of DiAnn's books, especially this latest release, Survivor

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands." (Isaiah 43:18–19 MSG)

Monday, March 25, 2013

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)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Verse of the Day

The LORD will guide you continually
    and provide for you, even in parched places.
    He will rescue your bones.
You will be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water that won’t run dry.
They will rebuild ancient ruins on your account;
    the foundations of generations past you will restore.
You will be called Mender of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Livable Streets.
(Isaiah 58:11–12 CEB)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. . . . That's right. Because I, your GOD, have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go. I'm telling you, 'Don't panic. I'm right here to help you.'" (Isaiah 41:10, 13 MSG)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Verse of the Day

"I, your GOD, have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go. I'm telling you, "Don't panic. I'm right here to help you.'" (Isaiah 41:13 MSG)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged . . . for the battle is not yours, but God's." (2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Verse of the Day

Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35–36 NLT)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Memory of Murder by Ramona Richards

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Memory of Murder

Love-Inspired Suspense


Ramona Richards


A word from Ramona:
The hardest biographical sketch to write is always your own, whether or not you’re a writer by profession. You can’t decide what to throw in, what to leave out, and whether or not you should list strengths and flaws, or just strengths.

I like writing and telling stories so much that I once tried to live out a few. After getting a master’s in English, I went on to be the seneschale of my local Society for Creative Anachronism. I had a rocky start, but I did get better. (Robin Hood, eat your heart out.)

People often ask members of the SCA, “Are you in a play?” so I thought it would be fun to do that, too. For seven years, I produced and performed in shows staged by Nashville’s Circle Players.

Although I’m single now, I married in 1982 and in 1987 had Rachel. She’s a cutie. Severely disabled, she’s the heroine of many an article for Special Ed Today magazine. Rachel's nurse, Phyllis, is the real life heroine of “An Act of Desperation,” which I sold to Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul.

I’m not really a complex person, and my dreams are fairly straightforward: sell books, have enough money to pay the bills and travel a bit, and settle into a cottage. In early 2006, I bought the cottage, which is now more or less swamped by books and DVDs. I write at night (I’m a lifelong night owl), and I occasionally escape by scuba diving, hiking, dancing, and going to movies and bookstores.

I’ve gone to the same church since 1993, and I even sing in the choir. It’s a small but awesome church. I’m no angel, although occasionally I play one in the backyard.

I like staying busy. Life is too short not to follow your dreams.



Lindsey Presley certainly can't imagine why anyone would want her dead—though she knows she wouldn't be alive today if not for the local cop who saved her from two murder attempts. Deputy Jeff Gage has worked difficult cases, but with only Lindsey's fractured memories of a broken past to guide him, this is by far his most challenging.

For Lindsey, fleeing the town she has come to call home is unthinkable. Separately, they are vulnerable, but together, Jeff and Lindsey just may stand a chance of catching a ruthless killer.

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

Watch the book video trailer:

Margie's Comments: Memory of Murder by Ramona Richards is the first I've read by this author. But it won't be the last. I couldn't put the book down. The characters were so real and vivid, I fell in love with Jeff almost from page 1. I could also identify with Lindsey and her need to control. What I really likes was the great spiritual thread so wonderfully woven into the story it doesn't pound you over the head with truth, but it definitely pricks the heart at just the right moments. The suspense definitely kept me reading. An excellent read all the way around.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

January Justice by Athol Dickson

Athol Dickson, a suspense author I like, has a new book out this month—the beginning of a series. You can find it here for your Kindle.

It sounds like a great book and series. I look forward to reading it.

Verse of the Day

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. . . . This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me. . . . Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. . . . I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. . . . So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word. . . . The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces. . . . I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have revived me. . . . How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:9, 50, 11, 16, 42, 72, 93, 103–104 NASB)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So Shines the Night by Tracy Higley

One of my favorite historical authors is Tracy Higley. I met her a few years ago at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers conference, and I'm pleased to be a part of her blog tour for her newest book, So Shines the Night. There's a contest connected with Tracy's book launch this week, so scroll down to find out how to register.

About the author:
Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored nine novels, including Garden of Madness and Isle of Shadows. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. See her travel journals and more at

About the book: 
In a city teetering at the brink of anarchy, Daria finds hope among people of The Way.

She escaped a past of danger and found respite in beautiful Ephesus, a trading center on the Aegean coast, serving as tutor to Lucas, the wealthy merchant who rescued her.

But the darkness she fled has caught up with her.

The high priests of Artemis once controlled the city, but a group of sorcerers are gaining power. And a strange group who call themselves followers of The Way further threaten the equilibrium. As Daria investigates Lucas’s exploits into the darker side of the city, her life is endangered, and she takes refuge in the strange group of believers. She’s drawn to Paul and his friends, even as she wrestles with their teachings.

When authorities imprison Lucas for a brutal crime, Daria wonders if even Paul’s God can save him. Then she uncovers a shocking secret that could change everything—Lucas’s fate, her position in his household, and the outcome of the tension between pagans and Christians. But only if she survives long enough to divulge what she knows.

Get your copy here.

Book trailer:

Contest details:

To enter to win the $50 Gift Card, send them to this page:

Get more books!  Enter to win a $50 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Interview with the author:

1.              What inspired the theme of So Shines the Night?
The idea of community is dear to my heart, and the struggle we all have to not live in isolation. I wanted to take a look at two people struggling to do the right thing, but going about it the wrong way because they were isolated both from other people and from God, and to see what would happen when they brushed up against a community like the first century church.

2.              You have gone on so many amazing travels. What was one of your favorite things about visiting Ephesus?
I think it was the sense of being somewhere “where Paul walked.” Sitting in the theater, looking down over the Harbor Street where he was likely kept prisoner at times, I had this amazing moment of “I can’t believe I’m here” – the kind of moment that gives you chills and makes you feel connected to something larger than yourself.

3.              When you visited Ephesus, what was it like to be in the same city that Paul ministered in centuries ago?   
It was thrilling, to be succinct. There is a sense of “this is real – this really happened” that sweeps over you and pulls you back in time and into the world of the Scripture in a new and fresh way. I loved it.

4.              What's one thing you learned about Ephesus and its importance to Christians that you found surprising/interesting/challenging?
I had never realized or noticed until studying this time in Paul’s life, how much time he spent there (nearly three years). I always pictured him hopping around from place to place fairly quickly. I was challenged by the time that he invested in people’s lives, the relationships and bonds he formed. Later, when the Ephesian elders said goodbye to him, the book of Acts tells us that they were literally weeping. It’s easy for me to minister to people “from afar” but I was really challenged by Paul’s relational approach to sharing Christ.

5.              What is something new you learned while doing research for So Shines the Night?
That’s a tough one, because there were so many things! The whole city of Ephesus is such an interesting study. Because the river that fed into the harbor carried so much silt with it, the harbor eventually became too clogged for ships and the people basically abandoned the city. This rarely happens in the ancient world – most ancient cities, like Rome, are a mix of ancient, medieval and modern and you have to travel around to the pockets of ancient monuments that are left. In Ephesus, all you have is the ancient city, so it has this frozen-in-time feeling like Pompeii, which I loved.

6.              While visiting modern day Ephesus, could you really get a "feel" for what it was like in Paul's time?
Yes, the streets and buildings are in ruins, of course, but there is plenty there to know what the different buildings were used for and to picture the streets full of townspeople and the shops and temples being used. You can see mosaics and writing and all kinds of “daily life” things that make it easy to picture the city in its heyday.

7.              In your last book, Garden of Madness, the heroine came in contact with the Biblical figure Daniel.  Does Daria get to meet Paul and interact with him in So Shines the Night, or does she view his ministry from afar?        
Oh, it was great fun getting Daria and Paul to meet. Challenging, too, since everyone has a fairly specific concept of Paul and the way that I write him might not exactly conform to others’ preconceptions. Daria also meets some other biblical characters from the book of Acts, and I tried to portray them each struggling and human in their own way, wrestling with what it meant to be this new kind of Jew, this person whose Messiah had come.

8.              How was the experience of writing So Shines the Night, compared to your other Seven Wonders novels?
It was much the same, with the addition of really being able to picture the city itself, as I could with Pompeii, after having walked the streets that are still so intact. It was also fun bringing in the “guest characters” from the book of Acts, and even an appearance of some characters from another novel (I’m not saying who – you’ll have to figure it out!)

9.              Your books remind me of a time machine, whereas the readers are transported into the pages.  How do you make the stories seem so real and life like?
Thank you so much for saying that! It is exactly what I aspire to, so you’ve made my day! I don’t have a simple answer, except to say that there’s nothing in the world I’d like more than a time machine, so it’s definitely a priority. One thing that I do before I sit down to write a scene is to take some time walking around in it in my head, trying to really experience the sensory of the scene – the sounds, smells, tastes, textures, colors, temperature, and spatial details. If I don’t do that exercise, often those things don’t make it to the page. But when I do, I believe it helps bring the scene to life.

10.           How has your writing, research, and travels affected your spiritual life?
Great question. All of it has definitely given me a larger sense of the world and what God is doing in it, both now and through the past. It’s made me realize, as I’ve studied God’s work in the nations throughout history, that He has always been calling all people to Himself, and that He still is. It’s also given me a desire to see the kind of Christianity that was born in the fires of Roman persecution become part of our experience now – a living, breathing faith that radically transforms our lives.

11.           Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
The setting is usually what inspires me first. Many writers start with fascinating characters or a compelling plot, but I usually start with a place and say “ooh – what would it have been like to live there, in that time?” After that, it’s often the real history of the place that begins to inspire the story itself.

12.           What was the inspiration for So Shines The Night?
The 19th chapter of Acts was just too delicious to pass up!

13.           What do you hope people will take away from this story?
There are a number of themes I explored here, so it will vary from person to person, depending on where they are on their journey. I hope people will get a sense of the reality of the first century church, of Paul as a man. I want people to see that the love God has for us makes us secure, and that from that foundation we can risk to love others. I want readers to long for a sense of community that is found in the church of Ephesus.

14.           I love the historical aspects of your books. It must be very difficult and take a lot of studying to get all that information accurate and then make a believable story out of it. How much time do you spend studying the history of the place you are writing about?
Too much, perhaps!  It’s a big part of the writing process – from many hours before I start writing, to research breaks along the way, to digging up specific details to fill in the gaps later. I end up with so much information and I want to get it all in there, so the challenge is to feed it to readers in a way that’s entertaining while informative, and not boring or overwhelming.

15.           What can you tell us about the challenges of interweaving actual historical events with fictional ones?
It’s actually quite fun!  The historical events give me sort of “anchor points” for the story and help me structure the plot. Then I fill in around them with all the fun fictional stuff. I really enjoy it when the place and time give me lots of history to work with.

16.           What made you interested in writing ancient history fiction?
I’m not sure! It evolved in my mind, and I suppose it was the tie-in to biblical history, to the time period which informed my faith and held so many stories I already knew and loved. But I’ve never been content to look at Scripture through the single historical lens of the Judea. I’ve always wanted to see the Old and New Testament periods through the eyes of the world outside the Jewish people, from the pagan perspective.

17.           How do you do your research?
It’s a multi-tiered approach, with very basic research at first (sometimes even juvenile non-fiction), to get a high-level view, then going deeper into the specific days/years I’ll be writing about, and then getting a broad view of the daily life and culture through dusty textbooks. All of this goes into my “notebook” and inspires specific plots and scenes. As I am actually writing the first draft, I often leave placeholders where more specific research is needed, like an XX where a number or detail should go. At the end, I go back and find all those placeholders and research the details, often online where it’s much easier to search for very specific information.

18.           How do you start writing a new novel? Do you make an outline, use a gazillion different colored Post-It notes on a big wall grid, just sit at the computer and knock it out, or what?
I am definitely an outliner and a plotter, but most of what I put together is on the computer.  For the past few books I’ve been using a program called Scrivener, which I really like.  I have notes in my personal “template” file that pertain to all stories – to the structure behind them – and I look them over as I plot through the scenes. For every scene I create a brainstorming worksheet before I write it – something that gives me the high-level look at what’s going to happen in the scene, and contains some of the sensory details I’ve imagined.  I print this out and have it next to me as I write the scene.

19.           What advice to you have for someone who wants to write "The Great American novel' and struggles to even get started? I know that's broad...
Like any huge, overwhelming project, the best advice is just to start.  See what kind of writer you are by getting started. Does an outline and a plot make you feel stunted? Do you fear the blank page and need to think it through first? There are tons of writing helps out there no matter what kind of writer you are. Find some, read and digest them, and then come back and keep writing.

20.           Do you worry about the integrity of the story when you have to add so much to the story to flesh it out from the actual Biblical account?
Yes. It’s a core value of mine that as I write fiction that brushes up against actual biblical events, that I not alter what we know of this history and people. I may not always get it right, and some may argue about their interpretation of what really happened versus mine, but I always strive to keep the integrity of the biblical account intact. There is plenty to “flesh out” around the reality, and I let myself get creative there, but not with what we truly know from Scripture.

21.           For you, what is the hardest part of the writing process?
The actual rough draft, the first time I get the words out of my head, is the hardest part. I have to discipline myself to stop the research, stop the planning and plotting, and just start writing!

22.           What is a typical day like for you, as an author?
Since last fall I’ve started a new routine, which is working very well for me. I get up at 5 AM every day and work on writing until about 8:30 AM. The rest of the day is given to the “business” side of writing and life, and my other business. Sometimes I’ll add in some more research or planning during the rest of the day, but those quiet early hours are when I’m at my most creative and get the most done.

23.           What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
Keep writing.  If you haven’t finished anything, keep writing. If you’ve finished something and are trying to submit and sell it somewhere, don’t wait for an answer, keep writing. If you’ve gotten some interest and it’s moving through the process, keep writing. The publishing industry can move very slowly, and the best way to be ready for your “big break” is to keep improving through practice, practice, practice.

24.           What advice do you have for authors who are looking at writing early history such as this?
There is plenty to study, so get busy!  Do your homework, honor the history even when it takes you places that are unexpected and challenging. Resist the urge to make your characters 21st century people in tunics (or “Baptists in bathrobes,” as my friend Randy says). It’s a challenge, but it’s important.

25.           What advice would you give other writers who want to bring their story settings to life and leave their readers feeling like they've been there?
Research is key, of course. Don’t skimp. You will end up with more than you can use, but you never know when a particular detail you’ve found will breathe life into a scene, or inspire a major plot point. Second, take time for the sensory. When you think about and make sure the page shows all the colors and sounds, tastes and smells, textures and feeling of a place, it will start to come alive.

Verse of the Day

People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit. Depend on GOD and keep at it because in the LORD GOD you have a sure thing. (Isaiah 26:3–4 MSG)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, "Go jump in the lake'—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it's as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything." (Mark 11:22–24 MSG)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Verse of the Day

Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. (Colossians 4:5–6 NLT)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Strands of Deception

B&H Books (March 1, 2013)


Robin Caroll


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?


When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.

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

Margie's Comments: I didn't get the book until early this week so haven't had time to read it yet. I am looking forward to this story, and I'll post a review as soon as I can.

Verse of the Day

I think how much you have helped me; I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings.  I follow close behind you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (Psalm 63:7–8 NLT)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Verse of the Day

Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:3–5)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

AfterLife by Hank Hanegraaff

Glass Road Media Management
Hank Hanegraaff
About the book: (Nashville, TN)  Judging by book sales and movie tickets sold, we are a nation obsessed with the afterlife. Books about near-death experiences shoot to the top of the best-seller lists. But do these experiences provide trustworthy information about life after death? Hank Hanegraaff wades through the varying near-death accounts and lines them up with what the Bible says in his latest books, AfterLife: What You Need to Know about Heaven, the Hereafter & Near-Death Experiences. Does hell exist? Does heaven? Do pets go to heaven? Do we float around with wings? How much good work is required for entry? Have people been and come back to tell the tale? Will there be sex in heaven? How old are we there?
With his signature style, Hanegraaff cuts through the cultural clutter to illuminate what is know about the afterlife, what has been said about the afterlife, and how we can filter the glut of stories and revelations through biblical wisdom and discernment to help you live an abundant life today with confidence of an abundant life to come.
About the author: Hank Hanegraaff is host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, heard daily throughout the United States and Canada via radio, satellite radio Sirius-XM 131, and the Internet. He's author of the runaway bestsellers The Prayer of Jesus and The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector's Edition. He and his wife, Kathy, are parents to twelve children.    

Margie's comments: What an incredibly interesting read! Hank Hanegraaff's AfterLife is full of biblical answers to a topic that is much misunderstood. Every religion in the world has a doctrine of the afterlife, from Nirvana to Paradise, to heaven and hell, and everywhere in between. And there are many erroneous theories as to what to expect. But God has given us answers to the afterlife in His Word. It seems as though we can hardly go very many days, weeks, or months without hearing about another "near-death" experience. Our world seems fixated on what happens after we die. I appreciate the author's clear, straightforward, and biblical truth as he fully discusses every question this fascinating subject spawns. He's very clear about what is purported to be truth about heaven and hell and what is really the truth as presented in the Bible. This book takes speculation and conjecture and reveals truth. He answers questions I never have thought to ask. As I grow older and more and more of my family members and friends die, heaven becomes more real and more longed for than ever before. AfterLife is a must-read book for those searching for the truth about what happens after our body dies and heaven and hell.

Verse of the Day

O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!  (Psalm 61:1–4 NLT)

Monday, March 4, 2013

ACFW March 2013 Book Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Catching Her Heart by Carolyne Aarsen — When they fell in love that summer, Jess Schroder never knew the secret Naomi Deacon carried away with her. Eight years later, she’s back in Hartley Creek – a nurse’s aide devoted to healing others. As she gets to know the good, caring man Jess has become, Naomi realizes they both deserve a second chance. Is Jess ready to let Naomi past his defenses? (Romance from Love Inspired).

Moonlight Masquerade, A Regency by Ruth Axtell — Lady Celine Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need-or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is with her, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Rekindled Romance by Lorraine Beatty — Back home again to regain her health, Shelby Russell finds herself babysitting for Matt Durrant’s adorable kids, but the trouble is, Matt’s the man she jilted for her career years ago. (Romance from Love Inspired).

The Hidden Son by Dianna T. Benson — When U.S. DEA Special Agent Lelisa Desmond refuses to follow an order to bury evidence in a high profile case, her superior inexplicably hires a hit man to kill her. Lelisa barely survives the first attempt on her life, but someone close to her is mistakenly murdered in her place. Lelisa sets off on a daring mission to bring down the man who ordered her execution. A man with powerful friends who will stop at nothing to protect his son. Can she take him down, before he sends someone else to silence her forever? (Suspense/Police Procedural from Ellechor Publishing House).

Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll — Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system. (Romantic Suspense from B&H Publishing).

Swept Away by Mary Connealy — Ruthy MacNeil is rescued from a flood by Luke Stone…who is on his way to fight the man who killed his father…so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in Ruthy’s immediate future. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Scorned Justice by Margaret Daley — Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun realizes the attack on his high school sweetheart’s brother is more than it seems. Judge Rebecca Morgan is in the midst of a trial involving the Russian Mafia and suddenly her life is in danger. (Romantic Suspense from Abingdon Press).

When Truth Whispers by Dora Hiers — After a humiliating breakup, best-selling romance author Teal Benning flees to Promise Lake to complete her current novel, minus paparazzi and flashing cameras. Suffering from writer’s block and a broken heart, Teal accepts the offer of help from neighbor, Hunter Miciver. Hunter longs to be more than the friend who picks up the shattered pieces of Teal’s heart, but when Teal finds out his secret, will she see him for the man he is? (Contemporary Romance Novella from White Prose Publishing (Pelican).

Journey’s Embrace by Dora Hiers — After an injury forces Deputy U.S. Marshal Sage Michaelson off duty, he heads to his hometown with two things on his mind: recuperating and reevaluating, but Sage can’t refuse his best friend’s plea to keep a protective eye on his little sister after someone ransacks her house. Flight Medic Delaney Hunt has loved Sage forever. But, he’s all about control while she takes risks. She doesn’t need Sage looking over her shoulder. But when things go wrong and she finds herself hanging by her fingertips, who does she call to rescue her? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing (Pelican).

Angel Falls by Connie Mann — A fiercely protective Brazilian orphanage director and a burned-out Army Ranger are forced together in a deadly race to save one helpless baby. (Romantic Suspense from Abingdon Press).

Love Will Find a Way by Pamela S. Meyers — When April Love opens her new eatery and catering business in an old Victorian in the village of Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, trouble is afoot. During renovations, she discovers evidence that the home had once been the hideout of a famous gangster. When several break-ins and an attempted arson fire threaten the grand opening, April and handsome fiancé Marc Thorne wonder if the gangsters still around? (Cozy Mystery from OakTara Publishers).

The Survivor by DiAnn Mills — Kariss helps a woman involved with a 23 year old cold case and steps into a viper’s pit of danger. (Romantic Suspense from Zondervan).

When Memories Fade (Victory Gospel Series 2) by Tyora Moody — Angel Roberts has embraced her new faith, but past memories remain fresh. After her beloved grandmother suffers a stroke, Angel sets out to investigate a mystery that has lingered since she was five years old. What happened to her mother? She teams up with investigative reporter, Wes Cade, a man obsessed with his Alzheimer stricken grandfather’s remaining memories. As Angel lets her guard down with Wes, his determination to get the story could push her to the edge. Is his interest in her or the story? (Romantic Suspense from Urban Christian).

Love for the Right Reasons by Donna L. Rich — Beverly Lahmeyer falls in love with her new boss, but devastating news brings their relationship to a halt. (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents).

Mountain Homecoming by Sandra Robbins — In the second book in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, the Martin family realizes their way of life is changing as the lumber companies begin to invade their remote valley deep in the Smoky Mountains. (Romance from Harvest House).

The Tempted Soul by Adina Senft — A childless Amish woman is tempted by medical technology to betray her beliefs. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Faith Words (Hachette).

Antique Dreams by Amber Stockton — Fulfilling a deathbed promise, Aaron Stone encourages Lillian Bradenton to bring life back to a boarded-up bookstore, but before he can make good on his promise, he is called away to settle a family emergency, leaving Lillian to wonder if she’s lost him forever. (Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents).

Forsaken Dreams by Mary Lu Tyndall — Forsaken Dreams launches readers on a romantic adventure as Colonel Blake Wallace leaves the war-torn South behind to build a utopian society in Brazil. But will unexpected dangers on the ship and the secret of one captivating lady keep him from beginning anew? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White — Love has no place in a world of spies. (Historical Romance from Harvest House).

Verse of the Day

We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. . . . So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. (2 Corinthians 4:8–9, 16–17 MSG)

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Return of Cassandra Todd by Darrel Nelson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Return of Cassandra Todd

Realms (February 5, 2013)


Darrel Nelson


I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings. 


When the girl he hated in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, and asks for his help, Turner must put the past behind him if they are to survive.

Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he passes the bus depot just as Cassandra Todd and her young son arrive. He is shocked to see her, remembering how cruel she was to him in high school. She was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her mean-spirited pranks.

Turner could never have imagined that the outdoor training and survival skills he learned at Camp Kopawanee, a summer youth camp where he worked three years as a leader, would one day become so crucial. But when Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, Turner finds himself entangled in a situation that will require every skill he has in order to survive.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Return of Cassandra Todd, go HERE.

Margie's comments: Time has gotten away from me again this week, and The Return of Cassandra Todd is another book I have started, but have not have time to finish before the blog tour came around. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I always have several books going at the same time! Ever since I was a kid. LOL) My first impressions of the book are that this is shaping up to be one of the romances with "meat" that I love. In tackling the touchy subject of a husband who physically abuses his wife and her subsequent decision to leave with their child is guaranteed to garner attention. Plus the setting is in my beloved Colorado, so that is a huge plus for me. :) So far I'm loving the way the author is handling the issue. I'm invested in the story now, and I will finish and leave a more in-depth review later.

Verse of the Day

My dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG)