Thursday, December 31, 2009

Verse of the Day

And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high. (Psalm 119:80 MSG)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Verse of the Day

They fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 7:11–12)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Reviews (catching up)

Timescape and Whirlwind are books four and five in the Dreamhouse Kings series for YA readers written by Robert Liparulo. I suspect that many adults are hooked on this series, like I am. These books are packed with spine-tingling adventure as the King children learn more about the strange house they live in. On a quest to rescue their mother, they are pulled into many different worlds and times through the portals in their creepy third floor. And a few villains come through the portals to wreak havoc on the Kings and their house. The only thing I don’t like about these books is the ending . . . which isn’t an ending. It’s more like a hook that leaves the reader hanging, desperate for the next book in the series. I read these two books back to back, as I did the first two. So I’ve minimized the dangling a little. However, the next book, Frenzy, will be out around March 2010.

For more on these books and the author, go here and here.

Verse of the Day

"The LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." (Isaiah 58:11)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review Catch-Up

Just Between You and Me is Jenny Jones’s first adult novel. I was familiar with her YA books, and I appreciate her humor as she handles difficult subjects. She’s accomplished the same with her adult novel, as well. In fact, Just Between You and Me is at the top of my best reads in 2009. The theme of trusting God in everything really hit home with me. Jenny deals with the subject matter of the book with compassion laced with just the right amount of humor. I highly recommend this book.

For more on the book and author, go here

Verse of the Day

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:9–11)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Verse of the Day


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Verse of the Day

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He thrusts out the enemy before you; it is he who cries, 'Destroy them!' (Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Verse of the Day

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:35–36 ESV)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Verse of the Day

For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Verse of the Day

Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them. (Hosea 14:9)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Verse of the Day

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Verse of the Day

The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. (Romans 8:26–27 NLT)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sheriff’s Surrender

Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)


Susan Page Davis


I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!


Gert Dooley can shoot the tail feathers off a jay at a hundred yards, but she wants Ethan Chapman to see she's more than a crack shot with a firearm. When the sheriff of Fergus, Idaho, is murdered and Ethan is named his replacement, Gert decides she has to do whatever she can to help him protect the citizenry. So she starts the Ladies Shooting Club. But when one of their numbers is murdered, these ladies are called on for more than target shooting and praying. Can Gert and the ladies of Fergus find the murderer before he strikes again?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sheriff’s Surrender , go HERE

Review to come later.

Note: This is the last CFBA blog post for the year. After I finish some editing and writing projects, I'm going to tackle the backlog of reviews I owe you. Lots of good books this year, and I'm glad I've been a part of promoting good fiction.

Verse of the Day

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)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For Your Christmas Reading

Writers tend to rewrite well-known songs and poems, especially at Christmas time. So I'm posting a few links today for your holiday enjoyment.

First, my friend Ane Mulligan wrote a "wish list" based on "The Twelve Days of Christmas." You can find it here.

Two posts at Novel Journey will interest you. The first in this year's interview with the author of the poem, "'Twas the Night before Christmas." The second is last year's interview with Charles Dickens. You can find that here.

Finally, from one of my online critique partners, friend, and treasurer of HIS Writers, my local ACFW chapter, Donna Schlachter. She wrote the following with her face-to-face crit partners:

'Twas the Night before Deadline"

Twas the Night Before Deadline.
Twas the night before deadline And all through the town
Every writer was writing, their heads were bent down
O'er the keyboard, the ARC's, over every notepad
How could they have missed it? Could it be all that bad?
The editors were snoozing, all snug in their beds
Not thinking of writers who were losing their heads
And agents were dreaming of spending their dough
As off to the bank with their checks they would go.
But up in the attics and down in the dens
Authors were shaking their heads and their pens
Not sleeping, not eating, their bodies would waste
Away to a skeleton, as they wrote in haste.
And still on they labored, refusing to sway
Resisting the impulse to just throw away
The words carefully crafted, the plot so inspired
Wondering, really, were three subplots required?
Yet knowing this isn't all about a book
A tome of their making, if that's what it took
They could write in their sleep, dash off in a dash
And laugh all the way to the bank with their cash.
But this was about God's will, His plan for each one
To come to know Jesus, His firstborn, His son.
And how each life changed is a life that's reborn
And that's why they write through the night, to the morn.
Now, Mary, now Jerry, now Paula and Sal
Here, Connie, and Cathy, and Debbie, and Val
On Steven, and Randy, and Stuart and Bill
Relinquish this book to your Father's Will
To the top of the slush pile,
To the top of the stack
This book is a winner
There's no turning back!
So write till it's written, and toil til it's done
The story that God wants, in praise of His Son
No matter the hour, no matter the cost
Any labor of Love for your Lord is not lost.
Then send it to others to rip it apart
And give it back to you, though broken in heart
With comments and red ink and strike throughs within
And know that it's better than it's ever been.
And when someone asks you if you wrote this book
You have my permission to give them the Look
And tell them with straight face and conscience intact
"It's the book that God wrote through me, and that is a fact."
If they should question your solemn intent
If they require a further statement
Just tell them it's better than you could have writ
Because it's endorsed by the Holy Spirit.
Know if it's never on a book store shelf
That this book is not about you or yourself.
This book is about your heed to the call
Of the Lord on your life, of the Lord on your all.
Twas the night before deadline, and all through the town
Tired writers were able to lay their heads down.
They'd done all their work, they'd done all they could
They slept soundly knowing God called it "good".

Verse of the Day

This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. (Psalm 91:2 NLT)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Verse of the Day

With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. (Hebrews 13:15 NLT)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Familiar Stranger

Moody Publishers (September 1, 2009)


Christina Berry


Single mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. All that confusion must have influenced her decision to be team captain of a winning team on Family Feud.

Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, released from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!

Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers.


Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?

But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Verse of the Day

Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. (Matthew 6:21 NLT)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Verse of the Day

Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:12–14 ESV)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Verse of the Day

Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:5)

Whirlwind by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (December 29, 2009)


Robert Liparulo


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first novel, Comes a Horseman, released to critical acclaim. Each of his subsequent thrillers—Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock—secured his place as one of today’s most popular and daring thriller writers.

He is known for investing deep research and chillingly accurate predictions of near-future scenarios into his stories. In fact, his thorough, journalistic approach to research has resulted in his becoming an expert on the various topics he explores in his fiction, and he has appeared on such media outlets as CNN and ABC Radio.

Liparulo’s visual style of writing has caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman. were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

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

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

Visit Robert Liparulo's Facebook Fan page:


Which door do you go through to save the world?

David, Xander, and Toria King never know where the mysterious portals in their house will take them: past, present, or future. They have battled gladiators and the German army, dodged soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, and jumped from the sinking Titanic. They've also seen the stark future that awaits if they can't do something to change it--a destroyed city filled with mutant creatures.

And they've still got to find a way to bring Mom back and keep Taksidian from getting them out of the house. The dangers are hitting them like a whirlwind . . . but the answers are becoming apparent as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Whirlwind, go HERE
Review to come later. Bob Liparulo is one of my favorite authors, but I've fallen behind on my reading. His books included. However, I can safely say that if you like high-powered suspense, you will like any of Bob's books.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Verse of the Day

No distrust made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:20–21 ESV)

"Exercise your faith, knowing that I [God] will give you the right words and will fill them with the power of My Spirit, and they shall be used by Me to bring salvation and deliverance. Be not detained by self-doubt. Rely on Me, and do not regard your own limitations as a liability.

"I will manifest through you in a mighty way if you will only give Me the opportunity. Be My mouthpiece, and I will supply the words and the message." (from Progress of Another Pilgrim by Frances J. Roberts)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Verse of the Day

The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. (Isaiah 50:4 NLT) 

This is the prayer of my heart, that I would know His Word so well that He uses me in this way. May I have ears to listen and a mind to understand through His Spirit.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Verse of the Day

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

The Christmas Glass by Marci Alborghetti

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Christmas Glass

GuidepostsBooks (October 1, 2009)


Marci Alborghetti


Marci Alborghetti has been writing only slightly longer than she's been reading. In seventh grade she received her first writing prize for a zany Halloween story. The prize? A five dollar gift certificate to a local bookstore. She was hooked. The Christmas Glass is her fourteenth book, and she is currently at work on a sequel as well as a non-fiction book about service. Some of her other books include: Prayer Power: How to Pray When You Think You Can’t, A Season in the South and Twelve Strong Women of God.

She and her husband, Charlie Duffy, live in New London, Connecticut, and the San Francisco Bay area. While in New London she facilitates the Saint James Literary Club.


In the tradition of The Christmas Shoes and A Christmas on Jane Street, the heartwarming story of The Christmas Glass shows how, today as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.

In the early days of World War II in Italy, Anna, a young widow who runs a small orphanage, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions—a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother—and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years.

Anna is distressed to part with her only tangible reminder of her mother, but she worries that the ornaments will be lost or destroyed in the war, especially now that her orphanage has begun to secretly shelter Jewish children. Anna's young cousin Filomena is married with two-year-old twins when she receives the box of precious Christmas glass.

After the war, Filomena emigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass, some intimately connected by family bonds, some connected only through the history of the ornaments.

As Christmas Day approaches, readers join each character in a journey of laughter and tears, fractures and healings, as Filomena, now an eighty-four-year-old great-grandmother, brings them all to what will be either a wondrous reunion or a disaster that may shatter them all like the precious glass they cherish.

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

Review to come later.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Verse of the Day

I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! (Isaiah 65:24 NLT)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Verse of the Day

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. (Romans 8:26 MSG)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ACFW December New Releases

1. A Bouquet for Iris, by Diane Ashley & Aaron McCarver from Barbour Heartsong Presents.
Iris Landon travels to Daisy, Tennessee, to care for two Cherokee children and finds romance and danger while aiding one family in the struggle to keep their land.

2. A Lady Like Sarah, Rocky Creek Romance, by Margaret Brownley from Thomas Nelson.
He's a preacher. She's an outlaw. Both are in need of a miracle.

3. ANGEL WITH A BACKHOE, by Deb Kinnard from Desert
Breeze Publishing.
A small-town widower and a spunky suburban transplant match wits over a church construction project, finding true love can mix with blueprints and concrete footings.

4. Child Finder: Resurrection series: Child Finder Trilogy, 2nd book, by Mike Angley from Total Recall Publications, Inc.
Child Finder: Resurrection…the highly-anticipated sequel to the award-winning debut novel, Child Finder, which Library Journal placed on its 2009 Summer Reads list for Christian fiction!

5. Christmas Peril, by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Christmas themed, romantic suspense stories.

6. Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson from White Rose Publishing.
A grieving man resists the cups of comfort offered by the shy, but handsome, owner of the neighborhood coffee shop.

7. Field of Danger, by Ramona Richards from Love Inspired Suspense.
When April Presley can’t remember details of the murder she witnessed, deputy Daniel Rivers must help her recall the event and protect her from the killer determined to silence her.

8. Her Patchwork Family series: The Gabriel Sisters, by Lyn Cote from Love Inspired.
In spite of opposition from the rich and influential, can Felicity Gabriel establish a home for children orphaned by the Civil War and heal two wounded hearts?

9. Patterns and Progress series: Michigan historical, book 3, by Amber Stockton from Barbour Publishing.
A farmer's daughter would rather turn back the hands of time than accept the fact that advancement in technology could be in God's plan.

10. The Sheriff's Surrender series: #1 of The Ladies' Shooting Club Series, by Susan Page Davis from Barbour Publishing.
The men of Fergus aren’t keeping the town safe, so a group of feisty women take matters into their own hands.

11. The Glassblower series: First book in the New Jersey Historical Series, by Laurie Alice Eakes from Barbour Publishing.
Colin Grassick moves from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Salem County, New Jersey, to take a position as a master glassblower. He loves his work and hopes of bringing his family to America for a better life. But his love for Meg, the daughter of the owner of the glassworks, threatens his job. . .and then his life.

Verse of the Day

From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and fainting; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [yes, a rock that is too high for me]. (Psalm 61:2 AMP)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Verse of the Day

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Loss of Carrier by Russ White

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Loss Of Carrier

BookSurge Publishing (October 27, 2009)


Russ White


Russ White is an internationally recognized internetwork engineer. He has co-authored eight books in the field of network design and routing
protocols and is a regular speaker at international networking conferences.

In addition to working on several expert and senior-level network engineering certifications, he is a certified firearms instructor.

Russ, his wife, and their two children live in the Raleigh area of North Carolina, where they enjoy spending time on Jordan Lake and attending Colonial Baptist Church. Loss of Carrier is his first novel.


Bright yellow cables against a blue shirt? Carl never would have approved of that color combination. Why was his face so white? His eyes should be closed, not open. Why hadn’t one of the security guards seen this and reported it to the police? The lights were off, the cameras were useless in the dark.

Of course, the cables wrapped around Carl’s neck explained why the server wasn’t working. Loss of carrier.

Jess Wirth lives a dreary life. He spends most of his time crammed inside a cubicle, toiling as a network engineer and stewing over the details of his ugly divorce. But when he finds his co-worker dead in the basement of their office, Jess’s life takes a surprising—and unpleasant—turn.

The police quickly declare the death a suicide, but Jess isn’t so sure. Not long after he begins digging into the victim’s work, another co-worker turns up dead, convincing him once and for all that something sinister is brewing behind the cubicle walls.

His investigation leads him to a mysterious woman name Leah, who pushes him to entrust her with the information he’s collected about his dead colleagues. Wary of Leah’s motives yet inexorably drawn to her, Jess keeps her at arm’s length...until an attempt is made on both their lives. Realizing they are close on the trail of a dangerous criminal, the pair race to expose a data theft ring before they become the killer’s next victims.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Loss Of Carrier, go HERE

Review to come later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Verse of the Day

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23:10)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Verse of the Day

 Today's Daily Light on the Daily Path

 “Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.—He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.—His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Your life is hidden with Christ in God.—He who touches you touches the apple of his eye.—“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord. . . . The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”—God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.

Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”—“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”—I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Prov. 1:33; Ps. 90:1; Ps. 91:1; Ps. 91:4; Col. 3:3; Zech. 2:8; Ex. 14:13, 14; Ps. 46:1, 2; Matt. 14:27; Luke 24:38, 39; 2 Tim. 1:12

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Eternity Falls

Marcher Lord Press (October 1, 2009)


Kirk Outerbridge


Kirk Outerbridge developed a passion for storytelling at an early age. Through years of reading fantasy and science fiction novels, comics, table top gaming and watching endless hours Japanese anime, he developed a keen sense for what made stories enjoyable and more importantly—what didn’t.

While pursuing an engineering degree in college, Kirk endeavored to tell his own stories, choosing writing as the easiest and cheapest medium to master—or so he thought. Several years and several hundred thousand words later, he produced a sci-fi trilogy that shall never (God willing) see the light of day, but that did teach him much needed lessons about the craft of writing fiction.

After college Kirk returned to his homeland of Bermuda where he reunited with his childhood friend and future wife, Ria. But before marrying his lovely wife, Kirk entered an even greater marriage and devoted his life to Christ in 2002.

With a new-found direction in life, writing fell by the wayside, but the urge to tell futuristic stories never left. After much prayer and contemplation, Kirk purposed his writing for God’s will, seeking to draw to Christ those who shared his passions for all things futuristic and sci-fi.

Kirk currently lives with his wife Ria and 18-month-old son Miles in beautiful Bermuda. He is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and is a professional engineer employed by the government.


In the future, death is only a problem if you can’t afford the price. Such is the promise of Gentec Corporation’s “Miracle Treatment,” a genetic anti-aging elixir that grants eternal life—or does it?

When a Gentec client suddenly dies of natural causes, the powers that be will stop at nothing to ensure their version of eternity remains unchallenged; even if it means concocting a religious sabotage conspiracy to cover a lie.

With the media about to blow the story wide open, the credibility of Gentec and the lives of millions of clients rest on one man’s ability to uncover the truth.
Enter detective Rick Macey, religious counterterrorist expert and Gentec executive Sheila Dunn’s last hope for salvation.

Now with the clock ticking and the corporate brass seeking their own solution at any cost, Macey must track down a religious zealot out to destroy the Miracle Treatment for good.

But when Macey finds himself not only falling for his client, but confronted with the possibility that the culprit could hold a connection to his shaded past, the truth suddenly becomes a dangerous thing.

Only through a test of faith can he stop the crisis before it’s all too late and eternity falls.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Eternity Falls, go HERE

Verse of the Day

From today's reading in Daily Light on the Daily Path:

When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”—I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.—When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?—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?

Mic. 7:8; Isa. 43:2, 3; Isa. 42:16; Ps. 23:4; Ps. 56:3, 4; Ps. 27:1

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Verse of the Day

No matter where I am or the circumstances in my life, "Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:10) Does this bring comfort or unease? To me it's a huge comfort knowing that He is always beside me, no matter what, no matter how I "feel."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

What The Bayou Saw

Kregel Publications (March 24, 2009)


Patti Lacy


Though Patti's only been writing since 2005, she thinks her latest profession of capturing stories on paper (or computer files) will stick awhile.

The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008, An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, draws on the memories of two young girls who refused to let segregation, a chain link fence, and a brutal rape come between them.

The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to enliven Patti's gray matter. A third book, My Name is Sheba, has been completed. Patti's WIP, Recapturing Lily, documents a tug-of-war between a Harvard-educated doctor and an American pastor and his wife for a precious child and explores adoption issues, China's "One Child" policy, and both Christian and secular views of sacrifice.

Patti also facilitates writing seminars in schools, libraries, and at conferences and has been called to present her testimony, "All the Broken Pieces," at women's retreats. She also leads a Beth Moore Bible study at her beloved Grace Church.

Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal with their handsome son Thomas, who attends Heartland Community College. On sunny evenings, you can catch the three strolling the streets of Normal with their dog Laura, whom they've dubbed a "Worchestershire Terrier" for her "little dab of this breed, a little dab of that breed.


Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.

The past can't stay buried forever Rising author Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana.

Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood.

But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally's memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally's story comes to light, the lies she's told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

If you would like to read the first chapter of What The Bayou Saw, go HERE

Watch the Book Trailer:

Verse of the Day

For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. (Isaiah 25:4)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Verse of the Day

The LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12)

"He who begins, finishes. He who leads us on, follows to deal in love with out poor attempts. He gathers up the things that we have dropped—our fallen resolution, our mistakes. He makes His blessed pardon to flow over our sins till they are utterly washed away. And He turns to fight the enemy, who would pursue after us, to destroy from behind." Amy Carmichael

Monday, November 16, 2009

Verse of the Day

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. (Psalm 119:33–37)

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Prisoner of Versailles

Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)


Golden Keyes Parsons


In her deep plowing of the heart, moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, Golden will touch your heart with her dynamic Bible teaching, combined with her vivid personal examples, moving from tears one moment, to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful--keep trusting Him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to godly living.

Golden, and her husband, Blaine, have just retired as pastors at Faith Mountain Fellowship Church in Red River, NM. They have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Her testimony and myriad of life experiences lend a touch of authenticity to her teaching. She loves to speak for women's conferences, seminars, luncheons, retreats and Mother/Daughter events.

If deep Bible teaching that brings the Scriptures alive is what you want, Golden is the speaker you need.


Madeleine's faith puts her at odds with an intimidating rival: King Louis XIV.

Having fled their homeland of France because of the persecution by Louis XIV, the Clavell family seeks refuge in Switzerland. However, the king is not about to let the recently widowed Madeleine, his childhood sweetheart, escape that easily. He sends musketeers to kidnap her and her oldest son, Philippe, holding them captive in his opulent palace. King Louis is suspicious that Philippe could be his son, and he's enraged by the growing affection of one of his courtiers for Madeleine.

Will Madeleine escape the king with her life or lose everything that she's fought so hard to keep?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Prisoner of Versailles , go HERE
Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. (Job 13:15)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

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. What they did to Jesus, they do to us--trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us--he lives! (2 Corinthians 4:8–10 MSG)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Verse of the Day

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quiz for Smart People

I saw this quiz on Brandilyn Collins's Forensics and Faith blog—and almost totally flunked. Let's see how well you do.

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will tell you whether you are qualified to be a professional. Scroll down for each answer. The questions are NOT that difficult. But don't scroll down UNTIL you have answered the question!

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2 . How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator? Wrong Answer.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend...except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there.

This tests your memory. Okay even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.

4. There is a river you must cross but it is inhabited by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four- year-old.

I have no idea if that last paragraph is true or totally bogus. But it doesn't matter. What does matter: how did you do on the quiz?

Margie here: I got the first one right. From there it was all downhill! Leave a comment telling me how well you did.

Verse of the Day

So now the LORD says: "Be patient." (Zephaniah 3:8 NLT)

Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:19 NLT)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Verse of the Day

"O LORD, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! . . . We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help." (2 Chronicles 20:6, 12 ESV)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Today I blogged about NaNoWriMo on the ACFW Colorado blog. Check it out.

Verse of the Day

My prayer: Lead me in Your truth and teach me. (Psalm 25:5)

God's answer: I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Verse of the Day

"So don't worry. . . . Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. (Matthew 6:31–33 NLT)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Slow Burn

Zondervan (October 1, 2009)


Mary DeMuth


Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs
(nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. She's also taught in Germany, Austria, Monaco, Italy, France, and the United States. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer—a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.

Watch the video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Slow Burn, go HERE
Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Verse of the Day

We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. (Colossians 1:9–10 NLT)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Verse of the Day

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5–6 MSG)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

ACFW November New Releases

1. A Silent Pursuit, by Lynette Eason from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Gina Santino has something someone desperately wants. Now, she's on the hunt to find it. Her deceased fiance's best friend, US Ranger, Ian Masterson is her only hope of staying alive while they race to be the first to discover the treasure her fiance left behind.

2. Chasing Shadows, by Terri Reed from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. An heiress turns to her former love, a cop, for help when she fears for her grandmother's life.

3. Close to Home, by Carolyn Aarsen   from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A reunion of old lovers brings up the shadows of past tragedy.

4. Fit To Be Tied, The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Book #2, by Robin Lee Hatcher   from Zondervan. Who says a woman can't do a man's job?

5. I'm So Sure, A Charmed Life, Book 2, by Jenny B. Jones from Thomas Nelson. Its prom time and someone is trying to sabotage the queen contest. Can Bella solve the mystery in time AND keep it together as her life goes public on a wrestling reality show?

6. The Bartered Bride, by Erica Vetsch   from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior as two hearts set sail on a collision course.

7. Together for the Holidays, Fostered by Love series-book 5, by Margaret Daley from Love Inspired. Can the true meaning of Christmas bring two loners together?

The Y Factor by Liam Roberts

Scientists discover a genetic secret that threatens to wipe Israel off the map . . .

Back Cover Copy:

What is our CNA holds the solution to the Middle East conflict? What if there are people willing to kill to keep it a secret?

Computer scientist Eric Colburn is anticipating his college graduation and eager to begin life with his girlfriend, Alana, when he receives a cryptic e-mail from his former college roommate, Hamdi. A former classmate of Alana's in the genetics program, Hamdi has returned home to Cairo to work on an international project that decodes DNA to develop a comprehensive family tree of the human race.

When Hamdi disappears and Eric receives nothing but disinterest and evasions from those who were working with him, Eric feels he has no choice but to investigate, taking a position with the company Hamdi was working for. While there, and with Alana by his side, he uncovers a terrorist plot so dark and explosive that it threatens to shake the very foundations of the world.

With an unforgettable cast of characters—from brilliant scientist to al Qaeda assassins—The Y Factor is a scientific thriller that deftly combines edge-of-your-seat action with a challenge for us to love our enemies . . . even when that seems impossible to do.

About Liam Roberts: 

Liam Roberts' fascination with genetics—particularly the Genographic Project sponsored by the National Geographic Society and the idea that the story of Noah's flood might be recorded in our DNA—combined with an interest in Islamic terrorism provide the impetus for this debut novel. Roberts has a popular blog where he writes on topics surrounding Christianity and Islam in America. He has been married for thirty-three years to his wife, Marsha, and they have been blessed with three incredible children.

Margie's Comments: I was intrigued by the premise of the book when I first saw it mentioned on Facebook, and when the opportunity came to review it for this blog, I jumped at it. The story and the characters are interesting and well-done. While I felt the beginning of the story was a little slow, the pace picked up and I was drawn into the intrigue and the danger of the Middle East. I was also fascinated by the scientific aspect of the story, the what ifs of life and a heritage that goes all the way back to the beginning of time. Although I found the dialogue pedantic at times, the story definitely kept me reading to an exciting and satisfying finish.

The Y Factor is published by Realms and is available at most bookstores.

Friday, October 30, 2009

eye of the god by Ariel Allison

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

eye of the god

Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)


Ariel Allison


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at

From Ariel:
I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingalls meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have
grown to love many others since.


eye of the god  takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE
Margie's Comments: I haven't finished reading eye of the god yet, but I'm definitely hooked! I love the blend of historical and contemporary, as I've said before on this blog. And the author has done a masterful job of intertwining the two. I can already say that I heartily recommend this book, especially for those who enjoy a good thriller.

Verse of the Day

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7 NLT)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Self-Editing Tips—Punctuation

We are in the middle of a two-day fall snowstorm. So far we have about 18"—a little hard to tell because of the wind drifting the snow. It's supposed to snow another 4–8" before it tapers off sometime around midnight tonight. So I'm staying snug in my house . . . and working . . . when I'm not outside shoveling. It's a great powdery snow. The skiers are ecstatic. LOL

Today we're going to talk about the colon, semicolon, and period. Fairly straightforward, actually. And some opinions run high, especially on semicolons. But I'll explain why in a minute.

Very simply put, outside of the usual uses of these punctuations, you use a colon after introductory material; a semicolon between two independent sentences, in place of the separating commas in a series where there are commas already; and periods in a.m./p.m., but no period in most capped abbreviations.

Let's look at some examples.

The grocery list his wife gave him was a menu for breakfast bacon, eggs, bread, milk, butter, and coffee.
The grocery list his wife gave him was a menu for breakfast: bacon, eggs, bread, milk, butter, and coffee.
Because a list of items follows the introductory material about the list, use a colon.

Another use for the colon is to separate two very similar sentences. Here are a couple of examples from the Chicago Manual of Style:

They even relied on a chronological analogy: just as the Year II had overshadowed 1789, so the October Revolution had eclipsed that of February.

Many of the police officers held additional jobs: thirteen of them, for example, moonlighted as security guards.

Some people enjoy staying home during vacations others prefer to spend this time as far away as possible.
Some people enjoy staying home during vacations; others prefer to spend this time as far away as possible.

Between two independent sentences. This semicolon use is not a hard and fast rule in fiction. Some authors feel it sticks out, abruptly slows the action. And I can see that argument in a fast-paced mystery or suspense. However, I like the semicolon and feel it's a little misunderstood. LOL I don't recommend using it on every page, but judiciously sprinkled in it can be very effective. BUT I do not like using it in dialogue. We may read over semicolons in narrative and non-fiction, but we don't speak in semicolons. That's my personal preference, and when I'm editing a book manuscript those are the guidelines I follow . . . unless I'm working on a project for a publisher and I know that author doesn't like them anywhere. Then I follow the author's preference.

Send sample copies of your books to our distributors in Hartford, Connecticut Bangor, Maine and Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Send sample copies of your books to our distributors in Hartford, Connecticut; Bangor, Maine; and Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Two things about this sentence. There is no colon before the list because this list is actually the object of the preposition. Don't separate an object from the rest of the sentence with any punctuation. However, because of the use of the comma in the elements of the list, we need to use semicolons to separate the items. Putting commas in there is too confusing otherwise.

9:00 a m
9:00 a.m.

600 BC, AD 2009

These examples are self-explanatory, but just a reminder. The preferred way of doing the a.m./p.m. is with the lowercase letters and periods. The other accepted way is to use small caps, no commas. As for the capitalized BC and AD, they do not have periods because they are capitalized abbreviations.

Hope that helps clear up a little confusion on these pieces of punctuation.

Verse of the Day

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. . . . O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:1–4, 8)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Verse of the Day

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. (Ephesians 6:10–11 NASB)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Verse of the Day

The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (Psalm 23:1–3 NLT)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Verse of the Day

"I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. (Isaiah 45:3)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Verse of the Day

I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine." (Galatians 2:20 MSG) How freeing this is when I step out of the way and let Christ live in me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Self-Editing Tips

Today we'll talk about the last two most common uses for commas. Yea!!! LOL Commas are difficult to understand, but these rules today are pretty straightforward.

First, when do you use a comma when you have two or more adjectives? Adjectives are those words that describe or modify a noun. I could get all technical and tell you that adjectives come in different form (and they do), but I won't. Even though if you know the forms you will also know where to put the commas.

Thankfully, there's a quick and easy shortcut to all that technical stuff.

Here it is: IF you can put the word and between the adjectives in your sentence, THEN you can replace and with a comma.
 Examples (taken from the Chicago Manual of Style, 6.39):
Shelly had proved a faithful, sincere friend.
(. . . a faithful and sincere friend.)

It is going to be a long, hot, exhausting summer.
(. . . long and hot and exhausting summer)
She has a young, good-looking friend.
(. . . a young and good-looking friend)
She has many young friends.
(many and young friends doesn't work)
He has rejected traditional religious affiliations.
(traditional and religious affiliations puts a different meaning to the intent of the sentence, so it doesn't work here, either)

The second use of the comma we're going to look at is the comma used in dates and addresses that stand alone as well as in sentences.

Dates: comma between the day and year (May 10, 2010) but NOT between month and year (May 2010)
Addresses: between the city and state (Denver, Colorado)
Dates and time: after a.m./p.m. if in the middle of the sentence; after day if the date is given after it (Saturday, May 4, 1997), after the year if in the middle of a sentence
Addresses: between city and state and after state if in the middle of the sentence

The show will move into Springfield, Massachusetts, at about 8 p.m., Saturday, May 4, 1997, for this gala event.
I hope these guidelines for commas are a help to you in your writing.

Verse of the Day

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. (Isaiah 26:3 AMP)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Verse of the Day

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:1–2 ESV)

For Readers and Writers of Speculative Fiction

Special Announcement from
Marcher Lord Press
October 17, 2009

Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)--Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions," says publisher Jeff Gerke. "We're presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting 'the people' decide which one should be published."

The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.

The first phase will consist of no more than the book's title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.

"We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel," Gerke says. "There are marketing skills to be developed--and you've got to hook the reader with a good premise."

Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book.

The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.

No portion of any contestant's mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.

Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.

"We're also running a secondary contest," Gerke says. "The 'premise contest' is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009."

The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book.
The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.

"It's a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn't receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest."

The premise contest is open to anyone with a completed Christian speculative fiction manuscript that meets MLP guidelines for length, content, genre, worldview, audience, etc. To enter, authors must complete the acquisitions form found at the Marcher Lord Press site and supply all the components listed below on or before October 29, 2009.

Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.

"In order for this to work as we're envisioning," Gerke says, "we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you're not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I'm sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!"

Marcher Lord Press is a Colorado Springs-based independent publisher producing Christian speculative fiction exclusively. MLP was launched in fall of 2008 and is privately owned. Contact: Jeff Gerke;

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry

Today I'm spotlighting Christina Berry and her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger.

Welcome to The Writer's Tool, Christina.

Tell me about your novel.

The Familiar Stranger—formerly known as Undiscovered—is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.

You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to

How did you come up with the story?

In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.

What challenges do you face with your writing? What comes easy to you?

As a single mother of young children, and currently serving as a foster parent, time is my biggest challenge. I have to make sure my family knows they come first, but to balance that with treating writing as a career.

Strength-wise, while the idea of writing or editing may seem hard, I usually get quite a lot done in a short amount of time once I start. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. That applies to our writing. A little momentum can go a long way!

What surprised you about the publishing process after your novel was contracted?

I knew that titles were frequently changed for publication, but I didn’t expect the title to change before the contract was officially signed. Also, I knew that editors move from house to house fairly often in this industry, but I didn’t expect to lose my dream editor two days after signing the contract. (Hi, Andy!)

After getting over the shock of losing my editor, I was very surprised at how much Moody valued my input, how frequently they communicated with me, and how they lifted my family up in prayer. In fact, everyone from my editor to the marketing manager to the author liaison has been amazing!

What takeaway value do you hope readers receive after reading your novel?

The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

What part does God play in your writing?

I believe He guides the story, adding layers I’m not even capable of comprehending while I write it. I’m not great at starting my writing time with prayer, but I try to stay open to where He might lead me.

I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image—a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of my life is falling apart.

What fun facts may surprise your readers about you?

I was the team captain and second answerer in the speed round for our family on Family Feud in 2000 … and we won! Also, I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, while my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. I remember being awed at the selection of toilet paper in the grocery store when we returned to the States.

How can we pray for you?

Behind every book is an author, but what I tend to forget is that the author is a real person with real struggles, doubts, and hardships. This happens to be a period of pain, growth, and change in my life. I would love to be held up with prayers for the following: grace and strength to show Christ’s love to everyone I come in contact with, the ability to find joy wherever possible, and financial, emotional, and spiritual safety for my family as we continue the transition to a single parent home.

Some Christian writers argue that fiction is first and foremost entertainment and decry any "agenda driven" stories. What's your opinion on the subject?

I say we're all writing with an agenda, whether we recognize it or not. Maybe it's to show what a godly romance looks like, maybe to draw attention to child abuse, maybe to attempt to understand why people are capable of such evil, or ... With this book, I felt called to share what God has taught me about forgiveness. That is definitely my agenda, which correlates with my tagline: Live transparently—Forgive extravagantly.

However, if the story is not presented in a highly entertaining way the agenda will never be accomplished because the reader will toss the book down if she gets bored. The real skill—and I am by no means saying I'm setting the watermark with my writing—is to so thoroughly wrap the story around the agenda that it becomes unrecognizable to the reader. I'd love to hear other’s opinions in the comments.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

~Read craft books (I have a list of my favorites on the sidebar of my blog
~Write consistently
~Join a critique group
~Attend writing conferences
~Be open to criticism. One always has room to grow!

How important is faith in your books?

My faith undergirds every scene that I write. My hope is that it comes across to the reader in a very organic way, never as preachy or self-righteous. However, my characters’ spiritual arcs are a huge part of the storyline.

What themes do you like to write about?

The recent changes in my life—a divorce, working part-time outside the home, putting my home up for sale, moving toward adoption with a foster child—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?

Though the plot of The Familiar Stranger came from news stories, I’d been looking for a fictional vehicle to express the lessons I’d learned regarding forgiveness in my own marriage. I knew no one was interested in reading my particular story, but I still felt God had given me something to say. My husband and I worked through a major issue six years ago and found a vibrant, completely renewed marriage on the other side.

However, seven months ago, that same issue broke our bond. Now as a newly single woman, I’m in the midst of promoting a book that touches far closer to home than I would have ever dreamed. If no one else ever reads it, I’ve been convicted and encouraged by my own words. If that isn’t a gracious God at work, I don’t know what is!

How can our readers purchase your book?

Here are two links:

You can also have any bookstore order copies for you if they don’t have any in stock.

Thank you, Christina. I look forward to reading your book.