Monday, August 31, 2009

Verse of the Day

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT)

Book Reviews (catching up)

I've finished a couple of books that I promised a review for. So today is catch-up day.

The first one is Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey. The original post for this is here.

The blend of historical and contemporary stories kept my attention all the way through the book. I've read several books that use this technique, but I believe the author of Pirate Hunter has done it seemlessly. So cool the way it all came together in the end. The characters were well-written. I felt like I was saying a reluctant good-bye to old friends at the end of the book. I would have liked to have their stories continue. If you like a good adventure, then Pirate Hunter will be a satifactory read for you. I look forward to reading more of Tom Morissey's books.

The second book is The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan. The original post is here.

This blog tour was scheduled during the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference earlier this month. Which was really excellent timing, since I met Terry at this conference two years ago. He and I were in the same clinic with Angela Hunt and Nancy Rue. In reading each other's submissions to the clinic, I was caught up into Terry's book right away. Great things happened for Terry at that conference, and a year later he not only had an agent, he also had a book contract with Kregel. So I've looked forward to reading the complete book for two years. Terry and I were both on faculty at this year's conference. What a wonderful blessing he and his wife Andrea are to me. I count them among my good friends and always look forward to seeing them at the conference.

The small portion I read as part of the clinic was the prologue of this book—the historical part, the back story to set up the premise of the book. And the story itself didn't disappoint. What a wonderful adventure that started with the discovery in NYC and led to Jerusalem. I loved the characters. And while it is fiction, it felt like it was a documentary of something that really occurred. A good documentary, much more enjoyable to read than the usual reporter's style. Terry's experience as a journalist brought a sense of immediacy to the story, something that could be happening right now. My only disappointment with the book came from my own experience as an editor. Several times I was tripped up by issues that should have been caught in the editing process. But, to be fair, they were issues that I tend to focus on that other editors aren't bothered by. So . . . don't let it keep you from reading this book. I look forward to Terry's next book, and I hope he's planning to use many of the same characters. I'd love to learn more of their stories.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Verse of the Day

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; (Psalm 46:1–2 NASB)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Verse of the Day

"No chance at all," Jesus said, "if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it." (Luke 18:27 MSG)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Verse of the Day

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. (Joshua 1:8 NLT)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Surrender the Wind by Rita Gerlach

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Surrender The Wind

Abingdon Press (August 2009)


Rita Gerlach


Rita Gerlach has published three historical novels plus articles in Writers Gazette, Write to Inspire, Will Write 4 Food, and The Christian Communicator.

She also is the editor of Stepping Stones Magazine, an online website focused on writing, marketing, and promotion for writers. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Western Maryland Writers Guild.

She currently lives in Frederick, Maryland. You can also visit her at her Blog


Seth Braxton, a patriot of the American Revolution, unexpectedly inherits his loyalist grandfather's estate in England. Seth is torn between the land he fought for and the prospect of reuniting with his sister Caroline, who was a motherless child taken to England at the onset of the war.
With no intention of staying permanently, Seth arrives to find his sister grieving over the death of her young son. In the midst of such tragedy, Seth meets Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Her independent spirit and gentle soul steal Seth's heart. After a brief courtship, they marry and she takes her place as the lady of Ten Width Manor, enraging the man who once sought her hand and schemed to make Ten Width his own. From the Virginia wilderness to the dark halls of an isolated English estate, Seth and his beloved Juleah inherit more than an ancestral home. They uncover a sinister plot that leads to murder, abduction, and betrayal--an ominous threat to their new life, love, and faith.

If you would like to reas the Prologue of Surrender The Wind, go HERE

Watch the trailer:

Margie's comments: I haven't finished reading Surrender the Wind, but it won't be long. Rita Gerlach has done a great job with the pacing of the novel . . . and tells a wonderful story while doing it. One of the main reasons I'm enjoying this book is because of the setting . . . England in the late 1700s. After the American Revolution. I love historicals (well, almost any genre) set in what is now the UK. (I am such an Anglophile. *smile*) This is the first book I've read by this author, but I look forward to reading many more in the future. I recommend Surrender the Wind to those who like fast-paced historicals and intriguing characters set in America and England.

Verse of the Day

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. . . . Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15–16 NIV)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome Home by Kimberley Woodhouse

Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, author, and musician with a quick wit and positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. A popular speaker, she’s shared at more than 600 venues across the country. Kimberley and her family's story have garnered national media attention for many years, but most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, and Discovery Health channel’s Mystery ER. Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, releases from Tyndale House Publishers September first. In addition to her non-fiction, she also writes romantic suspense and children’s books. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and two children in their truly “extreme” home.

Overwhelming trials . . . met with overcoming joy.
Kayla Woodhouse is not your typical twelve-year-old. Due to a rare medical disorder, she feels no pain, doesn’t sweat, and needs protective cooling gear just to go outside. With her restrictive lifestyle; countless hospitalizations, including brain surgery; and the resulting mountain of hospital bills, what’s a family to do?

How the Woodhouse family has faced seemingly impossible challenges is a story that has captured the hearts of America. Millions of people have experienced glimpses of their lives on Discovery’s Mystery ER, The Montel Williams Show, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (recently voted one of the show’s all-time best episodes!).

Now Kayla’s mom, Kimberley, takes readers behind the cameras to reveal their family’s journey as never before told. From medical sleuthing to cross-country moves, from freak fires to battles with insurance companies, Welcome Home proves that truth really is stranger than fiction. This candid life story reveals both success and failure and demonstrates how, even during tough circumstances, to shift your life from heartbreak to extreme joy.

Peak inside the Woodhouse family’s life (and their famous house) with a 16-page photo insert.

Margie's comments: It's my privilege to call Kim Woodhouse my friend. Even before I met her, I'd heard of her when she joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and then posted about Kayla's needs. But then, just after Kayla's brain surgery, Kim made the drive from Colorado Springs north to Thorton to meet with the HIS Writers, the only ACFW chapter in Colorado at the time. What a joy to meet Kim in person! What a privilege it has been to be a part of their adventures by praying for this wonderful family.

Kim and her family truly live out James 1:2–4. Joy radiates from every one of them. It's so neat to see an entire family who truly strive to be Christlike in all they do. Welcome Home is their story of how God has brought them to this point. It's not a sugarcoated lesson in joyful Christian living. Kim is honest about the struggles they face on a day by day basis. I've been in their Extreme Makeover home several times and witnessed this family in action. They are transparent and open in their relationships with each other and in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

While I had heard most of the story in bits and pieces over the years I've known Kim and I watched the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show they were featured on, I'm so thankful that Kim has written this out in book form. It's an amazing testimony of God's love, faithfulness, and goodness. Much of their faith, while still evident in their segment, was edited out of the show when it aired. But in her book she is able to fully cover the spiritual journey her family is on. What a blessing and encouragement they are to me to persevere on the path the Lord has for me and my family. I highly recommend Welcome Home.

Verse of the Day

"[To] everyone who is victorious, I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:17 NLT)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Verse of the Day

But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous]. (Job 23:10 AMP)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Catching up

What a busy, busy summer! Seems like I've been home very little, but that's not really true, either. However, I have made several trips to Mesa, AZ, to be with my hubby. The good news on that front is that after eight months of waiting and working toward a building permit for the church he's supposed to build there, he got word on Friday that everything has been approved and the building permit will be issued this week. You would not believe the nitpicky details this city has put this church through in order to get to this point. So for a building that should be almost finished, hopefully they will be moving dirt and actually getting a start on this thing before the end of the month. We certainly hope and pray that the inspections won't be quite so intense.

We made a trip to San Diego in July, as well. My first time at my brother's house in Carlsbad since they moved there almost fourteen years ago! I know. Very sad. With Roger working in Mesa, though, it makes it easier to get there for us. And we'll be returning the end of September for my niece's wedding.

Late in July I flew to Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference to assist Marlene Bagnull, the director, with running that conference. I went a week early to help her with the last-minute details, many of which didn't get completed until after the conference started. We had a different setup this year that we had to work around, but the conference was excellent. This was my first time on faculty at this conference, and it was a great experience. About fifty people showed up at my self-editing tips workshop on punctuation. Wow! I had no idea punctuation could be so popular! LOL And I met many people from new writers just starting out to the more experienced. What a blessing it was to serve at that conference again.

Next week I'll fly back to Mesa for a couple of weeks, then come home to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference here in Denver. It's great that it will be here, but it does add some responsibility onto those of us who are ACFW members here in Colorado. My main responsibility will be coordinating the airport pickups for the faculty, board members, editors, and agents who will be here, as well. So . . . more fun times! Thankfully, a sweet friend has offered to be my "slave" for this time, so I plan to put her to work as soon as I have more details to work with.

In the meantime, after several months of the Lord making it very plain that I'm to be writing, I started this last week dedicating two hours every day to write. Now if I could just get it to work with my editing schedule (that didn't go so well last week), I'd be a happy camper. But I do know that God rewards obedience, and it will take a few weeks to get used to this new schedule. So . . . I do have two deadlines this week. Definitely could use some prayer support.

I'm ready to post a few more reviews that I'm behind on. From now on you will only see reviews and information on the books that I have committed to read and review. Those will still be posted on Wednesdays and Fridays of the weeks they are scheduled. On the other days, I'll try to be more consistent with self-editing tips and suggestions for revisions and writing as I work through my own projects and learn what works for me and what doesn't. And of course, I'll have the occasional devotional.

In spite of the busy week ahead, I do plan to get back in the swing of posting most weekdays. I hope you will join me and leave the occasional comment, too.

Have a blessed and productive week!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Verse of the Day

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8 NLT)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Verse of the Day

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! (Habakkuk 3:19 AMP)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Verse of the Day

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ACFW Genesis Contest Finalists

These are the finalists in ACFW's annual Genesis contest for unpublished writers. The winners will be announced at the 2009 ACFW Conference in Denver in September.

(total entries: 44)

Sharon Ball, Clay Pigeon Falling
David W. Fry, Eester Egg
Jennifer Griffith, Magpies in Trees
Ane Mulligan, Chapel Springs Revival
Patty Slack, No Other Gods

(total entries: 75)

Cathy Bryant, These Roads Lead Home
Kathleen Haynes, A Mismatch Made In Heaven
Lisa Jordan, Draw Me Close
Christy LaShea Smith, The Bridge Between
Eileen Astels Watson, The Unlikely One

(total entries: 39)

Nancy Herriman, A Heart So Fine
D'Ann Mateer, In Flew Enza
Christina Miller, The Lantern
Sandi Rog, Mark of the Sword
Christine Schmidtke, Unveiled

HISTORICAL ROMANCE (six finalist entries due to a tie, but one is a
double finalist):
(total entries: 57)

Jody Hedlund (double finalist with two entries), My Elizabeth, My
Beloved & My Katharina, My Empress
Lisa Richardson, Magistrate's Folly
Connie Stevens, Leave Me Never
Gina Welborn, The Promise
Lacy Williams, Marrying Miss Marshal

(total entries: 45)

David Fry, Drop Bled
Anne Greene, Holly Gardens, PI, Red is for Rookie
Dineen Miller, The Soul Saver
Lynda Schab, Dead Weight
Alan Schleimer, Q.doc

(total entries: 50)

Mary F. Allen, A Wilderness Like Eden
Wenda Dottridge, Under Cover
Danica Favorite-McDonald, Through the Shadows
Kelly Ann Riley, Kitty's Fire
Janet Warren, Katherine Octavia, C.I.A.

(total entries: 45)

Valerie Comer, Majai's Fury
Megan Ebba, Doorkeepers
David Fry, Lies To See
Suzanne Krein, Lucifer Planet
Lisa Tuttle, Daughter of Paradise

(total entries: 62)

Cathleen Armstrong, The Church of Last Chance
Marie Wells Coutu, For Such A Time
Candee Fick, Serving Up Love
Julie Garmon, One for the Road
Ashely Weis, Under an April Sky

(total entries: 37)

Kasey L. Heinly, Cranked Up
Gretchen Hoffman, Rewind
Susan Miura, Show Me a Sign
Diana Sharples (double finalist with two entries), The Fifth
Generation & Out at Home

Verse of the Day

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For . . . He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (Psalm 91:1–4 NLT)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Verse of the Day

The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (Psalm 28:7 NLT)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mohamed's Moon by Keith Clemons

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Mohamed's Moon

Realms (May 5, 2009)


Keith Clemons


A strong defender of Christian values, noted author and lecturer Keith Clemons is a native of Southern California and graduate of English Literature at California State University, Fullerton. In his former capacity as Vice President of Marketing for Mytec Technologies Inc.

He was a frequent conference speaker, particularly when the forum centered on Electronic Commerce. Today, in addition to writing, he appears on radio and television where he uses his communications skills to explain coming trends that will affect both the church and society at large.

His passion for communication has resulted in the previous publication of more than a hundred articles. To date, Mr. Clemons has completed five novels including Angel in the Alley and the award winning If I Should Die, These Little Ones, and Above The Stars.

He resides with his wife and daughter at their home in Caledon, Ontario, Canada.


Are we enemies...
or brothers?

Two brothers separated at birth grow up worlds apart. Outwardly, they're exactly alike, but inwardly, nothing's the same--one is a devotee of fundamentalist Islam; the other, a Christian. In this modern-day Cain and Abel story, the lines are drawn not just over whose God is right, but also over the fact that they're both in love with the same girl.

It's a conflict with grave repercussions, little hope of resolution--and time is running out. In the background, a plan has been set in motion that will bring the United States government to its knees. Will an unexpected visitation reconcile the brothers in time to save the woman they love--and ultimately, themselves--from the coming devastation?

In his award-winning style, author Keith Clemons delivers a profound comparison between Christianity and Islam, a dichotomy of life versus death, love versus hate, and grace versus legalism. Mohamed's Moon will plunge you into a world where hatred and heinous acts are justified. But if hatred is potent, it pales in comparison to the power of God's love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mohamed's Moon, go HERE

Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Verse of the Day

Thus says the Lord: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sacred Cipher

Kregel Publications (July 31, 2009)


Terry Brennan


Over the past 35 years, Terry Brennan has accumulated a broad range of experience in both the profit and non-profit business sectors.

His 22-year, award winning journalism career included:
• Seven years as a sportswriter and editor with The Philadelphia Bulletin, at the time the largest-circulation afternoon newspaper in the nation;
• Leading The Mercury of Pottstown (PA), as its editor, to a Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing;
• Serving as Executive Editor of a multi-national newspaper firm – Ingersoll Publications – with papers in the USA, England and Ireland.

In 1996 Brennan transferred his successful management career to the non-profit sector and served for 12 years as Vice President of Operations for the Christian Herald Association, Inc., the parent organization of four New York City ministries, including The Bowery Mission.

Now Chief Operating Officer of the National Organization on Disability, Brennan also won the Valley Forge Award for editorial writing from the Freedoms Foundation. His two adult sons and their families live in Pennsylvania. Terry, his wife Andrea and their two adult children live in New York City. The Sacred Cipher is his first novel.


History's greatest secret could be tomorrow's greatest threat More historically and biblically accurate than The DaVinci Code and just as adventurous as an Indiana Jones movie, The Sacred Cipher combines action and mystery to draw readers into a world of ancient secrets and international escapades.

When an ancient scroll appears in a secret room of the Bowery Mission in New York City, Tom Bohannon is both stunned and intrigued. The enigma of the scroll's contents will send Bohannon and his team ricocheting around the world, drawing the heat of both Jewish and Muslim militaries, and bringing the Middle East to the brink of nuclear war in this heart-pounding adventure of historical proportions. The Sacred Cipher is a riveting, fact-based tale of mystery and suspense.

If you want to read the Prologue of The Sacred Cipher, go HERE

Review to come. After the conference. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Timescape by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (July 14, 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.


David, Xander, Dad, and Keal have discovered a terrible secret. Now, finding Mom is only a small part of their mission. And time is running out. Using the portals to build an empire, Taksidian wants the house for himself, and there's nothing he won't do to get the family out. The consequences of his meddling reach far beyond the family--to the future of the world itself. The Kings know their survival depends on stopping the bloodthirsty assassin. If only they can find his weakness in time.

Most startling of all is their ability to change the path of history. But will their tinkering in time reunite the family and save the future . . . or set mankind on an irreversible course of destruction?

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

Enter the contest to win this book package by clicking on the image!!!

Margie's comments: I'm in Philadelphia at Marlene Bagnull's home, helping her with the many, many details of running a conference. The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference runs Aug. 5-8 on the campus of Philadelphia Biblical University. If you're interested in more details about the conference go here.

So what does this have to to with Timescape? Actually quite a bit. :) While I brought the book with me to read (and the books in this series are quick reads), I've been so busy I haven't even had a chance to open the book! So . . . the review will come later. I'm looking forward to reading the latest in the King family adventures with their "new" house.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Verse of the Day

The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. (Nahum 1:7 NASB)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Verse of the Day

Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. (Psalm 31:19 NLT)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Verse of the Day

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22–23 ESV)