Saturday, December 29, 2007

Best of the Year 2007

Listed below is my list(with links to the reviews) of favorites from the past year. They are in random order. It would be hard for me to say which is my absolute favorite.

The Shepherds' Prayer by Richard M. Barry
The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson
Fearless by Robin Parrish
A Pagan's Nightmare by Ray Blackston
The Door Within by Wayne Batson
The Root of All Evil by Brandt Dodson
A Bigger Life by Annette Smith
Coral Moon by Brandilyn Collins

What can you expect in 2008?

I would like to feature more interviews. A new interview with Brandt Dodson is already completed and will be published in early January.

More book reviews than 2007. So far I already have 2 reviews ready for the new year. They are Fallen by Matthew Raley and Bad Connection by Melody Carlson.

Finally I plan on reviewing more short fiction. We need to promote our short fiction writers. I will be reviewing stories from Wayfarers Journal, Haruah, and Mindflights. If you know of any other Christian short fiction magazines, please contact me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

CFBA Tour-Distant Heart by Tracey Bateman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Distant Heart

(Avon Inspire January 2, 2008)

by

Tracey Bateman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:








Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Defiant Heart, the First in the Westeard Hearts series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and recently served on the board as President. She loves in Lebanon, Missouri, with her husband and their four children.






ABOUT THE BOOK

In the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy, will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?

This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way/ Thin Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.

In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.

But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.

But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour-Wayfarers Journal

Welcome to the our December tour featuring the Wayfarers Journal. Editor-in-chief Terri Main has graciously agreed to an interview. Today, I will let her answers tell you about the journal. Tomorrow I will review "Phobos" by Stoney Setzer.

1. What science fiction and fantasy books do you enjoy reading?
My favorite are "hard" science fiction books. These are books that are based, even if loosely, on actual science. I don't mind taking a few liberties with Faster Than Light travel or teleportation, but for the most part I like to stay mostly grounded in science for science fiction. I like books with strong characters and plots that make me think. I'm more about an interesting plot than an exciting action adventure. My favorite writers are the classic SF writers like Asimov, Clarke, Simak, Bradbury and the like.
When it comes to fantasy, I'm not a big sword and sorcery fan. I get a bit tired of seeing people trying to rewrite Tokien and Lewis. They did a fantastic job with their fantasies, but it's time for us to move on. I like fantasies that feel real. Perhaps my favorite ones are L.E. Modesitt's Recluse series. The "magic" is simply part of the natural physics of the planet with sensitives being able to manipulate them sometimes for very mundane things. The wizards of chaos are trained in controlling chaos fire by cleaning out the sewers of the towns. Then there are the character conflicts and the political stuff. He makes it seem natural.

2. Were you inspired by any existing magazines?
I don't know if I was inspired for WJ by any in particular, however, I would say I was inspired by the old classic SF journals such as Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic Stories, Amazing stories, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. To a lesser extent, I found the slick, but now defunct, Omni to be a great example of what a speculative fiction publication could be.

3. What led you to start Wayfarers Journal?
Well, I was looking around for a science-fiction journal featuring stories with a spiritual basis. I found a lot of e-zines that had some science fiction, but were mostly publishing fantasy. Also, when I did see some science fiction, too many of them were sermons wrapped in a story. I was finding it hard to find stories which actually struggled with the moral, ethical and spiritual issues raised by current or future technology.
I always felt that defining a narrow focus was better than trying to be all things to all people. I love hard science fiction. I wanted to create a venue for writers to explore the spiritual implications of future technology and social trends in an interesting and non-preachy way. That's what resulted in WJ.

4. Based on the submissions you have received, are there any types of stories you are looking for but have not seen?
Actually, I have been supremely blessed by the stories I've received. Some miss the mark and I have to reject them. That's part of running a publication. However, most of the writers get the idea. I would like to see a few more that deal with possible aliens and alien theology. There is no Biblical reason to believe that God only created sentient life on this planet. I would love to see stories dealing with say the theological implications of first contact with another species or missionaries trying to minister to aliens who already know God but in a different way. Those sort of stories I would find fascinating.

5. What is your vision for the future of the journal?
Interesting that you should ask that. I am taking some time off from reading submissions until February to consider the future. I'm actually preparing my own review of WJ and I have to say there are some criticisms I have.
First, I am reconsidering the "magazine" model we use for online publications. That print model assumes that you will create a new "publication" every month, quarter, etc. and put all the other materials into an archive. I'm thinking of moving to a website model which is constantly being updated with new materials providing a new experience every few weeks but still featuring important stories from the past. The web, unlike print media, allows for such a dynamic model for content creation.
Secondly, I would like the journal to become more visual. WJ is weak graphically. Since this is currently a one-person shop, and that one person is not an artist, the site hasn't done much with graphics. Tony Qwade did a wonderful job creating a banner for me. I love it. But classic science fiction magazines were as much about the art, even if some of it was garish, as it was about the writing. I would like to have some of that in WJ.
Thirdly, I want WJ to become a destination site and build a community around it. For several months we have been hosting a discussion group in Second Life, a popular virtual world. That is on hold while I acquire a new location and "build" a new science fiction center there. I would also like to have live chats several times a week hosted by different writers and fans on different topics. I have build a "tools" page that people can use as a home page with search engines, news, science news, a calendar, to do list and weather.
Finally, I want WJ to develop a reputation outside of the Christian Speculative Fiction community. I attempt to keep the presentation low key and seeker-friendly. Even unbelievers are interested in the moral, ethical and spiritual implications of modern technology. This can be a gateway for many to start thinking about spiritual issues. Most of the stories at WJ would be of equal interest to Christian and non-Christian alike. I wouldn't be unhappy if more non-believers than believers visit the site.
Too many websites designed by Christians are created for other Christians. I have an internet evangelist friend who points out that 90+ percent of all Christian web sites are designed for other Christians. Yet, many of the owners of those sites think they are doing evangelism. I hope that WJ will act as a "bridge" website drawing in people to read some good science fiction, but opening the door for a conversation about spirituality as well.

I was impressed with her ideas for the Wayfarers Journal. With people like Terri involved, Christian science fiction looks to have a bright future.

Please take the time to visit the other sites participating in the tour.

Participants:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Rachelle
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Coming Attractions

Things to look for...

I am evaluating the way I review books. An interesting discussion at SF Signal has me thinking about my reviews. Right now, I am leaning towards the type of review that Spider Robinson used to do in Galaxy SF Magazine.

In the near future will be my second interview with Brandt Dodson. He is the author of the one of the best noir series-the Colton Parker novels.

The next book review I will be doing is for Orson Scott Card's "A War of Gifts". It is a new Ender story. The focus of the book is on religion and holiday traditions being introduced at the Battle School. It will be appearing on the Speculative Faith site this Friday.

Next week will see the December Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy tour featuring the Wayfarers Journal. I will review a short story by one of my favorite Christian short story writers-Stoney Setzer.

The next book I will review on this site will be Fallen by Matthew Raley. This is a first novel that will be published in January.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CFBA Tour-What Lies Within by Karen Ball

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

What Lies Within

Multnomah Fiction (November 20, 2007)

by

Karen Ball



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Karen Ball , bestselling novelist, is also the editor behind several of today's bestselling Christian novels. Her love for words was passed down through her father and grandfather - both pastors who shared God's truth through sermons and storytelling. Blending humor, poignancy, and honesty, Karen's writing style is a powerful force for revealing God's truth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Don, and their "kids," Bodhan, a mischief-making Siberian husky, and Dakota, an Aussie-terrier mix who should have been named "Destructo."

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nothing’s going to stop Kyla…


until the ground crumbles beneath her feet.


Kyla Justice has arrived. Her company, Justice Construction, is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful companies in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, something is missing. Not until she’s called on to build a center for inner-city kids does she realize what it is: her sense of purpose. Now nothing can stop her, not the low budget, not supply problems, not gang opposition, not her boyfriend’s suggestion that she sell her business and marry him–and most especially not that disagreeable Rafael Murphy.


Rafe Murphy understands battle. Wounded in action, this Force Recon Marine carries the scars–and the nightmares–to prove it. Though he can’t fight overseas any longer, he’s found his place as a warrior in the civilian world. So he soldiers on, trusting that one of these days, God will reveal to him why Rafe survived the ambush in Iraq. That day has arrived.


Kyla and Rafe both discover that determination alone won’t carry them through danger and challenges. When gang violence threatens their very foundations, there’s only one way to survive: rely on each other, be real–and surrender to God. In other words, risk everything…

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CFBA Tour-Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Bluegrass Peril

(Steeple Hill December 4, 2007)

by

Virginia Smith



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.

She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.

An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”






ABOUT THE BOOK:

WHO KILLED HER BOSS?


Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.

When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.

The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.

And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!


Romantic Times awarded Bluegrass Peril
* * * * FOUR STARS! * * * *

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Shepherds' Prayer by Richard M. Barry

Very few books make it to my annual reading shelf. Of course, the Bible is number one. It is the only book that I read daily. Every Easter I find myself re-reading Suddenly, One Morning by Chuck Swindoll. Now I will be adding
The Shepherds' Prayer to my annual Advent reading.

The story follows a young man's journey to find his past. His adopted father found Anam when he was an infant. Anam's mother was already dead when he was found. The only clue to his past was the blanket he was wrapped in. A blanket that leads him to Bethlehem. Anam returns to his birthplace, hoping to find his family. The clue shows a connection to someone named Jesus.

When people think of Christmas, we think of the birth of our Savior. We think of Mary and Joseph, the angels, the manger, and times of great joy because of God's gift to us. This book takes at look at the shepherds and the all too human reaction of the residents of Bethlehem.

The author puts you in the place of the shepherds. Shepherds are referred to many times during Christmas but do you ever stop and imagine what life was like for them? This book will give you a taste of their life.

The most startling aspect of the book was the reaction of the townspeople. When Anam starts questioning the people about Jesus, he does not get the response he expects. The people of Bethlehem remember Jesus' birth as a time of pain and suffering. They remember the slaughter of the innocents by Herod. How would you feel if you lost a child or family member and a stranger asked you about the time it happened?

Based on what I have described, The Shepherds' Prayer sounds depressing. But it is not. It is a reminder of what happened during the time of our Savior's birth. The life of Anam is an uplifting story when it is finished.

Highly recommended.

You can read(or listen to) the first two chapters at http://www.christmasbook.com/.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

FIRST Tour-The Minor Protection Act by Jodi Cowles

It is December 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!



This month's feature author is:






and her book:



The Minor Protection Act
Musterion (December 1, 2005)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jodi Cowles caught the travel bug when her parents took her on her first international flight at six months of age. Since then she’s been in over 30 countries. Along the way she’s gotten locked out of her cabin on an all night train to Kiev, helped deliver a baby in Indonesia, taught English in South Korea, gone spelunking in Guam, hiked the Golan Heights and laid bricks in Zimbabwe. Her interest in politics stems from hunting Easter eggs on the south lawn of the White House as a child. For her 30th birthday she ran the LA Marathon and promised to get serious about publishing. Jodi resides in Boise, Idaho and this is her first novel.


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

If the politically correct set was searching for a poster couple, they would need to look no further than Erik and Roselyn Jessup. In college they lit up doobies while attending passionate speeches about legalizing marijuana and freeing Tibet. Erik was even arrested once for helping break into an animal research center. Roselyn bailed him out. After five years of dating they decided to tie the knot. Seven years later, after Roselyn had enough time to get established in her career, she gave birth to their pride and joy, Jayla Lynn Jessup.

Both had satisfying full-time jobs that left them only enough time to pour themselves into Jayla. They attended every event at school, even if it meant working overtime and paying the after school program for a few extra hours. When Jayla made the principal's list or won a spelling bee, they were cheering, and filming, from the front row.

Jayla began junior high at a brand new school with a brand new curriculum. It was being called "progressive" in the papers; the first program of its kind implemented in California with plans for a nationwide rollout over the next 10 years. Praise poured in from around the country, applauding the straight talk about sexuality and focus on tolerance.

Erik and Roselyn were thrilled to have their daughter in this groundbreaking program. Granted, it took several phone calls to district authorities to accomplish the transfer and Roselyn had to drive an extra 30 minutes each morning to drop off Jayla, but it was quite a coup to brag about in their circle of friends.

Jayla turned 13 two years into junior high. For her birthday she told her parents she wanted to order pizza and hang around the house – there was something she needed to tell them. Over pepperoni and Coke, Jayla calmly informed them that she'd been discussing it with her friends and teachers and had decided she was gay.

Though she had never had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend for that matter, Erik and Roselyn were quick to affirm her decision and let her know she had their full support. Roselyn applauded her daughter's honest, courageous move and told Jayla how proud she was. Erik was also supportive and went so far as to tease Jayla about her best friend Sara.

There weren't too many lesbians in her junior high and Jayla had a pretty average experience, but she attracted attention when she entered high school wearing the rainbow buttons specially purchased by her mother. Soon she was 15 and seriously involved with Carla, the 17-year-old senior who was President of the Gay Pride Club. When Erik and Roselyn saw the relationship deepening they sat Jayla down and had a heart to heart "sex talk," encouraging her to be responsible and safe, and only to have sex if she was truly in love.

She was. However, when the year ended Carla left for college on the east coast and broke off the relationship in a letter.

Jayla was heartbroken. Erik and Roselyn were quick to comfort, as any loving parents of a shattered teenager, but their answers seemed hollow to Jayla, their comfort cold. At 16 she began dabbling in drugs - a first for her.

By the time her senior year began the family bond that was once so strong had disintegrated to the degree that she seldom spoke to her parents unless it was to strike out in anger. She had not entered into another dating relationship, as much as they encouraged her in that direction. Rather, she seemed withdrawn from the world and spent endless hours either locked in her room or suspiciously absent. Finally, Roselyn had enough and took her to a doctor who prescribed an anti-depressant for teenagers that had just been released on the market.

By Christmas the medication seemed to be working. Jayla was coming around, spending more time at home. She seemed calmer and more at peace. They were even beginning to talk about college. But New Year's morning they found her dead, her anti-depressant bottle and a quart of vodka laying empty in the trash and a mass of journals and letters scattered around her in the bed.

Erik and Roselyn were devastated. Jayla had been their whole life. They dove into the letters and journals, trying to make sense of it all. What they found only served to inflame their anger. Some boy named Nick had been telling their daughter that she was a sinner, quoting Bible verses that said her sexual preference was an abomination before God. Jayla's journal was full of self-loathing, page after page about her relationship with Carla, page after page of rambling, agonizing pain. Why was she made like this if homosexuality was a sin? Why would her parents have supported her if it were an abomination? Why had she listened to the seventh grade teacher who told her experimentation was the best way to determine her sexuality? What was wrong with her?

They could hardly stand to finish it but they read every word. In the end their grief found relief, as it so often does, in bitterness and hatred. The day after Jayla's funeral, attended by hundreds of students from Jayla’s school, Erik and Roselyn met with the District Attorney. A year later, bitterness not yet assuaged, they went to see a lawyer. In the culture of America, where there is rarely tragedy unaccompanied by litigation, they found a willing law firm. Someone would pay.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CFBA Tour-Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

AURALIA'S COLORS
(WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007)

by

Jeffrey Overstreet


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.





ABOUT THE BOOK:
As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.


When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lit more!

PRAISE

"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."
--Publishers Weekly


“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.”
-–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast of
Noor
and Dragon's Keep


“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.”
-–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and The
Curse of the Raven Mocker

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CFBA Tour-The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT


Thomas Nelson (October 2, 2007)

by

Neta Jackson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Neta Jackson Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.




ABOUT THE BOOK:
Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.

But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family...it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.

This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas!

Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.

In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season.

But yes, eager readers, this novella—which picks up a year and a half after the end of book #6 The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling concludes the series with some twists and turns that will amaze and encourage you. Plus, it sets the stage for Neta’s new series with new characters and new situations but also occasional roles for the beloved Yada Yada sisters in familiar Chicago neighborhoods with all their cultural richness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CFBA Tour-Try Dying by James Scott Bell

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


TRY DYING

(Center Street October 24, 2007)

by

James Scott Bell



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if he has to kill for the truth.
"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling."
~Library Review~

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

CFBA Tour-Deadfall by Robert Liparulo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


DEADFALL
(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)
by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armes with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-aclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Get Downloads and EXCERPTS at www.LIPARULO.com


"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!"
-In The Library Reviews

"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall."
-Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight
"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!"
-Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial

"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villians and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller.
-Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence

"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more."
-DAve Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent


A NOTE from Bob: I’d like to give away five signed copies of Deadfall to readers of CFBA blogs during my tour. All they have to do is sign up for my e-mailing list (they won’t be inundated!) by going to my website (www.robertliparulo.com) and going to the “Mailing List” page. Or email me with “CFBA giveaway” in the subject line.

And a second NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:

**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall
**one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall
***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall

Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Shadow of Treason by Tricia Goyer

Today is the fifth day of the blog tour for A Shadow of Treason . This is the second book in Tricia Goyer's Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War.
About the book
Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Comments
Tricia Goyer has done an excellent job. Whether it is the major or minor characters, she has managed to make them seem like real people. Characterization is a big part of any good novel and this is a good example of the right way to do it.

The setting is also very realistic. It is like you are actually there with the characters. You loose yourself in the atmosphere she has created.

Good job, Tricia. I look forward to reading more of your books.


Interview
Q and A with Tricia!tric

Q:

A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!


Tricia's Biography

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing:
  • From Dust and Ashes (2003)
  • Night Song (2004)
  • Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005);
  • Arms of Deliverance (2006)
  • A Valley of Betrayal (2007)
  • A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007)
  • A Whisper of Freedom (February 2008)
Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.
Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.
Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).
Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Read the first chapter by clicking here.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CFBA Tour-Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson

The only bad thing about the fourth Colton Parker Mystery is the wait for the next book in the series. The Lost Sheep is more proof that Brandt Dodson is one of the our best writers. A new book by Brandt automatically goes to the top of my must read stack.

This is the first time that we have seen Colton leave the familiar setting of Indianapolis. The cause? His teenage daughter runs away. The trail leads to what has to be a father's worst nightmare-Las Vegas. With the help of a local cowboy, he is hot on the trail...realizing that each day his chances of finding his daughter become slimmer.

Colton continues to struggle to do the right thing while doing what he has to to save his daughter. But when a cult leader named Malak is opposing him, Colton has to decide between doing things his way or God's way.

With the level of personal involvement, Brandt has raised the bar for future installments. I will be anxious to see how things work out in the next book.

Highly recommended. If you have not read the earlier books, read them in the order listed below. The author has written them so they can be read in any order but the story is best read in order.

Original Sin
Seventy Times Se7en
The Root of All Evil

Brandt Dodson interview

CFBA Tour-The Return by Austin Boyd

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


THE RETURN
(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)

by

Austin Boyd

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof

ABOUT THE BOOK:

IS SEEING BELIEVING?

Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:

With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."
--Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CFBA Tour-Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Illuminated
(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)
by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

IT'S BEEN 500 YEARS IN THE MAKING...PREPARE TO BE ILLUMINATED...
August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
-Aspiring Retail Magazine


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mosaic by Amy Grant


Grammy Award–winning artist Amy Grant has lived in the spotlight since bursting onto the Christian music scene as a teenager thirty years ago. In that time her work, marriage, and spiritual life have been subject to varying degrees of adulation and criticism.

Now, in her first autobiographical book, Grant bares her heart and soul, giving readers an intimate glimpse into her everyday life and the lessons she’s learning along the way. From lighthearted reminiscences of her Tennessee childhood to painfully honest reflections on the journey of faith, her vivid writing draws readers into her world while simultaneously creating space for them to rethink their own perspectives on life.

With honesty and depth, Grant offers poignant and often startling insights on motherhood, marriage, friendship, faith, loss, forgiveness, and redemption. Never-before-shared stories about her husband, country music star Vince Gill, provide a look into her life as a celebrity, while intimate portraits of her mother and musings on the past reveal the various pieces of a life blessed with jagged edges as well as vivid colors. Readers will find their preconceived notions of this music icon stripped away as they settle in for a warmly satisfying conversation with a gracious and wise friend.

To win a copy of this book, leave a comment about your favorite Amy Grant song. This will enter you in a drawing for this book. Winners will be announced next Monday.

Amy Grant is the best-selling Christian music artist of all time and the first to garner the number one spot on Billboard’s chart. Since beginning her career at age 17, she has earned six Grammy Awards and twenty-five Dove Awards, and last year she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Grant’s numerous television appearances include Oprah; Good Morning, America; and Late Night with David Letterman. In 2007 she’ll tour nationwide, performing with local symphonies in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and elsewhere.


To purchase a copy of Mosaic, CLICK HERE.