Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CFBA Tour-One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Imperfect Christmas

Abingdon Press (September 2009)


Myra Johnson


Making up stories has been second nature to me for as long as I can remember. A select group of trusted friends back at dear old Mission High waited eagerly for the next installment of my "Great American Spy Novel" (think Man from Uncle) and my "All-American Teen Novel" (remember Gidget and Tammy?). I even had a private notebook of angst-ridden poetry a la Rod McKuen.

The dream of writing persisted into adulthood, although it often remained on the back burner while I attended to home and family and several "real" (read paying) jobs along the way. Then in 1983, while recovering from sinus surgery, I came upon one of those magazine ads for the Institute of Children’s Literature. I knew it was time to get serious, and the next thing I knew, I'd enrolled in the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course.

Within a year or so I sold my first story, which appeared in the Christian publication Alive! for Young Teens. For many years I enjoyed success writing stories and articles for middle-graders and young adults. I even taught for ICL for 9 years.

Then my girls grew up, and there went my live-in inspiration. Time to switch gears. I began my first women's fiction manuscript and started attending Christian writers conferences. Eventually I learned about American Christian Romance Writers (which later became American Christian Fiction Writers) and couldn't wait to get involved. Friends in ACFW led me to RWA and the online inspirational chapter, Faith, Hope & Love.

So here I am today, still on this crazy roller-coaster ride. Still writing. Still hopeful. Writing, I'm learning, is not about the destination, it's about the journey. My current projects are primarily women's fiction and romance . . . novels of hope, love, and encouragement. Novels about real women living out their faith and finding love in the midst of everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, situations.


Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Imperfect Christmas, go HERE

Watch the trailer:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CFBA Tour-Tidings of Great Boys by Shelley Adina

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tidings of Great Boys

FaithWords (September 8, 2009)


Shelley Adina

Award-winning author Shelley Adina wrote her first teen novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages.

Shelley is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She writes books about fun and faith--with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves traveling, playing the piano and Celtic harp, watching movies, and making period costumes.


Finals week is approaching and Mac is still undecided on where to spend the holidays. Normally she'd go home to Scotland, but spending two weeks alone in the castle with her dad isn't as appealing as it used to be. So she invites Carly, Lissa, Gillian, and Shani to join her for the holidays!

Mac is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She even decides to organize the traditional Hogmany dance for New Year's Eve. If she can get her mother involved in the dance, maybe her parents will finally get back together.

But when Mac and the girls arrive in Scotland, they are faced with bad news: the castle is falling apart and Mac's parents are struggling financially. Not only that, but Shani is in big trouble with Prince Rashid's royal family. Can the girls find a way to celebrate the holidays, get Mac's parents back together, save the castle, and rescue Shani from her relentless pursuers? There's only one way to find out...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tidings of Great Boys, go HERE

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour-Offworld by Robin Parrish

It's time for the August Christian Sci Fi and Fantasy
Blog Tour. This month's featured novel is Offworld by Robin Parrish. In summary, the book is about a what happens when a mission to Mars is over and the crew return to Earth. The catch is all of the people have vanished(time for the Twilight Zone music).

My full review will appear later at the Christian Fiction Library site.

Reading this story brought back memories of other science fiction stories dealing with loneliness. A few of my favorites are...

1. George R. R. Martin's Dying of the Light. A man is asked by a former lover to meet her on a strange planet.

2. J. G. Ballard's Hello America. The rediscovery of America 100 years after it is abandoned.

3. Twilight Zone episode-Time Enough at Last. A man who loves to read survives a nuclear explosion and is left alone with a library.

4. Twilight Zone episode-Five Characters in Search of an Exit. Five people find themselves trapped in a giant cylinder with no idea who they are or how they got there.

Has the atmosphere of Offworld reminded you of any other stories?

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

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Steve Rice
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Elizabeth Williams

FIRST Wild Card Tour-The Blue Enchantress by M. L. Tyndall

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Blue Enchantress

Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)


M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats.

Visit the author's website and blog.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601577
ISBN-13: 978-1602601574


The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall
Chapter 1

St. Kitts, September 1718

“Gentlemen, what will ye offer for this rare treasure of a lady?” The words crashed over Hope Westcott like bilge water. “Why, she’ll make any of ye a fine wife, a cook, a housemaid”—the man gave a lascivious chuckle—“whate’er ye desire.”

“How ’bout someone to warm me bed at night,” one man bellowed, and a cacophony of chortles gurgled through the air.

Hope slammed her eyes shut against the mob of men who pressed on three sides of the tall wooden platform, shoving one another to get a better peek at her. Something crawled over her foot, and she pried her eyes open, keeping her face lowered. A black spider skittered away. Red scrapes and bruises marred her bare feet. When had she lost her satin shoes—the gold braided ones she’d worn to impress Lord Falkland? She couldn’t recall.

“What d’ye say? How much for this fine young lady?” The man grabbed a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back. Pain, like a dozen claws, pierced her skull. “She’s a handsome one, to be sure. And these golden locks.” He attempted to slide his fingers through her matted strands, but before becoming hopelessly entangled in them, he jerked his hand free, wrenching out a clump of her hair. Hope winced. “Have ye seen the likes of them?”

Ribald whistles and groans of agreement spewed over her.

“Two shillings,” one man yelled.

Hope dared to glance across the throng amassing before the auction block. A wild sea of lustful eyes sprayed over her. A band of men dressed in garments stained with dirt and sweat bunched toward the front, yelling out bids. Behind them, other men in velvet waistcoats leaned their heads together, no doubt to discuss the value of this recent offering, while studying her as if she were a breeding mare. Slaves knelt in the dirt along the outskirts of the mob, waiting for their masters. Beyond them, a row of wooden buildings stretched in either direction. Brazen women emerged from a tavern and draped themselves over the railings, watching Hope’s predicament with interest. On the street, ladies in modish gowns averted their eyes as they tugged the men on their arms from the sordid scene.

Hope lowered her head. This can’t be happening. I’m dreaming. I am still on the ship. Just a nightmare. Only a nightmare. Humiliation swept over her with an ever-rising dread as the reality of her situation blasted its way through her mind.

She swallowed hard and tried to drown out the grunts and salacious insults tossed her way by the bartering rabble. Perhaps if she couldn’t hear them, if she couldn’t see them, they would disappear and she would wake up back home, safe in Charles Towne, safe in her bedchamber, safe with her sisters, just like she was before she’d put her trust in a man who betrayed her.

“Egad, man. Two shillings, is it? For this beauty?” The auctioneer spit off to the side. The yellowish glob landed on Hope’s skirt. Her heart felt as though it had liquefied into an equally offensive blob and oozed down beside it.

How did I get here? In her terror, she could not remember. She raised her gaze to the auctioneer. Cold eyes, hard like marbles, met hers, and a sinister grin twisted his lips. He adjusted his tricorn to further shade his chubby face from the burning sun.

“She looks too feeble for any real work,” another man yelled.

The sounds of the crowd dimmed. The men’s fists forged into the air as if pushing through mud. Garbled laughter drained from their yellow-toothed mouths like molasses. Hope’s heart beat slower, and she wished for death.

The gentle lap of waves caressed her ears, their peaceful cadence drawing her away. Tearing her gaze from the nightmarish spectacle, she glanced over her shoulder, past the muscled henchmen who’d escorted her here. Two docks jutted out into a small bay brimming with sparkling turquoise water where several ships rocked back and forth as if shaking their heads at her in pity. Salt and papaya and sun combined in a pleasant aroma that lured her mind away from her present horror.

Her eyes locked upon the glimmering red and gold figurine of Ares at the bow of Lord Falkland’s ship. She blinked back the burning behind her eyes. When she’d boarded it nigh a week past—or was it two weeks—all her hopes and dreams had boarded with her. Somewhere along the way, they had been cast into the depths of the sea. She only wished she had joined them. Although the ship gleamed majestically in the bay, all she had seen of it for weeks had been the four walls of a small cabin below deck.

The roar of the crowd wrenched her mind back to the present and turned her face forward.

“Five shillings.”

“’Tis robbery, and ye know it,” the auctioneer barked. “Where are any of ye clods goin’ t’ find a real lady like this?”

A stream of perspiration raced down Hope’s back as if seeking escape. But there was no escape. She was about to be sold as a slave, a harlot to one of these cruel and prurient taskmasters. A fate worse than death. A fate her sister had fought hard to keep her from. A fate Hope had brought upon herself. Numbness crept over her even as her eyes filled with tears. Oh God. This can’t be happening.

She gazed upward at the blue sky dusted with thick clouds, hoping for some deliverance, some sign that God had not abandoned her.

The men continued to haggle, their voices booming louder and louder, grating over her like the howls of demons.

Her head felt like it had detached from her body and was floating up to join the clouds. Palm trees danced in the light breeze coming off the bay. Their tall trunks and fronds formed an oscillating blur of green and brown. The buildings, the mob, and the whole heinous scene joined the growing mass and began twirling around Hope. Her legs turned to jelly, and she toppled to the platform.

“Get up!” A sharp crack stung her cheek. Two hands like rough rope clamped over her arms and dragged her to her feet. Pain lanced through her right foot where a splinter had found a home. Holding a hand to her stinging face, Hope sobbed.

The henchman released her with a grunt of disgust.

“I told ye she won’t last a week,” one burly man shouted.

“She ain’t good for nothing but to look at.”

Planting a strained grin upon his lips, the auctioneer swatted her rear end. “Aye, but she’s much more stout than she appears, gentlemen.”

Horrified and no longer caring about the repercussions, Hope slapped the man’s face. He raised his fist, and she cowered. The crowd roared its mirth.

“One pound, then,” a tall man sporting a white wig called out. “I could use me a pretty wench.” Withdrawing a handkerchief, he dabbed at the perspiration on his forehead.

Wench. Slave. Hope shook her head, trying to force herself to accept what her mind kept trying to deny. A sudden surge of courage, based on naught but her instinct to survive, stiffened her spine. She thrust out her chin and faced the auctioneer. “I beg your pardon, sir. There’s been a mistake. I am no slave.”

“Indeed?” He cocked one brow and gave her a patronizing smirk.

Hope searched the horde for a sympathetic face—just one. “My name is Miss Hope Westcott,” she shouted. “My father is Admiral Henry Westcott. I live in Charles Towne with my two sisters.”

“And I’m King George,” a farmer howled, slapping his knee.

“My father will pay handsomely for my safe return.” Hope scanned the leering faces. Not one. Not one look of sympathy or belief or kindness. Fear crawled up her throat. She stomped her foot, sending a shard of pain up her leg. “You must believe me,” she sobbed. “I don’t belong here.”

Ignoring the laughter, Hope spotted a purple plume fluttering in the breeze atop a gold-trimmed hat in the distance. “Arthur!” She darted for the stairs but two hands grabbed her from behind and held her in place. “Don’t leave me! Lord Falkland!” She struggled in her captor’s grasp. His grip tightened, sending a throbbing ache across her back.

Swerving about, Lord Falkland tapped his cane into the dirt and tipped the brim of his hat up, but the distance between them forbade Hope a vision of his expression.

“Tell them who I am, Arthur. Please save me!”

He leaned toward the woman beside him and said something, then coughed into his hand. What is he doing? The man who once professed an undying love for Hope, the man who promised to marry her, to love her forever, the man who bore the responsibility for her being here in the first place. How could he stand there and do nothing while she met such a hideous fate?

The elegant lady beside him turned her nose up at Hope, then, threading her arm through Lord Falkland’s, she wheeled him around and pulled him down the road.

Hope watched him leave, and with each step of his cordovan boots, her heart and her very soul sank deeper into the wood of the auction block beneath her feet.

Nothing made any sense. Had the world gone completely mad?

“Two pounds,” a corpulent man in the back roared.

A memory flashed through Hope’s mind as she gazed across the band of men. A vision of African slaves, women and children, being auctioned off in Charles Towne. How many times had she passed by, ignoring them, uncaring, unconcerned by the proceedings?

Was this God’s way of repaying her for her selfishness, her lack of charity?

“Five pounds.”

Disappointed curses rumbled among the men at the front, who had obviously reached their limit of coin.

The auctioneer’s mouth spread wide, greed dripping from its corners. “Five pounds, gentlemen. Do I hear six for this lovely lady?”

A blast of hot air rolled over Hope, stealing her breath. Human sweat, fish, and horse manure filled her nose and saturated her skin. The unforgiving sun beat a hot hammer atop her head until she felt she would ignite into a burning torch at any moment. Indeed, she prayed she would. Better to be reduced to a pile of ashes than endure what the future held for her.

“Six pounds,” a short man with a round belly and stiff brown wig yelled from the back of the mob in a tone that indicated he knew what he was doing and had no intention of losing his prize. Decked in the a fine damask waistcoat, silk breeches, and a gold-chained pocket watch, which he kept snapping open and shut, he exuded wealth and power from his pores.

Hope’s stomach twisted into a vicious knot, and she clutched her throat to keep from heaving whatever shred of moisture remained in her empty stomach.

The auctioneer gaped at her, obviously shocked she could command such a price. Rumblings overtook the crowd as the short man pushed his way through to claim his prize. The closer he came, the faster Hope’s chest heaved and the lighter her head became. Blood pounded in her ears, drowning out the groans of the mob. No, God. No.

“Do I hear seven?” the auctioneer bellowed. “She’s young and will breed you some fine sons.”

“Just what I’ll be needing.” The man halted at the platform, glanced over the crowd for any possible competitors, then took the stairs to Hope’s right. He halted beside her too close for propriety’s sake and assailed her with the stench of lard and tobacco. A long purple scar crossed his bloated, red face as his eyes grazed over her like a stallion on a breeding mare. Hope shuddered and gasped for a breath of air. Her palms broke out in a sweat, and she rubbed them on her already moist gown.

The auctioneer threw a hand to his hip and gazed over the crowd.

The man squeezed her arms, and Hope snapped from his grasp and took a step back, abhorred at his audacity. He chuckled. “Not much muscle on her, but she’s got pluck.”

He belched, placed his watch back into the fob pocket of his breeches, and removed a leather pouch from his belt. “Six pounds it is.”

The silver tip of a sword hung at his side. If Hope were quick about it, perhaps she could grab it and, with some luck, fight her way out of here. She clenched her teeth. Who was she trying to fool? Where was her pirate sister when she needed her? Surely Faith would know exactly what to do. Yet what did it matter? Hope would rather die trying to escape than become this loathsome man’s slave.

As the man counted out the coins into the auctioneer’s greedy hands, Hope reached for the sword.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CFBA Tour-Montana Rose by Mary Connealy

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Montana Rose

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2009)


Mary Connealy


Mary's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

Mary has signed an exclusive contract with Barbour that will have her writing eighteen (18) books for them over the next four years! This book is the first in the Montana Marriage Series. The second book will be the Husband Tree, and the third will be Wildflower Bride


Fire up your love of romance with Montana Rose.

When surrounded by a mob of ill-bred, foul-smelling, women-hungry men, the newly widowed and seemingly spoiled Cassie “China Doll” Griffin has no choice. Marrying handyman Red Dawson seems the only alternative to Cassie’s being hitched to a brutal rancher. But can this “China doll” bear exchanging smooth silk for coarse calico? Red was reluctant to be yoked to an unbeliever, but sometimes a man has no choice. Will Red change Cassie’s heart by changing her name? Wade Sawyer is obsessed with saving Cassie from a marriage of convenience. How far will he go make her his own?

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

Friday, August 14, 2009

CFBA Tour-Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Night Watchman

Multnomah Books (May 5, 2009)


Mark Mynheir


Mark Mynheir was born and raised on the east coast of Central Florida. Like most boys growing up, Mark enjoyed sports, mainly football and martial arts.

In 1983, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After serving four years in the Marines, Mark changed gears and pursued a career in law enforcement.

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective.

Over sixteen years ago, during a health crisis involving his oldest son, Mark gave his life to Jesus Christ. Shortly after his conversion, he felt God leading him in a new direction: writing. Now he balances dual careers as a police officer and novelist.

He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One), From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two), and The Void (The Truth Chasers Book Three).

Mark is married to the love of his life and has three fantastic children, and they all currently reside in Central Florida.


When everything is ripped away...

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game-until a barrage of bullets ended his career.and his partner's life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner's death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo community.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The victim’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case─to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the thread of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth─at any cost.

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

Friday, August 07, 2009

CFBA Tour-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

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey

I enjoy this type of novel. It is two short novels that alternate chapters. The stories are connected by theme and location.

The modern times story follows Greg Rhode, a new member of a salvage team. The team investigates and recovers treasure from shipwrecks. He is assigned to work with another scientist named Sheila. He falls for her. Over the course of the story we see their relationship develop. Greg has a problem with his father over events that happened in the past. Sheila tries to help them reconcile.

The pirate storyline focuses on Bold Ted (the name given to him by the captain). Ted was a slave being transported by ship. The ship was attacked by a pirates. The captain recognized the training Ted had received and freed him. Ted chose to join the crew. This storyline shows how Ted’s life develops once he becomes a free man. He finds out that the bishop who raised him was involved with slavery. Ted vows to kill him. Ted falls in love with a friend of the captain’s wife. He has to decide whether to continue being a pirate and exact his revenge or walk away from his past and begin a new life. Ted’s life follows the same basic path as most Christians. Most people probably do not suffer as a physical slave but we are slaves to sin. Until we reach the point where we can walk away from our sins, we will not completely turn our life over to Christ. Ted’s story is an exciting tale that reflects our walk with God.

While the modern story is good, I thought it was slowed down by too many details about the explanations of the treasure hunters’ job. A little less info-dump would have made this a better story. The pirate story had the perfect mix of information and storytelling. When the book ended, I still wanted to read more of their story.

Overall, it was a very good book.

Rating 4 out of 5.

Author's website Tom Morrisey

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

CFBA Tour-Timescape by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (July 14, 2009)


Robert Liparulo

Book 4 of the Dreamhouse Kings continues the high level of adventure and thrill set in the first three books. If you are looking for a good series that will be enjoyed by teens and adults, pick up this series. I don't want to give away any of the storyline. If you liked the earlier books you will enjoy this one.


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!!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Christian Fiction Library and the future of The Bedford Review

Christian Fiction Library?

What is it and what does it have to do with The Bedford Review?

It is my new review site. I follow numerous review sites (CBA and ABA). Some of my favorites are the ones that only post reviews. So, I decided to start a site that has all of my reviews of new and old books. With all of the internet resources, I believe there is a place for reviews of both new and old books.

The CFL will not have blog tours or commentaries. Blog tours(with reviews of featured books) and commentaries will remain at TBR. TBR will also be the home of my non-fiction reviews. I will be trying to do more commentaries, listings of Christian book reviews by other bloggers and more at TBR.

My full review of Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey is the first review to appear on the new site.

So if you are looking for fiction reviews without all of the other things, visit the Christian Fiction Library. If you like tours, non-fiction reviews, and commentaries keep on checking out TBR.

God bless,

CFBA Tour-Any Minute by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Any Minute

FaithWords (June 30, 2009)


Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, I Dare You, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Deborah Bedford is a career fiction writer who began her professional life as a journalist in a Colorado mountain town.

A Rose By The Door, Deborah's first with Warner Book (name changed to FaithWords in 2006), hit bookstores in November 2001. A Morning Like This was released by Warner Books in 2002. Deborah's short story, “Connor Sapp's Baseball Summer,” is included in Multnomah Publisher's The Storytellers' Collection, Tales From Home, alongside stories by Chuck Colson, Terri Blackstock, Randy Alcorn and Karen Kingsbury.

Deborah and Jack have two children, Jeff and Avery. When she isn't writing, Deborah spends her time fly-fishing, cheering at American Legion baseball games, shopping with her daughter, singing praise songs while she walks along the banks of Flat Creek, and taking her dachshund Annie for hikes in the Tetons where they live.


Sarah Harper is driven to achieve success no matter what the cost. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves--especially children and her husband, Joe--but her desire to succeed in her career too often leaves little time for family.

One cold, autumn afternoon, all of that changes when Sarah's car plunges off a bridge and into a river. She is presumed dead by those on the "outside," but Sarah's spirit is still very much alive. What she discovers on the other side transforms everything about Sarah's view of life--past, present, and future.

When Sarah is revived, she is a changed woman. And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Any Minute, go here!

Monday, July 27, 2009

CFBA Tour-Offworld by Robin Parrish

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Bethany House (July 1, 2009)

Robin Parrish

Wow. Talk about a book that cries out to be made into a movie. The fast-paced storyline combined with the scenes the author has described would make an excellent film. The vision of a world that has no people or animals will stay with you long after you finish reading Offworld.

In addition to the atmosphere, the characters stand out. It does not take too many pages until it seems like you have known these people for a long time. Parrish's characterization was dead on. He has joined my must read list of authors.

Parrish has written one of the better books of 2009 with this effort. I will be curious to see where he goes with his next novel.


Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist. In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract with Bethany House Publishers. They contracted him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels including Fearless and Merciless. A trilogy that unfolded in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Robin Parrish is a journalist who's written about pop culture for more than a decade. Currently he serves as Senior Editor at, a community portal that fuses social networking with magazine-style features about entertainment and culture. He and his wife, Karen and son live in North Carolina.


"Every Person on This Planet Has Disappeared."

Commander Christopher Burke and his crew are humanity's greatest explorers. They've finished their mission on the red dirt of Mars and now they just want to get back to Earth. To see friends, family, and loved ones. To be home. But even with communication to ground control cut and a perilous landing, nothing could prepare the crew for what they discover when they step foot back on planet Earth. gone.

It's not a dream. It's not a trick. Now Burke and his team have one mission:find out who or what is behind the disappearance of all mankind.

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

Watch the book trailer:

Friday, July 24, 2009

CFBA Tour-The Enclave by Karen Hancock

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Enclave

Bethany House (August 1, 2009)


Karen Hancock

This book is a good example of Christian speculative fiction. One of the themes I liked seeing was the way a Christian has to stand up for what he belives no matter what the consequences are. Standing up for Christ in the workplace is one of the toughest places to witness. Some might have a problem with one of the solutions to mystery (I don't want to spoil it for people who have not read the book) but this is a work of speculative fiction. Whether or not you like the explanation, you will enjoy the book. It is very well written.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story with well developed characters.

A longer review will appear at Christian Fiction Library at a future date.



Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels--Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor's degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.


When Lacey McHenry accepts a prestigious research fellowship at the world-renowned Kendell-Jakes Longevity Institute, she sees it as a new start on life. But a disturbing late-night encounter with an intruder leads to an unexpected cover-up by Institute authorities, and she soon realizes there's more going on than she ever imagined.

She finds a supporter in genetics researcher Cameron Reinhardt. However, Reinhardt is a favorite of the Institute's director, and she can't help wondering if he, too, is in on the cover-up. The brilliant but absentminded researcher turns out to have his own secrets, some of them dark and deadly. The Enclave is characterized by adventure, intrigue, spiritual analogy, and romance, all set in an unusual but fully realized world--one that may have its foundations on earth but which, the more one learns of it, doesn't seem much like the earth we know at all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Enclave, go HERE

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour-The Enclave by Karen Hancock Day 2

While reading the other bloggers comments on this book (my review won't appear until probably next week), I discovered some interesting responses.

Overall, the majority thought it was a well written book. Hancock's continues to build on her reputation.

Some have a problem with her theology.

I think she explains herself very well on her site (Writing from the Edge). When I read a book dealing with this kind of theme, I try to keep in mind that it is a work of speculative fiction. I don't have a problem with this storyline. From what I have read of other's comments, the message the author is promoting is Bible based.

What I have read so far is well written. Now we just need to find a way to get it out there where the Crichton fans will find it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CFBA Tour-Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Pirate Hunter

Bethany House (July 1, 2009)


Tom Morrisey

I am still reading this book. My review will appear over the weekend. Based on what I have read so far, I can tell you that I highly recommend this novel.


Tom Morrisey is a mountaineer, aviator, shipwreck diver, and explorer, who holds a Full Cave certification from the National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section.

He has launched, edited or contributed to numerous national publications and is an award-winning adventure-travel writer. A popular speaker, he is also active in both evangelism and the arts. Morrisey earned an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University, and his fiction has been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines.

His first novel, Yucatan Deep (Zondervan, 2002) was a finalist for the Christy award, and he is the author of six novels, including Wind River and In High Places. In addition Tom has also written two nonfiction books: 20 American Peaks & Crags (Contemporary Books, 1978) and Wild by Nature (Baker Books, 2001). He and his family live in Orlando, Florida.


High Seas Adventure Meets a High-Tech Quest for Pirate Gold West Indies, 18th century Young Ted Bascombe is rescued by notorious pirate Captain Henry Thatch, finding himself caught up in a world of crime, adventure, and a daily fight for freedom.... Key West, 21st century Marine archaeologist Greg Rhode embarks on a treasure-hunting expedition in the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, but he's as beguiled by a beautiful diver with different-colored eyes as by the lure of pirate gold...The Hunt Is On! Interweaving these two stories, pro deep-sea diver Tom Morrisey spins a multilayered tale of two young men's quests to escape their past by losing themselves to adventure on the high seas. Romantic and thrilling, this unique novel explores the timeless truth that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FIRST Tour-Refuge: A True Story of Faith and Civil War by Bruce Beakley

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Refuge: A True Story of Faith and Civil War

Bruce Beakley (March 1, 2009) (WinePress Publishing)


Bruce Beakley is not your typical author. As an engineer by trade, the possibility of writing a book wasn’t even on his radar. “Truthfully, I’ve never even been what you would call an avid reader. An engineer that reads; that’s an oxymoron,” he laughs. “To me, reading a book is making a serious commitment. What if you get to the end and find out the book wasn’t all that good?” A divine encounter in an airport terminal changed everything. Beakley and his wife, Debra, have been married for 32 years. The couple has one grown son and resides in Houston, Texas. Beakley’s penchant for adventure is expressed in his love of international prison missions in Central and South America. He enjoys tennis, hiking mountains and volcanoes, and trying out his Belgian-imported hip on the ski slopes.

The Gonlehs currently reside in Montgomery, Alabama, where the membership of First Baptist Church has embraced them and helped to meet their needs. Bessie works at the church daycare, while John, an ordained Baptist minister, is a groundskeeper at Tuskegee University. After several years of waiting, John Jr. and Miracle were recently able to join their parents in the United States.

Visit the authors' website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.95
Paperback: 262 pages
Publisher: Bruce Beakley (March 1, 2009) (WinePress Publishing)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1579219306
ISBN-13: 978-1579219307


Chapter 1

#72 Soldiers’ Barrack

July 11, 1990
Putrid aromas from sweat, urine, blood, and infected sores mingled to rouse me from a fitful night. Moans and curses in the dimly lit room let me know the others were awake.

“You should pray with me, because only God can save us now.” I spoke softly but deliberately to the group of eleven men huddled into the cramped, muggy cell. So, as the early-morning sun peeked through the palm trees, I prayed one last time. Our captors had told us today was the final investigation.

“Father, here we are, committing ourselves into your hands. We have no one else but you. Save our lives from these wicked people. And let these men know you are God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

I didn’t actually lead the men in prayer. It was just that no one raised any objection. No one had any energy left for theological arguments. Mine was a prayer of unyielding stubbornness. After all God had done for me, I refused to give up on him, like the others.

Our cell was one of ten. Several weeks earlier these had been the living quarters for Liberian army soldiers. The rebels had turned them into a makeshift prison.

About a hundred men were being held in the ten cells. Some were wealthy—government officials or prominent businessmen. I had been Assistant Prayer Leader with a volunteer group at the executive mansion chapel. That was my crime. I was a collaborator with the Liberian government of President Samuel Doe.

After the war began six months ago, I spent many mornings at the chapel with my group. We prayed for soldiers and government employees. Sometimes I delivered the message at the midday service. In the afternoons, I worked at my construction block business. I never saw President Doe.

Years before, I met President Doe once, though I doubt he would remember me. I wasn’t one of his wealthy friends, his generals, or his political enemies. I was merely a volunteer Christian. Inconsequential.

I don’t think the rebels expected to get much information from me. I was a collaborator and my wife was one-half Krahn. These crimes justified the beatings and torture. I could only hope justice would prevail during the final investigation today. Perhaps, afterward, I would finally be free from the terrible mistake that had brought me here.

We were being held in the #72 Soldiers’ Barrack outside Paynesville, an upscale suburb on the outskirts of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia. My house was close by. It was so near, and yet I struggled to remember details I’d never paid attention to before. I had carelessly placed my house and neighborhood in the background scenery. Now I longed to remember the color of the flowers Bessie planted in our yard. After a brief failed effort, I gave up.

My mind kept going over the events of the past week, the moment when the rebels came for me. I tried to logically process what had happened, but nothing fit together.

Where are you, God? Why are you allowing this to happen?

I alternated between faith and doubt.

Of course he was in control and could save me. But that didn’t mean that I, Bessie, or the children would survive.

The rebels had entered Paynesville nine days ago. We heard automatic gunfire in nearby neighborhoods. Three weeks before, we had heard their long-range artillery shells hitting the city center. Everyone knew the rebels were coming, slowly but steadily advancing.

The first two days, we escaped the bullets coming straight down through our roof. Victorious over the government troops, the rebels celebrated by firing their weapons into the air. Bullets fell from the sky like tiny meteors. Our family was lucky. A neighbor’s child three doors down was struck and wounded by one of these projectiles.

Bessie and I took the precaution of packing all our important papers into one of the children’s book satchels. We included our marriage certificate, the children’s birth certificates, school report cards, our deeds, and cash. That was all. There wasn’t room for anything else.

Then, on the morning of the third day of the attack, I happened to be looking out my living room window when an army jeep drove right onto our front lawn. Rebels started piling out.

Wide-eyed, I screamed, “Bessie, get the children and hide.” A frantic commotion ensued for a few seconds. Small bodies ran past me as Bessie yelled her orders. In just seconds, it was quiet again. I stood alone, watching.

Four rebels stood on our lawn. Each carried an automatic rifle, a Kalashnikov. They fired their weapons into the sky. They looked crazed and terrifying.

The AK-47 was the favorite among revolutionaries. Firing up to thirty bullets per trigger pull, and outfitted with a wicked-looking and effective bayonet, it was simple and cheap. At only twenty dollars each, it was light enough for a small child to handle.

A month earlier, I had nearly been killed by an AK-47.

I had taken a taxi to the open market to purchase a hundred-pound bag of rice. Food had gotten scarce as the rebel offensive drew near the city, so the rice cost triple its normal price. I placed the heavy bag of rice in a little wagon and turned to pay the merchant. When I turned back, I saw a man walking away, pulling the wagon and taking my rice. I yelled for him to stop and ran toward him. He abruptly halted and slowly turned around.

His face was streaked with white clay, his long hair matted in clumps, and his clothes were filthy. A rebel! Fear suddenly gripped me. Bessie and I had heard from neighbors that rebel excursions into the city were becoming common as their army approached. He had come to the market to get food by any means he could.

He was big, almost a foot taller than I and heavier by thirty pounds. His AK-47 was slung over his right shoulder. Ignoring my fear, I ran up to him and told him the rice belonged to me—as though he didn’t already know. He didn’t speak but calmly reached into his flak-jacket pocket with his right hand and started to unsling his rifle with his left.

Blinking and dumbfounded, I realized the bullet clip wasn’t in the rifle, and he was retrieving it. I didn’t know what to do. Should I run? Try to reason with him?

Just then, the clip snapped into the rifle.

Inside my head I heard, Are you just going to stand there and let him kill you? Startled by the unexpected voice, I snapped out of my stupor. I mouthed, “Help me, Lord!” Before I knew it, I had grabbed hold of the rifle with both hands.

Now, the rebel was the startled one. We both gripped the gun tightly. We wrestled back and forth, each trying to gain control without success. As large as he was, he couldn’t shake me or twist the gun free. After a few moments, a Monrovia policeman saw our struggle and rushed in. He yelled for the crowd of gaping merchants and customers to grab us and pull us apart.

Once we were apart, the policeman quickly ascertained the situation. He yelled at me, “Get your rice and go. Just go!” The merchants released me on his command. I ran, snatched my bag of rice out of the wagon, jumped in a taxi, and sped off. All the way home I trembled.

Whereas that incident had been a chance encounter, the rebels on my front lawn now were not there by accident. After shooting their guns into the sky, they walked across my yard toward the front door. I saw bandoliers of ammunition draped over their shoulders and around their waists.

I’ve never owned a gun and never handled one other than in the market. I did know, however, those weapons in the hands of the teenagers standing in my front yard had defeated Liberia’s national army. The sight of the rebels paralyzed me with fear.

At least when I first saw them, I had the presence of mind to yell to Bessie to get in the back bedroom with the kids.

“Thank you, Lord, for letting me see them,” I prayed.

I breathed in deeply and slowly exhaled, trying to control my emotions and thinking of what else I could do.

“Nothing. There is nothing I can do,” I told myself.

So, alone in my living room, I sat down in my favorite comfortable armchair. I waited. I watched the rebels through the large front window as they walked toward the door. One wore a uniform. His face and arms were streaked with white clay. I recognized the clay as Juju, witchcraft, designed to make its wearer impervious to bullets. Another wore a crimson church choir robe with an ammunition belt cinched around his waist.

What an odd spoil of war, I thought, looting a choir robe.

Choirboy’s hair was wild, almost like spikes coming out of his head. It wasn’t clear if this was his hairstyle or just happenstance from living months in the bush. Strange, the details we notice in a crisis.

With each step the rebels took toward my house, I grew more frightened. I couldn’t move, still paralyzed by fear. At that moment, it wasn’t an expression or figure of speech. I was truly paralyzed. My muscles were so constricted, it seemed as if each possessed its own little mind and instinctively knew what to do in a moment such as this. I was a fawn hiding in the Liberian savannah grass and being stalked by a leopard.

There was no chance of escaping. All I felt was stark terror, not breathing, everything shutting down. I couldn’t even form a prayer. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” was all I whispered. Did those words reach my lips or were they just in my mind? I couldn’t tell.

The rebels were at the front door. Suddenly one called out, “Come out and bring your Krahn wife. Bring out the bank money and tell us where President Doe is. Otherwise, we’re going to kill you and burn your house down.”

I didn’t move or speak. I couldn’t. I was paralyzed. The rebels didn’t ask twice. With a swift boot to the front door, the door jamb splintered and the door swung open. With bloodshot eyes from drugs or sleep deprivation, their eyes locked on mine as they approached. Oddly, my eyes apparently were the only part of my body not frozen. As time slowed down, they followed each movement as the two converged on the helpless creature staring back at them.

It was as if my body floated. I was weightless. They jerked me hard up and out of the armchair. The force must have torn my shirt because I heard a rip. I felt my feet bouncing across the floor, through the front door, across the porch, and down the steps.

My short weightless journey abruptly ended. Once in the front yard, they dropped me. I tried to use my arms to break the fall, but they wouldn’t respond. I remembered the saying about dropping something like a sack of potatoes. Now I knew what that meant.

I fell face forward straight down onto my chest and tasted grass as my head bounced. My eyes saw the bottom half of a small figure approaching. The two larger rebels who dragged me were walking away. The approaching figure had small skinny legs and mismatched oversized boots.

I guessed the child to be about twelve years old. As I started to lift my head, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sudden blur. The concussion from the butt end of the assault rifle snapped my head back to the ground. My right temple started to throb.

Taking aim a second time, the child struck once more with the ease of someone possessing supreme confidence in his ability to perform this most basic of warfare skills: Stand over your subject. Hold the barrel in the left hand near the muzzle, the right hand holding the stock just above the trigger guard. Now while keeping a firm grip arc downward like you’re planting a flagpole in the ground. You should hear a good solid crack as you make contact. That’s correct. Now try it again.

At once, their leader demanded again, “Where is your Krahn wife? Where is the bank money? Tell us where President Doe is.”

Jarred to my senses, my head now reeling and throbbing from pain, but shocked out of my frozen, paralyzing fear, I once again was able to think.

“I…I’m alone in the house. We have no bank money. It stays at the bank. I don’t have anything to do with President Doe. I have no idea where he is.” The pain loosened my frozen arms and they now hurried to protect my head, but the damage had already been done.

These particular rebels were so ignorant they thought Bessie, a bank teller, brought the bank’s money home at night and took it back the next day. While they certainly needed it, they weren’t asking for a lesson on the Liberian banking system. They just wanted the money.

I blurted out these answers as fast as I could. If I thought immediate compliance to their demands would preserve me from another head blow, I was wrong. The efficient and skillful assistant found an open spot and replicated his technique. Once a skill is perfected, it is only a natural human tendency to want to show off to your superiors. The child was rewarded by their grinning approval. Rising weightless once more, I was dragged to the jeep and thrown in the back.

The teenage leader was the passenger, of course, as was befitting his rank. He should naturally be chauffeured during these roundup excursions. In the back with me were the skillful assistant and the cherub choirboy. They had successfully bagged their prey, and now it was time to take it home, victorious once more.

Knots were already forming, slowly rising off my skull, and I felt blood trickle down one cheek. The warm liquid mingled in my mouth with dirt and the grass I’d planted when we first built our house. Silently through the pain, I breathed a sigh of relief. As odd as it seems, I also shared in their victory.

Driving away from the house, my prayer and those of Bessie and the children were answered. The rebel soldiers forgot all about searching the house. Bessie and the kids weren’t discovered. They certainly would have been found if the search had taken place. In a closet and under the bed aren’t exactly unique hiding places. My basic house just wasn’t constructed for such a clandestine purpose. It was such a simple mistake really and yet one that would affect everything to follow.

“Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord,” I silently prayed as we drove away. I glanced up and noticed the sky. The sun was just starting its climb. It would be another typical summer day in Liberia, hot and humid.