Friday, February 29, 2008

Restorer's Journey! by Sharon Hinck

It is March FIRST, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature is:

Sharon Hinck

and her book:

The Restorer's Journey

Navpress Publishing Group (February 7, 2008)


Sharon Hinck holds a BA in education, and she earned an MA in communication from Regent University in 1986. She spent ten years as the artistic director of a Christian performing arts group, CrossCurrent. That ministry included three short-term mission trips to Hong Kong. She has been a church youth worker, a choreographer and ballet teacher, a homeschool mom, a church organist, and a bookstore clerk. One day she’ll figure out what to be when she grows up, but in the meantime, she’s pouring her imagination into writing. Her stories focus on characters who confront the challenges of a life of faith. She’s published dozens of articles in magazines and book compilations, and released her first novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House), in 2006. In April 2007, she was named “Writer of the Year” at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. When she isn’t wrestling with words, Sharon enjoys speaking at conferences and retreats. She and her family make their home in Minnesota. She loves to hear from readers, so send a message through the portal into her writing attic on the “Contact Sharon” page of her website, She is also an avid blogger...visit Stories for the Hero in All of Us.

The first and second books in The Sword of Lyric series are The Restorer and The Restorer’s Son. The FIRST chapter shown here is from the third book, The Restorer's Journey. Enjoy!


Chapter One - JAKE

My mom was freaking out.

She stared out the dining room window as if major-league monsters were hiding in the darkness beyond the glass. Give me a break. Our neighborhood was as boring as they came. Ridgeview Drive’s square lawns and generic houses held nothing more menacing than basketball hoops and tire swings. Still, Mom’s back was tight, and in the shadowed reflection on the pane, I could see her biting her lip. I didn’t know what to say to make her feel better.

I ducked back into the kitchen and used a wet rag to wipe off the counters. Clumps of flour turned to paste and smeared in gunky white arcs across the surface. I shook the rag over the garbage can, the mess raining down on the other debris we’d swept up. Broken jars of pasta and rice filled the bag. I stomped it down, twist-tied the bag and jogged it out to the trashcan by the garage. Usually, I hated the chore of taking out the trash. Not tonight. Maybe if I erased the signs of our intruders, Mom would relax a little.

So Cameron and Medea dropped a few things when they were looking for supplies. No biggie. Why did my folks have such a problem with those two anyway? They’d been great to me. I trudged back into the house, rubbing my forehead. Wait. That wasn’t right. A shiver snaked through my spine. Never mind. They were probably long gone by now.

“Kitchen’s done.” I carried the broom into the dining room, hoping Mom had finished in there. But she was still hugging her arms and staring out the window.

She turned and looked at the china cabinet, then squeezed her eyes shut as if they were hurting. “Why?” she whispered.

Glass shards jutted from one cabinet door, and the other hung crooked with wood splinters poking out. Broken china covered the floor. Mom and Dad had been collecting those goofy teacups ever since they got married.

I pushed the broom against the edge of the fragments, but the chinking sound made her wince, so I stopped.

Dad strode past with an empty garbage bag from the hall closet and stopped to give my mom a squeeze. He nodded toward me. “Honey, Jake’s alive. Nothing else matters. We all got back safe.” He leaned his head against hers, and I edged toward the kitchen in case they started kissing. For an old married couple, they were a little too free with their public displays of affection. No guy wants to watch his parents act mushy.

But my mom didn’t look like she was in a kissing mood. She pressed her lips together. I had a sneaking suspicion that she was more freaked out about what had happened to my hand than our house. Like when I had cancer as a kid. She’d gotten really stressed about the details of a church fundraiser and cranky about everything that went wrong—stuff that wasn’t even important. It gave her a place to be angry when she was trying to be brave about a bigger problem.

“It’s only a piece of furniture.” Dad was doing his soothing voice. When would he catch on that only made things worse?

“Only a piece of furniture we bought as a wedding gift to each other.” She swiped at some wet spots on her face. “Only twenty years’ worth of poking around garage sales and thrift stores together. Don’t tell me what it’s only! Okay?”

“Okay.” Dad backed away from her prickles.

I made another ineffectual push with the broom. My folks didn’t argue much, but when they did, it grated like a clutch struggling to find third gear. Typical over-responsible firstborn, I wanted to fix it but didn’t know how.

Mom picked up a Delft saucer, smashed beyond repair, and laid the pieces gently into the garbage bag. Dad folded his arms and leaned against the high back of one of the chairs. “I can fix the cabinet. That splintered door will need to be replaced, but the other one just needs new hinges. I can put in new glass.” His eyes always lit up when he talked about a woodworking project. The man loved his tools.

Mom smiled at him. Her tension faded, and she got all moony-eyed, so I ducked into the kitchen just as the doorbell rang. Thank heaven. “Pizza’s here!” I yelled.

Dad paid the delivery guy, and I carried the cartons into the living room. Flopping onto one end of the couch, I pried open the lid. “Hey, who ordered green peppers? Mom, you’ve gotta quit ruining good pizza with veggies.”

That made her laugh. “We’d better save a few pieces for the other kids.” She cleared the Legos off the coffee table and handed me a napkin.

I gladly surrendered the top pizza box, along with its green pepper, and dove into the pepperoni below. “Where is everyone?”

“Karen’s spending the night at Amanda’s—trying out her new driver’s license. Jon and Anne are at Grandma’s. But if they see the pizza boxes when they get home tomorrow . . . ”

I nodded. “Yep. Pure outrage. I can hear it now. ‘It’s not fair. Jake always gets to have extra fun.’” I did a pretty good impression of the rug rats. What would the kids think if they found out what else they had missed? This had been the strangest Saturday the Mitchell family had ever seen.

I popped open a can of Dr. Pepper. My third. Hey, I’d earned some extra caffeine. “So, what do we tell the kids?”

Mom smiled and looked me up and down, probably thinking I was one of the kids. When would it sink in that I was an adult now? I guzzled a third of my pop and set it down with a thump. “We could tell them there was a burglar, but then they’d want to help the police solve the case, and they’d never stop asking questions.”

“Good point.” Mom licked sauce from her finger. “Jon and Anne would break out the detective kit you gave them for Christmas.”

Dad tore a piece of crust from his slice of pepperoni. “If we finish cleaning everything, I don’t think they’ll pay much attention. The cabinet is the only obvious damage. If they ask, we’ll just say it got bumped and fell.”

Dad wanted us to lie? So not like him. Then again, when Kieran told me Dad wasn’t originally from our world, I realized there were a lot of things he’d never been honest about. Now I was part of the family secret, too.

He rested his piece of pizza on the cardboard box and looked at Mom. “Do we need to warn them?”

“Warn them?” She mumbled around a mouth full of melted cheese.

“In case Cameron and Medea come back.” His voice was calm, but I suddenly had a hard time swallowing. Something cold twisted in me when he said their names. The same cold that had numbed my bones when I’d woken up in the attic. Why? They’d taken care of me. No, they’d threatened me. Confusing images warred inside my brain.

“You think they’ll come back?” My baritone went up in pitch, and I quickly took another sip of pop.

Dad didn’t answer for a moment. “It depends on why they came. If they plan to stay in our world, we need to find them—stop them. But my guess is that Cameron wants to return to Lyric with something from our world that he can use there. That means they’ll be back to go through the portal.”

Mom sank deeper into the couch and looked out the living room windows. At the curb, our family van shimmered beneath a streetlight.

They might be out there, too. They could be watching us right this second.

“Maybe we should call the police.” Mom’s voice sounded thin. I’d suggested that earlier. After all, someone had broken in—well, broken out.

Dad snorted. “And tell them what?”

He had a point, but it’s not like there was a rulebook for dealing with visitors from other universes. Unless you attended Star Trek conventions. “So what’s your plan?” I asked.

“I’ll get extra locks tomorrow. Maybe look into an alarm system.” Dad believed every problem could be solved with his Home Depot credit card. He turned to me. “Can you remember more about your conversations with Cameron? What did he ask you about? What did he seem interested in?”

A shudder moved through me, and pain began pulsing behind my eyes.

Mom gave Dad a worried glance, then rested a hand on my arm. “It’s okay, honey. We don’t have to talk about it right now.” She smoothed my hair back from my face.

“No problem.” I brushed her hand away, sprawled back on the couch, and studied the ceiling. “It just seems like it was all a dream.”

“What’s the last thing you remember clearly?” Dad pulled his chair closer and watched me.

“Braide Wood.” I closed my eyes and smiled. “It reminded me of summer camp. And I was so tired of running and hiding in caves. I finally felt safe. Tara fussed over me, and I taught Dustin and Aubrey how to play soccer. It felt like home.”

I struggled to remember the rest. For some reason my memories were tangled up, like the time I had a major fever and took too much Nyquil. Mom and Dad waited.

“I went to see Morsal Plains with Tara. Brutal. The grain was all black and it smelled weird. Tara told me about the attack. How Hazor poisoned it on purpose and how Susan the Restorer led the army to protect Braide Wood.” I squinted my eyes open and looked sideways at my mom. They’d told me she had ridden into battle with a sword. “Unbelievable.”

Even though she was watching me with a worried pinch to her eyes, she smiled. “I know. I lived it, and it’s hard for me to believe.”

“Anyway, I hiked back to Tara’s house, and some guys came to take me to Cameron. He made a big fuss over me. Said it was his job to welcome guests to the clans. Said I’d run into bad company but he’d make it up to me. He gave me something to drink, and there was this lady. She was amazing.” No matter how fuzzy my memories were, Medea was easy to remember. The long curly hair, the sparkling eyes, the dress that clung to all the right places. My cheeks heated. “I can’t remember everything we talked about. She made me feel important, like I wasn’t just some teenage kid. It was . . . ” I sat taller and angled away from my parents, my jaw tightening. “She helped me realize that no one else had ever really understood me. I wanted to become a guardian. I had an important job to do.”

“Jake.” Dad’s voice was sharp, and I flinched. “The woman you met was a Rhusican. They poison minds. Don’t trust everything you’re feeling right now.”

A pulsing ache grabbed the base of my neck. I pressed the heels of my hands against my eyes. Mom’s hand settled on my shoulder, and I stiffened. Weird static was messing with my head.

“Jake, they used you to find the portal. She doesn’t really understand you.” Mom’s voice was quiet and sounded far away. I felt like I was falling away inside myself. She squeezed my shoulder. “Remember my favorite psalm?”

I managed a tight smile. “How could I forget? You made us learn the whole thing one summer. ‘O Lord, you have searched me and you know me…’ blah, blah, blah.”

Despite my smart aleck tone, the words took hold and some of the static in my brain quieted.

“What’s the rest?” Dad pressed me.

What was he trying to prove? That I couldn’t think straight? I could have told him that. I struggled to form the words.

“‘You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.’” Once I got started, I rattled off the verses by rote. In some strange way, the words actually stopped the sensation of falling away inside myself.

“Sounds like there’s someone who understands you a lot better than Cameron and Medea. Remember that.” Dad stood up and tousled my hair. Then he yawned. “Let’s get some sleep.”

Mom didn’t move. She was still watching me. “How’s the hand?”

I rubbed my palm. “Still fine. Weird, huh?” I held it out.

A scar, faint as a white thread, marked the skin where broken glass had cut a deep gash an hour earlier. My lungs tightened. What did it mean?

Dad shook his head. “Come on. Bedtime.”

Mom hesitated, but then stood and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead. “Good night, Jake. We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

Oh, great. She sure loved talking. I looked at Dad. His mouth twitched. “I’ll get us signed up for some practice space at the fencing club.”

Good. He hadn’t forgotten his promise. I couldn’t make sense of my trip through the portal, or the sudden-healing thing, but I knew I wanted to learn to use a sword.

My parents gathered up the pizza stuff and carried it to the kitchen, out of sight, but not out of earshot.

“If we hide the portal stones Cameron and Medea won’t be able to go back,” Dad said over the crinkling of a sheet of aluminum foil.

Someone slammed the fridge door shut hard enough to make the salad dressing bottles rattle. “We don’t want them running around our world. They don’t belong here.” Mom sounded tense.

“I know. We have to send them back. But on our terms. Without anything that would hurt the People of the Verses. And what about Jake?”

Silence crackled, and I leaned forward from my spot on the couch.

When Mom refused to answer, Dad spoke again, so quiet I almost couldn’t hear. “We need to keep the portal available in case he’s needed there. But how will we know?”

Needed there? Did he really think . . .?

I waited for them to head back to their bedroom, then slipped down the steps from the kitchen to the basement. Most of the basement was still unfinished – except for my corner bedroom and Dad’s workbench.

I hurried into my room and shut out the world behind me. Tonight everything looked different. The movie posters, the bookshelves, the soccer team trophy. Smaller, foreign, unfamiliar.

I pulled a thumbtack from my bulletin board and scratched it across my thumb. A line of blood appeared, but in a microsecond the tiny scrape healed completely. I had assumed the healing power was some heebie-jeebie thing that Medea had given me, or that had transferred over from my interactions with Kieran.

But now that my head had stopped throbbing, I could put the pieces together. Excitement stronger than caffeine zipped around my nerve endings. My folks thought this was more than a weird effect left over from my travels through the portal. They thought I might be the next Restorer.

My Review: I'm still reading, but so far, this book is really awesome! And I'm NOT a fantasy fan usually! I'm actually considering reading the first two books and sharing them with my teens! I'll post a full review when I have completed the book.

Closer Than Your Skin WINNER!!


Please send your snail mail address to me and I will get the book out to you. I have replied to your original post, so look there for an email addy to use!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Virginia Smith drops by for another visit! $500 shopping spree!!

This is my second visit with Virginia Smith, and I am excited to share with you what she had to say about her latest release, Stuck In the Middle! This series holds a special place in her heart, and she is very excited to share it with you!

Welcome Ginny!!

Are YOU the middle of your sisters? No, I’m the oldest. Even so, I’ve experienced many of Joan’s feelings about her sisters. Both of my sisters are very lively and funny and energetic, and sometimes I just sit in a corner quietly and watch them entertain everyone with their jokes and interplay. They’re both active in the performing arts (school, community, and even semi-pro theater), while my creativity tends to find quieter outlets, like writing. At times they seem to have a special bond that occasionally make me feel a little like an outsider, as Joan does in Stuck in the Middle. And at other times, I feel a special bond with one or the other of them, depending on what we’re going through at the time. But at ALL times, the three of us are best friends.

What are some of the traits in the book (well, at least one) that is based on real life? Any scenes in there borrowed from real life? Our parents divorced when we were young, and like the Sanderson sisters, each of us have had to come to terms with that divorce, and how it has impacted our adult relationships. So that aspect is straight from real life, though my parents’ divorce wasn’t for the same reason as the one described in the book. And Gram’s quirky OCD traits are something my sisters and I all have to varying degrees, and tease each other about. Joan’s midnight mug-arranging episode is straight from real life. I have a thing about having coffee mugs all uniformly placed in the cabinet. I like their handles to all be facing the same way, and the matching ones have to all be grouped together. It drives me nuts if they get out of order or out of alignment! But this is better than I used to be. I used to carefully arrange them in pairs so the designs faced one another – so they could ‘talk’ to each other during the long lonely hours of the night! LOL! But I got over that. (Yeah, our quirks can be a little weird. You should hear some of my middle sister’s funny quirks!)

Have there ever been romantic rivalries between you and your sisters? My middle sister, Susie, is only 19 months younger than me, so we had a couple of instances growing up. The first happened when we were in junior high and starting to get interested in boys. Susie and I both had a crush on a guy who was exactly between our ages. He bounced back and forth between us for a while, and there were some hard feelings. But then he did something utterly repulsive, as all seventh grade guys will eventually do, and we got over him. Then when we were in high school I met my first serious boyfriend. He would come to visit, and we would sit in the formal living room with Mom popping in to check on us every so often (being a proper chaperone!). Susie would put on her cute little shorty pajamas and parade through the room to get a drink of water from the kitchen, the little flirt! We had some major blow-ups over that, and Mom finally had to step in. A couple of years after we broke up, that guy actually asked Susie out on a date. When she refused him, he asked my youngest sister Beth on a date! She didn’t go either, I’m happy to say.

Do your sisters enjoy your books? Either of them write too? Neither of my sisters write books, though both are school teachers so they do writing of a different kind. But they read everything I write, and they love my books. They’re so incredibly supportive, and between the two of them they’ve probably sold hundreds of copies because they tell everyone they know, “This is an awesome book! You’ve got to read it!” They’re both extremely excited about the Sister-to-Sister Series. They keep giving me suggestions for funny things to include, or traits to give the characters. Honestly, though, the Sanderson sisters aren’t completely based on any one of us. Instead, there are pieces of each of us in each of the Sanderson sisters.

I'd love to tell folks a little about your own sister-to-sister relationships during the tour! I’d love that, too! My sisters are the most incredible women I know, and I love them fiercely. We laugh together and cry together and support each other through everything in life. No matter what happens, I know there are two incredibly talented, beautiful women in this world who love me unconditionally and will always be there for me. As I will be for them!

You might also want to mention the giveaway contest I’m conducting to help promote this book. I’m giving away a $500 shopping spree, in the form of a Visa gift card. All they have to do is sign up for my eNewsletter. (And if they put your e-mail address down as the one that referred them, you get an extra entry in the drawing!)

Thank you so much, Kim! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you liked this book. (And isn’t the cover beautiful, too??? I think the publisher did an amazing job with it!)

Visit Virginia's web site to enter your chance to win the $500 shopping spree! Here is the information!

Stuck in the Middle - Virginia Smith introduces a new series!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Stuck in the Middle

Revell (February 1, 2008)


Virginia Smith

If you like contemporary fiction, and you’ve always wanted to explore the relationship between sisters, then Virginia Smith has just written a book you will love! Joan is the middle sister – squished between an older, soon-to-bear-the first grandchild sister and a beautiful professional younger sister. Not only is she in the middle of her sisters, but she has also placed herself squarely in the middle of her Mom and Grandmother’s relationship as well. At twenty-five years old, Joan suddenly finds herself discovering her own path….one that takes her out of her comfort zone and into the middle of God’s plan for her life!

This book blends the sister’s story with a healthy dose of romance, and within the developing romance, Virginia Smith explores the differences between traditional and contemporary forms of worship as the main character and her traditional background meets the more contemporary man next door. The budding romance also serves as a launching pad for the reader to explore some of the circumstances in our lives that we use to sort of hold God at arm’s length, and how He gently places other people and situations in our life to nudge us back into His presence.

While the main character is discovering her place in God’s plan and trying to build a relationship with her handsome new neighbor, the story also explores the family relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters. Virginia Smith has a unique way of touching on very real problems we all face at some point in our lives, and she manages to take your emotions to a lot of different levels throughout the book. However the story remains light enough that you are able to give a satisfied sigh by the time you reach the final pages.

This is the first in a three-book series, so you don’t want to miss it! And while you wait to read the 2nd and 3rd installments (Age Before Beauty and Last But Not Least), you will want to read some of the many other books Virginia Smith has written! Check out her website HERE. Thanks for another great read Ginny!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome Susan D. Hill - Closer Than Your Skin

I had the amazing opportunity to interview Susan about her new book, Closer Than Your Skin. I pray that you will enjoy this, and that you will sign up for my give away for this life-changing book! Once you meet Susan, you will understand why this book is so very special!

Welcome, Susan!

1. For you, infidelity and alcoholism was the battlefield you had to stand on in your marriage. You chose to stay when many Christians would have said, “Adultery allows divorce according to scripture, so I’m out of here!” Why did you stay? What was the turning point when you realized God was working in the midst of the trial? I really believe marriage is sacred. I couldn't and wouldn't bail over just anything. Yet, if my husband continued in adultery or alcoholism, I would have lost my resolve--but he didn't. Also the swimming dream held a promise at the end, that my husband and I would "remarry" or enter into a new level of marriage if we persevered. In addition, in the dream where Duncan is six inches taller and I see Jesus standing right behind him, I knew I would be able to look up to Duncan with respect again, and that God was right there with us.

  1. Sometimes years pass during the process of God bringing us to Himself and “getting under our skin”. What would you say to encourage someone during this time of waiting/healing? While these "seasons" are real, I think we can shorten their duration by looking at the barriers that keep us far away from God. For instance, I recently read a quarterly journal where the writer talked about repenting of things like pride, self-pity, self-righteousnes, etc. To my surprise he also included "prolonged discouragement" in the list. I was stunned. Logically I believed that prolonged discouragement was the residual effect of going through long and hard trials--a natural sort of outcome. But here the writer implied that on some level, I let discouragement come in and take up residence in my life--in the same way people let fear come in. We dust and vacuum around it but it is the elephant in the living room. Tears flowed for a long time. People had told me that I always seemed a little sad, yet I wanted my life to be marked by joy. So that night, I took this new revelation to my home group and to my surprise, found many in our group felt under this same oppression. Together we "repented" of prolonged discouragement and disappointment with God and the result was startling. I have a light-heartedness that I have not known for years! All this is to say, if you're hungry for God, start examining the things in the way. Are you under condemnation? Do you believe God is like your earthly father? Are you being religious but missing the substance of your faith? Are you exhaustingly busy like a Martha? God wants these obstacles to come crashing down so you can know Him and feel His embrace.
  1. You offer some wonderful insight about parenting – facing difficult situations with teens. Again, there is painful waiting involved regarding circumstances over which you have no control. Many parents choose “tough love” and turn their backs in embarrassment. What constitutes ministering to your child vs. enabling their wrong choices? (i.e. getting help for addiction vs. sending them home with the local sheriff?) One main difference is recognizing when you have a teachable moment, and conversely, what has become a recognizable pattern of bad behavior. On a radio show, I heard a frantic mom call in saying that her 13-year-old son feigned illness to stay home and cruise porn sites online. Being a Christian mother, she was horrified! She shut down all her son's privledges, grounding him for the rest of his life, and get this, made him memorize Bible verses on purity. I winced as I listened. Of course the Dad came home and jumped on board with his wife, ministering shame and condemnation. The host of the show sighed, and then after a long pause said...You know, this could have been a perfect Dad moment. You could have put your arm around your son and told him he was perfectly normal in his desire to see the female body...But that God also has a better idea about that--a plan for his desires through marriage. He could have taught his son about sexuality. All too often we punish when we should teach first. However, when a pattern forms then I think God requires us to discipline our kids with boundaries, and consequences.
  1. You speak of the “Martha” syndrome of business in your book, and it truly seems that there are more programs and activities in our churches today than ever before. People in the church have little time with their families because they are exhausting themselves at church. How do you find a balance? As a recovering Martha, I still see the need to help at church and at the school. Generally, I set a boundary by being responsible for one thing in each area. But overall, I pray before saying "Yes" to anything that is a bigger commitment. I truly believe the church has far too many programs, and a few people doing all the work. Don't get caught in this trap.
  1. I love the way you encourage everyone to make sure that their insights/nudging from God be under the authority of scripture and leadership especially as it relates to something God might urge you to share about someone else’s circumstance. Could you elaborate briefly on that? I believe if you want to walk in authority in hearing God's voice for others, you need to walk under authority. When Jenny and I were in prayer ministry, we often asked those we prayed for to bring their pastor, or ask for his blessing. We also took difficult situations to our pastor and asked for his wisdom and guidance. Humility is a protection, and the antidote to presumption. Also, it can't be overstated that to hear God's fresh voice, you must be grounded in his written Word. There are no shortcuts here.
  1. A closing word about how God is using Closer Than Your Skin in your life now? Will there be another book to follow? What is God doing in your life right now? At the moment, I'm preparing for a book tour. This came about after two things happened: first, in church one Sunday, our pastor quoted 2 Corinthians 9:6 "...he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." As I travel to over 32 cities around the U.S., I will be giving free books at small gatherings to "sow" generously. Secondly, I also dreamed that I would be in large cities where people were shopping at 2:00 a.m., and there were robberies going on, and I heard sirens, but I was not afraid. I was lost, however, and trying to find my hotel. A policeman asked me where I was staying and I said, my hotel was called "The Ambassador." This dream showed me God was sending me out, instructing me to do this tour. Of course there is a love of writing, and the gift (shock) of getting published, but marketing is a little daunting and feels dangerously close to something I intrinsically hate: self-promotion. But giving books and speaking will probably be my agenda for the next 4-5 months. Then, I'll probably ask God what He's doing. The truth is, I never saw this book coming. So if there's another book for me to write, I guess I wait and see what happens. I think it's all about being ready and available to the Holy Spirit. There's an adventure in that!

Closer Than Your Skin! Review and Give Away!

I believe that in the very act of reading this book I have understood its basic principle. God is in every detail of our lives, and if we are seeking Him and listening for His response we will find Him all around us….indeed, closer than our skin. Susan’s story, obediently written upon the pages of this book, has reached out to me during the exact time that I needed the reassurance of its truth. This book was a God appointed experience for me. I trust it will be the same for you.

Closer Than Your Skin is a series of personal experiences and observations about how God worked in Susan’s life through a variety of circumstances in order to bring her into a close relationship with Him. This relationship not only transformed her own life, but through her God reached out and transformed the lives of many people with whom He brought into her realm of existence. Her life became one of understanding the simple truth that it wasn’t what she could do for God but what God could do through her. Susan felt deeply that the truth of an intimate relationship with God was a timely and much needed message for many Christians struggling through difficult circumstances – through life itself - and God used her to pour out that message onto the pages of this wonderful book.

Chapter after chapter, Susan shares with the reader what God did in her own life and the lives of her husband and children as they worked through many devastating situations. God’s hand became evident as they learned to forgive each other as well as others with whom they had developed hurt relationships. Through that forgiveness, healing reached into the very pores of their being, and their marriage and family were healed and restored. God’s voice became real in many of their every day moments, and Susan wants others to know that this intimate, loving relationship with God is not only possible, but it can be the pinnacle of our life’s journey here on earth.

I know that I have filled several pages in my own journal with passages that spoke to me personally as I read this book. Susan’s view of marriage on page 133 is so true! “We are not alone. God is the third party in marriage…a wife respecting her husband, a husband loving his wife, and God standing with them, not even a hair’s breath away.” And her insights on parenting are scriptural and balanced with a healthy dose of common sense. Page 155 states, “Only God can help us find the balance, shaping our children to be in the world, not of it. There’s a time to say yes and teach discernment, but also a time to say no and draw a clear line. In parenting, only God can show you when is when. You have to stop, ask, and listen.” Even though Susan had to cope with heartbreaking circumstances in her relationship with her husband, and later had to confront a similar issue in the life of one of her children, God remained close to her, encouraging, offering hope and lovingly guiding her and her family toward healing and restoration.

Susan states on page 102 that “Pain is tantamount to being human. The real danger though is losing your heart along the way.” She understands how painful and hopeless life’s circumstances can become. Yet she knows – knows with a certainty born of God’s wondrous intimate working in her everyday life – that remaining in God’s word and seeking Him as the source of forgiveness, wisdom and guidance, that in spite of life’s circumstance we can, as she states on page 211 “Trust (Him), no matter what it looks like.”

This book is real. I strongly encourage anyone who wants an intimate, “closer than your skin” relationship with God to prayerfully read each chapter of this book. There are thought provoking questions for each chapter that can be used as a group study guide or as an individual deepening of the each insight. There is also a “notes” section that includes all of the scripture and other works referenced throughout each chapter that you can use to dig even deeper. This book is rich. Don’t miss it! Buy a copy here today!

I have an extra copy of this terrific book to share, so please leave a comment to enter a drawing for this book! I will draw the winner on Friday.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Satuday Silliness...compliments of Kelly!

Well blogger fans, this is a first for me! I've been tagged to play a game! Here are the rules:

The Rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I'm using hubby's computer, so the nearest book that qualifies is an 1864 Hymn and Tune Book!
My 3 sentences:

Grace led my roving feet to tread the heavenly road;and new supplies each hour I meet,while pressing on to God.
Grace all the work shall crown, through everlasting days;it lays in heaven the topmost stone,and well deserves the praise.
Awake, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb; wake every heart, and every tongue, to praise the Saviour's name.

I am going to attempt to tag Tami, Deena, Michelle, Becky and Kari.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Friday teaser for you!

You are in for a life-changing treat next week! Susan D. Hill has written a phenomenal book that will lead you into a closer relationship with God!

Please don't miss this tour! I will be posting my review along with a great interview with this genuine, warm lady who is sold out to the Lord!

I have an extra copy to give away, so stay tuned on Monday for the details on that! You truly don't want to miss a word of this book!

And we have a second treat coming up next week as well! I will be featuring the first in a series of books by Virginia Smith! Her Sister-to Sister series is going to include three books, and you will certainly have a lot to look forward to if Stuck In The Middle is just the first installment!

I have also been able to talk with Virginia about this work, and I will be posting that interview here as well!

So stay tuned! Next week is going to be filled with lots of encouragement and excitement! I have more than 10 books that will be touring here next month, so I will be busily reading during the weekend! I hope you have a great book to enjoy too! May your weekend be filled with God's richest blessings! See you Monday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ted Dekker's Latest!! ADAM

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Thomas Nelson April 1, 2008)

Ted Dekker


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), and Obsessed, with two more...Renegade, and Chaos to be released later this year.


He died once to stop the he's dying again to save his wife.

FBI behavioral psychologist Daniel Clark has become famous for his well-articulated arguments that religion is one of society’s greatest antagonists. What Daniel doesn’t know is that his obsessive pursuit of a serial killer known only as “Eve” is about to end abruptly with an unexpected death-his own.

Twenty minutes later Daniel is resuscitated, only to be haunted by the loss of memory of the events immediately preceding his death.

Daniel becomes convinced that the only way to stop Eve is to recover those missing minutes during which he alone saw the killer’s face. And the only way to access them is to trigger his brain’s memory dump that occurs at the time of death by simulating his death again…and again. So begins a carefully researched psychological thriller which delves deep into the haunting realities of near-death experiences, demon possession, and the human psche.

"As always with a Ted Dekker thriller, the details of ADAM are stunning, pointing to meticulous research in a raft of areas: police and FBI methods, forensic medicine, psychological profiling-in short, all that accompanies a Federal hunt for a serial killer. But Dekker fully reveals his magic in the latter part of the book, when he subtly introduces his darker and more frightening theme. It's all too creepily convincing. We have to keep telling ourselves that this is fiction. At the same time, we can't help thinking that not only could it happen, but that it will happen if we're not careful."

New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker unleashes his most riveting novel elusive serial killer whose victims die of unknown causes and the psychologist obsessed with catching him.


My first introduction to Ted Dekker was the trilogy Black, Red and White. From there, I discovered many other books that stretched my imagination and keep my heart rate pounding page after page. There have been a few books along the way that didn’t grab me, but Adam was definitely not in that category! This book is sort of like CSI and Criminal Minds Ted Dekker style. You will actively participate in the search for a serial killer, and you will be shocked several times along the way! My advice? Don’t read this right before bedtime!

Ted Dekker loves to explore the dark side of the mind and soul. This book takes you into some pretty uncomfortable places in that regard. For those who travel the journey of life as agnostics or blatant disbelievers, life takes on a level of danger and sometimes even terror that takes them to the lowest pits of human depravity. As in many of Dekker’s stories, the forces of evil are just as unbelievable to the agnostic as the power of Christ’s redemption. The events that cause them to come face to face with power beyond the scope of human existence are raw and overwhelming. Once the confrontation has ended, the reader is left to their own conclusions as to the final results. Dekker wants your mind and heart to be fully engaged, and he is very, very skillful in that regard.

I wondered at the title – Adam. Ted Dekker isn’t one to spell things out for the reader, so it wasn’t until I reached pages 291 – 292 that I had a hint of what the title might imply. These words haunted me; “The pain he’d caused her over the years was now visiting him, condensed and purified so that instead of paining his heart through many sleepless nights, it was ravaging him through one week of horror” Isn’t that a good synopsis of what sinners did to Christ? We live our lives in sin – for years in open rebellion and disobedience – but during Christ’s horrific journey to the cross, into death and in every moment up until the resurrection our sin was “condensed and purified” and placed upon Him. He was, as scripture teaches, the second Adam. He was our complete redemption. So…what about the first Adam?

These are the things you will ponder and experience as you read this story. Your heart-rate will pound, there will be many times you wish you could read with your eyes closed…but hang on for the ride…Ted Dekker has spun another thriller that you won’t soon forget! At the end of the story you will still be examining what just happened. You probably won’t get all the answers you are seeking, but I think Dekker wants you to keep looking.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear by Sharon Dunn

When a man turns up dead in a teddy bear costume, Ginger and the other ladies of the Bargain Hunters Network learn a lesson about trusting in God rather than in wealth as they try to solve the crime and clear one of their own.

Sharon Dunn is the author of Death of a Garage Sale Newbie, book one in the Bargain Hunters Mysteries, and the Ruby Taylor mystery novels including Sassy Cinderella, which was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. She earned a BA in television production and a master’s in history Sharon lives in Bozeman, Montana, with her husband of twenty years, three children, two cats, and lots of dust bunnies. Visit her website to learn more about Sharon!


The bright yellow cover with purple letters set against a black and white checkered floor covering should give you some idea about this second book in the Bargain Hunter Mystery Series. Expect things to be a bit out of kilter and you won’t have a problem at all with this story!

Sharon Dunn is yet another new author that I have recently added to a quickly growing collection. This book is the second in the series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. The characters are a pretty eclectic group ranging from the grey-headed empty-nester to the young college co-ed. They are bound together by the love of bargain hunting, and this story has brought them to the world’s largest garage sale. Who could resist?

When you add an inventor husband to the mix and an even stranger collection of characters waiting to be encountered at a hotel with a wind-up toy theme, there is no end to where your imagination can go! So be prepared for murder, mayhem and a healthy dose of female bonding. This is a fun read - perfect for a night by the fire! I would place this firmly in the cozy mystery genre. Enjoy!
Purchase your copy here today!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Name is Russell Fink

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Name is Russell Fink

Zondervan (March 1, 2008)


Michael Snyder


Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents house for good. He's convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over.

Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered.

The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once-the enormity of his family's dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest.

At its heart, My Name is Russell Fink is a comedy, with sharp dialogue, characters steeped in authenticity, romance, suspense, and fresh humor. With a postmodern style similar to Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, the author explores reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in the midst of tragedy. No amount of neurosis or dysfunction can derail God's redemptive purposes.


I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love the “voice” of Russell Fink. More specifically, I think the author, Michael Snyder has a gift with images – presenting them in a quirky, fresh way that makes them appear vivid and focused in your mind. From his description of the doctor’s office on page eighteen to the last page of the book I marked no less than 40 passages containing these visual images and copied them in their entirety in the back of my book. His words are succinct, poignant and alive! You want to caress them in your mind.

As much as I loved the visual images, by page 60 I’ve scribbled labels for the main character in the margin containing the words; hypochondriac, consummate wimp, pathetic…I just want to shake the guy and scream, “Be a MAN already!!” His character is that real and often that frustrating. But Michael Snyder is only getting started. He manages to weave the search for relationship with God, a severely dysfunctional family, romance gone wrong, murder, mystery and general mayhem all within the confines of his 340 page novel. There were moments I wondered exactly how he was going to pull this off, but he did. And he did it in the weirdest, nerdiest, laugh-out-loud funny, weep-out-loud painful kind of way!

Russell Fink has issues and a lot of them. His life is so messed up in so many ways you want to give up on him. However, through his struggles and mishaps and the people the Lord places in his life, he learns that even though he is at the bottom of the trash heap, God knows where he’s at and loves him anyway. The scenes of realization and searching are raw and can be summed up in this wonderful sentence when Russell cries out to God; “I don’t want your comfort, I want answers. And if I can’t get the right answers, I want to fight.” Can’t we all relate to that feeling when life’s struggles seem to overwhelm us and we run to God begging for an explanation? Russell Fink is not a simple character.

Now, the ending of the book…well…I don’t know. It doesn’t exactly beg for a sequel, but it sure makes you want to call Michael Snyder up and demand a few answers of your own. This is one very different kind of read. I loved it!!

Meet Michael Snyder! He's a LOT of fun!!


Michael Snyder has spent the bulk of his professional career in sales, has fallen in love, and continues to struggle with the balance between art and vocation. He's never investigated a murder, much less that of an allegedly clairvoyant dog.


1. Father of four…you really nailed the description of contractions and the look of a new dad! Please share with us how you came to be such a gem of a wordsmith with your images! They are so quirky yet powerful!

First off, thank you…for the nice compliment AND for asking me to come over to your blog and hang out for a bit. It’s nice here. Good smell, nice curtains. I like it.

If I remember correctly (and I may not!), I think my original description of Geri’s contractions were WAY over the top. My wife has a way of reining me in on those kinds of things (she was the one that had the actual contractions after all).

As to the use of imagery, all I can say is, I absolutely love a good metaphor or simile. There have been times where I’ll lose forty-five minutes of valuable writing time slaving over one line of one description (that will invariably end up getting cut later and replaced with something better that just pops into my head). It’s that Mark Twainian dilemma of finding that exact right word. But oftentimes those persnickety just-right words barricade themselves in a cave somewhere. You can either ignore them for a while and hope you catch them peeking out when you return. Or you can wait on them, smoke them out, or go in after them.

2. Your work bounces from poignant and painfully truthful to hilarious to frustrating…a real roller coaster for the emotions. WHY did you choose to end the book like you did? Trying to portray life’s reality or leaving an opening for a sequel?

Thanks again. My life’s goal was to be a musician (backup plan was either standup comedian or professional napper). So I think all that time spent listening, studying, and playing music taught me the artistic value of tension and release.

The only rule of writing I adhere to (on purpose anyway) is ‘conflict on every page.’ And if you think about it, there’s a pretty wide palette of conflicts to choose from. They don’t all have to be big or loud or scary to impact the story. So then it becomes (like music) all about layering and texturing and weaving to turn the dozens of little conflicts into a story. At some point, it becomes this weird circular process…using conflict to dispense truth…using the truth to create conflict…wash, rinse repeat.

Oh yeah…the ending? I really, really, really didn’t want to HAVE to do a sequel. Not that there’s anything wrong with sequels, not at all. It’s just that I invest so much in these characters, throwing everything I can think of at them, that frankly I need a break from them. And I KNOW they need a break from me. Before I started writing, the characters in my head just sat in beanbag chairs all day, sipping cream soda, munching on Fig Newtons, and watching Seinfeld reruns. So trust me when I say they’re better off without me in the future.

And in reality, I don’t really feel like I chose the ending. I’m not sure it chose me either. I think it just sort of showed up one day. And we were both too tired to argue about it.

3. Have you always been a storyteller at heart? How long have you been writing? What is your “day job” until you become a rich and famous novelist?

By day, I work as a manufacturer’s representative in the commercial foodservice industry. I began writing five years ago, I think. Maybe it was six.

I’m not sure I’m a real storyteller yet. Or at least I know I have a LONG way to go. But my imagination has always worked overtime. And my personality has this weird dichotomy—I love entertaining people, but I’m terribly introverted at the same time. This particular dysfunction manifests itself in a lot of observational humor, self-deprecation, and pseudo-intellectual conversations that make me feel important at the time but really just remind me later that I talk too much. So as you can imagine, writing is a great way to keep my foot out of my mouth. It gives me options—I can delete my foot from my mouth altogether, or at least make it a bit more tasty in the next draft.

4. Was your own search for God’s grace and forgiveness so painful in real life, or is Russell’s search a conglomerate of all that you have observed in your day to day walk with God?

That’s another great question. The pain in my own spiritual journey is mostly self-inflicted. I get lazy and self-absorbed and find myself paying attention to all the wrong things.

In God’s case, it’s pretty obvious where He’s coming from. But we mortals (the writers and our characters) are in dire need of His grace and His forgiveness all day every day. That conflict not only makes for great story fodder, but creates this redemptive two-way street where not only do we use our journey to inform our stories, but the opposite can (and should) be true as well. Sort of working out our salvation in Word documents.

I’m pretty sure Russell’s pilgrimage is a conglomerate—some personal, some observed, some probably invented for the sake of the story. I’ve sort of been cursed with this rampant sense of empathy. Put another way, I’m kind of a sissy about conflict in real life, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to solve it before tempers flare. To do that, you need to know where people (characters) are coming from. So I think I’ve been accidentally practicing this stuff for decades.

5. What would you say to someone who is at the point Russell reached crying out for answers he liked or he wanted to fight? Words of encouragement or insight from your own experience?

Hmm…that’s a toughie. I think it would depend on the person and the circumstance really. I am an encourager by nature, so I’m sure I would lean more in that direction. I sometimes wish I had the courage of Gramps (from the story), a guy who would take spiritual matters into his own hands, violently if need be. That was a stark passage to write and I really worried about the plausibility of him using ‘whatever means necessary’ to usher people into the kingdom.

The good news is that we’re not really responsible for the results, just acting upon the call He gives us. So…ideally I would pray for wisdom and guidance, then (but only because God likes me sooooo much) I would begin dispensing truth and grace and maybe even a dash of brimstone to keep things interesting.

But again, that’s ‘ideally’. The reality is that I would probably pray that God use somebody else for the heavy lifting so I could join my boys in the loft for some cream soda and cookies.

6. You boldly question a lot about the reality of our faith and what it is grounded in. You set the fake dad against the reality of the grandfather’s changed life. I would guess you have a very real relationship with your Savior. Can you share some of your testimony?

I know it’s juvenile and gooberish, but I’ve always coveted one of those dramatic, overly-romanticized conversion stories. Something involving razor blades and cursing would be nice. But my testimony is boring. And boring can be really dangerous when it comes to spiritual things. I do have a very real relationship with Jesus. I wish it were even better. But when it’s not, it’s my fault. Thankfully, He’s patient and kind and has a great sense of humor.

But I grew up in a Christian home, made a profession of faith when I was nine, and tried to be a good boy and stay out of trouble. Like I alluded to before, all that safe living can breed complacency and pride and all sorts of other festering issues. So I think writing stories about the neurotic people in my head is a way of exploring more dangerous circumstances without actually having to, um, inhale, if you get my meaning…dude…

7. I marked a passage on page 299 as the “point” of the novel: “My father, the writers of the four gospels, the apostle Paul, and dozens of preachers have convinced me that Jesus is exactly who he said he was. I’m not always comfortable with it, but it’s part of me. I get that. It’s like a subscription that won’t run out, no matter how many renewal notices I ignore.” Russell develops a lot more before the end of the book, but did I “get the point?”

That is definitely a pivotal moment in the story. For Russell, and hopefully for the reader as well (if they’re paying attention…and we hope they are!). I’m not sure I can distill it down to a single point, or one that sort of trumps all others. But you hit on two themes that emerged during the writing that became rather dear to me—one, that believing Jesus is who He says He is really is THE point; and two, that we really can’t outrun God or His redemptive purposes.

8. Final question: Do you own a basset hound or do you now intend to? Will you name him Sonny?

Funny you should ask. I had a basset hound as a kid. She had a single litter of fourteen (yes, 14!) puppies. We even made the front page of the local paper (okay, the photographer got it in his head that the actual doggies were more interesting than the kid holding one end of the string that we used to daisy-chain the squirming puppies together for the photo op—so only a few fingers of my right hand survived the hatchet job, otherwise known as cropping…but anyway…).

Currently, we have the dumbest dog in the neighborhood. A chocolate lab named Hershey. But according to my daughter, we’re going to get a basset hound soon and name him Sonny.

(Cue the sappy music here.)

And really, she has her heart set on this. So if you, dear reader, could somehow find it in your heart to buy, let’s say forty copies each of my book, then you can help my sweet daughter realize her dream. Come on, whadda ya say?

Seriously, thank you so much Kim for having me here. You ask great questions, which made this a lot of fun for me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Winner!!!

Pamela, you won the Black or White Chronicles Trilogy!

I have emailed you about your win. Please email your snail mail address so I can get these in the mail to you!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Healing Stones by Nancy Rue and Steve Arterburn

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Healing Stones

(Thomas Nelson January 1, 2008)


Stephen Arterburn & Nancy Rue


With one flash of a camera, Demi's private life becomes public news. She doesn't know it yet, but her healing has just begun.

Christian college professor Demitria Costanas had vowed to end her affair with a colleague. But she gives into temptation one last time...and a lurking photographer captures her weakness for all to see. Quite literally, she's the woman caught in adultery. And almost everyone--herself included--has a stone to throw.

Enter Sullivan Crisp, a decidedly unorthodox psychologist with his own baggage. He's well-known for his quirky sense of humor and incorporation of "game show" theology into his counseling sessions. And yet there's something more he offers...hope for a fresh start.

Reluctantly the two of them begin an uplifting, uneven journey filled with healing and grace. By turns funny and touching, this story explores the ways humans hurt each other and deceive themselves. And it shows the endlessly creative means God uses to turn stones of accusation and shame into works of beauty that lead us onto the path of healing.

An auspicious debut for a candid yet tender series about pain, healing, and God's invitation for second chances.

My Review

There are some books that, after you have read them, you know without a doubt you will never, ever be the same again. Healing Stones is one such book. This book speaks to the very heart of what grace and mercy are all about. There is nothing hidden. The ugliness of sin is depicted in such raw wretchedness you want to turn away from it. The pain of remorse is so poignant and real that your own nerves are left feeling raw. The price of sin embraced and unrepented is shown in gory detail.

And yet…the gentle touch of God’s forgiveness and the loveliness of His still, small voice will whisper His promises to you as the characters discover what it means to forgive and be forgiven. When you read the final pages of this book, you will weep with joy over all that Christ has done for His children, for you will feel His touch in your very marrow. And you will never read the parable of the woman caught in adultery the same way…ever again.

A dramatic description of a book? Perhaps. But for me…for where this message finds me in my own walk of faith and in the midst of my own trials…this book will never be forgotten. For it is written in Christ’s precious blood upon the pages of my heart.

Meet the Authors

Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries—the nation’s largest faith-based broadcast, counseling and treatment ministry—and is the host of the nationally syndicated “New Life Live!” daily radio...

By 1996 Nancy was a full-time writer. The Christian Heritage Series made that possible. She was writing those books from the early 1990's until 2000.

And then a new opportunity came along--the Lily series. If she ever doubted that she was going to make it as a writer, man, that little red-head put those fears to rest! And, of course, Sophie followed Lily, with some teen and grown-up books in between -- plus the non-fiction books designed just for you.

Nancy and her husband live in Tennessee now, overlooking a beautiful lake, lots of sycamore trees, and the rocky Tennessee hills. They have a bright yellow power boat named BANANA SPLIT which you can find us on no matter what the weather. Marijean and her husband live nearby with my three grand-dogs and three grand-cats (and two grand-snakes . . .)

Steve Arterburn dropped by to chat about Healing Stones: Welcome Steve!

1. This is a new joint venture for you as a writing “team”. How did this get started? Will you write all of the novels together?

I have terminal ADD so I may be confused on this, but I wanted to write fiction. I wrote some and the plot and ideas were good but the art of fiction writing was not there. Nancy Rue and I had worked juvenile fiction when I was in charge of Women of Faith. I created a character named Lily that she developed. Not only did she develop the character, she developed the series into a multi-million best selling series. So naturally I thought she would be great as a partner in this series. And great partner is an understatement. It has been just amazing to write with her.

2. Was the concept behind the story intended as a modern-day telling of the parable of the woman caught in adultery from the beginning or was there another driving force behind the plot?

As we began to develop the story of this flawed woman who sought help from Sully, Nancy came up with Sully leading her to look at the parable and compare herself to the woman who experienced the grace of Christ in the midst of the harsh judgment of the stone holders.

3. Adultery has never been “easier” with the internet and easy access to pornography. Do you think this makes forgiveness easier or more difficult for married couples? In short do you think couples view the internet sites as adulterous and how do you feel the church is combating this in today’s marriages?

First of all, having been married to an unfaithful wife who actually had a site on while we were married, I can tell you an emotional affair on the internet or a physically adulterous affair in a bed is no easier to forgive today than at any other time. It is always close to impossible outside of the power of the Holy Spirit. Fortunately, the church is combating this head on. Every Man’s Battle and Every Woman’s Battle have sold millions in response to the problem.

4. Was all of that emotion as draining to write as it was to read? I think my heart hurt most of the way through this book! This was some strong stuff to deal with!

I would get a lump in my throat in almost every paragraph and even this weekend started crying when I reread the ending of sacrificial love. I was moved at the plot points and then when Nancy fleshed them out,and it brought back so many horrific memories of betrayal, it really tapped into my pain.

5. Sullivan Crisp is obviously going to be the driving force in this series. Will his mentor, Porphyria continue to appear as well? Can you tell us a little about the next book and when we can expect to see it?

She is there because she is such an important part of his life. The next book, Healing Waters, is about a woman who struggled with what I struggled with so much of my life. She has a weight problem. And anyone with a serious weight problem has a life problem, needing much more from food than just nutrition.

6. How has this story impacted your life? I know it has certainly made me examine my own concept of forgiveness toward others – especially in light of how much I have been forgiven?

The actions of Rich did indeed make me examine my own journey of forgiveness. At first I literally wanted to kill her. As I healed I just wanted her to die of a chronic illness. Then just keep the chronic illness and live. Then just a boil would do. And then finally I began to pray for good things for her. Then I knew I had healed and forgiven.

7. Can you share a word of encouragement with your readers? What exciting things is God doing in your life right now?

There is no excuse to live under the condemnation of others. Satan wants you to live in shame while Christ wants you to claim his death as paying the full price of it. At our Healing Is A Choice and Lose It For Life workshops we see people in despair, suicidal and helpless, leave with a new desire for living and a new hope for the future. I conduct these and it is what I love to do best. I hope some of our fiction readers will find their way to those workshops.And one of the most exciting things in my life is having an amazing wife, and a 17 month old baby and a 17 year old daughter and two step sons 10 and 8. These are the best days of my life after spending some very tough times walking in the valley of the shadow of death.

Friday, February 8, 2008

We've arrived at the weekend again!

Do you have a stack of books by your bedside? On your coffee table? Spilling from your bookshelves? I do!! And I'm going to try and get some quality time with my books this weekend! There will be some AWESOME books in my Window next week, and I've got a couple of authors dropping by as well, so please come back for another view!

And don't forget the give away for the Black or White Chronicles. You will find a link in the sidebar to the original post. All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered to win. There will be more give aways coming up later in the month too.

And please stop by these other great blogs for terrific book reviews, give aways, and other fun contests! Check them out...A Peek at My Bookshelf , Tree Swing Reading
, and Edgy Inspirational Author will be glad to have you stop by for a visit!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Come join me for a chat with Reveca Seitz author of Sister's Inc.

Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, PRINTS CHARMING was her first novel.

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.

Rebeca graciously took time out of her busy schedule to share a few moments with me here. Enjoy the view from Rebecca's "window"!!

1. You are a writer who wears a few unique "hats" in life! PR specialist and business owner, published author with multiple book deals, wife and mother. With the publication of Sisters, Inc and its contracted sequels now beginning, how do you juggle all of your responsibilities? Are you a planner or a seat-of-your-pants kind of gal?

I’m a bit of both. J I’ve always been someone who loves to have a gagillion things happening at once. Downtime isn’t a gift for me, it’s an opportunity to do something! I know I have a very limited amount of time on this earth and there are many, many things I want to do and be while I’m here. So, that means doubling or tripling up on things. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who is at home full-time with me and our 2-year-old, Anderson. He’s the calm, quiet one in our marriage. When we first met, I was working a 60-hour-a-week job, going to law school at night, working on a novel, and had just purchased my first home that was in need of renovation. He said God brought us together so that he could teach me to relax. And I have to admit, his ability to just stop for a little while and enjoy that spot on the journey for a few moments has been a miraculous gift in my life.

As for how I do it all – you know, I have no idea. I just get up each morning, eat a quick breakfast while watching the news, and get to work on what needs done that day. Whether it’s the grocery shopping (which Charlie is doing as I type!) or directing the women’s ministry at church or writing a novel or working for the GRPR clients or teaching at a writers conference or being Mommy (translation: doing silly stuff with my kiddo) – whatever it is, I get on it. I don’t stop until it’s time for bed. I trust that God’s ordering my day, that He’s bringing into my life exactly what I need to do that day. Of course, I plan the things that have deadlines. But the other stuff I do as He gives me time and attention.

2. Scrapbooking is very important to you for a number of reasons. Can you share a few of those that are most important to you at this particular stage of your life? How do you find the time?

Scrapbooking is extremely important because it helps me capture the story of my life that God is weaving. I can look back and see His faithfulness and provision when I look at my scrapbooks. It’s also important because it gives me time with my sister and girlfriends. I’ve never been one to just sit around and talk. I get fidgety and start making To Do lists on the coaster or nearest source of paper! But if I’m scrapping while I’m talking, then I’m multi-tasking. And that’s great!

As for how to find the time – the time finds me. I’ll find myself with a free Sunday afternoon or a couple of hours in the evening when there’s not enough time to start a big project but enough time to whip out a layout. Or I’ll schedule to do an all night crop for a store and get my cropping done while making a public appearance.

3. Do you love to take pictures? What kind of camera do you use? Has this been a life-long passion or a newly acquired hobby?

I’ve been a scrapper for over a decade. Last year for Mother’s Day, my hubby got me the digital Canon Rebel XT I’d been wanting for a year. It ROCKS! I really like working with a digital camera and its ease of use and almost non-existent delay between pictures makes it perfect for me. I find I take more pictures now because I can easily delete the ones that didn’t turn out quite right. My sister, though, is the professional photographer in the family. You can check her out at

4. In one interview about your first novel, Prints Charming, you stated that your publicist seemed more excited about your becoming a published author than you were. Has that changed with a multi-book contract? How do you feel about this new project?

You’re close! J It was my mentor that was more excited – she’d shepherded me through the process, so it made sense that she was stoked! But I couldn’t catch her excitement at the time. Not at the level she had. I get it now. I’m very excited about being a novelist and I know that God had a little more living for me to do before I’d have something of value to write. Being able to use my life experiences to create stories I’m thrilled to author is VERY exciting!

5. Do you own a Basset Hound? Where did that "character" come from?

I own three. J They’re all basset mixes that we rescued. I adopted Wilson Wellington when I lived in Orlando. He weighed about 5 ounces (a tiny thing!) when I got him at 5 weeks old. He was all ears and paws, half basset and half corgi. The rescue worker said that he wouldn’t get much bigger than that. Um, Wilson now weighs 50 lbs. I’d say he’s a bit bigger! When I met Charlie, Wilson immediately took to him. That was a big indicator to me of Charlie’s character because Wilson never took (still doesn’t take) kindly to men. Charlie and I started talking about finding Wilson a brother or sister, so I went on and started looking for more basset hound mixes. I found a baby girl with the same coloring as Wilson about an hour and a half from our home. We went to adopt her and the rescue worker was smart enough to bring out her brother, too. Charlie just couldn’t bear to part them, so we went home with TWO puppies instead of one! That’s how we got Cole Porter and Sophia Loren, who are half basset and half chow.

6. Are the sisters representative of your own sibling relationships? What was the basis for this unique blend of folks becoming family?

One of the sisters is based on my real life sister, Christie. The others are based on close friends I’ve had or have, other family members, and a lot of people-watching. When I lived in Orlando, I attended Bible study at the home of one of our assistant pastors. They had a beautiful family comprised of two birth children and multiple adopted children of various ethnic backgrounds. I remember stopping in their hallway once to stare at a family portrait. There they sat – all smiling from such a place of honesty that it took my breath. I thought, “That’s how it’s supposed to be. Forget what color we are or where we come from. We’re all made in His image.”

7. You talk about your love of chocolate and even share a recipe at the end of Sisters, Inc. What is your favorite chocolate treat?

I don’t think I can pick just one! Ha ha! If it’s fast chocolate I need, then Fudge Rounds from Little Debbie are great. For chocolate I have to work at, I like homemade double chocolate chip cookies and chocolate caramel brownies (which I make at Christmas). I also love a plain old chocolate cake from a box with chocolate icing!

8. Can you tell us what exciting things God is doing in your heart as you begin this journey with Sisters Inc? Any parting words of encouragement you have gleaned from the journey so far?

Oh, wow! I could write another novel here. God’s been so awesomely gracious to me throughout my life. I’m a headstrong person who’s spent many years learning that, while it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, the hurt that causes those around you doesn’t make the ease worth it all the time. I can be so selfish – demanding that Charlie be a certain way or that my family act in a certain manner toward me or that co-workers and industry professionals conform to my idea of perfection. He’s spent the past few years teaching me to pause before I adopt a thought as truth. To wonder if maybe the other person’s way of being or acting is better or even worse, but acceptable. I’ve especially learned this by becoming a novelist and having a kiddo. Anderson looks just like his daddy on the outside, but he’s completely me on the inside. He’s opinionated and willful and hilarious and loves life and is constantly squeezing more into every second he can find. That means practical things like getting out of the shower when we’re all clean don’t work for him. Why get out? The water’s warm. There are toys. And he doesn’t have anything else to rush off and do! So, I’m learning to see the world through his eyes and to enjoy it as he does. Besides, when else can I go jumping in mud puddles and not get strange stares from the adults? J As a novelist, I’m learning to let go of a lot of control. Any novelist will probably tell you that, once that book is published, you’ll need to let the promotions department do their thing. It’s been doubly hard for me to do that since I make a living promoting novels and have strong ideas and experience in that area. But I’m slowly (as I’m sure my B&H publicist will attest!) learning to listen to my publishing house’s ideas as well, to not take it personally if they don’t do something I think is necessary to the success of the book, to acknowledge that they have reasons for their thoughts and opinions just like I do. It’s definitely not something I’ve mastered yet, but I’m working on it!