Friday, September 30, 2011



Film Opens Nationwide September 30th

CULVER CITY, CA (Sept. 29, 2011) – TriStar Pictures and Sherwood Pictures are pleased to announce that COURAGEOUS, the latest installment from Sherwood Pictures, has reached more than $2 million in pre-sales ticketing in anticipation of Friday’s national release.

Pre-sales numbers for COURAGEOUS more than double that of Sherwood Pictures’ most recent film, Fireproof, which opened at $6.8 million and went on to gross more than $33.4 million at the box office.

COURAGEOUS is the fourth release from the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. The first release was Flywheel (2003), followed by Facing The Giants (2006) and Fireproof (2008). With each release, Sherwood Pictures continues to entertain moviegoers with films that affect lives through heartfelt stories of faith and hope.

“Such great advance momentum reaffirms that the topic of fathers is universal and that COURAGEOUS touches a nerve,” Sherwood Pictures Executive Producer Michael Catt said. “Present or absent, fathers shape lives and we’re excited to use drama, adventure, humor . . . to inspire men to the high adventure of full-on parenting.”

COURAGEOUS is the story of four police officers with one calling: to serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, the men are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. With God’s help, they struggle to be able to find a way to serve and protect those that are most dear to them. COURAGEOUS is rated PG-13 (for some violence and drug content) and runs 129 minutes.

Sherwood Pictures is the movie-making ministry of Sherwood Church of Albany, Georgia, known for its authentic and faith-filled stories of everyday life. Executive producers are Michael Catt and Jim McBride; Alex Kendrick is director, and Stephen Kendrick producer. To date, Sherwood Pictures has produced Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof (2008), and now COURAGEOUS.

TriStar Pictures is film label of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; worldwide television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of entertainment in more than 142 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at

A Cry for Justice by Shelley Hundley

I was unable to sign up for this tour, but I wanted to share this book with you! This is a fascinating testimony of how God uses ALL things for our good and HIS glory!

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:

A Cry for Justice

Charisma House (September 6, 2011)


Shelley Hundley is one of the original interns who helped launch the International House of Prayer under Mike Bickle’s leadership and has been on the senior leadership of IHOP-KC since its inception in 1999. She currently serves as vice president of training at International House of Prayer University in Kansas City, Missouri. Fluent in four languages, Shelley is passionate to see the nations of the earth prepared for the return of Christ and to see 24/7 prayers for justice combined with 24/7 works of justice.

Visit the author's website.


“Knowing Jesus as the Judge who will make all things right has been the greatest comfort of my life.”—Shelley Hundley

The daughter of American missionaries, Shelley Hundley was born in Colombia, and grew up on the campus of a seminary that trained leaders to serve in what was one of the most violent nations in the world. After suffering abuse at the hands of a minister in the community, she turns from God—angry and confused that He could allow this to happen.

In A Cry for Justice, Hundley uses her story as a backdrop to show how she found healing from the pain, guilt, and shame of the abuse she endured as a child and how she came to know Jesus in a new way—as a righteous judge who fights for His people and takes upon Himself the burden of our injustices and pain.

The story of Shelley Hundley’s journey from bitter atheist to wholehearted lover of God is unique. Yet what she learned on this journey is relevant to every person who has ever been hurt and has silently wondered, “Who will fight for me? Who can make the wrong things right?”

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382597
ISBN-13: 978-1616382599


Why I Became an A theist

When I entered college at the age of seventeen, I was an avowed atheist, and I quickly distinguished

myself on campus as one of the most hostile and defiant people to the message of Jesus. This was no small thing because I attended a Christian college where the gospel was preached often, including at mandatory chapel services. I wasn’t always this way. The daughter of American missionaries, I was born in Medellín, Colombia, and reared on the campus of a seminary that trained leaders to serve in what was one of the most violent nations in the world. Murder and kidnapping were commonplace, and it was hardly unusual for my family to hear bomb blasts and gun fights on our street. In fact, I grew up thinking this was normal. I went to bed each night to the sound of attack dogs unleashed at 10:00 p.m. to prevent thieves or hired assassins from breaking into the seminary and killing or kidnapping one of the many missionary families who lived there. I knew of many believers who lost their lives when guerrillas burst into church services and sprayed bullets in the sanctuary. Even at a young age, I knew what it meant to suffer for Jesus. I saw people do it almost every day.

Although my childhood was anything but easy, I never resented living in Colombia. I thought Medellín was a beautiful place. It had perpetual springlike weather that made the brilliant landscape seem to be always bursting with life. From my perspective as a child, the Cordillera mountains seemed to wrap themselves around Colombia’s second largest city like a warm hug, protecting the fruit trees, wild orchids, and South American wildlife that thrive in its lush valley.

When I was a little girl, I often would slip out to the front porch in the evenings just to take in Medellín’s beauty. As sunlight fled and darkness took its watch, the city lights flickered across the sky like a magic show, climbing the sides of the mountains and then spreading out in every direction. The beauty and safety I felt as I looked at the mountains never meshed with the terror, violence, and death that shrouded the city and gripped its inhabitants with fear.

A Climate of Fear

Everyone seemed to have the same nagging yet unspoken question, “How long?” How long will the violence continue? How long until the next person disappears? How long before the guerrillas spill more innocent blood in the streets? No one said this out loud, but no one had to. It was in the eyes of every Colombian and anyone who had lived in the nation long enough to be infected by this contagious feeling of dread. Violence was as constant in Colombia as sunrise and sunset. With the advent of the drug years in the 1980s, Colombia fell into a downward spiral of political chaos and staggering suffering. A relentless underground cocaine industry and a vicious hierarchy of drug lords backed Marxist guerrillas. These rebels took over the Palace of Justice, which was the equivalent of the US Pentagon, as frightened Colombians watched the real-life drama unfold on their TV sets.

At the height of its “narco” (narcotics) years, Medellín was ruled by a drug lord named Pablo Escobar. He bred an environment of instability and unpredictability, and unspeakable bloodshed seemed to lurk around every corner. At any moment, a store or a restaurant might be blown up, massacring everyone in the vicinity, just because Pablo wanted to settle a score.
The danger was at such a height that my mom sat me down once before a visit to the dentist and reminded me not to give out any information about our family—what we did, where we lived, how many siblings I had. She told me, “Remember, Shelley, anyone could be a guerrilla, even people who seem nice. Nurses and dentists can be killers or kidnappers.” As a little girl, I struggled to understand what all of this meant. I pictured normal people taking off their masks and revealing their true identities as guerrillas, whatever those were. All I knew was that these guerrillas weren’t animals; they were men and women, sometimes even children, who had killed people we knew, kidnapping children and adults alike.

The other constant in Colombia was unspeakable poverty. Even as a child, I could never get over the despair and deprivation around me every day. I played soccer with neighborhood kids who had only one pair of shorts to their names and actually picked pockets to secure food and other essentials. This was so well known, the neighborhood children who came into the seminary were frisked on their way out to ensure they didn’t steal anything. This always seemed unfair to me at the time, but I understand it was necessary. Once, we missionary kids devised a scheme to turn the tables on the adults. We stole all the seminary professors’ wallets; then at the end of the day, when the neighborhood children were being frisked, we returned the wallets, grinning ear to ear.

As you may have guessed, I had an adventurous and sometimes mischievous personality. I caused a little trouble here and there for sneaking too much food to my friends or for refusing to wear new shoes or clothes because my playmates had none. But I also had fun despite my dangerous surroundings. I loved to play soccer with my big brothers, and I tried to keep up with all of their crazy stunts. The hills across this paradise were great for sliding, and bamboo groves made the best kids’ bows and arrows you could ever wish for. I especially liked to climb the mango trees. I’d carry my pocketknife in one hand and a little bag of lemon and salt in my pocket to dip my fresh mango slices in. Truth be told, I ruined my appetite for dinner many times with my mango eating, and it was a constant source of tension between my mom and me.

Medellín was like the times Charles Dickens described in A Tale of Two Cities: full of the best and the worst. It was a constant contradiction—good and bad, happy and sad, beauty and pain, paradise and poverty. I had the honor of being surrounded by missionaries who had left everything to serve the Lord and by radical Colombian believers who were ready to die for Christ. Many received the chance to do so. Some Colombian Christians were assassinated in the very churches where they worshiped because of their opposition to the Marxist guerrillas’ call for violent revolution.

Americans too were targeted for murder and kidnapping as retaliation for the arrests of Colombian drug lords who were extradited to the United States to be tried for their crimes. My brothers and I had the equivalent of “snow days” when the US Embassy would call to warn our parents that there were new death threats against Americans, so we couldn’t go outside or be near the windows.

Although violence hounded us, I considered Colombia my home. So when my parents decided to move to Indiana just before I entered eighth grade, I felt like the ground beneath me had been removed. My identity was deeply rooted in my cross-cultural experience in Medellín. I was a gringa-paisa, an American by blood but a Colombian by birth.

My family had lived in the United States for short periods of time, and the thought of leaving a nation and people I loved to move to a country whose rules I couldn’t seem to figure out pierced my twelve-year-old heart. I told my parents I wouldn’t leave and threatened to run away from home, but then reality began to sink in. The prospect of running away in a city where I would certainly be kidnapped didn’t seem to be a viable option either, so I begrudgingly surrendered to the move.

In Indiana, I trudged through middle and high school, dealing with major culture shock and struggling to make friends, though my gifts in music won me some friendships. Looking back I don’t think my experience in high school was much different from other American kids my age.
I visited my church’s youth group and attended their retreats. I even longed for intimacy with God at this young age, but I never sensed a breakthrough in my heart. I always felt like I was outside of God’s presence, incapable of even looking in. Real intimacy with Jesus always seemed just out of reach.

Buried Memories

In the midst of all my normal teenage challenges, I was grappling with feelings of self-hatred that I just couldn’t shake. On many nights I would sit huddled in my bedroom just sobbing in the darkness because I couldn’t make the shame and self-loathing go away. Terror would overwhelm me, and images of sexual abuse would flood my mind.

I didn’t know how to process these thoughts. I didn’t want to believe they represented actual experiences, but something was deeply wrong in my heart. I saw a girl huddled on the floor of an old Spanish-style home in Medellín. She had long wavy hair that seemed to be a mixture of light brown, blonde, and amber. And her soft blue eyes were filled with too much sadness for a child of only eight. Hugging her knees tightly to her chest, she buried her face and cried because someone bigger and stronger had forced himself on her, and I had the sense it wasn’t the first time this had happened.

The girl sat there wishing she had never been born and fearing when the abuse might happen again. She sputtered out jumbled phrases amid her tears and heavy breathing, “Why does this keep happening? When will it all stop?” Her breathing got heavier and heavier until she felt as though her lungs were filled with heavy iron. Each second made her feel more and more anchored to the cold tile floor.

When the tears finally stopped, she felt a numb, empty feeling wash over her. She felt this every time she suffered abuse. This man hadn’t been the first. He was the third person who had done this to her, but this time had been the worst ever.

Sitting there, cold and limp, she shuddered as she remembered how he had threatened her so she wouldn’t tell. But she was past the point of trying to figure out a way to tell someone, to stop the horror from happening again. She felt doomed to serve out a sentence she was beginning to think she must deserve. She thought that surely the torment must have been her fault somehow.

She looked so small and alone there on the floor as she recalled the man’s threats. “If you tell people, they will all know how perverse you really are and how you bring this on yourself. Do you want everyone to see what you really are?” His words seemed to burn into her brain, and she couldn’t make them go away. “God must hate me so much, but I just don’t know why,” she told herself. She thought she might explode because the pain was so great. “I can’t make it. I can’t make it another day!”

Another wave of weeping and heavy breathing poured out of the girl’s exhausted little heart. She remembered how disgusted she felt when she heard the man preach at a church service where the congregation responded so wholeheartedly to his message about holiness. Hearing him preach made her feel ill, but she wondered if that was just further proof that she was only receiving what she deserved. “I must be going to hell!” the little girl muttered. “I must be worthless and horrible and perverse.”
Somehow I knew the girl had accepted Jesus in Sunday school but couldn’t seem to find her Savior amid the confusion, guilt, and despair. “I must be everything he says I am,” she told herself. “I must deserve it all.” She pounded her body in anger thinking that if her injuries were even more severe, maybe then someone would notice and stop this torture. Once I saw that she succeeded in getting away. She ran as far as she could, only to realize as she fled that she was in as much or more danger running down the streets of Colombia as she was in the hands of the abuser. Terrified and feeling forlorn, she climbed a tree to the highest branch she could reach and sat there and cried.

No matter where she turned there was nothing but torment. When she was finally able to quiet herself down a little bit, she could hear some of her friends playing outside the house. But she couldn’t go out to play. Instead, she sank into a daydream, imagining a day when someone would finally make the pain and abuse stop.

Even when I didn’t want to believe that I was this little girl, the images of her and the pain she felt were always there in the background. And no matter what was happening in my mind, I couldn’t deny the depression, loneliness, and feelings of worthlessness that plagued my heart even when everything in my teenage life seemed fine.

The images kept coming, and with them an unexplainable repulsion toward one minister our family knew well on the mission field. His face seemed ingrained in all of the images, but still I hoped the scenes of the little girl weren’t real. Tormented by these persistent, invasive thoughts, and even more so by the fear that I could never escape them, I retreated even further behind a wall of shame. I did what I could to bury it all.

Facing the Past

I carried these feelings of pain and hopelessness silently for years. Then one month before I left home for college, I had a conversation with someone who had been on the mission field with my family. That meeting changed everything. Completely unaware of the abuse I had suffered, this friend told me that a minister we had known in Colombia was found to have sexually abused children when we were living in Medellín. He listed several children’s names, and some of them were my dear friends.

This individual had no idea what was happening in my heart as he told me this. All of a sudden I felt as though I was outside of myself listening to what was being said. I felt cold all over and couldn’t control the tremors that came over my body. It seemed as though some dark and tempestuous evil had reached up from the ground and grabbed me by both legs.

The person who spoke with me thought I would be shocked by what was said, but I barely even looked surprised. I knew now without a doubt that all the images that had filled my mind and the pain that kept me up nights crying in terror were real. I kept a cold expression on my face because I wasn’t ready to say anything about my own experience. I listened and took in all the information the person offered and asked as many questions as I could without giving away my own story.

When we ended the conversation and I walked away, I began a terrifying journey into the past. In those next moments, I felt as if I was being encircled by hell’s fire. I felt fenced in on every side, and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. The curtain that covered the thing I couldn’t name had suddenly been removed, and now I was forced to face the reality of those horrible images. My emotions were all over the place. On one hand I felt a sense of relief as I thought, “I am not the only one. It really was wrong what he did. It wasn’t my fault.” But on the other hand, a steely, silent sort of rage started rising up in me.

I felt anger that I had never before been able to feel for myself, and it began to rise up as I thought of all the others this man had abused. I was finally beginning to piece together what I had experienced, and I was 100 percent certain that this person had sexually abused me for several years when my family lived in Colombia. The excruciating pain I had locked away deep inside had suddenly been set free and was now moving throughout my being.

I was filled with a quiet but fierce indignation during the silent drive home. I looked out at the road, but all I saw were the events of my life replaying with a new, insidious, hellish fire illuminating the dark, sadistic series of events. This horror wasn’t imaginary; it was my real life and the reality of some of my dearest childhood friends. And not only had this man abused me, others had done so as well.
In the car, I felt a heaviness begin to overtake me. Then I had a thought. It seemed like a lofty and wise idea, an indisputable solution to a difficult equation. I felt as though I was rising above my situation and being caught up by a wiser, more definitive conclusion than any I had ever drawn. The evidence had presented itself. It all made sense now. None of what I had heard about Jesus was true. It was all a lie. There is no God. And I should kill myself.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dangerous Mery by Kathy Herman

I didn't sign up for this tour, but I'm a huge fan of Kathy Herman's work! I wanted to share a peek into her latest story! I know it's a great read! Check it out!!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dangerous Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.


Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. —Matthew 5:7

When eighty-five-year-old Adele Woodmore moves to Les Barbes to be near the Broussards—and her namesake, their daughter—she wants nothing more than a comfortable, quiet life. Employing men from Father Vince’s halfway house for the homeless to do odd jobs and landscaping, she delights in the casual conversation she has with them, the fledgling friendships, and the idea that she is helping them get back on their feet.

A series of murders in Les Barbes has cast a pall over the town and, in fact, one of Adele’s handymen becomes a person of interest to the police. But Adele cares for these young men, she knows them, and continues to show them kindness in spite of her friends’ concern. And then one day a murderer walks through Adele’s defenses, sits down at her kitchen table...and they begin to talk...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dangerous Mercy, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A View from Randy Alcorn's Window - Courageous!

Randy Alcorn was approached by the Kendrick brothers to do a novelization of their soon-to-release film Courageous. This is a project that is usually performed in reverse order. However, Randy accepted the challenge and created a story that really compliments the film that birthed the novel. I was able to sit down with Randy during the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta and explore this rather unusual writing process. I hope you are as intrigued as I was!

Please give Randy Alcorn a warm welcome to my Window!

How does the creative process differ when you are writing a book based on a film? Fleshing out a story created by someone else?

I was asked by the Kendrick brothers to do this project, and I saw an early cut of the film. I thought the film had a strong message, and I wanted to be part of that. I knew I would have to expand the movie some five times in length to get a novel completed, but the Kendrick brothers agreed and I started working on the project.

What research was required to get a true feel for the story?

The story is set in Albany, Georgia, so I went to Albany and spent four days with a police officer. I was able to observe some gang activity in the area that later allowed me to selectively develop parts of the movie. I was also able to develop a real feel for the setting and the people of the area and create more believable characters.

How hard was it to expand an hour and a half of film into a full length novel?

I always over write, so it was easier for me to take something small and make it big, because I have a lot of practice taking something big an d reducing it! This was the first time I have ever done this type of work, and it was very challenging, but also very rewarding. Almost 80% of the novel is not in the movie, because it would have to be a 12 hour film to include everything in the novel.

I also had to be selective about choosing the characters to develop back story on in the novel. I had to decide who the main characters would be in the novel. I chose to develop Nathan and Adam. (two of the police officers) I also chose to develop more of the gang characters in the story in a way I thought was inevitable as a fiction writer. Many of those changes were not comfortable to the Kendrick brothers, so I respected their opinion and didn’t develop those characters as fully as I once planned.

What impact has the message of the movie had on you personally?

It’s a reminder to everyone, but men in particular, to stop up to the plate and accept the responsibility that God has given them. This is for every man, but if you are a man whose life has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, then you will be empowered to live the righteous and courageous life portrayed in the movie. A non-believer will find it impossible or at least extremely difficult to live the courageous life.

This movie is about a heart change, and with God it is possible to live out the challenge of this movie. This film shouts the redemptive power of the gospel to change lives and change families.

How do you think the movie and novel work together to spread the Courageous challenge?

The value of being a reader is the ability to read God’s Word. Reading God’s Word allows you to lead effectively and understand what it means to be a leader, a husband and good father. I see both the movie and the novel touching on things that challenge men to step up to the plate and accept the role that God sets forth in His Word as fathers and husbands.

Every day is full of teaching opportunities, and men need to invest their lives into their families so they will be available when those teaching moments come to them.

You can learn more about Randy and his work at his website! Pick up a copy of Courageous today!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Harmless as Doves by P.L. Gaus - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

As he goes about his morning chores on a cold October morning, Bishop Leon Shetler dreams of escaping a bleak Ohio winter and taking a bus to the Pinecraft Amish community in Sarasota, Florida, for a vacation in the sun. But his reveries are interrupted when young Crist Burkholder enters the barn with his head down and his hat in hand, to make a confession. "I just killed Glenn Spiegle."

"An Amish murderer?" Sheriff Robertson asks, after Burkholder has been taken into custody. "Who will believe that?" But Burkholder is adamant, and fueled by the passion of his love for Vesta Miller, the young woman both he and Spiegle so desperately wanted to marry, he confesses time and again to the murder.

No sooner has the sheriff started his investigation than he learns of two more murders in Sarasota/Bradenton, and a startling connection is made in the case. There is no way around it - Professor Michael Branden will have to pull himself out of the library at Duke Univeristy, where he has been on sabbatical, and along with Ricky Niell, travel south to investigate. There on the waters of Sarasota Bay they discover the disturbing truth about Glenn Spiegle's conversion to the Amish faith and the reason for the long-smoldering hatred that has reached into the secluded pastoral valleys of Holmes County.

In Harmless as Doves, P. L. Gaus takes the action to Florida in one of the most exciting mysteries in this series. This is Gaus at his best.

My Thoughts:
My local librarian introduced me to Gaus' work several years ago, and I was very excited to see a new title out with his name on the cover! I was even more excited to see that the back cover boasted stellar reviews by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal! Gaus' creates a genuine look into the Amish society, and he presents an honest and heartfelt look into the human condition. Gaus' work weaves a mystery into every fiber of the Amish community and then builds the suspense until the reader is completely satisfied by the time the last page is read.

I love the way Gaus includes an "Englisher" in the plot without presenting the ever-present struggle to decide whether or not to become Amish or remain Amish. The roles remain separate in many ways, but blend in the most crucial elements of the story line. My favorite passage is found on pages 172-173 when two of the main characters discuss the scripture passage from which the title is derived. Oh that we would all grasp the truth of that message!

If you like a good cozy mystery that takes place within the Amish community, please, check out P.L. Gaus' Amish County Mystery series! You will love every single one! I know I do! Go to his website and learn more about this incredible author and his books!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Flame On - An American Famiy Media Production - Reviewed

My Thoughts

God is indeed sovereign, even in the small details of our life - like the timing of watching this film. I received this film at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta in July. However, I watched it this past weekend, and it contained JUST the message I desperately needed to hear in this season of my life. I was given peace and strength through the precious witness of the Jasper family.

I highly recommend this film to everyone! The message is both precious and painful, but it is a tender reminder to all of God's children that He walks with us even in the lowest valleys of our life. How I PRAISE GOD for that!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Oxbow Report by Mike Purington

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (

As an author of one book and now with a second book coming out next year and four other manuscripts as you said waiting to see the light of day, what prompted you to start this project, and where can the reader get more information on the series? And I guess a follow up question would be, why do you think you’re qualified to write on such a controversial subject and to undertake such a project?

For information on "The Oxbow Report" and the series they can visit my website at To answer the rest of your question, I think a little background on me would probably help.

From the time I was old enough to read, books became a way of life. I grew up in northern Minnesota, and at that time we had no television or radio, so reading was the only outlet we had. My grandmother who raised me was a huge fan of Zane Grey so I started out reading westerns. From Zane Grey I went to reading books by Louis L’amour. At some point I came across the comic strip Buck Rogers and then found a copy of "Armageddon 2419 AD.," and its sequel, "Airlords of Han,” by Philip Francis Nolan and became hooked on science fiction. As a side note, a lot of my report cards from school had the following comment, ‘if mike would get his nose out of his books long enough to listen he would be a good student.’ So reading came early for me. Later on I discovered H. G. Wells and started reading some of his novels. Some of his books are among the classics of science-fiction, like, “The Time Machine”, “The Invisible Man”, and “The War of the Worlds”. I think it was his writing that influenced me that while still in high school I wrote my first very bad novel, but I think that’s where my love for writing really started. Later on I read George Orwell’s, “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” and “Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World”, “A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clark, and later “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard, just to name a few.

In 1966 came Star Trek, and the list goes on. In all of these sci-fi thrillers evolution is talked about as fact and not what it really is, a theory. I was fortunate in that while reading fantasy I had a Christian Mother and Grandmother that taught me the difference between fantasy, reality and the scriptures. They soon realized that what I was reading could not corrupt me any more than television, hence shortly after leaving the country life and moving into town my mother bought our first television and we entered the age of electronics. That teaching is not happening to day, and that’s one of the reasons for the writing of these novels. Science fiction for me was just an updated western, good guys against the bad guys, cowboys against the Indians, thus I became a John Wayne fan. Today the lines of science, religion, and fantasy are blurred as in the case of the religion of Scientology. With all that being said, it brings us to the answer to the question. For years I had looked and asked the question, why someone doesn’t write a good book in the form of a novel that would use the argument of evolution verses creation as the background for the novel. I had just finished reading the first “Left Behind” book by Jerry Jenkins when the thought struck me. Why don’t you do it? And I did. After eleven years of part time writing the first book hit the stores.

I guess this is a twofold question. Are you writing a series where one book builds on another or just a series of Christian science fiction novels, and if you are what do you hope to accomplish?

For me that question could take a whole book, but I’ll try to answer it in a couple of paragraphs. Mark 16:15 says, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel.’ In some translations it says ‘in your going.’ So I think a better question would be, how does this book or a series of books differ from typical creation and evolution books? Let me answer the question in reverse. There are many Christians who really haven’t given this subject serious thought and accept what is being taught through a theory called theistic evolution, or the blending of science and religion to make scripture fit the science book rather than science fitting scripture. There are also the teachings of young and old earth creation who continue to fight over who’s right and who’s wrong. On the other hand there are those who believe in Darwinian evolution and would not darken the door of a church, because to allow a deity into the evolutionary process, that deity could also show up in other areas, so the question is, how do you, ‘in your going’ let them know the truth? The problem as I see it, is a lot like Count Dracula. You kill him off in one movie and he comes back in another. We have a lot of groups with good intentions, each of these groups are trying to drive the proverbial stake through the heart of evolution. But evolution like Dracula will always be around, so what is the answer? I’ve, as well as those who are hard core Darwinian disciples And the answer is in a book, or a series of books that allows the characters in the story to discuss points of view and the arguments of the day without the reader going on the defensive, and at the same time giving the reader enough good stuff to read and puzzles to figure out that even when they disagree with the theology of the book they will like the substance and continue to read to find out what happens in end. So, to answer your question, it is Christian, and it does include futuristic technology, so in a sense you could call it science fiction. But it also includes the mystery of where did we come from? There are puzzles that need to be solved, and relationships that include people falling in love. An yes it is a series where one book builds off the previous one. My goal is to write a series of books that people will enjoy, and like one person said in their endorsement, "Mike Purington has brought to his readers a gripping novel. The excitement grabs you from the first chapter; the events keep you turning the pages and the characters keep you enthralled in the plot. You will find yourself living between the lines of the text as you identify with the characters." But the goal is also to build the kingdom. For throughout the story ground is plowed up and seed is planted. And in time I or others may plant, water, and harvest. In the end the goal is to place enough doubt in the mind of the reader that they may check the facts for themselves rather than relying on those who teach a theory based on an assumption.

Can you give us an idea of where the series is going and some of the subject mater?

I can give you the lead-in as found on the website. A 100 years ago the greatest mystery was about to unfold, M-Theory was being discussed, reality ... well it just may be an illusion … and parallel universes were possible. In 2040 Oxbow had been discovered and string theory had now become reality. One of the questions confronting science and the Challenger Crew was, which reality were they in? Discover how choices made by the Challenger crew and those they come in contact with not only effect the present, but the past and the future. Can choices made alter not only the present, but the future and the past? Can a statement alter reality?

Find out along with the crew of Challenger as they try to unravel the mystery of oxbow. What does it mean, does the ancient language that oxbow was translated from hold the secrets of creation, will they finally answer the age old question that all have asked? Did we evolve or were we created? Are the ancient scriptures valid in the creation account, or are we just a product of random selection as Darwin suggested? Did the ancients actually know the secrets of creation, or were they lost in time and if so which time? Do the scriptures reference the original creation or was man created in a re-creation? Are the secrets to creation hidden away just waiting to be re-discovered? Are we just the product of an elaborate hoax, or is God who he said is and was? For Paul La Baugh, a seeker of truth and a believer in the scriptures, and now assigned to the Challenger as counselor to the Captain he must use his knowledge of scripture to help solve the puzzle of Oxbow.

At book signings and other events one of the most common questions asked, was one that I covered earlier. How does this book or series differ from typical creation and evolution books? The answer is the series explores the question “what if” through its characters.

  • What if religion is just that…a way for man to explain what he does not understand?
  • What if evolution happened as many scientists believe?
  • What if we are the product of alien intervention?
  • What if the Bible is indeed true and God does exist?
  • What if man was created by God and through free will or the right to choose man denies God to the point God honors their decision and ceases to exist?
  • If indeed God did create and God ceases to exist what happens to the universe He created?
  • Does this all take place in reality, or does man move from reality to an alternate reality where what man speaks becomes reality?
  • Does all this take place in our universe or in a parallel universe?
  • And the ultimate question, if man has moved from reality to an alternate reality or a parallel universe how does he get back to the reality he left?

These questions and more confront the crew of Challenger as they seek to understand and resolve the mystery of Oxbow.

Now that we have covered the book and the series to come, can we get to know a little bit about the author?

As a professional for many years in the technology sector, I have tried to use my ability to make the complex uncomplicated and to create a futuristic technology understandable to my readers. Fifteen years of research and writing allowed me to bring “The Oxbow Report” the first in the series to be published in 2006. It is now 2011 and we are reintroducing the book along with book two “Two Dimensional Man” that should be out sometime early summer of 2012. The series “The curse of the serpent” deals with a subject we are all familiar with. As we are all aware the Evolution vs. Creationism debate has been and will always be in the forefront of discussion.

I was born and grew up for the most part in Northern Minnesota. I spent three years in the military working on the army’s largest nuclear weapon, the Pershing Missile System. After college I spent 17 years in the computer industry working on large computer systems and 17 years working in the medical field on chemistry and hematology instruments. There was a lot of travel and a lot of time spent away from home. It was during that time that the story started to germinate. I retired in 2005 due to a company reorganization and the first book, “The Oxbow Report” was published in 2006. I have a daughter who just finished college and am married to my beautiful wife of 32 years. I enjoy fishing the East Texas lakes and I look forward to deer season every year.

Where can my blog readers find out more about this blog tour and free copies of this book?

For more opportunities for a FREE copy of The Oxbow Report, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

Julie Lessman’s new novel A Heart Revealed (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3416-9, $14.99, 512 pages, September), the second offering in the “Winds of Change” series, opens in Boston in 1931, where thirty-one-year-old Emma Malloy has fled from an abusive marriage in Ireland.

Although her former husband has left her haunted and deeply scarred. Emma cannot help but develop strong feelings for her friend Charity’s brother, Sean O’Connor.

Described by his sister as very stubborn, Sean maintains that he is not the marrying kind. But as he and Emma draw closer and closer, will her strong, tender heart ensnare him and change his mind?

Transporting readers back to a time when the Empire State Building was brand new and the local speakeasy was a common destination, Lessman outlines the fascinating era and its citizens with deft precision.

Lessman, who has been hailed as a writer with noteworthy skill by Publishers Weekly has once again delivered an epic tale featuring vibrant characterization, wonderful thrills, sharp dialogue, and surprises both large and small.

My Thoughts:

With every novel, Julie Lessman created more complex and compelling characters. Still brimming with passion, A Heart Revealed explores a couple of very wounded lives struggling to find peace and wholeness during a time when even the nation they call home is falling to pieces financially. Julie explores a lot of different family relationships as well during the course of this story, adding a depth and richness that everyone will find appealing.

No matter who you are and where you are in relationship with either God or man, you will find a lot to relate to in this story. I applaud Julie for creating the most riveting story line yet in her latest series. Keep up the good work my friend! You are blazing trails!!

About the Author:

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose books give readers “Passion With a Purpose,” underscoring her intense passion for both God and romance. Julie is the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was chosen as #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She was the winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Her “Winds of Change” series has recently released with A Hope Undaunted, which ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A View from Kevin Downes' Window - The role of Shane Fuller in Courageous!

Kevin Downes plays the role of Officer Shane Fuller in Provident Film’s latest movie, Courageous. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kevin at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta and talking about his role in this landmark film. I was both challenged and encouraged by what he said, and I hope you will be as well.

Please give a warm welcome to Kevin Downes!

Tell us how you came to be involved in the movie Courageous?

I prayed about the decision, auditioned and left it in God’s hands. I got a call from Alex Kendrick on Good Friday and all he said was, “Are you ready to be Courageous?”

I have been friends with Alex for some time, and I had just brought my son home from Haiti. I was excited to learn what God wanted me to be as a father, and I look at this movie as a legacy project for my children.

Tell us a little about the character of Shane Fuller and the role he plays in the film.

There are five main characters in the film, and Shane is a divorced father to an eleven year old son. He is struggling to be a father to his son.

What do you think about the Courageous project?

All of the actors in the film are big fans of the project. It is astounding to watch the reaction people have to this film. I think God is really going to speak to people no matter where they are on their life journey. No matter where you are or what’s going on in your life, this film will hit on something specific in your heart. Watching this film will be different for every individual that comes to see the project.

How did this project minister to you personally?

We all have sin in our life, and we are either going to come humbly to God and ask forgiveness or we’re going to try to get through it by our own will. The character of Shane is struggling to get through things on his own, and he faces the consequences of self-reliance.

What do you hope that people will take away from this film?

You want to make sure that God is in every decision you make. Every decision.

It was very exciting to meet Kevin and see the excitement that he had for this project. His role in the film is one that will both trouble and challenge people, and I personally think the role of Shane Fuller is one of the film’s strongest characters.

ABOUT KEVIN DOWNES: (from the Courageous website)

Kevin Downes is an actor, director, and producer, often working alongside his brother Bobby in Downes Brothers Entertainment's faith-based projects including Like Dandelion Dust (based on Karen Kingsbury's novel). Kevin plays officer Shane Fuller, a divorced father. Among the films Kevin has appeared in: Bobby Jones, Senseless, and Thr3e. Kevin is the father of two young boys.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A View from Robert Amaya's Window - The Role of Javier Martinez in Courageous!

Robert Amaya is performing his first role in a major motion picture as Javier Martinez in the movie Courageous! I was able to sit down with him and talk about this experience while I was in Atlanta at the International Christian Retail Show, and it was indeed an honor!

Later that same evening, I was able to attend a screening of the movie, and it was an even greater thrill to be able to shake his hand, tears in my eyes, after the film rolled its final credits.

It is clear that God's hand is indeed at work in the lives of many people when you understand what this film brought about in the lives of those who played a part in its production. Please, welcome Robert Amaya to my Window!

How did you learn about the role of Javier Martinez?

My church announced that the movie Courageous needed a man to play the role of a Latino father. I had just gone from playing video games to changing diapers in my own life, and I thought that I could relate to the role. Courageous ministered to me first, as a new dad.

Tell us about the character of Javier Martinez.

Javier is a man who loves God and loves his family. He is just struggling to provide for his family. Playing this role gave me an opportunity to appreciate my dad and see him through new eyes.

Javier portrays the role of a loving father and husband, and as powerful as his role is in the film the role of his wife (played by Angelita Nelson) is just as powerful. She is the strength behind all that de does, because Javier sees her as the one God brought to him. Her role allows people to see God's design for the wife in marriage, showing that a man can be what God wants him to be when the right woman is beside him.

Why do you think that it is time for the message in the movie Courageous?

Fathers are disengaged from their families or absent from the home altogether. Out of the number of youth that are in trouble today, 87% of those children have no father in the home.

God is calling the fathers to step into their role as leaders of the home and dtop doing familes as men and start being family men.

What ministered to you as you worked to make the film?

The men in this film are the real deal. They take their role as husbands and dads - as men - seriously and they seek God about how to lead their families. Courageous ministered to me before anyone else.

Tell us what you think the reaction will be to this film.

You will laugh as much as you will cry as you watch the film. Men and women will be challenged to take up the role that God has designed them uniquely to fill as men and women, as mothers and fathers, and husbands and wives.

What was your favorite scene in the movie.

Without a doubt, the "Snake King" scene was my favorite!

Oh dear blogger buddies, this movie will touch your heart and change you life!! Don't miss it!! And that Snake King? It IS the most hilarious scene in the entire movie!!! You will love it!! And you will love all of the characters! Courageous is Robert's first movie production. And he is a Courageous man in every sense of the word! It was a pleasure to meet and interview him!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Courageous!! It's almost HERE!!

I will be posting interviews with a couple of the main characters in the movie as well as an interview with Randy Alcorn on the novelization of the movie! Stay tuned!! This is a life changing movie!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Surrendered Sleep by Charles W. Page, M.D. - Give Away!!

Surrendered Sleep
A Biblical Perspective
Dr. Charles W. Page
Publisher: Camino Real Pub.
ISBN-10: 9-780-983-138105
ISBN-13: 978-0-9831381-0-5
Release Date: 9/15/2011
Paperback: 189 pages
Retail: $14.95

About the Book:

(Nacogdoches, TX) Sleep Clinics. Sleeping Pills. Sleep Systems. With all the focus on sleep, it’s obvious to anyone breathing (or not—in the case of sleep apnea) that sleep disorders are on everyone’s minds. Can’t fall asleep. Can’t stay asleep. So many problems, but so few zzzs.

Dr. Charles W. Page has been plagued with sleep deprivation his entire adult life. Whether from the rigorous unpredictable lifestyle of a general surgeon or dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Page sees sleep as a precious commodity. Many of his surgical patients also report sleep problems on their medical histories. It’s certainly a widespread problem.

Although there is extensive medical literature regarding sleep, insomnia and sleep disorders, there is little instruction about these issues from a Christian worldview. Sleep was God’s idea—why shouldn’t we go to the One who created rest in the first place for answers to our sleep problems. One of the reasons Dr. Page wrote Surrendered Sleep was to heighten people’s awareness of the spiritual side of sleep issues, which often goes neglected in health and medical literature.

About the Author:
Dr. Charles W. Page is a sleep-deprived surgeon. He completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and serves as surgeon in rural Texas. Dr. Page is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Christian Medical and Dental Association. In addition to his involvement in the teaching ministry of his local church, he has participated in medical mission trips to Cameroon, Pakistan, Milawe, Niger, Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. He and his wife Joanna live in Texas with their five children.

(chapter 17 from Surrendered Sleep)
Balin jam (“may you pass your night in peace”)—it’s how the Fulani people of western Africa say goodbye. This Fulani expression best captures the message of Surrendered Sleep. Passing your night in peace, from a biblical perspective, involves a whole lot more than sleeping well. It encompasses surrendering every aspect of sleep to God. The prerequisite for having peace as we lay down to sleep is a growing, vibrant relationship with God. Everything in our lives, including sleep, flows out of our pursuit of our loving Father in Heaven. The ability to sleep is a multifaceted gift given by God, who likewise pursues a love relationship with every individual on this planet.... MORE

Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a great prize!!

Grand Prize Giveaway:

* Surrendered Sleep Products
o Surrendered Sleep - Book
o Surrendered Sleep - 8-Volume DVD Series
o Sleep Songs - CD of music from Fletch Wiley

* SLEEP - Lavender Vanilla Aromatherapy from Bath & BodyWorks
o Pillow Mist (4 oz)
o Body Wash & Foam Bath (2 oz)
o Lotion (2 oz)
o Candle (1.6 oz)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing to a Post-Christian World by Ann Tatlock

About the Book: (back cover copy)

Know your audience.

For the Christian writer today, this first rule of writing is imperative. Not only do you need to have something to say, but you need to know who’s out there listening.

Over the past 50 years, our culture has undergone a monumental shift, pulling people into a whole new way of thinking. Gone is the idea that absolutes exist, to be replaced by the belief that everything is relative….including truth.

So what is truth today? Anything you want it to be. All paths lead to God. It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere. Such thinking lies at the heart of our post-Christian, postmodern culture.

How do we as Christian writers respond to such a mindset? How do we present the one true Truth to a culture that celebrates diversity? In this concise book, Ann Tatlock answers these questions and more….

* What is a biblical worldview?

* What is The Great Literary Conversation?

* How has relativism affected our culture?

* How has relativism affected the Church?

* What is postmodern literature?

* What is our greatest task as Christian writers?

About the Author:

Ann is the author of eight novels. Her books have received numerous awards, including the Christy Award, the Midwest Book Award and the Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media. She enjoys teaching and serving as writing mentor at numerous conferences and workshops throughout the year. Ann lives with her family on the side of a mountain in beautiful Western North Carolina. You can read more about her work at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A View from Steven James' Window - The Christy Awards and The Queen!

Getting to meet and interview Steven James was indeed the highlight of my first International Christian Retail Show and my first Christy Awards Banquet. (I'm praying for other opportunities in my life time!)

It also provided one of my most embarassing moments. When you go up to the person standing next to an author that really wows you and say, "Are you his publicist?" And the answer is, "No, I'm his wife." It's pretty much a humiliating experience. Not that his wife was rude at all, but I stuck my foot in my mouth and swallowed it! Suffice it to say I took plenty of ribbing over that episode!

But, in spite of my embarassment, I pressed on, and the interview that follows is my "hollywood" moment of the 2011 Christy Awards! Enjoy!

What is it like to win a Christy award?

I am honored. Quite a number of brilliant authors were nominated. It’s an honor just to be nominated.

Tell us about your current project The Queen.

The Queen is the most explosive novel in the series so far. Patrick’s relationship with Tessa is still prominent, but the plot involved eco-terrorism as well as giving readers what they asked for – finding out what happens with Patrick and his love interest – finally! Tessa has to deal with the most difficult issue of her life in this novel, and readers will meet one off the most fascinating villains in the series.

The Queen is also an opportunity for me to give back to the fans of the series what they wanted, and to fulfill some of the promises I’ve made throughout the series. As I wrote this novel, I kept thinking about the fans throughout the process. The fans shaped this story in a very real way.

Do you like to read books in the same genre within which you write?

I read a lot of non-fiction. I like poetry, and I like stories about serial-killers. I do read some thrillers, but I like to watch thriller movies.

I used to shy away from thriller novels, because I didn’t want my work to be even subtly influenced by other writers in the same genre. I think it is a good idea not to read what you like to write.

Was The Pawn your first published work?

The Pawn was my first published novel, but the first thing I ever had published was a novelization of Pilgrim’s Progress. It was a fantasy retelling, not an allegory, entitled Quest for Celestia. This story will be re-released next year.

Any parting words you would like to share with your fans?

Any time you meet or exceed your goals, it’s very satisfying, but I can’t control any awards I might win or how many readers enjoy my novels. All I can control is the quality of work I do each day, and that’s what I try to do – give my best effort to my writing every day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Queen by Steven James - REVIEWED!!

About the Book: (from the publisher)

While investigating a mysterious double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiracy that ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with present-day tensions in the Middle East.

In his most explosive thriller yet, bestselling author Steven James delivers a pulse-pounding, multilayered storytelling tour de force that will keep you guessing.

The Queen is the latest Patrick Bowers thriller from the author Publishers Weekly calls a "master storyteller at the peak of his game."

My Thoughts:
If you've been reading my blog for long, you will know that, without a doubt, I am a HUGE fan of Steven James! I had the honor of being present at the Christy awards when he won the award for The Bishop, and you can better bet I practically waited by the mail box for my copy of The Queen! I will tell you this, James gets better and better with each installment of the Patrick Bowers series!

This story really gets you into Patrick Bower's heart and mind, and he and his step daughter Tessa deal with relational and spiritual issues that are as deep and troubling as the case that threatens to send the world into a cataclysmic confrontation! Bower's is racing to figure out a mastermind behind the mastermind, and Steven James blows the reader's mind in the process! I mean, this guy defines the meaning of the words plot twist!!

So call me bias, or a crazed fan, or whatever suits your fancy, but if it is a thriller you are looking for....look no further! The Queen will satisfy every reader's desire to be suspensefully entertained from cover to cover!!

Please come back tomorrow and read my interview with Steven James - an interview that I was able to conduct in person just after he won his first Christy award!!

About the Author:

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than twenty books, including The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, and The Bishop, all part of the bestselling thriller series The Bowers Files. The Pawn is the basis of a TV series currently in development. One of the nation's most innovative storytellers, Steven developed his skill as a performer at East Tennessee State University (MA in storytelling). He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Gift of Love by Dr. Claus - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)
On September 11, 2001 a little girl begins second grade. The sky is blue and the sun is shining. On this day she receives a gift of love from her daddy. This children's picture book is written through the eyes of a second grade student not far from ground zero.

As this story unfolds, you will discover how one brave New York City firefighter, father and husband, can inspire a nation and show us all how love for each other is as strong as any form of destruction. A Gift of Love highlights the love of a father for his family, his love for his community, the love of a nation and the ultimate in love. Follow a little girl as she goes from pajamas to pancakes as she gets ready for her first day of school. Discover the events that happen at breakfast as the family prepares for the coming day.

This story is dedicated to FDNY Ten House Members: Gregg Arthur Atlas James J. Corrigan Stephen Gary Harrell Jeffrey James Olsen Paul Pansini Sean Patrick Tallon and all who fell on September 11,2001.

Dr. Claus wrote this story two weeks after September 11, 2001 to help children. As the bravery of men and women continue long after 9/11, Dr. Claus hopes to help a hurting nation heal.

My Thoughts:

This tender story is a solemn reminder of that price that many willingly paid to save lives on September 11, 2001. It is told in a rhyming pattern that children will relate to, and that will enable parents to read the story to their children as they commemorate the heroes of this national tragedy.

There are many tributes to the heroes of this day, and Dr. Claus does a good job of creating a story that children will relate to and understand.

About the Author:

Dr. Claus is the author of twenty three children’s and poetry books. He combines his love of poetry, photography, and the natural world to create his stories.

He is the father of four, and an Eagle Scout. Dr. Claus was an educator and has taught second grade and fifth grade students in an urban and suburban environment.

He served with many brave man and women in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was seperated from his family for over a year. While in Iraq, he volunteered to distribute school bags and much needed supplies to Iraqi school children.

Dr. Claus personally understands the cost of freedom and has witness many acts of bravery while serving the United States of America.

A Gift Of Love is close to his heart because it is about a man who serves.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bostick Communications. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

Deadly Pursuit
(Book 2 —Guardians of Justice)
Revell, ©2011, ISBN 978-0-8007-3457-2

As a social worker with the Department of Social Services, Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children and seeing that justice is served on their behalf. But now it seems she needs protecting. Someone is making harassing phone calls and sending her bizarre gifts. When her tormentor’s attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements. Her brother, Cole, comes to her aid, along with his new partner, Detective Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.

My Thoughts:

Great day in the morning! Irene Hannon knows how to mix suspense and romance in a way that will keep a reader CAPTIVATED!! And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it when an author takes a story line from one book and weaves it subtely into the next! Hannon is a pro at this! And even though you may join the series in another book besides book one, you can still enjoy every nuance of the story!

AND Hannon also is very realistic with the faith element of the story. She give people believable obstacles to faith, as well as realistic stories of those who overcome same or similar obstacles. That make the story even richer for the reader that comes to the story with doubts or troubles that seem overwhelming.

In short, this series (Guardians of Justice) and this book (Deadly Pursuit) are an excellent blend of many elements that make Christian Fiction so rewarding and entertaining. I highly recommend this entire series!!

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm's Way. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and two Reviewer's Choice Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie - My Thoughts

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:

Pirate of My Heart

B&H Books (September 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources for sending me a review copy.***


Jamie Carie is the author of Snow Angel, a ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, USA Book News National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Her third novel, Wind Dancer, was a 2010 Indiana State Library Best Books of Indiana finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Indianapolis.

Visit the author's website.


When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805448152
ISBN-13: 978-0805448153

My Thoughts:
I am a HUGE fan of Jamie Carie!! I even got the chance to meet her a couple of years ago! She is a super sweet lady, and she writes with passion a purpose! Pirate of My Heart just ramps up her talent even more, and I know you will be blown away by the adventure and intrigue in this story! I'm not quite finished yet, but so far I have been captivated! Jamie has a real knack for creating fully fleshed out characters, and even though they do not "inhabit" present day, Jamie takes the reader to a time a place so vividly, that you will find yourself transported as you read. Now, that my friend, is talent!

Jamie is also very adept at weaving her faith into the story in a believable way and in such a way that the reader has many "ah-ha!" moments about their own faith during the journey of the story. Pirate of My Heart is no exception, and I am thrilled to recommend it to you! Actually, I would encourage you to check out her website and ALL of her books!



Arundel, England 1777

The grey clouds of dawn shivered against the paned glass of the castle, shrouding the three figures at the side of the four-poster bed in an eerie light. The raging storm of the night before had settled into a dreary misting rain though an occasional jagged flash of lightning flaunted its power, not yet ready to relinquish its right to ravish the leaden sky. Dim light clung to the faces of those inside the bedchamber where the very walls seemed to echo the anguish felt inside the room.

All that could be heard in the chamber was the shallow, labored breathing of the one abed. A frail creature, now, pale and lifeless after the travails of childbirth. The others included the old family doctor, Radley, who hovered beside his patient and friend of many years with a strained look in his eyes. Hovering in the shadows was Bridget, the lady's long-standing nurse and companion. But their suffering was not to be compared to the tall, handsome gentleman who knelt at the woman's bedside, her hand clasped in his; a haunted look in his eyes that attested to the fact that he too feared the end was near for his beloved.

He gazed down at the limp form of his wife. She lay so still, so pale, sunk into the feather mattress as if she'd become a part of it. In a matter of hours she'd become a shallow breathing shell of the bright and glorious women she had once been. How was he to live without her? His heart spasmed with the thought.

He held his breath as her thin, white eyelids opened to reveal pain-racked eyes the color of bluebells. She exerted a small strength in squeezing his hand while a serene smile played at her lips. Her voice was a weak whisper. "I will not be leaving you forever, my darling. Our daughter will grow strong and always be a symbol of the love we shared."

"No." Edward groaned in anguish, his head falling forward, his hand clasping tight as if to force his strength into her. "I will not let you go."

"Love her, Edward, love her with all that you are." Lady Eileen closed her eyes seeming to gather what little strength she had to continue speaking. A small, whimpering sound came from the shadows of the room where Bridget held the newborn babe to her bosom. Lady Eileen opened her eyes at the sound. "Please, let me hold my sweet child."

The nurse skirted around the bed with the tiny bundle, her eyes bright with tears. "She's the mos' beautiful of babes, my lady, truly she is." She laid the wee babe in her mother's fragile arms.

His wife stared down at their daughter and then looked up at him. Her voice became fierce but still so quiet Edward had to lean in to catch the words. "This one has a special purpose in life and I expect you all to care for her as I would have."

Edward could only nod, mute and staring, aching with grief.

"I have one more request to ask of you, my love." Her breath rasped in and out causing the panic in Edward's stomach to claw into his chest like a nightmare's hand, but he nodded for her to continue and clung to her hand.

"My greatest joy in life has been you. I want her to find love, someone to share her life with who is as kind, as loving and wonderful as I have had in you." She rested a moment before continuing. "Let her choose, Edward, do not make a match for her. I know it is right." She gasped for a final breath. "I've made provision. In my will . . . no entailments, Edward. Give her the dragonfly brooch as a promise from me that I will be looking down from heaven to keep her safe."

"Of course, my darling, anything you ask I will do."

A small smile touched Eileen's lips as she gazed at their beautiful child for the last time. With a single tear sliding down her cheek she kissed the light fuzz on the child's head. "I love you." She breathed the words with her last breath, barely audible, and then she went still.

Edward collapsed over her limp hand still clutched in his strong one. "No," he cried with ragged breath. He brought the hand to his check, soaking it with his tears, willing her to come back to him.

Arundel, England - 1796

Kendra stopped halfway down the path that led to the stables, happiness lifting her heart at the autumn scene. The leaves had turned into a crimson, sunny yellow and carroty riot of color, as if a magician had waved a wand during the night and created a new world. She stepped across the lawn, feeling the kind of happiness that burst against the walls of her chest, stopping long enough to turn in slow circles so to watch the waving leaf show. She closed her eyes, still slowly twirling and smiled up toward heaven, humming a simple song of praise to God. The notes of her song danced around her and made a happy knot form in her throat. There was nothing she loved more than singing praises to God. Her father had instilled his love for God in her since she was a child - always making sure they had a curate in the village residence for weekly services at St. Nicholas Parish Church, praying with her each night before bedtime and teaching her scriptures and hymns. Most of all, he’d been an example of someone who was temperate, kind and patient. They had memorized the scripture about the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - and often reminded each other of the one they should practice when the occasion called for it. She wished so much to be like him but sometimes her best intentions went awry and she fell short, far short of her father’s shining example.

The sound of wheels crunching over dead leaves gave her pause. She stopped, turned toward the horse-shoe drive at the front of the castle and saw a shiny black post-chaise carriage. Who could it be? They had not seen visitors in so long. Kendra hurried toward the entrance to meet their guest, then came to an abrupt stop and clasped her hands in front of her dress. She held her breath as a tall, handsome man sprang from the carriage. He was dressed in a waist-coat of navy wool with an intricately knotted necktie at his throat, cream colored breeches and matching hose. She lifted her gaze to his face. Her jaw dropped with surprise. The face staring back at her looked like the one in her bedchamber mirror each morning . . . except for the color of his eyes.
Andrew Townsend matched his nieces startling gape as he found himself looking into the younger, female version of himself. Surely this was not Edward's daughter! She could have been his own child. Recovering from his shock with more effort than he'd exerted in months, Andrew questioned the young lady. "And who might this lovely creature be? A relative of mine, perhaps?"

She curtsied and smiled up at him. "I'm Kendra Townsend sir, and who might you be?" Her smile was soft and contagious, so irresistible that Andrew found himself thawing in her presence.

"I am Andrew Townsend, your uncle, my dear." He held out his hand in greeting. "I am most pleased to finally meet you. It seems we bear a striking resemblance to one another."

"You're very handsome." She stated with bold faced honesty.

Andrew let out a bark of laughter. "Well. Thank you, I'm sure. Now, would you be so kind as to show me to your father? I have some business to conduct with him."

"Of course, sir." Kendra replied as she reached for his arm. "Your papa's brother, his twin, aren't you?" Her eyes lit up as she led him through the front door, past their astonished looking butler, and down the wide corridor, the elegant carpet making silence of their footsteps. Just as well, the surprise element couldn't hurt to gage how his dear brother was going to react to his request. “Father will be in his study with his solicitor this time of day.” At her knock they heard a preoccupied "come in."

The Earl of Arundel sat behind an ancient desk with stacks of documents in front of him. Facing him was Mr. Walcott, the trusted family solicitor. As they walked into the study, Edward's face lit up with joy. Then, as he looked beyond her, his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.


Andrew put on his best smile and chuckled, walking forward toward his brother. He needed Ed to accept him back into the family fold and that might require some persuasion. "Great heavens, man, is it really you?" Edward came from behind the desk and greeted him with a handshake and an awkward hug that turned into a haphazard slapping against his shoulder. "You remember Parker Walcott." He motioned to the man who had risen, eyes round behind his spectacles.

"Yes, of course, how's the family, Parker? Dorothy and the children doing well?" Andrew felt the smooth mask of charm take hold of his being and hoped Parker would take the hint. He looked as if he’d seen a ghost.

"Oh, very good, my lord, yes indeed. And yourself?"

"After meeting my lovely niece here, I couldn't be in better spirits." Andrew replied. "Ed, why have you failed to mention our likeness in your letters? It nearly frightened us both out of our wits when we clapped eyes on one another." The laughter in his voice was real this time.

"It's been so long since I've seen you." Edward hastened to explain. "Until this moment I didn't realize just how much you resemble each other." He glanced from one to the other, astonishment and something disapproving, consternation perhaps in his eyes before continuing. "Your eyes are more blue than her unusual shade of violet, but you’re quite right, you resemble twins more than you and I ever did. It's remarkable, isn't it?"

Edward motioned for Andrew to have a seat. "Please, join us." They both looked up at Kendra to find her staring at Andrew. Andrew winked at her as he plopped down in the chair beside Parker. Edward cleared his throat and frowned at his daughter. "Kendra, go down and have Willabee bring up some refreshments please."

Kendra nodded but clung to Andrew's side before she left. "How long can you stay Uncle Andrew? You should stay at least until the end of the week." Her eyes were bright with excitement.

"And what, pray tell, happens at the end of the week?" Andrew asked with a half grin that he'd been told sent the ladies into a swoon.

"I've persuaded papa to have a garden party." Her eyes slid to her father before she continued. "He hates to entertain you know, but I've been so forlorn for company my own age since my friend, Lucinda, moved away that he's feeling guilty and has agreed. Please say you'll stay. Lady Willowbee's girls will be absolutely speechless for once."

"I seem to recall a Lady Willowbee, lives down the way, only other gentry around here, eh?" At Kendra's nod Andrew chuckled with the memory. "A bit of a sour puss. Are her girls as malicious and back-biting as she and her sisters used to be?"

Kendra put her hand to her mouth in an attempt to suppress a horrified giggle.

"Can't offend them though," Andrew continued with grave mirth, "must do our duty and invite the only other cream de la cream in the area, even though it is soured cream, is that the dilemma you find yourself in, my dear?"

“Papa says I must love them as the Bible says.” Kendra raised her brows in beseeching charm that he recognized as one of his own trademark moves. "But if you were there it would be ever so much easier. They will be nice in hopes of an introduction. Please say you'll stay."

Andrew caught his brother's gaze and asked in a soft voice. "Can you deny her anything?"

Edward looked down and cleared his throat, a red flush filling his cheeks. "Very little, I'm afraid.

Swinging back to Kendra's expectant gaze, Andrew mused. "I will have to give you your answer later, moppet, but I promise I'll try.

That seemed to satisfy her as she gave him a happy nod and turned to leave the men to their business.

"You're going to have a devil of a time fighting off all the suitors at your door, Edward. She's amazing." Andrew remarked as he watched the whirl of Kendra's skirts around the door as she left.

Edward sighed. "I've already had my share of offers, but she's just nineteen. I'm not ready to see her betrothed to anyone yet."

"I can understand why, she brightens up the old place." Pausing, Andrew ran his fingers through his blond hair and added. "I was truly sorry about Eileen, Edward. I would have attended the funeral had I not been out of the county."

"I won't pretend I was anything other than devastated. But time has a way of taking the edge off the grief and Kendra has taken care of the rest. I don't know how I would have gone on if she had died with her mother.”

Andrew didn't know how to respond to his brother's heart-wrenching revelation. Edward had aged in more than the receding hairline and creases around his mouth it would seem. Andrew cleared his throat and looked down at the floor.

Edward leaned across the desk, his hands clasped together. "Enough about me, what have you been doing with yourself these last fifteen years?"

"A little of everything, I dare say. Traveled around a good bit." The rake's smile slide across his lips and he shrugged. "Been enjoying life with good drink, fine horseflesh and beautiful women."

Edward shook his head in an older brotherly way. "I know only too well of your love for the worldly passions. It's a life that will never satisfy you, you know. I have to hear of your exploits every time I'm in London. When will you settle down? Start a family of your own?"

A bark of laughter escaped Andrew's throat. Not here ten minutes and he was already getting the lecture. "Now is not a good time for thinking of that, Ed. I - uh, seem to have gotten myself into a bit of a jam." Glancing at Parker Walcott, Andrew girded up his courage and rushed out the rest before his nerve failed him. "I was hoping to have a word with you, big brother. I have some business I would like to discuss."

Parker rose rather abruptly for one keen to the family's business dealings. Andrew smothered a chuckle as the solicitor beat a hasty path to the door. "I will bid you both good day, my lord. You and your brother have much catching up to do." Andrew suppressed a chuckle as he scurried from the room.

After the door was closed silence descended upon the room. Andrew braced his arms on his legs and pressed his sweaty palms together.

Edward broke the silence with a voice both grave and guarded. "What can I do for you, Andrew?"

Shifting in the chair, Andrew ran a well-manicured hand though his blond hair, took a deep breath and plunged into his story.
It would seem Andrew had heard, through a reputable source, about an investment that was sure to make him a very wealthy man. The Brougham Company had been started to finance several voyages of trade to America with goods the colonist desperately needed. Five great ships had set sail over six months ago to deliver their goods. Andrew had invested all that he had and was given a great deal of credit as he bore the Townsend name.

The first two ships to sail had been attacked by pirates and overtaken. The following ship did not survive a great storm, and of the two that made it to America, one had perishables on it that were ill-packed, causing the contents to spoil, while the other had cheaper goods that even when sold at an exorbitant price did not come close to making up for the expense of the trip. "I've lost everything and my creditors are threatening Newgate Prison if I don't come up with the funds."

Edward listened with sinking despair. It seemed fate would never grant his twin the power he so desperately coveted. "Of course I will help you, Andrew. Have your creditors send me the contracts and I will take care of them." He paused before continuing in a fatherly tone. "I understand you want to handle matters on your own, but please consider consulting me or even Walcott before plunging into a scheme like this in the future." Edward pressed his lips together with that eagle-eyed stare that always made Andrew squirm in his chair. "I could have had the company investigated for you, at the very least."

"Of course." Andrew shook his head, eyes downcast. The act was growing tedious but pressed on. "It's just that I was so excited. I wanted to surprise you and mother with my good fortune. I realize the family thinks me a spoiled dandy so I wanted to do something to make you all proud. Instead I proved what an idiot I am."

"Now don't be too hard on yourself. We've been through worse and we'll come through this together."

"I can't thank you enough, Ed, just the thought of that prison sent me fleeing here on wings. There is just one more thing," Andrew rushed out, fidgeting with his fingers. "I was wondering if the creditors could go through old Parker instead of you. That way it won't become common knowledge that my brother had to pay off my debts. It's a matter of pride you see." He raised his brows and gave Edward a shrug of his shoulders.

"Of course. There's no need for our business to become something for the gossip mills."

Andrew stood up, gave his brother a quick, firm hug, and hurried from the room.
Edward gazed at the closed door, sadness and bewilderment weighing down his shoulders like a heavy blanket. He had not seen his brother for years, and then when he finally did come home, it was only because he was in trouble and needed money. Would they ever be close?

Dear God, help me reach him.

He let his thoughts drift back to their childhood, a good and proper upbringing he had always thought, but not without its animosities. Animosities that led all the way back to their birth.

They had heard the tale countless times. Edward had been the first-born twin, the heir to the earldom, but it had come about by a strange quirk of fate. His mother, who now lived on her own estate miles from Arundel, had pushed for hours with no sign of the babies coming.

The midwife, in an effort to feel the baby's position, placed one hand on the extended abdomen and the other inside the womb. She pulled back in surprise. "Your ladyship, I do believe you are having twins. There's a head and feet near the opening."

His mother gasped and her face whitened. "Twins! I shan't be able to do it."

The contractions continued though, strengthened instead of daunted by the thought of two.

Hours dragged by as they all wondered if Lady Lenora would be able to deliver the babies. In a wondrous moment, a hushed moment between pushes, a tiny foot poked out of the womb. The midwife didn't say anything but knew the importance of the firstborn's place so she tied a scarlet thread around the tiny ankle. Gently slipping the foot back up, she concentrated on delivering the baby in the head-down position. The child seemed ready to cooperate and after several more minutes emerged from the womb.

"A boy, my lady." One of the servants rushed to take the child to clean him before he was presented to his mother. After another hour, Lady Lenora held two healthy sons. She noticed the thread and looked up at the midwife. "But what's this, Ida?"

The midwife told the story of how that child had poked his little foot out first and thought to tie the yarn around his foot in the event that Lord Townsend would regard him the first born.

And he had. Lord Albert Townsend named the babe with the string around his ankle Edward Alexander Townsend, and proclaimed him the rightful heir. Lenora named his twin brother, Andrew Richard Townsend and thought that son cheated.

Edward's knuckles whitened with the memory as he clinched his hands into fists. They'd been so close when they were boys! Inseparable until the day Andrew heard the story of his birth bluntly put by a stable hand. Andrew had changed then, pulling away and becoming distant and ever more brooding. After awhile it seemed they had little in common and less to like about each other. And that wasn't even the worst of it. The resentment his mother held destroyed their marriage. Lenora devoted herself to spoiling her younger son which forced the earl to take Edward's causes.

Edward sighed, his head dropping forward, sadness pulling at his heart. They were so different in every way. Andrew was strikingly handsome with his fair hair and pale blue eyes, so much like their mother. Edward supposed he was the epitome of an Englishman with his dark brown hair, aristocratic nose, and hazel eyes. And that was only their outward differences. Inwardly they couldn't be more distant. He a long-grieving widower and Andrew a financially destitute dandy in dire straits. But he was back.

His brother had come home.

Maybe if he loved him enough, if he showed it and gave him all the attention and praise and . . . well, whatever it was that Andrew needed, maybe he could, uptight Englishman that he was, humble himself and shower his brother with love.

Father, help me love him the way he needs it. Help me show him You.