Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A View from Steven James' Window - an ICRS interview with a Christy Award winning author!

I actually had the opportunity to sit down and really talk to Steven James this year at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando! I'm a HUGE fan of his work, as you already know, so it was pretty thrilling to sit down and talk with him. God is doing a lot of things in his life, and I'm excited to share them with you!  The night after I interviewed him, he won the Christy Award for The Queen!

Were you surprised to be nominated for a Christy for Queen after winning last year for the Bishop?
I really put a lot of work into the Queen. It was really hard work. It was affirming that all of that work was worthwhile.
Tessa and Patrick have a tumultuous journey and in this novel – all characters have deep emotional issues amidst the murder and mayhem…each character was struggling with some pretty tough personal issues.
Each book begins with a question instead of an answer, and the question in this book is, “What does it mean to forgive yourself?” Does it mean anything?Nowhere in the Bible does God encourage us to forgive ourselves.  All of the characters have different ways to ask the same question.  All of them come to a different answer.  Their journey to find that answer is what this novel is built around.  Because all of them have this struggle with forgiveness, it does create a lot of emotional struggle in the course of the story.  All of the characters experience deep growth in one way or another.
I experienced a lot of ‘gut’ reactions in the story, whether it was from the bad guy's point of view or the good guy's point of view.  How do you, as a writer, transition so seamlessly from one point of view to another. Is that difficult for you?
I’m constantly asking myself what would this character naturally think or do in this situation? I try to be honest to how the character would respond to the circumstances he or she faces.  But weaving together the different story lines is very difficult for me and takes a lot of time.
I don’t outline. I don’t write one character’s point of view. Because the pace of the story must escalate. In order to let the context determine the content and to allow the story to take its natural course.  A lot of fiction to me is promises and payoff.  You make promises in the beginning  of the story and you pay them off at the end.  As I introduce those promises early in the story, I begin to have ideas as to how those will be fulfilled later on.  I may jot down ideas for future scenes, but I allow the natural flow of the story to develop and change as I write.
There are scenes in the story that are very specific and violent. How do you come up with those scenes? How do you get in the mind of the bad guy so convincingly?  You have all of the elements of story  (believability, escalation.,)  I’m constantly asking myself how all of these forces press into the story and shape the story.  Instead of me dictating what the story will look like, I try to uncover the story as I move along with the characters. 
Do you get nervous when you write your stories?  YES!  Yes.  When I write for me, it’s all about evoking emotion.  I try to write myself to a point where I’m nervous or anxious.  And if I can write myself to a point where I can cry, that’s good too.  That’s hard to do.  But for me, that is always a powerful moment.
Opening Moves comes out September 1st.   A prequel that happens about 10 years before the Pawn.  1997…there is a killer on the loose…although there is not a lot of violence on the page, this novel is probably the most psycologically suspenseful.  Tessa appears in the last scene when Patrick meets Tessa.

Why do you write four books and then go back and do a prequel before ending the series?  I wanted  to show the genesis of Patrick Bowers.  All of the fun things that make Patrick who his is in the other stories.  If you write the entire series and then go back and write the prequel, it’s very anticlimactic to me.  So I decided to do Opening Moves now, then go on to the King and finally on to Checkmate at the very end.  I have ideas for Checkmate but no contract for that yet.  So there will definitely  be two more books – possibly three before the series ends.

Placebo – begins a new series this Fall.  Brand new…conspiracy…science thriller…medical kind of a Michael Criton type story.  I had the idea for something similar quite a while ago.  But I had heard of this research about quantum mechanics and how our expectations and observations of reality affect the outcome of different events.  Believer’s know about cursings and blessings in the Old Testament and Prayer in the New Testament – all of these have to do with God’s powers but also with thoughts and emotions.  The idea that our thoughts and ideas impact reality has been around since the beginning and quantum mechanics is proving that that is indeed how the universe works.  It was a book where the research was fun and unique. It was a fascinating process…it was a nice journey to embark on a new series.
There is not an overt faith element in the Patrick Bowers.  Will that change with future stories?  I’m not focused on a certain message so there isn’t a overt or covert message of any kind.  I’m just trying to tell a great story that deals with big questions.  If you want to know what I believe or be inspired or want the gospel presented, you will find that in my non-fiction. If they want a great story that doesn’t contain sex scenes or cursing and explore big questions of life in the midst of something dramatic, then my fiction is a great place to land.
Patrick and Tessa are a “put-together” family – and intentional family later in the series. Do we get to see Tessa develop further in the next two books in the series?  More so than even in the first four book?
There is a possibility that she will have her own series coming up in the future.

She is one of the most unusual, eclectic, brutally honest characters in your stories.  You can‘t help but love her!
In my mind, she is a very emotionally needy person.  She’s about thirteen, emotionally and about twenty-two intellectually.  This contrast between her emotional needy state and her intelligent acumen is what makes her interesting. In the Pawn, she is a snotty teen, but as she develops in the series I sort of fell in love with her character.  She is a fun, multilayered character that sort of surprised me as the series developed.
Four books into a series…do you ever get tired of spending time with this group of characters?  I haven’t yet!  The first draft of the King is done, and it’s a good escalation for the story line.  And I have a working idea in my mind for Checkmate.  I’m not sick of the characters – I’ve written  800,000 words! It’s CRAZY! But it’s been fun!
You have revised Quest for Celestia. Tell us about that.  It was a reimagining of Pilgrim’s Progress and I basically re-wrote it.  It’s the same story, but I’ve developed a lot as a writer, and that shows in this new edition.
Story is a non-fiction work that has just re-released. It was my most critically acclaimed book, and it’s nice to see that it has stayed in print.
Do you enjoy the ability to switch from fiction to non-fiction? I think I’ll always “dabble” in non-fiction, but because a have a number of fiction books already under contract, most of my writing will be in the fiction market.
Any words you want to leave with your readers? A word of thanks for buying my stories, and any time I’m in your area, I’d love to meet you and get to know you a little bit.
What is God doing in your life? What’s He speaking into your life right now?
It’s easy to get anxious, and depressed and frustrated as I write. I was in church recently, and I had the words come to me, “Live in the victory.”  And so I’ve posted those words in my office to remind me that Christ has already overcome the world, and I don’t have to be anxious about tomorrow. The victory has already been won in Christ, and I can find joy in the moment and not feel overwhelmed by the work that lies ahead of me.
It takes me about a month to write what it takes people about an hour to read.  I don’t want to just put books out there…I want every book to be the best I have to offer.  It takes me longer to get to the point where I feel I’ve written the best I have to offer, so it’s nice to be affirmed by the readers that they enjoy what I have to offer as a writer.
Do you take a hiatus from your writing?  I attended Thriller-fest where the Queen was a finalist for the best original paperback of the year. That is particularly gratifying because I’m not just competing within the suspense category with other Christian writers, but writers of suspense in all markets.

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Interview with Paul Young - ICRS Orlando - The Shack and Crossroads

I had the unique privilege of interviewing Paul during the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando.  What a precious man of God.  He shares his heart and lives in the grace of the day God has given him.  God has taught Paul many lessons of grace throughout his life, and to listen to him share what God has done in his life! I'll never forget it! I hope it ministers to you as well.

The Shack – after all the conflict over your first novel, is it easier or more difficult to continue writing?  I had absolutely no expectations about future projects.  I’m at a point in my life where I am content to stay within the grace of one day.  I don’t even know if I’ll be alive tomorrow.  Why would I create imaginations that don’t exist and live a life of fear.  I’m done trying to live up to expectations.
What was your reaction to all of the conflict that surrounded your first novel? What was the practical application in your life?  Any art form, songs, painting, fiction,  is not about someone getting out of your work what you put into it The beauty of creativity is the part that the Holy Spirit is all over.  You write out of your history and your experience, and others will see things that they think you put there for them.  When others get upset about something I’ve written, they’re not telling me about me, they’re telling me about them.  The controversy is people telling me about themselves. They’re bringing to the table what they’ve got. It a beautiful part of the conversation.

Relationship is always uncomfortable.  The journey in not about trying to please God but about learning to trust God.   The world takes us to some very dark places. God doesn’t take us there, He comes with us. He promises: I’m never going to leave you nor forsake you.  If trust is the central issue you cannot trust someone who doesn’t love you all the time.  I’m still going to stay with you in the middle of things when your lack of trust is going to be revealed so we can heal that place.

Crossroads…coming out soon…it will surprise you like the Shack. This catches a man between life and death. The main character has to deal with the roads he’s crossed already and roads he has yet to cross.  This guy is lost and comes to a major crossroads. This place of decision spins him in to a place of consideration of decisions he has already made and choices he has yet to make.

Was this story born out of the Shack phenomena…or was it a story already within you?  It was an idea that came to me in the last couple of years.  There is a timing for all of this.  The beginning of this year, was right for this story.   I had a general sense of the story and just trust  that the river of story will be there.  It went in unexpected directions, unexpected depths.  When a river runs into a dry space, it finds all of the crevices, and some are very deep. I am absolutely thrilled that Crossroads is the next book…the right next book.

 The Shack Reflections – 366 quotes out of the Shack and a daily reflection.  This book turned out beautifully.
Baxter Kruger is a storytelling, brilliant theologian.  He couldn’t believe this story existed.  He gets the message in the story. It’s like a tributary off the river of the Shack, and it’s been dry ground with deep crevices, and he explores those places theologically and takes you there on boats of story.  I think his is an important book.

What is your theological background? I’m a missionary kid who grew up in the highland of New Guinea. I’m multicultural, and that is reflected in my work.  My father was an itenerant  pastor in Canada. My journey came through a lot of pain and a lot of loss, and working through that.  Saying to my kids, that I don’t want you to grow up with the image of God that I grew up with.  We live in a world of great sadness and we’re not allowed to talk about it.  God never abandons us in the middle of our stuff. Read Psalms 139 .  The kindness of God leads us to repentance.  Freedom is always scarier than the law.  If you know the law, you know where the bars are. 

I’m still learning all the time, new things about God and His love.  To the degree that you are not all-knowing there is to the degree that there is change and process and growth.   Part of our theological stumbling block is born out of an idea of God the Father as someone we don’t want to spend eternity with.  We have such a limited view of God’s love that we think that when we leave this earth the relationships here, we lose all that really matters – that when we leave here, we will leave color and walk into shades of gray or shades of brown.  In this world we are surrounded by death all the time. It’s in our words, it’s in the way we relate to each other, and it makes us afraid of the love of the Father.

To live in the grace of the day we have is the life of a child.  As soon as you begin to project your fears into the future, and drag those back into the present and live life planning on ways to control those fears and those imagined situations – you become an adult. Your choice is to trust the Father and live inside the grace of today which means trust or to control which is based in fear. Fear  and love are opposites. To the degree that there is fear in your life is the degree to which you don’t know that you are loved.  The one who fears is not perfected in love. Perfect love casts out fear.  In the presence of God there is fullness of joy.  To the degree that there is not joy in your life, regardless of how difficult your situations are – and they can be horrendous – you can still experience joy because happiness is linked to circumstance and joy is linked to a person – Jesus.  To the degree that you don’t have joy in your life means that you are involved in fear, and dragging tomorrow’s fears into the grace of today.  You are not staying in the grace of one day.  We waste a huge amount of energy on that.

It’s a process.  In the kindness of God, He lives with us in the middle of our circumstances that will bring to the surface all of the ways we are not free.  There are incremental changes toward freedom just as there can be incremental changes toward destruction.

What is the take away value that you have taken away from the Crossroads?  I have the time to explore areas of faith and life that I didn’t have time to explore when I was writing the Shack. It’s the beauty of authenticity that we are all driven toward, it is the magnificence of the human soul that we are so blind to, and it’s the unexplainable goodness of God that permeates everything – those are my take aways.  Anything I ever write – those will be my take aways – it’s the same thing differently nuanced.    Everything in this world is coercive and violent – pushing us toward the future.  My desire is to not live that way.  I want to live inside the grace of one day.  I’m not interested any more…I’m old enough and broken enough…that I’m not interested anymore in getting God to follow me. I want to be involved in things He is blessing  - not asking Him to bless things that I’m doing.

The Shack added nothing to me in terms of identity and significance because I already had everything that mattered to me.  If I went back to working three jobs, I would be totally fine, because I already have everything that matters to me and I had it before I wrote the Shack.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Company by Chuck Graham

I never received a copy of this book, but it sounds fabulous!

About the Book:
A meteor strike plunges the world into darkness. A stranger to the village of Brigos Glen restores power and light, supplied by three businesses, known as “The Company,” located beyond the forbidden mountains. The stranger reveals a plan so the Brigons can maintain the power and share the light with outlying territories, which remain shrouded in darkness.
Now, seventy years later, The Company summons six Brigons, including the young engineer Sam Mitchell, to attend a conference in the mountains of the forbidden Outlands.
Responsible for compiling a report about Brigos Glen from his five companions, Sam learns how managers and villagers largely ignored the plan or compromised it to self-interest, forsaking their duty to share the light. They also took for granted The Company responsible for generating and transmitting the power.
In an ordeal fraught with failure, revelations, and judgment, Sam discovers the true identity behind The Company and learns the fate that may befall Brigos Glen . . . that is, unless he can stop it.
Buy your copy HERE!
About the Author:
Chuck Graham's legal career as an attorney in private practice spanned more than thirty-one years. He represented many local, national, and international clients, acquiring intricate knowledge about the often-overlapping structures of the corporate world. He also worked against those seeking to create racial division, including the Ku Klux Klan. He has served as a member of the state bar of Georgia since 1979 and an instructor to attorneys and judges through the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). He received the Medallion of Appreciation from ICLE.
Chuck is also a speaker and the author of Take the Stand (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996) and the compilations, A Year of Encouragement (Xulon Press).
In 1997 he founded Ciloa (Christ Is Lord Of All), a ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement with the world and teaching those who follow Him how to encourage others. Today Chuck serves as executive director and principal author of A Note of Encouragement, a weekly e-zine reaching 175 countries.
He and Beverly, his wife of thirty-four years, have lived in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta, for fourteen years. God has blessed them with three children. In his free time, Chuck enjoys backpacking and hiking (especially on the Appalachian Trail), playing the guitar, dabbling in photography, and reading extensively about the Christian faith.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Kingdom by Brian M. Litfin - Reviewed

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Kingdom
Crossway Books (June 30, 2012)
Brian M. Litfin


Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee as well as a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is currently professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he has been since 2002. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays. Bryan has always enjoyed epic adventure stories as well as historical fiction, but most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He and his wife Carolyn are parents to two children. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains. The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.


Book Three in the Chiveis Trilogy

War and disease have destroyed the modern world. Centuries later, feudal societies have arisen across Europe. No one can remember the ancient religion of Christianity—until an army captain and a farmer’s daughter discover the Sacred Writing of the one true God.
As Teo and Ana encounter the forgotten words of the holy book, they realize its message is just what their kingdom needs. Though exiled from their homeland, they join their hearts in a quest to return. But now an ancient pact has united the enemies of the Christian faith into a dark alliance that threatens to consume the known world. Racing to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Teo and Ana must battle heinous villains, stormy seas, and the powers of the underworld itself. As armies begin to mass for a final battle, the odds favor the forces of evil. Can Teo and Ana bring divine truth to Chiveis—or will the Word of God fade from the earth forever?

My Thoughts:

“I believe the Word of Dieu cannot die.”  (p 444)

Brian Litfin has woven this truth throughout this brilliant trilogy.  The final installment, The Kingdom, brings this saga to a dramatic, and satisfying ending.  The writing rings of classic literature, the scenes of the story are painted in sharp clarity that sweep you into the world of Cheveis and the epic struggle to bring the truth to its people.  Who will survive? Who will believe the truth? What price will be required of those who do believe?

All of these questions find answers in The Kingdom.  As a reader, you will be thrilled, entertained and totally enthralled by the final installment of this trilogy.  Seriously.  I know I sound “heavy” on the adjectives, but this is classic.  It rings with the clarity of truth, with realistic characters that spring to life from its pages.  The struggles faced by the characters embody universal struggles all people face – physical, emotional, spiritual…each character faces their personal struggle head-on in this book.  Some choices have steep consequences.   Sometimes you will have to grieve.  Sometimes you will rejoice.  Sometimes you will hold your breath and turn away because the scenes grow so intense.

Brian Litfin is a gifted writer, and I applaud him for this trilogy.  He is a voice of truth – of challenge – of consequence.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Kingdom, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedded To War by Jocelyn Green - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wedded to War
• River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)
Jocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.


When war erupted, she gave up a life of privilege for a life of significance.
Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combatting more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series "Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War," a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.


What if your stepping out of formation was actually a step in the right direction?...What a shame it would be if you were always confined to a prescribed number and pattern of steps?”  (p. 258)

Oh dear reader! Don’t miss this phenomenal book!! Journey with Charlotte as she steps out of the formation of affluence into the scene of Civil War. She not only steps into war, she steps into a role historically held by men – the role of a nurse.  That’s right, a nurse.  To be a nurse in the Civil War meant verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse as you attempted to care for men with horrific wounds with horrifically little means.  That facet of this story alone is enough to render your heart full of thanksgiving.

But Charlotte’s journey is one of faith, sacrifice, hardship, and trust.   Her needs are not immediately satisfied as she patiently waits on the Lord’s direction in her life.  She steps out of earthly formation to walk in the God ordained path for her life, and God blesses that obedience and changes the course of women in history.  You HAVE to read this story!! You will be so encouraged!

Not only that, you will learn many facts and facets of life during the Civil War that will keep you glued to the pages.  And the prose that Jocelyn Green has mastered in her writing will place you squarely in the moment  in every way – physically, emotionally, spiritually – she can put words on paper that take you into the moment! It is absolutely amazing!! You just HAVE to read this story!

And the exciting thing is, this is the first in a most excellent series! Jocelyn Green is writing fiction that sets a high standard folks!  Her heart is focused on God, and that is evident in her writing! I can’t wait to see what God has planned for her!
If you would like to read the first chapter of Wedded to War, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A View from Jocelyn Green's Window with my good friend Linda Attaway!!

Last week in Orlando, I had the honor of sitting in on an interview conducted by my good friend, Linda Attaway. (she blogs book reviews over at Mocha With Linda)  She talked with Jocelyn Green about her new novel Wedded to War.  Last year, this precious lady had just contracted to write this book, so it was a huge thrill to get to talk with her about it this year.
The following interview can be found on Mocha With Linda and I will share it with you here as well.

When war erupted, she gave up a life of privilege for a life of significance.
Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combatting more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series "Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War," a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wedded to War, go HERE.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview Jocelyn Green last week at ICRS. She was such a delight. My friend and fellow reviewer Kim Ford of Window to my World joined me for the interview, and she asked a few questions as well.

Wedded to War is the first in a series about a variety of women, right?

Yes, they are snapshots of strong women during the Civil War, so characters don't cross over. The books could be standalones. The next one, which I'm working on right now, is called Widow of Gettysburg; the third book is [set in] Atlanta and the fourth is in Richmond.

Because I have always loved the genre surrounding the Civil War and because I'm an R.N., I loved this book. I've always known that medical conditions were pretty brutal in the Civil War because they didn't have much to work with. I didn't realize how awful the doctors were to the nurses in an effort to make them quit! You've written non-fiction before, aimed at military wives. What made you decide to start writing fiction and, particularly, this story?

I was doing research for a non-fiction book, which also just released, Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was in Gettysburg doing research in their archives, and I was reading diaries, journals, letters from women who were there after the battle. There were lots of civilians but there were also nurses who came now to help out. One of those nurses was Georginna Woolsey, and that's the historical figure that Charlotte Waverly is based on. Reading these primary sources is not like reading a history textbook. It just comes to life because these are real women-- especially when they're handwritten. It doesn't feel like it was 150 years ago! It was very dramatic. It was very emotionally moving. I cried when I was reading it because it was just so real. When I got home I did all the research I could on this one particular nurse, Georgeiana Woolsey, because she gave up so much wealth in New York City to become a nurse and endure conditions that were horrible, even though it seemed like the North was losing in the early years of the Civil War. She gave up a lot for a cause that might not have won. I also liked her because I knew she had a close family friend who was a surgeon in the Union Army who she married right after the war. So that's where the love story of Caleb Lansing came in. And where I put Caleb Lansing is where Georgeiana's later-husband was. So I kinda followed both of them. I made up Phineas and Ruby, though!

So Caleb (and Georgiana's husband-to-be in real life) didn't have the disdain for the nurses that the other physicians did.

No, he did not. Frank Bacon was his name. He was very supportive. In fact, after the Civil War, Georgeianna & Frank got married and together they established one of the very first training schools for female nurses in Connecticut. They never did have children. I don't know if Georgiana was infertile, if that was the reason they didn't have children.

That's interesting that you never hear about her. You always hear about Clara Barton.

Clara Barton was a clerk at the patent office at the beginning of the Civil War. Then she decided to do nursing on her own; she would not work with the Sanitary Commission. She would not work with Dorothea Dix and become a government nurse. She just did it all on her own.

So tell me how it was (because you're not a nurse) writing the novel; you were able to handle it without being really graphic, and yet at the same time, you were able to portray a lot of--well, some pretty gross stuff!

It's a balance when you try to portray the casualties of war, especially the things that happened in the Civil War; it's gross, right?! You want to portray that, but not to the point that you/re being sensational about it. I read another book where they went through how an amputation was performed, and it was pretty graphic. You want to give enough where the reader can imagine the realities of it but you don't want to purposely gross people out.

I'm not a nurse, but I did do research at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland. That was a huge thing that I could do. I was able to make photocopies of the outlines of chief camp diseases and read the handbooks and manuals of the doctors to see what they saw as the symptoms and how they wanted to treat them. So a lot of primary source material told me how to describe stuff. And we did tone it down from my first draft! (She laughs.)

You said the next one is Widow of Gettysburg. Can you give us a little snippet of that?

It's actually on the website, heroinesbehindthelines.com. There's a little blurb about it. The heroine is Liberty Holloway. She's a 19-year-old teenager with two brothers in the war; one's fighting for the North and one's fighting for the South. After the battle of Gettysburg, she's really forced to grow up in a hurry. Impulsively, she fulfills a soldier's dying wish to get married. She marries him, thinking he's about to die. Well, not only does he not die, but he's not who everyone thought he was at all. A Philadelphia reporter is there and he digs up the soldier's history and he digs up Libby's history, and what he finds out could change her life forever.

What I don't have on the website but might be interesting is that Bella is another character; she's a former slave who works for Liberty's farm household but she is related to Liberty, and Liberty doesn't know it. A little bit of backstory touches on the slavery, and Bella represents the free Black community of Gettysburg. I don't think that most people know that there were a few hundred free Blacks who were terrified when the South invaded Pennsylvania because they could be captured. It didn't matter if they were former slaves or if they had been born free. It did not matter; they would be taken back home because at that time the South was really upset about the Emancipation Proclamation and this was only seven months later, so they would just take them.

So is this based on a real person?

Obviously, it's based on a lot of research, but instead of basing it on one person's life like I did [in Wedded to War], Liberty is a composite of a few different real women in Gettysburg, and I'll explain it in the back of the book! So it is a little bit different in that sense, but it is very historically based.

Kim: You were in the midst of writing non-fiction books for military wives. What made you make the switch to writing fiction and this series?

When I was going through the archives in Gettysburg, I thought, "Someone should write this as a novel." I didn't think it would be me. I thought I would have to wait until both my children were in school before I could ever write fiction. But a week after I got home, my publisher called me to talk about a different non-fiction book proposal that I had, and at that point she said, "Have you ever thought about writing fiction?" I recalled all the stories that I had unearthed at Gettysburg and I pitched an idea to her on the phone and she told me to make it into a formal book proposal and we went from there. It's kinda unusual for it to happen that way.

Kim: It's God's timing.

Yeah, it must be. Because the time my second child is in school all day, the series will be done. Isn't that ironic?! It's really hard to write right now with two small children. But we're doing it!

It's really hard to do anything with two small children!

It's hard to keep up with the laundry!

Well, I'm already looking forward to the second one! That's the thing about reviewing books so early; I'm immediately ready for the next one to come out! Wedded to War was so good I would have inhaled it even if I didn't have to read it quickly for this interview. It really was fascinating.

Kim: What's the most interesting thing you learned medically while writing this book?

It surprised me that they did have chloroform and ether back then. It also surprised me that after the first 24 hours, if they hadn't done the amputation, they didn't want to use those on the patient because there was a much higher likelihood of the patient not surviving. It was horrible. And the minie balls would become deformed inside and not just break through the bone but shatter it. We kind of think of the surgeons back then as being butchers and think, "Oh, they really didn't have to do all those amputations." But actually, they did have to do a lot of them because the limbs were just unusable. There were some doctors who didn't want to do as many amputations because the public was saying, "You're cutting off too many arms and legs!" The doctor didn't want to be seen as a butcher so he wouldn't [amputate], but then the patient would die of infection.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Were you one of those children who always wrote stories?

Oh yes. I said I wanted to be an "arthur" when I grew up! The first book I ever wrote was narration for a Bugs Bunny coloring book. I've gotten a little better since then.

Kim: Are you still co-writing the Faith Deployed series?

Well, we've done Faith Deployed and Faith Deployed Again. I don't have any plans for another one. We had put together a proposal for Faith Deployed for Military Moms and that hasn't gone anywhere, so there's a bonus section in Faith Deployed Again for military moms, about ten devotionals. A lot of military wives eventually have their children grow up and join the military so they're in a new role, and it's very different to have a child go to war or be in the military, because the books are good for both war and peacetime.

Do you see yourself doing more fiction down the line?

Yes, I do. I really like that this chapter has opened up. There are so many military wives out there who are writing really good things for military wives. My experience as a military wife is getting further and further behind me so I am more than willing to have other military wives be in the spotlight and share their wisdom and have that be their ministry! I'm very happy with the books that I have done, and I think that military families are always going to be on my heart, but I think fiction is coming at a really good time for me.

Do you think you'll always have an interest in some kind of military fiction or is there some other genre you are interested in writing?

I would like to try a contemporary fiction that doesn't have to do with war! It's really draining to do the research or, for my non-fiction books, to do the interviews. It's really rewarding but when you are thinking about war and death and wounds and PTSD, it's hard! Someday I'd like to write something sweet!

I don't know that I'll ever be the traditional romance writer but it will be something that has to interest me a lot. If it's not historical it will have to be something very scientifically interesting or the NCIS type of thing where you learn about forensics at the same time. It has to hold my interest. It can't just be a love story. I'm sure there will be a love interest in there but that won't be the whole point of the story, kinda like Wedded to War was.

Tell me about your family and your life outside of writing.

I live in Iowa. My son is three and my daughter is six; she'll be in first grade in the fall. Writing and being a mom -- there's not much left after that! I used to scrapbook! It's been years; now it's all I can do just to remember to take the pictures. I do enjoy gardening or just being outside reading or researching. We like to do bike rides as a family and I think we would like to camp, although we don't do it very much. My husband used to be in the Coast Guard and now he's a Web Developer.

Kim: What would you say to your readers as they approach your fiction?

I hope they like it! (She laughs.) I would say that they can feel very confident as they're reading the story that, because it was woven from the fabric of our national history, they are going to learn a great deal about women that they can be proud of. They're going to see that strong women are not just something that happened with the feminist movement. We've always had strong women in this country. They can be proud about that. I hope they will be so interested in the story that they will be at least tempted to look at some of the books in the bibliography and learn a little bit more. They can also be assured that even though it's very historically accurate, it doesn't read like a history textbook. There's a lot of human drama and emotion and I think the human elements and the emotional elements will keep them turning the pages.

What about faith? How do you weave that into your fiction? That's such a debate now with Christian fiction.

For me, it's very easy because I show the spiritual development of my different characters, who are starting out at different places. For instance, Charlotte was already a Christian. We show her trying to live out the legacy that her father had, of being merciful. But we also see her struggle with a few things, such as "Did I pursue this because it was my will or God's will?" With Ruby, she does not know the Lord at the beginning of the novel and she makes hard decisions that lead to a great deal of shame and guilt; she's in bondage. With Edward Goodrich, the chaplain, he thought he knew it all because he'd been to seminary, but it was booklearning. When you are in the trenches, so to speak, you find out that life is hard and war is ugly and you ask "How does my faith hold up in this?" I've heard from some people that what they appreciate about the faith element in the book is that I didn't go through the Four Spiritual Laws; I didn't take a chapter and explain the plan of salvation. It's more organic to the story and not forced.

Kim: What is God doing in your life?

God is so good to me. He's given me permission to be who He has made me to be without trying to achieve the standards of all the big name authors who are here. I am who I am. I have two young children, and I don't want to scar them by locking myself in my office to churn out books that might be good books--but I am the only mommy to my children. There are a lot of books out there that you can read if you're bored. I hope you like my book and it's really fulfilling to like it, but if the Lord ever tells me "Your writing is hurting your family," I will stop. Immediately.

The other thing God has really been teaching me since my novel released is, "Which voices are you going to listen to?" Because when you write a novel, everyone will tell you what they think! Even if they hate it, they will tell you! I've told myself to just stop reading reviews! And honestly, the vast majority are very positive. Why is it that the few negative ones are the ones that play over and over in your mind? It's really a spiritual growth opportunity for me. I want to listen to God's voice in my life. And I want to listen to my immediate family. Writing my books will not please everyone and that's okay. I'm not trying to please everyone. I'm trying to be true to who God has called me to be.

Thank you so much, Jocelyn! What a treat to visit with you. I'm excited to see where God will lead you next in your writing journey!

If you want a chance to win a copy of this fabulous book, visit Mocha With Linda today!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 Christy Award Winners!!

I'll be posting interviews with these authors in the week to come, so stay tuned!  Right now, I'm still trying to recover from the brain fog of TOTAL exhaustion! Bear with me while I get my second wind! This was a phenomenal year for great Christian Fiction!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rare Earth by Davis Bunn - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rare Earth
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
Davis Bunn


Born and raised in North Carolina, Davis left for Europe at age twenty. There he first completed graduate studies in economics and finance, then began a business career that took him to over forty countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Davis came to faith at age 28, while living in Germany and running an international business advisory group. He started writing two weeks later. Since that moment, writing has remained both a passion and a calling.

Davis wrote for nine years and completed seven books before his first was accepted for publication. During that time, he continued to work full-time in his business career, travelling to two and sometimes three countries every week. His first published book, The Presence, was released in 1990 and became a national bestseller.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include The Great Divide, Winner Take All, The Meeting Place, The Warning, The Book of Hours, and The Quilt.

A sought-after speaker in the art of writing, Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.


Marc Royce stares out of the helicopter, a sense of foreboding rising with the volcanic cloud. Below, the Rift Valley slashes across Africa like a scar. Decades of conflicts, droughts, and natural disasters have left their mark.

Dispatched to audit a relief organization, Royce is thrust into the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps. But his true mission focuses on the area's reserves of once-obscure minerals now indispensable to high-tech industries. These strategic elements--called rare earth--have inflamed tensions on the world's stage and stoked tribal rivalries. As Royce prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes on a bold and risky venture for restoring justice to this troubled land.

But this time, Royce may have gone too far.

My Thoughts:
I haven't completed this novel, but I must share with you that I am reading an autographed copy I received from the author's hand at the International Christian Retail Show! What a thrill for me - a reader that has been reading his words for more than a decade!!

Davis Bunn creates very strong characters in all of his stories, and Rare Earth is no exception.  From the very first pages, Marc Royce's life is on the line as he tries moment by moment to make wise decisions that will allow him to live into the next moment! This is a VERY fast paced story!!  And there are so many layers to the situation encountered by Royce, that at times, it's a real challenge to keep it all straight!

I haven't reached the conclusion yet, but I imagine it will be as breathtaking and thilling as all I have read to this point!  If you want to read at a franctic pace, and miss a few hours of sleep, Davis Bunn and Rare Earth is a story you don't want to miss!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rare Earth, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'll be otherwised occupied for the next couple of days!

Click on the LOGO to find out what I'm working on!  And find me on facebook to see my progress!!

See you in a couple of days!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)
 Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, Kingdom, Kansas, with plans never to return.

But five years later, the new life she built is falling apart. Lizzie knows she's being followed, and she's certain the same mysterious stranger is behind the threatening letters she's received. Realizing she'll have to run again, the only escape Lizzie can manage is a return to the last place she wants to go.

Once she arrives in Kingdom, Lizzie is confident she'll be safe until she comes up with a new plan. In reacquainting herself with the town and its people--especially her old friend, Noah Housler--she wonders if she judged her hometown and her Mennonite faith too harshly. However, just as she begins to come to terms with her roots, Lizzie is horrified to discover the danger she ran from is closer than ever.

No longer sure who to trust and fearful for her life and the lives of those around her, Lizzie finds she has only one place left to run--to the Father whose love is inescapable.

You can purchase a copy of the book HERE!

My Thoughts:
Oooops!  Forgot to post my reveiw before this went live! Sorry!!

This is a VERY intriguing book!  Lizzie Engle is being stalked, and things are falling apart on her job.  Fear chases her back to the town in which she grew up - Kingdom.  Once there, she must deal with her very unforgiving father and all of her past.  What she discovers, is that she is not the only one trying to face her fears.

This book is very suspenseful, and the "bad" guy is hiding in plain sight! I love it when that happens!  But what I love most about this story, is that it really represents what fear does to all of us - it's paralyzing.  God can and will deliver us from fear and allow us to face our fear rather than be held in it's inescapable clutches.

Nany Mehl does a beautiful job of showing the transforming power of forgivness and grace set against the deteriorating soul and mind of one who stays captured by fear.  The results? A very multi-layered story, filled with unexpected twists and turns, that leads the reader to a very satisfying end!  Now that's a great story folks!  One I am most happy to recommend to you!

About the Author:
 Nancy Mehl, the author of 12 books, received an ACFW Carol Award in 2009 for her novel For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Wichita, Kansas, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Visit her website at www.nancymehl.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Win a Handmade Mennonite Quilt from @NancyMehl! RSVP for her INESCAPABLE Facebook Party 7/26!

Celebrate with Nancy by entering her "Inescapable" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 7/26!

Find out what readers are saying here.

One winner will receive:
  • A Handmade Mennonite Quilt
  • A copy of Inescapable by Nancy Mehl
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Inescapable" Author Chat Facebook Party on 7/26. Nancy will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills (how much do you know about the Mennonites?) and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of Inescapable and join Nancy on the evening of the July 26th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Book of the King by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Tyndale Pubishing)
“Nothing special” is the best way to describe Owen Reeder—at least that's what he's been told all his life. When a stranger visits his father's bookstore, Owen's ordinary life spirals out of control and right into a world he didn't even know existed. Owen believes the only gift he possesses is his ability to devour books, but he is about to be forced into a battle that will affect two worlds: his and the unknown world of the Lowlands. Perfect for readers ages 10 to 14 who enjoy a fast-paced story packed with action, fantasy, and humor.

My Thoughts:

A person ruled by small fears cannot recognize things that truly should commend his dread.”  (opening sentence of Chapter 6)

Owen spends a great deal of this book afraid of a group of teen bullies, when, in fact, there is something much more sinister to be afraid of!  A  lot of very strange things begin to happen to Owen at an ever increasing rate of speed, and he is barely able to connect the dots between events when something else happens to upend his world.  I spent a great deal of my time just praying Owen would make it into the next chapter in one piece!

When Owen is introduced to a very special book – by way of a very mysterious stranger – he begins to know beyond reason that he is meant for something greater than the life of a bookish, verbally abused, socially inept teenager.  But he has great challenges – life threatening and life altering challenges to overcome before he discovers what greater purpose he must serve. 

Having told you this…I must say, that if you like a good mystery, a tale with a complex layer of meaning, a heroic underdog, and a very eclectic cast of characters, then you have just discovered a great series!  The Book of the King is the first in a series of adventures that will keep the pages turning at a frantic pace!

There is a caveat to this review that I must reveal….the narrator.  The folks that narrate this tale interrupt at very inopportune times and ramble on and on.  There are times I had to turn back just to readjust my focus on the action of the story.  Almost like I’d lost my place.  By the time I was halfway through, I wanted to muzzle the narrator.  I know the authors are the narrator, but the interruptive nature of the storyteller got on my nerves.

It’s a great story.  A great adventure at every turn!  But the narrator is a bothersome sidekick along the journey. (I’m just sayin’!)

About the Authors:
Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris's novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and Not in the Heart, have won two Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more. He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and the Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR. Visit his Web site at www.chrisfabry.com.

 Jerry B. Jenkins, former vice president for publishing at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and currently chairman of the board of trustees, is the author of more than 175 books, including the best-selling Left Behind series. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times Best Sellers List (seven in the number-one spot) and have also appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists. Desecration, book nine in the Left Behind series, was the best-selling book in the world in 2001. His books have sold nearly 70 million copies.Also the former editor of Moody magazine, his writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts, Christianity Today and dozens of other periodicals. He was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 2004.His nonfiction books include as-told-to biographies with Hank Aaron, Bill Gaither, Orel Hershiser, Luis Palau, Joe Gibbs, Walter Payton, and Nolan Ryan among many others. The Hershiser and Ryan books reached the New York Times Best Sellers List. Jenkins assisted Dr. Billy Graham with his autobiography, Just As I Am, also a New York Times best seller. Jerry spent 13 months working with Dr. Graham, which he considers the privilege of a lifetime. Jerry owns Jenkins Entertainment, a filmmaking company in Los Angeles, which produced the critically acclaimed movie Midnight Clear, based on his book of the same name. See www.Jenkins-Entertainment.com.Jerry Jenkins also owns the Christian Writers Guild, which aims to train tomorrow's professional Christian writers. Under Jerry's leadership, the guild has expanded to include college-credit courses, a critique service, literary registration services, and writing contests, as well as an annual conference. See www.ChristianWritersGuild.com.As a marriage-and-family author, Jerry has been a frequent guest on Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program and is a sought-after speaker and humorist. See www.AmbassadorSpeakers.com.Jerry has been awarded four honorary doctorates. He and his wife, Dianna, have three grown sons and six grandchildren.Check out Jerry's blog at http://jerryjenkins.blogspot.com.
Watch this exclusive video of Jerry Jenkins.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


 * The following is provided by McCain and Co. Public Relations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 10, 2012) - Dove Award-winning artist Cheri Keaggy releases her new CD, So I Can Tell, today on the singer/songwriter's Psalm 91 record label. The first CD since her independent 2007 release, Because He First Loved Us, Keaggy draws on the encouragement of Scripture and her utter reliance on the comforting power of God to create an honest, engaging recording that is reflective of her emergence from a difficult season in life.
"Out of the trials of the last few years, I feel like God has given me some gold," Keaggy says of the new songs. "Now it's time for me to pour it out."
So I Can Tell is being released on the 18-year anniversary of the 1994 Sparrow Records release of Keaggy's Dove Award-nominated debut CD, Child of the Father.
In conjunction with today's CD release, multiple media outlets will be featuring the new project, including HearItFirst.com, CCMMagazine.com, Parent Talk Radio, Christian Television Network's Bridges, Cornerstone TV's Focus 4, LeSea Broadcasting's The Harvest Show, Atlanta Live and NewReleaseTuesday.com, which is offering a free download of the title track, as well as promoting the single to more than 240 affiliated radio stations.

"So I Can Tell is a breath of fresh air — simple, honest, and pure… This album is a treasure!" says NewReleaseTuesday.com.
Under the guidance of Gospel Music Hall of Famer and legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy, Cheri Keaggy called on the combined talents of Scott Dente and Ken Lewis from Global Genius Productions to produce the new record. The combination of rich, acoustic sounds with Cheri Keaggy's signature plaintive vocals and searingly honest lyrics results in a project that confronts life's realities, even when filled with despair, and offers listeners the way to navigate through the challenges to a place of hope through Christ.
"Cheri's new CD is a real blessing on many levels and these songs are among my favorite Cheri songs," says Phil Keaggy. "They are brimming with heart and truth. There is a deep passion in her lyrics that truly touches the soul of the listener. Cheri really shines on this masterful collection of her original material. This CD will touch you and lift you with hope."
"Cheri is at a really special time in her life…a lot of these songs represent a fresh start," Dente says. "(Working on the project has) been a complete joy."

"Cheri brought some beautiful songs, some amazing songs to the project," says Lewis.
Penned following the end of her nearly 23-year marriage to her high school sweetheart, So I Can Tell is a testimony of God's goodness in the midst of pain and suffering. Like a modern day psalmist, Keaggy's lyrics express grief, loneliness, and God's comfort in the contemporary hymns "Bind Me To You," "There Will Be One Day" and the arresting "Hello, God." She echoes the apostle Paul in the memorable piano ballad "To Live is Christ" and celebrates Christ's provision in the ukulele-based crowd favorite "Air, Food, and Water."
Through an accessible folk-pop presentation, the album leaves listeners with a renewed sense that God is with us, no matter what. So I Can Tell is filled with the radio-ready songs for which Keaggy is known and loved. Her lush vocals lovingly caress piano ballads like the title cut and the haunting "When You Were Jesus To Me." Her voice takes on a lilting quality in the hope-infused "Starting a New Year Today," written on the one-year anniversary of her divorce. As an added bonus, guitar maestro Phil Keaggy closes the album with the peace-evoking benediction "Postlude: Invitation to Hope."
Cheri Keaggy partnered with her fans to raise the capital for the new project through the innovative Kickstarter "crowd-funding" business model. Keaggy joins Christian musicians such as Shaun Groves and John Schlitt, and Christian filmmaker Steve Taylor (Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz), who also used the service to fund their most recent projects.
"I never would have had the courage to launch Kickstarter if I hadn't already experienced God working so mightily on my behalf through the body of Christ," says Keaggy. "Somehow I knew if God was in this music, then it would be no trouble at all for Him to supply the resources to make it happen. He truly is bringing 'beauty from ashes' with this project."
About Cheri Keaggy:
Cheri Keaggy began her career as a worship leader at a small church in Southern California before recording her debut album on Sparrow Records, Child of the Father, in 1994. Honored with a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year, Cheri has gone on to record seven additional albums, resulting in nine No. 1 songs, three Dove Award nominations and a Dove Award win. After more than two decades in music, her ministry has expanded to include speaking engagements as well.
For more information on Cheri Keaggy and So I Can Tell, visit cherikeaggy.com. Follow Cheri Keaggy on Twitter (@cherikeaggy) or on Facebook by choosing "like" at the Cheri Keaggy Fan Page (facebook.com/cherikeaggy). Fans also can read Cheri Keaggy's weekly blog at www.cherikeaggy.com.

Cheri Keaggy - So I Can Tell - RELEASES TODAY!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

I must go to a memorial service today, and I need your prayers

"An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth.
Then whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth".
~author unknown

Pray for me today, as I stand by the graveside of a precious angel----Lily Marie.  She only lived a few hours, and she was the longed for daughter of my cousin.  She died in the arms of her father, and his testimony of that moment was this: "I was her earthly father handing her into the arms of her Heavenly Father."  That is God's sustaining grace alone!

Pray for this precious family today as they grieve, and pray for their strength to navigate the days ahead.

Thanks, guys!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Serpent of Moses by Don Hoesel - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Bethany House Publishers)

Moses built and lifted up the brass serpent, healing the afflicted Israelites of snakebites.
King Hezekiah called the serpent Nehushtan. Long thought destroyed, it's been buried for millennia, secreted under the region's shifting sands.
Now the Israeli government wants it back and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Yet they're not the only ones who covet the Nehushtan.
Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne travels to Libya intent on recovering the sacred object, but one does not cross the Mossad and expect to walk away without a fight. Jack and his friends must find the priceless "snake of brass upon a pole" before those who are also hunting it find them... and silence them forever.

My Thoughts:

“I think there are things that were meant to serve whatever purposes God  wanted them to serve.”  (p.312)

These words, although uttered at the end of Don Haesel’s latest tale, Serpent of Moses,  could have been spoken at many other points within the story and still carried the weight of truth.  Prepare yourself for a wild ride folks!  The staff of Moses is still cause for great excitement, wonder, awe and just plain old fashioned mystery.  Jack Hawthorne is an archeologist in pursuit of one of the world’s most powerful  biblical relics, and while he becomes immersed in the pursuit, he discovers that there are many seeking answers to a variety of questions…all tied to the very thing Jack is pursuing.

This is a classic action tale, filled with non-stop, heart-pounding events that keep the pages turning at a frantic pace!  I do wish that I had perfect recall of other of Haesel’s novels, because there are many times when reference is made to events that took place in prior novel.  However, I was still able to enjoy a pulse-pounding tale, and became very fond of all of the main characters.

I know I’ll sound cliché when I say this, but this book is very much like reading an Indiana Jones novel!  And I’m a HUGE fan of Dr. Jones!  So, I’m going to add Jack Hawthorne to my list of archeology professors and anxiously await the next novel from Don Daesel’s pen!  If you are an adventure fan, don’t miss any of these books!! I won’t!!

About the Author:

  Don Hoesel is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. The Serpent of Moses is his fourth novel.