Saturday, January 31, 2009

Throwing an 80th Birthday Party for my dad today!

There aren't many times in your life when you realize how rich you blessed. I got a chance to tell my Daddy what he means to me today. My sister and brothers pitched a big birthday bash for my dad....a complete surprise...and around 200 folks showed up! We sang, shared stories and sang some more. It was a wonderful day! I'm totally exhausted, but very, very happy!

I will now share with you my tribute to my Dad. I am indeed a very, very blessed lady! And I LOVE my Daddy!!

Steadfast and True – that’s you Daddy.
Always there to share my dreams, and encouraging me with your smile.
On the front row of whatever event captured my heart
Making me feel as if there was nothing I couldn’t do.

My childhood memories are of a man bigger than life
Tanned golden bronze by the sun as you worked in the garden and tended the cows.
My childhood daddy could do anything…tell a joke, teach a class, lead a choir,
Or sing a song that made him cry.

My childhood daddy pulled my tooth with strings tied to doorknobs
And doubled over with laughter when I got pinned beneath a calf that I was
Supposed to be holding still in the back of the truck. He rode bicycles with me
And carried me in his arms when I wrecked and hit the pavement.

This man of my childhood encouraged me to work hard, study hard
And live my life loving and serving God by loving and serving those around me.
My daddy has lived the example of faithful friendship, devoted father, loving husband
And of a man who hungered for God’s touch in his life.

This dear man that blessed my life in so many ways gave me away in marriage
When I met a man who shared my dreams and stole my heart.
He drove cross-country to meet my sons when they were born on an Army base
A thousand miles away.

I’ve seen Daddy sit by the bedside of a friend, watched him take tender care of his parents, and share adventures and vacations with my Mom. I’ve seen him grocery shop, fix tractors, mow lawns and put up martin gourds - and all the while he’s planting a garden, faithfully attending church, and loving his family with his whole heart.

Daddy has continued to share my dreams, collect my poems, love my family and encourage me with his smile every single day of my life. Steadfast and True – that’s you Daddy, and I love you with all of my heart.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Congratulation graphics

SARAH!! You are the winner of the autographed copy of KISS!! Ted Dekker and Erin Healy's autographs grace the title page, and the story's wonderful!! You are in for such a treat!

I want to say thanks to all of you who stopped by to sign up for this give-away. It sort of caps off a very sp
ecial event for me, and an evening I'm sure I'll not soon forget!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Win a copy of Randy Singer's novel By Reason of Insanity!

Not long ago I was introducing you to the heart pounding release of By Reason of Insanity. You can read my review here. Now folks, Randy Singer can put together a legal thriller with more excitement than anything you've read lately! And the great thing about it? You never have to wait long for another great tale! That's right! In just a few short months, Randy will release his next exciting political thriller, The Justice Game!

Randy is raising the bar a bit this time and allowing his readers to vote on the ending of The Justice Game. You can find out about this fabulous opportunity HERE. Please go vote! Once you have cast your vote, come back and leave a comment here letting me know who you voted for and why. Doing this will enter your name in a drawing for a FREE copy of By Reason of Insanity! This way, you will have a great read to keep you occupied until Randy's next release! How cool is that?

So, what are you waiting for? Go vote and then come back and tell me about it! Don't you want to win a copy of this great story? I know you do! I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Robert Liparulo shares a behind the scenes look at Gatekeepers!

Okay bloggers, by now you know that I'm a huge fan of Robert Liparulo! So, once again, I'm going to give you another peek behind the scenes of the fabulous Dreamhouse Kings series! Now, here is a bit more about his latest release - Gatekeepers!

On page 270-71 we find the following passage: " There is a balance to everything in the world," Jesse said. "Things need to be where they belong. We don't belong in the past, but if we go back there enough times, or stay long enough, history sort of...gets used to us. It starts to want us there, because by our continued presence, we made a place for ourselves."

Do you think man's fascination with time - with its dimensions and passage - with the desire to control or transcend its boundaries - is another attempt to better understand God's power and sovereignty in our lives? How so?

I’ve always been fascinated by the nature of time. It seems so immutable, so necessary, and of course it is. But it’s an invention of God’s. He rolled it out like a long tapestry, then wove the lives of His children into it. He deemed it essential to our existence. Everything we do is measured against it. Writing a novel, for example: if it takes five years, readers want to see every one of those days on the page in the quality of the writing, the profoundness of the story. If it takes a week to write, that would be something pretty special as well, especially if it’s well done. We have a sense of time’s passing, of what can be or should be accomplished as the minutes tick by. I’ve tried to get my head around the idea that we are the accumulation of all the decisions and actions we’ve put into each second of our past. Who hasn’t wished for a chance to change something we did, to go back and say “Yes” instead of “No,” to choose love and forgiveness instead of stubborn pride? But we can’t. We can only try to make amends, to fix the damage we’ve caused.

God, on the other hand, lives outside of time, and sometimes He gives us a glimpse of what that means. The most powerful demonstration of that is through grace: No matter how many years we’ve spent as sinners, sinning, in an instant, through His Son, God wipes our slate clean. Thomas Paine said, “Time makes more converts than reason.” Day in and day out, we see God’s divine nature in everything around us, we see his love for us.

His ability to be everywhere at once, including anywhere in time—not just then, but now, to move through time even more efficiently than we move through a house— is, for me, a constant reminder of His greatness and majesty. No other being can do that. Satan can’t. God not only knows the future, but is also in the future, as He is in the past.

I’m rambling a bit, but whenever I start pondering time—God’s place in it, my place in it—I find myself grasping at something that can’t really be grasped. That’s one reason the Dreamhouse Kings involves time travel: I wanted to explore man’s relationship with time and compare it to God’s. I wanted to say, “Wow, look at that. Can you imagine? Who else but a loving God would create such a thing?”

Do you see similar interests in the lives of your children? What books/ideas do they find fascinating?

I don’t think my kids have reached a point in their lives when time is quite as fascinating to them as it is to me. They love the idea of being able to manipulate the past in order to cause a positive change in the present. They understand the flow of time and always perk up when it’s described differently from the way they know it actually is. They loved the way time was out of synch in The Chronicles of Narnia, how time passed differently in Narnia than it did in the kids’ own “real” world. I think even five-year-olds have regrets, so the concept of reaching back and tweaking the past is something even they can appreciate.

Around our house, there’s a general appreciation for the idea that things that came before affect our present and future, and not simply within our own lives, but going all the way back to the beginning. We live in a culture that doesn’t necessarily hold onto “old” things, “past” things. It’s a “live for today” kind of world, but sins and redemptions of the long-lost past do matter. If it didn’t, God wouldn’t have given us the histories, the lineages that He does in Scripture. Original sin wouldn’t be an issue. If we grasp that, then we can better understand how the things we do today
will have an effect on tomorrow—for us and for future generations. That’s one of the lessons the Dreamhouse kids eventually learn.

With a young adult series underway and a new adult novel scheduled for release in March, your writing schedule must be pretty amazing. Can you give us a behind-the-scenes look at your writing schedule and tell us how you keep all of those characters straight? How do you keep track of developing story lines? Do tell!

I try to write at least two young adult books one after the other. That way, I can stay in that world longer, which helps with continuity and keeping it all straight. I wrote Deadlock, the thriller for adults coming out in March, between books two and three of the Dreamhouse series. I’ll have written the next three in the series before jumping into the next adult thriller. One thing that helps me move between the thrillers and the young adult books is that my voice, my style of writing, doesn’t change that much, regardless of the age group I’m targeting. When I set out writing for young adults, I didn’t want to “dumb down” the writing. I think kids are a lot smarter and more sophisticated about storytelling than adults give them credit for. The only thing I changed was that the YA’s feature young protagonists, and they tell a story I thought would appeal especially to kids. I think this approached has helped adults enjoy the books, as well.

As far as keeping the characters and plotline consistent and moving forward through what will be a six-book series, I use big, poster-sized sheets of paper to outline the story so far and where it’s heading. I know the story inside and out—it sprang from a dream I had when I was a kid, one that I’ve been thinking about ever since. The challenge comes not from having to figure out where the story is heading, but how to pace the telling of it so it’s interesting and allows for the reader to get to know each character better as it progresses. My wife says I have two families, my own and the Kings. Mentally, I’m with the Kings so much, I know each one of them almost as well as I do my real family, so keeping their physical appearances and personalities straight is fairly easy. But the kids in Dreamhouse get banged up quite a bit. David breaks his arm. He gets a black eye. He gets smacked in the leg. I started using medical charts to chronicle their injuries. Sometimes I have to refer to these charts to refresh my memory as I’m writing: “Oh yeah, this newly introduced character would comment on David’s black eye”—that sort of thing.

For more about Gatekeepers and Robert, see my earlier interview here.

Gatekeepers by Robert Liparulo!!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Dreamhouse Kings #3)

Thomas Nelson (January 6, 2009)


Robert Liparulo


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

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

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

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

And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!


Bob Liparulo wants to give away a signed 3 book set of the DreamHouse Kings books! Send an email to Bob [at] Liparulo [dot] com and put "CFBA" in the subject line. He will pick a winner next week!!!!

In the third novel of this young adult series, the mystery deepens in a house that is more than meets the eye.

The Kings have been in the creepy old place, their new home, for only a few days, but they've experienced enough terror to last a lifetime. And the mystery is growing even more baffling. Shadowy and shifting, the big house conceals doors into other worlds that blur the line between memories and dreams-and the slightest misstep can change history forever.

At least, that's if they believe the trembling old man who shows up claiming to know them. "There's a reason you're in the house," he tells them. "As gatekeepers, we must make sure only those events that are supposed to happen get through to the future."

The problem is that horrors beyond description wait on the other side of those gates. As if that weren't enough, the Kings are also menaced by sinister forces on this side-like the dark, ancient stranger Taksidian, who wants them out now.

It's hard to believe that things could have gotten worse for the King family-but they have. Dad's in handcuffs, the school bully has just found the secret portal that leads from the high school to the house, and Xander is sure he's found Mom, but they can't get back to her. Then Jesse arrives, and he seems to be a virtual Obi Wan of knowledge about the place. But is he the key they need to unlock the secrets, or just a crazy old man?

Dangers are increasing from within and without when Xander makes a startling discovery that explains why they haven't found any rooms that lead to the future. Alongside the threats, though, they're also starting to find some surprising allies.
All they have to do is get organized, get psyched, and get Mom. But that isn't nearly as easy as it sounds.

Xander, David, and Toria must venture beyond the gates to save their missing mother-and discover how truly high the stakes have become.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gatekeepers
(Dreamhouse Kings #3)
, go HERE

What they're saying:


“We’re gatekeepers, David. The way gatekeepers of old allowed into the city only those people meant to be there…so we do here.” (p. 132)

The third book in Robert Liparulo’s Dreamhouse King Series is here! Gatekeepers truly begins with heart-pounding excitement that maintains and builds until you reach the last page! And oh! That ending!! Another place where Robert Liparulo leaves you dangling like so much meat over the flames! He is such a masterful cliff-hanging expert! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Xander, Toria and David find themselves in an ever deepening pool of trouble. This house – filled with time portals – has already claimed their mom, and it seems the forces within its secret rooms are determined to claim so much more! In this third installment the reader is introduced to some more key players – some are evil and others good. As their identities are revealed, the reader begins to understand just a bit more about the time portals and the role the King family has played throughout the annals of time. Time is a force that has been broken into pieces, and as different people pass in and out of the flow of time, things become more and more complicated!

I can’t tell you a lot without giving away this fabulous story line! All I must say is that if you LOVE a good, suspenseful story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, whether you are a young adult or an adult who is young at heart, please pick up this series today! You won’t be disappointed! You will be mesmerized! Robert Liparulo’s Dreamhouse King series is masterfully written and will keep you entertained from beginning to end!

What are you waiting for? Pick up your copy today!!

"If you like creepy and mysterious, this is the house for you! Every room opens a door to magic, true horror, and amazing surprises. I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?" --R.L. Stine (Goosebumps)

"A powerhouse storyteller delivers his most fantastic ride yet!"
-Ted Dekker, bestselling author of Kiss, Chosen and Infidel

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Christian Writer's Market Guide 2009 by Sally Stuart

From the publisher:
For 24 years running, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide has remained the most comprehensive, complete, essential, and highly-recommended resource for Christian writers, agents, editors, publishers, publicists, and those teaching writing classes. And it’s the tool for both for beginners and industry veterans.

This perennial guide contains a variety of indexes–listed by topic, alphabetical listing of publishing houses and agents, and more–to more than 1,200 markets. Those markets include greeting cards and specialty writing, e-book and traditional book publishing (32 new listings), and periodicals (52 new). Also listed are 96 literary agents, more than 100 new writing resource listings, and 166 contests (29 new).

As with the guide for the last couple years, a CD-Rom is included and contains the text of the book for simple, electronic searches. But the 2009 Guide is handier–a more reder-friendly page count with 100 pages or so of traditional content (like indexes and contest listings) now exclusively on the CD-Rom.

Readers will get the same trusted content, though, as in years past. In fact, the latest information on more than 100 editors and publishers, conferences, writers’ groups, and more are not only listed and indexed in the book, but this year, readers will get a code in the book and on the CD-Rom for accessing more updates through the year on author Sally Stuart’s web site,

If it is your intent to become published in the Christian market, whether it be fiction, non-fiction, children's book, magazine articles of anything in between, you absolutely MUST have a copy of this book! Sally Stewart updates this writing tool annually, and you can be sure that this market listing is current and complete. This year's edition includes the guide on CD as well as a complete listing of writer's groups and support networks to assist you in polishing your craft.

The Christian Writer's Market is a professional publication that includes lists of agents, writer's conferences, professional organizations and even denominational listings. The lists are put together in a variety of formats to make it easy to target your specific audience and enhance your opportunity to become published in this very vibrant market!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has the gift of writing and feels like the Lord is leading them to have their work published.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A View from M.L. Tyndall's Window!

It is with great pleasure that I share with you an interview that I completed with MaryLu Tyndall. This dear lady has such a sweet testimony, and her love for the Lord is evident in her writing and in the words she shares with her readers. Although MaryLu writes of pirates, it seems that only her heart has been pirated - by the Lord Himself! He has gifted this dear lady with terrific stories that shine His light in a very exciting way! Please, welcome MaryLu Tyndall to my Window!

Can you share with us where the idea of a female pirate originated and how you came to place her in a Southern town rife with pirate history? (I’ve actually taken the walking tour of Charleston, SC that features pirates! AMAZING stuff!!)

Yes, I’ve taken the same tour in Charleston! It was great. The idea of a female pirate came right out of history. Just google “Historical Female Pirates” and see what you come up with. In fact, I originally wanted to write the story of Anne Cormac who lived in Charles Towne in the early 1700s and who later became Anne Bonny, one of the most notorious pirates in the Caribbean, but she was a bit too ruthless for a Christian novel. LOL. But she does make a brief appearance in the story as a friend of one of Faith’s sisters. I chose Charles Towne precisely for its grand pirate history. What better town is there in which to place my lady pirate?

You delve pretty deeply into the concept of grace and forgiveness, especially as you near the end of the story. Can you share with your readers how this idea developed for the characters and how important/difficult it was to make their sacrifices believable? (I mean, that last chapter…I was totally there!!)

My original intent for the story was to portray the heroine, Faith, as one of the seeds in the parable of the sower—the seed that falls on the rocky soil and then falls away when troubles and tribulations come upon her, but as I progressed with the story and the characters, I realized I also had a great opportunity to show God’s love and forgiveness in both the main characters. The hero, Dajon, has been trying to earn God’s forgiveness by his good works, and Faith has made a mess of things by drifting away from God. While Faith desperately needs God’s forgiveness, Dajon needs to accept the fact that he already has it and he couldn’t earn it if he tried. How difficult was it to make their paths to God’s grace believable? Not hard at all, because I have been in both positions at different times in my life. (No, I wasn’t a lady pirate, but I came pretty close!)

Hope is a real difficult sister for Faith to deal with. As her history is revealed, the reader could be tempted to give up any chance of redemption for her. Will the Blue Enchantress be her story? (the ending indicates that possibility) How important is it for you to make others understand that NOTHING is beyond the scope of God’s forgiveness

Yes. The Blue Enchantress is Hope’s story. She’s the seed that falls on the thorny ground and is lured away from God by the pleasures and cares of this world. And I’m glad she seemed irredeemable. That’s what I was going for! I hope to reach all the women out there who have made similar mistakes as Hope, who feel dirty and unworthy and soiled and who think God wants nothing to do with them. I want to show that that there is no blemish, no stain, no well deep enough, no sludge too filthy, that God can’t find you, pick you up, clean you off and give you all His love.

As believers, there are many times we struggle to understand why certain trials seem to be heaped upon some while others’ faith seems almost effortless. How can you encourage your readers that God is sovereign even in our trials, and that His promise to bring good from the trials of His children is true?

Personally, I take it as a compliment if I going through trials and struggles. To me, that means, God sees something in me that He can use, and He’s training me, growing my faith, strengthening me through tribulation for His purposes. And what’s more important, more fulfilling in this life than to be used by Almighty God, to serve the King of Kings, to help usher in the Kingdom of God? Do we want to sit around living mediocre lives as we bow down to our own self-comfort? Or do we want to live life abundantly on the edge, to experience things we never would have experienced, to see things we never would have seen—to know God personally? So, I would say that God is the ultimate loving Daddy and like a good Father, He never sends anything into your life that isn’t for your good and His glory in the long run. You just have to believe, trust him, and stick it out. In other words, whatever you’re going through, don’t give up. You haven’t seen the end of the story yet!

Have you ever visited Charleston, SC? If so, what was your most memorable experience? If you’ve never been there, how did you so accurately capture the essence of that town?

Yes! I love Charleston! My daughter and I traveled there last year after The Red Siren was contracted. I wanted to get a feel for the city and do some research. We had a fabulous time and I fell more in love with the city than I thought I would. There were so many memorable experiences, but I would have to say that the historic walks through old Charleston were my favorite. We took the Charleston Walk and toured some of the historic homes, and of course, the Pirate tour, where we were taken into the old Exchange and down into the Provost Dungeon. In the Provost dungeon I got to see a section of the old wall which used to surround the city way back in 1718. Way cool. In fact, the jail scene in The Red Siren is taken from my tour of the Dungeon.

What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Parting words of encouragement for your readers?

God is really taking me out into the deep water this year! He’s teaching me to trust Him in ways I never thought possible. Trusting Him with my time, my novels, finances, and my family. He’s challenging me to truly believe He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. And you know what I’m finding so far? He’s exactly right! All the great men and women of the Bible were not perfect people or kind people or good people. But they had one thing in common. Each one sought God with all their heart and they believed what He told them. Take Him at His Word and see what wonderful things He will do!

My Review of The Red Siren by MaryLu Tyndall

God help me. Is there any pain worse than the betrayal of a friend? Then he remembered how the Lord had been betrayed by all His dearest friends – those who had sworn their love and loyalty to Him. How did you bear it Lord?” (p. 293)

Her red hair is like a flame that draws the moth to the fire. Her spirit, turned away from God in the face of personal tragedy, longs to be as free and independent as the waves that crash upon the bow of her pirate vessel. Faith Wescott is a force to be reckoned with, and she has no intention of becoming enslaved through marriage to a man who has no use for her other than his physical pleasure. Faith Wescott has vowed to protect and provide for her sisters, as well as her own heart, and she will not be deterred!

Yet Faith didn’t consider that God’s ways are higher than her ways, and she never expected to encounter Dajon Waite, Captain of on of the Royal Navy’s vessels and promised to rid the South Carolina waterways from all its pirates – including her! And thus begins the most exciting, satisfying adventure you have ever embarked upon the written page! Ahhhh!! M.L. Tyndall is in completely in her element and weaves a tale that will leave you breathless – first with anxiety, then with satisfaction, then with anxiety again!

Her romantic tension will keep you reading at a frantic pace, and as the tale draws to its final chapters…well, let me just urge you not to read this at bedtime! You will lose sleep! The Red Siren is filled with broken hearts, broken dreams, redeemed souls and ransomed lives. Though filled with adventure, betrayal and deception, the story comes to an incredibly satisfying and believable conclusion. Please, don’t wait a moment! Go! Purchase your copy of The Red Siren today! And don’t despair when you reach the final pages..there is more to come from this very talented writer!

The Red Siren by M.L. Tyndall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Red Siren

Barbour Publishing, Inc (January 2009)


M.L. Tyndall


M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

Her current releases in the Legacy of The Kings Pirates series include:The Restitution, The Reliance, and The Redemption and The Falcon And The Sparrow


Lady Faith Westcott has turned her back on God and on man. Having witnessed the hypocrisy in the Church of England, her older sister's abuse at the hand of her husband, and her own mother's untimely
death in childbirth, Faith has determined never to marry and to gain enough wealth so she and her two sisters will never have to depend on man or God again.

To that end, though a lady by day, she becomes a pirate by night and begins her sordid career off Portsmouth when she attacks and plunders a merchant ship commanded by the young Dajon Waite. Humiliated at being defeated by a pirate and a woman no less, Dajon returns home without cargo and ship, and his father expels him from the family merchant business.

After a brief sojourn into debased society, Dajon rejoins the Royal Navy, where he finds comfort in the strict rules and redemption through his service to others. Three years later, he is sent to the frontier outpost of Charles Town, South Carolina to deal with the pirate problem. There, he connects with his mentor and old friend, Admiral Westcott, who has just arrived with his three daughters.

Much to Dajon's utter dismay, Admiral Westcott, who is being called away to Spain, asks Dajon to be temporary guardian of his three lovely daughters. One of the ladies seems familiar to him, a striking redhead who immediately sends his heart thumping.

Faith recognizes Captain Waite as the buffoon whose ship she plundered off Portsmouth. Yet, he appears no longer the fool, but instead a tall, handsome and commanding naval officer. Despite her immediate attraction to him, she labels him the enemy, but sparks are guaranteed to fly during the next few months when independent, headstrong and rebellious Faith falls in love with God-fearing honorable, rule-following Dajon-especially when Faith continues her pirating off the Carolina coast while her father is away.

Will Dajon catch her? And what will this man of honor and duty do when he does?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Red Siren, go HERE

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Tour with Wild Things! (the art of nurturing boys)

Looking for answers on how to raise boys?

Ever wonder…

Why can’t he sit still?

Is he hearing a word I say?

Why is he angry all the time?

Boys are born to be wild. Their strong spirit, endless imagination, and hunger for adventure are only matched by their deep desire to be affirmed, esteemed, and loved. In their new book Wild Things, therapists Stephen James and David Thomas help parents and educators understand what exactly makes boys tick.


As a mother of two boys – both now in their teens – I was eager to see what two men had to say about raising boys. After reading this book, I have to admit that while the book contains some useful information and good admonition, some of their opinions left me scratching my head. However, parenting styles vary markedly, and according to the basic ideas contained in this book, my boys are well on their way to becoming pretty solid men.

Wild Things begins by addressing basic developmental information from birth to manhood and uses descriptive titles like Explorer, Wanderer and Warrior to describe the age-appropriate developmental stages. The next few chapters deal with specific and unique areas in a boy’s life including the way their brain perceives different information, learning styles and their emotional development. Each chapter is broken into very detailed sections and then ends with “tips” that summarize the basic ideas found within. The book ends with a section entitled “Hot Topics” that include sometimes very uncomfortable topics related to sexuality and negative behaviors. All along the way, the authors use examples from their own parenting experiences as well as their counseling encounters to give the book less of a textbook feel.

My overall feeling about this book is neither strongly positive or negative. There were more references to movies and books as things to look at or discuss as models of behavior rather than Scriptural guidelines. Yet I think that is somewhat intentional because this really deals with understanding the boy’s developmental processes and how you can actively participate all along the way. And I think that is the key - being actively present in your child’s life in a way that allows them to be who God created them to be.

For me, I sort of took this book with a grain of salt, because I’ve either already passed the developmental stages mentioned or some of the more difficult issues brought up simply don’t exist in our family. I realize that others reading the book might find great ideas that I didn’t have a need for at this time. The bottom line though is one I heartily support….if the Lord blesses your home with children you better be involved with them every step of the way if they are going to have a fighting chance in this very weird world they are living in. This is NOT the age of hands-off parenting. Our children need us present and by their sides as they’ve never needed us before.

The Lord has blessed our family with unique circumstances that allow us to raise our boys in a much less complicated atmosphere than most children enjoy today. Thus we are able to utilize every teaching opportunity and actively address the “hard” issues like drug addiction by giving them real face-time volunteering for the local ministry that sponsors several residential rehab facilities in our area. Both boys made their profession of faith last year, and we are now nurturing babes in Christ. The importance of that is not lost to us.

I appreciate the efforts of Stephen James and David Thomas in their book Wild Things. Ironically, if you practice their ideas in your home, your boys will grow into mature men and not Wild Things at all!

You’ve gained some valuable advice, but there’s more! If you would like to learn more from these parenting experts about raising boys, you can order a copy of Wild Things through

Based on clinical research, Stephen James and David Thomas have filled Wild Things with practical tips and suggestions for parents. They guide readers through the five stages of a boy’s development, providing an overview and explanation of each stage, followed by a plan to put new principles into action. Pick up a copy today!

A View from Stephen James and David Thomas' Window

Stephen James, M.A., and David Thomas, M.S.S.W., are speakers, authors, and therapists who work directly with boys and their families. They also travel around the country, speaking on parenting and marriage communication, and they have been dynamic guests on CBN’s Living the Life, Good Day Atlanta, WGN Midday News, Moody’s Midday Connection, and other radio programs coast to coast. Learn more at

In your last book, How to Hit a Curveball, Grill the Perfect Steak, and Become a Real Man, you addressed a lot of fatherhood issues about rearing boys. How is your new book, Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, different?

How to Hit a Curveball felt like a perfect introduction to this book. That book challenges men to take a good look at themselves, their experience of being boys themselves and how they were (or weren’t) fathered. We strongly believe that men can’t father well outside of paying attention to their own stories. Whether we like it or not, we are all creatures of habit. We gravitate back toward what we know – good or bad. That book was an invitation to look a little closer at both.

Wild Things is an invitation to take a closer look at your son. This book is a comprehensive look at boy development from birth to young adulthood. In addition to laying out the biology of a boy, we also look at the mind of a boy and the heart of a boy. We break down what a boy needs from his mom and from his dad in every stage of his development. We also hit on all the hot topics surrounding boys, everything from the impact of media to substance abuse, the role of sports, and sex and dating.

The subject of Wild Things was inspired by Maurice Sendak’s classic tale Where the Wild Things Are. Why did you find this theme so appropriate?

If you read closely Sendak’s story, he brilliantly speaks to a boy’s hunger for risk and adventure, how boys crave power and purpose, and how they make sense of the world around them. Sendak’s portrait of boys felt so accurate to the two of us and a unique way of exploring and dissecting a boy’s inner world.

In Wild Things, we borrow from the passion and ethos of Sendak’s book and use that to provide insight and direction for parents, teachers, and mentors in what it means to love a boy well. We also try and give a lot of real life examples from our own lives and from the families we work with in our counseling practices.

You address five key stages that a boy goes through on his journey to becoming a man. What stage is the most difficult for most boys to navigate?

Each of the stages holds unique challenges. We worked hard to break down each stage in a way that is easy to digest. We think that that parents and educators will walk away with a clearer understanding of a boy’s unique design in each stage and some practical ideas in how to care for him within that stage of his development.

In many ways Wild Things is the kind of thing that you don’t just read once. It is more like an entertaining reference guide that parents and teachers can go back to time and time again for encouragement, insight, and direction.

But if we had to identify one stage as the most challenging, though, we’d have to say the Wanderer stage (13-17). This window of a young man’s development is plagued by physical and emotional change. A colleague of mine, who is pediatrician, said boys in this stage are 98% hormone, which translates to their being so emotional. A part of their developmental agenda is moving toward independence and pulling away. He’s often times the most distant and hard to read in this stage, which greatly complicates the process of letting him go and trusting him with more independence. And it is during this stage that is has the ability to make decisions that will effect the rest of his life. The risks are real and boys in this stage lack the ability to choose wisely with their future in sight.

Both of you are fathers of girls and boys. How is parenting a boy different from parenting a girl?

Parenting boys in the first three stages is just so physical. Parenting boys in these years requires a great deal of physical energy—and a good back. Whereas parenting our daughters is so much more relational and emotional. Both are exhilarating and exhausting, but in different ways.

When I (David) engage my daughter, it’s in sitting in a neighborhood coffee shop talking about her day at school. My boys can sit at the coffee shop long enough to finish a chocolate chip cookie, spill their milk and then we’re kicking a soccer ball across the street at the park.

We talk a lot in the book about boys in motion and how to engage these active, physical beings. Girls need that too, no doubt, but not in the same way boys need it.

We had our families together the other day over at my (Stephen’s) house. At one point all the kids went out in the front yard to play: five boys and two girls in all. There were a number of balls lying around the yard. The boys started playing soccer with one ball and the girls started playing soccer with another. After a few minutes the boys were trying to kick the ball at each other and the girls were off to the side talking to each other. To me that is a great picture of the differences.

What mistakes have parents and educators made in their approach to rearing and training boys?

For me (Stephen) the consistent mistake my wife and I make is that we over explain and over verbalize with our sons. This is a problem that is very common. In parenting boys, adults tend to talk to them and at them a great deal. We talk and talk and talk and end up sounding a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Whah, whah, whah.” In Wild Things we offer a number of different strategies for engaging and educating boys that better match their unique design. Boys learn through experience and physical repetition. They need consistent firm boundaries and loads of encouragement.

As far as school goes we speak a lot in the book that the compulsory model we use for schooling in the United States is generally well-suited to a girl’s learning style. It’s heavy on verbal and written expression, two particular areas of strength for most girls. It involves a good deal of sitting still for extended periods of time with mostly auditory instruction. These methods don’t match a boy’s way of learning or draw on his learning strengths.

How did you come to the conclusions you discuss in Wild Things?

The book is a combination of science and research, clinical experience (our own as therapists and that of others), and our own journey of parenting five boys between the two of us.

As therapists, we have sat with thousands of men and boys over the years. Our hope was to bring their voices into the content of Wild Things. We have learned so much from the males we’ve had the great honor of working with and hoped to bring their stories into this text. In addition to those, we are still learning so much from living with five of our wild things.

At what age should parents discuss sex, homosexuality, and pornography with their boys?

You may be surprised to hear this answer, but we’d recommend beginning a dialogue around sexuality at the age of two. We aren’t recommending education around homosexuality and pornography at two. That begins typically around age 8-10, possibly earlier or later depending on the boy. But we are strong advocates of a healthy ongoing dialogue with every boy around the design of his body, sexuality, and boundaries in relationships in stage one. We lay out a good portion of this in the book to take some of the guess work out of it for parents, and we recommend some useful resources in further guiding you through this life long discussion. As boys grow older the conversation becomes more specific and more technical. Think of it like painting: it starts with broad brush strokes and then moves to finer detail. But as a rule, it starts way before most parents think it does.

What are the three most important factors in keeping a boy from experimenting with drugs?

We continue to see three common factors among young men that we’ve worked with who either abstain from using substances or experiment and then make a decision not to continue. The first would be a strong faith and core values. The second would be a strong family open to dialogue. The third would be strong relationships.

Who are the most important role models in a boy’s life?

There is no question that a boy’s parents play a foundational role in the man he becomes. In Wild Things we have a chapter that specifically address a mother’s relationship with her son as well as a chapter that addresses a father’s relationship with his son. But it doesn’t stop there for boys. There is great truth to the old African proverb that says “it takes a village.” We talk early in the book about how a boy begins to hunger for other voices and a part of our role is to put them in his way, so that he ends up with this community of individuals who believe in him and hold him up.

What kinds of things can a father do to bond with his son and raise him to be emotionally mature?

One of the first things we’d challenge a dad to do is to pay attention to his own story. That was a central purpose in our book How to Hit a Curve Ball, Grill the Perfect Steak and Become a Real Man: Learning the Lessons our Fathers Never Taught Us. Unless we understand how our stories inform who we are as men, husbands, and fathers, we stand to make a number of significant mistakes with our own sons. So before a man starts making a list of things to “do” with his son, we’d encourage him to start with himself. That step doesn’t involve his son at all, but is one of the most powerful ways to love and care for him.

That step gives way to the second step. In order for a father to raise an emotionally mature young man, he must be an emotionally healthy man himself. A boy desperately needs a dad who has an interior life. Our culture is flooded with emotionally stunted, emotionally damaged males. There’s no shortage there. Men have a responsibility to lead their son’s in living from their hearts. Women can’t really teach boys how to do this. Mom’s can invite it and encourage it, but the action of it must be modeled by a man.

Thirdly, we’d challenge dads to study his son in search of his boy’s definition of enjoyment. That’s different for every boy. We both have a set of twin boys. Two males with identical genetic ingredients and yet the outcome couldn’t be any more different. These guys, born within minutes of one another, have different passions, different strengths, and different longings. And they experience enjoyment in some similar ways as well as some different ways. We are both on a long journey of discovering what that is. Just as soon as we get a handle on it, it can change just as his development does. So it’s a long journey of studying these boys and pursuing their passions and their hearts.

People often talk about the father’s role in teaching a boy to be a man, but a mother’s relationship is important too. What are some mistakes a mother can make?

A mother’s role is so very important. That message is woven throughout Wild Things. There is so much to the answer to this question. You’ll need to read the book to get a comprehensive look at your role throughout his development. We talk a lot with mom’s about two unique callings within their role, both of which lend themselves to mistakes and potential harm to the mother-son relationship. To boil it down though to a couple of things we would say 1) The first is being safe and 2) the second is letting go. We break both of those down in great detail within the book. By being safe we mean a mothers ability to let her son be a boy. By letting go we mean a mother’s willingness to let her boy become a man. We speak a whole lot more to this throughout the book. It’s such a big question, and an important question for moms to consider.

If you could give once piece of advice to parents and educators reading this book, what would it be?

The study of a boy is such a worthwhile use of your time and resources. Boys are complex, imaginative, mysterious, brilliant, challenging, creative, strong, tender, courageous beings—and each is unique. Parenting and educating them is a wonderful, difficult, complex, enjoyable, physical, emotional, delightful, maddening journey. Our hope is that Wild Things is a useful guide along that journey.

If we have to give one piece of advice it would be for parents and educators to continue to invest in their own emotional and spiritual maturity. Growing yourself is the best gift you can give a boy you love.