Thursday, October 31, 2013

Our God Comes - Antioch Live

Our God Comes has been my introduction to Antioch Live.  I'm a relatively new convert when it comes to the more modern praise and worship music.  My youngest son plays acoustic guitar in his church's praise band.  So, listening to this album sounded and felt like I was worshiping with my son on Sunday evening!  There is a nice mix of upbeat and faster paced songs with slower more worshipful tunes.  I've listened to the album multiple times, and I keep coming back to the first two songs on the album, Come and God and King as favorites.  Both are more upbeat, but I also enjoy the message in the songs.  Another favorite is I Will Raise.  It is a slower more worshipful tune that moves me every time I hear it.

My only complaint is the same one I voice when I worship with my son...balance the sound!!!  The singers are drowned out by the bass or drums or a combination of both.  How Much More and Savior Forever are beautiful songs, but the singers sound muffled and are hard to understand. With the words projected onto a screen, you could sing along or at least follow the message.  In this case, the music is pretty but as far as understanding them and getting the message....missed me all together.  Balance the sound!!! Please!  It would sound so much better and would minster to folks through both sound and message.

Maybe I just have old ears, after all, I'm an ancient 46.  Please, balance the sound.  Please.

I've enjoyed this album, but for the reasons stated above, there are only a hand-full of songs that truly usher me into worship.

You can go HERE and learn more about this group and their church.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Torn Blood by David J. Bain - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Three weeks before officially reporting for duty at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Addison Deverell arrives in Israel to unearth an enigma.
Bound to an escort by the embassy, and unable to begin his search, time is running out. With mere days before he must report for duty Addison is freed from his escort’s bondage. Racing to find answers that promise to establish a career—and facing danger from those he seeks to understand—he finds himself in a fight to the death for a nation’s life.
Nearly seven thousand miles away, Dr. Janelle Henning confronts a peril that threatens to destroy her deepest soul. A search for understanding thrusts her into a world long buried to confront a heritage abandoned by the passage of time.
Brought together by events, Janelle and Addison discover identities hidden from them both in a relationship they have shared for a lifetime.

My Thoughts:
I want to say from the beginning, this book is PACKED with intrigue, relationship and truth.  It tells a very plausible story from a biblical world view.  It is frightening in its plausibility, and it leaves the reader ( a believer in God's Word and His truth) a bit anxious and asking, "is this how the story of life will end?"  This story carries powerful impact!

Now, I also have to say this, Torn Blood was a tedious read for me.  Every thought that entered the author's mind made it to the page.  That's not a bad thing, but it was cumbersome for me.  I really struggled to read it at times.  I think it could have been just as strong in its impact if it were more tightly written - was set at a faster pace.  Style-wise this is not a book that was easy for me to enjoy.  But that is a personal preference only.

I am happy to recommend the book.  It is well-written and the story is scary in its plausibility.  Kind of a wake-up call if you will to the truth that life is, indeed, a vapor.  Pay attention, it shouted to my heart! It just wasn't my style necessarily.  So pick up you own copy today and decide for yourself!  Good read!
About the Author:
David J. Bain is the author of Torn Blood, an adventure novel which celebrates the triumph of the Jewish spirit, their love of Eretz Yisra’el, the land of Israel, and how close the world’s ties are to the Jewish people. He is one of the founders of Bo Iti Press, a niche publisher focused on stories about the Jewish experience as well as the rights of Israel as a sovereign nation.
After attending the University of Oregon and University of Nevada Las Vegas, Bain worked in the business world for more than 30 years before turning his hand to writing. It was his collaboration on two screenplays that were made into movies, End of the Harvest and Time Changer, which revived his interest in Israel. After finishing the screenplays, Bain began to notice patterns that surfaced in country after country over the millennia. Familiar with Israel’s history, politics, military, and the habit modern Israel had for coming out on top in any conflict with neighboring countries, he determined to understand why the Jewish race consistently seemed to land in the middle of world events. He worked with research assistants from the United States and Israel for seven years to understand the truth behind what the world learns about Israel.
His desire is that Torn Blood will help readers discover the reason Jewish people around the globe are committed to their tiny nation floating in a sea of enemies—and it’s not what one is often led to believe.
David lives with his wife, Doris, in Oregon.  More information on David can be found at

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A View from Elisabeth Klein Corcoran's Window - Unraveling

A couple of weeks ago, God placed Elisabeht Klein Corcoran's book in my hands and heart.  Unraveling has been a very healing book for me at this point in my life, and I am thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to interview this author and talk about her work.

There are many "walking wounded" in our church families who are struggling to survive the ravages of a failing or failed marriage.  Elisabeth's book offeres a view from the inside and a testimony of God's faithfullness to His children as they navigate one of the most painful  events known to the human heart.

Please join me and welcome Elisabeth Klein Corcoran to my Window!
What was the genesis of Unraveling?  At what point in the entire life episode of your marriage unraveling did you know God was asking you to share what He had done in your life throughout this process?

About three months after my separation started, I realized that I was being asked three basic questions.  Non-believers wanted to know why I had stayed married so long, why I didn’t just go out and get happy.  Believing women in difficult marriages wanted to know what I had done to stay married so long.  And all other believers wanted to know why I wasn’t staying married forever.  So I wrote a four-part article for and things sort of changed for me.  It received many comments and stirred up some controversy and I realized that this was a topic people wanted and needed to talk about.  I had been blogging for a couple years by that point but I wrote about motherhood, social justice, pretty much everything except my difficult marriage.  Right around that time, that all changed.  I’ve now spent the past two years with a laser focus writing about difficult Christian marriages, divorce, domestic abuse, and how the Church handles it all.  Unraveling came out of my separation and divorce but I only had the nudge to try to publish it after seeing that there is a need.

Why are people of the church so ready to remind those of us facing divorce that God hates divorce – like we don’t hate it too?  Why do they want us to feel as if choosing to divorce makes us the object of God’s hatred?

I can only answer this for myself.  Deep down, any time someone in my life talked about divorcing or actually being divorced, while I was still slogging through my hard marriage, I would think to myself, “If I have to stay married, so should you.”  I’m not sure if that’s what anyone else is thinking when they pass judgment, but that’s what I was thinking. 

Also, for the most part, though I have been harshly criticized and really just outright hurt by the words of strangers’ and supposed friends alike, I don’t think most people have evil intentions toward us. I think they just don’t know what to say, so they say nothing or the wrong thing. 

There are many ministries based around the family, marriage etc…with the sole purpose of restoration and healing.  Many of them excellent!  How can churches best minister to divorced men and women without making them feel like some kind of outcast?

DivorceCare, Celebrate Recovery, all these things are amazing and I’ve been to them.  But I think there is just a stigma attached to them no matter what we do.  And I’m not sure the Church themselves can do anything about it; I think those of us who need these programs just need to go, need to participate, and need to tell others how they’ve helped us.

Do you feel that there is a huge debate going on about remarriage? Why or why not?

I asked the above question, because since my divorce I’ve received as many opinions about re-marriage as I have about divorce. (never knew there were so many!)  Why do people assume that remarriage is THE answer for divorced people, when, in fact, the rate of divorce in second marriages is even higher than in first marriages?

Interestingly, I get a little bit of both ends of the spectrum.  In one day a few weeks ago, I had four people ask me if I had started dating.  And then I know that there are people in my life who believe that remarriage is considered adultery and I had better be planning on staying single for the rest of my life.  Part of me thinks we’d all just get along a whole lot better if we focused more on our on planks; and yet, community is an amazing thing and Jesus wants us to live our lives together to hold each other up and to keep us going on the right track.

Can you recommend anything about how to effectively minister to your children during this process?

I’d recommend counseling for the kids, or at the very least, make sure there is someone in their lives that they can talk to other than you who will help them navigate this really hard time. 

Thus far, what has been the most significant (well in the top ten anyway) thing that God has taught you about Himself? About the way He loves?  About His heart?

I think I thought somewhere deep down that God loved me because I was a good girl.  And then I went through this thing – what I would consider the biggest failure of my life even though I didn’t initiate it – and I found his love still there on the other side.  I think I had a harsher view of God’s love for me, as if it were conditional maybe, or could be swayed by anything I could say or do.  And now I just realize how crazy and huge and perfect and unmoving it really is.

What has been one of the most significant changes in your heart toward God?

I’m letting him love me in my failure and non-performance.  I’m trying to let go of the guilt of all the ways I’ve messed up and of living a slower-paced life.  And trying to just be. 

What has been the biggest take-away in your life about this book becoming a reality? The process that made it a reality?

My divorce broke my heart and it broke my life.  But the redemption that God has allowed through Unraveling, and many other things - like speaking, radio interviews, guest-blogging, articles, small groups in my home, moderating private Facebook groups for women who are hurting – has helped to put my life back together.  It’s still fractured, don’t get me wrong, as I’m still early on in my healing (my divorce was final just a little over a year ago), but I’m definitely on the road to healing, and God using me to help others has been a huge part of that.

What do you hope that readers will take away from the pages of Unraveling?

I just want each sweet reader who is separated or divorced to feel not alone, to feel understood, to know that every emotion is acceptable, to know she can take as long as she needs to get through this, to not feel shamed, to be reminded that she’s loved.

And I would love for Unraveling it to get into the hands of pastors and ministry leaders so they could get an insider’s view of what it feels like to walk through this, in the hope that empathy and compassion would rise for this hurting segment of our Christian culture.

You can read my review HERE and purchase you own copy of this fabulous book HERE!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reliable Truth by Richard E. Simmons III - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Union Hill Publishing)
What do science, history, and logic have to say about the reliability of the bible?

This book presents in a profound way of how the Bible reflects the true nature of reality. Reliable Truth is about seeing the world as it is while debunking the myths, legends, and false beliefs of the Bible.

"There is a type of Christian faith which seems to be quite common where people accept a Christian belief that is not dependent on reason or evidence. They believe that any type of historical investigation on their part is not necessary. They seem to have no desire to know about Jesus as a person of history and seem to be content with such knowledge . . . I cannot share this point of view. I am profoundly convinced that the historic revelation of God and Jesus of Nazareth must be the cornerstone of any faith that is really Christian. Any historical questions about the real Jesus who lived in Palestine [twenty] centuries ago is therefore fundamentally important to develop a strong faith."

- From the writings of Dr. Millar Burrows (1899-1980) Department Chairman of Near Eastern Language and Literature at Yale

My Thoughts:
Peter says: “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have words of eternal life.  We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”   John chapter six

I think it is only right that I acknowledge that questions about Christ’s ministry have existed from the beginning.  Today, with so many “educated” folks walking around. there are even more questions and more wrong answers. The same eternal truths still transforms the lives of atheists, agnostics and doubters into Christ followers.  Richard E. Simmons III has written a book that presents these truths in a format that will give believers the tools to answer the many questions they face.  In fact, I plan to use this book as a “gift” to some of my educated friends who think I’m the one that has been lost in faith.

The book contains life testimonies from some of the world’s most renowned skeptics that set about to disprove Christ and His gospel.  In their attempts, they encountered the living WORD and put aside their doubt and stepped into faith.  The book presents tons of facts that will satisfy the keenest of minds.  I daresay many unbelievers will see this book as a challenge to begin their own search for truth. God is faithful that way. He will use His Word to transform lives for all eternity. Believers need to be equipped with the gospel always, but if that is rejected at first, give them the facts they “long” for.  God will do the rest. 

We must share this very RELIABLE TRUTH.  The eternal lives of many depend upon it!  Buy a copy today!   

About the Author:
Author, Speaker, Counselor

Richard received his B. A. from the University of the South (Sewanee) in Economics in 1976. He later studied Risk Management and Insurance at Georgia State University prior to beginning a 25-year career with Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton, a property and casualty insurance firm where he served as CEO for ten years.

Much of Simmons' life has been devoted to giving back to the community by advising businessmen and professionals. Through these experiences, he discovered he had a calling for teaching and public speaking.

In December 2000 Simmons founded the Center for Executive Leadership, a not-for-profit, faith-based ministry. When he’s not spending time with his wife and three children, you will find him teaching, counseling, writing, and speaking. He is a renowned motivational and inspirational speaker to men’s groups across the country.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser - REVEIWED

About the Book: (from Summerside Press)
A pampered socialite embarks on a journey to the Wild West where her life is changed forever

A setting populated by hundreds of laborers, outlaws, and Indians is hardly the place for a wealthy general's daughter from the nation's capital. But Josephine Cain is determined to visit her father, who supervises the day-to-day work involved in the grandest ambition of post-Civil War America: the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. 

Life with the railroad is far from the proper life Josephine is used to, and she faces deadly gunfights, harsh weather, and vigilante uprisings. She is torn between the West and the East; between her privileged upbringing and the challenges of a new frontier; between the pull of the suitable beau her parents approve of and an attraction to a rough but charming Irish railroad worker. But if Josephine is willing, and courageous, she just might find a new life, a unique purpose . . . and true love.

My Thoughts:
Josephine Cain is a character torn between her longing to be free from her family’s mourning of her brother’s death, the nation’s mourning in the wake of the president’s assassination, and her youthful longing to have a family of her own.  Not such a pleasant place to be, especially since there are such staunch opinions about what is accepted and proper for a privileged young lady, a general’s daughter!  But the Civil War has ended and the railroad companies are in a dead heat, racing to stretch tracks from coast to coast, and Josephine becomes a bit desperate to escape the confines of her very rigid life.

Nancy Moser has been a long time favorite author of mine, and her latest novel, The Journey of Josephine Cain, is indeed a journey!  It is a journey into the unknown territory west of the Mississippi, a journey into lawlessness and meager living, and a journey into the heart of truth revealed and the transforming power it has upon the heart and spirit of someone willing to acknowledge its presence.

Josephine strives to do what is right, but finds herself bound by societal rules.  Then she discovers she has been bound to lies, greed and self-serving interests.  Her journey into true freedom is breathtaking and awe-inspiring.  Nancy Moser has captured the essence of post-Civil-War society and the deep longing to explore the unknown territory in search of freedom.  

About the Author:
Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and a 24 novels, including Mozart's Sister, Just Jane, An Unlikely Suitor and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest. Read more about her books at

Nancy Moser’s The Journey of Josephine Cain 5 book giveaway!

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser follows the adventures of a D.C. socialite as she gets involved with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War. Be sure to check out Nancy's fun Pinterest board for the book!

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!

  Five winners will receive:
  • The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 26th. All winners will be announced October 28th at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won one of the books!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Th Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Christmas Quilt
Abingdon Press (October 15, 2013)
Vannetta Chapman

A Word From The Author:

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.


Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

My Thoughts:
Fears and needs cause folks to limp along emotionally, mush like my leg forces me to hobble.”  
(p. 67)

The Christmas Quilt isn’t a “plain” Amish story.  (pun intended – couldn’t resist)  The story is much like the quilt that is formed during the development of events – an intricate picture that is woven between the lives of the characters.  Annie and Samuel, Leah and Adam, Rachel and her two sons, Uncle Eli…each character has a need that – for the most part – they are unaware exists.  Through an ever-changing set of circumstances those needs, physical, emotional and spiritual, are brought into the light, and God begins to heal and mend and stitch together a community and family that reflects the love He has for His children.

I don’t want to give away the role that the quilt plays in this novel, because I think you will enjoy that discovery as it is revealed just like I did.  I found myself searching for my own real life events that reflected those same characteristics throughout my life story.  Although crisis knocks at each character’s door a bit differently, the results are the work of the Master Quilter!  You will enjoy this story very much and will feel like you’ve spent time among really good folks that leave you encouraged - encouraged to find those small details and blessings that surround us each and every day!  GREAT story!

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Greetings from the Flipside by Rene Gutterige

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greetings from the Flipside
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
Rene Gutteridge


Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.


Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple's month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral -- everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it's not that easy to rent a place when you've been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization's humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

My Thoughts:
She said if you are not happy, geography isn’t going to change a thing.”  (p. 66)

Hope Landon thought her life was about to change dramatically when she married.  She was going to move away from the small town that kept her trapped from her own potential and move to New York and pursue her dream.   Well, things didn’t turn out like she planned.  Actually, things go horribly wrong. 

But through the horrible change in circumstances she is able to learn about her life from a totally different perspective.  What she learns is a very important lesson about facing reality and accepting the gifts God is gives you with open hands and heart instead of running headlong in the opposite direction.

I think Greetings from the Flipside is a book only Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay could have written.  It’s a quirky book by many standards but has humor and a dose of truth woven among the story line that grab your attention.  Flipside is a light read, but it offers a profound call to pay attention to the blessings that are right in front of you.  God loves His children and is longsuffering toward us when we decide – for whatever reason – to run the opposite direction of His best plans for our life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Where Hope Starts by Andgela D. Meyer - REVIEWED

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)

***Special thanks to Angela Meyer for sending me a review copy.***


 Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of  22 years. They have two children whom they homeschool – recently graduating their son. She has taught childrens' Bible classes for over 35 years. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. Where Hope Starts is Angela’s debut novel.

Visit the author's website.


From New York City to the suburbs of Kansas City, a marriage struggles through the fallout of secrets and addictions.

Eight years after saying I do, Barry raises his hand against Karen and she discovers his addiction to pornography bringing their marriage to the edge of destruction.

Karen returns to her childhood home near Kansas City, MO to think through her options, but discovers her first love ready to pick up where they left off so many years ago.

Still in New York City, Barry attempts to fix the mess he has made of his life and his marriage. His choices take him on a downward spiral that leads to brokenness and the possible loss of his freedom.

Will they find their way back to each other or will they walk away from the future God has for them?

My Thoughts:
This is a story that deals with many common marital issues.  Porn addiction. Affairs. Fianancial strife. Extended Family dysfunction.  Since my marriage of 22 years ended with a couple of these blows...I can say that there were some scenes that were very unrealistic.  The scene of dicovery of the porn on the computer....the words her friend shared with her at that moment were formulaic and would NOT have been received as well as they were.  As a matter of fact, reading them made me want the smack the girl.  The whole issue was minimized into managable parts.  The reality of any conbination of these issues is brutal and requires a LOT of time and HARD WORK to be overcome.  The reality is, many NEVER overcome. And unrepentant heart filled with shame, pride and nacassistic abuse often breaks life into unrecognizible pieces.

The only realisitic thing was the transforming power of the gospel and Christ's unrelenting pursuit of His children.  That I was able to embrace.  I just wish things worked out in real life as neatly as they worked out in this piece of fiction.

Perhaps I'm a little too close to this subject.  Pardon my rant.  This didn't cut it with me right now.  I will say this, for a debut novel, the writing is good and the story flows well.  But man alive, what a topic to try to incorporate into a first novel.

Product Details:
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936501155
ISBN-13: 978-1936501151


Come home.

   Karen Marino choked back a cry as she stared at the words scribbled on the front of the envelope. She slid her fingernail under the flap and gaped at the plane ticket nestled inside a letter. Why now? She gritted her teeth. Heat flushed from her neck to the top of her head as she remembered the look of disgust on her father’s face.

The clash of pans in the restaurant kitchen startled her back to the present. “What the...?”

She glanced at her watch. Almost eleven. She slid the ticket and letter back inside the envelope and tucked it into her purse. She took a deep breath before stepping out of her office.

“Steve, how does the schedule look?” Karen hired him straight out of culinary school. His lack of experience paled next to his talent, and within a year his specialties had drawn in customers from all over New York City’s five boroughs, earning the restaurant a five-star reputation.

“Perfect, my love.” He crossed his arms and smiled. “Now, when are you going to marry me?”

She laughed. “Your mother would be disappointed. I have more red hair than Irish blood.” She enjoyed the attention her hair brought in The City, where she no longer stood out like an apple on an orange tree.

“My ma would love you anyway.” Steve placed his hand over his heart.

She shook her head and waved him back to work, then strode through the kitchen inspecting the line cooks as they prepped for the noon rush. “Be sure and clean up as you go....No, not that dish. Use the glass one. And keep a towel nearby.…How long have you worked here?…Don’t wipe your hands on your apron.”

She stopped. “Jimmy,” she yelled above the din of the kitchen. Her voice carried to the break room where the young man sauntered out with a donut in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.


She glared at him. “What’s with all these dirty pots and pans?”

The guy shrugged. “Had somewhere to be last night, so I saved them.”

“Get rid of that donut now and finish your job in the next half hour, or you’re fired, no matter who your cousin is.”

He threw the donut and coffee in the trash can and plodded off to his station.



“You okay?” Her assistant manager, Cathy, raised an eyebrow.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to snap.” Karen took a deep breath. “Is the dining room ready?”

“No problems there. But…” Cathy glanced over her shoulder. “Barry’s at the bar.”

“Not with the new owner coming in.” Karen clenched her fists. If she talked to her husband now she would lose her cool. “Did you tell him I was busy?”

“Yes. But, he’s got that look.”

Karen rolled her eyes. That meant another of Barry’s money-making ideas. Ideas didn’t pay the rent. “I better go talk to him.”

Barry grinned as she approached and she paused at the sight of his dark wavy hair and strong jaw line. If life were a photo, he would take her breath away. But once you added sound and action, that fantasy vanished.

She bit her lip. A part of her longed for what they used to have. How does a man change so much? He used to lead people. Now he controlled them, like the other night. Karen shuddered, then closed the gap between them. “We’re about to open. You need to go. We can talk tonight.”

“Like all those other times? Please.” He leaned against the bar.

“I said, we’ll talk.”

Barry slid off the bar stool. Although he stood only a few inches taller than her five foot seven frame and didn’t work out enough to have an impressive build, he carried himself with a bravado that demanded attention. “We’ll talk now. You’ll like this idea. It’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of a start-up company.”

Karen caught a whiff of liquor on his breath. “A little early to be drinking, don’t you think?”

“Don’t change the subject.” He banged his fist on the bar.

She jumped. His eyes grew dark. She backed away, her eyes frozen on his hands. “You need to leave. Now.”

“Why?” Barry’s voice grew louder.

“So I won’t lose my job.” The new owner was a powerful man. Barry could blow it for her.

“Miss Indispensable? Lose her job?” His empty laugh bounced around the deserted room.

“Please.” Karen reigned in her hostility.

“I will do as I please.” He took a step toward her.

“If you hope to get your hands on my money, try honey not vinegar.” She crossed her arms and stared at him.

“What are you talking about?”

“This approach will not get you what you want.”

He looked behind her and backed away. “Yeah, maybe we should talk tonight.”

Karen wrinkled her brow. What’s got into him now? She turned. The new owner walked toward her. He reminded her of Danny Devito. Short, stout, and balding. Add a bit of swagger to his walk and you would have her new boss. She groaned. Glancing Barry’s direction she saw him leave through the kitchen. I hope he didn’t just cost me my job.

She turned to face the man. She mustered a smile and extended her hand. “Karen Marino. You must be Mr. Simon.”

The man stared at her. “You’re fired.”  He smiled like a kid who just lifted a trinket from the store and got away with it.

“You can’t do that.” Her throat closed up. Breathe.

“I own this place, I can and will clean house as I see fit.”

His reputation was well earned. She forced herself to unclench her hands. “I built this restaurant into what it is today.”

“There’s no place in any of my restaurants for what I just witnessed. Home stays at home.”

“You’d get rid of me for one incident?”

“It’s not just one incident.”

She bit her tongue and glared at the man. Who talked?

“Leave now. Come back and clear out your desk after lunch.”

“Fine, I don’t need you or your restaurant. I have my reputation.” She regretted the words as soon as she said them.

“When I’m done, you won’t have a reputation.”

She turned and fled to her office. A man that powerful didn’t make idle threats. She grabbed her purse, squared her shoulders, and marched through the kitchen. She would not be shamed out of here. She did nothing wrong.

Her assistant manager barked orders at the staff. The new owner smiled while he watched. So Cathy betrayed me. An old pain grabbed at Karen’s heart. Why do people turn on me?

Letting the door slam on her way out, she rushed into the flow of human traffic. The wall of buildings hid the breadth of the sky and pressed in around her. Exhaust fumes mingled with the aroma of pizza from a nearby kiosk. She jumped when a taxi blared its horn. Two people shoved each other to get in, arguing over appointments. She picked up her pace, needing to escape the surroundings that for the last fifteen years had made her feel so alive. An image of the family orchard in Missouri filled her heart.

Her past caught up to her present and the old emotions, released from their prison, pinballed around inside her. She ducked into a nearby alley and leaned against the wall. Pressing her hands against the wall, she took several calming breaths against the tears welling up in her chest. She needed to think, not cry.

She pressed her fingertips against her eyes. I don’t want to go back to the apartment yet, and I don’t have an office anymore. Where can I go? She fought the desire to throw things and stomp her feet. She would not lose control.

Something brushed against her elbow and she jerked away. A pungent odor assaulted her nose as a man in a tattered jacket stepped closer.

“Some money for food?” He reached out his hands.

She pushed the man away and tucked her purse close to her body as she stumbled out of the alley and hurried away. Her thoughts latched onto her husband and the impossibility of the situation. Lost in a daze she walked several blocks before her stomach growled, reminding her of the time. She paused and looked around. Carnegie Deli looked like a good choice. Crossing the street, she stood in line for her turn, anxious for the line to move, yet longing for a slower pace.

Pressure built up in her right eye and tension grew between her shoulders. She dug through her purse for some pain reliever and popped two in her mouth.


She looked up at the man behind the counter. “Uh, I’m not sure, what—”

“I’ll take a Woody Allen and a coffee.” A construction worker shouldered his way past Karen, slapping some bills on the counter.

Karen glared at him, then raised her voice above the next person trying to steal her place in line. “Give me a Woody Allen, too.”  

Within minutes her order sat next to the construction worker’s sandwich. She grabbed her plate and cup of coffee, and turned to find a seat in the crowded dining room. From across the room, she saw two women get up from their table. She rushed to grab one of the empty chair.

She settled in to her seat and thought of the first time she came here. She was on a blind date, and he wanted to share his favorite place to eat. Crowded elbow to elbow with strangers at the shared table, it was not exactly romantic, but the food was delicious and plentiful. Her sandwich was piled so high with meat she ate for several days off of the leftovers.

Now, the deli gave her the anonymity she needed.

Cradling the coffee mug in her hands, she allowed the heat to calm her nerves. The day had not gone the way she planned. Lately, not much had. She rubbed her temples then scooted her plate forward to make room for her note pad. Avoiding the glares of her table mates, she pulled out a pen and began to list her options.

Find a job. In this economy? Right.

Barry find a job. She laughed.

Dip into her savings. She ripped the paper off the pad and wadded it up. Not again. That money was for the future.

Her head pounded as she fought back the tears. Barry’s scheme might be all they had. Maybe not.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the letter. Karen remembered how special it felt to be a daughter of Charles and Annibel Hannigan. They were well respected in the community and at church, and then everything changed.

What’s so important that they want me to come home now? She laid the ticket aside and unfolded the letter.

Dear Karen,

Please come home. Your mother is dying and she needs to see you. She needs to know you understand. You need to hear what she has to say.

We are both sorry for the past and ask your forgiveness. I’ve enclosed a plane ticket. Change the date to what works best.

Love, Dad

Her hands trembled as she held the letter. Mom’s dying?

She laid the letter down and leaned her head onto her hands. She lost their favor with no explanation, and now they offered it to her again on a silver platter. It felt fake. What had she done to lose their favor in the first place? She wiped at tears she couldn’t stop. Did they think an apology could make up for everything?

“Hey lady, if you’re done, why don’t you move on. There’s folks waiting for a seat.”

Looking the bus boy directly in the eye, she reached for her sandwich and took a bite. He waved at her in dismissal and went back to work.

She glanced out the window as a mother bent down to look her child in the eye. She pointed at a large bulldozer across the street. The little boy smiled, looked back at her and nodded. They hugged. She grabbed his hand and continued walking.

She and her mother used to have a relationship like that. Carrying on like they were the only two people in the world. She looked away. Maybe going home wasn’t a viable option either.

She bit her lip. Am I supposed to just forgive them? How could they ask that of her? She hit the table with her fist and the coffee mug jumped, spilling onto the letter.

“Hey, watch it!” The man next to her grabbed his paper and picked it up ahead of the offending liquid.

“Sorry.” She grabbed some napkins and sopped up the mess. Blowing out a hard breath and tapping her fingers on the table, she checked her phone for the time before dialing her best friend.

Megan and Robert Fletcher reserved a table every Tuesday night at the restaurant Karen managed. Over time she became friends with Megan despite her penchant for religion. She always listened and gave good feedback.

And she’s the only person I trust.

Karen wouldn’t get the same attentive ear once Megan and Robert had their baby. The call went straight to voice mail, so she left a message. Megan must be at the women’s shelter she managed.

Karen picked up the letter and airline ticket and stuffed them in her purse. A walk might help her think better. Catching the waitress’ attention, she asked for a to-go bag.

Back on the street, her mind quickly turned to what her lack of employment meant for her life. Stay in New York and try to find another job without a reference. Give Barry’s scheme a chance. Or go home.

She cringed at all of those options. Like it or not, she had to consider them or maybe…her steps faltered as she did some quick mental calculations.

It would be risky and Barry wouldn’t like it, but she didn’t care. She quickened her step. She needed to stop by the bank.

Monday, October 21, 2013

JUST RELEASED!! OUTLAW!! by Ted Dekker - Review!

About the Book:
The story of how I, Julian Carter, and my precious two-year old son, Stephen, left Atlanta Georgia and found ourselves on a white sailboat, tossed about like a cork on a raging sea off of Australia's northern tip in 1963, is harrowing.

But it pales in comparison to what happened deep in the jungle where I was taken as a slave by a savage tribe unknown to the world. Some places dwell in darkness so deep that even God seems to stay away.

There, my mind was torn in two by the gods of the earth. There, one life ended so another could begin.

Some will say I was a fool for making the choices I made. But they would have done the same. They, too, would have embraced death if they knew what I knew, and saw through my eyes.

My name is Julian and this is my story. But more, it is the story of my son who was born to change the world.

From deep in the impenetrable jungles where New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker was born and raised, comes OUTLAW, an epic adventure of two worlds that perhaps only he could write. Full of harrowing twists, sweeping violence, and wild love, Outlaw takes us beyond the skin of this world to another unseen.

 See more HERE!

My Thoughts:
 From this valley comes a great calling that will awaken many so that they might see the light beyond the dim glass. ( p.203)

A haunting dream. A tragic loss. The haunting dream remains. To follow that dream – that calling – requires Deditio a Latin word that means unconditional surrender. The sacrifice is great. The suffering long, unexpected and brutal, but the journey that takes our characters to the place of Deditio….is one you will NEVER EVER forget!!

Oh, dear readers, Ted Dekker has been called to share this journey with the masses.  Outlaw is one of the most brilliant, touching, spiritually profound books I have read in quite some time!  I truly didn’t know what to expect from this story, so I came to it with a bit of anxiety.  What I found within its pages has been life-changing for me.  Truly, the vision of this book is one that very few grasp. I mean truly grasp.  Everyone will be spellbound by the story itself, but the truth that is contained within…WILL BLOW YOU AWAY!! This story is told from a very personal place…a tender, vulnerable, pliable place that gives light, sight and blessed hearing to those who answer the call. This story is absolutely brilliant!!

I have found that God has spoken to me in a very powerful way through this novel, and I’m anxious to hear what God is speaking into Ted Dekker’s life right now!  He is boldly telling the story, and I am so thrilled to discover Outlaw!  Don’t delay one minute! Buy your copy NOW! I know I will forever be Outlaw!!

About the Author:
TED DEKKER is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels with a total of more than 3 million books in print. He is known for thrillers that combine adrenaline-laced plots with incredible confrontations between good and evil.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Both Sides of the Fence by Bishop

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- On November 5th, Elevate Entertainment will release the book that every parent, child and educator should read. Both Sides of the Fence: The Inside Truth about Organized Crime, is easily one of the year’s most shocking releases, but don’t let the parental advisory fool you. This is a book that can save the life of someone you love.

Both Sides of the Fence is the true story of a man known only as Bishop, who lived a double life as a deep undercover agent in an outlaw motorcycle gang. Rising to a chapter boss in less than a year, Bishop initially went undercover to ferret out bad cops. Instead, he discovered a highly structured criminal organization whose members engage in violent crime, weapons trafficking, international drug trafficking and widespread prostitution. This real-lifeSons of Anarchy story will take you on the emotional roller-coaster ride of a family man and devoted husband who covertly worked to bring down some of his "brothers." 

“During the course of the case we experienced first hand the connection that gangs and the cartels have with human trafficking,” says Bishop. “My wife and I know that we went through the storm because we have been called to expose this dirty secret in the United States.” 

Refusing to enter a federal protection program, Bishop now spends his days risking his own life to help educate audiences and expose the connection between gangs and human trafficking in the United States. He lives anonymously, moves frequently, and wears a trademark custom white mask when telling his story to further conceal his identity – even to those that he works with.

Human trafficking has become an epidemic in the United States and traffickers are targeting our children and family members in our neighborhoods, schools, malls and public events. According to the gang threat assessment from the Department of Justice, there are over one million members in 20,000 gangs operating in the 50 United States. 80% of all violent crime is gang related, with gangs playing a major role in the supply of trafficked victims. The sale of a victim is more profitable then guns or drugs due to the fact that people can be sold over and over and drugs and guns are a one-time exchange. Less than one percent of victims are ever identified, and 83% of those are U.S. citizens. 

"Victims of human trafficking have a life span of seven years," explains Bishop. "With less than one percent of victims being rescued, they are more likely to escape trafficking by death than by escape. One reason why rescue is so rare is because once a girl is trafficked she becomes both a hidden and a moving target for anyone seeking to rescue her."

Today, Bishop is on a mission to educate, prevent and intervene, using his expertise to educate people on how to see the warning signs and protect your loved ones. Bishop and his partners provide a gang curriculum for parents, high-risk youth, teachers and church groups, teaching life skills and gang, violence and drug prevention. He also aids in human trafficking rescue efforts worldwide.

For more information, visit

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Natalie Grant - HURRICANE!

Nashville, Tenn. (October 15, 2013)  Offering hope in the midst of life’s storms proves to be a central theme for Natalie Grant (, a Grammy-nominated, five-time Dove Award winning Female Artist of the Year, who releases her highly anticipated album, Hurricane today, October 15, 2013 from Curb Records. Within hours of its release in May, the lead single, “Hurricane” hit number one on iTunes (, and exploded onto the Billboard and MediaBase charts, making it the fastest rising single of her career.  The record-breaking success of the single proves quite an accomplishment for one of the most successful crossover artists in gospel music who has maintained a strong foothold as a top selling icon in the industry.  
“I've journeyed through a lot over the past three years,” says Grant. “This record is full of my stories and is a reminder that no matter how dark the struggle may seem, I am not alone. And through writing these songs, I've been reminded that hope always wins.” 
Hurricane is a project that is woven together by songs that offer listeners a greater sense of hope, peace, and encouragement. With award winning husband/producer Bernie Herms at the helm of her latest musical endeavor, Grant poured her heart into this record and wrote on eight out of the 10 tracks. Based on her own real-life experiences , Grant voiced, for the first time, her struggle with post-partum depression after the birth of her third child, her feelings of inadequacy when it comes to parenting; her feelings of guilt over the ceaseless balance of work, family, motherhood and faith.  
"This record is full of music that is positive and bright, both musically and lyrically, which is almost the antitheses to how I have felt for the last few years, but it is the result of hope and faith", Grant continues. "Even when everything seems dark, my faith keeps the light on. I feel these songs help me to tell that truth in a fresh way."   
As a follow up to her successful Love Revolution, Grant’s honesty and vulnerability prove to be a welcomed force amidst today’s challenging times. But, it’s not only the emotional connection that appeals to fans, worldwide. Grant’s overwhelming success is grounded in her abilities as a powerhouse vocalist, a heart-gripping songwriter and a charismatic performer. A few of her recent hits include “Your Great Name,” and Grammy-nominated “Alive.” 
In the wake of the instant connectivity of “Hurricane” at radio, Grant continues to prove her relevance and strong fan support through social media, as she maintains the highest level of actual fan engagement in her genre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
2013 has already proven to be an exciting year for Grant as she continues Dare To Be, a revolutionary women's live event that draws tens of thousands of attendees across the nation. Grant continues to be an outspoken advocate for victims of human trafficking and founded the organization Abolition International in 2005 which is committed to providing quality restorative aftercare to trafficking victims both domestically and internationally. Fans can also look for Grant as she takes on a supporting role in the 2014 film “Persecuted.” Produced by Gray Frederickson, an Oscar-winning producer who helped make “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now” and Directed by Daniel Lusko, Grant will co-star alongside James Remar, Bruce Davison, and Fred Thompson.  In addition, Grant visited the nation’s capital twice this year as a guest performer for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, among others. Her most recent, was her performance at the “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. 
Coinciding with the release of Hurricane, Grant will make her Grand Ole Opry® debut as Women Rock For The Cure™ in the fight against breast cancer on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The fifth annual “Opry Goes Pink” show will feature Grant alongside award winning artists including LeAnn Rimes and Pam Tillis as they perform in support of breast cancer awareness. 
For more information about Natalie Grant and Hurricane, please visit www.nataliegrant.comC

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Plain Disappearance
B&H Books (September 1, 2013)
Amanda Flower


Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.


USA Today recently hailed award-nominated author Amanda Flower for A Plain Death, calling it “the first Amish rom-com . . . bring on the next one!” As the enthusiastic reviews continue to mount, she’s back with her third Appleseed Creek mystery, A Plain Disappearance.

It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.

Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence.

My Thoughts:
Years ago, my local librarian introduced me to a style of Amish writing that really appealed to me…writing that didn’t dwell so much on the differences between the Amish and the “Englishers” but rather the problems that arise when crime is committed and one or both societies point fingers at each other in their search for the truth.  To discover Amanda Flower and her writing is an even richer although similar experience.  The different responses for both communities as they face a brutal murder is enriched by the main character (Chloe  Humphrey) sharing the transforming truth of the gospel,  as well as some very true relational hurdles that everyone faces – parent/sibling, dating, marriage…almost every angle is looked at and explored.

A Plain Disappearance is my first encounter with Amanda Flower and her writing, and so I’m not real certain about the genesis of Chloe Humphrey’s relationship with either Timothy Troyer nor her involvement with the local law enforcement.   However, you can be certain that I have plans to correct this lack of knowledge as soon as possible!  This is a fascinating series that takes a realistic look at relationships in all their many forms…and how those relationships flounder in the midst of conflict…and how forgiveness can bring restoration.

In short, this is a very rich reading experience.  One to be savored and enjoyed at many levels!  Amanda Flower, thank you for a great story and a great series!  I look forward to getting to know you and your work better!  I am happy to recommend A Plain Disappearance to everyone!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of >A Plain Disappearance, go HERE.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Reichenback Problem by Martin Allison Booth - REVIEWED

About the Book:
 Arthur Conan Doyle is on the run from his own fame. Taking a much-needed holiday, Doyle escapes to a picturesque village in Switzerland nestled beneath the imposing Reichenbach Falls. There he hopes to find anonymity, but even in this beautiful rural setting, peace eludes him when he finds himself immediately recognized and involved in the investigation of a mysterious death of a fellow traveler.
All too soon, Doyle’s somewhat unwilling, gentle probing into the case causes the finger of suspicion to turn towards him. But can the creator of the famous detective actually do the sleuthing himself? As Doyle learns more and more about the famous character he penned, he finds he is less like Sherlock and more like his sidekick, Watson. Can the “sidekick” see enough of the picture to solve the case for once?
My Thoughts:
But this was no fiction.  This was harsh, cold, pitiless reality.”  (p. 311)

Martin Allison Booth has created a brilliant piece of fiction that places another, rather infamous author, Arthur Conan Doyle, in the center of a murder mystery!  Truly, the idea of using Arthur Conan Doyle as the main character works really well in this story, because the character is frequently expected to behave and think like his fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes!  Some of the townsfolk even go as far as to try to ….well, contact Holmes!  Isn’t that wild? 

No matter, this is a plot line that builds in intensity until it appears that Doyle may in fact become a victim!  The language reflects the thoughtful and provoking word pictures that made Doyle so well-known, and it is evident that Martin Booth has been a life-long fan of both the author and his work.  No, he doesn’t mimic his work in any way, but the flavor of the thought process that was used to create the Sherlock Holmes character is indeed present and powerful!  Really, it’s very brilliant!  And at one point, you really aren’t sure who the title “villain” belongs too!  I love it when that happens!

So be prepared to sit down and leave reality for a while!  You will be drawn in and held captive from start to finish.  I am very pleased to learn that this is the first in a trilogy, so I will be able to spend more time with Arthur Conan Doyle and his exciting mysteries!  I’m going to be hopeful that  I will be able to meet his family in future installments! 

Martin Allison Booth – I want to sign up for the job of Number One Fan!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! 
About the Author:
After a successful career at the BBC and ITV, as a script writer, editor and then Commissioning executive, Martin Allison Booth worked for OFCOM before training as an Anglican priest. He has been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since childhood.