Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A View from Screenwriter Paul LaLonde's Window - LEFT BEHIND! Opening October 3rd!!

LEFT BEHIND is the first novel in Tim LaHaye's iconic series of the same name.  Paul LaLonde has created a film based on the initial scenarios of the novel series that promises to be just as iconic in the film industry.

Starring Nicholas Cage as well as a number of other very talented actors such as Chad Michael Murray (Chosen) and Cassi Thompson (House,CSI) and Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) Paul was able to watch his screen play brought to vivid life with the help of Vic Armstrong, John Patus and Michael Walker.

Please welcome Paul LaLonde to my Window as we discuss the release of his latest film, Left Behind.

Left Behind – the Rapture story – what sets the re-make of this film apart from the other faith-based films being produced right now?
Many of the films of 2014 are interpretations of historical events depicted in the Bible (Noah, Exodus) or explore themes of faith (Heaven Is For Real, God’s Not Dead). LEFT BEHIND focuses on present day, but depicts actual events prophesied in the Bible. The Rapture can happen at any moment and LEFT BEHIND will take viewers on that journey.  In this day and age with all the knowledge we have, LEFT BEHIND tackles questions for audiences like - How would we react to this? What are the immediate consequences of this happening today?
Why was the decision made to remake this film and focus solely on the day the Rapture occurs?  What benefit does that give to an audience?
Back when we made the first LEFT BEHIND movie in 2000, we tried to cover the entire contents of book that is several inches thick, where the events of the Rapture are covered essentially in the first 20 pages. It has always been my goal to create a movie that depicts the magnitude of what “that day” might look like – the immediate aftermath of millions of people disappearing at once, in the blink of an eye.
Many people watching the film – and many of the actors that hold major roles in the film – view the Rapture as one of many “end of the world” stories.  Was it your intent to present this as Biblical truth or as something that will cause the general population to consider this as a possibility?
We can already look at current events around the world and see the signs of times that point to the Rapture. LEFT BEHIND is biblically sound and I have no doubt that the general public will leave the theater and want to understand more of what has been prophesied.                      
Ray Steele’s wife and Chloe’s mother was a believer, and her absence becomes a vivid reminder that her faith was indeed real, and true.  That she was raptured from earth becomes the foundation of some serious introspection in Chloe and Ray’s life.  Is this the dynamic that makes this movie stand out from other faith-based films?  Does this relational angle give people pause to examine their own lives and seek truth?
I think this is a very common scenario in families everywhere. And like many families, the dynamic between Irene and Ray and Irene and Chloe    was for it to cause a break in the relationships. Irene’s faith because a barrier for Ray and Chloe, when it shouldn’t have been. And we also see the consequences of not only Irene’s unwavering faith, but also the pain         she goes through to keep her faith and her family together. I think a lot of wives and girlfriends will be able to get their partner out to the theater onOctober 3 because it’s a Nicolas Cage action movie, but it can also spark a deeper conversation and understanding of their faith.
In one of the interviews within the press kit, someone says that the movie will cause people to go to the Bible and read the story of the Rapture.  Is that one of the hopes you had while creating this script? Do you hope people will find truth?
Yes. Our tagline is ‘Are you ready?’ This story depicts the Rapture happening today. It was specifically written to provoke thought and curiosity and the desire to learn more, while at the same not being too ‘in-your-face’ preachy. I believe that LEFT BEHIND will propel general audiences to pick up the Bible (a book that they may never have opened before) and find out more for themselves about this apocalyptic phenomenon. 
Who is your favorite character in the movie?  One that you relate to most closely?  Why?
To be honest, it would have to be Chloe. Her dialogue throughout is essentially me talking. Before I came to the Lord, I had a lot of well-reasoned arguments. Like me, she needed a lot of proof and had a lot of questions and really battled before finally letting down her guard.
How has the writing of this screenplay and the fruition of the movie impacted your own faith-walk?
It took about a year for me and my writing partner John Patus to get the script together. Going into it, we had some very clear goals of what we wanted to accomplish with the characters, and how the message of the film came across and what the day of the Rapture would look like exactly. We had to be able to tie everything into a tight script with characters that people would care about and relate to. It took a lot of hard work and soul searching to bring life and perspective to these characters and I think God would not have accepted anything less to get His message out.
Are you pleased with the quality of the film?  Do you hope the success of this film will open new doors for you to make other faith-based films?  Is this the mission field God has called you serve?
Yes, very much so. We shot LEFT BEHIND on a $16 million budget and every dollar of that is in this movie. The cast is amazing! Nicolas Cage brought his “A game” to set as did every incredible crewmember we worked with. The entire crew list, which includes Vic Armstrong as director (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Amazing Spider-Man, James Bond) Jack Green as director of photography (Unforgiven), and Stephen Altman as production designer (Chronicle, Gosford Park), would be the same names you see working on a $200 million action epic. It was an honor to work with them. We absolutely will continue to raise the bar with more faith-themed films.

You indicate that Left Behind represents a very small portion of a much larger work?  Will we see more films bases off this series of books?
Yes, sequels are planned.

Do you feel that we are living in the end time?  Why or why not? How do you hope Left Behind impacts the Kingdom?

I believe many of the signs are clear these days. I am ready and I hope this film will help more people say the same.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A View from Vic Armstrong's Window - LEFT BEHIND

“Left Behind” is directed by Academy and BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Vic Armstrong, who is known for directing “Young Indiana Jones” for George Lucas, starring Sir Christopher Lee, Joss Ackland and Jennifer Ehrle and “Joshua Tree” starring George Segal, Michelle Phillips and Dolph Lundgren. Armstrong is also renowned for his staging & directing action sequences in such films as “The Mission,” multiple James Bond films, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Green Hornet,” “Thor,” and recently “Jack Ryan” to name a few.

Here's what Vic Armstrong had to say about Left Behind on a conference call last week!

Now I was absolutely thrilled when, when I read this script. I read three or four scripts a week when I’m not working and I guess as you know my background is pretty heavily action-orientated. And I have to tell stories with, with visual action. And to read this script and see how character-driven it was and what a fabulous story-line it had was a thrill to me. 

And when I did first meet Paul LaLonde he came around the house and the first thing I said to him was, well I’ll tell you what, I love the script so much I can’t see a word in it I’d like to change. And normally on a script, you take them, you’d break them down, you’d take this out, you’d throw this away and put this in to it. But this had every, everything you see on the screen was written in that original script. And I was blown away by this fact. 

You know, funny-enough during the process, we thought well maybe we won’t have enough time to shoot it all in what could we lose if we lose anything and we’d take some little object out, some little part out, immediately putting it back in because it just upset the flow of the whole movie. So, I was thrilled to have such a great script to start with and to be able to show my, my talents if you’d like as a director with having a story-telling.

 And then the next step was of course getting the great cast together and a crew. And we did, as Paul said we’ve got an A-list cast. Every single one of them did a sterling performance and I’m so excited for all of them and every time I look at it I’m so ecstatic about they translated their parts into the story telling. And it’s not only the cast, you need a good crew to make a movie and I got Jack Green, one of the greatest cinematographers there’s been in the last few years, he’s done all the Clint Eastwood stuff, he was nominated for “Unforgiven,” and we talked about it and I, I, I only see things big in film worlds, in film visions and I wanted to shoot this wide-screen and Jack was my man and he was on-board with that. 

And we covered everything so easily, it just seemed no problem, wherever we put the camera down was a wonderful frame and we didn’t go in for all the crazy tight close-ups and things. We shot it to give the characters breathing-space and we shot it with enough time for them to establish their characters and tell their stories. We had a wonderful production designer, in Stephen Altman, Robert Altman’s son who did fabulous work on it, so for me it was a labor of love. It’s been absolutely phenomenal. And even when we got to the location, everywhere we turned. The house we found, for, for "Chloe’s" house, “Rayford Steele’s” house, was absolutely brilliant how it didn’t need changing inside, and everything, it was serendipity, everything just fell into place. So I feel blessed, and all the stars aligned, figuratively-speaking and reality-speaking. (laughing) And I could not be happier with it, I must say. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Stress Cure by Linda Evans Shepherd - REVIEWED

About the Book:
We live in a world filled to the brim with advice, and when it comes to dealing with stress, there’s plenty of advice to go around. Sleep more, eat better, avoid this, seek out that. But more advice on coping is not necessarily what the stressed and anxious person needs. What we need is a cure. Linda Evans Shepherd has discovered it.
The true remedy to stress, she says, is prayer. In this inspiring book, Shepherd shows readers how to recognize God’s continual presence and yield their troubles to the Prince of Peace. Through captivating stories, explorations of fascinating biblical characters, and examples of deeper-than-ever prayers, she brings within readers’ grasp the peace that passes understanding. Anyone who is overwhelmed by all of the urgent demands on their time will find in this book a lifeline to true peace.

My Thoughts:
"It is the Spirit who helps us tear down walls, makes miracles of our messes, comforts our heartaches, and leads us to breakthroughs"  (p.27)

Taking ten areas of life, all of which believers struggle with at some point, Linda Evans Shepherd basically take readers on a journey to freedom!  What a blessing to take each chapter and digest it through personal testimony, Scripture and Biblical examples and then practical application through prayer and self-examination.  When Linda encourages the reader “…yield to the presence of the Holy Spirit through prayer,”  my heart rejoiced!! To ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth in such a personal way – powerful stuff! And then, she leads you in a prayer asking, “Show me which attitudes you would like to set me free from so we can clean my soul and make more room for you and your peace.”  Well, that is shoutin’ ground my friend!  That is where freedom is found!! That is the point at which you are set free from the sin that binds you!

Feelings of being overwhelmed, stuck, frustrated, burdened, hopeless, offended, anxious, negative, distracted, depressed…each of these areas is tenderly yet firmly placed in its rightful place at the foot of the cross!  I’ve read several of Linda’s book, and with each one I find healing and a greater level of relationship with my Father!  To me, this is the most transformational book for me personally.  The Lord is pretty much delivering me from so much sin and junk that the freedom is blissful and amazing!! I am so loved by my Father through the shed blood of His Son it is just – well – amazing!

I am happy and excited to recommend The Stress Cure to everyone!!
About the Author:   Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a successful speaker, and a radio personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Experiencing God’s Presence. She and her husband live in Colorado. Learn more atwww.StressPrayers.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
Robin Caroll


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?


Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

My Thoughts:  ( and a gush warning! )
There has to be something we’re missing.”  (p. 49)
Julian really said a mouthful when he uttered these words!!  When I saw Robin Caroll’s name on the cover of a Quilts of Love novel, I admit, I was confused!  How on earth would she ever showcase her thrill-ride suspense and incorporate a quilt and a romance besides?  Oh man!  I should have never doubted her skill set!!  At all!

Russian ballet dancers, young, careless love, jealousy, blackmail – even murder!  AND on top of all of that, the gospel is plainly and very naturally woven into a couple of scenes!!  The faith element is very authentic and realistically woven into the story line! No preachy interruptions here!  Just an ever increasing fast- paced plot that gets more convoluted with every turn of the page!!  Robin is brilliant! No doubt about it!

And a quilt? How in the world does a quilt figure into this plot?? You will love it!!  So unexpected and so subtle!  This I never saw coming!  You won’t either! That’s what makes this so brilliant!  Robin adds a stellar addition of romantic suspense to this already stellar series!  You don’t want to miss Hidden in the Stars!  Trust me!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Being Church Doing Life by Michael Moynagh - REVIEWED

About the Book:

Christians worldwide are learning new ways to connect their faith to everyday life. Gospel communities are popping up everywhere – in cafes, gyms, tattoo parlours, laundromats. This movement, called Fresh Expressions, is attracting thousands and growing rapidly. With over 120 real-life examples, Michael Moynagh describes easy ways for ordinary Christians to embrace this highly effective approach to local mission. Anyone can do it! 

My Thoughts:
Witnessing communities kneaded through life:
Reveal the character of God,… Display the nature of the kingdom,… Make church relevant… Help to draw in people from outside church, …Enable emerging Christians to experience the church where they are,… Disciple new Christians in a group with a mission focus.”(p. 57-59)

Sounds like a rather lofty goal doesn’t it?  Well, it’s not.  The witnessing communities that Michael Moynagh sets forth in his book Being Church Doing Life is very familiar to me, because my church already models this style of a living church!  It isn’t exactly the same, granted, but it’s so similar that when I first began reading all of the examples of groups, I found myself saying, “We have a group like that! and that too! And that too!”  Very similar concept. 

And it WORKS!!!  Beautifully and purposefully in the community to draw the unchurched to Christ.  It isn’t an easy nor quick process, but the time invested and the relationships that develop are the very things that draw others to Christ, because the church is now an active presence in their lives!  In Maynagh’s extended concept and the fundamental way the church develops and interacts with these witnessing communities it is evident that this isn’t an exact science.  It takes some time and trial and error.  But the bottom line is the same….the church MUST move beyond the walls of its building, genuinely loving and reaching out to people where they are…if they want to reach people  for eternal purpose!

Churches may indeed be birthed from these communities, and if that happens, Maynagh addresses that as well.  He has been Spirit led to introduce others to a new (yet not new at all according to the Bible) way of being the church and doing life with those around us!

I am really excited to introduce this book to others, because I am living the result of this type of church and these type of life-giving witnessing communities!! God is moving! He is drawing His people unto Himself!  It is EXCITING!! It is life giving!!  Check it out!

About the Author:
Revd Dr Michael Moynagh, based at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, works for Fresh Expressions as Director of Research and Editor of Share, in which capacity he is drawing together what we are learning about the theology and practice of fresh expressions. He is also codirector of the Tomorrow Project which advises businesses and Government on social trends. As part of his Fresh Expressions role, Michael has a watching brief for the education and training of Ordained Pioneer Ministers.
He has written widely on social and church issues, and his books include:
  • Working in the twenty-First Century, ESRC, 2005;
  • Going Global, A&C Black/Guardian Books, 2008;
  • Changing Lives, Changing Business, A&C Black, 2009;
  • Changing World, Changing Church, Monarch, 2001;
  • emergingchurch.intro, Monarch, 2005.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz - REVIEWED

About the Book:
With two very different horizons stretched out before her, one young woman stands on the cusp of an unknown future.
Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena "Wren" Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Wren makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. 

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Wren feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty.
My Thoughts:
The gentle words seemed to hold promise – of brighter, better things to come.
If that were possible in Pennsylvania.”  (p. 123)

Ellie said to Wren:  “We mustn’t dwell so much on the past, we must look to the future.”  Well, at this point, that was easier said than done.  Wren’s father literally tore her from the only home she’d ever know – at age 25 – and sat her down among a family she didn’t know.  From rage to riches in a matter of days.  From a farm girl of Kentucky to a debutante of one of Pennsylvania’s elite families.  It wasn’t an easy transition to say the least.

Add to that transition a group of “family” who all have a plan to see you married off in style – to have you participate in a social season that would kill most of us today – and all the time, longing to go home.  Wren only knew her beloved Kentucky countryside, and when she finds herself trussed into crinolines and unable to draw a full breath, well, that’s a bit much.

Only Laura Frantz can take this rags to riches story and layer it with the historical intrigue of abolitionists, riverboat bandits and a railroad baron and create a multi-faceted historical tale that will keep readers up until the wee hours of morning!  You will fall in love with James, you will be repulsed and terrified by Bennett, you will be charmed by Malachi (and fall a bit in love with him too) – and the Ballantyne clan alone will keep your imagination enthralled!  This is a unique and completely intriguing tale that readers will adore!  Even better, Love’s Fortune begins the Ballantyne Legacy series!

So come along for the ride and enjoy the romance, intrigue and historical drama that only Laura Frantz can weave for her readers!

About the Author:

Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author ofThe Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow Little, and The Colonel's Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sing Over Me - REVIEWED! A documentary about worship, identity, and the transformative power of the Gospel.

About the Film:
In 1981, singer-­‐songwriter Dennis Jernigan walked away from the homosexual lifestyle and decided to follow Jesus Christ. Raised in a Christian home, he identified himself as gay at a young age and constantly feared the persecution of the church.  Years of depression and despair followed as he tried to lead a double life, while secretly battling his temptations.  Even after fully embracing his desires, he experienced only more pain and loneliness.

Through it all music remained the one thing he could find peace in, and it was through music that God changed him forever. After re-­‐dedicating his life to Christ in his mid-­‐twenties, Jernigan was inspired to begin his ministry recording music, sharing his story, and leading others to freedom. Over the next few decades, he would write some of the most popular Christian songs of all time and God would graciously use the torment of his past to bring hope to others.

This is a film about hope, identity, and the transformative power of the Gospel. By telling his story, Jernigan puts forth an example of what God can do in the lives of those who put their trust in Him. Nothing isimpossible with God, and He wants to bring healing and freedom to all.

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to let the gay community tell me who I am…I’m not going to be defined by what tempts me….. My past failures will no longer define me.  My present circumstances will no longer define me. I’m not even going to define me.  I’m going to let my Father in heaven tell me who He says I am!”  Dennis Jernigan

Psalm 107:1-2 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

Dennis Jernigan tells his story with purpose.  Dennis speaks truth with passion.  Dennis writes and sings songs unto the LORD from a place of redemptive freedom that many are seeking.  He tells his story to give hope to others.

Oh that we could learn the truth of these words Dennis shares from his own life experience: “I don’t have to agree with you to love you.”  The life of every single believer would be transformed into the light of the gospel and would draw people into a relationship with the Father through Christ’s atoning work on the cross!  Dennis experienced this love first hand when a contemporary Christian artist sang of that love during one of his darkest times.  Dennis was betrayed by a spirit of religion and set free by the truth of God’s redemptive love!  He doesn’t struggle against the chains that held him in bondage for the first two decades of his life.  He shares his story, he shares hope, he shares the love of Christ in a way that….well…is just something that inspires me!

And as inspiring (and oftimes painful) as his story is to hear, Dennis knows with certainty that there is yet another layer to his testimony.  He says of the future: “…even if it becomes hate speech to tell my story, which sounds outlandish, but it’s a real possibility, I will not be silent. I will not stop telling my story.” Dennis has witnessed the aggression and political correctness of the gay community from both sides of the fence.  He has made a sacrificial commitment to others, and that IS so Christlike, so amazingly inspiring! 

I would be willing to guess that every believer works with or knows someone who has believed the lie of the enemy and lives a gay lifestyle.  Dennis proclaims hope to those who have been so deceived.  He also gives courage to those who are impacted by their choices to love them, to pray for them, to walk beside them until God reveals the answers they so desperately seek.

Every church should share this with their congregation in the loving way that Dennis shares his story. Let’s love boldly!! Pray without ceasing and follow Christ wherever He leads!!  SUCH AN AMAZING STORY!!

You can watch this documentary FREE at www.singovermemovie.com for the month of September and the DVD is releasing on October 1st!  Pray about introducing other to Dennis Jernigan!

About Dennis:
Dennis Jernigan is a Christian songwriter and recording artist, residing in Oklahoma.  Dennis Jernigan has released over 20 full-length CDs, multiple songbooks and folios, and has authored more than five books including, Giant Killers and What Every Boy Should Know…What Every Man Wishes His Dad Had Told Him.  His newest full-length CD is titled, Days of Awe.  Dennis graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1981 with a music degree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Before Amen by Max Lucado - REVIEWED

About the Book:
We all pray . . . some.
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.
But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.
We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same?
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.
My Thoughts:
Hello, my name is Max.  I’m a recovering prayer wimp.” (p.3)

What an incredible statement made by a man who a LOT of people look to for spiritual guidance.  Wow! Max Lucado has written a book entitled, Before Amen, that takes readers on a personal journey into the heart of prayer.  His premise: that we, as believer’s have made prayer too complicated and God unreachable.  He begins with pointing out that Jesus’ disciples were some of the first people to ask to be taught how to pray!  And Jesus taught them!  I believe, like Max Lucado, that our Father God is closer than we believe, and He really wants us to love Him and come to Him with everything!

“Prayer is not a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few.  Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child.”  (p. 12)  This is one of many statements Max makes to his readers on this journey.  It’s not complicated.  It’s not difficult.  It should be an easy, natural, first instinct for God’s children.  For those who feel they are too far away from a conversation from their creator Daddy…let Max take you steps closer to His heart!

Each chapter deals with a straightforward part of prayer, and by the end of the book, you feel as though you can crawl up into the Father’s lap and tell Him about your day!!  This was an incredibly encouraging book to read!  Read it with a highlighter handy, and expect to re-read large sections of it on your way through!  This isn’t a very lengthy book, but it is packed with truth about prayer that will transform your prayer life!
Purchase you copy HERE!
About the Author:
More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley - REVIEWED

About the book: Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations. Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.

My Thoughts:
"His friend all rejoiced as He floated to heaven.
Though Jesus had gone, He had left the eleven.
He'd told them to go and not hide as they's hid,
and to preach the good news to the world.
So they did"

The stories of the Bible, told in rhyme, illustrated with pictures that capture each moment....well, this is indeed a treasure!  Gather up your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews...children  who love to listen to a great story....and share the truth of God's Word!  This is the perfect way to introduce children to the stories that will shape their lives for all eternity!

This is a perfect gift for any Sunday School classroom or children's ministry!  And you will want to make this the foundation of your own children's library.  Stir the hunger for God's Word early, because God has promised that His Word will not return to him void.  He will cause this to take root and grow in the hearts and lives of children with faith to believe!

Treasury of Bible Stories is easy to read and will be very engaging with all of the kids in your life.  Children with love the illustrations and will easily retain the rhyming words!  This is, indeed, a treasure!  One am am happy to recommend to everyone!

Purchase Your Copy HERE

About the author: Kelly Pulley works from his middle Tennessee home writing and illustrating children's picture books, most recently Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn and The Cycling Wangdoos. He is best known for illustrating dozens of books in the Beginner's Bible series, including The Beginner's Bible (over 1.25 million copies sold).

Find Kelly online HERE and HERE!


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead by Diane Noble - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

About the Book:
She's Passionate about Solving the Case ... with the Town's Life-Long Bachelor El Littllefield runs The Butler Did It catering. It's the perfect cover for her to solve "who-done-its" (nothing too dangerous, please!) in this small university town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While catering her most important event yet - a fancy retirement dinner for Dr. Max Haverhill, life-long bachelor and history dean - countless guests fall ill, a 200 year-old relic is stolen, and her best friend vanishes. All in the first hour. As El and Max race to solve the mystery - they discover there's more to their relationship than simply solving the case. Welcome to Eden's Bridge - the perfect small town setting for big intrigue, romance, and humor.

My Thoughts:
A wise person once told me that there are some things in life you can’t go around, you can’t go over, you can’t go under.  You have to go through.”  (p.371)

El Littlefield most definitely has to go through a LOT in Diane Noble latest addition to her offerings in the mystery genre – The Case of the Missing Figurehead!  As a matter of fact, this is the beginning of a new series entitled A Professor and Mrs. Littlefield.  What a combination Max and El make!  Don’t limit your expectations to those that happily inhabit a cozy mystery either!  Diane has included a very unexpected element of duplicity – duplicity born of desperation from a heart that has waded into the murky depths of depravity and greed and becomes unable to turn around!

But I am getting ahead of myself!  The mystery seems to be rather straightforward – the protection of a WWII figurehead being tantamount.  Then the layer of business acumen and the desire to preserve a floundering business.  This layer is followed by a mysterious illness and possible murder…and the layers continue to deepen.  There comes a point where you can’t help but believe dear ‘ole El has waded into the investigative waters too deeply!

And she almost does.  Well, she comes perilously close to losing her life at least a couple of time before you reach the final page!!  All I can say is that El’s influence on Max – the professor extraordinaire -  is astounding to say the least!  And that’s just the icing on the cake!  You will really be satisfied by Diane’s story!  You will come to care a lot for her very eclectic but lovable characters, and you will be left wanting more! What a great combination, right?!  I highly recommend this novel to everyone!

About the Author:
Award-winning novelist Diane Noble spent most of her first eighteen years in a small mountain village in the High Sierra back country near Yosemite National Park. Growing up among towering pines and rushing waterfalls provided Diane a rich setting in which to let her vivid imagination soar. Her first novel was published in 1994 under the pseudonym Amanda MacLean with four more following in quick succession. She began writing under her own name in 1998, with the publication of one of her most popular works of historical fiction, THE VEIL. THE SISTER WIFE, book one of her new Brides of Gabriel series, is now in bookstores everywhere. Keep in touch with Diane at www.dianenoble.com, http://www.facebook.com/dianenoblebooks, and http://twitter.com/dianenoble.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Whosoever South Come On In!!

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Whosoever South, the pioneers of Country Crunk, return October 7th with their all-new studio album, COME ON IN. The album will be released by Pit Bull Productions in association with Elevate Entertainment and Syntax Distribution. 

Partnering up with A-List producers, such as Asaf Fulks, Dirty Rice, Andy Sheridan and industry veteran KJ-52, Whosoever South continues to create a sound all their own. COME ON IN is packed with traditional hip-hop and a backwoods flare, mixing inner city styles with banjo, harmonica and dobro – all centered around a clear Gospel message.

Comprised of Rowdy, Sarah and Mike, Whosoever South’s humble beginnings and diverse backgrounds testify to the fact that God can indeed use all things. Since the group’s formation in 2008, the trio released three underground albums before making their worldwide debut in 2013 with the album, Goin' Home. An immediate hit, the group has been breaking down barriers and impacting lives by sharing the truth that needs to be known. “We all have one thing in common,” says Sarah. “We all need Jesus. Some folks just don't know it yet.” 

“My hope for this album is that folks will be introduced to a new style of music and lifestyle, but most importantly they will be introduced to my Savior, Jesus Christ,” says Rowdy. 

Whosoever South was Christian Music’s biggest surprise of 2013. Their unique blend of country and hip-hop quickly caught the attention of many industry insiders. The early buzz for what started as a truly independent album release led to an eleventh hour retail distribution deal with Elevate Entertainment and Syntax Distribution, and a major management deal with Nashville-based Michael Smith & Associates.

Before long, critics were raving about the band’s genre-bending blend of country and hip-hop, calling Goin’ Home one of the best albums of the year. The group made their live television debut on Canada’s 100 Huntley Street, before heading out on a U.S. media tour that landed them on media outlets from coast to coast. UP TV even masterminded an exclusive music video pairing Whosoever South’s single, “All the Time,” with footage from the network’s hit original series, Bulloch Family Ranch. 

For more information, visit the official website at www.whosoeversouth.com.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Song - A Movie Review

There is nothing in this world that won’t go away, even joy.  My only hope is that there’s something bigger than this world.”  Rose to Jed

The Song is not a movie I will soon forget.  It is both a blessing and a curse that I was asked to preview this movie.  Song of Solomon addresses many, if not all, areas of sin in our lives and he concludes that there is nothing new under the sun – especially as it concerns marital infidelity.  So, the King family has a couple of generations to fight this battle. 

The viewer gets enough of a look into the life of David King (Jed’s dad) to know that he made bad choices in his marriage.  Although Jed was raised with a legacy of infidelity, he had a strong faith when he married.  And then….Song of Solomon…..

Suffice it to say, at the point where his wife tells him that her hope is in something bigger than this world, she has endured hell and back.  Truth is, until infidelity has rocked your world you have NO IDEA what that feels like.  Sadly, I know this all too well as my 22-year marriage ended a couple of years ago, and there were some scenes in this movie that I could not watch the first time through.  It was too real and too raw.  So in that sense, this movie does a stellar job at presenting a very difficult subject matter.

While I know the intent of the movie is to provide healing and open doors to struggling marriages, I am NOT a fan of the overall message of the movie!  In the life of David King redemption seems to come through the marriage to the woman he was unfaithful with. That made me want to vomit.  And then Jed…well we don’t really know what reconciliation looked like other than it began with a sappy song and a simple “I’m sorry.”  That is NOT REALITY FOLKS!!  No woman alive would be that naive.  Well, I hope not anyway. (Jed's issues were NOT simple!)

It’s really difficult to tell you to watch this movie.  For those who have never walked this path, I fear they will receive a faulty and damaging view of this subject.  For those like myself who have lived through this hell, they will probably either walk out altogether or be so upset that they won’t be able to drive home. I’m thankful I was in my own home when I viewed it and could skip ahead or stop it all together.

This film is not overtly Christian, but you have just enough of a faith element to know that without God this is an utter impossibility to overcome.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason - REVIEWED

About the Book:
She thought her days of hiding were over . . . but the danger has just begun
The day Danielle Harding takes her eleven-year-old son and flees from her abusive husband is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe--but in reality, things are just heating up. When Kurt was alive, he took something important from a mysterious individual--who wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . . 

From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold you in its iron grip as bestselling author Lynette Eason propels you along in a race to discover the truth.

My Thoughts:
How has she surrounded herself with such deviant people?”  (p.280)

Danielle Harding asks this question at the point when every single thing in her life has been turned upside down and inside out – everything except her precious eleven-year-old, Simon.  Lynette Eason just about gave me a heart attack (pun intended) in her latest novel, No Where to Turn.  The meaning of the title becomes apparent almost immediately when you learn the details of Dani’s circumstances.  And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse – it does!

All I can say is that if you pick up this book it will interrupt your life a bit! Well, maybe a lot!  Lynette Eason’s name just means suspense!  I’ve read every one of her books and this one…is really great!  And every single time you turn around there is another twist in the plot!  And another bad guy that jumps from the shadows!! And these guys are really evil and they look like good guys…so beware!  Don’t trust anyone in this book!  Well, except Simon.  Precious Simon.  He was the only piece of normal in this entire novel.  Seriously!!

I refuse to give away one moment of the suspense!  This is a thrill-ride of a read!  Don’t miss it!!

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A View From Gina Holmes' Window - Driftwood Tides

Please welcome, novelist, Gina Holmes.  Gina is the founder of popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.

Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.

Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack.

She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status too had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.

Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?

Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe J)

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it’s not too personal, why do you think that is?

It is too personal, but I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

The novel you’ve written that seems to be a fan-favorite is Crossing Oceans, do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?

I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or off shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!

You’ve said that your favorite novel you’ve written is Wings of Glass. Why is that your favorite?

Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

You’re originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you’re from up North?

Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?

Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don’t actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there’s so much  you don’t know, that you don’t even know you don’t know. If you don’t you’ll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, ‘cause you’re sure going to need it!

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?

Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.

Where can readers find your books and more about you?

Thanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com. Thanks so much for hosting me!