Sunday, May 30, 2010

CFBA Tour - A Matter of Character

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Matter Of Character

Zondervan (May 25, 2010)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


It's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho. But Daphne has a secret.

A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villain known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers. Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories ... except Daphne.

When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life.

Robin is conducting a contest for the new book. Join in the fun HERE.

If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of A Matter Of Character, go HERE.

Friday, May 28, 2010

CFBA Tour - Broken

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


FaithWords (May 25, 2010)


Travis Thrasher

Jason says: I'm almost done with this, so I'll finish with a review later.


It was during third grade after a teacher encouraged him in his writing and as he read through The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis that Travis decided he wanted to be a writer. The dream never left him, and allowed him to fulfill that dream of writing fulltime in 2007.

Travis Thrasher is the author of numerous works of fiction, including his most personal and perhaps his deepest work, Sky Blue, that was published in summer of 2007. This year he has two novels published, Out of the Devil’s Mouth, and a supernatural thriller, Isolation.

Travis is married to Sharon and they are the proud parents of Kylie, born in November, 2006, and Hailey, a Shih-Tzu that looks like an Ewok. They live in suburban Chicago.

Stop by and visit Travis at his Blog where you can sign up to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!


Laila had it all--love, family, wealth, and faith. But when her faith crumbles, her world falls apart and Laila finds herself living an empty, dangerous life as a call girl in Chicago.

When she is threatened, Laila shoots and kills a client in self-defense, sending herself into a spiral of guilt and emptiness. Six months later, she is trying to move on, but she's haunted by the past. She hasn't told anyone about the man she killed, and she's still estranged from her family.

When she is approached by a stranger who says he knows what she did, Laila has no choice but to run. But the stranger stays close behind, and Laila begins having visions of the man she killed. Little does she know she's being hounded by something not of this world, something that knows her deepest, darkest secret.

Scared and wandering, will Laila regain her trust in God to protect her from these demons? Or will her plea for salvation come too late?

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CSFF Tour - By Darkness Hid

Well, I blew it.

I thought the CSFF Tour for May featuring By Darkness Hid, the first book by author Jill Williamson was next week. This book was one of the early books released by speculative fiction publisher Marcher Lord Press, a favorite of these parts. I was always planning on reading it, so I was excited when it came on our tour schedule. This tour is meant to coincide with the release of the second book in the series, To Darkness Fled, but we decided to get people started with the first book.

Since I thought the tour was next week, I didn't get it finished. I received a review copy of the book from MLP, so I will read it and post a review later. I can say that both Hid and Fled are receiving praise from more independent reviewers like Libray Journal and Publisher's Weekly, and To Darkness Hid is up for several awards.

I would encourage you to check out this book and my fellow tourmates for some real information. Becky Miller keeps track of all of the links of who has posted, so check her out.

And hopefully I don't blow it next time. Sheesh.

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Sarah Flanagan
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

Friday, May 14, 2010

CFBA Tour - Crossing Oceans

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is featuring the debut novel by Gina Holmes, Crossing Oceans.

Gina has a great story behind getting published. She kept plugging away at several novels, as many aspiring writers do. But she couldn't rest there. She founded the blog Novel Journey, to interview authors and talk about the writing process. As she attracted others to work with her, they turned it into one of Writer's Digest Top 100 websites for writers for a couple of different years. It has been a resource I have enjoyed, so I was excited for Gina when I saw her book on tour.

Crossing Oceans is the story of a young woman, Jenny Lucas, who has a 5 year old daughter Isabella, and finds that she is dying from stage 4 cancer. She is forced to return to her hometown to face her estranged father, who turned cold and distant after Jenny's mother died of a different cancer, and to reveal her daughter to the father, David Preston. To complicate matters, her father holds David's father responsible for her mother's death.

Jenny must deal with her own struggles with these two men as she determines the best situation for her daughter after she's gone. The choices she must make test her faith and her resolve to provide the best future for her girl.

At first glance, the title Crossing Oceans doesn't really give a picture of what the book is about. However, it becomes a powerful metaphor for Jenny's impending death and trying to share her faith to Isabella that they'll be together again someday. This book is very touching in its realistic portrayal of the process of dying, and in all of the characters' battles to live in the midst of death.

The characters are rich and well-done. It is said a good book has characters that stick with the reader after the book is put down. I have pondered Jenny and her childhood friend Craig since finishing, so the proof is in the pudding! The only problem I had is that the author must have a thing for toes (but you'll have to read the book to find out more...).

Gina's original forays into fiction involved writing suspense, so her knack for keeping the tension up and the pages turning show through, even though this book is more on the literary side of the scale.

My friend Becky Miller has been posting about whether men can enjoy a book with a female protagonist. I suppose this book gives me reason to say, "I'm a man and I enjoyed this fine work of women's fiction." I could've gotten choked up a couple of times (since I'm not an emotional guy, this is actually high praise!).

Overall there are a few plot points that seem awfully convenient or get skipped over quickly, but the quality writing, characters, and pacing make Crossing Oceans a striking debut by Gina Holmes. Whether you read women's fiction or not, this is a well-crafted book that deserves a chance.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Crossing Oceans, go HERE.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Why Do We Need Heroes?

And are there any heroes for us today?

Why do we have an innate attraction to the ideas of heroes? We ask people who their heroes are. Kids and adults both delight at the stories of superheroes, people with extraordinary powers who seem to save the world again and again. We always like it when a regular person makes good: the local hero who saves someone. Every story needs a hero, doesn't it?

Our collective imagination seems drawn to the idea of people who have a greater power or call. A look at the top box office of all time for the US and worldwide shows the list dominated by familiar names: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Jack Sparrow. All of these stories feature larger than life figures who overcome overwhelming odds to triumph.

I've always day-dreamed of some cataclysm happening in my regular life, only to find that I could fly, had super something-or-other in order to save those in peril. It's in the fabric of who I am. I grew up on Star Wars and Super Friends, and this summer I couldn't wait until the latest Iron Man movie came out. Recently I've gotten back into enjoying comic books, which shows different aspects of heroes from when I was growing up. Nowadays these heroes struggle against inner darkness or temptation and deal with more real life scenarios over the classic comics when Superman never doubted what was right and was always there to save Lois Lane.

I know that some people prefer down to earth heroes in their entertainment - the cop, the spunky Nancy Drew type, people who don't have a special ability. Others may even prefer the "anti-hero", the character that may otherwise be very unlikable in a story, but is portrayed from a sympathetic viewpoint. However, in general we are drawn to those who are greater than us in both their abilities and trials. I could go on, reaching back to mythology and stories of Hercules, Achilles, and so on, but I think this point is coming across.

Having made the argument that this desire is there, now we may ask "Why is it there?"

Could it be, perhaps, that it speaks to who we are? Does it draw from our deepest heart and unconscious needs?

I would argue that heroes are so compelling because we need a hero. We realize, whether directly or subconsciously, that we cannot overcome all that we encounter on our own. Try as we might, we are not able to complete our own salvation. We may fight valiantly, but our struggle is ultimately doomed against the supreme villain.

In the end, this attraction to heroes points us to the one who fought evil without ever turning to temptation. He went toe-to-toe with our greatest foe on our behalf. He sacrificed himself in defending truth, justice, and mercy. And when all seemed lost, he rose in even greater power and strength for the ultimate victory.

Jesus is my hero.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Source of Life

Some movies are truer than we think.

Do you remember the part in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the bad guy drinks from what he thinks is the Holy Grail? Donovan hired the beautiful archeologist to help him find the Grail, thinking that it would give eternal life to anyone who drank from it.

Do you remember what happened next?

Yeah, it doesn't end well for the guy.

It seems if one chooses "poorly," it drains your life instead of restoring it. Donovan goes from Nazi tool to dust in the wind rather quickly.

Now Indiana Jones is faced with a choice, as his father is outside dying from a gunshot wound, and his only hope is the True Grail. Indy looks around at the plethora of gilded grails trying to choose. He settles on a very non-descript chalice, likely to be missed among all the glitter and glamour of the other cups. The only way to know if he got it right is to drink from it himself. It takes faith to believe in his choice, but he acts on it. And he is rewarded (though he is strangely aging in The Crystal Skull movie from a few years ago, suggesting to me that that movie shouldn't have been made, but I digress...)

I was reminded of this movie today as I was praying. I realized I feel somewhat like the dusty bad guy. I've been walking in my own strength for a while now. Nothing dramatic, but I just haven't been fully abiding in the Lord and His presence lately. I haven't been praying for a quality amount of time. I haven't been pursuing reading the Bible as much as I need. Consequently worship was becoming more rote.

As a result my life was becoming dry. I haven't been in rebellion, but I wasn't plugged into the Source. I wasn't drinking in Living Water, but subsiding on the little bits I'd glean from my day-to-day plodding. Life is full of distractions. As I work in front of a computer, there is a whole world out there that can take me away from what I truly need in life. Of course, it doesn't do so without my permission...

When I walk in a relationship with Jesus, then my life is transformed. I am no longer faint, weak in my bones, crumbling as I stumble along alone. I am renewed. My eyes have life in them. I see clearer, I love better, and I laugh longer. Jesus wasn't kidding when He said He was "living water". It is not by my own effort, but by faith in Jesus and letting His life flow into and through me that this happens. Just as Indy had to drink to test the Grail, we have to let Jesus in to have the healing and transformation He offers.

I'm tired of dining on dust. The world is passing away. Entropy is the law of thermodynamics that says everything proceeds from a highly-organized state to a less-organized state. Translation: everything decays. Donovan just had an accelerated taste of it, due to his own pride and misplaced faith. The world and all it offers cannot quench our thirst or give us life (no matter how much we call it "mother" Earth).

Don't make the mistake I've been making lately. If life seems like dust in the wind, there is a Source of Life that can restore you. I've experienced it. I'd be happy to point the way, if you have questions.

Movies can be prophetic. As the Guardian of the Grail says, "Choose wisely."