As In the Days of Noah. A book, Biblical Fiction, worth checking out!
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Also, Crooked Lines is on sale through the weekend for only .99 Cents. (Voted as Pulpwood Queen’s February Bonus Book of the Month!)
Fifty-five, Five Star Reviews. Here’s one from Donna: Wow!!! This book is a must read. Rebecca lives in America on the shores of Lake Michigan and blames herself for her younger sisters death. She searches for meaning and truth in her life. She yearns to go to India. Sagai lives across the world from her in South India and leaves his poor family to become a priest. He tries through every test to draw closer to God. Rebecca feels that God let her down from the time of her sisters death and many other times in her life. Her choices are made based on her failing her sister. She visits a church because she can find no way out of it. They have a priest,who serves in India,who is friends with Sagai as a guest speaker. She tells him about wanting to go to India. Rebecca and Sagai become pen pals with this priest and pray for each other for many years. It’s amazing to see God working through their lives, and some of the similarities in their struggles. When we look back at our lives as we try to follow the path that God has for us or we take a different path we will see the straight path that leads to God was there all along. The crooked lines are where we took detours and God led us back. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly this book was so engaging I couldn’t put it down and I felt like God was speaking to me through it. This author has allowed God to use her as she shares spiritual truths through her writing.
And Tsunami 2004 Still Wading Through Waves of Hope (nonfiction) is available FREE on Kindle Unlimited and $2.99 on Kindle, $6.99 Print Version (Amazing stories from survivors then and now and how we survived a near death experience on our return to Nagapattinam, ten years later.).
Here’s a review from Larry: K. P. Yohannan of Gospel For Asia asked on one of his videos, “What did you do when you heard about the thousands of people swept away by the tsunami?” To be honest, most of us just watched the tragedy on TV, shrugged our shoulders, and did little else, but that is not so for the author and her husband.
“Tsunami 2004: Still Wading through Waves of Hope” records what Bishop Leo Michael and his wife Holly did upon hearing the tsunami news. They raised thousands of dollars and traveled to India with a friend to see for themselves where their funds could best be used. The areas they chose to visit were the three hardest hit areas in India.
Holly Michael’s crisp writing style reveals the heart-breaking calamity they witnessed, the hardships they faced, and her own personal fears about being on the ground in the midst of total devastation. Her willingness to reveal her own heart throughout the book helps us see through her eyes.
In 2014, Holly and her husband returned to the same regions of India to check out what happened to the people they helped. Some of the testimonies told of great victories, but a few revealed the despair victims felt a decade later. And then there was Bishop Leo’s life-threatening bout with dengue fever.
This is a five-star book and I believe everyone should read it.
If I don’t blog much in the next month, it’s because I’m busy finishing the sequel to Crooked Lines.
Several new releases in 2015! Yippee! And one to be published by Harvest House that this cutie (son, Jake Byrne) and I wrote together. Will be released in early August! Exciting stuff! I’ll update as we come closer to the date.
Just published my very first Mail Chimp newsletter. Huge challenge for my non-techy-hate-learning-new-stuff-brain, but I got ‘er done! Still trying to figure out how to add a sign-up form on my blog and website, but, for now and for those who haven’t signed up for my newsletter, here’s my exciting news in old school cut and paste method from the newsletter (and a link below to get future issues of the real thing).
First, the banner of the newsletter. It doesn’t have a fancy newsletter name, but oh well.
Nagapattinam: Ten Years after the Tsunami
“Send us to the worst affected areas, the poorest, most remote villages, where there’s been no help.” ~ Bishop Leo Michael
My husband spoke those words nearly ten years ago when we landed in South India, just days after the 2004 tsunami. He had once lived and worked in the region and knew of the fisher-folk’s living conditions and the havoc a gigantic wave could wreak on a village with homes built of sticks and coconut-thatched roofs.
I mentally geared up for mission work, but had no idea how difficult, yet fulfilling, the experience would prove to be.
Now, ten years later, we are preparing to leave for South India for a follow-up visit to the places and people helped from the generosity of America, after a 2004 major fundraising event. (I gotta pack soon).
Funds were used to help rebuild the villages and to provide many orphans with local bank CD’s (to mature in ten years).
Now, the children are ready to collect their money and begin their adult lives. I’m so excited to go back and meet these young people and write their stories. I’ll compile a “then and now” short book (with photos) and release it on the anniversary of the tsunami: December 26, 2014. (Tsunami 2004: Then and Now. Devastation from the Sea. Help from Beyond. – Working Title).
Though both Crooked Lines and the sequel include experiences in the Nagapattinam seaside villages and some life experiences of mine and my husbands, both are works of fiction. Release date for the sequel is planned for February 2015, hopefully Valentines Day.
Here’s the first paragraph of the sequel to Crooked Lines. (Crossed Lines-working title…do you like that title? Let me know in the comments.): Like swirls of smoke from incense, smoldering heaps sent the remains of the dead up to God. I turned away from the distant piles of burning bodies. Nagapattinam, two weeks after the tsunami, wasn’t the India I’d been imagining for the past twenty years. Yet, every storm that swept into my life since I was a teenager had prepared me for this time and place.
And in case you haven’t gotten Crooked Lines (reached #1 spot in inspirational fiction on Amazon) here’s the back-cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.
So…for occasional brief and newsy updates about book release dates, sales, etc., here’s the link to sign up for my newsletter: CLICK HERE. Why not?
Thanks! AND, HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP: PURCHASE CROOKED LINES NOW AND PROCEEDS FROM SALES FOR THE REST OF OCTOBER AND ALL OF NOVEMBER WILL HELP FUND THE ONGOING PROJECT. THE NEED FOR HELP IS ALWAYS GREAT IN THE POOR FISHING VILLAGES IN NAGAPATTINAM. Click HERE to purchase Crooked Lines
A cover reveal party with Caryl McAdoo! On Saturday at 3:00 PM.
And guess what? You all can come or as Caryl from Texas says, “Ya’ll come!”
I’ve not hosted or attended one of these Facebook virtual parties before, but thanks to Caryl for arranging it. Looks like a whole lot of fun!
Here’s what Caryl is wearing:
I thought of wearing this:
So, to join the fun and festivities to announce our covers, done by the same artist, Kirk DouPonce, click here.
SO excited. CROOKED LINES will be launched on August 3rd! Woohoo! Caryl’s book, Hearts Stolen will be released in September.
See ya there!
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More Christians in India than ever before have their heads bowed low these days. Praying? Maybe, but also reading on their smart phones and tablets. The popularity of E-readers and apps for enjoying books on smart phones and tablets has increased readership in India, especially in larger cities and among college students.
After researching and speaking with Christian pastors in India, authors, and a barrage of voracious book lovers, it became clear that excellent Christian literature and clean fiction is in huge demand in the East.
“People from India want to read and learn about the Western world,” says Shilpa Joshi, a Christian from Bangalore. “We want to explore places like Texas and reading about these places in novels takes us there, but I rarely come across such books.”
During a visit to India last year, browsing large Christian bookstores, I found mostly self-help and spiritual non-fiction books written mainly by Indian authors. I did come across a few nonfiction titles by big names such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Olsteen, but found almost zero Christian novels.
Renjit Varghese, a Christian from Kerala, South India lives in Kansas City now. He says that readership is growing among Indians due to the lower cost of ebooks. “But Christian books are difficult to find in India,” says Varghese. “Even more rare is fiction written by American authors. “When I go back home to Kerala, I take books back with me for my family.”
Seeing the need to connect Christian authors in the West with readers in the East, Authors Caryl McAdoo and I (Both members of American Christian Fiction Writers – AFCW) began a website: www.indiascrown.com. The full name of this premier site is India’s Crown in Christian Literature Excellence (ICICLE).
The website will feature American Christian authors with books marketed in India through Amazon and other sources. Each author featured will also give away a copy of their book to a reader from India.
“ICICLE is a place where authors and readers can also connect,” Caryl Mcadoo, Author of Vow Unbroken, reiterated. “It surprised me to discover a few years ago that people all over the world love Texas. My historical Christian romance—reviewers have told me I should add western adventure to my genre—Vow Unbroken is set in 1832 Texas, so I am excited about the untapped market in India. And while it’s nice to sell more books, I’m more excited with the aspect of meeting Indian Christians and making friends across the ocean. With Christ in common, we can minister to one another and see that God is doing wonderful things in other places.”
So….Caryl and I are off and running on a well-thought out and massive campaign to bring awareness of www.indiascrown.com to India to fill this niche with literary minded Christians working on both sides of the ocean. It is time now to welcome authors to contact us about promoting their book. We are filling our calendars now. We are thrilled to be wide open to Indy titles, but do want to read them ahead of time to ensure the excellence in Christian Literature we advertise.
It is this assurance that will catapult India’s Crown into the organization we believe God wants it to be. Visit the site and contact us with any questions.
Get ready Christian authors in the US! Indian readers want your books! And what a platform God has given us to spread the Gospel through our Christian Fiction.
Stealing a cliché from Forrest Gump, Amy Matayo’s The Wedding Game is like a box of chocolates. Delightful, colorful, well-developed characters are mixed up in a sweet-tart romance and placed in a colorful reality TV plot. Sprinkled among ingenious twists are nuggets of witty humor and snippets of snarky sarcasm.
And like a box of chocolates, each deliciously addictive page will have you saying, “more please.” More Ellie and Cannon!
Amy Matayo has mastered the craft of writing in this clean, contemporary romance. And like a box of chocolates, the sweetness of The Wedding Game lingers long after the book is finished. Gratifying but no calories! Loved this book! A great Christmas or anytime gift for anyone: women, teens, and if you sneak it into your man’s Kindle, I know he’ll love it, too!
About The Wedding Game: Cannon James has a plan: Sign on as a contestant for his father’s new reality show, marry a blonde hand-picked by the producers, and walk away two million dollars richer. It’s all been arranged. Easy. Clean. No regrets. Until Ellie McAllister ruins everything by winning the viewer’s vote. Now he has to convince America that he’s head over heels in love with her. Not easy to do since she’s a walking disaster. Ellie McAllister has her own problems. She needs money, and she needs it now. Despite her parent’s objections and her belief that marriage is sacred, she signs on to The Wedding Game…and wins. Now she’s married to a guy she can’t stand, and if she wants her hands on the money, she has six months to make voters believe she loves him. Not easy to do since he’s the most arrogant man in America. It doesn’t take long for Ellie and Cannon to realize they’ve made a mess of things…even less time for their feelings for one another to change. But is it too late for them? More importantly, can the worst decision they’ve ever made actually be one of the best?
And for more sweetness, here’s my interview with Author Amy Matayo:
Holly: How did you come up with such a clever plot for The Wedding Game?
Amy: A couple of years ago I was watching Good Morning America while getting dressed for work. They were running a feature on Kim Kardashian, telling about her recently-announced divorce. Well, I had just watched clips from her televised wedding a few days earlier, so I know she had only been married for a month or so. Annoyed, I turned to my son and said “You know, pretty soon there’s going to be a reality show where two strangers get married for money.” I meant to sound outraged, but instead my brain started spinning. The idea for The Wedding Game was born right then.
Holly: Can you share The Wedding Game’s journey to publication?
Amy: Originally The Wedding Game was sold as a three-book series, but a few months later my publisher (B&H Publishers) made a decision to discontinue their fiction line. The Wedding Game was salvaged in the process, but after a lot of back and forth I made the ultimate decision to get my rights back on that book as well. After a lot of communication with my agent and editor The Wedding Game was released on Amazon November 16, 2013.
Holly: What did you learn from your publishing experience that really stuck with you?
Amy: That it can turn on a dime, and that authors need to be open to new opportunities when they present themselves. Publishing is changing at a rapid pace–not necessarily always in the greatest way–and it’s sometimes tough for authors to keep up. But with self-publishing on the rise, indie success stories becoming more and more visible, and hybrid (both traditionally and self-published) authors willing to take chances on multiple venues, there are lots of opportunities for writers right now.
Holly: Best advice for other writers?
Amy: That even though the writing road is hard–like any other career in the arts, I suppose–keep going. Write every day, even if it’s just a paragraph. The only people who make it are the ones who don’t give up. And believe me, my family and friends have to talk me off the ledge almost every day.
Holly: Readers will surely want more after finishing The Wedding Game. Future books?
Amy: Love Gone Wild is a sort-of sequel to The Wedding Game. It’s also reality-show based and takes place in the Alaskan wilderness–a Survivor-type scenario. It releases on Amazon March 1 of next year. And then later next year will come Sway, a New Adult romance that intersperses a political theme of separation of church and state.
And a little more about this fabulous up and coming author:
Amy’s Bio: I graduated from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. I came this close (holds finger and thumb together until they practically touch) to also having an English degree, but decided I wanted to get married instead and besides, who needed it? After all, managing an entire six-credit-hour semester seemed just so exhausting, and one degree was more than enough. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Not the marriage–that’s all good. But the pseudo-exhaustion. It might be nice to have that degree right now. Anyway, after graduation, I went to work for DaySpring Cards–a division of Hallmark–where I worked for seven years as Senior Writer and Editor. After the birth of my first child–a ten pound boy–I became a freelance writer before pursuing novel-writing full time. My first contracted novel–The Wedding Game–won the 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. It released on November 16, 2013. As the mother of four children with a husband immersed in political life, I have very little free time. I prefer to spend that time enjoying intellectual pursuits such as: watching television with my feet propped up, watching movies with a bucket of popcorn, and watching my laundry pile high–with no desire to do anything about it. It’s a fun life.
A Log Cabin Christmas, A Ruby Christmas, books, CHasing Christmas, Christmas, Christmas books, David Hohn, Debbie Roome, Debra Ullrick, Dianne E Butts, Erica Vetsch, Fay Lamb, gift books, God Gave Us Christmas, J.A. Marx, Jane Kirkpatrick, Jennifer Fromke, Jerusha Agen, Julie Stiegemeyer, Kelly Eileen Hake, Lisa Tawn Bergren, Liz Johnson, Liz Tolsma, Mansfield's Book of Manly Men, Margaret Brownley, Marji Laine, Michelle Ule, Phee Paradise, Ruth O'Neil, Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend, Stephen Mansfield, Steven Hunt, Wanda E. Brunstetter
Happy Advent! Here’s another post about great Christmas gift books and/or wonderful reads to enhance the spirit of Christmas (our love of Jesus).
For the Guys:
MANSFIELD’S BOOK OF MANLY MEN by Stephen Mansfield looks like a fantastic book gift for the guy who has everything and needs a great, manly book.
Genre: Christian Life / Man’s issues
Witty, compelling, and shrewd, Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men is about resurrecting your inborn, timeless, essential, masculine self.
The Western world is in a crisis of discarded honor, dubious integrity, and faux manliness. It is time to recover what we have lost. Stephen Mansfield shows us the way. Working with timeless maxims and stirring examples of manhood from ages past, Mansfield issues a trumpet call of manliness fit for our times.
“My goal in this book is simple,” he says. “I want to identify what a genuine man does–the virtues, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood–and then call men to do it.”
Chasing Christmas By Steven Hunt Description: Steeped in depression and trying to escape his past and problems, Teddy Whitaker hops aboard a freight train through the Ozark Mountains. Startled by a mysterious stranger in his boxcar, Teddy discovers in order to defeat the darkness and reclaim his life, he must learn three lessons before Christmas morning. If he succeeds he will become a new man. If he fails he will lose his life. Yet, deep in the thick woods of Missouri stalks a certain evil, an evil determined for Teddy to fail.
Why the author wrote this book: I knew I wanted to write a story on depression after having watched a loved one go through severe depression after the death of a family member. But I didn’t want to write just any story; I needed to write one that offers help for those suffering.
For the Ladies:
A Log Cabin Christmas: 9 Historical Romances during American Pioneer Christmasses: Experience Christmas through the eyes of adventuresome settlers who relied on log cabins built from trees on their own land to see them through the cruel forces of winter. Discover how rough-hewed shelters become a home in which faith, hope, and love can flourish. Marvel in the blessings of Christmas celebrations without the trappings of modern commercialism where the true meaning of the day shines through. And treasure this collection of nine Christmas romances penned by some of Christian fiction’s best-selling authors: By Margaret Brownley, Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jane Kirkpatrick, Kelly Eileen Hake, Liz Johnson, Liz Tolsma, Michelle Ule, Debra Ullrick, Erica Vetsch
A Ruby Christmas By Jerusha Agen, Dianne E Butts, Jennifer Fromke, Marji Laine, Fay Lamb, J.A. Marx, Ruth O’Neil, Phee Paradise, Debbie Roome Description: Ruby Joy Buckner, cowgirl, has never left the Lone Star State, but at her father’s request, she takes her faithful canine companion and travels the world in search of Nativity pieces. As Ruby collects the pieces, she also collects a few unexpected surprises, including an awareness of the beauty in other cultures, and quite a menagerie of new friends, thanks in part to Yippee Ti Yi Yo who charms everyone they meet. Ruby’s budding awareness of life outside Texas opens her eyes to a world of whimsy, and the Nativity pieces she collects are unusual. Will her father approve her eclectic collection … and the changes that travel brought to Ruby’s life? Book Takeaway: Sometimes God helps us move forward by shaking us out of our comfort zone. Why the author wrote this book: Nine authors wrote this novella to celebrate the season of Christmas and to pass along a little bit of joy to our readers.
And The Kiddos:
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer (Author) and Chris Ellison (Illustrator)
Many parents and teachers struggle with how to approach the Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus dilemma. Many deal with this by telling children that the legends surrounding Santa Claus are based on a real, historical figure named Nicholas, a Christian bishop known for his generosity. This picture book presents a shortened, somewhat fictionalized version of the life of Saint Nicholas, explaining that Nicholas was a servant of God and that, through him, Gods love was reflected to others. The story touches on the ministry of Nicholas and his generous gift of a dowry to three young girls as a response to Gods love in Jesus. And it brings application to our own lives as we, too, respond with grateful hearts to Gods great gift of love to us. Combining museum-quality artwork and family friendly language, this book clearly articulates how God showered His love upon us through Christ and helps children see that our own gift-giving is a grateful response to the sacrificial gift of Gods Son.
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren art by David Hohn
As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder…
“Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that…
Jesus is the best present of all. This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.
Enjoy or give these gifts for others to enjoy for years to come! Happy Advent!
A Christmas Prayer, A Door County Christmas: Four Romances Warm Hearts in Wisconsin's Version of Cape Cod (Romancing America) by Becky Melby, A Vow to Cherish, Amy Parker, and Cynthia Ruchti., Bathroom Reading: Short stories for Short visits, Blog, books, Books for Children, Books for men, Books for women, Charles Dickens, children's books, Christian Christmas Books, Christmas, Christmas Gift, Christmas Shopping, Dan Walsh, Deborah Raney, Eileen Key, Finding Father Christmas, God is with me through the Night, Holly Michael, Jordyn Redwood, Julie Cantrell, Life of Our Lord, Men's books, Poems for a Platypus, Proof, Rachael Phillips, Remembering Christmas, Rick Bylina, Robin Jones Gunn, Silver Bells, Song of the Season Series, The Discovery, The unfinished Gift, www.writingstraight.com
…books, of course! From now until Christmas, I’m going to attempt to post blogs listing good books for Christmas gifts and good reads that will enhance the true spirit of Christmas. Here are a few suggestions for each person on your “nice” list:
Got a guy on your list who doesn’t have too much time for reading? Get Rick Bylina’s humorous book, Bathroom Reading–Short Stories for Short Visits (Volume 1) Sixty-six short stories from writer’s angst to T-Rex to aliens, zombies, squirrels, cockatiels, cows, thrillers, comedies, tragedies, and love stories with Rick’s own unique take.
Bylina’s Poem’s for a Platypus is pretty hilarious, too. He says: This is a book of my poetry that platypi have indicated they love. Most people don’t know that platypi love a good short poem, a saucy limerick, or a tight Haiku. They don’t care for epics because a platypi’s attention span is not that strong. Though it might seem at first glance, that this is a book of Haiku, it is not. I write what I feel, and I feel short poems most of the time that mirror the traditional Haiku style. However, there are many poems that are not in that style, because, well, that’s not what I felt at the time of the writing. Enjoy the same poems as the platypi, and you too can feel as carefree as they do, enjoying the moment, reflecting deeply, then swimming on to their next adventure.
For men’s fiction (and women, too) Dan Walsh has some wonderful inspirational books. The Discovery is my favorite, but The Unfinished Gift and Remembering Christmas: A Novel are great Christmas reads for all. Walsh is the bestselling author of 9 novels, published by Revell and Guideposts, including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and The Dance. He has won 3 ACFW Carol Awards, 2 Selah Awards, and twice his novels have been named as finalists for RT Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year.
For fiction, Jordyn’s Redwood’s books are thrilling reads. In Proof, book one of the bloodline trilogy, Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it’s the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find–and punish–her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?
Deborah Raney’s, A VOW TO CHERISH was the inspiration for World Wide Pictures’ highly acclaimed film of the same title. The film won a Silver Angel, a bronze Omni Award and a Gold Special Jury Award at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival. It is now available on video and on DVD in seven languages. Book and film continue to shed healing light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease for families and caregivers.
And…Silver Bells: Song of the Season Series is a one of Deborah Raney’s heartwarming Christmas reads. As Elvis croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon a small Kansas town, two people find the miracle of love. Michelle Penn has dropped out of college to work as a reporter for a tiny weekly newspaper. The boss’s son, Robert Merrick III, is quickly making her forget all about her former sweetheart, Kevin, who has shipped out to Vietnam. Rob loves the newspaper business but feels trapped working for his father. He dreams of having his own newspaper, but now that he’s met Michelle, she is what he wants most of all. Rob is forbidden by office policy to date Michelle, but if he were to quit his job, he’d have nothing to offer her. As snow blankets the town, it seems that the gifts Rob and Michelle most desire — each other — are out of reach. But then, they didn’t count on a small Christmas miracle.
*About the series: Songs of the Season™ is a line of inspirational romance fiction that overflows with seasonal cheer. Each standalone novel bears the title of a popular Christmas song from a nostalgic era.
And I have to recommend, A Door County Christmas: Four Romances Warm Hearts in Wisconsin’s Version of Cape Cod (Romancing America) by Becky Melby, Eileen Key, Rachael Phillips, and Cynthia Ruchti. I was born and raised in Door County and experienced quite a few of these Christmases. In this novel, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?
Can’t resist one more Christmas novel for women: Finding Father Christmas By Robin Jones Gunn In FINDING FATHER CHRISTMAS, Miranda Carson’s search for her father takes a turn she never expected when she finds herself in London with only a few feeble clues to who he might be. Unexpectedly welcomed into a family that doesn’t recognize her, and whom she’s quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both herself and the family she can’t bear to leave. Robin Jones Gunn brilliantly combines lyrical writing and unforgettable characters to craft a story of longing and belonging that will stay with readers long after they close the pages of this book.
I haven’t bought The Life of Our Lord, but I want to read it. Charles Dickens wrote The Life of Our Lord during the years 1846-1849, just about the time he was completing David Copperfield. In this charming, simple retelling of the life of Jesus Christ, adapted from the Gospel of St. Luke, Dickens hoped to teach his young children about religion and faith. Since he wrote it exclusively for his children, Dickens refused to allow publication. For eighty-five years the manuscript was guarded as a precious family secret, and it was handed down from one relative to the next. When Dickens died in 1870, it was left to his sister-in-law, Georgina Hogarth. From there it fell to Dickens’s son, Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, with the admonition that it should not be published while any child of Dickens lived. Just before the 1933 holidays, Sir Henry, then the only living child of Dickens, died, leaving his father’s manuscript to his wife and children. He also bequeathed to them the right to make the decision to publish The Life of Our Lord. By majority vote, Sir Henry’s widow and children decided to publish the book in London. In 1934, Simon & Schuster published the first American edition, which became one of the year’s biggest bestsellers.
Julie Cantrell’s God is With Me Through the Night. In this book, furry friends reveal that even the biggest and bravest of God’s creatures feel frightened sometimes. This comforting story allows parents to build stronger bonds with their children while reminding readers of all ages that fear, loneliness, and hopelessness can be alleviated when we put our trust in God. The story ends with an easy-to-remember Bible verse that teaches children about God’s love. ‘Fear not, for I am with you’ (Isaiah 41:10).
Snuggle in this holiday season and offer up A Christmas Prayer by Amy Parker. In the tradition of A Night Night Prayer, this precious little child wanders through the house on a snowy Christmas night offering a prayer of thanks and blessing. The child finishes with thanks to God for the greatest Gift of all. Noting all the characters in the Nativity, this lovable little nighttime prayer book has interactive dialogue and soothing rhyme for a child to repeat as they look around their world at Christmastime. Between the soft Christmas glow of the illustrations and the smooth rhythm of the child’s prayer, A Christmas Prayer will make every parent and child want to snuggle up by the tree and offer a prayer of thanks to God for His many Christmas blessings.
Enjoy shopping! And remember, Books are the best gift!
With all the terror and tragedy lately, I’m pleased to review and discuss an engaging novel, rich with themes of hope, healing, and wholeness.
Crumple Zone, a thrilling novel by Edith Parzefall, subtly but fully embraces the message of Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
While Crumple Zone is a psychological suspense novel with some bad language and sexual scenes, great messages and complex, intriguing characters make this book a wonderful read.
After losing her job, Lara takes an impetuous trip to Chile. Rick, a questionable hitchhiker joins her in the rented X-Trail. The reader certainly isn’t left behind on this suspenseful, scenic ride across the Atacama Desert.
Truck-driver Enrique, losing his grip on reality, is on the same highway. A crash on Ruta 5 clears away a new route toward trust, healing, and an awakening to the difference between reality and illusion.
In Crumple Zone (and her other books), Author Edith Parzefall successfully brings an admirable depth to her writing. The novel beautifully reveals how a higher power leads people in the right directions, at the right times. The characters aren’t do-gooders set out to save the world; they are flawed people. Difficult situations force them to think outside of themselves and make choices that ultimately bring peace into their lives. And like in real life, characters who choose to remain in their selfish worlds, get left behind to their own devices. I totally recommend Crumple Zone.
Crumple Zone is a read that will stick with you for a long time. I wiped away tears before clicking off my Kindle. Thanks Edith!
Author Edith Parzefall based Crumple Zone on a real accident. In 2008 she visited Chile, supposedly the safest country in South America. Stopped at a red light in their rented SUV, she and her partner were sandwiched between two trucks on the Pan-American highway. An unplanned excursion to the local hospital and the Carabineros de Chile allowed her insights she never meant to gain but wouldn’t want to miss. A new story idea sparked: Crumple Zone
Edith told me that the accident always felt like the hand of God gently rubbing her off errant tracks that made her unhappy and filled with more and more purposelessness. She really brings that into the novel.
Edith studied literature and linguistics in Germany and the United States, worked as an editor, technical writer, team leader and project manager. Now a full-time writer, she strives to combine her two passions: writing and traveling.
Below is a sample chapter from Crumple Zone with photos from Edith’s trip to Chile.
CRUMPLE ZONE EXCERPT
Lara parked at the lighthouse in La Serena. They climbed out and walked along the beach, enjoying the gentle morning sun.
The night before, Rick had made her feel like he wanted her, not just a playmate. More nights like that and she’d be doomed. Except, there was still this nagging feeling. Did he just act the Don Juan, same as he could turn into a caveman or her sex slave?
“Less than three hundred miles to Santiago.” He lifted his head and smiled. “Why don’t you come further south with me? You still have time.”
Lara took a deep breath. “We’ll see.”
He nodded. “Okay. Let’s get going.”
Lara slipped her arm through his as they strolled back to the lighthouse. She didn’t want to let go of the new Rick.
Kids had written names in the dust covering the X-Trail. Maybe they could run it through a car wash somewhere on the way. Lara unlocked the doors with the remote, slipped into the driver’s seat, buckled up, and put on her sunglasses. Off to new adventures and just maybe real romance; an extended dopamine high wasn’t the worst kind of brain xxxx-up.
She smiled at Rick before she backed onto the street running along the beach. Ruta 5 would take them inland again, so Lara kept glancing at the sea until restaurants blocked her view. She steered the X-Trail away from the esplanade.
Lara pulled onto the Pan-Americana and accelerated, heading south toward cooler and more fertile regions. Some high-rises still lined the highway, with hotels, a casino, cabañas.
A red light caught her off-guard. Lara braked hard and brought the X-Trail to a squealing stop. She looked at Rick. “Sorry, I thought we basically had a clear stretch ahead.”
“Yeah, me too.”
A horn blared. Her eyes flicked to the rear view mirror. A red truck growing larger—coming fast, too fast. “Shit!” She focused on the road ahead. All clear. Still the honking. A last glimpse in the mirror and she slammed down on the gas pedal. The car lunged forward.
Something big and white entered her peripheral vision from the left. Deep shit, she thought as the barrel-shape filled the windshield. No time to brake. The horn still screamed at her.
Nowhere to go.
If you like Crumple Zone, and I’m sure you will, check out my earlier blog where Edith Parzefall shares about her book, Strays of Rio.
“Books that Shape a Child’s Life”
Don’t know Lon Hetrick? Oh my, then today is your lucky day! C’mon. Pull up a chair. Lon, and his wife, Dawn, blog over at Average Us.
They claim to be an average Christian couple, but their blog is anything but average. You’ll see what I mean. So…with great honor, zeal, and mucho gusto, I present Lon:
“When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does.” — Kathleen Kelly, played by Meg Ryan in the 1998 film, You’ve Got Mail
Anyone who read a book as a child, or was read to as a child, knows this is true. Childhood books shape our imagination and inspire our dreams of who we want to be: adventurous, noble, wise, kind, brave, strong, or funny.
It’s because of this that my wife and I made it a point to read to each of our three children during their early years. As Christian parents, we wanted to shape their lives with a love for God, people, life, family and learning.
We chose classic books, average books, and books we just plain liked from our own childhood. It didn’t matter much if a book was really on their level or not; they simply enjoyed the read-n-cuddle time with Dad or Mom, and learned a lot as we explained concepts, vocabulary, and story lines. (I think our oldest was only four when I read Peter Pan to him.)
Books We Read to Our Kids
Here’s a selection of the books that shaped my kids (not in any particular order, nor in proper bibliographic form), and I recommend them to any parent.
- Anything by Dr. Seuss — no one does silly-talk funner or betterer 😉
- The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis — My kids loved these allegorical tales and they provide lots of opportunities for God-centered conversation.
- Out of the Silent Plant, Lewis
- Perelandra, Lewis – Believe it or not, this sci-fi take on the nature of evil provided a fascinating opportunity to discuss human sinfulness with my kids.
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverly Cleary — my childhood favorite
- The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White
- The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
- The Call of the Wild, Jack London
- The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English — I scheduled regular time to read and teach this wonderful summary of the Christian faith. No regrets.
- The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien — another childhood favorite
- A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin
- Dinotopia series — James Gurney. These are beautifully illustrated.
- The King Without A Shadow — Christian allegory by R.C. Sproul
- The Priest With Dirty Clothes — same as above, a wonderful explanation of the biblical teaching on the atonement Christ accomplished.
- Plus these well-known titles: The Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, Stewart Little, Charlotte’s Web, Robin Hood, Pilgrim’s Progress (child’s version), Peter Pan
Books Our Kids Read to Us
In later years, our kids took to reading to the family during road trips. A good book makes the drive between Minneapolis and Atlanta go a lot faster! Here are a few that we enjoyed as a family.
- The Gideon Trilogy, Linda Buckley Archer — British kids time travel to the past and meet up with bad guys (cool!)
- The Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan
- The Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins — yes, we read them before we knew there would be a movie 😉
- The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
Books We Want Our Kids to Read
I also give each of our kids a few books as High School graduation gifts (two down, one to go!). These books are gifts from my heart and represent my fatherly hopes for how they might understand the world and their place in it, how they might live life well, and find God ever-present and faithful in it.
- Behind a Frowning Providence, John Murray — a short pamphlet dealing with suffering and God’s providential guidance of His world. Everyone suffers sooner or later, and I wanted my kids to know how to trust God’s fatherly care when the time comes.
- Science and Evolution, Chuck Colson — an enlightening investigation of the Creation/Evolution debate.
- The Life of a God-made Man, Dan Doriani — for my son, on a Biblical view of manhood.
- Desiring God, John Piper — the most influential modern book of my life. It’s a treatise for a biblical worldview on this theme: “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”
- Knowing God, J. I. Packer — also 10 out of 10.
- The Mark of a Man, Elisabeth Elliot. For my son and daughters.
- Let Me Be a Woman, Elliot. For my daughters.
Books to Shape A Child’s Life
What should reading to a child be, after all, other than an investment of love and wisdom in a young heart and mind? Of the many ways to shape a child’s life, and build a relationship with them, the selection and reading of good books is surely among the best.
I hope some of these books will enrich the children in your life as they have ours.
What are one or two books you can recommend for shaping a child’s life?