Sunday, October 18, 2009

God Longs for a Close Relationship with His Children

Intimate Conversations: Devotions to Nurture a Woman’s Soul by Alicia Britt Chole is a wonderful and refreshing way to start the day each morning and facilitates a deeper relationship with God. The reader will feel as though she is sitting across the table talking to a dear friend as she delves into Chole’s book. Alicia Britt Chole utilizes humor and real-life examples to show that God is longing for His children to simply endure each moment of the day with Him beside them. These short and straightforward devotions with reflective questions after each days reading are designed to make the reader ponder life and to draw closer to an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father.

Title: Intimate Conversations: Devotions to Nurture a Woman’s Soul
Author: Alicia Britt Chole
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Revell – a division of Baker Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3289-9
Release Date: September 2009
Price: $11.99
Available at: Amazon, Christianbook, Barnes and Noble, and Borders

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Suspense Novel Will Keep You Glued to the Pages

Christian author Irene Hannon has written another masterfully crafted tale in her Heroes of Quantico series. The second book, Eye for an Eye, is the story of FBI agent Mark Sanders. Bad press after an accidental shooting forces Mark, a Hostage Rescue Team member, to a St. Lois field office until the dust settles. The move is not without pleasant surprises as Mark runs into his first love, psychologist Emily Lawson. The suspense mounts as a sniper sets aim to take one of them out. Who is the intended target? Can Mark keep Emily safe? Will they have a chance to explore the love blooming between them? Will Emily be able to move past her fear of loosing another loved one and allow Mark into her life? Will Mark be able to reconcile his relationship with God after years of witnessing horrific events? Spine tingling suspense and fireworks sparking romance make this one book not to miss! Pick up a copy of Irene Hannon’s Eye for an Eye: Book Two in the Heroes of Quantico series to discover a great read.

Title: Eye for an Eye
Author: Irene Hannon
Genre: Fiction - Suspense
Publisher: Revell
ISBN-13: 978-0800733117
Release Date: September 2009
Price: $12.99
Available at: Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, Borders

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Delicious Spicy Italian Texas Romance

Take one feisty, young woman of Italian decent and add a handsome, young man with a yummy Texas twang and the result will be a new delightful romantic comedy series from Christian author Janice Thompson. The first book in the Weddings by Bella series, Fools Rush In, will entertain the reader from cover to cover with its quirky cast of characters who are full of exuberance and effervescence. For dog lovers, Janice has even added a very spoiled psychotic ball of fur, a Yorkie-Poo named Precious.

Bella Rossi is a single, young woman who is managing her family’s business. In her attempt to revamp the wedding business to feature various themes in an attempt to attract more customers, Bella must first successfully pull off the perfect wedding first with the theme being Boot-Scootin’ wedding. Now, all Bella needs is a deejay who knows his country music. Dwayne Neeley is a hunky young cowboy with a warm Texas drawl that will leave the female readers swooning. Can these two extreme opposites blend together to pull off a Boot Scootin’ wedding? To find out, grab a copy of this delicious read, Fools Rush In by Christian author Janice Thompson. It is as zesty as Aunt Rosa’s Italian cooking that will tease the taste buds throughout the entire story as well.

Title: Fools Rush In
Author: Janice Thompson
Genre: Fiction – Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell – a division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3342-1
Release Date: September 2009
Price: $13.99
Available at: Amazon,, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and local Christian retailers

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Review of Silent Savior

How easy it is to believe in God when life is prosperous, everyone is healthy, and peace is prevalent. Christian author A. J. Gregory in her newest release, Silent Savior: Daring to Believe He’s Still There, challenges readers to see that believing even when in the midst of tragedy, even when life’s burdens weigh heavily, and even when sorrow and pain seem to rip the heart asunder exemplifies the greatest faith of all because all hope seems lost yet the choice to believe is still made. Gregory utilizes various biblical references to encourage and reassure readers that God is still there. After all, did not his own son question Him upon the cross by asking if God had forsaken him? Job questioned God and ranted at him during his time of suffering and affliction. Gregory tackles the question most people have when in the midst of tragedy, which is where is God? Throughout her book, Gregory offers suggestions as to why God may be silent. Silent Savior is a powerful and wonderfully written look at believing even when God is not seen, nor heard, nor His presence felt for whatever reason.

Title: Silent Savior: Daring to Believe He’s Still ThereAuthor: A. J. Gregory
Genre: Nonfiction – Christian Living
Publisher: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3285-1
Release Date: September, 2009
Price: $12.99
Available at: Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and local Christian retailers

Redemption through Christ Shines through Young Adult Novel

Who is Michelle Sutton? I'm in my early forties but can pass for thirties. I have a husband of 19 years and two teens (11th and 12th graders). I live on 4.5 acres in Southeastern Arizona and enjoy country living because up until 2001 I lived in cities my whole life. I love to help people and write about real life heartaches with Christ as the ultimate solution. I also love to write romantic scenes.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy reading better than anything with writing fiction coming in second.

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why? I've written more than I've sold. I'm probably up to about 15 total. I could never choose a favorite. It would be like saying which of my kids do I love the most.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your characters? From real people I know. Usually a combination of traits so it's not one solid person but each is a mixture of several people I know.

Of all the characters you’ve created, which one do you identify with the most and why? I love Tony from the Second Glances series. He screws up a lot but he's real.

What makes your newest release, It’s Not About Him (Book 2 in the Second Glances series), unique? It's about an open adoption as one way of dealing with a crisis pregnancy and it's from the birth mother's point of view. This is the only book like it that I know of anywhere, including ABA.

What issues are the characters working through in your latest release, It’s Not About Him? Crisis pregnancy, adoption search, sexual situations, an alcoholic friend.

How did you get involved in writing? I just started doing it. Seriously.

Why did you decide to start writing books for the Young Adult audience? I didn't decide. They just came out that way. They are most appropriate for mature teens and college aged people.

What advice would you offer an aspiring author? Keep writing until something sells. Don't be a one book wonder.

What story ideas would you like to explore in the future? I've got tons of ideas in the works. I'd tell you what they are but then I'd have to kill you *wink*.

What has God been teaching you lately? How to trust in Him to direct my path and to work for Him and no one else.

Premarital sex, consumption of alcohol, and teen pregnancy are often taboo subjects in the Christian realm. Yet, these problems do exist in today’s world. One Christian author has been valiant enough to tackle these difficult issues in a realistic and tactful manner. In her new book, It’s Not About Him, Michelle Sutton has adeptly portrayed a young teen and the daunting choices she must make after she becomes pregnant. Most importantly, this is a story of God’s redemptive grace, which no one has earned but each is given because of God’s fervent love for every person. This masterfully crafted Young Adult novel is an effective way to reach out with these inevitable truths: each action bears consequences and Christ’s blood bought redemption for all.

Title: It’s Not About HimAuthor: Michelle Sutton
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult
Publisher: Sheaf House
ISBN-13: 978-0979748578
Release Date: September, 2009
Price: $12.99
Available at: Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and local Christian retailers

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Raising a boy or know someone who is? Read Boy-sterous Living by Jean Blackmer

Boy-sterous Living: Celebrating Your Loud and Rowdy Life with Sons by Christian author Jean Blackmer is a wonderful guide that any mother raising a son should read. Readers will feel as though they have settled down to share a nice conversation with a dear friend on the trials and joys of parenting boys. Boy-sterous Living is laced with humor, relevant Bible verses, and practical insights drawn from not only Jean’s own experiences as the mother of three boys but also from the interviews she conducted with other parents of boys. She expounds upon the characteristics that make boys unique and different from girls. Dirt is like a second skin to most boys. Boys typically like loud noises and often make them. While mothers are generally wired to be worriers by nature, boys are often wired to be risk-takers. In addition to helping moms understand these unique characteristics, Jean also points out the joys of viewing the world through the eyes of a boy. Most importantly, Jean’s book stands as a reminder that every parent has made a mistake or two along the journey of raising their children.

Title: Boy-sterous Living: Celebrating Your Loud and Rowdy Life with Sons

Genre: Nonfiction - Christian Life - Family

Publisher: Beacon Hill Press

ISBN-13: 978-0-8341-2390-8

Price: $14.99

Available at: Amazon,, and local Christian retailers

Monday, September 14, 2009

Egnimatic, Gritty Psychological Thriller Is Dynamic

The Knight, the newest release in the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James, is an enigmatic suspense story that twists the plot with clues that lead down one path only to leave disbelief in its wake as it turns down an altogether different path. The multidimensional characters are dynamic and well written. Author Steven James does a remarkable job of making the reader a part of the story as he meticulously describes a crime scene or expresses a character’s emotions. This gritty, realistic novel about a FBI agent struggling in a relationship and still reeling from the loss of a loved one is not for the faint of heart. Yet, it is that realism that helps the reader to understand how a man who sees so much evil on a daily basis must have a firm belief in God to help him continue his pursuit of justice. In this story, special agent Patrick Bowers is tracking a violent serial killer. Who will be the killer’s next target? Is it possible that the man who hunts down evil is suddenly being preyed upon? Can Patrick find the killer before time runs out? Pick up a copy of The Knight by Steven James to solve the puzzle of this intense psychological thriller.

Title: The Knight
Author: Steven James
Genre: Fiction- Suspense
Publisher: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3270-7
Release Date: August 2009
Price: $13.99
Available at: Amazon, Christianbook, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and local Christian retailers

Astounding Debut Novel

In her debut novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, newcomer Laura Frantz has intricately woven the accurate details of history, which add to the story’s unique quaintness rather than detracting from it with cumbersome dates and details, with a compelling story of a young woman’s life in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky during the time of the Revolutionary War. Beautiful, determined and vivacious accurately describe Lael Click. Born the daughter of a famous frontiersman, Lael is at that difficult stage in a young woman’s life when she must decide who she is and what she believes in. This task is made even more difficult when a handsome Scottish doctor with an unshakable faith not only sets up residence in her idyllic homeland but also sets her world off kilter by causing her to question her own beliefs. Will Lael find redemption in God’s grace? Will she give her heart to her Simon (her childhood love), Captain Jack (who was raised by the Shawnee to be a warrior), or Ian (the handsome Scottish doctor)? The answers to these questions await you along with a lively host of characters in Laura Frantz’s The Frontiersman’s Daughter from Revell.

More about the author: Laura Frantz credits her 100 yr old grandmother for her love of history. As a little girl, living in the hills of Kentucky, Laura and her cousins would dress in pioneer costume’s and act out the stories of Daniel Boone, the Shawnee, and other early settlers, which includes her own family lineage. Laura went abroad to study the British perspective of the American Revolution. A former teacher and social worker, Laura has an array of interesting topics dealing with the 18th century, her thoughts on Bible verses, and the activities of her family (her husband and 2 sons) on her blog.
Title: The Frontiersman’s Daughter
Author: Laura Frantz
Genre: Fiction-Historical
Publisher: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3339-1
Release Date: August 2009
Price: $ 13.99
Available at: Amazon, Christianbook, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and local Christian retailers

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Hodgepodge of characters and delectable recipes

In A Taste of Fame: The Potluck Catering Club, a group of six colorful characters, connected by good food, friendship and faith, make for a heartwarming, and mouthwatering, story that will tease the taste buds, tug on the heartstrings, and provide a good dose of laughter as well. Whether the reader has read the previous Potluck Club books or is meeting these ladies for the first time, the characters will soon feel like old friends.

Meet the lively cast of characters:
Evangeline “Evie” Vesey: She is the founder of the Potluck Club as well as the wife of the local Sheriff. Although Evie is a good cook, she is happiest when she micromanaging the lives of everyone around her.

Lizzie Prattle: Lizzie is a librarian at the local High School. She is the sensible one of the group. Lizzie allows her unwavering faith to guide her. Because her job and family responsibilities keep her busy, Lizzie’s favorite meals are those that are quick and easy to prepare.

Goldie Dippel: The belle of the group, she embraces cooking, life and love full of Southern grace and charm. This legal secretary is married to a coach with a wondering eye.

Lisa Leann Lambert: This is one woman who knows what she wants, which is to be in control and to be influential in the community. This bridal boutique owner is also the President of Potluck Catering Club.

Vonnie Westbrook: Vonnie is the charming nurturer if the group. This retired nurse came face to face with the child she secretly gave birth to years before.

Donna Vesey: This feisty member of the Potluck Club confronts evil as she seeks truth and justice while serving her community as a Deputy Sheriff.

The latest venture of the Potluck Club finds these six friends as the newest contestants of the reality TV show Great Party Showdown in New York, New York. The humor of the authors shines through in this newest addition to The Potluck Catering Club series. Pick up a copy of A Taste of Fame today to see if this hodgepodge group can preserve the ties of friendship in the crux of the ruthless world of reality TV.

Title: A Taste of Fame (The Potluck Catering Club)
Genre: fiction: Women’s lit
Publisher: Revell: A division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3209-7
Release Date: September 2009
Price: $13.99
Available at: Amazon,, Barnes and Noble, Borders, local Christian bookstores

In conjunction with their newest addition, A Taste of Fame, to their fiction series, The Potluck Catering Club, Christian authors Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson have created The Potluck Club Cookbook: Easy Recipes to Enjoy with Family and Friends. The cookbook is filled with delicious recipes will have even the reluctant cook in the kitchen concocting mouthwatering dishes. Typical of a potluck meal, the cookbook is filled with fun, a variety of foods, and love. To whet the reader’s appetite even more, the book even provides excuses for trying new foods with its list of suggestions for holding potluck meals. To be the complimented on a delectable dish, pick up a copy of The Potluck Club Cookbook and prepare one of the recipes to take to the next church potluck dinner.

Title: The Potluck Club Cookbook
Genre: non-fiction: cookbook
Publisher: Revell: A division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3349-0
Release Date: September 2009
Price: $14.99
Available at: Amazon,, Barnes and Noble, Borders, local Christian bookstores

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Dynamic New Book for Women

A Different Kind of Wild: Is Your Faith too Tame? is just the book to infuse the spiritual lives of the women who read it. Author Debbie Alsdorf, director of Women’s Ministries at Cornerstone Fellowship Church in California and biblical lay counselor, has written a dynamic new book to help women learn how to turn from self and turn towards Christ. “This new wild is about taking our lives back,” Debbie says. “It’s about becoming women who dare to live differently—wild in surrender, wild in devotion, wild in service, and wild in following what God calls us to.”

A Different Kind of Wild is broken down into three main parts: Developing - Growing Up Spiritually, Daring- Living by a Different Standard, and Determined – Finding Courage to Follow a new path. Debbie will challenge each reader of A Different Kind of Wild to embrace boldly, passionately, and courageously in order to be free to be the person God desires her to be. She encourages women to embrace the adventure God has for them, and watch their faith flourish like never before. She looks at how women can be risk-takers for Christ, stand firm in crises, confront fear with truth, dare to live by a different standard and find courage to follow a new life path.

A Different Kind of Wild offers practical examples, scripture references, reflections questions at the end of each chapter, and a study guide to help facilitate the process for this new type of living. This monumental book is a must read for all women. Be prepared, though, it is not for the faint of heart. This book has the potential to help readers become less like self and more like Christ.

The Publisher of A Different Kind of Wild, Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

Title: A Different Kind of Wild: Is Your Faith too Tame
Author: Debbie Alsdorf
Genre: Non-fiction, women, spiritual living
Publisher: Revell
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3366-7
Release Date: July 2009
Price: $12.99
Available at:,, Barnes and Noble, and Local Christian Retailers

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Do Not Miss Reading This Riveting Book

My Son, John, by Kathi Macias is a remarkable tale of God’s immeasurable love and limitless forgiveness. Trying to deal with an almost unbearable pain and impenetrable grief brought upon by the brutal death of a loved one, Liz Peterson and her family members are nearly torn apart when another tragedy befalls them. Author Kathi Macias captures the raw emotions of her characters and weaves them into this poignant story that shows how we can overcome tragedy with God’s strength and how powerfully healing His forgiveness is for all of us. Furthermore, Kathi Macias humanizes the offender of these brutal crimes and reminds us how God sees each of us as lambs gone astray. Lambs that need to be forgiven, loved and brought back into the fold not stigmatized, made to feel unworthy, or constantly bludgeoned for past sins. Jesus died for us all for we are all sinners who need God’s immeasurable love and limitless forgiveness!

A Review of A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher’s newest release, A Vote of Confidence, is a tale of love that occurs when two opponents find adoration for one another in the small Midwestern town of Bethlehem Spring circa 1915. Guinevere “Gwen” Arlington is a trendsetter for her time period. Being well educated, well poised, intelligent, and self-sufficient Gwen decides she would make a fine mayor for the town she has come to love. Unbeknownst to her, Morgan McKinley also enters the race for mayor. Morgan is a newcomer to Bethlehem Springs who is building a fancy resort outside of the town limits. The banter that ensues between these two characters had me smiling throughout the entire story. I could almost envision the sparks that would enter Gwen’s eyes when Morgan would purposely antagonize her just to get such a reaction. From the very beginning, these two adversaries are drawn to one another despite their continuous efforts to convince themselves otherwise. Although the setting of this book is the early 1900s, the battle Gwen wages as a trendsetter for the women of her time is still relevant in today’s world. Gwen sets out to hold a prestigious office that wields authority over men. Her argument to her 60+ yr old neighbor, who is opposed to Gwen’s run for mayor, is that the Bible clearly shows examples of strong women of faith and integrity, like Miriam: the sister of Moses, Deborah: a judge, Priscilla and Phoebe. Nearly 100 years later, these arguments are still being waged. Robin Lee Hatcher has once again brought us a historical romance that not only entertains but reveals God’s wisdom.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wild Prairie Roses by Lisa Harris

Christian author, Lisa Harris, has a new release entitled Wild Prairie Roses. Check out the book trailer below for this great read!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A New Day has Dawned in Christian Fiction for Teen Girls

Author Bio: Brandilyn Collins, is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Web of Lies, Dead of Night, Stain of Guilt, Brink of Death, Eyes of Elisha, and other novels. Her daughter Amberly is a college student in southern California with loads of friends. She and her mom love attending concerts together. Their family divides their time between the California Bay Area and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Visit Brandilyn’s website at

Book Description: This daughter of a rock star has it all—until murder crashes her world. During a concert, sixteen-year-old Shaley O’Connor stumbles upon the body of a friend backstage. Is Tom Hutchens’ death connected to her? Frightening messages arrive. Paparazzi stalk Shaley. Her private nightmare is displayed for all to see. Where is God at a time like this? As the clock runs out, Shaley must find Tom’s killer—before he strikes again.

Note from the Authors:

Dear Reader,

When Zondervan asked if we’d like to collaborate as mother and daughter on a suspense series, we jumped at the chance. Before long our idea for the Rayne series was born. We both love music. And what better way to use our real-life experiences in attending concerts together than to write about a rock group?We have pictures of us attending concerts going way back to when Amberly was in junior high. We always try to buy seats close to the front. We leap to our feet and scream and clap along with everyone else. We know what that crowd experience is like. The excitement, the energy. What would it be like, we wondered, to be backstage? To be a teenage girl with a rock star for a mom? All the money and fame and traveling. Is that kind of life pure fun and adventure—or does it bring challenges the rest of us never even think about?And then—what if you threw a murder into the mix? Our research for this first book in the series took us backstage at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. On that private tour we saw what the crowd doesn’t see—the stage entrance, the dressing rooms, the special building exit for the performers. We heard stories about specific foods and furniture that musicians have requested in their contracts. We learned about security—something Shaley O’Connor is about to need more than ever ...~ Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

A Sneak Peek:


It’s not my fault I have to kill.

He’d been watching since the tour began. Eyes straight ahead, keeping cool, like he wasn’t even paying attention. But he noticed everything. Even got a sense for what was happening behind his back. His past life had taught him how to do that—out of necessity. When it was something bad, he felt a vibration in the air, pulling up the hair on his arms. And he’d know. He’d just know.

Sometimes he acted behind the scenes. Nothing that would be noticed. Just ended up in a certain place at a certain time—a presence that kept the wrong thing from happening. Other times he’d say what needed to be heard. Real casual, not sounding like a threat at all. No, he was just talking, shooting the breeze about some previous experience. But beneath the words there’d be a point: don’t cross me or mine.

Sometimes people were too dumb to get it. He’d give them every chance, trying to be the nice guy. Trying to do it the easy way. But no. Those kind of people had stubborn minds and black hearts. Couldn’t be trusted. They were headed for a fall and about to take some good people with them. His people.

That’s what it had come to now.

“Hey, can I see you a sec before you go?” He motioned, and the one who must die came, humming.


Like a lamb to slaughter.

The Live Like a Rock Star sweepstakes has launched! Open to teens age 13-18 in the U.S. Grand Prize: an $850 night on the town, including dinner for six at restaurant of winner's choice and limo service. The first 200 entrants will receive a free copy of Always Watching. Send teens here to enter:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Introducing Marlayne Giron, Although New to the Christian Fiction Scene Her Writing Is Impressive

I am pleased with the honor of presenting to you, new christian author, Marlayne Giron. Her first work of fiction, The Victor, is a fairytale full of allegory similar to that of the late, great C. S. Lewis.

Please tell us about yourself.

I was raised in a non religious Jewish home. Both of my parents are Jewish as is the rest of my entire family. I was raised with an anti-Christian/anti-Jesus bias and was told it was the height of betrayal to my Jewish heritage to "convert". I was never interested in anything spiritually and at age 13 considered myself an atheist. About that time the movie The Omen came out and I was reading the book which references scriptures in the book of Revelation which I looked up out of curiosity while at a neighbor's babysitting. I read the entire book of Revelation at the age of 13 and it scared the living daylights out of me. One of my friends even took me to one of the first Calvary Chapel concerts in their new building in which I went forward (not understanding what I was doing) and got a Bible only to turn around and ask her if she was trying to convert me. She said yes! And, I told her it was never going to happen. I would even pray with the Jesus freaks that were everywhere in those days just to get rid of them quicker!

Would you share your testimony with us?

When I was 17 (back in 1977) a new television series came on for that Easter called Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zefferelli. I wanted to see the Ten Commandments (again) and my mom insisted on Jesus of Nazareth (she won). It was perhaps the first time I saw a realistic and well-acted portrayal of the events surrounding Jesus life, death and resurrection and I recognized the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducee's depicted in the movie in myself and other Jewish people I knew. During the crucifixion scene my eyes were opened and I remember thinking: if He could do that for me, the least I can do is give Him my life and I did so, praying right in front of the television set. The next day I asked a Christian friend to take me to her church so I could officially accept Jesus in front of witnesses and in the days and weeks following, I began to call and write family and friends about how they too needed to be saved.

Tell us about your first release, The Victor.

The Victor is what is classically known as a Eucatastrophe. Everything begins well and then one by one a series of catastrophic events occur throughout the book until the reader thinks it just can't get any worse when suddenly there is a glorious resolution at the end. The Victor is an allegory of the Gospels set in a medieval realm with fictional characters representing God the Father as the benevolent King Eloth; his sword of power (Ephlal – which means judgment in Hebrew and represents the word of God), his foster son, Ardon, who represents Adam, his only begotten son, Joshua who represents Jesus, Baron Lucius who represents Lucifer, who lusts after Eloth's sword so he can use it to conquer and enslave; and Llyonesse, the daughter of Ardon who represents the bride of Christ who is betrothed in childhood to the Prince, Joshua. The Victor retells the fall of Satan, the fall of man, the sacrifice of Christ and the redemption of his people and his bride from captivity and slavery through his sacrificial death at the hands of Lucius who lusts for vengeance against the King who banished him for his rebellion.

Where did you get the idea for your novel? The characters

At the age of 22 (In 1982) I got the inspiration for my book, The Victor, from Amy Grant's song: “Fairytale” from her Father's Eyes album from the song verse: two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start. It made me think of Satan as an evil knight in black armor and Jesus as a knight in shining armor crossing swords over "the bride of Christ". I began to write the story in my free time at work on an IBM Selectric typewriter 30 years ago. Shortly after I began to write, I asked the Lord for a confirming scripture that the idea was from Him. Psalm 45 popped instantly into my head. I looked it up and this is what the first verse read: My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. It just floored me how perfect it was! I wrote and rewrote the story over the course of 30 years, tried to get it published but after a 4-year bout with ulcerative colitis that resulted in major surgery, then infertility then the adoption of my daughter and having to work full-time to pay the bills, I just gave up on my dream until almost exactly a year ago when Tate Publishing called me to offer me a contract. The Victor is now due for release on April 14th. Also as a result of my former employment with John Styll at CCM Magazine (who is now currently President of the Gospel Music Association), both he and Amy Grant now have a copies of The Victor and Amy Grant personally autographed my copy.

Each of the characters represents significant characters in the Bible either individually or as a group. One of the more interesting characters is Penloth, Captain of the King's guard (which are called Seraphim) and who represents the archangel Michael (the warrior). Penloth is brave, loyal but also imbued with a wicked sense of humor and a quick temper.
What kind of research did you have to do for the book?

I am a big fan of the Lord of the Rings and Stephen Lawhead (who also has a copy of my book) as well as the Chronicles of Narnia. I also really love swashbuckling type of movies and were influenced a bit by some of them. I also got a book about Life in a Castle in Medieval England as my only bit of research. The rest was all of my imagination.

How did you get involved in writing?

I have always written short stories. At age 12 a good friend of mine by the name of Lisa and I would write “Steve Austin” stories (a popular TV show in the early 1970's) and put ourselves into the plot as characters. It was so much fun reading these aloud to one another at our sleepovers that I figure between the two of us we each wrote over 200 short stories and one “feature length” story of several hundred pages (which I still have). Lisa used to red-mark my stories for incorrect grammar and spelling because she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. It would make me so furious I swore (with gritted teeth) that I would write a story she couldn't find any errors in which ultimately resulted in my becoming a better writer.

When I was 19 I was desperate to find a nice Christian boy. I bugged the Lord so much about it on a daily basis that finally He yelled at me through the scriptures with the verse in Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!!!. I then felt impressed by Him to write a story in which Jesus appears to take my character out on a date and during that date introduces me to the man He has chosen for me. I always used to pray for my future husband by name and that name was always “Michael”. I even had a list of what I wanted: a large family, nice friends, nice-looking, good personality, handy around the house, plays guitar and "pure" (a tall order). I illustrated the story, depicting what "my Michael" looked like to me.

Fast forward five years later at a Calvary Chapel College and Career retreat where I meet a nice Christian boy named Michael. I did not mention the story to him. We began to date and on our first date while I was in the ladies room, one of the girls of the two other couples we had tripled dated with (who had never met me before in her life) asked Michael's sister and husband what they thought of me. They thought I was nice to which this girl responded that I was Michael's future wife. Michael's reaction to this girl (who he really didn't like much) was: NO WAY NOW!!! Five years later we were married and I had my story on display with his name and picture in it at our reception. I haven't seen it since – I think it got raptured.
What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

It's a lot like reading. When I am on a roll I find myself caught up in the story and transported into the world I'm writing about. I can see in my mind's eye what is happening and when it's funny I'll laugh aloud; when it's inspired I know it's the Lord writing through me.

What are you currently writing?

Time permitting, I think I would like to continue writing a fictionalized account of my life I've entitled: An Unremarkable Life. I have had some very obvious and God-orchestrated events in my life (starting with the miracle of my coming to Christ) and thought it would make an interesting read. I have to stress that I am a very atypical author. I don't have a college education or journalism background. In fact, I am a career secretary (currently unemployed for the 3rd time in the last 6 months) who has learned everything on the job. So far this is the only story idea the Lord has ever given me. I am the most unlikely person to have a book published. I have no published short stories to my credit, not even letters to the editor. The most frequent form of writing I do is business correspondence. In fact, a year ago – the same week I got the contract from Tate Publishing, I was told by a Literary Agent at a local Christian Writer's conference that no publisher would want to publish my book. It was too Christian for secular publishers and Christian publishers wouldn't be interested because they don't think allegory makes any money. I left that conference very, very depressed and discouraged. I didn't get any encouragement from my family or friends either until they heard it was going to be published. For the past 30 years I couldn't pay people to read it!

I often wonder why the Lord chose me to write The Victor and He keeps directing me back to that scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:27: "...But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Sometimes when I reread The Victor I find it hard to believe that I was the one who wrote it!

What are your favorite books to read and why?

I'll read anything by Stephen Lawhead (except for Science Fiction) and I love medieval fantasy/fiction, King Arthur type stories. I also loved Watership Down, the classic Fairy Tales. I'm always looking for good books to read. I finished The Pillars of the Earth a year and a half ago as well as its sequel but my all time favorite book of all time is The Lord of The Rings. I read The Hobbit and The Trilogy all in a single weekend when I was 13 – I couldn't put it down! I think I love these types of books because they reflect so much of Christian theology in the story. The theme of the bible is the most popular structure for good stories today, whether in print or in the movies: Paradise, the fall, the struggle, the ultimate sacrifice, the redemption, and the final resolution/resurrection.

A Sneak Peek at The Victor:

The court heralds blew on their trumpets, signaling the arrival of the King. The room hushed and Eloth entered the hall accompanied by his son, Joshua, the bloodstains of those who had fallen in battle still on his vesture in silent indictment of Lucius' heinous deeds. He ascended his throne and seated himself, laying his sword, Ephlal, across his lap. Lucius regarded the powerful sword fearfully, backing away from it until he stood flattened against Sir Eric and Penloth who held him fast. Eloth turned to stare at him, his gray eyes stern beyond endurance.
The Court Chamberlain stood forth amidst a brief fanfare and read the charges aloud from a scroll.
"Baron Lucius of Northumberland, thou art accused of attempted assassination, high treason, and rebellion against the Crown. For each of these crimes, death by fire is the penalty-" A loud cheer erupted from the crowd in unanimous approval. The Chamberlain held up his hand for silence, scowling.
"Dost thou have anything to say in thy defense before thy judgment is pronounced by the King?”
Lucius’ mouth twisted into an ugly sneer. “I recognize not the authority of this court!” he spat, straining against his bonds. All in the court gasped angrily at his sheer effrontery, hoping Eloth would condemn him to a slow, painful, and torturous death.
The Chamberlain glanced at the King for a brief moment, took a deep breath and with a frown of disapproval, continued.
“Despite the gravity of thy transgressions and unrepentant conduct, the King has waived the penalty of death in the hope you shall find repentance. Instead of death by fire, upon thee and thy fellow outlaws is laid eternal banishment from this Kingdom..."
The roar of the astonished crowd in response immediately cut him off and the Chamberlain was forced to pound his staff again for silence.
Lucius was livid! Eloth's show of mercy was the final humiliation! Better to die cursing him in flames than to accept clemency like a whipped cur!
"I want none of thy stinking mercy!" he shouted, lunging forward. Sir Eric could barely hold onto him and required the aid of four other knights to keep the baron subdued. Lucius’ face was beet red with fury, spit flying as he flailed about.
“I would prefer the dignity of the flames to thy mercy!" He screamed. He rounded on the agitated crowd, his black eyes blazing. "What is Eloth but a benevolent dictator and the kingdom of Ellioth the dwelling of sheep? Twas I who governed this miserable kingdom for years without number! ‘Twas I who labored like a lap dog in his service whilst he sat upon his golden throne!" Lucius whirled back, directing his invectives at Eloth's impassive face.
"Never more shall I bow my knee in mindless submission to Him I do not own as King! I shall be my own master! I will raise mine own throne upon the rubble of Ellioth and it shall be my throne which ascends above the heights of the clouds! Do you hear me, Eloth? Do you hear me?!"
To punctuate his utter contempt for his former lord, Lucius twisted his mouth and spat upon the marble dais before Eloth’s feet.
A deafening hush descended upon the Hall; all eyes fastened fearfully upon Eloth as he rose swiftly to his feet, certain he would now execute Lucius himself. Eloth marched toward him, lifting Ephlal high, its blade glittering white-hot so that all in the hall had to shield their eyes from its brilliance save the King. Lucius blanched, his knees buckling beneath him; his bravado and arrogance gone in the face of the sword’s oncoming terror. Eloth stopped before him, the point of his glittering sword aimed at Lucius like an accusing finger of doom. Lucius’ entire body shook with uncontrollable fear and his bowels were loosed.
"Lucius of Northumberland," Eloth thundered in a terrible voice, heat from Ephlal’s humming blade scorching the hair of his face. "Thou art stripped of thy title, property, citizenship, and lands and art forever banished from Ellioth and My presence. Upon the morrow, thou shalt be put upon The Dark Angel towed out to sea and set adrift. Henceforth, thy name shall be remembered as a curse and byword and thy memory blotted out from the records of Ellioth!"
Lucius’ hands balled into fists of helpless rage, seething with fearful hatred.
"What care I for thy judgments, O King? I swear to thee this oath: Thou shalt rue this day in great bitterness and mourn that Thou didst not destroy me when it lay within Thy power!"
Eloth regarded his former steward and once most trusted servant with an impassive face, but in his gray eyes was an unfathomable pain that only two in the entire court filled with people could behold: Lucius and Eloth’s son, Joshua.
“I know,” was Eloth’s silent reply.

Available at Local Christian Retailers,,,

Please leave a comment to be enetered in a drawing for a FREE copy of The Victor. (Entries will be accepted until Monday, April 27, 2009.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Intrigue and Romance Mix for a Dynamic Plot in Wildcard by Robin Shope

Wildcard, by Robin Shope

Please tell us about yourself. I am the Special Education Coordinator at the Denton County Juvenile Justice System for at risk kids. I am also a writer. Mystery. Romance. Those are my genres and sometimes they intersect. My husband Rick and I are former missionaries and pastored a country church in Illinois for six years. Married for thirty-two years, we have two grown children. I love listening to oral family histories and discovered that we are all story tellers of one kind or another. My daddy told my mother and my older sis terrible stories about the war and how they effected him. I learned at an early age that people had layers to them. I grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a nightclub owner who found God on his death bed. My mother was a Godly woman who passed along to us her faith in Jesus. When we came of age we accepted Him as our Savior. And now I have passed my faith to my children and they have made it their own. This is a big world and there is a story around every corner just waiting to be told. I happen to like telling those stories. I hope you like reading them.

To date, my literary works include approximately two hundred articles in magazines such as: Guideposts, Live, Lookout, Mennonite, Christian Reader, Decision, Breakthrough and Christianity Today. Other short stories appear in the books: A Match Made in Heaven, Stories from the Heart, The Evolving Woman, and the New York Times bestseller, In The Arms of Angels by Joan Wester-Anderson. Ann Spangler also used one of my stories in her book, Help! I Can’t Stop Laughing. Another two-dozen stories have been published in the Chicken Soup books. One story, Mom’s Last Laugh, was re-enacted for a PAX-TV program: It’s a Miracle. I co-authored a thriller, The Chase, for Revell and sold 14,000 copies. My second book, The Replacement, was released in June 2006. The Candidate was released July, 2007. December 2008 hailed the start of my The Turtle Creek Edition series with The Christmas Edition which is being made into a movie. The Valentine Edition followed a month later. Two more edition books will be out in 2010. My stand alone Wildcard is a May 2009 release. I continue to publish short stories in magazines.

What do you do in your spare time? Unfortunately, I have very little spare time. I work full time at a juvenile facility for troubled teens and I am so exhausted at the end of a day, that it's hard to sit down and do what I love them most and that is writing. So perhaps I could say writing is what I do in my spare time. My daughter just had our first grandchild, so every spare moment I am there marveling over the miracle of Kingston. If I had spare time I would read more, sit on my patio and watch birds, visit friends, do volunteer work at a children's hospital and give more of my time to the missions at church.

Please tell us about your upcoming release, Wildcard. Wildcard is about a diabolical plot to take over the government from the inside out. Sounds far fetched to you? How about, the government is taken over by way of the voting machines? What would happen if someone secured a microchip that could be manipulated to give his or her candidate the edge to win the next presidential election? Not enough votes for a landslide, but just enough to put their candidate over the top in a decisive win. The Wildcards are a group of maverick agents who want to take over the outcome of the next election for President of the United States. During Ivy Dillon's last week as a Washington Intern, she and Ms. Geneen Waters, the secretary to the President of the United States, overhear a conversation about voting machines and missing software. Months later Ms. Waters body is found floating in the Potomac River. FBI Special Agent Ian Serby, who swears he will give his life to protect her, takes Ivy into protective custody. Ian is smart, sexy and seems to have a hidden agenda all his own. Will Ivy follow her heart and believe what Ian tells her about trying to stop the Wildcards or is he actually a member of the Wildcards?

Where did you get the idea for your novel? The characters? Ideas just come to me out of the blue. Sometimes I am writing one novel and ideas for another novel start coming hard and fast. I have to write them down then or I will forget them. At times, I am in bed, thinking of nothing in particular, when inspiration hits so I have learned to have paper and pencil next to me on my bedside table. When I begin writing, I know the basic problem and plot, the setting too. I decide to add characters as I wrote in order to move the plot along. Wildcard has been brewing for years. Some books I write in a few months but this one has been in the making for four years and has undergone radical changes. It's nothing like the book I started writing. Six months before I sent it to my publisher, I rewrote it entirely after input from an agent that doesn’t even represent me. She gave great advice.

How did you get involved in writing? The desire was there from an early age but I first considered it as a real possibility in college and took several creative writing classes. That's when I started my very first novel. Someday I will finish it.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process? Once I know the entire plot and know my characters, I love writing the chapters. It's like building a house. When I edit and add more depth, it's like decorating that house.

What story ideas would you like to explore in the future? I want to write more mysteries…also more romance…and as it says in Wildcard…it's as delicious as strawberries and chocolate; when they meet, its meant to be.

Sneak Peek at Chapter One of Wildcard by Robin Shope:

Chapter One

He stared at her with superb green eyes the color of a calm sea, but it was his slow smile that pierced her heart. Eyes and smile. Together they pulled her into the deep waters of wild imagination. The six-footer awkwardly tugged on his collar and no wonder, he seemed totally out of place at the theater’s cast party. Ivy Dillon was ripe for romance. She had to meet Whatzhisname.

“Here’s your fruit punch.” Jordan nudged. “I snagged you a cup before the alcohol went in.”

“Thanks.” Ivy turned toward her roommate. “By the way, who’s that?”


“The great looking guy near the window.” Ivy tipped her head in that direction.

“You can’t mean Martin?” Jordan snorted.

“Martin?” Ivy whipped around and squinted. Sure enough, the man she set her sighs on meeting had disappeared and in his place was Martin, still wearing his stage makeup. He waved at her. Ivy waved back, disappointedly. “No not him.”

Ivy cruised through the stage director’s apartment, trying to catch sigh of the man with the interesting angular features, the hair that curled up along his neckline, and, oh yes, those eyes—those amazing eyes.

On the way by the dessert table, the chocolate covered strawberries distracted her. She bit into one, enjoying the meeting of two rivers of flavors, and just like that Whatzhisname appeared in front of her. A miracle!

“You have a bit of chocolate right there,” he told her pointing at the corner of her mouth.

“Thanks,” Ivy croaked.

“May I?” he asked permission to touch her skin and wipe the chocolate away.

Ivy moved closer and felt the gentle stroke of his touch. Just like strawberries and chocolate, Ivy knew they were meant to be.

“There, you’re perfect again.” He licked his chocolate finger and then glanced around the room scanning faces. “Great opening night for the play. Do you know the cast?”

Ivy nodded. “Yes, in fact, the leading actress is my friend.”

“Jordan Belle is your roommate? Interesting.”

“How did you know she was my roommate?”

Just as Whatzhisname opened his mouth to answer, Martin swayed up and held out a platter of canapés. “Would you help pass these for me, doll?” he asked Ivy.

No, no, definitely no. No way did she want to do anything that would take her away from a promising evening. It was hard to resist the urge to shove the food back toward Martin. Politely, Ivy accepted the canapés and offered them to the guests. The next time she looked up Whatzhisname was heading toward the front door. Running after him would be way too pathetic so she let him go. She had to. He went one way and she went the other way to the balcony where she hoped to catch one last glimpse of him as he left the building. Ivy leaned over the railing and waited. And waited.

An unexpected hand on her shoulder made her jump back, dropping her purse as she did so. The contents flew everywhere. “Oh no!” Ivy chased her belongings, hoping to save them before they rolled over the edge.

“Are you all right?” a male voice asked, as she saw hands scrambling to help pick up the loose items—lipstick, business cards, inhaler, loose change and billfold.

She looked into his face and sighed. “It’s you!”

Whatzhisname was back, with the perfect stormy eyes and that slow smile. It was enough to melt the ice sculpture on the buffet table. She shivered with delight.

“I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

“You didn’t frighten me.”

“I hate to contradict you, but you looked quite frightened.”

“Startled may be the more appropriate word choice, but I assure you I ain’t frightened,” Ivy panned.

Ain’t ain’t a word.”

“I know. I used it for effect.” She loved the color of his eyes.

“I guess that makes it all right then.” One at a time, he handed back he items However, he held tightly onto her business card. “Is this your card?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Then I must keep it,” he sweetly added as if he had no other desire than to know her.

Just like that, Ivy let him pull it from between her fingers. “I think I have everything now, thanks to you.” She snapped her purse shut.

“That’s good.” He straightened, slipped the card into his jacket pocket and turned to leave the party.

His abrupt exit made Ivy dizzy. Nonchalantly, she strolled through the party, smiling and nodding at the guests hoping to find Whatzhisname again. She had a dozen things she wanted to know about him, among them his name. However, they all drained from her head when Jordan hooked her by the arm.

“Catch a cab home. I’ll see ya in the morning.” With the toss of her long hair, Jordan skipped out of the party with a man on her arm.

Just then Whatzhisname sailed right by on his way out the front door, without even so much as a goodbye. Her window of opportunity had shut. After a few more chocolate covered strawberries eaten over deep sighs, it was Ivy’s turn to go home.


Ivy sat at the end of the pier with her feet in the water. She stared up at the oversized moon. The reflection of the heavenly constellation floated across the bay toward the shore on a parade of ripples. Suddenly, they turned into hands that leapt toward her, cold wet finger wrapped about her ankles. With a jerk, she was pulled beneath the lake. Frantically, she fought to free herself but she was no match. She lay motionless at the sandy bottom. Something poked her. Slowly, Ivy opened her eyes and inches away lay a body with hair swirling around the head. A skeletal hand reached out to her.

A dog howled outside on Washington Street.

Ivy bolted straight up in bed and pulled at the constricting button on the neck of her nightgown. She couldn’t breath. Mechanically, she swung her arm toward her prescription inhaler and accidentally propelled it across the room. It smacked the wall and ht the floor.

She knew it would be impossible to find her inhaler in a room draped in shadows so she staggered to the window and yanked open the shade. With daylight now sparkling on the floor, she found her inhaler on its side beneath the green cushioned chair alongside her bed. She dropped to her knees and snatched it. Ivy rocked back on her heels and opened her mouth. Several blasts of medicine sprayed her throat, allowing air to rush into her lungs. Slowly she counted her breaths as her eyes settled on a single rosebud in the pattern of her curtains. Bit by bit, she recovered.

Now all she wanted to do was fall back into bed, drag the blanket over her head and sleep for ten hours. Instead, she mustered her strength and latched onto the arm of the chair to pull up. It didn’t matter how sick she felt, she had to go to work.

She took off her nightgown and tuned the radio to a news talk station. Two political analysts from opposing parties were doing what they did best—arguing.

“Slow down, men,” she told them on the way into the bathroom. “The next presidential election is still two years away.”

Ivy stepped into the shower. The whoosh of the water in her face resurfaced the nightmare of the moonlight, the fingers, and the feeling of not being able to breath. Ten years later and she was still haunted by finding her best friend dead in the lake shallows. She felt thankful that during the day she was able to skate above the thoughts, but sometimes at night, when her defenses were down, they returned. Ivy shut her eyes tighter but the memory of Karin’s pale skin and dead eyes was all she could see. It weighed her down making her weak with terror. Ivy leaned against the tiles until she regained her balance.

The phone rang. Ivy didn’t move. On the third ring, she reached turned off the stream of water. After she slipped into her robe, she made her way to the phone. The caller ID read anonymous. She shouldn’t answer, she knew this, but she couldn’t stop herself. Her hands shook as she picked up the receiver. “Hello?”

“Erin, thank goodness I finally found you.” As usual the ‘Voice’ was calm, so in control.

“No one by that name lives here,” Ivy pushed out the words in a whisper and then slammed down the phone. She waited for it to ring again since it always did. The sound of his creepy tenor seemed to drip from the bathroom walls. Ivy kept staring at the phone, trembling. This time, there was no second call.

Now all Ivy wanted to do was to get out of the apartment and on the street where she felt safer and not so isolated. In her hurry, she nearly broke the zipper on her skirt as she struggled to get dressed.

Then, just as she reached the door, she heard someone fiddling with the doorknob. Ivy set her briefcase and purse down and peered through the peephole. In the hallway was the unmistakable form of her roommate who was now digging through her bag. Ivy turned the lock on the door and Jordan sailed into the apartment.

“Thank goodness you’re still here. I can’t find my key again.”

“Its lucky you caught me. Another minute and I’d be gone.” Jordan hugged several copies of the theater critic’s section to her chest. “Do you have time to read my reviews before you leave?”

“I always have time for you.” Ivy took a paper and read the metro section. “Jordan Belle Stands Out Among a Talented Cast. The only way it could get better is if people knew who you really were, Erin Lowe.”

“My theater name is Jordan Belle. Never, ever refer to me using my given name again.”

“What’s the harm” There’s only the two of us here.”

“Because you might slip up when it really matters,” Jordan said dramatically with a lift of an eyebrow.

“I can’t shake the feeling that there is something more you are not telling me.” Frustrated, Ivy needed to know. “What is it?”

Jordan bit her lip.

“Jordan, we’ve been though a lot since your sister Karin’s death. You owe it to me to let me know what it is you’re hiding from. Help me to understand.”

Jordan dropped into a chair, crossing one leg over the other. “All you need to know is that it involved the ‘Voice’. As long as he can’t find me, I’ll be happy.”

“Well, Jordan Bell, prepare to be sad. The ‘Voice’ called this morning asking for Erin.”

You can purchase Wildcard at: and Christian retailers.

Don't forget to post a comment to be entered in the drawing for a FREE copy of Robin's book! (Winner will be decided in 1 week from post date.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

God's Grace is Greater Than Murder: A Look at My Son John with author Kathi Macias

Christian author, Kathi Macias, is an Angel-award winning writer who has authored or co-authored nearly thirty books. In 2008, Kathi won the prestigous member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

Please tell us about My Son John.

My Son, John was twenty years in the research/writing/publishing stage. I first thought of it in a slightly different context, when AIDS was just beginning to be talked about here in this country. The original story was to be about a young man who gets AIDS, and it would be his family’s first revelation of his homosexual lifestyle. The message was the same then as it is now, with the need for unconditional love and forgiveness running throughout the story. However, I was unable to find a publisher then. Christian publishers thought it was too edgy, while secular publishers thought it was too religious. So when I got it out and dusted it off a couple of years ago, my publisher and I agreed it needed a “facelift.” We maintained the thread/theme of unconditional love and forgiveness, but the story changed to a woman whose mother is murdered—and then her son is arrested for the crime. My many years of serving in jail and prison ministries had a great impact on the telling of the story.

Where do you get the ideas for your novels?

I always say that I have tons of ideas; the problem is sorting through them and deciding which are worth pursuing. Some stand the test of time and prayer; others don’t, and that’s all right. In the case of My Son, John, the desire to tell the basic story never left me, but the details of the story got tweaked over the years. I’ve had that happen with other novels as well. I have a starting point and a desired ending place, but sometimes the “in between” gets changed around a bit. As for the origination of the ideas, I believe everything creative comes from the Creator; it’s what we choose to do with what He gives us that decides the outcome.

Tell us how you come up with characters for your books.

All my stories are character-driven, meaning that the storyline unfolds through their lives. Some authors write plot-driven stories, meaning that they add characters to the story to make the plot happen. Characters are paramount to my stories, as I want my readers to identify with them, to care what happens to them, to feel what they feel and think what they think, to the point that they nearly experience what they experience. That’s the type of story I enjoy reading, so I want to write that way for my readers. My experience in drama classes helps me develop three-dimensional characters that breathe; I spend a lot of time on that aspect of my books. If the characters aren’t believable to me, they won’t be to others either.

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve always been a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm. Put words in front of me—whether on a book page, a newspaper, or a cereal box—and I start reading them. I wrote a story in the third grade, and the teacher and principal liked it so well they turned it into a play for the PTA. I was hooked! Then I won lots of awards for my writing during junior/senior high, and when we were teenagers, I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer some day. It took several years to break into print, but it finally happened, and he still reminds me of that to this day.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

I like the days when I actually get to write—meaning, not edit or do phone interviews or answer email or… Well, you get the picture. I really get lost in the writing process, and so love it as I see scenes and stories come to life.

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

This is tough, because my favorite is usually whichever book I’m working on at the time. Seriously, though, of my books released to date, My Son John is my favorite fiction work, and Beyond Me is my favorite nonfiction, though there are others that run close seconds in both categories. And the novel I’ve just completed for early 2010 release, No Greater Love, is dangerously close to displacing My Son John as my favorite fiction accomplishment. Why? My Son John and No Greater Love have such a deep, underlying message of self-sacrificing love; as a result, you can’t help but see Jesus in the midst of them. As for Beyond Me, the subtitle says it all: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World. Beyond Me living is at the heart of everything I write/speak/teach/preach. It is, I believe, the life God has called us all as believers to model every day.

With which of you characters do you identify with the most and why?

Though thankfully I’ve never had to go through what Liz experiences in My Son, John, I relate most to her, as I know what it’s like to pray for a prodigal and, at times, to despair that he/she will ever return to the fold. A mother’s heart is fertile fodder for all sorts of writing!

What are you currently writing?

I am currently working on book two of the Extreme Devotion fiction series for New Hope Publishers (their first-ever venture into fiction). It is called More Than Conquerors and is set in Mexico. It will follow right on the heels of No Greater Love, set in South Africa, just prior to the release of Nelson Mandela and the fall of Apartheid. Book three, Red Ink, will be set in China, and book four, People of the Book, in Saudi Arabia. I am also working with my co-author, Susan Wales, on a stand-alone historical novel called First Allegiance for Abingdon Press. All will release between early 2010 and early 2011.

My Son John
Sheaf House Publishers
ISBN – 0979748542
Paperback, 176 pp,, $12.99

Available at CBD,, Barnes & Noble, and local Christian retailers

***Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a FREE copy of My Son John!!!! (one winner will be chosen from all of the entries)***

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Giving of Ourselves (Romans 12:1-7)

A very sweet young friend of mine recently commented that she thought volunteering was a great way to give of herself. She got me thinking and here are my thoughts on the subject. I concur; volunteering is a GREAT way to give of yourself. I like the thoughts of random acts of kindness and paying a favor forward. The greatest gift we all have received (if we are believers) is that Christ died for us. How can we just sit idly by when he gave such an amazing sacrifice (his own life for our sins)? He isn't asking us to die for Him. He is asking us, though, to be open to His leading and to be willing vessels. The world is filled with lost and hurting souls. It is the least we can do to reach out in God's love to comfort and encourage others! I started praying a long time ago on a daily basis that God would place at least one person in my path on a daily basis with whom I can share His love. When we make ourselves a willing vessel He will use us in a mighty way to reach others. So ask and be prepared to see God work! No worries, He equips those He calls and I know He will guide you! So, get out there and be His light in the darkness...okay, I'm getting off of my soap box now. Blessings! K

Here’s what the Bible has to say:
Romans 12
Living Sacrifices
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sneak Peek at Ready-Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt

Ready-Made Family
Ready-Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt
Amelia North needs refuge, and finds it--in Refuge, Illinois. Stranded there after a car wreck, the single mother expects to be cold-shouldered. After all, she's already been rejected by her parents, her church and her daughter's father. Instead, she finds a town full of people with open hands and hearts…including pararescue jumper Ben Dillinger.
Ben wants to help Amelia and her daughter find safety and stability. Instead, he finds himself freefalling—right into love with the ready-made family.

Excerpt from Ready-Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt
"Mister! Mommy needs help!"

The child's cry spun U.S.A.F. Pararescue Jumper Ben-li Dillinger on his toes to face its source. Purchases clunked beside his car, Ben's feet propelled him toward the youngster.

Tears falling from two teddy-bear-big eyes brought Ben, heart and body, to his knees. Speaking of bears, she clutched a tattered brown one.

"What's wrong, princess?"

Ben scanned Refuge Mall's parking lot for the mother. Maybe she had car trouble. But it wouldn't make sense for a parent to send a child this young for help. No vehicle with its hood propped, either. In fact, his was only one of the few remaining since closing time minutes ago. Not only that, the child's duress surpassed a stranded-car scenario.

A tiny hand tugged him up. "C'mon! Mommy's over here. Something bad happened!"

Urgency speared Ben. Hand in hand they loped around the building. Near a pharmacy across the deserted lot, a compact car that had seen better days sat, trunk open. Steam billows hissed from a gaping hood accordioned by impact. A dented front bumper hugged a light pole. A motionless human form plastered to the dash spiked Ben's pulse.

He loosened his hand from the girl's and ran at a dead run toward the car, then stopped. Kid couldn't be more than six, seven years old. Too short for an SUV to see if it sped across the lot. Ben circled back, swept her up and sprinted to the fractured vehicle. Primer, faded red paint and rust coated the exterior. The child panted, either from ninety-degree heat or fear.

Closer now, Ben wished for more light from the low-slung southern Illinois sunset and peered through the driver's side window. A young woman lay slumped over the steering wheel.

Wavy, light brown hair spilled over her cheeks and dusted the dash. Fog misted the inside glass, prohibiting him from assessing her further. At least the haze indicated she had to have been breathing recently. Child still hoisted with one arm, Ben yanked the driver's side door handle with his free hand.

Locked. And hot.

"Ma'am?" He pressed his face to the front glass. Palm flat against it, he pounded on it, then the side window. Nothing. Hand fisted, he banged harder, called louder. "Ma'am!"

He set the little girl down on the curb and gave her shoulders a comforting squeeze. "Stay put, princess. I'm a paramedic. I'll help your mom."

If it's not already too late.

Ben hustled down the length of the car. Jerked the back door handle. Resistance met his effort. Hands cupped against the glass, he peered, called and pounded.

Other than music wafting like a dirge from within, eerie, dead silence entombed the interior. He imagined ovenworthy temperatures inside the car could fry eggs on the dash.

Was she even still breathing? He squinted.

Patches of deathly pale skin peeked through her mass of curls, identical to the little child's in color and texture. What part of her arms he could see below her T-shirt hinted at pink. Good. Not mottled or cyanotic. His own breathing slowed.

Rushing to the passenger side, Ben flipped open his phone, dialed 911 with one hand, tried the doors with his other.

All locked.

He reported his name, credentials, findings and location to the dispatcher then remained on the line. Car couldn't be as old as he'd thought. Otherwise, it wouldn't have those child safety locks. He'd kick a window out if he had to.

"Jesus, please." Ben ran moist palms over his shorts and looked around for something besides himself to break in with.


Yes! He dived in, shoved a plastic bag aside and crawled through. Scrambled over the folded-down backseat, entering the car as the child had probably exited. Smart kid. How long had they sat here before she'd gone for help?

Car was definitely DOA but the radio was still running. Weird. He recognized the song as one he'd learned chords to during worship practice at Refuge Community Church this morning.

Ben climbed in and turned the radio down. "Miss?"

No answer.

Hand on her sweat-drenched shoulder, he leaned bare knees to sit and counted her breaths. He pressed two fingers to that spot on her neck and hoped to feel life pulse beneath his fingers. Her shoulders rose and fell with the sweet breath of life. With respirations present, she had to have a heartbeat.

What was the deal?

Ben increased the pressure of his fingers in tiny increments. There. Yes. Thank You. His own heart rate slowed.

Moist hair clung to the victim's face. Ben brushed it away and updated the dispatcher. "Other than a mask of pallor, she looks peaceful in slumber." Except a young mother wouldn't sneak a Sunday afternoon snooze in a scalding parking lot.

"I have an inkling something's up with her heart." Translucent gray lips blended into her face. Same starkly pale color. Not a hint of pink. Mauve-blue circles ringed her eyes.

"Caucasian female, early twenties, small build. Pulse weak and erratic. Respiratory rate normal but shallow. She's overheated, though not dangerously." Phone to ear, Ben informed her there was an unattended child with the unconscious driver.

"Sir, we have a unit en route but they have a long detour due to a broken-down train blocking the tracks across Main. It may take longer than normal for them to arrive."

"Ten-four. If her stats change, I'll contact you."

Hands beneath the woman, he lifted her torso off the steering column and leaned her against the seat. Palming a lever on the side, he tilted it back. Careful with her neck in case she'd injured it, he lifted her chin, opening her airway. The movement elicited a weak moan but other than that, no response.

Probably she'd become incapacitated prior to running into the block. Hard to tell since she didn't have her seat belt on.

Ben dipped his head out the passenger door and gave the child a reassuring smile. "Ambulance is on its way."

Hopefully it'd get here soon, but the ambulance service sat blocks from Refuge's lone hospital, located clear across town.

Wrist tilted, he peered at his watch. Needed to meet his younger brother Hutton at the airport in… a short hour.

Hutton's frequent panic attacks and Mosaic Down Syndrome made it difficult for him to travel by air to begin with, much less fly alone as he'd done today. Ben not being there to pick Hutton up could propel him over the edge and bomb to bits any bridge of progress Ben had made with Hutton's trust.

The little girl inched from the curb to the door. Big brown eyes grew wider with each shuffling step. "What's a matter with her?" She chewed the end of her finger and her chin quivered as she peered beneath long eyelashes at her mother.

Heart caught, Ben wanted to scoop her up and hug her, but didn't suppose he should, being a stranger.

"Not sure. Help's coming, though." The faded seat creaked when he pivoted into a better position to face the youngster.

Huge tears bubbled, then dripped from a pair of eyes struggling to be more brave than scared as they glistened at him. When she stepped toward Ben and reached up tiny hands, he couldn't help it. He opened his arms to her. The waif of a girl moved like a minimissile. He lifted. She scrambled up in his lap then burrowed beneath his chin. Tucked herself into his chest like she belonged there.

Rivulets of sweat trailed down his back. Pink ribbons affixed like fluffy tiaras atop her head tickled his neck as he leaned over the mother and rolled down the driver's window. The little girl's hair felt squeaky clean. Groomed and cared for. A warm breeze lifted the strands, bringing hints of strawberry.

He transferred weight from knees to rump in the seat to monitor the mother and hold her trembling child simultaneously.

With featherlike motions, the little girl rubbed her mom's arm with one hand and clenched her stuffed animal tighter with the other. "Did she die?" Small whimpers puffed out heart-shaped lips resembling the mother's. "Because my guinea pig died and never came back to life again and I'd miss Mommy so, so bad if she never came back to life again." Tears spilled over the rims of her eyes and raced down rosy cheeks.

Ben hugged her closer, wishing he'd anticipated the scope of her fear. "No, princess. Your mommy's not dead." Being a U.S. Special Operations airman had trained him to notice every intricate detail about everything. His senses took it in automatically no matter the situation. He regretted not picking up on her fright and distortion about her mother's condition.

"B-but she won't wake up. L-like my guinea pig. I tried and tried to wake Mommy. But I couldn't." She shuddered.

"She only passed out," Ben explained. "Honest."

"P-passed out what?"

"No, I mean she fainted. It's like a deep sleep is all. Can you remember what happened?" He placed a soothing hand on her back, moving his thumb side to side much the same way he strummed his guitar strings during worship. He prayed silent songs for God to comfort her and chase away fear.

She shrugged one shoulder. "We was in the store to buy some, um, um, I can't tell ya that part." She dropped her voice to whispers and fiddled with the buttons on her denim overall dress.

"That's okay. Tell the part after you left the store," Ben whispered back.

"We got in the car and Mommy told me to buckle up. Only she didn't buckle in Bearby like usual."

Panic surged Ben's heart rate. "Bearby?" Dear God, don't let there have been another child in this car who wandered off. Ben scanned the parking lot and started to scoot from the seat when scraps of tattered yarn thrust in his face.

"Bearby's my…well, it was supposed to be a baby but Mommy's only learning how to sew. He looks lots like a bear and a little like a baby so I named him Bearby." The girl suspended the toy in front of Ben's face.

"Ah. Got it." He peeked around the bear-baby thing. "So, there weren't other children in your car?"

She shook her head and rubbed a frayed loop of Bearby's worn string hair. One blink later a faraway expression embraced her features and she veered Bearby back in front of Ben's nose. "He doesn't like to be ignored."

"Oh. My bad." Ben took Bearby's paw-hand between his two fingers and shook gently. "Nice to meet you, Bearby. I'm Ben." He raised his vision to the girl. "What's your name?"

"Not s'pose to tell ya since you're strange. But if you asked Bearby, he'd say I was Reece North."

Ben reassessed the mother. Nothing had changed. She didn't look worse, but she didn't look better either. A prayer song worked its way into his mind. Giver of life… He whispered it over the woman. When he looked up, he caught the child watching him curiously.

"What's your mom's name?"

"Amelia Grace North, and you can recognize her because one of her eyes goes crooked and she hates that."

No idea what that meant. Lazy eye, maybe? But the child's chatter seemed to keep her from fretting about her mother.

"What happened after she forgot to buckle Bearby?"

"She kept breathing long. You know, like you're going off the diving board. She blinked fast and said she needed to drink and sit but she was in the seat. I tried to get her water. She yelled to get in the car. Mommy never yells, and I cried."

"I understand." He leaned down and ran his hand around the floorboard. Bingo. He lifted the worn wallet and located Amelia's ID. Pretty girl. Organ donor. Twenty-four. Two years younger than him. Must have dropped weight since this photo.

Other than a North Carolina driver's license, the wallet contained seven dollars in bills, pictures of what looked to be Reece, a few coins and a red construction paper heart engraved with "I love Mommy." No credit or debit cards. No checkbook. No emergency contact list. Very odd.

He faced Reece. "Then what happened?"

The child rubbed her mother's cheek with Bearby's fluff. "She said sorry and we'd get some water at a drive-through. Then she started the car and took off. Her words turned silly and she went asleep when she was driving and we bumped the light."

"So, she fell asleep before she hit the pole?"

"Yes, sir." Her head bobbled up at a siren's whine.

In the distance, blinking red LED lights strobed through a row of white-dotted dogwood trees planted in the median on the far side of the mall.

He rechecked Amelia's vitals and returned his attention to Reece. "Was she feeling all right earlier today?"

Reece sighed. "I think she was feeling kinda sad today. Grandma and Grandpa are nice to me but mean to Mommy. Yell, yell, yell. That's all Grandpa does to her. We was living with them, and now we don't live nowhere."

The whine of more approaching sirens widened the little girl's eyes. "Blinkin' panda cars! The cops are comin' too?"

Ben chuckled. "Seems that way. They'll take care of your sick car while the ambulance crew takes care of your mom." Maybe he should call a family member. "Where is your father?"

"Who knows? He left my mom when I was in her belly." She dropped her chin to her chest and scooted off his lap.

Gripped with the inexplicable urge to tug her back, Ben resisted. He exited the car, whistled and flagged paramedics over. An echoing whistle sounded beside him.

Arms shot above her head, Reece waved them in crisscross motions too, mimicking Ben's stance. She watched him instead of the approaching responders. "Met my dad but a judge said he can't be around me because he's unfit. Took me to bars where he works and forgot me a few times when I was only a kid."

Ben stifled a laugh. Seemed to him the girl was still a kid, but in her mind she must not be. Gusts of compassion moved him. "I'm sorry to hear that. It's his loss, you know?"

Defiant chin tilted skyward, a scowl pinched her freckle-dotted face. "Don't matter, 'cause we don't need a man or anyone else around to help us."

Kid come up with that on her own? Or from something the mother said? Suddenly, uniformed men and women flocked to the scene.

Stepping back, Ben studied Reece, the mother and then their sparse possessions in the seat. Thick emotion settled deep for this young unconscious woman and her daughter.

Clearly they'd fallen on tough times as evidenced by the lone white, lumpy trash bag. Well-worn clothes, toys and holey socks sprigged out its top. A large, black lawn bag resided in the trunk. When he'd moved it aside to enter the vehicle, old pillows and thin blankets had spilled out.

The economy car was clean inside save scattered crayons and coloring pages. High mileage. By the looks of that crinkled hood and inverted bumper, it'd have to go in for significant work. Repairs could cost more than the car's worth.

Police and EMTs buzzed around the car. Ben relayed information as they tended Amelia. Reece stayed on his heels. Her darting eyes and feet proved her skittish of everyone.

Everyone except him.