Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Father's House by Todd Saville




"My Father's House" by Todd Saville gets 4 stars from me. I borrowed this book on kindle from  a friend because of all the different posts about it. Some people really liked it and some posted negative things. Well that being said, I liked the story but there are 3 swear words in the book. One of the words was used 4 times and another one once, but the last one I really didn't like at all was using God's name(I think you all get the picture without me going any farther). And there was a bedroom scene but it was written without being too graphic and I think it fit well into the story. I would still recommend this story to others but with a warning about the negatives items! With all that said I loved the story!
      Cole Jansen has only time to make money not enjoy life. He gets a call from his mother that his father's has had another heart attack so he goes home to nag and complain to his dad about not taking care of himself. He meets the neighbor girl and an instant attraction is there but there is a problem, she is Amish. This book describes their relationship and how it develops. I was surprised at the ending, it has a couple of things happening that I didn't foresee. I have to say it doesn't end the way most books that I have read that have a love interest between an Amish and Englisher do. I am sad at the way it ended but it had to end that way to make the book!
I will be looking for more books by this author.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"The Moses Quilt" by Kathi Macias





About the Author

Award-winning author Kathi Macias has written nearly 35 books, including the “Extreme Devotion” series, Beyond Me, How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons?, Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today, the best-selling devotional A Moment a Day, and the popular “Matthews” mystery novels. Kathi has written commentary for Thomas Nelson’s Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Student Edition); was part of the devotional writing team for Zondervan’s New Women’s Devotional Bible; and has ghostwritten for several prominent individuals including Josh McDowell; former NFL player Rosey Grier; and the late chaplain of the United States Senate, Richard Halverson. An avid writer, Kathi has published numerous devotionals, articles, short stories, and poems in various periodicals. The readership of her weekly devotionals has grown into the hundreds of thousands, being picked up by the Christian Civic League, Black Christian News, Latino Christian News, Christians in Recovery, and crosswalk.com.

A former judge for the Christy Awards, which recognize Christian novels of excellence, Kathi has won numerous awards herself. These awards include the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, a Hollywood-based organization set up to improve the moral and ethical content of films, television shows, books, etc.; fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild; Golden Scroll Novel of the Year (Red Ink), Carol Award finalist (Red Ink), 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net, and the grand prize in an international writing contest. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi now serves as a staff member for the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and spiritual advisor to the Christian Authors Network. She has also appeared on several radio and TV programs.

A popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches, Kathi has taught creative writing and business writing in various venues; and has served on staff at a large church in Southern California, where she participated in biblical counseling, trained small-group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi also loves reaching out to others through various prison and homeless ministries. Passionate about praying for and aiding the persecuted church around the world, Kathi is a mother and grandmother and currently resides with her husband, Al, in California.


This book is definitely a 5 star book for me! I had heard some many great things about Kathi Macias's books and was not disappointed when I read this book. You might even be surprise at some of the things you learn about Harriet Tubman.
Mazie Hartford is in love with Edward Clayton and he is in love with her. Edward has asked Mazie to marry him but there is a problem, is Mazie ready to enter an interracial marriage? Mimi, who is Mazie great-grandmother, has a quilt that is called the Moses quilt,because it tells the life of Harriet Tubman and she uses this quilt to help Mazie make the right choice as her own health is failing.This is a quick read and you will want to keep reading to found out what Mimi tells Mazie and Edward. After reading this book I am ready to read others by Kathi Macias.



I received this book from www.bookfun.org to read and post my honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Congo Dawn" by Jeanette Windle



As child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty on five continents. Those experiences have birthed 16 international intrigue titles, including bestselling Tyndale House Publishers release Veiled Freedom, a 2010 ECPA Christian Book Award and Christy Award finalist and sequel Freedom's Stand, a 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award and Carol Award finalist and 2011 Golden Scroll Novel of the Year finalist. Check out author interviews, reviews, and more at Jeanette's website: www.jeanettewindle.com


"Congo Dawn" by Jeanette Windle gets 4 stars from me. It was written well but it wasn't my type of book until about half way through the book. I have to admit that I struggled with what rating to give this book but when I finished the book I liked it as a whole.
 This book is about minerals that is discovered in the Congo and betrayal. Joseph was born in the Congo and went to America to college and while he was he told his employer about the minerals in the Congo. Joseph wanted to help his fellow company men but his employer was greedy. Joseph tries to stop the thief of these minerals by blowing on the mine and the employers send in Robin and other Ares Solutions. Ares Solutions is helped by Wamba, the crooked government of the Congo. Robin is an ex Marine who is there because she believes the Ares Solutions agents are there to help get the mine running to help the Congolese people. But almost immediately Robin runs into Dr.Micheal Stewart, a man who she believed was going to ask her to marry him and  then lied to her five years ago and caused her brother to die. Robin is on this assignment to get the bonus money to help pay for an operation that will save her neice's life. Robin  is always trying to help the victims but as  learns the truth, she puts her life in danger to help the victims. Robin's learns  that God does love but that He has to let people suffer the results of their choices to make them as gold. I was surprised at some of the things that she learned from Miriam's, Micheal's sister, a victim about forgiveness. These are all messages that all Christians need to know and understand.
Will Robin be saved in time? Will Robin learn the truth about Dr.Micheal Stewart? I believe I will leave that to you to discover for yourself.
If you like mystery and suspense with a little bit of a love triangle then this is a book for you!
I received this book from www.bookfun.org to read and post my honest opinion.

This book can be brought at http://www.amazon.com/Congo-Dawn-Jeanette-Windle/dp/1414371586/ref=la_B001JRXN9I_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364302776&sr=1-1
and other book stores

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Secrets"by Robin Jones Gunn

"Secrets" by Robin Jones Gunn gets 5 stars from me.It is the 1st book in the The Glenbrooke series.This is the 2nd story of the series and i want to read all 8 books in this series.
In the opening page of this story Jennifer is running away from her past and has a car accident.Kyle,a handsome firefighter comes to her rescue. The attraction for each others starts immediately. Jennifer was hired to be the new English teacher in Glenbrooke but the principal had a stroke and didn't get new file turned into the proper hands and the new principal makes her new job hard.Jennifer becomes friends with another teacher Terri and one of her students. These new friends talk her into going on a mission trip to Mexico where after attending a worship and dedication service for the new church building and being frighted when she drives a truck to a lonely stretch of road in the rain and in the dark, the truck is robbed she surrenders herself to God.But before all this happens she has (asTerri  i calls them)pockets of God's grace. This story has a touch of mystery as both Kyle and Jennifer have secrets they are hiding.The secrets  aren't that they have done anythibg wrong or even bad just something neither one wants others to know.I believe it you take the time to read Kyle and Jennifer story you willonce again believe in the power of God's love and that love at first sight is possible and that God can supply all your needs as well as give you some wants such as Dovebars. What do I mean by the last sentence? Read the book and found out! I was given an ebook copy from Blogging for Books@WaterBrookMultnomah.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Redeeming Reputation by Pastor George Mcvey"

"Redeeming Reputation" by Pastor George Mcvey is another 5 star book. I am surprised that I liked this book being that is a western but that is why I like that authors give out their books so us readers can have a chance to enrich our horizon with different genres before buying a book and sometimes, these authors become a favorite. I am definitely looking forward to book 2 of this series. This book is about the old west with a twist . Nathan Ryder the 3rd is a preacher that is also the fastest gun drawn in a battle. No he doesn't want to be in a gun battle but when he is forced by the most hardened criminals he has no choice. Nathan's adventure starts when he is on the train heading to the New Mexico Territory for his first ministry assignment. Nathan has to live up to his grandfather's reputation as well as prove he isn't just given the name Preacher because of the way he dresses. Nathan witnesses to the criminals as well as defends himself . Nathan is a hero and a Christian but he has faults like the rest of us and he even has to ask forgiveness from one of the criminals. It will surprise you what he does to help the citizens of  Moberly and one of the criminals. I like the fact that whole Biblical passages are included in this book.
I received a copy of this book from the author to review for my honest opinion and was not paid in anyway.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Heart In Hand' by Barbara Cameron

"Heart In Hand' by Barbara Cameron is another 5 stars book! I believe this 3rd book in the The Stitches  In Time series is my favorite. This book could be a stand alone but you will want to read the whole series to learn about all the characters as they are in all three.  I don't think you will be disappointed at all that you took the time to read this series, and if you are like me you will find yourself wishing for more books in this series.
This story is Anna and Gideon's love story. They are both lonely after losing their first spouses to a long and painful illness. The story starts out when Gideon and his daughter Sarah Rose comes into the Stitches in Time shop that is owned by Leah (Anna's grandmother) and where Anna and her two cousin Mary Katherine and Naomi work. Anna suggests that Gideon and Sarah Rose learn to knit together. After Gideon's and Sarah Rose leaves the shop, Anna learns that Sarah Rose has stolen something. Anna has to go to Gideon's house to retrieve the item and their love starts growing then. This story has moments that make you laugh and moments that makes you cry. It is a wonderful story of finding love the second time around. It always shows that any love worth having takes work and understanding and forgiveness and patience and most of all faith in God.  In the pages of this story there are good things that happens to Leah and Mary Katherine and Naomi also. This series of books makes  the reader feel that life is worth all the troubles that a person goes through to find their happy ever after. Yes I know these books are fiction but why read them if you can't dream!!!
I am hoping that Barbara Cameron decides to write another book about their English friend Jamie that also helps in the shop.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"The Heart"s Journey" by Barbara Cameron

"The Heart"s Journey" by Barbara Cameron gets 5 stars from Me. It is the 2nd book in the Stitches In Time Series. This book can also be a stand alone and if this is the first book of the series you read first, you will find recipes and chapter 1 of Her Restless Heart and chapter 1 of Heart in Hand at the end of the book.
This story is about a subject that I haven't read in an Amish story before.  Naomi is engaged to John, but is not really happy about it because John is an abuser. In the first chapter Anna,(Naomi's cousin ) gets upsets and storms out of the Stiches in Time shop and Leah (the three cousins's grandmother) goes after her and falls and strains her ankle. Leah is depressed and decides she is going to go to Pinecraft Florida for a vacation and Naomi is determined her go also to get away from John and sort out her feelings. Their English driver Nick decides he needs a vacation too and decides to stay in Florida also. The three had a great time. Naomi and Nick try to fight growing feelings for each other but find it impossible. There was one part in the book that  me  laughed out loud, I won't give out the reason but will say it was while they were traveling to Florida and the car on the road had a teenage boy. Oh the things the English do to make fun of the Amish.  I think you would love Naomi and Nick's love story and their adventures on the beach at Florida, and how they make their love work for both!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Twisted Wolf by Perry Perrett


Author BIO:
Perry Perrett, when not escaping reality in a story, is a husband, father, and grandfather. He is a graduate of Mississippi College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Perry also served in the Mississippi Air Guard during the Persian Gulf War. He lives with his wife, Kathie, in Mississippi. They have two grown sons.
"Twisted Wolf" by Perry Perrett is definitely a 5 star book. This book is fiction but it could be real. It kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next.
This story is about betrayal and trust.
It is two days before Thanksgiving and Army Lieutenant Josh Davis is home on military leave and is attacked by a bear while hunting. He shouldn't have survived but he does! When he is well enough he goes backs to the Army and earns the Congressional Medal Of Honor.  When he retires from the Army, he is asked to run the race to become the President Of The United States and he agrees.  He becomes the president.But then his  troubles really starts.
His father-in-law who is the former President is shot and killed. Then while President  Josh Davis is on vacation he gives into temptation and his marriage and his presidency is in danger! And because of his giving in to temptation he is accused of murder.  This books shows us that we need to trust God and even when we do fail and fall God is there to help us stand up again.
The ending was surprising as it leaves me wondering if there is another book coming! I certainly hope so.
I believe Christians and non Christians would  like this book!


This book can be brought 
  Amazon link And B&N , Smashwords, and more.

I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blog Tour for "So Shines The Night" by Tracy Higley and a chance for a $50 gift card

You have gone on so many amazing travels. What was one of your favorite things about visiting Ephesus?
I think it was the sense of being somewhere “where Paul walked.” Sitting in the theater, looking down over the Harbor Street where he was likely kept prisoner at times, I had this amazing moment of “I can’t believe I’m here” – the kind of moment that gives you chills and makes you feel connected to something larger than yourself.

For you, what is the hardest part of the writing process?
The actual rough draft, the first time I get the words out of my head, is the hardest part. I have to discipline myself to stop the research, stop the planning and plotting, and just start writing!

What is a typical day like for you, as an author?
Since last fall I’ve started a new routine, which is working very well for me. I get up at 5 AM every day and work on writing until about 8:30 AM. The rest of the day is given to the “business” side of writing and life, and my other business. Sometimes I’ll add in some more research or planning during the rest of the day, but those quiet early hours are when I’m at my most creative and get the most done.

What inspired the theme of So Shines the Night? 
The idea of community is dear to my heart, and the struggle we all have to not live in isolation. I wanted to take a look at two people struggling to do the right thing, but going about it the wrong way because they were isolated both from other people and from God, and to see what would happen when they brushed up against a community like the first century church.

In your last book, Garden of Madness, the heroine came in contact with the Biblical figure Daniel.  Does Daria get to meet Paul and interact with him in So Shines the Night, or does she view his ministry from afar?        
Oh, it was great fun getting Daria and Paul to meet. Challenging, too, since everyone has a fairly specific concept of Paul and the way that I write him might not exactly conform to others’ preconceptions. Daria also meets some other biblical characters from the book of Acts, and I tried to portray them each struggling and human in their own way, wrestling with what it meant to be this new kind of Jew, this person whose Messiah had come.

When you visited Ephesus, what was it like to be in the same city that Paul ministered in centuries ago?   
It was thrilling, to be succinct. There is a sense of “this is real – this really happened” that sweeps over you and pulls you back in time and into the world of the Scripture in a new and fresh way. I loved it.

What's one thing you learned about Ephesus and its importance to Christians that you found surprising/interesting/challenging?
I had never realized or noticed until studying this time in Paul’s life, how much time he spent there (nearly three years). I always pictured him hopping around from place to place fairly quickly. I was challenged by the time that he invested in people’s lives, the relationships and bonds he formed. Later, when the Ephesian elders said goodbye to him, the book of Acts tells us that they were literally weeping. It’s easy for me to minister to people “from afar” but I was really challenged by Paul’s relational approach to sharing Christ.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
Keep writing.  If you haven’t finished anything, keep writing. If you’ve finished something and are trying to submit and sell it somewhere, don’t wait for an answer, keep writing. If you’ve gotten some interest and it’s moving through the process, keep writing. The publishing industry can move very slowly, and the best way to be ready for your “big break” is to keep improving through practice, practice, practice.

What's one thing on your bucket list (even if i you don't have an official "list")?
I think I might like to skydive someday. I’ve never admitted that before! (And now I’m terrified.)

What made you interested in writing ancient history fiction?
I’m not sure! It evolved in my mind, and I suppose it was the tie-in to biblical history, to the time period which informed my faith and held so many stories I already knew and loved. But I’ve never been content to look at Scripture through the single historical lens of the Judea. I’ve always wanted to see the Old and New Testament periods through the eyes of the world outside the Jewish people, from the pagan perspective.

How do you do your research?
It’s a multi-tiered approach, with very basic research at first (sometimes even juvenile non-fiction), to get a high-level view, then going deeper into the specific days/years I’ll be writing about, and then getting a broad view of the daily life and culture through dusty textbooks. All of this goes into my “notebook” and inspires specific plots and scenes. As I am actually writing the first draft, I often leave placeholders where more specific research is needed, like an XX where a number or detail should go. At the end, I go back and find all those placeholders and research the details, often online where it’s much easier to search for very specific information. 

Can you share anything about your future projects?
The best way to get a sense of what I’m working on now would be to visit this page: http://tracyhigley.com/books/work-in-progress/  Although, don’t hold me to all those thoughts about the book I haven’t started yet – who knows where that will go!

What is your favorite thing about writing?
You.  
Seriously, writing is an isolated and lonely profession at times. I spend a lot of time in my office alone, working to put together stories that people will love, and that will touch their hearts. When I hear from readers, start to see the reaction to a new book, that is my favorite thing about the process.

Where is your favorite place that you have visited in research for you books?
Egypt. I’ve been there twice, and loved every minute of both visits. The people, the history, the culture – all of it is very near to my heart. It’s a connection I can’t really explain, but I hope to return again someday.

What is something new you learned while doing research for So Shines the Night?
That’s a tough one, because there were so many things! The whole city of Ephesus is such an interesting study. Because the river that fed into the harbor carried so much silt with it, the harbor eventually became too clogged for ships and the people basically abandoned the city. This rarely happens in the ancient world – most ancient cities, like Rome, are a mix of ancient, medieval and modern and you have to travel around to the pockets of ancient monuments that are left. In Ephesus, all you have is the ancient city, so it has this frozen-in-time feeling like Pompeii, which I loved.

Your books remind me of a time machine, whereas the readers are transported  into the pages.  How do you make the stories seem so real and life like?
Thank you so much for saying that! It is exactly what I aspire to, so you’ve made my day! I don’t have a simple answer, except to say that there’s nothing in the world I’d like more than a time machine, so it’s definitely a priority. One thing that I do before I sit down to write a scene is to take some time walking around in it in my head, trying to really experience the sensory of the scene – the sounds, smells, tastes, textures, colors, temperature, and spatial details. If I don’t do that exercise, often those things don’t make it to the page. But when I do, I believe it helps bring the scene to life.

How has your writing, research, and travels affected  your spiritual life?
Great question. All of it has definitely given me a larger sense of the world and what God is doing in it, both now and through the past. It’s made me realize, as I’ve studied God’s work in the nations throughout history, that He has always been calling all people to Himself, and that He still is. It’s also given me a desire to see the kind of Christianity that was born in the fires of Roman persecution become part of our experience now – a living, breathing faith that radically transforms our lives.

What character has been your favorite through your writing journeys over the years and why? 
Sophia, from Guardian of the Flame. She is the most like me, and ironically probably the character many of my readers have liked the least.  She is withdrawn and isolated, and doesn’t feel herself worthy of interaction with people and although it’s probably more honesty than you asked for, I will say that I struggle with this idea often. She learns that she is loved and accepted by God first, and that God’s love makes all other relationships possible. It’s a lesson many of my characters are often learning, and it comes from a deep place within me.

What are your 5 favorite things, excluding your family?  
Dark chocolate, BBQ chicken pizza, a good book, foreign travel, a movie that makes me cry.

What was the hardest topic to find info on that you've ever researched?  
Writing Petra was difficult. We don’t have much information about the daily life of the Nabateans, compared to say the Romans or Egyptians. I had to manufacture more than I based on known facts, and that was more of a challenge, to make the setting and people seem real.

What's your favorite city so far that you've used as a setting? 
Probably Pompeii.  It was really fun to be able to have people running around the city where I had actual buildings and layout to draw from – actual streets and temples, brothels and theaters and arenas. It was very real for me.

I think one of my favorite subjects in school was history. Are you a history lover, if so, have you always been?
Yes, and yes. I’ve always loved stories in general, both fictitious and historical. Loved escaping into a story from the time I was a young child. History was a natural extension of that, and I still hope to help people “time-travel” into the past with every story I write.

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
The setting is usually what inspires me first. Many writers start with fascinating characters or a compelling plot, but I usually start with a place and say “ooh – what would it have been like to live there, in that time?” After that, it’s often the real history of the place that begins to inspire the story itself.

I love the historical aspects of your books. It must be very difficult and take alot of studying to get all that information accurate and then make a believable story out of it. How much time do you spend studying the history of the place you are writing about?
Too much, perhaps!  It’s a big part of the writing process – from many hours before I start writing, to research breaks along the way, to digging up specific details to fill in the gaps later. I end up with so much information and I want to get it all in there, so the challenge is to feed it to readers in a way that’s entertaining while informative, and not boring or overwhelming.

What can you tell us about the challenges of interweaving actual historical events with fictional ones?
It’s actually quite fun!  The historical events give me sort of “anchor points” for the story and help me structure the plot. Then I fill in around them with all the fun fictional stuff. I really enjoy it when the place and time give me lots of history to work with.

What advice would you give other writers who want to bring their story settings to life and leave their readers feeling like they've been there?
Research is key, of course. Don’t skimp. You will end up with more than you can use, but you never know when a particular detail you’ve found will breathe life into a scene, or inspire a major plot point. Second, take time for the sensory. When you think about and make sure the page shows all the colors and sounds, tastes and smells, textures and feeling of a place, it will start to come alive.

As a fellow writer I know that every story seems to have one character who just captures your heart. Was there a character like that in So Shines the Night for you, and if so, who was it?
I think I might have had a little crush on Timothy, if you must know.  And Lucas, well, sigh.  I just had to rescue him. 

How was the experience of writing So Shines the Night, compared to your other Seven Wonders novels?
It was much the same, with the addition of really being able to picture the city itself, as I could with Pompeii, after having walked the streets that are still so intact. It was also fun bringing in the “guest characters” from the book of Acts, and even an appearance of some characters from another novel (I’m not saying who – you’ll have to figure it out!)

How do you start writing a new novel? Do you make an outline, use a gazillion different colored Post-It notes on a big wall grid, just sit at the computer and knock it out, or what?
I am definitely an outliner and a plotter, but most of what I put together is on the computer.  For the past few books I’ve been using a program called Scrivener, which I really like.  I have notes in my personal “template” file that pertain to all stories – to the structure behind them – and I look them over as I plot through the scenes. For every scene I create a brainstorming worksheet before I write it – something that gives me the high-level look at what’s going to happen in the scene, and contains some of the sensory details I’ve imagined.  I print this out and have it next to me as a I write the scene.

What advice to you have for someone who wants to write "The Great American novel' and struggles to even get started? I know that's broad...
Like any huge, overwhelming project, the best advice is just to start.  See what kind of writer you are by getting started. Does an outline and a plot make you feel stunted? Do you fear the blank page and need to think it through first? There are tons of writing helps out there no matter what kind of writer you are. Find some, read and digest them, and then come back and keep writing.

Who is your greatest inspiration - as a writer, mom, Christian?...any and all of those criteria. 
As a writer, I’m inspired by C.S. Lewis (of course), but also by Stephen Lawhead and Frederick Buechner, both of whom have the ability to pick the reader up and carry them somewhere else. As a mom, it is the awesome friends I have, whose daily interactions with their children I am privileged to witness, that inspire me most. And as a Christian? The lives of those who live big and adventurous for the kingdom – willing to love and risk because they are secure in Christ.

Do you and the main character have anything in common?
Daria is very independent, and thinks she can get things done on her own. It’s hard for her to ask for help. I can relate!

If you could travel through time to see any of the seven wonders, which would you choose. 
Even though the Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt) is the only one of the Seven Wonders still intact, I would still choose that one – to travel back and see it in its glory, to see the people and the culture…  ah, that would be amazing.

Do you worry about the integrity of the story when you have to add so much to the story to flesh it out from the actual Biblical account?
Yes. It’s a core value of mine that as I write fiction that brushes up against actual biblical events, that I not alter what we know of this history and people. I may not always get it right, and some may argue about their interpretation of what really happened versus mine, but I always strive to keep the integrity of the biblical account intact. There is plenty to “flesh out” around the reality, and I let myself get creative there, but not with what we truly know from Scripture. 

While visiting modern day Ephesus, could you really get a "feel" for what it was like in Paul's time?
Yes, the streets and buildings are in ruins, of course, but there is plenty there to know what the different buildings were used for and to picture the streets full of townspeople and the shops and temples being used. You can see mosaics and writing and all kinds of “daily life” things that make it easy to picture the city in its heyday.

How long did it take to complete this story from start to finish?  Was that about an average amount of time? 
This story took about five months, which is just a little shorter than average.  I usually like to spend six to eight months on a book, but sometimes life intervenes!

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been writing about the Seven Wonders for awhile now, and when it came time to write about the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, it as a no-brainer that the action in Acts 19 would form the basis for the conflict of the story. From there, I had fun bringing it all to life!

What advice to you have for authors who are looking at writing early history such as this?
There is plenty to study, so get busy!  Do your homework, honor the history even when it takes you places that are unexpected and challenging. Resist the urge to make your characters 21st century people in tunics (or “Baptists in bathrobes,” as my friend Randy says). It’s a challenge, but it’s important.

What is your favorite book you have written and why? 
I am absolutely in love with the Beauty and the Beast motif, and Guardian of the Flame was my homage to it. I really loved writing that book.

You are not only a writer but also run your own business. When do you find time to write?
Over the years, the only way I’ve found time to write is by making it a priority. Sometimes other parts of my life didn’t get the attention they wanted/deserved. Lately, I’ve been finding that rising early (which is not natural for me) and writing from 5 AM to about 8:30 AM is working really well, and leaves the rest of the day for business and life-stuff.

What advice do you have for writers launching their first book? 
Find your people. It’s tough, but there are folks out there who are very much like you and will love to read what you write. So the first step is truly understanding yourself and your special brand of writing. The second step is to make sure your books, your website, etc all match up to that special brand. And then start spreading the word to find those like-minded people who will be your best fans.

Why historical fiction? 
I’m addicted to stories, and there’s a never-ending supply of them in history!

When you write speculative, how do you research and get information?
I haven’t written much speculative, except for my time-travel book and the little bit of the supernatural I bring into my ancient history. Since much of that is just out of my crazy brain, I guess I don’t do much research there!

What touched you the most on your travels for this book?
I think it was the sense of “realness” that being in the same city where Paul ministered brought to me. There’s a connection to faith and Scripture that happens, and it’s very powerful. 

What do you hope people will take away from this story?
There are a number of themes I explored here, so it will vary from person to person, depending on where they are on their journey. I hope people will get a sense of the reality of the first century church, of Paul as a man. I want people to see that the love God has for us makes us secure, and that from that foundation we can risk to love others. I want readers to long for a sense of community that is found in the church of Ephesus. 

What was the inspiration for So Shines The Night? 
The 19th chapter of Acts was just too delicious to pass up!

How do you pick your character names?
It’s always hard. I want them to be historically accurate, but I also want people to feel connected to the characters and that can’t happen if they can’t pronounce the person’s name.  I comb through historical name lists on the internet, looking for ones that aren’t too wacky!

I am an aspiring writer myself. I am currently working on a project for school and have taken a fairy tale and revamped it for today's kids.  Where do you find your inspiration for your stories and characters?
That sounds like lots of fun!  I love fairy tales.  My inspiration often comes from myth, fairy tale and legend – there is so much richness there, and themes that resonate with all people, from all cultures and times. Beyond that, the setting and history of a place really inspire me.

What is the condition of the Ephesian church today?
Ephesus was eventually abandoned as a city because the harbor became clogged with silt, so there is no real city or church there today. The nearest city is Sel├žuk, which is a predominantly Muslim population. I did a quick Google search in answering your question, and came up with this page, which is really cool: http://www.worshipinephesus.com/

What influence of the Ephesian church do you see on the culture in that area?
Well, the Temple of Artemis is in ruins, and certainly Christianity came to that part of the world during the medieval period. These days, the Christians are again the minority, but I am sure they are working hard to share the love of Christ with their neighbors.

In Revelation, Jesus commends the perseverance of the church of Ephesus, but He also says that they have left their first love and urges them to repent and do the things they did at first.  What evidence do you see in Ephesus that the church received and did (or didn’t) act upon this letter?
That’s a really tough question to answer. We don’t have any writings specifically about the Ephesian church after that time period, but it is traditionally believed that after John’s exile to Patmos he returned to live in Ephesus, and also that Timothy pastored the church there. With these two godly men in place, and such a specific revelation to challenge them, it seems to me that God would have been doing mighty work there, as He continues to do around the world today.




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Monday, March 11, 2013

Her Restless Heart by Barbara Cameron

"Her Restless Heart" by Barbara Cameron gets 5 stars from me. I read this book because it was the book discussion for my online book discussion on Facebook. I haven't had read any books by her before (or if I did I didn't remember) but now I can say I am a fan.
Mary Katherine didn't date because she wasn't sure she was going to stay Amish or join the English world. MaryKatherine doesn't want to take a chance on love because of her father who is not a very nice man and never has a kind word. She makes designs and works in her grandma's shop, Stiches in Time, along with her two cousins. But as the story continues Mary Katherine cannot fight her growing attraction to Jacob. Jacob is in love with Mary Katherine but thinks she is falling for Daniel. This story has moments that makes her sad and moments that makes you laugh. I loved that the cousins are just like cousins in real life and the grandmother is just like my grandmother was. I can't wait to read the other 2 books in this story and other series by this author

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Prayer Chain: The First Links


The Prayer Chain: The First Links gets 5 stars from me. This is the first in a series. In this book Jessica Reagan is dealing with the potentially fatal illness of her 10 year old daughter Lea. One night while in the hospital a nurse gives Jessica a piece of paper with a prayer written on it. This prayer is based on Philippians 4:8. Jessica says this prayer over and over till Lea is released from the hospital with a clean bill of heath. This story is also about a vet who needs the prayer paper and Jessica gives it to her after Max, (Lea's dog ) is hit by a car. These stories are amazing and are short but true to life. I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series. I can honestly say I have read several of Sarah Price's books and have not been disappointed with any of them.

The Prayer Chain: The Second Links

I give "The Prayer Chain The Second Links" 5 stars. This is the second book in this series.In this book Adele Mast is given the piece of paper with the prayer on after a customer at the airline sees that she has been crying. Adele's father has always been there for her. But then Adele's mother calls and tells her that he has suffered a stroke. When her father cannot talk and is not the same, Adele turns away from him. When Adele receives the prayer paper she knows that her father is still the same man and that she has been wrong to abandon him. Even through this is in a series this book can be read alone and be just as uplifting but I am glad I read the first book first. I cannot wait till the next volume comes out. This book shows that if you don't give up your faith God is there just maybe not the way you want be He is there.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

January Justice by Athol Dickson

January Justice gets 4 stars from me. This is the 5th book that I have read by Athol Dickson and I must say this one is different than the other 4 but I liked it. Although this book isn't really Christian, it does refer to the Scripture reference of Philippians 4:8. This story is full of twists and turns. January Justice is the 1st in a series of three. I am eagerly awaiting the other 2 books.
At the start of the book Malcolm Cutter is released from a mental hospital where he was admitted following the murder of his wife. The marriage was a secret one. Malcolm is a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood's rich and famous. He is offered a job to find proof that a kidnapping and murder case was not as it seemed. He decides not to accept as the case has gone cold but then he is attacked and almost killed himself so he decides to accept. The twists and turns in this story keep me turning the pages to find the real reason and the who of the attacks. I recommend this book to Christian and nonbeliever alikeI received a copy of this book from NetGallery for a honest review.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Guest post from Athol Dickson and a chance to get a free book!

I am so excited to be a part of Athol Dickson virtual tour and to be able to offer my followers a chance to win this new book! To be entered in the contest leave a comment after this blog!

Guest Post from Athol Dickson
I think the murder mystery genre is perfect for exploring big ideas like death and justice. Someone asked what makes me think I’m qualified to write that kind of book. It’s a fair question, and I suppose the answer is, “Life.”
By “big ideas,” I mean the things that matter most in life. Of course, when it comes to the really important things, some people think you ought to call in expert meddlers such as psychologists, philosophers, theologians, professors, and so forth. But I’m interested in application, not in theory. When it comes to the human situation, I’ll take the opinion of a cop or cabbie or a bartender over any professional. That’s why I’m glad I got involved in the writing game by a round-about path.
Most mystery fans know Dashiell Hammett was a Pinkerton detective before he started writing murder mysteries, and Erle Stanley Gardner was a lawyer. But did you know Raymond Chandler was an oil company executive, James Ellroy was convicted of petty crimes twelve times and made a living as a golf caddy right up until the publication of his fifth novel, and Mickey Spillane wrote comic books? Faye Kellerman has degrees in math and dentistry. John D. MacDonald had a business degree from Harvard.
None of them had formal training, either as authors, or as students of the human condition.
A couple of the very best mystery authors, Robert B. Parker and Ross MacDonald (Kenneth Millar), had formal collegiate training as writers. (Both got doctorates in English literature.) And when it comes to the expert meddlers, at least one successful mystery novelist, Father Andrew Greeley, is a trained professional. But they are the rare exceptions that prove the rule. Most of our best murder mystery authors brought skills and fundamental wisdom to the keyboard which was gained in other walks of life.
I believe Dashiell Hammett’s life lived in the trenches inspired the powerful sense of moral authority in Sam Spade’s words, “When a man’s partner is killed, he’s supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you’re supposed to do something about it.” An English major with some talent might be able to write passably about that kind of a code, but Hammett had lived by it, and the difference is obvious.
There have been a few ups and downs in my life. I was homeless for a while, and a drug addict. I’ve been through a terrible marriage, which was mostly my fault. I’ve been threatened at knife point, shot at, kidnapped for one night, and robbed. On different occasions I’ve been swindled, extorted, embezzled, and conned, and each time I lost between five and six figures. But I’ve also been married nearly 30 years to a wonderful woman. I’ve been an architect and successful businessman, a teacher, and even—believe it or not—a preacher. I have no formal training as a writer, and I’ve never studied God or man in any university, but based on what I know about my favorite mystery authors, I think life has prepared me pretty well to write The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs.