Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CFBA: Stuck in the Middle

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Stuck in the Middle

Revell (February 1, 2008)


Virginia Smith


Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker with the release of her first novel Just As I Am.

Since then she has contracted eight novels and published numerous articles and short stories. She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007) and her newest release, Stuck in the Middle(Revell, February 2008), book 1 in the Sister-to-Sister Series.

Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines. An energetic speaker, she loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

Virginia is a speaker, and an avid Scuba diver. She and her husband Ted, divide their times between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for diving trips to the Caribbean!


Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement-or romance.

That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to catch his eye and get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut and into the life she's been hiding from.

Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that is sure to make you smile.

"A gentle story of one young woman's season of growth, deftly blending the tangle of family relationships with gifts of whimsey and revelation. A joy to read."
~SHARON HINCK, author of Renovating Becky Miller and Symphony of Secrets~

"Virginia Smith has created a charming and humerous novel that celebrates small-town life, generations of women caring for each other, and the value of finding a deeper, more active faith."
~SHARON DUNN, author of the Bargain Hunters mysteries~


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CFBA: Adam

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Thomas Nelson April 1, 2008)

Ted Dekker


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), and Obsessed, with two more...Renegade, and Chaos to be released later this year.


He died once to stop the he's dying again to save his wife.

FBI behavioral psychologist Daniel Clark has become famous for his well-articulated arguments that religion is one of society’s greatest antagonists. What Daniel doesn’t know is that his obsessive pursuit of a serial killer known only as “Eve” is about to end abruptly with an unexpected death-his own.

Twenty minutes later Daniel is resuscitated, only to be haunted by the loss of memory of the events immediately preceding his death.

Daniel becomes convinced that the only way to stop Eve is to recover those missing minutes during which he alone saw the killer’s face. And the only way to access them is to trigger his brain’s memory dump that occurs at the time of death by simulating his death again…and again. So begins a carefully researched psychological thriller which delves deep into the haunting realities of near-death experiences, demon possession, and the human psche.

"As always with a Ted Dekker thriller, the details of ADAM are stunning, pointing to meticulous research in a raft of areas: police and FBI methods, forensic medicine, psychological profiling-in short, all that accompanies a Federal hunt for a serial killer. But Dekker fully reveals his magic in the latter part of the book, when he subtly introduces his darker and more frightening theme. It's all too creepily convincing. We have to keep telling ourselves that this is fiction. At the same time, we can't help thinking that not only could it happen, but that it will happen if we're not careful."

New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker unleashes his most riveting novel elusive serial killer whose victims die of unknown causes and the psychologist obsessed with catching him.


Monday, February 18, 2008

The Cheese Song

I love, love, love, love, love the Cheese Song by Andrew Peterson. Or if you prefer, "The Alien Conspiracy, Or, The Cheese Song." It is the BEST song ever. Unfortunately, the lyrics aren't available online. The song is or was available on his album "Appendix A." (It was available to purchase a few years ago. Now it is download only. But it's worth it!!!)

You can, however, watch this YouTube video of Andrew singing the song very informally. Embedding was disabled or I'd have it here for your convenience.

Andrew's first novel, On the Edge of The Dark Sea of Darkness, comes out in March 2008.


!Hero Rock Hero...

!Hero The Rock Opera

This came out a few years ago. I remember loving it when it first came out. I listened to the cds non-stop. And I was so so so happy when it released on dvd. I read the first novel. The book said that it was the first of the series, but I don't recall ever seeing the rest of the books being released. (I can't even find the book, City of Dreams, listed on the author's website. Maybe I was the only one that liked it???) Not being one to let a mystery go unsolved, I have found confirmation that the second and third novels were never published. At least now I know.

Here's the intro...

Here are some of my favorite songs:

Raised in Harlem

Not In My House

I Am

And the oh-so-magical best-song-ever-ever-ever...

He's Not Here


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Much food for Thought...

I just listened to this message by Bethlehem Bible Church. "Mysticism Gone Amuck" by Mike Abendroth. (2/10/08)

What can I say? This message might be hard to swallow for some folks, but I think it's something that at the very least should be considered. In the message, he points out example after example of how Beth Moore is teaching mysticism in her books. Something I'd never heard before. I own several of her books. Though I've never managed to finish one all the way through. Now I'm thinking I might have to redo my bookshelves and find those books a new home. For the record, he is not calling her a false teacher or a heretic. He is just saying that she teaches some things falsely. There is a big difference--in my opinion--between all and some.
Also under critique is Brennan Manning. I have some of his as well. Again, never read. The point of the message is that if there are books that are good, better, and best...and a limited amount of time to read...why waste time on what isn't the best. If there are books that have some truth but some untruth as well or some truth and some fluff...but there are other books that are 'better' for you--more truth, undilated truth, then those should be the ones we read.

He also stresses the importance of discernment, of knowing the Bible so that you're not "easy pickings" for those teaching strange doctrines.

Definitely a message I'd recommend.


Friday, February 15, 2008

A brief note...about Russell Fink

This week's CFBA book is My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder.

And don't die of surprise, but I actually read it. Yes. I know. I read a book on time for once. Shocking.

But the description that was posted yesterday really says it all.

It is funny most of the time. It is over the top all of the time. It is so ridiculously over-the-top though that it works. If that makes sense. I mean everything that could happen does happen. There are so many un-unique plot and character devices used that it becomes unique. Like two wrongs making everything right for a change.

For example? Boy in love with best friend? Check. Dead dog? Check. Dead grandpa? Check. Alcoholic mother? Check. Mean boss? Check. Crazy Roommate? Check. Anyway, you get the idea. This book is a blues song waiting to happen.

Russell Fink comes from the most dysfunctional family on the planet. It's hard to even keep track of it all, it's so insane.

So expect craziness squared.

But here's the thing. Even though most of what happens goes against my typical likes, I couldn't help enjoying myself while reading it. I think if it had been serious instead of an over-the-top comedy, then it wouldn't have worked. I don't know that this book will work for everyone. But it will work for some. Don't get me wrong, I didn't love, love, love it. It's not my new #1 favorite book. But I liked it. It was enjoyable. It was a good way to spend the afternoon.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Name is Russell Fink

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Name is Russell Fink

Zondervan (March 1, 2008)


Michael Snyder


Michael Snyder has spent the bulk of his professional career in sales, has fallen in love, and continues to struggle with the balance between art and vocation. He's never investigated a murder, much less that of an allegedly clairvoyant dog.


Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents house for good. He's convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over.

Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered.

The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once-the enormity of his family's dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest.

At its heart, My Name is Russell Fink is a comedy, with sharp dialogue, characters steeped in authenticity, romance, suspense, and fresh humor. With a postmodern style similar to Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, the author explores reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in the midst of tragedy. No amount of neurosis or dysfunction can derail God's redemptive purposes.


Monday, February 11, 2008

CFBA: Healing Stones

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Healing Stones

(Thomas Nelson January 1, 2008)


Stephen Arterburn & Nancy Rue


Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries—the nation’s largest faith-based broadcast, counseling and treatment ministry—and is the host of the nationally syndicated “New Life Live!” daily radio...

By 1996 Nancy was a full-time writer. The Christian Heritage Series made that possible. She was writing those books from the early 1990's until 2000.

And then a new opportunity came along--the Lily series. If she ever doubted that she was going to make it as a writer, man, that little red-head put those fears to rest! And, of course, Sophie followed Lily, with some teen and grown-up books in between -- plus the non-fiction books designed just for you.

Nancy and her husband live in Tennessee now, overlooking a beautiful lake, lots of sycamore trees, and the rocky Tennessee hills. They have a bright yellow power boat named BANANA SPLIT which you can find us on no matter what the weather. Marijean and her husband live nearby with my three grand-dogs and three grand-cats (and two grand-snakes . . .)


With one flash of a camera, Demi's private life becomes public news. She doesn't know it yet, but her healing has just begun.

Christian college professor Demitria Costanas had vowed to end her affair with a colleague. But she gives into temptation one last time...and a lurking photographer captures her weakness for all to see. Quite literally, she's the woman caught in adultery. And almost everyone--herself included--has a stone to throw.

Enter Sullivan Crisp, a decidedly unorthodox psychologist with his own baggage. He's well-known for his quirky sense of humor and incorporation of "game show" theology into his counseling sessions. And yet there's something more he offers...hope for a fresh start.

Reluctantly the two of them begin an uplifting, uneven journey filled with healing and grace. By turns funny and touching, this story explores the ways humans hurt each other and deceive themselves. And it shows the endlessly creative means God uses to turn stones of accusation and shame into works of beauty that lead us onto the path of healing.

An auspicious debut for a candid yet tender series about pain, healing, and God's invitation for second chances.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

CFBA: Sister's Ink

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sister's Ink

Broadman & Holman Books (February 1, 2008)


Rebeca Seitz


Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, PRINTS CHARMING was her first novel.

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.


Sisters, Ink marks the first in a series of novels written by, for, and about scrapbookers. At the center of the creativity and humor are four unlikely young adult sisters, each separately adopted during early childhood into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair.

Ten years after their mother Marilyn has died, the multi-racial Sinclair sisters (Meg, Kendra, Tandy, and Joy) still return to her converted attic scrapping studio in the small town of Stars Hill, Tennessee, to encourage each other through life’s highs and lows.

Book one spotlights headstrong Tandy, a successful yet haunted attorney now living back in Orlando where she spent the first eight years of her life on the streets as a junkie’s kid. When a suddenly enforced leave of absence at work leads her to an extended visit with her sisters in Stars Hill, a business oppor­tunity, rekindled romance, and fresh understanding of God’s will soon follow.


"What more can any woman want? Sisters, Ink weaves the love of sisters, the fun of scrapbooking, and a romance as sugary and tingling as Sweet Home Alabama. A must read for those who love southern fiction."--DiAnn Mills, author of Leather and Lace and When the Nile Runs Red

"Fun . . . funny . . . fantastic! Rebeca Seitz has brought together scrapbooking and sisterhood in a lively romp, with a love for going home again."--Eva Marie Everson, coauthor of The Potluck Club series.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Christmas Mommy

Christmas Mommy by Terry Fowler (Heartsong Presents)
reviewed by Callie Laney

Julie Dennis led an independent life as a computer specialist. She lived in her own condo in Denver, Colorado. Orphaned at eleven, she'd been raised by her older brother Joe. When her brother and his family left to pastor a church in South Carolina, she had been terribly lonely. But her good friend Noah helped her through this difficult time. Unfortunately, Noah felt a call from God to be the assistant pastor at her brother's church. He left without fully discussing their options or the depth of his true feeling, leaving her feeling abandoned.

Joe and Mari have done so much for Julie, surely she would be willing to babysit their five children (all of which happen to be under the age of five) for two weeks? The timing's not great--right before Christmas. Can Julie really handle all the Christmas preparations on her own? Mari leaves a detailed list. Noah, the assistant pastor, will also be there to help. So Julie agrees to be the Christmas Mommy.

I fell in love with the kids and laughed my way through the book as misadventure follows misadventure. Julie discovers how to relax, how to enjoy the kids, and develops confidence in her mothering ability even after the list meets an untimely end.

This would be a great story even without the romantic interest. I suggest this book if you want to smile, laugh, or just remember your own childhood holidays.