Monday, August 30, 2010

American Christian Fiction Writers speak in Indianapolis

If you're a reader or a writer, you'll want to take advantage of this opportunity. On Saturday, September 18, at noon, NYT best-selling authorTerri Blackstock  http://www.terriblackstock.com/ and multi-published author Gayle Roper http://www.gayleroper.com/ will speak at the http://www.imcpl.org/about/locations/central.html;downtown Indianapolis Public Library. A beautiful new facility located at One Library Square, 40 E. St. Clair St., in downtown Indianapolis, this is your opportunity to ask these two authors your questions about writing.

Adults are invited to hear Terri Blackstock, author of "Intervention," and Gayle Roper, author of "A Stranger's Wish," discuss their lives and works. This will be followed by a question and answer session and book signing. This program is held in conjunction with the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. This program will be held in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library. 

I hope you will join us for a fun event. And an opportunity to meet these great ladies




. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

9 Cost-Effective Ways To Gain The Media's Attention

Guest Blogger 
Alyice Edrich

Regardless of the type of business you run, you need publicity. Publicity, however, isn’t cheap and it isn’t easy. Don't know the first thing about creating buzz, obtaining publicity, or catching the attention of the media, you say? Don't worry! By following the nine tips below you could be well on your way to gaining free exposure, obtaining expert status, and making additional sales. It all starts here:
  1. Press Release: Write a press release and distribute it to media outlet’s that target your audience. A press release can be as simple as a one-page article to something more complex as a video.
  2. Pitch Letter: Write a pitch letter and deliver it to the appropriate magazine or newsletter editor or radio and television producer. Pitch trends that tie your product or service together. Tie your product or service into recent news reports, hot topics, or holidays.
  3. Upload A Video: Design a short skit or live action product review and upload it to services like YouTube.com In your video include a way for viewers to contact the company to order a product or service or journalists to cover your story.
  4. Review Copies: Send copies of your product to publications, television shows, or radio stations that would most likely give you free coverage in the form of a review, interview, or both. And don’t be afraid to pitch an upcoming show you believe the product would be fit. In other words, give the media outlet an angle it can use.
  5. Publicity Pages: Put a publicity page on your website, include old and new press releases, link to past interviews and articles your service or product has been featured in, and include publicity information for future coverage. Include topics you’d be willing to be interviewed on, a few publicity images, and a set of interview questions and answers that can easily be adapted in peices. And don’t forget to include your contact information.
  6. Social Networking Groups: Join groups like LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com, and Twitter.com, then start mingling. Don’t' focus solely on your product or company, however, share tips and actually socialize with your followers.
  7. Join PR Leads (http://prleads.com): PR Leads is a little pricey but it allows journalists to come to you whenever they have a topic that matches your company’s products and/or services.
  8. Join Help A Reporter Out: HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com/) is a free organization where you can effortlessly pitch your product, service, or company to the right journalist. Sign up today, then only respond to queries that match your area of expertise as no off-topic pitches are allowed.
  9. Join Reporter Connection: RC (http://reporterconnection.com/) is a free organization that runs pretty much the same way as HARO. 
Alyice Edrich is an affordable freelance writer. To view samples of her work or freelance rates, or to hire her for your next writing project visithttp://alyiceedrich.net To order one of her e-books, visithttp://thedabblingmum.com/ebookstore.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hello from Alaska

Touring by bus
Dining
Shopping
Surrounded by God's awesome creation.
And having a bit of fun in Alaska.
Wish you were here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hello from Alaska

Husband and I are enjoying the beauty of Alaska with Sis and her husband.
Our trip through Denali Park took us to this roadhouse for a late lunch.
And our first  lesson on mushing.
The dogs are happy when they can run.

I'm holding hot coffee to warm my hands. Wish you were here!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Monster Inside My Daughter

“I feel a pulse,” one of the medics said.
The paramedics worked feverishly on Manisha to make sure she was still alive. My beautiful seven-year-old daughter from Nepal lay on the floor unconscious at the O’Connell Center of the University of Florida.     
“Has she ever had a seizure?” another one asked.
“No, no,” I said in bewilderment. Manisha rolled over and vomited.
One emotion consumed me: Fear. The enormity of single parenting hit me like lightening.
I cried out, “Where are you, God? I feel so alone.”
After hooking up stabilizing IV’s, Manisha was whisked off in an ambulance to Shands Teaching Hospital. I found a pay phone and called my mother. Her first comment was, “Do you know what day this is?”
I remembered—September 19. Four years to the day and almost to the hour, my father had died of a brain tumor. It was about 5:00 p.m. My shattered world continued to close in on me. A short time later my worst fears were confirmed.
“There is something on the CAT scan. We have a called a neurologist,” I heard the nurse say.
“No, no, no,” every cell in my body cried out. “God, you can’t let this happen. Not again!”
But God was silent. The next nine days of hospitalization were filled with tests—MRI, gallium scan, spinal tap, TB test, HIV test, numerous blood draws, and too many questions and not enough answers by doctors doing their daily rounds with medical students in tow. Manisha had what in medical parlance is called a “zebra.” 
As the days passed in the hospital, I asked God for two things that humanly speaking seemed impossible. I prayed first that the doctors would not have to do surgery. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing Manisha’s beautiful thick, curly black hair shaved off. The ugly scars of surgery still lingered in my mind from my dad’s brain surgery. And I prayed that whatever was in Manisha’s head would not be cancerous. I had asked God to heal my father of a brain tumor and he died. Could I trust God for Manisha’s healing?
It was critical that the doctors make the correct diagnosis. The wrong treatment could kill her. Did she have a malignant brain tumor or a worm insider her head? Manisha had been adopted by me from Nepal at the age of three—old enough to be exposed to the extreme poverty of Nepal and lack of clean drinking water. Over fifty-seven percent of the water in Nepal is considered unsatisfactory for human consumption, contaminated with feces.
It was Neurocysticercosis—the most common parasitic infection of the nervous system. The larvae can travel anywhere in the body—the muscles, brain, eye, and other structures. The condition is still relatively rare in this country, but increasingly is appearing on the radar as part of the differential diagnosis for seizures.
Thankfully, twelve years later, Manisha is a well-adjusted 19-year-old just finishing high school and taking college classes.        
Why did God allow this nightmare to happen? I don’t know why God allows the hard things in our lives, but I do know God never wastes anything. I hope writing about neurocysticercosis today will bring awareness to this very preventable disease. International adoptive parents and travelers to the developing world should seek appropriate medical care upon returning to the U.S. if they have been exposed to poor sanitary conditions or contaminated water.   
In spite of the trials of single parenting, the years following that dreadful day of September 19, 1994, have been filled with life and joy. Manisha soon will be leaving home to make her own way in the world and I reflect on her middle name Hope—with God, there is always hope, and for that I am thankful.        
For more on Manisha’s story, be sure to watch Animal Planet’s “Monsters Inside Me” on August 25, 10-11pm EST. Her story is also published in Children of Dreams, available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstores.
author photo
Lorilyn Roberts
author
&
adoptive mom
Lorilyn Roberts graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama and is currently working on her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College. As a Certified Court Reporter, Lorilyn has made contributions to the National Court Reporters Association Journal. She provides real-time broadcast captioning for television. Lorilyn’s first book, The Donkey and the King, is a beautifully illustrated children's book. She also co-leads Word Weavers in Gainesville, FL. When not writing, taking graduate classes, or closed captioning for television/web, Lorilyn homeschools her younger daughter, Joy.
book cover photo
Lorilyn is offering a drawing for a free copy of Children of Dreams on her website and blog. The drawing will be on September 1, 2010. Go to the website for details.

Hello from Alaska

Getting into the rental car and planning our route through Alaska.

Writers soon learn there are writers who love to write, and writers who love to have written. I am a traveler who loves to have traveled. So we take lots of pictures and when I am rested up from the trip I am so glad to have traveled.
Our first day of travel took us to Denali Park. We had a great guide and saw much wildlife on our second day of the trip.


The driver stopped the bus and we watched this gray wolf pass down the road. A scout for his pack, hunting for food.

We marvel at the proof and the majesty of God.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Life With Lord Byron 3


Mr. Romance
Order the book from


Sunday, August 15, 2010

NIGHTSHADE

by Ronie Kendig

About the author:
All the aspects of my life are grounded in my faith. Without the mercy and peace of God, none of the others would have or could have happened. I'm a product of growing in grace, and having the benefits of His healing mercy in my life after a rough childhood. My heart goes out to those who are hurting and searching. You are my reason for writing (besides obeying God's will LOL).

I've been there.  I've been through grief, abuse, and then faced the difficult journey of restoration and reconciliation.

For me, my faith is not a religion. It's an every-second relationship, where I make decisions, and those decisions will decide whether I am honoring Him with my life or not. Now, that doesn't mean I'm infallible. Ask my husband. But I try.

 I've been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. No kidding. He's just that amazing. Brian graduated from his seventeen-year track plan in college with a 4.0. Now he's aiming for the FBI. Go, dude!

My husband helps me in my writing by reading the chapters for military/tactical authenticity, and he's the one I go to for political and historical content review. Brian is also the one who helps me flesh out stronger plot points. I definitely could NOT do this without him and his belief in me! I know if I can get my story past Brian, then I can (most likely) get it past my agent.

Sixteen years ago when my husband suggested I write for publication, I refused to entertain the idea. I told him it would remove the pleasure I got out of writing. And sure enough, when I became consumed with publication, I lost my joy. So God led me through a series of experiences--excruciating ones, if I do say so myself--that forced me to grow up or give up. :-D

I'm not a quitter.

I grew up. Got serious about writing, and man! Writing got hard. But I love writing more now than I ever have. Part of becoming a better writer involved joining the American Christian Fiction Writers. This is the most amazing group of people who are loving and encouraging. Visit the ACFW site and consider becoming a member if you are a writer.



The Blurb:
Six men return home from war. Now these champions of freedom are wounded and discarded . . . until a high-ranking official infuses them with hope. Together they become Nightshade, an elite black ops team that neutralizes hot spots other governments won’t touch. Heroes under the radar, these men must find the courage to fight one final battle—for their loved ones and themselves.

What Others Say:
 "Nightshade is an elite commando unit who perform black op missions. Each man was handpicked for their experience. I'm so thankful for the review copy of this novel. This story reminded me of the "A-team", with its larger-than-life characters, who individually bring something special and unique to the group. They aren't always a happy family, but 'when the chips are down', they get along to accomplish the mission.

Max, "Frogman", a former U.S. Navy Seal, Colton, "Cowboy", former U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations, Griffin, "Legend", former U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations, Marshall, "The Kid", a former U.S. Army Ranger, Oscar, "Fix", former U.S. Air Force Pararescue, and General Olin, "The Old Man", Army Chief, all of these men are in this special undercover unit.

The General confronts these men," You spent time in Afghanistan...You've all been trained to kill; then you come back, and what do you do with those skills, but go out of your mind...we're here to establish a team that can penetrate hostile situations without any entanglements, without any blame on the good ol' US-of-A...You are the best, a natural...that's why you are here."

I loved the interplay between the men in this military elite commandos unit. I learned about the real struggle war veterans have with postwar disorders. These former military men could relate to each other's nightmares, no explanation needed. I also enjoyed the believable spiritual struggle of Max and Sydney. Ronie doesn't sugar coat anything and I liked that.

I found myself checking the back of the book to read Ronie's bio. Was this author really a woman? If so, how could she write about all these macho men and war stuff? This author does an amazing job of creating believable, flawed and broken characters, who function at their best together in this commando unit doing extraordinary life saving missions. I was astounded that a woman could write such a believable action packed adventure with these macho men--it was done so smoothly. Ronie is an "army brat" and is married to an Army Veteran, it says on the back of the book. Ok, this explains a lot. This is the first book in the "Discarded Hero's" series. The main focus of this book is on Max and his news reporter wife, Sydney. My guess is that each book will highlight one or two of these men and their personal lives, and how they deal with the missions. Digitalis is the next book to be released. I can't wait to read where their missions take them next. Just like the "A" team, I'm sure they'll be facing incredible circumstances in each book. I can't wait to join them in their next adventure. "~~Nora St. Laurent


My Take:
A Love That Will Not Die.
I like to look deep into the family relationships displayed in a romance story. For me, a good romance, or romantic suspense has more, much more than just a romance. Our relationship with others does make a difference in how we relate to a significant other.

An interesting aspect of this story is how Sydney's family tries to protect her from her husband. While they have good motives, they don't know the whole story. They don't believe her bruises came from trying to break up a fight and getting her face in the wrong place at the wrong time. They don't believe her husband's anger was never directed at his wife.

In Nightshade, Ronie has written a fast paced story with strong characters that I came to care about.

Purchase The Book At:
Amazon:
Barnes and Noble:
Christianbook:

Or Ask Your Local Library To Order The Book In For You!

Book Contest:
We are featuring Nightshade, first in the Discarded Hero's series, by Ronie Kendig this week.

Book Contest weeks are from Sunday through Saturday. A new book review is posted each week which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life With Lord Byron 2


How to Play Golf with Your Spouse

Order the book from
Amazon:

God Bless Your Day!
Watch for the post, Life with Lord Byron 3, next week.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life in Defiance

by Mary E. DeMuth

About the author:
I'm a freelance writer and novelist living in Texas with my husband of nineteen years and my three wonderful children.

I have been writing since 1992, first as a newsletter editor, then as a freelance writer, followed by a fiction and nonfiction author.

My articles have appeared in Marriage Partnership, In Touch, HomeLife, Discipleship Journal, Pray!, Bon Appetit, Kindred Spirit, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. For two years I penned a lifestyle column for Star Community Newspapers in Dallas (circulation 100,000).

My books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), Watching the Tree Limbs, Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, both novels releasing in 2006), Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2006), Daisy Chain, A Slow Burn (Zondervan 2009), and Thin Places: A Memoir (Zondervan 2010).

To say my childhood was difficult is like saying the Grand Canyon is a big ditch. (Read my testimony.)  But out of it God gave me a passion to help families break devastating generational patterns.

This led to an expertise in the field of Pioneer Parenting. I love guiding parents who don't want to duplicate the homes they were raised in, or who didn't have any parenting role models to equip them.

1 am also book mentor, assisting writers who seek publication. Find out more here:




The Blurb:
In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve. Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer's identity and Hap's rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap's violence silence them all? Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie's journey typifies the choices we all face---whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences.

What Others Say:
 A good author writes a good, enjoyable book. A great author grabs your heart and does not let go until the last page is turned. Mary DeMuth is a great author. Life in Defiance brought out a range of emotions in me: I was angry at times, had deep compassion during other times, and grieved at the loss of innocence. This book will disturb you, it will shake you to your core, but it also offers redemption and forgiveness.

Life is like a tapestry, when you look on one side the picture is beautiful, but underneath there are knots and jumbled threads. Defiance Texas Trilogy is all about life underneath the tapestry. We put forth the beautiful side in front of others, but God sees what is underneath. God says, "Come I love you just the way you are, no matter what you have done. No matter how many knots there are in your life." Then when the healing begins God makes the tapestry beautiful on both sides.

I will be honest Life in Defiance is not a happy book, but it is real redemption for real life people. Many who live in difficult homes or live a life of secrets may this book offer you hope and freedom. The Defiance Texas Trilogy is listed on my top must reads for Summer 2010!"~~Lori Kasbeer

"I usually say a little prayer before I start a book review. I always try to do my best when talking about the books I read. Authors work so hard at crafting their stories and I feel it is important for me to ask for God's guidance when writing a review. I needed some extra help for this review because I just don't know where to start.

I suppose the best place to start is with the overall feeling I had while reading Life in Defiance. I don't know how Mary does it, but despite the tension and painful subject matter of this book, there is a tremendous amount of peace and grace that can be felt especially during the most difficult times in the story. The entire Defiance Texas series has been that way and I feel that this third and final book is a perfect ending to a tragic journey for this group of people. Mary never fails to remind readers of God's grace and healing as she lets us into the world of Defiance, Texas.

Ouisie Pepper is a very interesting character and I really enjoyed this book being told from her perspective. I also liked how she was written in the first person and actually addresses the reader throughout the story. That was a unique approach and one I liked very much.

I will not soon forget the people and events that make up Defiance, Texas. I was really pulled into their world and even though I have finished Life in Defiance, I feel like a part of me is still there. I'm sure that feeling will last for a while. Mary DeMuth is a tremendously talent author who continues to captivate me. My prayer is that this review has done the book justice and readers will find the love of Jesus that Mary has shared beautifully. "~~C. Kendall

My Take: This Book is Another Page Turner

I read all three books of the Defiance Texas Trilogy as they were released. I know the story is too long to be one book, but it was hard to wait for the next installment so to speak. New readers will not have this same situation as all three are available now.

I have read mystery/suspense from a young age. And I have a knack of suspision and figuring out "who done it." But this series had me puzzled throughout.

Mary DeMuth is a gripping story teller and by the end of the story the loose ends are tied up and the ending was satisfying.

Purchase The Book At:

Amazon:
Barnes and Noble:
Christianbook:

Or Ask Your Local Library To Order The Book In For You!

Book Contest:
This week we are featuring Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth.

Book Contest weeks are from Sunday through Saturday. A new book review is posted each week which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner. We will send one special person a copy of Life in Defiance.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Life With Lord Byron

Teeing Off with Byron
By Peggy Nelson


About the author:


Peggy Nelson lived most of her life in Ohio, then moved to Texas in 1986 to marry world- renowned professional golfer Byron Nelson. A writer by profession, Peggy worked for twelve years in advertising circles in Dayton, Ohio. After moving to Texas she authored the history of Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children in Dallas. And in 1992 she assisted Byron in the writing of his autobiography, How I Played the Game. Peggy continues to live at and helps manage Byron Nelson’s Fairway Ranch in Roanoke, Texas, plays golf occasionally, does a little flower gardening, tends her small flock of chickens, plays piano, attends Bible classes, volunteers at the new Byron Nelson High School, and serves as a greeter at her church. She is also a busy volunteer at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas each year. Peggy delights in her many friends, in visits to and from her sons and their families, and in the thousands of happy memories she has of her life with her beloved Byron.


~~~~~
Excerpt from Life with Lord Byron:


Other than my new penchant for prevaricating, the breakfast was delightful, and soon we were on our way to the first tee at NCR Country Club, where the pro, Jeff Steinberg, was waiting for us. I had at least had the good sense to alert him that Byron was coming and to let him know not to noise it about, because I certainly did not want a crowd around for my first drive in front of Byron Nelson and possibly the entire membership, their spouses, and a gaggle of children.

As luck (and the Lord) would have it, I hit a whopper of a drive, for me at least. It sailed high off the elevated tee and far down the hill, tailing off just a touch to the right and a few feet into the rough. Byron looked a little surprised, though my subsequent play lived up to my earlier bad expectations. I remember very little of that round, other than just enjoying being with him and wishing I could play better. But he did not seem to care about my score at all, though he did show me a great little chipping technique I could do with my six-iron when I was close to the green but a ways from the pin. It has come in handy many times since.

About the rest of his stay, I donʼt recall a lot. The Bogey Busters event that year was played at a different course, and naturally I went out to follow my hero. As it happened Byron was paired with none other than Johnny Mathis, the singing legend and a great part of my high school fantasy life from twenty years before. Wow! Here I was with two celebrities, pretty tongue-tied, and just living in a state of suspended animation, wondering to myself, Will I ever recover from this out-of-body experience?

By the time Byron flew back to Texas, we both knew we had the start of a wonderful friendship . . . that was rapidly becoming far more serious. The phone calls and letters came and went more often now, and soon we were talking about marriage, even though this was just July and August, only a couple of months after we had reconnected five years after our first meeting.

Excerpt taken with permission from Life with Lord Byron: Laughter, Romance and Lessons Learned From Golfʼs Greatest Gentleman by Peggy Nelson (2010) available at: www.byronnelson-golfpro.com

Now Booking Interviews and Book Reviews. Contact:
Kathy Carlton Willis Communications
956-642-6319
WillisWay@aol.com


God Bless Your Day!
Watch for the post, Life with Lord Byron 2, next week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PROPOSAL FOR 2010 ACFW CONFERENCE

Guest Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti

Title: ACFW Annual Conference

Tagline: “Serving Him in WORD and deed”

Scriptural Inspiration: “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17, KJV).

Elevator Pitch: Noted throughout the industry as the premier gathering dedicated to Christian fiction, the 2010 ACFW Conference promises high adventure, a healthy dose of suspense, soul-stirring emotional subplots, and a cast of both heroic and quirky characters.

Back Cover Copy: When 500 fiction writers and industry professionals descend on the Hyatt Regency Downtown in Indianapolis Sept 17-20, the fiction world tips on its axis. So many accomplished and apprentice authors gathered under one roof with 1500 others cheering them on from homebase! Watch the plot unfold as editors and agents find the dream project they’ve been looking for, as writers connect with long-lost brothers and sisters, as a flashflood of fiction craft information careens down the canyon of downtown Indianapolis and sweeps eager writers off their perches. Will an agent fall in love with a manuscript? Will writers find critique partners with whom they can build a future? Will the murder mystery novelists draw curious stares from hotel personnel as they plot their next victim’s demise? What surprises await at the gala award ceremony? And how will the TSA employees react to luggage with its normal contents jettisoned so the return traveler can pack home more books from the conference bookstore?

Simply magnificent. Simply inspired. Simply the best Christian fiction conference.
It’s one story you won’t want to miss.

Bio: ACFW is in its ninth year of presenting a quality conference devoted to Christian fiction. Inspired by the founders of ACFW (now ACFW) and their passion to encourage and educate writers of Christian fiction, each successive year’s board members and volunteers have worked to expand the education, insights, inspiration, and camaraderie offered to ACFW members. The conference is an annual highlight for ACFW, an intense microcosm of what happens throughout the year within the organization, as well as an invaluable opportunity for writers to meet face-to-face with highly respected authors, editors, and agents; grow in their knowledge of what it takes to write life-changing Christian fiction; and reflect the love of God in our worship of Him and our service to one another and our readers.

Market Comparison: None

Endorsements: Come see for yourself whose presence and whose sponsorship of the ACFW conference indicate their endorsement of the unparalleled opportunities and unique blend of worshipful/professional atmosphere it offers.

Takeaway Value: Direction for future projects. Connections with industry experts. Spiritual encouragement. Refreshment. Invigoration. A high-quality education in the craft of Christian fiction. Inspiring moments. History-making experiences. The priceless opportunity for fellowship and worship with others also writing to honor God and serve Christ with wholehearted devotion.

Projected date of completion: Ask past attendees and you’ll hear it said that the Lord is never really finished using what happens at an ACFW conference to build them as a writer, build their career, and build them as a person.

If you would like to respond to this proposal, please click on the conference pages link on www.acfw.com.

Pressing on for His glory,
Cynthia Ruchti
ACFW President

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blood Ransom

by Lisa Harris

Award-winning author Lisa Harris has been writing both fiction and nonfiction since 2000 and has more than fifteen novels and novellas in print.

She currently lives with her family in Mozambique, Africa, where they work as missionaries. Visit her website.

A message from the author:
In 1995, I embarked on a spiritual journey that would change my life forever. Struggling with bouts of depression from the heartache of infertility, I felt that the presence of God had left me. Instead of stopping and listening, I cried out to Him in anger and frustration, wondering when He would answer my prayers. Doesn’t the Bible say "ask and it will be given to you?" (Matthew 7:6)

The peace I desperately longed for eluded me, and I didn’t know how to find it. I knew of God’s promise of rest to the weary and peace for the soul in need, but God seemed like a distant figure who had left me to deal with my own humanity and confusion.

Then a friend challenged me to dig deeply into the word of God to discover for myself who God is and to develop an intimate relationship with Him. I was forced to answer one challenging question: Did I believe God was in control of everything, including my own life? If He wasn’t, there would be no reason for me to continue to follow Him. If He was in control, then I needed to let go and trust Him completely with my life.

All of us have struggled to hear God's voice in the midst of life's pain. Infertility is only one of the many heartaches we may experience in our lifetime.  Yours may be the death of a loved one, illness, problems with a teenager or a spouse, divorce, an addiction, loneliness, or the loss of a job. The whole world has been affected by catastrophic events like 9/11, 2004’s tsunami disaster, and the hurricane that struck New Orleans. The list could go on and on.

How do we find the peace Paul talks about in Philippians? A peace that surpasses all understanding? The world certainly does not have that peace. In a world of traffic jams, deadlines, and schedules, where is the peace? Where is the quiet? Where is the stillness our souls long for?

Peace did not come overnight for me, and it certainly did not come easily. It took years of God teaching me, molding me, and helping me grow. There are still times when I stumble and feel the walls of doubt surround me, but then I remember that not only is He in control. He has promised to be my constant source of strength. Psalm 29:11 says, “the Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

My search led me through an intense study of Scripture and ultimately to the point where I can now “hold unswervingly to the hope I profess,” (Hebrews 10:23). I believe that God is faithful, and He is in control of my life. Not only did I discover tools that have equipped me in persevering in my spiritual journey, but the courage to wait and listen to God as I strive daily to live for Him and rely on His strength.

Through the study of God's word, we come to know our Father and the love He has for us even in the midst of pain and struggles. With His power we can overcome our grief and doubts and begin to live a life filled with His spirit. He has promised to be our strength when we are weak, to give us hope when we are hopeless, and to love us when we feel unlovable. It’s never relying on our own strength to get us through difficult times, but leaning on the mighty arm of God and being continuously filled with His Spirit. Isaiah 41:10 says not to fear, because “I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

This isn’t to say that all difficult situations will be taken away, in fact I Peter 4:12 tells us not to be surprised at the painful trials we are suffering. But through Christ and the workings of His Spirit, the void can be filled. James writes that we are blessed when we persevere under trial, because we will "receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12) With God as our strength and heaven as our goal, the journey is worth it.

So why Christian fiction? Jesus shared primarily through parables and was one of the greatest story tellers of all times. Yet His words had far greater meaning then a simple story. This is my desire for my own stories. To not only entertain though genres like romance, suspense, and international intrigue, but to challenge, encourage, and ultimately share the love of Christ through the written word. To bring hope to a desperate world.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3



The Blurb:
BLOOD RANSOM: Book one in a captivating new series from Zondervan, April 2010
Romance and adventure drive this powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it. Deep in the heart of Africa, two American lives are about to change forever. Natalie Sinclair and Dr. Chad Talcott want to make a difference in underdeveloped African villages … but they didn’t count on risking their lives in the process.

What Others Say:
 "Natalie Sinclair went to the Republic of Dhambizao to find ways to bring healing to the African country but what she finds is a sickness far more devastating and insidious than Ebola or Malaria. Just five days before national elections, which hope to prove peaceful, Natalie meets Joseph Komboli. The young man tells her a horrifying story of "Ghost Soldiers" that raided his village and took his family away to work as slaves in the mineral mines. Somewhere near that village is the proof, a camera he used to record an evil everyone from high government officials to humanitarian workers refuse to admit even exists. Soon Natalie, Joseph, and Dr. Chad Talcott find themselves in a race for their lives to prove what no one wants to believe.

Though better known for her cozy mysteries and light romance, author Lisa Harris moves to new ground in this the first of her Mission Hope Series. Sure, there's a budding romance and the usual relational issues one might expect from Lisa's writing but that is where the similarities between her previous works and Blood Ransom end. Human trafficking and modern day slavery is real and too often either ignored or glossed over. Through the medium of fiction and suspense we are immersed in a world that unfortunately is far from fiction. The author is a missionary in Mozambique and it is obvious she knows what she is talking about. There is nothing cozy or romantic about a people abused by their own government and exploited by the greed of those they will never see face to face. Blood Ransom is about slavery but it focuses more on those who need to be convinced rather than those who are actually suffering. We see little of the plight of Joseph's family mining for precious metals so we can have cheap cell phones in the Western world. Instead, the author focuses on the difficulties involved in proving such atrocities are real and in finding anyone who cares. But there is hope in this story. Good men like Dr. Talcott do exist and others who have become callous and cynical can still have their hearts pricked.

This is an excellent first suspense novel for a seasoned romance writer. The pacing is good and we are swept along with the main characters in their desperate attempt at shining the light on a great darkness. While the ending is bit rushed, all in all Lisa Harris had done a great job of telling a good story while at the same time dealing with a difficult topic. That balancing act is seldom accomplished with great success and this novel is an exception to the rule. We look forward, as this series continues, to the hope this author shines on her beloved continent and the people that live, love, and suffer there." ~~T.Natalie Sinclair went to the Republic of Dhambizao to find ways to bring healing to the African country but what she finds is a sickness far more devastating and insidious than Ebola or Malaria. Just five days before national elections, which hope to prove peaceful, Natalie meets Joseph Komboli. The young man tells her a horrifying story of "Ghost Soldiers" that raided his village and took his family away to work as slaves in the mineral mines. Somewhere near that village is the proof, a camera he used to record an evil everyone from high government officials to humanitarian workers refuse to admit even exists. Soon Natalie, Joseph, and Dr. Chad Talcott find themselves in a race for their lives to prove what no one wants to believe.

Though better known for her cozy mysteries and light romance, author Lisa Harris moves to new ground in this the first of her Mission Hope Series. Sure, there's a budding romance and the usual relational issues one might expect from Lisa's writing but that is where the similarities between her previous works and Blood Ransom end. Human trafficking and modern day slavery is real and too often either ignored or glossed over. Through the medium of fiction and suspense we are immersed in a world that unfortunately is far from fiction. The author is a missionary in Mozambique and it is obvious she knows what she is talking about. There is nothing cozy or romantic about a people abused by their own government and exploited by the greed of those they will never see face to face. Blood Ransom is about slavery but it focuses more on those who need to be convinced rather than those who are actually suffering. We see little of the plight of Joseph's family mining for precious metals so we can have cheap cell phones in the Western world. Instead, the author focuses on the difficulties involved in proving such atrocities are real and in finding anyone who cares. But there is hope in this story. Good men like Dr. Talcott do exist and others who have become callous and cynical can still have their hearts pricked.

This is an excellent first suspense novel for a seasoned romance writer. The pacing is good and we are swept along with the main characters in their desperate attempt at shining the light on a great darkness. While the ending is bit rushed, all in all Lisa Harris had done a great job of telling a good story while at the same time dealing with a difficult topic. That balancing act is seldom accomplished with great success and this novel is an exception to the rule. We look forward, as this series continues, to the hope this author shines on her beloved continent and the people that live, love, and suffer there."~~T.E. George

My Take: A page turner

I won't try to repeat what others have already said much more eloquently. Instead let me tempt you with snippets from the middle of the book.

". . .tribal clashes had already left two hundred dead from fights in the street between the army and the police.

Those who could afford it fled the city. Those who couldn't leave hid in their homes, praying that God would save them and bring an end to the conflict. God chose to do neither. . .

There was nothing Stephen could have done to save her— He had one card left to play, and this time he knew what he had to do."

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Book Contest:
This week we are featuring Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris.

Book Contest weeks are from Sunday through Saturday. A new book review is posted each week which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner. We will send one special person a copy of Blood Ransom.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.