Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Puppet

This is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. Enjoy!


The Dead Whisper On by T. L. Hines



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing



THE DEAD WHISPER ON


(Bethany House July 1, 2007)


by







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tony is the author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus. He has been an advertising agency owner/principal, a trade amgazine editor, and now a novelist.

He has been a professional writer for more than 15 years with articles appearing in publications as varied as Log Homes, Conservative Theological Journal, and Travel & Leisure. He is also Creative Director at Montana's largest advertising agency.

His long list of past odd jobs includes trimming Christmas trees, sorting seed potatoes, working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and cleaning cadaver storage rooms.

As a teen he was undefeated in air guitar competitions in which he performed songs by ZZ Top.

He lives in Montana with his wife and daughter.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Would You Run Into A Burning Building?

Candace "Canada Mac" MacHugh lives a ghost of her former life.

Once a proud Butte, Montana, miner who daily risked her life setting explosives, she's now a garbage collector in her dying hometown.

Her beloves father is dead and she doesn't speak to her mom. More than anything, Candace Mac misses her father. He promised to contact her from the "other side" if he could...but it's been eleven long years. And now even her beloved city of Butte, Montana, seems to be dying off.

Candace Mac is alone. Longing for the past. Dreaming of making a difference.

Until one night when her father's voice speaks to her from the shadows. Bud MacHugh's trademark growl. The dead, it seems, have messages they hunger to share with the world...warnings of impending disasters and grave danger. Of cities doomed to burn.

But they need Canada's help.

T.L. Hines' first novel, Waking Lazarus was named one of the Library Journal's Top 25 Genre novels of 2006. Now he's back with a gripping suspense that brings to light our fears and asks us if we still have the courage to fight for those around us. if we have the guts to be one of those who run into burning buildings.

"Chilling!" Publishers Weekly

"...a well-paced suspense populated by dynamic characters." Kirkus Discoveries

Friday, August 24, 2007

Holey me...literally

I had just a lovely day yesterday *dripping with sarcasm*.

I was eating a soft french-fry and felt something hard, so I spit it discretely out...I was thinking, "Looks like a rat tooth."

Gross.

Then I felt something REALLY sharp at the back of my mouth. Something was poking out between my teeth...upon further scrutiny, I realized it wasn't between my teeth at all.

It WAS my tooth.

The rat tooth was actually a corner of my own tooth.

My right lower back molar broke apart! Ug! So here I am with a HOLE in my tooth. LOVELY. LOVELY. LOVELY.

Obviously I haven't been to the dentist in forever. I don't even know any dentists in NC...so I called up for an appointment and they couldn't see me until WEDNESDAY.

Hello!

Hole. in. my. TOOTH!

Then Dave calls up and tells me that the dentist I made an appointment with isn't covered by our insurance, so I have to call and cancel. This is even lovelier since I hate talking to strangers on the phone.

So, I call up the closest 'approved' dentist who is 2 hours drive away and they aren't taking new patients. Dave then gets a list for me to call for other 'approved' dentists...and it is now after hours for everyone.

SO, Dave will be calling around for me on Monday while I clean for Keegan's 12th b-day party which we are having early because he wanted to go to the Hickory Crawdad's baseball game. (Pictures are from his 11th b-day party at the Crawdad's game. He's the one with the striped Crawdad's shirt. His brother, Evan, has the red shirt, and Daddy, Dave, is in the background also with a red shirt.) The party will start at our house for cake and ice-cream then we'll carpool to Hickory.

I still have a hole in my mouth...which is getting larger, another bit of it came out during lunch today. So gross. At least it doesn't hurt or I'd be hurting someone right now. BUT, it is still so sharp that I have to wear a sports mouthpiece so I won't chew through my tongue or puncture my other teeth. We're thinking a three hour drive is going to be the closest.

So, I'm asking for prayer for my holey self. I doubt if I'll be eating ice-cream with Keegan's cake. I'll pass on the pop-corn during the game too.

P.S. Still need prayer about AMG, too!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Void by Mark Mynheir

I'm in the middle of reading this one. It is pretty scary...I'm not sleeping well because of it! I better finish so I can be sane!



This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance




is introducing



THE VOID




(Multnomah Fiction (August 21, 2007))




by







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two). During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.



ABOUT THE BOOK:


The Truth Chasers Book Three


Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.


Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.


The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line.

Creston Mapes
Author of Nobody

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Off the Record by Beth White



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing



OFF THE RECORD


(Zondervan August 15, 2007)


by




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beth White is the author of Fireworks and Fair Game, as well as the critically acclaimed Texas Gatekeepers serie from Love Inspired Suspense.

In her own words, she appreciate her most valued roles as wife and mom. Beth is also a second-grade Sunday school teacher, church orchestra member (She plays flute), and artist. She loves to read, crochet, sew, go on mission trips and avoid housework.

Beth lives in Mobile with her minister husband, and is currently on staff at First Baptist Church of North Mobile (fondly known as NoMo), in Saraland, Alabama.






ABOUT THE BOOK:


Ambition is on a collision course with a secret from the past.

Judge Laurel Kincade, a rising political star, is announcing her candidacy for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Her aristocratic Old South family, led by her judge grandfather, beams as she takes the podium. Then her eyes light on a reporter in the crowd…and suddenly her past becomes a threat to her future.

Journalist Cole McGaughan, religion reporter for the New York Daily Journal, has received an intriguing call from an old friend. Private investigator Matt Hogan has come across a tip…that Laurel's impeccable reputation might be a facade. Matt suggests that Cole dig up the dirt on the lovely judge in order to snag his dream job as one of the Journal's elite political reporters.

There's just one problem: Cole's history is entangles with Laurel's and he must decide if the story that could make his career is worth the price he'd have to pay.

A sensational scoop becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Can Laurel and Cole find forgiveness and turn their hidden past into a hopeful future...while keeping their feelings off the record?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

And if I Die by John Aubrey Anderson



This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


AND IF I DIE


(Faithwords August 2007)


by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


John grew up in Mississippi cotton country. After graduating from Mississippi State, he received an Air Force commission and has recently retired after flying twenty-eight years for a major airline. He lives in Texas with his wife, Nan.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

AND IF I DIE is the third book in the Black and White Chronicles. The first was Abiding Darkness (August, 2006), the second was Wedgewood Grey (February, 2007).

In 1945, a spirit voice told Mr. A. J. Mason to “Be ready.”

In 1960, the spirit drew near and said the same words to the same man. “Be ready.”

On both occasions Mason ended up in bloody battles with the forces of evil. On both occasions, he saved the life of a young girl named Missy Parker. And on both occasions good people died.

It’s 1968.Missy Parker has been married to Dr. Patrick Patterson for nine years; they live in Denton, Texas. Missy plays tennis and golf; Pat is chairman of the philosophy department at North Texas State University.

Mose Washington, a black man Missy refers to as her almost-daddy, is hiding behind a new name—Mose Mann. Mose and the young black man who poses as his grandson have spent eight years successfully evading the FBI, a murderous congresswoman, and creatures from the demonic realm. They now live in Pilot Hill, Texas—fifteen miles from Pat and Missy. Mose is committing the autumn of his life to the pursuit of the knowledge of God and the protection of his “grandson”. His “grandson” is interested in honing his skills as a bull rider.

Close friends see portents of danger in events of the early summer and converge on Pilot Hill to warn the two black men that yet another confrontation with malevolent beings may be looming.

In the pre-dawn hours, on the second day of the North Texas Rodeo, the voice of an invisible being speaks to Missy Parker Patterson. The voice warns her that it is now she, not A. J. Mason, who has been chosen as the person who needs to “Be ready” . . . and Missy doesn’t want the job.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Keeping Busy

As I wait for news on my book from AMG Publishing, I have decided to keep busy. I have been concentrating on rewriting for so long now that I have neglected the absolute fun and creativity of the blank page. Finally, I have book one at the point that I am done...until an editor gets a hold of it. Now, I can create again. I had to reread all of book one and what I had written of book two in order to remember what I was doing. But I am there now. In the groove again. It feels so good and free! It is incredible where your characters will take you. They start speaking for themselves and seem to argue about where they want to go. I'm now into the 24,000 word stage. Probably about 1/4 of the way through...it is so cool to just write once more.

Well, Bonnie will be off to the Philly Conference this year without me. :-( But I'll be praying for her to find an agent. I couldn't afford to go this year. Hopefully next year!

Okay, back to writing! Keep praying for me and AMG!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


RETURN TO ME
by
Robin Lee Hatcher


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin is the author of over fifty novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by Library Journal.

Winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robin, who is also one of our CFBA members, lives in Boise, Idaho.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Discouraged and destitute, her dreams shattered, Roxy Burke is going home. But what lies beyond the front door?

Rejection...or a bright future?

A lot has changed since Roxy Burke escaped small town life to become a Nashville star. Her former boyfriend Wyatt has found Christ and plans to become a minister. Her sister Elena, who comforted Wyatt when Roxy ran away, is now his fiancee. Her father Jonathan, a successful businessman, is heartbroken over the estrangement of Roxy from the family.

Now Roxy...her inheritance from her grandmother squandered, her hopes of stardom dashed...finds her way home...not by choice but because it's her only option. Her father's love and forgiveness surprise her, but her very presence throws the contented Burke family into turmoil, filling Roxy with guilt and shame.

Elena is shocked to discover doubt and resentment in her heart after her father's easy acceptance of Roxy into the family circle. Wyatt wrestles with doubts about marrying Elena. And Roxy struggles to accept forgiveness. Isn't she more deserving of rejection? As the story of the prodigal plays out, each member of the Burke family must search for and accept God's grace.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bad Idea by Todd and Jedd Hafer



It is AUGUST 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!






This month's feature author(s) are:









and their book:




BAD IDEA a novel (with coyotes)


(NavPress TH1NK Books, August 22, 2006)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR(s):


Todd and Jedd Hafer previously teamed up to write Snickers from the Front Pew: Confessions of Two Preacher's Kids, which has now sold more than fifty thousand units.

Todd is editorial director for the inspirational book division at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jedd is director at The Children's Ark in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a home for troubled teens, and travels the country as a standup comedian.

Visit them at their website.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter 1

“We should totally drive!” Rhonda said, wagging a limp french fry for emphasis.

I clenched my teeth. I hate it when adults try to talk like teenagers. Rhonda does it all the time. Her efforts are particularly grating to me because she does, in fact, employ the teen vernacular, but always, always at least one season too late.

Thus, my father’s 28-year-old fiancĂ©e didn’t say “Congratulations!” when I was inducted into Quill & Scroll (the National Honor Society for high school journalists) early in my senior year. She said, “Big ups to you, G!” And when I was named Honorable Mention All-Area in track and field (small-school division), she didn’t say “Way to go!” She said, “Big respect, G-Man! You got the mad wheels, homey!”

If she says, “I’m feelin’ you, dawg,” during one more of our Dad-initiated dinnertime theological discussions, I’m going to puke on her shoes.

Fortunately for Rhonda, and all of the people at the Big Bear Diner on the night the road trip was conceived, I didn’t barf when she said, “We should totally drive!” I raised my eyes to the ceiling and said, “I don’t think we should totally drive. I don’t even think we should partially drive.”

I looked across the booth to my dad to accept the disapproving glare I knew he would be offering. I smiled at him. It was my infuriating, smug smile. I practice it in the bathroom mirror. It’s so irritating that when I see my reflection doing it, I want to punch myself in the face.

My dad didn’t hit me. That wasn’t his style. He just nibbled his bottom lip for a while before saying calmly, “I think we should give the idea due consideration rather than reject it out of hand.”

“Okay,” I said, sipping my bitter iced tea, “let’s hear why we should cram ourselves into a car and drive for, what, three or four days to Southern California, stomping on each other’s raw nerves all along the way and probably breaking down somewhere near the Kansas-Colorado border. Or maybe getting in a wreck.”

Rhonda looked at my dad, giving him her Wounded Face, all droopy eyes and puckered chin and poofed-out lower lip. You know the look.

He looked at her, then at me. “Griffin, please . . .”

“Okay, okay, okay—you’re right, you guys. Yeah, you know, now that I consider The Rhonda Eccles-Someday-To-Be-Smith Plan carefully, it’s sounding better. I mean, why would I want to enjoy a quick, economical, and stress-free flight when we could all cram into a tired old vehicle and drive? Let’s go with the option that means more time, more money, more risks, more headaches.”

Rhonda tried to smile, but she couldn’t get the corners of her tiny heart-shaped mouth to curl upward. “Well,” she said quietly, “I just thought it would be bomb to make a road trip of it. See the country. Stop at mom-and-pop diners, like the Big Bear here. Maybe spend a day in Denver—hit an amusement park or catch a Rockies game. Griff, please be more open-minded. Think of the time it would give us to kick it.”

“We talk now,” I observed.

“Yessss,” she said, drawing the word out as though it had sprung a slow leak. She wrapped her long, slender fingers around her coffee mug and took a sip. “But in the car, you wouldn’t be able to run away from the convo whenever it got too intense for you.”

I pushed my chair back from the table and popped up like a piece of toast. I was ready to wad my napkin and spike it like a football on the table before marching out of the Big Bear. Then, only a half second before the Great Napkin Spike, I realized that would be proving her point.

Rhonda was studying me. I scrolled my mind for options on saving face, because since she had unofficially joined our family, I had lost more face than Michael Jackson. But I scrolled in vain. My brain was nothing but blank screen.

Now other patrons were watching me too. I could feel their stares. An idea began to emerge. It wasn’t a good idea, but it was all I had, so I went with it. I said, with an air of dignified indignation, “Well, I’m going back to the buffet for another muffin. Would anybody else care for one?”

This is why I’ll never be a politician, a courtroom litigator, a public speaker—or a success in anything that requires more than a modicum of human interaction. I have my moments, but rarely can I think on my feet when I’m around people. Half the time, I can’t think off of ’em either. Maybe this is why track is the only sport I’m good at. All you must do is keep alternating left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, and turn left every once in a while. I found football and basketball too taxing mentally. They say Larry Bird was a hoops legend because he could foresee plays unfolding before they actually happened. So he always executed the perfect pass, put himself in position for nearly every rebound, stole inbounds passes at will. The game didn’t take him by surprise. Not the case with me. I played organized basketball in junior high and the first two years of high school. And every time I got a jump shot swatted back in my face or ran into a hard pick, it was like a new, albeit unpleasant, experience. So I became a track man. I run the 1600 and 3200 meters—that’s the mile and two-mile for those of you still holding strong in the anti-metric resistance.

I should note that I’m also adequate in cross-country. I often panic before races, though, because many of the courses are complicated. Even after reading the maps posted near the starting line, I don’t understand where I’ll be going. And you know those diagrams at big malls, the ones that assure that YOU ARE HERE? I study them, stare at them. Then I look around the actual mall and become convinced that the diagram has no concept of where I am. The diagram is mighty presumptuous, if not outright cruel and dishonest. How can it purport to know where I am? Half the time, I don’t know that myself.

Luckily, at a mall I can always find some low-rise-jeans-wearing Mall Girls to lead me to the Food Court, and in cross-country I can follow the other runners. If I’d ever lead a race, I’d be in trouble, but this was never a problem in four years of high school, so there’s no chance it will be a problem in college. Assuming I can even make the team. Sure, I did receive one of Lewis College’s supposedly prestigious Scholar/Athlete scholarships, but I suspect it was part of some Be Kind to Kansas White Boys quota system. I’m not convinced I won’t fold like a beach chair during my first college race—or first final exam.

Anyway, I give Rhonda credit (or in Rhonda-speak, “mad props”) for not snort-laughing at my pathetic muffin excuse. She said she could “totally go for another blueberry” and smiled at me as I left the table.

When I returned, she waited as I carefully peeled the pale yellow corrugated paper away from my muffin, then hers, being careful not to break off the stumps. I hate when that happens. Destroys the integrity of the muffin.

“Before you dis the driving idea,” Rhonda said after buttering her muffin, “there’s something you should know.”

I looked at her and arched my eyebrows.

“I talked to Cole yesterday. He’s totally down with the plan. We can drop him off at Boulder on the way to So-Cal. Think of the time you guys will have together. You’ll really be able to kick it, ya know.”

I nodded toward my little brother. “What about Colby?”

“Yeah,” he said, wiping chocolate milk from his upper lip with his shirtsleeve. “What about me?”

“You’ll stay at Aunt Nicole’s crib in Topeka, my little dude,” Rhonda said cheerfully.

Colby crinkled his nose. “Crib? I’m not a stinkin’ baby! I’m five. I won’t sleep in a crib!”

“Her house,” I clarified for Colby. “‘Crib’ is what they call houses back in da ’hood where Rhonda is from. Rural Wisconsin.”

“Oh,” Colby said.

I looked to Dad for a scowl again, but he was busy patting Rhonda’s hand and whispering reassurance to her.

“I’m just kidding, Rhonda,” I said without looking at her. “Don’t get all sentimental. Hey, it was a good idea to call Cole. And if he’s ‘down widdit,’ so am I.”

Rhonda’s eyes were moist, but now they were shining-hopeful moist, not somber-moist. “So it’s a road trip then?” she said.

I sighed. It sounded like one of my dad’s sighs. Too long and too loud. Heaven help me. “Sure,” I said, “why not.”

I was quiet on the drive home. All I could think of was how I was going to talk Cole out of the trip. First, of course, I’d need to find something to calm myself down so I wouldn’t go Rant City on him. He tends to shut down when I do that. I hoped I hadn’t exhausted my supply of vodka, that I still had a bottle or two tucked away in my sock drawer. Otherwise I’d have to resort to NyQuil and Peppermint Artificial Flavoring again. And let me tell you, that’s a rough way to get yourself mellow. (Of course, it does provide the side benefits of the clearest nasal passages and freshest breath in town.)

***

“What kind of Midwest mojo did Rhonda use on you?” I asked Cole as soon as I heard his flat “Hullo?” on the other end of the phone line. “A road trip with my dad and his clichĂ©? I mean, this is a joke, right?”

I watched the seconds morph by on my LCD watch. After eighteen of them passed, Cole said, “You need to relax, dude. The trip will be cool. It’s more time together before we have to go our separate ways. And it’s a real road trip—not just some one-day, there-and-back thing. We’ve always talked about doing something like this, remember? To be honest, I thought you’d be all over this thing.”

“But this isn’t a normal thing, Sharp. This isn’t going to St. Louis to see the Cardinals at Busch, before they tore it down, with a bunch of guys from school. There is a bona fide adult in the equation—one-point-five if you count Rhonda. So it’s no longer a road trip; it’s a chaperoned ordeal. You understand that there will be no hard music on the CD player? No Hatebreed. No Gwar. Dad listens to only classical and old-school rock. And Rhonda likes those guys who are like twenty years old but sing like sixty-year-old opera stars. That crap freaks me out, man. And there will be no mooning busloads of girls’ volleyball teams along the way.”

“It’s not volleyball season yet,” Cole said. This was no attempt at a snappy retort on his part. The way he said it, he was just pointing out a fact, such as, “Augusta is the capital of Maine.”

I sensed I was losing the argument. “You won’t be able belch in the car, or swear. My dad ‘abhors profanity.’ You know that.” I wondered if I sounded as shrill and desperate as I felt.

“His ride, his rules. Besides, you like old-school rock, and it’s kinda starting to grow on me.”

“Okay, but consider this: Before we go, my dad will make us circle up and hold hands while he blesses the stupid SUV before the trip. And since we’ll probably have to rent one of those small trailers to haul all our stuff, he’ll probably get on a roll and bless that, too: ‘Father God, please bless this little U-Haul and all of its contents.’ Those words probably have never been uttered in the history of the English language. And he’ll make a plea for ‘traveling mercies.’ Traveling mercies! That sounds like the name of a really bad folk-rock group. Are you understanding how all of this is going to go down?”

“Praying for our trip—I’m cool with that.”

“Did you hear me say we’ll have to hold hands?”

“Dude, I would hold hands with Rhonda any day. She’s a fly honey.”

“What about me? Or my dad?”

“The team held hands in football huddles all the time. It’s only a problem if you’re insecure in your masculinity.”

I did my involuntary Dad-sigh again. “Okay, man. I guess it’s on, then.”

It’s on, then? I wagged my head in disbelief. That was something Rhonda would say. I don’t talk like that.