BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

FINDING FATHER CHRISTMAS & ENGAGING FATHER CHRISTMAS BY ROBIN JONES GUNN



Finding Father Christmas

FaithWords (October 11, 2007)


Engaging Father Christmas

FaithWords (October 30, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Robin Jones Gunn is the bestselling author of sixty books, representing 3.5 million copies sold. A dozen of her novels have appeared on the top of the CBA bestseller list, including her wildly successful Sisterchicks series. Thousands of teens from around the world have written letters to Robin sharing how God used the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series to bring them to Christ as well as lead them to make life changing decisions regarding purity. Robin and her husband of thirty years live near Portland, OR, where they are members of Imago Dei Community along with other Christian authors.
Visit the author's website.

Product Details for Finding Father Christmas:

List Price: $13.99
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (October 11, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446526290
ISBN-13: 978-0446526296

Product Details for Engaging Father Christmas:

List Price: $
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (October 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446179469
ISBN-13: 978-0446179461

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A string of merry silver bells jumped and jingled as the north wind shook the evergreen wreath on the heavy wooden door. Overhead a painted shingle swung from two metal arms, declaring this place of business to be the Tea Cosy.

As I peered inside through the thick-paned window, I could see a cheerful amber fire in the hearth. Tables were set for two with china cups neatly positioned on crimson tablecloths. Swags of green foliage trimmed the mantel. Dotted across the room, on the tables and on shelves, were a dozen red votive candles. Each tiny light flickered, sending out promises of warmth and cheer, inviting me to step inside.

Another more determined gust made a swoop down the lane, this time taking my breath with it into the darkness of the December night.

This trip was a mistake. A huge mistake. What was I thinking?

I knew the answer as it rode off on the mocking wind. The answer was, I wasn’t thinking. I was feeling.

Pure emotion last Friday nudged me to book the round-trip ticket to London. Blind passion convinced me that the answer to my twenty-year question would be revealed once I reached the Carlton Photography Studio on Bexley Lane.

Sadly, I was wrong. I had come all this way only to hit a dead end.

I took another look inside the teahouse and told myself to keep walking, back to the train station, back to the hotel in London where I had left my luggage. This exercise in futility was over. I might as well change my ticket and fly back to San Francisco in the morning.

My chilled and weary feet refused to obey. They wanted to go inside and be warmed by the fire. I couldn’t deny that my poor legs did deserve a little kindness after all I had put them through when I folded them into the last seat in coach class. The middle seat, by the lavatories, in the row that didn’t recline. A cup of tea at a moment like this might be the only blissful memory I would take with me from this fiasco.

Reaching for the oddly shaped metal latch on the door, I stepped inside and set the silver bells jingling again.

“Come in, come in, and know me better, friend!” The unexpected greeting came from a kilt-wearing man with a valiant face. His profoundly wide sideburns had the look of white lamb’s wool and softened the resoluteness in his jaw. “Have you brought the snowflakes with you, then?”

“The snowflakes?” I repeated.

“Aye! The snowflakes. It’s cold enough for snow, wouldn’t you say?”

I nodded my reluctant agreement, feeling my nose and cheeks going rosy in the small room’s warmth. I assumed the gentleman who opened the door was the proprietor. Looking around, I asked, “Is it okay if I take the table by the fire? All I’d like is a cup of tea.”

“I don’t see why not. Katharine!” He waited for a response and then tried again. “Katharine!”

No answer came.

“She must have gone upstairs. She’ll be back around.” His grin was engaging, his eyes clear. “I would put the kettle on for you myself, if it weren’t for the case of my being on my way out at the moment.”

“That’s okay. I don’t mind waiting.”

“Of course you don’t mind waiting. A young woman such as yourself has the time to wait, do you not? Whereas, for a person such as myself . . .” He leaned closer and with a wink confided in me, “I’m Christmas Present, you see. I can’t wait.”

What sort of “present” he supposed himself to be and to whom, I wasn’t sure.

With a nod, the man drew back the heavy door and strode into the frosty air.

From a set of narrow stairs a striking woman descended. She looked as surprised at my appearance as I was at hers. She wore a stunning red, floor-length evening dress. Around her neck hung a sparkling silver necklace, and dangling from under her dark hair were matching silver earrings. She stood tall with careful posture and tilted her head, waiting for me to speak.

“I wasn’t sure if you were still open.”

“Yes, on an ordinary day we would be open for another little while, until five thirty. . . .” Her voice drifted off.

“Five thirty,” I repeated, checking my watch. The time read 11:58. The exact time I’d adjusted it to when I had deplaned at Heathrow Airport late that morning. I tapped on the face of my watch as if that would make it run again. “I can see you have plans for the evening and that you’re ready to close. I’ll just—”

“Che-che-che.” The sound that came from her was the sort used to call a squirrel to come find the peanuts left for it on a park bench. It wasn’t a real word from a real language, but I understood the meaning. I was being invited to stay and not to run off.

“Take any seat you want. Would you like a scone with your tea or perhaps some rum cake?”

“Just the tea, thank you.”

I moved toward the fire and realized that a scone sounded pretty good. I hadn’t eaten anything since the undercooked breakfast omelet served on the plane.

“Actually, I would like to have a scone, too. If it’s not too much trouble.”

“No trouble at all.”

Her smile was tender, motherly. I guessed her to be in her midfifties or maybe older. She turned without any corners or edges to her motions. I soon heard the clinking of dishes as she prepared the necessary items in the kitchen.

Making my way to a steady looking table by the fire, I tried to tuck my large shoulder bag under the spindle leg of the chair. The stones along the front of the hearth were permanently blackened from what I imagined to be centuries of soot. The charm of the room increased as I sat down and felt the coziness of the close quarters. This was a place of serenity. A place where trust between friends had been established and kept for many years.

A sense of safety and comfort called to the deepest part of my spirit and begged me to set free a fountain of tears. But I capped them off. It was that same wellspring of emotion that had instigated this journey.

Settling back, I blinked and let the steady heat from the fire warm me. Katharine returned carrying a tray. The steaming pot of tea took center stage, wearing a chintzquilted dressing gown, gathered at the top.

Even the china teapots are treated to coziness here.

“I’ve warmed two scones for you, and this, of course, is your clotted cream. I’ve given you raspberry jam, but if you would prefer strawberry, I do have some.”

“No, this is fine. Perfect. Thank you.”

Katharine lifted the festooned teapot and poured the steaming liquid into my waiting china cup. I felt for a moment as if I had stumbled into an odd sort of parallel world to Narnia.

As a young child I had read C. S. Lewis’s Narnia tales a number of times. In the many hours alone, I had played out the fairy tales in my imagination, pretending I was Lucy, stepping through the wardrobe into an imaginary world.

Here, in the real country of Narnia’s author, I considered how similar my surroundings were to Lewis’s descriptions of that imaginary world. A warming fire welcomed me in from the cold. But instead of a fawn inviting me to tea, it had been a kilted clansman. Instead of Mrs. Beaver pouring a cup of cheer for me by the fire, it was a tall, unhurried woman in a red evening gown.

An unwelcome thought came and settled on me as clearly as if I had heard a whisper. Miranda, how much longer will you believe it is “always winter and never Christmas”?

Copyright © 2007 by Robin’s Ink, LLC

This article is used with the permission of Hachette Book Group and Robin Jones Gunn. All rights reserved.


Around me swarms of Londoners rushed by, intent on their destinations and sure of their plans. My destination was the small town of Carlton Heath, and my plans revolved around a certain Scotsman who was now officially late.

I tried to call Ian again. His voice mail picked up for the third time. “It’s me again,” I said to the phone. “I’m here at Paddington station and —”

Before I finished the message, my phone beeped, and the screen showed me it was Ian.

“Hi! I was just leaving you another message.” I brushed back my shoulder-length brown hair and stood a little straighter, just as I would have if Ian were standing in front of me.

“You made it to the station, then?”

“Yes. Although I was about to put on a pair of red rain boots and a tag on my coat that read, ‘Please look after this bear.’ ” I was pretty sure Ian would catch my reference to the original Paddington Bear in the floppy hat since that was what he had given to my niece, Julia, for Christmas last year.

“Don’t go hangin’ any tags on your coat,” Ian said with an unmistakable grin in his voice. “I’m nearly there. The shops were crammed this morning, and traffic is awful. I should have taken the tube, but I’m in a taxi now. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes tops. Maybe less if I get out and run the last few blocks.”

“Don’t run. I’ll wait. It’s only been, what? Seven weeks and three days since we were last together? What’s another fifteen minutes?”

“I’ll tell you what another fifteen minutes is. It’s just about the longest fifteen minutes of my life.”

“Mine too.” I felt my face warming.

“You’re at track five, then, as we planned?”

“Yes. Track five.”

“Good. No troubles coming in from the airport?”

“No. Everything went fine at Heathrow. The fog delayed my flight when we left San Francisco, but the pilot somehow managed to make up time in the air. We landed on schedule.”

“Let’s hope my cabbie can find the same tailwind your pilot did and deliver me to the station on schedule.”

I looked up at the large electronic schedule board overhead, just to make sure my watch was in sync with local time. “We have about twenty minutes before the 1:37 train leaves for Carlton Heath. I think we can still make it.”

“I have no doubt. Looks like we have a break in the traffic jam at the moment. Don’t go anywhere, Miranda. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“I’ll be here.”

I closed my phone and smiled. Whenever Ian said my name, with a rolling of the r, he promptly melted my heart. Every single time. His native Scottish accent had become distilled during the past decade as a result of his two years of grad school in Canada and working in an architect office with coworkers from around the world. But Ian knew how to put on the “heather in the highlands” lilt whenever he wanted. And I loved it, just as I loved everything about this indomitable man.

I looked around the landing between the train tracks for an open seat on one of the benches. Since none were available, I moved closer to the nearest bench just in case someone decided to leave.

Balancing my large, wheeled suitcase against a pole so it wouldn’t tip over, I carefully leaned my second bag next to the beast. This was my third trip to England since my visit last Christmas and the first time I had come with two suitcases. This time I needed an extra bag for all the gifts I had with me, wrapped and ready to go under the Christmas tree at the Whitcombe manor.

Last Christmas and for many Christmases before that, the only gift I bought and gave was the one expected for the exchange at the accounting office where I worked in downtown San Francisco. Up until last Christmas I had no family to speak of — no parents, no siblings, no roommate. I didn’t even have a cat. My life had fallen into a steady, predictable rhythm of work and weekends alone, which is probably why I found the courage to make that first trip to Carlton Heath last December. In those brief, snow-kissed, extraordinary few days, I was gifted with blood relatives, new friends, and sweetest of all, Ian.

Christmas shopping this year had been a new experience. While my coworkers complained about the crowds and hassle, I quietly reveled in the thought that I actually had someone — many someones — in my life to go gift hunting for.

I had a feeling some last-minute shopping was the reason Ian was late. He told me yesterday he had a final gift to pick up this morning on his way to the station. He hadn’t explained what the gift was or whom it was for. His silence on the matter led me to wonder as I wandered along a familiar path in my imagination. That path led straight to my heart, and along that path I saw nothing but hope for our future together — hope and maybe a little something shiny that came in a small box and fit on a certain rather available finger on my left hand.

Before my mind could sufficiently detour to the happy land of “What’s next?”, I heard someone call my name. It was a familiar male voice, but not Ian’s.

I looked into the passing stream of travelers, and there he stood, only a few feet away. Josh. The last person I ever expected to see again. Especially in England.

“Miranda, I thought that was you! Hey, how are you?” With a large travel bag strapped over his shoulder, Josh gave me an awkward, clunking and bumping sort of hug. His glasses smashed against the side of my head. He quickly introduced me as his “old girlfriend” to the three guys with him.

“What are you doing here?” He unstrapped the bag and dropped it at his feet.

One of the guys tagged his shoulder and said, “We’ll be at the sandwich stand over there.”

“Okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Josh turned back to me. “You look great. What’s been happening with you?”

“I’m good,” I said. “What about you? What are you doing here?” I was still too flustered at the unexpected encounter to jump right into a catch-up sort of conversation after the almost three-year gap.

“Just returned from a ski trip to Austria with a group from work. Incredible trip. I’m in a counseling practice now. Child psychologist. I don’t know if you knew that.”

“No. That’s great, Josh. I know that’s what you wanted to do.”

“Yes, it’s going well so far.” He seemed at ease. None of the stiltedness that had been there right after I broke up with him came across in his voice or demeanor.

“And what about you? What are you doing in England?”

Before I could put together an answer, Josh snapped his fingers. “Wait! Are you here because you’re looking for your birth father?”

“You remembered.” Once again he surprised me.

“Of course I remembered. You had that picture of some guy dressed as Father Christmas, and it had the name of the photography studio on the back. That was your only clue.”

I nodded.

“So? What happened?”

“I followed the clue last Christmas, and it led me here, to my birth father, just like you thought it would.”

“No way! Did it really?”

I nodded, knowing Josh would appreciate this next part of the story. “The man in the photo dressed like Father Christmas was my father. And the boy on his lap is my brother, or I guess I should say my half brother, Edward.”

“Incredible,” Josh said with a satisfied, Sherlock Holmes expression on his unshaven face. “What happened when you met him?”

I hesitated. Having not repeated this story to anyone since it all unfolded a year ago, I didn’t realize how much the answer to Josh’s question would catch in my spirit and feel sharply painful when it was spoken aloud.

“I didn’t meet him. He passed away a few years ago.”

“Oh.” Josh’s expression softened.

“You know, Josh, I always wanted to thank you for the way you urged me to follow that one small clue. I’ve wished more than once that I would have come to England when you first suggested it four years ago. He was still alive then. That’s what I should have done.”

“And I should have gone with you,” he said in a low voice.

“Why do you say that?”

Josh’s eyebrows furrowed, his counselor mode kicking in. “I felt you needed that piece in your life. By that I mean the paternal piece of your life puzzle. I didn’t like you being so alone in the world. I wish you could have met him.”

“I do, too, but I actually think things turned out better this way. It’s less complicated that I didn’t meet him while he was still alive.”

“Why do you say that?” Josh asked.

I hesitated before giving Josh the next piece of information. In an odd way, it felt as if he needed the final piece of the puzzle the same way I had.

“It’s less complicated this way because my father was . . .” I lowered my voice and looked at him so he could read the truth in my clear blue eyes. “My father was Sir James Whitcombe.”


Copyright © 2008 by Robin’s Ink, LLC.

This article is used with the permission of Hachette Book Group and Robin Jones Gunn. All rights reserved.

HOW TO HEAR FROM GOD - JOYCE MEYER







Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


How to Hear from God: Learn to Know His Voice and Make Right Decisions

FaithWords (August 13, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great,and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (August 13, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446691240
ISBN-13: 978-0446691246

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


God Talks to People Every Day

Read Chapter 1 in How to Hear from God. Then read in your Bible the Scriptures designated below and answer the questions that follow. When you finish, check your answers in the answer key provided at the end of this book.

TO WHOM DOES GOD SPEAK . . . AND HOW?

God has spoken to all people in their inner consciousness, through creation of the natural world and through creating within man an inner void that only God can fill.

1. Read Romans 1:19-21.

a. To what part of a person does God make Himself evident?

b. What does God reveal about Himself to all mankind through His creation?

c. What happens when people do not honor and glorify God, even when they know and recognize Him as God?

2. Read Romans 14:12.

What is required of each of us?

3. Read Isaiah 26:8-9.

a. What is our heartfelt desire?

b. Whom does our soul yearn for?

c. What does our spirit seek?

WHAT DOES GOD SAY TO ALL MEN AND WOMEN?

God speaks to men and women for very specific purposes—He speaks to them so they may know what is lasting and what isn’t, so they may carry out His will, so they may live forever, and so He may direct their daily footsteps.

4. Read 1 John 2:17.

a. What passes away and disappears?

b. What remains forever?

5. Read Proverbs 3-6.

What does God promise to the person who seeks to know, recognize, and acknowledge Him?

6. Read Jeremiah 29:11-14.

a. When does God hear us?

b. When does God reveal Himself to us?

c. What does God reveal to us when we seek Him and pray to Him?

d. What does the Lord do for us when we find Him?

WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAK TO US?

God speaks to those who seek to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in all they do. The Bible says all people can hear from the Holy Spirit if they will only seek God and receive Jesus as their Savior and receive the Holy Spirit Whom the heavenly Father sends.

7. Read Luke 11:13.

To whom does God the Father give the Holy Spirit?

8. Read John 1:32-33 and John 14:15-20.

a. Who is the One Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit?

b. Where does the Holy Spirit reside?

c. What does it mean to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?

d. Why can’t the “world” (unbelievers) receive the Holy Spirit?

9. Read John 16:12-13 and John 14:26.

a. Into what does the Holy Spirit guide us?

b. What does the Holy Spirit announce and declare to us?

c. What does the Holy Spirit cause us to recall?

10. Read John 6:45.

As those who listen to and learn from the Father, Who is our personal Teacher?

WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT KNOW TO TELL US?

The Holy Spirit knows all about us—all about the way we should conduct our lives—and about God’s plans and purposes. The Bible gives us examples of men and women who have heard from the Lord, including great details about God’s plans and purposes, as well as the consequences of their obeying the Lord’s instructions.

11. Read Matthew 10:30, Psalm 139:16, Acts 17:26-27.

What does the Holy Spirit know about us?

12. Read Matthew 7:13-14, Deuteronomy 30:19, and Jeremiah 21:8.

a. How does the Bible describe the “gate” through which the Holy Spirit leads us?

b. How does the Bible describe the “way” the Holy Spirit leads us to follow in life?

c. What critical choice does the Holy Spirit help us to make?

13. Read Genesis 6:13-17.

a. In this passage, what did God tell Noah that He was going to do?

b. What did God tell Noah to do?

14. Read Exodus 7:1-5.

a. In this passage, what did God tell Moses about Pharaoh?

b. What did God tell Moses about Aaron?

c. What did God tell Moses that he was to do?

d. What did God tell Moses about the way Pharaoh would respond to Moses’ message?

e. What did God tell Moses would be the end result?

15. Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-13.

a. What does the Holy Spirit unveil and reveal to us about God?

b. Why does the Holy Spirit reveal to us the thoughts of God?

WHAT ARE GOD’S PROMISES TO LEAD AND GUIDE US?

The Lord promises to be our Shepherd—to lead and guide us in the paths He desires for us to walk. He tells us that we will have the ability to hear His voice. God speaks to us—our role is to listen intently for what He has to say to us and then to obey Him fully.

16. Read Ezekiel 34:11-16.

In this passage, what does the Lord promise to do for His sheep?

17. Read 1 John 2:27.

a. What does this verse say about the permanent source of guidance that we have in the Holy Spirit?

b. What does this verse say the anointing of the Holy Spirit teaches us?

c. What does this verse challenge us to continue to do?

18. Read John 10:4-5.

As His “sheep,” what did Jesus say about our ability to hear and follow Him?

19. Read Psalm 46:10.

What is the best way for us to hear from the Lord?

20. Read John 2:5.

What should our response be when the Lord speaks to us?

PRAYER TIME

As you have read Chapter 1 and have completed this chapter of the workbook, has the Lord spoken to your heart and mind about His desire to speak to you personally on a regular, daily basis?

I invite you to use the space below to write out a prayer to the Lord, asking Him to speak to you about the matters in your life that are of greatest concern to you. Ask Him to speak to you about His plan for your life. Ask Him to give you an open heart to hear what He says. And . . . express your desire to obey whatever it is He tells you to do.


Copyright © 2004 by Joyce Meyer


HOME ANOTHER WAY by CHRISTA PARRISH


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Home Another Way

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)

by

Christa Parrish



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.

A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. She continued to write from home, doing pro bono work for the New York Family Policy Council, where her articles appeared in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. She was also a finalist in World magazine’s WORLDview short story contest, sponsored by WestBow press. She now teaches literature and writing to high school students, is a homeschool mom, and lives with her family in upstate New York, where she is at work on her second novel.



ABOUT THE BOOK

After her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.

In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast–and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father’s will stipulates a six-month stay before she can recieve the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?

A story of grace, of God’s never-ceasing love and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purpose to pass.

If you would like to see a video book trailer of Home Another Way, go HERE.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Home Another Way, go HERE

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME by MICHELLE SUTTON


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

It's Not About Me

Sheaf House Publishers (September 1, 2008)

by

Michelle Sutton



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michelle Sutton has lived in Arizona and since 1991 and has two sons and a husband of 18 years. She began writing fiction in August 2003 when God inspired her to write a novel with realistic characters that would glorify Him. In 2004 she joined ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers. In 2006 Michelle ran for Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating board and ACFW members elected her to serve a two year term. She sold her first manuscript Then Sings My Soul (now re-titled It's Not About Me) to Sheaf House and her debut novel was released in Sept. 2008. The second book in the Second Glances series - It's Not About Him - will be released the following fall (Sept. 2009.)

Last, Michelle is Editor in Chief of the new Christian Fiction Online Magazine. The debut issue released in July 2008. The magazine is sponsored by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night an unexpected visitor appears and Annie's safe world is destroyed by a brutal attack. As she tries to pick up the pieces of her broken life, she is torn between two brothers, both of whom claim to love her. She is attracted to both, but which one does she love? How can she choose when her decision may cause a permanent rift between them? And more important, will she give her heart to the One who will sustain her even when human love fails.

"...the exquisitely written spiritual content shows the reader that redemption is available, no matter what the circumstances."
- 4 Stars, Romantic Times!

Instead of dealing with timely issues like alcoholism, premarital sex and pornography in a preachy, oh-so-tired fashion, Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Me gets to the heart of the matter with a shocking dose of realism and poignant storytelling. From the first paragraph, Sutton weaves together a thoroughly entertaining story that'll keep readers intrigued for the long haul as they get to know Annie, Dan, Tony and Susie—young adults that probably don't look and sound all that different from themselves. Now that's a seriously refreshing turn for Christian fiction."
~Christa Ann Banister~, author of Around the World in 80 Dates, (NavPress 2007) and Blessed are the Meddlers (NavPress 2008)

It's Not About Me is a wonderfully entertaining and deliciously suspenseful read that will keep you turning the pages. Sutton doesn't back away from the drama and with all of the twists and turns, It's Not About Me is hard to put down. I cannot wait for the sequel! Bravo!"
~Victoria Christopher Murray~, Essence best-selling author of multiple titles including The Ex Files and the upcoming YA series The Divine Divas

“Annie captured my heart on the first page and kept me enthralled to the very end. This edgy, yet surprisingly poignant story travels the inroads of intimate relationships – man to woman, brother to brother, parent to child, friend to friend. But especially satisfying is the author’s delicate handling of the relationship between a searching soul and the loving Savior who alone possesses the power to work all things out for the good. A terrific debut for Michelle Sutton. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!”
~Virginia Smith~, author of Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla

"Michelle Sutton's gritty writing style will very likely go straight to the hearts of teens, addressing what they deal with every day in what is all too often grim reality for our youth. Sutton is no doubt a refreshing and much needed voice in today's YA fiction."
~Tina Ann Forkner~, Author of Ruby Among Us
Waterbrook Press/Random House


If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of It's Not About Me, go HERE

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME - REVIEWED

It' Not About Me
By Michelle Sutton
Published by Sheaf House
ISBN# 978-0-979-7451-6
351 pages

Back cover: Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. The focus of her life is to please everyone and not make any waves. Her reputation means everything to her. But one night Annie's safe world
is shattered. As she fights to put the pieces of her broken life back together, against her will she is caught in a war between two brothers, both of whom claim to have her best interests at heart. Who will Annie choose? And will she finally
come to know the One whose love will never fail, even in her darkest hour? Will she learn the trough (truth?) about life – that it's not about "me"?

REVIEW:I applaud Michelle Sutton for asking the tough questions of life in this book directed towards teenagers to read. It was refreshing to see an author tackle the subjects that no one wants to talk about . Michelle has created a book that teens can use to start talking about the uncomfortable issues. They can now say to a friend, "Hey, I just read this book and it was talking about..." I have to say that in the beginning it took a little adjustment to read the description of how Annie's boyfriend was touching her. But I later felt it would help to describe what goes on between a man and a woman; things that may lead to situations that are hurtful in the long run for both parties. There is no doubt about what not to do and how fast things can get out of control. I loved how Michelle made these characters come alive.

Annie is your typical teenager just going through the motions of life, trying to be "good" and doing all the "right" things because she goes to church and that's what is expected of her. Then the unthinkable happens to her; she starts to see life in a whole new light. She questions everything and starts to listen to that still, small voice that is piercing her heart. Her boyfriend, Tony, can't take what's happened to her and goes out to deaden his pain in ways he hadn't done before. He is totally unavailable to Annie and her pain. This adds to Annie's whirlwind and she loses her purpose in life. Everything has changed.

Tony's brother, Dan, reaches out to Annie and her family as a friend. Everyone is devastated about what has happened to Annie. Everyone feels uncomfortable, and no one knows what to say. Dan is able to talk to Annie and her family and pray for them. And, ask those questions they hadn't thought of before and help them see things from a different point of view. God's. Michelle asks questions in her book like: "If someone goes to church all of their life, does that make them a Christian?"; "Just because someone professed with their mouths to be a Christian, are they?"; "What makes a Christian?"; "Is pornography dangerous? What could it hurt to look at these magazines?". "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

I loved how Michelle tackled these and other matters in her book. Teens many not run to their parents to get these questions answered, or even feel comfortable asking the questions in the first place. I feel that Michelle is helping bridge the gap between teens and their parents. This could give teens the courage to talk to their friends about these tough issues. They now have a tool and can start talking about the book and let it go from there. Thank you Michelle, for bringing a book that I think will really touch the lives of many teenagers. It's a book that draws you in right from the start, be prepared to stay up late once you start reading "It's Not About Me". Michelle makes you want to find out what happens next -- I couldn't put it down; you won't be able to either!!

Nora St. Laurent – Book Club Servant Leader

JOHN 3:16 by NANCY MOSER


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

John 3:16

Tyndale House Publishers (September 9, 2008)

by

Nancy Moser



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner, and her latest historical, Washington's Lady.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters,
symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included.

Find out more at Nancy Moser.com and Sister Circles.com


ABOUT THE BOOK

Five people looking for a reason to keep living are about to find it in the last place they expect... In my usual "big cast" style comes a story of what happens when one man puts his faith on the line and holds up a John 3:16 sign at a sporting event. Roman Paulson's life revolves around his son, Billy, a University of Nebraska football hero with a promising life ahead of him. But when Billy's coach encroaches on Roman's relationship with his son, Roman fears he'll lose Billy forever. Roman isn't the only one whose world turns upside down. He's one of five unsuspecting people whose lives intersect on a bright fall day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of John 3:16, go HERE

SINGLE SASHIMI by CAMY TANG



It is time for the FIRST Blog Tour! On the FIRST day of every month we feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!






The feature author is:



and her book:


Single Sashimi
Zondervan (September 1, 2008)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Camy Tang is a FIRST Family Member! She also is a moderator for FIRST Wild Card Tours. She is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.


Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One) was her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) was published in March of this year. The next book in the series, Single Sashimi (Sushi Series, Book Three) came out in September 2008!

Visit her at her website.

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (September 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310274001
ISBN-13: 978-0310274001

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Single Sashimi
By
Camy Tang

Chapter one

Venus Chau opened the door to her aunt's house and almost fainted.

"What died?" She exhaled sharply, trying to get the foul air out of her body before it caused cancer or something.

Her cousin Jennifer Lim entered the foyer with the look of an oni goblin about to eat someone. "She's stinking up my kitchen."

"Who?" Venus hesitated on the threshold, breathing clean night air before she had to close the door.

"My mother, who else?"

The ire in Jenn's voice made Venus busy herself with kicking off her heels amongst the other shoes in the tile foyer. Hoo-boy, she'd never seen quiet Jenn this irate before. Then again, since Aunty Yuki had given her daughter the rule of the kitchen when she'd started cooking in high school, Jenn rarely had to make way for another cook.

"What is she cooking? Beef intestines?"

Jenn flung her arms out. "Who knows? Something Trish is supposed to eat."

"But we don't have to eat it, right? Right?"

"I'll never become pregnant if I have to eat stuff like that." Jenn whirled and stomped toward the kitchen.

Venus turned right into the living room where her very pregnant cousin Trish lounged on the sofa next to her boyfriend, Spenser. "Hey, guys." Her gaze paused on their twined hands. It continued to amaze her that Spenser would date a woman pregnant with another man's child. Maybe Venus shouldn't be so cynical about the men she met. Here was at least one good guy.

Trish's arms shot into the air like a Raiders' cheerleader, nearly clocking Spenser in the eye. "I'm officially on maternity leave!"

Venus paused to clap. "So how did you celebrate?"

"I babysat Matthew all day today." She smiled dreamily at Spenser at the mention of his son.

Venus frowned and landed her hands on her hips. "In your condition?"

Trish waved a hand. "He's not that bad. He stopped swallowing things weeks ago."

"I'm finally not wasting money on all those emergency room visits," Spenser said.

"Besides, I got a book about how to help toddlers expect a new baby." Trish bounced lightly on the sofa cushion in her excitement.

"And?" It seemed kind of weird to Venus, since Trish and Spenser weren't engaged or anything. Yet.

Trish chewed her lip. "I don't know if he totally understands, but at least it's a start."

A sense of strangeness washed over Venus as she watched the two of them, the looks they exchanged that weren't mushy or intimate, just . . . knowing. Like mind reading. It made her feel alienated from her cousin for the first time in her life, and she didn't really like it.

She immediately damped down the feeling. How could she begrudge Trish such a wonderful relationship? Venus was so selfish. She disgusted herself.

She looked around the living room. "Where is -- "

"Venus!" The childish voice rang down the short hallway. She stepped back into the foyer to see Spenser's son, Matthew, trotting down the carpet with hands reached out to her. He grabbed her at the knees, wrinkling her silk pants, but she didn't mind. His shining face looking up at her -- way up, since she was the tallest of the cousins -- made her feel like she was the only reason he lived and breathed. "Psycho Bunny?" he pleaded.

She pretended to think about it. His hands shook her pants legs to make her decide faster.

"Okay."

He darted into the living room and plopped in front of the television, grabbing at the game controllers. The kid had it down pat -- in less than a minute, the music for the Psycho Bunny video game rolled into the room.

Venus sank to the floor next to him.

"Jenn is totally freaking out." Trish's eyes had popped to the size of siu mai dumplings.

"What brought all this on?" Venus picked up the other controller.

"Well, Aunty Yuki had a doctor's appointment today -- "

"Is she doing okay?" She chose the Bunny Foo-Foo character for the game just starting.

"Clean bill of health. Cancer's gone, as far as they can tell."

"So that's why she's taken over Jenn's domain?"

Trish rubbed her back and winced. "She took one look at me and decided I needed something to help the baby along."

Jenn huffed into the living room. "She's going to make me ruin the roast chicken!"

Venus ignored her screeching tone. "Sit down. You're not going to make her hurry by hovering." She and Matthew both jumped over the snake pit and landed in the hollow tree.

Jenn flung herself into an overstuffed chair and dumped her feet on the battered oak coffee table.

Venus turned to glance at the foyer. No Nikes. "Where's Lex?"

"Late. Where else?" Jenn snapped.

"I thought Aiden was helping her be better about that."

"He's not a miracle worker." Spenser massaged Trish's back.

"I have to leave early." Venus stretched her silk-clad feet out, wriggling her toes. Her new stilettos looked great but man, they hurt her arches.

"Then you might not eat at all." Jenn crossed her arms over her chest.

Venus speared her with a glance like a stainless steel skewer. "Chill, okay Cujo?"

Jenn pouted and scrunched further down in the chair.

Venus ignored her and turned back to the game. Her inattention had let Matthew pick up the treasure chest. "I have to work on a project."

"For work?"

"No, for me." Only the Spiderweb, the achievement of her lifetime, a new tool that would propel her to the heights of video game development stardom. Which was why she'd kept it separate from her job-related things -- she didn't even use her company computer when she worked on it, only her personal laptop.

A new smell wafted into the room, this one rivaling the other in its stomach-roiling ability. Venus waved her hand in front of her face.

"Pffaugh! What is she cooking?"

Trish's face had turned the color of green tea. "You're lucky you don't have to eat it. Whatever it is, it ain't gonna stay down for long."

"Just say you still have morning sickness."

"In my ninth month?"

Venus shrugged.

The door slammed open. "Hey, guys -- blech."

Venus twisted around to see her cousin Lex doubled over, clenching her washboard stomach (Venus wished she could have one of those) and looking like she'd hurled up all the shoes littering the foyer floor.

Lex's boyfriend Aiden grabbed her waist to prevent her from nosediving into the tile. "Lex, it's not that bad."

"The gym locker room smells better." Lex used her toes to pull off her cross-trainers without bothering to untie them. "The men's locker room."

"It's not me," Jenn declared. "It's Mom, ruining all my best pots."

"What is she doing? Killing small animals on the stovetop?"

"Something for the baby." Trish tried to smile, but it looked more like a wince.

"As long as we don't have to eat it." Lex dropped her slouchy purse on the floor and walked into the living room.

Aunty Yuki appeared behind her in the doorway, bearing a steaming bowl. "Here, Trish. Drink this." The brilliant smile on her wide face eclipsed her tiny stature.

Venus smelled something pungent, like when she walked into a Chinese medicine shop with her dad. A bolus of air erupted from her mouth, and she coughed. "What is that?" She dropped the game controller.

"Pig's brain soup."

Trish's smile hardened to plastic. Lex grabbed her mouth. Spenser -- who was Chinese and therefore had been raised with the weird concoctions -- sighed. Aiden looked at them all like they were funny-farm rejects.

Venus closed her eyes, tightened her mouth, and concentrated on not gagging. Good thing her stomach was empty.

Aunty Yuki's mouth pursed. "What's wrong? My mother-in-law made me eat pig's brain soup when I was a couple weeks from delivering Jennifer."

"That's what you ruined my pots with?" Jennifer steamed hotter than the bowl of soup.

Her mom caught the yakuza-about-to-hack-your-finger-off expression on Jenn's face. Aunty Yuki paused, then backtracked to the kitchen. With the soup bowl, thankfully.

"Papa?" Matthew's voice sounded faint.

Venus turned.

"Don't feel good." He clutched his poochy tummy.

"Oh, no." Spenser grabbed his son and headed out of the living room.

Then the world exploded.

Just as they passed into the foyer, Matthew threw up onto the tiles.

Lex, with her weak stomach when it came to bodily fluids, took one look and turned pasty.

A burning smell and a few cries sounded from the kitchen.

Trish sat up straighter than a Buddha and clenched her rounded abdomen. "Oh!"

Spenser held his crying son as he urped up the rest of his afternoon snack. Lex clapped a hand to her mouth to prevent herself from following Matthew's example. Jenn started for the kitchen, but then Matthew's mess blocking the foyer stopped her. Trish groaned and curled in on herself, clutching her tummy.

Venus shot to her feet. She wasn't acting Game Lead at her company for nothing.

"You." She pointed to Jenn. "Get to the kitchen and send your mom in here for Trish." Jenn leaped over Matthew's puddle and darted away. "And bring paper towels for the mess!"

"You," she flung at Spenser. "Take Matthew to the bathroom."

He gestured to the brand new hallway carpet.

Oh no, Aunty Yuki would have a fit. But it couldn't be helped. "If he makes a mess on the carpet, we'll just clean it up later."

He didn't hesitate. He hustled down the hallway with Matthew in his arms.

Venus kicked the miniscule living room garbage basket closer to Lex. "Hang your head over that." Not that it would hold more than spittle, but it was better than letting Lex upchuck all over the plush cream carpet. Why did Lex, tomboy and jock, have to go weak every time something gross happened?

"You." Venus stabbed a manicured finger at Aiden. "Get your car, we're taking Trish to the hospital."

He didn't jump at her command. "After one contraction?"

Trish moaned, and Venus had a vision of the baby flying out of her in the next minute. She pointed to the door again. "Just go!"

Aiden shrugged and slipped out the front door, muttering to himself.

"You." She stood in front of Trish, who'd started Lamaze breathing through her pursed lips. "Uh . . ."

Trish peered up at her.

"Um . . . stop having contractions."

Trish rolled her eyes, but didn't speak through her pursed lips.

Venus ignored her and went to kneel over Matthew's rather watery puddle, which had spread with amoeba fingers reaching down the lines of grout. Lex's purse lay nearby, so she rooted in it for a tissue or something to start blotting up the mess.

Footsteps approaching. Before she could raise her head or shout a warning, Aunty Yuki hurried into the foyer. "What's wron -- !"

It was like a Three Stooges episode. Aunty Yuki barreled into Venus's bent figure. She had leaned over Matthew's mess to protect anyone from stepping in it, but it also made her an obstacle in the middle of the foyer.

"Ooomph!" The older woman's feet -- shod in cotton house slippers, luckily, and not shoes -- jammed into Venus's ribs. She couldn't see much except a pair of slippers leaving the floor at the same time, and then a body landing on the living room carpet on the other side of her. Ouch.

"Are you okay?" Venus twisted to kneel in front of her, but she seemed slow to rise.

"Venus, here're the paper towels -- "

Jenn's voice in the foyer made Venus whirl on the balls of her feet and fling her hands up. "Watch out!"

Jenn stopped just in time. Her toes were only inches away from Matthew's mess, her body leaning forward. Her arms whirled, still clutching the towels, like a cheerleader and her pom-poms.

"Jenn." Spenser's voice coming down the hallway toward the foyer. "Where are the -- "

"Stop!" Venus and Jenn shouted at the same time.

Spenser froze, his foot hovering above a finger of the puddle that had stretched toward the hallway. "Ah. Okay. Thanks." He lowered his foot on the clean tile to the side.

Aiden opened the front door. "The car's out front -- " The sight of them all left him speechless.

Trish had started to hyperventilate, her breath seething through her teeth. "Will somebody do something?!"

Aunty Yuki moaned from her crumpled position on the floor.

Smoke started pouring from the kitchen, along with the awful smell of burned . . . something that wasn't normal food.

Venus snatched the paper towels from Jenn. "Kitchen!" Jenn fled before she'd finished speaking. "What do you need?" Venus barked at Spenser.

"Extra towels."

"Guest bedroom closet, top shelf."

He headed back down the hall. Venus turned to Aiden and swept a hand toward Aunty Yuki on the living room floor. "Take care of her, will you?"

"What about me?" Trish moaned through a clenched jaw.

"Stop having contractions!" Venus swiped up the mess on the tile before something worse happened, like someone stepped in it and slid. That would just be the crowning cherry to her evening. Even when she wasn't at work, she was still working.

"Are you okay, Aunty?" She stood with the sodden paper towels.

Aiden had helped her to a seat next to Lex, who was ashen-faced and still leaning over the tiny trash can. Aside from a reddish spot on Aunty Yuki's elbow, she seemed fine.

Jenn entered the living room, her hair wild and a distinctive burned smell sizzling from her clothes. "My imported French saucepan is completely blackened!" But she had enough sense not to glare at her parent as she probably wanted to. Aunty Yuki suddenly found
the wall hangings fascinating.

Venus started to turn toward the kitchen to throw away the paper towels she still held. "Well, we have to take Trish to the hospital -- "

"Actually . . ." Trish's breathing had slowed. "I think it's just a false alarm."

Venus turned to look at her. "False alarm? Pregnant women have those?"

"It happened a couple days ago too."

"What?" Venus almost slammed her fist into her hip, but remembered the dirty paper towels just in time. Good thing too, because she had on a Chanel suit.

Trish gave a long, slow sigh. "Yup, they're gone. That was fast." She smiled cheerfully.

Venus wanted to scream. This was out of her realm. At work, she was used to grabbing a crisis at the throat and wrestling it to submission. This was somewhere Trish was heading without her, and the thought both frightened and unnerved her. She shrugged it off. "Well . . . Aunty -- "

"I'm fine, Venus." Aunty Yuki inspected her elbow. "Jennifer, get those Japanese Salonpas patches -- "

"Mom, they stink." Jenn's stress over her beautiful kitchen made her more belligerent than Venus had ever seen her before. Not that the camphor patches could smell any worse than the burned Chinese-old-wives'-pregnancy-food permeating the house.

At the sound of the word Salonpas, Lex pinched her lips together but didn't say anything.

Aunty Yuki gave Jenn a limpid look. "The Salonpas gets rid of the pain."

"I'll get it." Aiden headed down the hallway to get the adhesive patches.

"In the hall closet." Jenn's words slurred a bit through her tight jaw.

Distraction time. Venus tried to smile. "Aunty, if you're okay, then let's eat."

Jenn's eyes flared neon red. "Can't."

"Huh?"

"Somebody turned off the oven." Jenn frowned at her mother, who tactfully looked away. "Dinner won't be for another hour." She stalked back to the kitchen.

Even with the nasty smell, Venus's stomach protested its empty state. "It's already eight o'clock."

"Suck it up!" Jenn yelled from the kitchen.

It was going to be a long night.

***

Venus needed a Reese's peanut butter cup.

No, a Reese's was bad. Sugar, fat, preservatives, all kinds of chemicals she couldn't even pronounce.

Oooh, but it would taste so good . . .

No, she equated Reese's cups with her fat days. She was no longer fat. She didn't need a Reese's.

But she sure wanted one after such a hectic evening with her cousins.

She trudged up the steps to her condo. Home. Too small to invite people over, and that was the way she liked it. Her haven, where she could relax and let go, no one to see her when she was vulnerable --

Her front door was ajar.

Her limbs froze mid-step, but her heart rat-tat-tatted in her chest like a machine gun. Someone. Had. Broken. Into. Her. Home.

Her hand started to shake. She clenched it to her hip, crushing the silk of her pants. What to do? He might still be there. Pepper spray. In her purse. She searched in her bag and finally found the tiny bottle. Her hand trembled so much, she'd be more likely to spritz herself than the intruder.

Were those sounds coming from inside? She reached out a hand, but couldn't quite bring herself to push the door open further.

Stupid, call the police! She fumbled with the pepper spray so she could extract her cell phone. Dummy, don't pop yourself in the eye with that stuff! She switched the spray to her other hand while her thumb dialed 9 - 1 - 1. Her handbag's leather straps dug into her elbow.

Thump! That came from her living room! Footsteps. Get away from the door! She stumbled backwards, but remembering the stairs right behind her, she tried to stop herself from tumbling down. Her ankle tilted on her stilettos, and she fell sideways to lean against the wall. The footsteps approached her open door.

"9 - 1 - 1, what's your emergency?"

She raised her hand with the bottle of pepper spray. "Someone's -- "

The door swung open.

"Edgar!" The cell phone dropped with a clatter, but she kept a firm grip on the pepper spray, suddenly tempted to use it.

One of her junior programmers stood in her open doorway.

Copyright (c) 2008 by Camy Tang
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530


CHRIS COPPERNOLL TV APPEARANCE



October 9, 2088––David C. Cook author, Chris Coppernoll, appears on the "Everyday with Marcus & Lisa" show on the FamilyNet television network to talk about his latest novel, A BEAUTIFUL FALL, and his work with singles.

CHRIS COPPERNOLL INTERVIEWED BY FAITH CAFE

NORA'S INTERVIEW with CHRIS COPPERNOLL



How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I never dreamed I'd one day be writing books. It's a comical shock that God had in store for me. There's actually a long story about this that's interesting, but the short version is that my dream was to write music. I was always writing prose in journals, yellow legal pads, everywhere, but I never even considered writing anything or getting it published. One day a friend who was working with a literary agent asked me I'd like to write something, and it turns out God had something waiting for me.


How did you get the idea for your first novel “Providence”?

I was fascinated with showing how God can change one person's life. That's really the story of Providence condensed into one single line. I re-wrote the story 17 times trying to get it to a place where I thought it would be interesting for others to read. Now that it's out in stores, it's so gratifying to read the emails from readers who've been touched by Providence's story.


Did you come up with the title “Providence” ?If not, what was your working title?

Great question. The book started out with the title "The Sound of My Soul." Isn't that dramatic? Well, no one really liked it. Later, I changed it to "Christmas in Providence" since the story takes place against the backdrop of the Christmas holidays and I could picture a book cover with Christmas lights strung through a quaint, downtown city. Those smart people at David C. Cook publishing thought just "Providence" would be the best title since people could connect with the story all year round, and I agreed. They added the "Once Upon a Second Chance" subtitle too, which just blew me away.

I wrote a piece for the Afterwords section of A Beautiful Fall called "How to Write a Novel in 12 Weeks." When it came time to write a follow up to Providence, the only thing I had in the same contemporary fiction/romance genre was the title, "A Beautiful Fall." I knew it'd be a story set in the beautiful season of Autumn with all of it's color changes and beauty, and that it would be about a woman who experiences her own color changes. Emma Madison goes from climbing the corporate ladder, but to having a beautiful fall.


Did you come up with the title “A Beautiful Fall”? If not, what was your working title?


"A Beautiful Fall" has always been the story's title. It's something that just popped in my head. It the time I wasn't even going to write it down, but now I'm so glad I did.


I really have to write. It's how life makes sense to me. My desk is covered with lots of different note pads and journals. It's my creative outlet, and it's its own kind of excitement. I love seeing all the small points of a story coming together into one tale that makes sense and inspires, and makes you want to know more about the characters. I'm writing my 3rd novel now, and like Providence, it takes readers on a journey of love and adventure on many different levels. A Beautiful Fall is a smaller story that I wanted to share with the readers who love Providence. It's about simplicity, real love, the power of small town friendships, and discovering the father's love. I hope women readers especially will love this story.

Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?

Being an author is everything I thought it would be and more. My favorite part is absolutely having the chance to write stories that people read and enjoy. It's something I never take lightly.


Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you have had on your journey to being published and now afterwards? What made it a “Wow” moment for you?

Getting emails from readers. I try to read all of them. They are such an encouragement to me. Sometimes I pass them along to my editor, Stephen Parolini, or the folks at Cook, or my agent so they can be blessed too by what someone has honestly shared from their heart. Keep those emails coming, I love those.

On my computer I saved the audio message from my agent, Chip MacGregor, saying that Cook had made an offer on my first manuscript. That was a very happy moment. I also remember when the ending for "Providence" revealed itself one day while I was writing. That was an amazing moment that just sent chills down my spine. There's a scene in "A Beautiful Fall" when Emma is talking to her dad, Will, about her mother who dies when Emma is only five years old. He tells her something that turns the storyline upside down. I can't say more without giving it away, but that was an amazing moment because I had no idea it was coming.


Did you have a say in picking out the cover for either of your books? Was that a fun experience for you? If not, explain.

I wasn't sure if authors could give input or not, but my publisher David C. Cook has been so intentional to open up the creative process and invite feedback. They foster a creative working environment for authors that brings out the best in everyone.


Top Things you have wanted to ask Chris but were afraid;to so I did!!


Coke or Pepsi? Diet or Regular?

Are you kidding? I happen to know you live in Atlanta. Coke!! . . . it's the real thing (in soft drinks anyway)

How do you eat an Oreo cookie? If you don’t eat Oreo’s what is your favorite cookie and how do you eat that? (do you dunk?) If you do eat Oreo, what is your favorite kind?

My favorite is homemade chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven, with a glass of cold milk. Dunking is optional, but likely. : )

Beach or Mountains?


Can't I have both? My family loves going to the beach. More than any other place in the world, it's the spot that says "vacation" to us. On the other hand, hiking in the mountains is one of my all time favorite things to do. It focuses me, and reminds me of God's perfection and beauty all around us.

Favorite Movie?

Probably something with Cary Grant. He's always funny, there's usually some action in his movies, and he always gets the girl. What more could you ask for?

What is the neatest place you have ever visited and why? What made it so neat, special, memorable for you?

I love to vacation in hot spots, Florida, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina. I also love to be near the water. Last Summer I went tubing in New Brumfels, Texas––which was a blast. I was recently in Perdido Key, Florida where my family walked along the beach and enjoyed ourselves.

If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money) to do anything you wanted to do; what would you do?



Great question! I love what I do, but there are two things I'd really love to do in my life. I have a dream of going to Ireland, England, or France and writing one of my books there. I think it would be incredibly relaxing and inspire some great writing. Maybe someday I'll take the trip. Secondly, I have ideas for other projects in other mediums (this is in addition to other books I hope the Lord grants me an opportunity to write). I have a stage play I'd like to write and produce that features a lot of music. I'd love to work with talented artists to see the project come to fruition.

What is your favorite color?

Cobalt Blue. I absolutely love it.

If you could interview or hang out with someone for a day who would you pick? Why?



I've lived such a blessed life! I've had the chance to hang out with some very rare and incredible people like Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Sheila Walsh, Third Day, CeCe Winans, and others. Hmm, this isn't a political answer, but probably President Bush. I think any interview with him that goes beyond the political questions he's most often asked would be facinating.

I was thinking about this the other day, about how much music I've listened to in my life. It was an absolute passion of mine when I was younger. I played in bands, even earned a bachelor degree from Berklee College of Music. My favorite style of music now is anything instrumental: Jazz, Classical guitar. I love listening to really good musicians.

Would you rather watch a sporting event on TV or in person? Which sporting events do you watch if any?

I'd rather watch in person. My favorite sport is Friday night varsity football. Cold weather, announcements from the press box, hot chocolate, cheerleaders, pep band. It's the whole package.

Thank you Chris for letting my readers and book club ladies get to know you better. I appreciate you hanging out with us.


Thank you, Nora. The pleasure's all mine.

Many blessings on your writing journey,Chris, I look forward to seeing you again soon!!!
Nora :)

STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN INTERVIEWED- GOOD MORNING AMERICA


(Interview with Good Morning America about their loss)


(Cinderella Song - in memory of Maria)

Grieving with Hope
August 22nd, 2008

The Steven Curtis Chapman interviews in early August, about the loss of their sweet five-year-old daughter, Maria, are a powerful testimony to faith and the process of mourning for Christians. I can’t encourage you enough to watch the video that is here…it will inspire and move you.

Thank you Chapman family, for honoring your God even when you’re in desperate pain. And I hope you can cling to that hope we share, forever.

Know that you have been our thoughts and prayers.

To donate money to the Chapman family charity, Shaohannah’s Hope, go to: http://members.shaohannahshope.org

Steven Curtis Chapman GMA Family Video Aug 08

THE OWLING by ROBERT ELMER







Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Owling (The Shadowside Trilogy Book 2)

Zondervan (October 1, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Meet Robert

For as long as I can remember I've always loved writing. When I was in grade school, I created a family newspaper, wrote essays for fun. In high school, I took every writing class available. My parents, both from Denmark, passed along to me a love of language and books. Writing naturally came from that kind of environment.

I graduated from Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California, then received my BA in Communications from Simpson College, San Francisco. I completed journalism classes from U.C. Berkeley extension, and a post-graduate program in Elementary Education at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California.

Then what? Right out of college I was a freelance writer, a public relations/admissions director and an assistant pastor. I also worked as a reporter and an editor for community newspapers, then as a copy writer for Baron & Company, a full-service marketing communications firm in Bellingham, Washington.

I now work full time writing and speaking, and my wife Ronda works as a receptionist at a pediatric dental center. We live and attend church in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and are the parents of three terrific young adults (one married).

I'm on the editorial board of the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, and also serve as a mentor for young writers. Find out more about the Guild and their great mentoring programs for all ages by clicking here.

When I'm not writing I enjoy sailing, working on vintage boats, traveling and spending time with my family.

Click on the Interviews link here (or above) for more Q&A information.

For a list of my published books, start here.



Trion Rising is the first book of The Shadowside Trilogy.

Visit him at his website.


Product Details:

List Price: $ 9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714222
ISBN-13: 978-0310714224

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Oriannon jerked awake, jolted by the shuttle's sudden dive and the high-pitched whine of ion boosters. The unseen hand of several Gs squeezed her squarely back in the padded seat, and she gasped for breath.

Where were they?

Off course, without a doubt, and certainly not heading home.The fifteen-year-old managed a glance out a tiny side viewport, though her eyeballs hurt to focus and her stomach rebelled at the sudden drop. Outside, space appeared cold, dark, and colorless -- not the dense, bright violet atmosphere she would have expected to see above irrigated farms and the well-watered surface of Corista, her home planet.

Just across the aisle, her father unstrapped from his grav seat with a grunt, gathered his gold-trimmed ceremonial robe, and struggled down the narrow aisle of the shuttle toward the pilot's compartment. Several passengers screamed as they banked once more, sharply, and the engines whined even more loudly. He seemed to ignore the panic; he put his head down and tumbled the last few feet to the flight deck.

“What's going on here?” Father always remained polite, even when he was pounding on doors. “I'd like a word with you please.”

The pilot would have to listen to an Assembly elder, one of the twelve most important men in Corista, aside from the Regent himself. But Oriannon's father kept pounding, and Ori gripped the handle in front of her as they made another tight turn. Light from the three Trion suns blinded her for a moment as it passed through the window and caught her in the face. When she shaded her eyes,

she saw something else looming large and close.

“Father?” She tried to get his attention over all the noise. “I know where we are.”

But he only pounded harder, raising his voice above braking thrusters as they came on line. She felt a forward pull as the shuttle engines whined, then seemed to catch. Still they wagged and wobbled, nearly out of control. Outside, a pockmarked asteroid loomed

ever larger, while sunlight glittered off a tinted plexidome built into the surface.

From here the dome didn't seem much larger than Regent Jib Ossek Academy back home, but Oriannon knew it covered what would have been a deep impact crater on the near side of the huge space rock's surface. This was obviously no planet, only a remote way station called Asylum 4 -- one of twelve ancient Asylum outposts.

Why had their shuttle diverted here?

By this time everyone else on the shuttle must have seen the asteroid out their windows as well. Now it filled each viewport with close-ups of the tortured surface, scarred by thousands of hits from space debris and tiny asteroids. But instead of an announcement over the intercom, shuttle passengers were met only with a strange

silence from the flight deck.

“I insist that you -- ” Oriannon's father couldn't finish his demand as he was thrown from his feet by the impact. Oriannon's forehead nearly hit the back of the seat in front of her. A loud squeal of scraping metal outside told everyone they'd made full contact with Asylum 4's docking port.

And then only silence, as the engines slowly powered down. Her father rose to his feet, and no one spoke for a long, tense moment. Air rushed through a lock, and they heard the pilot's emergency hatch swing free. Still, the twenty-one passengers could only sit and wait, trapped in their sealed compartment without any word

of explanation and without any fresh air. A couple

of men rose to their feet and pushed to the front.

“We need to get out of here!” announced one, but Oriannon's father put a stop to it with a raised hand.

“Just be patient,” he told them. “I'm certain we'll find out what happened in a moment.”

Or two.

Several minutes later they heard footsteps and a shuffling before the main hatch finally swept open and they were met with a rush of cool air -- and a curious stare.

“Are you people quite all right?” A small man in the rust-colored frock of a scribe looked nearly as confused as Oriannon felt.

“Where's your pilot?”

“We were hoping you would tell us.” Oriannon's father tried to take charge of the chaos that followed as everyone shouted at once, trying to find answers in a place that only held more questions. Why were they brought here, instead of back to Corista?

“Please!” The scribe held up his hands for silence. He didn't look as if he was used to this much company -- or this much shouting-- all at once. And how old was he? Oriannon couldn't be sure, though he appeared wrinkled as a dried aplon, and wispy white hair circled his ears as if searching for a way inside. Yet his pleasant green eyes sparkled in an impish, almost pleasant sort of way, and

judging by the way his eyes darted from side to side, he seemed to miss nothing.

“I'm very sorry for the confusion,” he continued, “but all are welcome here at Asylum Way Station 4. As you probably know, it's the tradition of the Asylum outposts to welcome all visitors. Although I must say . . .”

He glanced at the hatch beside him, where trim along the bottom edge had bent and twisted during the rough landing. The ship's skin, though gouged and damaged, appeared not to have been breached. It could have been worse.

“Whoever piloted your craft here was either in a very great hurry, or perhaps in need of a bit more practice in the art of landing.”

No doubt about that. But as her father introduced himself, Oriannon noticed the hatch hydraulics hissing a little too loudly while an odd thumping sound came from inside the craft's wall, weak but steady.

“I'm Cirrus Main,” the scribe went on, bowing slightly to her father. “And we're especially honored to greet a member of the Assembly. I cannot recall the last time we enjoyed a visit from an elder, though I should consult our station archives to be sure. There was a day, several generations ago, when -- ”

“But what about the pilot?” interrupted another passenger, a serious-faced man a bit younger than her father. “Didn't you see him? We didn't fly here ourselves, you know.”

The scribe seemed taken aback by their rudeness, blinking in surprise.

“Please pardon my lack of an immediate answer for you,” he replied, holding his fingertips together and his lips tight. “Most of us were otherwise occupied in the library when this incident occurred. However, in time I will inquire as to whether your pilot was seen disembarking and attempt to discern his or her disposition.”

“The pilot will answer to the Assembly,” replied Oriannon's father. “We were returning from a diplomatic mission to the Owling capital on the other side of the planet and on our way back to our capital city of Seramine. We should never have been brought all the way out here.”

“Ah, but do not all things work for good to those who are called according to . . .” The scribe forced a shy smile, opened his mouth to say something else, then seemed to change his mind. “But never mind. Our protocols here on Asylum 4 require us to offer sanctuary to all, you see, no matter the circumstances.”

“Sanctuary?” barked the serious man. “We need some answers, and you're -- ”

“As I said.” The scribe raised his hand for peace. “We simply cannot say who brought you here, other than the Maker himself. However, we are quite pleased it appears you're all unharmed.”

Yes, they were. But then the shouting started all over again, most of it to do with who was to blame for this unscheduled stop, who was going to be late for their appointments, and how soon they'd be able to get home. Finally their host had to raise his hand once more.

“Please let me assure you that despite the apparent confusion of the moment, we will extend every effort to make your stay as comfortable as possible, so that you may return to Seramine in due course. In the meantime, I trust you'll agree to observe our protocol.”

“Remain silent before the Codex.” Oriannon quoted an obscure, ancient commentary. “And at peace before all.”

“Who said that?” Cirrus Main searched the crowd with a curious expression. She shrank behind another passenger so he wouldn't see, but couldn't quite hide her head of tousled black hair.

“My daughter is an eidich,” explained Oriannon's father, taking his place at the front of the little crowd. “Oriannon remembers everything she reads in the ancient book. Every word.”

That was true most of the time, with certain annoying exceptions over the past several months that no one needed to know about.

“I'm familiar with eidichs,” answered the scribe, raising his eyebrows at Oriannon. She couldn't really hide. “Although there were once many more than there are today. In fact, when I first came from Asylum 7, years ago, we knew of several . . .”

His voice trailed off as he seemed to put aside the memory with a sad shake of his head.

“I'm sorry.” His face reddened. “You didn't come here to hear an old man's stories. But perhaps you'll find clarity here. That is, after all, the purpose for which this outpost was created. So if you'll follow me, I would be most pleased to show you the facilities.”

“We do appreciate your hospitality,” said her father, looking around at the group, “but we can only stay a short time, until we get another pilot and the shuttle is prepared to return.”

Oriannon shivered -- but not because of the cool, musty air that smelled of far-off worlds, aging dust, and something else she couldn't quite identify. She followed as Cirrus Main led them through narrow hallways blasted out of rough, iron-stained rock. They walked through a network of prefabricated but obviously ancient modules anchored to the surface of the asteroid at three or four levels. Chalky rust tarnished most of the walls. And through viewports she could see the sheer face of the crater rising up on all sides around them before finally meeting the umbrella of the plexidome above. This place had obviously been constructed generations ago. She craned her neck to see hanging gardens and flowing plants

cascading from terraces cut precariously into crater walls. The scent of cerise and flamboyan joined rivulets coursing over small waterfalls as moisture condensed on the inside of the dome. She found it odd to discover the faint perfume of Coristan flowers at such a remote outpost.

“I suppose it's a bit like living in a greenhouse,” their host admitted, ducking past a stream of spray. “It is an environment, however, to which one becomes accustomed.”

They paused for a moment to watch a viria bird flitter across the upper expanse inside the dome. Here, under the plexidome and against the cold void of space, the freedom of small fluttering wings appeared strangely out of place.

“Remain close behind me, please,” he told them. “Our environment is rather fragile, as I'm sure you can appreciate.”

By now Oriannon had made her way to the front of the group, where she could hear everything Cirrus Main told them about the water recycling system and the gardens, and the delicate balance of work and study that made their home livable. Here and there other residents, each one dressed in red work coveralls, quietly tended the gardens, harvesting fruit and adjusting irrigation controls. None seemed to notice that this group had been brought here under strange circumstances, or even that they had been brought here at all. Oriannon saw a young face staring at them from the far end of the dome, but the little girl ducked out of sight behind a humming generator.

“Some of us have families here.” Cirrus Main must have noticed the little girl as well. But he didn't stop as he led them up a stairway, through a set of noisy airlocks, and finally back into a large, high-ceilinged room where ten or twelve other red-frocked scribes sat at tables, leaning close to each other in animated discussions. Here the polished stone floor contrasted with the worn look of the rest of the station, while the dark pluqwood trim and carefully inlaid ceiling of planets and stars in copper and stone suggested a different type of room. Certainly it looked less utilitarian than the rest. Cirrus gestured at a wall filled with shelves.

“Our library.” He crossed his arms with obvious satisfaction and lowered his voice, as if they had entered a holy place. Oriannon carefully picked up a leather-backed volume from a stack on a nearby stone table. “Mainly theological, but also a bit of the fine arts,” he said. “Some of Corista's finest ancient philosophers, Rainott, Ornix . . . You know them?”

Of course she did -- at least every word that had ever been digitally transcribed. Oriannon nodded as she riffed through the pages, sensing something entirely different among them. Here the carefully inscribed words came alive in a way that the ones in her e-books never could. Each page appeared hand printed, in a script that flowed carefully across each line with a sort of measured serendipity. Here a real person with hopes and dreams had actually written the words on a page -- laboriously, lovingly, one letter at a time. Some of the pages even showed flourishes and highlights, making the book more a work of art than merely a collection of thoughts.

“I've never . . .” She held back a sneeze. “. . . seen so many old books in one place. Back home they're all under glass.”

“Like everyone else,” he told her, slipping the book from her hands and holding it up for the others to see. “You're accustomed to words in their digital form. Here we study the Codex as it was first recorded -- in books and on pages, scribed by hand many generations ago, in a day when we still had calligraphers among us. They brought us words from the Maker's heart, straight to the page.”

He sighed deeply as a couple of the other passengers stood off at a distance, arms crossed and muttering something about how old books weren't going to help get them off this rock. But he smiled again as he lovingly smoothed a page before returning the book to its place on the table.

“We seek the Maker in these pages,” he said, closing his eyes and rocking back on his heels. He paused as if actually praying. “Sometimes, if we're very quiet, we can hear his whisper.”

In the books? Oriannon thought she might hear such a whisper too, as she listened to water tinkling from outside and the gentle murmur of scribes discussing their wondrous, ancient volumes. In fact she could have stayed there much longer, but their silence was interrupted by hurried footsteps as a younger scribe burst into the room and whispered something obviously urgent in Cirrus Main's ear. The older man's face clouded only a moment before a peaceful calm returned.

“Your pilot seems to have been found,” he told them. “Locked inside a storage compartment in your shuttle. We have yet no idea how he came to be there, only that one of our maintenance people located him.”

“Alive?” asked Oriannon. She shuddered at the thought.

“Oh, I'm alive, all right.”

Oriannon and the others turned to see the Coristan shuttle pilot in his cerulean blue coveralls standing at the entry through which they'd just stepped. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“But I'll tell you something,” he added, his voice booming through the library. All the scribes froze at their seats. “When I find the Owling who hijacked us, he's going to wish he'd stayed on his side of the planet.”