BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

GIVE ME YOUR EYES by BRANDON HEATH


Brandon Heath - Give Me Your Eyes from Brandon Heath on Vimeo.

Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?” He said, “That you love the Lord your God will all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”

Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”

Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

“’What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Luke 10:25-37, The Message

THE SHACK by WILLIAM P. YOUNG

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Shack

Windblown Media; 1st edition (July 1, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Wm. Paul Young was born a Canadian and raised among a Stone Age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of former New Guinea. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult and now enjoys the "wastefulness of grace" with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

Visit the author's website.

The author will be on the Blog Talk Radio show on on November 4th at 2PM ET. Come and listen!

Product Details:

List Price: $ 14.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Windblown Media; 1st edition (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0964729237
ISBN-13: 978-0964729230



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Confluence of Paths

Two roads diverged in the middle of my life,
I heard a wise man say
I took the road less traveled by
And that's made the difference every night and every day

—Larry Norman (with apologies to Robert Frost)

March unleashed a torrent of rainfall after an abnormally dry winter. A cold front out of Canada then descended and was held in place by a swirling wind that roared down the Gorge from eastern Oregon. Although spring was surely just around the corner, the god of winter was not about to relinquish its hard-won dominion without a tussle. There was a blanket of new snow in the Cascades, and rain was now freezing on impact with the frigid ground outside the house; enough reason for Mack to snuggle up with a book and a hot cider and wrap up in the warmth of a crackling fire.

But instead, he spent the better part of the morning telecommuting into his downtown desktop. Sitting comfortably in his home office wearing pajama pants and a T-shirt, he made his sales calls, mostly to the East Coast. He paused frequently, listening to the sound of crystalline rain tinging off his window and watching the slow but steady accumulation of frozen ice thickening on everything outside. He was becoming inexorably trapped as an ice—prisoner in his own home—much to his delight.

There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.

Of course, it is also true that storms interrupt business and, while a few companies make a bit extra, some companies lose money—meaning there are those who find no joy when everything shuts down temporarily. But they can't blame anyone for their loss of production, or for not being able to make it to the office. Even if it's hardly more than a day or two, somehow each person feels like the master of his or her own world, simply because those little droplets of water freeze as they hit the ground.

Even commonplace activities become extraordinary. Routine choices become adventures and are often experienced with a sense of heightened clarity. Late in the afternoon, Mack bundled up and headed outdoors to struggle the hundred or so yards down the long driveway to the mailbox. The ice had magically turned this simple everyday task into a foray against the elements: the raising of his fist in opposition to the brute power of nature and, in an act of defiance, laughing in its face. The fact that no one would notice or care mattered little to him—just the thought made him smile inside.

The icy rain pellets stung his cheeks and hands as he carefully worked his way up and down the slight undulations of the driveway; he looked, he supposed, like a drunken sailor gingerly heading toward the next watering hole. When you face the force of an ice storm, you don't exactly walk boldly forward in a show of unbridled confidence. Bluster will get you battered. Mack had to get up off his knees twice before he was finally hugging the mailbox like some long-lost friend.

He paused to take in the beauty of a world engulfed in crystal. Everything reflected light and contributed to the heightened brilliance of the late afternoon. The trees in the neighbor's field had all donned translucent mantles and each now stood unique but unified in their presentation. It was a glorious world and for a brief moment its blazing splendor almost lifted, even if only for a few seconds, The Great Sadness from Mack's shoulders.

It took almost a minute to knock off the ice that had already sealed shut the door of the mailbox. The reward for his efforts was a single envelope with only his first name typewritten on the outside; no stamp, no postmark, and no return address. Curious, he tore the end off the envelope, which was no easy task with fingers beginning to stiffen from the cold. Turning his back to the breath-snatching wind, he finally coaxed the single small rectangle of unfolded paper out of its nest. The typewritten message simply said:

Mackenzie,
It's been a while. I've missed you.
I'll be at the shack next weekend if you
want to get together.
-Papa

Mack stiffened as a wave of nausea rolled over him and then just as quickly mutated into anger. He purposely thought about the shack as little as possible and even when he did his thoughts were neither kind nor good. If this was someone's idea of a bad joke they had truly outdone themselves. And to sign it "Papa" just made it all the more horrifying.

"Idiot," he grunted, thinking about Tony the mailman; an overly friendly Italian with a big heart but little tact. Why would he even deliver such a ridiculous envelope? It wasn't even stamped. Mack angrily stuffed the envelope and note into his coat pocket and turned to start the slide back in the general direction of the house. Buffeting gusts of wind, which had initially slowed him, now shortened the time it took to traverse the mini glacier that was thickening beneath his feet.

He was doing just fine, thank you, until he reached that place in the driveway that sloped a little downward and to the left. Without any effort or intention he began to build up speed, sliding on shoes with soles that had about as much traction as a duck landing on a frozen pond. Arms flailing wildly in hopes of somehow maintaining the potential for balance, Mack found himself careening directly toward the only tree of any substantial size bordering the driveway—the one whose lower limbs he had hacked off only a few short months before. Now it stood eager to embrace him, half naked and seemingly anxious for a little retribution. In a fraction of a thought he chose the chicken's way out and tried to plop himself down by allowing his feet to slip out from under him—which is what they had naturally wanted to do anyway. Better to have a sore butt than pick slivers out of his face.

But the adrenaline rush caused him to over compensate, and in slow motion Mack watched his feet rise up in front of him as if jerked up by some jungle trap. He hit hard, back of the head first, and skidded to a heap at the base of the shimmering tree, which seemed to stand over him with a smug look mixed with disgust and not a little disappointment.

The world went momentarily black, or so it seemed. He lay there dazed and staring up into the sky, squinting as the icy precipitation rapidly cooled his flushed face. For a fleeting pause, everything felt oddly warm and peaceful, his ire momentarily knocked out by the impact. "Now, who's the idiot?" he muttered to himself, hoping that no one had been watching.

Cold was creeping quickly through his coat and sweater and Mack knew the ice rain that was both melting and freezing beneath him would soon become a major discomfort. Groaning and feeling like a much older man, he rolled onto his hands and knees. It was then that he saw the bright red skid mark tracing his journey from point of impact to final destination. As if birthed by the sudden awareness of his injury, a dull pounding began crawling up the back of his head. Instinctively, he reached for the source of the drum beat and brought his hand away bloody.

With rough ice and sharp gravel gouging his hands and knees, Mack half crawled and half slid until he eventually made it to a level part of the driveway. With not a little effort he was finally able to stand and gingerly inch his way toward the house, humbled by the powers of ice and gravity.

Once inside, Mack methodically shed the layers of outerwear as best he could, his half-frozen fingers responding with about as much dexterity as oversized clubs at the ends of his arms. He decided to leave the drizzly bloodstained mess right where he doffed it in the entryway and retreated painfully to the bathroom to examine his wounds. There was no question that the icy driveway had won. The gash on the back of his head was oozing around a few small pebbles still embedded in his scalp. As he had feared, a significant lump had already formed, emerging like a humpbacked whale breaching the wild waves of his thinning hair.

Mack found it a difficult chore to patch himself up by trying to see the back of his head using a small hand-held mirror that reflected a reverse image off the bathroom mirror. A short frustration later he gave up, unable to get his hands to go in the right directions and unsure which of the two mirrors was lying to him. By gingerly probing around the soggy gash he succeeded in picking out the biggest pieces of debris, until it hurt too much to continue. Grabbing some first-aid ointment and plugging the wound as best he could, he then tied a washcloth to the back of his head with some gauze he found in a bathroom drawer. Glancing at himself in the mirror, he thought he looked a little like some rough sailor out of Moby Dick. It made him laugh, then wince.

He would have to wait until Nan made it home before he would get any real medical attention; one of the many benefits of being married to a registered nurse. Anyway, he knew that the worse it looked the more sympathy he would get. There is often some compensation in every trial, if one looked hard enough. He swallowed a couple over-the-counter painkillers to dull the throbbing and limped toward the front entry.

Not for an instant had Mack forgotten about the note. Rummaging through the pile of wet and bloody clothing he finally found it in his coat pocket, glanced at it and then headed back into his office. He located the post office number and dialed it. As expected, Annie, the matronly postmaster and keeper of everyone's secrets, answered the phone. "Hi, is Tony in by chance?"

"Hey, Mack, is that you? Recognized your voice." Of course she did. "Sorry, but Tony ain't back yet. In fact I just talked to him on the radio and he's only made it halfway up Wildcat, not even to your place yet. Do ya need me to have him call ya, or would ya just like to leave a message?"

"Oh, hi. Is that you, Annie?" He couldn't resist, even though her Midwestern accent left no doubt. "Sorry, I was busy for a second there. Didn't hear a word you said."

She laughed. "Now Mack, I know you heard every word. Don't you be goin' and tryin' to kid a kidder. I wasn't born yesterday, ya know. Whaddya want me to tell him if he makes it back alive?"

"Actually, you already answered my question."

There was a pause at the other end. "Actually, I don't remember you askin' a question. What's wrong with you, Mack? Still smoking too much dope or do you just do that on Sunday mornings to make it through the church service?" At this she started to laugh, as if caught off guard by the brilliance of her own sense of humor.

"Now Annie, you know I don't smoke dope—never did, and don't ever want to." Of course Annie knew no such thing, but Mack was taking no chances on how she might remember the conversation in a day or two. Wouldn't be the first time that her sense of humor morphed into a good story that soon became "fact." He could see his name being added to the church prayer chain. "It's okay, I'll just catch Tony some other time, no big deal."

"Okay then, just stay indoors where it's safe. Don't ya know, an old guy like you coulda lost his sense of balance over the years. Wouldn't wanna see ya slip and hurt your pride. Way things are shapin' up, Tony might not make it up to your place at all. We can do snow, sleet, and darkness of night pretty well, but this frozen rain stuff. It's a challenge to be sure."

"Thanks, Annie. I'll try and remember your advice. Talk to you later. Bye now." His head was pounding more than ever; little trip hammers beating to the rhythm of his heart. "That's odd," he thought, "who would dare put something like that in our mailbox?" The painkillers had not yet fully kicked in, but were present enough to dull the edge of worry that he was starting to feel, and he was suddenly very tired. Laying his head down on the desk, he thought he had just dropped off to sleep when the phone startled him awake.

"Uh . . . hello?"

"Hi, love. You sound like you've been asleep." It was Nan, sounding unusually cheery, even though he felt he could hear the underlying sadness that lurked just beneath the surface of every conversation. She loved this kind of weather as much as he usually did. He switched on the desk lamp and glanced at the clock, surprised that he had been out for a couple hours.

"Uh, sorry. I guess I dozed off for a bit."

"Well, you sound a little groggy. Is everything all right?"

"Yup." Even though it was almost dark outside, Mack could see that the storm had not let up. It had even deposited low, and he knew some would eventually break from the weight, especially if the wind kicked up. "I had a little tussle with the driveway when I got the mail, but other than that, everything is fine. Where are you?"

"I'm still at Arlene's, and I think me and the kids'll spend the night here. It's always good for Kate to be around the family . . . seems to restore a little balance." Arlene was Nan's sister who lived across the river in Washington. "Anyway, it's really too slick to go out. Hopefully it'll break up by morning. I wish I had made it home before it got so bad, but oh well." She paused. "How's it up at the house?"

"Well, it's absolutely stunningly beautiful, and a whole lot safer to look at than walk in, trust me. I, for sure, don't want you to try and get up here in this mess. Nothing's moving. I don't even think Tony was able to bring us the mail."

"I thought you already got the mail?" she queried.

"Nope, I didn't actually get the mail. I thought Tony had already come and I went out to get it. There," he hesitated, looking down at the note that lay on the desk where he had placed it, "wasn't any mail yet. I called Annie and she said Tony probably wouldn't be able to make it up the hill, and I'm not going out there again to see if he did.

"Anyway," he quickly changed the subject to avoid more questions, "how is Kate doing over there?"

There was a pause and then a long sigh. When Nan spoke her voice was hushed to a whisper and he could tell she was covering her mouth on the other end. "Mack, I wish I knew. She is just like talking to a rock, and no matter what I do I can't get through. When we're around family she seems to come out of her shell some, but then she disappears again. I just don't know what to do. I've been praying and praying that Papa would help us find a way to reach her, but . . ." she paused again, "it feels like he isn't listening."

There it was. Papa was Nan's favorite name for God and it expressed her delight in the intimate friendship she had with him.

"Honey, I'm sure God knows what he's doing. It will all work out." The words brought him no comfort but he hoped they might ease the worry he could hear in her voice.

"I know," she sighed. "I just wish he'd hurry up."

"Me too," was all Mack could think to say. "Well, you and the kids stay put and stay safe, and tell Arlene and Jimmy hi, and thank them for me. Hopefully I will see you tomorrow."

"Okay, love. I should go and help the others. Everyone's busy looking for candles in case the power goes out. You should probably do the same. There's some above the sink in the basement, and there's leftover stuffed bread dough in the fridge that you can heat up. Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah, my pride is hurt more than anything."

"Well take it easy, and hopefully we'll see you in the morning."

"All right honey. Be safe and call me if you need anything. Bye."

It was kind of a dumb thing to say, he thought as he hung up the phone. Kind of a manly dumb thing, as if he could help if they needed anything.

Mack sat and stared at the note. It was confusing and painful trying to sort out the swirling cacophony of disturbing emotions and dark images clouding his mind—a million thoughts traveling a million miles an hour. Finally, he gave up, folded the note, slid it into a small tin box he kept on the desk, and switched off the light.

Mack managed to find something to heat up in the microwave, then he grabbed a couple of blankets and pillows and headed for the living room. A quick glance at the clock told him that Bill Moyer's show had just started; a favorite program that he tried never to miss. Moyer was one of a handful of people whom Mack would love to meet; a brilliant and outspoken man, able to express intense compassion for both people and truth with unusual clarity. One of the stories tonight had something to do with oilman Boone Pickens, who was now starting to drill for water, of all things.

Almost without thinking, and without taking his eyes off the television, Mack reached over to the end table, picked up a photo frame holding a picture of a little girl, and clutched it to his chest. With the other hand he pulled the blankets up under his chin and hunkered deeper into the sofa.

Soon the sounds of gentle snoring filled the air as the media tube turned its attention to a piece on a high school senior in Zimbabwe, who had been beaten for speaking out against his government. But Mack had already left the room to wrestle with his dreams; maybe tonight there would be no nightmares, only visions, perhaps, of ice and trees and gravity.


Copyright © 2007 by William P. Young


HERE WITH ME by MERCY ME

BLESSED ARE THE MEDDLERS by CHRISTA A.BANISTER

em>





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Blessed Are the Meddlers

NavPress Publishing Group (August 15, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Christa Ann Banister lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband, Will. They love to play Scrabble and throw darts on a map, dreaming about exotic travel locations. In addition to writing fiction, Christa is happily employed as a freelance writer for her many, many clients.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 12.99
Paperback: 265 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (August 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600061788
ISBN-13: 978-1600061783

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Paging Mr. Knightley


It’s like that book I read in the 9th grade that said “’tis a far

better thing doing stuff for other people.”

— Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) in Clueless, 1995


People tell me I’m a modern-day Emma.


Of course, I’ve never worn a corset (thank goodness) or particularly cared for taking tea with those cute little cucumber sandwiches. I’m actually more like the Emma that Alicia Silverstone played in Clueless: a relatively well-dressed, modern girl with a sunny disposition and a weakness for wanting to help make people happy — especially in love.


Now that I am happily hitched, I take it as my solemn duty to make sure all my girlfriends are paired up too. After all, when I was hopelessly single, there were times when I could’ve used a major relationship intervention. So that’s where I come in. I’m like eHarmony without the pesky questionnaire and quarterly payments. Or that persistent aunt who’s always trying to fix you up with, oh, her tennis instructor. And unlike either of the aforementioned, I offer the personal insight of a trusted friend.


Who can argue with that?


My most recent adventures in matchmaking started a couple of months after I married the love of my life, Gavin, and officially became Mrs. Sydney Williams (née Alexander). I was sipping strawberry shortcake smoothies with my friend Jane after our weekly Pilates class. New to the Twin Cities after accepting a job as an on-air reporter at KARE-11, Jane and I had bonded immediately. Not only do we both work in journalism (I’m a full-time freelance writer and aspiring novelist), but we also

attend the same church and share a mutual dislike for Pilates,

despite its obvious benefits.


On the surface, Jane is one of those enviable women who seems to have everything going for her. She has flawless skin that glows without a single drop of Clinique, and her silky blonde hair is cut in an effortlessly chic, Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) bob. Her workout clothes are even impeccably selected, black-and-white Juicy Couture sweats with robin’s egg blue accents that bring out the unusual color of her eyes. Despite her exquisite taste in, well, just about everything, Jane hasn’t been as lucky in love. And with my past experience of having gone on every bad date imaginable before meeting Gavin — unfortunate stories to which Jane could relate all too well — I desperately wanted to help. So after her initial uneasiness about yet another blind date, I set her up with Weston, the lone single guy in my hubby’s touring band.


From what I could tell, Weston seemed normal enough. Sure, he only owned three T-shirts that he wore in a predictable rotation (the Police reunion tour shirt always came first, then his vintage Led Zeppelin, followed by a fading, slightly torn Foo Fighters tank top circa 1997). Another red flag was the winsome flakiness that often goes hand in hand with his choice of occupation. But what Weston did have going for him was a great deal of charm, a killer smile, and enviable chops as a drummer. In fact, Gavin says he’s one of the best that he’s ever worked with — and trust me, Gavin is particular about his drummers, very particular. Unfortunately Weston wasn’t nearly as adept at keeping time with his own life. He was always running at least twenty minutes late. But as far as truly heinous flaws go (i.e., the crucial deal breakers that Jane and I agreed upon, including long stretches of unemployment, bad manners, extreme commitment phobia, issues with cleanliness, severe

Mommy attachment, or a surplus of chest hair), Weston was in

the clear. Or so we thought.


“At first everything was going reasonably well,” Jane said as we settled in at Jamba Juice the morning after her disastrous date. “He was twenty minutes late and wearing the Led Zeppelin T-shirt just like you predicted, but I planned for that. What I didn’t plan for was when he asked if I’d like to see his feet. He kept insisting they were really, really cute.”


“What? He wanted to show you his feet?” I asked, feeling slightly nauseated. Feet aren’t exactly my favorite body feature — especially guys’ feet, which tend to be far more unkempt. In my opinion, a good pedicure could benefit anyone, especially a nonmetrosexual male.


“We were eating guac and chips. I nearly lost my appetite,” Jane said. “I said no at least three times, and he took off his socks and shoes anyway — right there in the restaurant! Apparently he’s rather proud of his hairy hobbit feet.”


“Ewww,” I said. “That’s disgusting.”


“You’re telling me,” Jane said with the dramatic tone she typically uses in her news clips. “It only went downhill from there. He started talking about his pets.”


“Really?” I asked curiously. “But I thought you loved animals.”


“Well, I do,” Jane began. “But apparently not the way Weston does. He has five dogs and three cats, and they all sleep in the same bed as him.”


“Gross!” I said, wondering how in the world Gavin hadn’t picked up on Weston’s peculiar lifestyle. I mean, it’s great that Weston is responsible enough to take care of eight pets and play the occasional out-of-town show. But he’s definitely headed toward wacko zookeeper territory, not exactly an aphrodisiac.


“Yeah, and he told me precisely where each animal sleeps. Boo Boo, his calico cat, sleeps right by his head just like a human. His golden retriever, Pesto, lies next to Rosemary, his cocker spaniel, at the foot of his bed. And Nacho — ”


“Nacho?” I asked quizzically.


“Yeah, Nacho, is another one of his dogs,” she said matter of-factly. “Bottom line: I can’t deal with that many pets.” “So did the night get any better?” I asked sympathetically. I mean, how much worse could it get?


“A little. But only because I told him I needed to head home and feed my fish,” Jane added with her trademark cackle. For the record: Jane’s laugh is an interesting cross between Chandler’s ex, Janice, from Friends and Cameron Diaz’s California girl giggle that can be heard in any number of her movies. It’s loud and distinct, but somehow Jane manages to make it endearing.


“Oooooh, that’s cold!” I replied. “Guess you won’t be seeing him again.”


“Well, he still asked for my number,” Jane said. “Can you believe that? He didn’t sense that things weren’t going well.” “That’s unfortunate.” I sighed. “Well, at least we can cross Weston off your list of potential boyfriends.”


“Yeah.” She sighed back. “Who else can you set me up with, Syd?”


And that’s the funny thing about matchmaking. No matter how terrible a job I’ve done in the past, my friends (and even a few of my clients) just keep coming back for more. It’s practically my second job, even though my success rate is highly suspect, probably in the neighborhood of, oh, one for forty. It’s a good thing I’m not matchmaking on commission or I’d be poor — really poor.


Just when I thought I’d be taking an extended break from setting up my girlfriends with their most recent Mr. Wrong, one of them would quickly remind me of my greatest success as Cupid: the day I introduced my friend Rain to Stinky Nate, who is now her husband.


At first blush, it probably seems a little rude to call someone, let alone a friend, Stinky Nate. But Nate, a barista at my favorite downtown Minneapolis coffee shop, Moose & Sadie’s, is stinky and couldn’t care less. Much like Matthew McConaughey, he prefers the au naturel approach to personal hygiene. Basically, Nate’s the guy who’d make any environmental activist’s attempts to go green seem paltry in comparison. Nate showers only on special occasions (thank goodness he did on his wedding day, one of his few nonstinky moments) and doesn’t wear cologne — or even deodorant for that matter. Inspired by the way cats, his calico in particular, clean up by licking themselves, he’s been in constant pursuit of a more feline-like way to keep himself fresh.


He hasn’t succeeded, though, which makes him smell less than desirable. Especially in the sweat-soaked summer months, which were rapidly approaching.


But I knew Rain, a strict vegetarian who sews her own smock tops and only wears jewelry woven from hemp, would find someone like Stinky Nate simply irresistible. Of course, Rain maintained she wasn’t looking for love. Whenever I’d suggest a setup, she’d remind me that she was a feminist who was more than happy to spend the majority of her free time in the company of her two favorite musicians, Billy Joel and Helen “I Am Woman” Reddy. She needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle, she said.

So I did it the old-fashioned way: I slyly introduced them when Rain and I met at Moose & Sadie’s for breakfast before church one Sunday morning.


I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight, even though I’m not naturally inclined to believe in that sort of thing. Nonetheless, Rain and Nate totally hit it off and went out two days later (so much for swearing off men, huh?). And from the first wheat germ smoothie, their chemistry was palpable. Nate proposed a couple of years later (with an engagement ring made from hemp, natch), even though Rain had vowed she’d never marry.


Now that the stinky/hippie couple is married — and happily so — I’ll admit that I can’t help but feel pleased whenever I see them together. Same goes for my best friend, Kristin, and her current beau, Justin. Even though I went out with Justin first (and trust me, it’s far less complicated in hindsight than it sounds), I encouraged Kristin to be patient with Justin when he was having trouble making up his mind early on, and it’s paid off big-time. They’re not only sublimely happy, but they’re talking about getting engaged soon. Thinking about Kristin getting engaged makes me think of how much I miss her. Ever since she accepted a teaching job in Duluth, which is a little more than two hours away, I hardly ever see her, save for the occasional weekend visit.


Despite my successes and the ever-growing number of singles in my social circle, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m destined for the soul mate–finding business, no matter how many of my girlfriends try to convince me that it’s my gift. But in the name of love, I’ll always give it my best shot.

CASTING CROWNS - I WILL PRAISE YOU IN THE STORM



VOTE NOVEMBER 4th 2009

5 More Friends

AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE by PATTI LACY


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

An Irishwomans' Tale

Kregel Publications (July 8, 2008)

by

Patti Lacy



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a B.S. in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She has two grown children with her husband, Alan, and lives in Illinois.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Far away from her Irish home, Mary Freeman begins to adapt to life in Midwest America, but family turmoil and her own haunting memories threaten to ruin her future.

A shattered cup. Cheap tea. Bitter voices asking what's to be done with the "little eejit." Mary, an impetuous Irishwoman, won't face the haunting memories--until her daughter's crisis propels her back to County Clare. There, in a rocky cliffside home, Mary learns from former neighbors why God tore her from Ireland forty-five years earlier. As she begins to glimpse His sovereign plan, Mary is finally able to bury a dysfunctional past and begin to heal. Irish folk songs and sayings add color to the narrative.

Watch the Book Trailer:



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

CONGRADULATIONS REBECA SEITZ


Hey, Nora! Here’s a pic of Anderson holding his new little sis hours after her birth…


What a precious picture. I recently talked to Rebeca Seitz who is recovering quickly after the birth of her baby girl, Ella. Ella is seen in this picture with her loving brother. CONGRADULATIONS Rebeca and family. Thanks for sharing your precious gift of love with us!! You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Nora :D

NORA INTERVIEWS ERIC WILSON

(Eric Wilson - mild mannered author)

(Eric Wilson's sillier side - enjoying his book signing for new book "Field of Blood")

I'm happy to introduce Eric Wilson, author of many books - Two of his most recent "Fire Proof" and "Field of Blood". I have to admit I have been too chicken to even open one of Eric's books because of their scary covers. Then I read "Fire Proof" a novelization of the movie by the same name (before that Eric did a novelization of Flywheel and Facing the Giants).

After reading Fire Proof and getting to know the man behind his stories through this interview, I'm glad to report to you that I have actually opened up and read at least the first chapter of several of his books. He's quite good!! I've changed my mind and I'm not afraid to actually sit down and read an entire book by him (which I will be doing soon)I hope after this interview you will too!.


How did you start your writing career? Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
My mom would tell you I had a pen in my hand and said words like "irascible" at the age of two. I remember first wanting to write around age ten. I still have some of my stories from that time period. My family started believeing I might actually be a writer someday after I finished a three-hundred page novel during the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. It was a lot longer till I was a published novelist, but that convinced me I could do it if I set my mind to it.

What inspires you to write? What inspires you while you are writing?

To be honest, I think the muse is somewhat of a myth. Yes, there are days I feel "inspired," but that's a mood and an emotion. The truth is, to be a writer, you have to sit down and write regardless. For me, the mood and inspiration comes while doing it, in much the same way my wife and I get in the mood by sharing some hugs and kisses. It's a choice, a commitment, and the rest is the reward.

(Book Trailer "Field of Blood" Eric's New Book)

What were your favorite books growing up? What made them so special to you?



I loved the Narnia books (imagination), Harriet the Spy (character), Encyclopedia Brown (mystery), and later the S.E. Hinton (real-life emotion) books. They all added to my empathy for the world and those around me.


Out of all the questions you've been asked in interviews is there a question you wished someone would have asked but didn't? What was the question and what is your answer?

Oooh, you've opened a door here, haven't you? I've never been asked what I would wear to the Academy Awards, if I were nominated for Best Screenplay. I can tell you now, though, that I'm sooo not into fashion and celebrity stuff. I'd go wearing a Montgomery Wards suit--no tie...I hate ties! It drives me crazy that we have people in great need both here and abroad, and we worry about wearing a $200 pair of jeans or shoes or whatever. No. I'd love to turn that whole thing on its ear.

Out of all the books you have written did you have a say in the choice of covers? You have had some amazing covers tell us about your favorites?

I've had some input in all my covers, but I would be helpless without the amazing artists and receptive ears of the editors. The only cover I had to fight hard over was "Expiration Date." The first one was horrible. I complained. No one listened. Finally, a buyer at Barnes and Noble complained that it was amateurish. That got the publisher's attention, and they changed it before it went to print. Whew!

I've heard authors say that their characters came alive and took them place they didn't expect to go? Did that happen to you in any of the books you've written? If this hasn't been your experience what has surprised you when writing your books?


Oh, my characters definitely guide my stories. I'm often surprised--usually, pleasantly--by the twists and turns they add. For me, it's a great example of God's sovereignty and our free will. I have a plan for my characters, and yet I don't want to violate that free will that often causes them to change the story's direction. In the end, though, I as the author am in control and will form the story to its rightful conclusion.

How did you come up with the idea for your book "Dark to Mortal Eyes"? Who's eye is on the cover of that book. Great cover very "Eye" catching (Ha! Ha! – I'm sorry I couldn't' resist!) Did you have a say so on the cover of this book.


I loved that cover. Some Christian bookstores actually returned it to the publisher because it looked "too scary." Oh boy! The book is all about the unseen spiritual realm that plays out around us, the realm that is "dark to mortal eyes." I never changed a thing on that cover. I don't know whose eye it is, but I imagined it as Josee's, the main character. She's a troubled, independent, college-age girl who has seen some dark things, but wants to understand God's place in her life.

Is your spouse a hands-on or hands-off kind of partner with your writing? Does she like to get involved in your work? Please explain.
1. If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money); to do anything you wanted to do, what would that be? Why?
(Recently Eric and his wife at a book signing)
My wife's involvement is practical, emotional, and spiritual. She is so supportive. She protects my space and time, while I'm writing. She picks up the slack, helps work part-time to pay the bills, and prays for me. She is incredible. She isn't much of a fiction reader, though. She doesn't read my books until they're finally printed and done.

In the book "Fire Proof" and the other novelizations that you have written is it a harder writing experience because the dialogue is word for word from the movie. You pretty much had to stick to the script – was that hard for you?

(movie trailer - "Fire Proof")

Your writing style is so different from the novelization that I have read, what preparation do you go through for a book you think up as opposed to the novelization? How do you start preparing for the novelizations that you write?
Actually, I've added a lot of dialogue, backstory, and even subplots in my novelizations. The Kendricks have the final say, but they've been very receptive to the ideas I've thrown in. They've allowed me great freedom, so long as the movie content is included. It's been a fun process, and I've even included other lines of dialogue, spliced in, that help make more sense on the page. The only thing I've done that was nixed was an arsonist subplot. The Kendricks felt that most fireman movies have that subplot, and they wanted their story to be a new take on the genre. I agree with their decision, but the first printing of the book had a small newspaper clipping at the end of chapter two that was accidentally left in. If you have one of those books, you ended up with the misprint. (Who knows? Maybe one day it'll be worth something. lol)

The preparation isn't much different. Yes, my style is different from the novelizations, but mostly in content. As a believer, I want to follow Jesus and love him with my whole heart. I get to express that more vocally through the novelizations I've done. I also know the struggle I have between spirit and flesh, mind and soul, and I try to represent that struggle honestly through the characters in my own original stories. Underneath that struggle is a deep faith and love for Jesus, but it's a much messier, less comfortable depiction than seen in the movie novelizations. If I'm sitting with a fellow believer, we can talk for hours about the Bible and things God is doing in our lives. If I'm sitting with some of my nonbelieving friends, we'll often talk about our questions and frustrations, about the hypocrisy in the human heart. I get a chance to explore both of those angles, that earthly tension between heaven and hell, in my different types of writing.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK ERIC SO I DID!!

1. If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money), what would you do? Please explain.


I would travel to my heart's content. I love the world--peoples, foods, nature, everything. I want to see it all!

2. What is your favorite restaurant to have breakfast at? Why? Is there something you usually order there? If so, what is it?


I don't eat out much (not in the budget), but I love a good breakfast buffet. There's nothing like a great omelet, with veggies, meat, cheese, olives, all that good stuff.

3. If you had to be a super hero for a while who would you be and why? (you could also make up – mix and match super powers to be the hero you have always wanted to be).

I've never been much into superheroes. I've always been drawn to the real-life heroes, who work hard every day. I'd love to be able to fly, though. Give me the chance to zoom through canyons and over forests, and I'd be signing up for superhero work today.

4. If you had a time machine and could go back in time to any past event in history, where would you go and why? (This could also apply to a historic event, or a time in your own life…)


(actual pub C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien hung out at)



Man, I love all the nooks and crannies of history. For personal pleasure, though, I'd sneak back to those English pub gatherings where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien read and discussed their then-unknown masterpieces. That would've been so cool!

5. If you were trapped in a dangerous and life threatening situation, which fictional character would you choose to save your life? (this could be a cartoon, comic book character, a super hero, a movie persona etc). Why did you pick them?

Again, not so much into superhero stuff, but...hmm...I guess I'd go with Robin Hood. I always liked that little guy against the establishment, the one standing up for the lowly.

6. Imagine you have $200.00 in your pocket, and you MUST spend it right away. What would you buy? And why? (Please be specific).

Easy. A whole bunch of the new books I want to read.

7. What was the last movie you saw at the theater? Did you have popcorn, candy, drinks? If so, what kind of goodies did you eat? Enquiring minds want to know what you like best!!

"The Express." It was a decent inspirational sports story--except for the people talking in the back row. Urrgghh. I didn't buy anything. Usually, I sneak stuff into the theaters. Otherwise, I couldn't afford to go in the first place.

8. What TV show were you most passionate about as a kid? Why?(you know the shows you couldn't miss each week).



I didn't watch a lot of TV. My first few years were spent traveling overseas. As I got older, though, I loved Magnum P.I. and Call to Glory.

9. If you could interview or hang out with two people in the history of the world for a day who would you pick and why?



I would interview Adam. I'd want to know what things were like at the beginning. As for hanging out, I really wish I could've spent some time with Madeleine L'Engle ("A Wrinkle in Time" author) before she died.

10. If you found a magic lamp and a genie inside was going to grant you 3 wishes; what would you wish for and why?


Hmm. I'd wish for free air-travel for life. I'd want a lighthouse to live and write in. I'd want the chance to treat my wife to a week of shopping, dining, and theater in NYC. She is so non-materialistic, and so deserves to be treated like a queen!

THANK YOU Eric for hanging out with us today and letting us get to know you better.

ARE THERE ANY LAST COMMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE MY READERS WITH?

Thanks for supporting authors and books. It's often a lonely job, and it means so much to hear from readers or to read a review that lets you know what you're doing is not in vain. Thanks for letting me take up a few minutes of your time. I'm honored.

All the Best to you Eric. I look forward to reading your new book "Field of Blood". I really enjoyed "Fire Proof". Remember if you are ever in Atlanta you have to stop by!!

Blessings on your writing friend.

Nora :D