BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

DATE WITH DEATH BY ACE COLLINS REVIEWED



A Date with Death
By Ace Collins
Published by Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN#978-097354359
144 Pages


ABOUT AUTHOR: Ace Collins is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than 60 titles, including;The Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Darkness Before Dawn, and Lassie: A Dog's Life. Ace frequently speaks across the country and on radio and has appeared on national television shows, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox and Friends, Entertainment Tonight, The Early Show and more. When not writing, he works as a magazine editor and graphic designer, as well as host for a charity organization radio and television broadcast. Ace and his wife, Kathy, are based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Back Cover: Helen Meeker is back and has less than thirty days to stop the execution of an innocent pastor who has unbelievably confessed to being a Nazi spy. While on a case that has dynamic implications to uncovering an espionage ring operating on American and British soil, Helen defuses a hostage crisis in a bank robbery gone wrong, unearths an explosive coffin, and is introduced to a dead English hero who seems very much alive. The fate of an innocent girl and the world’s two most dynamic leaders depend upon Helen’s connecting cases before Wilbur Shellmeyer faces a firing squad, and Churchill and Roosevelt meet for a secret conference in upstate New York.

Set against the backdrop of the early days of World War II, A Date with Death combines action, adventure, mystery, and romance in a tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until they, like Helen Meeker, answer the question, “Do I save the leader of the free world or an innocent man scheduled to die to protect someone he loves?” Which life is more important?

Though the answer to this question will be revealed at the end of A Date with Death, Helen’s action and adventure will continue at a break-neck pace throughout the “In the President’s Service Series,” as she takes on new challenges and dangers.
Purchase the eBooks each month here!

Review: This author drops readers into 1941 reminiscing about times past and how a nation survived the attack on Pearl Harbor intertwined with Helen Meekers’ Mission Impossible. I was first introduced to Helen Meeker in the novel Yellow Packard.  It was a great story that evolved around a car called the Yellow Packard and introduced Agent Helen Meeker FBI Agent. She’s a smart, determined woman that won’t quit until all clues are searched and she gets the person she’s seeking.

I was thrilled to receive a review copy from The Book Club Network of Ace Collins new series In the Presidents Service that continued the adventures of Helen Meeker now special assistant to the President! I like Helen Meeker because she’s a gutsy women working in a man’s field. They didn’t think she could make it. “Women don’t have the stomach for real law-enforcement work. Never have, never will.” Johnson groaned.

Agent Meeker was there to get the job done and prove these guys wrong. She wasn’t afraid to get what she needed and do whatever it took to track down information and save lives. She’d show them she was more than a pretty face. Helen enjoyed her varied assignments the president had for her except one, being an escort to visitors from other countries. The clock was ticking down to the execution of an innocent man, Wilbur Shellmeyer a Lutheran minister confessed, “Why would a man want to die for something he didn’t do?” she’d get to the bottom of this, but she’d need the help of her x-partner Henry Reece. Miss Meeker wasn’t a patient woman. She’d forget protocol and figure out a way to get Henry’s help NOW- she had on time to waste.

Helen liked working directly with FDR and she never got tired of meeting in the oval office. “It was like no other room in the world. It was the heart beat of the nation…. “Normal had stopped with Pearl Harbor. Everyday had different demands and goals; with an ever changing schedule.” That’s what made her job challenging.

Finding Hope book club spoke to Ace Collins on speaker phone at our meeting a few months back. We learned so much from talking to him. It made reading the Yellow Packard a richer reading experience. I recommend this book and the series for your book club

Men and women would enjoy this suspenseful story based in a time period that rocked the world. It includes a splash of romance, sprinkled with a dash of tongue and cheek humor! It’s a winning combination.

. Ace has a perfectly timed ending to this fast paced adventure story. I know the next novel will take me on another page-turning adventure with agent Helen Meeker as she fights for justice. Can’t wait!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

NO ONE TO TRUST by LYNETTE EASON 5 BOOK GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY

NO ONE TO TRUST (5) Book Drawing
By Lynette Eason



ABOUT BOOK: Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she's been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?

The search for her husband--and answers--takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn't know who to believe.

Always thrilling, Lynette Eason outdoes herself in this taut, breakneck story of lies, loyalties, and love that will have readers up all night to discover the truth hidden in the shadows.



ABOUT AUTHOR: Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series. She was a 2013 finalist for the ECPA Book Awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Find out more at www.lynetteeason.com



JOIN THE BOOK FUN and Lynette Eason at The Book Club Network discussion. Go to TBCN www.bookfun. org  JOIN it's FREE and EASY!! 

Scroll down the page. When you get to the book club CLICK on the LINK and answer one of the questions to be entered into the 5 book drawing.

SEE YOU THERE!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org 

DARE TO LOVE AGAIN by JULIE LESSMAN - 5 BOOK GIVEAWAY JOIN TODAY


DARE TO LOVE AGAIN (5) Book Drawing
By Julie Lessman

ABOUT BOOK: Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he's a fraud just like all the rest of the men she's cared for. Does she dare love again?

The lushness of the glorious Gilded Age beautifully showcases Lessman's passion as a writer in this engaging love story written with humor and heart. From the glamour of San Francisco's Nob Hill to the seedy gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, Dare to Love Again is a journey to find a love that never fails. Fans will love revisiting the world of the cousins McClare, and new readers will seek more of Julie's passion-filled novels.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com

JULIE SHARES here HEART and so much more! CLICK LINK TO READ MORE http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2014/01/julie-lessman-shares-her-heart-and-how.html

JOIN THE BOOK FUN and JULIE LESSMAN at The Book Club Network discussion. Julie always livens up the party. Go to TBCN www.bookfun. org  JOIN it's FREE and EASY!! 

Scroll down the page. When you get to the book club CLICK on the LINK and answer one of the questions to be entered into the 5 book drawing.

SEE YOU THERE!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org 

THE DANCING MASTER by JULIE KLASSEN - JOIN the 10 BOOK CONTEST TODAY


10 Book Giveaway at TBCN 
ABOUT BOOK: Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julia Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul--and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master--a man her mother would never approve of--but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village...and to her mother's tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.


JULIE KLASSEN at the JANE AUSTIN BALL
TO READ MORE ABOUT THE BALL AND CONFERENCE CLICK HERE http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2014/01/julie-klassen-at-jane-austin-ball-see.html

ABOUT AUTHOR: Three-time Christy Award winner Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in St. PaulMinnesota. Learn more at www.julieklassen.com


JOIN THE BOOK FUN and JULIE KLASSEN at The Book Club Network discussion.  Go to TBCN www.bookfun. org  JOIN it's FREE and EASY!! 

Scroll down the page. When you get to the book club CLICK on the LINK and answer one of the questions to be entered into the 10 book drawing.

SEE YOU THERE!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org 

DELIGHTFUL PICTURE BOOK PIRATES ON THE FARM REVIEWED



Pirates on the Farm
By Denette Fretz
Illustrated by Gene Barretta
ISBN#978-0-310-72348-6
 Pages HB Picture Book
 
Author
ABOUT AUTHOR: ABOUT AUTHOR: Denette Fretz is a first grade teacher whose passion is crafting inventive, engaging stories that encourage life-application of biblical principles. Fretz resides in Oregon with her husband, two teenage children, a sassy cat, and a spastic Jack-A-Bee.

http://www.genebarretta.com/
Gene Barretta Illustrator













ABOUT ILLUSTRATOR: “What are they doing now?”

That was the popular question around my house and neighborhood.
It was not unusual to see my brother Billy and me dressed up in homemade
costumes – filming Super 8mm dramas – attempting risky stunts in the ravine -
animating GI Joes and weird-looking clay figures – building and performing clunky
puppets – drawing offbeat comics and imitating The Beatles.

Today, life isn’t very different.
Billy is a writer, director, producer and puppeteer for The Muppets.
I’m an author and illustrator of children’s books. My illustration and animation
work also appears on Sesame Street and Between the Lions. In addition, I have
designed characters for The Jim Henson Company.

The best part of our careers is that occasionally we get to work together!
Unfortunately, no one will pay us to imitate The Beatles.

I live outside of Philadelphia, PA with my wife, Leslie and son, Benjamin.
http://www.genebarretta.com/
Page from book Illustrated by Gene Barretta











Back Cover: 'No one ever imagined that five swashbuckling pirates would settle in our proper little southern community. But they did.' When pirates move in next door, life on the farm is bound to get interesting. But will the unadventurous Sanders family be able to handle the pirates' bad manners, ghastly grub, and outrageous antics? Or will they learn the importance of loving one's neighbor and help the graceless pirates find their 'land legs'?

Review: I loved the illustrations and the message of this book. I’m thankful for the review copy of such a precious and fun story.

What does it mean when the bible says to love your neighbor as yourself? This author sets up a scenario everyone young and old can relate to. The story takes place in a small town where everyone knows your name, your business and how things are supposed to go. It shows how town’s people react to Pirates moving to their town with a strange way of talking, dressing and doing life. They couldn’t believe they were now their neighbors! This story will have children discover this scripture reference for the first time and parents will look at it in a new light.

The Book Blurb says, “Will they learn the importance of loving one’s neighbor and help the graceless pirates find their “land legs?”

This is an amusing and delightful picture book that will have children laugh as the towns people try to figure out these pirates and at how the Pirates try to fit in. I loved how this author and illustrator show how one family dared to love neighbors even though they were very different than themselves.

Five Pirates traded doubloons for dirt and bought a farm. They were inexperienced on how to work a farm. The Pirates watched others to get an idea on how things should go. But they were still clueless. The daughter tells of her families experience with these Pirates. I liked that. The child saw how their father was willing to lend a hand in showing these Pirates how things were done. The mother wanted nothing to do with the lot of them at first but she watch how her husband went out of his way to make them feel welcome. He didn’t judge them but loved them. Just because the Pirates were different it didn’t make them bad.

The pirates accepted the help and were very grateful for the help. So the Pirates invited the family to dinner. The family noticed they ate different things – but they had fun anyway. The child’s family invites the Pirates to a community event. They were just being themselves at this event. They didn’t know the rules of the community and they broke a few laws and were charged a fine they couldn’t pay.

The father searches his heart on what he should do to help and/or wonders if he should do anything at all about the situation. How would God have the farmer help? He wondered. Would the Pirates have to leave the village? WWJD?

The illustrations in the book help get the message across to young readers. There is so much to look at that will make them giggle and the parents grin.

So, if your child and/or grand child are fascinated with Jake the pirate cartoon on T.V. They will love this book. There are notes at the end for parents on how they can talk about what they just read with their kids. It’s a story recommended for ages 4-7. This is the first book in the Next Door Series; I can’t wait to read the rest. It has a great message we all could learn inside these colorful pages. It will also plant seeds of faith in the young and put a big smile on your face. It will soon become a family favorite. I highly recommend this humorous and heartwarming tale to kids and the young at heart.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

JULIE KLASSEN at A JANE AUSTIN BALL SEE IT HERE and LEARN about 10 BOOK GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY



THE DANCE MASTER (10) Book Drawing


ABOUT AUTHOR: Three-time Christy Award winner Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more at www.julieklassen.com

Why do you love Jane Austen so much?

I love Austen’s noble, leading men: Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, Mr. Knightley, and Captain Wentworth. I love her intelligent humor, and the worlds she created in her books (and the mini-series based on them) like Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion—a world of chivalrous gentleman and lady-like ladies, carriage rides and romantic balls. It’s a time and place I like to visit and again and again, and thankfully many readers do as well.

When did you first read a Jane Austen book? What was the name of the book and what did you think about it at the time?

You know, I don’t remember which book I read first--we’re talking many years ago now. But the first mini-series I saw based on a Jane Austen book was the 1995 A & E version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. After seeing it, I read all of Jane Austen’s books and decided to set my own historical novel in this time period.

Nora: I haven’t read a Jane Austen book yet. But I’ve watched the movie you’ve mentioned. Fun! Loved it!

How did you hear about the Jane Austen ball? Was this the first one you’ve ever gone to?

The ball was a part of the annual meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America—held for the first time this past year in Minneapolis (near where I live). I am a member of the local Minnesota chapter of the society, so I’d heard about the convention and the ball for months leading up to it. It was my first time attending the annual convention, but I hope to attend again someday.

Were their guidelines about the type of clothes you’d wear? What requirements were there for someone to attend?

Regency-era dress was suggested and appreciated, but not required. To attend the ball, however, one had to be registered for the conference. It was a sold-out event and I was happy to be a part of it.
Nora: Thanks for sharing these fun pictures!

I’d love to know how you got the idea for your new book The Dancing Master?

In Jane Austen’s time, dancing was one of the few ways young men and women could spend time together and court one another. Dancing was considered such an important social skill that parents hired dancing masters to come into the homes and teach their sons and daughters not only dance steps, but also deportment and etiquette. So, as an author of half a dozen other books set in the Regency era—and someone who loves to dance-- it was probably only a matter of time until I wrote about a dancing master.

Nora: We’ve lost this art. Dancing does look like fun!

What do you hope readers take away from your new book?

The main themes of the book are love and grace. I enjoyed weaving in grace in its many forms--social graces, grace in dancing, and most importantly, God’s grace--and hope readers are reminded of His amazing grace for us all.

Nora: I’m looking forward to reading this Julie. Love the cover and the themes you mentioned!

What was your take away from the Jane Austen experience?

Beyond the historical information I learned, I came away being impressed by the diverse reasons people attend the event and their varying approaches to Austen: Some love the romance and noble heroes, as I do, some come from a literary admiration of Austen’s writing, some from a love of England, and others from an intellectual or academic focus on the history of the time period in which Jane Austen lived and wrote. The classes offered at the conference reflected this diversity.

Nora: I’d love to go to one of these just to people watch. It sounds very interesting!

How did you get your husband to take dance classes with you for research?

Good question! Lots of “pretty please with sugar on top.” He’s a good sport.
Nora: That’s not working for me. Maybe I need to say sugar on top instead of cherry? I’ll give it a try! Grin!

What surprised you about the Jane Austen event? Learn anything more about this popular author? If so what?

I learned that Austen draws people of different ages, from different countries, and many different walks of life: professors, scholars, writers, retirees, students, and professionals young and old.



What is the fascination with Jane Austen and that time period for you personally? What do you think others are fascinated with? Do tell!

I cannot claim academic fascination. For me, it is all about the romance and the gallantry. I love the chivalry, manners, and restraint of the era, the beautiful gowns and grand balls where the mere touch of gloved hands sparked romance. I find it a very romantic time, as do many, I’m happy to say. It was also a time when things like family prayers and attending church were commonplace, something that makes this time period an appealing setting for Christian fiction in particular. Thanks, Nora. And thanks for having me here!


Julie

Thanks for sharing All these fun pictures and video!
Nora :o)

ALL ENTRIES for the 10 BOOK DRAWING are done at  THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK and enter the 5 book Drawing there www.bookfun.org

You must JOIN the network to participateIt’s FREE and EASY www.bookfun.org scroll down after you join and CLICK on the LINK on top of Julie’s new book cover of THE DANCING MASTER!!

THANKS JULIE for giving us look at Jane Austin through your eyes. THANKS also for showing us this Jane Austin type ball. Fun! I look forward to reading this book. I know others will too!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

LYNETTE EASON UP-CLOSE and PERSONAL GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY


NO ONE TO TRUST (5) Book Drawing at TBCN

What inspired your new book No One to Trust and rest of the books in the Hidden Identity series? My EDITOR! LOL. Seriously. She told me she had this idea and then gave me a paragraph blurb and wanted to know if I could do something with it. I took her idea and turned it into a three book series. J

Who do you identify most with in your story, No One to Trust? Why? 
I suppose I identify with Summer. I HATE being lied to, deceived, etc. Now, understand, my husband in no way resembles my hero of No One to Trust (other than being an awesome hero) and he’s never lied to me (at least not that I know of, so I’m going to go with he hasn’t). But when people lie, it just REALLY bothers me and I would have to work and pray hard to find forgiveness. But I would get there. Just like Summer did. J 

What part of your day requires the most patience?

Mornings. I LOVE mornings when I have nothing to do, but the whole rush to get ready for school and out the door is a pain for me. When my husband is home, he does it and that’s a huge weight off me for some reason.

What is the highlight of your day? 

Picking my daughter up from school and hearing that she had a good day.

What is your favorite part of writing a story? What do you like least?

My favorite part of writing a story is the whole idea of it. I love the initial thought, the jotting of characters and scene ideas. And of course my absolute favorite part is THE END. What do I like the least? I can’t really think of anything. I suppose I don't like the whole marketing part, but if you’re specifically talking about writing the story, then I guess my least favorite part is when

What do you hope readers take away from this series? Your novel, No One to Trust?

I would love for readers to take away the theme: Forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy. When someone “does us wrong”, our first reaction is to want to get even. But that’s not what God would have us do. He would have us model our behavior after HIS example. And what an example it is, right? He DIED for those who wronged him. And for those who sin against him. And for those who WOULD sin against Him. So if my readers can take away the fact that they loved the suspense story AND the fact that they want to forgive someone, well…that’s all I can ask.

LYNETTE ANY FINAL THOUGHTS COMMENTS?

Thank you so much for having me here. I love to hear from readers so please email me at lynetteeason@gmail.com, stop by my website to look around and sign up for my newsletter: www.lynetteeason.com, follow me on twitter @lynetteeason or find me on facebook: www.facebook.com/lynette.eason 
Lynette

Looking forward to meeting you Lynette, on Saturday Feb 8th 1-3p.m. at the Buford Mall of GA Store!! 
If any of you are in the Buford GA Area stop by and MEET LYNETTE EASON and have her sign your copy of No One to Trust. If you need directions call the LifeWay store 770-831-7707, located at 3125 Woodward Crossing Blvd, Buford GA.


CHANCE TO WIN A BOOK NOW - GO TO THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK TO ENTER the 5 BOOK CONTEST Going on RIGHT NOW on the Front page!! www.bookfun.org

All ENTRIES Are made there!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where book fun Begins!

JULIE LESSMAN SHARES HER HEART and HOW TO WIN COPIES OF DARE TO LOVE AGAIN



ABOUT AUTHOR: Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books atwww.julielessman.com.


LIFE ON THE EDGE … By Julie Lessman

Okay, it’s true—I’m definitely what you’d call an “Edgy Inspirational” romance writer, teetering on the edge of what some consider appropriate for the Christian market. But I have a confession to make—yep, I’m afraid of heights. And let’s not sugarcoat this, I’m talking heights of any kind … peering down from those tiny windows at the top of the St. Louis Arch (cold chill) or a knee-knocking trek across a dry creek on a board three feet high. Whether it’s the physical aspect of getting nauseous on the Six Flags ferris wheel or just sick to my stomach over a 1-star review, trust me, it’s not pretty … nor comfortable.

It takes me back to the summer my 12-year-old daughter talked me into an innocent chairlift ride at the Lake of the Ozarks, billed as a relaxing scenic adventure over a pretty ravine of trees and wildflowers. Yeah, right. Pretty? Maybe, if I had kept my eyes open. Relaxing? Not even close for either my daughter or me, the poor, scarred child whose mother had a death grip on her, forcing her to sing Amazing Grace while I hyperventilated and muttered “In Jesus’ name” over and over under my breath. I wanted to throw up once my feet hit solid ground, and I vowed I would NEVER go there again.

So a few years back, when a reviewer told her blog audience that she stopped reading my newly released book, A Passion Denied, halfway through because “In my opinion, smut is smut. Even if you slap God's name in it on occasion, it's still smut,” I have to admit, it kinda feels like that stupid aerial tram ride had given way, plummeting me into a ravine on a patch of thistle and Missouri primrose. Ouch!

Now before you go feeling sorry for me, please understand that as my Seeker bud, Ruth Logan Herne, likes to point out, I knew I was going to rock the boat when I hit the Christian market with my brand of passion, so duh! And, yes, I really have developed thicker skin for things like 1-star reviews and nasty comments, neither of which barb me quite as much as before. But I’d be less than truthful if I didn’t tell you that I ache inside at the thought of offending people I love and respect because some of the “passion” in my books made them uncomfortable. And more to the heart of the matter, I bleed inside at the prospect that what I write would in any way offend God.

So if you would be kind enough to humor me today, I’d like to take this opportunity to editorialize just a bit by explaining to both my critics and my supporters just WHY I write the way that I do. It should be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a woman of considerable passion—whether for God or romance or even just brushing my teeth, which I do, by the way, ruthlessly, eyes closed and a pained expression on my face. So when God tapped me on the shoulder in a beauty shop (figuratively, of course) while reading a 2001 Newsweek cover article on how Christian movies, books and music were on the threshold of exploding, I was nervous. Now is the time to finish your book, the thought came, and I knew that meant the book I’d begun at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind. But romance? The "subgenre" that literary snobs (myself included) looked down upon? Yes, the thought came again, write for Me. Mmm … passion for God, an interesting concept. Thus was born my tagline—Passion With a Purpose.


So I did. And then I sent tons of query letters touting the statistic that “nine out of ten women nationwide (90%) consider themselves to be Christian” -- American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the Barna Group. Ironically, most of these women who do read romance wouldn’t choose Inspirational romance to save their soul. Why, you may ask? Well, I can only speak for myself and my friends who wanted more heart-pounding and 21st-century realistic romantic tension interlaced with God’s precepts, something that hasn’t been real prevalent in the Christian market. As a result, most of my friends, Christian and non, read secular romance, which, of course, generally promotes the world’s amoral lifestyle rather than God’s. What’s wrong with this picture? I mean if the world can take something that God created and use it to sell its amoral agenda, then why can’t Christians utilize this God-given passion to promote Him and His precepts?
Look at the world today—it’s obsessed with illicit passion. Hollywood promotes adultery and unmarried couples sleeping together as sexy, and I can count on one hand how many young, unmarried women I know who are still virgins today, Christian or no. Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in a very passionate love letter called “Song of Solomon.” And what happens? The world uses this beautiful, God-given gift to shove sin down peoples’ throats, and I, for one, am really sick of it. I want to use passion the way it was intended—to teach people God’s precepts and therein, His love. It’s the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for my readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.

But those who disagree with me do give me pause to think … and to pray … that I stay the course with God’s plan and not my own. I thank them for their passion for purity, which I assure them, is as fervent as mine and which inspires me to be even more vigilant and careful in future stories I write. And, yes, I do understand the concern and “passion” of those who feel Christian romance must remain chaste and pure. But on the other side of the spectrum, there are Christians like me, who worry that “chaste and pure” will not reach the majority of Nora Roberts or Hannah Montana or the MTV crowd anymore than old-time Gospel music will reach those who listen to Christian rock such as Pillar or metalcore rock like Underoath. The Body of Christ is just that—a body of human beings at varying levels of faith. It’s not one size fits all in reaching people for Christ, but it’s the cry of St. Paul who said “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Salt … in an unsavory world.

But I’ll be honest—in the last few months, I have been going through a really discouraging time regarding my writing, wondering if I was on track with God regarding the level of passion I include in my books. Sure, I’ve received lots of positive feedback, like the 15-year-old who couldn’t talk to her mom about anything, she said, until she and her mom found common ground in their mutual love of A Passion Most Pure. Or the guy who contacted me to get a signed copy for a friend he wanted as a girlfriend. When he told her he wanted a deeper relationship with her, she actually made him read A Passion Most Pure because “that was the kind of relationship she wanted, with God in the middle.” Or the woman who’d “fallen away” from Christianity and wouldn’t read Inspirational books on a dare, but picked mine up not realizing it was spiritual. She wrote that A Passion Most Pure rekindled her love for God and gave her hope again. These are stories that I treasure in my heart.

But life up on the “edge” is still scary for me, nonetheless, because at the base core of who I am as a woman and a writer, I have this deep, primal longing to please and honor my God. So I was praying with my prayer partner about it (AGAIN!) when her 25-year-old daughter stopped by, a girl I hadn’t seen in a long time but knew that she had strayed from her Christian roots—living with her boyfriend before they got married, not going to church anymore, heavy drinking, etc. This young woman proceeded to tell me that when she read my books, she actually got angry at me. Why? Because the spiritual parts convicted her so much that she wanted to throw the books out. But she didn’t, she said, BECAUSE the intense romance so grabbed her by the throat, that she was compelled to finish the books. And when she turned the last page of A Passion Redeemed, she told me it had brought her to a whole other level with God. I had tears in my eyes when I learned she is now back at church and trying to live for Him. Call me “edgy” if you will, but for me, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Writing on the “edge” in anything—romance, suspense, young adult, women’s fiction—is a dizzying prospect for any of us who attempt it, especially for those who don’t like heights … or the jolting effect when you crash to the ravine below. But it’s also exhilarating standing on that cliff, eyes on God instead of the valley below, hoping and praying the wind of the Holy Spirit will help you to soar like an eagle … for Him. And in that one breathless moment when something you wrote turns the heart of a person back to the Father … oh my … you feel like you can fly!

So I’m going to go out on another ledge here and ask what your thoughts are on “edgy” Christian fiction:

Answer one or all of the questions above, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my latest (and sweetest and least passionate!) book, Dare to Love Again.

1.)    Are you pro or con, and if so, why?

2.)    Since “romance” is the top-selling genre in the world with $1.438 billion in sales in 2012 (RWA statistics), does the Fifty Shades of Gray phenomenon worry you and if so, how do you think Christians should counter it?

3.)    What’s your favorite genre and why?

 Your feedback is important to those of us who write edgy Christian fiction because as one Body in Christ, we need to be sensitive to the various parts and open to honest discourse.

And for those of you who would like to read excerpts of my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books to see just why the Romantic Times says “this isn’t your mother’s inspirational fiction,” here’s the link. Happy reading! http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/

I’m giving away ONE copy of Julie’s book ON THIS BLOG POST.  For ADDITIONAL GIVEAWAY INFORMATION you can go to THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK and enter the 5 book Drawing there www.bookfun.org

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS for my blog entry so that I can contact you if your name is picked!

You must JOIN the network to participate. It’s FREE and EASY www.bookfun.org scroll down after you join and CLICK on the LINK on top of Julie’s new book cover of DARE TO LOVE AGAIN!!

THANKS JULIE for sharing your heart with readers. I love your transparency and the message in your books!

THANKS FOR COMMENTING FRIENDS!! Looking forward to hearing from you all. Thanks to Revell for the book giveaways!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

THANKS JULIE FOR SHARING YOUR PASSION!! THANKS TO ALL THAT stopped by to join in this engaging discussion. CONGRATS to MAJORIE. Her name was drawn. I'll be sending the book out to you by Friday!

PEEK at SUMMER GIVEAWAYS at TBCN from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS

CLICK BOOK COVERS FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION AND MORE


MAY: Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin (10) Book Giveaway

JUNE: Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis (10 Book Giveaway

JULY: A Match of Wits by Jen Turano (10) Book Giveaway

AUGUST: Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas (10) Book Giveaway


ALL ENTRIES are to be made at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK the MONTH LISTED UNDER BOOK @ www.bookfun.org. MARK YOUR CALENDARS to JOIN US!

I'll have fun interviews with these authors posted on my blog during the discussion time.

You must be a member of TBCN in order to enter the drawing. It's FREE, FUN and EASY to join.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

HEATING UP AUGUST @TBCN REVELL FEATURED AUTHORS

CLICK BOOK COVERS FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION AND MORE


IN PERFECT TIME (5) Book Drawing
By Sarah Sundin



A Bouquet of Love (5) Book Drawing
By Janice Thompson


ALL ENTRIES are to be made at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK STARTING AUGUST 20th  www.bookfun.org. MARK YOUR CALENDARS to JOIN US!

I'll have fun interviews with these authors during the discussion time.

You must be a member of TBCN in order to enter the drawing. It's FREE, FUN and EASY to join.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

JULY REVELL'S FEATURED AUTHORS AND GIVEAWAYS @TBCN

CLICK BOOK COVERS FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION AND MORE
THE REVEALING (5) Book Drawing
By Suzanne Woods Fisher



LOVE COMES HOME (5) Book Drawing
By Ann H. Gabhart


ALL ENTRIES are to be made at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK STARTING JULY 20th  www.bookfun.org. MARK YOUR CALENDARS to JOIN US!

I'll have fun interviews with these authors during the discussion time.

You must be a member of TBCN in order to enter the drawing. It's FREE, FUN and EASY to join.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

JUNE SUMMER READING AND GIVEAWAYS @TBCN

CLICK BOOK COVERS FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION AND MORE
A WOMAN OF FORTUNE (5) Book Drawing
By Kellie Coates Clark


A PLACE IN HIS HEART (5) Book Drawing
By Rebecca DeMarino


ALL ENTRIES are to be made at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK STARTING JUNE 20th  www.bookfun.org. MARK YOUR CALENDARS to join us!

I'll have fun interviews with these authors during the discussion time.

You must be a member of TBCN in order to enter the drawing. It's FREE, FUN and EASY to join.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

PEEK @REVELL'S MAY FEATURED AUTHORS AND TBCN GIVEAWAYS

CLICK BOOK COVERS FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION AND MORE

ONE PERFECT SPRING (5) Book Drawing
By IRENE HANNON


WHILE LOVE STIRS (5) Book Drawing
By Lorna Seilstad


ALL ENTRIES are to be made at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK STARTING MAY 20th  www.bookfun.org. MARK YOUR CALENDARS to join us!

I'll have fun interviews with these authors during the discussion time.

You must be a member of TBCN in order to enter the drawing. It's FREE, FUN and EASY to join.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

APRIL SHOWERS OF BOOKS at TBCN PLUS GIVEAWAY INFO

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE (10) Book Drawing
By Regina Jennings


THE PELICAN BRIDE (5) Book Drawing
By Beth White



WHAT FOLLOWS (5) Book Drawing
By Dan Walsh


ALL ENTRIES are to be made at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK STARTING APRIL 20th  www.bookfun.org. MARK YOUR CALENDARS to JOIN US!

I'll have fun interviews with these authors during the discussion time.

You must be a member of TBCN in order to enter the drawing. It's FREE, FUN and EASY to join.

CHECK IT OUT!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org