Posted 5/20/13 at 3:43 PM | Audra Jennings
Live Online Event to Feature Gist’s Latest Release It Happened at the Fair
Deeanne Gist will be hosting a webcast on May 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM EST, where she will be introducing readers to her latest release, It Happened at the Fair (Howard Books, April 20, 2013). During the live online event, Gist will be discussing her inspiration for the story, sharing interesting facts from her research on the fair, and answering reader questions. During the course of the evening, a number of prizes will be given away to those participating in the discussion.
The webcast will be hosted on Gist’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/deesfriends. Leading up to the webcast, readers can RSVP for the event and sign up to receive an email reminder. In coordination with the It Happened at the Fair blog tour, a drawing is also being held for an iPad Mini. Fans can also enter the contest via Gist’s Facebook page, and the winner will be announced at the end of the webcast.
About It Happened at the Fair:
The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair overflowed with the latest innovations welcomed by a throng of people from all around the globe. This setting replete with history, intrigue and wonder is the backdrop for It Happened at the Fair.
Gambling everything, including the family farm, young inventor Cullen McNamara is determined to make his family proud—and earn his father’s entry money to the Fair Expo back—by selling his design for an automatic sprinkler system inspired by his mother’s death in a mill fire. Struggling with hearing loss from his previous life on the farm, McNamara finds it difficult to communicate with potential buyers over the din in the Fair’s Machinery Building. In an act of desperation, he hires attractive Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.
Much like the newly invented Ferris Wheel, Cullen is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground or will he be carried away?
Gist’s unique blend of romance and historical fiction brings the past alive for her readers through her extensive period research. Readers will find themselves not only caught up with the exciting backdrop of the fair, but the blossoming love story between Cullen and Della. They will also encounter President Grover Cleveland, Alexander Graham Bell, Helen Keller, and Ann Sullivan, actually attendees of the legendary fair.
About the Deeanne Gist:
Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captivated readers everywhere with her original historical and contemporary novels. A favorite among readers and reviewers alike, her popular titles include A Bride Most Begrudging, A Bride in the Bargain, and Maid to Match. It Happened at the Fair, is her ninth published novel.
Posted 5/20/13 at 8:22 AM | Wes Molebash
So I’ve been writing a lot of Insert Image comics lately, and – as it turns out – Donald Miller has been popping up in a lot of my writing. Some good stuff, too. I have a feeling that Donald Miller may become a “character” in this strip in much the same way as Rob Bell has been lately. This could, of course, have both positive and negative benefits. The positive benefits would be that you guys will hopefully laugh your butts off at the Donald-Miller-oriented humor. The negative effects would be that Donald Miller gets freaked out by these cartoons, and it lowers the chances of he and I ever becoming best friends which is something I dream about nightly. FULL POST
Posted 5/17/13 at 6:56 PM | Audra Jennings |
Erin Healy’s Afloat is a stunning exploration of the human spirit and supernatural possibilities
We live in a world where a spiritual battle between good and evil is continually raging around us, whether we are aware of it or not. While supernatural fiction portraying the battle between light and darkness has become a popular genre in recent years, best-selling author Erin Healy hopes readers recognize a difference between her books and the others out there. “The secular paranormal genre is preoccupied with darkness. As honestly as I can, I try to be preoccupied with light.” In her latest release, Afloat (Thomas Nelson/May 7, 2013/ISBN 978-1401685522/$15.99), Healy’s characters are faced with the fight of their lives, in a desperate search for the light.
Architect Vance Nolan has crafted an architectural marvel — a first step toward his life’s goal. Eagle’s Talon is a set of shining residential units built on the water, afloat in a protected cove of the gorgeous Rondeau River. The project is nearly complete, partially occupied, and ready to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way. Then torrential rains and a flood leave a ragged collection of builders, investors and residents stranded in one floating building, completely cut off from the rest of the world.
With limited resources, the motley group is bitterly divided over what to do next. Vance insists they sit tight and wait to be rescued, but developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the unknown and save themselves. Single-mom Danielle Clement is obligated to each man and desperate to protect her young son; however, she isn’t sure which one is wiser.
Power failure, an unnatural daytime darkness, explosions and then a murder slowly expose hidden intentions and dark histories. But Danielle’s son, Simeon, has spotted something bright underwater — beautiful, shifting lights in the dark water beneath them. In this watery world, everyone’s secrets will eventually come to light, and deliverance may mean more than just getting out alive.
When Healy originally set out to write Afloat, she had a love triangle in mind. However, given the situation of the story — a group of people isolated under threat — the love element became something very different. The question she encountered, and in turn, her characters come face to face with, is, Can we love well when our survival instincts have kicked into high gear? “I hope this novel gives readers a renewed conviction that for believers, death is nothing to fear; our survival is guaranteed,” says Healy. “How we love each other, however, is entirely up to us.”
For those who may be new to the supernatural suspense genre, or may be skeptical, Healy offers this invitation, “to those who are curious, I would say that the supernatural world is real, it is biblical, it has a profound effect on our physical reality, and it is more bright than dark. I believe it’s no more terrifying than the physical world, because the same God rules over both. While I can’t speak for every supernatural story, there should be nothing to fear in mine.”
About the Author
Erin Healy is an award-winning editor and bestselling co-author (with Ted Dekker)of the supernatural suspense novels Kiss and Burn. Her solo debut, Never Let You Go, ushered in a new brand of fiction, building on her work with Dekker, that melds supernatural suspense with female-friendly relational drama. Healy continues to deliver a unique take on suspense with a little decidedly feminine point of view, although she admits that Afloat has more of the male point of view than her previous releases.
Healy earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. She began her career as an editor for Christian Parenting Today before serving as a book editor for WaterBrook Press. Healy founded WordWright Editorial Services in 2002 and specializes in fiction book development. She has worked with many popular authors in a number of genres such as Frank Peretti, James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Robin Lee Hatcher, Gilbert Morris, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer and Robert Whitlow.
While her interest in supernatural fiction grew she while working with Dekker (she edited 12 of his well-known, heart-pounding stories before collaborating with him as a co-author), her interest in the spiritual realm has always been a part of her. “The Irish girl in me is fascinated by the concept of thin places, a Celtic name for locations in the world where the veil between physical and spiritual realities is so delicate that a person can see through it. For me, thin places are revelations about what it means to be a spiritual creation in a physical world. I write supernatural suspense novels from a Christian worldview, with eyes open to God’s mysterious side and where His world world intersects ours,” she explains.
Healy currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, with her husband, Tim, and two children. She is a
member of International Thriller Writers and the American Christian Fiction Writers.
Posted 5/17/13 at 10:08 AM | Tim Challies |
Last night my wife and I sat and did a rough tally of the number of couples we have known as they have gone through dating and engagement. It's a pretty good number of friends, family, and fellow church members. Then we thought about how many of them maintained healthy and God-glorifying physical boundaries and how many had confessed that they had not. The numbers were suddenly not looking nearly so good. This is one of those areas where contemporary Christians so often do very poorly and this is exactly why there have been so many recent books on dating, courtship, purity and all the rest. Christians are failing and desperately looking for a better way.
It has been some time since I have read a book on dating and relationships, probably because it has been some time since the subject has seemed urgent to me. But recently a local pastor told me that as he pastors young adults toward marriage, he has been helped by Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas. I decided to check it out and I am glad I did so. FULL POST
Posted 5/16/13 at 3:07 PM | Audra Jennings
Rachel Hauck’s Once Upon a Prince Shows What God Can Do When You Leave Your Heart Open
Every little girl dreams of being a princess. Every woman longs to be treated like royalty. We’re all just a little bit fascinated by royal weddings and the princess that lives in every woman. That’s why readers will fall in love with Once Upon a Prince (Zondervan/May 7, 2013/ISBN 978-0310315476/$14.99), the first release in the Royal Wedding Series by award-winning author Rachel Hauck.
“When my alarm went off at 5:00 AM the morning Prince William married Catherine Middleton, my first thought was, ‘Do I really want to get out of bed for this wedding? It’s so early!’” admits Hauck. “But the new Duchess of Cambridge captured me as well as the rest of the world with her poise and confidence. She is, in many ways, like me. An ordinary girl marrying the man she loved, living her dream. My imagination took hold, and that’s when Susanna and Nathaniel’s story started coming to life.”
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess — just to marry the man she planned to marry for the past twelve years. It was all a part of her grand plan. However, when her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer broke up with her instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life. Struggling with personal and professional disappointments, what was the plan for the rest of her life now?
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expected to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, was the queen of his heart. All he was looking for was a break from the realities of home. After all, a prince had duties. His family’s tense political situation all but had his bride chosen for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he’s blindsided by love.
He’s a royal prince, and she’s an ordinary girl — their lives were worlds apart with traditions and politics to consider. They can’t work. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation. It’s the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?
There is more to Once Upon a Prince than a royal love story. Hauck hopes that once readers reach the end of the book, they realize: God has a beautiful plan for them! She even works some of her own experience into the story. “The ‘I’ve got nothing’ journey Susanna experiences is my personal journey. It’s the dialog and MO between the Lord and me. Everyone is different, but I believe God leads us and directs us with recognizable patterns,” she said. “I know how hard it is to wait on the Lord. We feel we’re responsible for our own destiny, but He has amazing plans for us and works all things together for good.”
And there’s a bigger love story to consider — it, too, makes its way into Once Upon a Prince. “We should never give up on love. Love is always for the greater good of others, as well as us. I think we have to do is redefine love. Sometimes actions we consider love are really not love at all. Jesus gave up all the beauty and majesty of splendor of Heaven, became a man and died a cruel death on a cross. All for love. Wow, what kind of love is that? Not the world’s definition of love but the perfect model for true love.”
Join Rachel Hauck for a 12-Day Royal Wedding Preparation Giveaway May 16-27, followed by a Facebook Party on May 28 at 8:00 PM EDT where she will chat with readers. Watch for more details on her Facebook Page.
About the Author
Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of ACFW Book of the Year winner Sweet Caroline, RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, bestselling and RITA Finalist The Wedding Dress, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels. Hauck’s latest release, Once Upon A Prince, is already receiving rave reviews, including a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.
Hauck earned a degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes fan. She worked in the corporate software world until 2004 when she began to write fulltime. Although she admits to being Yankee-born, Hauck has lived in the south most of her life and works her southern experience into her stories. She now lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane-plagued, central Florida with her husband and writes from her own two-story tower.
She is the past president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves on the Executive Board. Hauck is also one of five author contributors to Southern Belle View Daily.
Posted 5/15/13 at 11:17 AM | Tim Challies
I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books and I like to provide regular roundups of some of the best and brightest of the bunch. Of all the books I have received recently, here are the ones that appear most noteworthy.
Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman. I count Gloria as a friend, having invited myself to take advantage of her (and her husband's) hospitality when I was in Dubai last year. I am really excited to see her first book in print. "Sometimes life feels a lot like a burden--day-in and day-out it's the same chores and tasks, challenges and discouragements, anxieties and responsibilities. Dust bunnies show up on the stairwell, social commitments clutter the calendar, and our families demand daily attention and care. At times, just catching our breath seems like an impossible feat. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working woman splitting time between the office and home, Gloria Furman--writer, pastor's wife, cross-cultural worker, and mom--encourages us to see the reality of God's grace in all of life, especially those areas that often appear to be boring and unimportant. Using personal examples and insightful stories, her richly theological reflections help us experience the gospel's extraordinary power to transform our ordinary lives." Aileen and I read this book in pre-publication and were glad to write an endorsement for it. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books). FULL POST
Posted 5/15/13 at 11:15 AM | Audra Jennings
What happens when three sisters come together in Nantucket for the first time since their mother’s death? Much more than the Marris sisters could have ever anticipated! The Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series (Guideposts Books) introduces readers to Caroline, Gracie and Sam as they gather for a vacation where they spent the summers as children, and follows their adventures as they fulfill their mother’s dream of opening a bed and breakfast. As the sisters heal from their mother’s passing, they bond in ways they never imagined and discover evidence of God’s hand in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
A team of four authors come together under the pen name of Evangeline Kelley to bring the unique personalities of each sister to vivid life and welcome audiences to the charming and historic island of Nantucket, complete with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, ferries, sandy beaches and salty air. The series weaves together the stories of each of the sisters as they progress through their own unique personal journeys. Along the way, readers will discover the wonder of God’s love in the lives of each of his children.
Q: Nantucket brings to mind images of historic charm and a certain mystery. What kind of research did you do in order to portray the essence of the island? If you were able to visit Nantucket, was it anything like you expected?
In researching this book and this series, I loved the historical richness of Nantucket. There were a lot of social and financial changes that happened throughout the decades, and it was a lot of fun to read about the history of the island, including snippets from old diaries of residents. That's what gave me the idea to include an excerpt of a society matron's diary in book three as a clue to the mystery about Hannah. I'm hoping the research that I and my co-authors did gives the readers a taste of the Nantucket historical time periods mentioned in the books.
Q: Several authors came together to write the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series. How were you able to maintain the characters and the story line from book to book? How did your collaborative process work?
We all started off with three rough outlines of the stories and a document that listed a lot of the pertinent places and people in the series, which had to remain consistent throughout all three books. Patti Berg made sure to include lots of cool pictures! Our collaborative process was all over emails, and it was a lot of fun! We have a Yahoo! group email loop, and we'd often shoot off an email asking about things like if anyone had any details in their book about what the library looks like, or if anyone had already mentioned in their book about the various people who owned the Misty Harbor Inn in the past. Since all three books were written within a few months of each other, we were able to fine-tune any inconsistencies or make sure we mentioned things that ended up changing in a previous book. It ended up being really exciting to see how the books were being tweaked even as we all finished our individual manuscripts.
Q: Is this the first time you have written a series with other authors? How are you recruited by a publisher to contribute to a series?
I had been fortunate to work with Patti Berg, Pam Hanson and Barbara Andrews (as well as other authors) on another Guideposts series, Miracles of Marble Cove. It was a delight to be collaborating with them on another series since I already knew we worked well together, and it was fun for the four of us to be discussing with one another a set of characters as interesting as the Marris sisters. Each of us had originally auditioned for and been selected to work for Guideposts for other series, and then we were asked to work on the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series.
Q: The Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series has elements from several different genres. How do romance, history, mystery and faith all come together in these stories?
I have to credit our editor for helping us balance the romance, history, mystery and faith so that they all intertwine so delicately and create wonderfully rich and cohesive books. Our editor, Jon Woodhams, worked closely with us from the synopsis phase all the way through the final revisions phase to make sure each of those elements in the books were just right so that no one element overshadowed the others.
Q: Readers are often curious as to whether or not a character in a story is anything like the author. Which of the three sisters are you most like?
It's coincidental that I'm most like Sam, and I was lucky to write the book that focused more on her own character arc. However, I long to be more adventurous like Caroline, and writing her wedding was a lot of fun.
Q: What are some of the lessons the sisters learn as they come together to run the Misty Harbor Inn?
Each of the sisters learn a slightly different aspect about the value of home and family. They are each coming from different places in their adult lives, so they have slightly different ideas of what “home” is to them. Through their adventures at the Misty Harbor Inn, they each come to understand the unique bond they share as sisters and the value of the new home they are creating for themselves in Nantucket at the inn.
Q: What do you hope readers walk away with after reading the series?
Home really is where your heart is! It might be a bit overused today, but the sentiment is always true. God puts us in the specific places in our lives where we can serve Him, love others and learn the value of what He's done in our lives.
Posted 5/14/13 at 9:38 AM | Tim Challies
Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I'm in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.
My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about 1 Corinthians.
Anthony Thiselton - The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Greek Testament Commentary). The clear consensus for the top commentary on 1 Corinthians is Anthony Thiselton’s volume in the NIGTC. This is a series for academics, so it will prove difficult for the casual reader. Carson says it is “well written, accessible (for readers of this sort of series!), and penetrating” and praises it for both detailed exegesis and for tracing lines of interpretation from the Church Fathers to the present. (Amazon, Westminster Books) FULL POST
Posted 5/7/13 at 10:39 AM | Tim Challies
As is the case with so many Christians I speak to, my theology of prayer is much stronger than my practice of prayer. I know so much of what the Bible says about the privilege, priority and practice of prayer, yet struggle mightily to pray fervently and consistently. Putting that theology into practice remains a daily battle.
For this reason I make books on prayer a regular part of my reading diet. While I have read enough books on the subject that I do not always find new ground, I always benefit from an author's excitement and always learn from his experiences. Reading a book on prayer renews my confidence in prayer and sparks a renewed desire to do the hard work of praying.
I first encountered H.B. Charles Jr. through his blog and quickly became a regular reader. I have since benefited from many of his articles and especially those that deal with preaching. In a recent post he mentioned the publication of a new book, his first book, and I quickly grabbed a copy. It Happens After Prayer is (obviously) a book on prayer. Another book on prayer. It is one I enjoyed. In fact, I sat down on my day off to read a chapter or two and a few hours later had read to the end, pausing only to throw together a quick lunch. FULL POST
Posted 5/7/13 at 10:31 AM | Tim Challies
Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.
My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about Judges.
Dale Ralph Davis - Judges: Such A Great Salvation (Focus on the Bible). I have said before that I am always glad to find a clear consensus on the best commentary on any book of the Bible. When it comes to Judges, the consensus is that there are two excellent volumes which perfectly complement one another. The first is Dale Ralph Davis’ volume in the Focus on the Bible series. Keith Mathison says it well: “If you can only have one commentary on the historical books, get the commentaries by Davis. There are other commentaries that go into more detail on technical issues (see below), but Davis provides what most Christian readers of these books need — a concise and readable explanation of the text that sets each book within the larger context of biblical redemptive history all without ever becoming boring or trite.” (Amazon, Westminster Books) FULL POST