Corbin Bernsen most recently starred as Henry Spencer on USA Network’s hit original series Psych. First catapulted to stardom during the 1980s by the hit NBC TV series, L.A. Law, he was nominated twice for both an Emmy® Award and a Golden Globe Award®. Along the way, he hosted Saturday Night Live, and guest starred on Seinfeld and Star Trek to name a few notable television appearances. In the feature film arena, he starred in the comedy Hello Again, followed by other critically-acclaimed roles in Disorganized Crime, Wolfgang Peterson’s Shattered, The Great White Hype, and as the Cleveland Indians’ third baseman-turned-owner Roger Dorn in the extremely popular Major League series of films. With the film Rust, Bernsen shifted his focus to family-friendly movies and formed Home Theater Films. Bernsen’s latest film project, Christian Mingle, was released in January 2015 by Capitol. Bernsen lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 26 years, actress Amanda Pays, and their four sons. His new novel from Pelican Book Group is based on his film of the same name, Rust. FULL POST
Posted 10/6/15 at 10:54 AM | Audra Jennings
Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day. For globally-aware parents who want give their children a glimpse of majority-world reality, long-term medical missionary to Africa J.A. Myhre has penned A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest (New Growth Press/October 6, 2015/ISBN: 9781942572084/$15.99).
This beautifully-written adventure book for young readers brings to life the African savannah Myhre calls home, inviting readers to explore the country through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy named Mu. Orphaned as a toddler, Mu has served his whole life in his great uncle’s house where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness and doesn’t believe anything will ever change.
On his way to draw the morning water one day, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces they will embark on a quest together. Mu and his chameleon guide face peril and find unexpected allies as they journey through an ever-changing African landscape. Throughout his adventure Mu learns many things about himself and the nature of good and evil.
Myhre has served alongside her husband as a doctor in East Africa for more than two decades. While living in a very remote area on the Uganda-Congo border, Myhre noticed that although her children were avid readers, none of the books in their hands related to the world in which they lived. So she began to write short novels for them each Christmas, which they would read aloud together. “Most of the kids who hung out at our house every day had lost one or both parents and struggled to stay in school. Our next-door neighbor ended up in a rebel group,” Myhre admits. “This is reality for kids in much of the world. So I wanted a story where kids who live with that kind of challenge had courage and hope, even if they made mistakes.”
A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest gives a voice to the millions of children like Mu who must make painful, irrevocable choices along the path of growing up. Dealing with real themes African children face every day, such as forced labor, the duties of child soldiers and the Ebola virus, Myhre hopes A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest will captivate young minds and foster in them a new sensitivity toward the forgotten orphans of the world. “I think our kids are the generation that will grasp justice,” says Myhre. “They know we are all responsible to struggle for those who are oppressed. I hope by giving the poor names and stories, kids everywhere will embrace their struggles.”
New Growth Press now brings the powerful message of this story, originally told from one mother to her children, to all bookshelves, drawing families into a tale about hope, happiness and what it means to be human.
About the Author
J.A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked alongside her husband, Dr. Scott Myhre, for more than two decades. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric training at Northwestern University’s Children’s Memorial Hospital. She also received a Master’s in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Myhre works in the AIC Kijabe Hospital, which provides healthcare in the name of Jesus to the vulnerable people of East Africa. She has given a special focus in her work to HIV prevention and nutrition and has invested heavily in training emerging indigenous leaders. Myhre is currently spending one year living and traveling in the U.S., telling others about her work in Africa. She and her husband have four children, all of whom attend university in the States.
Posted 9/30/15 at 1:52 PM | Audra Jennings
An interview with Catherine DeVries,
Author of Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer
This fall, David C Cook is launching a new series for toddlers and preschoolers that combines word and song to help young children memorize scripture. The first book in the HeartSmart series, Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer (September 1, 2015/ISBN: 9780781412698/$10.99) by bestselling author Catherine DeVries, not only introduces children to Bible memory, but teaches them about how to pray.
HeartSmart is a Scripture memory series designed to create opportunities for children to fill their hearts with God’s Word. HeartSmart combines key scriptures with songs, giving parents a spiritual formation path for building a strong foundation of faith.
Q: Why did you decide to use the Lord’s Prayer as the first passage of scripture in the series?
I was thinking about what Scripture is generally memorized by children — not just one verse but a complete thought. That led me to the Lord’s Prayer. Not only is it the model Jesus gave us for how to pray, but it also invites us all to talk with God through prayer. God wants to have a relationship with us, and it is important to express that to children early in their faith development. The Lord’s Prayer is often said around the dinner table, so I also wanted to equip parents and grandparents with a natural way to invite children to participate in this tradition at home. Many churches still say the Lord’s Prayer during the service, maybe not every week, but at least a few times during the year. By knowing the Lord’s Prayer, children are also invited to participate in community worship.
Q: Emma, the narrator of your story, could be compared to another little girl popular among pre-schoolers, Dora the Explorer. In what ways are they similar, and what makes Emma unique?
This part of the series is geared toward preschoolers, so I want to offer readers an opportunity to interact with the story and even to be part of the story. When I have observed children, including my own, watching Dora the Explorer, I love how engaged they are with her. They actually do talk to her through the screen and answer her questions. It’s all part of their beautiful, creative imaginations at work. To them, talking to a screen is natural. My hope is that talking to a book also feels natural. Every time parents sit down with their child and this book, the reading experience will be slightly different, depending on the child’s response to Emma’s questions. This interactive nature of the text is true for all the board books in the series, and children will get to meet a different child in each book.
Q: Why did you choose to have Emma teach the Lord’s Prayer to her toy bear, Blueberry, instead of Emma learning it herself?
Preschool children learn through play and, more specifically, play scripts. Have you ever heard a child speaking to her stuffed animals and dolls or to his dinosaurs and legos? These times are not only fun, but they are times when children process information. They “try on” various things they have heard and start to synthesize what they are learning. It seemed natural that Emma would involve her teddy bear and want to teach it something important to her. Again, fostering that emotional connection to the Lord through relationship is so important. That’s why Emma says that Blueberry reminds her of another friend she has: Jesus.
Q: At the end of the book there is a code to download a song that accompanies the book. Please tell us more about the song.
This song is the exact wording of the Lord’s Prayer that readers will see in the book. It is a custom song created by talented musicians and sung by a mother and young child. The music is simple to follow and is a beautiful expression of this prayer. If you go to the HeartSmart website at heartsmart.davidccook.com, you will be able to download the song that goes along with each book in the series. You’ll also find updates about the series and what I’ve been up to as the author.
Q: How do songs help children learn scripture?
Songs engage the audio part of a child’s brain. Rather than just hearing the words, children will remember them better when the words are put to song. As an example, whenever my children needed to learn a new phone number or new house address, I created a simple song to help them remember it. Then we could have fun practicing it together. Thinking back to my childhood, I still remember many Bible-based songs from church: “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he!” “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” “Jesus loves me, this I know.” I could go on for a while! Not only do I still know these songs, but I also have a positive, emotional connection to them. I believe we want the same for our children.
Q: Why is it important for our spiritual life and communication with God to understand the Lord’s Prayer?
We need to remember God wants to talk with us. He wants us to share what’s going on in our lives with Him because He wants a relationship with us as His children, no matter what our age. The Lord’s Prayer is structured in such a way to teach us to honor the Lord first, to thank Him for who He is. Once we have acknowledged that, we bring our requests to the Lord — providing for our needs and helping us steer clear from temptation. With thankful hearts, we once again honor the Lord by remembering He is all-powerful and we want to follow Him in all we do.
Q: In what ways have you emphasized prayer in your own home while raising your children?
We try to have meals together as much as possible. Before we eat, we take turns praying. One person prays for us all on that day. On Sundays, we always pray the Lord’s Prayer together as a family. Brad and I have also encouraged our children to pray at night before bed. We started with, “Now I lay me, down to sleep,” but then added on blessings to our friends and family members. When the kids were old enough, we invited them to talk to the Lord about the day. We also have a tradition of praying in the car before leaving on a big trip. We ask for the Lord’s presence with us and that He will give us safe travels and protection. One other thing we do is pray whenever we see an ambulance or Life Alert helicopter. We live near a hospital, so this is a regular occurrence as we drive around town doing errands. I just love how my kids initiate it now when they see these visual reminders to pray for others.
Q: Do you think parents place enough emphasis on their children’s spiritual formation?
I think parents aren’t always sure where to begin or what to do. We can no longer assume parents have had a Christian upbringing in the church, have a good grasp of Scripture and the stories from the Bible or even feel comfortable praying. Yet we still get a strong sense they desire to give their child a spiritual foundation. The HeartSmart series is meant to come alongside parents or grandparents with encouragement and support. The beautiful thing about these types of books is the adults are learning right along with the children.
Q: We’ve all heard — and perhaps even chuckled — at the cute prayers of little children. Do you think God hears and answers their prayers?
I have learned so much about faith through the eyes of my children, as well as other children. Jesus talks about how strong the faith of a child is and how we all should seek that depth of faith (Isaiah 11:6; Matthew 19:4). Yes, I know in my heart that God hears every prayer. It is up to Him how He chooses to respond to prayers. He might not answer in the way we expect Him to, but we can rest in knowing He knows our heart, hears us and is with us every step of the way through life’s journey. He wants what is best for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and we can trust in that.
Q: Did you read a lot with your parents when you were little? What do you remember about those moments?
My mother read to me, my older sister and younger brother. I remember “seeing” The Chronicles of Narnia unfold in my imagination and being on the Minnesota prairie with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family on the frontier. It was a special time when we gathered together, pushed pause on life and got swept away to another place. The power of reading is amazing, and when we attach faith messages and learning to it, we are talking about a lifetime faith that begins to develop and grow in the lives of children.
Q: What upcoming releases in the HeartSmart series can readers look forward to?
We will have a book coming out every fall and spring for the foreseeable future:
By the time the entire series is launched, we will have books and songs for parents of newborns and toddlers, preschoolers, all the way to children age 8.
Popular radio show host Shellie Nichol has released her first book entitled Destination: Hope –A Guide Through Life’s Unexpected Journeys (Clovercroft Publishing/STL Distribution). Nichol opens up about the most difficult moments of her life including being physically and mentally abused as a child, molested, bullied, going through two divorces, fighting cervical cancer, losing a child, suffering from an eating disorder, experiencing debilitating panic and anxiety, ADD, OCD, and a doctor pronouncing a death sentence for her first-born child. But though the trials have at times felt “Job-like,” Nichol admits she has also found the secret to surviving -- hope.
“The one thing I can tell people who go through terrible circumstances is never allow despair inside your soul, no matter how hard it is to resist,” says Nichol.” “Look at your situation as a chance to grow. View it as an incredible movie -- thrilling, dramatic, and a real nail-biter --that in the end will be inspirational because you and God did it together and you will be an amazing overcomer.” FULL POST
Posted 9/24/15 at 11:00 AM | Audra Jennings
Lynne Gentry takes readers to third-century Carthage for a thrilling time-travel adventure in Valley of Decision(Howard Books/September 22, 2015/ISBN: 978-1476746418/$14.99), the explosive conclusion to the Carthage Chronicles. In her latest release, Gentry brings her thorough research of the Plague of Cyprian to life as she examines the power of family connections.
Thirteen years ago, Dr. Lisbeth Hasting made an impossible decision to leave third-century Carthage and her husband, Cyprian, behind for good to protect their daughter Maggie. Summoning all her courage, she struggled to move on with life and keep her promise to Cyprian to keep their little girl out of harm’s way. FULL POST
Posted 9/17/15 at 6:25 AM | Sylvie Simms
The Diamond Vault started out in the wholesale diamond industry and expanded its operation to sell diamonds and diamond jewelry directly to the public with wholesale pricing while never neglecting a focus on providing outstanding customer service. We are direct diamond importers and also provide an array of services that include custom design, jewelry repair, watch repair and appraisal services.
Posted 9/11/15 at 6:51 AM | Sylvie Simms
As you set out on a new adventure through Europe, it is always fun to learn new things as you explore new places. A river cruise is one of the best ways to see Europe, as it gives you the opportunity to experience local culture and learn new facts from the people that call the wonderful continent home. While you are packing your bags and setting out on your river cruise, keep these fun facts in mind to impress the locals at each of your stops along the way.
Posted 9/4/15 at 2:28 PM | Audra Jennings
With the first book in her new Waves of Freedom series, Through Waters Deep (Revell/August 4, 2015/ISBN:978-0800723422 /$14.99), Sarah Sundin transports readers back to the 1940s — a fascinating time when ordinary men learned they could do extraordinary things, and women explored new roles while still remaining ladies. It’s an era Sundin enjoys living in while she weaves her stories. “When we read of how people in the 1940s prevailed in times of uncertainty, fear and danger, it gives us hope we can prevail today, no matter what we face,” Sundin explains.
Described by Booklist as “an optimal hybrid of 1940s crime and romance,” Through Waters Deep takes readers through the tense months right before the U.S. entered World War II. There they’ll encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love.
Both exciting and scary. I love getting to know a whole new cast of characters, but it takes time to get to know them. I love the challenge of a new setting, but the research can be daunting. I loved stretching myself by writing a mystery plotline for the first time, but sometimes I felt I’d gotten in over my head. And I never know what my readers will think of the new series . . . kind of like trying a completely new haircut and waiting for your friends’ reactions!
Q: You are known for finding inspiration for elements of your story plots in Scripture. Which verse did you choose for Through Waters Deep?
Ironically, the verse I originally chose didn’t really play into the book after all. However, verses emerged when I wrote the story. For Mary Stirling, who struggles with a fear of attention, her theme verse is Matthew 5:15-16: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Mary learns that using your gifts isn’t prideful when you do it to call attention to God, not to yourself.
Q: Why do you like setting stories during the World War II period?
It’s a fascinating era filled with drama, action and romance. Ordinary men learned they could do extraordinary things, and women tried new roles while still remaining ladies. When we read of how people in the 1940s prevailed in times of uncertainty and fear and danger, it gives us hope we can prevail today, no matter what we face.
Q: Do you know anyone who served in the Navy during World War II? Did you draw from real stories as you wrote Through Waters Deep?
My grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was quite the storyteller! His wartime stories were medical in nature, and I adapted one of them in my Wings of the Nightingale series. For the Waves of Freedom, I read several accounts by U.S. naval officers who served on destroyers.
Q: What fact did you find most interesting as you did research for this book?
I found something new and interesting almost every day! The novel itself was inspired by the little-known fact that six American ships, including a destroyer, were sunk by German U-boats in 1941 — before Pearl Harbor! Even those sinkings and the deaths of more than 100 sailors and merchant marines didn’t provoke the United States to enter the war.
Q: How does Mary’s fear of attention hold her back? Do you have past or present fears that have held you back? How did you overcome?
Mary’s fear of attention causes her to hold back in many areas of her life. She wears inconspicuous clothes, chooses not to assert herself on the job and refuses to use her gift of singing. Only when she releases that fear can she fully use the gifts God gave her — and she even chooses to wear red!
Personally, I’m a cautious person by nature, so I’ve had to rely on the Lord to help me overcome my fears and do what He asks of me. Whenever I do, it’s such a thrill that over time it’s become easier and easier to step out in faith — and now it’s a joy!
Q: Jim has always floated with the current, and he struggles to be bold when necessary. Do you tend to be bold, or do you “go with the flow”?
Like Jim, I’m a people pleaser who loves peace and lack of conflict, and I usually try to smooth things over between people. However, unlike Jim, I’ve always known where I want to go in life, and I follow that path with determination (although some might call it stubbornness).
Q: How do events that happen in our childhood shape our present character? Is it possible to overcome these past events and forge a new future?
I find it interesting what a powerful effect childhood events can have on our characters, shaping our fears and notions — often subconsciously. To overcome the negative effects, we have to recognize them, find the source, combat lies with truth and choose to live in the truth. Often it needs to be a daily choice. I’m thankful God gives us the wisdom, comfort, truth and power to do this!
Q: Have you ever been on board a WWII-era ship? What did you think?
I have! In the past few years, I’ve explored an aircraft carrier, two battleships, two destroyers, a submarine and a Liberty ship! I’m always impressed by the sparse living and close quarters. No wasted space, no unnecessary equipment or personal items, and everyone had to do their part. As I learned about these ships and what they did, visiting the ships meant even more to me. I got a bit too excited when I had the opportunity to climb inside a 5-inch gunmount, visit an ammunition handling room and see a real Mark 37 fire control computer. I’ve never been normal.
Q: The U.S. was united immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but earlier that year a different cultural temperature existed. How does this time remind you of today’s world?
While we all look back nostalgically at the unity in America during World War II, the States were anything but united in 1941. Interventionists were alarmed by the situation in Europe and wanted to join the war effort before Britain fell. Meanwhile, the isolationists felt the best way to save America was by staying out of yet another European war. They argued bitterly, with lots of name-calling. The stark division and the angry debate remind me too much of the nation in 2015. I pray it won’t take another Pearl Harbor to bring us back together again.
Q: What significance does the imagery of sailing have in Through Waters Deep?
When I was in the early stages of planning this novel, I was designing Mary’s apartment and decided she’d have a painting of a sailboat on the wall — something a Midwestern girl might buy when moving to New England. It appealed to Mary for the sense of boldness and movement, surging forward despite the wind and the current. I realized this captured the heart of the story: two characters who need to learn to hoist their sails and fly!
Q: This book contains an element of mystery; is it hard to create that kind of suspense?
What challenged me most was the complexity of a mystery plot. About a dozen suspects and investigators, acting, reacting to each other, implicating others, telling the truth, telling lies, planting clues. My head swam. So I made a chart. That’s what I do when I get confused. I had a column for each character and described what they were doing or thinking in each scene and between scenes. It helped me so much.
Q: What message do you hope readers take away from reading Through Waters Deep?
Hoist your sails! Jim Avery is an easygoing, “float with the current” man who learns the hard way that floating can carry him onto the rocks. And Mary Stirling keeps her sails bound tight in false humility, fearful of becoming prideful, fearful of falling. Jim and Mary learn, “We have to hoist our sails. We have to let the Lord fill them. Then we have to resist the current if necessary to stay the course. . . . Then we can fly with the wind.”
However, I’ve learned readers often take away a completely different message than what’s written, and that’s wonderful! I’m in awe of how God can take a simple story and use one element to touch a reader’s heart in a personal and unique way. So I hope readers take away what the Lord wants them to take away.
Q: What can readers anticipate as you continue the Waves of Freedom series?
In the second book, Anchor in the Storm (Revell, summer 2016), plucky pharmacist Lillian Avery and high-society naval officer Arch Vandenberg find danger from U-boats, black market drug rings — and love. I’m currently writing the third novel (Revell, winter 2017). In it, the last thing no-nonsense naval officer Dan Avery wants to see on his radar is fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont — even if she has joined the WAVES.
Pastor, counselor and author Bruce S. Campbell has penned a new novel that was inspired by a modern-day miracle. The Beginning: Prelude to the Apocalypse (Carpenter’s Son Publishing/STL Distribution) came about after Campbell’s church had begun a season of miraculous healings.
“I was the pastor of a church and we had a woman who was dying of cancer,” says Campbell, who received his Master’s Degree in Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. “The doctors had given her little hope and basically, sent her home to die. We laid hands on her and prayed for a complete recovery. A couple of weeks later, she was told there was an experimental treatment so she went to the hospital for tests. That day her son called me in tears, and I thought she had passed away. What he told me was that the doctors could no longer locate the cancer at all. It was completely gone. This sent shock waves through our church, and we began to see God move in miraculous ways. My associate pastor and I began to talk about how the New Testament was coming alive before us, and we began to discuss biblical characters. We started talking about the two witnesses in Revelation – who they would be, what they would say, will they be just regular guys – and that was the germination of the idea behind the book. What will the two witnesses tell us when they arrive? And are they already here?” FULL POST
Posted 9/2/15 at 1:01 PM | Audra Jennings
This fall, David C Cook is launching a new series for toddlers and preschoolers that combines word and song to help young children memorize scripture. The first book in the HeartSmart series, Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer (September 1, 2015/ISBN:978-0781412698/$10.99) by bestselling author Catherine DeVries,not only introduces children to Bible memory, but teaches them about how to pray.
In this vibrant, colorful board book illustrated by Ryan Jackson, DeVries introduces Emma, a preschooler who welcomes readers at the front door and invites them in for a special playdate. Upstairs they meet Blueberry, Emma’s favorite teddy bear. The two show readers all the fun toys in Emma’s room before heading downstairs for snack time. As they sit down in the kitchen and get ready to pray before eating, Emma shares with readers she has been learning about the Lord’s Prayer.
Emma quotes each line of the prayer and explains every part in a way preschoolers can understand. As Emma’s mom taught her, children will learn “this whole world belongs to God. Everything we do is for God’s glory, which is like a big celebration that shows Him how amazing we think He is.” Children will then head back to Emma’s room, where they teach the Lord’s Prayer to Blueberry. The entire prayer appears at the back of this delightful book, along with an access code to a whimsical song that will help them learn it.
Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer and all the coming HeartSmart releases will offer parents the opportunity to infuse their homes with God’s Word. By using these charming books, moms and dads will be equipped with a clear spiritual formation path for building in their child a strong foundation of faith based on key Scriptures. Through engaging and playful stories about children their own age, young people will be captivated by the colorful illustrations and inspired to hide God’s Word in their hearts through repetition and song — two prescriptions for memorization.
About the Author
Catherine DeVries has written 20 books for children, including the bestselling The Adventure Bible Storybook. As associate publisher of Children’s Resources at David C Cook, she leads product development for The Action Bible collection, which has sold more than 1 million copies.
She is a graduate of Calvin College who has won Retailer’s Choice awards in 2000, 2009 and 2010, as well as a Gold Medallion award in 2008, among others. She also serves on the board of the Tween Gospel Alliance. Catherine lives with her husband, their three children and big furry dog in the Colorado forest.