Friday, October 31, 2008

An Irishwoman's Tale Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

An Irishwomans' Tale

Kregel Publications (July 8, 2008)


Patti Lacy


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


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

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

Watch the Book Trailer:

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Other Words: Delivered From Fear

Ps 91:10-11
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

One of the biggest things I’ve been delivered from since becoming a Christian is fear. As a young girl I remember times when I would wake up in the night, petrified that some danger lurked beyond the doors. I recall sitting and staring at the front or back door, afraid to go back to sleep. I was a teenager during this time, not a small child having nightmares and afraid of the boogeyman. Other times I would wake up pinned to my bed, unable to move but there was no one there. I would look towards my sisters in a neighbouring bed and be unable to call out to them. Relief would come only as I prayed the only prayers I then knew: the Our Father prayer and the 23rd Psalm. I didn’t know Jesus then but when I did come to know Him as my Lord and Saviour, I was freed from this tormenting kind of fear. The words of this scripture became real to me. The Lord gave his angels charge over me and covered me with his blood. Since then I’ve never experienced this tormenting kind of fear or wakened with that feeling of being pinned to my bed, helpless. I have been set free. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dangerous Heart Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dangerous Heart

Avon Inspire (October 14, 2008)


Tracey Bateman

Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. There are two other books in the Westward Hearts Series, Defiant Heart (#1) and Distant Heart (#2)

She learned to write by writing, and improved by listening to critique partners and editors. She has sold over 30 books in six years.
She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year.

Tracey loves Sci-fi, Lifetime movies, and Days of Our Lives (this is out of a 21 year habit of watching, rather than enjoyment of current storylines).

She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.


For the past seven years, Ginger Freeman has had one goal: find Grant Kelley and make him pay for allowing her brother to die. Growing up motherless with a father who leads an outlaw gang, Ginger isn’t exactly peaches and cream. So when she finally tracks down Grant on a wagon train headed west, she figured providence had stepped in and given her the chance she’s been waiting for.

On the wagon train, finally surrounded by a sense of family and under the nurturing eye of Toni Rodde, Ginger begins to lose her rough edges. She’s made friends for the first time and has become part of something bigger than revenge. Not only has her heart softened toward people in general, but God has become a reality she never understood before. And watching Grant doctor the pioneers, she’s realized she can’t just kill him and leave the train without medical care. Putting her anger aside, before long, Ginger’s a functioning part of the group.

But when the outlaw gang, headed by her pa, shows up and infiltrates the wagon train, she is forced to question her decision. Only self-sacrifice and her new relationship with God can make things right. But it might also means she loses everything she’s begun to hold dear.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Auralia's Colors

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Auralia's Colors (The Auralia Thread Series #1)

WaterBrook Press (September 4, 2007)


Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image. His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University. Auralia's Colors (The Auralia Thread Series #1)is his first novel. His second, Cyndere's Midnight continues The Auralia Thread Series.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 4, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400072522
ISBN-13: 978-1400072521


Old Thieves Make a Discovery

Auralia lay still as death, like a discarded doll, in a burgundy tangle of rushes and spineweed on the bank of a bend in the River Throanscall, when she was discovered by an old man who did not know her name. She bore no scars, no broken bones, just the stain of inkblack soil. Contentedly, she cooed, whispered, and babbled, learning the river’s language, and focused her gaze on the stormy dance of evening sky—roiling purple clouds edged with blood red. The old man surmised she was waiting and listening for whoever, or whatever, had forsaken her there. Those fevered moments of his discovery burnt into the old man’s memory. In the years that followed, he would hold and turn them in his mind the way an explorer ponders relics he has found in the midst of ruin. But the mysteryremained stubbornly opaque. No matter how often he exaggerated the story to impress his fireside listeners—“I dove into that ragin’ river and caught her by the toe!” “I fought off that hungry river wyrm with my picker-staff just in time!”—he found no clue to her origins, no answers to questions of whyor how. The Gatherers, House Abascar, the Expanse—the whole world might have been different had he left her there with riverwater running from her hair. “The River Girl”—that was what the Gatherers came to call her until she grew old enough to set them straight. Without the River Girl, the four houses of the Expanse might have perished in their troubles. But then again, some say that without the River Girl those troubles might never have come at all. This is how the spark was struck. A ruckus of crows caught Krawg’s attention as he groped for berries deep in a bramble. He and Warney, the conspirator with whom he had been caught thieving so many years ago, were laboring to pay their societal debts to House Abascar. The day had been long, but Krawg’s spirits were high. No officers had come to reckon their work and berate them. Not yet. Tired of straining for latesummer apples high in the boughs of ancient trees, they had put down their picker-staffs and turned to plucking sourjuice and jewelweed bushes an applecore’s throw from the Throanscall. Warney was preoccupied, trying to free his thorn-snagged sleeves and leggings. So Krawg smiled, dropped his harvesting sack, and crept away to investigate the cause of the birds’ cacophony. He hoped to find them eying an injured animal, maybe a broad-antlered buck he could finish off and present to the duty officers. That would be a prize grand enough to deserve preparation in King Cal-marcus’s kitchens. Such a discovery might bring Krawg closer to the king’s grace and a pardon. “Aw, will you look at that?” Krawg flexed his bony fingers. The feathered curmudgeons flapped at the air over the riverbank, their gaze fixed on a disturbance in the grass. “Now, hold on!” called his even bonier friend. “Whatcha got there? Wait for me!” Twigs snapped and fabric ripped, but Warney made no progress.
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“Speak up now, what’re them flappers squawkin’ over? Are beastmen coming to kill us?” “Stop spookin’, fraidy-brain,” Krawg growled, and then he gusted air throughhis nostrils. “There won’t be no beastman savages out here in the afternoon.” “What is it then? Merchants?” “No merchants.” “Is it a swarm of stingers?” “Nope.” “A fangbear? River wyrms? Bramblepigs?” “Don’t think so.” “Some young buster sneakin’ up behind us? Come on now. What’s got them birds so bothered?”According to his nature, Krawg tossed back a lie. “They’re just fightin’ over a mess of reekin’ twister fish they snatched out of the shallows.” Groundwater closed over his feet as he made his way through the reeds on the riverbank. Increasinglyperturbed by the way Krawg was stalking their target, the crows descended to the branch of a stooping cottonbeard tree and pelted him with insults. As Krawg combed the grasses for an answer, Warney at last emerged fromthe trees with worry in his one good eye, gripping as if it were a hunting spear the long, clawed picker-staff he had used all day to drag down the higher appleboughs. Warney seemed barely more than a skeleton wrapped in loose flesh and a rough burlap cloak. “What are they fussin’ about now if they’ve gone and eaten their fill?”Krawg’s vulturebeak nose twitched in the middle of the few undisciplined whiskers that grew where a mustache did not. He leaned forward, apprehensive, and saw not a pile of fish bones but two tiny pink hands reaching into the air. “One of the fish has got hands!” gasped Warney. “Shush now! It isn’t a pile of fish.” Krawg took hold of the appleknife in his pocket. “Whatever it is, it’s harmless, I’m sure.”Warney glanced back at the woods. “Don’t forget to watch for you-knowwho. Duty officers’ll haul us in, bottom ’n’ blockhead, if they catch us messin’with anything other than them berries. They’ll ride their stinkin’ lizards right through here soon. Come on now…there’s a nice bramble just back here. Youdon’t want the duty to string us up in the hangers, do ya?” “Good creepin’ Cragavar forest, of all the bloody wonders I ever seen… Looky!” The braver Gatherer flipped his black hood back from his hairless head and bent to examine the child. Warney remained where he was. “Krawg, you’re givin’ me the shut-mouth again. What is it, old boy?” “Just a creepin’, crawlin’ baby, it is.” Krawg massaged the flab beneath his chin. “Mercy, Warney, look at her.” “It’s a her? How do you know?” “Well, howdaya think I know?” Krawg reached for the child, then thought better of it. “Warney, this must mean somethin’. You and me…findin’ this.”He scanned the spaces between trees on both sides of the mist-shrouded river and confirmed that the only witnesses were crows and a tailtwitcher that clung upside down to the trunk of a birch. Warney splashed into the river shallows and prodded the submerged ground with his picker-staff before each step. The weeds around his ankles
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whispered hushhh…hushhh…hushhh.The child convulsed twice. She coughed up droplets of water. And then she made a sound that might have been a laugh. “Now that’s odd.” Krawg gestured to the child’s tiny head. “She got brown and silver hairs. She’s seen at least two seasons, I’d say. Probably born before that hard freeze we had awhile back.”“Yeah, gotta ’gree with ya there.”Warney’s eye was white as a sparrow’s egg in the shadows of his hood. “And she’s not the spawn of those beastmen. Everything about her seems like a good baby girl, not some accursed cross between person and critter. Looks like she’s been fed and looked after too…well, until she got tossed intothe river, I suppose.” “Gotta ’gree with ya there.”Warney now leaned over the child, swaying like a scarecrow in the wind. “She’s better fed than any of us Gatherers…or crows, for that matter.” The crows were quiet, watching, picking at their sharp toes. Krawg knelt and took to picking at his toes as well, poking at yellow places, which meant he was thinking hard. “We’re too far east of House Bel Amica for her to belong to them proud and greedy folk. But how could she be from our good House Abascar? Folk from Abascar only step out of the house walls if King Cal-marcus tells ’em to. Too scared of beastmen, they are…these days.” “Gotta ’gree with ya there.” “Do you always gotta ’gree with me there?!” Krawg snatched the pickerstaff from Warney’s hands and clubbed his hooded head. Warney jumped away, growled, and bared his teeth. Krawg tossed the staff aside and rose up like a bear answering the challenge of a rat. Warney, like a rat realizing he has awakened a bear, fled back toward the quiet woods. “Now don’t you get it in your head to leave me here with this orphan,” Krawg called, “or I’ll rip that patch off your dead eye!” “Have ya thought…”Warney paused, turned, and clasped his head with both hands, as if trying to stretch his mind to accommodate a significant thought. “Has it occurred to ya that… Do ya think…” “Speak, you rangy crook!” “Oh ballyworms, Krawg! What if she’s a Northchild?” Krawg stumbled back a step and narrowed his eyes at the infant. The tailtwitcher, the crows, and even the river seemed to quiet at Warney’s question. But Krawg at last shook off worry. “Don’t shovel that vawn pile my way, Warney.You been eatin’ too much of Yawny’s stew, and your dreams are gettin’to you. Only crazies think Northchildren are actual. There’s no such thing.” They watched the baby’s hands sculpt shapes in the air. “And anyway,” Krawg continued, glancing northward at the sky purpling over the jagged mountains of the Forbidding Wall, “everybody knows Northchildren are taller, and they drape blankets over themselves.” Nearby, branches broke with sharp echoes as something moved in the woods.“Grab for a weapon,” hissed Warney, “because I smell prowling beastmen!” “Doubtful,” said Krawg, but he bent his knees and sank into the grass. “Duty officers then!” In case their overseers were, in fact, looking for them, Krawg shouted, “We
Page 4
better get back to the patches, Warney! I sure don’t see any berries out here.” He lifted Warney’s picker-staff and marched to join his friend in the trees. But Warney seemed stuck, as though the girl had tossed a rope and snared his ankle. “You know what they say. If a man leaves a good deed undone, Northchildren will come creepin’ at night and drag him off into the curse of the—” “I’m not scared of you, butt-guster,” Krawg whispered. “Now hush before anybody hears you!” The girl, aware that she was alone again, began to murmur as if talking with someone they could not see. The Gatherers watched her clap her tiny hands.A crow took wing from the cottonbeard tree and made a wide circle over the child’s bed. “They want that fresh meat,” Krawg observed. Warney nodded. “Gotta ’gree with ya…” His mouth snapped shut, and he winced. Krawg loosed a weary sigh, waved a scornful gesture at the birds, and returned to kneel beside the baby. Warney hopped back to peer over Krawg’s shoulder. “What’s that she’s lyin’ in? That isn’t a sinkhole.” “No, somebody carved out this hole with their hands.” “Not with their hands, no. Look, Krawg…toes. This Northchild’s lyin’ in a footprint!”Warney’s grin signified a victory. “Gotta disagree with ya there!” The child had gone quiet and still. And that was what Krawg would remember for the rest of his troubled life—the moment when her eyes gatheredsunset’s burning hues and flickered with some element he had never seen; the way she rested, as though commanded to surrender by some voice only she could hear; the way he clenched his jaw, made his decision. A wave of wind carried a few slow leaves, a shower of twirling seedpods from the violet trees, spiders on newly flung strands, and a hint of distant music—the Early Evening Verse sung by the watchman of House Abascar to mark the dusk of the day.“Oh, our backs are strapped now. They’ll string us upside down for certain. It’s late, and we’re bound to be found missin’.”Warney’s eye rolled to fix on the sun’s fading beacons. “Let’s turn the baby over to the first officer we see, and maybe—” “What do you think a duty officer sees when he looks at us, Warney? I’mthe Midnight Swindler, and you’re the One-Eyed Bandit! They’ll say we swiped this baby from somewhere. We already been punished for our thievin’. They made us live outside the walls as Gatherers, and there’s only one shelf in the pantry lower than that: the dungeons.” Krawg threw the picker-staff down— splack!—against the wet ground. “I can’t hand her over, but I can’t leave her either. If I do, some officer’ll ride through here and stomp her into the ground. We’ve got to take her. And hide her.” “Ballyworms!”Warney shuddered. “You ’n’ me ’n a Northchild ’n’ all!” A commotion erupted just south of the marsh. First came a three-toned bellow, which the Gatherers recognized as the complaint of a vawn, one ofthe duty officers’ reptilian steeds. Then came the din of crushed bracken and shaken trees. It was certainly an officer come to measure their progress. Krawg bent low and lifted the naked child by the arms. “She’s harmless. Didn’t cast no spell on me. Didn’t drag me off into darkness. She isn’t a
Page 5
Northchild! There’s no such thing.” “Well, let’s hurry it up then,” said Warney, grinning in spite of his fear. A few minutes later Krawg and Warney reached the shelter of thatched grass roofs and crooked mud walls in the woods just outside House Abascar’s boundary.There, the kinder sort among the Gatherers would tend to the River Girl’s needs and protect her from the dangerous sort. Warney clapped a hand over his mouth, muffling a laugh. “Don’t it bring back memories, Krawg? Sneakin’ off with treasure like this?” “Warney,” Krawg replied, “we’ve never, never lifted treasure like this.” Krawg and Warney weren’t punished for carrying back the child. But they were “strung up in the hangers” and dangled from their ankles there a full day, scraping the filthy gutters of their vocabulary, when it was discovered they had returned without their designated picker-staffs. Meanwhile, at the river’s edge, water seeped from the soil into the footprint, turned to mud, and solidified. A mist rose, hovered over the place, then wisped away without wind to carry it. It would remain a mystery and a memoryto the three men who had found it there—the two troubled Gatherers and one other. Just after Krawg and Warney had absconded with the child, a solitary rider emerged from the trees and sighted that damp impression in the grass. The young rider, small and eager, dismounted and studied the outline even as it began to fade. He pulled from the earth a riverstone and touched the face of it with his fingertips, where a dull magic blurred. The stone’s color warmed, and it softened to clay under his touch. Sensing the magic, the crows on the cottonbeard branch shrieked and scattered. The boy etched a mark in the stone as similar to the contours of the footprint as he could—a sculpture, an equivalent. Then he walked up and down the banks awhile, surveying the soil. When the vawn snorted impatiently, he returned and climbed back into his ornate saddle. The two-legged steed stomped off, happy to head away from the water and into the trees. No one knew of the rider’s visit to the river. No one saw the record of his discovery, which he kept like a clue to a riddle. And he locked his questions up tight for fear of troubling the volatile storms within the heart of his father, the king.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Less Than Dead Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Less Than Dead

Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)


Tim Downs


Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate until 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide.

His first book, a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. His first novel, Shoofly Pie, was awarded the Angel Award in 2004, and his third novel, PlagueMaker, was awarded the Christy Award for best suspense novel of 2007. First The Dead, the third book in this Bug Man series came out earlier this year.

Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife Joy.


Some secrets just won't stay buried.
When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess.

But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil.

Secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid.

Secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town.

Secrets someone is willing to kill to protect.

With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth.

But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead.

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Word-filled Wednesday

Jealousy is a dangerous thing. Especially between brethren. It's sad when we can't thank God for each other's blessings. This is where I'm coming from with this verse of scripture. The beautiful thing about the blessings of the Lord is that they are not dependent on a "majority vote" from the public. God does all things according to His own divine will and purpose so that we can walk blessed in the midst of strife and tumult. Thank you lord.


This is my first Word-filled Wednesday post. I hope it blesses someone's heart. Please click on the above link to view more Word-filled Wednesday posts!

Move On, Move Up by Paula White Blog Tour

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Move On, Move Up: Turn Yesterday's Trials into Today's Triumphs

FaithWords (October 9, 2008)


Paula White is a renowned life coach, bestselling author, and highly sought after motivational speaker. She launched her television show, Paula Today, in 2001 and immediately captivated the attention of the American audience. Paula's commitment to humanity is felt worldwide as she reaches out through numerous charities and compassion ministries, fulfilling her mission and call to transform lives, heal hearts and win souls.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (October 9, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446580457
ISBN-13: 978-0446580458

Moving On!


Patricia stood in silence on the small plot of ground where her home had once been located. She stared with vacant eyes at the gnarled trees across the dirt road, trying to remember the details of what had once been there. The storm that had passed through the area nearly four years earlier had destroyed most of her community. In a matter of minutes all that had been familiar and comfortable was reduced to rubble. Hearts were devastated as family members had separated in their search for survival and neighbors had said good- bye to neighbors, perhaps for the last time in their lives.

Builders were coming in the morning to lay new foundations for Patricia and two of her former neighbors. Her family members were excited. Patricia had not fully sorted out her emotions. She was still angry at the unseen forces that had ripped her life apart. She was still in grief at her loss. She was still perplexed, wondering if there was any purpose in all that had happened, other than a renewed awareness of a fickle and uncontrollable cosmos. She mostly felt numb.

“It’s been four years,” Patricia’s daughter had said. “It’s time to build again, Mom.”

Patricia wanted to share her daughter’s enthusiasm, but she saw nothing ahead aside from hard work and struggle. The past was still too vivid and too raw for her to feel much hope.

Thousands of miles away . . .

Ubara stood in the doorway of her house staring down the roadway to the east, her eyes focused and penetrating. She longed for nothing but to see her two sons walk out of the dense foliage where the road took a turn and seemed to end several hundred yards away. It had been eight months since renegade military extremists had taken her two sons at gunpoint, conscripting them into a political struggle that Ubara knew little and cared nothing about. She had seen fear in the eyes of her sons, but any thought of defying the crazed and angry soldiers would have been suicidal.

Most of Ubara’s neighbors had told her they thought, by now, her sons must certainly be dead or they would have returned. A few held out some hope that her sons were still alive, conjecturing that her sons could be working in the capital city so they might bring home money. One neighbor thought her sons might be reluctant to return in order to protect Ubara.

In recent days, Ubara’s husband and married daughter had told her that it was time for her to resume the full extent of her chores and responsibilities. She knew she had neglected her husband during the last few months. She had been spending more and more time standing at the doorway. It seemed now that she alone held out full hope and longing that her sons would return — and that it would be only by the force of her will and desire that they would reappear and make her heart, and family, whole again.

She had asked, “Why my sons?” a thousand times.

She had cried, “I didn’t deserve this. I have been a good wife and mother.” She believed what she said with all her heart.

She had wondered, What will happen next? She dared not think about the worst, even as she also dared not think that life could or might move forward without her sons.

How could she resume full responsibility for her chores? How could she regain full engagement with her husband and daughter, son- in- law, and grandchildren? How might she once again be the joyful and teasing Ubara her family and friends tell her she used to be? These questions had no answers.

Still thousands more miles away . . .

Styrle stood, with a tall latte cupped in both hands, staring out the window of her eighteen- story condominium. The vast expanse of a wintry Lake Michigan stretched before her. She had only a few moments before she needed to take the elevator down to the walkway that bridged to her office and there begin the twelve-hour day that forced her to give full emotional and mental focus to the management tasks of her company. She was grateful she didn’t have any more “spare moments.” Those that she did have seemed always to gravitate back to the fact that her husband was gone. Physically, he had moved out of the condo five months before. Emotionally and sexually, he had moved completely out of their marriage more than a year ago.

Styrle missed the smell of her former husband’s aftershave, the sound of his laughter as he watched old Groucho Marx television shows, and the way he had once looked at her — many years ago — with appreciation and affection. She did not miss the cold, aloof, silent man he had become. She had many questions about how the warm and fun- loving man she had married fifteen years ago had turned into the cold and rigid man who had sat across the table, flanked by attorneys, as they wrangled about portfolio division and property disposition.

On the one hand, she blamed their divorce on their mutual- but separate success. Both of them had started their own businesses, which they in turn had taken to the top. On the other hand, she blamed the “age in which we live” — too many temptations and too high a set of expectations for perfection. In her heart of hearts, she truly did not know what more she might have done to keep her husband focused on and faithful to her. Even so, she felt she had failed in some way — certainly in her own eyes, also in the eyes of her parents and siblings, and ultimately before God. Divorce was never something she had expected to happen in her life.

Even though the fi nal divorce pronouncement had been recent, Styrle’s friends knew the estrangement had been progressing for years and they were already encouraging her to get on with her life. Two of her friends had told her only the day before she should make herself available for dating again, and one of the women had even made a suggestion or two about eligible men she might invite to a dinner party.

Styrle cringed at the thought. From her perspective, the ink on the divorce decree was barely dry. Furthermore, how could she trust again? How could she love again? She wasn’t at all sure how much she would be able to risk her own emotions to future rejection. “It’s time to get back on the playing fi eld,” one of her friends had said.

“You’ve got to get out there!” another friend advised.

She found herself thinking about their statements that morning as she stared out her window. What playing fi eld? Is it all a game? Out where? And even more important, she questioned, Why?

I have felt what each of these women has felt. I’ve been there, too — engulfed in a painful past and not knowing how to move forward in a positive way.

I lived a wonderful life as a little girl. My father was my superhero. Every morning, Daddy took me to breakfast and let me order whatever I wanted, and just to make it extra- special, he drew a smiley face on my pancakes with syrup. After breakfast we would go to the country club, where Daddy and his friends laughed and drank heartily, played cards, and gambled in smoke- filled rooms. I had the run of the club and created all kinds of mischief, but I was Daddy’s girl so nobody stopped me.


From the club we’d often go to the toy store my parents owned and my mother managed. I’d scoop up all the toys I could hold, and Mom would say I couldn’t keep them, but Daddy always said I could. And Daddy always won. Sometimes he’d even take me to the park after that, and then we’d end up back at the house, watching our favorite TV shows, drinking V- 8 juice together, and resting on the couch. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

Then the horrible night came when my father showed up at our front door drunk and demanded that I be handed over to him. My mother refused, and they literally had a tug- of- war fi ght, each of them holding one of my arms. For the fi rst time I saw my father become violent, and in the end, the police came and took Daddy away. He was released from their custody some time later, but in a disoriented state, my father killed himself just as he had vowed to do if he couldn’t have me with him.

For decades, my little- girl reactions to Daddy’s suicide echoed through my mind: How do I wake up from this nightmare? All I want is to be held and cuddled, feel safe, and be loved! Nothing added up. Daddy loved me — how could he leave me?

What about me was so unlovable?

After Daddy died, our situation changed dramatically. My father’s family took over all the family businesses as my mother chose to move forward with her life. Mother worked long hours to support my older brother and me, and I hardly ever saw her. She arranged for a lot of babysitters — teenaged girls and boys from the neighborhood. They were supposed to take care of me. But I was just six years old when a babysitter began to violate me. Over the weeks and years that followed, it happened over and over. I’d run and hide for hours afterward thinking about what a bad girl I must be. I’d take long baths to try to get clean again, and I’d cry as I sat in the bathtub, pleading with the world, Will someone please love me?


I strove for perfection, trying to make myself lovable. I studied hard to be a straight- A student, a trophy- winning gymnast, a diligent worker, and an attractive, thin girl — surely such a girl could be loved! To stay skinny as I entered my teen years, I began to purge and exercise even harder. I struggled with eating disorders for seven years.

In my anger over my father’s death, I began to manipulate my mother and others — friends, teachers, and any counselor who tried to help me confront my problems. All the while, I continued my frantic search for someone to fill the void that the loss of my daddy had left in my heart. I went from boyfriend to boyfriend — and with each broken relationship, the hollowness in the pit of my stomach grew deeper.

One day I was sitting in the home of an older woman and her middle- aged son. As we sat around the table, we talked about various things, and then suddenly this man said to me, “I have the answers to your problems and the solution to your pain.” Initially I was defensive and didn’t want to hear what he had to say. But as

I felt his sincerity and love, I let down my defenses and began to receive from him.

He pulled out a book that had the words “Holy Bible” printed on the front of it. He read to me from that book and told me about Jesus. It was the fi rst time I had ever heard anything about Jesus or encountered the Bible. It may be hard for you to believe that a seventeen- year- old girl living in a southern state of the United States of America had never heard the story of Jesus or the words of the Bible — but it was true. This man prayed with me and before night fell, I had accepted Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, as my personal Lord and Savior. It was the most glorious day of my life. I knew without a doubt, deep in my spirit, I was loved! I was not, however, emotionally healed of my past on that day. For years — even after I was involved in full- time ministry — IN struggled periodically with roller- coaster emotions that were deeply rooted in my father’s suicide and the abuse I had experienced as a young girl. Just when I seemed to make some progress and move forward, I was knocked back again. Old feelings and memories consumed my mind. Even as I smiled on the outside and helped others who had been abused, I was overwhelmed with anger at those who had hurt me.

Would I ever get beyond this? I knew I needed to . . . but how? What would it take for me to be able to step into a bright, loving future that wasn’t haunted by a horribly abusive and devastatingly sorrowful past?


Although their circumstances are very different, each of the three women I described earlier faces what millions of people around the world face today — the challenge of “moving on” from the past, and moving toward a future that has not been clearly defi ned and is far from secure and discernable.

Move on?

There’s far more to moving on than getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the next — although that certainly is a starting point for some people. Moving on means making new plans, taking on the future, and redefining what needs to be redefined. It means understanding and ultimately accepting that the landscape of your life has changed.

Moving on means making new plans, taking on the future, and redefining what needs to be redefined.

In many cases, moving on means moving out of the past — literally, at times, and emotionally, at times, and ultimately in most cases, both. Moving on means sorting through the past, gleaning the best from it, and reaching out toward something or someone new. New, of course, can be very exciting. It can also be very scary.

Moving on can be a factor related to sheer survival.

Moving on can be an outgrowth of rebellion.

Moving on can be a healthy embracing of growth and an opportunity

for personal development.

Moving on, in all cases, means some degree of change.

To change means to make or become different. To make an alteration or modification. A new experience. Although change is unavoidable on this journey of life, it can be difficult to embrace. The reason is that all change and transition initially feel like loss. How do we embrace an unknown future and leave a familiar past? This can be challenging and costly if not maneuvered carefully.

Yes, by all means, move on.

But the challenge to move on is not only for the Patricias, Ubaras, and Styrles of this world. It is the challenge facing every person . . . at some point and often at all times.


Because change is inevitable. The only thing constant in life is


The question is not, Are things changing? but rather, How am I dealing with change? How am I receiving, responding to, and reacting to change?

Are you a willing participant in the change process? Or are you kicking and screaming against the forces of change that are beyond your control?



I encourage you to think of “move on” as a process phrase. The truth is, we are all in process, all the time. God has designed us for growth and development, from the moment of our conception until the moment of death. We may not be growing and developing physically every minute of every year, but we are changing physically — and ideally, we are growing and developing emotionally, mentally, and spiritually every day of our lives. That’s the design. That’s the plan. Ultimately the individual purpose of growth is to produce the character of God in our lives. We have the choice of embracing growth and development or attempting to deny, thwart, or redirect it. As much as we try, however, we can never completely sidestep or control change. I certainly am aware of many of the health books that attempt to defy aging, and I also am highly in favor of living a high- quality, healthy, productive, and energetic life for as long as possible. Even so, aging occurs and death comes. That’s the inevitable fact of life.

Instead of living in a form of denial and questioning why one dies, the better choice is to embrace the realities of life and ask why one was born.

We need to accept what is inevitable and uncontrollable — and then seek to exert influence over all other factors. Between birth and death, we can do countless things to direct and control change, and even some things to control the rate of change in our lives, but we can never completely stop change.

We have the choice of embracing growth

and development or attempting to deny,

thwart, or redirect it.


Growth is optional; change is mandatory. It happens! We each face three challenges when it comes to change, and whether we meet them determines whether we move up as well as on. The challenges are to pursue positive change, to seek meaningful change, and to put together a chain of sequential and cumulative changes that build a better life.

Pursuing Positive Change

The alternative to positive change is to slip and slide through life according to circumstances. If a person allows circumstances to direct her life, there’s a high probability those circumstances are negative, and if so, they are likely to direct her life toward negative outcomes.

For example, the death of a spouse can be devastating. What might be done in the aftermath of experiencing such a negative circumstance? Some widows give up — their lives become increasingly narrow and unproductive. They see a significant part of their reason for being as having been stripped from them, and they have great difficulty in making new friendships or trying new things. Some suffer financially because they have not trained themselves in money management or sought to become informed about their family fi nances. These women become confused about how to handle the money and property they inherit.

In sharp contrast are those widows who pursue new futures.

This does not mean they mourn their husbands any less. It means, rather, that they refuse to become paralyzed by their losses. They are willing to make changes, consider a full range of options, and then pursue what they believe will give them the greatest opportunity for meaningful and positive lives.

In some cases, they devote more of their time and energy to their own creative passions or intellectual interests. Sometimes they dive into volunteer work and faith- based ministries. Going back to school to study things that have long been of interest can finally become possible for them. Or perhaps they give the deposit of wealth stored within their souls through time and experience to younger people still trying to figure out who they are and what life’s about.

A meaningful and positive future does not automatically flow from a negative circumstance — but the good news is that an unproductive and negative future is not an automatic outcome from a negative circumstance. A person must choose to recognize that the process of change is in effect and then choose to pursue positive growth.

Seeking Meaningful Change

Change just for the sake of change profits little. We must seek not only positive change but change that is meaningful and purpose filled. In times marked by difficult circumstances it is too easy to make quick, seemingly easy, overly optimistic changes in the hopes that anything will be better than what is. That isn’t the case.

The newly divorced person who jumps into another marriage within weeks . . . the person who is fired from a company and immediately goes to work for a competitor with a spirit of revenge in her heart . . . or the widow who quickly discards all of her husband’s belongings and moves to Florida even though she cannot tolerate heat or humidity . . . are examples of change not rooted in positive and meaningful purpose.

We must seek not only positive change but change that is meaningful and purpose filled.


In the embracing of change, we must be certain we are making choices and decisions that truly have the potential for giving us greater fulfillment and deeper inner satisfaction. We must make changes that further the release of our God- given potential, not just changes that offer a quick fi x of money, fame, or affection.

Seeking Sequential and Cumulative Change

Positive and meaningful change has a cumulative effect. God’s Word tells us that the good things in our lives can grow exponentially, so that we move from “grace to grace” and from “glory to glory.” That means we build upon our successes. We develop our talents and skills to their highest level and use them in ways that attract future opportunity. It means we begin to see patterns in our lives that enable us to put the pieces together into a greater and greater whole.

The alternative is to hopscotch through our lives, jumping from one seemingly good idea to the next, from one relationship to the next, from one opportunity to the next, never landing long enough to get accurate bearings about where we may be headed, or why we are making the moves we make.

Virtually all things of quality and lasting value take time to create or build. A person may appear to be an overnight wonder, but in all likelihood if the success is genuine it has been hard earned. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation that goes down in history.

Moving on successfully, therefore, means pursuing positive and meaningful changes that sequentially and cumulatively build a life of quality and purpose. The motion is forward. The result is growth that is fruitful.

This isn’t just moving on — it is moving up!

80577 i


From that perspective, what presently is becomes something much greater, grander, and more glorious!


I have never met a person who said, “If I won the lottery, I’d decline my winnings.” The exact opposite is true — most people want to experience a financial windfall. People want instant miracles and overnight fame and to be catapulted into the arms of a dream lover.

Everybody wants to trade in the ghetto for a penthouse, get to the top of the ladder, or walk the red carpet and be handed the big trophy. Now, not everybody truly believes that he or she can or will experience life at the top, but people nevertheless daydream about or wish for more. The poor want more, the rich want more.

While change is inevitable, moving up is never inevitable. It requires intentional choices and decisions. The examples I have listed are examples about ambitions and desires rooted in human nature. We tend to ask ourselves, How much do I want? How much do I think I can earn . . . or have . . . or achieve . . . or accomplish? Those are questions rooted in our own human understanding of our potential and abilities.

But how high is God’s high? How good is God’s good? How much is in God’s storehouse with your name on it? I am 100 percent convinced that God’s high has no ceiling that we human beings can fully fathom. God’s best is perfection, completion.

God does not deal in “too much” or “too great.” God’s plan for every person is rooted in words such as “exceedingly,” “abundantly,” and “more than a person can imagine.”

God’s intention is that we move up . . . but even more so, that we move up to the ever- increasing levels that are according to His plan and purpose.

Keep reading . . . I’ll show you how.


How do you feel about the idea of moving on in your life?


What more do you intuitively sense God has for you that you aren’t currently experiencing, doing, or displaying in your character or spiritual life?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Murder on the Ol' Bunions

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Murder on The Ol' Bunions

Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)


S. Dionne Moore


SAndra has been writing for years with historicals being her main focus. By the time she had a polished manuscript in hand, historicals were unpopular. She didn't give up though and decided to try her hand at writing a mystery. A cozy mystery.

Her first book, Murder on The Ol' Bunions , released in April of 2008. Book two of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series, Polly Dent Loses Grip, and book three, Eat, Drink and Be Buried will follow in April 2009 and 2010, respectively.

She's almost always running a contest, so drop by her Website, you just might win a free gift!


LaTisha Barnhart’s bunions tell her something’s afoot as she delves deeper into the murder of her former employee, Marion Peters. When LaTisha becomes a suspect, the ante is upped, and she is determined to clear her name and find the culprit.

She’s burping Mark Hamm’s bad cooking to investigate his beef with Marion. . .getting her hair styled at a high falutin’ beauty parlor to see what has Regina Rogane in a snarl. . .playing self-appointed matchmaker between the local chief and a prime suspect. . .and thinking Payton O’Mahney’s music store lease might be the reason he’s singing out of tune when discussion of Marion’s murder arises. LaTisha’s thinking she just might use the reward money to get her bunions surgically removed. But she’s got to catch the crook first.

Small town intrigue, a delightful, vivid cast, and a well-crafted mystery make S. Dionne Moore’s debut novel a must-read! I loved it!~Susan May Warren~Award-winning author of Reclaiming Nick

“S. Dionne Moore has the rare quality of pulling together great characters and compelling plots.”
~Kelly Klepfer~

If you would like to HEAR the first chapter, go HERE and click on the bookcover trailer box!

If you would like to READ, the first chapter of Murder on The Ol' Bunions , go HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Beautiful Fall Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Beautiful Fall

David C. Cook (October 2008)


Chris Coppernoll


Chris Coppernoll is the founder of Soul2Soul Ministries, with his interviews with Christian artists airing weekly on 650 radio outlets in thirty countries. He has conducted hundreds of interviews on faith issues with personalities such as Amy Grant, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford. He also serves as a Deacon at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and is currently working toward a Masters in Ministry Leadership degree through Rockbridge Seminary.

His "Inspirations" column is published monthly in the mid Michigan newspaper, The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Chris Coppernoll is the author of four other books including Soul2Soul, Secrets of a Faith Well Lived, and God's Calling. Providence, his first novel, is his fourth book.


High-powered Boston attorney Emma Madison is celebrating her latest courtroom victory when she gets a call from a number she doesn't recognize. Area code 803 home. Juneberry, South Carolina eight hundred miles, twelve years, and a lifetime away from Boston. Emma's father has had a serious heart attack. Emma rushes to his bedside, and a weekend trip threatens to become an extended stay. She has to work fast to arrange the affairs of his small-town law practice so she can return to her life and career in Boston.

And then Michael Evans shows up. They'd shared hopes, dreams, and a passionate love as young college students during a long-ago summer. But Emma walked away from Michael and from Juneberry to finish college and start a new life. Michael has never forgotten her.

Enveloped in the warmth of family and small-town life and discovering that she still cares for Michael Emma knows she'll have to make a choice between the career she's worked so hard to build and the love she left behind.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Other Words 14_10_2008

IOW pic

“A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself,but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.” by A.W.Tozer

This quote carries me right back to Luke 18:11-13 where I see the prayer of the sinner and the prayer of the Pharisee. I remember being like the Pharisee. Not necessarily praying like him and pointing out the sins of others but having that invincible feeling that I could do no wrong because, of course, I loved God so much. That lasted till I fell. Again. And Again.

1 Cor 10:12
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.(KJV)

Now even when I see the wrong of others I try not to judge because my weaknesses come before me. My sin comes before me. I’m reminded that I am kept only by the grace of God. I go before him with fear and trembling because I want to be right and stay right with Him. When I see the wrongs of others, I remember that sometimes i do things i don't want to do and don't do things i really want to do. This really helps me to keep perspective on things and also it's easier to show love/understanding to someone else in their own situation. Because believe me I've been there and it's only through His mercies that i can still say Abba Father.

Gal 6:1
1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (KJV)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Home Another Way By Christa Parrish Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Home Another Way

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Christa Parrish


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Special FIRST Tour: Goodbye Hollywood Nobody

It is October 11th, and FIRST is doing a special tour to 'Say Goodbye to Hollywood Nobody'.

Today's feature author is:

and her book:

Goodbye Hollywood Nobody

NavPress Publishing Group (September 15, 2008)


Lisa Samson is the author of twenty books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. Apples of Gold was her first novel for teens

These days, she's working on Quaker Summer, volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, raising children and trying to be supportive of a husband in seminary. (Trying . . . some days she's downright awful. It's a good thing he's such a fabulous cook!) She can tell you one thing, it's never dull around there.

Other Novels by Lisa:

Hollywood Nobody, Finding Hollywood Nobody, Romancing Hollywood Nobody, Straight Up, Club Sandwich, Songbird, Tiger Lillie, The Church Ladies, Women's Intuition: A Novel, Songbird, The Living End

Visit her at her website.

Product Details

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (September 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600062229
ISBN-13: 978-1600062223


Monday, July 11, 6:30 a.m.

I awaken to a tap on my shoulder and open my eye. My right eye. See, these days it could be one of four people: Charley, Dad, Grampie, or Grammie.

“’Morning, dear!”


Oh well, might as well go for broke. I open the other eye.

“Did you sleep well?”

I shake my head and reach for my cat glasses. “Nope. I kept dreaming about Charley in Scotland.” We sent her off with her new beau, the amazing Anthony Harris, two days ago. “I imagined a road full of sheep chasing her down.”

“That would be silly. They would have to know she hates lamb chops.” Grammie sits on my bed. Yes, my bed. In their fabulous house. In my own wonderful room, complete with reproductions of the Barcelona chair and a platform bed of gleaming sanded mahogany. I burrow further into my white down comforter. I sweat like a pig at night, but I don’t care. A real bed, a bona fide comforter, and four pillows. Feather pillows deep enough to sink the Titanic in.

She pats my shoulder, her bangled wrists emitting the music of wooden jewelry. “Up and at ’em, Scotty. Your dad wants to be on the road by seven thirty.”

“I need a shower.”

“Hop to it then.”

Several minutes later, I revel in the glories of a real shower. Not the crazy little stall we have in the TrailMama, which Dad gassed up last night for our trip to Maine. Our trip to find Babette, my mother. Is she dead or alive? That’s what we’re going to find out.

It’s complicated.

The warm water slides over me from the top of my head on down, and I’ve found the coolest shampoo. It smells like limeade. I kid you not. It’s the greatest stuff ever.

Over breakfast, Grampie sits down with us and goes over the map to make certain Dad knows the best route. My father sits patiently, nodding as words like turnpike, bypass, and scenic route roll like a convoy out of Grampie’s mouth.

Poor Grampie. Dad is just the best at navigation and knows everything about getting from point A to point B, but I think Grampie wants to be a part of it. He hinted at us all going in the Beaver Marquis, their Luxury-with-a-capital-L RV, but Dad pretended not to get it.

Later, Dad said to me, “It’s got to be just us, Scotty. I love my mother and father, but some things just aren’t complete-family affairs.”

“I know. I think you’re right. And if it’s bad . . .”

He nods. “I’d just as soon they not be there while we fall apart.”


So then, I hop up into our RV, affectionately known as the TrailMama, Dad’s black pickup already hitched behind. (Charley’s kitchen trailer is sitting on a lot in storage at a nearby RV dealership, and good riddance. I’m hoping Charley never needs to use that thing again.) “Want me to drive?”

He laughs.

Yep. I still don’t have my license.

Man. But it’s been such a great month or so at the beach. So, okay, I don’t tan much really, but I do have a nice peachy glow.

I’ll take it.

And Grampie grilled a lot, and Grammie helped me sew a couple of vintage-looking skirts, and I’ve learned the basics of my harp.

I jump into the passenger’s seat, buckle in, and look over at my dad. “You really ready for this?” My heart speeds up. This is the final leg of a very long journey, and what’s at the end of the path will determine the rest of our lives.

He looks into my eyes. “Are you?”

“I don’t know,” I whisper. “But we don’t really have a choice, do we?”

“I can go alone.”

I shake my head. “No, Dad. Whatever we do, whatever happens from here on out, we do it together.”


Friday, October 10, 2008

FIRST Wild Card Tour:Riven by Jerry Jenkins

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:


Tyndale House Publishers (July 22, 2008)


JERRY B. JENKINS'S writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, and Christianity Today, Guideposts, and dozens of other periodicals. He is an award-winning novelist with more than 70 million books sold, including 20 New York Times bestsellers (seven that debuted number one). Author of Left Behind, he has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine.

Jerry owns both the Christian Writers Guild and Jenkins Entertainment - a filmmaking company in Los Angeles.

He serves as chairman of the board of Trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, and he and his wife Dianna live in Colorado.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 558 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (July 22, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141430904X
ISBN-13: 978-1414309040


Adamsville State Penitentiary
Death Row

With the man’s first step, the others on the Row began a slow tapping on their cell doors.

The tiny procession reached the end of the pod, and the rest of the way through security and all the way to the death chamber was lined on either side with corrections officers shoulder to shoulder, feet spread, hands clasped behind their backs, heads lowered. As the condemned reached them, each raised his head, snapped to attention, arms at his sides, feet together.

What a tribute, he thought. Who would ever have predicted this for one who had, for so much of his life, been such a bad, bad man?

October, seventeen years earlier
Touhy Trailer Park

Brady Wayne Darby clapped his little brother on the rear. “Petey, time to get up, bud. We got no water pressure, so . . .”


“There’s a trickle, so give yourself a sponge bath.”

“Ma already gone?”

“Yeah. Now come on. Don’t be late.”

At sixteen, Brady was twice Peter’s age and hated being the man of the house—or at least of the trailer. But if no one else was going to keep an eye on his little brother, he had to. It was bad enough Brady’s bus came twenty minutes before Peter’s and the kid had to be home alone. Brady poured the boy a bowl of cereal and called through the bathroom door, “No dressing like a hoodlum today, hear?”

“Why’s it all right for you and not for me?” “Whatever.”

“Straight home after school. I got practice, so I’ll see ya for dinner.”

“Ma gonna be here?”

“She doesn’t report to me. Just keep your distance till I get home.”

Brady rummaged for cigarettes, finally finding five usable butts in one of the ashtrays. He quickly smoked two down to their filters, tearing open the remaining three and dumping the tobacco in his shirt pocket. Desperately trying to quit so he could stay on the football team, Brady couldn’t be seen with the other smokers across the road from the school, so he had resorted to sniffing his pocket throughout the day. If he couldn’t cop a smoke from a friend after last class and find a secluded place to light up, he was so jittery at practice he could hardly stand still.

Brady grabbed his books and slung his black leather jacket over his shoulder as he left the trailer, finding the asphalt already steaming in the sun. Others from the trailer park waiting for the bus made him feel as if he were seeing his own reflection. Guys and girls dressed virtually the same, black from head to toe except for white shirts and blouses. Guys had their hair slicked back, sideburns grown retro, high-collared shirts tucked into skintight pants over pointy-toed shoes. Oversize wallets, most likely as empty as Brady’s, protruded from back pockets and were attached to belt loops by imitation silver or gold chains.

So they were decades behind the times, even for rebels. Brady—an obsessive movie watcher—was a James Dean fan and dressed how he wanted, and the rest copied him. One snob called them rebels without a clue.

Brady scowled and narrowed his eyes, nodding a greeting. The fat girl with the bad face, whom Brady had unceremoniously dumped more than a year ago after he had gotten to know her better than he should have in the backseat of a friend’s car, sneered as she cradled her gigantic purse to her chest. “Still trying to play jock?”

Brady looked away. “Leave it alone, Agatha.”

“More like a preppy,” one of the guys said, reaching to flick Brady’s schoolbooks.

“You definitely don’t want to start with me,” Brady said, glaring and calling him the foulest name he could think of. The kid quickly backed off.

Brady knew he looked strange carrying schoolbooks. But the coach kept track.

The trailer park was the last stop on the route, and the yellow barge soon drifted in, crammed with suburbia’s finest: jocks, preppies, and nerds—every last one younger than Brady. No other self-respecting kid with a driver’s license rode the bus.

In a life of endless days of open-fly humiliation, this boarding ritual was the most painful. Brady took it upon himself to lead the group. They could hide behind him and each other, avoiding the squints and stares and held noses as they slowly made their way down the aisle looking, usually in vain, for someone to slide over far enough to allow one cheek on the seat for the ride to school.


“. . . brewery . . .”

“. . . smokehouse . . .”

“. . . B.O. . . .”

Brady neither looked nor waited. His daily goal was to find the most resolute rich kid and make him move. Today he stared down at the short-cropped blond hair of a boy who had been trying to hide a smile while pretending to study. Brady pressed his knee against him and growled, “Move in, frosh.”

“I’m a sophomore,” the kid huffed as he made room.

On the way home, Brady would ride the activities bus. There he would for sure be the only one of his type, but football earned him his place among the jocks, cheerleaders, thespians, and assorted club members. Wide-eyed at first, they seemed to have grudgingly accepted him, though they still clearly saw the trailer park as a novelty. One evening as he trudged from the bus, Brady had been sure everyone was watching. He turned quickly, only to be proven right, and felt face-slapped. At least the trailer park was the first stop at the end of the day. 11 a.m.

First Community Church
Vidalia, Georgia

Reverend Thomas Carey knew he would not be getting the job when the head of the pastoral search committee—a youngish man with thick, dark hair—dismissed the others and asked Grace Carey if she wouldn’t mind waiting for her husband in the car.

“Oh, not at all,” she said, but Thomas interrupted.

“Anything you say to me, you can say to her.”

The man put a hand on Thomas’s shoulder and spoke softly. “Of course, you’re free to share anything you wish with your spouse, Reverend, but why don’t you decide after you hear me out?”

Grace assured Thomas it was all right and retreated from the sanctuary.

“You tell her everything?” the man said.

“Of course. She’s my—”

“She knows we saw you at your request, not ours, and that we didn’t feel you warranted a visit to hear you preach?”

Thomas Carey pressed his lips together. Then, “I appreciate your meeting with us today.”

The committee chairman pointed to a pew and leaned against another as Thomas sat. “I need to do you a favor and be frank with you, Reverend. I can tell you right now this is not going to go your way. In fact, we’re not going to bother with a vote.”

“That doesn’t sound fair.”

“Please,” Dark Hair said. “I know these people, and if I may be blunt, you rank last on the list of six we’ve already interviewed.”

“Shouldn’t you poll the others on their—?”

“I’m sorry, but you have a three-year Bible college diploma, no real degree, no seminary training. You’re, what, in your midforties?”

“I’m forty-six, yes.”

“Sir, I’ve got to tell you, I’m not surprised that your résumé consists of eight churches in twenty-two years—the largest fewer than 150 members. Have you ever asked yourself why?”

“Why what?”

“Why you’ve never been successful, never advanced, never landed a church like ours . . .”

“Surely you don’t equate success with numbers.”

“Reverend Carey, I’m just trying to help. You and your sweet wife come in here, I assume trying to put your best foot forward, yet you look and dress ten years older than you are, and your hair is styled like a 1940s matinee idol.”

Dark Hair extended his hand. “I want to sincerely thank you for your time today. Please pass along my best wishes to your wife. And be assured I meant no disrespect. If it’s of any help, I’m aware of several small churches looking for pastors.”

Thomas stood slowly and buttoned his sport jacket. “I appreciate your frankness; I really do. Any idea how I might qualify for a bigger work? I don’t want to leave the ministry, but our only child is in her second year of law school at Emory, and—”

“When there are many Christian colleges that would give a minister huge discounts?”

“I’m afraid she would be neither interested in nor qualified for a Christian school just now.”

“I see. Well, I’m sorry. But the fact is, you are what you are. None of your references called you a gifted preacher, despite assuring us you’re a wonderful man of God. If you cannot abide your current station, perhaps the secular marketplace is an option.”

5 p.m.
Head Football Coach’s Office
Forest View High School

Brady hadn’t even thoroughly dried after his shower. Now he sat in Coach Roberts’s cramped space with his stuff on his lap, waiting for the beefy man. Every player was listed on a poster on the wall, his place on the depth chart and his grade in every class there for all to see. Brady knew what was coming. He should have just skulked out to the bus and, by ignoring the coach’s summons, announced his quitting before being cut.

But he knew the drill. Never give up. Never say die. Keep your head up. Look eager, willing.

Finally Roberts barreled in, dropping heavily into a squeaky chair. “I gotta ask you, Darby: what’re you doing here?”

“You asked me to come see you—”

“I mean what’re you doing trying to play football? You’re a shop kid, ain’t ya? You didn’t come out as a frosh or a soph. I smell smoke all over you.”

“I quit, Coach! I know the rules.”

“We’re barely a month into the year, and you’re makin’ Ds in every class. You’re fourth-string quarterback, and entertaining as it is for everybody else to watch you racing all over the practice field on every play, we both know you’re never gonna see game time. Now, really, what’re you doing?”

“Just trying to learn, to make it.”

Brady couldn’t tell him he was looking for something, anything, to get him out of the trailer park and closer to the kids he had despised for so long. They seemed to have everything handed to them: clothes, cars, girls, college, futures. No, he wasn’t ready to dress differently; he took enough heat from his friends just for carrying books and playing football.

“Listen, your teachers, even the ones outside of industrial arts, tell me you’re not stupid. You’re a good reader, sometimes have something to say. But you don’t test well, rarely do your homework. What’s the deal?”
Brady shrugged. “It’s just my ma and my brother and me.”

“Hey, we’ve all got problems, Darby.”

Do we? Really? “Like I said, I quit smoking, and I’m trying to get my grades up.”

“Look, I want to see you succeed, but frankly you’re a distraction here. I rarely cut anybody willing to practice and ride the bench—”

“Which I am.”

“Yeah, but this isn’t working, and I don’t want to waste any more of your time.”

“Don’t worry about wasting my—”

“Or mine. Or my coaches’. If you’re determined to get involved in some extracurricular stuff, there’s all kinds of other—”

“Like what?”

Coach Roberts looked at his watch. “Well, what do you like to do?”

“Watch movies.”

“Don’t we all? But is it a passion for you?”

“You have no idea.”

“You want to be an actor someday? study theater?”

Brady hesitated. “Never thought of that, but yeah, that would be too good to be true.”

“Now see, with that attitude, you’ll never get anywhere. If you want to try that, try it! Talk to Nabertowitz, the theater guy. See if there’s a club or a play or something.”

“There’s rumors about him.”

“Do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut about that. Those artsy people can be a little flamboyant, but the guy’s got a wife and kids, so don’t be jumping to conclusions, and you’ll stay out of trouble.”

Brady shrugged. “I’d be as new there as I was here.”

“Oh, I expect you’d be a sight among that crowd, though there’s all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff I’ll bet you could do. But I need to tell you, football is not your thing.”

Hometown Favorite Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Hometown Favorite

Revell (September 1, 2008)


Bill Barton and Henry O. Arnold


Bill Barton is a business partner with Compass Technologies. An active member and volunteer at his church, Hendersonville Chapel, Barton is a regular speaker at services and other events. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his family.

Henry O. Arnold has been a professional actor, writer, and director in theatre, film, and television. He co-wrote and produced the film The Second Chance starring Michael W. Smith and wrote the screenplay for the first authorized film documentary on evangelist Billy Graham, God's Ambassador. Arnold lives in Portland, Tennessee.


Talented, handsome, and personable, Dewayne Jobe rose from humble beginnings in rural Mississippi to play college football in Southern California and beyond. One of the best wide receivers in college ball, Dewayne is assured a promising career in professional football as one of those rare athletes whose exceptional abilities place him in a league of his own.

He easily finds success both on and off the field. Dewayne's got a beautiful, intelligent wife running his lucrative endorsement business and carrying his child and the pristine white picket fence to boot. The only thing lacking is a road sign confirming his address on Easy Street.

But catastrophe looms right around the corner and ultimately strikes with a crushing vengeance. Will Dewayne's faith and character stand the test of such tragedy? Or will he lose everything--including the love of his life?

This modern retelling of the story of Job will capture readers with the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people--and how good people can survive.

Combining realistic sports action and a deadly serious challenge to faith, Hometown Favorite is a story that won't let you up off the turf until the game clock hits zero.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Hometown Favorite, go HERE

"An amazing story of betrayal, forgiveness, redemption and hope. The characters are vibrant and alive. Barton and Arnold have a rare and keen understanding of human nature, making the spiritual truths of this story both profound and compelling."

~Michael W. Smith, recording artist

"Like a close game and a score that just won’t turn around, Dewayne’s true fans and Hometown Favorite readers will appreciate the daunting odds fate doles out and this story’s hard-won outcome."

~Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace