Thursday, July 31, 2014

In The Field of Grace

Fans of Christian historical fiction will love this story. Tessa Afshar's In the Field of Grace brings the story of Ruth and Boaz to life, following closely to the biblical depiction and yet embellishing with poignant details that take the reader right back to the reaper's fields. Absolutely delightful read.




This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In The Field of Grace

River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2014)

by

Tessa Afshar


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life.  She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently.  Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School.  She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

ABOUT THE BOOK



Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.


But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.


Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel's destiny and the future of the whole world.




If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Field of Grace, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Firewall

This story can only be described as a thrill ride from page one to the finish. DiAnn Mills is an expert FBI storyteller, and Firewall doesn't disappoint.




This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Firewall

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)

by

DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK



After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.


Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?


With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.


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


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Footprints in the Snow

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)


One of my earliest memories as a preschooler is a trek through a mountain path, following behind my grandparents. As I struggled through hip-deep snow, I whimpered to be picked up, but they just told me, “step in our footprints; you’ll be okay.” Their footprints were eight inches deep, but I wanted to keep up with them, so I stretched my little legs to reach the next footprint, and the next, until we were back to the road.

Photo courtesy of: Mirna Sentic, rgbstock.com

It wasn’t only Grandma’s literal footprints I would want to follow; I wanted to follow the proverbial ones, too. Watching her, I caught many important life lessons: use butter-flavor Crisco for the best cookies, don’t fight with your spouse in front of the kids, and most importantly—the prettiest color in the world is pink.
“Think Pink” became our little catch-phrase. More often than not, we’d say it as we hugged goodbye or hung up the phone. I’d go to her with a teen girl problem and she’d say it to me as a way of saying, “look on the bright side.” Later on, I would learn her secret to thinking pinkgratitude. Even during the darkest times, she’d find a reason to be thankful.
A few years ago, right before she passed away, I went into her room for a visit. With oxygen tubes in her nose and grimacing in pain, she started relating memories from her childhood, stuff I hadn’t ever heard before. She grew up on a farm in Nebraska during the depression, where she hoed beans in the blazing sun and bundled up in brutal winters to walk with her siblings to a one-room schoolhouse, which was heated only with a pot-bellied stove. Sometimes she went to bed hungry, because there wasn’t enough food to go around during the depression.
Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero, rgbstock.com
Her sweet “think pink” attitude didn’t match her life experiences, I thought. Why wouldn’t she be bitter about such a hard childhood? I knew of many losses, which had caused her deep anguish, and still, she was thankful for all she had. So, I asked her, “Grandma, what is it that makes you so cheerful, even talking about such difficult things?”
Then she told me another story about attending church as a young girl. It was there in one of those services she heard about Christ’s love for her. At the invitation, she accepted His offer of salvation and the free gift of forgiveness. From then on, she carried the hope of being with Him in Heaven someday. The trials of this world became temporary.
From then on, I decided to follow her example in thankfulness. When I’m discouraged or angry about something, I can still hear her voice, saying, “Think pink!” And I find something to be grateful for, even in the midst of the trial. It makes a world of difference, not only in the outcome of the situation, but in my state of mind while going through it. As the saying goes, we can’t choose our circumstances, but we can decide how to respond.
Oxygen tanks and hospital beds were not the end for my grandma, but a segue into an eternity with no pain, no tears, and no sickness. She mentioned that she wanted a recording of the hymn, "Farther Along." Heaven was on her mind. I think she knew there were gardens full of beautiful pink flowers, the kind that never wither, just waiting for her on the other side. How else could she be such a sweetheart, even though she was confined to bed and in constant pain?
Though she has gone on to Heaven, I’m so grateful for the footprints she left for me to follow. Even through frigid, dark winters, they are lined with pink blossoms.

Photo Courtesy of Adrian van Leen, rgbstock.com

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Wrap: Presents or Presence?

This Christmas, I found myself recalling fond memories of Christmases past, when my kids were little. The magic of Christmas is evident in their eyes in the old videos, exclaiming over gifts they opened, making gingerbread houses, and tiny bodies dancing around the living room to Christmas music.

There have been many spectacular Christmases in the Smith household—the new bike Christmas, the iPod Christmas, the Game Cube Christmas—so I was a bit surprised at the reaction of my daughter, Mariah, when I mentioned the Nativity Christmas.

“Oh, that was the best Christmas ever!”

As a young, single mother, I could barely afford a tiny, used Christmas tree and a few presents (books, socks, Barbie clothes and lip-gloss). I had one CD of Amy Grant Christmas music, and we played it ad nauseam. It’s not the first vision that usually springs to mind at the mention of “best Christmas ever.”

But we did have construction paper, scraps of fabric, toilet paper rolls, and a shoebox. We made that shoebox into a barn and cut a toilet paper roll in half lengthwise, then glued it together back-to-back to make a manger. We clipped little yellow scraps of paper for the straw, laid it in our manger-bed, and affixed a yellow star to the top of the barn.

Next, out came a stream of characters for our newly made set pieces. Ken became Joseph, Barbie became Mary, and baby Barbie became Jesus. Our baby Barbie was a girl, but with enough swaddling clothes, any baby can look like Jesus in a toilet-paper-roll manger. We designed Biblical-era costumes from scraps of fabric and gathered barn animals from an old farm set.

Our apartment would have never made the cover of Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine. Neither would our Christmas dinner. But the one thing we did have plenty of that year was T-I-M-E, lots of playtime, talking about how the baby Jesus came to save the world. There was no question about whether the animals could talk on Christmas Eve—they talked for two weeks straight! So did Mary, Joseph, and all the makeshift shepherds and angels we could find. It’s been a long time since we spent all those precious hours under the tree, and we didn’t even have a video camera to record it, but those memories are indelibly etched.

Last Sunday, our pastor preached a convicting sermon about relationships in Harpeth’s Skipping Christmas series, and oh, my—it was written just for me. In the midst of the cooking-decorating-shopping frenzy, my temptation is to focus on tasks and not people—the “perfect look,” and not deep heart connections. My tendency is to ignore the ones I’m serving and focus on my to-do list, so it was a timely reminder of where my priorities should be.


This Christmas, those two little girls are all grown up, but they’ll still celebrate Christmas with me, as they have many wonderful Christmases past. Our family expanded when I married Doug, and we’ve all been blessed beyond measure, both by our relationships and with material goods. So, given the abundance of loving family in my life, my Christmas prayer this year is to be able to connect with them and to enjoy their presence, just like I did on that Nativity Christmas.  

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Fields of the Fatherless

You meet the most amazing people at writers conferences. I have met some precious people that I've kept in touch with for years. I cheer on their accomplishments and pray for them. I also love to feature their work on my blog.

One such author is Elaine Cooper, revolutionary era historical novelist. Her book, Fields of the Fatherless, just released. I don't get a lot of time to read fiction these days, but I just knew I needed to read Elaine's book. I was not disappointed. I was enthralled from page one and couldn't stop turning pages.

It's about a young woman named Betsy Russell living near Concord. She and her family experienced one of the first, yet little-known battles of the Revolutionary War. They are stretched to extraordinary lengths. Elaine writes poignantly and transparently. If ever there were a story set in the revolution era about loving one's enemy, this is it!

If you love historical fiction, you won't want to miss this one.

Here's the Amazon link if you want to check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Fields-Fatherless-Elaine-Marie-Cooper/dp/1938499921/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383532730&sr=8-1&keywords=fields+of+the+fatherless

Happy reading!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Plain Disappearance




This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Plain Disappearance

B&H Books (September 1, 2013)


by

Amanda Flower


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.




ABOUT THE BOOK



USA Today recently hailed award-nominated author Amanda Flower for A Plain Death, calling it “the first Amish rom-com . . . bring on the next one!” As the enthusiastic reviews continue to mount, she’s back with her third Appleseed Creek mystery, A Plain Disappearance.


It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.


Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence.


If you would like to read the first chapter of >A Plain Disappearance, go HERE.




Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Dark Justice

Brandilyn's new book is fantastic! If you're a Brandilyn Collins fan (and it's no secret that I am) you'll enjoy her latest nail biter.





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dark Justice

B&H Books (October 1, 2013)

by

Brandilyn Collins


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."®  Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn's awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.


Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing published in 2002.


When she's not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers' conferences.


ABOUT THE BOOK



If I’d had any idea what those words would mean to me, to my mother and daughter, I’d have fled California without looking back.


While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Soon people want to kill Hannah and her mother for what they “know.” Even law enforcement may be involved.


The two women must flee for their lives. But how does Hannah hide her confused mother? Carol just wants to listen to her pop music, wear her favorite purple hat, and go home. And if they turn to Hannah’s twentyseven- year-old daughter, Emily, for help, will she fall into danger as well?


Pressed on all sides, Hannah must keep all three generations of women in her family alive. Only then does she learn the threat is not just to her loved ones, but the entire country . . .


If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dark Justice, HERE.