Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Judgment of Others

I spoke with a friend at church Sunday who is also unequally yoked, and she brought up an issue I think we all run into at one point or another. As unequally yoked spouses, what can we do to cross the faith barrier to connect with our unbelieving spouses? And in so doing, how do we handle the judgments we sometimes receive from other believers.

We’ve talked in the past about how our actions speak louder than words. Sometimes the actions God call us to can look questionable in the eyes of others. I’ve recently joined my husband in playing an online video game that some would consider the “wrong influence.” Is it my first choice of activities? No, but it’s something my husband enjoys and joining him sends the message that I want to spend time with him, and I’m willing to do it on his terms (without sinning, of course) to show my love and acceptance of him.

I knew going into this that other Christians I know would not approve, but I moved this direction out of obedience. This was something God put on my heart to do. Let me cover some key points here:

Read the rest at S.U.M.

Photo by Zoran Ozetskyspan

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Falcon and the Sparrow
by Marylu Tyndall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Falcon And The Sparrow

(Barbour Publishing, Inc - August 1, 2008)


M. L. Tyndall

M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

Her current releases in the Legacy of The Kings Pirates series include:The Restitution, The Reliance, and The Redemption

When Mademoiselle Dominique Dawson sets foot on the soil of her beloved homeland, England, she feels neither the happiness nor the excitement she expected upon her
return to the place of her birth. Alone for the first time in her life, without family, without friends, without protection, she now faces a far more frightening prospect, for she has come to the country she loves as an enemy-a spy for Napoleon.

Forced to betray England or never see her only brother alive again, Dominique has accepted a position as governess to the son of Admiral Chase Randal, a harsh man, still bitter over the loss of his wife. Will Dominique find the strength she needs through God to follow through with the plan to rescue her brother? Will Chase find comfort for his bitter heart in God's arms and be able to love again?

And what new deceptions will they both find in France when they arrive to carry out their plan?

If you would like to read an excerpt of The Falcon And The Sparrow, go HERE.

Smudge gives MaryLu high meows for her stories. I don't normally read historicals, but MaryLu's pirates stories are great! Be sure to check out her books. AND, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book!

(Congrats to Trish at Beauty4Ashes for winning Try Darkness)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When Our World Shakes

575316_falling_dominoesOur human nature makes us naturally resistant to change. And we tend to view any kind of shake up with a negative eye. It makes sense…naturally.

So how do we shift our viewpoint from the natural to the eternal when God is shaking up our lives? If we’re to believe God is sovereign and nothing occurs without his approval, then he’s allowed whatever situation we are currently struggling with to occur.

I think this is one of the most difficult areas for us as Christians to accept and understand. Trust me, I know! Recently God showed me three areas that are very critical to understanding these times of shake up.

Read the rest at S.U.M.

*Photo by Sam LeVan

Monday, July 21, 2008

Try Darkness by James Scott Bell

The Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is featuring Try Darkness by James Scott Bell. I read the first book, Try Dying, and loved it. Bell brings back the staring cast in this continuing story of Ty Buchanan, a "reformed" lawyer now committed to serving the poor and underrepresented.

JAMES SCOTT BELL is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He has also been the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles. His first Buchanan thriller, TRY DYING, was released to high critical praise, while his book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today.

Ty Buchanan is living on the peaceful grounds of St. Monica’s, far away from the glamorous life he led as a rising trial lawyer for a big L.A. firm. Recovering from the death of his fiancĂ©e and a false accusation of murder, Buchanan has found his previous ambitions unrewarding. Now he prefers offering legal services to the poor and the underrepresented from his “office” at local coffee bar The Freudian Sip. With his new friends, the philosophizing Father Bob and basketball-playing Sister Mary Veritas, Buchanan has found a new family of sorts.
One of his first clients is a mysterious woman who arrives with her six-year-old daughter. They are being illegally evicted from a downtown transient hotel, an interest that Ty soon discovers is represented by his old law firm and his former best friend, Al Bradshaw. Buchanan won’t back down. He’s going to fight for the woman’s rights.
But then she ends up dead, and the case moves from the courtroom to the streets. Determined to find the killer and protect the little girl, who has no last name and no other family, Buchanan finds he must depend on skills he never needed in the employ of a civil law firm.
The trail leads Buchanan through the sordid underbelly of the city and to the mansions and yachts of the rich and famous. No one is anxious to talk.
But somebody wants Buchanan to shut up. For good.
Now he must use every legal and physical edge he knows to keep himself and the girl alive.
Once again evoking the neo-noir setting of contemporary Los Angeles, Bell delivers another thriller where darkness falls and the suspense never rests.

If you would like to read chapters 1 & 2, go HERE.

“Bell has created in Buchanan an appealing and series-worthy protagonist, and the tale equally balances action and drama, motion and emotion. Readers who pride themselves on figuring out the answers before an author reveals them are in for a surprise, too: Bell is very good at keeping secrets. Fans of thrillers with lawyers as their central characters—Lescroart and Margolin, especially—will welcome this new addition to their must-read lists.”
“Engaging whodunit series kickoff . . . Readers will enjoy Bell's talent for description and character development.”
—Publishers Weekly
“James Scott Bell has written himself into a niche that traditionally has been reserved for the likes of Raymond Chandler.”
—Los Angeles Times
“A master of suspense.”
—Library Journal
“One of the best writers out there, bar none.”
—In the Library Review


Smudge gives this series high meows and loves James Scott Bell's books in general. I personally can't wait to dive into this book. I'm kind of partial to the nun. :-)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Try Darkness, JUST IN just never know...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Online Chat with Melanie Wells

Melanie Wells Joins Readers on Online Bookstore Chat

Melanie Wells, author of the critically acclaimed Dylan Foster series – “When the Day of Evil Comes,” “The Soul Hunter” and the newly-released “My Soul to Keep.” Wells will join the family-friendly online bookstore,, to discuss her insights on the fiction series, writing, building story lines and using one’s creativity and imagination to shape character development.

“Authors at Abunga” Chat with Melanie Wells
Wells’ Dylan Foster trilogy is packed with both humor and suspense. Each thriller tracks the mayhem surrounding Wells’ unlikely heroine, college psychology professor Dylan Foster. Wells, who is also a psychotherapist and accomplished musician, will provide insights into her writing style, how stories are created, and where characters come from.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
11 a.m. – Noon PDT / 1 – 2 p.m. CDT / 2 – 3 p.m. EDT (LIVE)

Wells is the first author to be featured on the newly-created “Authors at Abunga” chats by A Texas native, Wells is an accomplished musician (she’s a fiddle player) a licensed psychotherapist, and the founder and director of Dallas-based LifeWorks counseling associates (

Beginning with “When the Day of Evil Comes,” each of Wells’ novels weaves a gripping tale in which the quirky, likeable Dylan Foster wrestles with her own personal demon -- Peter Terry – “a spiritual and emotional stalker,” Wells says, ”Peter Terry is a compelling character who rings true for all of us. He is a metaphor for the opposition we all have in our lives. And we can all relate to Dylan, who often feels like she’s fighting forest fires with a squirt gun.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wiser Than Serpents by Susan May Warren

I'm very excited about Susan May Warren's latest book, Wiser Than Serpents. I love this series, and especially love Susan's books. She's an awesome writer and storyteller. Plus this book deals with the issue of modern day slavery. Here's Susan to tell us about this horrific reality and what you can do to help simply by buying her book.

A Note From Susan:
Did you know that there are 27 million people around the globe held as slaves today – more thank 80% of them women and children, and up to 50% minors. In fact, there are MORE slaves today than were in the time of William Wilberforce. That leaves me horrified, and it was those stats that compelled me to write a story with a human trafficking plotline.

Wiser than Serpents is a continuation of the Mission:Russia series, a thriller about Yanna, whose sister is snatched through a Russian dating service, and disappears. Yanna enlists the help of Delta Force Captain, David Curtiss to find and rescue her. Readers who’ve read, In Sheep’s Clothing and Sands of Time will recognize Yanna as the tech expert, and David as the solid Christian of the group. (Read the 5-Rose Review here!)

The book is written from the point of views of the rescuers, not the victims, and offers hope and empowerment, instead of feelings of helplessness. It raises awareness without lowering the standards of Christian fiction.

However, the world is real, and the need to get involved is great. I so greatly admire people who take their beliefs and put action to them –hence why a portion of the proceeds of Wiser than Serpents is going to help the International Justice Mission, (, an organization dedicated to rescuing victims and fighting the scourge of slavery.

About Susan:
Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia, was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

About Wiser Than Serpents:
When her sister vanishes into a human slave ring, FSB agent Yanna Andrevka is determined to rescue her. Unfortunately, she's in over her head, with no way out, especially after destroying the undercover operation of Delta Force Operative David Curtiss, who is deep undercover in the Twin Serpents crime syndicate. David has his hands full trying to save Yana, and his operation -- one that could rescue hundreds of women from the Serpent, or cost he and Yana their lives. The thrilling next chapter of the Mission: Russia series!

Contest Info!
Susan will be giving away 3 SIGNED sets of the Mission: Russia (In Sheep’s Clothing, Sands of Time, and Wiser Than Serpents) series. To enter the contest…click on over to Susan’s blog tour post here and tell us which ministries/charities you support and why! Susan will randomly select three winners!

Smudge the Paradox gives this series a rating of 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Showing Christ

994404_love_letterIf I could tell my husband one thing today, I would tell him I love him.

If I could speak special words to him today, I would speak of my love for him.

If I could show him who I love most, I would show him Christ.

How do we show Christ? How do we convey with actions what we’d like to say with words? How can we show Christ and not just speak of him?

Read the rest at S.U.M.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Blood Brothers by Rick Acker

Neurostim is a brand new drug that dramatically increases productivity and creativity. Developed from the seeds of a long-extinct Norwegian tree, Neurostim dramatically improves response time by allowing subjects to think and process information more quickly. The implications are staggering. It could help people in all walks of life, but could easily become a lifesaver for policemen, fireman, doctors and other first responders. But initial tests reveal a hiccup—some of the monkeys tested exhibited maniacal, homicidal behaviors. As the lead lab tech was approaching company authorities with the evidence, however, she was killed in a mysterious one-car accident.

Without any reported side-effects, the FDA authorizes human trials of Neurostim and the trials appear to go smoothly. Brothers Karl Bjornsen and Gunnar Bjornsen, however, are deeply embroiled in a bitter legal battle for control of the company—and Neurostim. Gunnar developed Neurostim while working as President of Bjornsen Pharmaceuticals and he’s the only one who knows the secret formula. When Karl ousted Gunnar as President, Gunnar took the formula with him.

What begins as a simple trade secrets case, however, quickly escalates and becomes more complex as Gunnar’s lawyer, Ben Corbin, discovers embezzlement and bribery with Karl as the prime suspect. When Ben and his team travel to Norway to investigate the accounting discrepancies with the company’s Norwegian branch, Bjornsen Norge, their very lives become endangered.

Is Karl Bjornsen behind the Norwegian attacks that endanger Ben and his team? Is Neurostim safe? Can the FDA stop the human trials on Neurostim before its too late?

About Rick Acker
Rick Acker does his best work while traveling, and he pecks out pages every day on the commuter train to his “real job” as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice. Rick’s other books include Dead Man’s Rule and the Davis Detectives series for tweens. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Anette, and their four children.

Q&A with Rick Acker, courtesy of Glass Roads PR

Where did you get the idea for Blood Brothers?

Blood Brothers really sprang from three different ideas: First, I've had a ringside seat to several fights between former partners, and they were among the most intense and compelling cases I've been involved in. How much more intense and compelling would a case like that be if the partners were also brothers?

Second, the ancient Norse sagas are filled with fascinating stories that took place just before reliable historical records began to be kept in Scandinavia. Some of these tales are undoubtedly true, but which ones? And how might the lost knowledge behind them matter today?

Third, I've long felt challenged by Christ's admonition that it's easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The secular psychologist William James had some surprisingly similar observations. What does it mean to be a "rich man" in modern American society?

So, how do those three pieces fit together into a biotech/legal thriller? Read Blood Brothers and find out.

What is your greatest inspiration as a writer?

Deadlines. There are lots of things that inspire me as a storyteller--unusual people I meet, compelling cases I litigate, interesting articles in the news and so on. But what actually inspires me to sit down, focus, and turn the stories running around my head into books? My publisher's deadlines.

If Blood Brothers became a movie – who would you cast in the lead roles?

Good question. I have an unlimited budget, right? In that case:

Tom Cruise: Ben Corbin, the handsome but not particularly tall lawyer who tries the case at the heart of the book

Penelope Cruz: Ben's lovely wife--and reluctant forensic accountant--Noelle (This might be a little uncomfortable for Tom, but I get to make the casting decisions, not him.)

Adrien Brody: Russian-American detective Sergei Spassky

Uma Thurman: Elena Kamenev, FBI agent and Sergei's on-and-off love interest

Cilian Murphy: the vile cybercriminal George Kulish

I'm drawing a blank on who should play Gunnar and Karl Bjornsen, the brothers of the title. Know any six-foot-plus actors in their late fifties with weightlifter arms and faces like the Old Man of the Mountain (before he collapsed)?

What was your greatest obstacle to overcome in writing this novel?

Self-discipline. This book took a lot longer to write than it should have, mostly because I didn't have a deadline at first due to a little contract mix-up.

How would you suggest that aspiring novelists avoid similar obstacles?

Give yourself a deadline. Better yet, have someone else give you a deadline and hold you accountable. If you don't have a publisher (who will generously provide this service for free), have your spouse or a good friend do it and give him/her the right to fine you if you blow your deadline. It works.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Christian Fiction Online Magazine

Christian Fiction Online Magazine debuts today with a premiere line-up of authors and articles. Go check it out!