Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jane Austin and Zombies?

Jane Austin fans might want to look away. An old classic has a new face. Or judging by it's cover, has it lost its face?

My 19 year-old daughter showed me Pride and Prejudice and Zombies last week. Her generation has a macabre fascination with zombies, it seems. But seeing modern day culture meshed with classic regency romance puts a new spin on revitalizing the classics.

It's still the same book written by Jane Austin, just expanded by Seth Grahame-Smith. When I did a search for Pride and Prejudice on Amazon, this book even showed up first before the classic.

Here's the blurb:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.

I have to say, I felt a twinge of offense on the last line. I happen to love this classic, without the zombies, thank you. But, I am intrigued and somewhat impressed by the idea. And if it introduces teens and young adults to the real classics, perhaps there's something here worth redeeming.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ponderings of a Writer

What is it about a blank page that begs to be written on? Is it the fresh, new start? Is it the chance to leave a mark, a lasting impression where none exists? Is it the simple flow of ink from pen to page?

Before computers and even before typewriters, one used paper and pen to build volumes of inspirations and stories. Did the writers of old stare at a new sheet of paper with more respect than we writers today regard the next page, an easily discarded piece in our computer documents?

Do we slave and strive today to fill our pages with words that matter? Life-changing, soul-wrenching, spirit-cleansing words? Or have we become one of many medias bombarding the masses with shallow and selfish information designed to give a quick fix of entertainment satisfaction?

So many many words to ask one simple question. Why do we write?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

One of my favorite authors has a new series coming out. Susan May Warren's new book, Nothing But Trouble is the first book in the PJ Sugar Series. Want to join me in reading this new story? I have an extra copy... You know the drill. Leave a comment for a chance to win it! Read all the way to the bottom (Come on! You can do it!) for a link to another contest to win other cool prizes.

About the book:

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start.

The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.

Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

Read the first chapter...

About the Author:

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.

A note from Susan May Warren...
Sometimes, do you feel like you just don’t fit in? You look around you and if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they’d know what a mess you were. Maybe you totally relate to those words in 1 Peter – God’s elect, strangers and aliens in the world. Do you feel like when you look in the rear view mirror, all you see are your mistakes?

Maybe not. But if so, then PJ is your gal. I wanted to write a story about the person in so many of us who just wants to get it right…but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. My friend and I have what we call the “stupid mouth” club…and we report our weekly foibles (usually on Monday, after Sunday church!). PJ is our charter member. She’s the girl that changes her mind, always hopes for the best, is always discovering that she is just a little different than everyone else. PJ is us.

And that’s good news. Because God loves PJ. He loves her messiness, and her impulsiveness, her heart bent toward others, the hope that fuels her actions. And He has a plan for PJ – one that includes her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

Yep, I need to hear that – need to hear that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, use me, sing over me. Need to hear that although I don’t fit in, well, I’m not supposed to…in fact, I’m supposed to be a little…alien.

I wrote PJ for everyone who feels just a little messy, just a little like they can’t quite get it right. And who needs to hear that God loves them. Period. Full stop. Hallelujah.

Hunt up Trouble! Contest. All the details here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Fight of Your Life by Jeffery Dean

Sorry for the long span between posts. Life got a little busier than normal lately. And you can always find me over at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

In the meantime, I want to tell you about Jeffery Dean. He's a man deeply committed to teen ministry and now has a book, The Fight of Your Life: Why your teen is at risk & what only you can do about it. I've only had a chance to take a brief look at this book but look forward to diving in after I finish Boundaries with Teens.

I prayed two years straight for my oldest daughter when she lost interest in church and following her faith. You can read my post about it here. God was so faithful. He heard this mother's prayers and brought my girl back to him in a way I never expected—without me. LOL! I love how he keeps me humble.

I believe there is nothing stronger than a parent committed to praying for his or her teen. Not always easy but very vital in this day and age. I have an extra copy of this book. Would you like to read it too? If so, leave a comment and I'll draw a winner next week. Even if you don't think you need it, I bet you know someone who might.

About the Book:

The Fight of Your Life

Why Your Teen Is At Risk And What Only You Can Do About It

No generation in history has faced anything like the incredible onslaught of destructive influences attacking today’s teens. The media, on the web, music, friendships - - it seems everywhere our teens turn they are bombarded with decisions that could haunt them for the rest of their lives. Yes, this is a different world than the one you and I faced as teens. However, one thing hasn’t changed -- Mom and Dad still make the best champion for a child’s future.

Jeffrey Dean's shockingly truthful and reassuringly practical new book on everything teens is for every parent because no teen is to immune to the battle Satan is waging for their soul. Jeffrey’s simple, encouraging plan—based on the latest facts and timeless Bible insights—shows parents how to ‘power up’ in key areas of concern, like friendships, dating, partying, pornography and web use. Best of all, he shows you how to fight for your teens’ faith, and to help them keep their God given dreams alive.

Mom and Dad, you can win the fight of your life! Jeffrey Dean will show you how.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Dean Ministries

Engage. Empower. Equip.

Today's students are facing a war. Satan is waging a war for the soul of our teens more so than with any previous generation. Our students are bombarded with enticements and deceptions from the evil one meant to keep them from approaching life from God's perspective and ultimately to destroy their lives.

These alluring messages and the adoption of a world-view differing from God's design and plan will lead teens down a road of destruction. Our intent, with everything we do, is to prepare this generation to stand, fight, and win this battle.

Jeffrey Dean Ministries is all about teens and their families. To learn more about Jeffery Dean Ministries, click here.

To read a sample chapter, click here. And don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. God bless!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace

I recently finished Enduring Justice and loved it just as much as the first two in the Defenders of Hope series. All three books have ministered to me in some way. And you just can't put these stories down! Amy Wallace weaves deep characters with real issues and struggles. These are stories and characters that linger with you. I can't recommend them enough. This is definitely one of my favorite series of books. And you can win all three! Check it out...

About the book:
A painful past...
Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.

A racially-motivated killer...
As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A life-altering choice...
A racist’s well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line between the two is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?

Read an excerpt here.

About the Author:
Amy Wallace is a freelance writer and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and serves as the liaison for the training division of the county police department. Amy is the author of Ransomed Dreams, the first book in the Defenders of Hope series, and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers, and God Allows U-Turns for Teens. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Georgia.

About the Contest:
Enter to win all THREE BOOKS in the DOH series by signing up for Amy’s Dark Chocolate Suspense Newsletter and then leave a comment on this blog tour post ( It’s chock full of insider info on the writing world, a thought-provoking devotion, and easy but yummy recipes. If you already subscribe to the newsletter, just leave a comment saying so on the blog tour post! The winner will be chosen at random on 5/8/09. Two runner's up will also be chosen to win a copy of Enduring Justice. (I love Amy's newsletter. She always includes the best recipes too!)

Out of a five meow rating, Smudge gives a full five mews for this series and each book in it. Hope you get a chance to read them all!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Weekend Devo and a Winner

Bible "Love never fails." — 1 Corinthians 13:8

I grew up thinking love was the key to everything. I don't know why, but this was my mental make-up as a child, a teenager, and then a young adult. Yet as I grew older, I started to question if love was really enough.

Over time I noticed that love seemed to fail over and over again—failed marriages, broken families, shattered friendships. And even in my faith I questioned whether love alone was enough to save anyone or anything.

Read the rest at S.U.M.

*And the winner of The Husband Project by Kathi Lipp is Vanessa! Congrats, girl. Send me your info so I can send you this fab book!

Blessings All!