Friday, July 27, 2012

CFBA: The Kingdom by Brian M. Litfin

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
The Kingdom
Crossway Books (June 30, 2012)
Brian M. Litfin


The long awaited finale is here and I'm both thrilled and saddened. The Kingdom was the perfect conclusion to this fantastic fantasy allegory that also happens to be futuristic. A lot of genre to squeeze into one series, but it works really well. I'm sad because that is the end of the story. Teo and Ana stand for so much, and they're struggle to stay true to that calling and take the truth of Jesus Christ to the lands who have forgotten Him are inspiring. I could spend days finding all the different threads that tie to our current world situation - both politically and spiritually- and show you how intricate the allegory is. But in all fairness to you, the reader, finding the threads and following them through is part of the amazing experience of The Chiveis Trilogy.


Book Three in the Chiveis Trilogy

War and disease have destroyed the modern world. Centuries later, feudal societies have arisen across Europe. No one can remember the ancient religion of Christianity—until an army captain and a farmer’s daughter discover the Sacred Writing of the one true God.
As Teo and Ana encounter the forgotten words of the holy book, they realize its message is just what their kingdom needs. Though exiled from their homeland, they join their hearts in a quest to return. But now an ancient pact has united the enemies of the Christian faith into a dark alliance that threatens to consume the known world. Racing to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Teo and Ana must battle heinous villains, stormy seas, and the powers of the underworld itself. As armies begin to mass for a final battle, the odds favor the forces of evil. Can Teo and Ana bring divine truth to Chiveis—or will the Word of God fade from the earth forever?

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

Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee as well as a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is currently professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he has been since 2002. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays. Bryan has always enjoyed epic adventure stories as well as historical fiction, but most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He and his wife Carolyn are parents to two children. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains. The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Simply Sweet Hymns of Faith CD by Melinda Hawley

My friend, Melinda Hawley, has recorded a CD of hymns done in a lullaby style. It's so beautiful it gave me goosebumps. I had to share it with all of you. You can hear samples on, where you can also purchase it as an MP3 download or a CD.

Friday, July 20, 2012

CFBA: Rare Earth by Davis Bunn

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Rare Earth
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
Davis Bunn


What a fantastic follow up to the Marc Royce story line! Action packed, intelligent, and so realistic I felt like I was with him in Africa. (That may have to do with our record breaking over 100 temps, but fantastic writing nonetheless.) I couldn't put it down. In fact my only, "WHAT?" moment was as I read the last sentence. There's not a strong romantic thread in the story, but it's there and it's integral to Marc's character. Just when you think you might have an answer to that romantic line.... Nope, have to wait till later. SO, Mr. Davis Bunn. When might we see Marc Royce again and will we every find the answer to his romantic situation? I hope so. Romance or not, this was a fantastic read, proving once again why he's one of my favorite authors.


Marc Royce stares out of the helicopter, a sense of foreboding rising with the volcanic cloud. Below, the Rift Valley slashes across Africa like a scar. Decades of conflicts, droughts, and natural disasters have left their mark.

Dispatched to audit a relief organization, Royce is thrust into the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps. But his true mission focuses on the area's reserves of once-obscure minerals now indispensable to high-tech industries. These strategic elements--called rare earth--have inflamed tensions on the world's stage and stoked tribal rivalries. As Royce prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes on a bold and risky venture for restoring justice to this troubled land.
But this time, Royce may have gone too far.

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

Born and raised in North Carolina, Davis left for Europe at age twenty. There he first completed graduate studies in economics and finance, then began a business career that took him to over forty countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Davis came to faith at age 28, while living in Germany and running an international business advisory group. He started writing two weeks later. Since that moment, writing has remained both a passion and a calling.
Davis wrote for nine years and completed seven books before his first was accepted for publication. During that time, he continued to work full-time in his business career, travelling to two and sometimes three countries every week. His first published book, The Presence, was released in 1990 and became a national bestseller.
Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include The Great Divide, Winner Take All, The Meeting Place, The Warning, The Book of Hours, and The Quilt.

A sought-after speaker in the art of writing, Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Testimony about the 3 Nephites

I went to church with this lady for many years as a child. She is so sweet. She's always had a very strong testimony of Jesus that she freely shares with others.

The testimony she shares here is an excerpt from her book and it really touched my heart. My parents had an experience where they believe they were also helped by one of the 3 Nephites. They also described him as very tall. 

To order a copy of Joan Ahlberg's book, Please send a check to: Grain Valley Restoration Branch, PO Box 2132, Independence, MO 64050, memo: God Is Our Strong Salvation Book

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Melanie Dickerson on the Road to the Christy's

The Christy Awards are here again and the finalists are travleing from all over the country  to find out if they are the lucky winner. There are a lot of wonderful writers that were nominated this year, but today, I'm featuring my friend and author Melanie Dickerson!

Melanie has made quite the splash since publishing her first book, The Healer's Apprentice. She was nominated for numerous awards for that novel, including a Christy. This year she's back in the nominations for her follow up book, The Merchant's Daughter.

Melanie was very gracious in accepting my invitation for an interview. So, welcome Melanie. Thanks for taking a quick stop on your road to success and answering a few questions.

If your readers were to take only one lesson from The Merchant's Daughter, what would you want that to be? 

I would want them to take away the lesson that God loves them and has a plan for their lives, a good plan, and He will be with them through whatever they have to face in life to get them into the abundant life He has planned for them. My heroine does her best to follow God, and that’s all God really asks of us. 

Great message, I certainly saw that in Annabel. So how does your Christy nomination affect your view of your writing career? Has it changed anything? 

I have to say, it is a big encouragement to me, but I’m not sure it changes anything. It encourages me to keep writing the best stories I can, to put every effort into revising and every other aspect of writing, and it lets me know I’m probably on the right track, to a certain extent. It’s very humbling too, because of all the other great books out there. 

Do you have a favorite Christy award winning novel? If so, what is it? Has it played into your writing desires in any way? 

The novel, Christy by Catherine Marshall, is an amazing book and one of my favorites. I’ve dreamed of winning a Christy Award since I started writing novels again, about eight years ago! That makes it all the sweeter to be a finalist. 

I loved the book Christy! It's one of my favorites, too. What one thing would you like readers to know about you that no one knows yet? 

I have a Snow White book, The Fairest Beauty, which I just unveiled on my Facebook author page, and a Cinderella book coming out next year. Both of these books feature the grown up children of Rose and Wilhelm from The Healer’s Apprentice. I hope my readers will enjoy hearing about what happened to Rose and Wilhelm and how their children are turning out. 

I'm so excited! I can't wait to get my hands on them both. I've hooked my book club on your novels, they're just as excited as I am. Good luck at the Christy's Melanie, we're all cheering for you!

To find out more about Melanie Dickerson, visit her website or Like her on Facebook. 


Inspired by “The Beauty and the Beast,” THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER follows Annabel Chapman, the daughter of a once-wealthy merchant, whose fate changes when her family goes into debt and she is forced into the role of servant for the beastly Lord Ranulf le Wyse.

In her new home, Annabel is burdened with a host of household duties, including harvesting barley stalks and preparing dinner for the other servants. Worse, she is horrified by her family’s insistence she marry the despicable Bailiff Tom in order to save the Chapman home and keep her brothers from having to work. After Tom corners her alone several times, Annabel comes to believe a life within a convent may be her only hope of true escape. But as she settles into life inside Lord le Wyse’s home , Annabel begins to see past the lord’s harsh exterior to the kind and wonderful man who hides behind the physical and emotional scars. A man who wants only to help her, even if it means sending her away. Will Annabel follow her heart’s desire before it’s too late?

Dickerson’s long-awaited second book blends the romance of The Healer’s Apprentice with the fantasy of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” tale. THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER is a must-read for teens and young adults interested in fascinating love stories and historical fiction.

Watch the enchanting trailer for THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER

“Dickerson manages a heartfelt romance that will stick with readers.”—Booklist

“A virtuous romance.”—Kirkus

“The message will resonate with readers of all ages: Beauty is within all of us.” —Romantic Times

“This riff on Beauty and the Beast makes the story as comfortable as a pair of old shoes, but the shoes fit well.”—Publishers Weekly


Melanie Dickerson is the author of 2010’s The Healer’s Apprentice, her debut novel which won Best First Book at the National Readers’ Choice Awards and came in fourth at the Family Fiction Awards. The novel was also a Christy Award, Maggie Award, Carol Award and Golden Quill finalist, and earned the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with her husband and two daughters.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CFBA: The Deposit Slip by Todd M. Johnson

Song Stuck on the Brain: You've Got a Friend by James Taylor

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
The Deposit Slip
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
Todd M. Johnson


Move over John Grisham, there's a new counselor at the podium, and he's got my attention. I love John Grisham, especially his early novels and Todd Johnson's work gives me the same thrill. The hardworking underdog lawyer that fights for justice despite and impossible case. Evil big corporate lawyers, murder, spies and a plot that keeps you guessing until the last hail Mary. It also had heart. Forgiveness is hard to give, especially when it's your father that has betrayed you. But when Jared commits to this case, he finds that the distance between he and his father isn't quite as vast as he thought, and maybe they're more alike than he'll ever want to admit. That realization leads him to see his father with new eyes and recognize that people can change. Forgiveness is a theme that's woven into the story like a fine silk thread. Not just for Jared, but for Erin and the whole town. Final verdict? Fantastic.
$10,000,000 Is Missing.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable amount on it. Only the bank claims they have no record of the money, and trying to hire a lawyer has brought only intimidation and threats. Erin's last chance is Jared Neaton.
How Far Will One Lawyer Go to Find the Money?

When Jared wearied of the shady ethics of his big law firm and started his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big loss has pushed him to the brink, and it's all he can do to scrape by.

And How Far Will Someone Go to Stop Him?

He's not sure if Erin's case is worth the risk, but if the money is real, all his problems could vanish. When digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats, both Jared and Erin must decide the cost they're willing to pay to discover the truth.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Deposit Slip, go HERE.

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years,
specializing as a trial lawyer.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota
Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of
International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip is his debut novel. He lives outside Minneapolis,
Minnesota, with his wife Cathy, and children Ian and Libby.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

CFBA: Nothing To Hide by J. Mark Bertrand

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing: 
Nothing to Hide
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
J. Mark Bertrand


Bertrand has nailed it again with Det. Roland March. His stories are always gripping and addictive.  Mystery and suspense that isn't afraid of being a little dark and gritty. Great follow up.


A grisly homicide. An international threat.
The stakes have never been higher for
Detective Roland March.

The victim's head is missing, but what intrigues Detective Roland March
is the hand. The pointing finger must be a clue--but to what? According
to the FBI, the dead man was an undercover asset tracking the flow of
illegal arms to the Mexican cartels. To protect the operation, they want
March to play along with the cover story. With a little digging, though, he
discovers the Feds are lying. And they're not the only ones.

In an upside-down world of paranoia and conspiracy, March finds himself
dogged by injury and haunted by a tragic failure. Forced to take justice into
his own hands, his twisting investigation leads him into the very heart of
darkness, leaving March with nothing to lose--and nothing to hide.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing to Hide, go HERE.


J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years,
earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after
one hurricane too many he left for South Dakota. Mark has been arrested
for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served
on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an
honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.