Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CFBA: Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

Song Stuck on the Brain: Vincent by Josh Groban. He has a Christmas Album dropping soon. I can't wait to get it.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)


When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!" --Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)


I'm in the middle of this one now. I've been limiting my reading time so that I can slam out the last half of my novel in time to send it to the Agent requesting it. It's been hard to put down though and I'm anxious to finish it. I was captured immediately by the first chapter. The relationship between Sam and Landon is so well done.


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.


Last chance to enter to win two books by Chris Well. Click the book covers at the top of the side bar and email me your entry. Contest ends tonight at midnight.

There's still time for you to enter to win a ProjectingA Surprise Pack, too. Vote on your favorite inspirational entry by leaving a comment on last Friday's post. Contest ends November 2nd.

Good Luck!

Final Good-Byes

Song Stuck on the Brain: Enough by Erwin. Another original. What can I say, I've been digging back into the song writing and it doesn't take much to get one stuck on my head.

Today is Flashback Tuesday. Absolutely nothing exciting happened to me today, so I'm pulling an old short story I wrote EONS ago. (Like maybe 10 years?)

It's kind of funny to go back and read the old stuff. I did clean it up a little gramatically, but I didn't change much cuz I wanted it to stay true to it's original feeling. Which is rather melodramatic. I had a thing during highschool about death. I wrote a lot about lovers being parted by it, I worked hard to make the reader cry. Actually, I just wrote a lot about tragedy in general. I'm sure it was my form of therapy and I have to admit I think it helped.

So, here is one of my better pieces from that time period. Feel free to comment away and don't be shy about telling me if it stinks. I'm a writer, I'm used to it. :)

Final Good Byes

I sat on an old vinyl couch in complete shock. The dirty, white walls, ceiling and floor fade together to form a gray void that seemed to close in all around me. Voices and shapes drift past my mind, but I am only conscious of the all-consuming throb that flows through my body to the very marrow of my bones. Conscious of only one thing, he’s gone forever. Lost to eternity.

The night re-plays in my mind. I was alone when the phone rang.
“Rachel?” Josh’s father asks, his voice rough.
“Yes.” Dread tightens my stomach.
“Josh was in a wreck. It’s bad. We need you to come right away.” His voice cracks and I can hear the heartache in his words.
“I’m coming.”

I threw on the first thing I found in my closet and ran. Rain pounded as I left for the hospital, and the windshield wipers squeak across the window of my car. Clinging to the steering wheel, I mutter the same heartfelt prayer over and over.

“Lord, I can’t lose him. Please, don’t take him away.”

I am so scared. Josh and I know that our relationship is special. The kind of love it’s hard to find and keep. The thought of losing that…well, I don’t even want to consider it.

I pull into the emergency room driveway, well over the speed limit. Tires squeal on the wet pavement as the car slides to a halt. I’m lucky I don’t cause my own accident, but I’m not thinking clearly. Instead, I scramble from my car as I shove it into park. Dashing tears from my eyes, I try to pull myself together.

“Lord, I love him. Please, jut let him be all right.” My whispered prayers continue. The emergency room doors slide open and I enter my waking nightmare.

Josh’s parents meet me at the door. His mom looks as horrible as I feel. Her nose is red and swollen, her eyes puffy, tears running down her cheeks. She pulls me into her arms and clings to me. She and I have been close ever since Josh and I became a serious couple. I’ve even started calling her Mom. I kiss her damp cheek.

“Hi, Mom, where is he? What happened? Is he going to be okay?” The questions pour out of me like the rain falling outside.

“He’s in the ICU. A drunk driver hit him. Please, Rachel, he’s begging to see you.” Her hands tremble as she leads me down the hall and leaves me alone with the only man I’ve ever loved.
When I walk into his room, the smell of death and sickness hangs heavy in the air. The tang of sterile cleansers and blood mingle and turn my stomach. Tubes run in and out of his body while machines click and beep as they take their readings. It’s dark in the room with only a small light over his bed.

I hate the ICU. It’s threatening to take my love and never give him back.

I walk slowly to his bedside and take his hand in mine. Holding it to my lips, I kiss his fingers and press my cheek against his palm. Tears slide down my face and across his bruised fingers.

“Josh,” my voice catches. “I love you. If you can hear me, open your eyes.” My voice is shaking now. “Please, Baby. Open your eyes.”

“Rachel?” Josh’s eyes flutter open. His small smile looks more like a grimace. He flexes his thumb and wipes a stray tear away.

“Josh! Oh, Baby, are you okay?” My voice is choked. “Do you need anything? Should I get the nurses?” I turn to get help but he won’t let me.

“Rachel, don’t go. Don’t leave me. I need to talk to you.” With the little strength he has left, he pulls me down onto the edge of the bed next to him.

“Josh, we can talk, but shouldn’t I get someone to help first?” I try again to stand but Josh catches my wrist. It hurts to see him this way. I just want someone to fix it, to make it all go away.

“It’s okay, Rachel. I don’t think we have that much time and I need to say some things.”

At this, I began to cry in earnest. “Josh, don’t say things like that. You’re going to be okay.”

He raises his hand and wipes at the tears. “Shhh, just listen to me, Baby. When that car hit mine, something strange happened.” Josh closes his eyes, quiet for a moment. When he opens them again, there’s a strange light about them. They glow with peace and inner calm.

“Rachel, I didn’t even see him coming. I just remember hearing the tires squeal and then feeling like everything around me had exploded. I don’t remember the ambulances or anything. I do remember feeling like I was floating. I heard a voice telling me that I could come home soon, but I needed to say good-bye first.”

I shudder as another sob breaks over me. “Josh, you can’t leave me. I need you. We all need you. You have to fight!”

“Come here, Rachel.” He tugs on my hand again and I gently lay down on the bed next to him. He holds me the best he can, despite the wires and tubes. His arms are warm, strong, and tender. I carefully snuggle against him, laying my cheek on his shoulder.

“Rach, you have to let me go. I don’t know where your road will take you, but I want you to know how blessed I am to love you. I’ve always been blessed to have you in my life.” He pauses to take a ragged breath. I can tell that just the simple act of talking is taking all his strength.

“I had a ring picked out.” He smiles. “I wanted us to be together, forever. You are everything that I could have ever wanted, and more.” He kisses the top of my head and then I feel his own tears mingle with mine as he kisses my lips.

“I don’t want to say good-bye.” I whisper.

“I don’t either, but promise me that you will live and love again. You’re too precious to lock your heart away. Lean on God, Rachel. Let Him work things out in your heart.” He pauses again as a shudder racks his body. It makes me shudder too, because now I know what it means.

“Take care of my parents for me. We’ve said our good-byes but you will need each other. And, Baby, no matter what happens, know that I will always be watching over you.” He cradles my cheek in one hand and I read the love in his blue eyes. I brush back a wave of dark hair and run my finger lightly over his bandage. Not even the cut on his forehead could diminish his good looks.

We kiss again. His lips are swollen and there is a cut on his lower lip. Salty from our mingled tears, they’re warm and familiar. At that moment it is the sweetest kiss I’ve ever known. He sighs and I feel his breath brush my cheek. I tighten my arms around his neck. We hold each other and cry, letting our hearts and our tears say what words can’t.

Time loses all meaning until I hear his monitor flat line. It’s a wicked sound to my ears and that is when things began to blur together. Nurses and doctors pull me from his room, and somehow I end up on the ugly vinyl coach. There I sit, pain wrapped around me like a fog and our last kiss still burning on my lips.

I know that most people don’t have those last few moments, and I will always treasure them. It’s in part because of those few precious moments that I was able to let God work towards healing my pain. Maybe I won’t ever understand all the whys, but I am quickly learning that they don’t matter as much as I thought they did.

God gave me a gift, a precious gift that I wouldn’t have missed for the entire world. I had the love of a wonderful man who cherished me, and I have a beautiful last kiss to remember. I’ve learned that the only way to survive the pain is to not reject it but embrace it. All of it. The good memories, the sad memories, and then in turn embrace God. His heart is big enough to hold all the hurts there are in this world.

I’m thankful for a lot, but most of all I’m thankful for final good-byes.

(c) April Erwin

Monday, October 29, 2007

CFBA: The Return by Austin Boyd

Song Stuck on the Brain: Little Girl by Erwin Yep. An original I've been working on. Recorded the scratch vocals last night and now I can't quit singing it. I hope that's a sign of how catchy and great it is. :)

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Austin Boyd
(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)



Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:

With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity." --Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar


Sadly, I haven't read this one yet, because it's book three in a series. I had to order books one and two first. They came in the mail this weekend. I'm really excited about reading the series, they look fantastic. If any of you have read them, post a comment and let me know what you thought.


Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof


Don't forget to enter the contests. I'm currently running TWO.

1. Enter to win two books by Chris Well. Just click on the book covers at the top of the sidebar to email me your entry. Contest ends at midnight on October 31, 2007.

2. Help me choose my best inspirational post and be entered to win a Projecting A Surprise pack. Follow the links in Friday's post to read the entries and then comment on Friday's post to vote for your favorite. Posting a comment earns you one entry and the contest ends on November 2, 2007.

Good Luck and Happy Reading,

Friday, October 26, 2007

Help Me Pick a Favorite and WIN a PRIZE

Song Stuck on the Brain: Root of it All by By The Tree

I have good news and more good news.

First, Doc said today that I'm healing so well, I may be able to ditch my Wound Vac in another week or two. I would switch to gauze bandages that are changed 3 x's a day, but it's still an improvement. I would do the bandages for another month or so.

As to my other good news, I have an opportunity to submit blog posts for consideration in Inspirational Blogposts compilation books. I've posted several on here, and I need help deciding which to submit.

That's where you come in. Read through the ones I've listed below, comment back on this post stating which one story is your favorite and the story with the most votes wins a Post Office ride to an editor.

To make this all a little more fun for YOU. I'm going to enter all your votes in a hat and draw a winner of a special Projecting A Surprise Gift. Anyone that lives in the US or Canada and votes is eligible. I have a deadline for submission, so the voting will close on Friday November 2, 2007. That gives you a week, so VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

Entries for Consideration:

Story #1: One Bad Apple Won't Spoil the Whole Bunch
Story #2: God Made Me Bumpy
Story #3: Bedtime and Prayers
Story #4: The Faith of a Child
Story #5: WILD CARD*

*Do you have a favorite inspirational story post that's not listed above? Chose #5 and list the title and date of that post.

Thanks so much for helping me out, I look forward to seeing which story touched you or made you laugh the most.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm Daisy (less the dukes)

Take this test!

Yee-haw! So maybe you get into a scrape or two, but what's wrong with that? You never mean no harm. You believe in standing up for what's right — and don't mind having a good time while you're at it. We wouldn't change you if we could!

I'm a Hero

Take this test!

What a work of art! Talented and insightful, you've got drive and vision to spare, even if you do have a few bad habits. While you may struggle to do the right thing from time to time, you always follow your instincts and try your hardest — and you usually succeed!

My Purrrfect Costume

Take this test!

Admit it, you've always wanted to lay back, look adorable, and let everyone else do the work. That's why your perfect Halloween costume is squishy, fuzzy, loveable little creature. You're cute and sweet, and you're sure to get all the attention this year, even after the party's over. Of course you've got a naughty streak as well, and have been known to show your claws from time to time, but you won't swipe unless you really need to.

So show off that sweetness at all the parties in furry, footed pajamas and some ears. You're sure to find someone to give you a hug. Aww...

CFBA: Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

Song Stuck on the Brain: Private Eyes by Hall & Oates

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Matt Bronleewe
(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.


"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11." -Aspiring Retail Magazine


This book blew me away. I sat down and read it straight through - until 4:30 a.m. When I set the book down, I couldn't wait to get Dad to read it.

A few years ago, when The DaVinci Code was first published, I read it and then rooked Dad into reading it as well. We both agreed, Dan Brown was a master at suspense, plot twists and adreneline rushes... but we hated what his message was all about. How can you love and hate a book at the same time?

Illuminated arrived with lots of hype that it was the next DaVinci Code and I have to admit, I just didn't know what to expect. They're right... it is the next DaVinci, but better. The book starts off with a bang and it never stops, not even once. It's intelligent, suspenseful and well researched. And the best part? When Matt makes his final reveal at the end of the book, I was not only surprised by his conclusions but thrilled. It is one of the smartest things I've read in a long time. Dad loved it too.

Move over Dan Brown... You have met your match.


Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


Be sure to check out Matt's Soundtrack for the book as well. Very cool.

Oh, and could Matt have found a better name for his bookish, brainy heroine? :)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Childhood Ditties

Song Stuck on the Brain: Comet, it gets your bathroom clean, Comet, it tastes like Listerine, Comet it makes you vomit, so get some Comet, and vomit today....

Does anyone else remember this song from grade school? I have Rusty to thank for teaching it to me in the 5th grade. It wasn't the worst one I learned, but for some reason, it is the one that has stuck around the longest.

I've had this song running around in my head off and on for about a week now. While our family was together Sunday afternoon for lunch, I brought it up and it got us to all talking about the naughty little ditties we learned as kids. Most of us could remember pieces of them, but not the whole song.

There were the usual's, like "All the girls in France don't wear any underpants...", "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg...", etc. Out of curiosity, I googled some of these lyrics and stumbled across several sites that hosted threads where people trades these songs back and forth. Let me tell ya, the naughty ditties I learned were practically pristine compared to some of those. Sheesh. Anyway, I found a few that I recognized and had forgotten, like Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts, On Top of Spaghetti and the revamped Barney song. Then there were the remakes of Popeye the Sailor man. There were many versions and I'd only heard two.

I'm Popeye the sailor man
I live in a garbage can
I eat all the worms
And suck out the germs
I'm Popeye the sailor man.

I'm Popeye the sailor man
I live in a frying pan
I turned on the Gas
And burned off my A**
I'm Popeye the Sailor man.

The other versions made me blush. I did find a new ditty though that made me smile. In fact I can't wait to sing it for Dad, because I know he'll like it. It's to the tune of God Bless America.

God bless my underwear
my only pair
stand beside it,
and guide it
through the holes and the rips and the tears.
From the washer,
to the dryer,
to the clothesline,
wild and free,
God bless my underwear,
my only pair.

Which ones do you remember?

Monday, October 22, 2007

CSFF: Bark of the Bog Owl by Jonathan Rogers

Song Stuck on the Brain: Give My Regards to Broadway. I woke up singing this one... don't know why.

Today the CSFF is featuring book one in the Wilderking Trilogy:



The prophet Bayard arrives at Longleaf Manor, the estate of Lord Errol with an unanticipated announcement. Aidan Errol, Lord Errol’s youngest son, is the Wilderking. But the weight and glory of this pronouncement is yet to be shouldered.In the meanwhile, Lord Errol and his sons attend a Treaty Feast celebrating a pact signed between Corenwald and the Pythen Empire. But Corenwald is double crossed by the Pyrthens and they go to war. The story unfolds as Aidan begins to walk the way of his destiny through the feechifolk and a showdown with the Pyrthen champion Greidawl ending with an epic battle to save the kingdom of Corenwald.


I loved this book. I had no idea when I started reading, that it was a re imagined version of David and Goliath. And set in a world very much like the bogs and swamps in the south. It was compelling, fun, and eyeopening. It made the story of David come alive for me, but still held its own as a pure fantasy tale. The descriptions of Cornewald are vivid and the characters unique and bold. I love the Feechifolk that live in the swamps. They're deep south hillbillyisms (for want of a better term) were so spot on that I couldn't help but laugh. I have family that use some of those phrases! I'm ordering book 2 The Secret of the Swamp King and book 3 The Way of the Wilderking, today. I highly recommend these books for both kids and adults. In fact reading together would be better still. Kudos to Jonathan for creating a series that is both original and yet familiar.


Jonathan Rogers grew up in Georgia, where he spent many happy hours in the swamps and riverbottoms on which the wild places of The Wilderking are based. He received his undergraduate degree from Furman University in South Carolina and holds a Ph.D. in seventeenth-century English literature from Vanderbilt University. The Bark of the Bog Owl has already found a receptive audience among Jonathan’s own six children. The Rogers clan lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where Jonathan makes a living as a freelance writer. The Bark of the Bog Owl is his first novel.

Be sure to visit the other tour members at the blogs below.

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
Merrie Destefano or Alien Dream
Jeff Draper
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Christopher Hopper
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Karen McSpadden
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Deena Peterson
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Donna Swanson
Daniel I. Weaver
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Friday, October 19, 2007

Writing through the fear

Song Stuck on the Brain: What Goes Around Comes Around by Justin Timberlake

Yay, it's finally Friday. I may be only working half days, but it still felt like a long week. It's amazing how a six and a half week absence can change your perceptive about your work week. Or maybe it's just my prescriptions.

On the plus side the half days at work have been great for my writing. I've been pushing to write 4,000 words a day, which for me is REALLY good. Dysfunction Junction is shaping up well and I feel good about the way the plot lines are falling together. I've been praying really hard that the words would come in a way that would make sense and praise God, they have been.

I think I let this book get the best of me before I ever even started. Somehow it just seemed so complicated in my head. There is so many things that have to be included and tie together so they make sense. The book in my head just seemed impossible for me to write. Plus there is a lot of personal experience tied into this book. Not specific events really, just lessons I've learned. Feeling I've experienced first hand and decided would be best served with openness and honesty.

Jeez, reading this makes my little Chick lit sound like the next great American novel, and I'm sure it's not. But I am finding that it's not as scary to write as I thought it would be. I will say, that each book I've written has been a creature all it's own. I mistakenly thought that once I had one book under my belt, all the rest would fall write into place with out any trouble because I already knew how to write a book. I was wrong. The books haven't been harder to write, and I have learned a lot to improve the process, but each book pulls me down a different emotional path and they've each required a slightly different process to complete. I can see why writer's consider their works as children. Not only have they invested blood, sweat and tears in them, but they each are unique.

I may or may not get an agent this go round, but I can't help but feel that finishing this book is going to change my writing career. Maybe only because I learned that I can do the scary and survive.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

CFBA: Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins

Song Stuck on the Brain: Once Upon A Dream from Sleeping Beauty

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Brandilyn Collins
(Zondervan October 30, 2007)


Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
– Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.


Do you know someone who’s never read a Brandilyn Collins novel? Surely no such person exists. However, should you scrounge up such a friend—someone who enjoys suspense—here’s a special offer from Brandilyn. Be among the first 50 people between now and October 21, 2007 to e-mail her assistant at with the person’s name, e-mail address and street address. (Due to exorbitant overseas mailing costs, United States residents only, please).

A signed copy of Crimson Eve will be sent to your friend—free—along with an e-mail from Brandilyn announcing the book is on its way, courtesy of you. (Don’t worry. Brandilyn won’t spam these email addresses. She just wants your friend to know who to thank.) No worries that this story is third in the Kanner Lake series. Each book stands alone. Brandilyn is convinced your friend will so love Crimson Eve, he/she will surely reciprocate with expensive chocolate.


I don't know what more I could possibly add to what's already been said. If you read this blog, then you already know that I'm a HUGE fan of Brandilyn's work. She's one of my literary heroes. A master of suspense with a strong message for your soul. You will love this book, so quit dilly dallying and go get it. Now.


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…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her 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.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.

Enjoy - and keep a light on. :)


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mouths open wide - just in case

Song Stuck on the Brain: A Man by Alanis Morissette. Don't know why. Probably heard it on the radio. It's got strange lyrics, but the melody is really catchy.

Went for another bandage change today on my incision. Doc says it's looking good. Still can't give me an exact time frame for when I'll be all healed up, but I'm still hoping to be free of the Wound Vac by Thanksgiving. I'd like to ring in my 30th with some freedom.

After the doctor's visit, Mom, Dad and I stopped for lunch at Taco Bell. I still can't drive, so they're chauffeuring me to the hospital clinic. Anyway, it's funny how the weirdest things from your childhood can jump up and grab you when you least expect it.

When I was really little, maybe 4 or so, we were sitting down as a family to eat. There was a big group of us, and so sometimes it took a little while to get everyone settled so a blessing could be said over the food. Well, I guess I forgot and took a bite of something. Mom said, "Wait a minute we haven't said a prayer yet."

I slapped a hand over my mouth with an 'oops' and felt really ashamed. Mom said, "Don't worry, just open your mouth while we pray and God will bless what you've already swallowed."

I know this was a joke. She was just teasing me. I knew it then, I know it now. But I remember keeping my mouth open anyway, just in case.

Today, I started eating my taco and Dad says to Mom, "Do you want to bless it?"

I was 4 all over again. I 'oopsed' and waited for them to bless it - and doggone it if I didn't have the most compelling urge to keep my mouth open just in case.

When I told Mom and Dad they just laughed. Mom didn't even remember saying it.

So strange the things that you remember clearly.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is there an agent in my future?

Song Stuck on the Brain: Do you know the Muffin Man?

I was released from the hospital on Monday October 1st. Spent one day at my parents and then, finally, got to come home. YAY! I took a week at home to get my bearings with the intention of going back to work part time the following Monday (8th).

My first day back at work wasn't too bad. I was tired, but sure I'd be in the next day with no trouble. That was until I woke up at 4:30 am Tuesday on a Tilt -a Whirl. I have never experienced dizzy like that before. It was so bad it felt like the two halves of my brain were being ripped apart by centrifugal force. Oh yeah, and then there was the vomiting. I won't elaborate.

Short of it is, I ended up in the ER, concerned it might be a complication from the surgery. Good news is that it's not related to the surgery. Bad news is it's Vertigo and I got another prescription. One more that has the power to knock me out cold. Needless to say, I haven't been able to go back to work again. I'm aiming for tomorrow afternoon as long as all goes well. The dizziness has improved a great deal.

As for really good news, I was notified by email on Tuesday that I have an agent interested in seeing the full manuscript for my inspiration chick lit novel Dysfunction Junction. I've got a month to finish it up and send it out. I swear I screamed out loud when I read the email. It's positively thrilling and terribly scary all at the same time.

I know that a request for a full MS doesn't guarantee a contract, nor does a contract with an agent guarantee a sale. However, this is still a big step forward and it will be exciting to see where it goes. Ultimately it's in God's hands and that's the best place for it to be anyway.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and well wishes. I appreciate you all so much.


P.S. If you haven't entered the contest to win 2 books by Chris Well, be sure to enter today by clicking the book covers at the top of the sidebar. Contest ends at midnight on October 31, 2007. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CFBA: Nobody by Creston Mapes

Song Stuck on the Brain: Enough by Barlow Girl

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

(Multnomah Fiction September 11, 2007)


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.”
They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?


“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”
- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”
- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure


Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.

He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Win 2 great books by Author Chris Well

This month I'm offering two great books to one lucky winner.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Enter to win both Deliver Us From Evelyn and Tribulation House by Chris Well.

Just click on the book covers at the top of the sidebar to email me your entry. This contest will end Weds. October 31, 2007 at midnight.

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations, Deborah K.!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Deborah won a free copy of Sisterchicks Say Ooh La La by Robin Jones Gunn.

CFBA: The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck

Oops, I've goofed again. :(

Just so you all know, I am finally out of the hospital and back home. YAY!! The hospital was able to work out a deal for me to take a wound vac home so I could continue treatments on an outpatient basis. I'm still going back to the clinic for dressing changes twice a week, but at least I'm back home. I have probably a month or so still to go before the wound is completely healed.

However, in the meantime, I missed posting a book tour again. I really hate that I messed it up because I know how important it is to both the authors and the publishers that the book tour schedule is completed correctly. Since I goofed on the date, I'm going to go ahead and post it now with my biggest apology for it being late. Hopefully, this will not be a problem any more.


This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Kristin Billerbeck
Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)


Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.

With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.

But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.


Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then,
she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing. She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year. Featured in the New York Times and USA Today, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show for her pioneering role in Christian chick lit.

Her last three books were:

Split Ends: Sometimes the End is Really the Beginning (April 17, 2007)

She's Out of Control (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) (Nov 13, 2007)

Calm, Cool & Adjusted (Spa Girls Series #3) (Oct 1, 2006)

Monday, October 01, 2007

FIRST: Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

Song Stuck on the Brain: Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi

It is October 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Demon: A Memoir

(NavPress, 2007 )


Tosca Lee received her BA in English and International Relations from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has also studied at Oxford University.

As a Leadership Consultant, Tosca works with managers and leaders of organizations throughout the Pan-Pacific region, Europe, and the U.S.

Tosca is a former Mrs. Nebraska-America 1996, Mrs. Nebraska-United States 1998 and first runner-up to Mrs. United States and has been lauded nationally for her efforts to fight breast cancer.

In her spare time, Tosca enjoys cooking, studying history and theology, and traveling. She currently resides in Nebraska with her Shar Pei, Attila.

Visit her at her website and her blog.


Chapter One

It was raining the night he found me. Traffic had slowed on Massachusetts Avenue, and the wan light of streetlamps reflected off the pavement. I was hurrying on without an umbrella, distracted by the chirp of a text message on my phone, trying to shield its illuminated face from rain and the drizzle off storefront awnings. There had been a mistake in my schedule, an appointment that I didn’t recognize and that I had stayed late at the office for — until six forty-five — just in case. Our office manager was texting me from home now to say she had no idea who it was with, that the appointment must have belonged on Phil’s calendar, that she was sorry for the mistake and to have a good night.

I flipped the phone shut, shoved it in my bag. I was worn out by this week already, and it was only Tuesday. The days were getting shorter, the sun setting by six o’clock. It put me on edge, gnawed at me, as though I had better get somewhere warm and cheerful or, barring all else, home before it got any darker. But I was unwilling to face the empty apartment, the dirty dishes and unopened mail on the counter. So I lowered my head against the rain and walked another two blocks past my turnoff until I came to the Bosnian Café. A strap of bells on the door announced my entrance with a ringing slap.

I liked the worn appeal of the Bosnian Café with its olfactory embrace of grilled chicken and gyro meat that enveloped me upon every arrival and clung to me long after leaving. That night, in the premature darkness and rain, the café seemed especially homey with its yellowing countertops, chipped mirrors, and grimy ketchup bottles. Cardboard shamrocks, remnants of a forgotten Saint Patrick’s Day, draped the passthrough into the kitchen, faded around their die-cut edges. A string of Christmas lights lined the front window, every third bulb out. On the wall above the register, a framed photo of the café’s owner with a local pageant queen, and another with a retired Red Sox player, had never been dusted. But no one, including me, seemed to mind.

I stood in the entry waiting for Esad, the owner, to notice me. But it was not the bald man who welcomed me.

It was the dark-haired stranger.

I was surveying the other tables, looking for inspiration — chicken or steak, gyro or salad — when he beckoned. I hesitated, wondering if I should recognize him, this man sitting by himself — but no, I did not know him. He impatiently waved again, and I glanced over my shoulder, but there was no one standing in the entryway but me. And then the man at the table stood up and strode directly to me.

“You’re late,” he said, clasping my shoulder and smiling. He was tall, tanned, with curling hair and a slightly hooked nose that did nothing to detract from his enviable Mediterranean looks. His eyes glittered beneath well-formed brows. His teeth were very white.

“I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong person,” I said. He chuckled.

“Not at all! I’ve been waiting for you for quite some time. An eternity, you might say. Please, come sit down. I took the liberty of ordering for you.” His voice reminded me of fine cognac, the Hors d’Age men drink aboard their yachts as they cut their Cohíbas.

“You have the wrong person. I don’t know you,” I insisted, even as he steered me toward the table. I didn’t want to embarrass him; he already seemed elegantly out of place here in what, for all practical purposes, was a joint. But he would feel like an elegant fool in another minute, especially if his real appointment — interview, date, whatever — walked in and saw him sitting here with me.

“But I know you, Clay.”

I started at the sound of my name, spoken by him with a mixture of familiarity and strange interest, and then I studied him more closely — the squareness of his jaw, the smoothness of his cheek, his utter self-possession — wondering if I had indeed met him before. But I hadn’t, I was certain of it now.

One of Esad’s nephews arrived with a chicken sandwich and two cups of coffee. “Please,” the stranger said, motioning to a vinyl-covered chair. Numbly, stupidly, I sat.

“You work down the street at Brooks and Hanover,” he said when the younger man had gone. He seated himself adjacent to me, his chair angled toward mine. He crossed his legs, plucked invisible lint off the fine wool of his trousers. “You’re an editor.”

Several thoughts went through my head in that moment, none of them savory: first, that this was some finance or insurance rep who — just like the pile of loan offers on my counter at home — was trying to capitalize on my recent divorce. Or, that this was some aggressive literary agent trying to play suave.

Most likely, though, he was a writer.

Every editor has stories to tell: zealous writers pushing manuscripts on them during their kid’s softball game, passing sheaves of italicized print across pews at church, or trying to pick them up in bars, casually mentioning between lubricated flirtations that they write stories on the side and just happen to have a manuscript in the car. I had lost count of the dry cleaners, dental hygienists, and plumbers who, upon hearing what I did for a living, had felt compelled to gift me with their short stories and children’s books, their novels-in-progress and rhyming poetry.

“Look, whoever you are — ”


I meant to tell him that I was sure we didn’t publish whatever it was he wanted me to read, that there were industryaccepted ways to get his work to us if we did, that he could visit the website and check out the guidelines. I also meant to get up and walk away, to look for Esad or his nephew and put an order in — to go. But I didn’t say or do any of these things, because what he said next stopped me cold.

“I know you’re searching, Clay. I know you’re wondering what these late, dark nights are for. You have that seasonal disease, that modern ailment, don’t you? SAD, they call it. But it isn’t the disorder — you should know that. It isn’t even your divorce. That’s not what’s bothering you. Not really.”

I was no longer hungry. I pushed away the chicken sandwich
he had ordered and said with quiet warning, “I don’t know who you are, but this isn’t funny.”

He went on as though he hadn’t heard me, saying with what seemed great feeling, “It’s that you don’t know what it’s all for: the hours and days, working on the weekends, the belief that you’ll eventually get caught up and on that ultimate day something will happen. That everything will make sense or you’ll at least have time to figure it out. You’re a good man, Clay, but what has that won you? You’re alone, growing no younger, drifting toward some unknown but inevitable end in this life. And where is the meaning in that?”

I sat very still. I felt exposed, laid open, as though I had emptied my mind onto the table like the contents of a pocket. I could not meet his gaze. Nearby, a couple — both of their heads dripping dirty blond dreadlocks — mulled over menus as the woman dandled an infant on her lap. Beyond them, a thickset woman paged through People, and a young man in scrubs plodded in a sleep-deprived daze through an anemic salad. I wondered if any of them had noticed my uncanny situation, the strange hijacking taking place here. But they were mired in their menus, distractions, and stupor. At the back counter, a student tapped at the keypad of his phone, sending messages into the ether.

“I realize how this feels, and I apologize,” Lucian said, folding long fingers together on his knee. His nails were smooth and neatly manicured. He wore an expensivelooking watch, the second hand of which seemed to hesitate before hiccupping on, as though time had somehow slowed in the sallow light of the diner. “I could have done this differently, but I don’t think I would have had your attention.”

“What are you, some kind of Jehovah’s Witness?” I said. It was the only thing that made sense. His spiel could have hit close to anyone. I felt conned, angry, but most of all embarrassed by my emotional response.

His laughter was abrupt and, I thought, slightly manic. “Oh my,” he said, wiping the corners of his eyes. I pushed back my chair.

His merriment died so suddenly that were it not for the sound of it still echoing in my ears, I might have thought I had imagined it. “I’m going to tell you everything,” he said, leaning toward me so that I could see the tiny furrows around the corners of his mouth, the creases beneath his narrowed eyes. A strange glow emanated from the edge of his irises like the halo of a solar eclipse. “I’m going to tell you my story. I’ve great hope for you, in whom I will create the repository of my tale — my memoir, if you will. I believe it will be of great interest to you. And you’re going to write it down and publish it.”

Now I barked a stunted laugh. “No, I’m not. I don’t care if you’re J. D. Salinger.”

Again he went on as though I’d said nothing. “I understand they’re all the rage these days, memoirs. Publishing houses pay huge sums for the ghostwritten, self-revelatory accounts of celebrities all the time. But trust me; they’ve never acquired a story like mine.”

“Look,” I said, a new edge in my voice, “You’re no celebrity I recognize, and I’m no ghostwriter. So I’m going to get myself some dinner and be nice enough to forget this ever happened.” But as I started to rise, he grabbed me by the arm. His fingers, biting through the sleeve of my coat, were exceedingly strong, unnaturally warm, and far too intimate.

“But you won’t forget,” he said, the strange light of fanaticism in his eyes. His mouth seemed to work independently of their stare, as though it came from another face altogether. “You will recall everything — every word I say. Long after you have forgotten, in fact, the name of this café, the way I summoned you to this table, the first prick of your mortal curiosity about me. Long after you have forgotten, in fact, the most basic details of your life. You will remember, and you will curse or bless this day.”

I felt ill. Something about the way he said mortal . . . In that instant, reality, strung out like an elastic band, snapped. This was no writer.

“Yes. You see,” he said quietly. “You know. We can share now, between us, the secret of what I am.”

And the words came, unbidden, to my mind: Fallen. Dark Spirit.


The trembling that began in my stomach threatened to seize up my diaphragm. But then he released me and sat back. “Now. Here is Mr. Esad, wondering why you haven’t touched your sandwich.” And indeed, here came the bald man, coffeepot in hand, smiling at the stranger as though he were more of a regular than I. I stared between them as they made their pleasantries, the sound of their banter at sick odds with what my visceral sense told me was true, what no one else seemed to notice: that I was sitting here with something incomprehensively evil.

When Esad left, Lucian took a thin napkin from the dispenser and set it beside my coffee cup. The gesture struck me as aberrantly mundane. He sighed.

“I feel your trepidation, that sense that you ought to get up and leave immediately. And under normal circumstances, I would say that you are right. But listen to me now when I tell you you’re safe. Be at ease. Here. I’ll lean forward like this, in your human way. When that couple over there sees my little smile, this conspiratorial look, they’ll think we’re sharing a succulent bit of gossip.”

I wasn’t at ease. Not at all. My heart had become a pounding liability in my chest.

“Why?” I managed, wishing I were even now in the emptiness of my apartment, staring at the world through the bleak window of my TV.

Lucian leaned even closer, his hand splayed across the top of the table so that I could see the blue veins along the back of it. His voice dropped below a whisper, but I had no difficulty hearing him. “Because my story is very closely connected to yours. We’re not so different after all, you and I. We both want purpose, meaning, to see the bigger picture. I can give you that.”

“You don’t even know me!”

“On the contrary,” he said, sliding the napkin dispenser away, as though it were a barrier between us. “I know everything about you. Your childhood house on Ridgeview Drive. The tackle box you kept your football cards in. The night you tried to sneak out after homecoming to meet Lindsey Bennett. You broke your wrist climbing out of the window.”

I stared.

“I know of your father’s passing — you were fifteen. About the merlot you miss since giving up drinking, the way you dip your hamburgers in blue cheese dressing — your friend Piotr taught you that in college. That you’ve been telling yourself you ought to get away somewhere — Mexico, perhaps. That you think it’s the seasonal disorder bothering you, though it’s not — ”

“Stop!” I threw up my hands, wanting him to leave at once, equally afraid that he might and that I would be stuck knowing that there was this person — this thing — watching me. Knowing everything.

His voice gentled. “Let me assure you you’re not the only one; I could list myriad facts about anyone. Name someone. How about Sheila?” He smirked. “Let’s just say she didn’t return your essage from home, and her husband thinks she’s working late. Esad? Living in war-torn Bosnia was no small feat. He — ” He cocked his head, and there came now a faint buzzing like an invisible swarm of mosquitoes. I instinctively jerked away.

“What was that?” I demanded, unable to pinpoint where the sound had come from.

“Ah. A concentration camp!” He looked surprised. “I didn’t know that. Did you know that? And as for your ex — ” He tilted his head again.

“No! Please, don’t.” I lowered my head into my hand, dug my fingers into my scalp. Five months after the divorce, the wound still split open at the mere mention of her.

“You see?” he whispered, his head ducked down so that he stared intently up into my face. “I can tell you everything.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’ve made a pastime of studying case histories, of following them through from beginning to end. You fascinate me in the same way that beetles with their uncanny instinct for dung rolling used to fascinate you. I know more about you than your family. Than your ex. Than you know about yourself, I daresay.”

Something — some by-product of fear — rose up within me as anger at last. “If you are what you say, aren’t you here to make some kind of deal for my soul? To tempt me? Why did you order me coffee, then? Why not a glass of merlot or a Crown and Coke?” My voice had risen, but I didn’t care; I felt my anger with relief.

Lucian regarded me calmly. “Please. How trite. Besides, they don’t serve liquor here.” But then his calm fell away, and he was staring — not at me but past me, toward the clock on the wall. “But there,” he pointed. His finger seemed exceedingly long. “See how the hour advances without us!” He leapt to his feet, and I realized with alarm that he meant to leave.

“What — you can’t just go now that you’ve — ”

“I’ve come to you at great risk,” he hissed, the sound sibilant, as though he had whispered in my ear though he stood three feet away. And then he strode to the glass door and pushed out into the darkness, disappearing beyond the reflected interior of the café like a shadow into a mirror. The strap of bells fell against the door with a flat metal clink, and my own stunned reflection stared back.

Rain pelted my eyes, slipped in wet tracks through my hair against my scalp, ran in rivulets down my nape to mingle with the sweat against my back. It had gotten colder, almost freezing, but I was sweating inside the sodden collar of my shirt as I hurried down Norfolk, my bag slapping against my hip, my legs cramped and wooden, nightmare slow.

The abrupt warmth inside my apartment building threatened to suffocate me as I stumbled up the stairs. My ears pintingled to painful life as I fumbled with my keys. Inside my apartment at last, I fell back against the door, head throbbing and lungs heaving in the still air. I stayed like that, my coat dripping onto the carpet, for several long moments. Then a mad whim struck me.

With numb fingers, I retrieved the laptop from my bag and set it up on the kitchen table. With my coat still on, I dropped down onto a wooden chair, staring at the screen as it yawned to life. I logged into the company server, opened my calendar.

There — my six-thirty appointment. It was simply noted: L.

Sample from Demon / ISBN 1-60006-123-0
Copyright © 2006 NavPress Publishing.
All rights reserved.
To order copies of this resource, come back to