Tag Archives: Christian fiction

“Why Are You Just Sitting on the Side of the Road?” — What Will You Die For?

Excerpt from my WIP “What Will You Die For?” by Mary C. Findley

writing policeman

“Two weeks? You can’t tell me anything more – ?” Talia’s phone gave a bloop and she saw the message satellite signal lost flash on the screen before it went dark.

Talia pulled over to the side of the road and sat with her head on the steering wheel, praying with all her might for her aunt and uncle, and for clarity in this craziness. After all, they weren’t involved in some international spy mission. They were just digging holes in the ground! This couldn’t have anything to do with the Testaments, could it?

Talia realized suddenly that he felt really, really hot. She started to roll own her window, but the switch didn’t work with the engine off, of course. She started the car and cranked all the windows open. She pulled at her scarf and yanked down the zipper on her coat, but it didn’t help. Her vision started to blur.

“Ms Rodriguez? Are you okay? Why are you just sitting on the side of the road?”

Talia turned her head, so … so … slowly. Her neck hurt, and it felt so heavy. “”Oh … Clark ..I mean, Officer Johnson. I don’t know. I’ve had this cold, but I just … I feel so weak, and I can’t see straight … “

“Sit right there. I’m calling an ambulance,” Clark exclaimed.

“Oh, no …” Talia’s tongue felt so thick, she could hardly talk.

“No arguments. Don’t you move. We’re seeing lots of these cold things turning into serious cases of pneumonia. It’s nothing to mess around with.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Issues, Politics, Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Review of Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

Beloved Daughter is on sale now for only 99 cents!

About the Book —

In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. It is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being.
“The Beloved Daughter” follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.
“The Beloved Daughter” is Alana Terry’s debut Christian novel and has won multiple awards, including the Women of Faith writing contest and the Book of the Month award from The Book Club Network.

My Review —

“I Want to Know More About Moses!”

Alana Terry presents such a gripping and realistic picture of life in North Korea. The mentality of the Korean prison system becomes chillingly clear. Overtones of George Orwell’s 1984 ripple through this book. The determination to break spirits, destroy loyalties and humanity, and snuff out hope is everywhere. But faith is really the only answer, the only hope, in this visionary work, no matter what goes wrong, no matter how flawed or pressured God’s servants may be. God will do His work and prepare His servants.

About Alana —

When Alana isn’t writing, it’s likely that she’s on the floor wrestling with her kids. Or playing outside with her kids. Or chauffeuring her kids. Or trying some random science experiment with her kids. But she’s probably not cooking or cleaning.

Alana is a homeschooling mother of three who loves to write, hates to cook, and enjoys reading a good book almost as much as she enjoys writing one.

Alana won the Women of Faith writing contest for “The Beloved Daughter,” her debut inspirational novel. “What, No Sushi?” is Alana’s first book in a chapter-book series for kids published by Do Life Right, Inc.

Image of Alana Terry

The Beloved Daughter has won awards from the Book Club Network and the Women of Faith writing contest. It is also currently one of the nominations for Book of the Year at bookfun.org.

The Beloved Daughter will be on sale for just $0.99 (regularly $3.99) from the amazon kindle store from December 26-30. As a special Christmas bonus, if you are one of the first three people to comment on this blog, you can win your own free kindle copy today! And if you’re feeling especially lucky, enter this giveaway for a $25 amazon gift card!

2 Comments

Filed under Current Issues, Politics, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Guest Post: New Book by Adam Blumer — The Tenth Plague

The-Tenth-Plague_cover_1536x2048

Water turns to blood. Flies and gnats attack the innocent. Marc and Gillian Thayer’s vacation resort becomes a grisly murder scene, with a killer using the ten plagues of Egypt as his playbook for revenge.

When their friend turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of a retired homicide detective, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity. Meanwhile, a stranger is after the Thayers’ newly adopted baby. Will they uncover the truth behind the bitter agenda before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn son?

About the Author

Adam Blumer is the author of Fatal Illusions (Kregel Publications) and The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). A print journalism major in college, he works as a freelance writer and editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia.

blumer_adam_portrait

Title:                            The Tenth Plague
Publisher:                    Kirkdale Press
Release Date:             January 29, 2013
ISBN 13:                     978-1-57799-524-1
Format:                        E-book
Genre:                         Christian suspense/thriller
Author Website:          http://www.adamblumerbooks.com
Author Facebook:       http://www.facebook.com/AdamBlumerNovelist
Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/adamblumer

Purchase Links:           Vyrso:             http://kirkdalepress.com/books/the-tenth-plague/
Price:                           $7.49

The book will be available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com on release day, January 29.

Nook link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-tenth-plague-adam-blumer/1114254199?ean=2940015959727 

3 Comments

Filed under Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

When a Man Suffers

http://www.amazon.com/The-Barons-Ring-ebook/dp/B0040V4EYI

All of my books deal with men who have gone through some sort of devastating event that leaves a permanent mark. I want to explain how and why I put my male characters through severe trials.

Our daughter has said, “You know you really put you men through a lot, don’t you?” I look at physical suffering as a metaphor for and a necessary part of spiritual refining. Silver and gold aren’t worth much unless they go through the furnace. The Scriptures talk a lot about putting men through very tough times. Jacob wrestled with the angel and got a permanent limp. Job was covered from head to foot with boils. Naaman got leprosy.

The Bible tells us that the refinement process is physical and spiritual. My characters go through suffering whether they’ve done anything to “deserve” it or not. Some people object to violence in Christian books. Fight child sexual slavery and you are likely to get hurt. Spy for Texas against Mexico, and, as one of my characters puts it, “there can be serious consequences.” Take on political and religious conflict and someone might try to take you out of the equation. Confront a boy with hard evidence that his hero’s “holy quest” might be a scam for personal gain and you will pay a price.

Even in my children’s and YA adventure series, Benny and the Bank Robber, there is a man who is mauled by a cougar. He was attacked trying to save someone else. Later he was stared at and avoided because of his scars. Yet he found a way to prove that God can “make all things new,” blending the character’s past with his present to make a future with marriage and godly service possible through God’s grace.

In the YA Medieval Suspense Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion, I needed a character who seems superhuman, but at the same time has unexplained bouts of weakness. There was so much depending on him, but he and others needed to depend on God. At one time he was arrogant, depending on his own abilities, but something other characters don’t know about happened to him. Now he operates with humility and reliance on a Power that never falters. This helps us understand where the “super power” comes from.

The  Adult Romantic Suspense novel Chasing the Texas Wind describes a character, rumored to be a wounded war hero, who calls a promotion merely becoming “head clerk over a larger office of clerks.” He appears to drink and cannot even dance at his own wedding. What is he desperately trying to hide from his sham wife? She married him for a show of respectability and to have a veteran to show off at her fundraisers for wounded soldiers but keeps trying to like him, to get to know him. Is he just struggling with his own pride or are his secrets not his to share? Does he actually have more than one secret from the woman he grows to worship?

In The Baron’s Ring, a prince has to prepare himself to save his kingdom from ruin at the hands of his drunken, idolatrous brother. Can he do that by common labor, barter and befriending poverty-stricken villagers in a foreign land? Can merely being a teacher expose him to occult influences that seem to rob him of all his future hopes? This is the story of how a man finds strength overcome what seems a hopeless obstacle. It actually positions him to go back to the life he left with strength and maturity no one could foresee except for the God Who oversaw it all.

Some books make people suffer for no reason. These are governed by determinism, the belief that life has no purpose. Arbitrary forces brutalize or leave characters alone. These stories might teach lessons like the poem by William Ernest Henley, “Invictus,” producing an arrogant man whose “head is bloody, but unbowed.” But that is human pride and personal glory in a world that ends with the grave.

Sometimes man can act with self-sacrifice and humility on his own. To truly explain why people suffer, they need to know that this life is not the end. Nobody is really satisfied with the random chance theory. Confirmed atheists still demand to know why bad things happen to good people and they actually blame God. Even if it only makes us better humans and better servants of other humans, refinement cannot be a random, arbitrary process. Its real purpose is to fit us for heaven and to earn God’s “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

1 Comment

Filed under Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Uncategorized, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

After Christmas Sale!

All of our e-books are now marked down for our After Christmas sale. Unillustrated books are now $2.99 and illustrated books are $6.99. (The Teachers Edition of Biblical Studies remains at 99 cents, however.) If you got an e-book reader for Christmas and haven’t filled it up yet, follow the links on the right side of the page to Smashwords or Amazon! Merry Christmas to all!

And a shout-out for some bluegrass performer friends of ours. Check out their YouTube Channel!

http://www.youtube.com/user/bargwranglers/feed

1 Comment

Filed under Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Review of Karis by R.M. Strong

We all need heroes, and some of us even need to be heroes. The vigilante seeking justice is certainly not a new or original idea, but R.M. Strong has put, for me, a highly desirable twist on it with the story teenaged Tamara Weatherby. I’ll talk about the twist shortly. Tamara’s family and scores of others fall victim to a deranged bad-guy, Nothos, who uses gasses to force his victims to fear him but normally does not kill. He takes hostages, makes demands, and releases them. This time, however, when costumed crimefighters Krino and Krisis do not make an appearance (the police commissioner forbids them), Nothos uncharacteristically shoots everyone in the art museum. Tamara ends up being the only survivor.

I have to state that I believe this story is handled clumsily and the whys and wherefores of the plot elements are sometimes not explained at all. Sometimes the explanations just don’t satisfy. The book includes a lot of social commentary, about the rich and how people treat (but should not treat) them, but it doesn’t give the right answers for change. It also gives its heroine too much power and “attitude” for my taste.

Several times the point is made that Tamara should have a “female figure” in her life but it’s made weakly and shouted down. It shouldn’t have been. Questions about her new living arrangements and threats against her purity are dealt with too lightly for my taste. I wish the character Kuria had been developed more and put into that “female figure” role. I think that would have been a great help. Even her “disability” would have been an intriguing plot element.

The book ends at an odd place, even understanding that it begins a series. There was a potentially great climax point and though it wasn’t handled as well as it could have, it would have made a better ending.

The twist Strong puts on this is to add Christianity into the mix. Karis, the title character, goes through the same struggles all budding crimefighters do: the sense of loss, the realization that her ordinary friends can’t offer her the sympathy and understanding she wants, the rage and thirst for revenge. But over and over she is forced to examine her feelings, her actions, her decisions, and those of others, in the light of God’s Word and her upbringing in a Christian home with active church involvement. Christian readers need to know that there is some profanity, but a pleasing evangelistic and Christian growth emphasis balanced that out for me. There are also two pretty strong instances of attempted rape, clearly presented as evil and wrong.

R.M. Strong as an author and Karis as a character don’t always make the right decisions in this book. We all fail, and can learn from our failures to turn them into opportunities for growth. I am certainly not saying this book is a complete failure. It is an opportunity for growth, and a hopeful sign in a world, and a writing genre, where Christianity is so marginalized. The author seems to have promise of growth as a writer, and here’s hoping Karis will grow along with her.

I give it three stars

Also, here is a link to a blogger interview for our writing:

http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.com/2011/12/words-with-mary-campagna-findley.html

1 Comment

Filed under Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging