Saturday, May 30, 2009

Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine

Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine
by Tracey Michae'l Lewis
Published by:
PO Box 52545
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19115

Here's the Blurb:

Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine is a fascinating journey through the life of Crystal Justine (CJ), a young woman who has, for most of her life, been compared to her mother, Sasha Renee, in both the best and the worst ways. Even as she struggles to escape the image and legacy of this enigma of a woman, she finds herself unconsciously acting out her mother's (and grandmother's) past mistakes. Her relationships with men, although few and far between, has been tainted by "the thing she cannot say" and her faith has been weakened by the emotional and spiritual blows her life has taken. This dynamic story of deliverance keeps readers, page by page, on the edge of their proverbial seats, wondering if CJ will simply succumb to the darkness that has chased her soul for as long as she could remember or if she will be the one to finally put an end to the generational curse that has tried to consume her family. Will she find true love, joy, and peace for the first time?

Here's a post at theotalks

JUNE 13th @ 4pm - Book Release and Signing Extravaganza - CLC Bookstore - Chestnut Hill, 7700 Crittenden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19118

JUNE 20TH @ 11am - Book Signing at the African American Museum in Philadelphia - 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

You can buy it at amazon here

Black people and white people buy furniture

One of the funniest commercials. It sure has its heart in the right place.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CFBA: Rose House

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Rose House

WaterBrook Press (May 5, 2009)


Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Rose House, go HERE

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Simon J. Ortiz: A Poetic Legacy of Indigenous Continuance

Simon J. Ortiz: A Poetic Legacy of Indigenous Continuance

Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Publication Date: 5/31/2009
ISBN: 9780826339881
EAN: 0826339883
Paperback: 440 pages
Language: English
Physical Info: 6.00 x 1.10 x 9.00 inches, (1.30 lbs)
Categories: Native American | American - General
LC Subjects: Ortiz, Simon J. - C
Dewey: 818.540
LCCN: 2008052978

Here's the blurb:

Simon J. Ortiz is widely regarded as one of the literary giants of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with more than two dozen volumes of poetry, prose fiction, children's literature, and nonfiction work to his credit and his being anthologized around the world. This edited volume is devoted to the depth and range of Ortiz's contribution to contemporary Native American literature and literary scholarship.
Including interviews with Ortiz, short creative nonfiction essays by Native women writers and scholars, and innovative critical discussions by a dozen scholars of Native literatures, the volume shows his role in the development of cultural studies and Native American literatures on a number of fronts, garnering tribal, regional, national, hemispheric, and global levels of awareness and appreciation. The range of scholarship herein sheds light on the larger historical, cultural, and political factors that have shaped Native writing over the last four decades.

This volume reveals the insights and aesthetics of Ortiz's indigenous lens, which provides invaluable contributions to literary studies that turn to the postcolonial, the ecocritical, the globally indigenous and comparative as indigenous geographies of belonging are found to inform an aesthetics of inclusion and authenticity.

Elizabeth Ammons, Tufts University (Boston)
Elizabeth Archuleta (Yaqui), Arizona State University
Esther Belin, Durango, Colorado
Jeff Berglund, Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff)
Kimberly Blaeser (Chippewa), University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
Gregory Cajete (Tewa), University of New Mexico
Sophia Cantave, Boston
David Dunaway, University of New Mexico (Albuquerque)
Roger Dunsmore, University of Montana (retired)
Lawrence Evers, University of Arizona
Gwen Westerman Griffin (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate), Minnesota State University (Mankato)
Joy Harjo (Mvskoke), Honolulu
Geary Hobson (Cherokee, Arkansas Quapaw), University of Oklahoma
David L. Moore, University of Montana
Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo), University of Illinois
Kimberly Roppolo (Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek), University of Oklahoma
Ralph Salisbury, University of Oregon (retired)
Kathryn W. Shanley (Assiniboine), University of Montana
Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), Tucson
Sean Kicummah Teuton (Cherokee), University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Laura Tohe (Diné), Arizona State University
Robert Warrior (Osage), University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

About the Author
Susan Berry Brill de Ramírez, Caterpillar Inc. Professor of English at Bradley University, is also the author of Contemporary American Indian Literatures and the Oral Tradition, and Wittgenstein and Critical Theory.

Evelina Zuni Lucero (Isleta/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo) is chair of the creative writing department at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of the novel Night Sky, Morning Star.

Here's the waterstones bookseller UK website

Here's the amazon site

Here's the press release

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jillian Dare: A Novel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Jillian Dare: A Novel

Revell (May 1, 2009)


Melanie M. Jeschke


Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

Par for the Curse by Toyi Ward

Par for the Curse
by Toyi Ward

Stormy has grown up with the warning that she is cursed. Raised in a family of eight women with twenty-four husbands among them, she has managed to escape the family’s legacy thus far. Things begin to change once she is given the details concerning a hex that was cast upon her great grandmother over eighty years ago.

Managing the antics of her adulteress young cousin, Riley, exhausts Stormy. Comforting the heartbreak of her older cousin Lourdes, angers her. After a devastating turn of events on par with her birthright, Stormy decides to seek a remedy for the family’s plight. She travels to New Orleans determined to find answers. Along the way she faces a quilt of obstacles and a set of choices that challenge her reality. Will she reveal the information or continue playing the hand she was dealt by an angry young woman in the Bayou.

Par for the Curse reveals the influence of voodoo and the impact of generational secrets on family, life, and love.

This is Toyi Ward's blog
You can read an excerpt here

DAY 1 / Monday, May 25
Welcome from Toyi

Paperback Diva

Black Authors Network (8-10 pm EST)

DAY 2 / Tuesday, May 26

Debra Owsley

DAY 3 / Wednesday, May 27

Joey Pinkney

DAY 4 / Thursday, May 28
All The Buzz Reviews

All Things Literary with Alvin C. Romer

DAY 5 / Friday, May 29
RAWSISTAZ Literary Group

AAMBC Book Tours

AAMBC Online Radio Show (8:00 pm EST)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dark Parable: Amputated Extra Legs

I was so distraught last night -- as I often am-- because of younger son's
sufferings and last night I prayed and prayed in tongues and really had a
heart-to-heart praise/beg talk with God. Then I went to sleep. This morning I
had a dream.

I dreamed my younger son developed a problem in his feet and two of them had to
be amputated above the knee. He could still walk around with his two inner legs
but the outer ones were like these useless external appendages. I pushed him
around in a baby carrier. I was so upset because he had no friends because he
was handicaped and because his legs weren't right. We came to the bottom of the
stairs and I dropped a dime at the bottom of the steps. I looked for it near the
corner but couldn't find it. Then I looked up and saw that my son was climbing
the stairs with only his two legs. I thought, "uhm, this kid will do well. He's
managing with only his two legs." Then I heard him call for his father (my
husband) "Yuke!" Which was his way for saying "Luke." I was so happy. The dream
gave me hope. Don't know what the two extra half-legs meant. I mean, in real
life folks have two legs, not more than two.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CFBA: Deceptive Promises

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deceptive Promises

Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)


Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, live in Colorado and just had an incredibly beautiful daughter named Victoria.

I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

I got involved with web design in 1997, when I was asked to take over running the official web site for the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. That eventually led to a series of negotiations where I was offered the job of running world-renowned actress Jane Seymour's official fan site. That has branched into doing web sites for a variety of clients, including: authors J.M. Hochstetler, Trish Perry, Kathy Pride, Louise M. Gouge, Susan Page Davis, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson, actor William Shockley (the voice of AT&T and Toyota) and many others. With the help of a handful of other web site "technos," Eagle Designs was born! Feel free to visit and see our other clients.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are Quills And Promises (July 2008) and this one, Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Liberty's Promise. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010.



Is deception fair in wartime Margret Scott must deal with this question as she finds herself attracte to the enigmatic Samuel Lowe. As the tensions grow between the colonists and the British soldiers and loyalists, Margret cannot always tell where Samuel's loyalties lie.

"If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity." -Job 31:5-6

Samuel's duties have him working for both sides of this war, and he often finds himself torn between what is right and what is wrong. He promises Margret she can trust him, and Margret promises him she does. But can promises born in deception be trusted? Can a relationship built in uncertainty survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Deceptive Promises, go HERE.

Monday, May 18, 2009

CFBA: Ulterior Motives

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ulterior Motive

Bethany House (March 1, 2009)


Mark Andrew Olsen


MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. Two of his last books were the supernatural thriller The Watchers, and The Warriors.

The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.


When an al-Qaeda email is intercepted, threatening an attack on America, it leads to the capture of the group's leader. Yet even under fierce interrogation, the terrorist clings to his jihadist beliefs and refuses to divulge any information. Desperate, the Army resorts to extreme measures--a controversial protocol designed to break a subject's resistance. But the attempt must be masked as an offer of clemency and rely on an outside party, someone who is unaware of the protocol's aims.

They find that someone in Greg Cahill, a disgraced soldier who now serves in a prison ministry. Lured by the chance to restore his reputation, Greg befriends a man the entire country despises. And the result proves combustible, the two men having to flee for their lives. With both in need of redemption, they set out to prevent a major catastrophe...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ulterior Motive, go HERE

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Autistic Advocacy Alert and Campaign

Autistic Advocacy group has a new alert and campaign going on.

ACTION ALERT: ASAN has launched an action alert calling on Congress and President Obama to include Long Term Services and Supports in Health Care Reform. Click here to send a message to Congress that people with disabilities have a right to be supported in the community, not relegated to institutions.

Click here for the petition

Here is another petition you might wish to sign. . . which seeks to stop folks from making Autistic adults appear abusive.

CFBA: Beloved Counterfeit

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beloved Counterfeit

Barbour Publishing, Inc (May 2009)


Kathleen Y'Barbo


KATHLEEN MILLER Y’BARBO is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and an award-winning novelist of Christian fiction whose first published work jumped onto the Christian Booksellers Association bestseller list in its first month of release. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.



Washed ashore on Fairweather Key, Ruby O’Shea and her three nieces─the offspring of the pirate Thomas Hawkins and Ruby’s late sister─have a chance for a new beginning as Ruby takes a job in a boardinghouse and the girls are passed off as her daughters. But will Ruby be able to confess all when she falls for Micah Tate, a widower, wrecher, and soon-to-be preacher?

Micah is determined to marry the young woman who has captured his heart despite knowing she has something to hide. But will he be able to remain true to his vows when his lady love’s shady past comes to light?

Captain Thomas Hawkins will go to any length to discover the whereabouts of his daughters. What will his determination cost the folks of Fairweather Key?

When Ruby finds herself bereft of her newfound love and protector, will she run away in an attempt to escape her present as she did her past? Will Micah’s love cover the multitude of Ruby’s sins, or will Ruby’s duplicity cost her everything?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Counterfeit, go HERE

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Movie Viewing: Blind Shaft

Saw a little Chinese indie flick called Blind Shaft. adapted from novelist Liu Qingbang's best seller and Laoshe Literature Prize winner of 2002, "Shen mu" (Sacred wood).

It's about two guys who sing up to work at coal mines where the owner of the coal mine promises a large insurance to relatives if someone dies. So they get innocent people to work with them, claiming the innocent victim-to-be as a relative. They've just murdered someone and now they're looking for a new person. They find this newby a little 16 year old kid who has come from the country who needs work in order to continue schooling and to care for his family. The kid's dad went off to work and didn't return. The kid is standing around the daylaborers looking all forlorn and green and they know they have their next victim. They say to the kid, "Well, we got an in with a job but you have to say you're his nephew." The kid agrees. He's 16 but will pretend to be 18. So they sign up. But the guy who's pretending to be his uncle starts feeling guilty. First, the kid is sweet and he's kinda bonding with the kid. Second, the kid looks a lot like a guy they killed. (Could they have killed the kid's father?)
So the guy pretending to be the uncle starts trying to not kill the kid. He says "Well, he's the last man in the family. His line will die off." His consciousless parner says, "So what?" He says, "I just feel weird about it." Then he says, "We can't kill him because he hasn't had sex yet." So they pretty much trap the kid to sleep with some prostitute. Lots of them around...and the film is basically talking about how capitalism has ruined the country.Then he says, the kid can't die because he's never had a drink. So they force the kid to drink. Meanwhile everyone in the camp is totally amazed at how much this "uncle" cares for his "nephew."

After a while the conscience-less baddie gets impatient and in the mine he picks up a rock. He throws it at his partner, the uncle. And knocks him down. Then he begins to aim at the kid but his partner rises up and hits him with the pick. Then both fall down. The kid is so shocked at these events he races out of the shaft. Everyone thinks -- of course-- that there's been an accident in the mine. The kid is then forced to sign the contract giving him $30,000 for the death of his "uncle." He's an honest kid who hems and haws so much everyone thinks he loved his uncle sooo much. But in the end he takes it. Last scene is kid standing in front of the incineration place where body is being incinerated and kid looking weirdly confused. Very fun. I sat through this flick biting my nails fearing it would have a bad outcome but it was sooo neat to be so surprised.

CFBA: Taking Tuscany

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Taking Tuscany

David C. Cook (May 2009)


Renee Riva


Renee Riva writes humorous stories with a message, for both children and adults. Having been raised in a large Italian family with a great sense of humor, she has much to draw from for developing quirky characters.

She loves sharing her secrets for story starters at Young Author events, helping to spark the imagination of young minds. Renee and her husband live in Richland, Washington, with their three daughters, a dog, a cat, and until recently, her beloved hamster—may she rest in peace.


A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country... until her family decided to stay. It's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her blonde hair makes her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent.

The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J., but she's going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. Can't anyone see that Italy isn't really home? It will take a catastrophe - and a few wise words from a friend - for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Taking Tuscany, go HERE

Friday, May 08, 2009

Book on Asperger's: Look Me In The Eye

Look me in the eye
by John Elder Robinson

Here's the blurb:

Ever since he was small, John Robison had longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them) — had earned him the label "social deviant." No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.
After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a "real" job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be "normal" and do what he simply couldn't: communicate. It wasn't worth the paycheck.

It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger's syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself — and the world.

Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger's at a time when the diagnosis simply didn't exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as "defective," who could not avail himself of KISS's endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people's given names (he calls his wife "Unit Two"). He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents — the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison's journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner — repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It's a strange, sly, indelible account — sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

This is a book written for educators by someone who has Asperger's.
The author has a blog here

There's an audio excerpt from the book here. IF you click this link the excerpt will play.

You can buy it here

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bible Study: Basics in Bible Study

BTW, if you know anyone who wants to read a Bible study, my Bible study has been up at Lulu for almost a year. I haven't been promoting it though...but now Lulu has a pass the info along to any who might be interested.

Basics in Bible Study by Carole McDonnell

Smoke Signals: Wiconi Newsletter


Our 6th North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) Symposium on Theology and Mission is just a few weeks away now in Langley, BC at Trinity Western University. "Indigenous Church: Expressions of Community" is our theme this year. This gathering will have great benefit for anyone engaged in creating communities of faith, not exclusively native. The church must be reoriented from its Western ecclesiological notions of the church as a corporate organization, heirchical leadership models and structural management systems if it is going to effectively address the concerns of future generations of people longing for community in/with Jesus and his followers. The North American church will benefit greatly by listening to and learning from our First Nations leaders as they share from their worldview perspectives about church, mission and community.

This symposium will feature a special presentation by the next generation of Indigenous leaders who will conduct a forum addressing the unique concerns and issues of their generation as followers of Jesus relative to the gospel and its relationship to/with education, leadership development, political process’ and economic development among others. There will be excellent presentation and small group discussion inspired by speakers, Prabhu Singh, Brian McLaren, Tom and Christine Sine, Adrian Jacobs, Jeanine LeBlanc, myself and special reports about teens and youth. You can get the schedule and all the registration information from our website or at This will be well worth your time if you can attend!


Plans are finalized for this years Living Waters Gathering in Turner, OR. Please visit our website and start making plans to register and attend. We have a great powwow planned for Saturday and our friend Paul Otoko will again be pit roasting two pigs traditional Micronesian style. Like previous years we will again set up two sweat lodges, one for men and the other for women, for early morning prayers and devotions. We’ve rented a nearby professional ropes course for youth leadership mentoring as well as family fun. As the popularity and success of our family camp spreads each year, we’ve grown bigger and we are near capacity for housing. We have some great prices for camping this year. Everyone is invited from the surrounding community as part of Wiconi’s vision to “Remove Barriers and Build Bridges” toward peace and reconciliation as co-inhabitants of the land.

You can help make this gathering a success by partnering with us to financially sponsor a Native family to attend. Every year we invite Native families to apply for free sponsorships to attend and with today’s economy there will be more applications that we can handle. Will you please pray about underwriting a family of four in the amount of $354? This pays for the lodging, all meals for three-and-a-half days and all the activities that take place.


Whenever you change email addresses our server company will automatically remove you from our list after attempting to send you an email eight times. Many people have asked why they stopped receiving our smoke signals email reports. That is the reason. It is easy to change your address by sending an update or correction to office (AT) in order to continue receiving our emails. Also please consider inviting your friends to start receiving our smoke signals. Thanks.


Lord, willing I will be attending this historic gathering in Johannesburg, South Africa. Check out my friends Claude and Kelly Nikondeha’s website at for details about how you can be praying. I need funds for the airline ticket and my expenses are covered in Africa.


I wrote awhile back that we received a matching grant for much needed new office equipment, phone system, software and computer system. The matching grant offer expires on June 30. We have raised $3600 and need $12,600 for our goal of $16,000. When we raise our $16K the foundation will send us a check for $16K. Thank you for your prayers and assistance.

Lila pilamaya for taking the time to read our smoke signals even if you need reading glasses and good lighting to do so. 

Richard Twiss

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

CFBA: According to Their Deeds

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

According To Their Deeds

Bethany House (March 1, 2009)


Paul Robertson


Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and the author of The Heir. He is also a former Christian bookstore owner (for 15 years), who lives with his family in Blacksburg, Virginia.


A Deadly Game of Justice Versus Mercy Charles Beale lives outside the shadow of Washington, D.C. Politics and power matter only when a client crosses the Potomac to visit his Alexandria Rare Books shop.

But that all changes when a former client--a man deeply connected in the Justice Department--is found murdered after a break-in gone bad. When Charles reclaims at auction the books he'd once sold, he quickly discovers he's bought more trouble than he could have ever imagined.

Inside one volume are secrets. A collection of sins that, if revealed, could destroy reputations, careers--even lives. Charles soon learns he isn't the only who knows. Going to the police means ruining a multitude of lives. But staying silent puts a target on his shop, his wife--and himself. Charles must decide: Should one mistake really cost you everything?

If you would like to read the first chapter of According To Their Deeds, go HERE

Monday, May 04, 2009

Shame by Greg Garrett

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


David C. Cook (May 2009)


Greg Garrett


Greg Garrett has published newspaper and magazine features, short stories, personal and critical essays, reviews, encyclopedia articles, novels, a memoir, and books of nonfiction during his thirty-year writing career.

Author of the critically acclaimed novels Free Bird (chosen by Publishers Weekly and the Rocky Mountain News [Denver] as one of the best first novels of 2002) and Cycling, as well as the nonfiction books The Gospel Reloaded (with Chris Seay), Holy Superheroes!, the spiritual autobiography Crossing Myself, The Gospel According to Hollywood, and the forthcoming Stories from the Edge, Dr. Garrett is a past winner of the Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Prize for Fiction, and a regional CASE gold medalist for nonfiction.

He was elected to the Texas Institute of Letters in 2005 for his lifetime literary achievements. Professor of English at Baylor University, Dr. Garrett was named the Outstanding Baylor Faculty Member for 1994 by the Baylor Student Congress, and received the university administration's outstanding professor award in 1996. He received his Ph.D. in English from Oklahoma State University, and recently completed the M.Div. at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, where he lives, writes, and serves as a lay preacher at St. David's Episcopal Church.


It's hard to appreciate the life you have when you're wondering about the one you might have had.

John Tilden's glory days are far behind him, and now it seems like all he has is the monotony of everyday living. He certainly thought there'd be more to it than his ramshackle Oklahoma farm and a mundane job coaching basketball at his old high school. He questions his fatherhood skills too: His oldest son won't speak to him, his younger son wants to quit the basketball team, and now his daughter wants to go out on dates. He loves his wife, but the marriage has settled into complacency.

With John's twentieth high school reunion approaching, he has agreed to play in an exhibition game with the old championship team. And his ex-girlfriend's back in town, newly single. What might have been now seems closer than ever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Shame, go HERE

Defying Autism by Karen Mayer Cunningham

Defying Autism by Karen Mayer Cunningham

128 pages
Creation House (April 7, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1599796287
ISBN-13: 978-1599796284

Here's the blurb:
When their 18-month-old son, James, was diagnosed with severe autism, Cunningham and her husband were devastated. They sought help from social service agencies, medical specialists, and expert educators, but found no assistance---until God stepped in. This dramatic story of James's supernatural healing will touch your heart and show you that God still performs miracles! 128 pages, hardcover from Creation House.

Here's her interview on Sid Roth

Here's the blurb for that
Guest: Karen Mayer Cunningham
April 20-24, 2009 - Show 1640
Karen's life was wonderful; she had a blissful marriage and perfect baby boy named James. But at eighteen months, something happened. James began to exhibit bizarre behaviors including violent tantrums, head banging, and eating rubber. Tune in to hear the dramatic story of James' illness and his supernatural healing. God still performs miracles, and He is willing to perform a miracle for you too!

There's also this testimony of a boy healed of severe mental retardation

There's also a good healing of autism testimony in this collection of testimonies also on this site on Sid's website.

The thing is to never ever ever give up on the fullness of God's healing power.

Cross-cultural vid

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Preserves

Okay, I got my brother-in-law's new CD in the mail. You know I like folk music, indie folk, and bluegrass from when I spoke about another band I like called The Giving Tree Band. But well, ya know, The Preserves is my brother-in-law's band. (Did I say that before?)

Yep, that's bro-in-law on the left.

I can't exactly review it objectively. Uhm, maybe I can do an interview of the band on blogcritics. But even then, is that morally right? And I haven't even listened to the thing yet. What if I don't like this collection, which by the way is called How Excellent & Civilized Are We! I just sooo hope there isn't any snideness against Born-againers in this album. Bro-in-law has a kind of California spirituality. Okay, he lives in Juneau but you get my meaning.

Here's an article about them in a Juneau paper.

Will have to ponder what to do about this.


Goal Setting

GOAL 1) I now choose to complete writing The Constant Tower. Heck, it's almost finished and I really just have to commit.

GOAL 2) I now choose to walk everyday for at least a half-hour. I have no desire to be over 200 pounds by my 50th birthday. That gives me seven months to lose 70 pounds. Deluded? Perhaps. But might as well try.

GOAL 3) I now choose to drink a ton of water everyday and to be out in the sunlight. Both help me sleep...and will presumably help me lose weight.

GOAL 4) I now choose to begin working on Inheritance by end of May because I've been watching a whole lotta Korean movies and I really should use the research.

GOAL 5) I now choose to take younger son out for a walk at least three days a week.

GOAL 6) I now choose to no longer write older son's college essays or paper work, and to not always nag him about his expenses and due bills. The kid has a mind of his own and I am getting way tired telling a 22-year old what to do.

GOAL 7) I now choose to figure out a way to repair and/or sell this house.

Yep, have to break these goals down into increments. Supposedly the difference between a wish and a goal is that a goal has increments. Might start with telling a house real estate agent that I want to sell this thing. Will see. Gotta commit.


From the latest Smoke Signals Newsletter from wiconi:


Wiconi, in partnership with the Murdock Charitable Trust recently hosted a gathering of sixteen Native organization leaders to discuss how we can support one another in multiplying the effectiveness of our ministry efforts within our communities and nationally. We are revisiting conversations from five years ago about the need to establish a national Native leaders association. With more maturity as leaders and stronger organizations we are in a much better position to create this much needed entity. Today there are dozens of “mom and pop” native ministries that operate largely independent of one another. These ministries will typically die with their founders and never grow beyond their founder’s skills or abilities. For some this is fine, while for others they could be far more effective if connected to a larger association of leaders. After lots of discussion, wise planning and fund-raising, our goal is to host a national Native leaders gathering in December of 2009 to launch this new association.


In June of 2010 Wiconi International will join with Mending Wings and Christ for Native Youth to organize and co-sponsor of a major Native youth gathering here in Oregon or Washington. Plans are underway and funding is being secured and the venue finalized. Mark your calendars to help us get as many Native young people to attend in order to make this a dynamic spiritually impacting time for our next generation of Native leaders!

Friday, May 01, 2009

La Wally: Ebben ne andro lontana

One of my favorite arias, one of the most beautiful in the world.

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