Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CFBA: It's not about him



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

It's Not About Him

Sheaf House (September 1, 2009)

by

Michelle Sutton



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michelle Sutton, otherwise known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, is Editor-in-chief of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, a member of ACFW, a social worker by trade, and a prolific reader/book reviewer/blogger the rest of the time.

She lives in Arizona with her husband of nineteen years and her two teenaged sons. Michelle is also the author of It's Not about Me (2008) and It's Not About Him (Sheaf House 2009). She has nine other titles releasing over the next three years.





ABOUT THE BOOK

Susie passed out while drinking at Jeff’s party and later discovered she’s pregnant. She has no idea who the father is and considers having an abortion, but instead decides to place her baby for adoption. Following through ends up being more wrenching than she imagined, but she’s determined to do the right thing for her baby.

Jeff feels guilty that Susie was taken advantage of at his party and offers to marry her so she won’t have to give up her baby, like his birth mother did with him. But Susie refuses, insisting he should he marry someone he loves. Can he convince her that his love is genuine before it’s too late? Can she make him understand that it’s not about him—it’s about what’s best for her child?

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of It's Not About Him, go HERE

Monday, September 28, 2009

CFBA: The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow

Abingdon Press (September 2009)

by

Joyce Magnin



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joyce Magnin is the author of short fiction and personal experience articles. She co-authored the book, Linked to Someone in Pain. She has been published in such magazines as Relief Journal, Parents Express, Sunday Digest, and Highlights for Children.

Joyce attended Bryn Mawr College and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship. She is a frequent workshop leader at various writer’s conferences and women’s church groups.

She has three children, Rebekah, Emily, and Adam; one grandson, Lemuel Earnest; one son-in-law, Joshua, and a neurotic parakeet who can’t seem to keep a name. Joyce leads a small fiction group called StoryCrafters. She enjoys baseball, football, cream soda, and needle arts but not elevators. She currently lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is her first published novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the story of an unusual woman, Agnes Sparrow. No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do-besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety along with various minor miracles not the least of which is the recovery of lost objects and a prize-winning pumpkin.

The rural residents of Bright's Pond are so enamored with Agnes they plan to have a sign erected on the interstate that reads, "Welcome to Bright's Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow." This is something Agnes doesn't want and sends Griselda to fight city hall.

Griselda's petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward until a stranger comes to town looking for his miracle from Agnes. The truth of Agnes's odd motivation comes out when the town reels after a shocking event. How could Agnes allow such evil in their midst? Didn't she know?

Well, the prayers of Agnes Sparrow have more to do with Agnes than God. Agnes has been praying to atone for a sin committed when she was a child. After some tense days, the townsfolk, Griselda, and Agnes decide they all need to find their way back to the true source of the miracles-God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, go HERE

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CFBA: Fields of Grace



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fields Of Grace

Bethany House (October 2009)

by

Kim Vogel Sawyer



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate... but most importantly, she's a born-again child of the King!

A former elementary school teacher, Kim closed her classroom door in 2005 to follow God's call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts with Bethany House, Barbour, and Zondervan Publishing, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame.

Kim's gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2--"Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."


ABOUT THE BOOK

Will their Mennonite faith be shaken or strengthened by the journey to a new land?

With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires.

Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead--and he's equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonite faith. What he doesn't expect is his growing affection for Lillian--and the deep desire to be part of a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fields Of Grace, go HERE

Monday, September 21, 2009

Latest Smoke Signals newsletter



Smoke Signals - Prayer for important gatherings
Richard Twiss
Sep 19, 2009


 Hau kola,
I hope you are well. I want you to know I appreciate the fact you want to receive these smoke signals reports of our humble journey. Here are some important concerns and plans I want to make you aware of and invite you to join us in bringing before our Creator. As usual at this time of year, we have heaps of stuff going on.

NCAI PRAYER BREAKFAST
On Monday, Oct 12 at 7:00 am we will convene the 2nd Annual Tribal Leaders Prayer Breakfast for the National Congress of American Indians at the convention center in Palm Springs. Some 3000 people will gather for four days from across America to develop plans and strategies to deal with the many difficult issues facing First Nations people and communities. My vision is to follow the example of the National Prayer Breakfast to create an environment of hope, peace and trust in the Spirit of Jesus, where genuine and caring relationships can form in the midst of political, tribal, ideological, religious, racial and cultural complexities. And, perhaps more importantly, follow up with these leaders throughout the year to assist them in forming small group gatherings in their communities on reservations and urban areas across the land.
Will you please pray for Creator’s guidance and wisdom as we pursue this dream! It is a timely vision that is pivotal in finding liberty, healing and reconciliation amongst our people facing often desperate conditions; alcoholism, teen suicide, poverty, critical health crisis, etc.

Please pray for:
            Final confirmation from the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, to be our keynote speaker. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is under the jurisdiction of the Interior and Secretary Salazar plays a powerful role in shaping policy effecting Native people. He is a man of faith and his participation would be a huge boost to the vision for years to come. His office is trying to make it happen, but we need to know yesterday.
            Confirmation from Larry Echohawk, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior as a prayer breakfast participant.
            Wiconi International carries the financial weight of underwriting the program side of the breakfast and this year my budget is $4200.00. We still need another $3000 to meet our budget. If you would like to give online click here.

            We had 75 people last year, we’d love several hundred this year. We begin at 7:00 AM on the first full day of business for the conference. Pray too for a heartfelt response to my invitation to join together in ongoing honest, accountable relationships with other tribal leaders who love the Creator, their people and families.  

BAKKE GRADUATE UNIVERSITY (BGU) MEETINGS
I’d appreciate your prayers as I attend three days of meetings beginning this Sunday as a member of the Board of Regents for BGU. Meeting north of Seattle, we will discuss many important issues of developing relevant, missional, and transformational educational programs that speak to future generations of Christ-following leaders around the world. You can read more of BGU at http://www.bgu.edu/index.

SPEAKING AT GEORGE FOX UNIVERSITY 
I will be speaking a number of times to students and faculty over two-and-half-days at GFU in Newberg, Oregon, September 28-30. I love speaking to university students. The two chapels are open to those in the area who might be interested in attending. My topic is “Thy Kingdom Come: moving from a white Western Christianity to a Christ-centered global faith.” Check out GFU at http://www.georgefox.edu.

NORTHWEST NATIVE WOMEN’S CONFERENCE - OCT 9-11
We convened two Native women’s conferences the past five years with great success. This year some of our good friends have picked up the vision and are convening a gathering to address the many difficult realties facing our Native women today. It will be held on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, Washington (near Seattle). This will be a great “Holy Ghost” style meeting where traditional regalia and dancing are welcome and encouraged. For more information click here.

OAXACA CITY DANCING OUR PRAYERS OUTREACH – NOV 2-14
CALLING ALL DANCERS AND SINGERS: I am inviting Native traditional dancers and singers to join us for our second “Dancing Our Prayers Team” trip to Mexico. We will use our powwow style dances, songs, cultural ways and traditional stories to share the Good News with indigenous communities in the State of Oaxaca. Like last year we will be dancing and singing our prayers in remote villages, public squares, in schools and to more than a 1000 indigenous pastors at a conference in several different communities.  In addition to team participants, I am also inviting prayer and financial partners to join our team. Each team member must pay for their travel to and from, but we will prayerfully cover “in-country” expenses. More details will be on our website in a few days. Please contact our office if you are interested in joining this team who will be among tribal peoples who desperately need some “Good News!”

HOLY BIBLE: MOSAIC PROJECT
I wrote a devotional piece for this publication coming out this month. Their blurb reads, “Encounter Christ on every continent and in every century of Christian History. A new genre of Bible—a weekly meditation Bible—Holy Bible: Mosaic is an invitation to experience Christ both in His word and in the responses of his people.” You can check it out here. 

Shalom
 CONTACT _Con-3CA82D1F67 \c \s \l Richard Twiss, Sicangu Lakota
Wiconi International

360-546-1867

CFBA: One Imperfect Christmas



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Imperfect Christmas

Abingdon Press (September 2009)

by

Myra Johnson



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Making up stories has been second nature to me for as long as I can remember. A select group of trusted friends back at dear old Mission High waited eagerly for the next installment of my "Great American Spy Novel" (think Man from Uncle) and my "All-American Teen Novel" (remember Gidget and Tammy?). I even had a private notebook of angst-ridden poetry a la Rod McKuen.

The dream of writing persisted into adulthood, although it often remained on the back burner while I attended to home and family and several "real" (read paying) jobs along the way. Then in 1983, while recovering from sinus surgery, I came upon one of those magazine ads for the Institute of Children’s Literature. I knew it was time to get serious, and the next thing I knew, I'd enrolled in the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course.

Within a year or so I sold my first story, which appeared in the Christian publication Alive! for Young Teens. For many years I enjoyed success writing stories and articles for middle-graders and young adults. I even taught for ICL for 9 years.

Then my girls grew up, and there went my live-in inspiration. Time to switch gears. I began my first women's fiction manuscript and started attending Christian writers conferences. Eventually I learned about American Christian Romance Writers (which later became American Christian Fiction Writers) and couldn't wait to get involved. Friends in ACFW led me to RWA and the online inspirational chapter, Faith, Hope & Love.

So here I am today, still on this crazy roller-coaster ride. Still writing. Still hopeful. Writing, I'm learning, is not about the destination, it's about the journey. My current projects are primarily women's fiction and romance . . . novels of hope, love, and encouragement. Novels about real women living out their faith and finding love in the midst of everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, situations.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Imperfect Christmas, go HERE


Watch the trailer:

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- the true love edition

Asian heartbreak and American reconciliations! The stuff of great movies!


First, I've got to say that Korean and Japanese love stories totally believe in that Eros/Thanatos Love/Death thing. Certain kinds of films aren't made in the US anymore and the "I love you and you're dying" movies tend to happen once a year if at all. At least in America. Maybe we're not so focused on the romanticism that comes from death. Heck, with all these healthcare discussions, death only makes us think of money. And obesity. But in Asian flicks...well, heartbreak and bad health go hand-in-hand. Heck, a girl leaves and then you realize you love her (they always realize they're in love way too late) and you're likely to come down with a bad case of fever...even if you aren't the one who dies. American love stories, on the other hand, tend to be about mayhem that brings the should-be-lovers-but-are-too-caught-up-in-the-normalcy-of-life-to-see-clearly feuding lovebirds together. Heavy on the mayhem. 


Tada Kimi wo Aishiteru Just, loving you or Heavenly Forest. Shy guy -- Asian movies abound with shy folks-- is befriended by Shizuru, a girl who seems a bit on the young side. She says she has a growth hormone deficiency but then again, she's in the habit of telling exaggerrated stories, is a total flake, and is more than a bit eccentric. But she loves being with him. They become friends and he teaches her photography. Of course he's in love with gorgeous Miyuki, another college schoolmate. (Triangles just abound in these Asian flicks.) Shiziru goes along with the friendship because he's her friend. But one day after asking him to kiss her  -- the kiss which makes him realize how much he loves her, mind you, the kiss that has to be one of the best kisses every put on the silver screen for its purity, sweetness, poignancy, and all those other lovely love words-- she disappears. Why? Well, he goes to search for her. And, ya know... of course some tragic story awaits. This was the absolute best and sweetest tragic flick. She doesn't die of cancer but one of those illnesses folks die of when they fall in love. LITERALLY! Stuff like this happens in Asian flicks. Reminds me of those Victorian women who got sick on the Moors or fell invalid because of love...or their too-tight corsets. Totally loved this one. 


It's an outsider flick. What I really liked about it also was  how insecure the kids were. Segawa, for instance, thinks he smells (he has had to rub this medicine on his skin from childhood) and so he avoids people. That's why he's shy. Shiziru is allergic and lacks -- she says-- the sense of smell. So of course he figures he can become her friend. He has his moments of being ashamed of her but is still totally in love with the other girl. (one of those beautiful sweet wise girls you can't really find flaws with but would want to.)


When Sizuru (says she) has no home, he asks her to move in with him. Ah, the joys of having a best female friend who is in love with you living in your house taunting you, begging you to sleep with her, and complaining about the girl you love while at the same time reluctantly helping you to win that other girl! This kinda thing is only possible in Asian flicks. If an American director did it, it would lack all sense of fun and believability. But Sizuru is a flake. And also because of him a budding photographer. Anyway, I won't give away the story. Just will say it's beautiful but heartbreaking. 


Favorite lines: 
1) I don't care if you regret'll it. One day you'll say I should've slept with her.
2) I want the one I love to be loved by the one he loves.
3) What if I turn out to be wonderful? What if I turn out to be absolutely incredible?




Then there was Garden of Heaven. In this one a girl is dying of gastric cancer. She meets a gorgeous doctor. Wow, is he ever gorgeous!  He's been forced to take over his deceased dad's hospice hospital. His heart is not in it. In fact, he pretty much says he has no heart and that his heart is crippled. Oh, please! We know better. He just can't deal with all the death he's had to deal with -- like his mom's, like his dad's. Of course, he  falls in love with gorgeous dying girl and gets his heart healed. Okay, I'll admit it. I loved this movie. Who sees movies with hospice patients dying and preparing to die? The thing about seeing a Korean dying movie as opposed to a Japanese dying movie is that the Koreans tend to be Christian so there isn't this part of me saying, "Oh, please Lord! These folks are not saved! Please let there be such a thing as reincarnation!" Which is what I do when watching a movie with folks who talk about reincarnation and ancestor worship. 


Then there is Addicted. Happily married brother Ho-jin and single brother Dae-jin both have car crashes in a single day. Daejin recovers and Ho-jin is brain-dead. But Daejin behaves very much like his brother. Has his brother possessed the body of the younger one so he can continue living in love with his beloved wife? Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? I'll just say that M Night Shyamalan has nothing on these Asian films with their twist endings. Twist endings are one thing, but heart-breaking twist-endings...well, that takes the cake. Just sad all around.


One really sweet one was Viva Love. Not really a death movie, though. In this, a 40-ish woman is living a life of quiet desperation. Her husband has a mistress and doesn't sleep with her. Her daughter is selfish as heck. The woman takes in boarders from a college some distance away so she's always losing them. Then her daughter gets engaged to a very shy thirty-year-old Chinese guy who runs a laundry. The daughter, however, runs off when she gets a job. This leaves Chinese guy heartbroken and Mom attempting to comfort him because she's so ashamed at daughter's selfishness. Well, next thing you know....as they say...they're in love. Next thing, she's pregnant. (Or so she says, not really sure. Will talk about this later.) And hubby doesn't want the kid because he promised his mistress that he hadn't been sleeping with his wife. Young guy pays money for her to go to the clinic and is kindhearted but hubby keeps pressuring wife to get rid of the baby. Then she tells hubby the baby is the young guy's -- after all, she hasn't slept with her husband in years (and he's been wondering how her pregnancy came about.) Hubby calls daughter who comes back with a vengeance and with a story that she too is pregnant by the Chinese guy. Forgot to say that meanwhile all the older women in this town have been pretty much cast aside. Their husbands are busy drinking in the Karaoke and pay zippo attention to them. Anyways, this movie gave me some trouble at the end and I'm hoping it's not the old "All Asians look a like to me" kinda thing. But honestly, although this film won the Korean versions of best picture or something like that, the ending was confusing. First, at the end, all the older women get babies. Long story but let's just say that the may december love story kinda fuelled all the relationships. But in the last scenes we see a baby lying between a dark-haired woman and a man but honestly from the way the camera angle was shown I didn't know whose baby it was. I didn't even know if the older woman hadn't been pregnant at all. So that was very dissatisfying. 


Then there was Ima Ai ni Yukimasu  which is translated, Right Now, I'm coming back to you, or Be With You. Mom dies and son and father can't deal with it. Son is told that his mom has gone to the Archive Planet and will return one day. One day, they visit the grave and who do they see...a woman who looks like Mom. But who is she? She herself doesn't seem to know. Father and son convince her that she is Mio, the dead mom and she begins to believe them until she finds Mio's diary. Okay, I loved this little flick. A bit paranormal and I won't give away the ending. I'll just say that in Korean movies, comas tend to be on the supernatural side.


Another good little flick was Tokyo Boy. A very shy girl named Minato who works in a convenience store, lives with her grandma, and doesn't talk to anyone except her male pen-pal Night (a boy she's never seen) falls in love with the son of a doctor. He's also shy. But they manage to come together. After a while, though, the doctor's son starts avoiding Minato. Turns out Night is not too thrilled about the relationship. And why should he be? After all, he's the male split personality for Minato who's protected her all his life and who's in love with her. Okay...so split personalities aren't healed as fully and as quickly in real life as it is in this film. Actually, the way the male personality finally goes is a bit more like an exorcism than deep psychology. Not overly so, of course. But the male personality is convinced to leave. The thing that bothered me, though, is that I kinda wanted the two personalities to merge. (Okay, the christian in me kept thinking...this could be a possession instead of a split personality... I had watched a horror film before. But I figured I'd go with the split personality trope.) It just kinda bothered me that a new Minato-Night blend didn't emerge. I mean, Minato got better and all but Night was entirely gone. 


Silk  A group of scientist -- one who is a might extreme-- has discovered a way to see ghosts. They're interested in a little boy who is stuck in a little room and does various things during the day. Who is this kid? Why is he a ghost? And why does the really extreme over-the-top scientist have such a passion for death? In the meantime, there's a detective pulled into this. He's not really interested but his mother is on life support and he refuses to let her go. As the film continues, he also has questions about death and if his mother is alive and angry with him.    Are ghosts here because they are angry or because they love? 


These films were watched on my computer and can be seen via www.iidrama.com   www.mysoju.com and   --if it's horrow-- http://asian-horror-movies.com/


On Sunday I stayed in bed all day. Luckily Starz had a free viewing weekend. Wish I'd known on Saturday but hey, better late than never.


First was  Pyaar Ke Side Effects, a Bollywood comedy about a DJ who doesn't want to deal with one of the side effects of love: marriage. Very funny in the bachelor realizes the girl is his true-love vein. He talks to the camera a lot. Not bad. I have a problem with Bollywood movies, gotta be honest. I keep saying, "But these folks would be prejudice against me." Note, I don't say this about Korean and Japanese movies so I know that I'm probably affected by the Indian father in Kansas who killed his son's African-American bride because, well, she was black. Weird thing is that I had an Indian college friend named who belonged to the Black Students Union. She was the most militant of us all, and I have neighbors and have had co-workers who are Indian who weren't prejudiced but still I get nervous about Bollywood. Except for Aamir Khan, of course. Anyway, am gonna try to watch these films without thinking, "Hey, these folks hate black folks; why should I watch their movie?"


Next up was 30 days of night. Ah, I had totally forgotten how totally hot Josh Hartnett is. Okay, so there is this town in Alaska that experiences 30 days of utter sunlessness annually -- perfect for vampires, uh? Josh's character, Ebon (or is it Evan?) is suffering a separation from his wife. He didn't want kids; she did. Basically. Just when she's supposed to go off on the last plane leaving Barrow for 30 days (and to venture off on her separation) what should happen but she misses the plane and evil philosophical vampires enter town. (Okay, vampires are always evil, but few cackle as evilly as these. And, if I remember correctly, the vampire doing most of the talking is the leader who has a kind of debauched UK goth feel to him.) Anyway, I pretty much watched half of this under the blanket. Not because I was scared --alas, the movie is not really scary-- but because it's so dang gory and cruel AND I really hated seeing folks' necks being bitten. In the end -- I won't spoil it for you-- but most of the folks in the town are destroyed and the lovers are reunited. Bittersweet ending, no?


Then there was Vantage Point with my man Forrest Whitaker. Ah the Rashomon treatment of presidential assassination flicks! The Zapruder conspiracy flicks of Zapruder conspiracy flicks! And Dennis Quaid does the aging, loyal, wounded, self-sacrificing Secret Service Agent proud! I really liked it. I'm not sure why everyone hated it so much when it was in theaters. Towards the end Quaid's Agent grows from trembly recovering traumatized antsy oldster to super-hero but hey, it brought a smile to my face. And once again, the couple with marital trials are reunited through tragedy. May I never be close -- physically, at least-- to a couple undergoing marriage troubles -- the whole world has to be turned around for them to get back together.


I gotta say these last two films were totally exhausting. I tend to watch calm little flicks and watching these I realized how unused to excitement this heart of mine is! Glad I saw them but I was actually breathless watching them. Guess my heart needed a workout.


The last was Beyond the Gates, a film about a priest caught up in the Rwandan civil war between the Hutu and The Tutsi. Really good. Absolutely devastating. Survivors of the genocide helped direct and make this film. Basically, it's about one tribe holding out under a UN protection...until they're not... and another tribe killing them. Lots of anger at the UN for not being able to use the word "genocide." It's just really heartfelt and has all those spiritual questions about man's inhumanity to man and God's being co-sufferer with human pain thrown in. John Hurt plays the priest. I read somewhere that he lives in Kenya. He has been one of my favorite actor of oddball types since I was a kid. I have no doubt I fell into a few odd friendships because of him and his depiction of Quentin Crisp. Hugh Dancy places a teacher who is caught in it. The big question of course is...about love. Will the white folks enter into the pain and suffering of the black folks or will they take the chance they have to leave -- since the UN is only helping whites escape? Well, I'll just say...a priest does what one would expect a priest to do. 


That's about it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges



When Atheism Becomes Religion
By Chris Hedges

Free Press, March 2009
Trade Paperback, 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1416570780
ISBN-13: 9781416570783

Here's the blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about new atheists: those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.
Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.
The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.
I Don't Believe in Atheists critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges identifies the pillars of the new atheist belief system, revealing that the stringent rules and rigid traditions in place are as strict as those of any religious practice.
Hedges claims that those who have placed blind faith in the morally neutral disciplines of reason and science create idols in their own image -- a sin for either side of the spectrum. He makes an impassioned, intelligent case against religious and secular fundamentalism, which seeks to divide the world into those worthy of moral and intellectual consideration and those who should be condemned, silenced and eradicated. Hedges shatters the new atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so, makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate. This is a book that must be read to understand the state of the battle about faith.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CFBA: Dawn's Prelude



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dawn's Prelude

(Bethany House - October 2009)

by

Tracie Peterson



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 70 novels. She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Ephesians 1:18 has become a cornerstone verse for a new non-fiction book she's been working on -- its also become a cornerstone in her life. The verse reads, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints."

Tracie and her family live in Belgrade, Montana.






ABOUT THE BOOK

Newly widowed Lydia Sellers discovers that through an unforeseen fluke, she is the sole recipient of her husband's fortune. But instead of granting her security, it only causes strife as her adult stepchildren battle to regain the inheritance for themselves.

Lydia, longing to put the memories of her painful marriage behind her, determines to travel to Alaska to join her aunt. Lydia's arrival in Sitka, however, brings two things she didn't expect.

One is the acquaintance of Kjell Bjorklund, the handsome owner of the sawmill. Second is the discovery that she is pregnant with her dead husband's child. What will this mean for her budding relationship with Kjell? And what lengths will her stepchildren go to reclaim their father's fortune? Lydia soon finds her life--and that of her child's--on the line.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dawn's Prelude, go HERE

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Naw, Girl


Girl, Naw!
Debut novel by Lacricia A. Peters
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: His Pen Publishing LLC (September 14, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979802008
ISBN-13: 978-0979802003

Here's the blurb:
Antoinette Walker has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Those that know and respect her think she has it all, a wonderful husband, children that thrive in school, and a counseling practice that is growing by leaps and bounds. When hidden things from her past begin to surface, they threaten to destroy everything Antoinette loves. Only God can give her the strength to continue to counsel other women, as she struggles with her own issues of forgiveness. Will her faith be strong enough to help her stand in the midst of opposition?


About LaCricia A'ngelle


LaCricia A`ngelle is a licensed Evangelist, writer, and the President and CEO of His Pen Publishing LLC. A native of Chicago, LaCricia currently resides in Tennessee with her four children. Girl, Naw! is her first novel.

Her writing career began when she was a child writing songs, and short stories. LaCricia has always had a God given gift of putting words together.

As a Christian Fiction author, LaCricia not only writes for entertainment, but she also writes for ministry. Her goal in every piece of written work is to draw someone closer to Christ. The characters face real situations. LaCricia writes so that anyone can read her work and get something out of it, whether they are young or old. When you read a LaCricia A`ngelle original prepare to laugh, cry, pray, and stop to say “hmmm.”

LaCricia is an active member of Damascus Road Authors working along side authors Maurice M. Gray, Dr. Linda F. Beed, and Wanda B. Campbell.



Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- the kinky Asian edition

Yep, I was in an Asian movie mode yet again.

Yep, I'm a Christian who likes stories -- so this leads me into some strange paths at times. So far, haven't gone all perverse and weird but there are times when I end up watching a movie with some heavy (or light) kink in it. Movies about masochistic guys being one of my particular loves. (Too much Somerset Maugham as a kid, I guess.) Anyway, herewith, the kinky Asian edition of my weekly round-up of my movie-watching.

My Little Bride -- Grandpa of his real family and adopted grandpa of his best friend-who-died-in-the-war son's family tells everyone he promised his friend that their children would marry. Unfortunately that didn't work out because families had sons. But then in the grandkid generation there are Samying playboy 23 year old student and Beong, 15 year old high school student. They've grown up like sparring siblings/cousins and Samying was always teasing her when he wasn't taking care of her. Through being slick, grandpa gets them married. But since she's 15 and in high school and since they aren't in love with each other, it's a marriage in name only. Although they share an apartment together. Eventually they fall in love, and realize they've really been in love with each other all their lives. When she's older, they consummate the marriage (presumably). This movie didn't creep me out. Thank heavens. Funny and not pedophilia.

My Wife Got Married -- Very sweet guy falls in love with free spirit (actually, as a Christian, i'll just say the woman was burdened with lust.) Anyways, she gets bored easily, drinks a lot, warns him she might fall in love with another person...who knows? But he loves her and nags her until she agrees to marry him -- this after all the heartache she's already put him through. (Honestly, who tells someone "you scare me?" breaks up with them then marries them? Not saying the man is a fool but love does make fools of all of us. Dang fool is under the impression that marrying her will turn her into a good faithful mother. Ah, dream on!) But he pretty much agrees that she'll be out all night, doing all sorts of stuff and then she gives in and marries him. Fear of being alone, I think. Even after the engagement she sometimes doesn't answer his calls...and all he wishes is that she "loves only me." Again: poor fool.) Then after a little while she's bored and falls in love with a new guy. Hubby pretends this is fine, but then she tells him she wants to marry the other guy BUT she doesn't want to get divorced. So she marries the other guy as well. Great line (When she tells him that because of him she's learned how wonderful marriage is and so that's why she wants to marry the other guy as well): "You have such a strange talent. You can say something so ridiculous and sound serious?" She wants to live an "honest" life but the upshot is that she has her two husbands lying to their families and when first hubby gets the DNA results that the baby is his and tells her family and her other husband's family she gets angry. (BTW, the film uses soccer as a metaphor. So first hubby says, "It doesn't matter who scores but the record must be exact." Also, there's this: "What is the problem with Korean football?" "Lack of determination in making goals." Then the other responds: "They problem is that they don't have the joy of becoming one, of all aiming for the same goal." Yep, there we have the thematic question in a nutshell. Also, seems there's some kind of heavy adultery stuff going on in Korean relationships. Kind alike in the US with all these cheating partners.) I liked the guys but I gotta say the girl was annoying. The story's told from his POV and we don't get any backstory for her but we're supposed to think of her as so full of life that she just can't help loving men and being loved by them in return. Bullsh*t! And even if it isn't bull, it's hard to accept that when we know nothing about her life. I mean, why the heck is she like this?

I'm not against the double-marriage bigamy thing, BUT all I saw was just her utter selfishness. I suppose the ending is supposed to be a paean of praise to female sexuality but, critical mind that I have, all I kept thinking was that the film was unbalanced. Sure it might be aimed at challenging rigid minds like mine and a rigid society or the husband's rigid sense of male entitlement to his wife, but I totally disliked it and found myself almost puking at all that uplifting "aren't we guys so enlightened because we're going to live together in this new family forced on us by free female sexuality?" Honestly, it felt old hat to me. Which makes me wonder: have I seen another movie where it all ended like this? Jules and Jim maybe? No, another film. Some sixties free love thing.


Majo No Jouken -- episodic Japanese drama. Didn't watch all of it. Very painful. Troubled 17 year old and troubled 25 year old teacher fall in love, have affair, pretty much ruin each other's life. This drama didn't creep me out either. From what I saw the actors were really good and there seemed to be a lot of unacknowledged mental illness going about. I don't like certain kinds of bitter sweet endings so when their lives started going terrible bad, I just couldn't bring myself to watch anymore. One of those ambivalent endings, I hear. Now, have totally fallen in love with Takizawa Hideaki. Totally handsome kid. Too too too painful at the end, even with that hanging kinda ending. And honestly, I'm still wondering why not finishing high school would doom him to being a gas station attendant for the rest of his life. Yeah, I know the Japanese system is super strait-laced and one needs important grades from important schools to succeed but honestly, his mom (who had some heavy incestuous thing going) was rich. Couldn't he have gone abroad to study? So maybe with my skipping around I missed where she gave up on him or lost her money. Won't go check it out though. Too heart-rending. I'll admit that yours truly endured some wonderful exquisite pain while watching this...reminiscient of the French masochistic flick I saw back in the day called La Pianiste. But still, too devastating...and I just couldn't go through all the episodes.


Boku wa imouto ni koi wo suru -- Twin brother falls in love with twin sister and they get into a romantic relationship together. Now this creeped me out. Okay, I have had two many gay male friends who were victims of incest when they were younger so I don't exactly take to stories about incest. The only incest story I can remember liking is Close My Eyes with Alan Rickman and Clive Owen. Which is a very good movie despite its cringey subject. But also there's the logistics. I totally believe there's such a thing as genetic attraction, that people related to each other often fall in love with each other if they've never lived together. All those romantic stories of related folks must make us pause. But at the same time I believe in Nobieasku's (my spelling is probably way off) Effect which states that if people live in the same house, related or not, they do not become sexually attracted to each other. Hence kids raises together in families or in kibbutzes or wherever...are not gonna fall in love. Anyway, upshot was -- for all my adventurous movie-watching-- I just was too much of a prig to sit through this.

Not kinky but also watched:


Romeo and Juliet -- Japanese updated version. And yes, once again my fave Takizawa Hideaki (Now that we're pals, I'll call him Takki, as all his fans do.) Romi is the son of a murderer-doctor in hiding. Juri is a college student. Her father, unfortunately, is seeking Romi's father for the murder. Romi is nobility fallen, so although he picks up garbage and is out of school he's pretty noble. Juri has money -- Japanese detectives make a lot, I gather-- and thus we have this rich kid poor kid dynamic going on. Juri pursues the relationship. They discover soon enough what's going on. Okay, i'll say it..they make a dang cute couple. It was sweet but fairly boring because they focused so much on the love angle. Romeo and Juliet is about anger and hatred and family feuding. But by replacing the grudge with merely one crime situation -- not to mention adding the weird "Romeo's mom and Juliet's dad were doomed lovers back in the day" angle-- it just made the entire thing wimpy. And honestly, I still wonder why the girl would commit suicide. Seems a bit overwrought.



My tutor friend. A nice comedy. Rich spoiled thuggy kid should be in college but his grades have left him behind in high school. Poor girl -- her mother is friend of rich boy's mother-- needs money to take care of her own college semester bills. So she's stuck with him although he terrifies her, belittles her, mocks her. But after various issues he respects her. Gotta say this one should've been either more funny or less funny. Maybe it's me -- but i don't think it is. I like Asian comedies-- but some areas seemed to try too hard. And some were failed parodies of Matrix type fighting. I have to be in a mood for Asian thug movies. (Although I have to say that nasty teenage girls are the same in all cultures.) But the flick didn't grab me. But I could watch it again if it came on TV. No heart-wrenching stuff in this, mercifully. There's just so much wrenching a poor heart can take.




So now I'm in love with Tackey/Takki

CFBA: Tidings of Great Boys


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tidings of Great Boys

FaithWords (September 8, 2009)

by

Shelley Adina



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning author Shelley Adina wrote her first teen novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages.

Shelley is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She writes books about fun and faith--with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves traveling, playing the piano and Celtic harp, watching movies, and making period costumes.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Finals week is approaching and Mac is still undecided on where to spend the holidays. Normally she'd go home to Scotland, but spending two weeks alone in the castle with her dad isn't as appealing as it used to be. So she invites Carly, Lissa, Gillian, and Shani to join her for the holidays!

Mac is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She even decides to organize the traditional Hogmany dance for New Year's Eve. If she can get her mother involved in the dance, maybe her parents will finally get back together.

But when Mac and the girls arrive in Scotland, they are faced with bad news: the castle is falling apart and Mac's parents are struggling financially. Not only that, but Shani is in big trouble with Prince Rashid's royal family. Can the girls find a way to celebrate the holidays, get Mac's parents back together, save the castle, and rescue Shani from her relentless pursuers? There's only one way to find out...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tidings of Great Boys, go HERE

Saturday, September 12, 2009

CFBA: Danger at the Door


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Danger At The Door

(Desert Breeze September, 2009)

by

Michelle Sutton



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michelle Sutton, otherwise known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, is Editor-in-chief of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, a member of ACFW, a social worker by trade, and a prolific reader/book reviewer/blogger the rest of the time.

She lives in Arizona with her husband of nineteen years and her two teenaged sons. Michelle is also the author of It's Not about Me (2008) and It's Not About Him (Sheaf House 2009). She has nine other titles releasing over the next three years.






ABOUT THE BOOK


Upon her fiancé's death, Laney became a recluse who only left her home for emergencies. She managed to survive - barely - on food delivery service and her work-at-home job. When she tries to move on from her grief, the commemorative meal she orders is ruined. However, it leads to an unlikely friendship with an attractive man, Bojan, who speaks little English.

As he befriends Laney he continually says the wrong things, but he doesn't give up trying to win her trust. Meanwhile, she has this strange feeling of being watched and wonders if she's losing her mind.

Complicating things further, every time she leaves her house something bad happens, confirming that she is safer at home. Can Bojan convince Laney she'll be safe with him, or will his presence put her in further danger? Will he be able to protect the woman he loves before it's too late?


If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of Danger At The Door, go HERE

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NCAI PRAYER BREAKFAST – OCTOBER 12, ‘09

From Wiconi's Smoke Signal

This year’s 2nd Annual Prayer Breakfast for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI.org) as part of their national conference. This year it is in Palm Springs, CA. This is when elected tribal government leaders from all across the United States meet to work on issues facing Native people. There can be as many as 3-4000 people attending. Last year was our inaugural event and was a great success as seventy-five tribal leaders attended. Afterwards many of them told us how much they appreciated the opportunity to meet for a spiritual time of prayer and encouragement in the midst of intense political work. I am again organizing, programming and co-hosting the event. Wiconi International carries the weight of organizing speakers, travel, housing, etc. and programming, as well as the budget, which is $4200 this year. My hope in the coming years is to become an encourager to Native leaders beyond the prayer breakfast by facilitating a network/community of people who meet throughout the year for friendship, encouragement, accountability and support in some capacity. Thank you for your partnership with us in this important effort. To give online click here. (Visit NCAI.org to read of their important work).

LIVING HOPE CHURCH IN VANCOUVER

I waxed bold and eloquent, at least in a pathetic kind of way, two weekends ago at church despite the fact that a few people were quite offended by a few things I said. You can watch a podcast of my slurmon at and find out for yourself what the big deal was.

Richard & Katherine Twiss
Co-founders, Wiconi International

There's some weird little Will Farrell skit before the sermon.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Just Between You and Me


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Just Between You And Me

Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)

by

Jenny B. Jones



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

-watching E!
-updating my status on Facebook
-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and
-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.




ABOUT THE BOOK

The only thing scarier than living on the edge is stepping off it.
Maggie Montgomery lives a life of adventure. Her job as a cinematographer takes her from one exotic locale to the next. When Maggie's not working, she loves to rappel off cliffs or go skydiving. Nothing frightens her.

Nothing, that is, except Ivy, Texas, where a family emergency pulls her back home to a town full of bad memories, painful secrets, and people Maggie left far behind . . . for a reason.

Forced to stay longer than she intended, Maggie finds her family a complete mess, including the niece her sister has abandoned. Ten-year-old Riley is struggling in school and out of control at home. The only person who can really handle the pint-sized troublemaker is Conner, the local vet and Ivy's most eligible bachelor. But Conner and Maggie keep butting heads--he's suspicious of her and, well, she doesn't rely on anyone but herself.

As Maggie humorously fumbles her way from one mishap to another, she realizes she's going to need to ask for help from the one person who scares her the most.

To save one little girl--and herself--can Maggie let go of her fears and just trust God?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Just Between You And Me, go HERE

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dark Parable: godwink

My dreamlet: I dreamed of being on a hill with my hubby. We had bought a patch of land. A woman who bought a patch of land beside ours was sitting on a bench nearby. We were to build houses on that land. I wanted to ask her for her patch of land, that we could switch. But then I thought about it. It would be a good thing or it could be a committment to something that might not turn out to be good. I kept thinking, "What if we switch and build the house on the patch of land that she originally bought and it turns out to have been the wrong decision down the line?" But for some reason, I kinda liked where our house would be situated.

Was wondering if the indecision dream is God challenging me to decide. Hard for him to answer a prayer if I'm vacillating. Sooo weird. Am reading a book and I keep reaching sections which mirror these dreams. It's as if God prepared me for the book. Same thing happened with a website I visit. The Lord does go before his people to prepare a place.

The upshot of this particular chapter in the book is: A) the brain doesn't make decisions, the heart (under God's control) does. B) small minds can make decisions. C) Great minds (like that belonging to yours truly) sees the pros and cons of every decision so they end up with analysis paralysis. D) Back to A: Decide what your heart wants.

There are so many other echoes of past dreamlets in this book. Who knew I'd be reviewing this book? God did.

C

The Blue Enchantress by MaryLu Tyndall


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Blue Enchantress

Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)

by

M.L.Tyndall



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



M. L. (MaryLu) Tyndall grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

She had written stories her whole life, but never had the confidence to try and get any of them published. But as God began to change her heart, He also showed her that writing had been His wonderful plan for her all along!

Her other current release in the Charles Towne Belles series includes The Red Siren.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Betrayed by the man she longed to marry, Hope Westcott is about to be auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder on an island in the Caribbean . After enduring a difficult childhood in an unloving home, Hope?s search for love and self-worth have led her down a very dangerous path. All she ever wanted was to find true love and open an orphanage where she could raise children with all the love she never experienced as a child.? But how can a woman with a sordid past ever hope to run an orphanage, let alone attract the love of an honorable man?

Determined to overcome the shame of his mother?s past, Nathaniel Mason worked for many years to build his own fleet of merchant ships in an effort to finally acquire the respect of Charles Towne society. Ignoring the call of God on his life to become a preacher, he forges ahead with his plans for success at a distant port in the Caribbean , when he sees a young lady he knows from Charles Towne being sold as a slave. In an effort to save Hope, he is forced to sell one of his two ships, only to discover that her predicament was caused by her own bad behavior. Angry and determined to rid himself of her as soon as possible, Nathaniel embarks on a journey that will change the course of his life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Blue Enchantress, go HERE

View The Book Trailer:



Sunday, September 06, 2009

Signature in the cell


Signature in the cell
by Stephen C Meyer
Hardcover: 624 pages
Publisher: HarperOne (June 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061472786
ISBN-13: 978-0061472787

Here's the blurb:

One hundred fifty years ago, Charles Darwin revolutionized biology, but did he refute intelligent design (ID)? In Signature in the Cell, Stephen Meyer argues that he did not.

Much confusion surrounds the theory of intelligent design. Frequently misrepresented by the media, politicians, and local school boards, intelligent design can be defended on purely scientific grounds in accordance with the same rigorous methods that apply to every proposed origin-of-life theory.

Signature in the Cell is the first book to make a comprehensive case for intelligent design based upon DNA. Meyer embarks on an odyssey of discovery as he investigates current evolutionary theories and the evidence that ultimately led him to affirm intelligent design. Clearly defining what ID is and is not, Meyer shows that the argument for intelligent design is not based on ignorance or "giving up on science," but instead upon our growing scientific knowledge of the information stored in the cell.

A leading proponent of intelligent design in the scientific community, Meyer presents a compelling case that will generate heated debate, command attention, and find new adherents from leading scientists around the world.

From the Back Cover
Meyer tells the story of the successive attempts to solve this mystery of DNA and argues that fundamental objections now exist to the adequacy of all purely naturalistic or materialistic theories. The book then proposes a radical alternative based upon developments in molecular biology and the information sciences: it proposes the design hypothesis as the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life.

SIGNATURE IN THE CELL will not merely provide a critique of evolutionary theories. It also shows that, based on our uniform and repeated experience-the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past-there is a strong positive case for intelligent design. From our experience we know that intelligence alone produces large amounts of information. Thus, the book shows that the argument for intelligent design from DNA is not based on ignorance or a desire to “give up on science,” but instead upon just the opposite: our growing scientific knowledge of the inner workings of the cell and our experience-based knowledge of the cause-and-effect structure of the world. For just this reason the argument for design can be formulated as a rigorous and positive scientific argument-specifically one called “an inference to the best explanation.” The book shows, ironically, that the argument for intelligent design from DNA is based on the same method of scientific reasoning that Darwin himself used.


Here's a youtube vid


Here's another


Blog Archive