Sunday, October 31, 2010

FIRSTWildCard Tour Black Madonna by Davis Bunn.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Black Madonna

Touchstone; 1st edition (September 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Libby Reed, Publicity Assistant, HOWARD BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster for sending me a review copy.***

MY THOUGHTS-I really like the previous books I have read by Mr Bunn. This one was just as interesting! I like the mystery, plot and the detail he puts in his books. I read the first book in this series and was excited to read this one. Very good! Loved it, Mr Bunn!


Davis Bunn is an award winning author who serves as writer in residence at Regent’s Par College, Oxford University. His novels have sold more than six million copies in sixteen languages.

Photograph by I.D. Bunn

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; 1st edition (September 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416556338
ISBN-13: 978-1416556336


FROM THE CREST OF THE Herodium dig, Harry Bennett could look out and see three wars.

The isolated, cone-shaped hill rose two thousand feet over the Judean Desert. Herodium, the palace-fortress built by Herod the Great, had been erected on the site of his victory against the Parthians in 40 BCE. Herod had then served as king of Judea under his Roman masters, but he had been utterly despised by the Judeans. When Herod's sons were finally vanquished, Herodium had been evacuated. Over the centuries, the city became a legend, its location a myth.

Modern excavations had begun in the sixties, only to be interrupted by wars and intifadas and disputes over jurisdiction. Harry Bennett was part of a group excavating the original palace fortress. The current project was supervised by a woman professor from the Sorbonne. She had fought for six years to gain the license, and nothing so minor as somebody else's war was going to stop her work.

The volunteers came from a dozen nations, to dig and learn and bury themselves in history. Most were in their twenties and tried to keep up a brave face despite the rumbles of conflict and the brutal heat. The day Harry arrived at Herodium, three Scandinavian backpackers had perished hiking above the Ein Gedi National Forest. With water in their packs. Just felled by the ferocious heat.

And here Harry was, huddled under the relentless glare of that same deadly sun, using his trowel and his brush to scrape two thousand years of crud off a stone.

Officially Harry and the other volunteers were restricted to the dig and their hilltop camp. With Hamas missiles streaking the nighttime sky, none of the other unpaid staff were much interested in testing their boundaries. But twice each week the Sorbonne professor traveled to Jerusalem and delivered her finds to the ministry. When she departed that particular afternoon, Harry signaled to the Palestinian operating the forklift. Ten minutes later, they set off in Hassan's decrepit pickup.

The angry wind blasting through his open window tasted of sand as dry as volcanic ash. Hassan followed the pitted track down an incline so steep Harry gripped the roof and propped one boot on the dashboard. He tried to ignore the swooping drop to his right by studying the horizon, which only heightened his sense of descending into danger. North and east rose the Golan hills and sixty years of struggle with Syria. Straight north was the Lebanese border, home to the Hezbollah hordes. To the southwest lay Gaza, provider of their nightly firework displays.

All West Bank digs were required to employ a certain number of locals. Hassan was one of the few who arrived on time, did an honest day's work, and showed a keen interest in every new discovery. On Harry's first day at the site, he had put the man down for a grave robber and a smuggler.

The West Bank was the richest area for artifacts in all Judea. There were thousands of sites, many dating from the Iron Age, others from the Roman era, and more still from Byzantium. Many sites remained undiscovered by archeologists but were well known to generations of Palestinians, who fiercely guarded their troves and passed the locations down from generation to generation.

Hassan's former job wouldn't have sat well with the Israeli authorities. But people like Hassan took the long view. Eventually things would settle down, and when they did, Hassan would return to his real trade. In the meantime, Hassan hid his profession from the Israeli authorities, lay low, and remained open to a little persuasion. In Harry's case, that amounted to a thousand dollars.

They arrived in Hebron three hours later. The city crawled up the slopes of two hills and sprawled across a dull desert bowl. Entering Hebron around sunset, in the company of a Palestinian smuggler, was an act of total lunacy.

Harry Bennett wouldn't have had it any other way.

Clustered on hilltops to the north of the old city rose the UN buildings, the university, and a huddle of government high-rises built with international relief funding. Other hills were dominated by Jewish settlements. These were rimmed by fences and wire and watchtowers that gleamed in the descending light. The rest of Hebron was just your basic war zone.

Sunset painted Hebron the color of old rust. The city held the tightly sullen feel of a pot that had boiled for centuries. Even the newer structures looked run-down. Most walls were pockmarked with bullet holes and decorated with generations of graffiti. Harry saw kids everywhere. They bore such tight expressions they resembled old people in miniature. Looking into their eyes made Harry's chest hurt.

The streets were calm, the traffic light. Which was good, because it allowed them to make it to the city center early. It was also bad, because the Israel Defense Forces soldiers had nothing better to do than watch Hassan's truck. Two IDF soldiers manning a reinforced guard station tracked the pickup with a fifty-caliber machine gun.

Hassan said, "This idea is not so good, maybe."

Harry nodded slowly. He smelled it too, the biting funk of cordite not yet lit. But he would trust his driver. "You say go, we go."

Hassan's gaze flitted over to Harry. "You pay?"

"The deal's the same. You get the other five hundred when we're done."

Hassan wiped his face with a corner of his checkered head-kerchief. "We stay."

Harry halfway wished the man's nerve would fail and he would turn his rattling truck around. "Better to come in twice than not go home at all."

"You know danger?"


"I think maybe more than some. I think you see much action."

"That was then and this is now," Harry replied. "You're my man on the ground here. I'm relying on your eyes and ears. I can't tell what's real and what's just your normal garden-variety funk."

Hassan skirted a pothole large enough to swallow the neighboring Israeli tank. "Say again, please."

"Let's assume for a second that you and I can do business together."

Hassan pointed at Harry's shirt pocket holding the five bills—the rest of his fee. "This is not business?"

"I'd call it a first step. Say your man shows up like you promised. Say he's got the goods and the buy goes well. What happens next?"

"If the first buy goes well, you trust me for more."

"Right. But I need someone who can sniff out traps and see through walls. There's so much danger around here, my senses are on overload."

The man actually smiled. "Welcome to Hebron."

"I didn't go to all this trouble for just one item, no matter how fine this guy's treasure might be. I need you to tell me if we're safe or if we should pull out and return another time."

Hassan did not speak again until he parked the truck and led Harry into a cafÉ on Hebron's main square. "What you like?"

"You mean, other than getting out of here with my skin intact? A mint tea would go down well."

Hassan placed the order and settled into the rickety chair across from Harry. "There are many Americans like you?"

"I'm one of a kind."

"Yes. I think you speak truth." Hassan rose to his feet. "Drink your tea. I go ask what is happening."

All Harry could do was sit there and watch the only man he knew in Hebron just walk away. From his spot by the bullet-ridden wall, isolated among the patrons at other tables who carefully did not look his way, Harry felt as though he had a bull's-eye painted on his forehead. Even the kid who brought his tea and plate of unleavened bread looked scared. Harry stirred in a spoonful of gray, unrefined sugar and lifted the tulip-shaped glass by its rim. All he could taste was the flavor of death.

AFTER SUNSET, THE HEBRON AIR cooled at a grudging pace. Harry watched as the city square filled with people and traffic and shadows. The cafÉ became crowded with people who avoided looking Harry's way. Across the plaza, the Tomb of the Patriarchs shone pearl white. Beside the cave complex stood the Mosque of Abraham, a mammoth structure dating back seven hundred years.

The caves had been bought by the patriarch Abraham for four hundred coins, such an astronomical sum that the previous owner had offered to throw in the entire valley. But Abraham had insisted upon overpaying so that his rightful ownership would never be questioned. He had wanted the caves as his family's burial site because supposedly they were also where Adam and Eve had been laid to rest. Besides Abraham himself, the caves also held the remains of his wife, Sarah, along with Rebecca, Isaac, and Jacob.

The guy who made his way toward Harry's table resembled an Arab version of the Pillsbury Doughboy. The man waddled as he walked. His legs splayed slightly from the knees down. His round face was topped by flattened greasy curls that glistened in the rancid lights of the cafÉ. He walked up, slumped into the chair across the table from Harry, and demanded, "You have money?"

Harry kept his gaze on the square and the crawling traffic. "Where's Hassan?"

"Hassan is not my business. He is your business. You must answer my question. You have money?"

Harry was about to let the guy have it when he spotted Hassan returning across the plaza. When he reached the cafÉ's perimeter, Hassan seated himself at an empty table, facing outward toward the plaza, placing himself between Harry and any incoming threat. Harry relaxed slightly. It was always a pleasure doing business with a pro.

Harry said, "Let's take this from the top. I'm—"

"I know who you are. Harry Bennett seeks treasure all over the world. You see? We meet because I check you out."

"What's your name?"

"Wadi Haddad."

"Wadi, like the word for oasis?"

"Yes, is same." He wore a rumpled linen jacket, its armpits wet and darkened with sweat. He reached in a pocket and came up with a pack of filterless Gitanes. "You want?"

"Never learned to use them, thanks."

Wadi Haddad lit the cigarette with a gold lighter. The stench of black tobacco encircled the table. "I have much interesting items. Very nice."

"I didn't come to Hebron for nice, Mr. Haddad. I came for exceptional. You understand that word?"

"Exceptional is also very expensive."

"One of a kind," Harry went on. "Unique. Extremely old. And I have always been partial to gold."

Wadi Haddad revealed a lizard's tongue, far too narrow for his globular face. It flitted in and out several times, tasting the air. "How much money you have?"

"Not a cent with me."

"Then I also have nothing. Business is finished." But Wadi Haddad did not move.

"Here's how it's going to work," said Harry. "You show me the item. I photograph it."

"No. Photographs absolutely not to happen."

"I show the photographs to my clients. If they like, they transfer the money to an escrow account at the Bank of Jordan in Amman. You understand, escrow?"

"I know."

"Good. Then you bring the item to Jerusalem and we make the exchange."

"Not Jerusalem. Too much police everyplace."

"Okay, Mr. Haddad. Where would you prefer?"


"Too small. I like bright lights, big city."

"Then Amman."

Which had been Harry's choice all along. Even so, he pretended to give that some thought. "Okay, Amman. Hotel Inter-Continental. You got an account at the Bank of Jordan?"

"I make one happen."

"Then we're ready to roll. All we need is the merchandise."

"No photographs."

"Then no business. Sorry, Charlie."

"My name is Wadi."

"Whatever. I don't shoot, I don't buy."

"Photographs cost you a thousand dollars."

Suddenly Harry was very tired of this two-step. "Fine. But I take the thousand from the final purchase price. And don't even think of arguing."

Wadi Haddad did not rise so much as bounce from the seat. "Okay, we go. Not your man." He nodded toward Hassan. "Just you."

"Be right with you." Harry walked to Hassan's table and squatted down beside the man's chair. "You find anything?"

"Hebron is one tense city. People very worried."

"Yeah, I caught that too." Harry liked how the guy never stopped searching the shadows. "Where'd you see action, Hassan?"

"Nowhere. I see nothing, I do nothing. In the West Bank there is only IDF and terrorists."

"Wadi's taking me to check out the merchandise. He says I've got to do this alone. You think maybe you could watch my back?"

"Is good." Hassan held to a catlike stillness. "I see something, I whistle. I can whistle very loud."

Harry rose to his feet, patted the guy's shoulder, and said, "You just earned yourself another five bills."

WADI HADDAD MOVED SURPRISINGLY FAST on his splayed legs. He led Harry deep into the old city. The West Bank crisis was etched into every Hebron street, every bullet-ridden wall, every building topped by an IDF bunker. The streets were either dimly lit or not at all. But walking behind the wheezing Haddad, Harry had no trouble picking his way through the rubble. Behind him, the mosque and the cave complex shone like beacons. And up ahead loomed the wall.

The barrier separating the Jewish sector from Hebron's old city was thirty feet high and topped with razor wire. Searchlights from the guard towers and nearby IDF bunkers serrated the night. The wall gleamed like a massive concrete lantern.

Somewhere in the distance a truck backfired. Wadi Haddad froze. A searchlight illuminated the man's trembling jowls. Harry said, "You're not from here."

"My mother's family only. I live sometimes Damascus, sometimes Aqaba."

Aqaba was Jordan's portal to the Red Sea, a haven for tourists and smugglers' dhows. "Must be nice."

Wadi Haddad started off once more, Harry following close. But when Haddad entered a dark, narrow alley, Harry dug in his heels. "Hold up there."

"What's the matter, treasure man?"

The buildings to either side reached across to form a crumbling arch. The windows fronting the street were both barred and dark. The alley was black. Harry had spent a lifetime avoiding alleys like this. Then he saw a cigarette tip gleam. "That your buddy down there?"

"Is guard, yes. In Hebron, many guards."

"Ask him to step out where I can see him."

Wadi didn't like it, but he did as Harry said. The man emerged and flipped on a flashlight. In the dim rays reflected from the walls, Harry could see a face like a parrot, with too-narrow features sliding back from a truly enormous nose. The man's eyes were set very close together and gleamed with the erratic light of an easy killer.

"Ask him to light up that alley for us."

The man smirked at Harry's nerves but did not wait for Wadi's translation. The flashlight showed an empty lane that ended about eighty feet back with double metal doors. "What's behind the doors, Wadi?"

"Where we go. My mother's cousin's house."

Harry motioned to the man holding the light. "Lead on, friend."

The guard spoke for the first time. "You have guns?"

Harry lifted his shirt and turned around. "Make business, not war. That's my motto."

"He can search you?"

"Sure thing." Harry gestured at the doors. "Inside."

• • •

THE DOORS RATTLED IN ALARM as the guard pushed them open. Wadi called out and, on hearing no response, stepped into a neglected courtyard with Harry close behind. The dusty compound appeared empty. A pair of plastic chairs sprawled by a rusty outdoor table, their upended legs jutting like broken teeth. From inside the house a dog barked. In the distance Harry both heard and felt the grinding tremor of an IDF tank on road patrol.

Wadi led Harry to a flat-roofed side building of unfinished concrete blocks and opened a door with flaking paint. The interior was an astonishment. The front room was a well-appointed display chamber about twelve feet square. Two walls were stuccoed a light peach. A third wall was covered by a frieze of mythical birds carved from what Harry suspected was olive wood. The fourth wall held a narrow steel door with a central combination lock.

"Looks like I found the guy I've been looking for," Harry said.

Wadi held out his hand. "Thousand dollars."

Harry was about to insist he see the item first, then decided there was no reason to get off on the wrong sandal.

Wadi counted in the Arab fashion, folding the bills over and peeling the oily edges with his thumb and forefinger. He slipped the money into his pocket and motioned with his chin to the guard.

The steel door swung open on greased hinges. The guard stepped inside and emerged with a black velvet stand shaped like a woman's neck. What was draped on the stand took Harry's breath away.

The concept of women's ornamentation was as old as civilization itself. The earliest forms were fashioned as temple offerings and were considered to have magical properties. Many ancient cultures revered such jewelry for its talismanic power either to ward off evil or bring good health and prosperity.

In the very earliest days of Christianity, new believers drawn from Hellenistic temple cults often brought with them such ideas about the powers of jewelry. The necklace dated from the second century AD. The chain was a series of gold tubes, each stamped with a Christian design. It ended in an emerald the size of Harry's thumb. The gemstone had been sanded flat and carved with the Chi-Rho symbol.

Without asking, Wadi handed Harry a pair of white gloves and a jeweler's loupe. Closer inspection only confirmed Harry's first impression. This was a museum-quality piece.

The problem was, Harry could not identify it as a fake. Which was troubling, because Harry knew for a fact the item was not genuine.

Harry Bennett had nothing against a little smuggling. He would certainly not have helped anyone track down another treasure dog.

Counterfeiters, though, were a different breed of lice.

After nearly three years of roiling conflict, the Israeli Antiquities Authority had basically lost control of smuggling in the West Bank. In the past, the IAA had nabbed about ninety thieves each year for pilfering tombs, ruined cities, palaces, and forts. Since the latest political troubles began, however, arrests had slumped to almost nothing. The IAA knew without question that the worst culprits were getting away. The international arts market was being flooded with ancient Hebrew treasure. What was more, a growing number of these items were bogus. Extremely well crafted, their workmanship often able to fool museum directors and other supposed experts, but phony just the same.

The Israeli government had needed somebody with Harry Bennett's credentials, known throughout the world as a dedicated treasure dog. Somebody capable of infiltrating the system and identifying the source of the fake artifacts.

Only when Harry looked up did he realize he had been holding his breath. He handed the loupe and gloves back to Wadi and unsnapped the case of his pocket camera. "Okay if I shoot a few?"

Wadi smirked as he pulled the cigarettes from his pocket. The man knew a buyer's lust when he saw it. "Sure, sure, many as you like. You want tea?"

DICKERING OVER PRICE TOOK UNTIL well after midnight. Even so, when Harry stepped through the compound's steel door, the city remained noisily alive. Such was the manner of every Middle Eastern city Harry had ever visited, and it was one of the reasons why he relished the Arab world. These lands were full of pirates and their love of dark hours.

Wadi Haddad wore his sourest done-in-by-the-deal frown. "You give me no profit. My daughters starve."

Harry clamped down on his first thought, which was that this guy definitely hadn't missed a lot of meals. "Phone you in four days, right?"

"Four, maybe five. These days the border is very tight."

"Then maybe you ought to bring out the other items you're holding here for sale."

"You buy more?"

"If they're as fine as what you just showed me, sure, I think I can find buyers."

"Not same price," Wadi complained. "Too much hard bargain."

Harry was about to say what he thought of Wadi's poor-boy tactic when, from the distance, he heard a shrill whistle pierce the night.

The guard stood at the alley's mouth, searching in all directions. Wadi remained intent upon business, sucking on his cigarette and grumbling through the smoke as he walked past where Harry stood tense and rooted to the dusty earth. "Next time your price plus thirty percent. You pay or I go find—"

Harry leaned forward and gripped Wadi's shoulder and pulled him back. He slammed Wadi onto the alley wall, placing himself between the trader and the road. Wadi's breath whooshed out in a fetid cloud. His eyes registered surprise and rising protest. But Harry kept him pinned where he was.

Then the world of Hebron roared in rage and flames.

© 2010 T. Davis Bunn

For more information please visit

Saturday, October 30, 2010

CafePress Custom Shirt Review!

I am sure you all know by now that I love CafePress!! They have such a wide array of items and so many designs. I recently had the opportunity to pick out a shirt for review. Like I said, they have such a variety of items it was hard to choose just one shirt:) I finally picked out the Walk With God Women's Dark T-Shirt.

When it arrived, I was very excited about opening my package. It came nice wrapped and had instructions for washing and how to take care of it so I get the most I can out of it. The first thing I noticed was how soft it was! I am not kidding, this is a nice and comfy shirt. I have actually worn it to bed:) And it stays relatively wrinkle free. I did notice an outline on my shirt when I first opened it but after reading the directions I saw that most shirts have that and it will come off with the first wash. I haven't washed mine yet, but I am sure it will come off.

I really like the saying on the front of my shirt. It stands out against the black background nicely. But as a Christian I like being able to let others know where I stand. Overall, I LOVE this shirt! There is nothing I would change about it and the fit is perfect.

If you are looking for the perfect gift, whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc check out CafePress. They have so many items and thousands of designs!! And if you sign up for their newsletter, they often have specials and deals. Like right now, all T-Shirts are 15% off. But there is also the added incentive that you are entered in a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate. They also have a blog where they often have nifty news:)

I received a shirt for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine. I feel obligated to say there are some designs on this website that I do not agree with and I do not think are family friendly. Please keep this in mind.

Emily's Chance Blog Tour with Review

Emily Rose may be in the tiny West Texas town of Callahan Crossing for the moment, but it's just a rung on her ladder to success. Her work at the Callahan Crossing historical society will look good on her ever-growing resume as she attempts to break into the prestigious world of a big city museum curator. Little does she know cowboy and contractor Chance Callahan has decided that he can convince her to stay--both with the town and with him. As he helps Emily restore the town's history after a devastating fire, he also helps her uncover her own hidden worth and the value of love. The second book in THE CALLAHANS OF TEXAS series, Emily's Chance is a heartwarming story of letting love take the lead. Readers will come away wishing they lived in Callahan Crossing.

MY THOUGHTS-This book is the second novel in a series. I did not get to read the first book but I was able to read this one with no problem finding out the story. Definitely able to be read as a stand-alone novel.
I really liked the Texas flair in this book. Sharon does a good job describing the area. Enough that I felt I was there:) I don't think the front cover does a good job in showing Chance. Not exactly what I picture from reading the book. I also liked the idea of how much he is a gentleman. Not too much of that around now a days. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I had my small problems with it but that happens. Way to go Sharon!

Available October 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rise Above Book Review and Giveaway!

"Rise Above" shows how self-reliance, determination and a refusal to accept the status quo led to one man’s triumph in business and in life, and reminds us that anyone is able to do anything... no matter the challenge. Ralph’s achievements have provided mobility for millions of physically disabled Americans. Today, he is the founder and CEO of the largest manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the world.

On a hot summer day in 1947, I was told I would not live to see my 13th birthday ...
Ralph Braun had two options: sit and wait for that prediction to come true or use those words as fuel to prove it wrong. He never gave a second thought to which path he would choose.

The doctors who diagnosed Ralph with muscular dystrophy at the age of six and handed him his death sentence were wrong. Not only did he live to see his 13th birthday, but he founded BraunAbility, the worlds leading manufacturer of mobility vehicles.

It wasn t an easy road. When Ralph couldn t rely on his own two legs anymore and he d outgrown piggyback rides on his father s back, he began using a wheelchair. Life went on, and Ralph was determined to find a way to keep up with it. He wanted an education, a career, and a family, just like anyone else; he just had to work a little harder at it.

First he invented a motorized scooter, the Tri-Wheeler, so he could conserve energy and keep his job as a quality control inspector at a nearby factory. When the factory moved a few miles from his home, he outfitted an old postal Jeep with hand controls and a hydraulic lift so he could have reliable transportation to and from work, no matter the weather. As his mobility increased, so did attention from the disabled community. Fifty years ago he was a young man in a wheelchair who needed to get to work. Today Ralph Braun is CEO of BraunAbility, the largest manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the world. Capitalizing on the age-old saying Necessity is the mother of invention, Braun refused to let his disability hold him back and, in the process, brought independence and mobility to thousands. Rise Above tells the story of how self-reliance, common sense, and a refusal to accept the status quo led to one man s triumph in business and in life.

Ralph quickly realized an underserved and underappreciated market existed, and he developed a wide range of mobility products to meet its needs.

While Ralph Braun"s story is a powerful example of true entrepreneurial spirit, this book is more than a successful business model. It is the story of America s evolving attitude toward the disabled community. It is the story of the powerful love of parents determined to give their son every opportunity and chance to succeed in life. It is the story of discovering the unlimited potential within each of us, regardless of what obstacles we may face.

No matter who the reader, this book offers something for everyone. Ralph Braun's story is an inspiration to rise above any challenge."

MY REVIEW-I received this book and was interested in reading it mainly because I like reading about the founders of companies and the struggles they went through but persevered in. Ralph Braun is one of these people. Told he wouldn't make it to his 13th birthday he went on to serve his country and help others. He had people try to put him out of business, a fire that almost destroyed his warehouse, and many other trials, but this book chronicles his triumph in standing firm and staying committed to good work ethics, good quality and helping others. Even if you normally don't read biographies, this story is good for anyone. I encourage those with young boys to purchase it as many of our young men need to be reading these types of stories.

READERS-One of you will be winning a copy of this book. It is a nice HB w/DJ and is definitely one you need to add to your shelf. To enter, leave me a comment telling me what biographies you have read recently. This is the MANDATORY ENTRY!

1.Follow my blog through GFC.
2.Subscribe to my blog via RSS Feed.
3.Follow me on Twitter.
4.Enter any of my other giveaways.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done 3 times a day.

This giveaway will end 11/5. Winner will be chosen through They have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

FIRST WildCard Tour for The God Hater by Bill Meyers.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The God Hater

Howard Books; Original edition (September 28, 2010)

***Special thanks to Libby Reed, Publicity Assistant, HOWARD BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster for sending me a review copy.***

MY REVIEW-I had a really hard time getting into this book. Not sure really why it took me so long or why I found it difficult to get into at all but I did. I have read books by Bill Meyers before and had no trouble and enjoyed them a lot but this one was different. I was really excited about it too. The plot was real interesting and I liked how he ended the novel. Maybe it just wasn't my piece of cake. Please try it though! Not everyone is the same and others would probably really enjoy it.


Bill Myers is an author, screenwriter, and director whose work has won more than fifty national and international awards, including the C.S. Lewis Honor Award.

Visit the Book Specific Site.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (September 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439153264
ISBN-13: 978-1439153260


Samuel Preston, a local reporter with bronzed skin and glow-in-the-dark teeth, turned to one of the guests of his TV show, God Talk. “So what’s your take on all of this, Dr. Mackenzie?”

The sixty-something professor stared silently at his wristwatch. He had unruly white hair and wore an outdated sports coat.

“Dr. Mackenzie?”

He glanced up, disoriented, then turned to the host who repeated the question. “What are your feelings about the book?”

Clearing his throat, Mackenzie raised the watch to his ear and gave it a shake. “I was wondering . . .” He dropped off, his bushy eyebrows gathered into a scowl as he listened for a sound.

The second guest, a middle-aged pastor with a shirt collar two sizes too small, smiled, “Yes?”

Mackenzie gave up on the watch and turned to him. “Do you make up this drivel as you go along? Or do you simply parrot others who have equally stunted intellects?”

The pastor, Dr. William Hathaway, blinked. Still smiling, he turned back to the host. “I was under the impression we were going to discuss my new book?”

“Oh, we are,” Preston assured him. “But it’s always good to have a skeptic or two in the midst, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Ah,” Hathaway nodded, “of course.” He turned back to Mackenzie, his smile never wavering. “I am afraid what you term as ‘drivel’ is based upon a faith stretching back thousands of years.”

Mackenzie removed one or two dog hairs from his slacks. “We have fossilized dinosaur feces older than that.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Just because something’s old, doesn’t stop it from being crap.”

Dr. Hathaway’s smile twitched. He turned in his chair so he could more fully address the man. “We’re talking about a time honored religion that millions of —”

“And that’s supposed to be a plus,” Mackenzie said, “that it’s religious? I thought you wanted to support your nonsense.”

“I see. Well it may interest you to know that—“

“Actually, it doesn’t interest me at all.” The old man turned to Preston. “How much longer will we be?”

The host chuckled. “Just a few more minutes, Professor.”

Working harder to maintain his smile, Hathaway replied, “So, if I understand correctly, you’re not a big fan of the benefits of Christianity?”

“Benefits?” Mackenzie pulled a used handkerchief from his pocket and began looking for an unsoiled portion. “Is that what the 30,000 Jews who were tortured and killed during the Inquisition called it? Benefits?”

“That’s not entirely fair.”

“And why is that?”

“For starters, most of them weren’t Jews.”

“I’m sure they’re already feeling better.”

“What I am saying is—”

“What you are saying, Mr . . . Mr—”

“Actually, it’s Doctor.”

“Actually, you’re a liar.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Finding an unused area of his handkerchief, Mackenzie took off his glasses and cleaned them.

The pastor continued. “It may interest you to know that—”

“We’ve already established my lack of interest.”

“It may interest you to know that I hold several honorary doctorates.”

“Honorary doctorates.”

“That’s correct.”

“Honorary, as in unearned, as in good for nothing . . . unless it’s to line the bottom of bird cages.” He held his glasses to the light, checking for any remaining smudges.

Hathaway took a breath and regrouped. “You can malign my character all you wish, but there is no refuting the benefits outlined in my new book.”

“Ah yes, the benefits.” Mackenzie lowered his glasses and worked on the other lens. “Like the million plus lives slaughtered during the Crusades?”

“That figure can be disputed.”

“Correct. It may be higher.”

Hathaway shifted in his seat. “The Crusades were a long time ago and in an entirely different culture.”

“So you’d prefer something closer to home? Perhaps the witch hunts of New England?”

“I’m not here to—”

“Fifteen thousand human beings murdered in Europe and America. Fifteen thousand.”

“Again, that’s history and not a part of today’s—”

“Then let us discuss more recent atrocities—towards the blacks, the gays, the Muslim population. Perhaps a dialogue on the bombing of abortion clinics?”

“Please, if you would allow me—”

Mackenzie turned to Preston. “Are we finished here?”

Fighting to be heard, Hathaway continued. “If people will read my book, they will clearly see—”

“Are we finished?”

“Yes, Professor,” Preston chuckled. “I believe we are.”

“But we’ve not discussed my Seven Steps to Successful—”

“Perhaps another time, Doctor.”

Mackenzie rose, shielding his eyes from the bright studio lights as Hathaway continued. “But there are many issues we need to—”

“I’m sure there are,” Preston agreed while keeping an eye on Mackenzie who stepped from the platform and headed off camera. “And I’m sure it’s all there in your book. Seven Steps to—”


Annie Brooks clicked off the remote to her television.

“Mom,” Rusty mumbled, “I was watching . . .” he drifted back to sleep without finishing the protest.

She looked down at the five year old and smiled. He lay in bed beside her, his hands still clutching Horton Hears a Who! Each night he’d been reading it to her, though she suspected it was more reciting from memory than reading. She tenderly kissed the top of his head before absent-mindedly looking back to the TV.

He’d done it again. Her colleague and friend—if Dr. Nicholas Mackenzie could be said to have any friends—had shredded another person of faith. This time a Christian, some mega-church pastor hawking his latest book. Next time it could just as easily be a Jew or Muslim or Buddhist. The point was that Nicholas hated religion. And Heaven help anybody who tried to defend it.

She sighed and looked back down to her son. He was breathing heavily, mouth slightly ajar. She brushed the bangs from his face and gave him another kiss. She’d carry him back to bed soon enough. But for now she would simply savor his presence. Nothing gave her more joy. And for that, with or without Nicholas’ approval, Annie Brooks was grateful to her God.

* * * * *

“Excuse me?” Nicholas called from the back seat of the Lincoln Town Car.

The driver didn’t hear.

He leaned forward and spoke louder. “You just passed the freeway entrance.”

The driver, some black kid with a shaved head, turned on the stereo. It was an urban chant, its beat so powerful Nicholas could feel it pounding in his gut. He unbuckled his seat belt and scooted to the open partition separating them. “Excuse me! You—”

The tinted window slid up, nearly hitting him in the face.

He pulled back in surprise, then banged on the glass. “Excuse me!” The music was fainter but still vibrated the car. “Excuse me!”

No response.

He slumped back into the seat. Stupid kid. And rude. He’d realize his mistake soon enough. And after Nicholas’ call to the TV station tomorrow, he’d be back on the streets looking for another job. Trying to ignore the music, Nicholas stared out the window, watching the Santa Barbara lights soften as fog rolled in. Over the years the station’s drivers had always been polite and courteous. Years, as in Nicholas was a frequent guest on God Talk. Despite his general distain for people, not to mention his reclusive lifestyle, he always accepted the producer’s invitation. Few things gave him more pleasure than exposing the toxic nature of religion. Besides, these outings provided a nice change of pace. Instead of the usual stripping away of naïve college students’ faith in his classroom, the TV guests occasionally provided a challenge.


Other than his duties at the University of California Santa Barbara, these trips were his only exposure to the outside world. He had abandoned society long ago. Or rather, it had abandoned him. Not that there was any love lost. Today’s culture was an intellectual wasteland—a world of pre-chewed ideas, politically correct causes, sound bite news coverage, and novels that were nothing more than comic books. (He’d given up on movies and television long ago.) Why waste his time on such pabulum when he could surround himself with Sartre, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche—men whose work would provide more meaningful companionship in one evening than most people could in a lifetime.

Nevertheless, he did tolerate Ari, even fought to keep her during the divorce. She was his faithful companion for over fifteen years, though he should have put her down months ago. Deaf and blind, the golden retriever’s hips had begun to fail. But she wasn’t in pain. Not yet. And until that time, he didn’t mind cleaning up after her occasional accidents or calling in the vet for those expensive house calls. He owed her that. Partially because of her years of patient listening, and partially because of the memories.

The car turned right and entered a residential area. He glanced down to the glowing red buttons on the console beside him. One of them was an intercom to the driver. But, like Herbert Marcuse, the great Neo-Marxist of the 20th Century (and, less popularly, Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber of the 1980s) Nicholas mistrusted modern technology as much as he scorned the society that created it. How many times had Annie, a fellow professor, pleaded with him to buy a telephone . . .

“What if there’s an emergency?” she’d insisted. “What if someone needs to call you?”

“Like solicitors?”

“They have Do Not Call lists,” she said. “You can go online and be added to their—”


“Okay, you can write them a letter.”

“And give them what, more personal information?”

“They’d only ask for your phone number.”

“Not if I don’t have one.”

And so the argument continued off and on for years . . . as gift occasions came and went, as his closet gradually filled with an impressive collection of telephones. One thing you could say about Annie Brooks, she was persistent—which may be why he put up with her company, despite the fact she doted over him like he was some old man who couldn’t take care of himself. Besides, she had a good head on her shoulders, when she chose to use it, which meant she occasionally contributed something of worth to their conversations.

Then, of course, there was her boy.

The car slowed. Having no doubt learned the error of his ways, the driver was turning around. Not that it would help him keep his job. That die had already been cast. But the car wasn’t turning. Instead, it pulled to the curb and came to a stop. The locks shot up and the right rear door immediately opened. A man in his early forties appeared—strong jaw, short hair, with a dark suit, white shirt, and black tie.

“Good evening, Doctor.” He slid onto the leather seat beside him.

“Who are you?” Nicholas demanded.

The man closed the door and the car started forward. “I apologize for the cloak and dagger routine, but—”

“Who are you?”

He flipped open an ID badge. “Brad Thompson, HLS.”


“Homeland Security Agent Brad Thompson.” He returned the badge to his coat pocket.

“You’re with the government?”

“Yes sir, Homeland Security.”

“And you’ve chosen to interrupt my ride home because . . .”

“Again, I apologize, but it’s about your brother.”

Nicholas stared at him, giving him no satisfaction of recognition.

“Your brother,” the agent repeated, “Travis Mackenzie?”

Nicholas held his gaze another moment before looking out the window. “Is he in trouble again?”

“Has he contacted you?”

“My brother and I seldom communicate.”

“Yes, sir, about every eighteen months if our information is correct.”

The agent’s knowledge unsettled Nicholas. He turned back to the man. “May I see your identification again?”

“Pardon me?”

“Your identification. You barely allowed me to look at it.”

The agent reached back into his suit coat. “Please understand this is far more serious than his drug conviction, or his computer hacking, or the DUIs.”

Nicholas adjusted his glasses, waiting for the identification.

The agent flipped open his ID holder. “We at HLS are very concerned about his involvement—”

Suddenly, headlights appeared through the back window, their beams on high. The agent looked over his shoulder, then swore under his breath. He reached for the intercom, apparently to give orders to the driver, but the town car was already beginning to accelerate.

“What’s the problem?” Nicholas asked.

The car turned sharply to the left and continued picking up speed.

“I asked you what is happening,” Nicholas repeated.

“Your brother, Professor. Where is he?”

The headlights reappeared behind them, closing in.

“You did not allow me to examine your identification.”

“Please, Doctor—”

“If you do not allow me to examine your identification, I see little—”

“We’ve no time for that!”

The outburst stopped Nicholas as the car took another left, so sharply both men braced themselves against the seat.

The agent turned back to him. “Where is your brother?”

Once again the lights appeared behind them.

Refusing to be bullied, Nicholas repeated, “Unless I’m convinced of your identity, I have little—”

The agent sprang toward him. Grabbing Nicholas’ shirt, he yanked him to his face and shouted, “Where is he?!”

Surprised, but with more pride than common sense, Nicholas answered. “As I said—”

The agent’s fist was a blur as it struck Nicholas’ nose. Nicholas felt the cartilage snap, knew the pain would follow. As would the blood.


The car turned right, tires squealing, tossing the men to the other side. As Nicholas sat up, the agent pulled something from his jacket. There was the black glint of metal and suddenly a cold gun barrel was pressed against his neck. He felt fear rising and instinctively pushed back the emotion. It wasn’t the gun that concerned him, but the fear. That was his enemy. If he could focus, rely on his intellect, he’d have the upper hand. Logic trumped emotion every time. It was a truth that sustained him through childhood, kept him alive in Vietnam, and gave him the strength to survive in today’s world.

The barrel pressed harder.

When he knew he could trust his voice, he answered, “The last time I saw my brother was Thanksgiving.”

The car hit the brakes, skidding to a stop, sliding Nicholas off the seat and onto his knees. The agent caught himself, managing to stay seated. Up ahead, through the glass partition, Nicholas saw a second vehicle racing toward them—a van or truck, its beams also on high.

The agent pounded the partition. “Get us out of here.” he shouted at the driver. “Now!”

The town car lurched backward. It bounced up a curb and onto a front lawn. Tires spun, spitting grass and mud, until they dug in and the vehicle took off. It plowed through a hedge of junipers, branches scraping underneath, then across another lawn. Nicholas looked out his side window as they passed the first vehicle which had been behind them, a late model SUV. They veered back onto the road, snapping off a mailbox. Once again the driver slammed on the brakes, turning hard to the left, throwing the vehicle into a 180 until they were suddenly behind the SUV, facing the opposite direction. Tires screeched as they sped off.

The agent hit the intercom and yelled, “Dump the Professor and get us out of here!”

The car continued to accelerate and made another turn.

Pulling Nicholas into the seat and shoving the gun into his face, the agent shouted, “This is the last time I’m asking!”

Nicholas’ heart pounded, but he kept his voice even. “I have already told you.”

The man chambered a round. But it barely mattered. Nicholas had found his center and would not be moved. “I have not seen him in months.”



The car made another turn.


Nicholas turned to face him. “We ate a frozen dinner and I sent him away.”

The agent searched his eyes. Nicholas held his gaze, unblinking. The car took one last turn, bouncing up onto an unlit driveway, then jerked to a stop. There was no sound, except the pounding music.

“Get out,” the agent ordered.

Nicholas looked through the window. “I have no idea where we—”


Nicholas reached for the handle, opened his door and stepped outside. The air was cold and damp.

“Shut the door.”

He obeyed.

The town car lunged backward, lights off. Once it reached the road it slid to a stop, changed gears and sped off. Nicholas watched as it disappeared into the fog, music still throbbing even after it was out of sight. Only then did he appreciate the pain in his nose and the warm copper taste of blood in his mouth. Still, with grim satisfaction, he realized, he had won. As always, logic and intellect had prevailed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting Back Into Shape

Guest post written by Joyce Bull

Now that I'm retired, getting back in shape is a top priority. For the last few years, I worked hard trying to finish up my career, and concerns about fitness and dieting were put on the backburner, so to speak. I ate whatever was cheap, quick and easy, and I went on my way. By the time I got home, I didn't even want to think about cooking, I just wanted to take it easy before going back to work the next day.

Last week was my first week of retirement, and I finally got some time to myself. I decided to sleep in and then spend most of the day online doing some online shopping. I spent some time looking at because I think it's finally time I looked into a hearing aid. I also spent a lot of time looking at ways I could get into shape at home. I came across the P90X home fitness program while I was searching around, and I seriously think I'm going to purchase it. I've heard good things about it from others my age, and it might just be the right thing to kick me back in the right direction.

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Interview With Jill Nelson and Book Giveaway!

Hey everyone, today I have author Jill Elizabeth Nelson with us. She is the author of many mystery suspense novels, which explains why I like her so much:) I love her books! And, she has graciously offered one book to one of my blog readers. This is her new mystery, Legacy of Lies. Sounds very neat!

Thank you for being with us today, Jill!!!

How long have you known you wanted to be an author?

I’ve dreamed of becoming a published novelist since I penned—er, penciled my first mystery in the sixth grade. I was already a voracious reader by the time I reached that level in school and didn’t need any encouragement to pick up a book, but many of my classmates didn’t feel the same way about reading. I think my wonderful teacher that year wanted to help them learn to enjoy books so she read to us each day from the most imaginative novels. Somewhere in the process of this, I began to realize that I wanted not merely to be the person who got pleasure from a good book, I wanted to be the person who gave that pleasure to others.

Can you tell me a little bit about your newest book?

The hero of Legacy of Lies is a small town police chief confronted with the resurrection of the most heinous crime ever committed in his community—the kidnapping and disappearance of the sole heir of the town’s founding family. To complicate finding the solution, the case is 50 years old! The heroine of Legacy of Lies is a cop’s widow, newly come to the community and the one who discovers the remains that resurrect the tragic case.

I’ve always been fascinated by social dynamics in a small town. Having lived in rural communities all my life, I’m intimately familiar with the unique politics involved. Crafting a story about the shadow cast over a town by its founding family came readily to me.

Here’s a quick summary of what to expect:

Secrets Buried Deep!

Evidence from a decades-old murder is the last thing Nicole Keller-Mattson expected to find in her grandmother’s back yard, but the finger-pointing and accusations leveled at her family came as no surprise. Everyone in Ellington is eager to blame the Kellers—but after an attack leaves Nicole’s grandmother in a coma, only Nicole can clear the family name. With the assistance of police chief Rich Hendricks, she stands a chance of solving the mystery . . . if she’s willing to accept Rich’s help. Nicole lost her policeman husband in the line of duty—getting close to another cop is too painful. But keeping her distance could be deadly.

When a reader gets done with your book, what do you want them to come away with?

I was particularly interested to explore the affect past sins and secrets can have on a tight-knit community and how the illusion of power is always trumped by the immutable laws of God. We do reap what we sow, no matter how grand and invincible we imagine ourselves to be.

The scripture I used at the front of the book was Psalm 37: 10 – 11 from the NIV version of the Bible: A little while and the wicked will be no more; Though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. I comfort myself with these words quite often when I see the injustices in the world.

Is there a place you have always wanted to visit? A vacation spot, historical monument, overseas, etc?

I’ve been privileged to travel on several short term mission trips—Jamaica, Thailand, and New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The last one in that list was quite the eye-opening experience. Sometimes it necessitated eye-shutting! But a lot of fruit came of it. Many divine appointments. J I look forward to taking many more mission trips. Perhaps the next one will be to the Philippines, where dear missionary friends are stationed.

As far as a personal trip, I’d love to head for Orange County, CA, and visit my sister in her lovely home, probably see some of the sights in the area, and then fly north to Alaska to visit my other sister. I’ve never been to visit their West Coast homes so the journey would be a real treat!

What one event would you love to be at? Historical or future?

I’m going to be at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Can you even imagine the half of the glory?! I can’t think of another event to top that one. I may not know when it’ll be, but—Praise God—I’ve got a seat with my name card on it! In the meantime, I’m making myself available to deliver invitations to others.

Do you have a favorite hobby?

Reading, of course. My tastes are eclectic. I can enjoy a book in almost any genre, but mystery and suspense books remain my favorites. I’m a fan of puzzles of all sorts, so that tendency translates into my taste in reading material. I’ll lay a book down, though, if I can figure out “who dunnit” within the first few chapters. When I write, I’m a stickler about making the mystery aspect of my plot a challenge to figure out before-hand, and yet quite clear in hindsight once the truth is revealed. I leave my readers to tell me if I’ve succeeded. ;-)

Do you have any suggestions for the aspiring writer?

Nobody enjoys rejection, but I’ve come to accept it as part of the business. I’m also heartily convinced that a rejection is God’s way of saying, “Be patient. I’ve got something better for you.”

Any last thoughts for your readers?

Whenever I go out on speaking engagements, I like to tell my audience that if God can bring to pass a cherished dream (becoming a novelist) for this nobody in particular from nowhere special, He can and will do it for them too!

And how can they connect with you?

My web site Contact page has a place for readers to write to me directly. I do my best to answer! The Contest page offers a game that readers can play for a monthly chance at a signed copy of my newest release. I’ve also provided a whole page of links to other Christian writers’ sites, as well as helpful links for fellow authors. To read excerpts of my books or to find purchase links for them, check out my Books page. I also run a book review blog that offers lots of opportunities to win free books by other authors. Check it all out at

So, does that not sound like a neat book! To enter the giveaway, the MANDATORY ENTRY is to leave me a comment telling me where you would like to take a missions trip to.

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
1.Follow my blog via GFC.
2.Subscribe via RSS Feed.
3.Follow me on Twitter.
4.Enter any of my other giveaways.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done 3 times a day.

This giveaway will end 11/4. Winner will be chosen through They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

People Who Won Extra Entries for the Holiday Event!!

Hi ya'll!! I have a list here of the people who got extra entries in my upcoming Holiday Event. Now, some only got entries in a certain giveaway but some got extra entries in each giveaway I will have. I will explain at the end of this post how to get your extra entries and how to comment so you get them.

onedesertrose +5
Nanbon44 +5
MissKallie2000 +5
ape2016 +5

Pixie13 +5
TheLuckyLadybug +5
Judy +5
Nanbon44 +10 (She put the button on both her blogs).

Nanbon44 +10 (Emailed 10 friends and copied me on it)

Lydia M. +2
Nanbon44 +2
Ruslady +2
devotus +2

Ashley +2
Teresa Choplin +2
Kristie Donelson +2


For those of you who got the extra entries in a specific giveaway, like the Custom Creations, after doing the mandatory entry, leave 2 separate comments saying extra entries. I will know who you are and check to make sure you are on this list. You must do the mandatory entry first though, so please make sure you do this.

Those of you who got extra entries for all the giveaways, you must do the mandatory entry first. I know I sound like I am harping on this but I just want to make sure you get your entries and all the extra ones as well. Once you have done the mandatory entry, leave comments for each extra you got. So if you got 10 extra entries in each giveaway, leave 10 comments. You can do this in any and every giveaway you want. Just put "extra entry # " and whatever # it is. So, if you don't understand anything at all, please email me. I am more than willing to answer questions. These extra entries are on top of any other extra entries are available too.

Since I am going to be having so many giveaways going on at the same time, I am going to be posting the rule of only winning twice a week. So you can enter as many as you would like but you can't win more than 2 times in one week. Since I will have 7-10 giveaways running at a time, I am going to have to do this. I know I have some people on here who have won lots of times on my blog and I don't mind normally but I would like to give some others a chance.

I think that is all right now. Like I said, please email if you have any questions at all. esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PediaCare Giveaway!

Hey guys, I am doing a PediaCare review and giveaway soon but I was just contacted by them to let me know about a really neat giveaway they have going on right now. It ends 12/8 so they want to give people as much time as they can to enter. That is why I am posting about this now. The details are below but I really encourage you to check it out. I actually won a really nice camera from a magazine giveaway so these do really work:)

Here are the details!

Win The PediaCare® “Kid’s Cold Comfort” Giveaway!

PediaCare wants to help your child stay snug and comfy this cold and flu season, so PediaCare is giving one lucky Woman’s
World reader a $1,000 gift card to 1-800-Mattress to buy a new children’s mattress set, along with another $200 toward some
comfy pillows, sheets and a bedspread. The prize also includes the collection of PediaCare products for children, with various
formulas recommended by health professionals for cough, fever, flu, allergies and pain relief.

Visit and click on the “Enter to Win” banner to be taken to the official entry form!

Interview with Elizabeth Musser and GIVEAWAY!

Howdy ya'll! Today I have an interview with Elizabeth Musser. I also have a copy of her book, Words Unspoken that is signed by the author which I will be giving away here today:) So, read through the interview and make sure you complete the mandatory entry at the bottom for your chance to win this book.

Thank you for being with us today, Elizabeth!!!

It’s a pleasure to join you, Charity.

How long have you known you wanted to be an author?

Ever since I was 6, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a writer. I could not not write. It was stronger than I was. Writing was how I expressed joy, sadness, worries, faith, my questions about life, love. My first poems were about animals; I also wrote birthday poems for family and friends. I always had stories running around in my head. At nine, I started what I presumptuously called “my first book”. I wanted to be the youngest writer and illustrator ever! That book remains unpublished to this day.

Can you tell me a little bit about your newest book?

My most recent novel is called Words Unspoken (Bethany House, 2009). Have you ever been bothered by negative things from your subconscious—you know, those voices from the past that whisper ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘you’ll never succeed’, ‘you’re a failure’ or ‘you need more, more, more to be happy’? Well, I’ve written a novel about the lives of seven seemingly unrelated characters who are motivated by voices from the past. Eventually these characters’ lives will all come together. Lissa, the protagonist, is a young woman who is trying to learn to drive again after a tragic accident has effectively put her life on hold. Ted is a ‘rogue’ stockbroker, motivated by greed; Katy Lynn is an Atlanta socialite whose life is unraveling, Janelle is a depressed missionary in France, Silvano is a cocky assistant editor at a publishing house who is ready to compromise, Stella is a mysterious best-selling author who is determined to remain anonymous and Ev is a driving instructor on the verge of retirement with plenty of secrets of his own. Come with me to a girls’ school and a military park in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to beautiful Lookout Mountain in the fall of 1987 where mystery and the effects of Black Monday are awaiting. Words Unspoken promises you the ride of your life. Won’t you join me? Hold on tight!

I’ve put out a video on YouTube to give my wonderful readers a chance to get to know me better and have a peek into some of the places where Words Unspoken takes place. Here’s the link:

I have another novel coming out in June, 2011, called The Sweetest Thing, set in Atlanta in the 1930s. I’ll be posting more about this novel on my website at the beginning of 2011.

If you could be one person in history, who would it be?

I cannot begin to choose one person, but right now, I’d like to walk in Catherine Marshall’s shoes for a little while and find out how she managed her life as wife, writer and woman of faith in the midst of many challenges. Her novels and non-fiction books have inspired me for many years.
When a reader gets done with your book, what do you want them to come away with?

What I love most about the craft of writing is the aspect of telling a story. I enjoy creating realistic characters and putting them in a setting that is historically accurate. I write recent historical, inspirational fiction. I once wrote an article called ‘Entertainment with a Soul’. That is indeed how I view my writing. Hopefully there’s a good story and an interesting plot. But there should be more. I want the reader to find the soul in my book and in my characters. My goal is to write the best literature I can, with real characters and themes that strike a chord in the reader’s heart and force the reader to think, to ask questions, to laugh and cry and hope. To be entertained way down in her soul. Writing to me is a vocation. I consider it a great privilege to be able to do what I love and to write stories that can make a difference in someone’s life.

Is there a place you have always wanted to visit? A vacation spot, historical monument, overseas, etc?

Since I have lived in France for over 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many wonderful places in Europe. But my husband grew up in Brazil, where his parents were missionaries and I’ve never gotten to visit there, but I hope to be able to one day.
If you could have dinner with 2 people, who would they be?

I’d love to have dinner with Amy Grant and Beth Moore—both beautiful women of faith who have been called by the Lord to live out their lives in the public arena. Their passion and creativity inspire and encourage me. They are both so honest and real and let God pick them up after all their failings and keep going on in faith.

What one event would you love to be at? Historical or future?

I want to be at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Fortunately, I know that I have a reserved seat!

Do you have a favorite hobby?

I have lots of hobbies I enjoy, but one of my oldest hobbies is scrapbooking. I started making scrapbooks at 17, long before scrapbooking was considered a word. Our home now holds over 50 scrapbooks, with more being made. I find that my scrapbooks have been used in many ways, often as a ministry to someone who needs encouragement. I’ll pluck a photo or two of a friend from an old scrapbook, scan it, or photocopy it, and send it to that friend when she’s going through a hard time.

Is there something about you most people wouldn't know?

Here are a few things:

~I love to take long walks

~I enjoy most being one-on-one with people and having deep discussions

~We have the sweetest, smartest and most neurotic dog in the world

~I love being the only girl in my family (I have a wonderful husband, two amazing sons and that neurotic (male) dog.)

~I delight in my ministry to young teen girls. I do lots of informal discipleship—through meeting together, sharing, praying, memorizing Scripture.

~I don’t like to watch the news on TV or on internet—too depressing. I have to be very careful what kind of information I put into my little head.

~I love to cuddle up in bed at the end of a long day with a good book.

~ France has great food, so the only food I miss in America is Cheetos!

Do you have any suggestions for the aspiring writer?

My simple formula is: write, write, write and pray, pray, pray! That’s what I did for 30 years before I got my first book contract. But I also encourage aspiring writers to attend a writers' conference. I have only been to three in the past 15 years, but at the first one I met the editor who would eventually publish my first novel and is still my editor today, at the second one, I took a class from a man who is now my agent, and at the third, I connected with many other writers. If your novel has a Christian slant, I would suggest attending a Christian writers' conference, of which there are many. The biggest Christian fiction writers' conference is the ACFW conference, held each September. You can find out about this wonderful association and their conference at Look on the left side of the home page and click on 'annual conference'.

At most of these conferences, there are very helpful classes and seminars on everything about writing and getting published, for beginners up through professionals. And typically, you can schedule an interview with an editor from a publishing house and with an agent. Both are excellent opportunities to 'pitch' your idea for a novel. Plus you'll get loads of info at the conference to help you along the way towards publication. Again, if your writing has a Christian slant, I suggest you become a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), for $40 a year. They have incredible resources, and are growing daily--I think the membership is over 2000 now.

But there are many, many other writers' conferences all over the US, for every genre, so spend some time on the internet and I'm sure you'll find lots to help.

Any last thoughts for your readers?

I am often asked ‘what is the most fulfilling thing about your work as missionary and author?’ For me, in ministry, it is when someone catches on to Jesus! When they begin to understand. And with my books, it’s when someone writes to me or comes up to me and says, “your book made me think, or brought me back to the Lord, or caused me to look at things differently or encouraged me in my faith…’.

And I want to tell y’all that it really is a great blessing for an author to interact with her readers and hear from them. On many days when discouragement sets in, the Lord uses an email from a reader to give me a gentle hug and get me back on track! Thanks for reading!

And how can they connect with you?

For more information about my life and books, please visit my website at: There you can read the first chapter of each of my novels and there’s a place to send me emails on the homepage.

Merci beaucoup!

Well, readers, One thing almost all these authors have brought up to aspiring writers, is the ACFW club. If any of you writers out there want to know more, please check out the ACFW website. They have a lot of helpful information and I enjoy browsing the website even though I am not an author, just a reader:)

MANDATORY ENTRY-To enter the giveaway for Words Unspoken, leave me a comment telling me what your favorite hobby is. I like to do some scrapbooking myself but definitely nowhere near what Elizabeth has done. Like I said before, I would like to know more about my readers and the things they enjoy.

EXTRA ENTRIES-These can only be done after the Mandatory entry has been completed. Please leave a comment for each entry you do.

1.Join Elizabeth's mailing list. It is on the home page of her website here.

2.Follow my blog.

3.Follow me on Twitter.

4.Enter any of my other giveaways.

This giveaway will end 11/3. Winner will be chosen through They have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

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