Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Vote of Confidence

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Vote Of Confidence

Zondervan (April 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE

My Thoughts:

I haven't completed this book yet, but I've been intrigued by the concept since I first heard about it. I love any story, true or fiction, that tells of breaking through barriers, doing the unexpected, and struggling against convention to become all that God has created a person to be. This story not only tells such a tale, but reminds us that all struggles involve loss and difficult choices that must be made along the way.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Elisha's Bones

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)


Don Hoesel


Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE


Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.

You can buy this book at Amazon

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventures In Puppy School - Class 1

Jack, our 90 pound puppy, and I are attending obedience training together. I'm pretty sure I need this training more than he does, but the brochure says that he'll learn to obey basic commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. Many people are still waiting for me to obey basic commands, but they will just have to keep waiting for a different class.

Jack is a very strong chocolate lab who is approximately ten months old. His only fear that we've discovered to date is electronic doors. He absolutely refuses to go through them for some reason. We have been a little hesitant about me taking him to class because of this and his overall strength. My husband usually wears Jack out before taking him on a walk and even then Jack can be hard to handle, so I've been looking forward to this training adventure with a little trepidation. I played ball with him for about 25 minutes before the class to calm him down a bit, but that just resulted in him sleeping for the 40 minute ride to the training facility.

As I pull into the parking lot the trepidation turned into fear. I saw several other dog owners getting out of their cars with their pets. . . almost every one is what I tend to irreverently call a 'rat dog' -- those hairy little yappy dogs that weigh about four pounds soaking wet (no offense to lovers of small dogs). Jack uses toys bigger than that to play tug of war with. This wasn't looking good. After seeing a couple of medium sized dogs get out of their cars, one that looked to be a handful for its owner, I felt a little more comfortable.

I got the pinch collar out of my bag, thinking that might give me a better pretense of control, and I realized there is NO way it will go around his neck -- it was at least three links too short (it's left over from our last 90 pound dog). This is going to be one big boy! Fear and trepidation returned as I remembered how Jack wormed his way out of his collar when my husband took him to be neutered. Thinking about how big Queenie Park is, I said a quick prayer and headed out.

We made it to the doors and I saw that they weren't electric -- yeah! We made it safely through the first set and Jack froze. Something didn't look right to him and he instantly became a statue. Two of the little dogs pranced right past him and went through the second set of doors as the panic showed on his face. This dog was terrified of something. I brought bribes just for this purpose, and I let go of the leash and went through the door, sat on the floor and held his bone dice. He didn't buy it. He plopped down on the floor with legs splayed like Bambi on ice and buried his head under a chair. He didn't move. Four dog owners, with their little dogs sitting pretty, all tried to help, humiliating him further.

Finally someone called the dog trainer. She asked for my pinch collar, pulled out three more links so it fit, put it on him and physically drugs him through the door. He was too humiliated to eat the bone for five minutes!

He did pretty well in class after that, but I think he wanted to show the class how smart he really was. While they were working on 'come' and 'sit', he wanted to show them that he had 'lay down' mastered. Have you ever tried to get a 90 pound dog who prefers to lay down to sit back up? It's not pretty.

We worked on going through doors a little after class (if I can trick him into getting through a single door, it works ok, but he won't go directly through it). I don't know what his problem is with working in class. When we practiced outside he did wonderfully.

If he doesn't do better next week, I'll bring our Welsh Corgi to the rest of the classes and just train Jack on my own at home.

Whew. I didn't know this was going to be an aerobic activity! Check back for more adventures next Tuesday.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Now the Little Buggers Have Me Intrigued

The ant problem has decreased greatly (I've actually been a bit afraid to post about it. . . you know, the old adage about speaking too soon), but a mystery remains. Each day we get about 5 - 15 new dead ants in the tub. Every day without fail. The good news is, of course, that they are dead. The bad news is that they keep coming and I have no idea from whence they come!

I've closed up the drain (if water can't go down it only makes sense to me that ants can't come up, right?). I've sprayed in the drain (yea, I know about the danger to the water supply -- sorry about that), around the base of the walls, around the windows, and on every live ant I've seen in the past month. I can't find any ant sneaking into the bathroom from any hole or crack in any part of the room. Trust me, I've spent WAY too long waiting and watching (so dearest husband, if you are wondering why the house hasn't been too clean in the past month, there is your answer). Not once have I seen one little antenna peeking through.

So I beseech your assistance, dear friends. What substance can I possibly concoct that will stick to little ant feet and leave a trail that I can see? I'm almost ready to call in CSI!

And what, pray tell, are they coming to the bathroom to eat? NOT that I want them back in the kitchen, but I promise, we do not eat in the bathroom upstairs!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boneman's Daughters

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Boneman's Daughters

Center Street (April 14, 2009)


Ted Dekker


Due to some unexpected craziness around our house for the past two weeks, I haven't been able to finish this one yet, and believe me it is HARD to put down! From the very first chapter the book explodes into action -- literally. In addition to the intrigue and world-wide activity, Ted Dekker has again created multi-dimensional characters who beg you to empathize with them while you sit on the edge of your seat waiting for the worst to happen. Like every other Dekker book I've read, I can't wait to get to the end and I know I'll hate to have to finally put it down for good and wait for his next one.


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

If your an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Boneman's Daughters, go HERE

What Does it Say About Society?

There has been quite an uproar about Susan Boyer lately -- I even directed you to her performance in a youtube video in a previous post. Since her 'debut', the world has been buzzing about this nondescript middle aged woman that everyone laughed at until she opened her mouth and sang.

Shame on us. Why in the world would any of us be surprised by her talent -- and I'm including myself in that scolding. Why is it that we only think the young, thin, and beautiful are capable of wonderful things? I wonder how many times we have lost progress in this world because we have overlooked the brilliant by choosing the beautiful.

How many times have those who received genes that didn't seem to match, suffered physical or other maladies that left them less than 'perfect', or even those whose parents weren't able to provide the latest cool clothes been treated just differently enough by peers, teachers and bosses that they gave up and believed they weren't good enough?

How many older folks lived fabulous lives, created wonderful things, taught our best and brightest, yet get treated like children because they are a little slower, a little more bent, a little less focused than they used to be?

How many brilliant minds, locked in bodies that don't function well, go unheeded because we who think we are smarter can't take the time to listen?

What a different world it would be if each time we looked at a person we expected to hear brilliance -- a voice like Susan Boyles' or something else just as magical? Isn't that what God sees?

I hope they don't feel a need to make her over. She is beautiful just as she is!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NEVER Judge by Appearances

As many of you know, I love books, movies, musicals, and other experiences that cause me to think about the times we as humans make incorrect assumptions and judgements about life. This little video has to be among one of the best examples I've seen. It is WELL worth seven minutes of your life.

I'm Thankful on Tax Day

I know that sounds strange, but really, I am. For several reasons, actually.

I'm thankful that my husband is gainfully employed and able to pay our taxes without too much trouble. Plenty of grumbling, maybe, but no real hardship.

And yes, there are plenty of folks out there who will tell us all the ways that our taxes are wasted. Yes, I believe that many of them are right. However, my children receive basic education (not don't get me started on the quality of that...), our transportation infrastructure is much better than most countries in the world, I'm proud of the security system our country and community has, and the things that we worry most about in our country are often not even on the radar screens of 85% of the people in the world.

The Bible tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess 5:18). Even Jesus himself told us to pay taxes in Matthew 22.

So, silly as it may sound, I want to remember to be thankful today of all days.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Son, John

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Son, John

(Sheaf House Publishers April 2009)


Kathi Macias


Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. She has also ghostwritten and collaborated on books for a number of well-known individuals. She is a staff member for The Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and a member of The Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Authors Network, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Fellowship International, Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, for who she serves as membership chair, and orange County Christian Writers Fellowship. She is the 2008 winner of AWSA’s Golden Scroll Award.

A Former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Macias is a credentialed minister and served as an associate pastor at a large church in Southern California, where she did biblical counseling, trained small group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.



Could there be a more chilling word?

Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive?

When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.

And then a second blow-more devastating, if possible, than the first-rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother's murder. As what's left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons' longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?

Watch the chilling trailer!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of My Son, John, go HERE

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Ants Go Marching. . .

On and on.

Well, not so much. After two days of spraying in the kitchen and bathroom, they are really almost gone. In reality, they might have been almost gone after one day of spraying but I really wanted them to die immediately instead of taking a while so I sprayed a second day. Did I ever mention that I'm not very patient?

The only problem we continue to have is in the dishwasher. They have to be coming in through the drain or pipe somehow, but I don't know where that exits the house, so I can't figure out how to spray outside and I can't spray in the dishwasher. I put borax in the dishwasher as soon as it finishes its cycle everyday, but the ants just crawl right over it like it's sugar. GROSS. And of course a few escape the dishwasher every day, so I chase them down and kill them.

Maybe I'll try spraying bleach in the dishwasher. . . but first I'll check to be sure it doesn't interact with borax! Don't want any toxic gases.

I have learned that ants are much tougher to vacuum up than fruit flies. I wonder if they explode in the microwave (where do these evil thoughts come from?)?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Yesterday Was a Big Day

Jack went to the doctor to get 'fixed'...and he didn't even know he was broken! Doug had a heck of a time getting him through the door. I can't imagine that he'd ever been to this particular location before since we adopted him from people who live more than an hour away.

Jack ran the opposite direction and even worked his way out of his collar once. Luckily Doug was able to catch him and put the collar back on. He finally got Jack through the first set of automatic doors and then Jack decided he would have no more of it -- or maybe he'd heard what goes on in places like this. Jack sat down and absolutely refused to move. Doug had to pull the rug through the second set of automatic doors to get the silly dog into the waiting room! I wonder if the doctor will cut the sutures out on the sidewalk. There is NO way we'll get him in this place a second time after he has surgery.

Scamper was absolutely pathetic all day. First Sam disappeared, now Jack just as she was beginning to like him...what goes on around this place?

We got a phone call from the vet around 2:00 and Jack did 'fine'. He got home around 6:00. About 7:30 Sammi and her boyfriend Sam arrived with two cats -- Elvis and Kitty, who are going to live at our house for up to a week while we try to find them new homes. Know anyone who wants two older, sweet cats who are fixed, declawed, and up to date on shots?

Things are never boring around our house!