Friday, August 20, 2010

The Crimson Cipher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Crimson Cipher
Summerside Press (July 1, 2010)

Susan Page Davis

I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. First, it's about a time period you don't read about often -- just prior to WWI. Second, it involves the early days of creating and deciphering codes, which has always been interesting to me. Third, it involves women entering the workplace when it wasn't really popular or common, especially in intellectual jobs.

Susan Page Davis does a fabulous job of creating intrigue immediately. She draws you into the story and intricately weaves the lives of the main characters together.

I enjoyed the way she teaches the reader about ciphers in the text -- I learned a lot without feeling that I was being lectured. I also appreciated the more realistic way she treated her characters. I don't want to give anything away, but life isn't always perfect. Nuff said.

Definitely a good read for those interested in historical fiction.


From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!

Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.


A female Navy cryptographer seeks to save lives...and uncover her father’s killers.

In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. With enemies lurking at every turn, whom can Emma trust? Is romance the true motive behind her tow suitors advances? Or could one-or both of them-have traitorous intentions in mind?

Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster’s father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system.

Emma races to discover the nefarious plans of her country's foes and unmask their leader before others are killed. She finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin.

And yet, her greatest challenge may be deciphering the cryptic messages her heart sends whenever she encounters a certain navy lieutenant... Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Crimson Cipher, go HERE.

Marriage Meme

Copy this meme and paste it into a post on your blog. (With your own answers!) Link back to this post, It's Real Life. Then leave a comment here so I know you're participating and I can pop over and read your meme. Don't forget to tag your friends with this also. And - if you're not a blogger, that's okay too - just answer the meme in the comment section and be sure to leave your email address.

On Thursday the 26th I'll choose 5 winners who will receive a copy of Generation NeXt Marriage and Generation NeXt Parenting.

  • How did you meet your husband? At an informal college party
  • What did you first notice about him? He was very considerate (and cute)
  • How long have you been married? 28 years
  • Share something you discovered about him after you were married that surprised you? He was willing to make extreme sacrifices so I could achieve things I didn't even know I wanted.
  • What do you argue about the most? We really don't argue much...probably about who is luckier to have the other one!
  • What quality in him do you admire most? His dedication to his mother and his family
  • What is the hardest part about being married? The daily, mundane parts of life
  • What’s the best part about being married? Being with my best friend every day
  • What has changed the most about you since you've been married? Everything -- a whole family has been created and I've grown with each addition, each joy, each conflict, each heartbreak. I am more mature, more reliant on God, more sure of myself, less perfectionistic, more patient.
  • What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other wives about creating a happy marriage? It really doesn't matter which way you hang the toilet paper...don't win for the sake of winning!
  • What's the one piece of advice you'd give to your children about creating a happy marriage? Marry your best friend and seek God together.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Gathering Storm

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Gathering Storm
Summerside Press (August 1, 2010)

Bodie and Brock Thoene


This is a very action-packed book about the early days of WWII. You get a perspective of the war from those who are working to protect the Jewish people and others who are trying to help them. I was fascinated by horrific conditions even the 'friendly' countries forced upon the Jewish refugees.

Fascinating book with some interesting twists about my favorite period in history. I definitely recommend it.


Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 50 works of historical fiction. Over twenty million of these best-selling novels are in print. Eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirms what millions of readers have already discovered—the Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers’ minds and hearts.

Bodie began her writing career as a teen journalist for her local newspaper. Eventually her byline appeared in prestigious periodicals such as U.S. News and World Report, The American West, and The Saturday Evening Post. She also worked for John Wayne’s Batjac Productions (she’s best known as author of The Fall Guy) and ABC Circle Films as a writer and researcher. John Wayne described her as “a writer with talent that captures the people and the times!” She has degrees in journalism and communications.

Brock has often been described by Bodie as “an essential half of this writing team.” With degrees in both history and education, Brock has, in his role as researcher and story-line consultant, added the vital dimension of historical accuracy. Due to such careful research, The Zion Covenant and The Zion Chronicles series are recognized by the American Library Association, as well as Zionist libraries around the world, as classic historical novels and are used to teach history in college classrooms.

Bodie and Brock have four grown children—Rachel, Jake, Luke, and Ellie—and seven grandchildren. Their sons, Jake and Luke, are carrying on the Thoene family talent as the next generation of writers, and Luke produces the Thoene audiobooks.

Bodie and Brock divide their time between London and Nevada.


As Nazi forces tighten the noose, Loralei Kepler, daughter of a German resistance leader, must flee her beloved Germany. But is any place safe from Adolf Hitler's evil grasp? Loralei's harrowing flight leads her into the arms of needy child refugees, who have sacrificed everything in exchange for their lives, and toward a mysterious figure, who closely guards an age-old secret.

Explore the romance, the passion, and the danger of the most anticipated series of the last twenty years.

Born from the highly acclaimed and best-loved novels of three generations of readers -- The Zion Covenant series and The Zion Chronicles series -- Zion Diaries ventures into the lives of the inspiring and intriguing characters who loved intensely, stood up for what was right, and fought boldly during Hitler's rise to power and the dark days of World War II.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Gathering Storm, go HERE