"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

To Dance in the Desert by Kathleen Popa

But first, a word from your blogger:

Reading this book to Nancy was an unspeakable pleasure. I can't count the number of times I was stricken by the beauty of Popa's prose, more poetic than than most of the poetry I've tried to read. Kathleen Popa's first book rivals the works of Jan Karon for her simple, yet, profound character portrayals and slice-of-life stories. This is unabashedly character-driven, and at the same moment protagonist Dara Brogan's personal demons drive a plot that most authors wouldn't have been able to put across.
        This masterwork is a must-read for anyone who loves well-crafted stories of flesh-and-blood characters facing daunting internal and interpersonal issues, with an unconventional redemptive thread that lifts the heart and makes one glad.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(RiverOak, May 1, 2007)



Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility fro incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturved children. Mother of two, sh lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!


“Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news?

So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.

A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book.

~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden

Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking.

~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fearless by Robin Parrish


        I had the privelage of reading this to Nancy and I must present the following review with a strong disclaimer: DO NOT HOPE TO PUT THIS BOOK DOWN after the first couple of chapters.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Bethany House, July 1, 2007)



Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist.

In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.

Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.

By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.

After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.

One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.

In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.

Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.


Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:

The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...

Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.

But in the darkness there is hope -- an anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian." He is Grant Borrows, one of a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. But while Grant enjoys this new life, signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, and those closest to Grant worry he may be hiding a terrible secret.

A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.

Secrets will be revealed.

Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.

And destiny will not be denied.

The story continues...

Sunday, July 08, 2007


        As a cardcarrying(it's around here someplace) passive/aggressive, my first impulse when encountering someone is to be seen in a favorable light. That would seem no more than a common, personal quirk, but for Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[slave] of Christ.
        When I read that verse all my little excuses go up in smoke. No longer can I ignore opportunities to share my relationship with my Father God. No longer can I tacitly approve of my Christian brother's public sin by remaining silent when he asks me about it. No longer can I remain unprepared to join in when a conversation involves questions of world view.
Father, this is going to be tough. My phobia of confrontation must die, yet I don't know how to kill it. I need your power in my life, to stand and speak when I need to, and not back down out of fear. You have infinitely more than enough power to cover all such needs, so I beg of you in Jesus name, to pour out your Holy Spirit on my fear when it raises its ugly head. Make me able to love you unto obedience.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Island Inferno by Chuck Holton

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing



Chuck Holton


Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.

In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.

He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, and
Allah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.

Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.




As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.

A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.

Fernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.

When Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?

"Island Inferno is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Peace of My Mind

        This morning— early, this morning— I sat next to what would briefly become my bed in our hospital's outpatient surgical center, drowsily waiting for my "procedure" to begin. Without consciously eavesdropping, I overheard a young woman in the next bed trying to explain her trepidation about the back surgery scheduled for her. She had dozens of questions for the anesthesiologist standing by her bed, and with each one he commented, "That's a good question." For more than a half-hour he answered those questions, all the time trying to reassure her of the mundane, bullet-proof nature of both the surgery and the process of anesthesia she would undergo.
        When the interview drew to a close, she couldn't stem the tide of tears that had been rising behind her eyelids. She was terrified about the procedure, the anesthesia, even the staff that would quite competently perform their jobs. She was about to traverse unfamiliar territory, and seemed sure something would go wrong.
        Some would call her a worrywart. I call her reaction completely natural— natural, as opposed to supernatural.
        I recalled my episode of anxiety before undergoing "The Knife"; how I'd experienced concerns about the potential pain involved. How I had contemplated the possibility of dying from surgical complications. Yet despite those concerns, I had felt a sweet, unnatural peace while being wheeled into surgery— even before they pumped the feel-good drugs into me. I remembered praying the whole situation into God's more-than capable hands. Would I have the best surgeon for the job? That was God's problem. Would I react favorably to the anesthesia? That was also God's problem. Would some aid loose count of the surgical sponges, allowing an assistant to leave one inside my incision and causing toxic shock resulting in my untimely demise? Even that was God's problem. In view of all those possibilities that were God's problems, I couldn't find a single problem with which to worry myself.
        What could I do for that young woman? The obvious answer was to share Jesus with her. Yet, the nurse had closed the drape between us, trying to keep their exchange as private as possible. Dare I intrude on such a private conversation? If I had known for a fact that her anesthesiologist was incompetent, would I have violated that screen of privacy? Though I longed for an opportunity to share my supernatural peace with her, the young woman left with her husband, still upset about things over which she had no control.
        That was, after all, her most basic fear; after a life of pretending she was completely in control, she faced a situation where she felt powerless. Her life rested in hands other than hers— fallible, human hands. What a difference she would have experienced if only she trusted God for her security, if only she knew the love that drove Christ Jesus to the disgraceful death of the cross for her. Yet, every day uncounted, hopeless people refuse the one Hope that would give them the supernatural peace they crave.
        Lord, give me opportunities to share with others A Peace of My Mind. And give me the grace to live up to your holy Name.