Thursday, October 29, 2009

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

eye of the god

Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)


Ariel Allison


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at

From Ariel:
I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingles meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have
grown to love many others since.


eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writers Just Wanna Have Fun

Some of my writer buds put together this video. I got to watch from the sidelines, and thought you'd have fun meeting Carolyn Aarsen, Kristen Billerbeck, Terri Blackstock, Robin Lee Hatcher and Angela Hunt having fun together. Who said writers don't want to have fun :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Intervention by Terri Blackstock

Intervention has a different feel from her Newport and 911 series, starting with an intensity that pulls you into the book. It also has more of a straight suspense feel -- because so far there is no love interest. In that respect, it reminds me of Brandilyn Collin's books. I haven't finished Intervention yet, but wanted you to have the chance to see the trailer.

Terri was also on 700 Club this week, so be sure to check out her website to watch that clip.

Intervention...what happens when drugs take over a family? And what's a mother to do to save her daughter from the grip of drugs? Barbara Covington does the only thing she can think to. She sends her daughter to an expensive rehab center... a last hope to save her from her addictions. But then the woman traveling with Emily is murdered and Emily disappears. Barbara's worst nightmare just got immensely worse. Intervention begins a bit slowly, but picks up speed until I could not turn the pages fast enough as I reached the climax and end of the story. As I read the book, I continued to find myself imagining what it must be like to have a loved family member in the clutches of drugs. What would I do and to what lengths would I go to find them and fight for them? Intervention takes you on that twisting journey. In the beginning while some of the threads were forming, I kept waiting for the suspense to build. Once it did, it never stopped. This book will be a great read for those who like suspense with a strong family dynamic, tiniest hint of romance, and a spiritual thread that leaves the reader with hope at the end -- something missing from much suspense.


Terri Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide. Her suspense novels often debut at number one on the Christian fiction best-seller lists, and True Light, published last year, was number one of all Christian books—fiction and non-fiction. Blackstock has had twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

In 1994 Blackstock was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, in addition to the thirty-two she had in the secular market. Her most recent books are the four in her acclaimed Restoration Series, which includes
Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light. She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 and Cape Refuge Series.

In addition to her suspense novels, she has written a number of novels in the women’s fiction genre, including
Covenant Child, which was chosen as one of the first Women of Faith novels, and her Seasons Series written with Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye.

Blackstock has won the Retailer’s Choice Award and has appeared on national television programs such as The 700 Club, Home Life, and At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country and the subject of countless articles. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as
Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.


Barbara Covington has one more chance to save her daughter from a devastating addiction, by staging an intervention. But when eighteen-year-old Emily disappears on the way to drug treatment—and her interventionist is found dead at the airport—Barbara enters her darkest nightmare of all.

Barbara and her son set out to find Emily before Detective Kent Harlan arrests her for a crime he is sure she committed. Fearing for Emily’s life, Barbara maintains her daughter’s innocence. But does she really know her anymore? Meanwhile, Kent has questions of his own. His gut tells him that this is a case of an addict killing for drugs, but as he gets to know Barbara, he begins to hope he’s wrong about Emily.

The panic level rises as the mysteries intensify: Did Emily’s obsession with drugs lead her to commit murder—or is she another victim of a cold-blooded killer?

If you would like to read the first chapter of
Intervention, go HERE

Watch the book Trailer:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thought for the Church

I wish I knew who to attribute this to, but it made me stop and think...

The pastor of a church of more than four thousand members was asked how many of his members he considered Christians. He replied, "If you mean by that those who come fairly regularly to the church worship, or who belong to any auxiliary of the church, or who contribute regularly to the support of the church and missions, or who partake of the Lord's Supper, then I would be compelled to say that less than 45 percent of my members are really Christian." Are you actively fitting yourself for effective service?

Cara again -- the one thing this misses is that the key to a Christian walk is who is Jesus to you. Did Jesus die on the Cross for your sins while you were still quite content and happy in your sins? Did He, the blameless sacrifice, willingly offer Himself for you? Is He more than a good man or prophet? Is He fully God and fully man? Once you've made your decision about that, then these other things become important. But the foundation remains Jesus Christ. Who is He to you?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Turning an Idea into a Book, Part 2

After my editor asked to see the ideas I had for the Ohio series, I realized I needed to do some fast searching.

But I couldn't just look for any old World War Two story. I knew it had to be something I could become truly excited about.

To start I hustled over to Google and entered searches along the lines of World War Two and Ohio. Really high tech, right? I also hopped over to the historical societies in the largeer cities. And I prayed. It was amazing to watch God lead me to the right sites and the historical hooks. I’d hit the site and soon turn around with a squeal and tell my husband, “can you believe what I just found?!?!?”

I found a top-secret war project hidden in a company in Dayton. I love the idea of spies and secrets, so it was an immediate plot – and that book releases in November. The third idea gave me fits until I remembered that there was the All-American Girls Professional Softball/Baseball League during World War Two and beyond. While there weren’t any Ohio teams, dozens of Ohio girls played in the league. A perfect plot for the heroine I envisioned for the third book. And that story releases in the spring of 2010.

Once you’ve found the hook, you still have to research and eventually stop. Generally, I immerse myself in that particular event. I’ll buy and read books on the subject. Usually, I can find at least one.

If possible I do a site visit. Museums are a wonderful resource, and for me there’s always been something important about seeing the setting. That may not be possible for all my books, but I can find videos, guides, etc., that help me understand the flora and fauna, what the weather patterns are like, and the other details that help the setting come to life.

Then it’s time to step back and dream. Invariably, I’ll learn there are more details I need. But if I never start writing, I’ll never have a book. And that is the desired end result.

Good luck as you work on your books!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Alpha and Omega

Right now the ladies Sunday School class I lead is working through Beth Moore's Esther study. Good stuff!

This week as I worked on it, I love how God brought some fresh revelation. Isn't it amazing how He does that!?!?! A book I have read dozens of times since I was a child -- and still feels like it's the first time. And the revelation is so relevant to MY life. God is amazing!

Here’s a piece of what I shared — part of it grew out of the Esther study and then God doing what He does best. What He showed me is that He is the Alpha and Omega of not just time, but of our lives. Of my life. Everything that happens in our lives that catches us by surprise or uncertianty, He already knows about — and He already is putting the pieces in place to respond! That is what is so amazing and cool. Just like in Esther 3 — everybody was bewildered and shocked by what Haman did. Those who lived in Susa were “bewildered”. But before Mordecai began standing up while everyone else bowed, long before Haman’s rage began to boil, long before the signet ring was applied to the edict, God already had begun shifting people to the places they needed to be so that He could cancel the edict.

Is that not cool!

He is so much bigger — and in the middle of my life circumstances I so easily forget that. It’s one thing to say He’s in control, but if I could truly grasp that He’s not only in control, but so on top of it, WOW! My stress level would go down and my trust level up!

Monday, October 19, 2009

To be a kid...

My oldest and her friend spent the afternoon at our neighborhood pond. Why? To solve a crime.

You see, a car had somehow driven into the pond. Not an easy task.

And like any good Nancy Drew and other mystery readers, they decided they had to investigate. Surely they would learn something the police missed. :-) Ah, to be so precocious.

My daughter already has two notebooks ready to go for their ongoing investigation tomorrow. Now, if I could only take inspiration from that determination. With two trade sized books to write by March 1, I need to get inspired and writing. Even without inspiration, I need to get to work. So today and tomorrow, I'm finishing edits on my final book in the Ohio World War Two series. Then it's to excuses.

And maybe like my daughter and her friend, I'll solve a crime or two.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A visit with Allie Pleiter: Fessing up

I'm delighted to have my friend Allie Pleiter join us today. We got to spend more time together at the ACFW conference. The more time I spend with her, the more I appreciate her. Her next Love Inspired book releases soon, and she's joined us today to talk a bit about the power secrets have...

Secrets are one of the strongest wounds the human race inflicts on itself. Moral and spiritual decay aside, medical science has actually documented the physical damage secret-keeping wreaks on our bodies. God created us to be creatures of light and it any wonder we pay the price when we muck things up with darkness and deception?

Still, it’s not all black and white. Discretion is not the same thing as secret-keeping. Often we are gifted with the trust of private information from those in our lives. But privacy and truth are not mutually exclusive. As a parent, I find this is one of the hardest lessons to teach. It’s one of those “gray areas” that only experience teaches well. And I’ll be the first to tell you I’ve messed up in this area. I often wear my heart on my sleeve, so it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I ought to. Age teaches us, however, that everyone has things they’d rather not display, and most of us have things we’re keeping from the light even if we do know better. I believe it’s one of those all-too-human traits we’ll not perfect this side of heaven.

Bluegrass Christmas is about two people with very different secrets. One feels monumental but isn’t, one should be revealed but has been downplayed for so many years the damage may be irreversible. Ah, but Christmas is about redemption, and Bluegrass Christmas features two people who redeem themselves in ways neither one expected. Sure there are funny parts--humor is too much of how I see the world for me to write a book without it--but I hope it offers a deeper message about how we muck up God’s gifts with our weaknesses. The best news of all is that while we can muck up God’s gifts, God can always redeem them just in time. Blessed early holidays to you all!



ISBN 13# 978-0-373-87

An Old Fashioned Christmas...

That’s what led new believer Mary Thorpe to start over in quaint Middleburg, Kentucky. As director of the church’s Christmas pageant, Mary’s job is to bring the townspeople together, to remind them what the season is really about. But everyone is all riled up over one very handsome man: the man daring to run against Middleburg’s popular long-standing mayor. Mac MacCarthy wants change. Mary wants things to stay as they are. Is there a happy medium? Both Mac and Mary are in for one very big Christmas surprise.

Author bio:
An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. She grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, spent fifteen years in the field of professional fundraising, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing nine years ago has given rise to a career spanning two parenting books, eight novels including the multi-nominated MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at <> or her knitting blog at <>

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Turning an Idea into a Book, Part 1

One challenge both published and not-yet-published authors have is how to rein in an idea and turn it into a book. My friend Tricia Goyer posted on twitter last week about the reality that you have to reach a point with your research where you stop and start writing. But knowing when you’ve reached that point is so hard!

Research is often the key to that ah-ha moment. The moment where you realize you have an idea that generates passion and excitement in you as an author. The moment when characters begin to raise their hands and demand to tell their story.

The key is learning how to find that balance. When to keep researching and how to stop.

For my Ohio series for Heartsong Presents I had one idea. An idea that I uncovered in a London museum. The tidbit was enough to be the historical hook for one story, but certainly not enough for three. And three is a requirement So what did I do when my editor asked to see all three ideas?

Come back Friday, and I'll share some of my tips. Also, let me know what questions you have about writing. And I've got great news to share soon. I'm just waiting on the actual contract...You'll see it here first!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thought for Today

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that, my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931 - 2005

Friday, October 09, 2009

Real Life on Pages

What happens when real life bleeds on to the pages of our books?

Sometimes it happens. I know, you never expected that, right?

Some of my writer friends have talked about whether they feel more exposed in fiction or nonfiction. Now my onl

y non fiction book is on business law. Very academic if approachable. I definitely feel more exposed and vulnerable with fiction.

In fact, life has bled onto the page in at least two of my books.

With Sandhill Dreams, I was still reeling from my first miscarriage and secondary infertility as I prepared to write Lainie’s story. So her spiritual journey of where to find God when it seems He’s allowed a dream to die was very much where I was. I clung to promises like those that He will never leave us or forsake us, because I knew in a very real way what it felt like to feel as if He had abandoned me in my pain. I had to cling to those promises until I could

convince my heart to believe them again.

Then in A Promise Kept, I offered that journey to God again as I wrote about a newly married couple who experiences the death of their dream. I wrote a letter to readers in that book that explained why I wrote the story as I did. Then, weeks after the book released to the bookclub and as I already felt exposed and poised to run from reaction, I miscarried again. It felt like such a slap. I have truly wrestled with how God can use me more by allowing this second pain than He could have with the first. I may not know the answer until heaven, but I’m still very much in the throes of that struggle.

So, yes, life does bleed into my pages. Because if I’m going to write real emotion. If I’m going to have a genuine spiritual arc. Then most of the time I will have experienced or thought long and hard about the journeys my characters take.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Each year worship is one of my favorite times of the conference. As I'm typing this, I'm listening to the song that many of us would consider the song of this year's conference. It's While I'm Waiting by John Waller. You can watch the video for the song on the artist's website. When you do, you'll notice it was a part of Fireproof.

Lyrics like these make it an incredibly impactful song:

...While I'm waiting, I will serve You
While I'm waiting, I will worship
I will not faint...

So take a moment -- if God has you in a place of waiting -- hop over to the artist's website and listen and worship.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Reviews: Seaside Letters & Guardian of the Flame

Today I'm reviewing two books that I recently read and really enjoyed. One is a sweet romance from Denise Hunter, while the other is the latest in the Seven Wonders books from T.L. Higley. Both were engrossing reads, but in different ways. So to start, let's turn to fellow Hoosier, Denise Hunter...

For Seaside Letters, think You've Got Mail mixed with a bit more real life. Denise has crafted a romance filled with secrets. Sabrina never intended to fall in love with Tucker McCabe, but she did. The only problem is that now he wants to find her -- and he's asked for her help. While I wondered at the beginning if this book would be a retelling of You've Got Mail, Denise's unique spins and twists soon came to the forefront. I'd love to tell you the main one, but will restrain myself. And the similarities didn't bother me since You've Got Mail is one of my favorite movies.

And similar to the other books that are Nantucket Love Stories, the book retains the parable element. I love the depth it adds to the book when you consider how God's love is revealed through the romance. So the next time you're ready to curl up with a romance that has so much more going on, pick up Seaside Letters.

542601: Seaside Letters, Nantucket Love Story Series #3Seaside Letters, Nantucket Love Story Series #3

By Denise Hunter

Sabrina Kincaid didn't intend to fall for Nantucket native Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning-the man tied deeply to Sabrina's most mortifying secret.

Then Tucker decides to hire Sabrina to help locate his online friend Sweetpea-the mysterious woman he's falling in love with. It's a pickle: Sabrina is not inclined to help, but letting Tucker hire someone else could spell disaster. Because if someone else helped him-if someone else sifted through the letters and figured out the truth-then Tucker would discover that the person he's trying to find is . . . her.

The next book is Guardian of the Flame by T.L. Higley. It is the third installment in the Seven Wonders series, and I had to restrain myself from reading it the moment in waltzed through the door. While I read it the same week as Denise's book, it is a very different and equally moving book.

Step back in time to Alexandria, 48 B.C. The Romans are invading and Cleopatra and others struggle for who will maintain power. The Cleopatra thread was fun to read. But Sophia's tale gripped me. A woman who believed she was unlovable, she'd held herself aloft in the Alexandria lighthouse for years. Now events are forcing her to step out of the lighthouse and engage. Too bad one of those she's forced to engage with is Bellus, a Roman centurion.

This story is a twist on Beauty and the Beast, but has such depth I couldn't put it down. And the historical details swept me away. I felt like I was in ancient Alexandria -- a place I wasn't sure I would have chosen until this talented author swept me there. A perfect story that leaves me eager for the next.

If you like historicals, or haven't tried them for awhile, this one is the one to read next.

447323: Guardian of the Flame, Seven Wonders Series #3 Guardian of the Flame, Seven Wonders Series #3
By T.L. Higley

The year is 48 BC. Sophia, a woman hurt by past loss, guards the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, in order to hide herself away from a world she deems cruel and unloving. But there is no escape. Political turmoil swells as Roman general Julius Caesar and his legion storm the city, and Cleopatra, Greek queen of Egypt , fights to retain her country against both Caesar and bloodthirsty rivals within her own household. Sophia is caught in the middle between a loyalty to Cleopatra and her maddening interest in Bellus, the Roman soldier whom Caesar has instructed to overtake the lighthouse.


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