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SPECULATIVE FICTION SEASONED BY FAITH



Updated: 2015-12-09T14:07:50.581-06:00

 



Storm Siren by Mary Weber

2015-04-13T02:00:10.541-05:00

Storm SirenTHE STORM SIREN TRILOGY - Book 1by Mary Weber (click image for book link)DAY 1 - The Beginning of the End of EverythingThe Storm Siren -  http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Siren-Trilogy/dp/1401690343/ Author Website -  http://www.maryweber.com/Author Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/marychristineweber      Nym is an elemental girl in her late teens with a bit of a problem with her curse; stormy weather. Storm Siren begins as Nym is on the slave block to be sold for the fifteenth time to a foul-smelling slave owner with a quick temper as sharp as the dagger he carries. Nym has managed to create losses for each previous owner; family memebers and even sheep. Will her new owner be any different as Nym feels her blood boiling and the familiar storm clouds gathering above?   Nym tries to control her temper, but the storms she unleashes match her inner turmoil. As her temper builds over treatment of herself, and others, her curse-driven storm clouds blacken and boil, seething like her spirit inside. But, what if the weather manifestations aren't a curse but a blessing? Nym has an opportunity, and to some a duty, to unleash her wild storm control to vanquish the enemies of Faelen, her country, and save its peoples.   Will the next storm she calls be her last as she loses control of herself and the deep power coursing through her? Read Storm Siren to find out and get thrown into the story's storm. Youtube of First Book: allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/k79C_iOmpvQ/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/k79C_iOmpvQ?feature=player_embedded" width="320">Map of Storm Siren WorldCSFF Tour Links:  Julie Bihn Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Karri Compton April Erwin Victor Gentile Janeen Ippolito Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Audrey Sauble Jojo Sutis Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler[...]



Fatal Tree CSFF Tour Day 3 - All is Not Lost, God is Still In Control

2014-12-17T02:00:12.682-06:00

THE FATAL TREETHE BRIGHT EMPIRES - Book 5byStephen R Lawhead(click image for book link)DAY 3 - All is Not Lost, God is Still In Control      On this third, and last, day of the Fatal Tree blog tour I wanted to discuss how things work out in The Lord's time, that often isn't our time schedule. But, I don't want to give away the ending. One of the main characters, Wilhelmina, or Mina, seemed a bit nonchalant about God and religion in general back in the first book of the series, the Skin Map. To me, she seemed miserable, and blamed the world for her misfortune.  Over time her travel along the ley lines, and more importantly the gentle kindness of Englebert, or Etzel,  led her to an understanding of a higher purpose for her life. Mina's look to heaven and a prayer of thanks after a safe return seemed to bring home this point.     To me, Etzel represented the mind-set and attitude Christians should portray. From the beginning, he took newcomer Mina under his wing and grew a business with her. Lord Burleigh and his henchmen attack and harm Etzel, yet Etzel is able to forgive them through Grace, and he brings the five prisoners food and drink to feed them in their cell. Etzel's continued kindness and compassion sway the four henchmen, and Etzel is able to secure their release from prison. Left alone in his cell, Burleigh has weeks to ponder his plight, and begins to reconsider his actions and how his choices had brought him to where he had sunk so low. Yet again, Etzel's actions brought others closer to The Lord.      I wondered how past events were important, then remembered how Mina returned to an earlier time to help Kit. When Kit fell through the Spirit House and ended up seeing Arthur Flinders-Petrie carry Xuan Li into the Well of Souls. This happened in the past, yet Kit needed to see Arthur's walk into the waters to help explain why time needed to seek its balance. Turms the Immortal saved the life of Benedict, Arthur and Xuan Li's son. Years later, Turms is unable to save the life of Douglas Flinders-Petrie, Arthur's great-grandson. A balance of sorts is achieved.      The Skin Map is a road map of the ley lines through time, but it is also a guide to the balance of all that works into The Lord's plan for mankind. As humans, we are given free will to chose our responses and actions. When we chose wisely we move toward The Lord's plan for our life. When we go against God's plan, stronger measures are called for, and many detours through tough times we wouldn't have needed to  make. Burleigh saw no need for The Lord, or being kind to others. He brought about his own chastisement of a solitary prison cell. He thought he was in control, and master of his own fate. Instead, Burleigh learned that God is in control, whether you are lost in far places or times, or in the midst of multitudes. Mina learned that God is there when you seek him; he's been watching over you all along. My take-away from the series is that The Lord has a plan bigger than all of time, and he knows the outcome. We have the choice of whether to work toward His Goal, or work against it. *The Fatal Tree -    http://www.amazon.com/The-Fatal-Tree-Bright-Empires/dp/1595548084/ Author Website -  http://www.stephenlawhead.com/Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872I received a review copy of The Fatal Tree by Stephen R Lawhead from Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the December CSFF Blog Tour Extra: If you're like me and like to read a complete story collection, and read Kindle books, Amazon has the complete Bright Empires set for $16.99     Stephen Lawhead Bright Empires Set on KindleYoutube of First Book:CSFF Tour Links:  Julie Bihn Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Karri Compton April Erwin Victor Gentile Jason Joyner Janeen Ippolito Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Bloomi[...]



Fatal Tree CSFF Tour Day 2 - It's All Down Hill from Here

2014-12-16T02:00:01.902-06:00

THE FATAL TREETHE BRIGHT EMPIRES - Book 5byStephen R Lawhead(click image for book link)DAY 2 - It's All Down Hill from HereStay tuned tomorrow. Day 3 - All is Not Lost, God is Still In Control*The Fatal Tree -    http://www.amazon.com/The-Fatal-Tree-Bright-Empires/dp/1595548084/ Author Website -  http://www.stephenlawhead.com/Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872I received a review copy of The Fatal Tree by Stephen R Lawhead from Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the December CSFF Blog Tour Yesterday, I mentioned some of the problems caused by tampering with time. Today, I wanted to mention some of the way things have grown worse for the ley travelers. Raising arms, or hands, at some locations helps trigger ley-line travel. When Kit and Cass watch a small bird die after a jolt from the Fatal yew tree, Cass tries to save Kit from stumbling into the tree and instead opens a ley-line portal at the tree that surges between Cass and Kit, throwing the pair apart. The path is blocked and they are caught for a time in the distant past.Wilhelmina is traveling to meet Kit and Cass, but instead keeps returning to Egypt at the beginning of the previous century. After five failed attempts, she makes the jump and meets with Thomas to discuss a matter of life and death; everyone's.Englebert the baker has tried time after time to see the Chief Magistrate, but is turned away. On the ninth attempt, the steward convinces the judge to see Englebert who begs for leniency concerning the same Burleigh Men who attacked him. The Burleigh Men seem to have come around to treating Englebert better, but the Magistrate will have none of the forgiveness Englebert claims he has for Lord Burleigh's men. Instead, Englebert is sent away.Lord Burleigh seems to have lost the most. His men appreciate Englebert's kindness and have left his prison cell. When Burleigh is brought food yet again by the kind baker, Burleigh ignores him and stares at the wall until the baker leaves. As the chapter unfolds, Burleigh realizes that it's no Englebert he dislikes so, it is Englebert's savior Jesus. Englebert explains that is is because of Jesus that he must show kindness, and forgiveness. The Burleigh men can accept this, but Burleigh can not. He remains convinced Englebert has an ulterior motive. So, it seems like Lord Burleigh has lost the most, his freedom, his care for his men, and most importantly, the peace inside from following only what he knows and believes. His spirit is quenched and all he possesses is emptiness inside as he sits alone in a prison cell. Amazon has the complete Bright Empires in a Kindle collection for $16.99     Stephen Lawhead Bright Empires Set on KindleCSFF Tour Links:  Julie Bihn Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Karri Compton April Erwin Victor Gentile Jason Joyner Janeen Ippolito Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Audrey Sauble Jojo Sutis Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler[...]



Fatal Tree CSFF Tour Day 1 - The Beginning of the End of Everything

2014-12-15T02:00:00.570-06:00

THE FATAL TREETHE BRIGHT EMPIRES - Book 5byStephen R Lawhead(click image for book link)DAY 1 - The Beginning of the End of EverythingMr. Lawhead manages to tie all the Bright Empires storylines  together in this fifth and final book of the series. I mention this because I've always enjoyed his rich story details, scenes, and characterization. He brings everything to life. The tale began back in the first book, The Skin Map, when Kip's great-grandfather introduces him to ley-line travel. By this fifth book, it seems everyone is traveling at times. That's where the problem seems to compound. All this travel has unsettled the universal order.We found out in the previous book, The Shadow Lamp, that Arthur Flinders-Petrie had disrupted the natural laws by his actions at the Spirit Well. In The Fatal Tree, time itself is trying to regain its balance as people and things from different eras are dropped in other time and other places. Things like disappearing bridges holding cars were strange enough, but one poor mother had fed her three children and husband, who were all back at the table to eat breakfast even though their dirty dishes were in the sink but really strange. Even stranger, was the lady who kept running into herself coming from another direction. This early section of the story really made me wonder about what might happen if time stopped flowing normally, and took a side trip.To give you an idea how bad things are by the first few chapters, Wilhelmina has traveled to the Ice Age and finds out the saber tooth cat, Baby, arrived after her, Kip and his group are back in the Stone Age trying to get around a well-charged yew tree that is right over the badly needed main ley-line, Lord Burleigh is stuck in a prison cell and his men have been moved after showing their appreciation of Etzel's continued kindness in prison because of his faith, and Zetetic members are meeting their selves coming and going; literally.then, just when you think things can't get any worse... guess what?Stay tuned tomorrow.*The Fatal Tree -    http://www.amazon.com/The-Fatal-Tree-Bright-Empires/dp/1595548084/ Author Website -  http://www.stephenlawhead.com/Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872I received a review copy of The Fatal Tree by Stephen R Lawhead from Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the December CSFF Blog Tour Extra: If you're like me and like to read a complete story collection, and read Kindle books, Amazon has the complete Bright Empires set for $16.99     Stephen Lawhead Bright Empires Set on KindleYoutube of First Book: allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/pg8091maVrw?feature=player_embedded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />CSFF Tour Links:  Julie Bihn Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Karri Compton April Erwin Victor Gentile Jason Joyner Janeen Ippolito Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Audrey Sauble Jojo Sutis Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler[...]



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2014-12-03T12:57:43.140-06:00

SPLICKETY CYBER WEEK FLASH DEAL

(Ends 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 5)

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 You get all this for $17.95


  • Every back issue of Splickety’s magazines we’ve ever published. You’ll get them all, starting with our debut issue of Splickety Magazine from 2012 and including our upcoming Christmas 2014 issue.
  • A digital copy of our Executive Editor’s debut novel, Blood for Blood by Ben Wolf, in .mobi or PDF format.
  • A free copy of our forthcoming 2014 anthology.
  • A 50% discount on our flash fiction how-to e-book, written by our talented staff of fiction experts and releasing in 2015.

Splickety Deal!

I ordered this last Fall as a renewing subscriber. It's great to get all these issues for $18, but you also get the back issues, an anthology, half-off the flash fiction writing book, and Blood for Blood. I mention Blood for Blood last, because it's just a good read. I stayed up late, really late, on a work night to finish the book as I wanted to read how it turned out. I'm usually not much for horror, but couldn't resist the tale of a vampire who wants to become a Christian. The story has some great twists i didn't see coming, and the characters and setting are great. it sure kept my interest.

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2014-12-01T13:13:04.948-06:00

CYBER MONDAY DEALS FOR WRITERS!BelieversTrust is a new organization for Christian Writers. Believers TrustDuring Cyber Monday, BelieversTrust is offering their courses and membership on sale. membership is normally $99, but is $79 on Cyber Monday. Gift Certificates are 20% off the normal price, so, if you combine the sale prices, and the certificates, savings are pretty substantial. Writing courses are geared to the fiction and non-fiction, and to the screen and TV.99¢ Ebook Sale Captives:Nook ● Kindle ● Google Play ● iTunesOutcasts:Nook ● Kindle ● Google Play ● iTunesRebels:Nook ● Kindle ● Google Play ● iTunes Also, the 99¢ ebook sale on Chokepoint, Ambushed, and Storyworld First ends tonight (Monday, December 1), so grab these while you can. Here are the links to each store:Chokepoint:Nook ● Kindle ● KoboAmbushed:Nook ● Kindle ● KoboStoryworld First:Nook ● Kindle ● KoboEnclave Publishing is offering many of their first book in a series title for $0.99 and for $2.99: Mask $5.99 $0.99Buy Now   Eternity Falls  $5.99 $0.99Buy NowNever to Live  $5.99 $0.99Buy NowDaughter of Light$5.99 $0.99Buy Now  Failstate $5.99 $2.99Buy NowHero, Second Class$5.99 $2.99Buy NowBy Darkness Hid$5.99 $2.99Buy NowThe Dark Man$5.99 $2.99Buy Now Starfire  $5.99 $2.99Buy Now[...]



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2014-11-23T15:02:17.562-06:00

Some Great Writers' Aid Books

If you haven't had the opportunity to check out K.W. Weiland's books on writing, you might want to take a look. Her website is Helping Writers Become Authors and she does a great job helping authors. She recently released workbooks that tie in with her Writing Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel books. All four are available as eBooks, or in print.

She also wrote an annotated Jane Eyre. I thought it was probably another of those books that tell you about how people lived during the period, or the old-fashioned meaning of words, like those books I tried to avoid in high school. No, Ms. Weiland's Annotated Jane Eyre is a book for writers by a writer. She explains story hooks, character development, story arc development, and why certain aspects work in the book. She uses Jane Eyre as a teaching tool to learn your craft. If you're wary of buying another writing book that sounds too good to be true, try the Kindle sample to get a taste of what you'll learn. Annotated Jane Eyre by K.M. Weiland


If you're a bargain hunter for writing books, check out the K.m. Weiland package at WritersDigest Shop.
It includes printed copies of Writing Your Novel and Structuring your Novel, and the Annotated Jane Eyre. Even better, it also includes two webinars that tie-in with the Outlining and Structuring books, all for $60.



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2014-11-23T15:00:44.213-06:00

New Brainrush Series Book Releasing!

Richard Bard is scheduled to release two new books in the Brainrush series in December 2014. His series has action, science-fiction, and great characters. In Brainrush, the first book, Jake Bronson's brain is turbo-charged through a fluke accident involving a CAT scan during an earthquake. He's expected to die from a terminal illness, but is given a new lease on life, and a reason to keep on living. Of course, nothing is ever easy, and it sounds as if the two newest books prove this as Jake is yanked from a state of semi-normalcy to face more threats against his family and friends.


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Get the Brainrush Books!




OUTCASTS CSFF BLOG TOUG DAY THREE

2014-01-22T02:00:08.340-06:00

 OUTCASTSSafe Lands Series - Book Two by Jill WilliamsonDay Three of the Outcasts Blog TourTHREE BROTHERS - THREE PATHS(click image for Amazon link or click link below) Outcasts - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724244/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/outcasts-safe-lands-jill-williamson/9780310724247/pd/724247?product_redirect=1&Ntt=724247&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCPAuthor's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/I received a review copy of Outcasts by Jill Williamson from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the January CSFF Blog Tour Safelands Webpage: http://thesafelands.com/Levi, Mason, and Omar are three brothers, but are nothing alike. Levi wants to lead their village survivors, and doesn't understand why Mason should care about the Safe Landers. Mason wants to escape the city, but feels he can make a difference withe the woman he cares about, Caddah. Omar is the one who sold out his village to gain a spot, but after a lapse in judgement Omar contracts the sickness. He has a change of heart about his life after sighting an owl while walking with Red, a live for the moment Safe Lander, and hurries home to sketch the owl on a man's body. The sketch reminds Omar of his favorite superhero, The Owl. So Omar decides to become a vigilante in the fight against those commanding the City.Each brother has similar goals, to help others in their group, or those they care about, but each takes a different path to achieve that goal. Each brother has a part to play in reaching the greater good, and though they come from different paths, they are part if the same plan. The Lord cares about everyone, and their choices. Often we make bad choices, as Omar and Mia, and the touch of sin causes affects us whether we realize it on not. In Outcasts, Jill Williamson tells the story of a town and it's inhabitants. But, she also tells the story of loss and redemption, and of saving grace. The people of Glenrock lost much, but through their sacrifices, The Lord uses them to bring the Safe Landers back from their place of dark choices and sin.The story of Mason and his brothers continues later this year in Book 3 of The Safe Lands Series.Sample chapter of Outcasts: http://www.scribd.com/doc/183292500/OutcastsSeries Youtube, nice graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezom5l_9vnQ&feature=youtu.be*Participants’ links: Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson [...]



CSFF OUTCAST BLOG TOUR - DAY TWO

2014-01-21T02:00:14.655-06:00

 OUTCASTSSafe Lands Series - Book Two by Jill WilliamsonDay Two of the Outcasts Blog TourSick of Body and Spirit(click image for Amazon link or click link below) Outcasts - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724244/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/outcasts-safe-lands-jill-williamson/9780310724247/pd/724247?product_redirect=1&Ntt=724247&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCPAuthor's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/I received a review copy of Outcasts by Jill Williamson from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the January CSFF Blog Tour Safelands Webpage: http://thesafelands.com/Mason, the scholar,  was looked down by his older brother the hunter and leader. Now, Mason works in the Surrogacy Center as a medical tech and spends most of his free time researching a cure for the disease. Mason still has feelings for Ciddah, his supervisor, but she is infected so he can't become more involved with her. Omar and Mia are infected due to wanting their freedom earlier. These infections of former Glenrock residents add to Mason's pressure to find a cure. However, Mason finds evidence of Ciddah bugging his apartment with recording devices. He feels betrayed by the very person he cares for, and doubly so as he is trying to help cure her.Today's title comes the the way Outcasts shows how a sickness of the spirit is manifested by an external sickness of the body. In the Safe Lands, this external sickness is shown by dry, peeling skin. Safe Land inhabitants try to cover this appearance by painting their skin and adding up dateable tattoos. Like the illness, sin has a way of seeping out, even when we try to cover up and keep it hidden. Omar and Mia found, to their detriment, that you can't play around with evil, it always changes you in some way. Since the Safe Lands story is loosely based on that of Daniel and company getting taken out of Israel and into to Babylonian captivity, Mason seems the most like Daniel. He is favored by the leaders, he follows the teaching of The Lord though those around him would lead him astray, and he cares for the others in his care. The Safe Lands are a future version of ancient Babylon. In the Safe Lands, poor choices led to ever more extreme attempts to replace The Lord with hollow replacements like drug-dispensing vapor sticks, meaningless one-night stands, and a callous focus on self gratification first.Jill Williamson has done a good job portraying what might be if society follows it's current course of focusing on the wrong things. She tackles some tough subjects like dug and alcohol abuse, sexual addition, and even contempt for the unborn. Teens, and others, reading Outcasts may find themselvesdwelling on the points Jill Williamson raises as I did, and remembering Mark 8:36. The Safe Landers gained much of what the world offered, yet lost their souls in the process.Sample chapter of Outcasts: http://www.scribd.com/doc/183292500/OutcastsSeries Youtube, nice graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezom5l_9vnQ&feature=youtu.be *Participants’ links: Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson [...]



OUTCASTS CSFF BLOG TOUR - DAY ONE

2014-01-20T02:00:12.297-06:00

 OUTCASTSSafe Lands Series - Book Two by Jill WilliamsonDay One of the Outcasts Blog TourA New Life - A New Death  (click image for Amazon link or click link below) Outcasts - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724244/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/outcasts-safe-lands-jill-williamson/9780310724247/pd/724247?product_redirect=1&Ntt=724247&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCPAuthor's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/I received a review copy of Outcasts by Jill Williamson from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the January CSFF Blog Tour I enjoyed Mrs. Williamson's first book in the Safe Lands Series, Captives, and was thankful for the opportunity to review her next book in the series, Outcasts.  In case you haven't read Captives, it's available on sale for Kindle , Nook , and iTunes.Safelands Webpage: http://thesafelands.com/Outcasts opens with Kendall Collin's post-pregnancy life. In the Safelands, children belong to the Safelands, and are taken from their mother soon after birth. After celebrity life during her pregnancy, Kendall is coping with the loss of her son who she only sees in the Safeland videos. She is trying to get her life back to normal, and has taken her old job as a courier. She hears someone moaning for help at the station, and comes upon her friend Chord who lies dying in a pool of his own blood. Chord dies before her eyes, but not before giving her four secret messages to deliver. When another courier appears and starts questioning her, Kendall wonders what is in the messages. Should she turn them over to the authorities when they appear? She should give them to Omar, the courier who shows up after Chord dies, and grabs Kendall's wrist to ask about Chord? Should she follow Chord's last wish, and illegally deliver the non-tracked messages?All this happens in the prologue, and the pace just seems to pick up from there. As I read Kendall's denials about Chord, it reminded me of Peter denying Christ. I'm not sure it was intended, but Kendall was friends with Chord and wants to avoid any legal complications with the authorities much as Peter. Sample chapter of Outcasts: http://www.scribd.com/doc/183292500/OutcastsSeries Youtube, nice graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezom5l_9vnQ&feature=youtu.be*Participants’ links: Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson [...]



MERLIN'S SHADOW- CSFF Blog Tour - Day Three - IT'S BEEN A BARD DAYS' KNIGHT

2013-12-18T02:00:16.647-06:00

 MERLIN'S SHADOWThe Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book Two by Robert TreskillardLast Day of the Merlin's Shadow Blog TourIT'S BEEN A BARD DAYS' KNIGHT!  (click image for Amazon link or click link below) Merlin's Shadow - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Shadow-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735084/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/merlins-shadow-merlin-spiral/9780310735083/pd/735083?item_code=WW&netp_id=1135579&event=ESRCG&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.phpI received a review copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour  I read something on Mr. Treskillard's blog Tuesday that one of the points he was trying to make with the Merlin series, was that God doesn't always answer prayers the way we want, or even the way we think he should. Merlin found this out in Merlin's Shadow. He continually faces greater and greater opposition, and doesn't understand why when he is trying to follow The Lord's will. God doesn't provide an easy road for Merlin and Natalenya. Rather, it's a hard path. I kept wondering why bad things kept happening to Merlin, until I thought about the enemies he goes against. As merlin learns to overcome evil each step of the way, he faces a greater evil. So, like a knight conditioning for battle, Merlin must condition his spirit and faith to vanquish greater and greater foes. If he had easily overcome Morganthu and the stone from Merlin's Blade, would he later have the resolve and inner-strength to face King Gorlas, and later Vortigern and the Picts?   To me, this seemed only one concept of Christianity and faith that the author explains through his characters and storyline. In Merlin's Shadow, Merlin must not only fight external enemies, but internal spirits of doubt and self-pity. One of the many things I enjoyed about this book are the believable characters. No one in the story is truly all bad or all good; except maybe Morganthu, and he seems a bit crazy. The horse-trading priest is one such character. He tries to cheat the group with old, worn horses, but Caygek leads out the good horses. When Merlin asks how Caygek knew about the hidden horses, Caygek replies, because the man was a Christian. I think 'was' is the operative word. The man had developed a taste for the finer things in life, and would cheat travelers. It seemed the priest had lost his spiritual sight by focusing on gold; similar to Natalenya's father. While Merlin had gained his spiritual sight by focusing on the true treasure above. I think Merlin has it right when they open the small box Colvarth brought from Inis Avallow. Colvarth sees only dust and an empty circlet. Merlin sees a small wooden bowl with a golden circlet. Merlin recognizes that he is seeing a vision, while Colvarth doesn't. I'm not sure if it was intended, but The Merlin's Spiral trilogy seem not just a record of Merlin's journey through Britain, but a spiritual journey for him as he gains more of his eyesight, both physical and spiritual. The nice thing for readers is that they can join in Merlin's journey by reading the second book in the series, Merlin's Shadow.I enjoyed this book, and learned a bit about life in Britain during the early Dark Ages.Great read. Thanks for stopping by today.Sample chapter of Merlin's Shadow: http://www.scribd.com/doc/167884310/Merlin-s-ShadowSeries Youtube, nice graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezom5l_9vnQ&feature=youtu.be  *Participants’ links: Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentil[...]



MERLIN's SHADOW CSFF Blog Tour - Day Two - The Good, The Bard, and the Not So Pretty

2013-12-17T02:00:10.925-06:00

 MERLIN'S SHADOWThe Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book Two by Robert TreskillardSecond Day of the Merlin's Shadow Blog TourThe Good, The Bard, and the Not So Pretty  (click image for Amazon link or click link below) Merlin's Shadow - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Shadow-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735084/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/merlins-shadow-merlin-spiral/9780310735083/pd/735083?item_code=WW&netp_id=1135579&event=ESRCG&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.phpI received a review copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour  Just who are the good, the bard, and the not so pretty? At first thought, that seemed like an easy answer. Arthur the innocent baby is good. Merlin, who began his training late in Merlin's Sword, is the group's bard. And Ganieda, Merlin's half-sister who let the Hooded One control her spirit, is the not so pretty one. Looking deeper, I decided Merlin fills all three parts. Merlin helped at the Abbey and follows Christos, is good, or at least trying to follow what the angel instructs him. merlin has taken over informally as leader of their band, and is their bard. Merlin's attack by wolves, when younger, left him disfigured and nearly blind. When he seems his face in a pool of water, he convinces himself that Natalenya only agreed to marry him out of pity and a desire to leave their village. So, Mr. Treskillard managed to show Merlin as a complex person with many layers of personality. Merlin must wear many shoes, and his life-long near blindness left this young man ill-equipped to make the life or death decisions needed for their group's survival.   Druids Chasing Merlin - Morganthu? (from Merlin's Sword video)     In a way, Merlin reminds me of King David as he was on the run from Saul's forces. The country was turned against them, much like Merlin, because Vortigern has convinced Uther's troops that Merlin kidnapped Arthur. early in Merlin's Shadow their are cut-off by Vortigern's troops and try to appeal to King Gorlas at his seaside castle.(I really liked this photo from the Merlin's Blade Youtube. This is how I imagined Gorlas' keep might look)With Arthur's problems with his uncle, Vortigern, and Merlin's problems with his half-sister, Ganieda, you'd think the group would have enough family problems going on. But, no, Merlin finally meets his maternal grandfather, Atle, and the group is worse off than before. All these family issues remind me of a medieval Family Feud, except everyone seems arrayed against Merlin and Arthur. Then too, Ganieda has problems with her grandfather wanting the orb and tooth of power. He's lost power since the Druid stone was destroyed in the first book, and he wants revenge on Merlin. As Morganthu attempts to wrestle the tokens of dark, druid power from Ganieda, she fights him tooth and nail (had to work that one in) and cuts his hand. Ganieda thinks she has won, but instead gives the darkness a stronger spiritual foothold in her.One of the things, Mr. Treskillard hints at about the Arthurian legend is the nameGanieda's takes for herself. I enjoy the way the author ties in so much of the Arthur and Merlin legends with his series. It's like a voyage of discovery as you read the book and discover character action meanings you may have wondered about.  The whole Arthur story seemed clearer as I read Mr. Treskillard's the latest book in the Merlin Spiral series.Sample chapter of Merlin's Shadow: http://www.scr[...]



MERLIN'S SHADOW CSFF Blog Tour - Day One - Going From Bard to Worse!

2013-12-16T02:00:13.080-06:00

 MERLIN'S SHADOWThe Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book Two by Robert TreskillardFirst Day of the Merlin's Shadow Blog TourGoing From Bard to Worse!(click image for Amazon link or click link below) Merlin's Shadow - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Shadow-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735084/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/merlins-shadow-merlin-spiral/9780310735083/pd/735083?item_code=WW&netp_id=1135579&event=ESRCG&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.phpI received a review copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard from Blink, A division of Zondervon, in conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour     I met Robert Treskillard at the 2013 Realm Makers Conference in St. Louis, MO. He told me of the near-year of research he collected for his Merlin Spiral Trilogy. If you look closely at the cover of each book in the series, you'll see the same sword. I mention this because Mr. Treskillard  brought the sword he had made earlier, that is used on the cover of each book. If you enjoy well thought out books, by an author with an eye to detail, check out the Merlin Spiral Trilogy. Robert Treskillard holding The Merlin Spiral Trilogy blade        The second book in the series, Merlin's Shadow, resumes the tale of young Merlin, the formerly blind blacksmith's son, who follows Christ during a time of waning Druid power. As Merlin's Blade ended, Merlin, Natalenya, and Colvarth are attempting to escape with the young, recently orphaned, Arthur, son of Uther. Now, it seems as if the whole country of Britain is arrayed against them. The Druids are massing an attack, each play they claim sanctuary is unsafe, and Vortigern is after the baby Arthur to take the crown. Things aren't looking good for the group, and Merlin questions whether Natalenya could ever love someone as disfigured as he. And this is all in the first few chapters. Oh, and did I mention the odd markings at the beginning of each chapter? Merlin's Blade had similar markings that look much like Ogham. Mr Treskillard's website says Ogham, was an ancient “tally-mark” languagecarved into ancient standing stones in Britain.  Sample chapter of Merlin's Shadow: http://www.scribd.com/doc/167884310/Merlin-s-ShadowSeries Youtube, nice graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezom5l_9vnQ&feature=youtu.be Day 2 Blog: The Good, The Bard, and the Not So Pretty  - Day Two I'll discuss some of the other forces arrayed against Merlin and Arthur. Arthur isn't the only one with family problems. *Participants’ links: Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Jennette Mbewe Amber McCallister Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nissa Jalynn Patterson Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jacque Stengl Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson [...]



The Shadow Lamp CSFF Tour - Day Three

2013-11-13T02:00:07.388-06:00

  The Shadow LampBright Empires - Book Four by Stephen R. LawheadLast Day of the Shadow Lamp Blog TourThe End of It All, or Only the Beginning?-  click image for Amazon link or click link below) Shadow Lamp- available from:Amazon -    http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Lamp-Bright-Empires-Quest/dp/1595548076/ CBD -    http://www.christianbook.com/the-shadow-lamp-bright-empires/9781595548078/pd/548078?product_redirect=1&Ntt=548078&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP Author Website -  http://www.stephenlawhead.com/Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872I received a review copy of The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead from the nice folks at Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the Nov CSFF Blog Tour  I wonder if the reason for ley lines is to illustrate the connections between The Creator's plan and our actions as humans? Kit finds that at some point, the strongest ley lines connect back to the Spirit Well. Maybe I'm looking for allegory where none exists, but I wonder if The Spirit Well is an allegory for Christ; who referred to himself as the Well of Life and a provider of Living waters? Lord Burleigh denies God's existence, yet never stops to consider how all the wonders of the world came into existence in perfect harmony. Could stronger ley lines connect stronger occurrences of faith in those locations or by those people with the Spirit Well's living water? Maybe ley lines are like tributaries leading back to the Spirit Well. The Spirit Well waters were described by Kit as full of light; having an inner glow. I pictured the ley lines as glowing lights beneath the ground, kind of like fiber-optics, that connect back to the source - The Spirit Well. Shadow Lamps reveal hidden ley line locations by reflection ley line locations. Are we acting like Shadow Lamps to a lost world by reflecting the source of life, and living waters, Jesus?I enjoyed The Shadow Lamp. The author delves deeper in each volume in the series. The fifth book is due out next year, and I'm looking forward to having all my new questions answered by the final chapter in The Bright Empires storyline. *Participants’ links:  Julie Bihn Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Thomas Fletcher Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Karri Compton Theresa Dunlap April Erwin Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Becky Jesse Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Carol Keen Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Mirriam Neal Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Rachel Wyant Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson[...]



The Shadow Lamp CSFF Tour - Day Two

2013-11-12T02:00:15.838-06:00

  The Shadow LampBright Empires - Book Four by Stephen R. LawheadSecond Day of the Shadow Lamp Blog TourCoffee, Doughnuts, and the Burley Men, or Everything is Part of the Bigger Plan click image for Amazon link or click link below) Shadow Lamp- available from:Amazon -    http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Lamp-Bright-Empires-Quest/dp/1595548076/ CBD -    http://www.christianbook.com/the-shadow-lamp-bright-empires/9781595548078/pd/548078?product_redirect=1&Ntt=548078&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP Author Website -  http://www.stephenlawhead.com/Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872I received a review copy of The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead from the nice folks at Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the Nov CSFF Blog Tour  The Burley Men and Lord Burleigh have been a thorn in the side of Kit and Mina, and the rest of the good guys at the Zetetic Society for the past three volumes of the Bright Empires series, and the Shadow Lamp is no exception to Burleigh and group's interference. Today I wanted to discuss The Master Plan, as hinted at in the series. Actions occur as part of The Creator's Master Plan. When Mina accidently arrives in Prague, all seemed lost. Yet she meets and befriends Etzel, the baker, on the way to town. Mina and Etzel go into business together, and open the very first coffee house. Their Grand Imperial Kaffehaus is such a success it gains the attention of the court alchemists, especially Balthazar, who is hired by Lord Burleigh to manufacture the Shadow Lamps. On Mina's earlier ley travels, she finds a much needed mentor in Brother Lazarus. Brother Lazarus travels with Kit, and later Cass, who's father, Tony, is an astrophysicist. Brother Lazarus and Tony's discussion lead to their discovery that the universe's expansion is slowing. If that's not bad enough, Lord Burleigh finds out about the Grand Imperial Kaffeehaus and pay Etzel a not so friendly visit one night. In the Shadow Lamp, we learn more about the formation of The Burley Men, and about Etzel. Before the fourth book, Etzel seemed more a less a hard-working, every day kind of support character. In The Shadow Lamp we learn more about Etzel's faith, and his integrity to protect his friends. Even in hard times, Etzel vows to protect their location as The Burley Men try to beat the answer out of him. I also like Kit and Cass's almost accidental discovery. It seemed to tie the Shadow lamps, The Skin Map, and the Ley Lines together nicely. One of the many things I enjoy so well about Mr. Lawhead's books, is his rich, eye to details. His far-ranging storylines illustrate so well, to me, that we all play a part in the grander scheme of things. While we may think we matter little, to The Creator, each of us are important and our actions and choices have far-reaching consequences.  Day 3 Blog: The End of It All, or Only the Beginning?- Day Three how The Bright empire series may explain some spiritual truths *Participants’ links:  Julie Bihn Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Thomas Fletcher Booher Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Karri Compton Theresa Dunlap April Erwin Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Becky Jesse Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Carol Keen Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Mirriam Neal Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Rachel Wyant Phyllis Wheeler Deborah Wilson[...]



The Shadow Lamp CSFF Tour - Day One

2013-11-10T20:42:47.159-06:00

  The Shadow LampBright Empires - Book Four by Stephen R. LawheadFirst Day of the Shadow Lamp Blog TourWho Turned the Lamps Out?click image for Amazon link or click link below) Shadow Lamp- available from:Amazon -    http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Lamp-Bright-Empires-Quest/dp/1595548076/ CBD -    http://www.christianbook.com/the-shadow-lamp-bright-empires/9781595548078/pd/548078?product_redirect=1&Ntt=548078&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP Author Website -  http://www.stephenlawhead.com/Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872I received a review copy of The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead from the nice folks at Thomas Nelson in conjunction with the Nov CSFF Blog Tour     The title, The Shadow Lamp, seemed a contradiction at first. Why would a lamp dispel light? But, when Kit and other ley line travelers use the lamps, they are able to locate the ley lines for travel. The lines are hidden to sight, but the small brass boxes enable them to find their way across space and time. If you're not too sure about ley line travel, here's a short video from the third book in the Bright Empires series, The Spirit Well: allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.blogger.com/video.g?token=AD6v5dyLHttyjTyU-wknc7ivwUKFSm-aLVe0eCUottLECmcR38XIVWJHJ5Thqb3ho5Suv2XJx3pB-K4rGgo' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' /> Book four, The Shadow Lamp, begins with Kit, Mina, and Brother Lazarus examining a burned out ley lamp. It sounded as if the lamp overloaded and had a melt down. Melt down seems like a good theme for this book in the series. Kit is returned to the future from the time of the River City Clan, but he realizes he was most at peace and contented with them. Newcomer, Cassandra Clarke, goes looking for information about Kit's grandfather, Cosimo, and seems to fall for the grandson. Anthony Clarke, Cass's father, searches the ley lines for his daughter and instead encounters the Zetetic Society. Even Lord Burleigh encounters problems with his plans, and we learn a bit more about the beginnings of the Burley Men. I know that's a lot of names, new and old, but Mr. Lawhead's story is as big as time and space. This latest addition to the Bright Empires series deepens many existing characters, and adds some interesting new one. Cass and Kit seem an item, so I wondered if Min and Etzel are a pair. I liked the character of Cass's mentor, Brother Lazarus. He seems wise beyond his years, and many he comes into contact with seem better for Brother Lazarus' guidance. Mr. Lawhead has a knack for explaining complex theories in simple terms by way of Brother Lazarus. It kind of struck me that Cass's dad, Tony, is able to speak to her about matters of science and logic. As a counter-point to Tony, Brother Lazarus explains matters of faith and knowledge beyond normal human understanding. My still unanswered question, is what is the purpose of the inter-temporal ley lines? Are they a cosmic accident, or all part of the greater plan hinted at in this book? Like an onion, each new layer peeled away in the Bright Empires saga, seems to yield more questions than answers. The Shadow Lamp is one of those books I enjoy reading because it makes me stop and think long after turning the last page.  Day 2 Blog: Coffee, Doughnuts, and the Burley Men, or Everything is Part of the Bigger Plan - Day Two I'll discuss how Lord Burleigh secretly helped Kit and Mina wh[...]



CAPTIVES CSFF Blog Tour - Day 3

2013-08-14T02:00:04.265-05:00

CaptivesThe Safe Lands Series - Book One by Jill WilliamsonCaptives Blog Tour - Day ThreeHay-O! We've all got issues!click image for Amazon link or click link below) Captives - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captives-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724228/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376160014&sr=1-5CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/captives-jill-williamson/9780310724223/pd/724223?item_code=WW&netp_id=1022035&event=ESRCG&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/Author's Blog: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/I received a review copy of Captives by Jill Williamson from the nice folks at Zondervonin conjunction with the August CSFF Blog Tour           One of the things I enjoyed about the characters in Captives was the variety and believability; especially as the story progressed. I wasn't too sure whether I liked the characters in the first couple of chapters, but as the story progressed it seemed like their individuality shone through. Early on, Levi seemed like a bossy older brother who lorded it over his two siblings. Omar was the youngest, and an artist. In a society where hunters are prized, there was little time, or regard for artists. Omar dealt with his treatment in life by running away to find the greener grass on the next hill. Mason was in a similar strait as Omar. He was a scholar who wanted to become a healer like his mother. Healers were more highly valued by the village than artists, but not by much. Mason was the one always looking for answers, and new knowledge. he never stopped asking questions.            Inside the city walls, the three brothers outlook on life seemed to change little. Levi still struck out at problems, trying to use his strength and size to overcome obstacles. Omar still looked for the next big thing, and jumped at anyone or anything that brought recognition or temporary pleasure. He still thought short term. Mason seemed to realize the only hope for their village lay in finding a solution to the virus that struck the city, leaving the occupants sterile and afflicted with skin lesions.             It seemed to me Mason's focus was on others, I guess that's what made him a likable character. He even cared about his boss, who seemed a terrible person when they met. At first, Levi's seemed to focus on others, but it soon seemed like he was more concerned with taking care of 'his' village and recovering 'his' fiancée. Omar? Well, Omar was always about Omar. But by the end of the book, he seemed to realize his actions had brought pain, suffering, and even death to others.             Something I wondered about were the digital masks and body paints worn by the Safe Landers. Were these digital cover-ups an allegory for the masks people wear today? People put on a good front with the masks they wear in public, but underneath they are hurting and need someone to fill the emptiness they cover inside. Do the digital arts worn by Safe Landers represent an impersonal society in which people will text or email, but won't do face to face because they can't enjoy the anonymity provided by online communication? Is a small part of our humanity taken from us as we conform to society's expectations, rather than what our Creator demands of us?         Jill Williamson wrot[...]



CAPTIVES CSFF Blog Tour - Day 2

2013-08-13T02:00:01.793-05:00

CaptivesThe Safe Lands Series - Book One by Jill WilliamsonCaptives Blog Tour - Day TwoLive for enjoyment and pleasure, consequences are for Shells!click image for Amazon link or click link below) Captives - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captives-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724228/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376160014&sr=1-5CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/captives-jill-williamson/9780310724223/pd/724223?item_code=WW&netp_id=1022035&event=ESRCG&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/Author's Blog: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/I received a review copy of Captives by Jill Williamson from the nice folks at Zondervonin conjunction with the August CSFF Blog Tour   allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.blogger.com/video.g?token=AD6v5dw3f7kMcckipqQhM5G9H-JD9uMOVx8OfCgCaN5NVTWH-yIl0nbxK3pJbWIWRDVTCVMrtBDhg1RPV8E' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />Jill Williamson discusses her inspiration for Captives.(From Youtube)       Life as a Safe Lander centers around the external and the moment. Are you wearing the latest style clothes, hair, and skin-tone - yes people there change their skin color weekly, if not daily to match the latest fad worn on the Finley and Flynn Show. There are blue-skins, pink-skins, and even exotic animal design skins. These are accented in turn by digital tattoos. Digital artists design new looks and reprograms the digital skin grafts to change when your mood changes.      The idea of constantly changing tattoos helped, I think, reinforce the idea of the transient lifestyle of all within the city. Nothing lasts. Nothing is permanent. Even children are a bump in life before they are taken away to be raised by the city state. Relationships never last more than a brief time; it's only until one or the other tires of the person they are with. Marriage is a thing of the past, it's only practiced by those out in the wilds beyond the city gates.       Always in the back of their minds is the void inside they can never fill, so they deaden the pain with drinking, inhaling drugs of varying strengths, and casual sexual encounters. The author did a great job of explaining this empty feeling, and the reason; a viral infection that leaves the skin flaking and dying. Skin paints and digital makeup are all an attempt to cover the infection and diseased, flacking skin.         When nothing can fill that God-sized hole, people now as then, will always try the newer, bigger thing. Problem is, nothing else can take the place of The Lord. The city tries to legislate and create replacements for God, but as the villagers find, the best the city has to offer is still a pale imitation which can never truly satisfy.For a taste of life in the Safe Lands, visit the Safe Lands Webpage.SAFE LANDS WEBPAGE     Day 3 Blog: Hay-O! We've all got issues! - The last day of the Captives Blog Tour. I'll discuss how Jill Williamson created believable, flawed characters. No one was completely good or bad. Some of the bad guys seemed likeable at first. And one character I thought bad tries to redeem a small part of himself. *Participants’ links:Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel Victor Gentile Timothy Hicks[...]



2 Comments

2013-08-12T02:00:04.093-05:00

CaptivesThe Safe Lands Series - Book One by Jill WilliamsonCaptives Blog Tour - Day OneTHE SAFE LANDS, THE LEAST SAFE PLACE AROUNDclick image for Amazon link or click link below) Captives - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captives-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310724228/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376160014&sr=1-5CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/captives-jill-williamson/9780310724223/pd/724223?item_code=WW&netp_id=1022035&event=ESRCG&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/Author's Blog: http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/I received a review copy of Captives by Jill Williamson from the nice folks at Zondervonin conjunction with the August CSFF Blog Tour         Angel wings was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Captives' book cover, then I realized they were tall buildings and wondered what they represented. I really enjoyed Mrs. Williamson's earlier fantasy series that began with, By Darkness Hid. So I had looked forward to reading a science-fiction series by the same author to see how she handled the change. I found out, with Jill Williamson, a story is a story no matter the genre, and outstanding.         Captives begins inside the city, known as the Safe Lands because the high walls keep out the unsettled, dangerous world outside the city. But, the gates and regulations also keep the city dwellers inside where they have be come numb to the idea of consequences of their actions; choosing instead to live for the moment. Over time, the city dwellers have become sterile, and new, uninfected human-stock must be brought in to replenish the population.     With ruthless disregard, the military captures or kills an entire village bringing all but missing eighteen-year-old Levi to the Safe Lands. Levi just announced his engagement to Jem, and when he returns to his village, he finds Jem and everyone else long gone. What happened? Why were some shot, and most taken, he wonders. Mason makes his way to the Safe Lands where he is arrested, thrown into jail, beaten, and marked with Xs on his cheek. In the Safe Lands, three strikes and you are truly out. The girls of the village fare little better, when the girls, including Levi's fiancée Jem, are moved into surrogate pregnancy homes to birth future citizens for the city. Things will go fine for the kidnapped group, as long as they don't rock the boat and follow orders. They soon find, rather than a safe haven, life in the Safe Lands is a gilded cage with dire punishments. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ke4tLyNKcXg?feature=player_embedded' FRAMEBORDER='0' /> For a taste of life in the Safe Lands, visit the Safe Lands Webpage.SAFE LANDS WEBPAGE     Day 2 Blog: Live for enjoyment and pleasure, consequences are for Shells! - Day Two I'll discuss why making pleasure the focus of their life, led to shallow, unhappy, unfulfilled existences in The Safe Lands.  *Participants’ links: Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Jeff Chapman Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel Victor Gentile Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Asha Marie Pena Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Jessica Thomas Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler [...]



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2013-06-17T02:00:15.605-05:00

  A LEVER LONG ENOUGHby Amy DeardonFuture Travelers to the Distant Past to Disprove the Truth   click image for Amazon link or click link below) A Lever Long Enough - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lever-Long-Enough-Amy-eardon/dp/0981899722/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371432399&sr=1-1&keywords=a+lever+long+enoughAuthor's Website: http://amydeardon.com/Author's Blog: http://amydeardon1.blogspot.com/I had the opportunity to read A Lever Long Enough by Amy Deardon while searching Kindle time travel books. The story action begins a little slow, or so it seemed, but the author may have planned to contrast the main characters paragliding in the beginning with the greater tension of their mission countdown clock. I liked the display at the beginning of each chapter to show how much time they had remaining before a forced return to base.  Four Israeli specialists hurtle through time in a prototype time machine to film the death of Christ and the subsequent theft of his body and so disprove Christianity. The time team has seventy-two hours to film the event and return to their sealed time pod.Of course, things are never as simple as they seem. The time-base is closed, but double-agent moles are inside and maneuvering to shift the balance of political power to their candidate. In the past, the group encounter conniving Publicans, brutal Roman soldiers, and distrustfully-cautious followers of Yeshua. The team is there to document the past, but they must be cautious to leave nothing from the future that might alter the past.  But what are the travelers to do when their pod arrives a bit off-schedule and they have only a fixed 72-hours to salvage something from the trip? I enjoyed A Lever Long Enough. The author manages to bring in some advanced technology in the present and the life and culture of the Hebrews in ancient Jerusalem.The book is a good read. Settings are believable, and the characters are interesting. There's even a bit of romantic tension among the group. If you have the chance,  and enjoy time travel tales, check out, A Lever Long Enough. It's available in paperback, and the Kindle ebook format.[...]



2 Comments

2013-05-29T02:00:03.720-05:00

 MERLIN'S BLADEThe Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book One by Robert TreskillardThe Third Day of the Merlin's Blade Blog TourBosventor? It's Sure No Camelot!click image for Amazon link or click link below) Merlin's Blade - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Merlin-Spiral-Robert-Treskillard/dp/0310735076/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=38856EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1132381&event=ESRCN&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.phpI received a review copy of Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard from Zondervonin conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour      What's a Bosventor you may ask? It's the village where Merlin's part of the tale begins.      I found out from my interview with Mr. Treskillard that a village existed on the same spot as Bosventor in Merlin's Blade. The name might have been pretty close too. I mentioned Camelot because Arthur and Merlin were both involved in the creation of the castle. Of course, in Merlin's Blade, Arthur is still a little young to build any castles or lead any knights.    Since today is the final day for the Merlin Blade Tour, I wanted to mention some things that caught my attention in the story, or even better, made me stop and think. A story with unpredictable twists, and lots of sub-stories is one I really enjoy. Merlin's Blade was all this and more. Merlin's willingness to take Garth's punishment after the wagon mishap was a great illustration of sacrifice for friends and family. Even though  Garth makes many bad decisions, Merlin still cares about his friend.     Merlin is quick to leap to the defense of others, even when it often means he takes a beating or worse. This seemed a result of the years of verbal and physical abuse. He knew how it felt for others to look away from your scars, and for others to taunt and mistreat.     In a way, I wondered if the author's purposely portrayed Merlin's suffering and treatment as a reflection of what Christ went through. He took our punishment upon himself, as Merlin did for Garth. Christ was spit upon and called names, yet he cared for those around him. In one vision near the Stone, Merlin was tempted  by the World's rewards. Yet he turned down what the four horns offered. Christ spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness, and turned from Satan's three temptations.     Garth struck me as sharing traits with Peter. He claimed Merlin as friend, yet denied him time and again. Peter was a down to earth say what's on your mind type of fisherman. Garth's father was a fisherman, and Garth seemed more concerned with his stomach than his soul at times.      The Stone came from the darkness of space, and would lead first the people of Bosventor, and later Britain, to the darkness away from the Messiah, Jesu. So, the Stone seemed to represent Satan. It was full of promises of riches and power. In the end, all who turned to follow the Stone suffered. Some by burning and suffering, and some by losing what they treasured most.   That brings me to Camelot. See, I haven't forgotten today's title. I thought Camelot represents that future reward that all who follow the One, True King will enjoy. When I think of Camelot, I think of a castle of brilliant white tha[...]



4 Comments

2013-05-28T02:00:14.048-05:00

 MERLIN'S BLADEThe Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book One by Robert TreskillardDay Two of the Merlin's Blade Blog TourThe Story Behind the Storyclick image for Amazon link or click link below) Merlin's Blade - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Merlin-Spiral-Robert-Treskillard/dp/0310735076/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=38856EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1132381&event=ESRCN&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.phpI received a review copy of Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard from Zondervonin conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour      Mr. Treskillard made time to answer a few questions on writing and how Merlin's Blade came to exist. I say made time, because his wesbites and blogs have so much material for Merlin's Blade, I wonder how he ever finds time to write.  Mr. Treskillard, if you have time now, I have a few questions for you to use for the CSFF Blog Tour. 1. What brought about your desire to become a writer? Was it a love of reading, or maybe the influence of a certain book or author? I grew up in a non-Christian, broken home reading a lot of superhero comic books. This inspired me to write my own comic books, and my plots got really complicated. I particularly remember talking the ear off of an older cousin while I told him my plot for hours. I think I made fourteen or so issues, and planned out twenty more. In elementary school I was in the play “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, and then in junior high I read The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings, the Silmarillion, and a lot of other sci-fi and fantasy. God used these stories, along with many other things, to bring me into a relationship with him when I was fifteen. Then I got busy in high school and college, and didn’t have as much time to read. In 1988, the year I got engaged, my brother-in-law handed me a copy of Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness”, and that opened my eyes to the power of fiction in the hands of a skillful Christian author. Then in 1993 I discovered Stephen Lawhead’s “Song of Albion” series, and then his “Pendragon Cycle” series, and devoured them. This showed me what fantasy, something I had left behind in junior high, could be like when written by a Christian. I still didn’t get the bug to write, however until 2006, when I was burdened after reading the documentary book “Lime 5” by Mark Crutcher. I wanted to write something that would open people’s eyes, but the plot I came up with was too difficult for me to tackle as a new author. So I put that novel on hold and then, one night, was pondering the legends of King Arthur for no apparent reason. I thought, “Why would someone put a sword into a stone?” It didn’t make sense to me, and so the only answer I came up with was “what if the stone was the darkest enemy?” Without even trying I had come up with a unique angle (I think!), and everything in Merlin’s Blade flowed out of that one idea. 2. How long did it take to write Merlin's Blade? I wrote one scene in 2006 and decided I liked it and that this “writing thing” might work. Then I stopped writing and researched for a year. After that, it took two years to finish, or so I thought! Little did I know, but I had written it too long for a debut novelist in the CBA market. I also had a ton of things to fix. And so, fourteen[...]



5 Comments

2013-05-27T02:00:09.265-05:00

 MERLIN'S BLADEThe Merlin Spiral Trilogy - Book One by Robert TreskillardFirst Day of the Merlin's Blade Blog TourBlind Man's Bluff, or A Bard in Trainingclick image for Amazon link or click link below) Merlin's Blade - available from:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Merlin-Spiral-Robert-Treskillard/dp/0310735076/CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=38856EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1132381&event=ESRCN&view=detailsAuthor's Web site: http://www.kingarthur.org.uk/Author's Blog: http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.phpI received a review copy of Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard from Zondervonin conjunction with the May CSFF Blog Tour      I wasn't sure what to expect as I began reading Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard. Was this the story of a young Merlin or a slightly older Merlin before he met Arthur? Does Merlin already know something of what he will know to counsel Arthur, or does he find a mentor? Was this Merlin anything like the great BBC series by that name? The answer? A little bit of all of these questions.    In the story-arc by Robert Treskillard, Merlin is the son of the village blacksmith. He has the strength and stamina of a young blacksmith, but not the eyes. See, Merlin has poor eyesight. He's not quite blind, but sees his world in colored smudges. He's learned to adapt by relying on his other senses; like sounds and smells. Reading the story, I could relate to his frustration with not seeing his surroundings clearly enough. In a way, Merlin's lack of sight helped him to see clearly what other's didn't, or wouldn't.I'm not sure if it was intended, but Merlin's lack of sight made me wonder if what he curse a curse existed for a greater purpose. It defined Merlin as a person, and led him down the path he needed to follow.    One of the things that struck me about Merlin's Blade was all the forethought, planning, and eye to detail involved. On his website, and in the book, are two maps of the areas mentioned. In the back of the book is a pronunciation guide. I've read other books containing these, but Mr. Treskillard goes on to explain why he changed the spelling a little to help make the names and places more pronounceable. another nice extra are the images of the 3D Merlin's Blade game under development. Images of the 3D game under development for Merlin's Blade: http://kingarthur.org.uk/feastinghall/3d-game/  I really enjoyed Merlin's Blade. The 432 pages, including the pronunciation guide, seemed far too short for a story of this size. As I finished reading, the only negative I found was the long wait for book two; due out this September 24th. If you enjoyed Arthurian tales, Celtic stories, or medieval sword-marking, Merlin's Balde has all three and more! Day 2 Blog: The Story Behind the Story  - Day Two I'll post an interview with the author of Merlin's Blade. Like Merlin, the author faced an interesting journey getting to where he needed to be. *Participants’ links: Noah Arsenault Beckie Burnham Keanan Brand Jeff Chapman Laure Covert Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel April Erwin Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Jason Joyner Carol Keen Krystine Kercher Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Joan Nienhuis Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Kathleen Smith Jojo Sutis Robert Treskillard Steve Trowe[...]



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2013-05-11T02:00:07.874-05:00

  The 2013 REALM MAKERS CONFERENCEAugust 2 - 3, 2013(9AM - 10PM)JC Penney Conference Center 1 University Blvd, St Louis, MO 63121-4400   The first annual Realm Makers Conference is for writers with a focus on speculative fiction. Jeff Gerke, publisher of the Marcher Lord Press imprint, is the keynote speaker. Other featured speakers include Grace Bridges, Bryan Davis, Ben Erlichman, L. B. Graham, Suzanne Hartmann, Kristen Stieffel, Robert Treskillard,  Kathy Tyers, Andre Winch, Chila Woychik, and Matt Yocum.   It's not often you gather this many Christian speculative writers, editors, and publishers in one location. You won't want to miss the opportunityRegistration Cost:If you register between these dates:     Your registration cost is:                        May 1st -June 1st$185 (Early Bird Pricing)June 2nd-July 25th *$235At the door**$250Realm Makers Conference Main PageRealm Makers Registration Page[...]