Monday, September 29, 2008

CFBA presents: John 3:16 by Nancy Moser

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing John 3:16 Tyndale House Publishers (September 9, 2008) by Nancy Moser.
I was introduced to Nancy Moser when my daughter read Stranger Beside Me. Daughter kept exclaiming how good the book was but I don't read airplane books so it was easy to resist. When John 3:16 came my way, I grabbed it. I found the title and cover alone intriguing. Scanning the first page, John 3:16 immediately yanked me into the story and wouldn't let go. I had other things on my plate--all I wanted to do was glance, but I was hooked. If you like to get involved with your characters, try this one. Moser does a fantastic job of putting us in the hearts and minds of Roman, Lianne, Velvet and all the others. I sympathize with Roman because his love for his son is so great it's sinful. Something to think about, heh? Moser is an expert at building tension. I care about these characters. I hurt for them. And even though I'm still reading, I already know Moser's characters are going to stay with me for a long, long time.
And what better message is there than John 3:16?


Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner, and her latest historical, Washington's Lady.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters,
symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included.

Find out more at Nancy and Sister


Five people looking for a reason to keep living are about to find it in the last place they expect... In my usual "big cast" style comes a story of what happens when one man puts his faith on the line and holds up a John 3:16 sign at a sporting event. Roman Paulson's life revolves around his son, Billy, a University of Nebraska football hero with a promising life ahead of him. But when Billy's coach encroaches on Roman's relationship with his son, Roman fears he'll lose Billy forever. Roman isn't the only one whose world turns upside down. He's one of five unsuspecting people whose lives intersect on a bright fall day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of John 3:16, go HERE

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn

I'm reading The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn. The author has an easy style, conversational. I made a mistake when I didn't sit down with a highlighter in hand. There are so many passages I should be marking for easy reference because this is a book I'll return to over and over again. In fact, I'll put this book up there with Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life.

Mark Sanborn makes valid points we should already know about how to glorify God in all we do, and uses scripture to back up his words.

Don't be put off with Sanborn's use of the word performance. After all, this is pretty much a book on leadership for people who are judged by their performance. But think about it: we should all be leaders into the Kingdom of God. Performance. Yep...a lot of people are watching us: Our lives should shine like a light, attracting the right kind of attention. This is another way that our good works--our remarkable performances--can glorify God. See Matthew 5:16.

Here's a summary of The Encore Effect:
Everyone wants to make a difference in the world, but most have no idea how to maximize their impact. In The Encore Effect, best-selling author and leadership expert Mark Sanborn provides the answer. He leads readers in six practices that will move them beyond excellence to distinction and from mundane to memorable. These principles guide readers to draw on their passion and devote themselves to preparation, practice, presentation, polishing, and finally, avoiding pitfalls. When readers follow these principles they will find that people are attracted to them. More importantly, they’ll find that they now have an influence over others that can impact lives for eternity. By following the six principles of The Encore Effect, readers can:
Deliver a remarkable performance in everything they do (for the Glory of God)
Elevate the performance of the people they lead and influence (for the Glory of God)
Extend and deepen the impact they have on others—even for eternity. (And the Glory of God)

About the Author:
Mark Sanborn is the best-selling author of The Fred Factor and You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader. An internationally acclaimed
motivational speaker, Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. Having served as president of two national organizations, he regularly keynotes meetings in the United States and abroad—speaking on leadership, team building, customer service, and mastering change. He and his family live near Denver, Colorado.

Visit his website here and follow the links to his blog. This book is way too good to pass up. I promise...when you read it, you'll feel motivated and ready to perform... for the Glory of God!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Made of Honor - A Fun Romance

We just finished watching Made of Honor. Talk about cute. But what could we find wrong with Patrick Dempsey, heh? Just look at those eyes, that face. I can't remember when I've laughed so hard at a movie. I did find one scene with his dad very offensive. I wondered why he'd even have a heart to heart with his father. Seemed totally out of character to me. Aside from that --a fun little romance.

This guy is definitely hero-material!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance presents Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Faking Grace Multnomah Books (August 19, 2008) by Tamara Leigh


After Tamara Leigh earned a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology, she and her husband decided to start a family, with plans for Tamara to continue in her career once she became a mother.

When the blessing of children proved elusive, Tamara became convicted to find a way to work out of her home in order to raise the children she and her husband longed to have. She turned to writing, at which she had only ever dreamed of being successful, and began attending church. Shortly thereafter, her agent called with news of Bantam Books’ offer of a four-book contract. That same day, Tamara’s pregnancy was confirmed. Within the next year, she gave up her speech pathology career, committed her life to Christ, her first child was born, and her first historical romance novel was released.

As Tamara continued to write for the secular market, publishing three more novels with HarperCollins and Dorchester, she infused her growing Christian beliefs into her writing. But it was not enough, and though her novels earned awards and were national bestsellers, she knew her stories were lacking. After struggling with the certainty that her writing was not honoring God as it should, she made the decision to write books that not only reveal Christianity to non-believers, but serve as an inspiration for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Her inspirational romances are peopled with characters in varying stages of Christian faith, from mature believers to new believers to non-believers on the threshold of awakening.

Tamara Leigh enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading. She lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, David, and two sons, Skyler and Maxen.

Two of her latest books are Splitting Harriet and Perfecting Kate.


All she wants is a job. All she needs is religion. How hard can it be?

Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy headline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but Steeple Side only hires committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith–a plan of action that includes changing her first name to Grace, buying Jesus-themed accessories, and learning “Christian Speak.” If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and two-day-stubbled, blue-jean-wearing British hottie wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s boss at the newspaper decides that she should investigate–and expose–any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide whether to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her Steeple Side colleagues–and Jack–will show her grace.

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

“Tamara Leigh takes her experienced romance hand and delights readers with Chick-Lit that sparkles and characters who come alive.” - Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Trophy Wives Club

“A delightful, charming book! Faking Grace has romance, truth, and a dollop of insanity, making Tamara Leigh a permanent addition to my list of favorite authors. Enjoy!”
- Ginger Garrett, author of In the Shadow of Lions and Beauty Secrets of the Bible

“Tamara Leigh does a fabulous job looking at the faults, the love, the hypocrisy, and the grace of Christians in a way that’s entertaining and fun. Maizy Grace is a crazy character I couldn’t help but like. I loved this book and highly recommend it!”
- Camy Tang, author of Sushi for One? and Only Uni

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Post Office is Delivering Mail - :) Book Review

Our post office didn't deliver mail over the weekend because of Hurricane Ike. You can scroll down to my previous post to see pictures of what we encountered here in Lake Charles. But first... let me tell you about The Road of Lost Innocence, the book I received in today's mail. The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam--just from reading the first chapter--is sort of Ann Frank-ish in that Somaly always wanted to believe the best of people. Haven't had time to read more than those few pages, but I have strong feelings about human trafficking--as I'm sure you do.
And if you don't have any opinion, I hope you'll pick up The Road of Lost Innocence to educate yourself.

About the author and the book:
Born in Cambodia and orphaned at an early age, Somaly Mam, a Buddhist sex trade survivor, grew up never knowing her real name or birthday.

As a teenager, Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these."
Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing. Buy it HERE.

See Somaly Mam on MSNBC and learn more about her story and what she's doing today.

Safe and Sound in Lake Charles, Louisiana

Ike came through and covered a lot of territory. There was water all around us. See these pictures of our downtown lake area. While winds weren't as bad as I feared, I don't think I'll be staying around for the next one. Our neighbors in the back still have trees left over from Rita and they're pretty tall. We felt vulnerable sitting in our den watching them blow back and forth.

Look! there was even an unwanted visitor in a Sulphur home-about 8 miles from us. Woooooeeeee, glad I didn't look out my back door and see this 10' gal. :-)
We lost power for about six hours. Ate hot dogs twice. That's enough weiners to last me for a couple of years. Hubby agrees. So does daughter.
With water all around us, thankfully, none in our neighborhood. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We continue to pray for our friends in Beaumont--the Golden Triangle area of Orange and Bridge City, and Houston and Galveston.
If you'd like to help Ike victims, call 1-800-sal-army or go to
Above all, please give your prayers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Recommended Evacuation

And we're staying!

Lake Charles, Louisiana is hunkered down . . . waiting.

My husband just went out to mow the grass. In fact, his words to me were, "I think I'll mow the yard while I wait." He says the water flows better when the grass is shorter.

What am I doing?
I took a shower, washed my hair. I figure I'd better be pretty clean starting out because once we lose our air conditioning, things are gonna get a little rank.

I found a miniature portable TV but the batteries had corroded inside it. I did put fresh AAs in a small weather radio.

Seriously, I don't want to be here. Our mayor has strongly advised everyone to get out. Yesterday, all our neighbors had planned to stay. This morning, I spotted my friend across the street packing up her car. That unnerves me.

"Don't forget the hatchet," my daughter says. She also took a shower and washed her hair.
"What? Why?" My nerves are on edge.
"We might have to hack our way through the roof if water gets high." My smart daughter. She used to live in New Orleans.

I don't like being scared--especially at night when there's nothing but darkness. We're just two hours from Houston and what frightens me most is the thought of Ike turning and heading our way. Our curfew starts at 10:00 am -- that's one hour from now. I have one hour to throw things in the car and head out. I sort of enjoy visualizing my husband running behind trying to catch me.

Keep Lake Charles in your prayers. I've never been a good camper. I get mean when I get hot and hungry. We're in for a bumpy ride... and so is hubby. :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturdays with Stella by Allison Pitman

I'm not really a dog person. I loved them when I was younger and remember the names of all my pup pets--Ricky, Freckles, Hissy and Sissy, Doogan, Blue, Rigger--but in recent years I've been nipped and growled at way too often. However, who can resist Stella? Just look at that sweet face!

For you early Christmas shoppers, Saturdays with Stella is the perfect gift for any dog-loving reader who loves the Lord. Oh, how I wish I had a hundred copies to give away right here. This sweet little book is nothing less than a beautiful message to us all. I found myself wanting to sit at the feet of author Allison Pittman and ask, "Did Jesus give you that analogy? Did you feel God smiling when you wrote that chapter?" I identified with Stella and her insecurity more than I want to admit, --Wait! No, not the piddlin' part--and I thank Allison for reminding me just how wonderfully precious I am to my Master.

Summary of Saturdays with Stella:

Sometimes your best four-legged friend is also your best teacher

When you bring a new dog into your home, a wash of great joy can become a trial of perseverance as your furry pal chews, digs, yaps, and yes, piddles her way through every room in the house. Allison Pittman learned this all too well when she adopted a “tiny, shiny puppy of indefinable breed(s).” Stella wasted no time in turning her home upside-down as only a pup can.

As could be expected, six weeks of obedience school covered the much needed basics–sit, stay, come, and down. What Allison didn’t expect was the spiritual benefit she would receive as each Saturday lesson revealed a fascinating metaphor. In this heart-warming, thoughtful, and often hilarious tribute to her beloved Stella, Allison Pittman shares how she came to understand what it means to follow the ultimate Master, including how to:

Sit!–at the feet of Jesus and listen for His voice
Drop It!–and let go of personal agendas
Come!–when it’s time to run in the right direction
Stay!–in God’s presence

In Saturdays with Stella, a slightly neurotic yet curiously adorable canine will not only capture your heart–she’ll show you how captivating you are to God.

Author Bio:
Allison Pittman is the author of the three books in the popular Crossroads of Grace series. Before her life as a novelist, Allison spent sixteen years teaching high school English. A founding member and co-president of the Christian Writer’s Group of the Greater San Antonio area, she devotes her time inspiring other writers to work toward their goals and sharpen their skills. Allison lives in Universal City, Texas with her husband Mike, their three sons, and Stella.

Reviewer's Note:
I have two copies of Saturdays with Stella. I promise this book will bless your socks off. Leave a message telling me about the pets from your childhood (and how to get in touch with you) and at the end of the week, I'll draw two winners. BUT, if you don't win... go here to order a copy of Saturdays with Stella. You won't regret it. In fact, bet you can't order just one. :) This book begs to be shared.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hurricane News : SHAME ON FOX!

Why can't our newscasters at our local stations cover hurricanes and feed the info to the networks? I would much rather hear my own weather team/meteorologists reporting what's happening in downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana. They live there too so they have a vested interest. They know the area and they'd be honest. I don't believe they'd toy with our emotions.

When we evacuate our homes leaving everything we own behind--television is our lifeline. We truly count on those who hold microphones and stand in front of the cameras to show us what's happening in our area. We're often let down or feel misled.

Shepherd Smith, stationed in New Orleans, was in front of the cameras constantly, but came across ill-prepared. Winging it, I guess. His exaggerated comments sounded as if he were trying out for a part in a movie, or perhaps dictating a work of fiction. At one time, he said the storm was headed to two cities to the west of New Orleans. Shep, do you know how many cities are to the west of New Orleans?

Adam Housely was in Lake Charles, Louisiana but he had little information about what was actually happening in the city. He was perched atop L'auberg Casino when he should have been moving around the town. About all he had to offer was "nice city" before he too told us what was happening in N.O. and Plaquemines Parish. As if we didn't know. Housely's blog is more interesting and informative.

In all fairness to Adam, he didn't get much air time but when he did, those of us from LC who were scattered across several states longed to hear real news about what was happening in our town.

I've defended Geraldo to family and friends for years, standing up for him when others criticize his reporting methods. Never again. My daughter and I watched what he called the most spectacular rescue he'd ever seen and couldn't believe our ears. This from a man who has been in Afghanistan? We recognized immediately that the Coast Guard was in control and that the man in the life jacket wasn't in need of a rescue. He was working. Working. Not performing.

A special note to Geraldo and all reporters: We here in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast pray for our properties when we have to evacuate them. We pray for our friends, our law enforcement, our city leaders--even the news media reporting the storms in their dramatic way. While we're praying, we don't want to hear newsmen using God's name in vain.

Reporting storms isn't a time to show off, act cute or lie to those of us huddled around the TV. We want the facts. We hang on every word. We're living in fear that we'll be returning to soaked carpets, roofless houses or nothing more than a slab. Any mention of our towns and what's happening there is appreciated. We want serious men and women giving us news about every city in harm's way. And we appreciate it immensely when reporters call our towns by name and pronounce those names correctly. It shows they've done their homework.

Fox dropped the ball. Their reporters lacked professionalism and compassion, and added very little news to a tense, scary situation. In the future I hope they show us respect by informing us...not entertaining us. We're not looking for entertainment when everything we own is at risk.

I'd like to thank Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel, for knowing how to report a hurricane. Stationed in Houma, Louisiana, Jim was informative and professional. TWC is to be commended. I hope they send more of their professionals to bring us relevant news and guide us during hurricanes to come.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

CFBA Introduces Back to Life by Kristin Billerbeck

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Back To Life Avon Inspire (September 16, 2008) by Kristin Billerbeck

Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and gained a bachelor's degree in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.

She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year for What A Girl Wants in 2004, and again in 2006 for With this Ring. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show. She is credited with jump-starting the inspirational chick-lit phenomenon. Most recently she has been names as a finalist for the Christy Award in the Lits category for The Trophy Wives Club.

Her other recent books include: She's All That.


Lindsey realized when she married Ron, a man 17 years her senior, that the odds were he’d see heaven before her, but she never expected to be a widow at 35. There’s too much of life left for her to just sit around in mourning. But she can’t seem to kick start the rest of her life.

That is until she gets some help from Ron’s first wife, Jane, who shows up unexpectedly at her door one day as the executor of her husband’s estate. Jane is everything Lindsey’s not… independent, stubborn… and a lot older. Plus she has one surprise after another… including a son named Ron Jr. (she insists he’s not “really” Ron’s son). But an unlikely friendship develops as each woman begins to reevaluate what is really important, and owns up to the mistakes they’ve made in the past.

Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Lindsey, and with the return of many of the witty characters of The Trophy Wives Club, this book is a lighthearted, relatable read for when life goes in a direction you never planned. With faith and friends, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to read an excerpt of chapter 1 of Back To Life, go HERE