Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Christmas Journey Review and Interview with Author Winnie Griggs

Ry Lassiter, a prosperous lawyer from Philadelphia, hurries back to Texas after he receives a desperate telegram from Belle, his childhood friend. But before he can reach her, two thugs accost and shoot him. Josie Wylie, a livery stable owner he’s briefly met and helped, realizes the thugs are following Ry and mean to harm him. She charges after them, and her quick thinking saves his life. When a thug gets the upper hand, Ry rescues Josie before he passes out from his injuries.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gingham Bride by Jillian Hart ~ Book Review and Author Interview

Seventeen-year-old Fiona O’Rourke’s goal is to graduate from school and run away from her cold-hearted, worn-out mother and lazy good-for-nothing father to live in a world she controls where no one can hurt her. She’s so focused on her escape plan, she is unaware of the admiration of the young men in her town, and is convinced she’s unattractive and unlovable. Her unhappy world goes from bad to worse when a man she’s been betrothed to all her life but has never met suddenly shows up to jeopardize her dreams with the threat of forcing her into a loveless marriage to get the deed to her family’s land.

Poor but honorable Ian McPherson travels from Kentucky to Montana, not to marry Fiona as his grandmother promised the O'Rourkes, but to determine if their land is suitable to raise his small herd of thoroughbred mares, the only assets left after his family suffers the loss of their wealth. Dismayed by the run-down condition of the O’Rourke property, Ian has no intention of staying and marrying Fiona, especially when her father demands a huge sum of money for her that Ian doesn’t have. But her plight touches his heart, and when she is attacked by a ruthless acquaintance of her father’s, Ian is determined to protect her, even if it means sacrificing his own dreams to help her fulfill hers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pitch and Promote Like a Pro by Terry W. Burns

When I attended the ACFW conference last month, I was privileged to meet and talk with Terry Burns. The man exuded wisdom, gentility, and compassion, and I went away wanting to know more about him and his expertise. (I also wished an agent or editor could have reviewed my proposal and told me if it was not only acceptable, but exemplary--'Sorry. That's my perfectionist tendencies talking.)

A few days later, I clicked on Terry's website, www.TerryBurns.net, zeroed in on his bookstore, and found a jewel. Pitch and Promote Like a Pro CD. And the price was better than right. I ordered it, hoping it would help me give my book proposal the edge I felt I needed to impress an agent who had invited me to send one.

Pitch and Promote Like a Pro arrived a few days later, and it provided a wealth of down-to-earth advice about every facet of pitching one's book. Nineteen topics spread over eighty easy-to-read pages that range from overcoming his personal fears about pitching to writing the dreaded proposal step by step. Terry uses his own proposal as an example and breaks it down, page by page, with simple explanations to help the writer not only create the blasted thing, but understand the reason why he or she must follow certain guidelines. And he's taken the guesswork out of the "Marketing Analyses" and "Marketing Comparables." Yay! Great, great stuff!

My proposal is finished. I can't say that it's exemplary, but I have a lot more confidence in it than the version I took to the conference. Thanks, Terry, for sharing your invaluable info. To God be the glory.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World by Dr. David Jeremiah

Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World offers hope to people worried about our current, mind-boggling economic crises, other potentially catastrophic events, and increasingly difficult, personal struggles of life. New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Jeremiah examines a variety of traumatic situations and offers wise solutions richly backed up by the Word of God. With the added use of extensive research and scores of thought-provoking anecdotes, the author shows us that God has answers for the world’s problems. But He needs individual believers to help Him provide them.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Perfect Love Casts Out Spider Phobia

When I was a little kid--maybe about four or five years old--I overheard a man tell my dad that he had a nightmare about spiders. In the dream he was trapped in a pit somewhere and nasty critters crawled all over him and bit him. He screamed and struggled, but couldn't get away. He must have relayed the story with great emotion, because it left a lasting impression in me that morphed into an increasingly paralyzing phobia as I grew older.

By the time I reached my twenties, all spiders, no matter how tiny, were objects of terror. If I was alone in a room and saw one, I hollered until someone came to rescue me. I couldn't kill my nemesis myself, because fear riveted my eyes on it and rooted me to the floor. I couldn't cope with the thought of drawing closer to the eight-legged monster, and leaving the room was not an option either. If the spider disappeared during my absence, my irrational thinking convinced me it would attack me at night when I was asleep and most vulnerable. My fear became so potent, my myopic vision translated every undecipherable blob on the wall into a spider. Even seeing a picture in a book caused my heart to flutter, and I needed all my courage to turn the page.

But in my early 40s, I experienced a life-changing event. I fell in love with the Word of God and devoured massive doses of it every day. Less than a year later while painting a room in my house, I happened upon a little spider. Instead of screaming bloody murder, I ran it over with the roller and imbedded it forever in the creamy wall. (And I didn't cringe every time I entered the room afterward either.)

Two things from that experience triggered incredible joy: a) for an instant I felt sorry for my baby victim before I killed it, and b) I had been set free. To this day I don't know if the fear disappeared during that incident, or God had taken it away earlier. I puzzled over it for days until I read 1 John 4:18, and understanding came.

18a There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! [Amplied Bible] Although this verse refers to fear of judgment, it describes my circumstances perfectly. Through His still, small voice and the written Word, God had increased His love, the first fruit of the spirit, within me, and I didn't have to be afraid anymore. I give glory to God and His living Word.

John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  [ESV]

If you have a similar story of how God set you free from fear, please consider sharing it with us. The one that receives the most comments will receive a copy of Winnie's Griggs's precious Love Inspired Historical Romance, The Christmas Journey.

Disclaimer: This contest applies only to readers in the USA.