Friday, July 27, 2007

ACFW Book Club

I have been remiss. I should have posted sooner about ACFW's online book club, especially since I'm the assistant coordinator. :-)

The book club is a lot of fun, even if I do say so myself. Every month we vote on a new selection. It's always so hard to pick! For August, we are reading Too Good to Be True, by Trish Perry.

We will be reading Too Good to Be True the first two weeks of August, then we'll begin discussing the book. The first Monday evening in September, the author, Trish Perry, will join us for a live online chat.

The chats are great fun. We were all practically rolling on the floor laughing when Mary Connealy chatted with us. Her book, Petticoat Ranch, was a recent selection. We had a blast talking with Mary about all kinds of things, including how she got the idea for her novel, as well as all her new releases.

In the book club, anything related to fiction is fodder for our discussions. But the real fun is finding out others' reactions--and relating our own reactions--to the Christian novels we're reading.

So come on over and join the book club! Click here to join.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Legend of the Firefish

The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka

Are you tired of boring, predictable novels? Do you like high adventure on the high seas? Want a novel with wisdom and amazing insight? Well, have I got a novel for you!

The Legend of the Firefish is the most unique, unpredictable novel I’ve read in a long time, maybe ever. It is fantasy, but it follows the “rules” of roughly the 17th or 18th century. The hero is a young man, Packer Throme, who smuggles his way onto a ship of former pirates. Their captain, the most notorious pirate ever known, is searching the sea for the very dangerous but very profitable giant sea serpents known as firefish.

Packer’s adventures lead him to death and back, but his beloved fiancĂ©, Panna Seline, runs away from home, beginning her own great adventure. The author switches you back and forth between their stories, even going into the point of view of a firefish or two. For the writers who read this book, the constant changing of points of view will be startling. He even slips into omniscient POV a lot. But the story is so gripping and so well-written, it didn’t bother me. In fact, I was fascinated with his style and method. It reminded me of some of the classics that were written 150 or 200 years ago.

To me, the best thing about the book was the ending. The theme the author was weaving throughout the book really came together at the end, and that was something I rarely find in modern novels. There is a love story here, but I would almost classify this book as a “guy story.” Of course, if you’re a guy, that’s fine, but if you’re a woman who can’t stand violence, well, you’ll still love it. I’m not going to put in any caveats here. It’s all good. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

In the last days. . .

These are the last days, right?

I have been asking God a lot lately if I'm really supposed to be writing. I have also asked him to help me stop obsessing about writing and about getting published. I told him I surrendered it to him. If it isn't his will for me to write, then show me that.

Well, the last few weeks have been really hard. My computer died. We had to buy a new one. I've exhausted all possible publishers for my book except one, and that one changed their guidelines so that my book no longer qualifies. I can't go to a writer's conference this year to make new contacts with publishers. It seems doors have closed but none have opened. Is God trying to tell me something?

Then, last Thursday I was supposed to participate in an online chat about my newest book. When I tried to log into the chat room, I couldn't get in. My new computer refused to download the appropriate software. I tried and tried and for no apparent reason it just wouldn't work. I got so upset. I realized I was going to miss the chat completely. I started crying hysterically. I decided nobody wanted me to write, including God. I had wasted hours--no, days--no YEARS--of my life writing and striving for this elusive goal that seemed completely out of my control.

I went to bed early that night, so depressed that I wasn't sure I would ever write again. Maybe writing wasn't what God wanted me to do. Maybe I could serve God better if I went back to doing what I did before I started writing: Scrapbooking my kids' photos and experimenting with new recipes. (Oooo, I lived an exciting life, didn't I?)

That night I went to bed more depressed than I'd been in a long time. I prayed until I fell asleep. Then, in the middle of the night I dreamed that God wrote me a message that suddenly appeared on the cup I was holding. The message said that I was supposed to write, that God wanted me to keep writing. Then another message appeared, saying essentially the same thing. In the dream I was very excited and happy, not just that God said he wanted me to keep writing, but happy because God had answered my question and sent me a message.

When I woke up I was surprised I'd been dreaming. The dream had seemed so real and vivid. But I still felt as though God had spoken to me, and I instantly went back to sleep, feeling thoroughly happy.

The next morning I told my husband about the dream, and he said he believed it was from God. I kept thinking of that verse in the Bible, "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." Acts 2:17. Well, I'm not an old man, but I think the point is that God will inspire us and will do things through the Spirit in our spirits. Because if there's ever to be "last days" I think this has to be it.

Anyway, I praise God that he gave me some assurance.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Scarlet Trefoil by L.A. Kelly

The Scarlet Trefoil is a great adventure/love story, continuing the saga of Tahn Dorn. Oh my goodness, if you haven't read Tahn, the first book in the series, you must read it. Tahn is one of the most memorable--and one of my very favorite--characters of all time. Saying a lot, isn't it? You really should read Tahn by L.A. Kelly.

In The Scarlet Trefoil, Tahn once again must save those he loves from evil men. His fiance is kidnapped on the night before their wedding. Tahn's selflessness is heroic and knows no bounds. He will not allow anyone he loves to suffer for long.

I don't want to give anything away. I will say that if you are very averse to violence, you may not want to read this book. There are some scenes that are difficult to read. I'm definitely on the squeamish side myself, but I still liked The Scarlet Trefoil. If you haven't read Tahn, read it. The setting of this series has a medieval flavor, but the places and names are fantasy. It's unusual in Christian fiction to have that combination, but the first book in the series was published several years ago. Perhaps publishers weren't so cut and dried about what they would and wouldn't publish back then. I'm not sure. But it's worth reading.

The next book I review is also quite unusual. I won't spoil the surprise, but be sure to check in again soon. And don't forget to leave comments to win Deborah Raney's latest book.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

You Could Win!

You could win a copy of Deborah Raney's newest book, Remember to Forget, just by making a comment on any of my posts for the month of July.

I ended up with two copies of the book, and I usually donate any books I buy--after I read them--to my library, I still have an extra copy to give away. Hopefully I will not be so neglectful of my blog this month. Last month my computer died, and that was a major headache. I also changed my email address, another headache. But I want to start this month off better. Here's a brief review of Remember to Forget.

Maggie Anderson seizes the chance to escape from her abusive boyfriend one morning when she is carjacked. To put as much distance between her and him as possible, she is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers. She ends up in a small town in Kansas. But those who have helped her will eventually find out that she has lied to them, supposedly to protect herself. What will happen to her then?

Nice story. If you want to win it, just leave me a comment any time this month. I'll throw your name in the hat as many times as you make comments, so the more comments, the greater your chance to win.