Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes allegories. Allegory defined: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence.

That's a dry way of saying stories which symbolize truth. Denise points her readers to God's love.

Her heroes make me rethink God’s heart. I find another facet in her portrayal of the way God pursues us, loves us unconditionally. Even how he presents Himself so meekly before us as if caring for a fragile, timid creature and not wanting to overwhelm us with the intense, even fiery, love in His heart for us. Tucker McCabe did that—held back, waited. He initiated loving contact with Sabrina Kincaid, but then waited for her response. Waited for her to open her heart. Waited for her to trust him.

And somehow Denise presents her story’s hero as human, flawed, relatable. “Tucker” isn’t Jesus. He’s not God. But Denise’s story uses him to display God’s style of loving, of wooing, of patient pursuit of our hearts. Several times I stopped reading to lift a silent prayer to God as I felt His wooing.

I highly recommend Denise Hunter’s Seaside Letters—the setting takes you away from the norm to a seaside locale—Nantucket (except local residents, of course); the characters will help you examine yourself and make discoveries. Prepare for sweetened, deepened prayer encounters. Prepare to be captivated. Prepare to relate with her hero and heroine; you’ll sympathize with each. And you may wonder what keeps you from opening to God 100%.

Bravo, Denise! Looking forward to Driftwood Lane, another book in the Nantucket Love Story series, coming out in the summer of 2010.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Gail Sattler, Dawn Kinzer, myself and Evelyn Ray
(from ACFW conference, last year)

Hey everyone,

Conference was fantastic!! Denver is beautiful, what we saw of it, which wasn't much since we spent days inside the beautiful hotel. :-) The wonderful writers who attended filled the place with love and kindness. God's presence poured out in so many directions as we fellowshiped, took classes together and worshiped as one.

Donald Maass presented a workshop at the beginning of conference. His class was very helpful to both myself and the many writers I talked with about it afterwards. Eye-opening. I came home inspired to work on the nuggets his workshop brought to the surface.

Katie Ganshert attended and it was fun to see her since she's been on Seriously Write, the blog I cohost with Dawn Kinzer. I knew I should know her face! So, when I caught a glimpse of her name badge it hit--she's the one visiting SW on Mondays. Fun!

Got to hug Julie Lessman, Janice Thompson, Rachel Hauck, Susan May Warren, Denise Hunter, Gail Sattler (who travels with us), Betsy St. Amant with her hubby Brandon, and so many others. Rachel Hauck won the Book of the Year for "Sweet Caroline." Julie Lessman won in the debut category for "A Passion Most Pure." Sharon Hinck won for both "The Restorer's Journey" and "Stepping into Sunlight"! All of these authors have visited Net's Book Notes and are friends, so it was such a joy for them to win! What a pleasure to connect with writers I haven't seen in a year and to make new friends, as well. Rene Gutteridge taught on screenwriting and graciously signed my copy of her new book "Never the Bride." Sandie Bricker's beautiful smiling face blessed me often as I kept running into her. She visted a while ago for her book "Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas" her very successful romantic comedy--the book which launched the Summerside LFY line. She's also guested at Seriously Write.

It occurred to me this year again that I go to these writers' conferences as a writer, sure, but so much of my enjoyment is as a fan, as well! I run around the booksigning taking pics and asking for signatures. I shoot pics of the bookstore tables, heavily laden with delicious Christian fiction.

When I get a chance I'll post a few pictures. (The pic above is from last year's conference banquet, hope you don't mind. :-)

My To Be Read (TBR) pile doubled, so check back to see reviews of more great Christian fiction coming soon.

Check out the ACFW Conference blog for photos and news! New ACFW member Ted Dekker dropped by to greet fellow members. There's a great picture of him with our AWESOME prez Cynthia Ruchti and marketing specialist Jim Rubart.

Happy reading!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

ACFW Conference 2009

"The Premier Christian Fiction Conference"


"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)

 SEPTEMBER 17 - 20, 2009

Bestselling authors, publishing industry representatives, and newcomers to Christian fiction writing will gather in Denver at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s annual conference September 17-20 to compare notes, learn from each other, and encourage one another in the pursuit of publishing goals.

This year’s conference theme , Standing Firm…Moving Forward, will especially inspire the full range of talent and dreams in the ever-changing publishing world today.

This amazing conference will feature representatives from major publishing houses like B & H, Guideposts, Zondervan, Harvest House, Barbour, Steeple Hill, Summerside Press, Bethany House, Waterbrook Multnomah, Marcher Lord Press, Tyndale House, and Thomas Nelson, and top literary agents who will meet with writers and identify promising proposals from both new and veteran novelists. Conferees will have access to publishing panels, professional critiques, and customized workshops based on skills and interests.

The keynote speaker is New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, who has more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Learn more about the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference by visiting www.acfw.com. Click on the left sidebar on Annual Conference.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

Today Max Lucado's new book Fearless releases. For years I’ve enjoyed Max's books. One summer, I read chapter after chapter of God Came Near aloud outside, just for the pleasure of rolling the words off my tongue. So, when the opportunity presented itself to read Fearless for review as one of Thomas Nelson's blog reviewers, I volunteered.

First, the timely back cover copy:

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word "terror." Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

And now my review:

Whether it's the stock market or real estate appraisals, doctor's visits or the future, there are lots of things in life to fear, especially lately.

Take a peek at the cover of this book. See that kiddo jumping off the end of the dock with no concern for 1) the water's temperature; 2) the depth of the water; 3) clearance of the dock; 4) creatures in the water. I can come up with a hundred things to worry about. But not that kid. He's fearless. And that's what I wanna be.

One of the ways Max woos his readers is through his fantastic word-smithing. I know. I know. I made it up. (sort of; writers know of it) Max strings phrases together you can't help trying out on your tongue the second time before moving on. He also engages your imagination. His opening illustration for chapter six had me laughing aloud as he described flying with a seasoned fighter pilot and regretting his dinner the previous night. All in a chapter about keeping our eyes on Jesus.

What a timely book. Max explains that he began writing the book two years ago, not knowing what kind of emotional, spiritual, economic climate the book would release to. God knew. And every chapter speaks to me in this midst of this trying season in our country.

When you get a chance, read this book, especially if you've ever struggled with fear or anxiety. I found each chapter addressed an issue God was pointing out in my own life. Pick up a copy to give as a gift, too. You'll be blessing the reader like Max encouraged you.

Here's to living FEARLESS!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Christian Fiction Releases - September, 2009

1. A Blue and Gray Christmas, by Carrie Turansky, Vickie McDonough, Lauralee Bliss Tamela Hancock Murray from Barbour Publishing. A Blue and Gray Christmas highlights the faith and courage of four couples who remained true to their convictions and found lasting love despite the hardships of the Civil War.

2. A Man of His Word, Book 1 in the Hearts of Middlefield Series, by Kathleen Fuller from Thomas Nelson. Moriah’s heart will only be safe with a man of his word.

3. A Silent Fury, by Lynette Eason from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Detective Catelyn Clark and her ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Joseph Santino, must overcome their rocky past while working to solve the murder of a deaf student and find the friend who’s still missing.

4. Always Ready, Book 1, by Susan Page Davis from Heartsong. Two Coast Guard officers find danger and romance in the hostile seas of Alaska.

5. An Amish Christmas, by Kathleen Fuller, , Beth Wiseman, from Thomas Nelson. Follow the lives of three Amish families through the Christmas season.

6. Beautiful Ugly, by Shelia Lipsey from Kensington Publishing Corp. Three friends need plenty of faith in God and support from each other to see their real beauty lies within.

7. Cowboy Christmas, by Mary Connealy from Barbour. A secretive singer with trouble following her, and a cowboy who hates liars, especially female liars, need a Christmas miracle to take a chance on love.

8. Distant Thunder, by Jimmy Root Jr. from American Book Publishers. The coming fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecies. A coalition of nations will attack Israel, but God will intervene.

9. Fields of Grace, by Kim Vogel Sawyer from Bethany House. A Russian Mennonite family fights to survive and maintain their faith in a new land.

10. It’s Not about Him, Second Glance Series, Book #2, by Michelle Sutton from Sheaf House. Two young Christians with an unplanned pregnancy where she wants to place her child in a good home but he wants to marry her so she’ll keep her child even though it’s not his.

11. Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio, by Annalisa Daughety from Summerside Press. A summer in Charm, Ohio, gives Emma Miller the chance to decide once and for all what she wants from life—but soon finds herself pulled between two worlds.

12. Painted Desert, by Nancy Farrier from Barbour. As modern life takes unexpected turns, love comes knocking on the doors of three Arizona women’s lives.

13. Protector’s Honor, by Kit Wilkinson from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Rory Farrell searches for the link between Tabitha Beaumont and his ongoing murder investigation, but to protect her, he’ll have to her trust as well.

14. Raising Rain, by Debbie Fuller Thomas from Moody Publishers. A single woman desperate for a child and the 3 college roommates who raised her meet her terminally ill mother on a stormy weekend and confront the past.

15. The Transformation, Project Restoration Series Book 3, by Terri Kraus from David C. Cook. Can a good, hard-working Christian man disregard his cultural and religious admonitions—as well as his mother’s plans for his life—for the love of a woman and an historic church building?

16. The Unfinished Gift, by Dan Walsh from Revell, Division of Baker Publishing Group. Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is an engaging story of reconciliation between a father and son, and how God uses an unexpected gift from the past to mend this broken family.

17. Tidings of Great Boys, All About Us #5, by Shelley Adina from Hatchette FaithWords. Lady Lindsay (Mac) MacPhail invites her classmates home to her castle in Scotland for an unforgettable Christmas.

18. Wild West Christmas, by Lena Nelson Dooley, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Vickie McDonough, Darlene Franklin from Barbour. Christmas courtships corral four sisters in Texas.