Thursday, July 31, 2008

UPDATE ON STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN

I just received an email from the Steven Curtis Chapman organization that I felt I should share with you. Please continue to keep the family in your prayers.







Thank You
A sincere thank you from Steven and Mary Beth Chapman to each of you for your prayers and condolences. The family has been overwhelmed with the response and is very grateful. We'd ask that you continue to support this family as you think of it, particularly through this year of firsts." Perhaps a reminder on your calendar on each Wednesday? or each 21st? The Chapmans believe in the power of prayer! And feel certain that the prayers of so many like you have sustained them in these trying days.



Media Appearances Upcoming


The Chapman family will be appearing on...

Good Morning America on August 5th
Larry King Live on August 7th
People Magazine issue of August 15th




Opportunities with outlets of this sort of reach would normally be reason for wild celebration... on this occasion though, I think you'd understand why we would rather not even have the coverage. The Chapmans didn't seek these appearances, and these were cautiously and prayerfully considered with input from the family, pastors, counselors, and Steven's team. When these many opportunities came, the discussion quickly centered around the opportunity to use them to remember and celebrate Maria, to thank the tens of thousands of you who have sent condolences as well as the the hundreds of thousands or more that have prayed for this family, to highlight adoption and orphans...and most importantly that the Hope of the Gospel be proclaimed.It's our hope that this is what will be accomplished, that as many as possible will be reached, especially those that would not hear of it any other way... and we seek your prayers as the family endeavors to do so in these interviews.


















Likewise, a tour announcement of this historic nature would normally be wildly promoted. You know at first though, there were moments after the loss of Maria on May 21, Steven wondered if he would ever return to stage. It has become clear to him though that if he has ever believed what he has written and sung about these past 20 years, then it Must Still Be True Now. And the Chapmans believe that the Gospel is true!




So, return to stage Steven has. And now we are announcing that this October 9 - November 9, Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman will tour together for the first time ever. It is an evening not to be missed. And we are excited!






Tuesday, July 29, 2008

SUSHI FOR ONE by Camy Tang, FIrst Chapter



It is time to play a Wild Card! It's time for an excerpt on the FIRST Wild Card Tour.



Today's Wild Card author is:




and her book:



Sushi for One? from Zondervan (September 1, 2007)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Camy Tang is a member of FIRST and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One) was her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) is now available. The next book in the series, Single Sashimi (Sushi Series, Book Three) will be coming out in September 2008!


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 12.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (September 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310273986
ISBN-13: 978-0310273981

Note: I read this book a couple of months ago and I found it very entertaining. I loved Camy's style, which is witty and intelligent. Her characters are quite believeable. The interaction of two cultures is a real dilemna for many who are second generation Asian or any other culture that has immigrated to the USA. Add to that the conflict of Christianity and the old traditions of a religion such as Shinto or Buddhism, and there is automatically potential for fireworks. I highly recommend this book, even for those who think they won't like chic lit.


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One


Eat and leave. That’s all she had to do.

If Grandma didn’t kill her first for being late.

Lex Sakai raced through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and was immediately immersed in conversation, babies’ wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. She tripped over the threshold and almost turned her ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, she hated wearing heels.

Her cousin Chester sat behind a small table next to the open doorway.

“Hey Chester.”

“Oooh, you’re late. Grandma isn’t going to be happy. Sign over here.” He gestured to the guestbook that was almost drowned in the pink lace glued to the edges.

“What do I do with this?” Lex dropped the Babies R Us box on the table.

Chester grabbed the box and flipped it behind him with the air of a man who’d been doing this for too long and wanted out from behind the frilly welcome table.

Lex understood how he felt. So many of their cousins were having babies, and there were several mixed Chinese-Japanese marriages in the family. Therefore, most cousins opted for these huge—not to mention tiring—traditional Chinese Red Egg and Ginger parties to “present” their newborns, even though the majority of the family was Japanese American.

Lex bent to scrawl her name in the guestbook. Her new sheath dress sliced into her abs, while the fabric strained across her back muscles. Trish had convinced her to buy the dress, and it actually gave her sporty silhouette some curves, but its fitted design prevented movement. She should’ve worn her old loosefitting dress instead. She finished signing the book and looked back to Chester. “How’s the food?” The only thing worthwhile about these noisy events. Lex would rather be at the beach.

“They haven’t even started serving.”

“Great. That’ll put Grandma in a good mood.”

Chester grimaced, then gestured toward the far corner where there was a scarlet-draped wall and a huge gold dragon wall-hanging. “Grandma’s over there.”

“Thanks.” Yeah, Chester knew the drill, same as Lex. She had to go over to say hello as soon as she got to the party— before Grandma saw her, anyway—or Grandma would be peeved and stick Lex on her “Ignore List” until after Christmas.

Lex turned, then stopped. Poor Chester. He looked completely forlorn—not to mention too bulky—behind that silly table. Of all her cousins, he always had a smile and a joke for her. “Do you want to go sit down? I can man the table for you for a while. As long as you don’t forget to bring me some food.” She winked at him.

Chester flashed his toothy grin, and the weary lines around his face expanded into his normal laugh lines. “I appreciate that, but don’t worry about me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. My sister’s going to bring me something—she’s got all the kids at her table, so she’ll have plenty for me. But thanks, Lex.”

“You’d do the same for me.”

Lex wiggled in between the round tables and inadvertently jammed her toe into the protruding metal leg of a chair. To accommodate the hefty size of Lex’s extended family, the restaurant had loaded the room with tables and chairs so it resembled a game of Tetris. Once bodies sat in the chairs, a chopstick could barely squeeze through. And while Lex prided herself on her athletic 18-percent body fat, she wasn’t a chopstick.

The Chinese waiters picked that exact moment to start serving the food.

Clad in black pants and white button-down shirts, they filed from behind the ornate screen covering the doorway to the kitchen, huge round platters held high above their heads. They slid through the crowded room like salmon—how the heck did they do that?—while it took all the effort Lex had to push her way through the five inches between an aunty and uncle’s
chairs. Like birds of prey, the waiters descended on her as if they knew she couldn’t escape.

Lex dodged one skinny waiter with plates of fatty pork and thumb-sized braised octopus. Another waiter almost gouged her eye out with his platter. She ducked and shoved at chairs, earning scathing glances from various uncles and aunties.

Finally, Lex exploded from the sea of tables into the open area by the dragon wall-hanging. She felt like she’d escaped from quicksand. Grandma stood and swayed in front of the horrifying golden dragon, holding her newest great-granddaughter, the star of the party. The baby’s face glowed as red as the fabric covering the wall. Probably scared of the dragon’s green buggy eyes only twelve inches away. Strange, Grandma seemed to be favoring her right hip.

“Hi, Grandma.”

“Lex! Hi sweetie. You’re a little late.”

Translation: You’d better have a good excuse.

Lex thought about lying, but aside from the fact that she couldn’t lie to save her life, Grandma’s eyes were keener than a sniper’s. “I’m sorry. I was playing grass volleyball and lost track of time.”

The carefully lined red lips curved down. “You play sports too much. How are you going to attract a man when you’re always sweating?”

Like she was now? Thank goodness for the fruity body spritz she had marinated herself in before she got out of her car.

“That’s a pretty dress, Lex. New, isn’t it?”

How did she do that? With as many grandchildren as she had, Grandma never failed to notice clothes, whereas Lex barely registered that she wasn’t naked. “Thanks. Trish picked it out.”

“It’s so much nicer than that ugly floppy thing you wore to your cousin’s wedding.”

Lex gritted her teeth. Respect your grandmother. Do not open your mouth about something like showing up in a polkadotted bikini.

“Actually, Lex, I’m glad you look so ladylike this time. I have a friend’s son I want you to meet—”

Oh, no. Not again. “Does he speak English?”

Grandma drew herself to her full height, which looked a little silly because Lex still towered over her. “Of course he does.”

“Employed?”

“Yes. Lex, your attitude—”

“Christian?”

“Now why should that make a difference?”

Lex widened innocent eyes. “Religious differences account for a lot of divorces.”

“I’m not asking you to marry him, just to meet him.”

Liar. “I appreciate how much you care about me, but I’ll find my own dates, thanks.” Lex smiled like she held a knife blade in her teeth. When Grandma got pushy like this, Lex had more backbone than the other cousins.

“I wouldn’t be so concerned, but you don’t date at all—”

Not going there. “Is this Chester’s niece?” Lex’s voice rose an octave as she tickled the baby’s Pillsbury-Doughboy stomach. The baby screamed on. “Hey there, cutie, you’re so big, betcha having fun, is Grandma showing you off, well, you just look pretty as a picture, are you enjoying your Red Egg and Ginger party? Okay, Grandma, I have to sit down. Bye.”

Before Grandma could say another word, Lex whisked away into the throng of milling relatives. Phase one, accomplished. Grandmother engaged. Retreat commencing before more nagging words like “dating” and “marriage” sullied the air.

Next to find her cousins—and best friends—Trish, Venus, and Jenn, who were saving a seat for her. She headed toward the back where all the other unmarried cousins sat as far away from Grandma as physically possible.

Their table was scrunched into the corner against towering stacks of unused chairs—like the restaurant could even hold more chairs. “Lex!” Trish flapped her raised hand so hard, Lex expected it to fly off at any moment. Next to her, Venus lounged, as gorgeous as always and looking bored, while Jennifer sat quietly on her other side, twirling a lock of her long straight hair. On either side of them …

“Hey, where’s my seat?”

Venus’s wide almond eyes sent a sincere apology. “We failed you, babe. We had a seat saved next to Jenn, but then . . .” She pointed to where the back of a portly aunty’s chair had rammed up against their table. “We had to remove the chair, and by then, the rest were filled.”

“Traitors. You should have shoved somebody under the table.”

Venus grinned evilly. “You’d fit under there, Lex.”

Trish whapped Venus in the arm. “Be nice.”

A few of the other cousins looked at them strangely, but they got that a lot. The four of them became close when they shared an apartment during college, but even more so when they all became Christian. No one else understood their flaws, foibles, and faith.

Lex had to find someplace to sit. At the very least, she wanted to snarf some overpriced, high calorie, high cholesterol food at this torturous party.

She scanned the sea of black heads, gray heads, dyed heads, small children’s heads with upside-down ricebowl haircuts, and teenager heads with highlighting and funky colors.

There. A table with an empty chair. Her cousin Bobby, his wife, his mother-in-law, and his brood. Six—count ’em, six— little people under the age of five.

Lex didn’t object to kids. She liked them. She enjoyed coaching her girls’ volleyball club team. But these were Bobby’s kids. The 911 operators knew them by name. The local cops drew straws on who would have to go to their house when they got a call.

However, it might not be so bad to sit with Bobby and family. Kids ate less than adults, meaning more food for Lex.

“Hi, Bobby. This seat taken?”

“No, go ahead and sit.” Bobby’s moon-face nodded toward the empty chair.

Lex smiled at his nervous wife, who wrestled with an infant making intermittent screeching noises. “Is that …” Oh great. Boxed yourself in now. Name a name, any name. “Uh … Kyle?”

The beleaguered mom’s smile darted in and out of her grimace as she tried to keep the flailing baby from squirming into a face-plant on the floor. “Yes, this is Kylie. Can you believe she’s so big?” One of her sons lifted a fork. “No, sweetheart, put the food down—!”

The deep-fried missile sailed across the table, trailing a tail of vegetables and sticky sauce. Lex had protected her face from volleyballs slammed at eighty miles an hour, but she’d never dodged multi-shots of food. She swatted away a flying net of lemony shredded lettuce, but a bullet of sauce-soaked fried chicken nailed her right in the chest.

Yuck. Well, good thing she could wash—oops, no, she hadn’t worn her normal cotton dress. This was the new silk one. The one with the price tag that made her gasp, but also made her look like she actually had a waist instead of a plank for a torso. The dress with the “dry-clean only” tag.

“Oh! I’m sorry, Lex. Bad boy. Look what you did.” Bobby’s wife leaned across the table with a napkin held out, still clutching her baby whose foot was dragging through the chow mein platter.

The little boy sitting next to Lex shouted in laughter. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t had a mouth full of chewed bok choy in garlic sauce.

Regurgitated cabbage rained on Lex’s chest, dampening the sunny lemon chicken. The child pointed at the pattern on her dress and squealed as if he had created a Vermeer. The other children laughed with him.

“Hey boys! That’s not nice.” Bobby glared at his sons, but otherwise didn’t stop shoveling salt-and-pepper shrimp into his mouth.

Lex scrubbed at the mess, but the slimy sauces refused to transfer from her dress onto the polyester napkin, instead clinging to the blue silk like mucus. Oh man, disgustamundo. Lex’s stomach gurgled. Why was every other part of her athlete’s body strong except for her stomach?

She needed to clean herself up. Lex wrestled herself out of the chair and bumped an older man sitting behind her. “Sorry.” The violent motion made the nausea swell, then recede. Don’t be silly. Stop being a wimp. But her already sensitive stomach had dropped the call with her head.

Breathe. In. Out. No, not through your nose. Don’t look at that boy’s drippy nose. Turn away from the drooling baby.

She needed fresh air in her face. She didn’t care how rude it was, she was leaving now.

“There you are, Lex.”

What in the world was Grandma doing at the far end of the restaurant? This was supposed to be a safe haven. Why would Grandma take a rare venture from the other side where the “more important” family members sat?

“My goodness, Lex! What happened to you?”

“I sat next to Bobby’s kids.”

Grandma’s powdered face scrunched into a grimace. “Here, let me go to the restroom with you.” The bright eyes strayed again to the mess on the front of her dress. She gasped.

Oh, no, what else? “What is it?” Lex asked.

“You never wear nice clothes. You always wear that hideous black thing.”

“We’ve already been over this—”

“I never noticed that you have no bosom. No wonder you can’t get a guy.”

Lex’s jaw felt like a loose hinge. The breath stuck in her chest until she forced a painful cough. “Grandma!

Out of the corner of her eye, Lex could see heads swivel. Grandma’s voice carried better than a soccer commentator at the World Cup.

Grandma bent closer to peer at Lex’s chest. Lex jumped backward, but the chair behind her wouldn’t let her move very far.

Grandma straightened with a frighteningly excited look on her face. “I know what I’ll do.”

God, now would be a good time for a waiter to brain her with a serving platter.

Grandmother gave a gleeful smile and clapped her hands. “Yes, it’s perfect. I’ll pay for breast implants for you!”

© Camy Tang
Used by permission of Zondervan

Friday, July 25, 2008

Women Warriors and The One True God


Seed of Seerling by Amy Kennedy

After many minutes, Thauma croaked out her reading. “This child is not the Keeper you seek. She is a seed.” The old crow then stopped, moved a few bones around on the leather. “The seed.” Her gruff whisper rattled to every corner of the room.

High Priestess Ruman knelt down beside her and stared at the bones in awe. “What seed?”

Thauma squinted her wrinkled eyes at the High Priestess then looked up at Isilian. “This is the child who will rule and bring peace to the Seerling tribes. She will be the seed that will lead her people out of slavery by Harkonian hands and into a great light.”


The child is Astril, first daughter of a priestess of the Seerlings, a tribe ruled by the High Priestess who serves the Great Goddess, a tribe ruled by hatred, fear, and magic that came from this Goddess. But her grandmother had learned about the One True God and followed Him, prayed to Him on behalf of her granddaughter. Although Astril was supposed to train to be the next High Priestess after her mother, she has learned enough to know she doesn’t want to follow that path.

The great enemy of the Seerlings is the kingdom of Harkon, a people who claim to follow The One True God, although some (such as their king at the beginning of the tale) only give lip service to being servants of The One True God. The Harkonians could be compared to the people of the Arthurian legends with code of chivalry that was supposedly followed by all knights, and helpless females who were trained that way. While the Seerlings killed off the Harkonians in battle, the Harkonians tended to take Seerlings to serve as slaves.

As events unfold, the young prince of Harkon, Toren, feels called to spend time learning the Holy Writings under the tutelage of the priest Augur, and returns as a young man who is not only strong an well skilled physically, but spiritually as well. In the same time period, Astril has become the leader of the Seerling soldiers, amazingly adept at warfare. They are on a collision course that will change them all forever.

This was one of the best stories I have read this year, although you may see those words from me several more times before the year is out. It reminded me of the elements in the different tales from the Arthurian legend, including the women like Morgan le Fey who followed the dark forces and had a magical side to them. The spiritual warfare is played out in an arena with flawed characters, demonstrating the power of the True God in spite of the flaws in His followers.

The spiritual portion of the story is strong, yet so are the dramatic elements and the characters. Here is a clash of cultures, complicated romance, betrayal, surprises, battles, and all kinds of action. With two very young main characters (between 18-20), it is a coming-of-age novel that is suitable for older teens, but also very much a fantasy for adults.
Author's website: http://www.seerling.com/index.html. Amy Kennedy also has a page at Shoutlife.com .
Book Details
Seed of Seerling by Amy Kennedy
Published by VMI Fiction (July 1, 2008)
288 pages
$13.99
ISBN-10: 1933204656
ISBN-13: 978-1933204659
To purchase Seed of Seerling:
May be purchased through author's website ($13.99), amazon.com ($11.89), barnes and noble ($11.33 members, $12.59 others), and Target.com ($11.89)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Win a Wii or iPod! Just Solve a Little Puzzle

Unfortunately, I haven't finished my review for this great book yet, but NavPress and D. Barkley Briggs are giving away a Wii and other prizes in celebration for the release of The Book of Names. I wrote a little bit about it in a previous blog about summer reading suggestions, and I am also posting Mr. Brigg's book trailer here. This little video will tell you more about the contest and the author's website, http://hiddenlands.net. I encourage you to check it out.


CONTEST




BOOK TRAILER

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

First Look at the Falcon and the Sparrow



It is time to play a Wild Card!



Today's Wild Card author is:






and her book:




The Falcon and The Sparrow



My take on the novel:


MaryLu Tyndall has hit another home run with this historical romance set in the time of Napoleon. Mrs. Tyndall is a master at creating a scene and developing personalities with her characters. All the senses are involved--sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. I have a perception of England under George III that I never had before. I read it in about a day and a half, anxious to see what would happen next.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


PhotobucketMaryLu spent her early years in South Florida where she fell in love with the ocean and the warm tropical climate. After moving to California with her husband, she graduated from college and worked as a software engineer for 15 years. Currently, MaryLu writes full time and resides in California with her husband and 6 children.



Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (August 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602600120
ISBN-13: 978-1602600126


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One



Dover, England, March 1803


Dominique Celine Dawson stepped off the teetering plank of the ship and sought the comfort of solid land beneath her feet, knowing that as she did so, she instantly became a traitor to England. Thanking the purser, she released his hand with a forced smile.

He tipped his hat and handed her the small embroidered valise containing all her worldly possessions. “Looks like rain,” he called back over his shoulder as he headed up the gangway.

Black clouds swirled above her, stealing all light from the midmorning sun. A gust of wind clawed at her bonnet. Passengers and sailors unloading cargo collided with her from all directions. She stepped aside, testing her wobbly legs. Although she’d just boarded the ship from Calais, France, to Dover that morning, her legs quivered nearly as much as her heart. She hated sailing. What an embarrassment she must have been to her father, an admiral in the British Royal Navy.

A man dressed in a top hat and wool cape bumped into her and nearly knocked her to the ground.

Stumbling, Dominique clamped her sweaty fingers around her valise, feeling as though it was her heart they squeezed. Did the man know? Did he know what she had been sent here to do?

He shot her an annoyed glance over his shoulder. “Beggin’ your pardon, miss,” he muttered before trotting off, lady on his arm and children in tow.

Blowing out a sigh, Dominique tried to still her frantic breathing. She must focus. She must remain calm. She had committed no crime—yet.

She scanned the bustling port of Dover. Waves of people flowed through the streets, reminding her of the tumultuous sea she had just crossed. Ladies in silk bonnets clung to gentlemen in long-tailed waistcoats and breeches. Beggars, merchants, and tradesmen hustled to and fro as if they didn’t have a minute to lose. Dark-haired Chinamen hauled two-wheeled carts behind them, loaded with passengers or goods. Carriages and horses clomped over the cobblestone streets. The air filled with a thousand voices, shouts and screams and curses and idle chatter accompanied by the incessant tolling of bells and the rhythmic lap of the sea against the docks.

The stench of fish and human sweat stung Dominique’s nose, and she coughed and took a step forward, searching for the carriage that surely must have been sent to convey her to London and to
the Randal estate. But amidst the dizzying crowd, no empty convey-
ance sat waiting; no pair of eyes met hers—at least none belonging to a coachman sent to retrieve her. Other eyes flung their slithering gazes her way, however, like snakes preying on a tiny ship mouse. A lady traveling alone was not a sight often seen.

Lightning split the dark sky in two, and thunder shook it with an ominous boom. For four years she had longed to return to England, the place of her birth, the place filled with many happy childhood memories, but now that she was here, she felt more lost and frightened than ever. Her fears did not completely stem from the fact that she had never traveled alone before, nor been a governess before—although both of those things would have been enough to send her heart into a frenzy. The true reason she’d returned to her homeland frightened her the most.

Rain misted over her, and she brushed aside the damp curls that framed her face, wondering what to do next. Oh Lord, I feel so alone, so frightened. Where are You? She looked up, hoping for an answer, but the bloated clouds exploded in a torrent of rain that pummeled her face and her hopes along with it. Dashing through the crowd, she ducked beneath the porch of a fish market, covering her nose with a handkerchief against the putrid smell.

People crowded in beside her, an old woman pushing an apple cart, a merchantman with a nose the size of a doorknob, and several seaman, one of whom glared at Dominique from beneath bushy brows and hooded lids. He leaned against a post, inserted a black wad into his mouth, and began chewing, never taking his gaze from her. Ignoring him, Dominique glanced through the sheet of rain pouring off the overhang at the muted shapes moving to and fro. Globs of mud splashed from the puddle at her feet onto her muslin gown. She had wanted to make a good impression on Admiral Randal. What was he to think of his new governess when she arrived covered in filth?

Lightning flashed. The seaman sidled up beside her, pushing the old woman out of the way. “Looking for someone, miss?”

Dominique avoided the man’s eyes as thunder shook the tiny building. “No, merci,” she said, instantly cringing at her use of French.

“Mercy?” He jumped back in disgust. “You ain’t no frog, is you?” The man belched. He stared at her as if he would shoot her right there, depending on her answer.

Terror renewed the queasiness in her stomach. “Of course not.”

“You sound like one.” He leaned toward her, squinting his dark eyes in a foreboding challenge.

“You are mistaken, sir.” Dominique held a hand against his advance. “Now if you please.” She brushed past him and plunged into the rain. Better to suffer the deluge than the man’s verbal assault. The French were not welcome here, not since the Revolution and the ensuing hostilities caused by Napoleon’s rise to power. Granted, last year Britain had signed a peace treaty with France, but no one believed it would last.

Dominique jostled her way through those brave souls not intimidated by the rain and scanned the swarm of carriages vying for position along the cobblestone street. If she did not find a ride to London soon, her life would be in danger from the miscreants who slunk around the port. Hunger rumbled in her stomach as her nerves coiled into knots. Lord, I need You.

To her right, she spotted the bright red wheels of a mail coach that had Royal Mail: London to Dover painted on the back panel. Shielding her eyes from the rain, she glanced up at the coachman perched atop the vehicle, water cascading off his tall black hat. “Do you have room for a passenger to London, monsie—sir?”

He gave her a quizzical look then shook his head. “I’m full.”

“I’m willing to pay.” Dominique shuffled through her valise and pulled out a small purse.

The man allowed his gaze to wander freely over her sodden gown. “And what is it ya might be willing to pay?”

She squinted against the rain pooling in her lashes and swallowed. Perhaps a coach would be no safer than the port, after all. “Four guineas,” she replied in a voice much fainter than she intended.

The man spat off to the side. “It’ll cost you five.”

Dominique fingered the coins in her purse. That would leave her only ten shillings, all that remained of what her cousin had given her for the trip, and all that remained of the grand Dawson fortune, so quickly divided among relatives after her parents’ death. But what choice did she have? She counted the coins, handed them to the coachman, then waited for him to assist her into the carriage, but he merely pocketed the money and gestured behind him. Lifting her skirts, heavy with rain, she clambered around packages and parcels and took a seat beside a window, hugging her valise. She shivered and tightened her frock around her neck, fighting the urge to jump off the carriage, dart back to the ship, and sail right back to France.

She couldn’t.

Several minutes later, a young couple with a baby climbed in, shaking the rain from their coats. After quick introductions, they squeezed into the seat beside Dominique.

Through the tiny window, the coachman stared at them and frowned, forming a pock on his lower chin. He muttered under his breath before turning and snapping the reins that sent the mail coach careening down the slick street.

The next four hours only added to Dominique’s nightmare. Though exhausted from traveling half the night, rest was forbidden her by the constant jostling and jerking of the carriage over every small bump and hole in the road and the interminable screaming of the infant in the arms of the poor woman next to her. She thanked God, however, that it appeared the roads had been newly paved or the trip might have taken twice as long. As it was, each hour passed at a snail’s pace and only sufficed to increase both her anxiety and her fear.

Finally, they arrived at the outskirts of the great city capped in a shroud of black from a thousand coal chimneys—a soot that not even the hard rain could clear. After the driver dropped off the couple and their vociferous child on the east side of town, Dominique had to haggle further for him to take her all the way to Hart Street, to which he reluctantly agreed only after Dominique offered him another three precious shillings.

The sights and sounds of London drifted past her window like visions from a time long ago. She had spent several summers here as a child, but through the veil of fear and loneliness, she hardly recognized it. Buildings made from crumbling brick and knotted timber barely held up levels of apartments stacked on top of them. Hovels and shacks lined the dreary alleyways that squeezed between residences and shops in an endless maze. Despite the rain, dwarfs and acrobatic monkeys entertained people passing by, hoping for a coin tossed their way. As the coach rounded one corner, a lavishly dressed man with a booming voice stood in an open booth, proclaiming that his tonic cured every ache and pain known to man.

The stench of horse manure and human waste filled the streets, rising from puddles where both had been deposited for the soil men to clean up at night.

Dominique pressed a hand to her nose and glanced out the other side of the carriage, where the four pointed spires of the Tower of London thrust into the angry sky. Though kings had resided in the castlelike structure, many other people had been imprisoned and tortured within its walls. She trembled at the thought as they proceeded down Thames Street, where she soon saw the massive London Bridge spanning the breadth of the murky river.

Her thoughts veered to Marcel, her only brother—young, impetuous Marcel. Dominique had cared for him after their mother died last year of the fever, and she had never felt equal to the task. Marcel favored their father with his high ideals and visions of heroism, while Dominique was more like their mother, quiet and shy. Marcel needed strong male guidance, not the gentle counsel of an overprotective sister.

So of course Dominique had been thrilled when a distant cousin sought them out and offered to take them both under his care. Monsieur Lucien held the position of ministère de l’intérieur under Napoleon’s rule—a highly respectable and powerful man who would be a good influence on Marcel.

Or so she had thought.

The carriage lurched to the right, away from the stench of the river. Soon the cottages and shabby tenements gave way to grand two- and three-level homes circled by iron fences.

Dominique hugged her valise to her chest, hoping to gain some comfort from holding on to something—anything—but her nerves stiffened even more as she neared her destination. After making several more turns, the coach stopped before a stately white building. With a scowl, the driver poked his open hand through the window, and Dominique handed him her coins, not understanding the man’s foul humor. Did he treat all his patrons this way, or had she failed to conceal the bit of French in her accent?

Climbing from the carriage, she held her bag against her chest and tried to sidestep a puddle the size of a small lake. Without warning, the driver cracked the reins and the carriage jerked forward, spraying Dominique with mud.

Horrified, she watched as the driver sped down the street. He did that on purpose. She’d never been treated with such disrespect in her life. But then, she’d always traveled with her mother, the beautiful Marguerite Jean Denoix, daughter of Edouard, vicomte de Gimois, or her father, Stuart Dawson, a respected admiral in the Royal Navy. Without them by her side, who was she? Naught but an orphan without a penny to her name.

Rain battered her as she stared up at the massive white house, but she no longer cared. Her bonnet draped over her hair like a wet fish, her coiffure had melted into a tangle of saturated strands, and her gown, littered with mud, clung to her like a heavy shroud. She deserved it, she supposed, for what she had come to do.

She wondered if Admiral Randal was anything like his house—cold, imposing, and rigid. Four stories high, it towered above most houses on the street. Two massive white columns stood like sentinels holding up the awning while guarding the front door.
The admiral sat on the Admiralty Board of His Majesty’s Navy, making him a powerful man privy to valuable information such as the size, location, and plans of the British fleet. Would he be anything like her dear father?

Dominique skirted the stairs that led down to the kitchen. Her knees began to quake as she continued toward the front door. The blood rushed from her head. The world began to spin around her. Squeezing her eyes shut, she swallowed. No, she had to do this. For you, Marcel. You’re all I have left in the world.

She opened her eyes and took another step, feeling as though she walked into a grand mausoleum where dead men’s bones lay ensconced behind cold marble.

She halted. Not too late to turn around—not too late to run. But Marcel’s innocent young face, contorted in fear, burned in her memory. And her cousin Lucien’s lanky frame standing beside him, a stranglehold on the boy’s collar. “If you prefer your brother’s head to be attached to his body, you will do as I request.”

A cold fist clamped over Dominique’s heart. She could not lose her brother. She continued up the steps though every muscle, every nerve protested. Why me, Lord? Who am I to perform such a task?

Ducking under the cover of the imposing porch, Dominique raised her hand to knock upon the ornately carved wooden door, knowing that after she did, she could not turn back.

Once she stepped over the threshold of this house, she would no longer be Dominique Dawson, the loyal daughter of a British admiral.

She would be a French spy.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Watcher in the Woods



It's July 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book's FIRST chapter!


and his book:



Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Liparulo is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. He has sold or optioned three screenplays.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Here are some of his titles:

House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)

Comes a Horseman

Germ

Deadfall


Product Details

List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595544968
ISBN-13: 978-1595544964


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

1

At twelve years old, David King was too young to die. At least he thought so.

But try telling that to the people shooting at him.

He had no idea where he was. When he had stepped through the portal, smoke immediately blinded him. An explosion had thrown rocks and who-knew-what into his face. It shook the floor and knocked him off his feet. Now he was on his hands and knees on a hardwood floor. Glass and splinters dug into his palms. Somewhere, all kinds of guns were firing. Bullets zinged overhead, thunking into walls—bits of flying plaster stung his cheeks.

Okay, so he wasn’t sure the bullets were meant for him. The guns seemed both near and far. But in the end, if he were hit, did it matter whether the shooters meant to get him or he’d had the dumb luck to stumble into the middle of a firefight? He’d be just as dead.

The smoke cleared a bit. Sunlight poured in from a school-bus-sized hole in the ceiling. Not just the ceiling—David could see attic rafters and the jagged and burning edges of the roof. Way above was a blue sky, soft white clouds.

He was in a bedroom. A dresser lay on the floor. In front of him was a bed. He gripped the mattress and pushed himself up.

A wall exploded into a shower of plaster, rocks, and dust. He flew back. Air burst from his lungs, and he crumpled again to the floor. He gulped for breath, but nothing came. The stench of fire—burning wood and rock, something dank and putrid—swirled into his nostrils on the thick, gray smoke. The taste of cement coated his tongue. Finally, oxygen reached his lungs, and he pulled it in with loud gasps, like a swimmer saved from drowning. He coughed out the smoke and dust. He stood, finding his balance, clearing his head, wavering until he reached out to steady himself.

A hole in the floor appeared to be trying to eat the bed. It was listing like a sinking ship, the far corner up in the air, the corner nearest David canted down into the hole. Flames had found the blankets and were spreading fast.

Outside, machine-gun fire erupted.

David jumped.

He stumbled toward an outside wall. It had crumbled, forming a rough V-shaped hole from where the ceiling used to be nearly to the floor. Bent rebar jutted out of the plaster every few feet.

More gunfire, another explosion. The floor shook.

Beyond the walls of the bedroom, the rumble of an engine and a rhythmic, metallic click-click-click-click-click tightened his stomach. He recognized the sound from a dozen war movies: a tank. It was rolling closer, getting louder.

He reached the wall and dropped to his knees. He peered out onto the dirt and cobblestone streets of a small village. Every house and building was at least partially destroyed, ravaged by bombs and bullets. The streets were littered with chunks of wall, roof tiles, even furniture that had spilled out through the ruptured buildings.

David’s eyes fell on an object in the street. His panting breath froze in his throat. He slapped his palm over his mouth, either to stifle a scream or to keep himself from throwing up. It was a body, mutilated almost beyond recognition. It lay on its back, screaming up to heaven. Male or female, adult or child, David didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. That it was human and damaged was enough to crush his heart. His eyes shot away from the sight, only to spot another body. This one was not as broken, but was no less horrible. It was a young woman. She was lying on her stomach, head turned with an expression of surprised disbelief and pointing her lifeless eyes directly at David.

He spun around and sat on the floor. He pushed his knuckles into each eye socket, squeegeeing out the wetness. He swallowed, willing his nausea to pass.

His older brother, Xander, said that he had puked when he first saw a dead body. That had been only two days ago—in the Colosseum. David didn’t know where the portal he had stepped through had taken him. Certainly not to a gladiator fight in Rome.

He squinted toward the other side of the room, toward the shadowy corner where he had stepped into . . . wherever this was . . . whenever it was. Nothing there now. No portal. No passage home. Just a wall.

He heard rifle shots and a scream.

Click-click-click-click-click . . . the tank was still approaching.

What had he done? He thought he could be a hero, and now he was about to get shot or blown up or . . . something that amounted to the same thing: Dead.

Dad had been right. They weren’t ready. They should have made a plan.

Click-click-click-click-click.

David rose into a crouch and turned toward the crumbled wall.

I’m here now, he thought. I gotta know what I’m dealing with, right? Okay then. I can do this.

He popped up from his hiding place to look out onto the street. Down the road to his right, the tank was coming into town over a bridge. Bullets sparked against its steel skin. Soldiers huddled behind it, keeping close as it moved forward. In turn, they would scurry out to the side, fire a rifle or machine gun, and step back quickly. Their targets were to David’s left, which meant he was smack between them.

Figures.

At that moment, he’d have given anything to redo the past hour. He closed his eyes. Had it really only been an hour? An hour to go from his front porch to here?

In this house, stranger things had happened. . . .

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A WILD FIRST FOR FRANK'S BIRTHDAY!



It is time to play a Wild Card! Today it's HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK CREED with a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Since I first read Flashpoint, Book One of the Underground last year, Frank has become my favorite living author. He'a also one very nice guy with a profound love for the Lord and a smart-alecky sense of humor.


Today's Wild Card author is:


and his book:


Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground

The Writers Cafe Press (September 30, 2007)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A rabid speculative fiction fan and aspiring author since boyhood, Frank Creed’s sojourn and the lack of Biblical speculative fiction in Christian bookstores has left a chip on his shoulder. Frank founded the Lost Genre Guild in September of ’06 as a community for fans and writers alike. After years of learning the craft and helping others polish their fiction, he now serves as a critic for The Finishers, a manuscript evaluation service for clients of both fiction and nonfiction.

Frank’s first sci-fi short story, “The Last Newspaper,” took first place at the U.W. Whitewater Literary Conference in 1983. His first novel, Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground won the ’06 Elfie for best sci-fi novel at Elfwood, was chosen for the CFRB ’07 IMPRESS award for best book toured, and has been nominated for several awards this year. Frank’s short stories have been published in secular and Christian spec-fic anthologies.

Frank’s online ministry began two decades ago with the Body of Christ and debating Satanists in an effort to save his sister. It has since grown to include writing Christian fiction. After sustaining life-threatening injuries in a 1999 head-on collision, Frank may have been left disabled, but his writing suddenly took on a new clarity. Novelist Mary Lu Tyndall says: "Frank Creed is one of my favorite people. He has a heart for God and is, in my opinion, one of a new generation of spiritual warriors."


Visit him at his website.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Flashpoint [Function: noun] 1: the lowest temperature at which vapors above a volatile combustible substance ignite in air when exposed to flame 2: a point at which someone or something bursts suddenly into action or being 3: TINDERBOX: a potentially explosive place or situation
—merriamwebster.com

CHAPTER ONE

THIS IS IT, WE’RE HERE. Climb the slope on the right shoulder. Hide in the beams as best as you can. Whatever you do, stay under the bridge. If you come out, the cameras will spot you and all this will be pointless.”

The highway overpass loomed ahead. My father continued, “The car can’t be hidden under the bridge too long or they’ll figure out where you went. You’re gonna have to jump out while we’re moving.”

It was time.

“Sometime, someplace, I know we’ll see each other again. Use your freedom well. Now!”

That single word launched me out the door. As it swung shut behind me, Dad screamed at Jen, “Go!” I stumbled into a run watching her bail-out. The Geo Aphid sped off.

* * *

Jen had sprawled on the street. I helped my kid-sister to her feet. She’d hurt herself, but the bleeding amounted to pink smears on the palms of her hands.

“C’mon, let’s hide.”

“Dave!” She whimpered my name, but followed.

We clambered over the rough, fist-sized stones that covered the slope. At the top, the slope met the girders that supported the road above us. I pulled off my t-shirt and cleared the I-beams of spider webs and bird droppings. We slumped on opposite girders, facing each other.

Jen’s wide eyes glinted shell-shocked madness. “We’ll save them! Whoever comes for us, if they’ll help us, we could get them out!”

“We don’t even know where they’ll be taken,” I grumbled.

“I’ll hack that off the Web!” She reached for anything to pull herself from calamity’s quicksand.

I was in no mood to do this. “You don’t have a com-vision, Sis.”

Tears welled-up in her eyes again. I didn’t want to start an argument, and I definitely didn’t want to shatter the kid’s hopes. “I want our family back too, Sis, but Rehabs are usually guarded.”

We’d do well just to avoid the peacekeepers who had to be looking for us. Who could Dad trust to help us? How would they get us out from under the bridge without anyone seeing? Where could they hide us from searching peacekeeping units? How would we even get food? The hum of a motor grew near and we both shrank back against cold steel. A car passed beneath.

I tried to turn the conversation to something else. “I hope Mom and Jeff are okay.”

Jen buried her face in her hands, her shoulders rocking with sobs.

Real smooth. Nice going, fool. “I’m sorry Sis. Like Dad said, we gotta have faith—” I kicked myself.

When her tears ran out, Jen scowled and whispered, “If we’re His children, why’s He doing this to us?”

I left her in silence. Like I could answer that. How could He even allow a world where belief in the Bible made one a terrorist? Ripping apart our family would teach, what? What kind of lesson was this? I finally thought about how parents treat children. “I think it’s like when we’re kids. Mom or Dad punished us, and made us try things we didn’t want to. Having fun or being happy all the time isn’t the most important thing. I guess God’s like that, too. Dad said we’re being taught something, remember?”

“Yeah. How to miss your mom, and worry if you’ll ever see her again,” she pouted.

Little sisters out there, I speak for big brothers everywhere when I ask, please don’t stick us with hard questions that you’ve already answered. Very annoying.

I dug my pack of Winterfresh Extra out of my jeans’ pocket and let the conversation die. We moped into a sullen silence, our hopes shredded by our thoughts.

Spattering raindrops came and went. So did tears. Minutes piled into hours. Tracking time became impossible. That made me think of my e-wallet with the broken watch function. I powered it up and clicked past the com-vision white and yellow homepages. I selected the picture frame feature. Jen and I passed it back and forth, watching our party vids. Jen’s driver’s license and Jeff’s twenty-first birthday last month. My high-school graduation party two years ago. Jeff and I moving into our first apartment . . . Bad idea. I pocketed the e-wallet. Our thoughts spiraled into deep gloom, leaving Jen to weep her way out, and again we sat in silence.

My gum had lost its Extra-long-time flavor for what must have been hours before I realized the building I’d been staring at was a church. The bridge cut off its steepled roof. The One State allowed only one kind of church. Dad told me about people who called themselves Christians, but believed the Bible to be myth, and equal to the Koran, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita. With no truth to argue over, 500 years of church splits healed overnight. They called themselves the One Church. No points for creativity, but I guess it represented their unity.

Dad said when he’d once asked a One Churcher how he knew that love was any better than hate. The man had said the answer’s in our heart. Dad then asked what was wrong with the hearts of criminals. There, next to the bridge, out in the open, people were being taught to find love in a broken heart. Here, forced to hide under the bridge, were children of the Heart Surgeon.

If I leaned down I could see a sliver of eastern sky. I began watching for dawn’s brush to paint the clouds. Pigeons roosting under the bridge started their morning cooing. Cool dampness raised goose bumps on the backs of my arms. Finally, my shivering grew worse than my t-shirt’s filth. I shook it out and put it back on.

Then the end came.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chenoa's Spiritual Journey: Excerpt


"I weep with grief; encourage me by your word."
[Psalm 119:28, New Living Translation Version]
CHAPTER 1


Friday, November 30, 2001
Dear Diary,
Moving! My parents want to move to Ohio, and I can't imagine why they'd want to move so far from Whiteriver. I mean the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation has been home all of my life. I guess it's all about the money, but it doesn't seem fair to me. I don't want to move away from the only home I've ever known. River is only four years old and he'll adjust quickly, but I'm not sure about myself. After all, I am fourteen. Ohio seems like a million miles from Arizona.
Chenoa Fawn Gray Owl laid her pen down and glanced out the window of her small bedroom. She was a dark, sloe-eyed beauty with high cheekbones that accented her proud Native American heritage. Her small shoulders slumped slightly and tears burned her eyelids. She fingered the hole in the right knee of her jeans and tried to make it bigger. When she couldn't tear the denim, she gave it up.
I ought to tell them I don't want to go, she thought. Yeah, that's what I'll do!
Chenoa wiped the tears from her cheeks with the sleeve of her blue sweatshirt and got off the bed. She marched out of the bedroom and found them in the living room discussing their trip to Ohio.
"I don't want to leave the rez," Chenoa grumbled, "because it's my home." She looked at them hoping they'd accept her appeal and let her stay in Whiteriver.
"Chenoa," Anna Gray Owl said, reaching out and gently drawing Chenoa down beside her on the sofa, "when you're a parent you'll have to make important decisions that not everyone will find favorable."
"But, Shimaa!" she whined, using the Apache term for mother.
Victor, Chenoa's father got out of the recliner, his mouth quirking in annoyance. "Chenoa, we've talked about this over and over. Why can't you understand our point of view? Your mother and I are thinking about our children's futures." He ran his hand through his long jet-black hair, which he kept in a short ponytail. At age forty-seven, his hair had only begun turning gray within the past year. "This is something we must do. We're not doing this to be mean."
"But my family is here on the rez. How come you've changed your mind about helping the Indian?" Chenoa wanted an answer to that question because her father's main goal in life was helping their people.
Victor sank down into the recliner, removed his glasses, and rubbed his tired eyes. "Your mother and I are thinking about your futures," he said in a stern tone. A muscle twitched in his jaw, but he seemed oblivious to it. That twitching muscle occurred at times when he was under stress. "We want something better for the both of you. Please try to understand that," he added, his tone strained.
My father's being unreasonable, Chenoa thought, sitting back and folding her arms. Life isn't fair. It sucks!
"But my family is here," Chenoa grumbled through clenched teeth. "How come you said you cared about the Indian and you wanted to help them? How come you changed your mind about that?"
Victor put his glasses back on, "Your mother and I are in agreement about the matter and that's all that needs to be said about it. We're going to Ohio and I'm going to talk to Douglas Ream about my working in his clinic with his son-in-law. Besides, I wanted to move closer to my mother now that my father has passed away. My sister and brother aren't in a very good position right now financially to help out and my mother needs help."
It sounded like a lot of mumbo jumbo to Chenoa. She looked at her mother in mute appeal. "Shimaa," she whined.
"Child," Anna said giving Chenoa's shoulders a reassuring squeeze, "you just have to understand that what we're doing is for the best."
"It's not fair!" Chenoa blurted and stormed out of the room. She ran into her bedroom, flopped down on the bed, and propped her head up with her hands. Over the years, her father never put much emphasis on money, but the past several months he had sure changed his tune. He didn't care what she thought.
River, Chenoa's little brother, burst into the room, jumped onto the bed and asked, "Are Mommy and Daddy mad at you?" He was cute. His large dark eyes were so expressive, that Chenoa could see deep into his inner soul. When he was happy, his round smiling face lit up the whole room. However, his eyes looked haunted by some inner anxiety, and Chenoa's heart started to shrivel when she saw the uncertainty in his eyes.
Chenoa got a big lump in her throat and mumbled, "No." Her voice sounded like a lifeless monotone. "No, they're not mad at me."
River brushed Chenoa's hair back from her face and peered into her eyes. "Are you gonna cry?"
Chenoa flopped onto her back, stared at the ceiling, and mumbled, "No." However, she wasn't so sure of her own answer. She tried never to take her anger out on her little brother, but she knew if she lay there, he'd pester her until she said something mean and hurt his feelings.
River lay beside Chenoa and was quiet for a minute or two, which was a first for him. "Are we going to move?" he asked his voice small and afraid.
Hot tears burned Chenoa eyes and she sat up not facing him. "I need some air," she mumbled. She fumbled for her coat on the chair by the window, put it on, and left the doublewide mobile home by the backdoor.
The bitter North Wind hit Chenoa like a cold slap in the face and wildly whipped her long jet-black hair. Low, thick snow clouds hung heavily in the sky and looked as if they could spew snow at anytime. She pulled her coat collar up and trudged through the deep snow that blanketed the ground, plodding on with no destination in mind.
I don't want to leave Whiteriver, she thought. I want to grow old and die here and let my soul walk with my Indian ancestors. I don't want to go to Ohio where there's no fresh air or miles and miles of quiet.
Chenoa heard a car horn honk behind her. She turned to see her grandfather's blue '80 Ford pickup truck with the familiar black exhaust pouring from its rusted tailpipe.
Lou Tinilzay pulled up beside his granddaughter, cranked down the window and smiled. "Daant'ee [how are you]?" he said in Apache.
"Doo dansht'ee da [I am fine]," Chenoa responded
"Good." He nodded, his dark eyes shining. Lou Tinilzay was seventy-five years old; a flannel shirt and faded blue bib overalls covered his stocky180-pound frame. "Where are you headed, Granddaughter?"
Chenoa shrugged. "Nowhere."
"It's a cold day for a walk to nowhere. Climb in and we'll talk."
Chenoa walked around the front of the old pickup and climbed into the passenger side. The cab was warm but the oil smell made her eyes burn, so she cranked down the window.
Lou shifted the pickup into drive and the engine whined like a cat with its tail caught in a window. The truck lurched twice and they were on their way.
Chenoa stared out the window for a few minutes and watched the snowy scenery that stretched for many miles. "Shichoo?" She began, using Apache term for grandfather, "have you heard my father wants to leave the rez?"
Lou shifted the truck into second gear and nodded. "Yes, I've heard."
"Shichoo, I don't want to go," Chenoa stated with a heavy sigh. "This is my home." She hoped he'd understand and talk some sense into her father.
"Sometimes we must do some things we don't want to do, Granddaughter."
"Why?" Chenoa asked. She hoped he'd tell her she didn't have to go and that she could live with them forever and ever. Just whose side was he on anyway?
"Life is full of uncertainty. We knew when Anna went to college she would be free to make the choice to leave the rez. She told your grandmother and me that if she ever found her place in the world, she would go. However, she didn't and she returned to us. When she married your father, who was not from this area, we knew that leaving would still be possible, but we didn't know when. Sometimes our paths change and we go off in different directions."
"But?" Chenoa began.
"Granddaughter," he said with a firm tone, "in order for people to live together in peace, they have to respect one another. The old are respected for their wisdom and the young because they are the future of the people. Chenoa, the outcome of this respect should keep peace within the family. Understand your father is making a great sacrifice. It's the gift of self and it's the most meaningful thing a person can give. Victor has told me he loves the Apache but he knows he cannot stay. He's making this move to keep his family strong. Although he is an Indian and not touched by materialism, he knows he is letting his children down and it hurts him here." Lou closed his fist and held it over his heart. "A broken spirit isn't a pleasant thing. I won't stand in his way and you shouldn't either."
Chenoa glanced out the window again and sighed. What if I leave the reservation, she thought, and never return? Will my spirit be broken by the absence of my people? What if I am gone so long my family forgets me or I forget them?
With hot tears burning her eyelids, Chenoa looked at Lou and asked, "Shichoo, if I moved away from the reservation would you forget me?"
She had to know the answer. After all, they had fished together, and she had listened to his Apache folk stories. If he said yes, her heart would break.
"No, Granddaughter, I'd never forget you," he said, his voice firm. "I would never do that to a part of the family. We'll keep in touch and your father promised that you and River can visit us during the summer. Nothing is definite because he hasn't had a job offer yet."
Chenoa's grandfather was right. Her father didn't have a solid job offer. Maybe he wouldn't have one for a long time, and they'd be able to stay on the rez for another one or two years. She could only hope that was the case.
"Shichoo, if I get my parent's permission, could I stay with you and Isabel?"
Lou looked at Chenoa and smiled. "If you get their permission, you'll be welcome in our home."
"Thanks!"
"We are nearing your home. Would you like me to drop you off?"
Chenoa's grandfather was a sly one. He had managed to drive around the block, and she didn't notice it.
"Yeah, I guess so."
Lou pulled up in front of Chenoa's home a few minutes later and parked the pickup at the side of the road. Chenoa jumped out and waved good-bye to him. When she went inside Anna was standing by the range making fry bread and acorn stew. It smelled delicious and Chenoa couldn't wait for supper. Victor stood at the counter preparing coffee in the percolator. He carefully measured the coffee grounds into the paper filter and closed the lid. He added water and made sure the pot was in place so the coffee could drip into it.
Anna looked up and smiled; her dark eyes sparkled. "Did you enjoy your walk?"
Chenoa walked over to the small round table with the red and white-checkered tablecloth and sat in her usual chair. "Yeah, I guess so," she mumbled. "I ran into Grandfather and he gave me a ride around the block."
Victor sat at the table with his cup of coffee and asked, "Did Lou have anything interesting to say?"
"Yeah," Chenoa answered. Carefully she told her parents what Lou said and waited for their reactions, which were slow in coming. Then she said, "I want to stay with Grandfather and Grandmother. You can take River with you to Ohio but I'm not going."
Anna and Victor exchanged uncertain glances.
"Chenoa," Victor said in a stern voice, "when we go to Ohio, we'll go as a complete family. We're not going to leave you behind to live with your grandparents."
"Why?" Chenoa whined. She just couldn't win any arguments with them. Why couldn't they meet her half way in this and give her some freedom to make her own choices?
Anna stepped away from the stove and sat beside Chenoa at the table. "Chenoa," she said, her voice firm, "we cannot leave you behind because my parents are too poor to take care of a child. They barely have enough for themselves let alone taking in a grandchild. Even if my father said it would be all right for you to stay, it would be too much of a hardship for them." Anna put her arm around Chenoa's shoulders and gave a reassuring squeeze. "And if I didn't have my little girl right beside me sharing new adventures with me, then my life would have no meaning whatsoever."
Chenoa hated being referred to as "little girl" because she felt it reflected her size. Standing 4'10" and weighing 90 pounds, Chenoa was smaller than most girls were her age. Her baggy clothes hid what little figure she had.
However, her mother was right about life having no meaning if they weren't able to share new adventures together. As much as Chenoa hated the idea of leaving the rez, the miles between them would be hard. If she couldn't be with her mother, she'd rather die.
Chenoa felt a renegade tear slip down her right cheek and she quickly wiped it away. "I don't want you to leave me behind, Shimaa. I'd rather have old Rusty Massey the shaman tie me to a post and skin me alive, slowly." Chenoa shuddered when she thought about Rusty because he gave her the creeps. When he looked at her with his one good eye she got the feeling he knew what she was thinking before she even thought it. Chenoa tried to avoid Rusty whenever she was in town because he was just too weird.
Anna kissed Chenoa's cheek and smiled. "I wouldn't let Rusty skin you alive, nor will anyone else if I have anything to say about it." Her mother sounded like a mother lioness protecting her young to the death. "We'll be together as a family and that's all that matters. Honey, if you're anxious about leaving the rez then you must take this concern to Jesus and talk to Him about it. He's a special friend you can always talk to and He'll listen to you."
Anna always called prayer "talking to Jesus". However, Chenoa wasn't yet saved like her parents. So, even if she did talk to Jesus, would he listen to her? Anna always seemed to have the right answers, but Chenoa found little comfort in this answer.
Anna's gentle hand closed over Chenoa's and she said, "You think about that, Honey. I know you'll feel better when you've made the right decision and stick with it." She smiled brightly and patted Chenoa's hand. "Now, I need you to do me a big favor and set the table for supper. Okay?"
"Okay," Chenoa said, then she got up to do as her mother asked her to do.

After supper, Chenoa stared out the window of her small bedroom. The twinkling stars dotted the blackened sky like little pinholes in a black velvet canvas. It was cold and windy outside the mobile home, and her room felt a little chilly.
The mobile home was all Chenoa's parents could afford. Although her father was a doctor and her mother was a teacher, they weren't rich, just comfortable by rez standards.
Maybe being just comfortable persuaded her father to leave the rez. Born and reared in Kill Buck, New York, a small town on the Allegany Indian Reservation, Victor became the first person in his family to go to college. After earning his medical degree, he could have gone anywhere and made a decent salary at any hospital in the country, but he wanted to help the Indian.
Victor met Anna at the annual White Mountain Apache Tribal Fair during Labor Day weekend in 1982. Victor said it was love at first sight, and they were married five months later. Then, after trying to have a baby and having two miscarriages, Chenoa came kicking and screaming into the world in 1986.
I guess I can't fight my parents about the idea of moving to Ohio, Chenoa thought. My father has pretty much made up his mind and he's moving forward with his plans. If we have to move away from the rez, why can't we move to Phoenix or Tempe? What's so great about Ohio anyway?
Chenoa sighed and walked out of the room. She found Anna sitting alone at the end of the sofa, her legs tucked under her. She was reading her Bible. After she put River to bed at 8:30, this was her quiet time.
Plopping down on the other end of the sofa, Chenoa hugged a small, frilly pillow. "Shimaa, may we talk?"
Anna looked up from her reading and smiled. "Of course. What's on your mind?"
"If we move to Ohio, can we still visit the rez? Maybe I can spend the summer here and?"
Anna put her arm around Chenoa. "Yes, child, your father and I have been considering everything. We've been praying about this together and letting the LORD be our guide. Nevertheless, you mustn't worry about all these things, Chenoa, because your father hasn't really discussed this with Douglas Ream. We must take life one day at a time and not worry needlessly. You shouldn't be anxious for nothing, but only pray about the matter."
"What happens if Dad doesn't get a job offer from Dr. Ream?" She hoped this was the case and they would get to stay in Whiteriver.
"Well, if Douglas isn't able to offer your father a position in his clinic, then he'll have to search for a good offer someplace else."
Chenoa sighed in exasperation. I'll never get a break at this rate. I'll just have to do as Anna suggested and talk to Jesus. Maybe if I tell Him how much I want to stay here He'll throw a monkey wrench in my father's plans.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

CONFLICT; CONFLICT'S A MUST, RIGHT??

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From the time we learn any basics about novels, we learn that there has to be a conflict, right?? Otherwise, the story is just "they lived happily ever after." I have to admit, I don't like conflict in my real life. I'd be quite happy if I never faced conflict, yet I suppose that it does serve a purpose in true life much as it does in a story. There's that saying, no pain, no gain. And there's truth in that (although at this point in my life, I feel like I would gain from LESS pain, y'know?)

All that is to get to my theme for today's episode on Chenoa's Spiritual Journey by Becky Jane Dice. The conflicts in the novel aren't the full-force action-type you see in the Indiana Jones movies, but there is a boat-load of conflict going on. Internal and external. Maybe not so much man vs. nature, but even a little bit of that.

With a thirteen-year-old, there are some automatic conflicts. Chenoa gets angry with her parents and fights with both of them at times. She has some inner conflicts over a boy or two that she gets a crush on. And, of course, there are some expected conflicts with her little brother, River. She goes through that "nobody understands me" bit that teens and parents alike can relate to.

Then there is an economic conflict between the rather poor existence on the reservation and in her life in town in Ohio. Chenoa doesn't really see it as a poor existence on the "Rez," but her parents know they can't really make it the way things are. They fell like they aren't doing right by their kids or Chenoa's grandparents the way things are, even though they had wanted to stay. Chenoa's father wants to help the tribe, but the truth is, he needs more money if he is to help anyone. Chenoa doesn't really understand that. When they move to Ohio, Chenoa and her family are suddenly surrounded by extreme wealth in the home of her dad's best friend, Doctor Douglas Ream. As it turns out, the Reams are very nice people, but they spoil their children a lot. At school, many students look down on Chenoa more for her economic status than her Apache race and culture.

On the most physical aspect are conflicts with several teenagers, chief of which are with Dakotah's girlfriend (at least she is at the beginning of the story) and the Beams' daughter, Tamara. Dakotah, that very handsome, all-around cool Native American guy who lives next door to Dr. Ream, is the reason behind both of those problems, since both girls are jealous when Dakotah's affections are bestowed upon young Chenoa. Jealousy definitely brings out the beast in each girl, and neither handles it in a very Christian way.

A major barrier comes as a heritage/culture/racial/ethnic conflict which spills over into the biggest point all for a Christian novel, religion/Christianity. I know, that's really four different issues, but they all connect in this tale. Here's Chenoa, an Apache who grew up on the reservation with grandparents that follows the old ways and the old traditions. Her parents are Christians, true believers who still hold to the traditions that don't contradict their Christian beliefs. There doesn't seem to be any conflict as long as the family is all on the reservation, at least not in these matters. The grandparents don't seem to push the non-Christian elements of their beliefs, although there's a bit about the mystical and dreams. Chenoa hasn't come to a place where she has accepted Jesus as the Christ, but she knows a lot of it in her head. The real conflicts appear when the family moves to a town in northern Ohio, to a culture far-removed from that of the reservation. At school, Chenoa finds that a lot of the other students make fun of her Indian ways. She herself is a bit of a bigot, as might be noticed in her references to the White kids. The conflict even shows up in the church she attends. In any case, a major dose of Walking The Walk as a bona fide follower of Christ would take care of most of the conflicts.

Ugh, this probably sounds too much like a teacher giving a lecture. Sorry, but I hope it gives some insights that might help you understand this little book. And I never got to give many lectures as a teacher, so I'm making up for it now!!


OTHER sightings of Becky Dice and Chenoa:

Melissa Meeks has an interview with Becky Jane Dice on
Bibliophile's Retreat

Virtualbooktourdenet.blogspot.com

More blogs at
Back to the Mountains and CFRB main blog.

Author's sites at
here, and here.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chenoa's Spiritual Journey by Becky Jane Dice




Today begins a new blog tour for the Christian Fiction Review Blog, also know as CFRB. It is our pleasure this month to spotlight Chenoa's Spiritual Journey, a delightful tale by Becky Jane Dice.




This little novel for Young Adults is a hidden treasure that has had little or no fanfare, yet it represents an amazing blending of cultures, a coming of age story for a Native American girl who has to leave the life she has always known and then tragically loses her parents. Not only does Chenoa have to deal with the typical teenage drama and changes, she has all this other baggage weighing her down. Add to that lots of discrimination in her new school. Her parents leave the reservation where she has always lived and move to Ohio, in the Cleveland area, in order to make a living. Tragically, they are soon killed in a car accident. Poor Chenoa and her little brother are suddenly orphaned and left with her father's friends, a very kind couple, but it isn't the same. The one bright spot for Chenoa is a very handsome neighbor who takes an interest in her. Only problem is, his girlfriend doesn't like it at all. Chenoa finds out just how mean girls can be.




It is indeed a spiritual journey for Chenoa as well as an emotional one. Brought up in a Christian home but surrounded by the traditions of her people, she is now trying to understand what it really means to be a Christian, and why God would do all these terrible things to her.




This is the first installment of a series of stories about Chenoa, but I can tell you that it has a satisfactory ending. Yet there is a promise of more to come. I would heartily recommend this one for teen girls in particular, but I think guys might like it as well. Great idea for summer reading, for diversity studies.




Be sure to read the blogs on our main site, http://cfrblog.blogspot.com/ for the rest of the week. David Brollier will expound there with amazing insights on Chenoa's Spiritual Journey. Other members of the CFRB (see the list in the sidebar to find links) will also be posting reviews and interviews throughout the week. I will have more to say as well. Other blogs that I am aware of are Back to the Mountains, Rebecca Wire, Laura Davis, and Queen of Convolution.




Book Details
Chenoa's Spiritual Journey by Becky Jane Dice
Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: Airleaf Publishing; 1 edition (February 27, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1600020658
ISBN-13: 978-1600020650








Author prefers that you purchase through her website, or you may email her at writingforhim@sbcglobal.net . Presently, copies of the book may also be obtained through amazon.com or barnes and noble.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fourth of July Thoughts: Author of Liberty

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I heard one of my favorite patriotic songs today, and for once, they included the last verse. It's "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." You all know the first verse, I'm sure. But the last verse is one I'm afraid some people today would like to forget. Not me.

"Our father's God, to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing;

Long may our land be bright

With freedoms holy light;

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reading Suggestions for Young Adults and Mid Grades, Part 2



I’m a day late getting part two posted, but it has been a bit difficult or me to figure out how to handle it. These books are mainly ones that my friends, mostly teens or the parents of teens, have recommended. The List is much longer than I expected. Some of the books are actually for mid grades. Since I haven’t read most of these, I am putting a little disclaimer. All I know is that others like them.

Some authors that are very popular are:

C. S. Lewis—The Chronicles of Narnia can be enjoyed at different levels. Readability makes it accessible to children in elementary school, and quite satisfying on a surface level. Middle school and high school age can see a deeper level. College age and up read at an even deeper level. Some of his other titles are recommended for older teens. Available at the library.

Donita K. Paul (
http://www.donitakpaul.com/ )—Her Dragonkeeper series is tremendously popular with teens and younger (and some of us older folks). Enjoyable fantasy. I have read the entire series and highly recommend it. Available in library.

Bryan Davis (
http://www.dragonsinourmidst.com/ )—two related series, Dragons in Our Midst and The Oracles of Fire concern Dragons (surprise!). These have been widely read by teens. A new series has begun with Beyond the Reflection's Edge, a sci-fi novel with parallel worlds. All of the dragon books should be available at the library.

Wayne Thomas Batson (
http://www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/) —one more with dragons, but also very popular. The Door Within Trilogy is in my public library here. His new series is kind of piratey: The Isle of Fire and The Isle of Swords.

Melody Carlson (
http://www.melodycarlson.com/ ): she has an enormous number of books and was recommended many times by my respondents. Good for different age levels. Many should be in the library.

Frank Peretti (
http://www.frankperetti.com/ ). His books are written in three levels. The Cooper Kids Adventures are like young Indiana Jones and sister but with a very Christian side. Good for most kids 9 and up. Teens seem to like them, too. Level 2: Nightmare Academy, No More Bullies, Hangman’s Curse (also on DVD-movie) Definitely for teens.
Level 3 includes his most popular This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Exciting page-turners once you get into the story a bit. All of them should be in the library.

Ted Dekker (
http://www.teddekker.com/site.php ) —I personally wouldn’t recommend these for the younger teens, but they are extremely popular with older high school age. Not for the squeamish. Many are in the library.

Lisa Samson's "Hollywood Nobody" series (
http://www.lisasamson.com/ )

Girls love Robin Jones Gunn’s series (
http://www.robingunn.com/ )

Bill Myers (
http://www.billmyersbooks.com/ ) was mentioned several times for books at levels for young readers and teens as well. One of the teen titles is The Wiccan.

Randy, Angela & Karina Alcorn (
http://www.epm.org/ )
Lord Foulgrin’s Letters #1
The Ishbane Conspiracy #2






Karen Hancock ( http://www.kmhancock.com/ ) has the Guardian King series. High fantasy. Long, but still quite popular with those who love fantasy.





Sharon Hinck usually writes books for women's lit, but her trilogy of The Restorer, The Restorer's Son, and The Restorer's Journey are extremely well liked by teen fans as well. Fantasy with a soccer mom and her family drawn into another world.




Mid Grades and Middle School

Boys (and many girls) should like:
Max Elliot Anderson (

http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/catalog.html ) , Books for Boys (http://booksandboys.blogspot.com/ ). Max has a special interest in high level interest, low reading level books that reluctant readers will get interested in. Nature and adventure.

Bill Myers (
http://www.billmyersbooks.com/ ) My Life as... Series for younger readers. Boys should enjoy. Fun.

Robert Elmer (
http://www.robertelmerbooks.com/ )
Adventures Down Under
Escape to Murray River #1
Captive at Kangaroo Springs #2
Rescue at Boomerang Bend #3
Dingo Creek Challenge #4
Race to Wallaby Bay #5
Firestorm at Kookaburra Station #6


Matthew Peterson : Paraworld Zero. The main character is a middle schooler who is bullied and seems to have no talents, but this girl from a parallel world drops in and changes everything--big time. Funny and lots of action. Boys should like it.


Now for quotes from the suggestions I received. Warning: there are a ton of them!!


do hard things by brett and alex harris
Be the change - Zach hunter
Tricia Goyer's My Life, Unscripted
love Erynn Mangum's Lauren Holbrook series but they're very chick-lit.



Jenny B. Jones "Katie Parker Production" series
Michelle Buckman's "The Pathway Collection"
Shelley Adina's new series for YA

At the top of my list would be Robin Parrish, T. L. Hines, Kathryn Mackel, Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Robert Liparulo, Creston Mapes, Sharon Hinck and Michael Snyder. Oh, and Donita K. Paul too!

M. L.Tyndall for her pirate series: The Redemption, The Reliance, The Restitution. Exciting, full of action and romance. They are for adults, but older teen girls and guys would enjoy them.

George Bryan Polivka also writes some great swashbuckling tales in his Trophy Chase series. These are fantasy, however, and filled with spiritual insights that are different than Tyndall.


Family Honor Series by Karen Ball - I've only read the 3rd book What Lies Within, which I would consider a Romance/Suspense. I loved it and want to read the other two. (Probably appropriate for 14/15 and up - younger would up to the parent's discretion)

The Novels of the Gifted
by Lisa T Bergren - This is a historical Trilogy of which the first two are
currently available. The Begotten and The Betrayed, The Blessed (Book 3)
releases this fall. (These get pretty involved in spy type situations and
historical background but I enjoyed that and if the kids like historical fiction
there's enough action here to possibly appeal to the males as well - again
probably the older teens would be more likely to appreciate these as they are
long books and have some obscure language)

Wanda Brunstetter writes
about young Amish characters and reminds me a bit of Beverly Lewis. This would
probably appeal more to girls than boys

Carterhouse Girls Series by
Melody Carlson (The first two are out - I've only read the first but I think
even as young as 10-12 might enjoy them. These are written for a YA audience)

Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner (Another historical and a romance as
well. Again I would say probably up to parent discretion if the kids are under
15)

Goldeneyes by Delia Latham (Historical Suspense and lots of Romance,
Guys depends on what you like to read if you'd get into this or not but the
girls would probably love it especially if they are into Romance and history).

Daughters of Boston Series by Julie Lessman (Another great historical A

Passion Most Pure
(Book 1) - Book 2 releases this fall - This I'd recommend for
16 and up)

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (The lyrical prose in
this book appeals to a variety of readers and fantasy lovers; look out you'll be
hooked on Overstreet's world. The reading might be a bit challenging for the
younger set but 15 and up if they are avid readers should be able to manage it).

With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman (Again a historical novel. Not so
much romance in this one but it is quite intriguing though I'd still call it a
girly book.)

Hollywood Nobody Series by Lisa Samson (I've read the first
2, Hollywood Nobody and Finding Hollywood Nobody, the last 2 books are due out
this year. This is another YA series but I an looking forward to the 3rd and 4th
books - these would appeal to both guys and gals)

Just As I Am and Sincerly Mayla by Virginia Smith (feature a 20 something main character and address some pretty serious topics, I haven't read the first one yet but loved
the second and think these would be appealing to especially older teens as the
topics are very timely.)

Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas (Again this is a pretty intense book so parents might want to check it out before giving it to younger teens to read. 16 and up in most cases could probably determine if it's up their alley or not.)

Fatal Deduction by Gayle Roper (Another "adult" book but visibly featuring teen characters who would appeal to the teenaged readers. Plus it's a mystery involving puzzles for the reader to solve along the way).

I love Erynn Mangum's Lauren Holbrook series, but they're very chick-lit.
Melody Carlson puts out the diary of a teenage girl series(s), there's 3 complete right now. there's also the Christy Miller series, The Sierra Jenson and now the Katie Weldon series by robin jones gunn. There's a follow-up series to them Called Christy & Todd the college Years. Christy & Julie by Catherine Marshall are
great "classic" reads

The door within by Wayne Batson is really good for
both boys and girls


For a evolution vs. intelligent design
Donald James
Parker
's book "all the voices of the wind" is good

From author Cindy Williams: "a lot of young girls seem to be attracted to my book, Brigid of Ireland. One of my biggest fans is the daughter of a Christian novelist, Sharon Hinck. Just last weekend a young girl (maybe 10 or 11) was at a women's meeting I spoke at with her mom. Her mom bought my book for her. Once I had a mom tell me that is so hard to find Celtic stuff for her daughter to read that isn't filled with "icky stuff."

From Chris Well-- FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG,
DELIVER US FROM EVELYN, and TRIBULATION HOUSE - all of which take place in Kansas City, feature mobsters, and when the cops show up you recognize them from the other books. (But the main story in each of the three is still a
self-contained, standlone story.) (older teens)

The Secret of the Lonely Grave by Albert Bell is wonderful! He's a Christian, but the book isn't evangelical -- it's a cozy mystery filled with fascinating history facts
surround slavery.

by Robin Hardy it's a series of three books;
Chataine's Guardian, Stone of Help, and Liberation of Lystra. They're a bit hard
to find, but worth it

Suggestions: Zora Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney,
Every Good and Perfect Gift by Sharon K. Souza, The Cat Detective Series by
Gilbert Morris, Carter House Girls series by Melody Carlson; The Lost Book
series by Ted Dekker; Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn; The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson; The Prophet's Oracle series by Bud Rogers, Ben Avery, Mat Broome; Beyond the Reflections' Edge by Bryan Davis; King Raven Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead; Cyndere's Midnight, Auralia's Thread Series by Jefferey Overstreet; Light Restoration series by Terri Blackstock; Binding of The Blade series by L.B Graham; Country Roads Chronicles by Leisha Kelly

I just finished Liz Curtis Higgs trilogy called Thorn in My Heart, Fair
is the Rose, and Whence Come a Prince ... there is a fourth, too, now called
Grace In Thine Eyes. They are the biblical story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel
retold in 18th century Scotland and I found it fascinating! Definately
appropriate for teens (my 13 year old daughter is reading the series now) and a
wonderful venue for discussion/comparison.

I would also recommend any of the books by L.M. Montgomery, particularly the Anne of Green Gables series and the Emily series. All of her books are wholesome, and even though they were written 100 years ago, they are still excellent reads.

Vonda Skelton--The first two books in the series, "Bitsy and the Mystery at Amelia
Island" (2005) and "Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island" (2003) are loved by
both boys and girls 8 to 13 years old.

EyeWitness series (graphic readers/comic) Robert Luedke {note from me: Yeh, I recommend these, too.}

Christopher Hopper—The Lion Vrie and Rise of the Dibor

Debbie Vigule's The Summer of Cotton Candy
Melody Carlson's Mixed Bags: A Carter House Girls
Claudia Burney's Zora & Nicky
Claudia Burney's The Exorsistah
Andrea Carter series. On the ranch. Mid
grades

Here are my two cents (as a teenager myself): The Chronicles of
Narnia (of course!) and The Seven Sleepers (can't remember who wrote them - it's
a series). {my note: they were written by Gilbert Morris, an author also
mentioned by another friend}

From
Susan McGeown
(http://www.faithinspiredbooks.com ); , I've written a trilogy about a 13 year
old white girl who is captured by the Cherokees (Call Me Bear, Call Me Elle, and
Call Me Survivor) as well as another historical fiction called Rosamund's Bower
set in 13th centure England. Both have been termed YA as their heroines are in
their teens for a majority of the story. I'd be happy to send you free e-copies
if you want as I'm self published and "just trying to get my stuff out there".
If you look on my website, www.faithinspiredbooks.com all the first chapters are
available to read to see if they appeal. Let me know if you're interested

I am reading the Animal Ark Series myself. They are chock full of animal
facts, habitat facts and information about the geography of whatever place they
are in at the time. There are lots of little known facts about the particular
species covered in the book. These books are sold by Scholastic to homeschooling
parents and teachers. A few of the series I have not read yet, so I don't know
what age group they are for, but most of them are for the teens. The House of
Winslow is a fantastic treatise on the history of this nation. The Trailblazer
Books are about heroes of the faith and The Forbidden Doors Series is about
demonic and occultic pitfalls that teens today should avoid. I loved this series
myself also-lots of information! Many of the series deal with teen issues like
anorexia, chat room use, pregnancy, etc. The kids in the Cooper series are
teens; my son enjoyed these books in high school, and he was not a big reader. I
have read some of them myself, and I would not consider them for elementary
school readers. And of course Janette Oke is timeless.


Judy Baer
Live from Brentwood High
Risky Assignment #1
Price of Silence #2
Double Danger #3
Sarah’s Dilemma #4
Undercover Artists #5
Faded
Dreams #6
Adventures on the American Frontier
Daring Rescue at Sonora
Pass #1
Dangerous Ride Across Humboldt Flats #2
Mysterious Robbery on
the Utah Plains #3
Jack Cavanaugh
American Family Portraits
The
Puritans #1
The Colonists #2
The Patriots #3
The Adversaries #4
The Pioneers #5
The Allies #6
The Victors #7
The Peacemakers #8
Dave & Neta Jackson
Trailblazer Books
Jerry B. Jenkins
AirQuest Adventures
Crash at Cannibal Valley #1
Terror in Branco
Grande #2
Disaster in the Yukon #3

Jerry B. Jenkins/Chris Fabry
Red
Rock Mysteries

Nancy Rue

The Rescue #1
The Stowaway #2
The Guardian #3
The Accused #4
The Samaritan #5
The Secret #6
The Williamsburg
Years #2 1780-1781


Randy, Angela & Karina Alcorn (http://www.epm.org/ )
Lord Foulgrin’s Letters #1
The Ishbane Conspiracy #2


KidWitness Tales
The Worst Wish #1
Lissa Halls Johnson
Trouble Times Ten #2 Dave Lambert
Ruled Out #3
Randy Southern
Crazy Jacob #4
Jim Ware
Galen and Goliath #5
Lee Roddy
Dangerous Dreams #6 Jim Ware
Escape Underground #7 Clint Kelly
The Prophet’s Kid #8
Jim Ware

Whew!!! I gave putting the websites after a while; SO MANY!! But I know you can
Google and find these books, either the author’s website or on sale at Amazon
and Barnes and Noble.