Friday, September 29, 2006

Violet Dawn

I'm a bit late on this post about the incredibly well-written Violet Dawn, by Brandilyn Collins.

Plagued by insomnia, Paige Williams steps into her hot tub one night and finds a corpse. She can’t tell the police, and so must make an unthinkable choice – one that will affect the entire small town of Kanner Lake.

The town has a cast of eccentric and lovable characters – Bailey Truitt, owner of the Java Joint, a local hangout. Vince Edwards, the police chief still grieving the son killed in Iraq. Leslie Brymes, a young journalist wanting to make it big. Wilbur Hucks, an ornery coot who insist on showing everyone he meets his triple-bypass scar.

Brandlyn Collins gives her signature seatbelt suspense a different twist in this new series. She spreads her depth of characterization over a town full of people. To tie-in with her new series, Brandilyn created a blog which features posts from the novel’s supporting cast, where readers can go to learn more about the characters. Readers of her regular blog auditioned for roles in the Scene and Beans blog.

Pick up this great book today!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Something That Lasts

I didn't get a copy of Something That Lasts by James David Jordan for the blog tour this month, but I figured I'd give it a plug. It looks interesting. I mean, how many books have a man walking forward in a megachurch, accusing the pastor of adultery with his wife, and then shooting himself. Nah. Not your everyday read. But others on the blog tour have more informed opinions than I do, so scroll down to the links under Christian Fiction Blog Alliance on the sidebar to read what they have to say.

Things are progressing well with Waterfall Books. I'm still deciding a lot of things and could use your input. One choice: would you prefer sneak previews of the first issue posted here as we count down the weeks, or would you prefer all new material in the newsletter? And I still need your vote (unless you're Becky Miller, my sister Anna, or one of the other two people who already voted) in the URL poll two posts down.

And above all these, please subscribe and tell others to subscribe to Waterfall Books. I promise not to spam you or share your email with anyone. You'll only get important updates (like chances to win free books) and the monthly newsletter.

Edenstar

I've been too busy to give Edenstar Books and Games more than a cursory glance for this CSFF blog tour, so be sure to visit the blogs below for better opinions. The site boasts more than 600 products relating to Christian fantasy and science fiction. The page format seems very kid and parent friendly. I found the game section rather sparse and LOTR-dominated (where's Narnia Stratego, guys? I love that game), and was a bit puzzled by the Bible games which seemed to have no tie-in to the site's subject matter. Also, the inclusion of books such as T. L. Hines' Waking Lazarus pushed the site's range to quite a broad interpretation of CSFF (I'd call it speculative, maybe, but definitely not fantasy or science fiction).

The "hard-to-find" page within the kids' section was the most intriguing, giving the titles of additional Exitorn adventures (had reviewed the first two from BJU Press) and several books by Thomas Locke (aka T. Davis Bunn).


Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Bryan Davis
Beth Goddard
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Cheryl Russel
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith

Friday, September 15, 2006

Blog Unveilings

My blogs have a new look! Not this one (obviously); I'm content with its template and loath to transfer all the links.

First, Christian Music switched from a classical look with rock icons to a bold green/hot pink/black template, which I created by tweaking the results of a template generator (story of the tweaking here). Take a look and let me know what you think!

Then, there's the recently started Waterfall Books. This is the online presence for my review enewsletter which will launch in January (to subscribe, send a blank email here). I'll gradually post reviews on the site after they release in the newsletter - so if you want them first, you need to subscribe.

I also have a quandry. When I began to develop the Reviewing Christian Novels site, I didn't know I'd make the name Waterfall Books, my online moniker. But, since it's my online moniker, I saved waterfallbooks.blogspot.com several months back. Should I switch to the waterfallbooks URL, or keep my current one? Vote below!

Benefits of reviewingchristiannovels:
  • Tells what the site's about
  • Similar to this blog address
  • Already set up

Benefits of waterfallbooks:
  • Title of newsletter
  • Shorter URL

Which do you prefer? Let me know:


Which URL should I use?
reviewingchristiannovels
waterfallbooks
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Squat - CFBA

"We live in a squat. We don’t know squat. We don’t have squat. We don’t do squat. We don’t give a squat. People say we’re not worth squat."

Squat, the story of a homeless young man in New York City, is quite different from most of the books I read. The whole story takes place in 24 hours, while the obsessive-compulsive and childlike Squid tries to avoid getting caught by Saw, who he cheated out of $100.

Taylor Field knows his subject matter well, having worked in inner city New York for twenty years. All of his proceeds from this book go to the service arm of the church he pastors there.

None of the characters captured my sympathy right away, and I only felt a few connections to some of them throughout the book. It was well-written; just not my type of book. To read the first chapter, click on the FIRST button on the sidebar or a few entries down. Be sure to visit other CBFA blogs (links on the sidebar under the CBFA button) for more opinions about this novel.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering . . .


Photo courtesy of Time.com

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Reviewing Christian Novels

I've hinted at an upcoming project. While I don't plan to officially launch until January, I'll give you a tidbit for now.

Waterfall Books - Fall In

I've thought of developing an email newsletter many times in the past. It's great for building connections for later on, when I get a book published. The problem was content. How was I going to fill the newsletter with enough worthwhile words so that people would read it? I tried writing a serial - it went nowhere. And I have enough books to review as it is.

Then something clicked. I was on Yahoo Groups requesting quotes, and the "Start your own group" button looked way too attractive. Then a package arrived from Harvest House, with a book to review for an author friend plus three other novels. Titles the publisher sent with no obligation on my part. Books that if they turn out to be incredible (why not?) I'll want to tell the world.

And I wondered why I was reading books to review when I could just review the books I read. No forcing myself through boring books. No agonizing about making each review more eloquent than the last. Just short, snappy reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Posted on a blog. Linked to here.

You can get the back cover copy at any online seller. You can get the first chapter on Christian Book Previews, email lists, and publisher websites. You can get author interviews on half a dozen blogs. You can get academic reviews in journals and uninformed reviews on Amazon. But nothing beats having a friend who loves to read telling you, "This is good. Here's why . . ."

And so Waterfall Books was born.

It'll likely be monthly. It'll include reviews of fantasy and suspense and chick-lit and historical and romance and mystery and more - because if it's a good book, genre doesn't matter to me. It'll launch sometime in January. And it'll likely include contests and drawings, because everyone loves free books.

Stay tuned for more! But you don't need to keep checking back here. Subscribe to my Yahoo Groups mailing list! When I begin a subscriber drive later this fall, I'll draw a name from everyone on the list for a special prize pack. Perhaps more than one.

Please, subscribe and let others know about Waterfall Books! The more subscribers it gets the bigger the prize pack will be!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Flyleaf and Title Trakk

My review of Flyleaf is up at Keepin' On! Check it out for info on this great hard rock debut album.

And speaking of music and reviews, Title Trakk, a new book and music review site, launches this month. More than just reviews, this site has interviews, weekly surveys, first chapters, and a huge prize pack giveaway to celebrate the launch (CDs by Superchic[k], Tree63, Paul Coleman, and others, plus 15 novels). Mention my name when you sign up for the giveaway!

Other news: I'm 3,500 words into my fantasy novel and loving it. It's neat to see how my writing methods have changed since my last rough draft and how I'm adapting them for the different genre. I tend to zoom through the story without describing much in the way of setting, but I've found a way to counteract that. I write until a good stopping point, then come back the next day or so and edit the scene, adding more details. The little bit of distance lets me see errors of flow and timing, choose better words, and balance thoughts with action.

While this means the book will take longer to write, the first draft will be more like a second or third draft. I've already gotten positive feedback on the first scene, which I plan to post online once I'm a little further into the writing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

FIRST Day - Squat by Taylor Field

It is September 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Taylor Field

"We live in a squat. We don’t know squat. We don’t have squat. We don’t do squat. We don’t give a squat. People say we’re not worth squat."

Taylor Field has worked since 1986 in the inner city of New York where he is pastor of East Seventh Baptist Church/Graffiti Community Ministries. He holds a M.Div. from Princeton and Ph.D. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Among his previous books is the award-winning Mercy Streets. Field and his family live in New York, New York.

If you want to know more, please visit The SQUAT Website! To order Squat, click HERE.

Author interview contact is Andrea Irwin at Broadman &
Holman.


Please Note:

All author proceeds from Squat will go to Graffiti Community
Ministries, Inc., a service arm of the East Seventh Street Baptist
Church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Field preaches.

Back Cover Copy:

In the shadow of Wall Street’s wealth, homeless citizens with names like Squid, Saw, and Bonehead live in abandoned buildings known as "squats" where life is hand to mouth, where fear and violence fester. The light in lovable Squid’s obsessive-compulsive mind’s eye is Rachel, a loving soup kitchen missionary who tells him about faith and unfaith, hypocrisy and justice, the character of God and finding identity in Him.

But among the squats and so many other abandoned lives, will such talk be enough to make Squid believe that his life may actually amount to something?

Click the FIRST button to read the first chapter of Squat.