Tuesday, April 26, 2011

EXCERPT: A Face in the Clouds by Marianne Evans

Here is an introduction to an April 21, 2011 release from White Rose Publishing, A Face in the Clouds by Marianne Evans. Only 31 pages. Add it to your Easter reading.


Reporter Paul Hutchins is all about finding facts and uncovering the truth. Verification, authenticity and quantification are the fuel of his spirit...Until he falls in love with producer Sandy Pierson.

Sandy sees Christ alive in every aspect of her life. No need for quantified facts. Faith is the fuel of her spirit. But her love for Paul puts her at odds with God's call toward faith and all of its mysteries.

Paul considers Christianity to be well-meaning myth--hyperbole. To Sandy, it's everything--and she can accept nothing less from the man she loves.

Can a miracle happen? Can the touch of God Himself keep their relationship from shattering?


“I know how deeply you feel things, Paul. You have a wonderful heart. That’s part of why I love you so much. I’m torn in two about my feelings for you.” Sandy’s declaration would have filled him were it not chipped and cracked by the impact of her doubts. “Your reporter’s instinct toward authenticity and
revealing the truth is a big part of what I admire about you. There’s nothing wrong with facing the world honestly, but you need to make room for a few other truths.”

“Like God.”

“Yes, and the fact that life holds as much mystery, and as many intangibles, as it does realistic things you can hold tight with both hands.” She wanted him to change. Right down to the soul. Paul continued to study her. She was hurt enough that she had almost stepped away from attending tonight’s event—out of a frustrated sense of love. Yet here they were—together—out of a frustrated sense of love.

And if he wasn’t mindful of her beliefs, she’d step away from him. Paul navigated the rapidly-filling parking lot of Woodland Church. Once they stopped, he killed the car engine and used a restraining hand to keep Sandy in place. He closed the space between them and gave her a kiss that lingered and thoroughly tasted. He felt the gesture ease a bit of the tightness in her shoulders and back. “I’ll keep an open mind, OK?” She touched his face, and there was yearning in her eyes. “Keep an open heart. That’s much more important.”

For More Information: http://www.marianneevans.com/

Monday, April 25, 2011

This Feedback Makes Writing Fun

Excerpt from e-mail I received recently:

I knew when I met you that we had a kindred spirit being fellow Maroons and of course we share the love of God's spirit...

I am in the process of reading your book WHERE LOVE ONCE LIVED  and I must tell you that its hard to put down.  I am on chapter ten and you are indeed blessed with a gift.  I find myself thinking about the characters when I'm not reading.  I will go to your web site and share with you any comments I might have.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Another Review for Where Love Once Lived

I was looking at Amazon.com today because I'm working with them to get better categories set. It has been a hassle and, once I've got it the way I want it, I'll tell you about it. However, I was surprised to find a new review for Where Love Once Lived. It was written by a classmate of mine from the online writing classes I took. I also had the opportunity to meet him in person at the Yosemite Writing Conference where both of our manuscripts won awards.

Rob Mullins bought a copy of my book as soon as he heard it was available. Here's what he had to say:

It's never too late for love, April 19, 2011

Sidney Frost is a man who believes in both the power of God and the power of love. His story of Brian and Karen and love seemingly long lost and found again (with the help of a bookmobile!) is a good read. You'll notice right away that Mr. Frost spent a lot of time crafting his story and delivering it in an uplifting manner. If you're looking for a positive, Christian romance, then you'll want to read Where Love Once Lived.

It would be nice if you'd click here: http://tinyurl.com/3lco8qc to see the actual review and, if you agree, click the button that says you agree.


And, if you still haven't written a review. Do it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Signing: Clarksville Family Fun Fest

In Where Love Once Lived the male protagonist is white and his best friend is black. I'm not sure how that happened, but it made the story more interesting by providing thoughts about race relations.

In the following excerpt Brian is the white friend, Mr. McCullough, who is black, is the seventy-eight year old father of Brian's best friend and Cindy is Mr. McCullough's granddaughter who is about to announce her engagement to a white man:

"It's called historical, now," Mr. McCullough said holding a fork in the air. "It use' to be a ghetto, you know." He glanced at Brian. "I don't guess Cindy told you that. Most of the Negroes lived east of Austin, but there was a colony here in Clarksville."

Mr. McCullough continued. "When I was growin' up, there were boundaries, you see. We couldn't jus' live anywhere we wanted. Ever'one knew where the lines were. Our street here was as far south as we could live."

He shook his head. "Today, it doesn't matter. No one's shocked when black and white marry, even." He locked eyes with Brian, then moved his gaze to Cindy.

"When was this neighborhood a ghetto, Grandpa?" Cindy asked. "I've heard the story, but I think Brian would like to hear about it, too."

"Let's see." He touched a thumb to his fingers. "I'd say up until sometime in the 1950s." He pointed south. "Over at Mathews School, on 9 ½ Street, that was white. Our lot touched up to a white family's back yard." He laughed. "I'd forgotten about that. Fact is, back in the 1930's or 40's, I use' to play with the little kid who lived there. Well, not play, really. We mos'ly jus' talked through the chicken wire. My Mama and Daddy told me not to, but I did anyway."

In real life, I'm the one in his seventies who lived in the Clarksville area at the time. These are my memories. The difference is I lived on the white side of the border.

It's different there now. Sunday, April 17, 2011, I was invited to set up a booth in the artisans area at the annual Clarksville Family Fun Fest to sell books. I took a map showing the five places where I lived between 1936 and 1945 to show my credibility to be there. The map only brought up exclamations of how young I look.

I left only two books there. One I donated to the Silent Auction sold for $8.00, and the other I donated to the pastor of the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church.

Rev. Steve Manning, the pastor of the church had stopped by to talk about the book and the history of Clarksville. When he returned later with his checkbook, I told him I wanted to donate the book to him for the church. He let me know he was prepared to pay for the book, but I told him I had donated copies of the book to other churches in Austin and Georgetown and it only seemed right to donate one to the church in the area where several scenes of the book take place.  He promised to read the book and let me know his thoughts about it.

After the Clarksville Family Fun Fest was over I drove by each of the places I had lived. I was flooded with memories, not just of the segregation that existed then, but I remembered World War II, going to school for the first time, the Confederate Home that abutted up to the end of the street, my childhood friends I biked with, my sister Barbara who took me school, my cousins who visited, the chickens and ducks we raised in the back yard, the time spent with my father, the birth of my sister Patty. So many wonderful memories of the time.

A few negative experiences popped into my head as well, such as cutting my arm on a broken coffee jar in the vacant lot playing soldier with Billy T. Nitschke, cutting my hair, eating an April Fool's Day sandwich filled with cotton made by my sister Barbara, falling on a sidewalk while running to meet my dad when he got home from work.

The memories of the time I lived in the area were good for me, but the Clarksville of today is not the same as it was when I lived there. People of all races without an apparent notice of the fact played side by side. The woman at the church's booth displayed historical photos showing an all-black church membership, but the church today stressed that it is a church for everyone in the area.

Rev. Manning is a 58-year old black man born in Louisiana and brought up in Lockhart, Texas, with a year in Oakland, California, just long enough to become an A's fan, a fact that was advertised on the shirt he wore. His degree is in biology, but he had a calling to preach. He said it was not the clear spoken calling some get, but it was a quiet, definite one. He is the type of person I could be friends with in an instant because of his openness and warmth.

While writing Where Love Once Lived, I thought about visiting the church in Clarksville, but never did. After meeting Rev. Manning, I'm planning to visit there soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating Two-Hundred Articles

This is the 200th article on the Christian Bookmobile since the first one climbed aboard March 31, 2010.

I set out not knowing what direction God might take me with this new way of reaching people through the Internet, but knowing I had something to say.

My stated goal was "…to provide something of interest to both readers and writers who like fiction that shows the love of God without being preachy."

Later, after reading what I had written so far, I added this:  "Since my book is set in Austin, Texas, this blog also includes some of my memories about growing up in Austin before it became weird."

To be honest, there weren't 200 new articles. There were a number of times I used an excerpt from Where Love Once Lived or Vengeance Is Mine rather than something created special for the blog. However, I think that served a purpose to give readers a sample of what to expect from the books. Excerpts were also discussed at times.

Also, the 200 includes excerpts from other author's books, book reviews, author interviews provided by other authors, as well as book descriptions provided by others. However, I tried to always follow the original goals of the blog as described above. I hope you agree that I did.

One of the problems I thought I would have with the blog was to write it in a way to reach both readers and writers. I considered having two separate blogs. But, I believe it turned out okay on that count. Writers are readers and many readers enjoy learning about the writing craft, so there was something for everyone.

Blogspot, the blogging method I use, provides a way to identify labels in each article. In reviewing those, I found the following most often used (each was in 10 or more articles):

Bonnie Hearn Hill (my writing teacher)
Book Reviews
Celeste (my wife)
Christian Fiction
University of Texas
Vengeance is Mine
Writers League of Texas

Sometimes I wonder if I remember to add these labels each time. If you want to see all the articles with a particular label, click on the label on the left.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Max on Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado's latest book, Max on Life, is a little different from other Lucado books in the way it is organized. You can read it from start to finish, or you can use the topical or scripture indexes. The subtitle,  Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions, explains what the book is about.

If you read from the beginning, the questions are organized by these categories: hope, hurt, help, him/her, home, have/have-nots, and hereafter. Checking the topical index for infidelity, for example, will take you to the him/her section. Questions about heaven are answered in the hereafter section, of course.

There are 172 questions and the answers are typical Max Lucado, straight forward and easy to understand.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” After reading the book, I donated it to a church library.

Monday, April 18, 2011

EXCERPT: And the Beat Goes On by Tracy Krauss


“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…” Genesis 6:5 KJV

Tom-tom . . . tom-tom . . . Pulsing . . . throbbing . . . the earth reverberated. Dancers leapt to the ancient rhythm, their half-naked bodies, glistening with sweat in the firelight, twisted and arched, as the primal beat called to the pulse within. Overhead, the display case of heaven sparkled, the diamonds large and brilliant against their black velvet nest. Accompanying this was a symphony of sound; a full choir of heavenly voices carried on the solar winds through the crystalline canopy of heaven to the sons of earth below.

The heavy scent of giant orchids which bloomed along the outer perimeter of the temple gardens mingled with the spices and perfumes that were thrown into the fire by the temple priestesses. It had all been set in place for his honor; soon to be absolute ruler and son of the gods himself.

High above the ornate alter, around which the dancers poured their carnal worship, a handsome, young, would-be king watched from his seat of honor. His heart beat quickened, for he knew what was coming next. He had once before witnessed the ancient ritual, as a child, when his own father had been crowned king; had become god.

Abruptly, the drum ceased. A hush swept through the crowd of onlookers who circled the stone platform. The dancers and priestesses scattered. From out of the shadows marched twelve beasts. They were human in appearance except for the gigantic wings, leathery like those of a bat, which were folded across their backs and whose tips nearly touched the ground. Each man was tall and well-muscled - the finest and bravest in the kingdom. They were the king's guard, especially chosen and groomed from boyhood; a privilege for only the strongest and bravest. They would accompany the king wherever he went – even to the grave. As descendants of the Nephilim - the race of giants born from the union of the gods and mortal women - they feared nothing; not even death.

The guards lined up on the large platform, facing the king, as the chief among them solemnly ascended the flight of stone steps that led from the platform and alter to the king's throne. From here he would have a good view of every spectacle. The guard saluted, turned, and gave the signal to the others.

With precision, the guards stepped back to form a corridor. The here to fore silent crowd could not help but murmur. A wave of „oohs‟ rippled through the masses as six burly slaves led the captive forward, shackled, hobbled, and muzzled. Even then, it was a struggle to get the huge beast prostrate upon the altar of sacrifice. Its beady eyes glistened as its leather wings twitched.

A priest came forward, gilded knife held high over the creature's heart. A slave released

the muzzle that had kept the creature silent and the knife plunged directly into the heart of the animal as a piercing scream echoed through the forest, seeming to rebound from the canopy of the brilliant sky.

Other skilled workers moved quickly into place, and with a few precise cuts, the huge leather wings were removed. Next the head was severed, the brains neatly extracted, leaving only the long pointed beak, majestic red crest, and beady eyes intact.

Blood dripped from the newly hewn crown as it was placed reverently in the hands of the chief guard. With dignified solemnity, he carried the grisly trophy up the long stairway to the king. The priest followed closely on his heels. The prized headpiece was placed on the king's head, even as blood continued to drip from its depths onto his hair and beard. The priest, who had brought with him a goblet of the animal's blood rendered from its jugular vein, presented it to the sovereign. He whispered the ancient words of the deity into the king's bloody ear; an incantation meant only for the gods, not mortal ears. Slowly the new sovereign raised the goblet to his lips. Without wavering he took a swallow from the cup, letting the blood trickle from the corners of his mouth. Lowering the goblet, his handsome face was suddenly spoiled by a malicious grin.

The priest stepped back as four others came bearing the wings, still attached as one piece by the skin of the creatures back. They were strong men, but even they let out a grunt as the heavy cape was settled onto the shoulders of the monarch. He thought for a moment he would not be able to bear the weight of it. Once the wings were properly cleaned and

tanned, they would weight much less and he would be expected to wear them for all public ceremonies. But for this night, he must bear the full weight of the mantle, blood and all.

The blood, which the priest had mixed with some special herbs, was giving him new strength, however. And the words...those secret words passed down from the outer world of his ancestors . . . words which no human could hear . . . these also gave him power. He was one of them, now. A god among men. He straightened majestically in his seat, as if the weight on his shoulders was nothing more than an ordinary cloak made of woven material. He smiled his bloody smile again, flashes of white peeking through the glistening red, and raised his hand in salute.