Monday, August 27, 2012

COTT -- A NEW Annual Literary Contest

Get Ready to Spar!

Clash of the Titles Unveils a NEW annual literary contest, 
and it’s strictly for unpublished writers! 
Also, you will no longer need to be a previous Clash Champion in order to compete for the crown

Submissions open September 14, 2012

As always at COTT, the outcome of the contest is in the hands of readers, 
not industry professionals.

You’ve written the book of your dreams, now what do readers think? Enter the arena and find out. 

Olympia 2013 Submission Rules

The OLYMPIA provides an opportunity for unpublished novelists to have the first two chapters (or 3,500 words) of their work judged and critiqued by readers that are well-versed in Christian fiction yet not a part of the CBA industry.

ELIGIBILITY: Any author whose novel-length work (30,000+ words) has not been previously published in ANY format is eligible for entry. That includes the manuscript being submitted as well as any other manuscript the submitting author has written. One entry per author. Co-authored entries accepted. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material. Clash of the Titles staff reserves the right to reject submissions not meeting this requirement.

FEE: $10 payable via Paypal
Paypal account:
If Paypal is not an option for you, please contact senior editor, April Gardner at

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: All entries must include a single-spaced one page synopsis of the manuscript immediately followed by the first two chapters of the novel. Word count limit is 3,500. Prologues are accepted, so long as the word count limit is not exceeded.

FORMAT: Manuscripts must be in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced with pages numbered. One inch margins in Ms Doc (not Docx) or Rich Text Format (RTF). Insert a header which includes the novel’s genre and title, and nothing more. Judging is anonymous. Do NOT include your name anywhere in the document or in the title the document is saved under.
Entries not following the submission and formatting specifications will be returned. Entries may be resubmitted prior to the deadline. Entry fees for returned entries will not be refunded after the contest entry deadline has passed.

Round One begins November 02, 2012. Entries will first be judged by Clash of the Titles staff, which includes published authors and writers experienced in judging. During this round, COTT staff will be looking for those excerpts which do not meet content standards listed in “Eligibility” above. Because COTT wishes to send only the best quality of writing to its judges, in addition to content eligibility, they will be reading for a higher level of experience in the craft.

Round Two begins November 30, 2012. By this date all entrants will have received an email notifying them whether or not their manuscript has moved on to Round Two. Manuscripts making it to this round will be read by a group of judges who are comprised of your average reader of Christian fiction and that are in no way associated with the CBA industry. This includes agents, writers, avid reviewers, publicists, editors, etc. They are, in short, your audience.

Round Three begins January 21, 2013. By this date, all remaining entrants will be notified of whether or not their manuscript will be moving on. Only three manuscripts will be chosen for this round. Finalist will be announced January 18. Judges pending.
Authors will receive an anonymous digital copy of each of their judge’s scores and comments. Under no circumstance should comments given by a judge be used for publicity or promotional purposes without the express consent of the judge.

PRIZES: One first-place winner will be chosen. He/she will receive a special feature on Clash of the Titles' blog. A tour through COTT’s Blog Alliance. A dedicated page on COTT’s site for a full year. A podcast interview with author and CAG board member, Cynthia L. Simmons. A beautiful plaque. Additional prizes pending.

DEADLINES: Submissions will open Friday, September 14, 2012. All contest entries and fees must be received no later than 8:00 PM EST Friday, November 02, 2012.
All entries will receive a confirmation e-mail. If this has not occurred by 8:00 PM EST November 03, 2012, the entrant should e-mail COTT senior editor, April Gardner at

The winner will be announced Friday, March 01, 2013

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



Author Laura V. Hilton's novel, A Harvest of Hearts, is the winner of 
Clash of the Titles' second annual Laurel Award.

Congratulations, Laura!

Laura will receive: a beautiful banner to proudly display on her website, a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Harvest of Hearts, a podcast interview with author and Christian Authors Guild board member, Cynthia Simmons, a feature tour on COTT's Blog Alliance, and a lovely plaque.

A Harvest of Hearts was chosen by a panel of judges who, by means of a score sheet narrowed the list of competing authors to three. From there, the panel put their choices to a straight vote, and A Harvest of Hearts took the crown.

Special thanks to each of our judges who volunteered their time to this contest. 


A participant in a swap of Amish men, independent yet kindhearted Matthew Yoder can't wait to leave the vast farmland of Lancaster County and make a fresh start in Missouri, where he'll move in with the Stoltzfus family until he finds a place of his own.

Strong–minded yet filled with compassion, Shanna Stoltzfus always dreamed of becoming a nurse, despite her father's threats to shun her. Determined to follow her heart, Shanna ran away and enrolled in college. But when her classmates embark on a medical mission trip that Shanna can't afford, she must turn to the last place she wants to go for help: home.

Even though Shanna still flirts with the people and practices of her Englisch life, Matthew is fascinated by the Stoltzfuses' prodigal daughter, and a close friendship soon blossoms between them. When the tension escalates between Shanna and her father to the point where his health is in jeopardy, Shanna is forced to face some tough issues, including the question of where her true home is.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Writing Novels: Keeping Readers Reading

My pastor said this yesterday, "God uses us when we go where we are most uncomfortable." She was talking about how we should listen for where God leads us and trust him even when it means we must move outside our comfortable worlds. However, what her statement made me think about was how we as fiction writers can make our readers so uncomfortable they will keep reading, and perhaps enjoy our story more because of it. Sorry, Pastor Amy. My mind roams sometimes.

What keeps a reader reading?

I suspect you all can point to recent books you've read where it was impossible to find a stopping place. This is good and bad. It's good because it means the story has pulled you in and you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. The characters have become your friends and you're reluctant to say goodnight. But, such a book is bad because most are too long to be read in one sitting. We have to stop reading  and put the book aside for a while to go on with our real life, be it eating, sleeping, or carting children to and fro.

Being retired, I have the privilege of reading during the day, but for years the only time I could read a novel was after I was in bed. The imaginary world and people in the stories helped me clear my mind of the day's problems so that I could relax and a fall asleep. A good book, however, had the opposite effect. I could get involved in the story and not want to put it down. And, when I did, my mind played around with what would happen next, or how did the author grab my attention the way she did.

Cliffhangers work

My wife reads to the end of a chapter before stopping. Some of the books I read don't allow for that. For example, chapters in Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan novels nearly always end with a cliffhanger making it the most difficult place to stop. I read mostly on a Kindle, so it is easy to stop anywhere. When I go back to it, Kindle opens where you left off.

So, cliffhangers at the end of a chapters keeps me reading. What else can writers do?

When I was studying novel writing techniques, I learned about scenes and scene goals. I was taught that the protagonist must never achieve the scene goal. That seemed wrong. I wanted my characters to be happy. I wanted them to succeed. I didn't want them to keep bumping their heads against a brick wall. My instructor told me I must live a happy life with no conflicts. She said such a story would be boring.

In real life we tend to want to stay in our safe place. We seldom go where we are uncomfortable. But, reading novels is a way to escape, to get outside of ourselves and experience what's out in the world. If our character is facing a major hurdle, or could possibly be hurt, it is like watching a scary movie with one eye covered. We, the reader, want to know what happens next, but it is still hard to do. Curiosity wins and we keep reading.

The Hero's Journey

Another plotting techniques is The Hero's Journey. This is a technique proposed by Joseph Campbell. I won't attempt to explain it here, but there is a wealth of information available on it and how to apply it to modern novels. However, using this approach is an effective way to keep your readers turning pages.

Save the Cat Technique

The latest technique I've studied is based on a screen writing method developed by Blake Snyder and published in his Save the Cat series of books. He proposes fifteen beats from the beginning to end with the first being the Opening Image and the last the Closing Image. In between, there are beats with such interesting names as Set Up, Catalyst, Debate, Fun and Games, Bad Guys Close In, and All is Lost. This plotting method not only provides an organization to help writers remember to include numerous ups and downs on the way to the story goal, it also provides a formula for how many pages you should allow per beat.

Whatever method you use, don't forget to make your reader uncomfortable. For some reason that seems to keep them reading.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Announcing the Winner of Davis Bunn's Rare Earth


The contest for a copy of Davis Bunn's Rare Earth ended at midnight. The winner was selected using

And the winner is
Pris Phillps

Congratulations, Pris.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

Check back for more book reviews and contests.

Monday, August 13, 2012

COTT--Inside Look at the 2012 Laurel Finalists

This Thursday, Aug 16, Clash of the Titles will announce the 2012 Laurel Awards winner. 
It's a much anticipated day, and COTT judges have three amazing finalists to choose from.

Our judges are readers who have no connection to the publishing industry. It's the love of an engaging and spiritually uplifting (or challenging!) story that brought them to the COTT judges bench, and we thank them for it. The judges are basing their scores on the first two chapters of  the participating novels, and from what we hear, they're loving their job!

Sound like something you would like to do? You can!

The Olympia (our new contest for unpublished writers) is just around the corner, and with more and more authors participating, we're going to need more judges! If you're interested, follow this link to learn more. It's simple, fun, and rewarding. And it's not everyday you get a chance to influence what might very well be the next great novel to hit your book store's shelf!

Soon, one of the below novels will take home the 2012 Laurel Award. They've each gotten rave reviews from our judges, and we'd like to share a bit of them with you. Here are the first 100 or so words from each of them. Enjoy!

Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren

We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide—an old, Italian farmer who owned this land—chopped down a small sapling, clearing the overgrown trail. “Ecco, vedi,” he said, pointing at the ground. See, here?

“See that?” my mom cried, pushing the tree branch back farther, squatting beside a slightly sculpted limestone paver. Not really expecting a response, she spoke more to herself—or was it Dad’s ghost she addressed?—than to us. But the hairs on the back of my neck prickled with echoed excitement.


The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall

1665 – The Caribbean

Charlisse bolted upright, her heart pounding. The ship’s tiny cabin rocked back and forth. She grabbed the bedpost to keep from being tossed onto the floor. Books flew off the shelves. A wooden chair tumbled across the room, crashing into the far wall. The ship bucked. She jolted off the bed, then plunged back onto the hard mattress, smashing her elbow into the bed frame. Pinching tremors shot up her arm. What was happening?

Charlisse tried to remember where she was. The merchant ship. She had bartered passage from London to the Caribbean in search of her father—a man she had never met—and the only real family she had left in the world.

A Harvest of Hearts by Laura V Hilton

Something brushed against her hair, just above her left ear. Shanna Stoltzfus swatted at it. When she touched flesh, she jumped, her attempts to pray forgotten, and raised her head from the steering wheel in time to see maple stained fingers, complete with calluses and a small cut.

The hand pulled back.

“Is something wrong? Are you hurt?” a deep voice asked.

She looked up into incredible gray eyes belonging to a drop-dead gorgeous Amish man. He grasped his straw hat in the long fingers of his right hand. His light brown hair shone with natural-blond highlights. She’d paid big bucks for streaks like those. Strong, clean-shaven jaw. Nice. Too bad he hadn’t been around when she was Amish.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Announcing the Winner of HIDDEN IN DREAMS


The contest for a copy of Davis Bunn's Hidden in Dreams ended at midnight. The winner was selected using

And the winner is 
Susan F. Craft of Columbia, South Carolina. 
Congratulations, Susan.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

The Christian Bookmobile has another contest going for a copy of Davis Bunn's Rare Earth. You have until 8/14/12 to enter that contest. If you've already signed up for his newsletter and liked him on facebook, you will get two extra entries. However, you'll need to let me know. For details, see: 

BOOK REVIEW: Rare Earth by Davis Bunn


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meet the Author of Still Life in Shadows: Alice J. Wisler

About Alice J. Wisler

Our guest today is Alice Wisler, author of Still Life in Shadows, released this month by River North Fiction. Alice is also the author of these four Bethany novels: Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation, which she labels as "truly Southern and fun."

Alice was born in Osaka, Japan, where her parents were Presbyterian missionaries. She is married and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

For more information about Alice, see:

Q & A With Alice Wisler

Tell us how you came to your faith in Jesus.

I grew up as missionary kid in Japan and always knew the Gospel. But I didn't really see Jesus as a personal friend until I was sixteen and in Alabama at a youth group. The kids there were singing and excited about Jesus.  That was so refreshing to me. I wanted the peace I experienced there and asked Jesus to basically, stay with me and not leave.  And all these years later, He has been faithful.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?

I was seven and it was called "Susie Has the Chicken Pops." Okay, so that might not be deemed as a real story, but I remember the impact it had on me when my first grade teacher asked me to read it in front of the class and then in front of the third and fourth grades!

Where did you get the idea for your latest book, Still Life in Shadows?

I saw a program on TV about dissatisfied Amish leaving their communities (Mose Gingerich was my inspiration) and thought, I have to write a novel about this! Gideon Miller is based on Mose—he helps Amish leave their Old Order lifestyles and relocate to North Carolina.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?

Forgiveness is a big theme. Also, to see another side of the Amish. They aren't perfect and need God's saving grace. Just like the rest of us. I think they have been too glorified and my ex-Amish friends would agree.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I enjoyed writing from Kiki, a 13-year-old autistic girl's point of view. She is a fun character for me----very lively, and she has a keen perspective on life and God.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Sushi!  What can I say?  I grew up in Japan!

What are your hobbies other than writing?

Cooking and I get along well.  That's why all my novels have recipes in the back.

How does your faith play into your writing?

All my novels have grief and loss in them because those are evident within the world we live. I like to incorporate God's love and compassion into my stories. God certainly comforts me in my frail and broken state.

For more information about writing Still Life in Shadows, see:

Monday, August 6, 2012

COTT's June Release Winning Title

Max Elliot Anderson's book for boys, River Rampage, wins the Clash of The Titles competition for New June Releases. His film background adds dramatic action to his writing.

River Rampage by Max Elliot Anderson

  A hearty congratulations to Max!

  A special thank you to all the talented authors who were part of this fun week!

Carol Cox, author of Love in Disguise
Myra Johnson, author of A Horseman’s Gift
Terri Reed, author of The Deputy’s Duty
Louise Gouge, author of A Proper Companion

About River Rampage:
Sam Cooper and his friends have the chance of a lifetime to go rafting down the mighty Colorado River. The rains have been heavy this season, making the raging river even more treacherous. The boys become separated from the main group, their rubber raft is going flat, and now they're on their own. They have their hands full with a crusty prospector, his gold mine, a gang of outlaw bikers, and a desperate river escape on their makeshift wooden raft. Think that's the worst that could happen? Well, it isn't.

"Sam Cooper Adventures are like good, family movies . . . as an ordinary kid finds himself in exciting and extra-ordinary adventures!" Bill Myers - Author, McGee & Me

River Rampage Review
By Wayne S. Walker
Do you think that you would enjoy going down a raging river on a raft? Twelve-year-old Sam Cooper and his family have moved to Harper's Inlet on the Treasure Coast of Florida. His new friend, Tony Dodds, invites him and another friend, Tyler Peterson, to take a white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River in Utah with Tony's Uncle Harlan. After some initial hesitation Sam's parents give their permission, so Sam gets all his gear ready and Tony's father drives the boys to Moab, UT. Everything is planned to make the trip as safe as possible, but the unexpected can always happen. And with Sam, Tony, and Tyler, it usually does.
The second day out, the rope tying the boys' raft to the one ahead of it catches on a small log wedged into some rocks and snaps, leaving them stranded. Battling the raging waters in a raft that is punctured by a rock and is now taking on water, the three manage with great difficulty to bring the raft to shore in a very desolate place. Then when they try to walk out, they find themselves in a box canyon with a kindly old prospector named Gus who has found a gold mine but is trapped in by a group of motorcycle-riding claim jumpers. What can the boys and Gus do? Is anyone looking for them? Will they ever be able to escape?
If your tween boys, and girls too, like adventure and excitement, they simply have to try Max Elliot Anderson's books. I've never read one that I didn't like. There is nothing objectionable. Families are usually presented as father, mother, and children in loving relationships. That's not to say the kids in them never face any problems, but there are always appropriate solutions which meet the needs. I like the way that Sam and his friends attend church services, believe in prayer, and look to God for guidance. Yet, the tone is not "preachy" but just filled with good, clean fun. Most of Anderson's other books have had completely different characters and settings, so a series is a departure for his writing. Book number 1 of the Sam Cooper series is Lost Island Smugglers, which I have read, and book number 2 is Captain Jack's Treasure.

No wonder one of our voters says, “Max Anderson's books are always a favorite with my boys!!!”

About Max      

His background in film adds a dramatic boost to his books.

Max grew up in the film production business. His father, Ken Anderson, was the founder of Gospel Films in Muskegon, Michigan, and later, Ken Anderson Films. At the age of eight Max was "killed" by a hit-and-run driver, while riding his bike in one of his father's motion pictures. But, since the film was being shot in black & white, the blood came out of a chocolate syrup bottle.

As an adult Max excelled in film and video production. He won Best Cinematographer for his work on the feature film, "Pilgrim's Progress." This was also the first feature film for actor Liam Neeson, known for his work in "Schindler's List," "Star Wars," and other films. Mr. Anderson has also won national Telly awards for his productions of "Youth Haven," "A Safe Place for Kids," and "Tracy's Choices." "Tracy's Choices" was also awarded Best Christian Documentary. Other programs he has produced have won numerous local, regional, state, and national awards.

Author Jerry B. Jenkins says, "Max Elliot Anderson brings a lifetime of dramatic film and video production to the pages of his action adventures and mysteries."

Max says, “Even though I grew up in a house full of books--my dad was an author of over 70 books--I didn't love reading like my siblings. I’d be the first person to tell you I was a reluctant reader….”

Five years ago Max decided to explore why. He says, “In that research, I discovered a pattern: the books I looked at just didn't interest me. The style was boring, the dialog was sometimes sparse or when it was used, it seemed too adult. I was looking for action, adventure, suspense, and humor.

“I started writing action-adventure & mystery books that I would have liked if I could go back in time. My books are written for 8- to 13-year-olds, especially boys, who are reluctant, unhappy, or struggling readers. Yet they are also enjoyed by avid readers too.”

Now that Max has a career in film and books, he says, “The responses to my books have been the most surprising, and rewarding. Newspaper Caper, Terror at Wolf Lake, North Woods Poachers, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big Rig Rustlers, Secret of Abbott's Cave & Legend of the White Wolf are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.”

Max is listed in WHO'S WHO in Finance and Industry, Entertainment, Advertising, The Midwest, Emerging Leaders in America, The World, and WHO'S WHO In America (1999 - present).

Buy River Rampage at Barnes and Noble
Amazon and School House Publishing Home School Store

Guest Post by Gail Pallotta A former Clash of The Titles winner, Gail has published two hundred articles, several poems, one short story and two books. She's a 2004 regional writer of the year for the American Christian Writers Association.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

Warning: This is not a book for my usual Christian fiction readers. Not because it isn't an interesting book and not because it isn't as inspirational as the books I usually review. I loved it. But, it involves some pretty ugly murders and what I think may be typical police language, including the four-letter words not found in family fiction.

Okay. So if you're still reading you may wonder why I read the book in the first place. Actually, it was by mistake. I get most of my books free from several Christian publishers and when I received an email about this book, I assumed the message was from one of the regular publishers. Then, by the time I figured out it wasn't, it was too late. I had to read the rest of the book to find out what happens.

This story is about an eighty-seven year old Jewish retired policeman by the name of Baruch Schatz, who  goes by Buck Schatz. The advanced age and the Jewish angle are both important because Buck and his friend Jim Wallace were prisoners of war in World War II.

On his deathbed, Jim Wallace confesses to Buck that he had accepted a bribe from Heinrich Ziegler, the SS officer in charge of the POW camp where Buck and Jim where held. After the war, Buck searched for Ziegler to get revenge for the way he had been treated. Jim, while working as a guard, allowed Ziegler to pass through a road check for a gold brick. Before his death, Jim asks Buck for forgiveness.

The rest of the book is about Buck and his grandson Tequila tracking down Ziegler, who is now living in the United States. Tequila and Jim's son-in-law, Norris Feely, as well as Jim's pastor, Larry Kind, are mostly interested in what gold may still be in Ziegler's possession, but Buck would still like to find him for revengeful reasons. Buck, who has been retired from the police force in Memphis for more than thirty years, knows nothing about computers and the latest investigative techniques. But, he still has his instincts for finding criminals.

The gold worth millions is an incentive for all sorts of evil human behavior and this takes the story off in that direction. But, Buck is not distracted by the treasure.

As a story teller, I've worried about making my main character too old out of fear of limiting my readers to people of a certain age. But as I read this book I realized it didn't matter how old the person is. What matters is his or her character. Buck is a one you'll not soon forget.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. 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. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meet the Author of Rare Earth: Davis Bunn

About Davis Bunn
Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write. Visit Davis at

Q & A with Davis Bunn                   
When you finished writing Lion of Babylon (book 1 in the Marc Royce series), did you just keep going with the storyline and wrote Rare Earth at the same time? Or was there a time gap in between?
Normally by the time I complete a story, I have been living with the characters and the tale for about a year. What I need more than anything just then is a break. I don’t need to stop writing; I just need to write about something else. The emotions for a new book have to be fresh. The characters are not just continuing on. They are starting over. The emotions and the concepts and the tension and the theme are all brand new. The names stay the same. The rest of the universe shifts on its axis.
Marc Royce is not your typical hero. Where did you find your inspiration for his character?
As I started researching the first book in this series, Lion of Babylon, I took a flight where I was seated next to this very remarkable woman, an amazing combination of hard intelligence and great gentleness. She was reading a pocket New Testament. We started talking, and it turned out that she was a special operative, formerly with the State Department intelligence division, and now working with the Department of Defense Intel. I found myself drawn by this incredible paradox of ruthless focus and very intense calm.
Soon after this flight, I had an opportunity to meet a senior figure in the CIA. I had never had any contact with the intelligence community, and all of a sudden I was finding one door after another being opened, because both of these people—the DOD Intel officer and the CIA agent—took it upon themselves to help introduce me to their worlds. I have found this happen on a number of occasions, and these ongoing miracles humble and astound me. I drew on these people as the basis for structuring my hero.
What can readers expect to find in Rare Earth?
All my books hold to one key aim—to create a story that carries a moral, and together result in an impact or challenge or inspiration or comforting assurance that remains long after the book is set down. That, to me, defines a worthy effort.
What kind of character is Marc Royce?

He carries his faith into a world that likes to think Jesus no longer plays a role. He sees himself as the ultimate outsider, wounded by the loss of his wife, searching for a place he can call home, and an ideal worth living for—or giving his life for.
Tell us about one or two other key characters.

Like the book that launched this series, Rare Earth is a story about the missionary church. Many of the other characters are Kenyan, and reveal the amazing role that believers play in this nation.
What type of research did you do for this series?
I worked in Africa for four years early in my adult life. I was not a believer at that time. I came to faith four years later. I taught in Kenya last year, the first time I had been back to sub-Sahara Africa in almost twenty years. Going back to Africa now, as a believer, has opened my eyes to many things. Seeing with the compassion of sharing faith and seeking to serve means that I do not merely observe, I share with them. I hope this comes across in my story.
Research is a huge component of all of my stories. But with Lion of Babylon and Rare Earth, the situation was quite different. In both these Royce novels, I was combining knowledge gained in my previous business life with the perspective gained from my walk in faith. It has been quite a fulfilling experience, personally, to revisit these lands and see them through the eyes of our compassionate God.
Which character in Rare Earth do you connect to the most?
This is the second book starring Marc Royce. He is a complex individual with a lot of amazing traits. I feel like I am finally coming to terms with the depths of this man.
Which character was the most difficult to write?
There is a Luo chief in Nairobi, a strong leader who has had everything stripped from him except his faith. He is the uncle of another great man, another leader. To have two people from the same tribe, and create individuals that stood out as unique portraits, was very challenging. I feel that I have done a solid job with them. I look forward to hearing what my readers think.
What was your favorite scene to write in Rare Earth?
It is very rare that a first scene holds such a powerful connection for me. Generally it is one where there is a revelation between characters, or a defining moment when a person’s eyes are truly opened to the eternal for the first time.
But in Rare Earth, when I shut my eyes and envision the story, it is that first scene that blazes into light. Travelling on the UN chopper from Nairobi, watching the volcano take shape upon the horizon. Marc Royce has been sent out there to fail. And to die. I really am pleased with that opening sequence.
What’s next in your writing pipeline?
The film project Unlimited, for which I wrote the screenplay, has now ‘wrapped’, that is, filming has been completed. The producer and director are now deep into the editing process. Meanwhile, I must get busy and write the novel.
I had the whole thing backwards here, doing the script first, but it has been a lot of fun, and the concept remains very fresh. So hopefully it will come alive on the page as well as the screen. Both the film and the story are titled Unlimited, and are slated for release in September 2013.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website and blog are at
Subscribe to my blog’s feed (to get my latest posts via e-mail or through your feed reader) at
Sign up for my e-newsletter (for subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of my upcoming novels):
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @davisbunn -


The publisher has provided us the opportunity to give away one copy of the paperback edition of Rare Earth by Davis Bunn. 

Here are the rules:

1. The winner must have a non-P.O. Box address in the United States
3. You will get a second entry if you sign up for Davis Bunn's newsletter ( Leave a comment here stating you have done this.
4. You will get a third entry if you LIKE Davis Bunn's Facebook page ( a comment here stating you have done this.
The contest will close August 14, 2012 and a winner will be selected randomly from those who entered.

2. To enter the contest, leave a comment below, answering this questionIf you could serve as a missionary in another country, where would you go?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. 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.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Rare Earth by Davis Bunn

Marc Royce, a former CIA agent who is unofficially reactivated, takes a job with Lodestone, a civilian government contractor, and is stationed in Kenya. Something suspicious is happening there and the U.S. government is not sure what or who is responsible. Royce is sent to find out. After training in Nairobi where the Kenyan Lodestone headquarters is located, Royce is sent to a French aid station which is being overrun with displaced people due to the eruption of a volcano on Mount Elgon between Kenya and Uganda.

When Royce arrives with food and medical supplies he learns the camp leaders were hoping for soldiers to help keep order. However, as soon as Royce learns more about the situation he is able to restore peace by working through the displaced tribe elders.

He meets Kitra at the medical station in the camp. She lets him know right away that she doesn't like him because he works for Lodestone and she suspects the company was involved in the kidnapping of her brother. Serge, a medical technician at the camp, had been missing for eight days. What Kitra doesn't know and Royce can't tell her, is that her missing brother is part of the reason he was sent to Kenya. Royce, a widower, is instantly attracted to Kitra and is thankful to have such feelings again.

Royce is so effective in managing the camp that the UN district administrator, Frederick Uhura, takes an interest in him and provides more contracts for Lodestone. This makes Royce look better to his bosses. However, Royce was also there to investigate Lodestone personnel and he doesn't know who he can trust.

This is one of those stories where the reviewer needs to be careful not to say too much. However, I will tell you the suspense is powerful and the momentum of the story grows from start to finish. The characters are vivid as well as the descriptions, especially the African locations. The volcano adds a since of urgency and is used to help Royce at one point in the story. There is a trip to Israel where Royce meets Kitra's parents. Then there is the love story between Royce and Kitra and the hope of how it might end. 

I first met Marc Royce in Davis Bunn's Lion of Babylon. Rare Earth stands alone, however, and you can read the two books in any order. I loved them both.


The publisher has provided us the opportunity to give away one copy of the paperback edition of Rare Earth by Davis Bunn. 

Here are the rules:

1. The winner must have a non-P.O. Box address in the United States
3. You will get a second entry if you sign up for Davis Bunn's newsletter ( Leave a comment here stating you have done this.
4. You will get a third entry if you LIKE Davis Bunn's Facebook page ( a comment here stating you have done this.
The contest will close August 14, 2012 and a winner will be selected randomly from those who entered.

2. To enter the contest, leave a comment below, answering this questionIf you could serve as a missionary in another country, where would you go?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. 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. The book was then donated to a church library.