Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Idol Visits the Rat Pack Era

Ah, the Rat Pack era. Those long ago days in Vegas when the crooners really knew how to croon. And who would the mentor be on this nostalgic day? As Kris said, "All those guys in the Rat Pack... they're dead." True. So it was a little surprising when who should walk through the mansion door but... Jamie Foxx???

At first, he seemed like an odd choice. Yes, he won an Oscar portraying Ray Charles, but when it comes to his own music, he's an R&B artist. Well, Jamie pleasantly surprised me. The comments he had for the contestants were right on and seemed to help. And here's how things went...

KRIS - The Way You Look Tonight - When Kris started out, all I could think of was "smooth." He's got such a rich, mellow tone to his voice. And I love the way his jaw juts off to the side when he hits the power notes. I wasn't crazy about the tempo change in the middle of the song. I would have preferred if he kept it in a slow groove, but he still did a great job.

ALLISON - Someone To Watch Over Me - This may have been my favorite Allison performance to date. She hit just the right combination of being true to herself and catching the vibe of the song. And she looked fabulous! In my opinion, the now seventeen-year-old nailed it last night.

MATT - My Funny Valentine - Oh, Matt. I expected so much from you. And you almost delivered. But some of the runs fell flat. Even though it was a good performance, it didn't stand up against everyone else.

DANNY - Come Rain or Come Shine - Finally, the Danny we know and love is back! Even though his performances have been very good, they've lacked a little something the last few weeks. But last night, Danny crooned with the best of them. I particularly liked the end of the song. In this case, upping the tempo worked in a big, big way.

ADAM - Feeling Good - It'll just be redundant if I say I love Adam, so I'll control myself. This is one of those songs that you hear a million times during the audition process, so I wasn't all that excited when I heard he was singing it. BUT, as always, he put his own spin on it, making it fresh and unique. And has there ever been a better entrance down that staircase? I think not.

BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT - From Simon, in response to Randy saying that Adam was a little too theatrical: "That's like complaining that a cow moos. It's who he is."

GUESS WHAT I DID FOR THE FIRST TIME LAST NIGHT? I voted! Yeah, I know, as much as I write about this show, you'd think I was a voter, but I'm not. However, I felt strongly enough last night to pick up my cell and call in my vote for Adam. I only got through once, but at least I did my part :+}

WE BID A FOND FAREWELL TO... Matt. I think he and Allison will end up in the bottom two, but I believe Matt will be the one to go.

What do you think?

Monday, April 27, 2009

CFBA presents A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Vote Of Confidence
(Zondervan - April 2009)
Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE


I'm not completely done reading A Vote of Confidence yet, but what I've read so far has me hooked. Hatcher writes about a time when automobiles shared the streets with horses, and woman had the right to vote, even though men often doubted their ability to think for themselves. It's fascinating to get a glimpse into this pivotal time in American history.

In the characters of Gwen and Morgan, we have two people who both believe they're doing what the Lord wants them to, only to discover they're competing against each other. The romance that builds is touching, and I can't wait to find out how the talented Robin Lee Hatcher wraps their story up. Fans of historical romance will definitely enjoy A Vote of Confidence.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Want to Read a Book that Won't Let You Go?

I read a lot of books. Some are great, most are good, and a few are a chore to get through. So to have one so totally capture my imagination that I want to do nothing but read it is a rare treat. Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander is that kind of book.

Dr. Molly Whitcomb, Professor of Romance Languages, arrives in Timber Ridge needing to start a new life. As the new teacher, she's quickly embraced by most of the town, particularly the handsome and principled sheriff, James McPherson. But Molly has a secret, and the longer she keeps it to herself, the higher the price she'll pay when it becomes known to everyone.

Ms. Alexander has woven an enthralling tale of life in the Colorado Territory. This is the old west as few people have seen it. It's a land of sweeping mountain vistas and breathtaking beauty. And it's a land that sees the inevitable encroachment of modernization and the march of progress. A sub-plot about the Italian immigrants who have moved into the area and the way they are looked at by the locals is a fresh and timely topic for today, even in the historical setting.

In Molly and James, we have a tale as old as time; two people who find themselves falling hopelessly in love, even though they both believe they are meant to live their lives alone. As we find out more about these two, we can't help but cheer them on, wanting them to live happily ever after, even though the prospect is bleak.

Tamara Alexander is a gifted writer, one who pulls you into the story from the first page and never lets you go. She has populated the town of Timber Ridge with a group of characters you won't soon forget, and makes you wish that there were more Timber Ridge stories to read right now!

This is the second book in the Timber Ridge Reflections series. I've read them both, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary to read them chronologically. But, after you've read this one, you're going to want to read the first one, so you might as well buy them both and read them in order!

To find out more about Tamera Alexander and her books, visit her website at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Head's Killing Me but I Must Talk About Americian Idol!

I woke up this morning with a terrible sinus headache. All I wanted to do was tunnel further into the covers and go back to bed. BUT, I've got a To Do list, and it wouldn't leave me alone. So, I got up. I took a shower. I ate breakfast. And I felt a tiny bit better.

Did I accomplish anything? Some. I answered emails and wrote one page on a new chapter. I walked to the mailbox and found two red Netflix envelopes. One of the movies, Bedtime Stories, seemed perfect for today, so I crashed on the couch and watched it. I think the laughter helped. I've still got a headache, although not quite as intense.

You're probably thinking, what's the point to this post? Not much. Only that sometimes, our well thought out plans are derailed by things like headaches, and we have to give ourselves permission to adapt to the situation.

By the way, since I missed yacking about American Idol last week, I just can't let another week go by without commenting. So here I go...

Yep, last night was disco night, but it was hard to tell. Out of the seven remaining contestants, only two, Lil and Matt, sang songs that remotely resembled disco. The other five sang updated versions of songs from the disco era... which was a good thing.

As usual, Adam was my favorite of the night with a heartfelt version of "If I Can't Have You." To date, I've downloaded every one of his songs from iTunes. I'm making my own Adam album! Another standout was Kris, who did an acoustic version of "She Works Hard for the Money."

UP: Danny was wearing his glasses again.
DOWN: Allison's wardrobe. She's a great singer, but she needs a fashion consultant.
UNDECIDED: Anoop's pink shirt.
DOWN: Anoop's facial hair. I like smooth Anoop better.

Tonight we're losing two contestants. If Lil isn't one of them, I'll be shocked. Gotta admit, I'm feeling no Lil love anymore. It's almost like there's a wall between her and everyone else. Odd stuff. So, I think the bottom three will be Lil, Matt and Anoop. Lil will be one of the two going home, but I think it's a dead heat between the guys. We'll see.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

BoneMan's Daughters

(Center Street - April 14, 2009)
Ted Dekker


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large health care company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

If you're an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:

If you would like to read the first chapter of BoneMan's Daughters, go HERE


In BoneMan's Daughters, Ryan Evans is a man who has basically abandoned his family, until a harrowing experience in the Middle East changes the way he thinks about everything. Once back home, he wants nothing more than to repair his fractured relationships, but he finds that will be harder than he thought. His wife, now in love with another man, wants a divorce. And his teenage daughter feels that her father died a long time ago. Enter BoneMan, a serial killer who wants the perfect daughter... Ryan's daughter.

Dekker starts the book out at a breakneck pace and manages to maintain the intensity throughout most of the book. There are enough thrills, chills, and scares to satisfy his many fans, or those who enjoy King or Koontz. Readers who want something a little deeper will find themselves pondering the question that Ryan must ask himself: How far will a father go to save his child? Ryan's desperation is palpable as he races against the clock to save his daughter, while at the same time fleeing the FBI, who now see him as a suspect.

BoneMan's modus operandi is to break the bones of his victim without breaking the skin. Dekker doesn't get overly graphic, but he does give enough detail that I found myself needing to quickly skim a time or two. He gets across the terror of the situation as well as a victim's need to placate the abductor while still trying to maintain sanity and look for a way to escape.

There were a few plot points that, to me, hinged on total coincidence, and I never did completely buy BoneMan's motives. BUT, this is still a top-notch, well-written thriller. Readers who want to have their spines tingled will enjoy this one. But if you read it at night, you might want to keep all the lights on.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Boneman's Daughters, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on April 25th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. PLEASE NOTE: For this contest I can only accept entries from the USA and Canada. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Susan Boyle - The Power of a Pitch-Perfect Product

If you're like me, you've heard of Susan Boyle by now. I got links to this video through email, Twitter, Facebook... in fact, I was starting to get a little sick of it. That is, until I actually clicked on the link and watched it. I'm a sucker for people who realize their dreams. And this woman does it in a big way. I dare you not to tear up. Go ahead, take a look...

If the video doesn't play, click on this link to view the clip on Tangle:

From a personal perspective, Susan's story is completely amazing. Is says a lot about how we tend to judge people on outside appearances and our preconceived notions.

From a business perspective... YOWZA! Talk about a word-of-mouth storm. This clip has spread like wildfire, and it's all from people being inspired and sending it on to their friends. Now, thanks to social networking sites, we can reach several hundred friends with a few pecks on the keyboard and a click of the mouse. But the most important thing to note here is value of the product. Susan delivered a finely crafted, uplifting, entertaining performance. In other words, she has a product people want. A video on Tangle or You Tube doesn't mean squat unless the people are moved by it.

Another cool thing is to look at the judges. Those three were shocked by Susan's performance. But beyond that, they were thrilled for her. They wanted her to succeed, and they were moved by her performance. For those of us who make our living dealing with "judges" - editors, agents, etc. - it's an important thing to remember. These folks WANT us to succeed, and when we do, they are moved. When we don't provide an amazing product, their hands are tied.

Way to go, Susan! May we all dream a dream, and never let it die!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dreaming with Amy Wallace - WIN HER BOOK!

It's my pleasure to welcome back guest blogger, and fellow chocoholic, Amy Wallace!

In college, I used to interpret dreams. It came part and parcel with my counseling degree and some weird and wild psychology classes.

But when God gave me a dream that needed no interpretation, I got scared. And excited. But I wasn’t going to do anything except tell my husband the dream about an FBI agent with a wounded heart and a mom on a dangerous quest for answers and then forget it.

God had another plan.

So did my hubby. They teamed up and shoved—I mean pointed—me in the novel direction of writing.

This was not my dream. But it was my husband’s. And it was obviously God’s, because what happened next was all God and totally out of my hands.

My not-to-be-deterred hubby took my dream about Steven and Gracie and ran with it… all the way to a federal agent he convinced to meet with me and help me out.

When David came home and told me I’d better get busy with my book idea because I was meeting a real live Secret Service agent, I freaked. But I could still feel that dream I’d had. It wouldn’t go away. And neither would my husband. (Good thing!)

So I read tons of FBI books and spent many hours typing away on the computer. God graciously put His hands over mine and made it all make sense.

I met with the Secret Service agent, a stellar Christian and all-around wonderful guy, and from my bare-bones outline and research we hammered out a plot. That day was nothing short of a dream-touching moment.

Five years after that meeting, the story that began as a dream was born as Ransomed Dreams, my first novel and the beginning of the Defenders of Hope series.

To say I’ve been living a dream these last three years is true. But unlike the happily ever after fairytales, my story is still being written. And like any good novel, it has tons of twists and turns and unexpected tragedies and triumphs.

And it has cost me much. A verse I cling to on this journey is 2 Samuel 24:24. “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God that which costs me nothing.” That verse has nourished my parched soul many days. It reminds me that God welcomes my offering and my sacrifice and receives it with joy. There’s purpose in it all.

Living a dream isn’t easy. But it’s worth every tear and tough day.

And one day, I hope to repay my dear hubby by shoving—I mean nudging—him into fulfilling his dream, that of being a marriage and family counselor. Then I’ll keep at it until he fulfills a second dream of his—writing a book.

Maybe then he’ll grasp all he did for me by dragging me into my dream. And who knows? Maybe someday we’ll team up and help (not shove) someone else to live their dream too.

Living a dream is an amazing journey. Are you on it?


Amy Wallace is a wife, homeschool mom of three, writer, speaker, Bible study leader, and avid chocoholic. She loves crafting high-action suspense that delves deep into heart issues, but who she really is can be summed up in a few short words: Amy is a daughter of the King learning to live and love with laughter. Amy is also the author of the Defenders of Hope series: Ransomed Dreams, Healing Promises, and Enduring Justice, a contributing author of God Answers Mom's Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Moms. Visit Amy at and join the Dark Chocolate Suspense newsletter

ABOUT THE BOOK - Enduring Justice


Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.


As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.


A racist's well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Enduring Justice, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on April 22nd. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

But the angel answered and said to the women,
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus
who was crucified.
He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:5-6

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

May you and those you love
be blessed
Easter Sunday

Friday, April 10, 2009

Support and Prayers for Author Sara Mills

Many in the Christian fiction community are grieving with author Sara Mills after the loss of her husband. I have never met Sara, but I've only heard wonderful things about her and her books. The following post was written by Ronie Kendig, who gave me permission to repost it here. Please uphold Sara and her children in your prayers and, if you're so led, support her through the purchase of her books.

Show Your Support and Love for Sara!
from Ronie Kendig

It's with a very heavy heart that I blog today. My best bud, Laube Sister (we have the same agent, Steve Laube), and business partner, Sara Mills, has been dealt a blow--her wonderful husband, Keith, died April 7, 2009 from a massive heart attack. I'd do anything for my beautiful friend and her precious children not to have to go through this, for Keith to be back full of life, laughter, and love.

Keith, I am so sorry we never met but thank you for what you did for your family, for my best friend. Thank you for loving Sara so completely. For all the nights I kept her up laughing and giggling...thank you for laughing right along. What a gift you were! Thank you.

Sara so didn't deserve this (I know that sounds lame, but that's what keeps rolling through my head!). Words fail me at a time like this. I keep wanting someone to wake me up and say it's not real, that Sara is just pulling a fast one on me. But it is real. Isaiah, Laura, and Julia are without their father. Sara is without the man she loves.

So grieved by our friend's loss, many of us are doing a blog tour to show our support and love for Sara. This isn't an attempt to trivialize Keith's death--I'd actually think he'd be thrilled to see so many throwing their support behind his beloved wife and the mother of his children.

So, if you haven't heard, Sara writes fabulous mysteries. Her books, Miss Fortune and Miss Match (released through Moody Press) are on shelves NOW! Miss Match, as a matter of fact, just released.

Please, take this opportunity to support a friend, a writer, a grieving family and order a copy of Sara's books! Visit her website or drop by Facebook and befriend her!

Miss Fortune - Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fiance disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fiancee was still alive.

Miss Match - Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States. A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

Sara...I'm so sorry, girlie. I know things aren't shiny right now...but I am praying for a bright future for you and your family. I love you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dreaming with Jill Williamson - WIN HER BOOK!

It's my pleasure to introduce today's guest, author Jill Williamson.

Changing Your Station in Life

In my novel, By Darkness Hid, Achan Cham is a stray. This social rank is lower than a slave, because a slave at least had one parent claim him. Strays are the lowest of all and branded as such by their owners. But Achan dreams of a different life. One where he is worthy to marry the girl he loves, one where he is respected by others.

When a Kingsguard knight approaches him with an offer to train as his squire, Achan jumps at the chance, even though such a position is against the laws of the land. As Achan trains, his eyes are opened to a new world and new possibilities. But can his dream become a reality? Or is he only setting himself up for more heartbreak?

I went to school to be a fashion designer. It was my childhood dream, and I sought it with everything I had. Five years of college and three years on the job as an assistant designer and my eyes were opened. It was The Devil Wears Prada experience for me. I wanted out.

My husband and I started a family and I started writing a book. I didn’t feel like there were enough clean teen fiction options out there to recommend to the kids in our youth group. I was hooked, and a new dream filled my mind.

That dream came true on April 1, 2009 despite it being April Fool’s Day. My book, By Darkness Hid, released from Marcher Lord Press. Dreaming is a part of life. It’s what gives people hope and purpose. Sometimes we discover that our dreams are not what we built them up to be or that God has a different plan for our lives. And that’s okay. We can always dream up a new dream.


Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. She writes stories that combine danger, suspense, and adventure for people of all ages. An avid reader, she started Novel Teen Book Reviews ( to help teens find great books to read. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two book-loving children. By Darkness Hid is her first novel. Check out her Web site - - for more information.

ABOUT THE BOOK - By Darkness Hid

Half of Er’Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them. It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly “gifted” wish it had never come.

Achan has been a slave all his life. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities—and a different kind of voice is calling them both.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of By Darkness Hid, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on April 16th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The AH HA! and the Awwwwwe Moments

Wednesdays. The night when LOST and American Idol battle for my live viewing time. LOST wins, but I record AI and watch it right after, lest I find out the results from over-zealous Facebook friends. Which leads me to tonight's moments:


Tonight, Ben had to seek forgiveness for the one sin he's truly sorry for: the death of his daughter, the stolen Alex. And when he finally gets to the right place, after falling through the floor in an underground tunnel (so he's waaaaay down there) what do we find? Columns covered by Egyptian hieroglyphs. Some time last month, I made the connection between Paul's ankh necklace, the big foot statue, and yes, Richard's eyeliner and supposed that we would find out there's an Egyptian back story on the island. TA DA! Now I'm just waiting to find out that the never-aging Richard is in actuality a pharaoh or something along those lines. Wait for it...

American Idol - Awwwwwe....
It wasn't a huge surprise. I even picked him last night as the one to go home. But actually seeing Scott get his Idol adios was pretty moving. He seems like a genuinely nice fellow, and his sense of humor has been wonderfully dry and quick. Who can forget his on-stage high five with Ryan? It's great that he's going to be on the AI tour, but I'm going to miss seeing him on the show.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

American Idol Rocks the '80s (and a tiny bit of the '90s)

It was "Songs from the Year You Were Born" night on American Idol. What it ended up being was an '80s retrospective since only one contestant was born in a different year (Allison, in '92). Ah, the '80s... it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Which pretty much sums up tonight's show.

DANNY - Stand by Me - This is the first night I've been less than thrilled with Danny. I didn't like the beginning, the middle was okay, and the end was really good. But I still see Danny in the top two.

KRIS - All She Wants to Do is Dance - Yikes, Kris took a major step back tonight. Playing the guitar to this song was odd. The arrangement was weird, too. Kinda cheesy.

LIL - What's Love Got To Do With It? - I have to agree with the judges... where has Lil gone? The last great performance she gave was right before they narrowed it down to 13. Since then, she's kinda been all over the place. When she hits those power notes, she's amazing, but her lower range is weak and her phrasing is often choppy, like she can't keep up with the music. Come back, Lil, come back!

ANOOP - True Colors - This was the first great song of the night! He gave a heartfelt rendition of this song. I really like the softer side of Anoop.

SCOTT - The Search is Over - I blame Paula. There was no piano tonight. Instead, Scott played the electric guitar. Too bad it sounded like he was playing a different song than he was singing. I like Scott a lot, but tonight was not good.

ALLISON - I Can't Make You Love Me - Fabulous! By pulling back some of her angry-rock-chick persona, Allison nailed this song. We got to see a different side of her and experience more of her range.

MATT - Part-Time Lover - Another great performance. I was worried about Matt after last week, but tonight he was wonderful.

ADAM - Mad World - Adam was born in '82 (which is the same year I graduated high school, not that that makes me feel old or anything), so I was surprised that I've never heard the song he chose. But that really didn't matter. It was such a low-key, honest performance, it sucked me right in. Even Simon gave him a standing ovation. Last week, someone posed the question, "But would you really buy Adam's album?" My answer to that is, YES, absolutely. And when can I get it?

Okay, so who's in the bottom three tomorrow? Judged solely on tonight's performances, I say Kris, Lil, and Scott. And I think Scott's going to go home. What do you think?

Monday, April 6, 2009

CFBA presents MY SON, JOHN by Kathi Macias

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Son, John
(Sheaf House Publishers - April 2009)
Kathi Macias


Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. She has also ghostwritten and collaborated on books for a number of well-known individuals. She is a staff member for The Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and a member of The Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Authors Network, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Fellowship International, Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, for who she serves as membership chair, and orange County Christian Writers Fellowship. She is the 2008 winner of AWSA’s Golden Scroll Award.

A Former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Macias is a credentialed minister and served as an associate pastor at a large church in Southern California, where she did biblical counseling, trained small group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.



Could there be a more chilling word?

Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive?

When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.

And then a second blow-more devastating, if possible, than the first-rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother's murder. As what's left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons' longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?

Watch the chilling trailer!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of My Son, John, go HERE


I had a hard time with this one. Not because of the subject matter, but the way it's presented.

For the most part, the characters are well thought out. As a woman whose mother has been murdered, Liz is as messed up as you'd expect. Not only does she have to morn her mother, but she has to deal with the revelation that her son, John, is the killer. Her reactions, such as wanting to do little more than sleep away the pain, are right on pitch. Unfortunately, not everything hits the same note. For example, Kate, John's aunt, is concerned for his welfare and goes to visit him in prison, hoping to be a bridge between him and his the mother. The problem is, Kate - who is Liz's sister - never seems like a woman who's dealing with the death of her mother, which she is.

Another problem for me was the shifting point of view. Most of the story is told in the first person, from Liz's perspective. But a few times, the viewpoint shifts to John or his sister, Sarah. At those times, the story is told in third person. But the first time it happens isn't until chapter eight. By that time, the each shift was quite jarring.

Still, there are some great things in this book. Any mother can relate to the raw emotions Liz goes through as she tries to reconcile her love for her son with the crime he's committed. Don't let the trailer fool you... there's no gore in this book. The murder is not described in detail, other than the fact that there was "so much blood." What is graphic are the emotions of a family devastated by a brutal crime.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are You Ready for Stargate Universe?

I'll admit, I was pretty ticked at SciFi Channel when I found out they were cancelling Stargate SG-1. Ditto the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis. (BTW, I still haven't seen season five of Atlantis due to our budget-required cable downgrade. Waiting for the DVD... don't tell me what happened!) But it looks like SciFi isn't completely done with the Stargate franchise.

Stargate Universe (or SG-U) will debut as a two hour movie in Fall 2009. The series will follow. Here's the blurb straight from the SciFi Channel site:

A band of soldiers, scientists and civilians are forced through a stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship, The Destiny, which is locked on an unknown course and unable to return to Earth. Faced with meeting the most basic needs of food, water and air, the group must unlock the secrets of the ship's stargate to survive. The danger, adventure and hope they find on board Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them.

Of course, my first thought was: doesn't a ship have to be in orbit around a planet in order to use the gate? If it's already locked on an unknown course, then it's moving through space, which should mess up the ability to lock when dialing. Obviously, I thought about this way too much!

Upon looking at the cast list, I found only three actors I know: Robert Carlyle, Lou Diamond Philips, and Ming-Na. After looking at the previews, I think the powers that be are taking a page from JJ Abrams playbook by casting mostly young, attractive people. Brad Wright and Robert Cooper are executive producers and writers, so we should still get some of that Stargate flavor we love so much. But I'm thinking the actor choice should tell us something... Buffy in space? Who knows? I do know that I'm going to have to wait until the DVD comes out to watch. Darn!

To see both previews of Stargate Universe, go to SciFi's SG-U page and click on the Video tab. Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Falling Down on the Blog

Last week I was determined to blog more often. HA! That plan went south in a hurry. I've spent most of this week sequestered in my office with my current manuscript, polishing, improving, pumping up... I've sat in this chair so much, well, let's just say the term "saddle sore" could apply here.

Rather than write nothing, I thought I'd come here this evening and ramble about some of the things on my mind this week. Hope you enjoy it...

IS THAT ON THE EAST SIDE? During Tuesday's episode of American Idol, Kara told Adam that his song was so great, we were all there dancing with him "at Studio 57." Awe, isn't she cute. That would be Studio 54, you young thing.

IT'S NOT A BLANKET, IT'S A BATHROBE! Yes, there it is, I said it. That darn Snuggie thing that everybody's so hyped up over... it's not a blanket with sleeves, it's a backwards bathrobe. Now, don't you wish you'd realized people would pay good money for something they probably already have? I know I do.

AND WHEN DO THEY HAPPEN TO THE OTHER 20%? Here's a line from one of our local attorney commercials: "At least 80% of people will experience an accident in their lifetime." You don't say...

TWOOGLE? Just read today that Google is trying to buy Twitter. Of course, Twitter already turned down an offer from Facebook - I heard they offered around half a billion. I'm thinking the Twitter folk won't settle for anything less than a 140 character deal.

That's all the fascinating observations I have for now. Have you seen anything interesting this week?