Saturday, November 28, 2009

Voting is Open in Phase 2 of the Marcher Lord Select Contest

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving day. And if you don't live in the USA and didn't celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, I hope you had a great day otherwise.

I have a lot of things to be thankful for: a great family, wonderful friends, and... wait for it... the opportunity to compete in a great contest!

Yes, friends, it's time to cast your vote in Phase 2 of the Marcher Lord Select competition. Here's how it works this time:
  • Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required if you haven't been there before).
  • Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic.
  • At the top you'll see four sub-boards. Click on Phase 2--Main Contest (3rd from the top)
  • Chose the top thread, Phase 2 Poll--The Main Contest
  • You'll notice that the entries are NOT alphabetical. Vinnie's Diner is about half-way down the list.
  • Click in the boxes to cast your votes. You must vote for at least 3, but no more than 6. 
Voting is open now. The poll closes at midnight Eastern time, Monday, November 30th. On Tuesday, December 1st, Jeff Gerke will reveal the top vote getters. At that point, 8 lucky contestans will move on to Phase 3.

In case you think one vote doesn't count... In Phase 1, only one vote separated the contestant who came in 18th (and advanced to Phase 2) and the one who came in 19th (and sadly was eliminated). See how important you are?

Thanks for experiencing this contest with me. It's kind of like going to Disneyland... fun either way, but much more so when you have friends to share it with!

If you haven't read the top 18 entries yet, go to this blog post.
If all this is new to you, visit this blog post. It gives you all the contest details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MLS Update: I made it through to Phase 2!

I'm so excited to be able to tell you that my book made it through to the second round of the Marcher Lord Select contest. Woo hoo!

Thanks so, so much to everyone who went over to the site, checked out the entries, and voted for me. You rock! But our work isn't finished... now it's on to Phase 2.

Now it's your chance to read the first 500 words (a little over two pages) of each of the 18 remaining entries. Here's how you find them:
  • Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required if you haven't been there before).
  • Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic.
  • At the top you'll see four sub-boards. Click on Phase 2--Main Contest (3rd from the top)
  • Chose the top thread, The Phase 2 Entries
  • The first post is from Jeff Gerke. He explains how Phase 2 will work. Over halfway through, you'll see a paragraph that starts like this: "To that end, I have assembled the Phase 2 entries in a Word document and made it available via download only at the following link:"
  • Sorry, I can't give you the link (Jeff explains why.) But if you click on it, you'll go to a site that will allow you to download a Word document with all the entries in it.
  • This time, entries are alphabetical by TITLE. So Vinnie's Diner is second-to-last. 
It sounds like a lot of steps, but it's really pretty straightforward. The next round of voting is November 28-30. During this phase, you must vote for at least three, but no more than six entries. The field will then be cut down to 10 who will move on to Phase 3. At that point, the first 30 pages of each book will be posted. So if you want to read more, you need to vote.

I hope you'll take a look at all the great entries and consider honoring me with your vote when the time comes around. Be blessed!

If all this is new to you, visit this previous blog post. It gives you all the contest details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.

CFBA Presents ETERNITY FALLS by Kirk Outerbridge

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Eternity Falls
(Marcher Lord Press - October 1, 2009)
Kirk Outerbridge


Kirk Outerbridge developed a passion for storytelling at an early age. Through years of reading Fantasy and Science Fiction novels, comics, table top gaming and watching endless hours Japanese anime, he developed a keen sense for what made stories enjoyable and more importantly—what didn’t.

While pursuing an engineering degree in college, Kirk endeavored to tell his own stories, choosing writing as the easiest and cheapest medium to master—or so he thought. Several years and several hundred thousand words later, he produced a Sci-fi trilogy that shall never (God willing) see the light of day, but that did teach him much needed lessons about the craft of writing fiction.

After college Kirk returned to his homeland of Bermuda where he reunited with his childhood friend and future wife, Ria. But before marrying his lovely wife, Kirk entered an even greater marriage and devoted his life to Christ in 2002.

With a new found direction in life, writing fell by the wayside but the urge to tell futuristic stories never left. After much prayer and contemplation, Kirk purposed his writing for God’s Will, seeking to draw to Christ those who shared his passions for all things futuristic and Sci-fi.

Kirk currently lives with his wife Ria and 18 month old son Miles in beautiful Bermuda. He is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and is a professional engineer employed by the government.


In the future, death is only a problem if you can’t afford the price. Such is the promise of Gentec Corporation’s “Miracle Treatment”, a genetic anti-aging elixir that grants eternal life—or does it?

When a Gentec client suddenly dies of natural causes, the powers that be will stop at nothing to ensure their version of eternity remains unchallenged; even if it means concocting a religious sabotage conspiracy to cover a lie.

With the media about to blow the story wide open, the credibility of Gentec and the lives of millions of clients rest on one man’s ability to uncover the truth.
Enter detective Rick Macey, religious counterterrorist expert and Gentec executive Sheila Dunn’s last hope for salvation.

Now with the clock ticking and the corporate brass seeking their own solution at any cost, Macey must track down a religious zealot out to destroy the Miracle Treatment for good.

But when Macey finds himself not only falling for his client, but confronted with the possibility that the culprit could hold a connection to his shaded past, the truth suddenly becomes a dangerous thing.

Only through a test of faith can he stop the crisis before it’s all too late and eternity falls.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Eternity Falls, go HERE


Eternity Falls is another outstanding first novel from Marcher Lord Press. The author, Kirk Outerbridge describes it as Christian cyberpunk. When I asked him to define the term, he had this to say:

It’s probably easier to describe the cyberpunk first. Cyberpunk is a subgenre where the embracing of technology (usually through the direct interfacing of man and machine) has in someway caused great social imbalance and the fringes of that society rebel against the masses to try and restore order. Although my work has the technology portion, my society has moved beyond the angst and found balance. Some call this cyberpunk 2.0.

The religious aspect is something I always found missing in cyberpunk and Sci-fi in general. The belief in “something”, rather Christian or not, is a big part of who we are as human beings. To portray realistic characters and problems I just had to include it, and as a Christian it provided the perfect avenue to tell people about God.
Eternity Falls is the story of Rick Macey, a private investigator who takes on the job of finding out why Greta Darling, an 89-year-old spokesperson for the Miracle Treatment - which guarentees eternal life and made the celebrity look a mere 22 - has died of natural causes. Of coure, the case is much more complex than it seems. Everyone has secrets, including Macey.

Outerbridge sets his story in 2081 Southern California. As a native of So Cal, it was fun for me to read his futuristic vision of places I'm very familiar with, like Los Angeles and Pomona. From the first page, Eternity Falls is almost non-stop action. But there are some nice quiet moments, too. And questions to ponder, such as: If you knew you could physically live forever, would it diminish your desire for salvation?

This is a book well worth your time. I'm anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

Monday, November 16, 2009

CFBA Presents WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
What The Bayou Saw
(Kregel Publications - March 24, 2009)
Patti Lacy


Though Patti's only been writing since 2005, she thinks her latest profession of capturing stories on paper (or computer files) will stick awhile.

The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008, An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, draws on the memories of two young girls who refused to let segregation, a chain link fence, and a brutal rape come between them.

The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to enliven Patti's gray matter. A third book, My Name is Sheba, has been completed. Patti's WIP, Recapturing Lily, documents a tug-of-war between a Harvard-educated doctor and an American pastor and his wife for a precious child and explores adoption issues, China's "One Child" policy, and both Christian and secular views of sacrifice.

Patti also facilitates writing seminars in schools, libraries, and at conferences and has been called to present her testimony, "All the Broken Pieces," at women's retreats. She also leads a Beth Moore Bible study at her beloved Grace Church.

Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal with their handsome son Thomas, who attends Heartland Community College. On sunny evenings, you can catch the three strolling the streets of Normal with their dog Laura, whom they've dubbed a "Worchestershire Terrier" for her "little dab of this breed, a little dab of that breed.


Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.

The past can't stay buried forever Rising author Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana.

Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood.

But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally's memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally's story comes to light, the lies she's told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

If you would like to read the first chapter of What The Bayou Saw, go HERE

Watch the Book Trailer:


I might be a little biased. You see, I know Patti Lacy. She's a wonderful lady with a heart as warm as an Illinois sunrise. We met at a writer's conference where she took me under her wing, mentoring me for a year and becoming my friend in the process. But no matter how dear to my heart she is, I would never praise her book unless I truly thought it was worthy of it. So trust me when I say that What the Bayou Saw is a read that shouldn't be missed.

Sally Stevens convinced herself that the past was dead and buried. But the rape of a student brings up terrible memories of the girl she used to be, and the best friend she left behind. As hurricane Katrina batters New Orleans, Sally knows she must head back to her girlhood home, to face the past, to find her friend, and to put an end to the lies that have become a way of life.

In What the Bayou Saw, Lacy weaves a compelling tale of a friendship that comes up against bigotry, hatred, and unimaginable ugliness. Yet through it all, God's love and redemption shines through. In her signature style, she writes with unapologetic honesty. The result is a book that is gritty, realistic, and wholly satisfying.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's time to cast your votes in the Marcher Lord Select contest!

Today's the day... the polls are open on the Marcher Lord Select contest! In order to cut down on the confusion, I thought it would be best to give you all the info you need here.

By now, you've probably already found the forums and have read the first round entries. If not, go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required). Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic. The entries are located in the sub-board titled Phase 1--Main Contest and are organized in groups of ten. In case you’re wondering, my entry, Vinnie’s Diner, is the first one in the second group (Entries 11-20).

At the top of the Phase 1--Main Contest sub-board you'll see two new categories:
  • Phase 1: Main Contest - Poll 1 of 2
  • Phase 1: Main Contest - Poll 2 of 2
The polls are where you place your votes. Because all 36 entries wouldn't fit in one poll Jeff Gerke (owner of Marcher Lord Press and head contest honcho) split them into two groups. You must place at least three votes, but they can be split across the boards. The vote limit is 20.

My entry, Vinnie's Diner, is the very last one in the Phase 1: Main Contest - Poll 1 of 2 thread. Might as well make it easy for you to find, right?

I really appreciate everyone who's already signed up on the forums, especially those of you who aren't "forum people." Your support is huge.

Voting is open from November 13 - 15. At that point, the field will be cut down to the top 20. Those entries will move on to the next phase, where you'll get to read the first 500 words of the novels. Exciting stuff!

Now, if you still have no idea what I'm talking about, visit this previous blog post. It gives you all the details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

CFBA Presents FIT TO BE TIED by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fit to Be Tied
(Zondervan - November 1, 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


Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy, because he has never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.”

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it?

Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fit to Be Tied , go HERE.

Watch the book video Trailer:


What happens when a rough and ready cowgirl locks horns with an honest to goodness English Lord? Cleo Arlington and Lord Sherwood Stratham are about to find out.

Fit to be Tied is one of the most engaging, fun novels I've read in awhile. In Cleo, we have a heroine who knows exactly who she is. And she thinks she knows who Sherwood is: an arrogant, spoiled, rich boy who is going to be a bur under her saddle for the next year. But Woody - as she calls him - doesn't live up to her expectations. It turns out he's smart, hard working, and determined to prove his worth. He surprises her.

Sherwood also surprises himself. A tour on the battlefield left him scarred, both physically and emotionally. In England, he saw no future for himself other than that of playboy. But when his father sends him to Idaho to straighten him out, Sherwood realizes there's more to life than parties and superficial relationships.

When Sherwood and Cleo meet, the inevitable comedy of errors occur. But there's also an emotional depth that pulls you in, yearning to see these two lonely people find love and happiness together. Fit to be Tied is the second in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, and while you'll probably enjoy the series more if you start from book one, it can be read as a stand-alone. Regardless, you'll be chomping at the bit for the third installment, coming out in 2010. Robin Lee Hatcher has crafted a book that will leave you wanting more.

Monday, November 2, 2009

CFBA Presents A SLOW BURN by Mary DeMuth

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Slow Burn
(Zondervan - October 1, 2009)
Mary DeMuth


Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. She's also taught in Germany, Austria, Monaco, Italy, France, and the United States. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer—a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.

Watch the video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Slow Burn, go HERE

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Marcher Lord Select Competition Is On!

This is it… the Marcher Lord Select competition has begun!

If you’re not familiar with the contest, you can read all about it (and my entry) on this previous blog post. I really want to encourage all my lovely friends and readers to hop on over and check it out. There’s some amazing Christian speculative fiction in the running. I truly hope you enjoy my offering and find it worthy of a vote, but if nothing else, you’ll have all kinds of fun reading these stories before some publisher scoops them up!

Here’s how you do it: Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required). Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic. The entries are located in the sub-board titled Phase 1--Main Contest and are organized in groups of ten. In case you’re wondering, my entry, Vinnie’s Diner, is the first one in the second group (Entries 11-20). Don't worry, it will make perfect sense when you get there.

This is the time to read through and savor all the first round entries. For each you will find the title of the book, the genre, the word count, a one sentence premise, a 100 word or less blurb, and a short synopsis.

Voting takes place from November 13 – 15. You must vote for at least three contestants, but no more than 20. This round will cut the field down to 15, who will then move on to the next phase.

If you ever wanted to be instrumental in the life of an author, this is your chance. Make your voice heard and come be a part of the publishing process!