Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Words of Comfort in Times of Loss by Cecil Murphey and Liz Allison

About the book:
Through great personal loss, authors Cecil Murphey and Liz Allison have gained insight to share with others who are going through uncertainty, depression, and loneliness after losing a loved one. They also offer advice for those comforting someone who is grieving.

Among comforting paintings by artist Michal Sparks, brief stories, personal experiences, and prayers offer a meaningful path toward healing for readers when they:

-feel alone and lost in their grief and want to reconnect with others and to life
-seek to make sense of their loss alongside their sense of faith, purpose, and God
-want to honor their loved one without clinging to the past in unhealthy ways

Readers are given gentle permission to grapple with doubt, seek peace, and reflect on loss in their own way without judgment and with understanding and hope. A perfect gift for a loved one dealing with loss and grief.

About the Authors:
Liz Allison was married to NASCAR driver Davey Allison until his tragic death in 1993. Widowed at 28 with two young children to raise, Liz faced the long journey of pain, loss, and grief with great faith. Committed to encouraging others, she returned to her work in TV reporting, has published eight books, and hosts a weekly radio show. Please visit http://www.lizallison.com/

Cecil Murphey is an international speaker and bestselling author who has written more than 100 books, including New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper). No stranger himself to loss and grief, Cecil has served as a pastor and hospital chaplain for many years, and through his ministry and books he has brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. Please visit http://www.cecilmurphey.com/

Why We Write About Loss:
On the morning of July 12, 1992, my husband, Davey, left home like any other morning—he kissed my forehead and hugged our kids.That afternoon I answered a knock at the door, sensing something wasn’t quite right. When I glimpsed the faces of Davey’s two best friends—they didn't have to speak—the looks on their faces said it all.

That day, after lunch with his race team, Davey had hopped into his helicopter and taken an unplanned trip to the nearby Talladega Superspeedway to watch a buddy practice. Attempting to land in the infield, he had lost control of his helicopter and crashed. Although paramedics airlifted Davey to a Birmingham hospital, sixteen hours later he was pronounced dead.

Immediately following Davey’s death, I had to work through my grief enough to plan his funeral and make hundreds of small-but-significant decisions, all while maintaining the time and energy to care for our two young children, ages one and three. Well-wishing friends hovered around me and frequently asked, “What can I do for you?

Most of the time, I could only respond with a blank stare. Looking back, my friends could have done many things for me, but they didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know what to tell them.

I hope the insights I have gained during the aftermath of Davey’s death will help you as you struggle with your own grief.

—Liz

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two weeks after my father suffered a ministroke, a massive stroke took his life. On the day of his funeral, my older brother, Ray, died of cancer. Over the next eighteen months, I lost two brothers-in-law and my mother.

On the Sunday after Dad’s and Ray’s funerals, a parishioner rushed up to me, hugged me, and said, “Pastor, I heard about the deaths. Were they saved?”

I honestly don’t remember what I answered, but I wanted to shout, “Does it matter right now? I hurt. I’m so filled with pain that I’m not sure I can handle the worship service today!”

In 2007, our house burned down. Our son-in-law, Alan, died in the fire. The next day, a neighbor pulled up in front of our burned house, got out of his car, and started to look around. “Where did he die?” he asked.

Through the years, I’ve met many like those two people. Maybe they didn’t know what to say. Perhaps they were so focused on what they cared about that they were unaware of my pain. Instead of helping me, those comments made me feel even worse. What I needed was compassion. I didn’t get that from either of them, but I can offer it to you.

That’s why we’ve written this book.

—Cec

My take: First, I have to say this book is beautiful! It would be a wonderful gift to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. The book addresses many questions we ask and answers them with encouraging words as well as words of truth from God's Word. I would of loved to have been given this book after my father-in-law passed away in 2006. I highly recommend this book and know that it will bless many!

The authors: We are huge NASCAR fans at my house, so to read from Liz Allison's personal experience about what she went through after Davey died, leaving her with 2 very young children, was very encouraging.
Cecil Murphey co-authored 90 Minutes in Heaven, and I loved reading about when Don Piper was in heaven. How exciting it is to know more of my eternal home!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On The Road Home: The Sagebrush Collection by Terry Burns

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

On The Road Home

Port Yonder Press; 1st edition (March 3, 2010)

by

Terry Burns

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terry has over 30 books in print, including work in a dozen short story collections and four non-fiction books plus numerous articles and short stories.

His last book Beyond the Smoke is a 2009 winner of the Will Rogers Medallion for best youth fiction and a nominee for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He has a three book Mysterious Ways series out from David C Cook, and Trails of the Dime Novel from Echelon Press.

A graduate of West Texas State he did post graduate work at Southern Methodist University. Terry plans to continue writing inspirational fiction as well as working as an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. Terry is a native Texan Living in Amarillo, Texas with his lovely wife Saundra.

ABOUT THE BOOK
In our sound-byte society, short stories and poems will always have a place, especially when they've been penned by the likes of Terry Burns. This, the first of four in The Sagebrush Collection, is a compilation of fictional, autobiographical, and fiction-based-on-fact shorts and poems.

Through fluent cowboy-speak, author Terry Burns shares his heart with these sometimes somber, often humorous, always engaging glimpses of life. From short stories about time machines and troubled marriages to poems of roses and hauntingly cold winds, you’ll find much to savor on the pages within.

A born storyteller, Burns style is natural, conversational, and above all real. He’s a fifth generation Irish tale-weaver and a fourth generation Texas Teller of Tall Tales. Storytelling comes as natural to him as breathing.

Come along with Terry as he journeys “On the Road Home”. You’ll be glad you did.

If you would like to read the first chapter of On The Road Home, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dead Reckoning

Abingdon Press (March 1, 2010)

by

Ronie Kendig

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ronie has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family--they survived!

This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series begins in July from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Underwater archeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and inflamed at the injustices of life. When her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she flees for her life.

When she spots a man trailing her, the questions are, Who is he? And how is he always one step ahead? Is the man trailing her an enemy or a protector sent by her CIA father?

Reece Jaxon is a former Navy SEAL and now serves his country as a spy. His life is entangled by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the sources to a nuclear dead drop in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, India. The only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is to join forces with Reece. Will Shiloh violate her vow to never become involved in her father's web of intrigue and mystery? Will she reconcile with her past and with him? Will she allow God to help her throught this ordeal of danger, mistrust and uncertainty?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dead Reckoning, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Once in a Blue Moon by Leanna Ellis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Once in a Blue Moon

B&H Books (March 1, 2010)

by

Leanna Ellis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Leanna's sister recommended that she write, since she ‘wrote in her journal all the time.’ The idea took root and began to grow. So after five years of teaching, she quit and started writing, with no clue about the book business. Ignorance is bliss. If she’d known the odds against her, she might not have ever started writing.

For about three years, she wrote with a collaborator, but because she had so many ideas she began to write more stories on her own. She suffered numerous rejections. Deservedly so. But she was growing as a writer and learning. She went to as many conferences as she could manage. During that time, she met her future husband, fell in love and became engaged. She also began to final in contests and then actually began to win! The contests helped her get noticed by editors and agents. In March, the year Braveheart won the Best Picture Oscar, Victor/Victoria opened on Broadway, she sold her first book. It was her Cinderella year. She sold her book, got married and won RWA’s Golden Heart Award in Hawaii.

She wrote six books between her first baby’s birth and when the second baby turned one. Then she hit a wall. Not literally. But creatively. It’s not that she didn’t have any ideas, but her ideas didn’t fit the romance market. These new characters, random and weird as they were, began to take over the part of her brain that wasn’t domesticated. These stories were about all types of women, and so she began to let her writing grow in new and different ways.

Leanna Ellis sold more than 1.3 million romantic novels writing as Leanna Wilson, winning a Readers’ Choice award and the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her work. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is the first book published under her married name, marking a new creative direction in her writing. Like Francine Rivers before her, Leanna has left behind a successful career as an author of secular romances to write novels of faith that glorify God. A former schoolteacher, Leanna is now a homeschool mom and lives with her husband and children in Keller, Texas.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Bryn Seymour was nine years old when her mother died under mysterious circumstances on the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Forty years later—divorced, working as an obituary writer, and duly cynical—she meets Howard, a conspiracy theorist who knew her mom and believes a small Texas town may hold clues to what really fueled her demise. Seeking closure, Bryn goes along for this men-in-black ride. But upon meeting Howard’s son Sam, an outspoken Christian, she can’t decide whose beliefs are more pie-in-the-sky.

The gravity of life has pulled Bryn down for decades. But a perfect love could be her first step to soaring. It only happens once in a blue moon.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Once in a Blue Moon, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Lord Is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Abingdon Press (March 2010)

by

Debbie Viguie

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debbie ViguiƩ has been writing for most of her life. She has experimented with poetry and nonfiction, but her true passion lies in writing novels. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from UC Davis. While at Davis she met her husband, Scott, at auditions for a play.

Debbie's love for writing brought her from working as a church secretary to a successful career writing supernatural fiction. She is the author of Midnight Pearls, Scarlet Moon, and Charmed: Pied Piper, and the young adult Sweet Seasons series. She also is coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Wicked book series.

Debbie and Scott now live on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. When Debbie is not writing and Scott has time off they love to indulge their passion for theme parks.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lord Is My Shepherd, go HERE.

What a great book! I was pulled in immediately and couldn't put it down! I enjoyed getting to know Cindy and Jeremiah and loved learning more about Jewish Passover customs. Many years ago, I participated in Passover with a friend who is a Christian Jew, but we all had grape juice :)

I'm so glad this is fiction because more than one person dies, but thankfully not too many gory details were given. This is the first book I read of Debbie's, and I look forward to the next in the series!