Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CBFA Blog Tour - Any Minute by Joyce Meyer & Deborah Bradford

Sarah Harper is driven to achieve success no matter what the cost. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves--especially children and her husband, Joe--but her desire to succeed in her career too often leaves little time for family.

One cold, autumn afternoon, all of that changes when Sarah's car plunges off a bridge and into a river. She is presumed dead by those on the "outside," but Sarah's spirit is still very much alive. What she discovers on the other side transforms everything about Sarah's view of life--past, present, and future.

When Sarah is revived, she is a changed woman. And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.

Because of this story description, I received the book with great anticipation. I've been inspired in my Christian walk by Joyce Meyer's teaching and entertained by Deborah Bradford's stories. What could be better than an intriguing plot and these two women coming together?

Although the premise is still intriguing, I have to say that the book did not deliver its promise to me.

As a writer who is always working to improve on the craft, it is difficult to take off the editor hat unless the story pulls me in so much that I literally do not notice POV (point of view) and setting issues.

The authors tend to gravitate back and forth from a third-person POV to an omniscient POV, which always caused me to hit a mental speed bump. At times, the story head hopped, especially during intense scenes where one minute I was in one character's head and with the next, suddenly thrust into the other character's thoughts. I find this to be very jarring.

Although the authors' scenes set in the Chicago financial area and Wrigley Field were spot on, they took poetic license with the locale of Buffalo Grove, IL, a Chicago suburb. The town was placed directly next to a tollway instead of approximately five miles to the west. For those like me who live in the Buffalo Grove area, this can be bothersome.

Because of these issues, I am unable to give it the rave review I was hoping for. Having said that, I do think if you know these issues won't bother you, I say read it for the entertainment value it is. The storyline is intriguing. I just wish the writing had been at the same level.


Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, I Dare You, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Deborah Bedford is a career fiction writer who began her professional life as a journalist in a Colorado mountain town.

A Rose By The Door, Deborah's first with Warner Book (name changed to FaithWords in 2006), hit bookstores in November 2001. A Morning Like This was released by Warner Books in 2002. Deborah's short story, “Connor Sapp's Baseball Summer,” is included in Multnomah Publisher's The Storytellers' Collection, Tales From Home, alongside stories by Chuck Colson, Terri Blackstock, Randy Alcorn and Karen Kingsbury.

Deborah and Jack have two children, Jeff and Avery. When she isn't writing, Deborah spends her time fly-fishing, cheering at American Legion baseball games, shopping with her daughter, singing praise songs while she walks along the banks of Flat Creek, and taking her dachshund Annie for hikes in the Tetons where they live.

Buy it at Amazon.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Any Minute, go here!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

To Swear or Not To Swear--Is It Even Worth Asking?

Last night I watched recorded episodes of a program on Bravo called Top Chef Masters. The show is a spin-off of the popular show, Top Chef, a reality cooking contest that pits a number of chefs against each other as they take on cooking challenges. Each week, the losing chef packs his knives and goes home. The winner is the top chef of the year.

The master show brings four well-known (in culinary circles) chefs together for a one-time challenge. The winner will compete for the title against five other winners from other shows in the series .

In an episode I watched last night, from the moment he was introduced one of the male chefs had a potty mouth. It didn't matter if it was during his cooking, which I presume to be unscripted, or in the head-shot interviews that this type of show utilizes, his language was peppered with swears.

At first he wasn't beeped when twice he invoked the name of Jesus in a way I knew was no prayer and I cringed. Then, when he said a different word that I could lipread and he was beeped, I became even more disgusted. Why did the producers see fit to beep out the four-letter word, but thought it okay to leave in his blasphemous language against my Lord? But from that point on, the guy was beeped for the rest of the show, and I could at least watch the competition without being offended. But my pity for the man stayed with me.

What did he think when he saw the show? The other three chefs never said anything that required beeps, yet every time he was on camera, it felt as though I was on a New York City street from all the beeping. If others can control their language on a show, why not him?

Movie makers often say that they include swears in their scripts because it's the way people talk. Maybe a prison scene would be more authentic with bad language, or a battle scene in a war movie, but I really wonder how often that much swearing goes on in real life for a majority of people. I worked in the secular world for many years and, except on rare occasions, I never had to endure that much swearing.

The other day I came across a forum on the Internet where people were discussing if Christian fiction should include actual swear words. The consensus was that it wasn't necessary. The author can show through narrative that the characters are using rough language and do it in such a way that the reader knows the kind of language being used without being subjected to it. I suppose in a reality show, producers feel they have to keep the reality in by not asking people to refrain from swearing. I know most people can control their tongue if they know they need to. I'm willing to bet (if I were a betting woman) that this guy doesn't talk that way in front of his mother!

I hope I never become so deadened to the words from the overuse of potty language that I don't even notice it.

One thing I know for sure. You'll never find a swear in any of my stories. If the novel needs that kind of dialogue to sell it, it's not worth selling.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CFBA Blog Tour - Thinks Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson


Eva Marie Everson taught Old Testament theology for six years at Life Training Center in Longwood, Florida and has written numerous articles for (including the acclaimed Falling Into The Bible series), and has had articles featured in numerous publications, including Christianity Today, Evangel, Christian Bride, Christian Retailing, The Godly BusinessWoman and Marriage Partnership magazines. Eva Marie has been interviewed by radio, television, newspaper, and Internet media outlets. In 2002Eva Marie was one of six Christian journalists sent to Israel for a special ten-day press tour.

Eva Marie’s work includes the award-winning titles Reflections of God's Holy Land; A Personal Journey Through Israel, Shadow of Dreams, Sex, Lies and the Media, and The Potluck Club series.

She is married, has four children and five grandchildren, and lives in Central Florida.


Every family--and every house--has its secrets. Jo-Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family manse in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Jo-Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. And it's the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her self-absorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends.

Beneath the dust and the peeling wallpaper, things are not what they seem, and what Jo-Lynn doesn't know about her family holds just as many surprises. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will her own marriage survive the renovation? Jo-Lynn isn't sure she wants to know the truth--but sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Things Left Unspoken, go HERE

Buy it at Amazon!