Monday, April 18, 2011

CSS Blog Tour (and special contest)- “People of the Book” by Kathi Macias

Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?


Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.

Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.

Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?



Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

Watch this dynamic trailer here!

Interview with Kathi Macias:

People of the Book is the fourth and final book in your Extreme Devotion series. Each book is set in a different country, with the theme of first devotion and commitment to Christ above all else running through all four. How is People of the Book different, and who/what inspired you to write this book?

People of the Book was the most difficult of the four Extreme Devotion series books to write, but it is also the strongest when it comes to a call to personal commitment to Christ and to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. With each of the books, I began drafting the manuscripts through Internet research, since I had never lived in any of the four countries and had only visited one of them. After the original draft, I worked with someone who either currently lived in the country or who had recently spent many years there. People of the Book was the toughest because the Saudi women I connected with via the Internet were understandably apprehensive about associating with me. Most, in fact, were terrified to do so. I was therefore quite pleased to meet a young woman named Dolly Dahdal here in the States who, until just a few years ago, had spent the majority of her life in Saudi Arabia and understood perfectly why I had chosen to write this book. We shared a passion to help expose the fallacy of “honor killings,” a horrific crime perpetrated primarily against women and girls who in some way bring “dishonor” on their Muslim families, and Dolly was a major contributor to the authenticity of this book.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of this story?

Eighteen-year-old Farah, who lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, wants nothing more than to develop a deeper, more meaningful devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and she pursues that goal throughout the holiday. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. At the same time, her only brother, Kareem, who has never liked Farah, actively seeks an opportunity to expose her for the sham he believes she is.

Meanwhile, Farah’s seventeen-year-old cousin, Nura, has begun to frequent an online chat room where former Muslims gather to discuss their new faith, based on their belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. While there, Nura becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian named Sara—and a friendship quickly develops. However, Sara has problems of her own due to her fifteen-year-old brother Emir’s involvement with a gang.

The lives of Farah, Nura, and Sara ultimately dovetail until each finds herself at a place where her faith is put to the test. Will they remain faithful to the end? Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution and treachery? Or will they be required to pay the ultimate price for their faith?

Kathi, how did you get into writing? Has it always been your passion, or is it something you came to later in life?

I’ve always wanted to write, for as long as I can remember. I was an avid reader even before I started kindergarten. I wrote a short story in third grade that the teacher liked so much she showed it to the principal, and they decided to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! One day when I was about 13, I was walking home from school with my then boyfriend (now husband), Al, and I told him I’d be a writer some day. He often reminds me how blessed I am to have been able to do what I dreamed of all my life.

I understand you’re running a SPECIAL CONTEST that has to do with this book. Can you tell us about it?

Not only are there several opportunities to win a copy of the book on various blog sites included in this tour, but I’m giving away the entire four-book series at the end of the tour to someone who leaves a comment on one of the blogs, so be sure to check them all out and leave comments on each one!

In addition to writing, you are a popular speaker at women’s event, writers’ conferences, and various venues around the country. How can people find out more about you, your writing and speaking, sign up for your weekly devotional newsletter (in English or Spanish), and/or just view your many book videos, etc.?

They can find me at one of my websites (http://www.kathimacias.com; http://www.theTitus2Women.com) or on my Easy Writer blog at http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. There is a “contact” button on my Kathi Macias website if they’d like to send me a message. I always respond to all my emails!

Blog Tour: Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM – Monday, May 02, 2011 at 5:00 PM (CT)


This blog tour is hosted by:

Christian Speaker Services

Visit ChristianSpeakerServices.com

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Revell Blog Tour (with review): The Deepest Waters” by Dan Walsh

Inspired by a true story…

Dan Walsh Returns With A Story of Love That Defies the Odds

“I’ve written you a note, inside the pouch,” John yelled. “Don’t read it…unless you hear word that I – that I did not…” Tears poured down his cheeks. He looked away. “John!” she screamed. “I must go back…”

Award-wining author Dan Walsh brings a powerful love story reminiscent of the Titanic to readers. The Deepest Waters (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1980-7, April 2011, $14.99) is a masterpiece of historical fiction set in 1857 when newlyweds John and Laura Foster set sail on the SS Vandervere for their honeymoon. Soon, their fairytale becomes a nightmare when a hurricane causes the ship to sink into the depths of the Atlantic. John and Laura are separated not knowing if they will ever see each other again.

Walsh was inspired to write The Deepest Waters by the true story of the sinking of a paddle-wheel steamship laden with gold from San Francisco, California. The SS Central America, bound for New York City ran into a hurricane which sealed her fate around September 11, 1857.

Walsh takes readers on a journey through troubled waters as they discover the treasure hidden in The Deepest Waters, a story full of action and suspense. Through the Fosters, Walsh creates an amazing love story about what happens when miracles do come true.


Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, and The Homecoming. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he’s busy researching and writing his next novel.

Endorsements

The Deepest Waters is a story that’s been waiting to be told for 150 years. What a blessing Dan Walsh is the one to tell it. It is inspirational, spiritual, and miraculous–a hopeful message when the world needs it most.”–Jason F. Wright, New York Times bestselling author of The Wednesday Letters

“A delightful story that took me back to an era when men were gallant and women were virtuous. Dan Walsh fully immersed me in a fascinating world from 1857 and left me longing for the movie.” –James L. Rubart, Bestselling author of Rooms and Book of Days

My Review:

Dan writes about a deep, personal love story that turns into anguish amidst the tragedy of the SS Vandervere caught in the middle of a hurricane in the Atlantic. My mind immediately conjured up the horrific story of the Titanic.

In The Deepest Waters, Dan Walsh vividly writes about the grief-stricken emotions of the women being rescued by The Cutlass while the SS Vandervere is sinking with their husbands and remaining crew aboard. The voices of the men and women cry out to you as you read–haunting cries that are real and heartbreaking, touching you to the very core of your being, pulling on every heart-string. So realistic that you feel you are there with them. Eerie, when compared to the Titanic sinking.

Since we live in such modern times, with radar, weather forecasts and storm tracking, it’s hard to comprehend what goes on during desperate times such as these. Dan brings to light the loss of life and livelihood, food deprivation, lack of communication, and greed, while contrasting those who hang on to faith, hope, encouragement, self-sacrifice, and love—even the miraculous.

Dan Walsh wrote a great story inspired by the true story of the SS Central America, a paddle-wheel steamship that sank in the waters off North Carolina in September of 1857. An inspirational story of chivalry, Divine intervention, and faith. Don’t miss it!

This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Publicity Assistant at Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

“Available April, 2011, at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"No Safe Haven" by Kimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse

"NO SAFE HAVEN"
***********************************************************************************************LinkTo cope with her husband's death, Jenna Gray learned to fly. To cope with his secrets, she must learn to survive. Stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with a man who vowed to protect her, they must learn to trust each other if they want to get her daughter home alive and prevent the most advanced defense weapon in history from falling into the wrong hand.
***************************************************************************************

At thirteen, Kayla Woodhouse isn't like most teenagers, overly consumed with themselves and their social lives. Despite a rare medical disorder, Kayla has become one of the youngest full-length series novelist, releasing with her mother, Kimberley Woodhouse, the first of a three-part series, No Safe Haven (B & H Books).

As a child, Kayla was diagnosed with Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, a disorder that prevents Kayla's body from feeling pain with the same intensity as other people, while her cooling function (sweating) doesn't kick in until her body reaches a lethal high temperature. As a result, Kayla needs protective cooling gear just to go outside and must always stay in a cool environment (not over 65 degrees F). Kayla also endured brain surgery when the doctors discovered her brain was growing into her spinal column.

Due to overwhleming medical bills, the Woodhouse family lost their home. They continued to hold strong to their faith, and through the campaigning of their friends and local media, the Woodhouse's were given a home and featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Kimberley Woodhouse is a popular speaker who has learned to face difficult circumstances with a positive outlook. "Through ever trial or tough time I've found myself in, God's joy has been there in the midst. I can always look back and see how He pruned me, helped me grow, and made His undeniable joy available to me through it all," says Kimberley. Additional information is available at www.kimberleywoodhous.com and www.kaylawoodhouse.com.

Book Blurb:
Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve-year-old Andie has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mom have finally received good news from an out-of-town specialist. It's news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna's husband (Andie's dad) from a car accident, a man who invented a top-secret items for the US military.

But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes in Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn't want to save them, but to kill them.

Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn't come easy to Jenna or Andie, and they both sense Cole is hiding something.

Hardened by the loss in his life, Cole knows the best path is one he walks alone. No one to care for, or about. That way he is able to focus on what matters: getting a secret technology safely in the hand of the US Military.

But when the plane he's on with Jenna and Andie crashes, it will take all his skill and strength to get them out alive--and all his determination to stay in this self-imposed solitary confinement. No Safe Haven is a relentless tale of survival, romance and suspense involving military technology designed by Jenn's late husband that some would do anything to possess.
No Safe Haven: A Novel by Kimberley & Kayla Woodhouse/B&H publishers/
March15, 2011/352 pages/$14.99/ISBN: 978-14336-71166


See the trailer here.

My Review:

A year has passed since the horrific car accident that killed their husband and dad, but Jenna and Andie Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start after receiving good news about Andie’s rare medical disorder. They are returning home to North Pole, Alaska, in their own plane piloted by their friend Hank.

Unbeknownst to Jenna, Hank, a long-time friend of her and her husband, his soldier buddy, has sabotaged their plane. Mid flight, their small plane crashes into Sultana, the most remote and dangerous mountains in Alaska. Without radio or flight communication, they are unaware of a winter storm heading their way. Also unknown are the people who are heading their way and don’t want them to survive.

Only one person is available to help Jenna and Andie, and that’s their last-minute passenger, Cole Maddox. Who is this man? And can they trust him? Do they have any choice with the circumstances?

The suspense of not knowing the trustworthiness of the unknown passenger, the danger of the monstrous winter storm, and the insidious alliance of unknown killers stalking the Tikaani-Gray family were expertly collaborated together by Kimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse into one incredible thriller from beginning to end in No Safe Haven!

I absolutely loved the identified points of view by each character, giving me an inside view of their fears, feelings, thoughts, and plans before the others were privy to them–both the group stranded on the mountain and those who intended the eradication of their lives and why.

Kimberley and Kayla build suspense as their characters are hurdled through the medical aspects involving Andie, which can be deadly, their survival on the mountain, their rescue, their safety once safely on ground, albeit the hospital, and the breaches of security. Who can be trusted to keep them safe? The culmination of the story is so mind-boggling, yet realistic. It makes you wonder how the depravity of man can be so hideous.

The book is also educational about the Andie’s medical disorder (HSAN). Though she has this disorder, don’t underestimate her. She is only twelve, but she is feisty, astute, witty, and full of faith! And she is not shy in sharing her trust in God and salvation. She will win your heart over in a second!

This is not a book to start just before bed, unless you plan to be up into the wee hours of the morning, and then some! It is riveting!

This book was provided by Susan Hunt, of Pure Publicity, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary value was exchanged.





Monday, January 31, 2011

"WORDS" by Ginny Yttrup

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1433671700
ISBN-13: 978-1433671708

Words by debut author Ginny Yttrup is a poignant tale woven from her true-life experiences.

Ginny Yttrup: "I was sexually abused by an an authority figure in my life for over a dozen years of my childhood. For years I struggled with God, telling Him I didn't want to be the poster child for the sexually abused. But as I took my eyes off myself and instead focused on Him, my heart softened and I surrendered to His plan--whatever that may be. Part of the plan, I know, was to write this book--it is a means of sharing God's hope, mercy, and grace with others and to let abuse survivors know that they'll not only survive, but they can also thrive!

Ginny is an accomplished freelance writer, speaker and life coach who also ministers to women wounded by sexual trauma. Her blogs include Fiction Creator, My Daily Light, and Crossings Life Coaching. Ginny is available to speak to groups and can be reached at GinnyYttrup.com

My Review:

WORDS, by Ginny L. Yttrup, is the story of ten-year-old Kaylee Wren who doesn’t speak. In fact, she hasn’t talked since her drug-addicted mother walked away, leaving her in the care of a dangerous and evil man in a forest cabin surrounded by towering redwood trees. Silence becomes her refuge while in this man’s ‘care,’ and she uses the dictionary her mother left behind to occupy her time.

Sierra Dawn is a thirty-four-year-old artist who lives alone after losing her daughter, Annie, at birth. She allows the shame of her past to silence her dreams and hopes, and attempts to control her pain by controlling her circumstances. Her dog, Van Gogh, is one of her comforts, as well as her friend, Ruby and her husband. She does not think of God as her friend. However, on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter’s death, she finds that God has not forgotten her and her deceased daughter. His plans would change her life and the life of a little girl! Oh, and the life of Dr. Peter Langstrom!

Ginny uses alternate points of view with each chapter of the book, leaving you privy to the inside thoughts and feelings of the main characters. The depth of each character is richly developed and exposed, reaching deeply into your own psyche and emotions. Their feelings become yours, as you live through the pain of their lives. Some of the interactions are heart-wrenching to the bone, while others give you glimpses of success and breakthroughs.

The way that Kaylee learned to cope through her circumstances is typical for children. Adults try to cope as well, only with different means, such as busyness, TV, alcohol, drugs, etc. It’s through the prayers of friends and family that Sierra once again entrusts her life into the Lord’s hands. She in turn shows the way of healing freedom to Kaylee through the use of words, finding the True Word—Jesus Christ.

I found Ginny’s book to be an insightful story for people dealing with children (and adults) who have suffered childhood abuse at the hands of others. You will find the tender mercies of the Lord shining through.