Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kregel Publication’s Blog Tour (with review): “Son of the Underground” by Isaac Liu with Albrecht Kaul

Son of the Underground: The Story of Isaac Liu, Son of the “Heavenly Man,”  released on June 1 here in America.  It  focuses on the life of Brother Yun’s son, Isaac—himself an evangelist. Written by Isaac with Albrecht Kaul, this story tells the tale of Isaac’s path and struggles with his decision to follow in his father’s footsteps.

After a miracle birth, he was mostly raised by his grandmother while his father sat in prison and his mother worked the fields. Young Isaac was exposed to great faith and dedicated Christians throughout his rural Chinese town and surrounding villages. He accompanied his grandmother—or Nai Nai—as she traveled to secret house church meetings, often many miles on dangerous roads, to spread the good news of Jesus. Her telling of Bible stories became legendary in the village square, and Isaac soon knew them all by heart as well. But more than stories, he learned true faith from his family, and saw the power of prayer and the name of Jesus firsthand.

After years of persecution, and the knowledge that they could not stay in China, Brother Yun’s family fled to Burma, where Isaac met his friend Ming. Raised as a Buddhist, Ming became the first person Isaac evangelized to—and led him to a life in Christ. It was a life-changing moment for both boys. Eventually, the family followed Brother Yun to Germany. Isaac struggled not only with the new language, but with his awakening desire to become an evangelist and to lead others to Christ as his father does. It was his mother’s most fervent prayer that this would never be the case, but even she understood the power of God in her son’s life, and how powerful his message could be in the lives of others.

Son of the Underground is a beautiful story of struggle, hope, and the ability of faith to overcome obstacles. Not only is it the story of the coming to faith of a Chinese boy, one whose life was already made more difficult by the role that faith had played in his early life, but it exposes the struggles of an entire nation of believers who have made the dangerous commitment to a life of Christ.

BOOK INFO:  Son of the Underground: The Story of Isaac Liu, Son of the “Heavenly Man”/Isaac Liu and Albrecht Kaul/9780857211996 /$11.99/Paperback/Monarch Books, distributed by Kregel Publications

Authors:  Isaac Liu is a pastor in Germany.   Albrecht Kaul, an experienced writer and editor, has traveled extensively in China and knows the country and its people.
His father was an enemy of the state.
His mother was told to have an abortion.
His teachers mocked him.
He first met his father when he was four years old.
He and his family lived for years on the run.
Yet Isaac Liu, son of Brother Yun, survived to develop his own faith and character, and today is serving the Lord from his home in Germany. This is his story …

Pictures of Isaac Liu and his family:

My Review:

Here in America we have little personal comprehension or experience of physical persecution or death for the sake of our faith in Jesus Christ.  Son of the Underground, the story of Isaac Liu, his parents and his sibling, Yiling, is told in first person about their life in China, before they escaped with their very lives to Germany, for preaching the Gospel in China between the years of 1950 and the early 2000′s.

We know from the New Testament that when persecution becomes extreme, the Gospel spreads and flourishes.  You will learn firsthand from Son of the Underground how God used persecution to grow Isaac’s own personal spiritual life, as well as his family’s, in the midst of these circumstances.  The times were horrific, scary, and sometimes discouraging.  Yet God worked behind the scenes through fellow believers to bring them through.  The dangers were real, personal and frightening, but the grace of God moved them forward.

The underground churches had to hide in order to worship and study the Bible.  Sometimes they shared pages of the Bible to get the Word out to fellow believers. Isaac, himself, memorized the whole Bible in order to preach without being caught with a Bible.  When their hiding places were found out, the leader/preacher was usually taken to prison.  This happened often with Isaac’s father, Brother Yun.  So frequently, in fact, that Isaac did not meet his father until he was four years old and saw little of him until 2001.

Son of the Underground is also an encouraging book, full of hope and faith in Jesus Christ to overcome persecution and struggles while preaching the Word of God, whether individually or as a group of believers.  Isaac preached his first message at the age of thirteen without the aid of a Bible in hand.  Though he later questioned his decision to become a preacher due to the horrific obstacles, he eventually surrendered his life to the Lord’s will and committed his life to preaching the Gospel.  How Isaac came to this decision, after all the struggles of persecution and being on the run, is the meat of this book.  Let it encourage you in your walk!

Isaac’s book will also show you specific ways to pray for the persecuted Church in other countries, as well as how to get involved in helping financially to fund the many underground churches and children’s homes.  Though American believers currently live in a free nation, we are held accountable to help the persecuted churches through prayer, finances, and even personal involvement.

This book is a challenge to each of us to do God’s will whatever the cost—to live out the New Testament command to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  This English translation was done in early 2012.  You may find a few subtle sentence structure errors, but the message comes across loud and clear.  God reigns!

This book was provided by Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

Win a $350 “Glam” Visa Card Prize Pack from @LisaTBegren & RSVP for 6/27 Facebook party! ["Glamorous Illusions" by Lisa T. Bergren]

What is our “true” identity?
Join the conversation at Lisa Tawn Bergren’s
Glamorous Illusions Author Chat Facebook Event Page. On the evening of 6/27 we’ll gather to talk about our spiritual journey, share our stories and a few laughs.
In the meantime, celebrate with Lisa by entering her Glamorous Illusions Giveaway Between Today, 6/7 and 6/26!!
One “glamorous” winner will receive a “Glam Prize Pack”:
  • A $350 Visa Cash Card (Oh … think of what you could do: treat yourself to a mani/pedi, a fabulous new dress, dinner for two, or even a two-night escape in a lovely hotel – you’re only limited by your imagination!)
  • Glamorous Illusions (by Lisa Tawn Bergren)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 6/26/12!
Winner will be announced at Lisa’s “Glamorous Illusions” Facebook Party on  6/27 {Fun begins at 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT}. Lisa will be hosting an evening of meaningful chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement – bring your friends! She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Lisa via video or phone.)
So grab a few of your friends and your copy of Glamorous Illusions and join Lisa on the evening of June 27th for an evening of fun.
Don’t miss a moment of the fun! RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to
see you on the 27th!
This entry was posted on June 7, 2012 and tagged , , , , .

Gilbert Morris “The River Rose” Giveaway and Q & A

Life hasn’t been easy for Jeanne Bettencourt, a widow approaching thirty and struggling to provide for her eight-year-old daughter. But hope arrives in the form of the Helena Rose, a steamboat she unexpectedly inherits from a distant, departed relative. Jeanne’s father had captained a similar vessel and taught her how to pilot a steamer along the banks of Memphis. She’s looking forward to a renewed livelihood on the mighty Mississippi.
However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose – a tough man named Clint Hardin – and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters.
As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne – who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.

Gilbert Morris is among today’s most popular Christian writers, his books having sold over seven million copies worldwide. A former pastor and English professor, he specializes in historical fiction and won a 2001 Christy Award for the Civil War drama Edge of Honor. Morris lives with his wife in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Q & A with Gilbert Morris:

What is your writing method? Do you write in the morning? At night? All day? How long do you write in a single session?
I have no set schedule for writing a novel. While I am working on it, sometimes it goes easily, and I just pour on the coal. If it goes badly, I have to spend more time on the text. Naturally, I love it when the words seem to flow!
How do you do your historical research?
I think it can be easy to do too much research, just as it can be a mistake to do too little. Some writers are so anxious the give the historical background, that they forget the story. My own problem is to do a good job with research and with the story.
How do you manage to keep your dialogue true to the time period without allowing it to sound stilted?
Reading a great deal of Dickens, for example, will carry over into the writer’s work. There is a danger that all of a writer’s characters will sound alike, which makes for bad fiction. I always try to find some characteristic that will set a character apart, perhaps bad grammar or a pronounced regional accent.
You used to follow the same storytelling technique of the late Sidney Sheldon—told your stories on tape to get the rough draft down, and then had them transcribed to start your writing process. Are you still using this technique for your current books?
Yes, I do dictate all my books. I take the outline and the list of characters, and put each chapter on a cassette. Then I have a lady take the tapes, type them out, and send them to me. Of course, when I get the hard copy, that’s usually when the hard work of revision rears its ugly head! My daughter Lynn, who has written some fine novels, helps me with this stage, for which I am profoundly grateful.
In many of your books, you feature a strong female main character that suffers from flaws and weaknesses. Why do you write about women in this way?
I try to give all characters, both male and female, young and old, flaws and weaknesses. That is human, and if a character is perfect that is totally unbelievable!
Look at the great classic novels by the great novelists. All of them set forth characters, who, in one way or another, are flawed. It is the job of the novelist to dramatize the characters as they attempt to overcome these flaws.
Your novels have a number of female characters with red hair and green eyes. Is that based on a real person?
Got lots of red hair in my family, so I always like redheads! No green eyes. I just get tired of trying, in a book with forty characters, to give them eyes that differ. Blue, brown, green. What other colors can eyes be?
I did say of one shady character, “He had eyes the color of spit.” Now, really, that character had to be evil!
What fascinates you most about 1850s Mississippi?
It was a dramatic time in American history. The Civil War, the rise of modern transportation, the beginning of our industrial growth.
How did you decide to set your story on a steamer?
When I was a boy, I lived for a time in Helena, Arkansas. The river then was still thick with the sternwheelers, and I would sit for hours on the bank of the river and watch them, and riding on one was a thrill.
When you’re writing a series such as the Water Wheel series, how do you decide which characters to carry over into the sequels?
I usually make this decision before I begin the first novel in the series. Some generational sagas lend themselves to stepping from one book to another, others I like to confine to one book.
I have a signed a contract to do a trilogy about San Francisco in the 1850s. That opens up the door for a family to go through (1) the gold rush of 1849, (2) the rise of rich people and how they are brought down, and (3) the earthquake and how the family survives and strengthens.
What book project are you working on next?
I am working on Book #2 of a series called Western Justice. These three westerns are set in Oklahoma Territory shortly after the Civil War. Judge Isaac Parker had 200 marshals to keep order, and many of them were killed in line of duty. The most famous of these is Heck Thomas, but if you’ve seen TRUE GRIT, you get the flavor of the series. Romance, action, Christian doctrine!
What is the one thing that you want to leave readers of The River Rose pondering over?
As in all my books, I want my readers to see how vital it is to serve God no matter how difficult that might be.
Do you have a long-term plan for your novel-writing? Are you planning to retire, or can we eagerly anticipate dozens more Gilbert Morris stories?
I am working on three series at the present time. One will deal with the men and women who serve in different branches of the service.
Another is the second novel about a young woman, Jordan Lee, who serves in the military, then in the House of Representatives.
The work I most enjoy is a series of mysteries featuring a man and a woman—and two cats. I’ve written three of these, and have had a blast! They are my favorite novels. The next one will be entitled Desperate Housecats.
And no, I will never retire!
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website and blog are at
Subscribe to my blog’s feed:
Sign up for my e-newsletter (for subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of my upcoming novels):
Twitter: @gilbert_morris!/gilbert_morris
GIVEAWAY!                 GIVEAWAY!                  GIVEAWAY!
*Begins June 8, 2012, 12:01 am, EST, ending June 25, 2012, at midnight, EST*
DRAWING:  One paperback copy of “The River Rose” by Gilbert Morris (United States only)
Since I received an additional copy from B&H Publishing Group, I’ll be sending the winner their copy. You must provide a non-P.O. Box address in the United States for delivery. The winner will be announced here on the day after contest ends. You can provide your address by email after that.  The more items you perform, the more entries!  You must leave your email address.  Please use this format   “theriverrose at gmail dot com”  to prevent spamming.
Entrants get one entry for each of the following.  Please leave a message saying which items you performed:
1. Question: If you were to travel on a paddle wheeler during the 1850s, what would you pack?
2. Tweet this message:
 Sign up for @gilbert_morris subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of upcoming novels:
3. Follow Gilbert on Twitter: @gilbert_morris
4. Like Gilbert on Facebook:
I received an extra complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of this giveaway from B&H Publishing Group.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.