Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Broken


FaithWords (May 25, 2010)


by


Travis Thrasher






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



It was during third grade after a teacher encouraged him in his writing and as he read through The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis that Travis decided he wanted to be a writer. The dream never left him, and allowed him to fulfill that dream of writing fulltime in 2007.



Travis Thrasher is the author of numerous works of fiction, including his most personal and perhaps his deepest work, Sky Blue, that was published in summer of 2007. This year he has to novels published, Out of the Devil’s Mouth, and a supernatural thriller, Isolation.



Travis is married to Sharon and they are the proud parents of Kylie, born in November, 2006, and Hailey, a Shih-Tzu that looks like an Ewok. They live in suburban Chicago.



Stop by and visit Travis at his Blog where you can sign up to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!



ABOUT THE BOOK



Laila had it all--love, family, wealth, and faith. But when her faith crumbles, her world falls apart and Laila finds herself living an empty, dangerous life as a call girl in Chicago.



When she is threatened, Laila shoots and kills a client in self-defense, sending herself into a spiral of guilt and emptiness. Six months later, she is trying to move on, but she's haunted by the past. She hasn't told anyone about the man she killed, and she's still estranged from her family.



When she is approached by a stranger who says he knows what she did, Laila has no choice but to run. But the stranger stays close behind, and Laila begins having visions of the man she killed. Little does she know she's being hounded by something not of this world, something that knows her deepest, darkest secret.

Scared and wandering, will Laila regain her trust in God to protect her from these demons? Or will her plea for salvation come too late?





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

Monday, May 24, 2010

M.I.A.

I will be Missing....and I am In Action.

This week our oldest is graduating, and you know what that means:

CHAOS!

But yay--it's the good kind of chaos that involves family and friends and parties. Last minute projects and planning, organizing, and generally running amok.

Other than a book review at the end of the week, I won't be here, and I won't be visiting. Many blessings for you as you go through the next several days, and we'd appreciate your prayers for a smooth and blessed week here :D

Friday, May 21, 2010

PREDATOR

This book scared me silly, and is a must-read for every teen who has a profile on the web. Not only was it full of suspense, but it caused me to re-think some of my online interaction. OK, there's no reason to be paranoid, but the events portrayed in Predator come across as absolutely plausible and real. And FYI--the Author's Note at the end of the book had as much impact on me as the story itself. Absolutely what I needed to read at the exact moment. It was a God thing. Highly recommend!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Predator
Zondervan (May 25, 2010)


by


Terri Blackstock






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Terri Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide. Her suspense novels often debut at number one on the Christian fiction best-seller lists, and True Light, published last year, was number one of all Christian books—fiction and non-fiction. Blackstock has had twenty-five years of success as a novelist.



In 1994 Blackstock was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, in addition to the thirty-two she had in the secular market. Her most recent books are the four in her acclaimed Restoration Series, which includes Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light. She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 and Cape Refuge Series.



In addition to her suspense novels, she has written a number of novels in the women’s fiction genre, including Covenant Child, which was chosen as one of the first Women of Faith novels, and her Seasons Series written with Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye.



Blackstock has won the Retailer’s Choice Award and has appeared on national television programs such as The 700 Club, Home Life, and At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country and the subject of countless articles. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.







ABOUT THE BOOK



The murder of Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God's justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome?



Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online Predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line.



Joining forces, he and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.



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



Watch the book trailer video!



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SPEED READING 102

Life seems to spin out so fast that every day is a new way to squeeze out of a time crunch. Wow...I need more coffee because that so doesn't make sense even to me. In any case, the point is that I'm always looking for ways to improve how fast and how well I do things--which includes reading.

Those of you who've known me for a while have done this before, but it's always fun to check your progress. This year on my SPEED READING test I scored 305 words with a 91% comprehension. That's my best yet!

Below are my speed reading tips to help maximize your reading time. First, take the TEST HERE, then come back and read the tips below. Oh, and the material isn't new, but I'm calling it Speed Reading 102 because it's the 3rd year in a row. LOL! What is your score this time around?


~HINDRANCES TO READING FASTER:

Subvocalization: (sounding out words in your head.) Children are taught to read letter-by-letter, then word-by-word. They are taught orally, since it's the only way to observe progress. Once most people start reading to themselves, they never stop enunciating each word in their head and pick up some speed.

Too many eye stops. If you watch someone's eyes as they read, they usually move from left to right, then down the page. Also, the eye tends to go backwards to pick up lost material. The more the eye stops, the less words per minute. One book went so far as to say that all eye movement is a total waste as far as productive reading goes.

Low reader expectation. It's one of those things people don't consciously think about improving. Did you know that "real" speed readers soak in up to 1000 WPM?

~TIPS FOR FASTER READING:

Eliminate distractions. The more chaos/noise/chatter in the background, the slower a person is able to read. (How many times have you had to re-read a sentence because of interruptions?) Also, get comfy, and have the proper lighting.

Use peripheral vision and begin block reading. Instead of the word-by-word method taught to children, expand your field of vision to take in more words per blink. And instead of allowing your eyes to stop every few words, keep moving. This will take practice. There are books available with eye drills if reading faster is something you're serious about.

Read from directly from the page to your brain--in other words, quit subvocalizing, or sounding out words in your head. Instead of going from mouth to ear to brain, go from eyes to brain. This, too, will take practice.

Turn pages faster. Studies showed many readers wasting time turning pages. If possible, lay your book flat, and have your thumb ready to turn the page without skipping a beat.

Use a marker. I've read two differing opinions on this one, so take your pick. Using a pencil or the tip of your finger MAY help you keep your place and increase speed.

There are other tips that pertain to reading non-fiction, but I won't go into that here. And keep in mind that not everything is intended to be speed read (like critiques, LOL!) But increasing your speed will allow you to get to more of those wonderful books out there. Oh, and all of my research indicates that speed reading actually INCREASES comprehension instead of reducing it. (Think of a movie: you get more out of it watching it all at once, rather than in pieces. The slower you read, the more interruptions you'll face.) There are tons of resources out there that go into more detail and give practice exercises.

TELL US HOW THE TEST TURNED OUT FOR YOU!

Monday, May 17, 2010

PROS AND CONS

It's almost time to register for the ACFW conference! Can we get a woot-woot? The problem is.....I never know whether or not I should go. The first year I joined ACFW my kidlets were too small to leave--a no-brainer. Then I went two years in a row. Last year I skipped. Walk with me through my thought process:

PRO: I get to see my friends!

CON: Aww, some of my friends aren't going to be there =(

PRO: I get to learn new things!

CON: Dude, it costs a boatload of money. Maybe I can sell my hair...

PRO: I get to pitch!

CON: I haven't got anything ready, but if I get up at 4 a.m. and type fast...


See the dilemma? I'm sure you can identify.....
......or can you?

What is your thought process when deciding whether or not to attend a conference? Will you be at ACFW? Another conference? SOS....this chick needs some help.....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SO OVER MY HEAD


When a Jenny B. Jones book arrives in our mailbox, there is much bargaining, arguing, and a little bit of hair pulling to see who gets to read it first. This time I won. Yay!

The third book in "A Charmed Life" series, So Over My Head packs in a bearded lady, murder, parent troubles, and romance with humor and fun. A satisfying conclusion to the series, but can be read as a stand alone. However, just for fun read all 3 books because I guarantee you won't regret it! My only beef is that it's the last book {insert heavy sigh} and I kinda did want to see the dog in the party hat on the cover. Hee hee! It's perfect for the teen in your life, or for yourself if you love a quirky blend of humor, mystery, and a dash of teen drama.

CLICK HERE to get your copy today!

Read the blurb below. And now....I must turn over my copy to my daughter before violence ensues.

BLURB:

Newly single, stalked by a killer, and in desperate need of some chic clown shoes--Bella is one skinny mocha frapp away from total meltdown.

When the Fritz Family Carnival makes its annual appearance in Truman, Bella's keen reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Though the police make an immediate arrest, Bella doubts this case is quite that simple.

She needs her crime-solving boyfriend, Luke, more than ever. Problem is, his ex-girlfriend has moved back to town, giving Bella some murderous thoughts of her own. Then again, there's no time for a relationship crisis when Bella's doing her best to derail her father's wedding and stay one step ahead of a killer.

Is God sending her a message in all of this madness? With a murderer on the loose and her boyfriend's ex on the prowl, this undercover clown has never had more to juggle--or more to risk.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TOOT!

While reading over my old story that I referenced the other day, I realized that there's a ton that needs to be changed. I've learned so many things, even over the last year, that can help make this story stand out.

But I also realized that there are some great bits of dialogue and banter between the characters that still make me smile. I'm actually having fun walking through the pages, especially knowing what's coming. My strength in this particular work was showing who these characters are through dialogue.

Yep, I said it--I did something good.

So often we focus on all the things we need to improve--we seem to have no problems touting the fact we have shortcomings. For once I think it'll be fun to talk about the things I/you do a fantastic job of. And don't say there's nothing, because that's simply not true.

Have at it! Toot your horn and talk about the aspects of your work where you know you shine!

Monday, May 10, 2010

AGAINST CURRENT WISDOM....

.....I've decided to resurrect an old story and give it one more go.

Have you ever enjoyed a story enough that you just don't want to give up on it? Most experts--whoever they are--agree that it's best to move on after writing a story instead of reworking it to death in the hopes of finding it a home. When I originally completed the book well over a year ago, I set it aside and allowed it to collect dust on my hard drive, and until this weekend planned to let it stay there. Then I woke up on Sunday and thought--hey, this could actually work as a category if I take out such-and-such, and focus solely on the romance.

Wheels spinning, I got excited about the story and pulled out the hard copy I stuffed in the back of the closet. (Yes, my filing system is that bad.) At some point, I'm going to reread and decide which elements to keep, and which to chuck. With a bit of hard work and a lot of prayer, it shouldn't take more than a few months.

Have you ever gone back and reworked an old project? Or do you power on to the next idea?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

VOTE HERE...

....in my anonymous poll.

As you know, I adore books, and one way to read to my heart's content is to participate in blog tours. But now I want to know what you think, as fellow bloggers. The answers are anonymous! Go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section, discussing all things books and reviews :D

Monday, May 03, 2010

A JUICY STORY...

....is like listening to gossip--only it doesn't count as sin!

Someone recently told me about a problem in their life, and it was all I could do not to ask that particulars. You see, I think we, as humans, are curious and flat-out nosy when it comes to other people's business. We want to know who said what, and then did that-thing-that-shall-not-be-mentioned. The biggest draw? CONFLICT. We crave the details, the things that make us gasp and thank God that we are not in that situation.

Only this comes to mind:

“A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
~Prov. 18:7-8

The great thing is, we can enjoy peeking into the lives of others through fiction. That draw of secret information, sprinkled between the pages of a story can keep me glued late into the night. We need to know how the conflict will be resolved. Will the hero and heroine overcome the ginormous obstacles hurtling toward them? Or will they be crushed?

After copious amounts of reading, I've determined conflict is THE ONE THING that cannot be cheesed out on. Word to the writer: if a situation is simply a misunderstanding, or can be resolved with a conversation, it's not true conflict. I will roll my eyes. True conflict--the gut-wrenching kind where you just know that someone has to lose--is what marks a winner for me.

How do you feel about story conflict? Do you have enough in yours? Do you enjoy reading books with major conflict, or do you prefer gentle fiction?
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