THIS WEEK FEATURED ON CFBA . . . THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Things Left Unspoken

Revell (June 1, 2009)

by

Eva Marie Everson



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eva Marie Everson taught Old Testament theology for six years at Life Training Center in Longwood, Florida and has written numerous articles for Crosswalk.com (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.


ABOUT THE BOOK

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
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:


The Missionary- A Novel

Moody Publishers; 1 edition (March 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHORs:





William Carmichael is an accomplished bestselling author of marriage, family, and parenting books. He and his wife, Nancie, are popular speakers across the United States and Canada. He is also the founder of Good Family Magazines, which published Virtue, Christian Parenting Today, and Parents of Teenagers magazines. The Missionary is Bill’s first novel.





David Lambert is senior fiction editor for Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. He is the author of nine books, including the Gold Medallion Award winning Jumper Fables (Zondervan), coauthored with Ken Davis, and four novels for young adult readers.


Visit the authors' website.







Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers; 1 edition (March 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802455697
ISBN-13: 978-0802455697

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The tall man guided his new Mercedes out of Avenue Casanova traffic and pulled in behind a battered Volks -wagen at the gutter; he had just seen the Ford van several cars ahead of him pull over, its emergency flashers on. He leaned to the side, straining for a clear view around the cars and trucks honking, jockeying for position, crowding the avenue. It was late—10:34, he affirmed with a glance at his Rolex—and the glare of so many lights on the rainwashed streets made him squint. He watched the van’s driver get out, wait for a break in the traffic, and then jog across the street toward some sort of commotion. There were children running—one was on the ground, a boy. A heavyset man in a dirty white apron was yelling at the fallen boy, kicking him, and the boy curled into a ball. A girl threw herself between the fallen boy and the man; the man pushed her down. The van’s driver arrived and held up a hand, yelling at the man in the apron, who yelled back.

There was nothing unusual about the scene. It was played out scores of times on this and many other Caracas streets every night: hungry, homeless children scrabbling for a living, treated as nothing more than human refuse by the adults annoyed by them or who sought them for other purposes. One needed no more excuse to kick—or exploit, in any of dozens of unsavory ways—a street urchin than one did a stray dog.

The tall man had seen the driver of the van, a missionary, make several such stops over the past few days, usually at night, chatting with groups of these children, teasing them, making them laugh, talking to them as long as the children were willing to stay. Twice the tall man had managed to get close enough to overhear the missionary asking kids where they lived, whether they had enough to eat, whether any of them were sick or knew other children who were sick, whether there were other homeless children nearby. The name on the side of the van was Aldea Esperanza. Hope Village. The tall man knew exactly where it was; he had driven past it, slowly. It was a mission—a place that took in young homeless ones.


The missionary stepped between the angry man and the two children on the ground. The girl was talking to the fallen boy. She looked worried. The man in the apron pushed past the missionary and grabbed something from the young girl’s hand, then brandished it at the missionary —evidence, no doubt, that the children had stolen from him. The missionary pointed toward the children, spoke to the man, and then reached into his pocket and offered to pay for what the children had stolen. The man grabbed it and stalked away, still yelling back over his shoulder.

Three or four other children wandered back as the aproned man disappeared. If any of these children had a home with a bed, they would undoubtedly have been in it by this time of night.

A group of young men walked by, their clothes and voices loud, two of them taking swigs from their bottles of beer. The avenue was crowded with those seeking thrills, as well as the homeless. From across the street, a prostitute caught the tall man’s eye and waved. He ignored her. Peering around a passing truck, he watched as the missionary knelt and placed his hand on the forehead of the young boy.

This was a good thing that the missionary was doing. The tall man admired him for it. Yes, it was time to meet him face-to-face. Maybe he was the right man for the job. Maybe not.

• • • • • • •

The rain had stopped, at least for now.

“¿Hay algun familiar de este chico?” David asked. He removed his hand from the child’s forehead. The boy was burning with fever, gasping desperately; his chest rattled.

“Sí.”

David glanced up at the girl who had tried to protect the boy; she could not have been more than ten.

“He is my little brother. He started coughing five days ago,” she said. “And after he runs, he cannot breathe.”

“What’s his name?”

”Ricardo. My name is Angela.”

David smiled and touched her arm. “Angela, where are your parents?”

Angela shrugged. David saw this response often. It meant that the girl’s parents were drug addicts, or that they were dead, or that she had no idea where they were and probably hadn’t seen them in some time.

He brushed Ricardo’s lank hair from his forehead. For five years now David had patrolled the barrios of Caracas, witnessing the misery of an endless supply of impoverished and sickly and homeless children. Was there no end to the suffering here?

Swarms of Latinos hurried by in the warm, humid night, seemingly unaware. Salsa music blared from one of the bars down the street. Honking cars, trucks, and buses jammed Avenue Casanova. The stink of urine rose from the gutter, a bitter note blending with the fragrance of fresh arepas, frying chilies, refried beans, and beer. “¡Vámanos, arriba!” someone yelled from down the street.

Ricardo stared at David with sunken, panicked eyes, his back rising off the broken sidewalk in his effort to pull air into his lungs.

“How old is your brother?” David asked Angela.

“Siete.”

There was no point calling an ambulance. They refused to pick up the homeless. David pulled out his cell and called his wife. “Christie, call Dr. Vargas and see if he can meet us at the clinic in forty-five minutes. Tell him I have a seven year-old boy I think is in the acute stages of pneumonia. He can barely breathe.”

There was a pause. “Is he wheezing?” she asked.

“Big-time.”

“Okay. Get him here quick.”

When David clicked off his phone and reached behind the boy to lift him, large olive-skinned hands reached down to help. David looked up to see a tall, well-dressed man.

“Can I please help you?” The stranger spoke in English.

“We can put him in my car just down the street if you need transportation to the hospital.”

“Thank you,” David said, “but my van’s right here.” He nodded toward the white nine-passenger Ford van he used as both bus and ambulance. It was double-parked, emergency flashers blinking, Aldea Esperanza painted in bright red letters on the side. “I’m taking this child to my clinic.”

Before David could object, the tall man lifted Ricardo’s thin little body into his arms and headed for the van. David grabbed Angela’s hand and, weaving through honking, halting traffic, hurried ahead to open the back doors. Inside lay a mattress neatly wrapped with clean white sheets. The man gently laid Ricardo on the mattress.

David motioned for Angela to climb into the back of the van with Ricardo. She hesitated. “What about my friends? Two of them are also coughing.”

David looked back across the street, where seven children stood watching. He glanced at the well-dressed man, who shrugged.

“We don’t have room,” David said. “I’m sorry. Right now, I can only take your brother and you. And for your brother’s sake, we must hurry.”

“Then take Maria instead of me. She has been coughing for three days,” Angela replied.

David looked at the stranger, then across the street again. “Jesus, help . . .” he whispered, then asked, “Which one is Maria?”

Angela yelled, “¡Maria, ven!” motioning Maria forward. A girl David guessed to be about the same age as Angela wove her way through traffic toward them. Without asking, Angela quickly shoved Maria up into the back of the van next to her brother.

Always choices, David thought, and most of them are bad. How can it be the will of God to simply choose among the least bad alternatives?

He put his hand on Angela’s shoulder, urging her into the van with Ricardo and Maria. As she scrambled in, she smiled. Already a skilled negotiator, David thought. David shook the stranger’s hand and hurried to the driver’s door. “Thank you for your help.” He grabbed a business

card from the dash and handed it to the man, then cranked the engine and slammed the door. “Why don’t you visit us?” he hollered through the window, over the engine noise.

“I would like to. Perhaps soon.”

David waved over his shoulder and inched out into traffic, his headlights reflecting on slick, wet streets. Ricardo hacked a loud, racking cough.

David took a sharp right, leaving the business district and entering a darker, less congested area, a faster way home. Big raindrops began again, slowly at first, then pounding hard and fast against the windshield while the wipers beat like rapid rubber drumsticks. And there was another sound. At first David thought that the windshield wipers were broken—the motor giving out, wheezing . . . and then he realized that the sound was coming from the back of the van. It stopped. David glanced in the rearview mirror.

The boy’s sister hovered over Ricardo. “Angela, how’s your brother back there?” David asked. “Everything okay?”

Angela’s little face tilted up, her eyes frightened.

“Señor!” she said. “He cannot breathe! He is choking!”

BONNET BOOKS????????

From Amish to vampires, Christian fiction expands
By ERIC GORSKI (AP) – 4 days ago
DENVER (AP) — The Christian book business, optimistic that a little literary escapism might be an antidote for readers in hard times, is turning to bonnets, buggies and bloodsuckers.
Even as Christian publishing suffers during the recession — one study found net sales for Christian retailers were down almost 11 percent in 2008 — several publishing houses are adding or expanding their fiction lines with both the tame (Amish heroines) and boundary-pushing (Christian vampire lit).
The undisputed industry leader is so-called Amish fiction — typically, romances and family sagas set in contemporary Amish communities. They're a surprise hit with evangelical women attracted by a simpler time, curiosity about cloistered communities and admiration for the strong, traditional faith of the Amish.
The success of the genre has spawned not just new Amish fiction authors but spinoff series about other cloistered communities. If you want to sell it, as one literary agent put it, put a bonnet on it.
But not all new Christian fiction is prairie wholesome. There's building buzz — and some trepidation — about upcoming titles that bring a Christian perspective to tales of vampires and the undead.
The consensus of publishers, authors and others gathered in Denver this week for the annual International Christian Retail Show, which closed Wednesday: there's a growing audience for Christian fiction that both comforts and challenges, now more than a decade after the apocalyptic "Left Behind" series took Christian fiction out of obscurity and onto Wal-Mart shelves and the New York Times best-seller list.
"If you look at 'Left Behind,' the moon turns to blood and one-third of the people die," said Karen Watson, associate publisher, fiction, for Tyndale House, which published the series. "Or you have people with bonnets on drawing water from the well. It just tells me there are a wide range of things you can talk about, and Christian books can be a lot of things."
Christian fiction often has mimicked successful genres: Romance. Sci-fi. Legal Thrillers. But in Amish fiction, Christian publishing has something it can genuinely claim as its own.
Much of the credit goes to Beverly Lewis, a Colorado author who gave birth to the genre in 1997 with "The Shunning," loosely based on her grandmother's experience of leaving her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible college student. The book has sold more than 1 million copies.
Lewis tapped into a fascination with the Amish, who base their morals on a literal interpretation of the Bible and are known for their plain clothes and rejection of modern technology.
"For every lineup of Amish women at a gathering of any kind, you'll always see one of them that has her hand kind of on her hip," said Lewis, who grew up a Pentecostal preacher's daughter in Pennsylvania Amish country. "That's my character. She's the one that's pushing boundaries."
Bonnet fiction does play to the base of the market: Three in four Christian fiction readers are women, according to publishing research from the firm R.R. Bowker.
Lewis also credits the genre's growth to public fascination with Lancaster County, Pa., Amish who forgave a gunman who killed five girls at an Amish one-room schoolhouse before killing himself in 2006.
Wanda Brunstetter, who is probably No. 2 to Lewis on the Amish fiction roster, said she's heard from readers turning to her fiction not just for escape but for lessons during tough economic times.
"People are learning from the Amish novels how they can simplify and set their priorities straight," Brunstetter, who writes Amish romance, said between book signings at the retail show.
Lewis' publisher, Bethany House, which specializes in historical fiction, has published Puritan and Shaker stories. Next spring it will release fiction about the Amana Colonies of Iowa, where German pietists lived communally until the mid-1930s, said Steve Oates, vice president of sales and marketing.
"Historical fiction is a great way to have a nice clean story when a certain set of values didn't seem out of place," Oates said.
Mindy Starns Clark, an author of gothic mysteries scrubbed clean of foul language and premarital sex for a Christian audience, set her latest novel, "Shadows of Lancaster County," in Amish country.
"It's got a buggy on the cover," said Clark, who emphasized that she picked the setting before Amish books became a Christian publishing sensation. "But it's also got genetic engineering. It's definitely not your grandmother's Amish novel."
Other Christian fiction shows growing sophistication. No longer must characters follow a predictable path to salvation, for instance. The heroine of Nicole Baart's "The Moment Between," published by Tyndale, is not a conventional believer but a spiritual seeker; the novel is set in a vineyard and deals with a suicide.
On the darker side is Eric Wilson's "Jerusalem's Undead" trilogy from Thomas Nelson, which follows characters who have risen from the dead after being tainted by the blood of Judas, betrayer of Jesus.
Allen Arnold, senior vice president and publisher for fiction for Nelson, the largest Christian book publisher, said the greatest demand is for gentler reads like Amish books. The publisher introduced its own Amish series last fall. But Arnold said messages of hope reside even in exploits of the undead.
"It is fantasy, but he weaves it from a biblical perspective and ties it back to the power of blood," Arnold said — specifically, Christian belief in the atoning power of Christ's blood.
On Sept. 15, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group will release its take on vampires in "Thirsty," by Christian chick-lit author Tracey Bateman. Not surprisingly, the marketing material mentions "Twilight," the hit vampire book series and movie whose abstinence message resonated with many evangelicals.
Bateman's vampire, Markus, is a character but also a metaphor for demons anyone must overcome, said Shannon Marchese, an editor at WaterBrook Multnomah who sought out Bateman for the project. The object of his obsession, Nina, is a divorced alcoholic dealing with addiction.
"These are themes that work in the Christian life," Marchese said. "You have to fight to say, 'Am I going to choose unconditional love and redemption or a life of following obsessions, a life with holes in it?"
Still, challenges exist beyond what to do with dripping fangs (they were edited out). On the theological front, questions lurk about whether a creature both alive and dead has a soul that can be saved.
"I think we can redeem a vampire," said Bateman, adding that she won't be a spoiler and disclose her character's fate. "I don't think this is a despair too dark to pull out of."
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

When my Mom gave me this article out of their local newspaper I was excited and then I read it. I wanted to grab the author by the throat! Calling Amish Christian fiction "bonnet books" just appalled me! I won't speak for Wanda Brunstetter, Beverly Lewis or the like I just couldn't believe they'd be happy with the term either. It to me seemed derogatory of the great writing that is done by these women. It is exciting to see that no matter what is going on in the country the Christian fiction market is still alive and well!
 
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