Friday, February 28, 2014

Around the World of Inspired Fiction and friends blog hop! - Prizes!

Here is a special treat for our readers. From February 28 through March 7, more than one hundred bloggers have joined together to give you many opportunities to win some wonderful gifts. 

Every blog shown at the end of this message is giving away a prize worth at least $10. Here at Around the World of Inspired Fiction, for example, you could win either a $15 Amazon gift card or a $15 PayPal payment. But, as they say on TV, that's not all. Five other winners will receive e-books written by one of our authors. All full-length, excellent, clean adult novels. Prizes will be sent internationally.

It's easy to enter.

See the Rafflecopter below to enter. Everyone gets ONE FREE ENTRY just for stopping by. That means you don't have to do anything to be included in the drawing except click the button. However, you can increase your odds of winning by liking, following and tweeting. And, guess what, it is STILL EASY to do.

Enter here and then, with a simple click, increase your odds of winning even more by going on to each participating blog on the list below. 

Good luck.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Review of Winter Watch by Anita Klumpers

January 20, 2014
Paperback: 258 pages - $13.99 Ebook - $3.99
Publisher: Prism Book Group (January 21, 2014)
 ISBN-13: 978-1940099460

From the publisher:
What’s worse than being stranded in a small town in northern Wisconsin? Being stranded during the worst winter in recent memory.

Claudia Alexander’s problems are piling up faster than the snow on Lake Superior’s shore. Her noble mission to find the owner of an old pocket watch is complicated by incessant snowstorms, a mysterious vandal and the appearance of an old flame.

The local dogcatcher, a blind street preacher and an arthritic bloodhound come to Claudia’s aid. A promising romance warms up even as the temperatures drop.

But something evil is at work in Barley. As another blizzard approaches, so does a killer. Claudia must choose between her mission and saving the lives of the people she has come to love. Even if it means losing her own. 
Buy on Amazon

My review:
Delightful Debut! Sometimes, even disasters are those course corrections we all need to get us back on the path of our destinies. 
Opening with a two-pronged prologue, Klumpers tantalizes the reader with the story of a pocket watch at the center of devastating events. How it comes to our heroine, Claudia, is gradually revealed throughout the book.

The back cover copy says it very well—if you have to be stuck in the dead of winter in northern Wisconsin, may you find a village like the charming one created by the author. Sure it has its issues, colorful characters including a mass murderer and a registered sex offender, an antique blind town pastor, and a Justice of the Peace/dog catcher named Ezra whom everyone loves. When Claudia is unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, she's close enough to her destination, Barley, to hitch a ride. Barley may hold the secret to the mysterious family heirloom and its rightful owner—if only she can figure out who that is, before another body shows up.

Claudia immediately instills an innocent vulnerability and trust to the customers at Blossom’s diner, and everyone offers helpful advice, from where to stay and how to get there and a character reference from said Justice of the Peace. The colorful family who runs the bed and breakfast open in the “off” season is a quirky, loveable set of characters who jump right into matchmaking schemes that leave the reader chuckling. A dinner date, an attempted murder, an actual murder, and boyfriend, create a funky olio of delicious reading.

Mayhem, absolutely delightful settings, a vocabulary for the intelligent adult reader (thank you!), and some very sweet romance make this novel a very clever read. Kudos! Told by Claudia, the twists will keep you turning pages. Recommended for those who like clean, smart reads.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Purvis and Tilley talk about Destined For Deception

Lisa, Sandra and I are thrilled to be on your blog and to tell you a little bit about our newest release from Prism Book Group , Destined for Deception.

Beneath the emerald waves, churn deception, corruption, and murder. 

Forensic accountant Drew Arnoud could be on vacation. Instead, he’s investigating misappropriation of BP’s oil spill settlement funds in the beachside town of Destin, Florida. Having his kayak tipped by head hunting specialist Bree Finley could be a coincidence, or could she be involved? Either way he’s keeping her close, maybe too close. In his search to reveal the truth, he finds his life and his heart in jeopardy. And Bree Finley has been betrayed before by her ex-husband, but is it possible he’s involved her and their company in fraud? Who can she trust? She must decide, but the wrong decision may prove deadly.

Here’s the intriguing teaser trailer:

From Suzanne Purvis:
Sandy and I wrote the first draft of Destined for Deception while spending three days together at a beach front condo in Destin, Florida. Just us girls with nothing to do but write. It was a dream come true for both us. We had an inkling of an idea and of course the setting.  Then we spurred each other on to write, write, write. 

All the places mentioned in the book are either real, like Pompano Joes, and the East Pass Bridge, or are based on real places. We also capitalized on truth being stranger than fiction, and loosely based some of our plot on bizarre events that occurred in Destin after the BP oil spill. Then after months and months and months of revising we finished our first novella.

Sandy and I both agree what we love most about the book is the setting. Blue-green water, white sand beaches and small town politics made the perfect backdrop to develop our plot and characters.

Writing a book together was such a fun experience. Think about hanging out with your best friend and discussing mutual friends (our characters) over coffee. Or wine. Shared responsibility is a definite plus to co-writing. Everything from developing plot points, to finding the perfect title, to writing loglines and blurbs all seem a little easier when you can share the stress. The biggest negative is we live 50 miles apart. But if we lived closer, who knows how much writing we’d get done. :)
The writing and publishing process wasn’t new to either of us, but we found working with Jacqueline and Joan of Prism Books was a delight. Everything from re-working edits to sharing the phenomenal trailer Jacqueline produced for us went smoothly and timely.

Of course we would love our readers to be ask when they finish the book “when does the next one come out?” But seriously, we hope our readers enjoy the suspense, drama and breathless ride through the streets and waters of Destin with Bree and Drew.

Destined for Deception is available: On Amazon  

About the authors, a tale of North meets South.

Sandra Tilley After trading my Sweet Home Alabama for Pensacola, Florida, I'm still Southern--through and through. I was born and raised in a small town near Birmingham, Alabama. For twenty-five years, I taught sixth and seventh grades in the Chalkville-Trussville area. In 2001, I said good-bye to Trussville, Alabama, and hello to beautiful Pensacola, Florida. I taught English at Bailey Middle School in Pensacola for six years and spent many hours sitting on the beach grading essays. Now, on any given day, you might find me on the white sandy beaches of Perdido Key enjoying the sparkling blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But I won't be grading essays. I'll be plotting my next novel or short story.
Sandra Fetner Tilley on Facebook
Sandy FTilley on Twitter

Suzanne Purvis, a writer and artist transplanted from Canada to the Florida Panhandle. Wedged up against Alabama and Georgia, the Deep South oozes into this corner of Florida, and once you visit you won't want to leave. That's what happened to me. Hard to resist the sweet tea, sweeter accents, and the sugar-white-sand beaches. I write fiction of the long, short, and flash variety for both children and adults, usually with a touch or more of humor. I've garnered a few awards including first place in the University of Toronto, Trinity College Short Fiction Contest. I’m a huge football fan, love the beach in winter, small rodents freak me out, and my favorite holiday is April Fool’s Day which just happens to be my son’s birthday. My favorite color is lime green, but not to wear. My favorite food is popcorn, but I rarely get it at the movie theatre. I’m adding yoga to my life, but I won’t attempt a headstand. And I still love hanging out in the children’s section of the library.

You can find me on my website or at my blog or on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Debut Novel: Winter Watch by Anita Klumpers

ISBN: 1940099471
Ebook: $3.99
Paperback: $13.99

About the Book:
What’s worse than being stranded in a small town in northern Wisconsin? Being stranded during the worst winter in recent memory. Claudia Alexander’s problems are piling up faster than the snow on Lake Superior’s shore. Her noble mission to find the owner of an old pocket watch is complicated by incessant snowstorms, a mysterious vandal and the appearance of an old flame. The local dogcatcher, a blind street preacher and an arthritic bloodhound come to Claudia’s aid. A promising romance warms up even as the temperatures drop. But something evil is at work in Barley. As another blizzard approaches, so does a killer. Claudia must choose between her mission and saving the lives of the people she has come to love. Even if it means losing her own.

Buy the Book:

What do you love about Winter Watch, Anita?
The people. Even the local mass murderer. The setting. I wish Barley really existed. I would move there in a heartbeat. Even with the never-ending snow.

This is your debut novel. How does it feel to be an author in print?
Like I am missing something. As though I should either be Jessica Fletcher with sudden insight into solving murders and globetrotting—I would especially like to trot the globe—or in a garret somewhere with cobwebs in my hair shaking my fist at the world and saying ‘Someday you will appreciate me!’

The biggest ‘feeling change’ is appreciation for family and friends and complete strangers who are willing to encourage me with kind comments and wonderful luncheons. I know all the nicest people.

Share three things you learned during the writing and publishing process.
Oh Lisa. You don’t know me very well. ‘Slow learner’ would be a kind adjective to apply. I did learn the importance of proofreading. It is so aggravatingly easy to miss little details. I usually worked my waitresses in the book to death. They would take orders twice, deliver meals twice, clear away dishes twice. And I never caught it. My editor Susan Baganz and publisher Joan Alley had their work cut out. So I learned one thing of triple importance: get others to read the manuscript. Several others. Maybe faster writers don’t have this problem but if you are a protracted, stop-and-start writer like me you will need help.

What do you hope readers will tell other readers about Winter Watch?
That the people were real to them. That they won’t regret the money and time spent on reading this book.

What are you working on now?
Funny you should ask. I’m picking up the action in Barley about a week after ‘Winter Watch’ ends. Many of the same people will show up and so will some new characters.

~Lisa: Yay! We were just talking about that on

What do you like to read?
Fiction. Suspense, mystery, good writing in most genres. Martha Grimes is an incredible writer. Some of her work is dark, some a bit more lighthearted, but all is excellent. Mary Stewart, especially her older suspense/romance. I read and reread, among others, Airs Above the Ground, My Brother Michael, This Rough Magic. Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels. PG Wodehouse. Catherine Aird books are hard to find but she is a delightful mystery writer. Agatha Christie. Dickens.

I avoid self-help books like the plague, which may explain a lot.

About the Author
Winter Watch is Anita Klumpers’ first novel, but she has previous experience writing skits and short plays. These have been performed for dozens of audiences and hundreds of people. Lately she has been doing some technical writing and editing and content marketing. Romantic suspense is her favorite genre, especially when a bit of humor is interjected. In an attempt to make the world a tidier, more civil place, she blogs as The Tuesday Prude. Anita lives with her husband and mutt in south central Wisconsin. Spare time is spent meddling in her grown children's lives, spoiling grandbabies, teaching drama class and acting in an independently produced movie.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sid Frost and The Vengeance Squad

Welcome to Sid Frost who shares about love, writing, grief, and his latest news.

buy on Amazon
ISBN 978-0983070887

$2.99 ebook
$12.95 pbook

About the Book:
The Vengeance Squad helps one of its own when the bookmobile fund is stolen. Two years after the death of his fiancĂ©e, Chris McCowan begins to feel normal again. As normal as the situation allows. Sarah had told him to find a new love and be happy, but he never dreamed he would. That was before he fell in love with Angela. Did she feel the same about him? Perhaps he would soon find out. She had invited him to visit her at her home in Bath, England during his time off between semesters. He had his plane ticket before his fall teaching obligations were finished. 

Tex Thompson had worked part time at the library while attending college full time ever since he'd married Jane. Adding the Vengeance Squad's criminal investigative work on top of that left little time for her or the children. This time, Tex's wife had put her foot down. No more Vengeance Squad activities until he'd stayed home long enough for his children to get to know him again. And, she added, she expected some quality husband and wife time as well. This semester break would be different, Jane said, and Tex was looking forward to it. Chris and Tex were ready to spend more time with the ones they loved. But that was before they learned Liz Siedo, the third member of the group was the victim of a crime that could break her heart. 

Will Liz, the hugger, the cheer leader, the one who was always optimistic and always supportive, need their help? Will Chris and Tex abandon their plans to assist her? Will Liz allow the guys to break the law to rectify her mistakes? 

What you love about this latest book?

What I love about The Vengeance Squad Goes to England is the way Liz has evolved. Everyone seems to like her and she is in all my books. However, she has been a supporting character at most. In this latest book we get to know her a little better. Even though she always puts on a happy face, we now know she has feelings the way we all do. She lets her guard down a little in this book. I didn’t plan it that way, but it seemed natural. To tell the truth, Liz was supposed to be the main character in my first book, originally called Mrs. Pickle’s Bookmobile. But as I wrote, it turned into a book about Brian and Karen getting back together after thirty years, with Liz’s help. I’m working on the next book now, and am pleased to say it is all about Liz. It is told in first person and in a cozy mystery format just perfect for her. She’s also retired, married, and living on a farm near Georgetown. There’s a bookmobile, of course.

Sid, share something new you learned during the process of writing/publishing this one.

I learned to build the Kindle edition before publishing the paperback. I use a process of converting a scene at a time into html for the Kindle. For some reason, several errors popped out when I did. Unfortunately, I had already approved the paperback edition and ordered three dozen copies. I fixed the paperback and used the copies already printed as review and giveaway copies.

What are some of the challenges writing a series?

In general, I think writing a series is easier than not. You already have a good handle on your characters as well as settings. I thought I had two separate series. The first being Where Love Once Lived and Love Lives On and the second The Vengeance Squad and The Vengeance Squad Goes to England. However, I complicated things by having some characters in all four books. There is a chronology from the first to the last, but the vengeance squad books are different from the Brian and Karen books. The biggest challenge has been to make each book enjoyable on its own without repeating too much.

What do you like to read?

As a reviewer for several major Christian publishers, I read authors such as Davis Bunn, William Sirls, and Dee Henderson. I always learn something about writing from these authors. I also read many others that are different from what I might ever write. In addition, I am a member of a neighborhood book club where I find many excellent books I might never have read otherwise. I also enjoy Grisham and Sparks, but never read their books while I’m writing. They don’t tend to worry much about POV. Finally, there are a bunch of books I read for fun. I like Kathy Reichs, Elizabeth Berg, and Susan Wittig Albert, all quite different. I intend to follow Albert’s China Bayles series as a guide for my next book.

You’ve been a Stephen Minister and talk about it in your books. What does the ministry mean to you, Sid?

When my wife got sick in 2008, we were both Stephen Ministers and Stephen Leaders. She was a hospital chaplain as well. We had attended classes on dying and had taught classes on grieving. I had ministered to eight men over a period of a couple of years. But, when we learned my wife had pancreatic cancer, it became the only thing my life for the next eight months. I was with her around the clock even when she was in the hospital. I needed a Stephen Minister myself, but there was no time. When one of the kids or a friend gave me a break all I wanted to do was shower and sleep. My wife and I had time to talk, though, and I’m thankful for that. In the end, she taught me how to die.

She died the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. I spent Christmas and New Year’s alone in Halifax, a place we’d never been. I thought it would give me time to write and finish Where Love Once Lived, but it didn’t work. However, I grieved and returned ready to go back to work. I still didn’t get a Stephen Minister, because I didn’t want to talk about it. And I never went back to ministering to others. In a way I feel more qualified because of my experience, and I may volunteer again. I didn’t return to church for about six months and when I did, I met Celeste, a new member, and the woman I eventually married.

What’s new at Christian Bookmobile?

The Christian Bookmobile is my blog. I post book reviews, and talk about things of interest to both readers and writers of Christian books, fiction and nonfiction. Recently, I’ve started a new blog. It’s called Around the World of Inspired Fiction and is coauthored by writers from Australia, Canada, Scotland, and the United States. We plan to slant it for readers of Christian fiction. You can check it out here:

Thank you, Sid, and best wishes with your newest endeavors.

About the author:
Sidney W. Frost is a former Stephen Leader and Stephen Minister, and is a member of his church choir at First United Methodist Church in Georgetown, Texas. He has served on the session at a Presbyterian church, and has been on the vestry at Episcopal churches. 

While singing with the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus, he was in 42 productions. He and his wife, Celeste, sing with the San Gabriel Chorale and have been in several Berkshire Festivals.

He was an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College where he taught computer courses for more than thirty years. He received the adjunct teaching excellence award in 2005. 

While attending the University of Texas in the 1960's he worked part-time at the Austin Public Library driving a bookmobile after completing service in the U.S. Marines.

He is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Writers League of Texas, and the San Gabriel Writers' League.

He has a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Long Beach. 

Awards for Where Love Once Lived include First Place -- 2007 SouthWest Writers Contest in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category, First Place -- 2007 Writers' League of Texas Novel Manuscript Contest, Romance Category, Third Place -- Fourteenth Annual Lone Star Writing Competition, Northwest Houston Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, Inspirational Romance Category and Finalist -- 2006 Yosemite Writers Contest Novel Category.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast, Timothy Phillips by Cliff Ball

Timothy Phillips
Timothy Phillips
By Cliff Ball

About the Book:

Can a nineteen year old stay true to the faith he was brought up on when he's under the spotlight?
Timothy Phillips dreams come true when he's discovered by the producer of a national talent show. So what's the problem? The recording contract is not in the Southern Gospel he would prefer to sing. As he begins recording and performing the music, he encounters increasing hostility towards Christians. Can he stay true to his faith, or will he end up compromising his beliefs little by little the more famous he becomes? When his world comes crashing down, will he have anything left to help him stand as the end times approach?


Cliff Ball lives in Texas, born in Arizona, is a Christian and is Baptist. Has two BA's, and a Certificate in Technical Communications from the University of North Texas. Has published ten novels and four short stories in multiple genres, but is currently writing a Christian fiction series called "The End Times Saga." Cliff's first taste of being published was when he won third in high school for a short story written in Creative Writing class for a young adult magazine.
Follow Cliff Ball

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Cliff Ball! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by CrossReads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stone of Destiny book review by Mary L Ball

Stone of Destiny by Mary L. Ball

Prism Book Group, January 2014
Print $12.99
Ebook $2.99

About the Book:
Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete--until her grandmother asks her to oversee the renovations of the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom.

Her first contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange. Unexpected feelings surface that she doesn't understand. Thoughts that should remain unspoken are voiced.

Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself and forcing her to question everything she believes.

Is this a fairytale, or simply her soul reaching out for a different world--a life she can only find
through faith and a divine trust in God?

Buy the Book on Amazon

my review: 

I like my romances with a little side of intrigue, and that's what author Mary Ball delivers in Stone of Destiny.

It's a romance, so it follows the patterns, yet with its own fingerprint, starting with a rather gruesome murder and the loss of an heirloom. Fifty years later, Taylor Harrison is the epitome of a modern career woman, much to her grandmother's pride and dismay. Taking Taylor's destiny in her hands, Grandma tries to make light of selling the family home, a home Taylor spent much time in as a child, and uses the old lady excuse to shame her into staying there to oversee remodeling. And of course the remodeler is a hunk ... and the sparks of battle turn into sparks of romance.

Grandma also asks Taylor, while she's packing up the house, to look for the missing family heirloom that has been handed down for generations, woman to woman, in the family, a sapphire ring. Eventually Taylor finds it...and learns its powerful secret.

Modern romance with all the angst and realism that go along with making choices. Taylor's dilemma over whether she could truly have a dual life of corporate exec and family joy is well-played, as is the hero, Brent, who bides his time, but is also willing to make sacrifices.

Well done. Nice weekend read, told from three different points of view.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Moment Keeper by Buffy Andrews book review

Product DetailsThe Moment Keeper, by Buffy Andrews
Carina, November 2013
Digital books, $7.99, discounted

Buy on Amazon

From the publisher:
Our lives are often connected in ways we never would have imagined...

Two babies; two very different upbringings.

First there is Sarah: raised by her loving grandmother, but neglected by her own father who views her as the instrument of her mother’s death. She will lead a hard life, searching to belong and to be loved.

Then there is Olivia, surrounded by love, nurtured and adored by her parents, a golden child with a golden future.

When Sarah’s life is cut tragically short and she is assigned to record the moments of Olivia’s life as her Moment Keeper, their lives become intertwined.

Sarah is able to overcome the heartbreak of her own lost years and Olivia is able to deal with a future that isn’t nearly as golden as what she had planned – or is it?

My review:
It's another make sure you have a box of tissues nearby story.

Andrews has created a true circle of life story, just the kind I personally love. Who we are, the choices we make, the support we receive, affect everyone. Part It's A Wonderful Life and part Lovely Bones, The Moment Keeper features characters who will impact your life for a long time.

Parallel life stories from two young women might shock some with the lifestyles of haves contrasting with the haven-nots. It may shame some of us who were guilty of being cruel at one time or another, and it will give more of us some real lessons on how to be a giver, no matter what stage of life. When at death a young woman is pulled into the afterlife with a special job, that of tracking and recording the moments of the life of another, the reader follows the journey of a privileged young girl, Olivia, growing in to adulthood. Along the way, Sarah, the Moment Keeper, shares her own struggle of life, tragedy, triumph, love, bullying, and mystery in a mirror image that almost feels voyeuristic.

Told in first person present and past with comparisons, not flashbacks, of Olivia to her own life, Sarah slowly reveals the events leading up to her suicide in a matter-of-fact, not exactly resentful, but wistful way.

Lovely tale. Kudos to Andrews for telling a very difficult story, and yes, there may be some predictability, but it was still a tearful joy to be part of the unfolding.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book review, non-fiction: Bless Israel, Be Blessed

Bless Israel, Be Blessed
by Ulung Awng Ja
Product Details·         Paperback: 216 pages
·         Publisher: Tate Publishing (February 4, 2014)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1629024309
·         ISBN-13: 978-1629024301

Buy the book: 

About the book:
Follow Ulung Awng Ja as he dives deep into the life of the family that gave birth to the country of Israel. In this analysis of the scripture, he uses his keen insight to bring new light to the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, and he discusses with us the importance of being a "mild" person. 

He also discusses the misconceptions that some people have regarding Jacob, and he uses scripture and the original language itself to back up what he says. 

Ulung explains the importance of the firstborn birthright and how all Christians can strive to obtain it.

My review:
Pastor Ulung Awng Ja has created an intriguing book that addresses insights on the birthright blessings of modern Christians using the Old Testament story of Jacob and Esau as an example.

The birthright blessing was given to Jacob before he was born, Pastor Ulung Awng Ja contends, as Rebecca his mother was answered in her prayer request to understand the struggle in her womb. He goes even further to suggest that if Isaac had been told by Jacob that Esau had sold his birthright, Isaac his father would have given the blessing anyway. Rebecca acted in accordance with God’s will when she advised her younger to obtain the blessing. The Scripture from Hebrews 11 and Romans 9 backs this up with the interpretation that Isaac, by faith, blessed the younger son over the elder.

Many such examples show Christians the true nature of God, his unconditional love, and his blessings. Conversely, while God loves all, not all love Him truly; some follow blindly, and many reject him outright

In subsequent chapters, Pastor Ulung Awng Ja offers more explanation and interpretation of the blessings and cursings, and their results for Christians. Christians show their commitment by following God’s Word and Commandments. All mankind is in bondage, but through Christ laying down his life, we are freed from death to become children of God. Such simple truths to the faithful who have been long-time believers is refreshing.

Told in honesty and with the lyracy of his native language, Bless Israel, Be Blessed is an interesting study on God’s blessings. Breaking down the modern language of today’s Bible versions, and applying both Old and New Testament Scriptures, Pastor Ulung Awng Ja helps those seeking faith, newly faithful, and long-time faithful see how and why we should practice our belief in the Savior and his grace.

About the Author:
Ulung Awng Ja is an author, Bible scholar and senior pastor of Myanmar Philadelphia Pentecostal Church. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit He serves God and teaches people according to what the Bible teaches us. 

He has written another book titled Why Did God Create Man? It has been published by Wine press Publishing.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book review: Debut thriller Friend Me by John Faubion

Howard Books, February 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1476738727
Print: $14
Ebook - $10

About the Book:
From the publisher - You’re afraid you are becoming unfaithful, aren’t you?” 

Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming. . . . 

Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant— and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the Virtual Friend Me software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life. 

As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late.

My review

John Faubion’s debut novel speaks to the heart of relationships, of the depths of marriage and the reality of what betrayal and unfaithfulness looks like to people of faith.

Not something we might expect from a former missionary unless we knew that missionary turned software developer.

You just knew a book like Friend Me had to come sooner or later in today’s social media world. Virtual reality, while around for a while, melds dangerously with physical reality in this story. When loneliness and disappointment lead Rachel Douglas to experiment with a new website to re-create a lost friendship with a virtual online avatar, neither she nor her husband realize they are being played. Rachel’s husband, Scott, is curious about his wife’s activities, and checks out the site. Stress at work may be part of the blame, but giving in to temptation and a lack of respect and trust in the people around him—a heart of sin—is what leads him to create a virtual playmate. What is unfaithfulness? Faubion explores the issue in this book that’s sure to generate a lot of good discussion.

Told from three viewpoints, the two protagonists, Scott and Rachel, and the antagonist who’s the programmer, the reader is never in the dark about the depths to which each of them has fallen. Their deepest desires, their faults and their faith are all exposed as they strive for what they want.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most married couples reach a point from time to time of feeling stale or even betrayed; of not wanting to share burdens, of keeping secrets and lying to each other. This story shows what that’s like, and the hard work and discipline it takes to decide to practice marriage even when we may not always feel like it. Honestly Scott and Rachel were not always likeable and seemed to be graced by all good things, but that’s the way of grace. They learned, they grew, they forgave and were forgiven.

An intriguing side note to the novel is Faubion’s inspiration - which I hope will be put back on his website at publication. The concept for virtual friend creation came to him as business idea. You’ll want to read why he decided not to follow through. Readers of contemporary inspirational suspense will be fascinated with Friend Me, especially those who are curious about behind-the-scenes software development (not in-depth), and the possibilities of a frightening new computer reality that can so easily manipulate users with false perceptions and advertising.

Buy the book:
Christian Book 
Barnes and Noble

About the author:
John Fabion, author of Christian Suspense.

John Faubion

I am a former thirty-year foreign missionary, now working as Senior Software Engineer for a large electronics and appliance retailer.

In 1966, as a new Christian and an American soldier in Vietnam, I was deeply moved at my first exposure to idolatry. In 1974, after completing Bible college and missionary deputation, our family of four moved to South Vietnam to begin formal missionary work, where we remained until the war was lost and Americans had to leave.

In 1976, with another missionary, we started Harvest Baptist Church and Christian School on Guam.
We returned to the field in 1977 going to Taiwan, where we began our Chinese ministry. The Lord allowed us to start the Ping Lin Baptist Church in Taichung at that time.

From 1981 until 1988 I did the software development for Baptist International Missions in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We then returned to the mission field of mainland China. In 1989 my first wife went to be with the Lord, and the Lord gave me my wife Beth in 1990. 

We remained in Beijing and Hong Kong until 1999.

I'm still a Mandarin Chinese speaker. I have five children, the youngest sixteen years old.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Kickstarter Project: Adam's Animals with Kimberley Payne

Kickstarter is a way to bring a creative project to life with the direct support of friends, colleagues and family.  My book project, Adam’s Animals, is one of the endeavours found on Kickstarter.

Adam’s Animals is a children’s activity book that features over 40 animals mentioned in the Bible and little-known facts about each. It’s ideal for 6 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life. It is the second book in the Science and Faith Matters series. The first book, Trees of the Book – Learning from God’s Creation, is a colourful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories.

As the book creator, I have set a funding goal of $3500, with a deadline of February 28th, 2014. If you like my book idea, you can pledge any amount of money to make it happen.

As the book backer, you choose from a number of rewards based on the amount of financial support you pledge. For example, backers who pledge a minimum of $5, will receive a choice of one of two of my e-books: 1) Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health, OR 2) Women of Strength - a devotional to improve spiritual and physical health. Backers who pledge a minium of $15 will receive an autographed copy of Adam’s Animals. Backers who pledge a minimum of $175 will be listed on the “Dedication” page at the back of the book PLUS will receive an autographed copy of Adam’s Animals.

Backing Adam’s Animals is more than just giving money. Writers need encouragement and you would be supporting my dream of creating a valuable resource for children and parents.

To support the creation of Adam’s Animals please visit Kimberley's kickstarter site.

1.       Tell us about yourself

I am an award-winning author and a member of The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship, and John 3:16 Marketing Network.
I combine my teaching experience and love of writing to create educational materials for mothers and children about family, fitness, science and faith.

2.       Tell us about the book
My latest project is Adam’s Animals, a children’s activity book that features over 40 animals mentioned in the Bible and little-known facts about each. It is the second book in the Science and Faith Matters series. The first book, Trees of the Book – Learning from God’s Creation, is a colourful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories.
3.       Who is this book written for?
Adam’s Animals is ideal for 6 to 9 year-olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life.

4.       What was your inspiration for this book?

Years ago, my daughter wrote a little book called, “Did you know...fascinating and fun facts about animals around the world” as a fundraiser to go to camp. I helped her with it and loved discovering new things about God’s creation.

5.       Do you have a favorite animal and why that one?

I loved learning about the leopard. This big cat can climb trees, run fast, and swim. He’s powerful and smart. My kind of creature!

6.        Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
There was a ton of research. Not only did I have to dig through the Bible to discover the animals mentioned, but then I had to research each individually to uncover five unusual facts.

7.       What do you hope this book accomplishes?
I hope that Adam’s Animals will fuel the desire for children to read the Bible and to also learn more about the animals that God created.

8.       Where can we find you?

Kickstarter Campaign:



Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

See also:  Proverbs 30:25

The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote the Book of Proverbs – a book of wise sayings to help us live godly lives. In this verse, Solomon points out that it is foolish to be idle and lazy. He says that we should learn from the example of the ant who doesn’t laze around and wait to be told what to do, but is willing to work hard and do what needs to be done.

Did you know?

·            Ants are from the insect family
·            Ants can lift 20 times their body weight
·            Ants have two stomachs – one to hold the food for itself and one to hold food to be shared with other ants
·            There are 3 kinds of ants in a colony: the queen, the female workers, and males
·            Ants communicate by using chemicals called pheromones
·            Ants don’t have ears but they “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground

About the Illustrator 

The illustrator, Janis Cox, is an author, watercolour artist, wife, mother and grandma -- but most of all she's a faithful follower of Jesus. She's been retired from teaching for over 15 years but finds herself back into her passion of working with children.

Janis says, "I love painting pictures of animals and it will be a joy to create the illustrations for Kimberley’s new book. Plus working with Kimberley has always been exciting. Her enthusiasm always brings joy to my heart.”

Janis’ website  


About the Publisher 

Diane Roblin-Lee is the owner of byDesign Media, a custom publishing company which specializes in beautiful layouts and cover designs. With over 30 years in the publishing industry, Diane has written several bestsellers herself and takes pride in being able to help other writers to get their books out to the world. 

Her tag line, "From Manuscript to Market," covers the full spectrum of services, from editing and design, to publishing and international distribution. Helping her authors find pleasure and satisfaction in the publishing process is very important to Diane.

Diane’s website