Annual Indie Christian Books Sale

Four years ago, I contacted my small circle of authors friends to see if they wanted to discount their books for Black Friday and join forces to spread the word. It was supposed to be a one-time thing. This is our third year with a dedicated website for the one-week sale, our circle of authors keeps growing, we’re drawing close to having 1,000 unique visitors check out the sale, and since it’s become way to much work for little old me, Kendra E. Ardnek has joined me as a second coordinator. It’s safe to say, Indie Christian Books has a lot to be grateful for.

ICB Sale Blog

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A Graduate Shops at a Homeschool Convention

Last weekend my brother and I and two friends went to our area’s annual homeschool convention. That might not seem unusual until you realize that three out of the four of us have graduated, and we went without our parents! So what do a bunch of alumni do at a homeschool conference? Pretty much the same thing as everyone else. We go to lectures and shop–we just don’t buy curriculum! If you’re looking for some new reads and want to support homeschool vendors, here’s what I purchased this year.

Homeschool Convention

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Author Interview: Morgan Huneke

Today isEspionage the release day for Morgan Elizabeth Huneke’s novel, Espionage! I’m excited to share her answers to a few interview questions.

Check Out Other Stops in the Release Tour

Without further ado…

If you were to create a devotional based off Espionage, what would the theme be?

Forgiveness and mercy. I don’t want to elaborate too much—if I do, I’ll give away the ending—but it’s a very important topic for the book, one I certainly did not put in there intentionally. No one deserves mercy. Absolutely no one. But that’s what makes it so much greater.

How did writing this book grow you as a person?

Well, it did help me to better understand the messages of forgiveness and mercy. None of the theological elements in the book were things I didn’t already know, but sometimes you know things with your head and not your heart. It’s tough to forgive someone who has wronged you. It’s tough to show mercy to someone who sought to ruin your life. But the consequences of not showing mercy are so much worse. Dying without Jesus is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. That last point really hit home for me when a relative died several years ago, and writing Espionage brought it back up and helped me to share just a bit of that. (Now, the two incidents are slightly different because I did care about the relative and I don’t like the character.)

Pick one of your favorite characters from Espionage. If s/he found an abandoned infant, how would s/he react? How does his/her backstory impact this reaction?

I’ll pick Kyle, though I think his reaction would be much the same as Vannie’s. He would take the baby home and take care of its needs right off. He would try to find out who the baby belonged to and why it was abandoned. If it was simply because the family was too poor to support it, he would provide them with what they needed. If the family truly didn’t want the baby, he would find a loving Christian family to adopt it. This is where he differs from Vannie, because Kyle’s home life is too terrible for him to bring someone else into it, and Vannie’s is secure and happy enough that she’d want her parents to be the ones to adopt the baby. How Kyle’s backstory impacts it. Mostly because he knows what it’s like to be neglected and unwanted. As nobility, he’ll never be physically abandoned, but he knows emotional abandonment well. And he’d never wish that on anyone else.

What do you want readers to know about yourself and Espionage?

Growing up involved in politics had a huge impact on this book. The whole conflict in the book is sparked by an alliance controversy. And that political side of things is very important to me. However, this is more of a personal book. It’s about family and friendship. About always doing what’s right. And about showing mercy. It’s a book that means a lot to me, and I hope it means a lot to you too.

About Espionage

“Sir Roland has invited us to visit for the Autumn Feast.”

“Do we have to go, Papa? I couldn’t feast with the most crooked politician in all of Briznom.”

As the daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord, Vannie Cumberland has spent her childhood immersed in the world of politics. Relations between Briznom and the neighboring country of Calhortz are strained due to the tyrannical rule of the strytes. A proposed alliance could calm relations between the two countries, but would come at the cost of Briznom’s freedom.

When her father’s political archenemy invites them to the Autumn Feast, Vannie uncovers an evil scheme endangering the life of someone close to her. Personal enmity comes to a dangerous head as Vannie struggles to expose the corruption and stop the alliance. Time is running out.

Events are becoming too big for her to handle. Will Sir Roland’s son help or will things finally spiral out of control?

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About Morgan

Morgan ElizabethMorgan Huneke_author Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

 

Giveaway

Join in the excitement of Espionage and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive a signed copy of Espionage. The second and third prize winners will receive an eCopy of Espionage in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

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The Legacy of Fiction

A hymn I enjoy begins with the words, “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going, And soon all those around, can warm up in it’s glowing.” The song refers to God’s love, which is obviously more important and more powerful than fictional stories. However, I’ve been reminded recently of the lasting impact a story can have.

Legacy of Fiction

Returning to books I enjoyed as a young reader often shows me how various stories shaped who I am today (stay tuned for a post about ways A Little Princess inspired me). For example, a few months ago I re-read The Hundred Dresses. As I read, I realized it was this story that sparked my determination to introduce myself to each new person at my homeschool group. I never wanted anyone to feel the way the Polish girl in the story did, and I never wanted to regret not being friendly to someone the way the narrator did.

While the phrase “show, don’t tell” can be a writer’s bane, it is the essence of impactful fiction. Stories are amazing because a well crafted tale allows readers to absorb important lessons without anyone telling them what they’re supposed to learn. The Hundred Dresses didn’t tell me, “Don’t let peer pressure cause you to be unkind.” Instead, it made me feel sympathetic. It pulled me into the loneliness of a girl who didn’t fit in, and the struggle of a girl afraid to share her fate. After reading it, no one had to tell me, “Befriend new people, lonely people, people of different cultures, and outcasts.” Instead, I spent hours daydreaming ways I would have made friends with the girl in the story. I imagined what I would say to her and mentally acted out our conversations. I crafted the words I would use to tell the mean girls how wrong they were.

India_45_FToday, there are few things I enjoy more than making friends with people of different cultures. My existing friends laugh at how predictable I am when I meet someone who speaks Spanish as their first language, because it rarely takes long for me to strike the bargain, “I’ll help you with English if you help me improve my Spanish!” I love listening to my Indian friends tell me of love found through arranged marriage. Trying the food and clothing of different cultures is a special excitement. When a new “girl” (or woman) shows up at church, I do my best to introduce myself and make her feel welcome.

Some of these traits are part of my personality and upbringing. However, I know that reading The Hundred Dresses many years ago triggered a lot of these habits that shape who I am as adult. What I didn’t realize was that the affect of the story reached beyond myself.

Last week, my family went to a special annual event done by our old homeschool group. We enjoyed catching up with old friends and seeing how much the “little kids” have grown up. After the performances, one of the moms and I were talking, and she took a moment to introduce me to a newcomer . Her introduction was, “This is Leah. She was the first person to introduce herself to me and the kids when we started coming here.” When the other person left, the mom turned back to me and said, “Your introduction made such an impact on me. Now, when there are new families, I have my children go and introduce themselves.”

You never know how your actions will impact other people, or how long lasting the impact will be.

I think it is incredible to look back and pinpoint the small things that sparked bigger things and follow how those things have grown over the years. As a lover of books, it’s especially neat to see how often stories are responsible for inspiring practical things in real life. Fiction–good fiction–is not a waste of time. It inspires and challenges us.

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word
And then that word grew louder and louder…
The Call, from Prince Caspian

What legacy has fiction left in your life? What practical actions have stories inspired you to take? How have books shaped the person you are today?

5 Novels for Easter

The two most joyful proclamations in the Bible are “Unto us a child is born” and “He is risen!” This are words that cause the Christian heart to thrill. Yet, to our shame, sometimes even these pronouncements of joy loose their luster. Over the years, many stories have renewed my sense of wonder over various aspects of of the Good News. If you want to look at the Easter story with fresh eyes this year, here are some reading suggestions.

5 novels for easter

Titus Comrade of the CrossTitus: Comrade of the Cross
Good Friday
When I grabbed this book off a shelf in our basement, I didn’t give the title much thought. About halfway through the book, I began to feel a sinking sense of dread about the term comrade of the cross. Florence M. Kingsley wrote this book just before the 19th century turned to the 20th. According to Goodreads, it was written in response to a publisher’s challenge to “write a manuscript that would set a child’s heart on fire for Jesus Christ.” This book will bring you to Golgotha through the eyes of the believing thief.

RivenRiven
Good Friday
If you read the story synopsis for this book, you won’t understand why I put it on this list. It’s a contemporary novel about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and a chaplain who has seen better days. Riven is also one of the longest books I’ve ever read, so it would take quite a time commitment to finish in one week. However, I can promise you will see Good Friday with new eyes after reading this. It’s one of the most unique, powerful stories I’ve ever read. It’s also the only book I continued crying over long after turning the last page.
Note: Not recommended for readers under 16.

Vinegar Boy

Vinegar Boy
Good Friday & Easter
This is a good read if you prefer something a little less intense than Riven or Titus: Comrade of the Cross. Vinegar boy would make a great family read-a-loud. The story follows the life of an orphan boy who wants nothing more than to be healed from a birthmark (a port wine stain) that leads people to believe he’s cursed. If he was healed, he would be adopted and have the opportunity to lead a normal life. The Rabbi from Nazareth seems his only hope–a hope dashed when he finds himself beneath the cross of Jesus’, wetting Christ’s lips with sponge of vinegar.

Ben-HurBen-Hur
Good Friday & Easter
I freely admit that I have yet to read this book front to back–the one time I digested the whole story in literary form was when I listened to it from Focus on the Family Radio Theater. However, this classic tale is the first to come to mind when considering Easter stories. This novel is a great representation of a life healed by tragedy of the crucifixion and the triumph of the resurrection. If you don’t have time for the book or audio drama, there’s always the more frequently consumed movie.
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Easter Surprise, TheThe Easter Surprise
Easter
The resurrection story for the smaller members of the family. The Arch Books Bible stories are among the first books I ever read on my own. We had a good stock of them both at home and in our church’s nursery. There is a whole collection of Arch Books for this time of year, including: The Week That Led to Easter, The Day Jesus Died, The Story of the Empty Tomb, The Resurrection, He’s Risen! He’s Alive!, and The Easter Stranger.

Acts of FaithActs of Faith Trilogy
After Easter
Enter the world of the early church. Authors Janette Oke and Davis Bunn teamed up to write these stories of faith, persecution, and determination. Book two, The Hidden Flame, was my personal favorite as it gave me a deeper appreciation for the faithfulness and sacrifice of Stephen.
Note: Recommend that younger teens check with their parents before reading this trilogy.

What are your favorite Easter stories? Which novels have helped you gain a renewed appreciation of Bible events?

Cover Reveal: The Solid Rock

TSR Reveal Banner

Today, I’m helping Faith Blum announce that she has not only an official release day, but also a cover for her newest novel, The Solid Rock!! There’s a catch, though. You can’t see the cover for the novel until you’ve gathered all 15 clues. There’s also an exciting giveaway of 10 books, well 14 if you count the box set of 5 as 5 instead of just 1.  Have fun searching for the clues. Instructions on how to see the cover are under the “Clues” section of the blog post.

About the Book

QuotableJoshua woke with a quiet groan. As his senses woke up one at a time, he cracked his eyelids open. Sure enough, there was a silhouetted form standing at the foot of the bed. From the smell, the person was either from the brothel down the street or had recently left one. He forced himself to breathe evenly and reached for the knife in his thigh holster. With as tough and evil a voice as he could imitate, he spoke, “State your intentions.”

Pinkerton detective, Joshua Brookings, is sent on a job that seems simple on the surface. His fellow detective has been kidnapped and his boss, William Pinkerton senses foul play. Joshua is sent to investigate Edward’s case in hopes of finding the kidnapped detective and helping solve the case that has taken over ten years to investigate.

Arriving in Cheyenne, Joshua finds much more than a simple kidnapping. Yet again, he must go undercover, something he made his boss promise never to make him do again. The only Christian in the outlaw group, Joshua falters and almost loses faith in God’s providence. Will he stand on the solid Rock or drown in the sinking sand?

About the Author

Author Picture  2015-2016 bFaith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. (The picture doesn’t show it well, but there are scribblings on the page of Green Eggs and Ham). Now that she’s grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, writing, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.

Giveaway

Giveaway Meme

All the books in the giveaway are either Christian, Mystery, or Western. I have not read all of them, so I cannot vouch for what they are like inside. There will only be one winner (sorry), and since they are all ebooks, we can open the giveaway up internationally as well! Here is the list of the ebooks. To find out more about each book, please click on the title and read the Amazon description.

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Clue

In order to gain access to the blog page that has the full cover on it, you need to hop over to the 14 other blogs to gather the clues. Each blogger will have a clue number and one  character of the clue. Each clue is either a number, letter, or symbol. What you need to do is gather the clues and put them in the correct order. Once this is done, type in the password (no spaces) on the protected page (found here) and you will find the full cover in all its glory. While you’re on each blog, be sure to read the excerpts and I’m sure each blogger would appreciate a comment. Happy sleuthing!

Clue 11

Blogs

Excerpt

Quotable #3

Sale!

Amaging Grace Sale

To celebrate the cover reveal, Faith also has the third book in her series on sale! It will be $0.99 through 11am tomorrow and then will go up to $1.99 until Monday evening when it will be back at full price. Here’s a short description of Amazing Grace: A doubting man agrees to wed a widowed mail-order bride, but he struggles with whether or not he can be a father to the woman’s daughter who desperately wants a father’s love. You can purchase this book here: getBook.at/AmazingGrace.

 

 

Book Review: The Case of the Tabloid Tattler

Tabloid TattlerKitten has a startling secret and an important request. She knows how to write and would like a real name to replace ‘Kitten.’ Keith, the detective who took her in, takes an understandable several minutes to accept this dumbfounding fact about his adopted cat. After he recovers, he dubs her Mia. Soon, Mia has made herself a member of Keith’s detective team, assigning herself the roll of undercover spy. Someone is leaking private information to tabloids. It’s either the housekeeper, cook, maid, or maintenance man. Mia has her suspicious, but she doesn’t have long to prove them.

This is an adorable book for young readers who enjoy series like The Boxcar Children and The Pony Pals.

Book Review: In His Image

In His Image

I looked at his face, for the first time feeling a sense of common humanity with him. Before I had subconsciously been thinking of the inhabitants as different from us, somehow not truly human, whatever their biological makeup might be. But that was wrong. This young man had a life just as real as mine; a heart, a mind, and emotions, as genuine as my own.

It’s so fun to see authors’ works improving as they continue to write. Several people told me that In His Image was way better than Radialloy and they were so right. I liked Radialloy, but it took me a while to get into it and I found it a little difficult to follow at times. No such problem here.

Andi and her adoptive father work the sickbay on board a space craft that searches for extra-terrestrial life. As Christians, neither Andi, her dad, or her cousin Crash believe in such a thing. After all, people are uniquely created in the image of God. Right? When the team experiences a rocky landing on an exploratory trip to a new planet, all of them are shocked to find themselves pulled into a colony of people. How did the civilization get there? Are they aliens or humans? And what should the crew of the Surveyor do about them?

The characterization in this books was fantastic. I could sense Andi being stretched and growing as a person. Elasson came to life even though he had limited dialogue due to speaking a different language. There were some tantalizing hints dropped about Crash’s past. Plus some pretty neat developments with August.

For those of you who might raise your eyebrows at the fictional discovery of extra-terrestrial life, it’s handled well. Promise. A totally Biblical worldview and explanation spiced with the age-old author game of, “What if?”

P.S. I read this on my kindle, therefore I can lend it to someone. Who wants to borrow the Kindle copy of this book? If you’d like to be considered, leave a comment saying so!

Me getting ready to read last night.

Me getting ready to read last night.