Wednesday, March 28, 2007

CFBA novel of the week: Reclaiming Nick


Award winning author SUSAN MAY WARREN recently returned home to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods. Visit her Web site at


RECLAIMING NICK is the first of The Noble Legacy series. Book Two, TAMING RAFE, will be available January 2008.

A Modern Day Prodigal Comes Home...

Nick Noble hadn't planned on being the prodigal son.

But when his father dies and leaves half of Silver Buckle--the Noble family ranch--to Nick’s former best friend, he must return home to face his mistakes, and guarantee that the Silver Buckle stays in the Noble family.

Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she’s determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging than she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile.

As Nick seeks to overturn his father’s will--and Piper digs for answers--family secrets surface that send Nick’s life into a tailspin. But there’s someone who’s out to take the Silver Buckle from the Noble family, and he’ll stop at nothing--even murder--to make it happen.


Considering the fact that this concerned cowboys and romance (two of my not-so-favorite things), I enjoyed this book--at least the suspense parts. I'm sure romance/cowboy lovers will relish every word. It's well-written, and I liked the plot surprises along the way.

It's hard to pick a favorite character, but I think it would be Maggie. She is Nick's former best friend Cole's wife. A part of her is still in love with Nick, though she was wronged by him (you'll have to read to find out how). However, she is dedicated to her husband through good and bad.

I have to say that I enjoyed Susan's Everything's Coming Up Josey much more, perhaps because it was funnier and wasn't about cowboys. :) But that's just my opinion. I'm sure if you check out some other CFBA'ers blogs, you'll see some great reviews.

Buy the book here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CFBA title of the week: It Happens Every Spring

About the authors:

GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the New York Times best seller The Five Love Languages and numerous othe rbooks. He's the director of Marriage & Family Life Consultants, Inc., and host of A Growing Marriage, a syndicated radio program heard on over 100 stations across North America. He and his wife, Karolyn, live in North Carolina.

CATHERINE PALMER is the Christy Award-winning, CBA best-selling author of more than forty novels--including The Bachelor's Bargain--which have more than 2 million copies in print. She lives in Missouri with her husband, Tim, and two sons.

About the book:

IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING is the first of The Four Seasons fiction series, based on the ever-changing cycles of relationships detailed in Gary Chapman's nonfiction book The Four Seasons of Marriage. The novels will focus on four couples, each moving in and out of a different season.

Word travels fast at the Just As I Am beauty shop.

So when a simple homeless man appears on Steve and Brenda Hansen's doorstep, the entire shop is set abuzz, especially when Brenda lets him sleep on their porch.

That's not all the neighbors are talking about. Spring may be blooming outdoors, but an icy chill has settled over the Hansens' marriage. Steve is keeping late hours with clients, and the usually upbeat Brenda is feeling the absence of her husband and her college-age kids.

Add to that the unsavory business moving in next to the beauty shop and the entire community gets turned upside down. Now Brenda's friends must unite to pull her out of her rut and keep the unwanted sotre out of town. But can Steve and Brenda learn to thaw their chilly marriage and enjoy the hope spring offers?


Is Deepwater Cove, Missouri just another lazy small town in mid-America? Not on your life.

A homeless man has taken up sleeping on Brenda Hansen’s porch, but that’s not her worst problem. Depression has set in since her kids went away to college and her husband Steve started working 24/7 at his real estate job. And when a handyman renovates her basement, will she get more than she bargained for? How will she save her icy cold marriage from freezing altogether? Can her friends band together and help pull her out of her misery in time?

This emotional story is great on at least two levels. Firstly, it has a cast of wonderful and varied characters, some of which are: Patsy, the prayerful owner of the “Just as I Am” beauty shop; Esther, the elderly town busybody; Ashley, the newly married girl; the divorced and remarried Kim and Patsy’s secret admirer and owner of “Rods ‘n’ Ends,” Pete.

Secondly, it presents the problem of a rocky marriage realistically, not sugar coating its tragedy. In the end, everything isn’t tied up in a neat little package, but hope is renewed in people’s lives, which is the necessary precursor for change.

I think this is a super way to introduce marriage principles into fiction. There will be three other novels for the three other seasons which I’m sure will prove to be just as delightful.

The Book Link

Monday, March 19, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour is proud to feature: Randall Ingermanson's Double Vision

Those of us who write speculative fiction have a lot to thank Randy Ingermanson for. He has helped our cause in the CBA, letting publishers know that sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative genres can do well in the Christian market. This blog tour is living proof!

So without further ado, I will heap copious adulation towards a man who not only writes great novels, but who has created "The Snowflake Method" for writing novels, "Fiction 101" for newbie writers, and my favorite, "The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine." See what I'm raving about

My review:

For those of us who are acquainted with Randall Ingermanson, it will come as no surprise that this novel is not only intelligent and engrossing, but darn funny. During the course of my reading, l learned, laughed, cried, stressed out, pondered, and in the end, said to myself: “How in the world does he think this stuff up?”

Dillon Richard, the brilliant darling of CypherQuanta, suffers from a type of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. So when he experiences conflicting emotions in regards to two very different ladies, he becomes confused. Keryn Wills, budding novelist and part-time CFO for CypherQuanta, is concerned not only about her manuscript’s deadline, but also about the new young Caltech Ph.D. her boss has brought in for a special project. Enter flirty Rachel Myers, who has the beauty to go with her brains. Rachel turns heads with as much success as she talks quantum mechanics.

Rachel’s potentially lucrative quantum computer brainchild spawns a life-threatening race as she, Dillon, and Keryn speed against time and seek refuge from those who wish to pilfer their technology. But who can they trust? The government? Their own boss?

Even a normal brain can wrap itself around this subject matter, which is a positive for the average reader. Humorous quirks and clever dialogue bring a unique reality to the characters. Harrowing dilemmas propel the reader forward on a ride as wild as any roller coaster. However, unlike a roller coaster ride, there is no down side to this book.

As far as genre, although technically contemporary suspense adding in romance, it still jives with sci-fi because of the scientific what-ifs in the plot. In my opinion, the perfect blend. I highly recommend it--it's one of my favorite novels ever.

The book link: Double Vision

By the way, Randy, if you don't put out another novel soon, I'm going to wring the necks of those lovely publishers! I've been waiting forever! :)

Here are the member links--go visit and see what tasty morsels they have available this week:
Nissa Annakindt
Jim Black
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Tessa Edwards
April Erwin
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Leathel Grody
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Tsaba House Authors
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My Writing Journey

Beware those who don't want to read a long post or see me lay bare the wounds of my all-but-shattered not-yet-existent writing career. What follows is my saga.


Some people are born knowing they will be writers. I am not one of those people. However, I’m definitely a born reader—been perusing newspapers since I was four, or so I’m told. Soon after, I graduated to Nancy Drew and Narnia.

Fast-forward to 2002. Engrossed as I had been in fiction, I discovered my all-time hero, Ted Dekker. My emergence into writing can’t be told without mentioning him. His stories made me realize my love for suspense, biblical allegory and the supernatural.

Two years later, I put away the childlike poetry I’d been creating and started on devotionals and short stories. I found the website, the first writing site I had ever been involved in. It helped me get my start in the Christian writing world. Fellow writers there were very helpful and encouraging to me, and I even placed in the Weekly Writing Challenge’s Editor’s Choice twice.

Meanwhile, the urge inside me to write a novel (to be like Ted!) grew like an insatiable puppy. I wrote some very short stories and articles, joined another writing group, started reviewing fiction, and eventually got some ideas together for a novel.

Last year, my idea well went dry. I never got past character sketches and a skeleton outline for my first novel-in-progress. Reading books on writing helped me gain invaluable knowledge as did reading posts from other authors on writing loops. There was so much information in my head, but I couldn’t get it out on paper or computer screen. I kept reviewing, enjoying that aspect of writing immensely. But I wasn’t progressing toward my elusive goal of finishing a novel.

As an aside, I don’t even care if the novel gets published. Truly, I just want to be able to say I did it. To be able to create exciting plots, eternal themes and memorable characters as so many others do. To be a part of something good, something I believe God gave me a natural bent toward.

Yes, I’ve been published with reviews, a few devotionals and poetry—but not for pay, nothing to say I’m a professional, save one book review. So I’ve had some successes, especially with the resources I’ve found and friends I’ve made in the writing world.

But for me, writer’s block may not be something I can just get over. People talk about their “call” to writing like pastors talk about their “call” to ministry. I can’t say I have that call. I have other talents I use for God. Very recently, I decided it was time I figure out if writing (specifically, working on a novel) is something God really wants me to pour my life into. Because, as you writers know, it takes hours and hours of hard work. It’s not something you can just pick up and put down on a whim. It is life-absorbing.

In my quest for the meaning of my writing life, I seek answers in prayer. I compare this period of my life and the seeking of my dream to the stages Ordinary experiences in Bruce Wilkinson’s haunting and inspiring allegory The Dream Giver. My husband made a huge, life-changing decision last year partially based on this book. He hasn’t regretted it for a minute. I have already read the book, but I’m now going back through it, using its applications for my own life.

Wilkinson tells the story of a Nobody named Ordinary who leaves the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream, given by the Dream Giver. Once Ordinary leaves his Comfort Zone, he must overcome Border Bullies who threaten him not to leave, who are overly concerned for his safety and return to normalness. Then he navigates the Wasteland, a dry place where he is starving and lost, certain that the Dream Giver has forgotten him. But he perseveres and reaches Sanctuary, a time of refreshment and rest where Ordinary can actually see the Land of Promise. It’s close at hand. Yet, the Dream Giver asks Ordinary to give back his dream—to lay it down, proving that he wants the Dream Giver more than the dream. When Ordinary finally succumbed, he received peace and got his dream back as well. But that’s not the end. Ordinary must win victory over the Giants in the Land and only the Dream Giver’s power can help him. Eventually he beats the giants of Moneyless, Corruption, Rejection and Darkness, finally able to enter the Land of Promise and find his dream.

That’s not the whole story, but it’s enough. I am Ordinary. I have a dream, one I can’t accomplish on my own. God gave it to me and He can take it away. But I know that if God has truly given me writing as my dream, I will encounter obstacles and tests of faith. I will have to lay down my dream and trust that He will either give it back or give me something bigger and better.

See, I’ve laid it down. For all intents and purposes, I’ve quit writing, given up the struggle of wordsmithing. But I know that God has a purpose for me, and whether or not it be writing, I trust Him to tell me what it is and lead me into the land of plenty where I can joyfully serve Him doing my dream.

So that’s where I am. But that’s not all.

For months I’ve been asking God to rearrange my priorities, to help me figure out the writing dilemma. I’ve heard nothing. I’m still confused. However, it has been less than a week since I gave up my dream. And what did I get in my Inbox yesterday? A publication that had previously rejected a devotional I submitted reconsidered and accepted it. (Whoa!) I teared up and nearly fell out of my swivel chair.

What does this mean? Is God giving me back my dream? After all, it’s not like I poured out 5,000 words of a blockbuster novel. Just a very small acceptance. But it’s an acceptance. A paid acceptance. Is this confirmation? Or something to add more confusion to my life?

The jury is still out on this, in my estimation. But I’m open to whatever God wants to do. I’m still not actively writing anything but reviews, but if a great idea for a novel comes to mind or a scene is played out in my head, you better believe I’ll write it down.
The above is cross-posted at The Lost Genre Guild Blog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CFBA feature: The Reliance, by M. L. Tyndall

I'm Mad Mary Roberts, and I have the great honor of holding the position of Quartermaster on THE RELIANCE (pardon my use of English instead of pirate--I figured none of ye er... you would understand if I used my own dialect).

You can see a picture of me and a list of the other shipmates on THE RELIANCE here:

Or, find out your own pirate name here:

A YOUNG BRIDE separated from her husband just as a child has been conceived...

A GRIEVING HUSBAND tempted to take his anger out through the vices of his past...

A MARRIAGE AND A SHIP threatened to be split apart by villainous Caribbean pirates...

In THE RELIANCE, Edmund Merrick tormented by the apparent demise of his pregnant wife Charlisse, sails away to drown his sorrows. He turns his back on God and reverts to a life of villainy, joining forces with the demented French pirate Collier. When his mind clears from its rum-induced haze, will Edmund find the will to escape?

Seemingly abandoned by her new husband, Charlisse battles her own insecurities as she is thrown into the clutches of the vengeful pirate Kent, who holds her and Lady Isabel captive.

Will she be swept away by the undertow of treachery and despair? Can Edmund and Charlisse battle the tempests that threaten to tear them apart and steer their way to the faith-filled haven they so desperately seek? Or will they ultimately lose their love and lives to the whirlpool of treachery and deceit?

M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she's only give her heart to Him completely.


Merrick and Charlisse have fallen in love and married. The captain continues sea life commanding his ship, “The Redemption,” and bringing ruthless pirates to justice for the British government.

While visiting San Lorenzo, Spain, Merrick and Charlisse are caught in an onslaught by the dreaded pirate Captain Morgan. During the couple’s hasty escape, they help some orphans by herding them into an abandoned church building. Soon after Merrick leaves to find a wagon, the church blows up with Charlisse inside. He thinks she has been killed, when in fact she has been kidnapped (for the second time—first in the previous book) by scurrilous pirate Captain Kent Carlton.

Through storms, dangerous ports, sea battles, misunderstandings and more, Charlisse learns that the only thing she can count on is God’s love and protection. Though everything about her wavers and crashes, she must learn to rely on God’s unconditional love for those who believe. What a great reminder! God often doesn’t take storms from us, but He is with us in them and grows us into His likeness through them.

And as Merrick learns the hard way, even when our trials come at our own fault, we need to be certain that God is faithful, even when we are not.

Regardless of the fact that I’m not into historicals or romance, I love these pirate stories. Tyndall has done a remarkable job making these books enjoyable to a wide readership.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

CFBA Day 2: My review of The Watchers

Today, along with my review, I'd like to refer you to a great suspense website (where I'm on staff), The Suspense Zone, that's featuring not only my review of this novel, but a review by Kevin Lucia. He's on the CFBA tour as well, so you can see the review on his site (The Bookshelf Reviews) or on the Suspense Zone's site. He has a slightly different opinion in his review--perhaps it's because he's a guy (and admits it readily, lol). He connected more with the main male character, and I with the main female character. Go figure.


The premise of this novel is one of the most interesting I’ve come across in a while. Without giving too much away, it is based on the assumption that there is a group of women who possess keen supernatural sight (including the ability to see the unseen), which is passed on spiritually to their daughters in the faith.

California beach girl Abby Sherman may seem like your typical twenty-year-old. But when Abby begins to see visions, she seeks understanding and empathy via her MyCorner blog. Little does she know that the vision awakened in her is just the beginning of a second sight that binds her with women all over the world. Thousands respond with their own personal experiences. Then Abby is struck with a dangerous malady that threatens her life. As she increases in popularity, evil forces will stop at nothing to shut her up before she does any more damage to their cause.

Ex-military assassin Dylan Hatfield has been paid big bucks to off Abby, but why? Will he have the guts to finish his mission when all hell breaks loose? Who can Abby trust and where will she find the answers to questions about her new God-given gift?

Danger surrounding her on every side, Abby travels the world, slowly unraveling deep mysteries and dark conspiracies that threaten her life and the lives of those she loves.

I think this novel takes the supernatural/spiritual warfare element and raises it to a new level. What makes the idea of a vision-seeing Christian unique is the intricate plot line that carries it. This is the kind of thing I wish I’d written—it resonated with me completely.

I highly recommend this book. It has the same flavor as Frank Peretti’s or John Aubrey Anderson’s books. Olsen did a great job with the female POV, and not just the main character, but other women characters as well. I felt the comradery the women shared and envied it, wishing that I possessed the bond that drew them together.

It took a while for me to get used to the interspersed omniscient point of view short paragraphs—they seemed more like narrator interruptions or sections of telling instead of showing. I don’t know if these areas helped or hindered the advancement of the plot.

Regardless, the action kept me absorbed until the end—I didn’t want to put it down, even after I had finished reading. I enjoyed the portrayal of real heavenly battles and God’s power to work in the world. The book was also a wake up call to the church to unite in our struggle against servants of evil. If we can’t get past our differences and work together, who will?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CFBA proudly presents: The Watchers, by Mark Andrew Olsen

Just below the surface among the family of God lives another family tree--one traced in spirit, invisible and ageless, known as the Watchers. For two thousand years they've seen beyond the veil separating this world from the next, passing on their gift through a lineage mostly overlooked. Throughout history they've scouted the borders of the supernatural frontier, but now their survival hangs by a thread. And their fate lies in the hands of a young woman, her would-be killer, and a mystery they must solve....

"Congratulations. You just reached my own little corner of cyberspace.

Who am I?

Abby Sherman, that's who.

Who are you? And why are you checking me out?

Drop me a few pixels, and let's find out!"

With that innocent invitation, Abby Sherman unwittingly steps in the crosshairs of history, and thus begins her harrowing tale--taking her from ocean-front Malibu to the streets of London, the jungles in West Africa, the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and to the very gates of heaven itself!

A sneak preview of eternity becomes her one-way ticket to danger--and discovery…

Two lives collide in a globe-circling adventure involving both peril and discovery: Abby, a young woman whose visions of heaven turn her into a Web-celebrity; and Dylan, a troubled young man sent by an ancient foe to silence her. From California beachfronts to Nigerian rain forests to Jerusalem and back again, THE WATCHERS is high-octane blends of action, mystery, and spiritual battle spanning centuries.

A woman's awe-inspiring vision launches her on a quest through distant lands and ancient history, face-to-face with eternity and into the arms of a family line on the brink of annihilation...

A man who is hired to exterminate her discovers the folly of blind loyalty, then learns how to wage war in a realm he never believed had existed...

An extraordinary saga of the unseen war against evil, the reality of the supernatural, and the transforming power of forgiveness.

MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.

Note from Karri: I'll post my own review tomorrow or Friday. This was a fantastic book, one that everyone should enjoy.

Amazon Book Link

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Surrender and the Story

Life is about change. We go through phases, seasons, circumstances that we know will not last, that we know will end. And God is with us through it all. Through the story of our lives.

This January my pastor encouraged our church body as individuals to come up with one word that would encapsulize what we want God to do through us this year. Just one thing, so we wouldn't get overwhelmed.

My word is surrender.

That's definitely a big one. Surrender to God requires a complete trust in God. I cannot surrender to someone I cannot trust. I must believe that He loves me with an everlasting love and that He does only what is best for me. I must let Him order my steps because I cannot do it on my own. I will only mess up. His ways are too high for me to understand, and so I defer to Him.

Right now, I'm in the midst of confusion. I have many desires for my life, some of which I don't know for sure are God's will--the biggest thing being writing. Since I "caught the bug" for writing, I've spent countless hours and dollars pursuing the craft. I support Christian fiction authors, and I work to learn the craft so that one day I will be the one interviewed about her novel. However, I've slammed into a wall. The wall is either from God, to get my attention, or from Satan, to stop me from being effective. I've entered into a time of prayer and seeking God more intensely so I can know for sure which is the case.

I pray that God's perfect love will cast away my fear--the fear that God will take away the writing that is so dear to me, the reviewing that I enjoy so much, the company of other writers. But I can trust Him. If He chooses to turn me towards another path, I am content with that because it will bring Him glory.

So there will not be as many posts here as there have been in the past. I'm slowing way down in order to hear God's voice more clearly. My heart is ready to hear Him clearly saying: "This is the path; walk in it."

I entrust the story of my life to the God who created it. Until next time...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My latest winners!

Forgive my tardiness...

The two winners of Alton Gansky's Crime Scene Jerusalem are:

Remade Gold and CWAHM!!!

Congratulations, you two! I guarantee you will love the book.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

March FIRST: Scimitar's Edge

It is March 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

Marvin Olasky

and his book:

Scimitar's Edge


Dr. Olasky is editor-in-chief of World Magazine, a senior fellow of the Acton Institute, and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Susan have been married for 30 years and have four sons. He has written 17 non-fiction books and has also started (with several others) a Christian school; he has been a crisis pregnancy center chairman, a foster parent, a Little League assistant coach, a PTA president, and an informal advisor to George W. Bush. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan.

Stepping away from his roles as professor, historian, and creator of "compassionate conservatism," Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine has penned an edge-of-your-seat novel that educates as well as it informs.

SCIMITAR'S EDGE is the story of four unique Americans on a journey that takes them to a world of great beauty and great danger. Olasky uses his vast knowledge of the culture to pen a tale about the War on Terror that is so realistic it might have been taken from today's headlines.


1. What's the book about?

At its basic level it's about Americans who go to Turkey for a vacation -- I spent a month there two years ago -- and are kidnapped by Turkish Hezbollah; the question then is how to get away and whether to forget about the whole thing or attempt to fight back. In another sense Scimitar's Edge is about America and the war against terrorism: Now that it's almost five years since 9/11 many of us almost seem to be on vacation again, but the terrorists are not.
2. You're a journalist and professor by trade, with about 18 non-fiction books in your past. What led you to turn to fiction?

Largely fun. In one sense I was playing SIM Turkey: Drop four people into a harsh foreign environment, give them action and adventure, build a romance … I grew to like the characters and wanted to see what they would do. I also enjoyed the challenge: I've written lots of nonfiction books and know how to do that,
but this was all new.
3. Is your research for fiction different from your nonfiction research?

The trunk is common - as I traveled through Turkey I took notes on geography, food, customs, and so forth - but the branches differ. My nonfiction research emphasizes accuracy concerning what has happened; for example, every quotation
has to be exactly what a person said. In fiction, though, I'm
inventing dialogue, yet everything that happens has to be true to the characters and the situation.
4. What's been the feedback from your fans since your switchto fiction? Oh, are there fans?

Actually, I've gotten excellent reactions from many of the folks who like my nonfiction. A few worry about sexual allusions - one of the characters is a serial adulterer and two of the others, as they fall in love, encounter sexual tension. Scimitar's Edge is also an action/adventure novel so there's some shooting, and one of the main characters is a terrorist who relishes lopping off heads. So anyone who wants a sugary book should look elsewhere.
5. You also include some descriptions of what's been called "the forgotten holocaust" a century ago, and explain some Turkish history.

Turkey was the proving ground for the first sustained governmental attempt at genocide, as Turks killed over one million Armenians and sent many to concentration camps; Hitler admired that effort. But Turkey has often been a central player in world affairs, not a backwater. Nearly two millennia ago Turkey became a Christian stronghold: The seven churches John addresses in the book of Revelation, for example, were in what is now Western Turkey. Going back one millennium, what is now Turkey was the front line for a clash of Christian and Muslim cultures.
6. I know you wrote your doctoral dissertation about film and politics from the 1930s through the 1960s, a time when Westerns were one of the dominant genres, and I see certain Western-like elements in this book.

Westerns came in about seven different varieties, and one of them was called the "revenge Western," where a bad man has killed a beloved person and the hero heads out to bring him to justice. In nuanced Westerns the hero at various points asks himself whether his end justifies his means and whether it's worth giving up a lot to carry out what he planned. An internal struggle of that sort occurs in this book as well.
7. Scimitar's Edge is an unusual novel that combines action against terrorists with quotations from Walker Percy. In fact, the book ends with an allusion to one of Percy's most enduring characters, Will Barrett. Were you consciously trying to walk a knife-edge between high-brow and low-brow culture?

Not consciously; that's just where I am myself. Since evangelicals are sometimes disparaged as dumb, some press to show we're not by tossing around Latin phrases or going to opera rather than popular movies -- not that there's anything wrong with opera, as long as there's a car chase within the first five minutes. To me it comes down to enjoying the pleasures God gives us, including those from both popular culture and literary culture.
8. Are you planning a sequel?

When I talk with students about careers we discuss the importance of both internal calling and external calling - do you feel God's pleasure as you do something, and do other people think you're good at it? I feel the internal call to write more novels; I'm trying to discern the external call from readers.


Note: All present-day characters are fictional except for the media and political personalities in chapter sixteen and one character in chapter twenty-one: There really is a Metropolitan Ozmen at the Deur-ul Zaferan Monastery near the Turkish- Syrian border.

Descriptions of historical characters are factual. Suleyman Mahmudi did build Castle Hosap in southeastern Turkey in 1643.

The chess game in chapter fourteen derives from one played by Gustav Richard Neumann and Adolf Anderssen in Berlin in 1864, but then it was not a matter of life or death.

Click here for the prologue and first chapter. Enjoy!
Buy the book: Scimitar's Edge