Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Homefires

Title: Homefires
Autho: Emily Sue Harvey
Paperback: 450 pages
Publisher: The Story Plant (June 7, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1611880068
ISBN-13: 978-1611880069

Homefires is set in the Deep South’s Bible Belt on the eve of unprecedented moral changes. It is the story of Janeece and Kirk Crenshaw, a couple married just after their high school graduation who set out to make a life for themselves. It is a life marked by surprises, none more dramatic than when Kirk receives his “high-calling” and becomes a pastor. It is a life marked by tragedy, the most heart-rending of which is a devastating event very close to home. And it is a life marked by challenges: to their church, to their community, and most decidedly to their marriage. And as the fullness of time makes its impact on their union, Kirk and Janeece must face the question of whether they have gone as far as they can together.

Filled with the rich emotions and evocative characters that fans have come to expect from Emily Sue Harvey, and reminiscent of the work of Jan Karon and Anne Rivers Siddons, Homefires is a poignant and compelling novel that will steal readers' hearts.

About the Author:
Emily Sue Harvey’s writing to make a difference. Her upbeat stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies including “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” “Chocolate for Women,” “From Eulogy to Joy,” “A Father’s Embrace,” “True Story,” “Compassionate Friends Magazine,” and “Woman’s World.” Emily Sue served as president of Southeastern Writers Association in 2008-2009. Her first novel, Song of Renewal, published by Story Plant, was released in the spring of 2009. For more information visit

My review:
Emily Sue Harvey has now become a new favorite author for me after reading this book. The book is filled with gripping emotion that leaves you joyful yet heartbroken and everything in between. The writing is superb and she is a great story teller that had me wrapped around her words after the first page. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed in this book.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Trail of Thread

Title: Trail of Thread
Author: Linda Hubalek
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 124 pages
Publisher: Butterfield Books (September 1, 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781886652064
ISBN-13: 978-1886652064

I received a free copy of the book from the author for my honest review.

In this first book of the Trail of Thread series, in the form of letters she wrote on the journey, Deborah Pieratt describes the scenery, the everyday events on the trail, and the task of taking care of her family. Stories of humor and despair, along with her ongoing remarks about camping, cooking, and quilting, make you feel as if you pulled up stakes and are traveling with the Pieratts, too. This series is based on author Linda K. Hubalek's ancestors that traveled from Kentucky to Kansas in 1854. Besides the history of the times, Hubalek weaves quilting facts and quilt pattern sketches in her book series.

About the Author:

In sixth grade we had to write a paper on what we wanted to do when we grew up. My mom had kept it and I found this paper while cleaning through my closet during my college days. According to my dreams back then, I wanted to be a farmer, but my last line was "but alas, girls can't be farmers."

Well, I got my Bachelors Degree in Agriculture/Horticulture from Kansas State University, did agronomy research for years before starting a wholesale horticulture business. My company, Prairie Flower Creations, grew and dried flowers, ornamental corn, and mini pumpkins for the florist trade.

In 1990 I was featured in Country Woman Magazine, but at the same time, my husband's job was transferred to California. I sold my business and tried to cope, growing flowers and pumpkins in five-gallon buckets on our "cement lawn".

I started writing about the family and farmland I was homesick for and started a new career, writing about women ancestors who had moved to the new state of Kansas and farmed its land.

We eventually moved back to Kansas, bought land next to my family, raised buffalo, and I have a garden again. So not only have I fulfilled my dream to be a farmer, I've written about past and present women that have also tilled the prairie land of Kansas.

Please read and enjoy my book series which are about the family that homestead our family farm, and my ancestors that homesteaded in Kansas in the 1800s.

Considered historical fiction, these quality paperback books are age appropriate for everyone from age 9 to 99. Book, quilt, and Scandinavian gift shops sell them (or ask your local store to stock them for you) and schools use them in class studies to portray early pioneer and Kansas history.

My writing time most days is spent on the computer with marketing my businesses, but I am also working on the next book series.

Until my next book is available, you can read my current postings on my weekly newsletter to keep in touch with me, the buffalo herd, and the Kansas farming seasons. Sign up at

Welcome to my Kansas prairie!

My review:
I am a history buff and love books that give details of past lives. The book is written as an epistolary novel from a daughter to her mother. It describes the daughter's journey as she is traversing from Kentucky to Kansas. It is written with a very real quality that gives the reader a visual of what is happening on the journey and places the reader along the trail as the family camps, eats, and shares the experience. Although the book is written for the younger reader, (ages 9-12) I think the book would be enjoyable for any age and will bring about a love for wanting to discover the past. It brings the reader into the world that is taking place and does not give boring details-in the vein of history books used in schools today. The book makes it interesting and lively and a great selection to read along with your children. The selection is the first in a series of books that will follow the journey west and I can't wait to read the next installment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Scholars believe an arrest warrant was issued on this day in 1593 for Christopher Marlowe, after fellow writer Thomas Kyd accused Marlowe of heresy.

Playwright Thomas Kyd, whose Spanish Tragedie (also called Hieronomo) was influential in the development of the revenge tragedy, was arrested on May 15, 1593, and tortured on suspicion of treason. Told that heretical documents had been found in his room, Kyd wrote a letter saying the documents belonged to Christopher Marlowe, with whom he had shared rooms previously. An arrest warrant was issued, and Marlowe was arrested on May 20. He bailed out but was killed in a bar brawl May 30.

Though little is known about Kyd's childhood, scholars believe he was educated at the Merchant Taylor's School in London and raised to be a scrivener, a professional trained to draw up contracts and other business documents. Of his early work, the Spanish Tragedie (1592) brought him the most recognition. Some scholars believe it served as a model for Shakespeare's Hamlet. Kyd died penniless in 1594.

Originally published on

Poetry for Wednesday

When All My Five and Country Senses See
By Dylan Thomas

When all my five and country senses see,
The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark
How, through the halfmoon’s vegetable eye,
Husk of young stars and handfull zodiac,
Love in the frost is pared and wintered by,
The whispering ears will watch love drummed away
Down breeze and shell to a discordant beach,
And, lashed to syllables, the lynx tongue cry
That her fond wounds are mended bitterly.
My nostrils see her breath burn like a bush.

My one and noble heart has witnesses
In all love’s countries, that will grope awake;
And when blind sleep drops on the spying senses,
The heart is sensual, though five eyes break.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Influential English writer Dorothy Richardson, whose stream-of-consciousness style will influence James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, is born on this day in 1873.

Richardson, though seldom read today, was widely read and discussed in her own time. The daughter of a grocer who went bankrupt when she was 17, Richardson was well-educated and highly independent. After her father's economic catastrophe, she took a job as a teacher in Germany for six months, then taught in London and worked as a governess for two years. In the late 1890s, Richardson devoted herself to caring for her severely depressed mother, who killed herself in November 1895 while Richardson was out taking a walk.

Richardson moved to the Bloomsbury district in London, determined to support herself. She took a job as a dental assistant and earned extra money by writing essays and reviews. Unusually liberated for the time period, Richardson made friends with other young women who worked in offices. She attended public events and lived sparsely so she could afford concert tickets.

Richardson met H.G. Wells, the husband of an old school friend, in the early 1900s. She had an affair with Wells and in 1906 found herself pregnant with Wells' child. She broke off with him, hoping to raise the child herself, but miscarried. She then moved to Sussex, where she wrote a monthly column for The Dental Record and sketches for The Saturday Review while working on the first volume of her stream-of-consciousness novel, Pilgrimmage. The novel, which eventually stretched to 12 volumes, traced the development of a young woman whose life paralleled Richardson's.

The first volume of the novel, called Pointed Roofs, was published in 1915, followed by two more volumes in 1916 and 1917. Richardson married an artist, 15 years her junior, in 1917 and supported him with her writing. A review of her first three volumes published in 1918 first used the literary term "stream of consciousness" to describe her groundbreaking style. Many important 20th century writers adapted her techniques. Richardson died in 1957 at the age of 84.

Originally published on

Book Review and Giveaway: Before You Launch Your Business

Title: Before You Launch Your Business: How to decide if being an Entrepreneur is for you
Author: Ruchira Agrawal
ISBN: 978-0-9868390-0-9
Pages: 63
Format: eBook
I received a free copy of this ebook from the author for my honest review.

My review:
Ruchira Agrawal was very informative on what you need to think about when you are contemplating starting your own business. The book contains information on what it means to be an entrpreneur and it gets the reader to explore different aspects of their lives to see if starting a business is for them. I particularly liked that a quiz was included so you can think about your personal qualities and decide if you are better at being the boss or an employee for someone else. The book is refreshing in that it does not overwhelm the reader and states simple, practical advice. The book is a great tool for anyone doing research on starting their own business. The author offers career counseling and you can sign up below to enter to win a free consultation.

About the Author-as listed on her site:

Ruchira Agrawal is the CEO of InnerVeda Communications and a Mindset and Intuition expert. She is an Intuitive, Coach for Businesses and Individuals and an Author. She calls herself a Spiritual Entrepreneur who makes a living doing what she absolutely loves to do. After having lived in San Francisco Bay Area for over 10 years, she currently resides in Vancouver, BC.

Her Personal Story

Ruchira embarked on a journey of self-awareness in 1995. A short term illness that triggered a Near Death Experience is what proved as a catalyst for it. This (NDE) experience created some dramatic shifts internally for her that led to opening up her psychic senses, changing her outlook on life - dreams, goals and desires; and finally helping her discover her own Purpose in Life. Why was she here on earth, What Work was she supposed to do - these were some of the deeper questions she had wondered about before and they had finally gotten answered.

Having found the clarity to her Life's Work and Purpose, next step was to act upon her findings and make things happen, in other words, translate them into real life. This meant taking big risks including leaving a life of security and ease behind, making a total career shift and embarking on a brand new path with little or no support personally or otherwise. With no one besides her to hold her hand, to guide, to show her the way, it meant she had to walk and do things on her own. All she had to go by was her faith and an intense urge to follow her Purpose. Not all the pieces to the puzzle (what lay ahead) were evident right away, a lot of it required walking in faith until the next step was revealed.

'It was tempting just to hold onto the old life rather than to step into the unknown all alone' she says, 'but the pull to move forward and fulfill what she was meant to do was far greater'. Around the same time, she also became a victim of the US economic recession (2001-02) that caused her to get laid off; the company she was employed at decided to close down its operations. This was a sign enough for her to know that it was time. Being at a juncture where she was just one month's rent away from being without a home, she took the leap forward. She had nothing to lose and rest as they say is history.

She started enriching and educating herself by taking courses and self-studying. First informally and later more formally, Ruchira started fulfilling her Life Purpose of assisting others, spreading her message and what she had learnt via services and products that make a difference. Her greatest joy is in providing clarity and assisting people work through what's holding them back from achieving their goals and passion. Her work is ever-evolving and so besides working with Individuals, she also later started to work with aspiring and existing Entrepreneurs that want to succeed but find themselves stuck.

She is continually a student of life and mind, passionate about living the best life she can. She loves to impart what her discoveries and findings are with her clients.
Her Current Work

The services and products that Ruchira provides for her clients is what resonates with her in her heart. When she initially began her work, she concentrated on providing insight and higher guidance to people. She enriched her self in the fields of metaphysics and personal development gaining deeper insight into the Power of Self and mind as well as on eternal quest subjects such as Happiness and Balance. She started working with companies, applying her intuitive senses in every day business practices. She already had the prior corporate world experience so that made it easy for her to understand business situations. As time went on, she started realizing that what her clients needed was much more than clarity, they needed tools and a guide map of sorts to help them get to their goals. They often did not know how to up level, whether it was in business or in life. What she also realized was that more than often, what stands in the way of a person's success is actually their own mindset. And if they just worked through unproductive and toxic behavioral patterns and beliefs, a lot could get accomplished. So she studied Hypnotherapy to understand the Human Mind better - both conscious and sub-conscious and it's inner workings. With a natural flair for Coaching, she slowly started integrating everything, customizing it for individual clients and thereby providing unique and a more whole rounded approach.

Her work with Business owners and Solopreneurs primarily centers around Marketing and Mind-set, helping them personally grow, so they can excel as business owners. It combines her rich experience in these fields for over 20 years. More on her work can be read by visiting the specific pages on the website.
Ruchira brings a unique blend of education, experience and talent to her work. Working with her is like getting the best of both worlds in many ways; she has the business (management, marketing, entrepreneurship) background which is backed by extensive personal and spiritual development experience.

Ruchira is the author of Before You Launch Your Business, a book offering entrepreneurial wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs.She has authored numerous Entrepreneurial, Intuition, Self-Help and Motivation related articles. You can find her online and even in Print Magazines. Most of her work consists of Private consultations with clients based in US, Canada and India. Connecting via modern technology has made it easy and convinient to connect. Her interest in human behavior, psychology coupled with desire to lead an authentic fulfilling life, forms the basis for many of her transformational workshops and seminars. She considers herself as a student of life, continuously working on expanding her own consciousness and sharing her learning and findings with her students and those who come in contact with her. She is currently involved in creating books, e-books, programs for entrepreneurs that are informational, educative and thought provoking at the same time.

Her latest project launch is a Business Program focused solely on women, called - Purpose Rich Women's Business Program ! This is designed for aspiring, newbie and existing entrepreneurs.

Ruchira's Expertise

Intuition - Helping you connect with your Intuition so you can utilize that in Business and Personal Life
Mindset- Clear the mental clutter for clarity, increased focus, achieving business and personal goals. Work through unproductive thoughts and belief patterns
Helping you discover and lead meaningful, purpose-rich life
Helping you create meaningful, purpose-rich businesses and career for increased personal satisfaction and success
Strategies for expansion of mind, spirit and wealth consciousness
Motivation and Personal Development
Education and Experience

Master's in Business Administration
Certified Hypnotherapist from the National Guild of Hypnotists
Certified Past life regression therapist

Work Experience

20 years of total work experience in the Service industry, in fields of Personal Development, Coaching, Entrepreneurship, Management, Marketing and Recruiting
60,000+ Business and Personal sessions

Everyone who buys this ebook between May 17th and May 21, gets added to contest. Winners will be chosen on May 22.
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Follow this link to purchase. Be sure to mention The Book Tree blog when you purchase so that you are entered in the contest.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Writer Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, is imprisoned in the Bastille on this day in 1717.

The outspoken writer was born to middle-class parents, attended college in Paris, and began to study law. However, he quit law to become a playwright and made a name for himself with classical tragedies. Critics embraced his epic poem, La Henriade, but its satirical attack on politics and religion infuriated the government, and Voltaire was arrested in 1717. He spent nearly a year in the Bastille.

Voltaire's time in prison failed to dry up his satirical pen. In 1726, he was forced to flee to England. He returned several years later and continued to write plays. In 1734, his Lettres Philosophiques criticized established religions and political institutions, and he was forced to flee again. He retreated to the region of Champagne, where he lived with his mistress and patroness, Madame du Chatelet. In 1750, he moved to Berlin on the invitation of Frederick II of Prussia and later settled in Switzerland, where he wrote his best-known work, Candide. He died in Paris in 1778, having returned to supervise the production of one of his plays.

Originally published on

First Card Feature

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

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

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:

How Huge the Night: A Novel

Kregel Publications (March 9, 2011)

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***


Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland of American parents and grew up in the south of France. She decided to be a writer at the age of five when her mother read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aloud, but worried that she couldn’t write about her childhood since she didn’t remember it. When she was young, her favorite time of day was after supper when the family would gather and her father would read a chapter from a novel. Heather went to French school until her teens, and grew up hearing the story of Le Chambonsur-Lignon, only an hour’s drive away. She now lives in rural Illinois with her husband, Paul, where they offer free spiritual retreats to people coming out of homelessness and addiction. She enjoys wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, and splitting wood.

Lydia Munn was homeschooled for five years because there was no school where her family served as missionaries in the savannahs of northern Brazil. There was no public library either, but Lydia read every book she could get her hands on. This led naturally to her choice of an English major at Wheaton College. Her original plan to teach high school English gradually transitioned into a lifelong love of teaching the Bible to both adults and young people as a missionary in France. She and her husband, Jim, have two children: their son, Robin, and their daughter, Heather.


When had God ever stopped a war because a teenager asked him to?

For fifteen-year-old Julien Losier, life will never be the same. His family has relocated to southern France to outrun Hitler’s menace. But Julien doesn’t want to run. He doesn’t want to huddle around the radio at night, waiting to hear news through buzzing static. Julien doesn’t want to wait.
Angry, frustrated, and itching to do something, Julien finds a battle everywhere he turns.
Soon after his family opens their house to a Jewish boy needing refuge, Julien meets Nina, a young Austrian who has fled her home by her father’s dying command. Nina’s situation is grave and Julien suddenly realizes the enormity of having someone’s life or death depend on… him.

Thrown together by a conflict that’s too big for them to understand, these young lives struggle to know what to do, even if it is not enough. Is there a greater purpose in the shadows of this terrible war? Or will their choices put them in greater danger?


“The Munns have written an engrossing historical novel that is faithful to the actual events of World War II in western Europe during the tumultuous year 1940. But How Huge the Night is more than good history; it is particularly refreshing because the reader sees the conflict through the lives of teenagers who are forced to grapple with their honest questions about the existence and goodness of God in the midst of community, family, and ethnic tensions in war-ravaged France.”—Lyle W. Dorsett, Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“Seldom have the horrors of war upon adolescents—or the heroism of which they are capable—been so clearly portrayed. I loved this coming-of-age story.”—Patricia Sprinkle, author of Hold Up the Sky

“The book expertly weaves together the lives of its characters at a frightening moment in conflicted times. As we read of their moral dilemmas and of their choices, we too wonder, Would I do has these in the story have done?”—Karen Mains, Director, Hungry Souls

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 9, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082543310X
ISBN-13: 978-0825433108


From Chapter 23

Thursday the power came back on. They sat in the living room, around the radio that crackled with static; they looked at each other, and then away. The room grew quiet as the announcer began to speak.

“Since Mussolini’s declaration of war on France two days ago, Italian troops are pushing west—”

Mama was on her feet. “The thief!” she hissed. “The backstabber, the coward!” Her face was red. Everyone was staring. She sat down.

Papa looked at her. “Saw his chance, I guess.”

“He’s a shame to his nation,” Mama snapped. Julien stared. Then they heard the shift in the announcer’s voice and turned sharply to the radio.

“German troops are approaching Paris at a rapid pace. As we speak, the vanguard is reported to be fifteen kilometers from Versailles. This will be our last broadcast for a while.”

They did not look at each other. The silence was total.

“Today Paris has been declared an ‘open city.’ Our military will not defend it. This decision was made to avoid bombardment and the great destruction and loss of life that it entails. . . .”

Julien realized he had not been breathing. It was an amazing thing, breathing. Tears shone in Mama’s eyes.

“They won’t bomb Paris,” said Papa quietly.

“They won’t bomb Paris,” Mama whispered.

Benjamin stood, his face very still. He walked slowly to the door and took the stairs.

Julien waited, breathing, seeing Paris; seeing Vincent and his mother look up out of their second-floor window at a clear blue sky. He waited until the news ended, until they had read a psalm that said The Lord has delivered.

Then he followed Benjamin.

Benjamin’s door was closed. Julien hesitated, biting his lip, and went into his own room.

He looked out the window in the fading light. They wouldn’t defend it. This was it, then. What Pastor Alex said was true. German tanks would roll down the Champs-Elysées for real in just a couple days. Then the boches would come here. And they would stay.

He pulled Vincent’s last letter out from under his nightstand. I can’t believe you almost died, it said. That’s crazy. He got up, and went and knocked on Benjamin’s door.

No answer.

“Benjamin? You all right?”


Julien opened the door. Benjamin turned quickly, scowling.

“Did I say you could come in?”

“Well sorry,” Julien growled. How am I supposed to help when he’s like this? “Just wanted to say good night.”

“Good night then.”

“Look, it’s not as bad as it could have been, okay? They could have bombed the place to shreds like Ro—” He bit his tongue.

“You’re right,” said Benjamin, looking away. “That’s good for your relatives. I’m glad.”

“And your parents!”

“Nothing’s good for my parents.” His voice was toneless. “Look, Julien, we can talk about this in the morning. I need to go to bed.”

Julien knew when to quit. He turned away. “Sleep well.”

“You too.”

But he couldn’t. He turned and turned in his bed, twisting the sheets.

He got up and looked out at the crescent moon and the stars high over Tanieux, so white, so far, always the same; they would still be there when the Germans were here; they would still be there all his life. They were still there over Rotterdam, too. It didn’t make any difference.

When he finally slept, he dreamed: Paris on the fourteenth of July, the fireworks, bursts of blue, of gold, of red above the city. A whirling rocket going up with a hiss and a bang. Then a louder bang. Then a bang that threw up a great shower of dirt and stones, and people screaming, people running as the shells began to fall—

He woke, and lay shivering. He got up to close the window. The stars shone down like cold eyes.

He heard a faint scratching. Mice maybe. A floorboard creaked. He listened.

And he heard it. Very slow, stealthy footsteps going down the stairs.

He sat up slowly. Magali or Benjamin. Tiptoeing down the stairs to the kitchen, wishing there was something to eat. . . . He got out of bed and leaned out the window, watching for the faint light that would come through from the kitchen. No light came.

But on the ground floor, the heavy front door opened, and a dark shape slipped out into the street. A shadow with a suitcase in its hand.

He ran across the hall and threw open Benjamin’s door. A neatly made bed, a letter on the pillow. He grabbed it, ran back to his room, jerked his pants on over his pajamas, and ran downstairs in his socks. He’d catch him. Benjamin was on foot. He had to catch him. He scrawled on the flip side of the note, I’ve gone after him, pulled on his shoes and jacket, and flew down the stairs and into the dark.

He raced down the shadowed street and stopped at the corner, heart pounding, looking both ways. North, over the hill: the road to St. Etienne. A train to Paris, like he’d said? There were no trains now. Or south—south to where? Oh Lord if I choose wrong I’ll never find him.

Think. What would he do if it were him? He’d go south—north was suicide, but—he didn’t know, he didn’t know Benjamin. Who did? Nothing is good for my parents, he’d said—he didn’t seem to even care that Paris wouldn’t be bombed—

Because his parents weren’t in Paris.

Julien turned, suddenly sure, and ran.

The Kellers had left Germany because of Hitler and his people. Would they stay in Paris and wait for them? “Let’s walk south,” Benjamin had said—and that stupid map—he should have guessed.

He ran, breathing hard, his eyes on the dark road ahead. Oh God. Oh Jesus. Don’t let me miss him please—please—

He broke free of the houses; the Tanne gleamed in front of him under the splintered moon, cut by the dark curve of the bridge. He froze. He ducked into the shadows and breathed.

There on the bridge was a slender figure leaning on the parapet, looking down at the dark water.

Oh God. Oh Jesus. Now what?

Benjamin turned and took a long, last look at Tanieux. Then he adjusted his backpack, picked up his suitcase, and walked away.

Julien slipped out of the shadows and up to the bridge, his heart beating help me Jesus help me, his mind searching for words. Come home. And if he said no? Drag him? Help me Jesus. He was across the bridge, ten paces behind Benjamin; he broke into a silent run on the grassy verge of the road. He caught up to him. Laid a hand on his arm.


Benjamin whirled, eyes wild in the moonlight. They stared at each other. “Why.” said Julien. “Tell me why.” His voice was harder than he meant it to be.

“Let me go.”

“No.” He tightened his grip on Benjamin’s arm.

Benjamin tried to pull away. “Julien, let me go. You have no idea. You have no idea what they’re like.”

“The boches?” This time his voice came out small.

“The Nazis, Julien. Ever heard of them? Yeah, you heard they don’t like Jews—I don’t think any of you people understand.” The sweep of his arm took in the school and the sleeping town. “Your parents are great, Julien—offering shelter and all—they really are. But they don’t know. Yet.”

But they do. They know. “Know what? What’ll they—do?”

“I’m not waiting around to find out.” His face was white and deadly serious. “Trust me on this, Julien. They are coming here and when they do, it’s better for you if I’m long gone.” I believe it is very dangerous to be a Jew in Germany. And soon—

Julien stood silent. The night wind touched his face; the hills were shadows on the horizon where they blotted out the stars. Suddenly he felt how large the world was, how huge the night, how small they stood on the road in the light of the waning moon. Ahead, the road bent into the pine woods, and in his mind, Julien saw Benjamin walking away, a small form carrying a suitcase into the darkness under the trees. His fingers bit into Benjamin’s arm.

“I don’t care,” he said savagely. “Where would you go?”

Benjamin said nothing; the moonlight quivered in his eyes as they filled with tears. He turned his head away. “I don’t know.” His voice shook.

Julien caught him by the shoulders, gripped him hard. “Well I do,” he said fiercely. “You’re coming home.”

In My Mailbox

Last week I only received one book in my mailbox so I just combined it with today's posting.

Dark Descendant by Jenna Black
The Russian Affair by Michael Wallner
Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
Deadly Promises by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Diana Love, Cindy Gerard, and Laura Griffin
Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens
Fabulous Faces by Peter A. Adamson, M.D.
to be sung underwater by Tom McNeal
the four courners of the sky by Michael Malone
In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Shattered by Melody Carlson
A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner
I Used to Know That: Civil War by Fred DuBose
I Used to Know That: Shakespeare by Liz Evers

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Callie Porter, later known as Katherine Anne Porter, is born in Indian Creek, Texas, on this day in 1890.

Porter grew up in poverty. Before she turned two, her mother died and her father moved in with his mother. Porter's grandmother, Catherine Anne Porter, provided love and support, and Porter later changed her first name to echo her grandmother's.

Her grandmother died in 1901, and Porter was sent to convent school in New Orleans and later attended school in San Antonio. At age 16, she married the 27-year-old son of a rancher, but the marriage was a failure. In 1911, Porter left for Chicago, where she worked as a reporter. She later spent two years traveling around Texas as a ballad singer and in 1918 became a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver.

In 1918, Porter became deathly ill. After her recovery, she traveled to Mexico, where she spent most of her time for several years. Her first published work of fiction, the short story "María Concepcíon" (1922), received almost immediate appreciation from critics.

In 1925, she married again but soon divorced. Her collection Flowering Judas and Other Stories (1930) was a critical success and helped her win a Guggenheim Fellowship to support her writing. From 1931 to 1937, she lived in Europe, married and divorced a third time, then married again in 1938. That year, she returned to the U.S. with her fourth husband and settled in Baton Rouge. In the 1940s, she wrote film scripts and lectured at universities. During her lifetime, she published only 25 stories and one novel, Ship of Fools, which took her more than two decades to complete. While her work was not abundant, almost all of it was critically acclaimed. She died in 1980 in Maryland.

Originally published on

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This Day in Literary History

On this day in 1842, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, publishes a volume called Poems. While the 32-year-old poet had already published several other books of verse, Poems, which included works like "Ulysses" and "Morte D'Arthur," was considered his best work to date. The book confirmed his growing stature as a poet after more than a decade of writing.

Tennyson was born into a chaotic and disrupted home. His father, the eldest son of a wealthy landowner, was disinherited in favor of his younger brother. Forced to enter the Church to support himself, the Rev. Dr. George Tennyson became a bitter alcoholic. However, he educated his sons in the classics, and Alfred Tennyson, the fourth of 12 children, went to Trinity College at Cambridge in 1827. The same year, he and his brother Charles published Poems by Two Brothers. At Cambridge, Tennyson befriended a circle of intellectual undergraduates who strongly encouraged his poetry. Chief among them was Arthur Hallam, who became Tennyson's closest friend and who later proposed to Tennyson's sister.

In 1830, Tennyson published Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. The following year, his father died, and he was forced to leave Cambridge for financial reasons. Besieged by critical attacks and struggling with poverty, Tennyson remained dedicated to his work and published several more volumes.

The sudden death of Tennyson's dear friend Arthur Hallam in 1833 inspired several important works throughout Tennyson's later life, including the masterful In Memoriam of 1842. The publication of Poems in 1842 boosted Tennyson's reputation, and in 1850 Queen Victoria named him poet laureate. At long last, Tennyson achieved financial stability and finally married his fiancee Emily Sellwood, whom he had loved since 1836.

Tennyson's massive frame and booming voice, together with his taste for solitude, made him an imposing character. He craved solitude and bought an isolated home where he could write in peace. In 1859, he published the first four books of his epic Idylls of the King. Eight more volumes would follow. He continued writing and publishing poems until his death in 1892.

Originally published on

Friday, May 13, 2011

Double Trouble Blog Tour

Going Cowboy Crazy
By Katie Lane
ISBN: 9780446582780
Published on: 5/01/2011

Faith Aldridge wants answers. Bramble, Texas is the only place she can find them . . . as well as Hope, the identical twin sister she never knew she had. But the townsfolk reckon that shy city-girl Faith is really her long-lost sister Hope, back in Bramble at last. And they're fixin' to do whatever it takes to heat things up between her and Hope's long-time flame, Slate Calhoun. If that means rustling her car, spreading rumors like wildfire, and reining in some explosive secrets, well, there's no way like the Lone Star way . . .
But Slate's no fool. The woman in his truck may look like Hope, yet the way she feels in his arms is altogether new. He's determined to keep this twin in his bed and out of his heart. Trouble is, the real Hope is headed home, and she's got her own designs on Slate. If Faith wants to avoid heartbreak, she'll have to show a certain ruggedly handsome cowboy that this crazy-impossible love is worth fighting for.

Five Fun Facts
1. Katie loves karaoke (I will survive, hey, hey!).
2. Katie is terrified of gorillas (bad circus experience).
3. Katie models her heroes after her husband (And occasionally after the really hot guy standing in the express line at the grocery store.)
4. Katie is addicted to the reality show Pawn Stars. (Rick is on her CCEL—Celebrity Cheating-Exempt List.)
5. Katie would love to hear from you—or anyone (

Make Mine a Bad Boy
By Katie Lane
ISBN: 0446582794
Published on: 6/01/2011

Hope Scroggs is finally ready to get hitched. After years of sowing her wild oats, the former head cheerleader and homecoming queen has returned to Bramble, Texas, to marry her high school flame. But her perfect wedding plans are stomped to smithereens when her adoring cowboy two-steps down the aisle with someone else. Now Hope is stuck with the one man from her past she can't shake: Colt Lomax, an irresistible bad boy whose sultry kisses are hotter than the Panhandle in August . . .

Colt lives for freedom and the open road; he never gets attached, never looks back. Still, he can't forget the night of passion he once shared with Bramble's sweetheart--a night he wouldn't mind repeating. So, he piles on the Texas charm to tease the feisty beauty back into his bed, while she tries her darnedest to resist. But something unexpected is about to tie their fates together . . . and oh, baby, will it ever!

About the Author:

So here’s the thing. I love to write about fictional people, but I feel very uncomfortable writing about myself. So let’s dispense with the biography and I’ll tell you a story. And everyone knows that all the best stories start with . . .
Once upon a time there was a little girl who walked around with her head in the clouds. While the other kids paid attention to the world around them, this little girl (For clarity’s sake, let’s just call her Katie.) spent her days dreaming. The dreams varied. One day Katie might be a princess who was rescued by a prince on a three-legged horse (Perfection can be so boring.), and the next day she might find herself as an overworked mother of ten. (Mothers are wonderful heroines, don’t you agree?) This playacting was acceptable when Katie was little, but as she grew older, people started to take notice and think her a little odd. (Odd? What’s odd about a tall, skinny seventh grader pushing an overfilled doll stroller down the street?)
Luckily for her social standing, Katie gave up the play-stage for the written-page, spending hours writing down her daydreams in a spiral notebook. But over the years, her storytelling took a backseat to hormones and high school, and it wasn’t until her two exceptional daughters were grown (Ten seemed a little redundant after the first labor pain) that she returned to writing.
Now Katie spends her days at a computer daydreaming, while the rest of the time she enjoys hanging with her family, reading, going to the gym, playing golf, motorcycle riding, traveling, or just snuggling next to her snoring prince. (Snoring might seem like a minor imperfection when compared to a three-legged horse, but believe me it’s not) Because if the little girl of the clouds learned anything over the years, it was that every moment in life is a happily-ever-after just waiting to be fulfilled.

I have three packages of these two books to giveaway. Please leave a comment below to enter. Winners will be chosen on May 20.

This Day in Literary History

British writer Daphne Du Maurier is born on this day in 1907. Du Maurier wrote many romantic suspense novels, including the popular Rebecca (1938).

Du Maurier was born in London and educated in Paris. Her father, a well-known actor and theater manager, introduced her to the artistic life. She visited the coast of Cornwall when she was 20. The region would later become her home and the setting for much of her work. Her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published in 1931, followed by several more novels. Rebecca, the story of a young wife of a man whose first wife mysteriously died, was set at the fictional mansion of Manderley, modeled after her own 70-room home, Menabilly. The book was made into an Academy Award-winning picture in 1940, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock also directed the movie version of her short story "The Birds."

Du Maurier was granted the ceremonial title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969. She continued to publish fiction, as well as memoirs, histories, and biographies, until her death in 1989.

Originally published on

Free ebook from Sourcebooks

Beginning this Friday – MAY 13 – Sourcebooks is offering the eBook edition Michael Malone’s Four Corners of the Sky for FREE!

**wherever eBooks are sold**

The eBook of Four Corners of the Sky will be free May 13 through May 15. Please tell your readers about this great opportunity to read Malone’s most recent, acclaimed novel.

ALSO, anyone who writes in to on FRIDAY MAY 13 will be entered to win a selection of Michael Malone backlist, including his bestselling novel, Handling Sin. Include “Malone Giveaway” in subject line please.

“Fans of Malone’s 1986 picaresque bestseller Handling Sin have something to celebrate with Four Corners of the Sky… A former soap opera writer, Malone understands the art of great storytelling: There's humor and action aplenty, but Four Corners is also a warmhearted Iook at how we love and forgive. Five hundred and forty-four pages never seemed so short.” —People (4 STARS, People Pick)

“Devoted Michael Malone fans have been waiting more than 20 years for another Handling Sin, perhaps the greatest road novel since Tom Jones. The wait is over.” —Booklist (Starred Review)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Airmail

Synopsis from Amazon:
Reclusive old Mr. G.L. Solomon's favorite things are single malt whiskey, Steve McQueen movies, and gingersnap cookies. He hates processed cheese, washing detergent commercials, and the way the teacup rattles in the saucer when he picks it up. Solomon has become accustomed to his lonely routine in Sydney, Australia-until the day he begins sporadically receiving letters in his mailbox from a complete stranger. On the other side of the world, Anouk is a mentally delicate young woman living in New York who insists she is being stalked by a fat woman in a pink tracksuit. When Anouk declares to Solomon that she is writing "from the Other Side," the old man breaks away from his daily grind of watching soap operas and reading Fishing World and travels to New York to find her. As he is drawn into Anouk's surreal world of stalkers and storytelling, marbles and cats, purgatory and Plato, Solomon has but one goal-to unravel the mystery before it is too late.

About the Author:
Naomi Bulger is an Australian journalist who moved to New York City for adventure and found love instead. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her new family.

Her debut novella Airmail hit the stores in April 2011. She is the author of non-fiction books Talk Without Being Interrupted and Seventeen Summers, and her poetry was included in the Australian Poetry Encouragement Award anthology in 2002.

She has been published in several magazines in Australia and the US (including Nett, One+, Craft Arts International and Forces of Good), was the Editor of two magazines, and broadcast to more than 100 radio stations while senior journalist at Le Gras News. Naomi is also a seasoned copywriter, writing and editing content and strategy for more than 30 companies across the corporate and not-for-profits.

My review:
I have never read anything quite like this book and unsure of how to describe it. It is written in the genre of magic realism and I have never read in that genre before and I think that is the reason that I am having a hard time selecting just what I want to say about what I read. The book has several story lines going on, yet they all become interconnected at some point in the book. The characters are interesting and diverse and I got caught up in each of their stories. I think that I over thought parts of the story in trying to figure out just why something happened or what significance an event had, instead of just going with the flow and taking it for what it was. However, I really like a book that stays with me and keeps me thinking and this one has definitely done that. It has been two weeks since I read it and I am still trying to analyze it. Perhaps that is due to having a degree in English and being trained to do that.

I would have liked for certain aspects of the story to have been explored more just because I have an inquiring mind and I wanted details that went beyond what was given to the reader. Yet, I think this is also part of the allure of the book as it lets your imagination run with what if, so you can explore the possibilities on your own and what you think might have happened.

I am glad I read this and it opened up my mind to a genre I was unfamiliar with. The book is one that is great for discussion and I am in hopes of many comments to get other perspectives.

Naomi gave me a free copy of the book for my honest review and one copy of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below to enter. The winner will be chosen on May 26.

Guest Blog: Naomi Bulger

Naomi, has written a terrific guest blog post to go along with my review in the previous posting on my blog. Do not forget to read the review and sign up to win a copy of the book. I would like to thank her immensely for taking part on my blog and offering such great insight on the magic realism genre. Enjoy!

Life is a magical realism novel

A guest post by Naomi Bulger, author of Airmail

I remember my first encounter with the literary genre we call ‘magical realism’ and it was… magic.

When the seventh generation of the Buendía family was born with a pig’s tail, the general response was not “what on earth?” as one would expect, but, “we knew it!” The Buendías had feared this eventuality for decades. The Buendías were the central family in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude, and they changed forever the way I not only read, but lived.

Magical realism is not fantasy. It is real magic. Generally, magical realism novels are set in worlds very much like yours or mine. The only difference is that when completely irrational or magic things happen, the inhabitants of such worlds tend to respond with a shrug, rather than a shriek.

“Did you hear? Amaranta’s baby boy has a pig’s tail!” One old lady may say to another at the marketplace. “Goodness. Tut tut,” her neighbour will likely respond, followed by an equally enthusiastic, “What lovely aubergines they have this time of year!”

I spent my childhood reading fantasy: The Hobbit, the Narnia books, The Owl Service and Japanese fable Urashima Taro were stories I revisited with regularity.

But as I grew older, I found my taste for this genre waned. Unlike many in my junior high class, I just couldn’t get into the Clan of the Cave Bear books. Instead, I became infatuated with the classics, big emotional dramas that set my schoolgirl heart a-fluttering, like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the more reserved but equally appealing Pride and Prejudice.

That was until a friend gave me One Hundred Years of Solitude. I devoured this book, and quickly followed it up with Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, which had been beautifully adapted into a movie that same year. Also at the movies, I watched The Secret of Roan Inish. Then I started reading Isabel Allende, and Jeanette Winterson, and she led me to Virginia Woolfe. Oh my!

These writers introduced me to a whole new literary realm, that of magical realism. I didn’t need vampires, or hobbits, or elves. Instead I had the extraordinary, blended in with the ordinary, at my fingertips.

A woman’s passions were absorbed into the meals she cooked, and created intense emotions in the people who ate them. A baby boy was nurtured by the sea for many years, protected because his ancestor was a selkie (half woman, half seal). A woman had her heart stolen and literally sown into a tapestry. And a poet named Orlando started life in the Middle Ages as one gender, and then traversed through time, love and sex for centuries.

Magic realism changed the way I saw my daily life. No longer did I yearn to live in a land of dragon-slayers or spells. My own world held infinitely more wonder.

At any moment, magic happens around us but, like the characters in a magical realism novel, we are often so caught up in our daily burdens that we miss the wonder.

Have you ever seen the aurora borealis?

Or photographs of a supernova in space? In space, where people actually travel? Sometimes, babies really are born with tails!

And all over the world, there are ancient mysteries that we still cannot explain despite millennia of trying.

Who knows what is around the corner! Magical realism in literature is fantastic, surprising, and beautiful. But the greatest lesson it has taught me is that life can be the same.

My question for you: What is the most magical thing you have witnessed in this world?

Airmail, a new magic realism novella by Naomi Bulger, was published in April 2011, and is available online at Barnes & Noble.


And numerous other good bookstores. Naomi maintains a blog about writing, creativity and the absurdities of life at, and she promises to write a personal letter of thanks to everyone who buys a copy of Airmail.

This Day in Literary History

Writer and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti is born this day in London. Rossetti's father was an Italian patriot exiled to England. The family's household became a center of liberal politics and lively conversation and produced several talented children, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his sister, poet Christina Rossetti, and his brother, art critic and editor William Rossetti.

Dante Rossetti, put off by his father's passionate politics, came to believe that art and literature should pursue beauty for beauty's sake and not try to be moral, instructive, or politically useful. Rossetti was already writing poetry and translating Italian verse by the time he was 20. He studied art and became a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, an art group embracing art for art's sake. Rossetti contributed poems to the group's magazine, The Germ, and published a translation called Early Italian Poems, which brought him modest recognition and success.

In 1860, Rossetti married a beautiful model named Elizabeth Siddal. Two years later, she died from an accidental overdose of laudanum. Rossetti, devastated, buried the only complete manuscript of his poetry with her. The manuscript was later unearthed and published during his lifetime. His Ballads and Sonnets (1881) included his sonnet sequence The House of Life. Rossetti died the following year.

Originally posted on

Summer Reads

Summer is looming near and thoughts of vacations, the beach, and great summer reads abound. I am curious as to what summer read everyone is looking most forward to. Please post here so we can get some great ideas to add to our to be read pile.

For me, I want to read the Hunger Games trilogy and Water for Elephants. I know, I think I am about the only person left that has yet to read those selections. I can't wait to see what everyone else will be reading. Please post in the comments.

First Card Book Feature

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

How to Interpret Dreams and Visions

Charisma House (May 3, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including The Meal That Heals and Breaking the Jewish Code. He directs one of America’s fastest-growing ministries, The Voice of Evangelism. An international evangelist, Perry holds a BA in theology from Covenant Life Christian College. He lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife, Pam, and their two children.

Visit the author's website.


Is God Trying to Tell You Something?
Have you ever had a dream or vision that was so vivid that it remained with you for days? It is possible that your dream had a spiritual connotation and your vision was a message from God.

In How to Interpret Dreams and Visions, best-selling author and evangelist Perry Stone explains the guidance and warnings encrypted in our visions and dreams. With his unique blend of Bible knowledge and spiritual insight he provides answers to questions such as…

Is my dream really from God?How do I distinguish between types of spiritual visions?Why am I having nightmares or unclean dreams?· What do my dreams of a departed loved one mean?

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161638350X
ISBN-13: 978-1616383503


The Last Days— Time to Pierce the Veil

But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the

Lord is, there is liberty.

-2 Corinthians 3:14–17

The spirit world is as real as the air we breathe and the water we drink. The natural realm is a reflection of the spirit world. Earthly things are patterned after heavenly things. (See

Hebrews 8:1–5.) Our world consists of trees, rivers, mountains, and cities. The heavenly city, New Jerusalem, has the tree of life, the crystal river of life, and a mountain where God is worshiped called Mount Zion (Rev. 22:1–5). These heavenly realities were the original Creation that was reflected on Earth when God created man. Humanity has struggled to believe in a world that cannot be seen with the eyes, touched with the hands, or smelled when we breathe.

To the skeptic, angels are myths, and demonic spirits are the dark imagination of Hollywood scripts. The prevailing attitude is the Thomas syndrome, which says, “Unless I can see it and touch it, I will never believe it” (John 20:25, author’s paraphrase). The fact is that there is an invisible veil covering both the natural eyes and the spiritual understanding of men and women, and only when the veil is lifted or pierced can the realities of the invisible realm become visible. The Bible is a book written by forty different authors over a period of about fifteen hundred years of time that tells the story of men called prophets who were inspired of the Lord and who pierced this veil and saw marvelous eternal and heavenly images that brought to mankind the revelation of God.

Paul wrote that there is a veil, similar to scales, over the eyes of our understanding that clouds the light of God’s revelation from entering into our minds and enlightening us with life-changing insight. If we live behind this veil, then we will never know or experience God’s best for us. This veil, which at times manifests as a lack of interest in spiritual matters, a dullness in our understanding, or a spirit of unbelief toward the idea of Bible-based spiritual manifestations, must be lifted to experience the unseen. This ability to see the future was the gift that set apart the biblical prophets from their false counterparts in surrounding idolatrous nations. These Hebrew visionaries had a reputation for knowing the unknown behind closed doors.

One such example can be seen when a Syrian general sent his army to capture one of God’s prophets, Elisha. When Elisha’s servant saw the army, fear gripped him. However, after Elisha prayed for the eyes of his servant to be opened, the fear turned to faith as the servant saw horses and chariots of fire encamped round about them both, forming a protective hedge. (See 2 Kings 6:8–17.) There is a covering of some sort on our physical eyes, which prevents us from seeing the activity of the spirit world. However, when we sleep, we are still able to see images through dreams or visions. In Scripture, men like the apostle John recorded these dreams and visions. John was on an island when he suddenly saw a “door in heaven open,” or as we would say, “heaven open,” and this opening projected his mind and spirit into another world, a world just as real as the world we live in. (See Revelation 4:1; 19:11.) These two biblical incidents from Revelation indicate two important facts: something occurs on Earth and something occurs in heaven to cause information to be released and the veil removed. On Earth our eyes must be “opened.” This happens when our inner vision, which creates the images in our brain at night, receives information from the heavenly realm, which “opens,” allowing eternal information to pass from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm.

One question posed by sincere seekers is: “Why would God be concerned about revealing events to us that have not yet occurred?” A simple answer is that He does so to prepare us for something or to cause us to intercede in prayer to prevent or to change a situation.

For example, when King Hezekiah was informed by Isaiah to set his house in order because he would soon die, the king began to earnestly pray, and his death was delayed for fifteen years (Isa. 38:1–5).

Another reason God is concerned is because He knows we need to

understand certain events in the future.

Why is the Spirit World Veiled?

Human eyes cannot see into the spirit world. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Angels are spirits (Heb. 1:13–14). Satan’s kingdom is organized into four levels of spirit rebels (Eph. 6:12), and every man is a tripartite creation of a body, a soul, and a spirit, or, as some teach, a spirit with a soul living in a body (1 Thess. 5:23).

In the time of Adam and Eve, God entered the Garden of Eden and communicated directly with man by walking through the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). Adam and Eve could see and hear God clearly. After they fell into sin, “the eyes of both of them were opened,” and they saw they were naked and felt shame (Gen. 3:7). Although their eyes were opened, at the same time their eyes were veiled. From that moment forward, angelic visitors appeared in the form of a vision, a dream, or would take upon themselves human form, just as the two angelic messengers did when instructed by the Almighty to investigate the sins of Sodom. (See Genesis 19.) Even the writer of Hebrews wrote to be careful when entertaining a stranger because you might not be aware that it is an angel (Heb. 13:2).

If our eyes could be opened and the veil lifted, we would continually see angels, demonic entities, and other forms of spirit beings. While some may wish to see into the invisible realm, the fact is that when great men of God and Hebrew prophets have pierced this veil and seen, for example, angels in their full glory, the reactions have normally been to fall down and be gripped with an overwhelming feeling of fear. Abraham fell into a deep trance (Gen. 15:12) and fell on his face when God talked to him (Gen. 17:3, 17). Ezekiel describes seeing the Almighty upon His throne, with cherubim and amazing heavenly beings appearing like wheels spinning within wheels (Ezek. 1), and he too fell upon his face (v. 28). In several instances when a vision of God or the angelic realm manifested, the prophet fell down upon his face (Ezek. 9:8; 43:3; 44:4). Daniel described an angelic visitor with brass-colored arms and feet, white hair, a gold belt, and eyes like fire. His reaction was so visibly powerful that even the men with him who did not see the vision became overwhelmed and began “quaking” and fled, hiding themselves (Dan. 10:5–7, kjv). Daniel found himself on his face with no strength remaining in his body (vv. 8–9). When John saw the resurrected Christ in heaven, he “fell at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). Even Balaam’s donkey fell down when it saw an angel of the Lord (Num. 22:27)!

When the veil is lifted and a mere mortal taps into not just a vision or dream, but into the actual unseen world of angels, demons, heaven, or hell, the human body is unable to sustain the glory of the heavenly realm without responding in some manner. If we could live with our spiritual eyes continually opened, I suggest we would never get any work done and would be continually disrupted in our sleep.

Scripture instructs believers to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). I cannot physically see God, but I believe in God because of the Bible’s evidence and because I have faith that undergirds my confidence in the Word. With my human eyes I am unable to spot an angel flying through the heavens or a cosmic conflict between warring angels and prince spirits called the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). However, because my inner being is also a “spirit,” I can at times sense or feel the presence of the Lord, the warmth and peace of an angel, or the dark oppressive

wicked spirits that are in my earth zone. To pierce the curtain of the unseen, a believer must be in tune to that particular realm of spiritual activity.

When my seventy-seven-year-old father was praying for my twenty year-old son, who was kneeling before him at Dad’s small home in Tennessee, with tears in his eyes my father said to Jonathan, “There is a future.” He was encouraging his grandson not to just live for the moment but to discover, plan, and prevail for his future, which the Lord has already laid out for him and his little sister. At that moment I realized that this is what life is really all about—the future. When God laid out a detailed plan for man’s redemption from sin, He prepared the details long before Adam fell. Jesus is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). When Christ was praying before His death, He said that God had loved Him from “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). God planned a future for all of mankind before Adam and Eve were created and fell into sin!

Once man sinned, God Himself released the first prophecy by predicting that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). God spoke this about four thousand years before Mary gave birth to the Messiah (Luke 2). After Cain slew his brother, Abel, God wasted no time in replacing Abel with Adam and Eve’s new addition to the family, a son named Seth who would initiate a nine-generation lineage of righteous men, leading up to tenth man from Adam, Noah. (See Genesis 5.) God continually has your future on His mind and in His purpose

The Almighty’s passion for the future is also witnessed in the fact that God thinks generationally. When God established His covenant through Abraham, He was planning that Abraham’s descendants would become a nation. First God promised Abraham a son and to make a “great nation” from Abraham’s children (Gen. 12:2). Years later God predicted that Abraham would be “a great and mighty nation” (Gen. 18:18). Years passed, and then God visited Abraham’s grandson Jacob, changing his name from Jacob to Israel. God enlarged His promise by saying to Jacob, “A nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you” (Gen. 35:11). After the nation of Israel expanded from seventy souls to more than six hundred thousand men of war (Exod. 1:5; 12:37), the Lord announced that the nation would be “blessed above all peoples” (Deut. 7:14). From one simple individual, Abraham, to seventy souls who went into Egypt under Joseph, in four hundred years the nation grew to six hundred thousand men marching through the Red Sea and on to the millions of Jewish people now in the world. God was beginning the preparations for one large family called the children of Israel when He was making covenant with one man—Abraham! This is why God changed Abram’s name (meaning “father”) to Abraham, meaning “father of many” (Gen. 17:5). Israel began with a dream and a vision!

Securing confidence and boldness for the future is so significant to the Almighty that He allowed men to enter into the dream dimension and receive vital knowledge for themselves, for their leaders, or for the nations in which they were given authority. A few examples of significant dreams that altered situations, set destinies, or brought prophetic knowledge are:

. God warned King Abimelech with the threat of death if he didn’t return Sarah to Abraham (Gen. 20:6–7).

. God confirmed in a dream for Jacob to leave Laban, taking his wives and sons to Canaan (Gen. 31).

. God prepared Joseph’s future by giving him two prophetic dreams when he was a teenager (Gen. 37).

. God allowed Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and the baker while in prison (Gen. 40).

. Joseph interpreted both dreams of Pharaoh and prepared for a seven-year famine (Gen. 41).

. It was the “barley cake dream” that gave Gideon confidence to fight the Midianites (Judg. 7).

. God appeared to Solomon in a dream, granting his request for the gift of wisdom (1 Kings 3).

. Daniel was the only man in Babylon capable of interpreting the dream of the metallic image (Dan. 2).

. Daniel later interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s “tree dream,” predicting the downfall of the king (Dan. 4).

. Daniel experienced a major prophetic dream of world empires symbolized by wild beasts (Dan. 7).

Nearly six thousand years of human history have demonstrated that just because God plans a person’s future, it is no guarantee that opposition will not eclipse the light of the revelation. There is a plan by the kingdom of darkness to distract, disrupt, and destroy the future, both God’s prophetic plan and your personal destiny. Each person is said to have a “destiny,” which is simply your future according to God. Just as God revealed to Jeremiah that He foreknew him when he was still in his mother’s womb and that He preordained him to be a prophet (Jer. 1:5), God has a predetermined plan for each person. With all of the clutter and clamor and mixed voices speaking into our lives, our minds can become cloudy and our understanding fogged with numerous possibilities from which we must choose. This is why at times God will permit a believer to pierce the world of the natural and enter the realm of a dream or a vision so that secret strategies of the enemy can be exposed and the hidden plans of God can be revealed. Warnings that are perceived and received can help you avoid potholes and pits in your path to destiny, and understanding God’s plan will empower you to pursue that purpose.

The disrupting of God’s will in our lives can begin at a very early age. During major prophetic cycles and seasons of prophetic fulfillment, children come under severe attack from the adversary. This was seen when Pharaoh ordered the male infants born to the Hebrews to be cast into the Nile River (Exod. 1:22). The time was coming when a deliverer would bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, and the adversary was no doubt attempting to preempt the prophecy by killing the possible male child deliverer before he could become a man! The second assignment of an evil ruler was when Herod commissioned Roman soldiers to encircle the area of Ramah and kill all male children who were under two years of age, attempting to slay the future king of the Jews that the wise men came to worship (Matt. 2).

From a personal perspective, if we survive our birth and live to be teenagers, other battles begin. When he was a teenager (age seventeen), a plot was organized against Joseph by his own brothers (Gen. 37). They were sick of this dreamer, Daddy’s favorite little spoiled boy, running around with an expensive coat! Joseph was doing well until he began to confess his dreams of success that would come to him. At that point his brothers conspired against him, and Joseph ended up in a pit, then in a prison, and spent thirteen years in what seemed negative, dream-killing circumstances.

I was a young teenager when the Lord began to reveal to me His will and I began planning for it. I encountered various types of verbal persecution from my own spiritual brothers in the same denomination of which I was a member. When David—just a

teen—was anointed by Samuel as the next king “in the midst of his brothers,” jealousy arose among certain brothers much older who may have felt they deserved the position more than their kid brother (1 Sam. 16:13; 17:28).

When I was a teenager, the Holy Spirit inspired me to organize a ministry called Voice of Evangelism when I had only preached in three states. Ministers said, “Perry isn’t the voice of anything, much less of evangelism.” They were correct from the natural perspective but wrong in the Spirit. The Lord had a future for me! At age eighteen

I formed a “7-Point Outreach Plan” that included a ministry outreach through books, revival meetings, magazines, and other forms of branching out. Then I began overhearing statements like: “Who does he think he is, Billy Graham or Oral Roberts?” Without sounding arrogant, I knew something these other men did not know. I had a small glimpse into the future. I had both heard and seen in my spirit and through dreams and prayer that I would be used of the Lord to one day have a worldwide ministry Thus, once you see your future, you can learn how to hold off the adversity and know why there is opposition against your destiny!

Watch out for that girl!

When my father, Fred Stone, was a young, black-haired teenage minister, he met a very attractive girl about his age who was gifted in playing the piano and singing. Of course, the common belief was that if you were a minister, your wife needed to be a singer or musician. The girl took a liking to him. However, Dad had a dream in which he saw this girl coming out of a barn embracing a young man. He realized the girl was having relations with this boy. He heard a voice say, “I have warned you; have nothing to do with that girl.” Dad said that after this dream, the girl tried to get close to him in friendship; he would say hello but go no further. Even Dad’s uncle, a noted minister, rebuked Dad for not expressing more interest in such a talented young girl. But three months later the girl’s father told Dad’s uncle he was glad Dad had not formed a relationship with his daughter, because she was pregnant out of wedlock by a fellow she knew.

When I was the same age as my father, a similar situation was repeated in my life. I was eighteen years of age, traveling from church to church conducting weekly revivals. At one location, a family I knew with a daughter about my age wanted me to go out with her to eat. My policy was to only go out with a group of young people and avoid going out alone with the opposite sex. Soon she began to speak to friends that she was serious about me and thought our friendship could lead to eventual marriage. At the same time I dreamed that she was pregnant. In the dream the Lord told me to avoid her. The same week, three noted ministers spoke to me in confidence and said, “You must be careful around this girl. There is something not right about her.” I sent word to her through a friend not to have any contact with me again. One month later it was confirmed that she was pregnant, and she married the father of the child shortly thereafter. Years later she and her mother came to hear me minister in a church and asked to speak with me. Her mother, a very godly woman, required her to apologize to me for plotting to pull me into her situation without my knowledge. The girl said, “I was hoping you would suddenly fall in love with me and marry me before anyone knew I was pregnant with this man’s baby.”

In both cases, more than twenty-six years apart, the same type of snare was laid for Dad and me. By following the same type of dreams and inward warnings, we both avoided missing the will of God and entering into a situation that would have been not only questionable but also embarrassing and detrimental to our early ministries. These

illustrations reveal how strategies are set to disrupt God’s purposes, but God is concerned about the details of our personal lives because circumstances affect our destiny!

Often when we think of a spiritual dream we envision a visitation that warns us of national calamity or an international warning on the same level as what the Old Testament prophets received when warning the priests and the kings of coming calamity. However, God has indicated in Scripture that He is concerned for each individual and not just for the collective population of a nation. Christ revealed that the Father watched a sparrow fall to the ground and saw the lilies in the field grow (Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:28), and if the Almighty is concerned for the smallest in His creation, how much more is His concern manifested toward man, who is made in His image (Gen. 1:26).

The Need to Know

The understanding of the Book of Daniel was sealed “until the time of the end,” when “knowledge shall increase” (Dan. 12:4). Numerous prophecies are assigned to occur in the “time of the end,” a term used in the Book of Daniel five times (Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9). Other predictions will unfold in the “last days,” a phrase coined to identify the time frame prior to the return of the Messiah, listed five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:3). The final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will occur in the “last days” (Acts 2:17) and includes sons and daughters prophesying and experiencing visions and dreams. Among this final generation there is a need-to-know attitude about their future and destiny.

This need to know is obvious when one considers the millions of dollars spent by sincere yet uninformed individuals on fortune-tellers, astrologers, séances, and psychics. According to the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life, “about 1 in 7 Americans consulted a psychic or fortune teller in 2009.”1 The only reason these false prophets of greed are consulted is to determine the hidden and the unseen and to know in advance the person’s future. Why should the body of Christ sit back and refuse to tell this generation to seek God for His direction, when the adversary will provide a horoscope for that purpose? There is a human need to know, and our knowledge for redemption can be found in the Bible—as well as the guide for practical living found in those inspired Scriptures. However, there are times we are uncertain concerning personal and national decisions that can be seen and understood through visions and dreams.

However, the invisible veil must be pierced in the mind and in the understanding. This begins with the “dream factor.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother of Pearl Blog Series Wrap Up

Thank you all so much for following along with the Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. I pray you laughed, cried and were touched by the translucent stories of real life written by new moms, stepmoms, grandmoms, adoptive moms, and moms without moms. Iridescent reality. And how poignant that the translucent nacre which coats the sand stuck inside an oyster’s shell is called Mother of Pearl. Mothers surround children with their love and with God’s love so they can grow in grace. I hope you'll join us this December for the third annual 12 Pearls of Christmas series.

AND ... thanks too, to all of you who entered to win the beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. I'm thrilled to announce that the winner is ...

Jennifer (heavensent1)!

Jennifer, please email with your mailing address.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit and see what we're all about. The purpose of Pearl Girls is to connect women so that together, we can make a difference in the world.  All proceeds of the Pearl Girls book go in full to two charities: Wings (women in need growing stronger) to help fund a safe house in the Chicago suburbs and to Hands of Hope to help build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products to help support Pearl Girls.

Please stop by the Pearl Girls blog and connect with us there.

Guest Blog: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt, author of The Card, has written a great guest post to go along with my review of his book. Please go and check out the previous posting to learn all about the book and Jim. Enjoy!

I want to thank Laura for the opportunity to guest post on The Book Tree. This is a little bit of a scaring proposition. My Young Adult novel certainly sits outside the box of what you might typically find here.

Many people, even close friends, are surprised to find me publishing my debut novel. They wonder where that person came from. “I didn’t know you were a writer?” is a line I have heard hundreds of times in the past month. Thinking back, I have gone through life writing, just not novels.

I entered and won an essay contest during the 1970’s, while in high school. This provided me with a $500 savings bond. I guess I became a professional at an early age. Most would expect to hear a story of how this catapulted me into a life of inspired writing, but alas, I was a high school student. The other winning aspect to the essay contest was the chance to work in professional baseball. Therefore, in a roundabout way, I suppose that this did have a profound impact on my future writing.

After living any kid’s childhood dream, I returned to the real world. I completed a Master’s of Education degree in Exercise Physiology, not exactly the normal path of an aspiring writer. Honestly, writing wasn’t even a thought at the time, because I was so busy … writing! I wrote research abstracts and full-length peer reviewed papers while conducting research in everything from diabetes, to end-stage renal disease, to low-back strength in Professional Basketball players.

After a couple of decades of writing everything from research to advertisement copy to company public relations pieces, I realized that I loved to write. Now it was time to write what I wanted to write.

I struggled with the concept of “wasting time” writing for fun. I produced pieces of the puzzle, threw it out there, and asked those closest to me if I was crazy to try this. My support group was wonderful and gave me the confidence to proceed.

When asked, “Why Young Adult?” I don’t hesitate to answer. This question really has a two-part answer.

First, over the past few years, an explosion of paranormal romance, vampires and other creatures, in the Young Adult marketplace, has occurred. There seemed to be a dearth of mystery/action/adventure in Young Adult novels set in our REAL world. Therefore, my initial reaction was that I could help fill that void.

Secondly, I spent eight years working in a Major League clubhouse. There are stories to tell about what goes on behind-the-scenes in that exclusive club. Naturally, I combined the two concepts to develop the mystery that is set in Seattle, Washington, where the main character works in the Visiting Team Clubhouse.

I brought in some of the habits that I learned throughout my life to develop a writing process. On the other hand, maybe it was more of an idea than a process. I outlined the concept on the front end, and then set out to write. I tried to put in a 2,000-word goal daily, but that seemed to evaporate, as my real job would get in the way. I found that as the story grew, I really wanted to write more and more.

As you know by now, I love research. For me that is the easy part of writing. My story has some scientific basis to it, sort of like a Michael Crichton type of influence (by no means am I comparing myself to him, though) and I studied a lot of the cutting-edge research that is underway at some of the big institutions around the country. I wanted the book to be just ahead of what we might see coming down the road in the world of nanotechnologies and other really cool things. Additionally, the baseball stadium in Seattle, Washington, Safeco Field, plays a big role in the setting of the story and I went behind the scenes there, to places many people don’t venture, so that I could help the reader live that part of the novel.

In the end, I want readers to have fun. The story is a true roller coaster ride. In the beginning, you spend some time getting to know the characters, but then, look out! Beyond the fun, there is a message hidden inside. The growth that the main character undergoes, translates into some big-time life lessons that anyone could benefit from, especially the young adult population.

I am currently working on the next in the series of the Van Stone Novels, due for release in the late fall.

The Card is available at these online outlets:


Kindle Edition

All other e-book editions