Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Restorer's Son

The Restorer’s Son, Sharon Hinck, NavPress, Fiction/Fantasy, 2007, 383 pages.

Here is NavPress’s synopsis of the book:
The Restorers Son (The Sword of Lyric Series #2) (Paperback)
Chosen to save a people, called to serve an enemy.

Plunged again into the gray world of Lyric and Hazor, Susan and Mark search frantically for their teenage son, Jake, as all signs hint that a trusted ally has betrayed them and threatens their son. Assassins and political intrigue, false leads, and near misses beset their path, which will lead them into the dark prisons of Hazor before the One’s purpose is revealed.

Cast out by those he trusts and preferring to cross swords with the One rather than submit to His will, Kieran flees to enemy Hazor, only to find that the one knows no borders. Pursued by his calling, Kieran journeys to Sidian, where he finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. As he embraces the tasks the One has set before him, this new Restorer learns that the One requires his all-perhaps even his life.

This is a very good fantasy, albeit a little strange and unique. I enjoyed the ease in which Sharon moves real life characters from one dangerous situation to another tender and heart-warming one within a few pages. The balance of characters was ok, even though there were quite a few. There were two points of view in the book: Susan’s and Kieran’s. Each had lengthy sections at a time, but the transitions were slightly abrupt. The message of the Gospel to any non-believing reader was unmistakable.

What this book means to a Christian: God is everywhere, and he has a plan for everything and everyone. Sometimes there are things we think HAVE to happen, but he says “Yield,” and we don’t want to, and maybe it takes multiple times to submit, or maybe we abandon His reasoning altogether, but the point is that He has a purpose for everything we and others go through. As Steven Curtis Chapman said in his song “See,” “But right now, all I can say is ‘Lord, how long before you come and take away this aching?’ This night of weeping seems to have no end. But when the morning light breaks through, we'll open up our eyes and we will see it's everything that He said that it would be and even better than we would believe”

My rating: 5 stars.

Upcoming reviews
  • The Keepers of Elenath by Amanda Bradburn
  • (possibly next) The Questions Christian Hope No One Will Ask by Mark Mittelberg
Buy The Restorer's Son!
Check out more Christian fiction

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ANOTHER new cover!

The Strange Man (The Coming Evil, Book 1)

If you can recall, the book The Strange Man by Greg Mitchell recently was promoted from a self-publisher to Realms Publishing, and got a frightening new cover. It turned out that it was overly frightening for sales, so Realms decided to change the cover again! Here are the covers in order of release.

Read my interview with Greg Mitchell.
Read my review of The Strange Man.
Buy The Strange Man.
Check out Mr. Mitchell's blog.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kirk Outerbridge interview

Here for my fifth interview, please welcome Kirk Outerbridge, author of Christian speculative fiction book Eternity Falls!
NA: What drew you to write Christian speculative fiction?

KO: I think I always had the passion to write. I started writing seriously while in college
and that journey took me into my early twenties when I came to the Lord. I had to put
writing down for a bit as I reprioritized my life but afterwards I was able to see clearly
that God wanted me to write for Him. And well…the rest is history as they say. What is unique in Eternity Falls compared to other Christian speculative fiction?

KO: Perhaps its grittiness. I like to write stories about real people with real problems
and how they relate to God and God to them. And although my books are suitable for
a Christian audience I want them to be real world enough to satisfy and not turn off non-believers.

NA: Were there any books that you read that became inspiration or interest
in the genre?

KO: The cyberpunk genre in general was a big inspiration for what I write. While there
is not necessarily a single book that influenced me, there were many other things that
worked together to give me the overall inspiration of writing something hard boiler and

NA: Where did the story idea come from?

KO: I’m not certain exactly, but I had the inspiration to write a story about two brothers
who must confront each other and their pasts to reconcile both with each other and with
God. A bit Michael and Gabriel squaring off when you add in the superpowers *grin*.

NA: Were there any smaller influences that came into the book?

KO: Smaller influences would have to be things like anime, especially Ghost in the Shell. And hard boiler detective stories.

NA: If a live-forever product was created in your lifetime, would you use it?

KO: Before I was a Christian probably, but now---no way.

NA: Which character was the hardest to write?

KO: Shiela. She had to undergo a pretty massive character shift and it was hard
to do. Some will say I actually didn’t pull it off. Starting her off as someone you
instantly hated and finishing up with someone you had sympathy for was a tall order.

NA: Which character was the easiest to write?

KO: Bobby. He just came to life in my mind and took off from there.

NA: If you could be any character in your books, who would it be?

KO: Virgil. He had lots of cool B)

NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred
actor, director, composer, etc?

KO: Wow great question! I always envisioned someone like Russell Crowe as Macey,
Keith David as Virgil (For that awesome voice!) maybe Uma Therman for Sheila (if
she revisited her look from pulp fiction. Director: Christopher Nolan. Composer: Hans
Zimmer (just loved his work in inception) Actually, the whole inception team could make
this movie!

NA: Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?

KO: I live in Bermuda. I burn trash for a living(really!). I’m a cat person but can’t have
one because my wife is allergic!

NA: Do you have a title, cover, or plot idea for the next book you can share
with us?

The Tenth Crusader--Cover--Thumbnail.jpgKO: Sure do. My next book is “The Tenth Crusader” and is the second installment
in the Rick Macey Cyberthriller series. This one takes place a couple years after the
events in Eternity Falls and has Macey dealing with a highly charged political situation
in Manila that somehow involves his shaded past. I’m hoping people will like it.

NA: Do you have any other book plans or ideas after your current series?

KO: Not as yet. I’m currently in the plotting stages of the third installment and have
an idea for a fourth after that. So it looks like more Rick Macey for the time being.

NA: Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write Christian speculative

KO: Keep at it until you have a completed manuscript. Then spend some money to get
it professionally edited. That will be a huge learning experience in both the craft and
how to deal with criticism. And if what you have is not good enough don’t be afraid to
scrap everything and start fresh with the new tools you have learned. After my first edit I
scrapped a 350,000 word trilogy because it had too many fundamental flaws. But I started
over and wrote Eternity Falls which just won the Carol award for Speculative fiction.
So never be afraid to let go of your baby because it could mean you are holding out and
making something even better.

Thank you for visiting us Mr. Outerbridge! Good luck with the release of your next book!

Buy Eternity Falls
Check out Kirk's website!

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Kestrel's Midnight Song

Kestrel's Midnight SongKestrel’s Midnight Song, Jacob R. Parker, Flaming Pen Press, Fiction/Fantasy, 2010, 256 pages.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis of the book:

The land of Gable-renowned for its birds, revered for its legends and secrets-is home to the grandest castle in the known world. Inside this castle, in a narrow cell atop the dungeon tower, the legendary Marauder known as James Kestrel awaits his hanging. Amidst the anticipation and speculation surrounding his execution, rumors are spreading that the Marauders will come out of hiding for the first time in seven years to free Kestrel in order to find the Caelum Flute, an instrument with the power to control the birds, and therefore the world.

But only a wandering giant and a slave girl masquerading as an innkeeper know the truth.

And everything will fall to the shoulders of a traveling shepherd boy-charged with delivering wool to his king-with no knowledge that his treacherous journey will decide the pending fate of the world.

Explore the land of Gable! Take a ride on the elusive Aegre bird! Join the search for the legendary Caelum flute! The adventure is thick with many fantastical scapes and creatures! The plot is developed with mastery. Everything falls into place neatly, without me suspecting it’s conclusion.

The inn-servant girl and the giant could have more involvement and purpose in the story. There isn’t enough thrilling material to make you read all night, but it isn’t boring either.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Upcoming reviews:
  • The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker
  • The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck
Buy Kestrel's Midnight Song!
Check out Jacob Parker's website!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eternity Falls

Eternity Falls, Kirk Outerbridge, Marcher Lord Press, Speculative Fiction, 2009, 370 pages.

Here is Marcher Lord Press’s summary of the book:
eternity book coverThe Undying Has Died It wasn't supposed to happen. People who took the Miracle Treatment weren't supposed to die-ever. Especially not the famous movie star spokesperson for the Treatment. And yet, that's exactly what's happened. The stunning starlet Greta Darling, who looked 22 but was really 89, has suddenly died. Of natural causes.

Desperate to assure their billions of clients that the Miracle Treatment really does work, company executives call in private investigator Rick Macey. Macey's job is to find out what really happened to Greta Darling-or, failing that, to simply come up with some other explanation for how she died. Macey is a war veteran with very special abilities, and his own reasons for taking this case.

What exactly is so wonderful about living forever? Who is really pulling the strings here? What do the religious clues at the crime scene mean? And who will be left standing...when eternity falls?

This book is just amazing! I was transported to a new world with seemingly infinite possibilities, and Outerbridge fascinated me with his style and ease of storytelling! The book moved very, very fast, which was very nice! What I was hesitant to come to a conclusion about at first, however, was how Christians were portrayed. All I saw was Virgil representing Christians, hoping there was an alternative, and then there was! About two-thirds of the way through, it became crystal clear, despite being slightly surreal for a few pages. Of course, I can’t reveal too much, so go ahead and read it yourself! You will be very glad you did!

My rating: 5 stars all the way!

Upcoming reviews:
  • Kestrel's Midnight Song by Jacob R. Parker
  • Another World by Philip Stott
This book was provided free by Marcher Lord Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Check out Kirk Outerbridge's website!
Buy Eternity Falls.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Solitary, Travis Thrasher, David C. Cook, Christian/Suspense, 2010, 392 pages.

Here is the publisher’s summary of Solitary:

Solitary (Solitary Tales V1) (Paperback)When Chris Buckley moves to Solitary, North Carolina, he faces the reality of his parents’ divorce, a school full of nameless faces—and Jocelyn Evans. Jocelyn is beautiful and mysterious enough to leave Chris speechless. But the more Jocelyn resists him, the more the two are drawn together.

Chris soon learns that Jocelyn has secrets as deep as the town itself. Secrets more terrifying than the bullies he faces in the locker room or his mother’s unexplained nightmares. He slowly begins to understand the horrific answers. The question is whether he can save Jocelyn in time.

This first book in the Solitary Tales series will take you from the cold halls of high school to the dark rooms of an abandoned cabin—and remind you what it means to believe in what you cannot see.

This book started out as what I would at first term boring, but in hindsight there were some interesting details I deemed unimportant. I felt the intrigue really crank up at about 100 pages in, and I couldn’t seem to stop reading after that. The romance was turned up a little much for me, personally, but at least there was more to the story. I never expected the ending to happen that certain way. I was pretty baffled, but I still cannot wait for the next installment in the series!

My rating: 4 stars out of 5

Upcoming reviews
  • Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge
  • Kestrel's Midnight Song by Jacob R. Parker
Buy Solitary!
Check out more Christian Thrillers!

This book was provided free by B&B Media. I was not required to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Falling Away

The Falling Away, T.L. Hines, Fiction/Christian/Suspense, Thomas Nelson, 2010, 320 pages.

 Here is Thomas Nelson’s summary of The Falling Away:

He has a unique name…and a unique problem.
The Falling Away
A member of Montana’s Crow tribe, he is called Dylan Runs Ahead. But that name couldn’t be more off, because he’s spent years running
away-from his family, his people, his past…and himself.

Now he’s running out of places to run.

He’s haunted by his younger sister’s disappearance, the recent death of a friend, and his impending sense of being chosen for something of great importance.

But before Dylan can figure out what it really means to be chosen, and whether he’s going to embrace the cost of that calling, he’s going to have to slow down and face the demons he’s been running from. Demon’s that are all too real…and aren’t about to back down.

Enter a world where things aren’t quite what they seem…a novel bursting with supernatural suspense, well-crafted characters, and spiritual insights that will defy your expectations and leave you both breathless and hopeful.

This book has one of the most unique plots of all the Christian books I have read. It was quite confusing at first though, as the storyline had two main characters’ viewpoints, and it would often skip back and forth in the lives of each without warning. Although, about half-way through the book, everything was, for the most part, understandable.

One thing I had trouble with was how Hines represented Christians. He actually used “exorcist” as defining them in a way. I can imagine he intended that to mean we draw out sin’s influence, but it isn’t us. It is God and God only that can forgive sins. Maybe I just didn’t read it correctly, but that is what hit me. Also, the character representing Christians actively practiced embedding. Ugh.

On the other hand, the kill box analogy was pretty cool! But, I can’t reveal any spoilers about it. :) Despite my ramblings, I recommend this book!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Upcoming reviews
  • Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge
  • Solitary by Travis Thrasher
    Buy The Falling Away.
    Check out more Christian suspense!

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Outlive Your Life

    Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, Religion/Christian Life/General, 2010, 212 pages.

    Here is Thomas Nelson’s summary of the book:

    Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference Cover
        We are common folk. We sit in the bleachers, eat at diners, change diapers, and wear our favorite team’s ball cap. Fans don’t wave when we pass. Servants don’t scurry when we come home. Chauffeurs don’t drive our cars; butlers don’t open our doors or draw our baths. Doormen don’t greet us, and security doesn’t protect us. We are regular folk.
        And we wonder: Does God use people like us?
        He did. God stampeded the first-century society with swaybacks, not thoroughbreds. Before Jesus came along, the disciples were loading trucks, coaching soccer, and selling Slurpee drinks at the convenience store. Their collars were blue, and their hands were calloused, and there is no evidence that Jesus chose them because they were smarter or nicer than the guy next door. The one thing they had going for them was a willingness to take a step when Jesus said, “Follow me.”
        Are you more a dinghy than cruise ship? More stand-in than movie star? More blue jeans than blue blood? Congratulations. God changes the world with folks like you.

    I had figured this book would take a lot of time to get through, since most books like it are packed tight with theology. I guess it shows then that I have never read anything by Max Lucado. I understood everything I read, and enjoyed reading it. Lucado systematically shows many ways we can make a difference in the world, by using the examples of others in the present day, and in the Bible. With each chapter, he tucks it in tight with relevant scripture passages on either end, and concludes that each time with a prayer. I found this very similar to the book Do Hard Things, written by Alex and Brett Harris, for teens, challenging them also to make a difference. Outlive Your Life is mainly for adults however, but is simple for teens like me to read as well. With all we can do, we can do it for the glory of God, because if not for Him, we could not do anything.

    My rating: 5 stars out of 5

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

    Upcoming reviews
    • The Falling Away by T.L. Hines
    • Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge

    Buy Outlive Your Life at DeeperShopping.
    For more Christian Practical Life books, head over to DeeperShopping.

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      Thursday, September 9, 2010

      A Star Curiously Singing giveaway (CLOSED)


      As I had promised, because this blog has reached 60 followers, here is another giveaway! As you decided earlier, it will be A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz, my favorite living speculative fiction author! I am very happy to share his story with you! What I didn't mention is that the book will be signed!! So, here are the guidelines.

      Any comments should include an email in no-spam form. [john(at)example(dot)com]

      1. You can follow this blog. A follower widget should be located on the blog's sidebar. You must do this to be eligible for any other entries. (earns 2 entries)
      2. You can post about this giveaway on your blog. Comments should have a link. (earns 2 entries)
      3. You can tweet with a link to this post. Comments should have a link. (earns 2 entries)
      4. You can add my blog button (located on my sidebar) to your site. Comment should have a link. (earns 1 entry)
      5. You can read any of my reviews (update: or interviews) on this blog and comment on it. (earns 1 entry)
      6. Update!
      7.  You may link to this giveaway on facebook. Comment should have a link. (earns 1 entry)
      You can check out Kerry Nietz's website here.
      Read my review of A Star Curiously Singing.
      You can read my interview with Kerry Nietz here.
      This giveaway will end October 3rd at 11:59 PM. Have fun!

      Monday, September 6, 2010

      Greg Mitchell interview

      Here for our third interview, we have author Greg Mitchell! Mr. Mitchell has written a Christian horror, The Strange Man, which will be published by Realms in February 2011:

         The Strange Man is the first title in the Coming Evil series. Dras Weldon is a college dropout looking for a job who parties at night and recovers during the day. He considers himself a Christian, while his brother Jeff, a pastor, does not. One day, an unusual storm arrives at their little town of Greensboro. What this storm brings forces Dras to reconsider his views on the supernatural and to realize true devotion for his best friend-Rosalyn Myers.

      You can read my review of The Strange Man (spoilers included) here:

      Without further ado, here is the interview:

      My PhotoNA: What drew you to write Christian horror?

      GM: Wow, a hard question right out of the gate! That’s a difficult answer to nail
      down, but I’ll give it a shot. First off, I’ve always been drawn to the “spooky”
      side of life. About the only books I read when I was a kid were “true life” urban
      legend/ghost story books. As for movies, I was always terrified—but also
      fascinated—by Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, and as I’ve said
      a million times, The Monster Squad and Ghostbusters were huge, huge influences on
      me. I made a profession of faith when I was eight and, one of the things that my
      parents and Christian mentors always instilled in me was, if you’re going to do
      something, do it for the Lord. As I began to figure out that I wanted to tell stories,
      I knew right away that I wanted to tell stories about God that hopefully pointed
      the way to Christ. As a writer, we’re also told to write what we know, and I know
      monsters. It seemed only natural to me to write a story of faith that also was filled
      with nasty, ghoulish monsters. Some people look at me cross-eyed when I say I
      write “Christian Horror”, but, to me, I can’t help but to write it. It’s in my blood!

      NA: What is unique in The Strange Man compared to other Christian

      GM: I’m certainly no expert on what others are doing in the “Christian Horror”
      genre or how I’m different than them. The books I have read seem to take a very
      psychological suspense approach to the subject matter, but I like to think of The
      Strange Man as a Saturday matinee monster movie from the ‘80s. Something that’s
      fast-paced and fun, with lots of laughs and scares as well as the dark subject matter
      of the book. But that’s sort of my approach to what I like in horror, in general.
      Horror takes itself so seriously these days, and, while The Strange Man is far from a
      comedy, I don’t mind having a little fun. I’m writing about monsters! What’s not
      fun about that?

      NA: Were there any books that you read that became inspiration or interest
      in the genre?

      GM: Frank Peretti was a big influence on me as a kid. When my mom dragged me
      to the local Christian bookstores hoping I’d show more interest in “those kinds”
      of books rather than the secular horror movies of the day, Peretti was the only
      person I saw who was writing anything remotely classified as “horror” and I had
      tunnel vision as soon as I discovered him. His Piercing the Darkness and This Present
      Darkness books had demons and tough warrior angels and spiritual warfare and, as
      a comic book/scary movie kid, that really made an impact on me. That was long
      before I decided I wanted to be a writer, but it still planted a seed that told me I
      could write stories about my faith, but also with lots of intense, “scary” stuff. But,
      really, most of my inspirations come from the movies I watch, and that affects

      my writing. Hopefully for the positive. I tend to think of my books as “movies on

      NA: Where did the story idea come from?

      GM: I site two main inspirations for The Strange Man. One of them is an
      independent Christian movie called The Appointment. It was written and directed
      by Rich Christiano. When I was bit by the writing bug after high school, my first
      thought was to be a screenwriter. Over the last decade or so, I’ve been involved in
      film as well as novels. Rich would probably never admit to this, but I really think
      of The Appointment as a “Christian Horror” movie. For those who don’t know, it’s
      about a mysterious visitor (probably an angel, though it’s never specified) coming
      to this skeptic and telling her that, on a certain day, at a certain time, she’s going
      to die. Then the movie revolves around her trying to investigate the Christian faith
      and struggle with her own doubts, all the while wondering if it’s true. If she’s really
      going to die as prophesied. The movie actually kind of freaked me out. After it
      was over, my mouth was just hanging open. I think the first thing I tried to write
      professionally was a sequel to The Appointment. It involved a young man (who
      would become Dras) being told by a mysterious visitor that, at a certain day, at a
      certain time, his best friend (who would become Rosalyn) was going to die. Then
      he’d have to race against the clock, trying to convince her of the truth before it
      was too late. Rich passed on the idea, and good thing, too. It was because of that
      that I began to develop the script into its own thing. Meanwhile, I watched an
      episode of The Twilight Zone called “The Howling Man”. It was about the deceptive
      power of the devil and it really wowed me. So, I threw a devil into my burgeoning
      script and, from there, the tiny germ that would become The Strange Man was born.
      That was back in 1998/1999.

      NA: Were there any smaller influences that came into the book?

      GM: Way too many to count! Again, I’m inspired by all kinds of monster
      movies. Fright Night, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Lost Boys, almost anything John
      Carpenter. Other than that, of course, are my favorite movies of all time, Back to
      the Future and its two sequels. That’s why I wanted to write a trilogy in the first
      place. On the surface, Back to the Future is sort of branded as just this kooky ‘80s
      comedy, but there’s really a lot of deep, powerful stuff going on in those films.

      NA: Have you ever had a strange experience like those in your book?

      GM: I got spooked pretty easily as a kid. Me and my friends had our own sort
      of “monster squad” and we’d sneak into houses that, for some insane reason
      or another, we believed to be haunted. Or we’d spook ourselves into thinking
      there was a Bigfoot loose in our neighborhood. I was always scared, but I had a

      thrill “investigating”. But, there was a time many years later that wasn’t fun at all.
      I was fresh out of high school and was struggling with my faith and whether or
      not I was really a Christian. It was really a confusing time and a traveling evangelist
      really shook me up. Pretty much talked me out of my faith. I listened to him more
      than the Holy Spirit and I got really scared. There was one night where I felt Evil
      in the room. I can’t explain it other than to say I thought that, if I went to sleep,
      I’d never wake up again. I was terrified of death and confused about where I stood
      with God and it was a whole different breed of scary that I can’t even accurately
      describe. But, the only way I could combat it was with prayer. I just cried and
      prayed for God to help me. For me not to be so scared. Suddenly the weight was
      gone. I was still shaken and had a few days of hard praying and talking to God
      before I could really take hold of my faith again. But once I did, I was stronger for
      it, and I’ve never doubted my salvation since.

      NA: Wow.  Which character was the hardest to write?

      GM: Hardest to write was Isabella, Jeff Weldon’s wife. When I first started writing
      her, I didn’t have much insight into women. I hadn’t really dated, I didn’t have
      any girl friends. The character of Rosalyn is a girl, sure, but she’s got so much
      emotional baggage and sarcasm that I felt I could relate with her on that level.
      Writing Rosalyn was easy, but if I wasn’t careful, I was afraid that Isabella would
      just become “the loving wife”. In the beginning, she was dangerously close to
      being this June Cleaver 1950s housewife who was simply there to support her
      husband—which I think is a terrible disservice to the character (and to women,
      in general). I really had to dig deep and find out who Isabella was as a person, not
      just as a wife. She still doesn’t get much “screen time” in The Strange Man, but just
      wait. She really comes into her own in the next two books.

      NA: Which character was the easiest to write?

      GM: Dras is probably the easiest. Dras is me. Jeff’s me, too, but Jeff is me on
      a bad day. Dras is me when I’m at my geekiest. When I’m standing the middle
      of Wal-Mart and squeal for glee upon seeing a new copy of Back to the Future on
      DVD with the footage from Back to the Future the Ride (and yes, I did do that),
      that’s Dras. Dras is not perfect. He’s awkward and clumsy and very rarely knows
      what to say. But when he’s faced with these horrible odds and realizes he will
      probably fail miserably, he fights on anyway. That’s heroic to me and that’s the
      kind of person I hope to be.

      NA: If you could be any character in your books, which would it be?

      GM: Wow, if I could be any character? I’ve never really thought of that. So much
      of me is already in all the characters, but if I had to go through the experiences of

      one of my characters, it’d probably be . . . Wow. I don’t know. I think I put all my
      characters through the wringer—whether physically or emotionally—so I don’t
      know if I’d want to be in any of their shoes! Maybe Hank Berkley, the sheriff. I
      like Hank a lot.

      NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred
      actor, director, composer, etc?

      GM: The Strange Man began life as a screenplay. It was only after I realized that
      I didn’t have any way of raising the budget to make the movie that I began to
      explore writing it as a novel. Having said that, though, I really don’t know who I’d
      pick now to work on the picture. At the time I began writing, Ethan Embry (from
      That Thing You Do and Can’t Hardly Wait) was Dras, hands down. He’s got that
      goofy little brother quality, but a real sense of “good guy”. For Rosalyn, I was sold
      on Eliza Dushku (Faith from Buffy). Music, I probably would have picked Danny
      Elfman. Director, though, I don’t know. Someone who could have fun with the
      monster FX, but also drive home the “love story” at the center of the piece. But,
      I will say that I would kill to have the movie filmed on the lot at Universal that
      served as Hill Valley in Back to the Future. I can only imagine Dras riding on his
      bike, being chased by gremlins through the streets of Hill Valley. Talk about your
      dream come true.

      NA: That’s cool! Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?

      GM: I don’t like cheese unless it’s on a pizza. I’m afraid of chickens. I’ve never
      seen The Godfather.

      NA: Do you have a title, cover, or plot idea for the next book you can share
      with us?

      GM: No cover yet. That’s a ways away, but the title for Book Two of The Coming
      Evil Trilogy is Enemies of the Cross. It’s a darker book. A lot more complicated and
      shades-of-grey, character-wise. It deals with the survivors from The Strange Man.
      They’re left to pick up the pieces and it’s really affecting them. There are a lot of
      strains on their relationships and arguments and a couple characters go to some
      really dark, scary places—emotionally, as well as literally. Plus, look for new heroes
      and villains, big revelations, more action…and more monsters!

      NA: Do you have any other book plans or ideas after your current series?

      GM: The Coming Evil has pretty much dominated my entire adult life, so I don’t
      think it’ll ever really go away. I’m sure I’ll want to revisit this world and these
      characters in the future, but there was a script that I wrote just before The Coming

      Evil swooped in and stole all my affection. I read that script a couple months ago
      for the first time since 1998 and I really had a great time. I’d forgotten so much of
      it, it was almost like brand new. I’m considering dusting it off and turning it into
      a novel. Needs a title change, though. The original title was Soul Decision…then
      I found out some dumb boy band came out a few years later with that name.
      They’re lost to the annals of history, now, but I still wouldn’t use the name.

      NA: Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write Christian

      GM: Write what’s in your gut. Don’t try to pattern yourself after anyone else—
      even writers that you admire. At the end of the day, you’ve got to write what
      you feel passionate about regardless of the market or what your contemporaries
      are doing. If you really feel that God has given you something great, be a good
      steward of that. Guard it, cultivate it, and He’ll bring about the harvest when it’s

      Thank you for the interview, Mr. Mitchell! May God bless your writing.

      Visit Greg Mitchell's blog.
      Preorder The Strange Man on amazon

      Saturday, September 4, 2010

      Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow

      Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow, Christopher and Allan Miller, Youth/Teen Fiction/Fantasy, Warner Press, 2008, 366 pages.

      Here is Warner Press’s summary of the book:

      Hunter Brown And The Secret Shadow (Codebearer V1) (Paperback)Some secrets should never be kept.

      Strange visions…hideous monsters…startling revelations… Hunter Brown never expected a summer like this, and it’s only getting started! After one of his infamous pranks backfires, Hunter unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient book and key. Little does he know the mysterious book is a gateway to Solandria, a supernatural realm held captive by the Shadow.

      In Solandria, Hunter joins forces with the Codebearers, a band of highly trained warriors who form the Resistance to the Shadow. But before he can complete his training in the ways of the Code of Life, Hunter is sent on a mission far more dangerous than he ever bargained for. Now with his life in peril and the future of Solandria hanging in the balance, Hunter is headed for a showdown with the Shadow and a battle to save his soul from a fate worse than death!

      Is Hunter’s knowledge of the Code deep enough to uncover the secret of the Shadow, or will the truth be more than he can bear?

          It was a pleasure reading this book. I enjoyed and appreciated the fact that the readers could identify with the characters’ struggles and choices. Something else I liked was how there were no instances in which people from Solandria were confused by a reference to an earthly item. (maybe that statement alone was confusing) That seems too common in parallel-world fantasy. The book was somewhat engaging, and the ending was almost unpredictable. (stumped me, though)

      My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

      Upcoming reviews
      • Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge
      • Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

      Buy Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow at DeeperShopping.
        Find more Christian Youth books at DeeperShopping.

        Friday, September 3, 2010

        Beckon cover

        The cover for Tom Pawlik's upcoming book Beckon has appeared on amazon!