Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Debut Day' for The Journey Begun

We're there! The Journey Begun is now available on However, before you order...

I'm in the process of arranging book signings at local bookstores. I'll be sending out invitations for those events when they're set. However, those who are not in the local area, or who prefer to order their book online, I'm planning a 'Debut Day' on Amazon. com. I'll ask everyone who intends to pick up a copy to wait until one specific day to order it. The spike in orders will push the ranking of the book higher and get it more visibility, for however long the demand remains. I'll be sending out an e-mail message with the specifc day very shortly.

More to come. Be ready for that spam... :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Critical Care, by Candace Calvert (Tyndale)

(Click cover for more information)
There are three relative-milieu perspectives in which you often find stories set.

First, there’s the inside-looking-out view. At the risk of sounding self-serving, I’ll use my own Ben Amittai: First Call as an example. The hero—the prophet Jonah—is viewing the outside world from inside his unique perspective as a prophet called of God. He sees the effects of his calling—his milieu, if you will—on those around him who are not part of that calling, but are touched by it.

Second, there’s the view from the outside looking in. TL Hines’ Waking Lazarus has an interesting twist on this perspective as our hero, Jude Allman, has forced himself outside his milieu, denying his calling, and looking in only as his gift is forced upon him.

Finally, there’s the inside-looking-in view.* Candace Calvert has excelled in this perspective in Critical Care. Here we see the inside workings of a trauma team operating within the milieu of an emergency room, and we see the effects of the ER on the actors living and working within it. What do I mean? Oh, okay, enough of the esoteric stuff. Here’s the scoop:

Doctor Logan Calvert is the hard-nosed ER director at Sierra Mercy Hospital. The good doctor’s utmost motivation is the wellbeing of his patients. “Good,” you say. Well, in his drive for perfection, he goes through ER nurses like a hot knife through soft butter. If they aren’t the crème of the crop, they’re history. No questions asked, no answers offered. Oh, and he has a hidden trauma in his past that defines his drive.

Nurse Claire Avery is attached to the education department of the hospital. Her counseling task: to “heal the healers” who day in and day out, psychologically deal with the trauma they encounter in different ways—and not always gracefully. Oh, and she has a hidden trauma in her past that defines her drive.

ER Nurse Sarah Burke is an overachiever. Excessively efficient, she is driven by her self-imposed commitment never to let Dr. Caldwell down. Oh, and—yes, you guessed it—she has a hidden trauma in her past that defines her drive.

ER Nurse Erin Qinn is the nurse-in-charge of the ER nurses. She is competent, caring, and caught in the middle between the iron-fisted Dr. Caldwell and her own nursing staff. Hidden trauma? I’ll let you decide.

In short, if I were unfortunate enough to end up in an ER, this is the team I’d want working on me.

All of these drives at times complement, at times collide. Conflict, the grit of reality in the ER and, of course, unexpected romance combine to make this a fast-paced novel that challenges your mind, your heart, and your faith all at the same time. Ms. Calvert—a former ER nurse herself—delivers a tightly-written tale that sends you to the peak of contentment on one page, then into the valley of frustration on the next; kind of like, well, life in an emergency room. Her command of the intricacies of the ER and the pressures it imposes on those who work there permeate her story as the ER team handles one crisis after another. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind Ms. Calvert being on that trauma team either…

If you like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, but yearn for a clear Christian motivation in the mix, Critical Care is your book.

* No, I didn’t forget the outside-looking-out. The milieu of the story is the “in” and there would be no setting for the story if there were no “in.” Nice try. :-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sneak Preview of Novel #4

A Prophet's Tale now being complete and at the publisher, it's time for a sneak peak at the next novel. Expect something entirely different.

My family was living in West Berlin, Germany, in November, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Like most of the rest of the city, we rushed to Checkpoint Charlie, the Tiergarten across from the Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag to welcome East Germans pouring through breaches in the Wall.

On that day, I snapped the picture of a man standing on a street corner holding up a plain white paper sign on which the name "Katia" was written. The picture became the seed for my novel. Below is a short synopsis:

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“Seek the truth, embrace the pain, cherish the freedom.”

Spunky Madeline “Maddy” McCann is a twenty-one year-old journalism major completing her year as an exchange student at the Freie Universtität, in Berlin, Germany. She has a career to launch.

Stalwart Katia Mahler is a sixty-six year-old German invalid who grew up in post-World War II East Berlin. She has a story to tell.

Enigmatic Oskar Schultmann brings together the journalist and the storyteller. Maddy’s task: to chronicle Katia Mahler’s life.

All three of them discover more to Katia’s story than they bargained for.

Cultures and generations clash, as the young American and the German matron strive to understand each other’s present and past. Maddy learns more than a personal history; Katia receives more than a memoir. And always in the background is Oskar, who gets drawn into the story in ways he never intended.

Peek behind the Iron Curtain and over the Berlin Wall as Katia’s story—the story of a lost generation from a failed state—comes to life through the scribbled notes of a girl struggling to grasp the significance of what she has written for her own life as well as for future generations.

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I hope to have the manuscript for Katia in to the publisher within a month. It's my most exciting work so far. Can't wait to share it with you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

'Nuther Update!

A Prophet's Tale: The Journey Begun has finished all editing and cover design. It went to the printer this morning. Estimates are three weeks for printer approval, then three more weeks for it to get posted for availability on,, etc.

My apologies in advance, but expect a spam from me in the not-too-distant-future! :-)