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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Germ by Robert Liparulo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert's novel paints a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. He has sold or optioned three screenplays.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

He is currently working on his third novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

If you breathe, it will find you...

The list of 10,000 names was created for maximum devastation. On it are business leaders, housewives, politicians, celebrities, janitors, children. None know what is about to happen...but all will be part of the most frightening brand of warfare the world has ever known.

The GERM...a more advanced form of the Ebola virus...has been genetically engineered to infect only those people whose DNA matches the codes embedded within it. If your DNA is not a match, you simply catch a cold. But if your DNA is a match, within days your internal organs liquefy and you die a most painful death. There is no cure.

The release of the virus would usher in a new era of power...one in which countries are left without any form of defense, where one person or millions could be killed with 100% accuracy yet result in no collateral damage to property or those not targeted.

That time isn't coming...It is now!

GERM is coming. Pray the assassins get you first.



The book link:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0785261761

Robert's website link:
http://www.robertliparulo.com



posted by Rachelle
at 8:08 PM

0 Comments




Friday, January 26, 2007

Spotlight on Tricia Goyer and Generation Next Parenting

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tricia Goyer was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. In 2005, her book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion and her novel Night Song won ACFW's Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. She has written more than 250 published articles, seven books, hundreds of Bible study notes, two nonfiction books, and one children's book and has played an active role in Bible study groups, parenting programs, and young mom support groups for eleven years. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband and their three children.
Email: fromdustandashes @ hotmail.com (remove spaces).




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Generation NeXt Parenting is unlike any other book on the market and represents a new adventure in parenting. Written by Tricia Goyer, a Gen X mom herself, it takes readers on a walk down memory lane to learn what defines them as a generation and how they can parlay their own insecurities, hopes, and dreams into bright futures for their children. With its easy-to-read, conversational style, fun pop culture references, practical tips, and real-life examples from families who harbor the same doubts, questions, and concerns,

Generation NeXt Parenting strips away external distractions to focus on what it takes to raise kids into productive citizens and servants for God.

“As a Gen Xer who graduated from high school in 1989, the way I parent is different from the generations who’ve gone before me,” says Goyer. “I want to do it all—find God’s purpose in my life, impact my community, support my spouse, and provide my children every opportunity available to them. My generation is serious about parenting—just look at all we expect from our children and ourselves! This book offers solutions to our unique questions and confirms that we can ‘parent right’—even if it looks nothing like the way our own parents did it. More importantly, this book focuses on seeking God’s Word and wisdom for answers to growing a new generation of God-seekers.”

Generation NeXt Parenting is an insightful new book that helps readers balance kids, ministry, work, and service, teaching them how to be better parents for God’s glory. More than just another parenting book filled with unrealistic expectations for raising “perfect” children, Generation NeXt Parenting offers real advice, next steps, and biblical references than can easily be applied to everyday living situations. A powerful resource, it is positioned to spawn a whole new breed of parents readily equipped to make a positive difference, not only in the lives of their children, but for generations to come.


The book link:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590527488

Tricia's website link:
http://www.triciagoyer.com

Check her blogs:
http://www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com/
http://www.genxparents.blogspot.com



win a free book
       There's still time to enter my book giveaway to win a copy of
Hell in a Briefcase. Just comment anywhere on this blog and you're automatically entered! More comments mean more chances of winning. I'll pick a name and announce the winner at the end of this month. International readers are welcome to enter.


posted by Rachelle
at 10:56 PM

3 Comments




The Story Behind the Book: Q & A with Tricia Goyer

Q: What was the impetus to write Generation NeXt Parenting?

A: It all started when I was at a parenting meeting last year. Most of the other mothers were older than me. (Sigh, I had my first son when I was 17 in 1989. Most mothers with the same age kids are ten years older.) Anyway, they were talking about "all the young mothers these days . . . they want everything for their kids and don't know when to stop." They went on and on, but I can't remember it all. I just remember thinking, That's me they're talking about, and they don't get me at all!

When I got home, I started looking up everything I could find about how different generations raise kids differently. Amazingly, I found there are many, many differences. So I talked to my agent, and mentioned I wanted to write a book specifically for Gen X parents. I wanted to talk about our unique needs--not as an expert, but as one of them. I wrote up a proposal in a few weeks time. A few months later I had a contract offer. I felt God's hand all over me as I wrote (fast). And, it's a miracle, but about 14 months after I got the idea the book is on store shelves. Is that God, or what?!

Q: Why Gen X?

A: More than 44 million Generation Xers live in the United States today. This group is bound to have a strong influence, not only on society as a whole, but more specifically, on the next generation—our children. There’s no denying that the world is a vastly different place from the one we grew up in, and we are faced with a whole new set of parenting challenges our predecessors could never have fathomed. But Gen Xers have proven we have the passion and drive to excel in childrearing. This book is to help with that.

Q: How are Gen Xers different?

A: As a Gen Xer who graduated from high school in 1989, the way I parent is unique from the generations who’ve gone before me. Personally, I want to do it all—find God’s purpose in my life, impact my community, support my spouse, and provide my children every opportunity available to them. My generation is serious about parenting—just look at all we expect from our children and ourselves!

Q: If you could tell people in two sentences what this book is about, what would you say?

A: This book offers solutions to our unique questions and confirms that we can ‘parent right’—even if it looks nothing like the way our own parents did it. More importantly, this book focuses on seeking God’s Word and wisdom for answers to growing a new generation of God-seekers.

Q: Can you give me a hint of why Gen Xers raise their kids differently than their parents?

A: There are plenty of reasons Gen Xers turned out the way we did. Here are some biggies:

Of course, I could go on, but this book wasn’t written just to reminisce about “the good ol’ days.” It’s about understanding who we are as a generation and why we became the parents we are today. More than that, it’s about taking our good qualities…and discovering how to parent better, for God’s glory.


Q: If you could pray one prayer for Gen X parents, what would it be?

A: Ephesians 1:16–21, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION
“I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.
“I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in the world or in the world to come. Amen.”


posted by Rachelle
at 10:51 PM

4 Comments




Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6



What Most People Don't Know about ME


1. I'm a fourth generation Chinese-Filipino.
2. I always wake up at 10:30 am no matter how early I sleep the night before.
3. I sleep with 7 pillows and a bolster. (Makes you wonder how I fit well with my built and still sleep soundly at night.)
4. I only sleep after an hour or two in bed. (I can lie still without moving a muscle for long, with my thoughts running wild and... Who knows, the next technology revolution may be just round the corner!)
5. I shower with the lights off.
6. I never eat on time. I always eat 2-3 hours late.
7. I have a cyst on my forehead (just before the hair growth). I attribute this to the times when I wake up with a start in high school and bump the wall just beside my bed (my friends in college thought I was being paranoid about this until they touched my head and said, "Hey, you DO have a lump on your head!").
8. My bestfriend and I had a bet in college on who can hook up with the most number of guys in 30 days (no se.x involved). I won the bet by 20! She had only 3 boyfriends in a month, I had 23.
9. The first thing I notice in a man is always his hair - length, wave, color, etc. and it's often their means of entry to my heart too!
10. I used to cut my hair all on my own before 2001.
11. I never go to the same restaurant twice.
12. I did a study on human sexuality in college (complete with surveys, research, random sampling, etc) for personal purposes only.
13. In my entire lifetime, I only fell in love twice (my first and 9th boyfriend).

Bonus: Ice cream (double dutch or choco mousse) is my greatest weakness! You can make me do anything for a cone of that!

That's me -- just a little bit off.





Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



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posted by Rachelle
at 10:07 PM

0 Comments




Tuesday, January 23, 2007

If the Shoe Fits by Marilynn Griffith

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and Tangerine (Revell, January 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email: marilynngriffith@gmail.com.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Have Glass Slipper,
Need Prince...


If the Shoe Fits is the second book in the Sassy Sistahood Novels. The first in the series was Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006).

In all my thirty-five years, I, shoe designer Rochelle Gardner, have never had so many men interested in me! My teen son's dad is back in my life after suffering from amnesia (yes, really). The church deacon has had his eye on me for years (and never said a word). And the young waiter (from the restaurant I've visited for singles' events) is trying to steal my heart. I've been struggling with my faith, trying to figure out which man God has chosen for me and wondering if I have the courage to step forward, on my not-so-pretty feet, to accept love. It's almost too much for the Sassy Sistahood to handle, but my girlfriends always have my back!

The book link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373785763

Marilynn's website link:
http://marilynngriffith.typepad.com/rhythmsofgrace/



win a free book
       There's still time to enter my book giveaway to win a copy of
Hell in a Briefcase. Just comment anywhere on this blog and you're automatically entered! More comments mean more chances of winning. I'll pick a name and announce the winner at the end of this month. International readers are welcome to enter.


posted by Rachelle
at 5:56 PM

1 Comments




Friday, January 19, 2007

Overcoming Fears

We all have some things that we fear, usually these fears come from negative things, unfamiliar things or people, and making changes. They are afraid of self-help because of this fear. Psychological self-help may help you in this situation.

In psychological self-help, The best way to remove this fear is to understand that life is always in the cycle of ups and downs. No one is always up or always down. Remember that no one can avoid these ups and downs even rich people or the most envied Hollywood stars.

What we should do about these downs is to learn from it and not to avoid it. We should learn how to handle our problems for our psychological self-help.

Problems affect us every day. These problems bring us misery due to the fact that we have these negative feelings. We should never loose hope in figuring out solutions to these problems. All we need is to learn how to overcome it and not let the problem overcome us.

Psychologists say that we should always be careful in our decisions concerning our problems. We should handle our problems properly and learn how to deal with it. Learning from mistakes helps us in preparing ourselves when other problems arise.

There are a lot of myths that say every event in our lives is due to some pre-determined reason. Another belief says that what we encounter in our lives today is our preparation for other things that may come in our lives. To understand what may happen to us in the future, we must learn from the past and the present.

It's also true that the unexpected can happen anytime. However, you should keep in mind that self-help is not always for the worse and consequently, you must never let go of a good opportunity, because you are afraid to take the risk.

Remember that, from time to time, something has to happen in order to free you from monotony, so you shouldn’t be surprised if, at a certain moment in time, instead of being afraid of change, you desire it with all your heart.

If there is something hindering you from going on, here are some tips to help you move forward:

All we need is to learn how to handle some negative changes. We should also reflect from it to learn and use it in the future events that we may encounter.

win a free book
       There's still time to enter my book giveaway to win a copy of Hell in a Briefcase. Just comment anywhere on this blog and you're automatically entered! More comments mean more chances of winning. I'll pick a name and announce the winner at the end of this month. International readers are welcome to enter.

Labels:



posted by Rachelle
at 9:48 AM

2 Comments




Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5



Thirteen Funniest Dumping Lines


1. Buh-bye. What part don't you understand -- the "buh" or the "bye"? Buh-bye.
2. It's not you...it's me...well ok..it is you.
3. My ex had a much bigger.. (this is where you get smacked)
4. You're a really great guy..You don't know how much I love you..You mean everything to me... NOW LEAVE!!! AND NEVER COME BACK!!!
5. Answering machine: "Hi, I'm not home right now, If you're Jerry, hang up. If you are any other available male, press two, now."
6. Bob, I'd like you to meet Roy.... he's your new replacement.
7. I don't want you as a boyfriend, no we can't still be friends..and, oh, by the way you're ugly too.
8. Oh, hi Julie...erm...Amanda? Judy? Oh, I remember now, its Cindy, right? Tanya? Does it start with a 'T'?
9. Remember when I asked you out?? Well.... I was talking to the guy behind you!
10. No, seriously, I thought you were a man the whole time we were dating.
11. Sorry, but my leprosy is acting up again. Are you going to eat those fries?
12. You remind me of my dead ex-husband... Let's get married.
13. I need more time and more space. That's why I'm moving 12 hours and 7 states away. Yeah sure I'll call you ...the minute I get there.






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Labels:



posted by Rachelle
at 10:07 AM

0 Comments




Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The fourth and final novel in this exhilarating series capturing the tales of men and women swept into World War II.

EUROPE, 1944
Katrine, a Czech Jew, is so successful in her attempt to pass as an Aryan that she finds herself dating a Nazi officer. Having convinced him of her genetic purity, the officer sends her to stay at a Lebensborn home--a Nazi breeding program in which children are raised and indoctrinated by the state.

Meanwhile, two friends, Mary and Lee, one a socialite, the other a working class girl, land similar reporting jobs at the New York Tribune on the eve of the war’s outbreak. Now rivals with assignments on the frontlines of war-torn Europe, Lee joins troops sailing for Normandy, while Mary's destiny lies in the cramped quarters of a B-17 bearing down on Berlin. Before the presses roll, their lives will be indelibly marked by a caring American navigator, brave French resistors, and a maniacal Nazi officer. Arms of Deliverance is a story of unexpected redemption.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tricia Goyer is one of the members of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (Tricia's Blog, "It's Real Life" Tricia's Parenting Blog, "Generation NeXt") and we are pleased to be able to review her exciting historical fiction book, Arms of Deliverance. She was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. Tricia was also a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award and won ACFW's "Book of the Year" for Long Historial Romance in 2005 AND in 2006. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction (three other WWII novels, From Dust to Ashes, Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. Night Song, the second title in Tricia’s World War II series, won ACFW's Book of the Year for Best Long Historical Romance.) and non-fiction books. She's married to John, and they have three great kids whom she homeschools: Cory (17), Leslie (14), and Nathan (12). They make their home in Northwest Montana with their dog, Lilly.
Read Chapter One on Tricia's Blog.

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posted by Rachelle
at 9:34 AM

3 Comments




Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Pagan's Nightmare by Ray Blackston

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ray Blackston of Greenville, South Carolina, worked as a buyer and a broker for eleven years before cashing in his modest 401k and leaving his corporate cubicle in 2000 to write full time. He is a graduate of the University of south Carolina, with a degree in Finance and Economics.
He serves on the drama team at his church, participates in a weekly men's accountability group, serves on the missions committee of his church, has traveled to rural Ecuador on a summer missions program, and coaches his seven-year-old nephew, Action Jackson, in T-Ball.
When he is not crafting a new novel, is exploring south Carolina beaches with friends and family. He competes in golf tournaments, leads a writers' critique group, and relives his youth through a large collection of eighties music!
His first novel Flabbergasted was one of three finalists for the Christy Award for best first novel, and was chosen as Inspirational Novel of the Year by the Dallas Morning News

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Pagan's Nightmare
Christians can buy gas for twelve cents a gallon, while everyone else (the pagans, that is) have to pay $6.66. The radio stations alter all song lyrics to conform to "Christian" standard--the Beatles belt out "I Wanna Hold Your Tithe"; ABBA's "Dancing Queen" becomes "Dancing's Wrong". Even French fries, newly labeled "McScriptures", are tools for evangelism.
Larry's novel is a big hit with his agent, Ned. But Ned's wife..a committed Southern Babtist...is less than amused. And Larry has yet to show the manuscript to his new girlfriend, even though he's made her the unsuspecting heroine. It will take deft handling from both men to keep their lives and their relationships intact when the world witnesses A Pagan's Nightmare.

Ray's website link is : http://www.rayblackston.com/

The book link is :
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446579599

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posted by Rachelle
at 12:43 PM

0 Comments




Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Eggs for Breakfast - A Good Way to Lose Weight

There's no better way to start your day - and shed pounds - than by eating a healthy breakfast. And here's a surprise for most dieters: Eggs are a healthy option, as long as you know how to fix them.

Eggs are high in protein, surprisingly low in saturated fat and more satisfying than carbohydrates. In fact, people who had eggs and toast for breakfast ate 419 fewer calories the following day than those who had a bagel with cream cheese and yogurt, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports.

The trick to including eggs in any healthy eating plan is to avoid cooking them in a lot of fat. For a tasty, filling meal, coat a pan with cooking spray and scramble up an egg or two with veggies; have it with a slice of whole-wheat toast, as the fiber will help you stay fuller longer.

Because eggs do contain a fairly high amount of cholesterol, limit your intake to no more than seven per week.

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posted by Rachelle
at 12:38 PM

0 Comments




Sunday, January 07, 2007

How to Have a Happy 2007

As we ring in the new year, many of us will make resolutions about what we want to accomplish in our work and personal lives.

Experts say the most promising resolutions are aimed at improving one’s health through changes in lifestyle or habits.

Actually, making New Year’s resolutions to take on a healthier lifestyle need not be seen as unpleasant.

Within a short time, feeling healthier with more energy convinces people that a new approach to behaviors like diet and activity is worthwhile and improves your quality of life.

Experts offer the following tips to ensure a healthier and happier 2007:

— Don’t smoke. Millions of people smoke today, despite the fact that it increases the risk for a number of deadly diseases. If you want to quit smoking, smoking cessation programs can provide the support and reinforcement needed during the difficult withdrawal period. Check with your employer or health plan to find out if these programs are offered.

— Watch your diet. Routine physical inactivity and overeating can lead to obesity and high blood cholesterol — major risk factors for heart disease. To help reduce risk, limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, such as meat and dairy products. On average, fat intake should represent no more than 30 percent of your total daily calories. And daily cholesterol intake should be limited to 250 to 300 milligrams. Regular exercise — ideally at least three times a week — can also help strengthen and condition the heart

— Schedule routine screenings. Make sure you have had all of your routine screenings and immunizations. This applies to children and adults alike. For example, women over 40 should talk with their doctors about the need for routine mammography to help protect against breast cancer. Regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings are also highly recommended for adults.

— Manage your stress. Stress can have a negative impact on your health. Stress-related disorders, such as alcoholism, heart disease, ulcers, hypertension and emotional distress have become common among Americans and Asians. However, stress management programs, offered by employers and local community organizations, teach a variety of strategies and behaviors to help achieve and maintain happier, healthier and more productive lives.

For many, making New Year’s resolutions is the easy part of the New Year.

Keeping those resolutions is much more difficult. Experts at the University of Michigan offer the following suggestions on how to make resolutions so that they are easier to keep, and tips on how to keep them:

— Choose a habit to change that is not so deeply ingrained that it is impossible to dent it.

— Take stock of the bad habit so you know what you are up against. What is it; how often to do you do it; what are the circumstances?

— Have a specific, concrete goal in mind. Losing 15 pounds is a better goal than getting into shape.

— Acknowledge intermediate steps and avoid black-white thinking in evaluating your progress.

— Make a public declaration of your intent. Shame and humiliation can be powerful motivators.

— Find a partner in change. Misery loves miserable company.

— Cultivate a replacement activity. It is easier to say no to one thing while also saying yes to another.

— Try to change your routine and surroundings. This will help dislodge the habit.

— Don’t resort to bizarre strategies — such as grapefruit and vodka diets to lose weight — that you cannot sustain for the rest of your life.

Maybe the best advise is just to forget about any New Year’s resolutions. Learn to love yourself the way you are.

Labels:



posted by Rachelle
at 2:05 PM

1 Comments




Friday, January 05, 2007

Book Giveaway

0



HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It is January, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! Around the FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Phil Little with Brad Whittington
and their book:
Hell in a Briefcase
(A Matt Cooper Novel)



ELEVEN BRIEFCASES AND ONE UNLIKELY HERO...CAN MATT COOPER FIND ELEVEN NUCLEAR DEVICES AND HIS FAITH BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES?

With violence in the Middle East escalating daily, Americans are glued to their televisions wondering what will happen next. Meanwhile, Matt Cooper, jet-setting star of Phil Little's debut novel Hell in a Briefcase is doing something about it. A private security executive, his adrenaline-junkie days consist of last-minute first-class overseas flights, Hollywood parties with his actress girlfriend, and direct calls from top CIA brass.

A chance meeting with Mr. Roberts, “an old broken-down millionaire” and
uncommon Christian, sends Cooper on a trip to Israel that will change
his life. Matt goes behind the curtain of Middle East terrorism,
witnessing firsthand the untold ravages of holy war. The deeper he goes, the
closer he gets to a plot involving eleven stolen briefcase nukes and a
plan infinitely more sinister than 9/11.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Phil Little, president of West Coast Detectives and a recognized expert in counter-terrorism, provides bodyguards to the stars and runs a detective agency that has served ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, Paramount, MGM, and hundreds of others (www.westcoastdetectives.us). He draws on this experience in crafting the tightly wound plot of this international thriller. In addition to his duties as a security expert, Phil has also written Hostile Intent, Protecting Yourself from Terrorism and will soon be the subject of a television pilot. In the meantime, you can read more about Matt's adventures in his blog, http://detectivemattcooper.blogspot.com.

In addition, Phil is available for comment on all aspects of international terrorism, both at home and abroad, and he makes for an interesting and colorful guest. His expertise in the area of international issues combined with his personable on-camera style would make for a great interview on this hot topic. From Lebanese terror camps in the 1970’s to American airports in the months before 9/11, Phil Little has witnessed the terror threat up close and can share eye-opening stories and information that all Americans should know.


THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Marjeyoun, Lebanon.

Thursday, 21 November 2002. 01:30.


A full moon. A glow seemed to rise from the sand, allowing them to
drive with their headlights off. The five Jeeps kept to 40 kph on the dark
road that wound southward between hills and wadis. In the third Jeep,
Major Skaff allowed himself the brief luxury of picking out Pegasus in
the sharp winter sky before he compulsively scanned the rocky terrain
for signs of Hezbollah fedayeen. He was leading this patrol to check out
rumors of increased activity near Shaaba Farms, the disputed area where
three Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped two years before.

The ridge road ran from the town of Marjeyoun down to Qlaia’a
under the ominous gaze of Shqif Arnoun-the castle called “Beaufort” by
the Crusaders-to the west. Christians and Muslims had fought for this
ground for centuries, trading possession of the castle as their fortunes
rose and fell. In the 1970’s the Palestinian Liberation Organization had
used the strategic placement of the castle to shell civilian
settlements in northern Israel.

That was when Skaff, then a young recruit of the Southern
Lebanese Army, had been a driver in a similar convoy, shortly before the
civil war broke out between Christians and Muslims in 1975. Traversing this
very ridge on a mission, he had come under fire from the castle. His
evasive driving had saved the convoy and drawn the attention of General
Lahd.

The intervening thirty years had been a generation of
unremitting war. Israel, tiring of mounting civilian casualties and the Lebanese
government’s refusal to expel the terrorists, invaded southern Lebanon
in 1982 and captured the castle. Eighteen years of occupation followed,
during which Skaff had risen through the SLA ranks while working openly
with the Israelis to keep the various Muslim factions at bay. When he
had started, Hezbollah did not exist. Now the radical Muslim army
controlled the south and dealt severely with the Christian resistance.

As the occupation had grown increasingly costly and casualties
mounted, the pressure increased for Israel to withdraw. When the SLA
collapsed in 2000, Israel destroyed what was left of the castle walls and
pulled back behind the Blue Line specified by the UN. The SLA
scattered. Thousands fled to Israel or went into hiding. Those who didn’t were
imprisoned and tried as enemy collaborators. As Hezbollah gained control
of the area, the anticipated slaughter of Christians didn’t
materialize. But any SLA militiamen emboldened to return were also imprisoned.

As he scanned the distant ruins of the castle in the moonlight,
Major Skaff reflected on change and constancy. Where PLO guns had once
rained death on Israel and Lebanese Christians, now tourists snapped
pictures and rushed home to post them on the Internet. And the same
General Antoine Lahd who had brought him up in the ranks and fought beside
him for decades had fled to Paris. Only a week ago he had opened a fancy
restaurant in Tel Aviv called Byblos. It had a nice ocean view.

True, Lahd had a death sentence hanging over him for treason and
war crimes, but so did Skaff. And so did many of the two thousand SLA
in Lebanese prisons.

But some things had not changed. Southern Lebanon was just as
dangerous for the men in these Jeeps as it had been when Skaff was
driving instead of commanding.

Skaff was drawn from his reflections by a dark shape ahead. At
the end of the ridge the road snaked through an outcropping of rock. He
had passed through it many times, always with reluctance. This night he
felt a peculiar sense of revulsion as he squinted at the misshapen lump
of stone looming before him.

He nudged his driver and nodded toward the rocks. Hassan nodded
back. He could feel it too. Skaff reached for the radio to signal the
lead Jeep. A lifetime of guerrilla fighting had convinced him that such
premonitions were not without merit. His transmission was brief, but
they were already entering the outcropping when he put the radio down.

Five seconds later a rocket hit the grille of the lead Jeep. The
explosion lit the rocks towering over them. He saw the silhouettes of
two men blow out on either side of the vehicle, which was tossed onto
the nose of the next Jeep. Hassan narrowly missed them, skidding left and
stopping next to the driver of the lead Jeep, who was lying half off
the road.

The two Jeeps behind slid sideways to a stop in the road as
machine gun bursts echoed from beyond the lead Jeep. Skaff was exposed to
the attack. He dove from his seat to the rear of the second Jeep,
between two men already returning fire with an Uzi and an M-16.

He rolled to his feet and yelled to the two back Jeeps,
motioning for them to form a double barricade with their vehicles, keeping the
men covered both in the front and the rear in case the attackers
attempted to sandwich them in the gap. Skaff turned back, confident that his
men needed no further direction. This mission called for
battle-hardened veterans, and he had personally selected the nineteen men who were
with him now. Every man among them had proved himself in years of combat.
Some even owed their life to his cool command in battle. Some had
returned the favor multiple times.

Skaff scanned the forward battle to account for the remaining
eleven men, his position shielded by the lead Jeep transfixed on the
grille of the second. To the left, Hassan was pulling the driver of the
first Jeep to safety. The other two men from Skaff’s Jeep were covering
him with sporadic fire from their Uzis. Ahead, the driver of the second
Jeep was placing a case of grenades handy to his partner, who had fitted
his M-16 with a grenade launcher and was set up in the backseat. Skaff
was standing beside the other two passengers in the second Jeep. That
left the three passengers from the lead Jeep.

He spotted Saif on the right. He had been thrown clear onto the
sand without apparent injury. He was crouched behind a boulder,
occasionally returning fire with his Desert Eagle .50-caliber side arm.
Failing to sight the other two, he shouted to the driver, who had acquired an
Uzi.

“Rafik? Sayyed?”

He nodded forward. Skaff crawled over the middle of the jeep to
the hood. Sayyed was wedged between the lead Jeep and the grille of the
second Jeep, most likely dead. Rafik was lying on the hood of the
second Jeep. Skaff checked for a pulse. Nothing. He closed Rafik’s eyes and
whispered a short prayer. Skaff couldn’t play favorites with his men,
but this loss was harder than any other would have been. At nineteen,
Rafik had already spent four years with Skaff, rarely more than fifty
yards from his side. Four years of relentless, driven hate. Skaff had been
Rafik’s ticket for revenge. Perhaps now he had found the peace revenge
had not been able to bring him.

Skaff was crawling back to get a weapon when the second rocket
hit the bottom of the lead Jeep. The gas tank exploded, sending most of
the shrapnel back toward the attackers. The force of the blast threw
the second Jeep back five feet, knocking over the two shooters behind.
The grenade launcher and the man with it fell into the front seat. The
driver was standing to the side. He returned fire with the Uzi.

Skaff helped reposition the grenade launcher and crawled out of
the Jeep. The two in back were already firing again. He scanned the
area and then dove toward the two Jeeps in the rear. Of the eight men
between the jeeps, one had taken a round in the right shoulder but was
still firing left-handed, propped against a door. Three were facing the
rear but indicated they hadn’t seen any action, yet. Two were covering the
walls on either side with M-16s, but also hadn’t seen action. The final
two had grenade launchers on their M-16s. They waited until they saw
several volleys of tracer bullets originating from a single location.
Then they fired three seconds apart at the source. The machine gun fire
stopped. Skaff slapped them on the back. Perhaps they would get out of
this thing alive.

Then a rocket hit Skaff’s Jeep. Hassan was behind a curtain of
stone, firing with an Uzi, having propped the injured driver in a cleft
in the rock. But the other two were using the Jeep for cover. One
tumbled backward, clear of the Jeep. The other was knocked down as the Jeep
rolled over, pinning his leg under it. Skaff ran through a volley of
automatic weapons fire and pulled the first man to his feet. They raced
to the Jeep, joined by Hassan, and rocked it back over. Then they
dragged the injured man to safety next to the injured driver.

Skaff felt a shudder of unease ripple through the
adrenaline-laced focus that always came over him in combat. If this kept up, the
whole team would be shredded before they had used half their ammo. He
grabbed Hassan’s arm and yelled into his ear over the din.

“We have to take out that rocket launcher or we don’t get out of
here. Take those three and circle around.” Hassan nodded and stepped
away but Skaff grabbed his arm. “Take a radio.”

He let go, and Hassan ran to the rear while the others laid down
covering fire. Skaff used the opportunity to race to the front two
Jeeps and get the four there away from the vehicles and behind the cover of
the rocks. As they ran for cover, another rocket hit the top of the
lead Jeep, sending fragments of the grille and fenders flying in all
directions. Skaff ran through the explosion back to the rock curtain. When
he fell against a boulder the injured man pointed at Skaff’s leg. He
looked down and saw that his left trouser leg was slashed in three places.
Blood was seeping down to his boots. He looked around to see how the
others had fared.

Saif seemed to have been hit in the arm by something. He was now
firing the Eagle while holding his upper arm with the other hand. The
other four seemed to have escaped unscathed. Skaff’s radio had not
survived the rocket. He nodded to the man next to him, who wielded an Uzi
while he made it to the two back Jeeps, getting an Uzi and a radio. He
turned it up all the way and slung it over his shoulder. Then he began
firing at the source of tracers beyond the rubble of the Jeeps.

Looking for some encouragement, Skaff probed his memory. In
almost three decades of fighting, he didn’t recall anything quite as dire
as the current circumstance. He had two confirmed dead, one unconscious,
three wounded but still firing. Almost a third of the force. The
numbers were bound to increase as long as that rocket launcher was working.
His calculations were interrupted by Hassan’s voice squawking through
the pandemonium.

“We got the rocket launcher, but I think they have another on
the left. And now we’re pinned down, so we’re going nowhere.”

The last word was drowned out by a rocket blast on the rock
curtain above the injured men. Skaff doubted he could get a team around the
other side. Even if he did, the enemy would be expecting them. No way
around. No way through. He scanned the sheer rock walls on either side.
No way over. The fedayeen had chosen their positions well and appeared
to have ample men, weapons, and ammo. It seemed likely that most of
this team would share the fate of Rafik and Sayyed. Probably all. The
thought sickened Skaff, turning the adrenaline in his veins to bile in his
throat.

There was one last hope, but it might be too late. He selected
another frequency on the radio and shouted over the gunfire, “Lehafil
Levanon Sanctzia. Lehafil Levanon Sanctzia.
(Activate Lebanon
Sanction.)”



win this book

To win a free copy of Hell in a Briefcase, simply leave a comment on this blog post, giving your name and saying you want to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address where I can contact you if you win. This contest runs from Jan. 1 to Jan. 30. Winner will be announced at the end of the month. International readers are welcome to enter.

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posted by Rachelle
at 2:44 PM

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4



Thirteen Things I PLAN TO DO THIS YEAR



1. Learn to manage time wisely.
2. Write at least one story each month.
3. Write more articles for the blogs I've been paid to blog for.
4. Read at least half of all the books I won.
5. Organize my library.
6. Purchase all the books I've been published in (after my credit card application is approved).
7. Win more books from online contests and giveaways.
8. Finish my official .COM business website (aside from www.rachelle.co.nr).
9. Join more writing contests (the prestigious ones this time)
10. Make more friends online (and perhaps, fans too).
11. Spend less, save more.
12. Shed some pounds (hopefully, before my fiance pops the question ).
13. Publish a chapbook.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



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posted by Rachelle
at 11:30 PM

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tangerine by Marilynn Griffith

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about Tangerine (Revell, January 2007) by Marilynn Griffith (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and mother of *GULP* seven!)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and If the Shoe Fits (Revell, 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email: marilynngriffith@gmail.com.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Tangerine is the third book in the Shades of Style Novels.

Fans of Pink and Jade will eat up Tangerine, the third book in the cutting-edge Shades of Style series. Jean Guerra, a designer at Garments of Praise design firm, doesn't like surprises. These days though, the unexpected meets her everywhere. Since Jean's return to the church a year ago, her God-encounters occur with increasing frequency, along with thoughts of her husband-the one she vowed to divorce and gave up on long ago. The one nobody at work knows about, not even her best friend, Lily, or her boss, Chenille. But when the designer assigned to work with Jean on a line of men's suits shows up, her heart flips. It's her husband, Nigel Salvador. Jean is finally rendered speechless. Can her bruised heart become whole enough to love again? Or will she remain in the trenches of loneliness forever?

Purchase Tangerine here.

Learn more about Marilynn and were other books here.

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posted by Rachelle
at 11:06 PM

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