Friday, February 26, 2010

And Baby Makes Five; The Dark Man

California's Central Coast and Romance. What could be better?

Walk the streets and countryside of Monterey, California, with three couples who are surprised by love in the midst of their busy lives. Chad helps Felisa when she goes into labor in his lettuce field. Juli meets Alan while volunteering at a soup kitchen. Ross takes an overdue vacation at Alissa's bed-and-breakfast. Can busy people slow down enough to realize the love God has brought into their lives?

Book Description

Chad helps Felisa when she goes into labor in his lettuce field. Juli meets Alan while volunteering at a soup kitchen. Ross takes an overdue vacation at Alissa's bed-and-breakfast. Can these busy Californians slow down enough to realize the love God has brought into their lives?

Reader Comments

In each of the three novels, set in the central coast of California, Gail writes of God's love with such ease and weaves His love throughout each story. I'm adding this book to my gift list for friends and family. Carolyn Devaney, Reader

Excerpt from Chapter 1, Book 1 -
by Gail Gaymer Martin

Felisa Carrillo's pain surged down her lower back into her belly. She doubled over in agony while the hot California sun beat across her back. She took deep breaths, controlling the spasms that weakened her knees, and she struggled against falling to the lettuce field as the wave of pain raked through her.

" Estás bien?"

Her coworker's voice wrapped around her, but she couldn't answer. No, she wasn't okay, although Maria's tone already alerted Felisa that she knew the answer to her question.

Maria boosted herself from her haunches, dropped the head of lettuce into the basket, and darted to her side. " El bebé está naciendo?"

When the pain subsided, Felisa lifted her head. "Yes, the baby is coming," she said in Spanish. She looked down the green, even rows to find a place to escape, but instead, her breath left her when she saw a man striding her way. The boss. The owner. She recognized him from other visits to his fields.

"Déjeme ayudarte," Maria said, offering to help her. She slid her arm around Felisa's shoulder, trying to support her.

"El jefe. El dueño." Panic filled her as Felisa motioned toward the owner, alerting Maria of his presence as she tried to pull away. "Maria, you must get back to work," she whispered in Spanish.

"No." Maria's voice snapped with determination.

Felisa slipped from her arms and knelt beside the lettuce, gesturing for her to leave.

Maria finally moved away and crouched farther down the row while Felisa struggled to focus on a plant to avoid drawing the owner's attention. The earthy scent of sun-heated soil and foliage swept over her, causing her stomach to churn. She couldn't get sick now.

As she reached for a lettuce head, another contraction stabbed her. Panic filled her as the man moved closer. She couldn't afford to lose her job, and she sent up a prayer that God help her bear the pain until he passed. She puffed to control the twisting anguish that seared inside her as the man's shadow fell across her and stopped.

"Are you ill?" His raspy voice hovered above her. " Está usted enferma?" he repeated.

She didn't look up but only shook her head.

He didn't move.

Tears ballooned in her eyes and escaped to her cheeks. She knew the droplets would leave a telltale trail on her dusty skin. She tried to brush them away, but she felt the sticky grime against her fist.

The man lowered his hand and tilted her face upward into the glaring sun. She flinched with his touch and closed her eyes to the brightness, but when she opened them, she saw only concern in his eyes. His gaze left her face and lowered to her bulging belly she'd tried to camouflaged by an oversized shirt. "Pregnant," he muttered, then lifted his gaze to her. " Está usted embarazada?"

She tugged at her top to cover her belly and ignored his question, but she felt her face go pale.

"You're in labor." His voice sounded disbelieving, and he bent over her as frustration rattled in his throat. He straightened and scanned the field. "Husband?," he muttered before he turned to her again. Dónde está su esposo?"

Felisa's throat knotted. "Dead." And good riddance, she added, then immediately became ashamed of her thought, but she knew God understood.

"You speak English." Relief filled his face.


"You're husband is dead?"

Felisa gave a fleeting nod. "Killed."

She watched his head swivel as he studied the field as if looking for a body. Finally he turned back to her as if satisfied. "When? What happened?"

She winced, remembering the day she saw Miguel's mangled body. Though she knew s English, under stress, she struggled to remember the words. "Ocho— eight months ago. Accidente—an accident," she corrected. Miguel had been drunk as always, but that day he was dead drunk. Coming out of a barroom, he staggered into the street and was hit by a car. The police called it an accident. She called it freedom.

The man shook his head and drew out a handkerchief to wipe the perspiration from his face. "Do you have family in Salinas?"

"No," she said, feeling another contraction grip her. She coiled into a ball.

"No family."

She heard the irritation in his voice.

"You're not having a baby in this field," he said, his voice deepening with emotion. "I'll take you to the hospital."

"No, please," she said, fearing a hospital bill. She barely had enough for food.

"The Natividad Medical Center. It's a hospital. You're not staying here," he said, sounding determined and hitting numbers on his cell phone. "Can you walk?"

He turned his attention to the phone call while she let the last of the pain fade. Could she walk? Determination charged through her. She would. She had to.

The man disconnected, then reached toward her.

"I can walk," she said, pushing her hand against the pungent earth to hoist herself. As she rose, her legs buckled, and he grasped her arm, lifting her to her feet and supporting her along the lettuce rows.

"My truck is this way." He motioned toward the distance.

Felisa felt her knees buckle, and she stumbled forward. The man scooped her into his arms and carried her, his urgency obvious. His strength gave her a sense of security, and she drew in the smell of the heat radiating from his skin, a clean aroma so different from the workers in the field. His fresh scent mingled with the tangy fragrance of his aftershave.

"Do you think you can make it?," he asked. "By the time I get an ambulance here, we can probably be there ourselves. " He boosted her more securely against his body.

The Dark Man
By Marc Schooley

The World Has Turned Over

The Dark Man is a near-future thriller about a master of disguise working to eradicate Christianity in America. Charles Graves is haunted by his dead brother, his lost mother, and a phantom arising cryptically from a child's puzzle. Charles goes undercover to infiltrate one of the last Christian cells in the South, only to find that someone else is working to infiltrate him. In a world turned over by an oppressive government and a godless society, Charles strives to bring down the last Christian leaders. But sometimes he who persecutes the church is destined to serve her.

The dark man was back.


Charles peeked through the woodworking adorning the balcony's railing. A forgetful, mechanically over-produced tune from the ASL meandered through the house, droning its way to the balcony. The singer alluded to something about the brotherhood of man. Charles did not understand the phrase.

Something crashed downstairs and the music stopped. They were arguing again.

Through the woodworking he watched the remains of his family's Approved Song List unit skid across the great white marble floor. It came to rest under the chandelier. Its ruins looked like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle.

The dark man was assembled at Charles's feet. Charles stole a quick glance. The dark man snickered at him like a ventriloquist's dummy.

Before he'd died, his grandfather had fashioned this wood-block puzzle for Charles. The puzzle consisted of a sunken oaken frame with raised sides two inches high. The frame enclosed an area of one square foot. His grandfather had sanded the oak meticulously, finishing the frame inside and out with a shiny lacquer.

The puzzle pieces were easily assembled blocks carved on all six sides. The sides represented facial features, hair, ears, foreheads, cheeks, and chins. Some pieces featured accessories such as glasses. Many emotions were represented, as well, enhanced by the intricate carving of facial lines, muscular nuances, and distinguishing marks. Some eyes cried, some mouths laughed. The dark man's mouth usually sneered. The wood-block puzzle was a homemade, wooden version of Mr. Potato Head, with greater realism.

The dark man stared through hollow eyes—despite the fact that none of the eye pieces had been cut to appear hollow. Charles supposed the combination of pieces that formed the dark man was special. His face was blemished from Charles having ripped him out of the frame or slammed him on the floor once too often. His hair was manicured, black, and parted in the middle. His lips were thin, yet full and red. The pieces tracing the dark man's outline were worn, creating an effect that appeared to suspend him within a fog of unknown origin.

"Get out!" Charles said to it.

With the nail of his left-hand ring finger Charles traced a jagged scar stretching across the left side of his face from cheekbone to lip. He overturned the dark man, spilling him onto the floor of the balcony. One of the dark man's plucked-out eyes stared up at Charles.

Charles righted the frame and began to refill it with different pieces. The tension escalated below.

"I don't care about that stupid ASL machine." His mother's voice rose from below. "And you used to not care!"

"Things are different now. Can't you see?" Charles's father said.

From the balcony, Charles peered down at his parents through an archway leading into an adjacent hall. They stood along the far side of a formal dining table embellished by an arrangement of white roses in an ornamental vase. His mother faced him, wearing an ankle-high red dress. She was partially obscured by his father, who leaned against the table with his back to Charles. Charles noticed the heart-shaped bald spot on the back of his father's head.

His mother grasped a remote control with red buttons in her right hand. "Different?" she said. "Here's something different." She pushed a red button.

The house erupted in sound. Charles thought this music was different from the ASL. It was raw and uncouth: Can you expect a man that's rotten to the core. To ever raise himself, to be anything more.

His father's refined speech was easy to distinguish from the voice in the song. "Turn it off, Teresa." He seemed to be inching his way toward her.

Charles's mother pressed another red button. The music paused. "What happened to you, Cotton?" She hit Play again: 'Cause when I try it on my own You know I'm bound to lose. Another pause.

"Nothing, baby. We have to fit in. Adapt. That's all."

"I don't want to fit in." Charles's mother mashed the red buttons again: There's only one path a sinful man is ever gonna choose.

"You have to quit. Give me that remote." Charles's father shuffled one foot nearer to Teresa.

"Don't come any closer," she said. Tears streamed. Her mascara bled. She ran her free hand through her hair, causing her bangs to tangle. She wiped the tears from her face, smearing her makeup. Her head fell to her chest. A stilted moan oozed from her mouth. It sounded like a whining cello.

Charles's father put both palms forward. "Okay, okay. Calm down." He was almost within reach.

The remote clicked twice. Between clicks the scraggly voice sang: but when the Spirit touched my heart.

Charles's left hand arranged pieces in the oak frame, operating on its own recognizance. It removed two of the pieces from the frame. His hand searched for others to take their place. His eyes were fixed on the situation below. He saw his father nearing his mother. In the corner of his vision he noticed the outline of a face appear in the puzzle. It had his mother's hair.

Charles's mother backed two steps from his father. The archway leading into the dining room had not quite concealed her from his sightline. Her moaning escalated to bawling. She tried to say, "I don't want to calm down."

All Charles could make out was "I doe whaa cahhh dowww." She clicked twice: And I called Jesus's name.

"I've had enough," his Father said. The heart-shaped bald spot blushed. "Teresa, I'm begging you. Please. I can still help you. Quick, they are coming."

No response, only clicks: He saved the soul of a man in the sinners' hall of fame.

Jeff Gerke is publisher at Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. Find The Dark Man and all the rest of the MLP novels at All Marcher Lord Press novels can also be purchased through Amazon and are available in print, of course, and in several e-book formats such as Kindle, Nook, and the Sony e-book reader.
The Dark Man ©2009 by Marc Schooley. Do not reproduce without permission.

An Honest Love

by Kathleen Fuller

Book Two in the Hearts of Middlefield Series from Thomas Nelson

Two "outsiders" must experience God's love in order to accept their love for each other.

Carefree Elisabeth Byler doesn't always fit in with her serious-minded family, yet she loves them and her Amish faith. A mistake Aaron Detweiler made as a teenager fills him with regret and drives him back to the safety of his community. When Elisabeth carelessness puts her in harms way, Aaron must forgive himself to truly save her.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth's brother, Lukas, has fallen for Anna Esh--and he's asked her to marry him. But Anna has a secret she won't reveal. Will she find the courage to be honest with Lukas? And will he still love her once he learns the truth?

For more information visit or visit (

Red Bird
by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Carrie Brown still treasures her childhood memory of Soaring Eagle, the man she loved both for his wildness and freedom-and his gentle heart. But Carrie's dream has been shattered and Soaring Eagle's way of life is gone forever. An ECPA best seller, Soaring Eagle chronicles the journey of a white woman and a Lakota Sioux man as they discover that surrendering personal dreams can be the key to seeing them come true.

Originally published by Thomas Nelson Publishers,

Red Bird is now available in an Authors Guild Edition

Order at,, or from your favorite local bookstore or online bookseller

Monday, February 22, 2010

Roxanne Rustand
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense

Smoke and mirrors...

Someone's after Kris Donaldson. and they don't just want her hurt--they want her ruined. First, an arsonist tries to destroy her cabin, and evidence points to Kris as possible insurance fraud. Then an injured deputy is found at her place...with ballistics proof that he was shot with her rifle. Even Trace Randall, the arson investigator who's helped her before, seems to doubt her now. She has to prove her innocence, but how? Her reputation, her life--and her chance for happiness with Trace--are all on the line.

Roxanne Rustand is the author of twenty-eight romantic suspense and heart-warming relationship novels, including eleven inspirational titles. Her 2010 releases include two books in her Big Sky Secrets series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense: Fatal Burn in February and End Game in June. In November, 2010, Winter Reunion will be released, the first book in her Aspen Creek Crossroads series for Love Inspired. She lives in the country with her family, and a menagerie of pets that frequently find their way into her books. For information, visit her blogs and website at: (The All Creatures Great and Small Place)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beneath A Southern Sky
by Deborah Raney
WaterBrook Press

First released in 2001, Beneath a Southern Sky, has been reissued with a new cover as part of WaterBrook Press's new value line fiction.

Her Second Husband Healed the Sorrow of a Tragic Loss.
Her First Has Just Returned from the Dead.
Which Man Has the Right to Claim Daria's Heart?
After two years of serving as a missionary in a remote area of South America, Daria Camfield has returned to the States to mourn her husband, reportedly killed while providing medical aid to a neighboring Colombian village.

One family discovers how God can redeem any tragedy.

At first, Daria finds comfort only in the daughter born to her after Nate's tragic death. As she begins to heal, she also finds a listening ear and a tender heart in her new boss, veterinarian Colson Hunter. Determined to move forward with life, Daria ignores the still small voice calling her to wait and accepts Cole's marriage proposal. But after the wedding, Daria's new dream life turns into a nightmare with the arrival of an unbelievable
telegram:"Nathan Camfield found alive. Flying into K.C. Int'l. via Bogota…"

Now two men have the right to her daughter, her life, and her love. Will Daria return to her beloved first
husband, abandoning Cole? Or will she reject Nate and choose the only man her daughter has ever called "Daddy"--a man she has come to cherish with all her heart?

• 2002 RITA Award from RWA
• 2002 FH&L Inspirational Readers' Choice Award
• Book of the Year for American Christian Romance Writers (now ACFW)
• 2001 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award
• 2002 HOLT Medallion Finalist
• 2002 Aspen Gold Award, 2nd place
• Named one of's Top 10 Fiction book of 2001

BIO: DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her 20th novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Almost Forever, first in her new Hanover Falls Novels series, will release in May from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four grown children and two precious grandsons, all of whom live much too far away.



Friday, February 05, 2010

The Tales of Adam and Eve and Shirley
By Dandi Daley Mackall

Why can’t guys be more like dogs?
Bailey Daley is about to discover that true love and man’s best friend have more in common than she ever dreamed. Seeking shelter from a rainstorm, Bailey and her 3 dogs stumble into a St. Louis café that’s closing down for the night. With the stormy night ahead, Bailey unfolds the tales of Adam and Eve and Shirley, the three dogs she’s won, and the three loves she’ll never forget.
3 Guys, 3 Dogs, 3 Love Stories . . . And 1 Girl

Available at your local independent bookstore.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dandi Daley Mackall is the author of over 400 books for children and adults, with sales of over 4 million is 22 countries. Please visit: and

By Deborah Raney
(Originally published in 2001 and
re-released February 2010 by WaterBrook Press)

Her Second Husband Healed the Sorrow of a Tragic Loss.
Her First Has Just Returned from the Dead.
Which Man Has the Right to Claim Daria’s Heart?

After two years of serving as a missionary in a remote area of South America, Daria Camfield has returned to the States to mourn her husband, reportedly killed while providing medical aid to a neighboring Colombian village.

One family discovers how God can redeem any tragedy.

"Forget the movie of the week. Beneath a Southern Sky reads like a dramatic
film, but has substance of eternal importance. Six months after reading it,
I'm still digesting what it means to me. Everyone will be talking about this
~Lisa Tawn Bergren, author of Breathe: A Novel of Colorado

Available in bookstores everywhere. For more information visit Deb’s website at:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gail Martin

Groom In Training

by Gail Gaymer Martin
Second book in the Man's Best Friend Series from Steeple Hill Love Inspired

Friends, Four-legged Friends and Love.

A widow with a sad past, Steph Wright, finds comfort in her faith and her adorable Border Collie, Fred. When Fred becomes enamored with the neighbor's pedigreed Bouvier, Steph meets Nick. With a broken engagement and a busy job, Nick isn't open to love and romance. But when Nick steps in to defend Steph, long talks ensue during dog walking, and both begin to learn that God has plans for each of them, especially Steph who sees some unexpected "groom-in-training" going on.

Endorsements from readers:
Had a hard time putting this book down. I highly recommend Groom In Training, and look forward to reading more from Gail Gaymer Martin.
Rikki Lee Howland, Reader

A delightful story of two hearts discovering where they belong.
Jo Huddleston, Reader

Multi-award-winning author, Gail Gaymer Martin writes fiction for Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing, where she was recently honored by Heartsong readers as their Favorite Author of 2008. Gail has written forty-four contracted novels with three million books in print. She is the author of Writing the Christian Romance, a Writers Digest Books release. Gail is a co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a keynote speaker at churches, libraries and civic organizations and also presents workshops at conference across the US. Gail has a Masters degree and post-master’s classes from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and is a licensed counselor. She lives in Michigan with her husband.